Sunday, May 30, 2010

T-8 weeks to SFM

Marathon training takes a lot of time..If you train at 10:00min/mile and run 40 miles a week that's 400 minutes/week. If you have 2 rest days that means you are averaging 80 min on you runs. Add stretching and cooldown and your talkin' over 1 1/2 hrs a day on 5 days out of the week.

This week was Toni's birthday and we went up to the gold country around Sutter's Mill/Fairplay/Plymouth to enjoy a sunny Sunday and Monday (Finally!) and do some wine tasting.

So, need to rearrange some time for 3.5 hours of running in the morning on Sunday! I took my original stock 50 mile week:

Rest, 5, 10, 5 Rest, 10, 20+

and instead did:

Rest, 4.6, 12, Rest 9.5, 22.2, Rest

I cut out one of the mid-week 5 mile runs and upped a couple of the other runs for a total of 48.5 miles.

This was not an easy schedule, notice that there's a 4 day stretch (12, Rest, 9.5, 22.2) where I ran ~44 make it doable I canceled my plan to run at full pace (9:20-ish) on the Saturday run and instead did 4 miles at pace during the 12 mile run.

The long run (22.2 miler) went well considering . Problem #1: the previous evening we were attending a fun party and didn't get to bed until 11:30pm. Problem #2: The next day Toni and I were looking forward to a brunch with friends in Los Altos at 11am. Therefore, I had to get up very early to fit in 3:45 hrs of running + pre/post stretching, some breakfast, etc.

That was NOT enough sleep (not to mention the slight hangover from the wine at the party)..running 22 miles did not seem like such a bright idea as I bumbled my way to the bathroom at 5:30. But after an easy mile or two I was feeling a lot better. I did the first 10 miles or so by myself, and then meet up with my friend Jeff to run the last 12.

Jeff is a great running partner: he's in much better shape that I, but never forces the pace. I never feel like I'm running to keep up with him. Jeff also knows the entire Stanford area like the back of his hand ... I always learn a few new tricky routes from him. (It's not easy to think up long running routes on the fly, especially near the end of a long run when you are getting tired.) Jeff and I are both techie types so the conversation is always stimulating.

My plan to intake more cals that usual went well: I ate 5 gu-packs (usually I only do 3, and drank two 16oz bottles with Cytomax (equivalent to two more gu-packs)...burped once or twice but didn't feel upset in the tummy.

I ran at about a 11 min pace to start gradually speeding up to a 10:00 pace for an overall pace of 10:20. The temps were cool to start but about 70 for the last 45 min.

When I got back my weight was about my norm (169lb-ish), i.e. I was not dehydrated. I felt I could have easily continued 4 miles and run a full 26.2 without struggling. This was one of those long runs that makes you feel like you are making progress.

But, later that day I got a pretty bad case of hay fever. It's really REALLY the worst year I've ever seen for this. What with all the rain/sun/rain/sun the grasses and mustard plants are going crazy. I purposely avoided running in grassy areas, but it didn't help. Loaded up on meds and now just waiting for it to die down.

Next week is an easier week. Nominally:

Rest, 4, 9, 4, Rest, 9, 12 (38 miles)

Update Monday 6pm: Legs are feeling pretty recovered, ready for an easy 4 tomorrow.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

T-9 weeks to SFM

I have a theory that I've not been consuming enough calories during my marathons. I've been taking only water at rest stops and just using 1 GU pack per 6 miles (about 55 min). This is perhaps not enough and could result in low blood sugar in the last few miles.

Training with long runs 'teaches' (i.e. turns on genes) that increase the amount of fats that the muscles can use as fuel. However, the brain can't do relies on glycogen stores in the liver during long (15 mile+) runs. If you let your blood sugar drop too far, your not going feel alert and upbeat for the effort...that little voice in your head telling you to slow down or even quit will just get louder and louder 8). More importantly, the ability of your brain to recruit and fire the muscles over and over, will decrease.

Endurance sports are 1/3 cardio, 1/3 muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and 1/3 brain.

I plan to consume 1 Gu every 40 minutes, and take electrolytes. Toward that end I went to REI to purchase a stockpile and lo-and-behold, there was a 25% off sale! Maybe a good omen for my theory?

I'm going to eat to this schedule for runs over 10 miles. You don't really need to take any calories for runs less than 13 miles or so, but you do need to practice digesting and drinking on the run with the actual stuff you plan to carry (or be given at the aid stations).

Anyway , it's been 38 miles total for the 'step back week' last week...only 12 miles for the long sunday run, and one hard hilly run at 8:30-9:15 pace. Ready to 'step up' in distance this week!

Mon->Sun: Rest 5 10 5 Rest 10 20

The 10 mile Sat run is at pace (9:15-9:20 or so). Sunday is our first 20 miler in this buildup!

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Monday, May 17, 2010

T-10 weeks to SFM!

Only 10 more weeks until the San Francisco Marathon (July 25)...the countdown begins!

I really like this race. Most US marathons are in either the spring or the fall to avoid the heat. But the SFM is about the only place in the US you can run a marathon in the middle of summer. You see, SF is at its most foggy in the summertime. (Many tourists don't seem to realize see frozen people wandering the streets of 55F weather in shorts and T-shirts. )

The SFM is also a loop 2nd favorite kind of course. (my preferences: point-to-point, loop, out-and-back, stupid-madeup-course-with-tons-of-small-retracings).

I ran it last year and had a great time, so we're giving it another go.

Last week (#11) we ran 5, 10, 4, rest, rest, 10.6, 19.1 for a total of about 49 miles...week 11 was about 44 miles. Yesterday I did the 19 miler and felt great...I did my slightly hilly 13 mile loop, then did 4 miles on the Paly track, then its 2 miles home from there. Ran the first third at 10:20 min/mile pace, the second third at 10, and sped up the last third to bring the overall pace to 9:44.

This week supposed to be a 'stepback' week: we've increase mileage for two weeks, now we back off a bit on the long Sunday run (to 12-13 miles) and also keep the pace down.

The schedule I'm using is loosely based on Hal Higdon's Intermediate II schedule, which is here..his schedule is numbered forward from 1 to 18, I prefer to count down, so right now I'm on his week 9, which is a 38 mile week.

I'm a bit ahead of his schedule as I just did a 19 mile long run, but his week 8 shows only 17...., which is on purpose, since you might need an extra week if you get a cold or some other problem that prevents you from training.

I plan to use that extra week to do one more 20+ mile run....we'll see how that turns out.


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