Day 3 Week 16 – Thoughts on Tempo Intervals

6 x 1 mile @ 10K pace (7:42) w/ 90 sec rest, 1 mile warm up & cool down, overcast, 72 degree Fahrenheit

Ran today’s tempo intervals over a mile course back and forth.  My time were as follows: 7:22, 7:45, 7:20, 7:50, 7:32, 7:57.  One thing clear was the changes in elevation over the mile was enough to make a consistent 20 – 30 second difference (faster in one direction).

And no matter which direction I was running, I got slower over time.  Presumably, more tired towards the end.  I associate tempo runs with the mantra “comfortably” hard.  “Comfortably” so not to over-do it.  But the 12 second difference in the same direction indicated perhaps I still ran a bit unevenly.

Be that as it may, today’s tempo interval is the last of my make-up lactate threshold runs. Overall, my tempo run has become better executed since I started run by feel.  It makes so much more sense as compared to what I used to do which was pacing according to my watch.

Lastly, according to the Runner’s World, the tempo runs are ‘the single most important” workout for improving speed.  Because the they teach “the body to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently.” In other words raising one’s lactate threshold. I certainly hope so.

What is your take on the tempo runs?

 

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Day 2 Week 16 – Recovery, Recovery, Recovery

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6 mile recovery run, humid, 75 degree Fahrenheit

Wouldn’t you know it? My legs were sluggish this morning.  Remnant of yesterday’s hill-to-tempo workout which made the recovery run today albeit more difficult and yet more beneficial.

Difficult because my legs were still tired.  Trying to move them felt like lifting them with lead boots. But deep down I know the run would bring blood circulation to the very same leg muscles that were sore and help them recover.

The hard part was to convince my mind that the recovery run was what my body needed.  Because at the time it did not feel that way.  Moreover, I included a few power naps throughout the day to allow that mind-body connection to sync in and followed up with a yoga practice for my tired legs.

What is your preferred recovery method?

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Day 1 week 16 – Hill To Tempo

4 x 90 sec hill repeats at 7:00 w/jog down rest, 3 min rest, 3 miles @7:39 – 7:57, humid (thanks to hurricane now turned tropical storm Nate), 72 degrees.

Another marathon specific run today, hill to tempo.  The hill I chose was only 33 seconds long.  So I ended up doing 12 x 30 sec hill repeats.  And let me tell you that by the time I was done with those hill repeats, I was ready to call it quit and go home.

My mouth was gasping for air like a fish out of the water, and my legs putty.  The three mile tempo to follow was an impossibility.  In fact, my thought went something like if I could just finish the 3 miles at whatever pace, I am good with it.

So after a seemingly very short break, I went for the 3 mile run – twelve laps around the track.  After four very trying laps, I was surprised to find my time was 7:35.  It would be a lie to say that I felt great and was ready to pull off two more miles just like that.

No Sirree.  Instead, I kept focusing on one lap at a time.  Five, six, seven, eight, the second mile was 7:47.  And nine, ten, eleven, twelve, the third and last mile took 7:42.  I was beyond happy to have completed today’s workout, particularly under such a humid day.

What’s your favorite marathon specific training?

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week In Review – 8 Oct 2017

Total miles ran this week: 53

In my marathon specific phase, I am still making up some of the lactate threshold runs. This requires a bit of juggling of the schedule and doubling up on the intensity of my weekly workout.  So, at five weeks out from my marathon, I am feeling the load and fatigue on my body.

Luckily I am not totally consumed by my running.  I contemplate on ideas such as how to be & stay in the present – particularly when I am running mile after mile – and how not to over-do-it.  Important to keep a balance between the mind and body regardless running marathon or not.

Lastly, this year the devastation of hurricanes hit home to America. Whether it’s Harvey (landfall in Texas), Irma (Florida), or Maria (Puerto Rico),  the indelible lost of life and property inflicted in a short span of time (from Aug to Sep) demonstrates how vulnerable we are in spite of our technology.  Let alone man-made disaster.

Have a good week.

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Day 6 Week 15 – Marathon Finish

16 mile long run w/ 11 – 15 @ goal MP or faster, and as fast as you can towards 15 (fast finish)

In today’s “fast finish” workout, I got a preview of what a marathon finish could be in five weeks.  You see, yesterday, I did steady run to pre-load my legs, so they were tired when I got to mile 11 today.

From mile 11 to 14, I ran by feel at my marathon pace. Then as fast as I could from 14 to 15. This marathon specific workout is designed to engage my fast twitch leg muscles when the slow twitch muscles are tired.

While I do not know how fast I was running on that last mile, I like the feeling that I was pushing myself toward the finish.  In a real marathon, all kinds of emotions conjure up at that point when the finish so close and yet so far away.

And usually two extreme scenarios arise depending on one’s efforts: can’t remember it (when you have given your best)  or can’t forget it (when you don’t).  Having the opportunity to practice that critical part is well worth it.

What experience do you have with race finishes?

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Day 5 Week 15 – Setting Boundary

2 mile easy warm up, 5 mile steady, 1 mile cool down, 69 -72 degree Fahrenheit

Setting boundary or limit used to be foreign concept to me.  Not that I was a wild and loose cannon.  Quite the opposite.  I was brought up to obey the rules and always operate within the guideposts.  And by extension, I assumed that was the norm for everyone.

Imagine the surprise when I realized the contrary.  And as I get older, the more exceptions to the rules I see.  People would throw caution into the wind and step off the ledge without thinking twice.  Why shouldn’t they enjoy themselves?  No reason to hold back, right?

This live for today and why-shouldn’t-I-just-because-I-can mentality caught a lot of people’s pants down when the financial meltdown happened a decade ago.  People lost their home, retirement money, and their future.  Partially due to the worldwide financial crisis at the time but also their failure to set boundary.

And not to mention, the epidemic outcomes of obesity, diabetes and a host of other health issues in this country are clear signals that setting boundary is not as automatic as I assumed but a learned skill individually and public policy collectively.

As a parent, I tried to emulate what my parents did to me – setting discrete boundaries without making them awkward.  Because ultimately each person has to find their own balancing point and forced boundary begets unreasonable behavior.  In a way, I am setting boundary on myself as a parent, teacher, and role model on not living the life of excess.

How do you set boundary for yourself?

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Day 4 Week 15 – More Than Ever

5 mile recovery run, 64 degree Fahrenheit.

Taking the path of least resistance is only human.  Very understandable.  But if we want to excel, we need  the “right” stress that pushes us toward our stretched goal, something that is reachable if with a little extra efforts.

The key is the right stress.  Too much stress of course leads to burnout, failure, depression, or other negative outcomes.  Not enough stress poses no challenge, thus no growth.  Finding the the right stress is what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi called the “flow.”

For me, running is a way for me to keep healthy.  And marathon is my stretched goal – not only to finish it (which is nothing to sneeze at) but to have a good enough qualifying time for me to go back to the Boston Marathon.

This is Week 15 of my 20 week marathon training,  It is marathon specific phase which means my workouts are more intense both in distance and pace.  Adding the right stress so I am pushing myself to be more fit for the 26.2 mile.

As a result, I am running more, eating more, and sleeping more.  But incredibly still, I am tired more often and losing more weight.  Be that it may, I have faith that the light at the end of the tunnel is near, where I will find my flow.

I believe that more than ever.

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Day 3 Week 15 – The 400s

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16 x 400 @1:51 – 1:54 pace w/ 28 sec rest, 3.3 mile warm up & cool down, another beautiful day with the morning temperature in the low 60s.

The 400 meter is one of the lactate threshold workouts that I missed in September.  I am glad to make it up today.  First, can’t ask for a better weather to do this heart bursting workout.  And Second, I need it to improve my lactate threshold.

My lap time was between 1:34 – 1:45.  With a 28 second break between intervals, I felt my heart was getting its money worth, and that it was going to jump out of my throat on the 14th & 15th laps.  But I stuck to the 28 seconds rest and pushed through.

An additional benefit from the 400s is I got to work on my running form.  Throughout the workout, I reminded myself that tempo runs are supposed to be “comfortably” hard – not killing myself but controlled runs.  Which helped me to relax my body for better cardio functions and leg turnovers.

Have you run the 400s?  What was your take on it?

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Day 2 Week 15 – Being There, Done That?

5 mile recovery run, 62 degree Fahrenheit. A beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky.

“Be present” is a common concept preached in yoga, meditation, and other spiritual practices.  So much so, it is common knowledge but unfortunately not common practice. Sometime it feels almost a cliche.

Mind is terribly agile.  How do people stay in the present without their mind spacing out or going into autopilot? Especially toward people, places, or things that are familiar? The same commute, office co-worker, or small talk, for example.

Now, here is a tip from Johanna Rosburg I find practical & useful.  Instead of the “being there & done that” mentality, Johanna suggests looking at the detail as if seeing it for the first time or maybe the last time.  More importantly, look for what is different if it is a repeat.

What I like about this technique is that it helps to train one’s mind to dwell in the present, to look for what is new, interesting or important.   With practice, it is possible to hone this skill and  become good at it.  Why not give it a try.

 

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Day 1 Week 15 – Alternating Tempos

6 mile alternating tempos @ ( 8:24, 7:50, 8:24, 7:50, 8:24, 7:50 – no rest), 1 mile warm up & cool down

One of the marathon specific workouts is the alternating tempos.  The purpose of this workout is to train the body to clear lactate. How? By running close to one’s threshold pace thus flooding the muscle with lactate and then condition the body to process and recycle the lactate at slightly slower pace (e.g. marathon pace).

Therefore the alternate tempos are, by design, higher intensity than race pace.  If done right, it will increase one’s lactate threshold and delay or avoid hitting the “wall” in a marathon.

Today my splits were as follows:  8.12, 7.35, 7.49, 7.22, 8.27, 812.  I realized after the third mile that I was a bit fast.  So in keeping with the intend of the workout, I sped up and ran 7.22 for the next mile. Most likely, I was anaerobic running.  And you probably guessed that I paid for it by the last mile when I could run no faster.

 

 

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