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Posts Tagged ‘speedwork’


It was quite good to come home from Hotter-n-Hell to a week off.  I took all that was left of my vacation time this week instead of leaving it on the books.  I figured I could use it as a buffer between having a job and having to look for a job.  I also thought I’d get some stuff done before starting new tasks.

The weather had conspired to keep me from any yardwork for a few weeks because of on and off again rains.  It’s not too weird to get rain in August, but we got a little more than usual in the past few weeks.  The spacing was just enough to throw off any catch up in the weeds.  I only have one really bad weed nemesis; stickerburrs.  The front yard is fairly well under control, but our back yard along the fence is just over run.

I have tried chemicals to no effect (not my usual choice).  I also have been using bagging on the lawnmower, but that only seemed to have a slight effect.  Currently, I am digging up individual plants before mowing in the attempt to cut down on seeds.  Each stickerburr plant puts out at least 8 to 10 burrs.  Each of these are a seed for a new plant.  Hopefully, by removing the plants, I’ll catch up on them.  However, that will be a trick.  This week’s take is four yard bags of plants.  Each bag was about half full because of the weight.

This week also began the first week of Dallas Marathon training.  For longer races, I usually generate a Smart Coach plan from runnersworld.com, then I add in or take away as needed.  Since this is my second marathon and I ran pretty good this Summer, I set it as a ‘moderate’ level of training.  Therefore, it has me running long runs up to 20 miles three times before taper starts.  That should be fun (sure).

Monday’s run called for five miles easy.  I figured after a very hard 100-miler on Saturday that I would not at all feel like doing that many miles on Monday.  If I got it up to 3 miles I would be doing well.  However, I surprised myself.  My tendonitis in my right foot wasn’t hurting at all and I did not seem to have dead legs.  Since I didn’t have to get up uber-early, I got to Running Bear Park at first light and decided to go around the whole loop and see what I’d get.  Turned out to have a 4.7 mile morning.

Wednesday also called for my first tempo run.  If you’re wondering what that is, check here.  This would be my first real speedwork since last season, so I strapped on the heart rate monitor and decided to run the tempo going more by heart rate than by pace.  The runnersworld.com plans still tend to run slightly behind what I can do now, so heart rate should give me a better idea of true tempo pace.

For the tempo run, I had to warm up, then hold tempo pace for four miles and cool down.  The total for the day would be 6 miles, which is 2 shorter than a normal Wednesday.  After a half mile warm up, I stepped the pace up to 12 min/mile.  That should be enough, right?  My max heart rate should be around 168 (220 – my age = max heart rate).  After a little bit of 12 min. pace, my heart rate went up to…145 bpm.  OK, that’s not doing well, and I could tell by my exertion level that I wasn’t at tempo either.

The general rule of thumb on tempo runs is to hold a pace that you can hold, but really, really would like not to hold.  With HR and exertion level in mind, I stepped up a little better.  We were  heading down to Running Bear park by now.  Turning out of Running Bear, I checked again and my heart rate was 165 bpm.  Good one!  My exertion level was holding, but just; so that was OK too.  My pace now: 10:50 min/mile.  Not bad.

The next mile carried me up two pretty good hills and as expected, by the time I hit the peak, the HR monitor alarm went off.  I was exceeding 168 bpm now.  I slowed a little to let it go back down, but not much.  And, what do I run into…a red light.  Not just your ordinary red light, but the one from Hell that never changes.  Down, down, went the heart rate.  At about 118 bpm, the light changed.  It was probably only a minute and a half, but I didn’t like losing the tempo HR.

After the red light, I picked things back up to speed and the HR came right back into line.  Through the next couple of miles, I had to slow just a bit, but my HR remained steady and I was still doing 11:15 to 11:30 pace.  I turned the corner at the next red light and saw I had finished up all four miles of my first tempo.  I could now slow back down and go easy for the rest of the miles.  It felt really good to finish up the first bit of speedwork.

Today was the first “official” long run at 10 miles.  I had already done a 9-miler a couple weeks ago, so I was pretty ready.  We’ve been in a cool streak, but expecting more heat.  Still, I was surprised to see the 79degF on the outdoor thermometer this morning.  I set up and got my stuff on and left the house…without my hydration bottle.

Oh, I had put on the belt, but didn’t grab the bottle out of the frig.  When did I figure this out?  A half mile down the road.  Now what do I do?  I couldn’t run out a whole ten miles at this temp without fluids, so running back to the house I went.  At least the jog back to the house made sure I had ten miles done this morning anyway.

On my long runs, I keep close to what the plan states, at least somewhat.  It called for a 15 min/mile pace, but that’s almost walking speed now.  I kept it between 13 min/mile and sometimes 14 min/mile.  Those paces felt pretty easy for me.  For a mile or so, on flat section, I put in a 12:30 pace.  The 10 miles went by decently, but not real fast.  It took a couple of hours plus this morning and I have been able to do 10 miles in two hours even, but not today.

I am sitting here this afternoon waiting on a friend that’s just gone through the job search routine recently and we’re going to go over what I’m going to do.  I also have a list of things to do next week; some related to job search and some related to keeping something going for now.  It’s kind of weird not having to worry about each day right now.  I know that can grow as time drags on, but right now it’s not a big deal.  That’s new to me.  My biggest problem will be making sure I stay productive and busy while the search goes on.  As my sweetie tells me, I don’t sit still very well.  That’s probably a fault of mine.  As I recall, my grandfather was a bit like that as well.  So, here’s to next week and getting things done.  More miles on the books and things to do.  Happy running!

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This past Monday, I decided to restart my speedwork again as it groweth closer to Cowtown time again.  None of my speed workouts for my marathon training were pickups, so I had not done any for several months.  I thought it would be a good time to run some (not so) gentle pickups again.  And, as usual, I would run mine with my trusty Garmin and heart rate monitor.

Now, if you’ve read my original post on doing pickups by heart rate, you know that I set a heart rate alarm on the Garmin that is slightly under my max heart rate.  My max heart rate had been running about 180-182.  When I first started running with the Garmin, I calculated my max HR (220 – 50; my age) at 170, but I measured my heart rate going to 180 when running flat out.  For a couple years, I’ve been using an alarm setting of 172.  When my HR gets to 172, I hear the beeps and run out the pickup for as long as I can hold, then slow down.

As long as I have run, that formula has worked just fine.  Until last Monday when I took off on my first pickup and kept going and going and going.  No beeps.  No alarms.  I look down and the Garmin says, “162.”  Ok, so slow down, jog a while and try it again.  My HR drops back to 130 and I start off again.  Maybe I didn’t run the pickup out fast enough?  You’re only supposed to reach about 80% of top speed.  Maybe I am just out of practice.  So, I’ll make this one faster.

I’m waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the beep.  None comes.  I’m going all out now and I look down, “164.”  What’s wrong?  Why won’t my HR go up?  I run the rest of my pickups by feel and just monitor the heart rate.  It never exceeded 167, and that was on the last one.  What has happened?  I know I’m fit.  Has something change?

Of course it has.  I’ve dropped 30 pounds!  And, I’m slightly older now.  OK, so my age only drops the max HR by 2 bpm, but when you go in with the idea that I’m now back to my calculated HR (220 – age), which is now 168, almost 167, you see the difference.  My extra weight artificially raised my max HR because of the extra stress.  Now, I need to figure out a new HR limit for pickups and try it again.

Of course, now, I’m not sure when that will be.  Tuesday evening I went for my regular swim.  Every time I tried to fully kick in the freestyle stroke, my left foot hurt.  I eased up on my kicking and could keep the pain under slight control, but at least once every lap, one strong kick would make me wince.

Just when I crossed 800 yds., it got worse.  Now it was throbbing and moving up the leg.  I stopped and made it back to the shallow end to see what was going on.  I could feel a large knot on top of my foot near the ankle.  It wasn’t hard and after a while, the know moved when pressing on it.  The pain was increasing.  My friend stopped to see how it was and I told him I was done for the night.

I hobbled home and put some ice on it.  I took some ibuprofen and wrapped it for the night.  It remained quite painful all night, but when I got up, the pain when down, the swelling went down, and I could walk.  I went two days at work with no real problems at all.  No problem walking.  I jogged a little coming home and didn’t feel anything either.  However, I got up this morning and could see a small bruise down near my toes.  That was odd.  I didn’t have any pain down there.

I thought I’d try spinning and see if that would be a problem.  For 52 minutes, it wasn’t.  Then it started again.  I got off and checked.  Sure enough, the swelling was back and the bruise had gotten larger.  Well, that bites.

Now, I am going to have to stick to my plan to do no workouts until Monday at least.  I can’t find any medical conditions exactly like it on the Internet.  The only one that is close sounds really bad.  I don’t think I’ve ripped a ligament or tendon.  That pain would remain…I think.

Well it happens.  You can’t get everything right.  I’ve gone a considerable length of time without an injury.  I guess you might say I’m overdue.  It’s just not a good time with a race coming up.  I’m going to be patient and wait until Monday.  Then, I’ll have to reassess whether this needs a doc or not.  I sure hope not.  They tend to go overboard when there is an injury.  And, my experience with a lot of docs is they aren’t all great diagnosticians.  But, we’ll just have to see.  Be careful and have fun running.

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About a week ago, I finally pulled the trigger on deciding to run a full marathon.  Though I have done three halves and several other races, I was trying to rationalize out NOT doing the full.  Since that rationalization kept failing,  After putting it to the vote of my running/biking friends on Facebook, I will be entering the 2011 White Rock Marathon.  And, the first order of business was to find out when to start training for said marathon. (more…)

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What the pace?


I got up early this morning to run my usual Thursday 4-miler.  It was slightly cool outside and a little misty.  I have been working on my speed some lately and I hadn’t run on Tuesday or Wednesday, so I tried to keep up a good clip this morning.  I know that I kept my pace fairly well during the run and was looking forward to seeing my time at the end.  When the run was over, I looked at the clock.  Uggh, 50:58, another 12:44 pace. (more…)

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Well, the new year has arrived, and with it a host of possibilities.  I took my first run this morning.  No, I did not run on New Year’s day.  After waking up at 11:30AM, I really didn’t have it in me to do a long or short run.  However, today starts the final push towards the Cowtown Half-Marathon in Fort Worth. (more…)

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OK, I’ll confess.  I have been slacking on my speedwork.  You know, those workouts that everyone says will help your pace, but they do more to kick your butt than anything.  At least they feel that way.  I only have two that I do; tempo runs and gentle pickups.  Lately, I haven’t done any pickup runs, until today. (more…)

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One week…


One week back and in the bag.  I took a whole week off after I ran my first half-marathon.  I was concerned while waiting through a week of not running that I would be really out of shape again or that it would be difficult to get back into the groove of running.  I spent time assessing my running and how I might need to change things in order to work towards completing a marathon.  My first week back has been great! (more…)

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