Sunday, June 27, 2010

Running with back pain

I am 7 days into my recovery from the jarring blow I received to my back last Saturday. The immediate pain was nearly unbearable and as the hours passed all I could think about was how I was going to be able to run with all this pain. Running with back pain is not easy. You use the muscles in your lower back for stabilization, power, and pretty much every other thing I can think of.

Running through the pain is mind over matter, as long as the pain is not structural. I went to the Orthopedist to find out how bad my back really was and it turns out there was no structural damage to the spine. That was the good news. The bad news was that it was muscular damage which meant "rest" was the best medicine. Since I had no intention of sitting around and letting my back pain keep me from achieving my running goals I decided to augment my training plan to make sure I kept some miles under my feet. That meant changing my routes to flatter, less hilly runs as well as backing off the pace.

I did rest for 3 days when I was scheduled to run. That was depressing, but I was still unsure about how bad the back injury really was. The day I got the all clear from the Dr. I decided to take an easy run. It turned into about 4.5 miles of running at an easy 8:15/mi pace. My heart rate was low and my only focus was on not jarring my back too much. In the end, I think that run was a great idea because it not only gave me a rise in my spirits, but my confidence also received a boost.

That short run was painful, as was the 6.5 mile run in the hills I did yesterday, but they were both important to my success in achieving the running goals I have set for myself. I am still committed to increasing my mileage over the next month to a consistent 40 miles per week. Until then, I will be running away from back pain one mile at a time.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Running 40 Miles Per Week

I am one more run away from finishing my second week of my latest running goal. These days, running seems to be influencing my habits. Take tonight; I skipped Happy Hour to make sure I ate a good meal took in fluids and would get to sleep at a decent time.

What does it say about a runner when a goal becomes more important than something he loves to do. In this case, going out would completely derail my ability to wake up at 5:00am and get in a good run. I think it also means, that running is more important to me than I thought it was and that I'm able to make small sacrifices to achieve great gains of enjoyment, fitness, and hopefully hitting the goal I've made for myself.

I'm only a hand full of weeks away from when my current goal of running 40 miles per week. Once achieved and maintained, the running goal will shift into marathon training. That will take my mileage to another level which I have not seen in my running lifetime. I'm told 50 and 60 mile weeks will be my goal and I can't wait for the challenge.

So, as I take this rest day to contemplate how things are going with my training, I am reminded that I am finally taking my running seriously. More importantly, I'm setting goals that are difficult to hit but they are teaching me that, at times, pain and suffering are worth the end result.

40 miles per week, here I come.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Beat the heat by running early in the morning

Great run this morning at 5:15am. It was already 75 degrees but with no sun in sight it was actually quite pleasant. I warmed up my first mile at 8:30/mi and cooled down on mile 4 at 7:30 per mile. I pushed the pace on miles 2 and 3 hovering around sub 7 minute pace.

Overall a good run through some rolling hills in the dark. A great way to start Monday morning!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ramping up your running mileage a few miles at a time

Now that I am planning on racing the marathon in December I have regrouped with the same guy who put together my previous run plan to get something on paper for the 26.2 miles. The difference this time is that I am committed to sticking to the plan and making a change in my training approach that puts it as a priority instead of some of the more trivial things I’ve been focused on recently.

Since I have so much time between now and then, it would not be a good idea to start training this soon. Instead, I am going to be ramping up my mileage to get up to about 40 miles per week by the end of July. That way, I should be able to then get my mileage and pace to where it needs to be before the race.

Here is a brief snapshot of that mileage ramp-up:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

5 Miles in the dark are worth the early morning wake up call

I laced up the shoes and hit the streets this morning at 5:15am. I wanted to finish by 6:00am so I figured a little over 5 miles would be easily packed into that time frame. The weather was warmer than Monday’s morning run because there was absolutely no wind.

The run took about 40 minutes with the pace hovering around 7:50 per mile. I was able to keep my HR AVG at 143 per minute which is the lowest it has been on this run. This was also the slowest I’ve ran this route by only about 20 seconds but it felt so easy I could have crushed my previous times by expending a little more effort!

I’m enjoying the early morning runs and I plan on getting another 6 miles in tomorrow morning as well!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Running before work is better than coffee for energy!

For the first time in a long time I actually woke up at 5am for a run before work. It had been so long since I had done this that I had forgotten how great the feeling of waking up and pushing the pace early can feel. Sure, I wake up early on the weekends to run, but I don't go work an 8+ hour day right after that. Instead, it is off to breakfast and then time to surf the web or catch up on some shows I've got on the DVR.

This morning was different. I laced up my shoes and started off into the darkness at around 5:10am. The birds were chirping, but that was about the only activity. No cars, no pollution, no pollen.. it was great!

I ran the first mile at an warm-up pace around 8:10/mile. For the next 1.5 miles I ran at 7:00/mile which is slower than my normal tempo pace. It was a little hard to judge the pace since it was pitch black, but it felt good. The last mile I backed it off a bit to cool down.

I made it home, stretched, blended up a protein strawberry smoothie, and walked Cooper. It turned out to be a perfect way to start the morning and I plan on making this a regular occurrence throughout the week.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Running easy through the hills to build endurance

I woke up this morning and made it out for my run at about 8:00am. It wasn't as early as I wanted it to be but I was happy to see it was still only 75 degrees outside so the Atlanta heat had not started to creep up just yet. I wasn't sure how far I wanted to run, I just knew I wanted to get in some miles to end a lack luster week of training.

I ended up running my 5 mile route and added a loop of additional hills to finish up with about 6.3 miles. I tried keeping the pace easy and that wasn't too hard because I was suffering a little bit toward the last half of the run. I did feel a little sore in my back after this run, but I think that was due to the total amount of time I've spent on the couch the past few day and not training!

In the end, it turned out to be a good run. I did need to push through the hills and the straights and downhills were a nice addition to what seemed to be a hard uphill effort.

Run Summary
Distance: 6.3 mile
Pace: 7:50/per mile
AVG HR: 146

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mid week run - Easy pace ... picking up the miles

View Interactive Map on
Another good run today after work. Next week I plan on getting back to some consistent training to ramp up the mileage. For now, I'm just going to take in some miles and keep the pace easy

Run Summary
Distance: 5.14 miles
Pace: 7:47 per mile

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dallas White Rock Marathon - Run The Rock!

I woke up at 12:55am this morning and waited 5 minutes until 1:00am to register for the Dallas White Rock Marathon! It has been a number of years since I last ran a marathon and that distance hasn't really crossed my mind until recently.

So, come December I hope to be in marathon shape and ready to run long and fast!

  Sunday run in the rain.