Mar 27, 2007

Vacation Time

Sunday was very windy and raining when I first got up so I decided to take the day off. Especially with the way my hamstrings felt on Saturday, all tight and sore. That's been niggling me ever since TYO marathon. A little later in the day though I had to go get my son from his first ever sleep over and since the weather had lightened, I decided to take the long way around and have a little run. After returning home I decided that it felt so good that I wanted to go out again and so I did.

Since we go to Hawaii this evening (Woo hoo!) I definitely wanted to run this morning before relaxing this week. I decided to start doing some runs recommended to me by my friend and club mate, Steve. Last year while training for the Nagano marathon, he suggested I do some runs where I get my HR to 80-90% of maximum for 60 minutes. These worked very well and eventually evolved in to the marathon paced runs I used to train for TYO. So this morning I got out for 7 miles with the middle five at an average pace of 7:06/mile. Not bad, I'll take it although I would have liked to have gone a little farther before my HR started to drift up and my hamstrings begged to differ. Anyway, I think I'll stick to some of these runs until I feel up to tackling Mr. Horwill once again.

See you in a week or so, all tanned and rested.

Mar 22, 2007

Tamako Ekiden et al

The Tamako Ekiden was a fun little race. Not a particularly big ekiden but a good turnout for Namban Rengo with three men's and three women's teams. Congratulations to the women who took the top three spots. However since we were two women short, two of the teams had to have a repeat runner. In spite of this obvious disadvantage, when one of the women was recognized, that team was disqualified. As for the men, my team took second in the intrasquad competition. It was worth it to see Gareth's childlike enthusiasm for their victory. Shoji-san put up some pictures here. (For the non Japanese, the pink box on the upper right will take you to a slide show page. When there click the left of the two buttons on the bottom.)

As for me, I ran my 5.9643 leg in 23:57, not great, not terrible. I just missed going under 4:00/k as I would have liked but it was quite a bit of a hilly course. If it was flatter I would have done it.

Yesterday I had a decent 5 mile run that averaged 7:17/m-4:31/k. Thursday morning is normally a day off for me because I run track workouts with the club on Wednesday nights. But since the ekiden was in the morning I was able to get this workout in.

Finally, today's workout. I wanted to attempt another of my FH workouts. Unfortunately, that is about all I did, attempt it. I certainly didn't complete it. I was going to do the 4x2000 in 7:30 with 60 seconds rest. The first circuit I managed in 7:39, acceptable. After a 90 second rest I went around again but this time in 7:59. Obviously I didn't have it today. Maybe I just don't have it period. I did another after a 2:30 recovery but didn't really push myself, I just wanted to get another one in. That last one was 8:20.

So I've done 3 of the 4 FH workouts over the last 9 days. Two of them not within the specified time parameters. These 4 workouts are meant to be done over the course of a week and then repeated for several weeks! Are they too tough for me? I don't know. I do know that I haven't been running so well since the Tokyo marathon; I still feel sore/tight hamstrings when I run. You'd think I'd be recovered by now though. A couple club mates have even run second marathons since Tokyo. Where will I sit a month from now? Still languishing in my attempts to accomplish this program I've decided upon? Successful in it? On to something more manageable in relation to my current running? I don't know. What I do know is that next week we are going to Hawaii for a little vacation. Perhaps then I'll return refreshed and renewed and ready to tackle FH once again.

Mar 19, 2007

Why the long face?

Because running has been difficult the last few days. Sunday I wanted to do 13-14 miles with about half of it at a good pace, maybe 7:15 per mile. I was only able to manage 10 at an average pace of 7:55. Not so inspiring. Yesterday was a planned day off but today I turned off the alarm and slept in. Now I'm stuck with the prospect putting in a few miles on the treadmill. Boring.

I must balance all this out with a couple positive marks though. Last Saturday I did another of my FH workouts. Although the program calls for me to do 8k in 33 minutes, I completed 8k in 34:04. Slightly off the mark but I'm happy with that for a baseline to start with. I ran that around an oval that is about 2 miles from our apartment. The oval itself is 1,325 meters and is marked every 100 meters. So 6 laps in 5:28 with an additional 50 meters would have given me the correct pace. I finished with these splits:
So I was slightly off the pace from the start but to be honest the only split I'm really disappointed in is the 5:52. Given the laps before and after I think that was just a matter of losing concentration and allowing my pace to slip. This workout is likely the cause of my lackluster performance on Sunday.

Tomorrow I'm running in the Tamako ekiden. Each leg is about 6k. I'm not sure what to expect. I think it will be more off the pace of my 5k PB than a normal 6k would be; I just don't feel like I'm running as well right now. Can I even keep it under 4:00/k?

Mar 15, 2007

No Running...

...well a little on the treadmill but I don't really count that. My wife is in Bangkok this week so it is just me and the kids. Normally I could still run when they are in school but Cole's school is out for parent/teacher conferences. So a short half-hearted effort on the treadmill.

But, since I have no workout to discuss, I'll go into my heart rate training a little bit. Basically I graph my average HR and speed for each run. Then, comparing that days information to prior data, I can see if I was running efficiently or not. Most reasons for inefficient running are not yet recovered, illness or heat and humidity. More efficient runs are usually at a faster pace or if my fitness is improving.

As an example I'll give data for a normal workout I was doing when training for the Tokyo marathon. In total I would run for 14-16 miles with 8-11 at marathon pace. Usually this was about 7:10 to 7:15 per mile. Data for 9 of those runs from last December and January is below:

The raw data isn't very fun to look at but if you look at the averages for the first three, middle three and last three, you'll see the trend (I left the Jan 3rd data out of the middle 3 average because that run was completed the day after flying to Tokyo from the U.S. I think that is the reason for the outlier of such a high average HR):

So you can see that as the miles increased and the pace decreased, my average HR actually came down. I believe this was a direct result of these very runs and the aerobic boost that they gave me. It was at this point that I PB'd in the 5k, 10k, half and full marathons within the next 3 weeks.

So how does this help me run faster? I can use this data to see how my current training is going compared to previous months. If my running is more efficient then it is going well, if it is not so efficient then maybe something needs to be changed. Also I know if I am recovered enough to do hard training or if I need more rest following a race.

I'm sure there is more that I can do with my HR monitor and the data I keep but this is where I am at this point. I'm always happy to read about this stuff though so leave a good link if you have one. This is the one that got me started.

Mar 13, 2007

Good Start?

Today was the unofficial start to my Frank Horwill workouts. Unofficial because I won't continue with the other workouts he outlines this week but I did want to try this one just to see how it would feel. I ended up with 12 x 200 in 37 seconds. I'm not really sure how to judge this workout. Horwill doesn't give a specific number, only saying to do them to exhaustion, ie unable to complete 200 meters in 37 seconds. The recovery period starts at 90 seconds and declines by 15 seconds every repetition and then starts over again at 90. My last 200 was within 37 seconds but after only a 15 second rest I really felt I couldn't do another 200. However if I had muscled through that one it is likely that a 90 second recovery would have enabled me to continue on with a few more repetitions. Anyway I think this gives me a good baseline to start with.

I think it's time I give a shout out to my running club, Namban Rengo. We usually meet for speedwork at Oda Field on Wednesday nights, long runs in Yoyogi park on Sunday mornings and various races and ekidens (relay races) throughout the year. I highly recommend a running club to anybody out there. Having a team to run with is very motivational and pushes you to push yourself much more than you would do on your own. This is especially true with speedwork. Also a club provides a great reservoir of knowledge for all of runnings little questions.

Mar 9, 2007


I've been trying to run a little farther, a little faster and a little more efficiently these past couple weeks but it doesn't seem to be working so well. Slowly and slowly the pace is speeding up and I'm able to run a little farther. Today I ran about 4.7 miles at a 7:45 pace which is a little faster than I have been running. So I decided to look at my running log and see how my recovery went for my last two marathons. It seems that exactly 4 weeks after each I was able to pick up the pace and distance of my runs. Furthermore, I noticed a boost in my running speed another 4 weeks after that. So as I sit here 3 weeks post Tokyo marathon it seems another week of rest is in order before I will be able to start some quality training. As an additional note, I ran a 10k race 3 weeks after each of the previous 2 marathons. Of course, since I wasn't recovered each was a poor 10k for me. Likely that delayed my recovery a bit, but like the rule of thumb says (1 day for each mile of a race) 4 weeks sounds about right for the marathon.

P.S. Today was my first "efficient" run since the marathon as measured by tracking my HR average vs. average pace of my run. This is a good sign but more on that in another post.

Mar 5, 2007

Nuts and Bolts

With my last few posts you have seen the recent marathon influence on my running. It does have an addictive sort of nature. Or maybe I do. But now, after providing you with that history, I'll dive into the nuts and bolts of my training. Actually, I won't exactly be doing it "now" because I'm still in the recovery phase from the Tokyo marathon. At least that's my excuse for my low mileage weeks and relaxed pace.

However when I do resume serious training in a week (or two) I've decided to use the plan of attack outlined by this Frank Horwill article on training. I am basically the example he uses, therefore my workouts will be those he outlines:

*200's in 37 seconds to exhaustion (unable to run 200 in 37 seconds) with recovery of 90 seconds declining by 15 seconds each interval and then back up to 90 seconds and repeat
*4 x 2000 in 7:30 with 60 second recovery
*8k in 33 minutes
*16k in 69 minutes

Quite honestly all of these workouts sound difficult and fast for me. The 200's will be doable because it doesn't give a set amount so maybe I'll just end up being able to do 4 or 6 or 10 of those. The 2000's sound more difficult with the short recovery but I'm confident on being able to do those too. As for the 8k, I've recently run a 10k at a pace faster than that so I should be able to accomplish that one too. Finally I've recently run a half marathon at a pace faster than that of the 16k so I should be able to do that one. At least my recent performances give me confidence going into these workouts, however they still sound hard. Also I plan on adding a fifth workout to my week. Probably hills or another tempo run similar (but not as fast) as the 8k run.