Monday, September 21, 2009

How to run hills in a race.

I have always dreaded hills. I started running when I lived in Baton Rouge, LA and continued while living in Houston, TX. One of the things that these two cities have in common besides humidity is that that neither of them have really huge hills. So, until moving to Atlanta, I haven't really had to deal with any large hills. Now that I am here and racing in this town, it is probably a good idea to get some hill training in so I don't suck wind during the races.

Today's workout was great. I warmed up with 1.5 miles which lead me directly to one of the crazy steep hills that surrounds where we live. After a quick stretch I ran 8 x 400 meters up the hill and cooled down by jogging back down. My pace up the hill was about 1:45 to 1:50. This was a tough workout and I was happy to see it end. One thing I didn't count on was that my cool down had a couple of steep hills. So, I added about another half mile of hills to that workout!

Next week I have more hill training. Those hills will be twice as long but less steep. How do you run hills in a race? You train on hills before the race. I guess it is that simple.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Race Summary: Roswell Rise 'n Run 5k 2009

Today's race was one of the harder 5k races that I have run. The terrain was asphalt as well as crushed granite trails. One of the terrain surprises that I didn't expect was the woods. Exposed tree roots coupled with torrential rains do not make a good combination under the racing flats!

Overall this was a technical course. There were a half dozen switch backs on the granite crushed trails as well as a few 180 turns around cones during the neighborhood run portion of the race. I tip toed through the woods trying not to break my neck on the slippery tree roots that had been washed out due to the downpour of rain.

This was my first race in my the age group 35-39. The top finisher in my age group crossed the line in just over 18:00 minutes. My time as a little slower than that at 21:49, but I was happy with the finish. I took 3rd place in my age group and 11th overall. One thing I will not forget about this race is that 2nd place in my age group finished 2 seconds ahead of me. I had no idea that runner was in my age group. To be honest, he could have been 50 years old. That won't happen again!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Upcoming Race: Roswell Rise 'n Run 5k

Race Route Link
It has been a couple of months since my last race and my training seems to be coming along well enough for me to try and give a good effort for this weekend's Roswell Rise 'n Run 5k.

On Monday I ran a relatively easy 5.5 mile run with 3.5 miles at 7:00/mile. This weekend's race will an interesting watermark to see where I am now with my training and where I will be by mid December.

My last 5k was back in January and my pace was 6:30 for that run. The race after that was a 4 miler and my pace was 6:48 for that race. I'm not looking to blow those race times away, but averaging faster than 6:30 would be cool.

I guess at this point my goal will be to finish sub 20:00 for this run. That means my pace should be lower than 6:25/mile. I've had a chance to check out the race route and it covers asphalt and crushed gravel which means it should be fast. There are a few 180 turns on the course but it does not look too technical.

I have a race day plan set up for pre-race warm up and cool down from the guy who built my training schedule. I'm looking forward to following his advice and trying to put as much effort into this run as I can.

I'm looking forward to following up this post in 2 days with my race results!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Run Training Post: Building Sprint and Lactic Threshold

I DID NOT feel like running this morning but pulled myself out of bed and got to the gym at 5:15am to get started on some speed work on the treadmill. I started out at 8:30 per mile for my .5 warm-up then moved up to 7:30/mile for my main 4 mile set. During that set I did 5x200 meters at 6:00/mile with full recovery after each speed session.

I felt good but a little out of control. My turn over rate felt very fast in the new Newton shoes. A bit different from my old pair of shoes. I thought I might run through the front of the treadmill if I didn't back off the pace even when I was flying at 6:00 per mile.

By the end of the run I started to feel a little pain on the right forefoot pad just behind my toes. Not sure if this is from the new shoes but coincidentally the Newton lugs are right where the pain started to form. Now, sitting at my desk, I don't feel the pain so that is good news.

I will not wear the new shoes on my long run on Saturday. I might try to work them into my training and use them as a tool to keep me running from my mid/forefoot rather than the heal strike I've been crushing my body with.

As a side note, I'm having a little lower back pain. Not sure what that is all about but I will keep an eye on that too.

Training Summary
Distance: 5 miles
Time: 37:45 Minutes
Pace: 7:33 per mile

Sets
.5 mile Warm-Up
4 Miles at 7:30/mile
5x200 Meters at 6:00/mile
.5 mile cool down

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How to Run to Build Endurance

Today I got out in my new Newton shoes for a little over 5 miles of rolling hills coupled with a nice easy pace. I'm trying to build endurance, so I'm not out to break any records and my pace states that loud and clear. My average per mile was at about 8:00 minutes throughout the run give or take a few seconds during uphills and downhills.

So I've read how to build endurance and everyone seems to have the same frame of mind in thinking that to build endurance, you need to put in the miles. Those miles should not be at your threshold. The opposite holds true too. You shouldn't walk or jog too slow (depending on your current level of endurance) because the gains you get won't be as beneficial as picking up the pace for a consistent amount of time throughout your workout.

I guess the moral of the building endurance story is to get out of bed and figure out a way to push just hard enough to get your heart rate pumping in the zone that will give you the most endurance gains. You increase your lungs functional capacity as the size and number of your blood vessels actually increase. That is pretty cool. That brings up your respiratory rate, lung capacity, and the size and strength of your heart increases so you can go longer before hitting the wall. Okay, and last bit of fact: You keep metabolizing carbs and fats which is good too.

Training Summary
Distance: 5.11 miles
Time: 41:01 minutes
Pace: 8:02 per mile
Average Heart Rate: 139 BPM

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Run Training Post: Building My Run Endurance

I made it out at 5:30 this morning with more enthusiasm because it is one of the first Tuesday's I've had a scheduled run. Today would turn out to be a good day to shake out the cobwebs from yesterday's Tempo Threshold run.

I had a great run overall. The first mile was a little sluggish but I think that was because I had just jumped out of bed and needed the warm up. My last mile was around 7:50 and that included a long uphill effort. I didn't push to hard and I am happy with the result. Tomorrow I have a 5 mile easy run on a similar route. I'm just as enthusiastic about that run as I was today!

Training Summary
Distance: 4.2 Miles
Duration: 33:12 Minutes
Pace: 7:57 per mile
AVG HR: 132 (Easy Run Pace)

Morning Run

Got out this morning, again, for a morning run through the hills. They are not as daunting as they were when we first moved to the hill cou...