Category Archives: Uncategorized

Finally Figuring Out Treadmill Training

March was a tough marathon training grind. I finished with about 134 miles, barely more training miles than January. I only stretched my long run out to 17 miles, and each of my longest runs was a slow, very tough effort.

The key issue wasn’t a surprise: Las Vegas got warm. Winter’s over, and Vegas wasn’t going to stay cool forever. It’s not desert-hot yet, and we should avoid the worst heat before I shove off to Vancouver 2022. But temperatures got hot during stretches the law few weeks and the last weekend of March they topped 90°F. I also had trouble sleeping over the last few weeks (though I’m hoping to have nipped that). Even in the evenings, running was hot enough (temperatures in the high 70’s F) that I had to slow down and cut down the length of runs some.

I experimented with changing locations on my weekend runs, but ultimately my best options has once again become the gym treadmill. However, in the interim my research discovered some new hope for a previously hopeless training apparatus:

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Checking In 2/14/2022 and making some marathon plan adjustments

After 7 weeks on my current training plan, it’s now clear to me that while the mileage and general approach is generally working, I need to change the timing and the frequency of the weekly workouts (which I went ahead and planned out) because some things just aren’t working the way they need to.

I woke up Sunday morning after Saturday’s 8 mile pace run feeling unusually exhausted. I had a 16mi long run planned. Even factoring in the previous day’s workout, I expected to have suitable energy for the planned long run and perhaps some soreness and fatigue.

Instead, I felt far more tired than expected. No cup of coffee or breakfast could get me out of the unusual funk, and combined with some mild squawking from the hamstring (which has largely felt better but made a bit of noise the previous day) this led me to at least postpone the run until the late afternoon and evening.

I went home, had lunch later in the day and relaxed. Just to be sure, even though I had no illness symptoms, I took an at-home Covid test, and that came back clean and negative.

But even at 3pm, when I planned to head out for that postponed run, I still did not feel great, my hamstring felt just slightly sore enough that I didn’t want to unduly risk anything, and I decided to just axe the run entirely. Fatigue was clearly telling me I needed a break.

The thing with the Higdon Intermediate plan I was following is that, as Jonathan Savage had warned, the back to back long weekend workouts were rather tough on the body, and I ultimately realized they aren’t totally necessary to get the needed training stimulus.

More so, I was spending both days of every weekend being rather tired after a long or otherwise tough run, and I honestly wasn’t doing much with my weekends other than training as a result. I was getting tired of every weekend feeling like that. I wanted to get at least one day back, even if the other would be spent laid out and recovering from a long run.

So I went ahead and adjusted the plan as follows, which will provide roughly the same amount of mileage, the same intensity overall, and more recovery.

  • The pace run and the long run are now separated, and the long run will stand alone, with easy days before the day before and after.
  • The long run now moves to Saturday. When I run Saturday morning, I often have pretty good energy, plus the church crowds along my route aren’t there like on Sunday, so the parking traffic is clear.
  • Instead of two shorter and one longer midweek runs, I now have two longer runs plus the moderate/pace run that was moved off the weekend, all during midweek. The pace run being midweek also allows me to do it on a more closed course where traffic can’t interfere as much (which has been a problem in prior pace workouts).
  • The other two weekdays may be easy, shorter runs, or can be days off, depending on feel. If I run these runs won’t be longer than 45 minutes and more like 20-30. I typically will look to work out these days because the 5pm commute sucks and I like having a workout kill that time until the traffic cools off.
  • I haven’t been strength training lately, but I can also go to the gym and do that in lieu of a weekday workout on the non-long days. I’ll try that the next couple weeks and see how that feels.
  • Friday will err more towards the side of totally resting or strength training than running, since the following Saturday will be a long run.
  • Sunday will not be a total rest day, but will either be a shorter easy run, or cross and strength training, maybe all of the above if it all feels very easy and I’m in the mood. This is far easier on me energy-wise than a long run or pace run.

The general schedule:

M: Moderate run or pace run, 1-2hrs
T: Easy, rest or 20-45min run, or strength training
W: Moderate run or pace run, 1-2hrs
R: Moderate run, 1-2hrs
F: Easy, rest or 20-45min run, or strength training
S: Long run, 10-22 miles
X: Easy 20-45min run, and/or strength training, and/or aerobic cross training

The midweek workouts were perfectly do-able, and the short workouts just felt too short. I didn’t feel like I was getting enough longer aerobic workouts, but then also felt like the weekends were too backloaded with volume. The midweek felt too easy, the weekend felt too hard. This change addresses that problem.

I want the moderate workouts to be done by 7pm, and some of the previous schedule’s long runs may have taken longer. Aerobic benefit peaks at 60-90 minutes, and one 105-120 minute run surrounded by shorter runs isn’t as beneficial for me right now as three spread out 60-90 minute workouts. The two moderate runs clumped together can provide some useful cumulative fatigue without hitting me hard with it multiple times every week.

The pace run can fall on Monday, two days after the long run, or after the easy Tuesday on Wednesday. The other moderate runs are just easy, probably 8 miles right now (which takes around 80-90 minutes for me). I’ll play by feel each week where that pace run should go. If I felt bold I could do two 8mi pace runs each week, but I’m not thinking of crossing that bridge right now.

I could also, once stretched out to 20 miles on the long run (ETA early March), consider adding some speed segments to some long runs. If you can do it, that really helps with marathon training. For now though, I’m keeping the long runs easy until I get stretched out. Once I can run at pace in long runs, I can even consider omitting midweek pace workouts if needed. But again, not at that bridge yet.

So, after the mild bummer of cancelling a long run due to unusual fatigue (more so it felt like the best decision), I’ve made some adjustments that should avoid future occurrences of some issues I’ve been running into.

Checking In 2/1/2022

Happy Chinese New Year (of the Tiger).

This Sunday’s 14 miler went straight to hell, and it was the first long workout of the plan that I did not get done.

After morning coffee, I discovered I forgot my water bottle. Going back home for it would mean a 9:45 or 10:00am start, too late in the morning to avoid excess overhead sun exposure. I had been timing weekend runs to start around 8-9am for various reasons (matching the Vancouver Marathon start time, giving time for pre-run fueling and coffee, plus admittedly the early mornings are rather cold). The time will come for 6am long runs, but that time is not now.

I decided to take it easy and try doing the run on the treadmill later than morning, which of course hadn’t gone well in the past due to the underratedly warm conditions of indoor treadmill running. The 73-78’F and 30+% humidity with no passing breeze combined with no natural pace adjustments can get the perceived heat index into the 90’s in a hurry. Plus, being indoors in a public gym, I can’t remove my shirt to cool off, which often helps a lot.

Still, I do eventually need to re-acclimate to warmer running, and while April will provide ample opportunity for that, I decided trying it now was worth a shot.

Long story short, it ended up not working out. Running-wise, I didn’t feel too bad. But I got hot in a hurry, and my heart rate (which I’m now trying to closely monitor on aerobic runs) quickly jumped to the 140’s (76-82% max). The laborious indoor heat took its tool and once my HR hit 150 about 35-40 minutes in, despite ample fluids, I stopped it there and decided trying to find a shaded route and take the rest of the run outside would be worth the trouble.

I had remembered that my Paseo Verde route in Green Valley had ample shade, and I hurried there. Alas, I was only half right. The north and east portions of the route are tree-lined and very shaded. But the west and south portions have no shade and full exposure to the mid-day sun. Add in that it got unusually warm for the time of year, and I had to stop about 2.9 miles into that to cool off under whatever shade I could find before continuing.

I got 5.3 miles into that Paseo Verde run and realized that was all I should do that afternoon. I had considered running out the 5.2 miles I hadn’t covered later towards the evening, but when I returned home I found I was quite tired from it all, and decided to call it that day after 8.8 miles between both runs.

Yesterday I took my first work break runs in weeks, making up about 3.6mi of the lost mileage from the weekend on what would have otherwise been a rest day. My Chops metrics indicate I didn’t lose much fitness thanks to that mileage plus what I did Sunday.

I’ve been reviewing and referring to Runalyze‘s Marathon Shape metric to not just gauge the shape I was in during prior training cycles, but also get a general guide for what I need to do to get in full shape to run the marathon to my best ability.

Marathon Shape is a percentage score, 100% obviously meaning you’re in needed condition to run your goal race, and lower percentages meaning you aren’t quite ready to run your VO2max-projected time, and you’re probably going to run slower if you did run today. VO2max indicates I’ve got a 4:10 marathon in me right now, but in my current shape of 28% the end result would be more like 5:35 or so. That seems about right.

Runalyze will take your projected VO2max and spit out a running volume in miles per week plus a desired long run length that per them is needed at minimum for you to get in 100% marathon shape. I’m still not totally sure how this is calculated, but for me right now they say I need 36 miles per week (mpw) and a long run of at least 16 miles. I’m close to the former, and still haven’t yet run the latter.

Based on those benchmarks, Runalyze calculates your marathon shape. Their metric compares your average weekly mileage over the preceding 182 days against (in this case) 36 mpw, and your long runs over the last 70 days against the 16 mile benchmark, counting every long run mile over 8 miles.

Given these parameters, it in theory doesn’t matter nearly as much now how long my long runs go as it will within the final 10 weeks before Vancouver 2022. Right now, I’m still about 13 weeks away. Yes, I need to run long and build the conditioning to go 16+ on my long runs in the present. But if a long run goes to hell now, it’s not a killer as long as I nail the next long run, and it’s not nearly as bad as it would be if I botched a long run, say, 6 weeks before the marathon.

It’s probably not ideal that the previous weekend’s long run was shorter (because I ran a 10K the day before), so I’ll have gone 3 weeks between long runs and will be running a good deal longer (16mi this weekend, in fact) than the last longest run (13mi). But I’ll take it easy and, just like prior training cycles, my top priority on stretching out will be to just cover the distance.

Also, outside of 70 days, it’s more important that I accumulate volume than how long the long runs go. So, even though this weekend’s long run went to hell, making up any of the lost mileage would be a good idea. Hence, I ran out a couple of work breaks yesterday and after all was said and done I got somewhat close (within 1.5mi) to the total expected mileage from this weekend. I would have liked to get it all back, but by yesterday afternoon I was once again a bit weary plus had to run an errand for the office, so I called it good there.

This is not to say that ditching all my long runs and just doing short runs in their place is ideal (I still need to build the endurance to go 16+ once those runs count against the metrics). But this is a situation where, if a long run doesn’t work, ending them early and doing some easy short runs in the interim to get the volume in is probably not a bad idea.

I feel okay right now, if not a bit generally weary. Because Wednesday (my moderate run day) is forecast to be very windy, I have pivoted the midweek workouts a bit. Usually I’d run a shortish run Tuesday and Thursday, with the longer run on Wednesday.

Instead, I’ll take the longish run on Tuesday, take Wednesday off, then repeat the longish run Thursday before the scheduled Friday off. Even though tonight should start to get a bit windy ahead of Wednesday’s gale force conditions, it won’t be as bad as Wednesday and I should be able to handle a longer run in those conditions tonight.

I’ll discuss the Marathon Shape metric more later, my prior training cycles, as well as my ceiling for this one and what i need to do going forward to be in the best condition possible for future training cycles.

Checking In 1/24/2022

I have finished 4 weeks of Vancouver 2022 training, and this was a stepback week. I ran a 10K at Floyd Lamb Park on Saturday, then an easy 8 miler Sunday.

I’m not really all that sore, and the 10K not only went about as well as expected but somehow I finished 3rd male overall.

I had not done any focused training for the 10K and it was just a ‘show me’ race to see where I was at. Though my right hamstring hadn’t bothered me at all the last couple weeks, I also wanted to be careful about aggravating it with a faster pace.

Like the Triple Crown races late last year I ran the 10K by power, monitoring my Stryd readings and looking to maintain a minimum power level. After having run out the last 10K in the 240’s, I believed I could at leats maintain the low 250’s, though I wanted to see if I could go a bit higher. Going by pace is tougher at Floyd Lamb with part of the course on dirt, plus it was somewhat windy with 15+ mph crosswinds.

Incidentally, because it was blustery outside and given the timing of the year, we didn’t have many starters. So unlike previous races I was almost immediately by myself on the course. Often I would ran a bit harder out of the gate to navigate and create space between others before settling down. But with immediate space, I just settled immediately into a comfortably fast rhythm, and was pleasantly surprised to notice that a 260s watt pace felt rather comfortable.

Plus, with the cold air and the high wind, I had virtually no risk of overheating, the most likely thing to slow me down early. Even with the stiff crosswind I simply focused on maintaining a consistent effort and cadence.

The hard part was the back end of the course loop (the race was two laps on a 5K course), which turned north directly into the wind for a bit before a turn back west into relatively easier stiff crosswinds. My effort stepped up into the 280’s and up for these sections but that didn’t feel too much tougher. It might have actually been harder to dial back my effort as I’d have to work that much harder against the wind to stay upright and moving.

After clearing the first loop in well under 28 minutes (I had run my last 10K on this course in 58:26), I found and kept a steady high 260’s effort back through the course again. I don’t think I looked at my watch for anything beyond the distance covered, the wattage readings, and the mile splits as the watch beeped them off.

I actually started feeling a bit weak in the last mile, probably from the sheer effort of maintaining my effort in the stiff crosswinds all that time. But I just kept moving at pace and decided that I’d only slow down if it felt really dire. It never did.

Once I saw the finish line I just went for it and actually had a pretty good kick that last 100 meters or so, crossing in 55:18 for a substantial improvement on my last effort. However, my watch only showed 6.18 miles, and Garmin unfortunately won’t count a 10K PR unless you run a minimum of 6.21 miles, so I ran a bit past the finish to get at least 6.22 and ensure it counted as a Garmin watch PR (even if it’s not my actual 10K PR of 52:39). My prior 10K PR on the watch was pre-Corona and wasn’t particularly fast, plus my previous races hadn’t counted because Garmin measured all three of them slightly short. I got to 6.22 in the grass with little trouble and stopped the watch at 55:41.

Unlike the previous races, while certainly gassed from probably my toughest effort ever in a 10K, I didn’t feel physically beat up much at all. Best of all, my right hamstring never bothered me at any point in the race. It was never an issue.

The next test was the following day. Even though 8 miles is a big stepback from the double digit long runs I had done previous weekends, this was the first time in a long while I was taking a long run the day after a race. Common among scholastic athletes, I had done it now and again in Chicago but had yet to do it in training here in Vegas.

Unlike previous runs I decided not to monitor my wattage or pace effort, as I typically try to start slow and then make sure the finish is a faster easy pace. I’ve been following the Pfitzinger approach of starting at 1.2 times my goal marathon pace, then finishing at 1.1 times the goal pace, and it had worked quite well each time. But this time, having run the race the day before, I took it purely by feel and the pace would just be after-data.

It turned out the hardest part of the run was running past the church near my starting point. It was Sunday and this church incidentally was letting out a service as I started (bad timing!). So I had to carefully avoid foot and vehicle traffic while also trying to avoid running through the nearby shopping center, where there was more vehicle traffic. Once I zig zagged beyond trouble, I just had to deal with breathing a bit harder than I would have liked. But 8 miles went fine and again I had no soreness or serious fatigue.

Stryd tells me my critical power has substantially improved, from a measured 257 to 268. Stryd’s race calculator believes I could run Vancouver in under 4:10:00. I’m not totally sure about that. I did average a steady 9:38 in a pace workout a week ago (which would be a sub 4:15 pace), but while do-able over 6 miles I have my doubts about sustaining that particular effort over 26+ miles, and that course was a bit flatter than usual. My goal pace is in the 9:40’s-9:50’s and that’s felt more comfortable. I’m still working on settling naturally into pace range, even though hitting the pace hasn’t been super difficult.

Today is a rest day, and I’m a bit surprised at how much energy I’ve consistently had the last few weeks, even though I’ve run 5 days a week and not missed a run workout. This may be because this is the first marathon training cycle where I’ve minimized everyday competing stressors like having to walk everywhere like Chicago, because I’m eating probably the cleanest and most consistent diet I’ve eaten on a training plan, and because I’m making sure to take rest days, follow the plan and just the plan, and not do much of any extra anything.

Over the last couple years I’ve been doing a lot of cross and strength training, and this month I’ve cleared out anything that isn’t specifically related to the training for this race.

Now, that said, I’m looking to resume strength training this week with two easy 20 minute sessions in the mornings, and chasing them with the yoga sessions that I’d been getting results from.

This will also be a tougher volume week, as I stretch out the midweek mod-length run, the Saturday run that’s been hanging at 6 miles for a while, and push the long run into 14 miles, past the half marathon barrier I somehow haven’t pushed past in three years.

Making all this go according to plan is this week’s hurdle in training. More to come.

Antioxidantien: Hëllefräich Oder Net?

Déi folgend ass eng Iwwersetzung vun dësem Artikel op Lëtzebuergesch.

Antioxidantien sinn e grondsätzlech gemëschte Sak. Engersäits, hir Fäegkeet fir de Kierper ze heelen an d’Entzündung ze bekämpfen hëlleft dem Kierper séier vun der Ausübung ze recuperéieren, net ze soen hëlleft Är alldeeglech Funktioun an Immunsystem ze schützen.

Op der anerer Säit hunn d’Fuerscher an de leschte Joeren entdeckt datt dësen Antioxidant-Influx och d’Adaptatioun vum Kierper an d’Superkompensatioun fir d’Ausübung hemmt. Och wann Dir méi séier a méi komplett heelt, stéiert Dir de “Léierprozess” vun Ärem Kierper. Äre Kierper heelt ze séier fir ze léieren géint entzündlech Marker ze bekämpfen an un de verstäerkte Stress vun Ärem intensiven Training unzepassen.

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Checking In 1/17/2022

Three weeks into Higdon Intermediate Marathon 2, and am thrilled to report that I haven’t missed a single run workout. Every scheduled day, every pace run day, every long run, I’ve gotten the run in.

This could be ridiculous to celebrate, but as I’ve mentioned I’ve had all sorts of challenges in life sticking to a pre-written training plan. And being able to do it plus seeing the progress I’m making in being able to do it is almost like a kid having a new toy.

Not to mention, after all the injury problems in 2021 it’s great to get through extended runs without problems and feel okay in the hours/days afterward. Never minding injury… just getting through a long run and not feeling beat up physically in the day or so afterward feels great. I had to go to Target in the afternoon, hours after a 13 miler, and running from the car to the store I didn’t feel all that sore. If I had to run another 4 miles easy right then I probably could have (of course, I didn’t).

Now, I also have not been cross training and it’s been about two weeks since I’ve strength trained. The only other exercise I’ve done outside of my runs is walking during work breaks. I didn’t intentionally stop: I played each day by feel and decided most evenings after work to just go home given fatigue, hunger, and whatever else. The added recovery from not doing those things has probably helped with adapting to the restored training load, though I’ll probably re-introduce strength training and yoga this week. I’ll probably keep it to one session a week, though.

The next gateway in training now is to get the long run past the 13 mile barrier, as 13.4 is as far as I was able to go during the ill fated Indy training, and it’s now been over a year since I’ve gone farther than the Half Marathon distance. Not running a marathon in three years will do that you! At least now it feels totally reasonable to do, and I’ve gotten myself physically back into a better place to handle higher run volume.

I don’t think all the cross training of the last 2.5 years was bad, though at this point and time it’s probably not what I need now. I need to be running as much as I reasonably can. And that also means I don’t need all that much speed or tempo work now. Medium length pace runs every week or two, the occasional speed play on fresher Tuesdays, and the occasional required sprint across a street are probably all I need.

Thanks to a race this week, this upcoming week will be somewhat lighter on run volume, and this week’s long run will drop back to a now-rather-easy 8 miles. While a maybe-monthly race may be all the serious fitness-testing I need aside from pace runs, I’m thinking of sneaking in a mile time trial or an interval session here and there, depending on how much other demanding running is on that week’s schedule. Tuesdays work for these because those scheduled runs are shorter, easy, and coming off a recovery day on the schedule (Higdon schedules cross training, though as mentioned I’ve been skipping it and making Monday a rest day). The following days’ runs are easy, and the longer Wednesday run following this matches the weekend pattern of a challenging moderate run followed by the long run.

So we’ll keep this moving and see how it feels. More to come.

Checking In 1/12/2022

Today I planned a 6 mile run right after work at a nearby park. However, after commuting across town and sitting down for coffee, I looked down and discovered I hadn’t equipped my Stryd footpod.

While I could do the run at the park anyway, I’d not only lose crucial power data that I use to track ongoing progress, but I’m now in a place where those real-time power readings are for me crucial to maintain proper effort levels through the run and not screw up future workouts.

Admittedly, in prior years, if I found I forgot something important like this and couldn’t easily get back home to get it, this would have pissed me off and thrown off my entire day.

But today, having (hopefully) grown a bit wiser and more knowledgeable since, I rolled with it and figured out what I could do to not only adjust and do the run after getting home from work tonight (and retrieving the needed pod), but also figured out adjustments I can make to effectively use the extra time to best aid recovery before and after the run.

Instead of having to ensure I’m fueled and ready at 5pm, I can take it a bit easier on nutrition after lunch, I have more options to fuel right after work, and the meal I eat at dinner tonight will be better utilized for run recovery since it’ll occur right after the run.

Generally I avoid evening running near home because I’d have to do it later in the evening and it can mess with my sleep, because I’m doing it on streets and have to be more careful with traffic, plus even with street lights my routes are somewhat dark, and being closer to arterials and the freeway there’s a bit more pollution which doesn’t help with breathing.

I also avoid the treadmill for reasons I’ve gone into before (injury risks, higher indoor temperature than desired, the monotony of the treadmill, difficulty setting an appropriate pace to match outdoor conditions). But for tonight, at a steady pace (previous treadmill sessions were a bit faster), near places where I can get food afterward, I don’t think a treadmill session at the gym will be a big problem this time around.

I also could, if feeling okay, get in a strength workout following the treadmill session… as I’ve actually not gone to the gym in a week. I’ve made a point to go home after work, in part because my oft-weary body is adapting to current training and not feeling up to it, and in part because New Year’s Resolutions are still crowding gyms in these initial January weeks so working out may have been too difficult anyway. Crowds may be a bit thinner by now, but even if not the treadmills should be readily available.

I haven’t missed a run workout on my current training plan yet, and I don’t plan to.