Monday, August 15, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

After what appeared to be a solid base season to prepare for half marathon training, I have completely hit a brick wall within the past two weeks.  My legs have felt heavy, dead, and extremely sluggish.  I didn't have a good reason for this fatigue, and began to wonder if I had burnt out.

Looking back through my logs here is some criticism I have for myself:

  • I often added a second run in the evening at one of the run clubs, but no more than twice a week
    • Despite this second run being no more than 3-4 miles tops, I may have pushed the envelope a bit too much for myself.
  • Not enough emphasis on quality work during base training
    • The tempo runs I did do felt strong, but I didn't do them consistently each week and neglected strides more than I should of.  I prioritized mileage above all else.
  • My week by week mileage increases are by no means overly aggressive
    • But it's possible I'm not able to adapt to the higher mileage quite as quickly as many of the base schedules out there suggest
    • It could be that my weekly increases were fine, but my overall mileage increase from low 30s to high 40s was too much for me in one cycle.  I should have been more realistic and stopped around 40 to adjust more.
  • I hit two hiccups in training
    • Once in June to travel home to PA, and once in July for a weekend in DC.  Both trips involved not enough running and too much craft beer
  • Out of my control, but it has been profanely hot this summer
    • I recall last year having a couple week period where the heat was rough, but I made a big adjustment to it and it wasn't so bad.
    • Speaking to other runners, I've had pretty much universal agreement that this summer has been much worse for running than last years
Over the past two weeks I have taken several days off and my runs have been very easy 3-4 miles with an emphasis on strides and drills.  This morning was the first time it felt decent.  I'm going to continue this plan for the rest of this week and possibly next before I reevaluate.  Even in a best case scenario, I'm not optimistic about my fall half marathon and made need to start a new and improved base cycle.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Base Weeks 6 - 9

In the 4 weeks of training since my last post my mileage has been : 42.5, 45.14, 34.57, and 41.38. In week 8 I decided to take a down week for some recovery. My legs have felt pretty good, but I was feeling some fatigue. Now that I'm up over 40 miles and have starting alternating a tempo and 100s on the track every week, I thought a slight down week for some recovery would go a long way. I was hoping to have a higher total last week, finishing with only 41 miles and change. The heat really picked up this past weekend, and I cut my runs short on both Saturday and Sunday. I had no answer for a heat index of 99 and will need some time to adjust to it.

For my run this morning it was only around 80 and I felt much better.  Today I ran 9+ with a 3 mile tempo at 6:13, 6:15, and 6:06. As for racing, my goal half will be the Bull City Race Fest in Durham on October 12. My plan is to start Pfitz's 12 week half plan from Faster Road Racing in the second half of July, giving me just over a month to finish out my base.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Base Week 5

This past week was my second straight at 39 miles. The fatigue I felt last week went away, and I had a great week. My 11 mile long run felt much better than last week. The last few miles were really  smooth and I had a ton left in the tank when I finished. 

Five weeks of base training down! I haven't done any tempos yet but planning to throw in some sprints this week and increase my mileage to 42.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Base Week 4

After my long run Thursday, I opted to take my off day on Friday rather than Sunday. It worked out well working 12 hours on Friday. I ran a great 7+ miles on Saturday morning. I ran low 7:xx for most of the run and eased my thoughts about over doing it too much. I finished up the week today at just under 40 miles. I'll look to keep my mileage at 39 again this week, keeping an eye on my fatigue level, and hopefully increasing to above 40 miles the following week. One month of base training down.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Long Run Today

I felt pretty drained today.  I still ran a decent pace, but 10 seconds slower per mile than the same route last week, and labored more this week.  For the first time in the base training I think I am feeling the increased miles.  This is my heavy work week, so a lot of time standing plays as role as well.  The past couple long runs I've had some minor stomach problems, so I cut back my breakfast today but then of course I was starving at the end.

I'll run a very easy 3-4 miles recovery tomorrow and finish the week around 39 miles.  I'll give myself another week to adjust to the mileage by keeping it at 39 again next week, then reevaluate if I'm ready to increase again above 40 the following week.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Base Week 3

I increased my mileage to 36 and change this week, up from 33 last week.  I ran 6 times, including 2 down at Oak Island this weekend while we were at the beach.  I increased my long run to 11 this week, averaging 7:22/mile, slightly slower than my 10 last week.  My splits were more even this week, running the last few miles just above 7:00 each.  My early runs before work continue to get better as well.  I'm feeling really great so far, and will increase to 39 miles this week.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Base Week 2

Two weeks of base building down.  Many to go.  I kept the mileage at 33 this week.  My long run of 10 miles was a bit faster this week.  I had a strong finish similar to last week, but was a lot stronger in the middle miles.  I felt great all the way through, but after I finished I thought I may have gone a little faster than necessary.  I felt great the next day, and still haven't done any workouts so recovery was not a problem.

The best part of my week was running at 6 AM three times this week before 12 hour shifts at work.  I've really struggled to run before work over the past year, and running after standing for 12 hours sucks.  Sticking to that will be huge in getting my miles up.  After two weeks of 33 miles on 6 runs, I'll increase to 36 this week.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Base Building Week 1

My first week of base building is in the books.  My goal for the week was 33 miles with a 10 mile long run.  After my 6 and change today I finished the week at 33.79 miles.  My quads were a little sore on Monday and Tuesday but felt fine after warming up.  I took one day off, Thursday, after working a 12 hour shift.  My shortest run of the week was a 3 miler on Wednesday.  It felt odd to only be out there for that little amount of time.  My long run on Friday was awesome.  I started off slow with a few high 7 minute miles, picked it up gradually through out, and had a couple strong miles at 8-9 in 6:47 and 6:43.

One week down!  I'll do 33 miles again this week, then increase it the following week.

Monday, April 11, 2016


From February into March, I had my best training block in a very long time.  I eclipsed 40 miles all four weeks and ran some incredible workouts.  In the past month I've also traveled to Portland, OR and Pennsylvania so my routine was messed up a little bit.  Despite this great month of training, I started to feel myself getting a little stale.  Sure I was going through some fatigue and soreness from the increased mileage, but it was more mental.  I've been doing 5k training for more than a year now.  Even with the massive improvements I've made, I really think I need to go through a different cycle of training.

I've thought about this for a few weeks and have decided it's time to work on my base.  Over the next 2-3 months I'm going to focus completely on base training.  Easy miles.  After a few weeks I'll throw in some threshold and some sprints to keep my legs sharp.  I'm also going to post my results weekly to keep myself accountable.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Year End Wrap-Up and Looking Ahead

This post is at least 4 weeks overdue, but better late than never.  While I did not run quite as many miles or quite as often as I would've liked, I am very happy with how 2015 went.  My top priority heading into last year was racing.  I ran three 5ks, improving my time each race and finishing the year with an 18:05 in December.  The weekly and cumulative miles weren't where I wanted them to be, but 18:05 is a great time for my first year back into racing.

I often took days off after working multiple 12 hours shifts in a row.  The best way for me to get around this is running in the morning.  I have always been a terrible morning runner, but my goal is to improve on that this year, getting a lot of my miles in before work.  On days I had off, I rarely ever missed a day.  I was very consistent with both getting my workouts in and making them count.  I've been pretty lucky in that when I do get out the door and onto the track, I almost always feel good during and after the workout.

The most important thing for me going forward is consistency.  My top priority is to get out the door, regardless of where I am in my training or what race I am training for.  I haven't picked my next race yet.  I'm working now to increase my mileage, hitting 40 last week.

After running 18:05 in December, my initial thought was to jump into half marathon training for the spring. After a lot of thought over the past few weeks, I have decided against that and instead to push forward with 5k training. I am so close to running my fastest ever at that distance right now, and I've never felt better.

I have restarted Daniels' 5k to 10k, with a goal of faster and longer workouts this time around, while also working my mileage up. I've got a few solid weeks of Phase II behind me. Once I clock off a few more 40 mile weeks, I'll look to schedule another 5k this Spring.