Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Poll Q - Do you wear a HR monitor while racing?

Was surprised to read a blog entry recently where the author mentioned that the hr monitor provided some confidence to push beyond their comfort level and set a new PR. It never occurred to me to wear a hr monitor during a race - just seems too restrictive for racing. I like it for training, but I don't know about racing. And I can't recall ever seeing one during a race, but I also don't recall ever looking for one either. So now I'm curious - just how common is it to wear a hr monitor during a race? Comment/vote in the poll, and let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New unofficial 10k PR

Went running with the Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers this morning for my long run. The weather was amazing - in the upper 60's at the start. It felt great compared to the 90's I've been running in over the past several weeks. They have  a nice course that runs along Lake Grapevine. It's a 4-mile out and back full of small rolling hills. They had several water/gatorade stops set up along the way. I stopped a few times during my run for a drink, which is something I don't usually do.

Despite my stops, I somehow managed to finish the first 10k of the run in 1:03:53, crushing my official 10k PR (set July 4) by over 11 minutes!

I finished the 9 mile run in 1:35.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Training Update

Just checking in with a quick update on the past few days. Saturday morning I continued my recent streak of setting distance PR's with my long runs by completing my first ever 9 mile run. Overall, the run went great. Somewhere around mile 8.4-8.5 I started feeling some soreness in my patellar tendons. It wasn't severe, maybe a 3 or 4 on a scale of 1-10. I've felt that before, back when I was training for my first 10k during my first few 6 mile runs. Eventually it went away. I believe it's just tired muscles that aren't used to the new distances. The pain went away within a few minutes of completing my run. So, at this point I don't think it's anything to be too concerned about.

Sunday evening was my regular day-after-a-long-run recovery run, nothing really notable about it. It's the run that I didn't do last week because of our trip to a water park. Looking back now and comparing the two experiences, I do believe that the day at the water park was far more exhausting.

Monday was rest day, and tonight was 400m intervals. I did 4 intervals, but should have done 5. I didn't check my schedule before I left, so I didn't realize that this was the week that I go up from 4 to 5. As usual, I started with about a 1 mile warmup run, then did the 400m intervals (splits: 96s, 101s, 103s, 102s - good for me!), with 2 minutes of walking between each one, then finished with about a 1 mile cooldown run. I was actually able to run these on a track tonight. This is the only type of workout that I like to do on a track, and when I do intervals, I really prefer the track. The track I use has a great running surface, and it's nice to see where the 400m will end instead of having to check my Garmin (which is difficult when I'm running at my intervals pace). As an added bonus, a cold front blew in today, so the weather was a comfortable 76 degrees. Very nice compared to the upper 90's and 100 degree weather we've been having.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mid-week training update

So, sometimes life happens, and runs get missed. It's a fact of life, especially when you aren't a professional athlete. That's pretty much the theme for this week so far.

Sunday night was supposed to be a 3-4 mile recovery run. I spent about 9 hours on Sunday at a water park with the family, and didn't get home until about 10:30pm. By that time, I was too tired from the whole water park experience, and I wasn't very excited about running so late at night, so I decided to call it a "cross-training day" and pass on the run. Judging from the way I felt Monday morning, I think it was a fair substitute.

Monday is one of my two rest days. After missing the run on Sunday, I was tempted to run on Monday. But, I decided to just stick to my schedule (besides, I think I needed some rest after Sunday's water park experience).

Tuesday night the schedule called for intervals...but Tuesday was also our 14th wedding anniversary, so we went out to dinner. Before I knew it, the dinner plans were way behind schedule. I should also mention that school started this week, so I'm getting up an hour earlier so I can drive our exchange student to school. That means that I've also shifted my evening schedule back an hour. Long story short - the Tuesday run just didn't happen.

Last night I was determined to run, and I did. I actually had a great run. It's amazing how well you can run after a few days off. I did a 5 mile run last night, which included some pretty good hills. I kept an easy pace, keeping my heart rate in my easy zone. The cool thing is that (1) I still felt strong enough at the end of the run to have kept going, and (2) my easy pace last night was good enough that I could have easily beat my 10k PR by about 3 minutes or more!

So, while I have missed a couple of runs this week, I'm not going to let it bother me. Missed miles are gone and you can't get them back. A great run last night renewed my confidence that I'm still in good shape and making progress despite missing a couple of runs. Plus, a break every now and then is probably a good thing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Sony Walkman

So finally, after weeks of problems with my ipod shuffle, I decided to give up on the ipod and try something new. I've been reading alot of good reviews about the Sony wireless walkman (NWZ-W252), so I decided to give it a try.

The main two things that attracted me to this device were that (1) it is water (sweat) resistant, and (2) there are no dangling wires.

I picked it up friday night, and had it ready to go for my Saturday morning 8 mile run. Setup was easy. I was a bit concerned because I use a Mac, and the packaging said that Windows was required. Well, it turns out that you can simply plug this into a Mac and transfer music via USB back and forth with no problems. I think that the only downside is that I can't use the software that came with it, but I don't think I'm missing very much.

It also charges its batteries using the USB. The charging is fast - only a few minutes of charging will provide 90 minutes of playback time. It will fully charge in 1.5 hours, which will provide 11 hours of playback time.

There are three sizes of earbuds. I decided to go with the medium size, which fit firmly in my ears. I was surprised at how well the earpieces stayed in place and didn't move at all while I was running. From the looks of it, I expected them to bounce around, but they were very stable with no noticable bouncing at all.

The music sounded great - better than my ipod, especially the bass. The controls were also very easy to understand and use. And, despite all of the sweating I did over the course of 8 miles, I had no problems, which was so great after weeks of frustrations with the ipod shutting down due to moisture.

I do have a couple of minor cons to mention. First is that the insides of my ears (where the earbuds go) were slightly sore at the end of my run. Not bad, but noticeable. I think I'll try the small earbuds next time. Second, they aren't the coolest looking things - I got some weird looks. I imagine people thinking I was running with one of those bluetooth things in each of my ears. Well, I'm not exactly a pretty sight when I run, so I'm not too concerned about it, but I do think than an over-the-ear design would be an improvement.

So, overall I'm very pleased with this mp3 player. Running with no wires hanging down was great, as was actually completing my entire run without having my music player quit on me. I'm guessing that Sony has more engineers that are actual runners than does Apple, because this mp3 player is definitely better suited for running than my ipod shuffle.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's Official

I just registered for my first half marathon. It will be in Dallas on December 5 (Dallas White Rock Marathon).

I've been thinking about it for weeks, and finally decided to go for it. My long runs have been going well, so I feel confident that I can be ready. My long runs are up to 8 miles, so I should have no problem adding another 5.1 by December, right?

I can feel the anxiety slowly settling in already...

Enhanced by Zemanta

I'm Hungry

Mass food production02Image via Wikipedia
That's kind of been the theme of the past few days - suddenly I have this huge appetite. Over the weekend was the worst, because I'm at home and have easy access to snack food. During the week it's easier because I'm at work, and I don't keep snack food around my office. I just bring a day's ration each day - usually a mid-morning snack, a small lunch, and a mid-afternoon snack. But being at home is challenging, even though I usually stay pretty busy.

In order to keep from putting on unwanted extra weight, I'm trying to find things I can snack on when my appetite is really surging that won't pack too many calories. I try to go for fruit, yogurt, or some of these triscuit cracked pepper crackers my wife found - they are excellent with some chedder.

In the mean time, I'm keeping an eye on my weight, and it seems to be stable. So I'm not sure what to think about the increased appetite. I have been running more miles than usual, so I'm thinking that may have something to do with it. Especially since it seems like the hardest day to eat right is Saturday after my long run.

Okay, so enough about food. Here's a mid-week training summary. Yesterday my intervals went pretty well. It was one of those days when I just wasn't feeling up to getting out and running. I was tired from being up late working the night before. I decided just to go do as much as I could. The first couple of intervals went okay, but I was really feeling tired and wanted to quit after two. But I decided to go ahead and do the third and then skip the fourth. Number 3 went well, but again - I was really tired. Anyway, I decided to go ahead and do the last one. I didn't feel like I could even run the entire 400m, but I decided I would just go as far as I could before I absolutely had to stop. I cranked up my music and ran the whole 400m, and even managed to set a new 400m interval training PR. It's funny how often I perform really well when I feel like I'm not going to perform well.

Tonight was an easy run and my second session of hill sprints. The run went well. I'm struggling with timing the hill sprints so that I run 8 seconds instead of 6 or 7 or 9. It's hard to watch a stop watch and sprint, so I've been trying to count 1-1000, 2-1000, etc. Apparently I'm not very accurate that way!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Training Week in Review

Just wrapping up another great week of training. I feel like the past two weeks have just been excellent, despite the extreme heat we've had this past week.

My speed work is coming along nicely - I've been consistently hitting close to 100 seconds on my 400's, and I've been making the full 20 minutes on my tempo runs without a break.

My long runs of 7.5 miles last week and 8 miles this week were both all-time PR's for distance. Drinking some high-carb sports drink about 20min before my long runs has made a huge difference. I no longer hit a wall at 5-6 miles. These past two long runs have really boosted my confidence that I will be ready for my first 13.1 in December.

So that's about it for this week's training in review. Aside from training, things have been busy as we prepare for an exchange student who will be spending the next 10 months with us. Also, I'm almost through "Ultra Marathon Man" - what an inspiring book!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A few new running books

Half Price Books in downtown Berkeley, California.Image via Wikipedia
Last night I had some free time so I paid a visit to one of my favorite places: Half Price Books.

I was specifically looking for some running-related books. As usual, I found more books than I had money to buy, so I had to narrow my choices down.

Here are the three books I finally settled on:

"Running Within" by Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott

Says it's a guide to mastering the body-mind-spirit connection for ultimate training and racing. I'm hoping to get some good tips on how to train for the mental aspect of running.


"Complete Book of Running & Fitness" by Fred Lebow and Gloria Averbuch

This looks like a good general guide to running. It covers several aspects of running, including tips for racing, nutrition, drills, etc. It's not really the kind of book I would read cover to cover, but more like a mini encyclopedia of running with some stuff I'll scan, other stuff I'll read more closely. I'm excited to try some of the different running drills, to kind of add some variety to my training routine.

"Ultra Marathon Man" by Dean Karnazes

Okay, this one was a complete no-brainer. I was really excited to find this one! I've been a fan of Dean Karnazes since I saw the documentary about his 50 marathons/50 days/50 states endurance challenge. I was amazed and inspired by his accomplishments, and I've been wanting to get this book. I already started it, and I can tell I'm going to get through this one pretty quickly because it's hard to put down. I'd really like to know how someone holds a pizza and a cheesecake in one hand and eats with the other while running!

So that's my new running-book collection. My first three running books.

What running books do you have that you would recommend?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Better late than never

So tonight I ran the long run I had scheduled for Saturday morning. The Saturday morning run didn't happen thanks to a very late night at a high school reunion Friday night. Anyway, the temps were crazy high, about 104 when I started at 7:30pm. I went and ran some trails that include some shady stretches, so I could escape the direct sun for at least some of the run.

I tried something new with my long run tonight. I drank a Gatorade G1 about 20 min before my run. I usually do my long runs on Saturday morning, and I usually hit the wall about an hour into my long runs. I think it's because I haven't been eating or drinking anything before my run. So today about 20 min before my run I drank a G1 sports drink (it also comes in a gel). It was kind of thicker than regular gatorade, and much sweeter. But it wasn't bad. The first 4 miles went about as usual - felt good, kept my pace steady, no problems. At about mile 5, which was about an hour into my run, I could really feel a second wind coming on. My last couple of miles were much stronger than usual. So, I think I've just found my new pre-run fuel. (ps - this is just a review based on my person experience - I wasn't asked or paid to do a review).

I also gave the ipod shuffle a try (after trying and trying to fix it) - and I'm sad to report that it didn't hold up. It lasted about an hour before it started getting static and acting up. I think it was moisture getting into the ipod itself instead of into the buttons on the headphone wires, because the tape on the headphone wires seems to still be sealed pretty well. I turned the ipod off for a while, then moved it from my waistband to my sleeve. I turned it back on and it would play music, but the headphone buttons wouldn't work. Those sony wireless headphones are starting to look better and better.