Looking Back at March 2013

It is the end of March 2013 and I get to do a quick look back and think about the progress I have made for getting ready to run the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

 

It is hard to believe that not that long from now I will be running a marathon again.

The biggest thing that happened during March was that I didn’t have to go through the registration process for the Marine Corps Marathon on the 27th!

I didn’t have to stress out last Wednesday whether I would get in or not. Earlier in the month I was notified that I had been selected to run the Marine Corps Marathon as part of Team – Red, White and Blue and that they are taking care of my MCM registration.

To say that was a big relief was/is an understatement.

So I will be going to the Marine Corps Marathon on October 27th – I hope to see you there šŸ™‚

The other big thing was that on the 29th, I ran 18+ miles at just under a 9:00 minute pace, which gave me an idea of how much work that I have left to go to meet my goal of a sub 3:30:00 MCM in October.

In other words – I still have a long way to go to be where I need be, in order to run that fast during the Marathon.

 

What I learned in March

That I didn’t enjoy blogging on my self-host WordPress.org blog site and moved back to Blogger full-time earlier this month. The only issue I have been having is the comment section and getting this right has been a struggle. I have tried a couple of different systems, but went back to the stock commenting system this afternoon. Other than this glitch, I am very happy with the results of my move back to Blogger and am sure that I will get this part figured out soon.

That running slower on my recovery days is working! Before I used to see slow running as a sign of weakness and poor training, if I ran slower than an 8:30 to 8:40 pace on my “easy” days. I have learned that this isn’t really the case and that when I run slower on my recovery days that I have more pep on my harder days. The other part of this was that it was hard to run a 9:30+ pace when I first startedĀ to do it andĀ it still is at times. I whinedĀ and complained about how it felt and that it didn’t feel right – well guess what? I was wrong and am finding out that it is something I should have been doing right along. Now I strongly believe that I used to run too fast on my recovery runs and that running slower this month has allowed me to be more successful in my training this month.

On the other hand I found that I need to run faster on my hard/quality days. I was doing my training at my current race pace or orĀ my planned half marathon race pace and didn’t feel like I was improving very much. My St. Patrick’s race pace of 7:08/mile, was a lot slower than I wanted for a 5K time. My last 2.0 miles were closer to 7:30 than 7:00 pace, which is not the direction or speed that I wanted to be running for that short of a distance. So since that race I have been working on running faster for shorter distances and even did a 5K time trial on the treadmill and hit a 19:59, so I know the speed is still there.

Now I just have to get my treadmill times to translate to outdoor running times. In other words, I need to get outside and get on a track šŸ™‚

I will find out next weekend 4/6 for my next 5K race, if the training works or not.

 

Top Ten Posts this Month

  1. My 2012 Running Shoes – Way too Many
  2. Altra Superior – 50 Mile Review
  3. The RW Complete Guide to Minimalism and Barefoot Running
  4. My Modified for Me Hanson Method Half Training Plan
  5. Running is not all Roses or Sunshine
  6. Sometimes You Have to Run Slower to Run Faster
  7. January 1, 1979 – A Humbling Memory
  8. Trust Your Training This Spring and Get Some Rest
  9. A Challenge For Other Runners
  10. Great Treadmill Interval Workout! – 3/11/13

Injuries

I haven’t had any major aches or pains this month, but I have also been listening very closely to my body and backing off when I should and pushing when things seem right. It is all about listeining to my body better and training smarter.

Stats

Here is a quick review of my March Stats

  • March Total Miles Run: 220.62
  • Miles Walked: 58:8
  • Days Run: 28
  • Days Off: 3
  • Longest Run: 18.12 ā€“ Home-Church Hill Road-Mary’s Work
  • Fastest Run: 3.1/7:08 Lucky Leprechaun 5K
  • Time Trial: 5K Treadmill – 19:59 on 3/20/13
  • Best Week: 55.26 week ending 3/31/13
March Summary

 

Shoes Run In

I did a lot of running my Altra Superiors and love the way that they fit and feel, but they are just a little too minimal for me on my longer runs. I ran 18+ in my Instinct 1.5’s and didn’t feel bad at all, if I had run in the Superiors, I have a feeling that my legs would have lodged a few complaints.

Also after finishing my 5K a lot slower than I thought I would, I looked at a few things I was doing and one those things was the shoes I wore. The Superior’s are not a short road 5K race shoe, they are designed as a trail shoe that I have been using a hybrid road/trail shoe.

So I researched and ordered a pair of running shoes specifically for racing shorter distanced – the Mizuno Ekidon. I have had great luck with Mizuno’sĀ in the past, but even they are a little higher drop (6MM) than my Altra’s, I seem to run fine in them. They are definitely a light and fast shoe, however, after wearing them a couple of times, I don’t think that I would want to race much beyond 10K in them

 

  • Altra Instinct 1.0Ā ā€“ Personal Purchase – 271.73 miles.
  • Altra Instinct 1.5Ā ā€“ Free Media sample from #RWHalf – 186.92 miles
  • Altra Superior – Personal Purchase – 96.91 miles
  • Mizuno Ekidon – Personal Purchase – 14.11 miles

Even though I seem to have a lot of Altra running shoes, I am not affiliated with Altra Running Shoes, other than being a big fan of their, because it works for me and the way I am running now.Ā I am very happy with my current running shoe rotation, but want to try the 3-Sum, it is supposed to be on the Superior’s last and slightly more cushioning, working on that :-).

Running Goals

This year my holistic goals are:

Keep running fun ā€“ It is not a job. IĀ am enjoying my running, even if I do push myself pretty hard every so often – challenging myself is a part of running that I enjoy, as long as I don’t over-do it.

Listen to the words of advice in my current tagline.

Do Not Go Quietly Into the Night

I don’t want to let my getting older, become the reason that I get old and boring! I want to live life and enjoy it, not become the old grouch down the road. Doing pretty good on this one!

Be Me:Ā I am who I am and I am not trying to be something that I am not. I want to keep smiling and enjoying life, like most people I get off course from time to time, but right now I feel pretty good about who I am.

I will not sweat the small stuff.Ā I am sweating some things that won’t matter a year from now, but now they do seem important, so I need to work on this one, this is just part of life,

I will control my social media presence.Ā I have found a good balance and plan to maintain it.

Improve my running form.Ā I strongly believe that what style of running shoe you wear does influence your running form, irregardless of what some out there believe or say, especially if you do not have perfect running form – because my running form is definitely a work in progress. For me the 4MM drop or lower shoes are helping to make me think more about how I run and focus on a mid-foot/forefoot landing that I want. When I am running my recovery runs, I really focus on my form, so it is getting better. Now I have to start incorporating some drills into the mix.

My measurable 2013 Goals

  1. Run at least 2,013 miles in 2013 ā€“ 544.79 miles so far
  2. Run at least 300 days in 2103 ā€“ 76 so far.
  3. Run a sub 20:00Ā 5KĀ at the Josephā€™s 5K in Fairfield in April – Ran a 22:08 on 3/17
  4. Run a 10K sub 45:00.
  5. Run a sub 1:35:00 at the Rail Trail Half Marathon in Augusta in June
  6. Run aĀ sub 3:30:00 atĀ the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. in October.
  7. Run at least 13 races in 2012. Ran 2 so far

I finished the 1983 MCM Marathon and to finish Marine Corps again 30 years later will be very cool and would be even more fantastic, if I could qualify for Boston that same day.

As you can see March 2013 has been a month where I have continued to learn a lot about my training plan and listening to my body. Returning to blog at Blogger was a big decision, but so far I feel very comfortable with the decision, I am not worrying about all the “little” back-end management stuff that was bothering me. Now that I have gotten what I am going to bring forward uploaded to Blogger, I have been focused on my writing and running a lot more, which is what I wanted.

What do you think?

How was March for you?

What Did I Learn This Week – 3/30/13

 

What did I learn this week?

  • That I can run above my race pace on the treadmill, but that duplicating it outside is a lot tougher. Two great treadmill workouts, but not any fast outside ones.
  • That I like to run a LOT more in shorts and a long sleeve top or t-shirt, than I do all bundled up.
  • That I still have a lot of running shoes and I like light-weight trainers better than other models or styles.
  • That I can run farther than I thought I could and the best part is that it didn’t bother my knees, legs other than being tired, which they are supposed to be after 18 miles.
  • That my body is adjusting to running 50 mile weeks pretty well – 3 out of last 4.
  • That I was glad I didn’t have to go through the MCM registration process last Wednesday – Thank you Team RWB!!!
  • That I had the opportunity to reconsider a very important decision and decided to stick with my original choice.
  • That I am still working on my moving my foot landing to more of a midfoot landing, especially on my recovery runs, when I can focus on what I am doing.

Training

Training is going well, no major aches or pains that are worth writing about. I have increased the intensity of my training during this week for my SOS workouts. Instead of using my current race pace, I have been using my planned race pace as my speed work training pace. It definitely increased the difficulty level of the workouts, but I just have to believe that if I want to run a certain pace during a race, that I have to be able to run that pace during my harder training runs.

I am really starting to listen to my body better than I have ever have and when I do a hard day, I run harder than I have been in many years, but at the same time when I do my recovery runs, I run them slower than I ever have – they have become true recovery runs, not just another middling workout.

This week has been a really good example of this Monday was a tough interval session, Wednesday was Long Interval day (I even added in some fast quarters) and Friday I was feeling really good (even though it was a tougher course) and changed my run from 13.0 to 18.0 and felt really good! However, on my other 3 running days, the pace was close to 9:00 minute pace or slower and that included a day off, which meant that I did my recovery runs correctly.

Using my adaptation of the Hanson’s Half Marathon training plan is working for me. It is giving me a good basis for my training plan and what I need to accomplish and a progressive load increase.

I finished the week over 55.0 miles and feel really good, I don’t have that “I’m tired” all the time feeling, that I had last year when I was doing this kind of mileage.

The one thing that was less this week was the amount of walking that I have been doing, I purposely decreased this with the increase in running mileage and it has helped. I will incrementally increase the walking a little more, but will monitor the total of the two carefully.

 

Top 10 posts this week:

  1. A Combo Long Tempo and Interval Workout 3-27-13
  2. Where are You on the Running Shoe Spectrum
  3. My Google Reader/iGoogle Replacement – Netvibes
  4. Getting Better at Going Slower and Some Signs of Spring
  5. 18.12 Miles in the Books!!! Quite a Surprise
  6. Monday Means Intervals and a Little Extra
  7. Thinking about My Forrest Gump Run
  8. What Did I Learn This Week – 3/24/13
  9. Pushing My Pace on Today’s Long Run – 3/22/13
  10. Mizuno Ekidon Initial Impressions & First Run

Gear of Note:

Altra Instinct 1.5 (free media sample from Altra) – I ran 18.12 miles on Friday in these shoes without any problems or issues, which is great, since I have been having lots of problems with my right foot lately. This was a big step.

Mizuno EkidonĀ (personal purchase) – I ran my Monday Intervals in these shoes and did very well, but I think that this week I will try to wear them without socks to see how they feel on the treadmill.

Overall, I have made some decisions this week to:

  • change my Start page/RSS feed read to NetVibes – is working well for me.
  • change my task manager to Google Tasks – more to come on that.
  • make the hard runs hard and easy runs easy.

What did you learn about yourself and your running this week.

Thinking about My Forrest Gump Run

This morning I got to thinking about yesterday’s run and the more I thought about it the more I realized how few and far between these kind of runs actually are.

  • I call these runs my Forrest Gump Runs.

Hmmm Ā Harold what are you talking about?

No I didn’t go running for miles and miles or days upon days, I just ran for a little under 3 hours and finished an 18+ run – nice but what is the big deal?

No I didn’t achieve any great things on yesterday’s run and I didn’t run across the Country, but I did run a lot further than I had planned and more importantly it was how I felt while doing it that was the important thing.

When I started out I had planned on an easy 13.0 miler, but on a much more challenging course than I normally run on Friday’s. After the first few miles I stopped worrying about how fast I was going or what my pace was, I just started to enjoy a beautiful spring day doing something that I love to do, which has given and still gives me so much – running.

Believe it or not, I was enjoying the run – there was no pressure to hit a certain time goal and as long as I got to TheWife’s work by 3:30, I didn’t have any real time limits to worry or think about.

Once I got on the River Road I just seemed to get into a nice groove, I saw things on the road from a different perspective, than I have ever seen flying along it at 50 mph. This route while it has a lot of hills, also has character. There are houses from the 1700’s, hidden roads, I didn’t know were there down along the river’s edge, fields and old orchards to look at. I was less focused on my running and more focused on that was around me – something that I don’t usually do.

When I got to my planned route’s turn off to Bangor Street, I chose to keep going straight. To be honest this was a last second, spur of the moment decision. I was feeling good, pretty confident about how I was doing and realized I didn’t really want to go down Bangor Street. It just didn’t go along with how I was feeling – it was too busy and commercial for the mood I was in.

Surprisingly, even though there were several intersections along the way I was running, where I could have turned and made the run shorter, something inside of me wanted to just keep going. That is how I ended up running a little over 18 miles yesterday.

Would I have kept going if I didn’t have to get to TheWife’s work at 3:30?

I have a feeling that I would have, because I was sorely tempted to turn and run down the rail trail to Hallowell, when I came off the bridge – probably a little slower, but that wouldn’t have mattered to me then.

I was just enjoying the sensation of continuing to run too much.

When I finished yesterday, I was tired, but not exhausted and even today, surprisingly, I don’t feel any the worse for wear. Later on I will go out and do an easy 3-4 mile recovery run to get the kinks out of my legs.

The reality is that it has been a long time since I have had a Forrest Gump run. It felt good to find out that I can Ā go beyond what I usually do for a long and not have any pain, but most of all that I just enjoyed the run.

When was your last Forrest Gump run, where you went out expecting to do one thing and ended up doing something a LOT further?

18.12 Miles in the Books!!! Quite a Surprise

Wow!!! This wasn’t planned for today, but the weather cooperated temps in the low 50’s, 8-10 mph breeze out of the north and I was heading south made for perfect running conditions.

Plus I had decided before running that instead of doing my scheduled hard/fast long run that I would do a Long Slower Distance Run.

It was also nice to be wearing shorts and just a long sleeve shirt with a tech tshirt, along with my Instinct 1.5’s (free media sample from Altra), instead of the heavy winter gear.

This is the longest run I have done since probably 1987, when I was training for the East Lyme Marathon with Joe St. Louis – which I ended up getting injured and did not run. I also know I felt a helluva lot better than my 17.0 miler last June and feel a lot better 4 hours later than I back then.

Looking back at today’s run, I do have to laugh though – when I got to the turn for my 13.0 mile course, I didn’t want to go that “short”, I was feeling strong and decided to see what I had in me today, knowing that I needed to get to TheWife’s work by 3:30, to catch a ride home.

Let’s back up and see what I was doing, to get to that point, Ā here are the elevation/mileage charts from my Garmin.

While there is a net elevation loss on this run, there are also some pretty nasty hills, especially once I got on the River Road. So this is not an easy course by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is a course that I will use to test my fitness levels, from time-to-time to see where I actually am. That hill between 6.5 to about 8.0 miles was a bitch, it just never seemed to end and then that one by Stiman Steel with the curve half-way up, was tough!

Actually some of the downhills were just as tough, if not tougher on my legs than the uphills, especially one coming down to the first traffic Circle off Bangor Street, it isn’t that steep, but a tough place to run and my legs were pretty tired by that time.

Here are my mile splits:

I started out really strong and felt good, I planned to slow down on River Road and wanted to average around a 9:00 minuter per mile pace overall. Considering the hills on the Road Rd, I was surprised that I was able to stay under 9:00 minute pace for so long.

The end of the hill is in sight at mile 8.0
The Augusta town-line and yet another hill.
Going across the Kennebec River Bridge

However, once I went by the 11 mile mark, I did slow down, the accumulation ofĀ the hills were starting to me and I was loosing focus. I definitely needed something more than water. Do I wish that I had turned at 10.0 miles at that point, no it gave me a great idea of how I would feel without refueling consistently on a long run.

The reason I didn’t re-fuel, was because I forgot to get my Gu for my run this week. So all I had was water and it just wasn’t enough.

I had never run this course before, so it was a lot different than driving it in a vehicle, the hills seemed a lot longer and definitely steeper while running them. Then it when I got to Church Hill Road (yes there were a couple of hills), I was feeling the lack of fuel, but just kept plugging along. Actually at no time during the run did I feel really bad, just fatigued, which is how I should feel at that point.

After finishing, sitting in the car šŸ™‚

When I got down to the second circle, I decided to go around the Capitol to add a little more onto the run, I had decided to go at least 18.0 miles, that is why at the end I zig zagged up and down towards the end of the run.

Could I have finished a marathon today, mmmm probably, but honestly I was starting to hit the wall – hard, the lack of fuel was really starting to affect me. I am glad that I wasn’t running a marathon today, but if I had been I would have had different a fuel plan in place :-).

Overall, I was very happy with the run! The next time, I will have my Gu or Cliff Shots with me and see how they help once I get past 10 miles. I did answer one question today, how my knees and legs would hold up for a longer run – NO PAIN! Tired – absolutely, but tired I can deal with.

I am glad that I have almost 6 months to get myself ready to run a marathon distance, but at over a minute faster per mile pace :-). It was a good reality check to see how much I still need to improve.

Where are You on the Running Shoe Spectrum

In the real world there is no set standard or definition of what category a running shoe belongs to.

It has been left to each manufacturer to create their own standards and definitions of what constitutes barefoot, minimalist, transition, traditional or motion control, which means there is no standard.

Which is confusing as hell for us consumers.

That is why in my post last week I decided to develop my own definitions that are independent of all the different labels, definitions, marketing hype and hyperbole that each running shoe manufacturer has created for their shoe lines.

My system gives me a starting place of where on the running shoe continuum, a particular shoe is, and gives me a common set of standards to compare different shoes to. Even when running shoes cut across more than one classification (which many do) – I still have an idea of where I would place it based on its stats.

This week I want to talk about my experiences with each of the categories and where I am now on the running shoe/style spectrum, especially since I am training for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. The lighter print is my definition.

Barefoot – “nothing between your foot and the ground”.

I have tried barefoot running and to be honest I don’t enjoy it, especially during winter up heah in Maine ;-). Ā Running barefoot just isn’t my thing, I don’t enjoy running on tar, cement or the gravel roads down-back that way.

However, I have and plan to continue to do drills and strides barefoot to help strengthen my feet and improve my form when I am at the track or have the opportunity to run on a beach.

  • Not for me category – just occasionally or for fun

Minimalist – “From extremely thin sandals to 4MM drop, stack height 15MM or less and lightweight – under 8 ounces running shoes”.

Skora Base (free media samples)

I haven’t tried running in “running sandals” yet and like barefoot running, I don’t see it becoming my primary running shoe style.

I like light-weight, butĀ I definitely don’t have perfect running form, so running shoes that have very little cushioning (Vibram 5 Fingers, Vivo Barefoot, Skora, New Balance Minimus, Merrell Barefoot, etc.) on the minimalist shoe spectrum don’t provide the cushioning I prefer and I don’t enjoy running in them, especially for longer distances.

To be quite honest, the biggest problem is that I don’t want to take the time out of my present training to properly transition to them – maybe someday.

Mizuno EkidonĀ (personal purchase)

At the upper-end of the minimalist scale are racing flats and other running shoes, that are low drop, are light-weight and have low stack heights that I have successfully run in, up to middle distances.

However, I have found that I need a little more protection from myself, due to my poor form issues when I get fatigued (but that is a different issue).

My legs feel too beat-up when I have used them as my primary training shoes, especially for runs that are over 6.0 miles.

  • Not all the time or as my primary daily trainer – more for specific purposes i.e. racing or strengthening.

Light-Weight Trainer/Transitional –Ā From 5MM to 9MM drop, stack height 16 to 25MM and that weigh under 11 ounces.

Altra Instinct 1.5 (free media sample)

I hate the term transitional, it makes it sound as if these shoes, are not quite good enough and that you are looking for something else. The light-weight training shoe label fits this category much better in my world.

After a lot of experimenting I have found that I love the lighter weight, lower drop shoes that have a bit of cushioning between me and the road. Even though many of the shoes I have run in might have a Zero to 10MM drop (a larger range than the category).

I consider the Nike Free’s, Saucony Kinvara’s, Altra Instinct’s, Mizuno Ronin’s and other similar shoes to be light-weight trainers (more because of their light weight, flexibility and stack heights, than just drop).

Even though others don’t agree with me, I notice that when I am running in a light-weight trainers with a drop of less 5MM, it is easier for me to maintain a midfoot landing, than it is with higher drop shoes in this or other categories. Lower drop shoes do not force me or make me run with better form, it is more like they remind me when my form is deteriorating, by my not being as smooth in the gait cycle.

I still like to make believe that I am fast and this style of shoe helps me feel that way, which in turn makes running feel more fun and satisfying to me :-).

  • My personal sweet spot – I have run a lot of miles in similarly styled shoes over the years and found that this style of shoe works best for me as my daily trainer.

Traditional –Ā 10MM or more drop, stack height greater than 25MM that weigh over 10 ounces,

Adidas Adizero Sonic 3 (personal purchase)

These are the so-called “normal” running shoes that Adidas, Nike, Asics, Mizuno and other major brands have primarily been selling over the last 10 or so years. Higher heeled, well cushioned running shoes that are fairly heavy.

They are typically heavier running shoes, which tend to promote heel striking for those of us with less than perfect form. When I run in these higher drop shoes with higher ramp angles, I have a more difficult time running with a midfoot landing style.

It seems as though the shoe automatically wants me to run heel first and once I stop focusing on form, I go back to that heel first landing style of running.

I find that am running less and less in this style of running shoe as I attempt to keep moving towards a midfoot landing style of running. However, I don’t plan to stop using them completely, I think that for recovery after particularly hard or long runs, when my legs are tired/beat up, that these are a good option for me.

  • Specific use shoes, for recovery or when I am not working on my form, but not my primary trainers.

Motion Control –Ā 12MM or more drop that weigh over 12 ounces and have specific devices or design features to control pronation or supination.

For many years, wheneverĀ I would go to a specialty running store to get “fitted” for a pair of running shoes, this is what I would walk (run) out with. According to the “experts” I pronate too much and need to have a lot of support to stop it.

I have run in the heavy duty, high-end motion control trainers from Mizuno, Saucony, Nike, Brooks and Asics and always seemed to have a lot of nagging injuries that never seemed to go away when I did.

These style shoes always felt heavy and made me feel as though I was running with weights on. However, they were what the “experts” recommended for me and so I felt as though I should be running in them based on those recommendations, even if they did make running more of a chore and not as much fun.

These shoes might work for some runners, but after my experiences in them and comparing it to how I feel when running in light-weight trainers or the higher-end of my spectrum minimalist running shoe definition, I don’t plan on going back to these heavy-weight running shoes.

  • Not for me category.

The reality is that our experiences and preferences in running shoes are all different. What works for me, might be a bad choice for you or your needs. I have had to run in a lot of different running shoes styles over the years to finally figure out which category works best for me. Often that is how we learn what works for us – through the school of hard knocks and experimenting with all the different running shoe style choices.

Also don’t get me wrong, I still believe that specialty running stores are the still the best place to buy running shoes, especially when you are first starting out, but it is also up to each of us to research running shoes before we go in and if we have been runningĀ for a while, what works for us and what doesn’t. The sales people are motivated to sell you running shoes, it is up to you to decide which one best meets your individual needs based on their recommendations, your own research and most of how the shoe fits and feels on your foot.

Finding the right shoe style for you can be intimidating, time-consuming and yes expensive, but in the long-run (pun intended) when you find that style of running shoe that fits how you run, you will be a happier runner, who enjoys going out the door for your run.

The purpose of my categories is not to pigeon-hole a running shoe, but to get past the all the hype and hoopla that there is about there about this or that running shoe and put together a definitions to help me figure out the style of running shoes that work best for me.

So the next time that I go looking for a new running shoe, I will start by looking at shoes that meet my light-weight trainer category definition (with a preference for shoes that have a 4MM drop or less), since those are the ones that have worked the best for me over the last year.

However, I think what Pete Larson said in his book “Tread Lightly” said sums it up best – “Use what works best for you.”

I do find it amusing that the shoes that I am running best in now, are eerily similar to the shoes that I ran a lot in back in the late 70’s and early 80’s – light weight, low to the ground, flexible with a little bit of cushioning. Sometimes it just seems to work that way.

A Combo Long Tempo and Interval Workout 3-27-13

This morning I still was feeling sore and tired from Monday’s tough interval session and really didn’t feel like doing a long tempo run today.

However, I put together this training plan, knowing that I would be tired at times and still have to get out and do the workout.

So I went to the gym with the idea that if my legs were too tired after the first tempo mile that I would just go easy for the rest of the workout.

Here is what happened.

  • 1.0 mileĀ @ 7.3 mph – warm-up
  • 5.0 mileĀ @ 8.6 mph – long tempo at around 6:58 pace

Once I got going during the warm-up, I actually felt really good and decided to go for a sub 7:00 minute pace (which is faster than my last 5K race pace) to see how long I could maintainĀ it on the treadmill. My plan called for 5.0 miles at tempo pace and I surprised myself that I did that without any real problems. It became a mind thing at around 3.0 to 3.5 miles and I just kept telling myself that I would just do another even mile and dragged it out to the full 5.0 miles.

I was tired at the end of the tempo run, but could have continued at that pace for another mile or two.

I wore my Altra Instinct 1.0’s (personal purchase) for the workout, I have been havingĀ issues with my right foot’s little toe area and wanted to see if these shoes would bother or not. These Altra’s are comfortable Ā and usually don’t bother me, but I haven’t been wearing them lately, simply because I have a lot of different shoes that I am trying/wearing – which is a good problem to have.

During the tempo run, my right foot (in the little toe area) bothered me. It seems to be bothering me a lot lately in all my shoes except the Superior’s. It hasn’t really mattered which sock brand or style that I use. Since this was bothering me a lot today, I stopped for a second to stop pull the sock off and see whether not wearing a sock makes a difference.

It did!

  • 0.10 mileĀ @ 3.3 mph – to get my heart-rate back down
  • 0.15 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph

Unscheduled second part of the workout

  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 7.3
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 9.1
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6 – 7.0 miles
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 9.1
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 9.1
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6Ā – 8.0 miles
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 9.6
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 9.6
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6Ā – 9.0 miles
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 9.6
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 10.1
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6Ā – 10.0 miles

Seriously, I don’t know why I did pretty much another interval session today, other than because I felt good and once I took my sock off my right foot, I had no problems with that foot! I just wanted to keep going and felt like running faster, so I did.

Still I would like to figure out what is going on with my right foot and why it is bothering me so much when I wear socks.?

Was I tired at the end of the workout? You bet, but I didn’t feel like I had gone too far into the well, to do it and considering how I felt before the workout, that this long tempo and the intervals – was a big surprise and definitely a quality workout.

I just wish that this workout could be translated directly to outside, but I know from experience, that my pace is slower outside than on the treadmill.

Getting Better at Going Slower and Some Signs of Spring

Finally, a day that almost felt like spring! The thermometer said mid 40’s, but the wind was still straight out of the north at around 15 mph, so it still felt a lot colder.

However, I was able to take the sleeves off my running jacket and just run in it as a vest, which felt nice, but I still needed gloves when running back into that wind.

After yesterday’s tough interval workout, today’s recovery run was definitely needed. My legs were just dead, this morning when I did Bennie’s walk, so I had a feeling that this run was going to be tough and slow. But isn’t that why we schedule recovery runs?

While I was reading my Feed Reader I came across thisĀ post on the Runner Academy blog which really re-affirmed the reasons why I am running so much slower on my recovery/easy runs.

Once I got going, it took over a mile to shake the stiffness out of my legs and get to feeling like I really wanted to be out there running. Once I loosened up, I purposely kept it slow and just worked on trying to keep good form and a steady pace.

Looking at the above pace chart, I wasn’t very steady, but if you look at my mile splits, it doesn’t look nearly as bad and I was very happy with my overall pace of 9:32.

I wasn’t feeling tired at any time during the run and once I got warmed up, I could have gone faster, but that wasn’t the purpose of today’s run, it was to get some easy miles in and time on my feet.

Based on that – it was a very successful run.

Originally written by Harold Shaw and published at “A Veteran Runnah” Ā© 2011-2013, All Rights Reserved. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harold Shaw and A Veteran Runnah” with appropriate and specific directions or links to the original content.

Monday Means Intervals and a Little Extra

My legs are toast – today’s interval workout definitely got my attention!

Why?

I decided that when doing my intervals this morning, I was going to do them using my 5K goalĀ pace of 6:27 (sub 20:00 time goal), instead of the slower current race pace of 7:08. This is a big difference in pace and I knew that it would be a heckuva challenge for me.

I had two reasons for wanting to do it this:

I wanted to test out my new Mizuno Ekidon’sĀ racing flat – that I bought last week.
I need to be able run faster than race pace on the treadmill, because outdoors, I am slower.

My planned workout was 6 x .50 with .25 rest between and 4 x .25 with .2 rest between. So how did I do?

9.5 mph is about a 6:18 pace, so my faster half’s were faster than my goal race pace.

  • 1.0 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph – warm-up
  • 1.0 mileĀ @ 7.3 mph – warm-up
  • 0.50 mileĀ @ 9.5 mph
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph
  • 0.50 mileĀ @ 9.5 mph
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph – 3.5
  • 0.50 mileĀ @ 9.5 mph
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph
  • 0.50 mileĀ @ 9.5 mph
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph – 5.0
  • 0.50 mileĀ @ 9.5 mph
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph
  • 0.50 mileĀ @ 9.5 mph
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph – 6.5
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 9.6 mph
  • 0.25 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph – 7.0
  • 0.07 mileĀ @ 9.7 mph
  • 0.13 mile @ 3.3 mphĀ – I had to quickly shut-it down at this point.

I could feel my left hamstring starting to grab a little and the last time when I ran through it, I had to take a couple days off. I damn near dislocated my right shoulder when I was trying to slow down the treadmill to a walk and ended up as a splat spot on the wall, but I got it slowed down and walked a .10 of a mile and when I started to run at 6.6 mph again, there were no problems with the hamstring, so I ran to the 8.0 mile mark.

  • .80 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph

At this point my right foot was bothering pretty good, the sock was either squeezing too tight or I had cinched down the shoe too much, plus it was a needed quick break back to the locker room, if you know what I mean. While in there I adjusted my sock and loosened up the shoe a lot.

I really have to figure out this shoe/sock combination thing with the Ekidon’s and other shoes as well. It just seems that my feet are very fussy about what to wear, with which shoe.

My foot felt a lot better when I got back on the treadmill and I planned to just do a couple more at a fairly slow pace.

  • 0.5 mileĀ @ 6.6 mph – to check out how things felt – fine
  • 1.0 mileĀ @ 7.3 mph
  • 0.5 mileĀ @ 7.6 mph

Then I (yes I admit it) I got a little…well stupid and did pick up the pace again – thinking I could stop if the hammie acted up.

  • .25 mileĀ @ 8.0 mph
  • .25 mileĀ @ 8.6 mph
  • .25 mileĀ @ 9.0 mph
  • .25 mileĀ @ 9.5 mph

Luckily the hamstring felt fine and I had no problems with this last mile, if anything I felt a lot better than I did after those last three half’s and could have ranĀ more, but the Ekidon’s are not a long distance shoe and the right one was still bothering my foot a little, so I didn’t want to push it.

  • .50 mileĀ @ 3.3 mph

I also wore my heart rate monitor today for a change, just to see what my heart rate was at the end of the half mile intervals. I do know that I was definitely sucking wind and my H/R was between 171 and 176 at the end of each of those intervals.

Besides I had done enough. I could feel that my legs were toast and I was definitely tired, but at the same time, I felt that it helped to build my confidence more than a little. This workout showed me that I definitely can run faster than a 7:08 pace for a 5K, which to be honest disappointed me at my last race.

  • Total Miles: 11.0 and .5 cool-down walk

No after I got home from running errands and eating lunch I treated myself to some Yellow Peeps and Green Tea — I figured that I earned them after this workout and no it ain’t healthy, but those Peeps sure did taste good and didn’t last very long! šŸ˜‰

 

My Google Reader/iGoogle Replacement – Netvibes

Google Reader Screenshot

Google is killing off Google Reader – OH MY GOD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

This was my primary gateway to all those great running blogs that I love to read so much and a lot of other information that I depend on to get through my RSS feeds.

How to hell am I going to be able to keep track of everything without my Google Reader?

There I got that out of my system!

Now that most of the hugh and cry is over about Google getting ready to kill Google Reader (gReader) – at least until they actually shut it down later this year.

From all the hollering from the rooftops that I have heard online you would think that the world is coming to an end, because Google is shutting down Google Reader this summer

Is it the end of the world? No.

Is it a pain in the butt? Yes.

This is a lot like when they started to phase-out iGoogle, my long-time home page and quasi alternate feed reader, I gnashed and gnawed on my teeth, frothed and foamed at the mouth, spewed forth all sorts of vitriol, but in the end I found a home page alternative that works for me.

Now that Google has decided to kill gReader it meant that, I again have had to re-think, re-do and figure out what to hell I am going to do next. Especially, since I want to keep using a RSS feed reader to help me keep track of my running blogs/interesting sites and other RSS feeds that I have been following for a while.

Over the past week, I tried several different RSS feed readers and none of them offered the basic simplicity and ease of use of gReader. Ā Feedly came close, but there was just something about it that I didn’t like, but it could have worked.

Then I was looking at Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne, whose great blog I know and kept in my RSS feeds, from my teaching days and his post on the gReader alternatives, which included Netvibes.

Now I had tried Netvibes years ago and it had been one of the sites I had been closely looking at as a possible homepage, when I finally decided to use iGoogle. Surprisingly, when I checked, I still had an active account there and I got to playing around with it, the more I did the more I liked what I was seeing.

The part that sold me was that I could use it as my homepage with the widgets that I want available to me or turn it into a RSS reader by simply clicking a button.

This capability, to switch views was really what made Netvibes a better solution for me than the other RSS Feed Reader options I had been looking at. So I spent a few hours on Sunday setting up Netvibes as both my home page and as my gReader replacement.

Setup can be as quick and simple as you want – adding widgets and importing your gReader feeds is pretty simple. However, since I was going to use Netvibes as my homepage as well, it took me a while to get things the way I wanted them – isn’t that the way it always works.

All Feeds – Unread view
Single Feed – View
Category Feed Widget View

The ability to change views is something that I like a lot about Netvibes, it gives me multiple ways to quickly see my different feeds and easily manage them. I like the different tabs for my different interests and I can quickly add/delete as I want to. The biggest pain that I found is that the tabs are not locked and as you scroll down, they are no longer visible, which makes it more difficult to quickly drag and drop feeds into different categories.

I won’t lie, it is not as simple and easy as gReader was for me, but the more I use and experiment with Netvibes capabilities, the more I am liking what it can do. It is like anything new, you have to get used to using it and get by the oh crap attitude of why do I have to do this, especially when what I was using before did everything I wanted.

I believe I have found my replacement RSS feed reader that meets my wants/needs, plus the added benefit is that it also replaces iGoogleĀ and Symbaloo as my homepage. I know that I still have some kinks to work out in the start page, but it is getting closer to what I want. Who knows, I might even have to look at going back to DiigoĀ as my bookmarking page and use that widget for my quick links, mmmmm the possibilities.

I think that Google has gotten most of the low-hanging fruit in their free product lines, but I still wonder what the next few years will bring and what other products that they will no longer support. That is the only problem I have with Google they get you hooked on a free product and then down the road stop supporting it, but it is what is. When you use a product from any corporation or company, there is always the risk that it will now longer be available or supported.

Google Reader is going away and that is the way it is, whining and crying about it, won’t change it. There are other alternatives out there that will work for you, the problem is that it takes us out of the comfort zone we have gotten into. Which is the biggest reason for all the hugh and cry – many of us like Google Readier, but we will just have to find a new RSS Feed reader, one that meets our needs/wants.

Who knows know that Google is getting out of this niche that some enterprising company might come out with a “killer” product that makes gReader pale in comparison.

What RSS feed reader are you going to use to replace Google Reader? What made you pick that one?

What Did I Learn This Week – 3/24/13

This week’s snowstorm that left almost a foot of new snow!

What did I learn this week?

  • That I am more than ready for spring and want to put my snowblower and snow shovels away.
  • That my window of opportunity to meet my pace/distance goals grows smaller each year, sometimes each month it seems – a topic for a future blog post.
  • That I am going to use the pace that I want to achieve during my speed, tempo or long-run workouts, instead a current race pace.
  • That I can run faster for longer than I thought, my treadmill 5K time trial and half-mile repeats showed me that, now to just get them to translate to running faster outside.
  • That a couple of ounces in shoe weight can make a difference in your running.
  • That getting the shoe/sock combination right can be an important consideration in how comfortable you are when running, especially on longer runs. With me it seems that different shoes like different socks – anyone else notice this?
  • That I don’t like being ignored when I ask questions about expectations and gee believe it or not I do expect to be treated professionally, with at least an interim response to those questions.
  • That I am getting more involved in Team, RWB – Maine.
  • That Reddit is not exactly what I thought it was, so I will change how I will be using it – slightly.
  • That changes Google has made to iGoogleĀ and gReader (getting rid of them) are significantlyĀ changing how I keep track of the online running community – Hello NetVibes.
  • That the new FTC guidance on social media marketing have me wondering how it will affect how I do reviews of products and brands that I receive free media samples from and publicize my blog posts about them on social media sites. Until I do some more research, I probably won’t promote those posts on Twitter and look very closely at what Tweets that I re-tweet. Also I will be more cognizant of how I word what I share on Facebook, Google+ or other social media sites.
  • I have learned other things too, but those are the main things that are related to running or my blogging here.

Training

Training is going well, no major aches or pains that are worth writing about. The best thing is that since I have started using my modified the Hanson’s half marathon training plan, my training is going better than I thought it would. I have enough flexibility to listen to my body, but enough structure to help me be better preparedĀ to achieve my goals. The biggest thing is actually doing rest/recovery days, I am not beating myself up everyday like I was.

Do you believe it, I ended up with just under my planned mileage and actually took today off! Who knows maybe this aging and getting wiser thing is starting to kick in – naaawwwĀ just a bad week – hehehehe.

Top 10 posts this week:

  1. The RW Complete Guide to Minimalism and Barefoot Review
  2. Why Do I Blog About my Daily Training Runs
  3. Pushing My Pace on Today’s Long Run – 3/22/13
  4. Running Slower – Yes It is an Ego Thing
  5. Mizuno Ekidon Initial Impressions & First Run
  6. Looking at Minimalist Running Part 1 – Definitions
  7. GREAT Run & New 5K PR for the Treadmill
  8. A Much Needed 4.0 Mile Recovery Run – 4/21/13
  9. Half Mile Intervals Workout on the Treadmill 3/18/13
  10. Team RWB – What is it?

Gear of Note:

Mizuno EkidonĀ – I wanted/needed a pair of racing flats for shorter races and faster track/treadmill workouts. After doing a lot of research, I bought a pair of Ekidon’s. I have only one run in them, but I do like them enough to do a couple of subtle modifications that mean I will be keeping them and am excited to see how they do on my treadmill speed session on Monday. Yes I am a member of the Mizuno Mezamashii project, but that didn’t have anything to do with this pair of shoes.

Altra Superior – These shoes that I bought about a month ago, continue to impress me. They are light comfortable trail shoes that I have been using as a hybrid road/trail shoe since I got them. They have become my go to training shoe for just about any distance on any surface. However, they were not quite up to the task of being a 5K/10K race day shoe, unless it is trail race.

Altra Instinct 1.0 – Yes the original Instinct that I bought last July, they are still in great shape. So I did a little investigating why this shoe was starting to bother my right foot so much and when I took out the insole, I found some lumpy glue spots where my right little toe would land against the shoe. This wasn’t a problem when the insoleĀ was new, but now that it has almost 300 miles on them and has become compressed, this area was bothering my foot. I scraped off the little bitĀ of glue and put in the other insoles that that I got with the shoes and they feel great again. Sometimes it is the littlest things that bother us when we run – the old parable of the “Princess and the Pea” comes to mind. Now to go for a longer run in them to see if it resolved the issue.

Overall, I have made some decisions this week to:

  • resign as a Swiftwick Blog Ambassador
  • changing the pace I use for speedwork
  • enjoy running more and yet train harder (you have to be runner to understand this one)
  • increase my participation in Team RWB – Maine

and you know something I am very comfortable with the direction A Veteran Runnah and I are going.

How was your week?