Monday, September 29, 2008

Marathon Training Update - Week 4

Maybe it’s the lower mileage; maybe it’s the extra time I spend each day contorting myself into a pretzel in order to stretch out all the troublesome muscles and tendons. Whatever it is, the ITB/Achilles combo hasn’t been bothering me as much this week. At a time when fellow marathon hopefuls are dropping out like flies all around me because of injuries, I’m grateful for the reprieve that I’ve received.

Week #4 (9/22-9/28)

What I Planned:
Easy Run: 6 miles at easy pace
Tempo Run: 9 total miles with 7 miles at 6:39 min/mi pace
Recovery Run: 7 miles at recovery pace
Long Distance Race: Newport Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
Total week 4 distance: 35 miles

What I Ran:
Easy Run: 6.1 miles at 7:25 min/mi pace
Tempo Run: 9.1 total miles with 7.1 miles at 6:33 min/mi pace
Recovery Run: 7.8 miles at 7:30 min/mi pace
Long Distance Race: 13.1 miles at 6:43 min/mi pace
Total week 4 distance: 36.1 miles; avg pace – 7:02 min/mi

How I Ran:
I really tried to keep my easy/recovery runs nice and slow this week as I’ve noticed that in the recent months I’ve been running them more in a general aerobic pace than in recovery pace. So I use the “leaving the watch at home” trick to get my body to just relax and rediscover the simple joy of running again, which had gotten lost through all the training and racing this summer. It really worked well, or so my ankles and knees tell me. The tempo run also turned out surprisingly well, as I was able to keep a steady tempo pace for 6 of the 7 miles (only slipping a bit on the last hill). I’m very impressed that I was able to beat my goal by 6 secs/mile! Everything translated to a rather strong showing at the half marathon, which make no mistake, I’m very happy about. Yes, I could’ve PR’d if there was no rain and the road was in better condition and I didn’t have wet shoes and socks to contend with, and yada, yada, yada…but considering that I was still limping and running awkwardly just ten days ago, I really cannot complain.
Next two weeks will bring the toughest test yet as I’m supposed to run a 46 mile week followed by a 48 mile week. Yeesh, I’m feeling sheepish just thinking about it. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My “Rabbit” and Me
Race Report from the Newport Liberty Half Marathon

I ran a half marathon this morning, my first since my PR race back in May. Unlike any of my previous efforts at this distance, this wasn’t a planned race. Rather it was a spur of the moment decision on my part to enter this race when I heard about it a week ago. The truth is that I had originally planned to run the 18 Mile Marathon Tune-Up Race today in Central Park as part of marathon training but given the opportunity to travel out-of-town to race a shorter and more familiar distance on a pancake flat course, especially on my gimpy knees and ankles, the offer was really too good to pass up.

So that’s how it came to be that I ended up in Jersey City this morning, after a fistful night of sleep (not sure why) and without much preparation in terms of nutrition/hydration (my fault entirely) at 8:30AM prepared to run a half marathon with a couple of usual Flyer suspects (BS and BH). Given the warm temps (70s at start) and high humidity (we’re in the midst of a tropical storm weekend in the tri-state area) with the possibility of rain in the forecast, I really wasn’t sure what to expect in this race. I was willing to not set the bar too high for this one as it has been almost five months since I last ran a half-marathon and it was too much to ask for my rash of injuries to completely hold off for an hour and a half. Still, I was willing to just let my body dictate the pace and just be satisfied with whatever time I happen to end up with (which hopefully will be less than 1:30!)

The race began somewhat auspiciously as there was no chip mat and no banner or flag delineating the actual start line. We were told to stand and wait in front of the Marriott Hotel and the next thing we know, the starting horn sounded, and we were off! I basically just followed the crowd as it exited the town square and onto the roads. Luckily for me, I was somewhat close to the front and thus was able to establish a good pace right off the bat. Actually, my body must have forgotten how to pace a half-marathon as I found myself running faster than my 10K pace for the first two miles (6:14, 6:27 respectively). I gradually decreased my speed until I found a comfortably hard pace that I felt I could carry for the middle miles of this race. The plan worked well as I was able to carry a 6:40-6:41 pace for the next four miles and 6:45-6:50 pace for the three miles after that. Talk about consistent pacing. Needless to say, I was pretty impressed with myself for maintaining such a steady pace for much of this race. In fact, I was doing so well that I was on a sub-PR pace for this race up until through mile 10.

For those, like me, who thought this would be an easy PR course, let me assure you it was anything but. For starters there was the dreary weather which left hazardous puddles all over the course. Then there was the wide assortment of terrain we had to confront every few miles: from cobblestone to unpaved roads, from grassy fields to asphalt. Finally, there was the myriad of turns that we had to contend with throughout the course. At times, I felt as if were little mice being led through a maze of city streets as drawn out by the race directors.

Fortunately for me, starting from somewhere around the third mile, when I was still figuring out what my race speed should me, I found a “rabbit” to keep me on track and pace me for the duration of the race. In this case, the “rabbit” was a late 20s/early 30s female runner who passed me by in the second mile and was now running directly in front of me an arms length away. Over the next mile or so, it became evident that she was running at exactly the same pace I was as the distance between us never increased or decreased by more than a few feet. That’s when I decided to use her as my rabbit and to stay right behind her for as long as I could. Needless to say, I was thoroughly enjoying the scenery from back there and couldn’t stop studying and admiring her form and grace as I ran. If ever I’d find myself falling in love in the middle of a race, this would’ve been it. I was so impressed with her stamina and speed (the chick hung in front of me for a good 8 miles before I was able to pass her) that I promised myself that I’d congratulate her after the race if I run into her at the finish.

Aside from this unexpected treasure, the first 9 miles of the race was rather mundane. There was no crowd support (not that I was expecting any on a dreary Sunday morning), there was not much city scenery to be seen as the whole morning was foggy and dreary, and the course were at parts unpaved and treacherous, so you had to really pay close attention to the road in front of you. But despite all that, I was pretty excited through the first 2/3 of the race to be running comfortably, without pain, and with an outside chance at a PR.

At mile 10, my hopes for a great race were suddenly dashed as I felt the first drops of rain roll down my face. Pretty soon after, the road began to swell with water, my shoes/socks became wet, and I found myself slowing down and flapping around as if I was dressed in a wet suit preparing for a dive. A couple of runners, including my lady “rabbit” friend, retook their positions in front of me as I struggled to keep up. After passing mile 10 at a disappointing 6:56, I managed to hold off the demons temporary as we passed single-file through a ferry terminal and a marina. My “rabbit” had opened a bit of a gap on me and I was doing all I can just to hold on to my pace for the final stretch. Mile 11 was passed in 6:53 as we made the turn at the end of the marina to head back to the town center.

What I found after making that turn could only be described as cruel and unusual punishment. Ordinarily, the mild ascension up a half-mile long and gradual hill would hardly be worth mentioning, but given that a steady rain was falling and I could feel my toes starting to blister from the wet shoes and socks and the fact that the road was so unpaved and uneven it felt as I was running on metal spikes, the mismatch of circumstances became more than overwhelming for me. At that point in the race, I was too physically drained to put forth a resistance as I watched some more runners past me by. With each step, the uneven footing on the wet and soggy ground was causing my ankle to recoil with pain. It took forever (7:02) for me to make it through this mile and over through the transition back onto paved asphalt. I literally had nothing left as I raced through the last 1.1 on fumes to finish with a final gun time of 1:28:11.

After the race, I kept my promise, found my “rabbit”, and congratulated her on a fantastic race. She accepted my thanks sheepishly and remarked that my persistence in keeping a strong pace behind her propelled her to run her best race ever. Nice. I felt so good afterwards that I high-fived and congratulated some of the guys who finished in the same pack as I did. Overall, although I faltered in the last 3 miles and didn’t get the PR that I was hoping for, I had a positive experience at this race and learned a great deal about race pacing.

Final Statistics
Finishing Time – 1:28:11 (6:43 min/mi);
Pace – 6:43 min/mile; Age Graded % - 67.2;
Overall Place – 61/1348 (4.5%);
Gender Place – 56/771 (7.2%);
Age Group (30-34M) Place – 12/110 (10.9%)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Coach’s Dilemma

While making my travels around the city this week, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend settling into the metropolis that has left me rather alarmed and somewhat perplexed. Well, it’s not the whole metropolis per se, rather just the places I frequent and the people I see. For some reason, in the midst of daily conversation and the usual pleasantries exchanged between my running friends, I’ve been hearing a whole lot of cuss words and sensing an extraordinary high level of animosity. The average New Yorker would have you believe that it’s nothing usual, or rather, that it’s just a sign of the times. Under the tough current economic climate in which we live and following day-by-day the stressful emotional roller-coaster that is the New York Mets playing baseball, it’s a wonder that there are still any tourists left in this town. Ah, but only I know that it hasn’t got anything to do with Wall Street or playoff baseball or the presidential debate or premieres week on TV or Dean Karnazes running for 2 days straight on a treadmill or even David Blaine hanging upside down from a string in the middle of Central Park for 60 hours. Maybe that’s because all the anger and animosity, hatred and venom, and all the cuss words that I haven’t dared use since my mouth was last washed out with soap twenty years ago were all directed at ME!

Yes people, you heard right. I’ve found myself on the wrong end of a profanity-laden tirade for more times than I can remember this week. So what have I done to deserve this onslaught of defamation of character? Umm, nothing much. I just foolishly agreed to take on the task of playing running coach for a few of my friends who are running the New York City Marathon a few months back.

It’s a thankless job really, I’ll have you know, in case some of you out there are thinking of doing the same. First you have to spend countless hours familiarizing yourself with the strength and weaknesses of each runner. Then you have to look up race results and figure out appropriate training paces for everyone. Then you have to figure out their work schedules, weekend plans, extracurricular time commitments, sporting demands, relationship obligations, pet affinities, menstrual cycles, astrologic signs, and the like as you build a marathon training plan that will carry them through the summer and fall towards their individual goal marathon. Then, as training initiates, you have to set aside personal time to run with them as you impress upon them the virtues of form and technique, rest and recovery, as well as the basics of proper hydration and nutrition. As the weeks roll by, and the mileage increases, injuries mount and you have to do your best to play doctor and psychologist as you listen and advise, commiserate and persuade, and teach to run strong yet taper each step of the way. And now, when the marathon is just five short weeks away and everyone is at the peak of their training, is when the job gets really tough. Now is the time when everyone and their mother will be mad at you for something or other. Your runners are swearing at you up and down for making them run more miles than they’d ever done in their lives. Their boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, and wives hate you because they think their mates are secretly having an affair because they haven’t seen them since the last calendar year. Even their moms will call you up and demand to know why their little Johnny or Mary is walking around with black toes and limping worse than a paraplegic forced to walk with a cane. Meanwhile, no one knows or cares how you’re running because to them relatively fast and a little experience equals invincibility.

I can’t wait for five weeks from now when not every sentence I hear will be along the lines of “Oh hey, I was just done cursing you out for the last five miles of my twenty mile long run.” Yet every year I find myself in the same place, helping more, encouraging more and recruiting more to run a marathon and in the process be more fit than they ever thought they would be. That is until late September when I’ll once again be frustrated by the climate of antagonistic and bitter feelings that I’ve created.

In this world full of uncertainty and instability, it’s nice to know that some things will never change. Carry on. I seriously do hope everyone’s training is going well.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Midweek Injury Report

For people who do not play fantasy sports, hump day is viewed as just another day at the office. However, for those of us who do partake in just frivolities as fantasy baseball or football, the day is highlighted by gasps of nervous angst as this is the day where the mid-week injury reports are published and released to the public. Since there are many among us who are unfamiliar with the idiosyncrasies of the sport, let me just say that the weekly injury report is the foundation on which all fantasy sports decisions are based upon. Only by analyzing and interpreting the information contained within those pages can we perform such menial tasks such as add/drop players, set our lineup for the week and evaluate trade demands/requests. Needless to say, this is somewhat of an important document for us fantasy sports junkies.

Sometime this week, as I was rehabbing my injuries and figuring out a racing plan for this weekend’s half marathon (I’m running the Newport City Half Marathon in Jersey by the way), I started to wonder what my entry in the injury report would look like if they actually had such a publication for runners and if I were a professional/elite that someone would care to read up on. I surmise it’d read something a little bit like this:

The Laminator – right iliotibial band (ITB), left Achilles’ tendon, questionable. This two-time NYC Marathoner and two-time Boston Marathon qualifier has been training with a tight right iliotibial band for much of the summer. He sustained the injury initially in early August during the 2008 San Francisco Marathon but it worsened significantly during early training for the upcoming New York City Marathon in November. He has made some small changes in his running mechanics, i.e. shifting to landing more on the forefoot, keeping hips lower and staying more perpendicular to the horizontal plane, in an effort to relieve as much pressure as possible on the source of the pain. These changes as well as purposeful stretching and massage before and after every run seemed to have temporized the pain, although he admits that it still hampers him quite a bit on the faster workouts.

More recently however, he has developed a case of Achilles’ tendonitis, which has forced him to miss two midday workouts and cut short a twenty miler weekend run two weeks ago. Unlike ITB, which can be managed somewhat conservatively, Achilles’ tendonitis is trickier to deal with because it tends to flare up at a moment’s notice. He will be hampered at the landing and push-off portions of the gait cycle. On the positive side, he has been able to make it through practice for the past week and all indications point to a fast run this Sunday at the half marathon. Just don’t be surprised however if you tune in to the race late and find him not among the starters toe-ing the line. In other words, he's at best a game-time decision. Have a substitute ready just in case!

Yeah, that would be mine…if I were to have an injury report.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Marathon Training Update - Week 3

Did you hear the joke about the fool who’s running the New York City Marathon for the third time this year? Well, they say the guy was a fool the first time because he didn’t know what he getting himself into. He was a fool the second time because he did know what he was getting himself into. And the third time, he’s a fool for knowing all that and still thinking he could run it in a faster time. Yeah, what a fool.

Well, I am that fool, and believe it or not, those were my exact thoughts during the last few miles of my long run today. It also pretty much summarized how my training has gone this week. On the bright side, at least my kinda, sorta injury is much improved, allowing me to contemplate running a half-marathon next weekend.

Week #3 (9/15-9/21)

What I Planned:
Interval Training: 7 miles with 3 x 1 mile at 6:03 min/mi pace
Recovery Run: 5 miles at recovery pace
Marathon Pace Run: 8 miles at 7:03 min/mi pace
Long Distance Run: 20 miles at long run pace
Easy Run: 6 miles at easy pace
Total week 3 distance: 46 miles

What I Ran:
Interval Training: 6.4 total miles with 3 x 1 mile (5:57; 5:55; 5:55)
Recovery Run: 4.1 miles at 7:26 min/mi pace
Marathon Pace Run: Skipped due to injury
Easy Run/Social Run: 6.7 miles at 8:55 min/mi pace
Long Distance Run: 20.3 miles at 7:29 min/mi pace
Total week 3 distance: 37.5 miles; avg pace – 7:40 min/mi

How I Ran:
Interval running was fast and fun, as I was able to complete each of the intervals at a sub-6 min/mile pace. The day after, the fun caught up with me as I had to limp to work with a painful and sore Achilles tendon. It didn’t recover during my recovery run so I had to scratch my M.P.R. in favor of rest. I survived three whole days without running during the week and only went out for a slow test drive yesterday with a friend. There was minimal pain after my 6 mile easy run so I dared to run much further today. The 20 mile L.S.D was completed with no physical complaints, only psychological ones, as my mind lost focus and quit on me with four miles left. I did all I could to hold it together until after the finish where I crashed on a park bench and couldn’t move to get food or water for a good twenty minutes.
Whoever said that marathon training gets easier the more times you do it either hasn’t run too many or obviously just was’t talking to me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Personal Running vs Social Running

I had a funny phone conversation the other day that made me realize just how much my approach to running differs from those of my those of my friends who run “recreationally”. It went something like this.

“Hey, it’s getting kind of dark outside. I just wanted to make sure you’re still up to meeting up at the park for a run.”

I don’t care. It’s totally up to you.

“I don’t mind either. I’ve already gotten six miles worth of interval running earlier today so this will strictly be a hang-out run for me.”

Oh. Well, if you already ran today, we can skip it and do it sometime earlier on the weekend.

“Really? Okay. So you’re NOT running today? How about tomorrow or the next day?”

I’ll just wait ‘til we run again this weekend. It’s too boring to run by myself…

Hmmm. Can you all pick out which words were spoken by me and which were spoken by my female friend who is obviously not in marathon training? I know it’s a rhetorical question so I’m not going to answer that. But it got me to thinking, if I wasn’t “in training”, would my approach to running be the same as hers? Could I ever associate running strictly as a social event to be shared among friends? Does this difference reflect the fundamental dichotomy between recreational running and race training or is it simply a Venus and Mars thing?

I think these are all intriguing questions with very individual and personal answers. For me, when it comes down to it, I thinking running has always been and will always be an individual pursuit. This is not to say I don’t enjoy running with friends or with a big group. I’m all about using running to build stronger connections with people in all walks of life. What I’m saying is that, in my opinion, social running is an extension of personal running. If I’m not spending time alone out there on the road for training, for recreation, or even just for dissociation, then I don’t think I can enjoy the time I spend running with other people. Heaven forbid one day that I should restrict my running to only when called upon by others to run with them. I doubt I’ll even consider myself a runner when that day comes.

I don’t think there are right or wrong answers when it comes to these questions. After all, it seems there are more reasons why people run than there are runners. But I think they are all fun to think about and I’d be interested to hear what you all have to say in the comments.

As far as my training goes, like some of you guessed, I’ve been putting on too many fast miles lately. As a result, my marathon training has been thwarted somewhat by a kinda, sorta injury that I’m trying to R.I.C.E. through. I think I’ll be okay. I’m just warning you all that my weekly update will be rather lame this week. Just F.Y.I. Have a good weekend everyone!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Marathon Training Update - Week 2

Overheard as I was limping off the course after mile 16 of the NYRR Marathon Training Run yesterday: Only in marathoning would you ever hear someone say I ONLY ran 16 miles today!

Haha! If only the training run MC knew how much she was echoing my sentiments. But that was exactly how I felt right at that moment. Now, I will not go into why I was not able to complete the full 20 miles that I had set out to do. Suffice it to say that it was a combination of not enough food, not enough sleep, some physical ailments that I’ve been trying to ignore, and a whole list of details that wouldn’t have been factors had I finished my run. Pace leading was such an adventure that I think it overwhelmed me a little bit. Still, I had fun, and it was definitely the highlight of my week. In the future, I must warn myself to prepare adequate for the responsibility, even if I am led to believe that it’s no big deal by everyone else. Live and learn.

Week #2 (9/8-9/14)

What I Planned:
Tempo Run: 8 miles with 6 miles at 6:39 min/mi pace
Marathon Pace Run: 9 miles at 7:03 min/mi pace
Long Distance Run: 20 miles at long run pace
Recovery Run: 6 miles at recovery pace
Total week 2 distance: 42 miles

What I Ran:
Tempo Run: 8.1 total miles with 6.1 miles at 6:38 min/mi pace
Marathon Pace Run: 9.25 miles at 6:57 min/mi pace
Long Distance Run: 16.38 miles at 7:26 min/mi pace
Recovery Run: 8.0 miles at 7:28 min/mi pace
Total week 2 distance: 41.7 miles; avg pace – 7:15 min/mi

How I Ran:
The week started well, with a 8 mile tempo run for which I received a passing grade by the slimmest of margins. The MPR run a couple of days later was a little tougher with a right knee twinge that made the first mile slower than usual, which caused me to run faster in the later miles than I wanted. All of the fast miles caught up to me in the LSD as I had severe cramps at mile 12 and did all I could just to finish 16. Very disappointed that I wasn’t able to carry the intended distance since I had pace-leading responsibilities on this one. My frustration, er..I mean recovery run was anything but as I ran a bit father and a bit longer than I had planned. All in all, this was a fast and furious set of runs. I’ll need to handle one more similarly tough week before the training schedule eases up a bit.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Show Goes On:
Pace Leading for a Long Training Run

Thanks everyone for voicing your opinions on my latest dilemma. After mulling it over on a memorable 9.11 mile run this morning and pondering the alternatives in between patients at the clinic this afternoon, I’ve come to a simple resolution:

The Show Must Go On.

Yeap, that’s right! This running life of mine is way too short and this commentary/diary I keep way too precious to me to let the fears of what might happen prevent me from sharing my passion for both doctoring and running with the masses. Although I realize that I must, from now on, be a bit more discreet about divulging political affairs in the workplace, I still think it is not only worthwhile but important to me to use my clinical knowledge and experience to help improve the running experience (and by extension the health) of those around me, even if only in a virtual sense. As long as I don’t include any identifying information in the discussion of patients or talk about the hospital or those with whom I work with in a damaging or derogatory sort of way (which I’ve never been known to do anyways) I should be okay.

Whew, now that’s over, I can get back to the regularly scheduled running-related programming…

Was it a positive or negative experience? Any tips you’d like to share with a newbie? I’ve signed up to be pace leader for the 7:30 pace group at this weekend’s NYRR Long Training Run #2 and truth be told, I’m kind of nervous about it. I know it’s only 20 miles, incorporating 4 loops of Central Park, which is home turf for me basically, and it promises to be social, fun and relaxing (It better be, I’m giving up a chance to re-run my Best Race Ever from a year ago to participate in this thing!) I’m just worried that I’ll have trouble containing all the runners in my group from pulling the pace. I’m also concerned about the stopping and restarting at the end of every loop. I’m not one to usually stop in the middle of my long runs so it’s going to be interesting to see how my body will react to all of that. I suspect I’ll just have to trust Rover my Garmin, to keep me on pace for the entirety of the 20 mile run.

Since it’s my first time, all of it will be intriguing and brand new to me. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope I do a good job on Saturday. If you’re in town and around, drop by and say hi. I’ll be the pace leader with a bandana looking as if he doesn’t quite belong at the front of the pack. Yep, that’ll be me!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Discovered At Work

“Excuse Me, Doctor, can I speak to you for a moment?” One of the other attending physicians asked me while I was visiting a patient of mine in the ICU this afternoon. Since I was the consulting endocrinologist working the hospital floors this week, I assumed he wanted to discuss the particulars of this case with me. Instead, once I excused myself and we were both out of earshot of the patient, he smiled at me and said, “I have a close friend who is an avid runner and blogger and he told me to say hi to the ‘Running Laminator’. I assume that is you, is it not?” I waited a while before confirming his suspicions with a sheepish nod. And with that, after thirteen months of anonymity within the walls of this hospital, my secret identity outside of the professional workplace was revealed.

To be honest, I fully prepared that I’d be ‘discovered’ one day. After all, in today’s cosmopolitan society where we are more closely tied to our e-mail addresses than our real addresses and everyone we work and associate with seem to have some connection to everyone else, it is impossible to maintain a virtual identity that is distinct and separate from the real-life counterpart for any length of time. (Didn’t someone famous once say that ‘you can fool all people some of the time, and some people all of the time, but you can’t fool all people all the time?) I just didn’t expect to be so blatantly exposed while I was on the job, in the middle of the pediatric intensive care unit!

It’s been a full twelve hours now, but I still haven’t figured out the proper reaction to this latest development. Am I supposed to be relieved now that the news is out and I no longer have to purposely hide the fact that I’m a decent runner and blogger from all my workmates or should I be frightened that I’m now more transparent to those that work with me than I’ve ever been? Should I be more cautious in my postings about what I see and what I do so as not to be politically or professionally ”incorrect” or should I keep my integrity as a responsible blogger and just write what feels right, to me?

I think I’m starting to feel a bit intimidated that my virtual ‘me’ has become somewhat more successful and more infamous than the real ‘me’. It is crazy to think that more people know of me as a running blogger with a hospital gig on the side than a professional kid’s doctor with a crazy running blog on the side. How weird is that?! I think I’ll need more than one long run this week to figure things out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Marathon Training Update - Week 1

Now that I’ve started getting serious about marathon training again, I’ve suddenly become less serious in keeping this blog and my surplus of fans updated on my progress. Now, instead of throwing out the usual lame excuses about too much work, too much running, and too much sports this weekend (i.e. Mets-Phils, U.S. Open, NFL Kickoff Weekend…jeez, so much intrigue, so little time), I’m just going to announce that I’m posting weekly updates on my training, right up until race day. I figure this will be a good way to keep myself accountable (yes, you have my permission to mock me unmercifully if I don’t keep up with the schedule…) as well as keep my people informed of my progress. Feel free to motivate, comment, or ridicule at your leisure. Hopefully, it’ll be a win-win situation for everyone involved. We’ll see what happens.

Week #1 (9/1-9/7)

What I Planned:
Tempo Run: 7 miles with 5 miles at 6:35 min/mi pace
Hill workout: 6 miles with repeated loops at Harlem Hill
Double weekend run #1: 8 miles at long run pace
Double weekend run #2: 12 miles at long run pace
Total week 1 distance: 33 miles

What I Ran:
Tempo Run: 8.3 total miles with 5.2 miles at 6:30 min/mi pace
Hill Workout: 7.0 total miles at 6:53 min/mi pace over Harlem Hill
Double weekend run #1: 7.2 miles at 8:43 min/mi pace
Double weekend run #2: 12.9 miles at 8:15 min/mi pace
Total week 1 distance: 35.4 miles; avg pace – 7:47 min/mi

How I Ran:
Started week 1 with basic set of runs at low total mileage. Started off too fast on my tempo run and faded somewhat at the end (first mile – 6:19; last mile – 6:40…yikes!). Hill workout was my first attempt at hill training and also had trouble sustaining an early fast first loop effort into the second loop and third loop. Weekend runs were kept slow and easy because I was running with friends. Overall, this was a good steady effort week for me. On to week #2.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Recap:
Getting Serious About NYCM

For many, the passing of the Labor Day weekend symbolizes the official end of summer. For those of us who are runners however, the transition from August to September can signify much more. For one thing, it means waving goodbye to long hot, humid days and welcoming cooler and more comfortable climes. For another, it marks the peak of fall marathon training and the beginning of heavier traffic in running parks all over the country.

As for me, because I ran a marathon just a month earlier, I have been kind of lackadaisical on my running during the past month in the name of recovery. However, now that summer has mysteriously disappeared into early autumn, l took this weekend as a reminder to get my butt back in gear and refocus my training in preparation for my goal fall marathon, the 2008 New York City Marathon. Toward this end, I spent the bulk of my weekend carefully constructing a brief but intense nine week training plan that will average about 40-45 miles per week and pretty much guarantee that I’d be in the best running shape possible by November 2nd. It has me running four or five days a week and is filled with interval runs, tempo runs and long runs with some hill work and marathon pace workout mixed in just to spice things up. I have built my training plan so that every run will be done for a specific purpose and toward a specific goal (i.e., there will be no junk miles) so each session of each week is built on something that has been worked on in the week before. It's something I've been implementing in constructing and revising the marathon plans of people that I coach so I figure it's about time I incorporate it into my own training as well. I’m trying to break 3:05 in NYCM this year (and maybe try for 3:00 next year) and in order to do that I really have put in a consistent effort out on the roads, not just talk a good game from the seat of my pants.

I’m not going to do the usual thing and publish the exact schedule because honestly, it’s not that fascinating or useful to anyone but me. But suffice it to say it has a long run every weekend including one 18-mile run, three 20-mile runs (one of which I did on Saturday just to kick things off) and a 22-mile run, two weekday runs with either tempo, interval, hill, or marathon training within them, as well as a rest day before and after each hard workout. I’ve also signed up for an 18-mile race in September and a half-marathon in October to track my progress.

I know I’ve neglected to discuss much running last month (other than impromptu race reports), partly because other more important tangential subjects (like the Olympics) came up, but partly also because my running lacked purpose for a while (even though I’d hate to admit this). So because I know how much you miss hearing about my marathon training and things I think about while I’m running (I can’t believe I got an-email the other day from someone complaining that I don’t talk enough about my training, Hah…), I’ll try harder in the next couple months to stick to the subject. Go ahead, be excited or be forewarned, depending on how you like my ramblings.

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