Day 5 Week 15 – Balancing Fun & Fitness

6 miles easy pace, cloudy & 71 degree.

The marathon specific phase of the training is high volume.  Meaning it’s both long in distance and high in intensity.  Sounds ominous?   Only if you let it.   I have determined to keep my marathon training balanced between fun and fitness.

So after the alternating tempos on Tuesday and steady pace yesterday, today’s 6 miles was all easy pace.  I kept my run comfortable, relaxing, & stress-free on purpose and at the same time building my fun meter and aerobic threshold.

During the run, I try to focus on each specific workout.  What is its purpose? How to execute it to gain the max benefit?  This way I keep my wondering mind from far afield worrying about the monster in the closet like the marathon itself or some negative thoughts.

In short, quality training involves more than physical but also physiological, emotional developments.  That is why the balancing between fun and fitness is good for my mental hygiene.

How do you motivate yourself through training?


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Day 4 Week 15 – Running On Empty (Stomach)

6 miles steady pace, 1 mile warm up & cool down, cloudy & 76 degree.

I am a morning runner.  Not only I like to run early to get my blood circulating, I run without ingesting any food other than water.  I prefer empty stomach over having food in my tummy sloshing around.

Running on empty stomach however is not recommended for beginners, especially if they are performance oriented.  But for experienced runners who want to train their bodies to better utilizing their fat content running on empty is the way to go.

Particularly for endurance runners it is imperative.  For our body can carry only a limited amount of glycogen, efficient fat burning gives the added edge for the long haul.

What is the longest run you have done on empty stomach?


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Day 3 Week 15 – Running Intensity?

6 miles easy pace, cloudy & 81 degree.

Still tired this morning.  Not sure if I was feeling the carryover from yesterday’s high volume workout or from my trip to the Big Apple.  But the “easy pace” felt harder than usual.  Luckily the weather was not too hot, and there was a breeze occasionally to provide additional cooling.

What intensity was I running?  With a watch or heart rate monitor I can present some hard indicators.  However, as running intensity is influenced by many factors – weather, pace, terrains, time of the day, nutrition, etc., neither the watch nor the heart rate monitor takes into account the various factors mentioned.

In fact, today is one of those days that is smart to not follow the watch nor the heart rate monitor.  Because I was already tired before my run.  I am better off by listening to my body and rely on the “talk test” which is more holistic and satisfying indicator for running intensity.

How could you tell that you are pushing too hard?

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Day 2 Week 15 – High Volume Alternating Tempos

3.3 miles warm up, 6 mile alternating tempos btwn 8:00 and 7:40 w/ no rest, 3.3 miles cool down, cloudy & 73 degree.  Actual splits: 8:00, 7:27, 7: 59, 7:30, 8:03, 7:35.

Ran the alternating tempos on local school track that is 3.3 miles from my house.  Given the cool weather, my paces were well controlled.  And I was able to contrast the two tempo paces specific enough to feel the difference.  An added bonus.

More importantly, the alternating tempo workout conditions the body’s energy system to efficiently process the lactic acid.  The threshold and marathon paces are intended to stimulate the lactate production and conversion  respectively.

Afterwards, the cool down was a bit long but it was offset by my victorious feeling regarding today’s alternating tempos.

Does a good workout make all the negatives negligible?

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Day 1 Week 15 – Transition Back

Travel day, no running.

“43” days to the Erie Marathon.  That is what my blog’s countdown calendar shows which leaves me just a little over six weeks of time to prepare before the big race.  What ahead is the marathon specific phase training which involves more volume (longer distance and higher intensity).

My cutback last week positioned me for this high volume phase.  In a way, I was ready to get back.  New York City was good, but it had way too many people for my taste.  Everywhere I turned, there were lines, in the grocery stores, restaurants, theaters, and you name it.  I could’t help but felt a bit suffocated.

It was in the city that I realized that creating space is an important survival skill.  People used tools like sunshades, earbuds, cell phone to set the boundary and preserve their personal space.  This is understandable but comes across as unfriendly.   I supposed it comes with the territory.

Do you agree that city folks are less sociable? Or it just appears so?

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Week In Review – 29 Jul 2018

Week Fourteen of my Erie Marathon training.  A cut-back week that coincides with my vacation to the Big Apple. Total miles ran this week: 23.

I relish the opportunities that travel brings – opportunity to step back and reflect about myself,  to try something new including change of pace (in this case for my body to recover), and to ponder on things of value.

My purpose to the Big Apple is twofold: vacation & celebrate my son’s birthday.  With so much to see and do in the city, a good rule of thumb is to be flexible, relaxed and have fun.  After all it is a city that never sleeps.

And instead of running in the Central Park, I opt to run along the East River to enjoy the cityscape.

Have a nice week.


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Day 6 Week 14 – Running In NYC

Embed from Getty Images


3.6 mile easy pace, sunny & 71 degree

In the Big Apple for a quick visit.  Of course the City is much larger and denser than Washington DC.  Along with that, a more diversified social scene.  People of all sizes, shapes and colors.  All busy going somewhere.

Running through the city this morning in-between pedestrians, cars, street vendors, I get a taste of the urban-jungle obstacle run.  I am sure that I was as much of an obstacle to them as they were to me.  But, sharing is caring, so what the heck.

Not to mention, summer heat trapped by the skyscrapers and noise generated by the traffics add to the city’s intensity.  After a while it becomes exhausting even for someone who is training for marathon, like myself.

Glad that I am not running in the New York City Marathon.

Have you ever run in the New York City?





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Day 5 Week 14 – Standard of Excellence?

Excellence is easy to spot because it exceeds expectations, never settles for good-enough, and improves itself by surpassing the self.

I get inspired witnessing excellence in action.  Whether it’s the Olympics, Broadway musicals, America Got Talent or similar, the common theme is the participants’ dedication to quality.

Standard of excellence on the other hand, unlike the construct it tries to define, is net negative in my mind.  It serves as the minimum expectations of the authority and criteria to eliminate, as in this person is not excellent because his/ her failure to meet the standard.

I am not against of having standard.  Just  want to distinguish the difference between something intuitive (primary) versus what articulated (secondary).   Put it another way, I know excellence when I see it.  Standard or no standard.

How do you define excellence?

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Day 4 Week 14 – Running With A Purpose

7 miles easy pace,  sunny & 75 degree.

An underpinning principle of marathon training is knowing the purpose of each run.  Is the run for building endurance, increasing speed, or assisting in recovery?  Having a clear purpose answers the powerful question – why and prevents the mistake of mindlessly following a template.

Moreover, knowing the purpose helps me with challenging workouts.  I am more focused on executing than finishing whether it’s tempo runs, intervals, or hill repeats.  Additionally I would know when to back-off if my body does not agree with the workout.

Pushing for the sake of just putting a check-in-the-box not only makes one prone to injury but also a sure way to stay stuck in the rut.  As mentioned before, having fun is an important part of my runs.  Knowing the purpose of my runs makes them fun & flexible with my life.

What is the purpose of your run?


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Day 3 Week 14 – Shifting Perspective

Travel day, no running.

Travel shifts one’s perspective, by choice or otherwise.  Different surroundings, people, time zones, or climates that could jolt one’s frame of references.  It’s both the challenge, as well as the reward, of traveling.

Challenge because the unfamiliarity.  Some would minimize the differences by staying at the same hotel chain, eating at the same restaurant brand, keeping the same routines.  In other words, standardize one’s expectations.

But what’s the purpose of traveling?  Why not stay home where everything is familiar and comfortable?  To me the shift in perspectives is not a risk but a reward.  It broadens one’s horizon and stimulating mental flexibility.  A chance to learn and perhaps grow.

What is your perspective on travel?



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