Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Recap

Today was my last training day for June. I completed the month with 127.4 miles including a long run of 14 miles and a long week of 36.9 miles. Comparing my month with May, I ran about 6 miles more and my overall average pace for the month was 8:22 vs. 8:26. So my average pace was 6 seconds faster for the month.

I do feel like I am getting faster and stronger in my runs. Today's 6 mile run was completed with a 7:48 pace which my second fastest run that I have had at this distance. The great thing about that is that I didn't feel like I almost killed myself completing the run. Don't get me wrong, I ran hard, but I didn't use up everything I had and leave my guts out on the road.

I am scheduled for 8 miles on Wednesday and 6 on Thursday. I am planning on taking it easy tomorrow and getting my first speed workout in on Thursday's run.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Training Update

Sunday marked the start of a fairly intense three weeks of training for me. I ran my scheduled 14 miles which went off very well. I took it easy on the pace and finished with about an 8:45 average pace which is not bad but I am a little concerned about qualifying for the Boston Marathon. As I had stated earlier, I need to finish my very first marathon, The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, in 3 hours and 20 minutes, which is a 7:38 pace in order to qualify. This will be no easy task to run 26.2 miles at this pace, I may very well have bitten off more than I can chew. BUT, I have by no means thrown in the towel. There are 14 weeks of training remaining with a weekly mileage ranging from 20-46 miles.
It is going to take a multi-faceted approach to reach my goal. I have started to go back to the gym and do core workouts at least twice a week. This should help me with my form and endurance on the long runs. My next step will be to incorporate some speed workouts into my training miles. This will come in the form of either intervals on or off the track, fartlek runs, and possibly even a 5K or 10K in there somewhere. Finally, on my next long run, I will set my "virtual partner" up on my watch to pace me at 8:30 / mile. This may not seem like much, but 15 seconds per mile over the course of 14 - 16 miles is fairly significant but I believe it is also obtainable.
I have also been doing a better job of watching what I eat. I've been working on eating more protein and cutting back the carbs a bit. I believe that this has helped with my strength, I noticed towards the end of yesterdays run that I was not nearly as tired or worn down as I had been on my 12 mile run a couple of weeks ago.
Finally, I will need to really listen to my body. A good friend pointed out on his blog the dangers of over-training. (http://lifeisntover.wordpress.com/) This can be a problem, therefore I will need to make sure that I get plenty of rest and take my time stretching, especially after my runs.
Tuesday is the last day of the month, and it looks like I will end up with about 127 miles for the month of June. That's not bad, but look out July, some quick math tells me that I am headed for about 160 miles for the month!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Running "Tool"

Happy Father's Day to all of the other father's out there! I have been saving a little money here and there the last couple of months for something that I have wanted for quite some time now. It is an extremely technical running tool that has the potential to enhance my training and bring my running to a whole new level.
Ok, truth be told, this may be the coolest gadget since the Furby!

I bought the Garmin Forerunner 405.

This is not just a running watch, this is a GPS enabled sports watch that wirelessly links to my computer and uploads my workouts. The features are amazing. During a run, the 405 will tell me my current speed and distance; it also records my coordinates and altitude. This gizmo records my predetermined splits and alerts me at each one to what my time is for that split. When I am running through town and have to stop for traffic, the 405 will automatically pause until I begin running again. There are also several training features on the 405 including a Virtual Partner in which I can pace myself against a predetermined or previous pace. When my workout is completed I just get within 3 meters of my computer and the information is wirelessly uploaded!
That's not all folks! Once my information is uploaded to my computer, it transfers to the Garmin website. This amazing website filters, crunches, stretches, blends, chops, purees, bakes, fries, and toasts all of this valuable information, then regurgitates it back out into this amazing log!
Although this is my first day with the Garmin 405, it looks like we will be building a beautiful relationship together, yes, I think I am in love. At least until the next techo-gadget comes out!

Have fun and run hard!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


At many points during my training I have to take a step back and reevaluate why I am running. I don't pretend to enjoy it every time I hit the pavement. In fact there are many times that I have to really fight the urge to give up a run and start walking, especially when I am pushing the pace.
I run for several reasons. I run for the obvious health benefits, I run for the competition against my previous run paces and the competition vs. others during a race. I run for the feeling I get after completion (the so called runners high). Finally, I run because it can be a great form of meditation; losing yourself in thought while you whittle away the miles.
Tuesday I was in Marshall, MN for work, and had the opportunity to run a route that I had planned ahead of time. Initially I thought it was going to be just over 6 miles, but GOOGLE WAS WRONG. The Google map had my hotel starting point about a quarter mile closer than it should have. I had to use the aerial view on Mapquest to find my hotel and the actual starting point for my run. So instead of 6.17 miles, I actually ran 6.72 miles. I really wanted to push my pace because I had a couple of non-runners waiting on me to go to dinner. I went out way to fast and had to really take it easy the last couple of miles. I still finished with about a 7:30 pace for the run, which is very strong for me.
Today's run was a hot and humid 84 degrees for 8 miles. I took it easy and logged an 8:30 pace for the run. It's amazing what you can will your body to do. My goal for today's run was an 8:30 pace, I was right on the money at the 4 mile mark and did not look at my watch again until I finished. My finishing time was 1:08:04, 4 seconds over exactly running an 8:30 pace!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

12 Miles

Good solid 12 mile run today. Took it pretty easy out, thought I had picked up the pace on the way back but actually ran a pretty even split for the second half. Finished in 1:43:46 / 8:39 pace. Pretty happy with the pace although I need to be a minute per mile faster for 26.2 miles in order to qualify for Boston.
I discovered during this run that I need to do some serious core workouts and probably throw in a speed workout during the week also.
No blisters and no chaffing this time out - that's a good thing!

Twin Cities Marathon is 16 weeks from today.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Planning Ahead

I am usually not a very good planner, but I am serious about completing this marathon and giving it my best shot at qualifying for Boston. In order to stick with my runs I really have to look ahead at my schedule and decide when and where I will run. Today's run was only going to happen if I woke up at 3:45 am and hit the pavement by 4. It wasn't pretty, but I did it. I was sore and slow, and it was sprinkling when I started out, so I had plenty of excuses not to run. Somehow I managed to stick it out, and pounded out an easy six this morning. I often wonder what people think when they see a guy running down the street at 4:30 in the morning, hell sometimes I wonder what I am doing running down the street at 4:30 in the morning!
I was planning a run in Iowa on Wednesday, had it all mapped out, but when I drove the course ahead of time I found out that one of the streets was closed. Not many options to change course in Estherville Iowa, so I put my run off until later that day when I returned home.
Next week I will have the opportunity to run in Marshall Minnesota. It makes for a fun challenge, to map out courses ahead of time. By the time the marathon rolls around I will have runs in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Las Vegas!
Happy Running!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Busting Through

On many occasions of running I have had the overwhelming feeling of just wanting to stop and walk. These feelings can happen at just about any time throughout a run, even within the last mile of a planned route. I have tried mantras, cursing,and many forms of self-bribery, usually with fair to poor results. One particular motivational technique I have been using lately that seems to be working well is to throw in some fartleks. That's right, when I feel myself getting bogged down and wanting to stop, I will start to run harder. It may sound strange, but it works!
My advice is to pick a point up ahead such as a sign or the end of the block and run hard to that point. Treat it almost like it is the finish line of a race, you don't have to sprint the distance all out, but give yourself a good hard push. Not only does this clear the "cobwebs" out of my legs and get the blood pumping, but it helps with the mental battle too. Remember, the faster you run, the sooner you can stop running. When you reach the point you were aiming for, back off to a nice easy recovery pace. Remember, the point is to shake things up a bit, not to cause yourself a heart attack. Use the same technique for the recovery portion of your run, pick a point ahead of you, when you reach it, dig in and run hard to the next selected spot and repeat. You can use this technique as many times as you like throughout your run.

So with this technique, not only am I making a physical change during the run, but I have mental justification to back up what I am doing, therefore "busting through" a tough spot during a run. An side benefit of doing this is that it should eventually make you a faster runner because of your increase in pace.

Good Luck and Happy Running!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Official Start of Training Program

After a nice easy week of about 18 miles, I have now officially started on my marathon training program. I was scheduled for ten miles but kicked things off with a 12 mile run this morning. The weather was a little chilly, cloudy, and windy, more like March or April than June, but perfect running weather. My Twitter friend @jpickett1968 planned a great route, following most of the Sioux Falls half marathon course. We did a nice job of pushing each other's pace throughout the run and finished with a negative split and about a 9:20 pace. I'll take that for a long run!

I am scheduled for 34 miles this week, and 36 the next, I quite a bit going on the next two weeks so it will take some serious planning and juggling to get my runs in as scheduled.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Running with Issues

I was scheduled for a 4 mile run this morning but it just didn't seem right. I felt like I was cheated out of some miles on Sunday's run, and I still had a little residual frustration from in too, so I tacked on a couple of extra miles today.
Nice cool overcast morning on the bike path. Ran a pretty consistent pace on an out and back course. 23:45 for first three miles and 23:16 for last three giving me a pace of 7:53. I am very pleased with my pace on this run. It brings me that much closer to the possibility of running a 3:20 marathon and qualifying for Boston.