Tag Archives: marathon training

Checking In 10/5/2021

While I’m ultimately not going to Vancouver this month, I am still training for Indy, and taking it a bit slow the last couple of days after a lengthy Saturday workout.

I ran a couple of slow work break runs yesterday but otherwise did no other running. I got on the elliptical yesterday and worked a full hour, but that was all.

Tonight I will look to actually do an outside training run in Vegas for the first time in a bit. All my other running has been fairly short, obviously, and this time I’m looking for 4-7 miles. I’m thinking of parking at the gym and then running near the gym (again, I want to avoid the treadmill for now) so afterward I can quickly get inside and perhaps lift a bit, but definitely stretch.

This training cycle I have made a concerted effort to stretch in the gym before and after workouts (sometimes during workouts). I don’t do anything fancy. The only dynamic stretching I do before and after is leg swings. After workouts and after leg swings I find the stretch chair and do all the listed stretches except for the quad stretch, which I do while standing James Dunne style.

Making a point to do this after treadmill runs and elliptical workouts has probably helped me quite a bit in ways I can’t totally articulate right now. I’ve probably improved my anterior hip mobility, which was likely a contributing factor in my hamstring and groin problems earlier. Even now, that same hamstring tendon is a bit sore but nothing like it was during my prior recovery.

So I’d like to make a point to stretch before and after outdoor runs, and running near the gym facilitates that since I can just walk in and stretch when I’m done. Even when I run in the park, I can find a bench and approximate a lot of the static stretches there afterward, but it’s admittedly easier and more relaxing when I have the stretch chair.


Also, apparently, my gym just soft-opened a new location near where I work. I may go eat lunch near there and then hit the gym for 20 minutes.

If this works well, I may do this twice a week. I’d go more often but my gym sets a max limit on outside visits to one non-home gym, which I’d easily hit if I went every day. I do like my main gym and still visit almost every day, so I don’t want to switch home-gym locations.


When the scale shows I’ve gained weight but that my estimated body fat has gone down, that’s a good sign, especially days after a long workout. It usually means my muscles have reloaded their glycogen stores.

At this point I’m cruising around 176-179 pounds, and I’ve accepted that this number’s not likely to go down much before Indy. The required balance between suitably fueling training volume and everyday life with trying to shed excess fat means there’s only so much I can expect to do on that end right now.


Storms have reached town this morning so we’ll see if I get a work break run in this morning, though I think they’ll clear before the afternoon.

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Checking In 10/4/2021

Yesterday I ground out 80 minutes on the elliptical and (for the first time in a week or so) strength training. My legs still a little bit sore this morning, but nothing that should stop me from training.

… well, nothing but forgetting my running shorts! Again! I did this a couple weeks ago, and though going home to get them after work and then going to the gym isn’t a hassle, doing so does waste valuable time and limits what I can do when I get to the gym.

I like to form habits that avoid forgetting things like this. For example, I’ll stow key items for work in my backpack so I don’t end up forgetting them, since I take my backpack to work and they’ll obviously be there.

The only reason I haven’t done the same for my shorts is when I get home I usually just came from the gym so I’m wearing them. I don’t always think to take them off and put them in my backpack. I should, obviously.

I only own a couple pairs of shorts anyway, so perhaps this is a sign to go before work or during lunch and buy another pair of training shorts. Then when I get home I can stash two pairs of my shorts in the bag so I have an “emergency pair”.

Tonight I’m riding the elliptical and strength training again, and will see how I feel tomorrow, when Vegas should be a lot cooler and the post-work evening should be closer to training conditions. Presuming I feel okay and the temperatures are acceptable, I have plans to run and then possibly sneak over to the gym afterward.

With 33 days to go until Indy, even after 3+ hours of training Saturday I remain concerned about readiness for the race. The main goal this week is to knock out back to back to back 45-90 minute aerobic or running sessions, and possibly get some of that running done outside.

If I get to Thursday feeling okay and having trained well I’ll see how long I can go this weekend, though Plan A right now is not to go terribly long Saturday or Sunday. So if I’m not feeling up to a long workout, then it fits, so long as I get in 45+ minute sessions both weekend days. The next weekend in Vancouver will include a long workout.

If possible I’m going to once again stay off the treadmill. I got what I needed out of it this weekend, and while the workouts were strong and beneficial, I don’t want to push any injury risks if running outside is going to do my body better.

More to come.

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Checking In 10/3/2021

Yesterday I spent about four hours at the gym, with 3:20 of that on the treadmill and elliptical.

I wanted to spend a full three hours running on the treadmill, but about 67 minutes in I felt a twinge in my right hamstring that didn’t quickly disappear. So I shut down running and moved to the elliptical, where I could work pain free, and spent another 2 hours 13 working at a high zone 1 low zone 2 effort.

I was tired when finished and understandably stiff but not in any pain beyond workout soreness, and this morning while sore I don’t feel at all beat up. After relaxing a bit, I’m going to strength train and ride the elliptical for 80 minutes today, and we’ll see how I’m feeling tomorrow morning. That my right hamstring is not bothering me much at all (beyond feeling a bit sore, like the rest of me) and I can move normally tells me I shut it down at the right time.

Was it running on the treadmill once again? Not really… I wasn’t struggling at all with my steady easy run, and the brief surges every 9-10 minutes weren’t terribly fast or difficult. If the twinge didn’t suddenly appear I wouldn’t have had much trouble (beyond fatigue, obviously) running that way for a full three hours.

The only possible thing I can imagine led to it was that I paused the treadmill for a bit to take fluid and fuel. While pausing the treadmill was planned and helped recover, doing that resets all the treadmill settings (a bug/feature of these mills).

While I obviously got the treadmill back up to speed, I forgot to restore the 1.0 incline I had originally set, and that may have caused some undue strain in the later minutes. An incline generally helps reduce the needed extension on your stride, which is easier on your body even if climbing takes a bit more effort. The pounding of running on the mill can be exacerbated by this lack of incline by causing a hamstring-constrictive overstride.

I also noticed the twinge happened during one of the 30 second surges. The surges were a bit faster than I had originally planned, but were still comfortable, and I think the incline might have been a bigger factor. It probably didn’t help, though.

Finally, it’s worth noting I ran the workout in my Topo ST-3’s, which are minimalist low-drop shoes. There was no support, which I usually prefer. But that probably contributed to any extra pounding from the above issues. I don’t know for sure that a more supportive shoe would have avoided the problem (a bigger sole could have caused an easier heel strike that would have produced more of the aforementioned overstride). But fatigue usually exacerbates any pounding from the lack of support, and while not causing the problem I imagine that didn’t help.

I will probably test out a work break run on Monday and that should give me a good idea of whether I need more rest, or it will be fine as long as I’m not on a treadmill.

Some good news is Vegas will finally cool below 80 degree (F) highs this week, so I can probably run outside after work again. Monday will still be a bit warm in the low/mid 80’s, but Tuesday after work will be around 75 degrees, which works great. If I run on pavement and stay off the treadmill, I can probably avoid further trouble. A couple of turns on The Big Loop this week will be good for my fitness and form.


Side note, and this is probably a good time to have started this, but I started taking RejuvenZyme, a blend of systemic enzymes that aid in recovery through combatting inflammation and actually consuming excess scar tissue. The Tissue Rejuvenator I currently take does have some of these enzymes, but like most supplements they exist more for digestion than any recovery aid.

The particular unique enzymes in RejuvenZyme are Chymotrypsin and Serrapeptase. These are hard to find in any vitamin or supplement blend, as most producers focus on digestive enzymes (which are not hard to find). You usually have to get each separately and take them with your stack, but I was fortunate to find a blend that has all of them plus some other essentials that work with them like Bromelain and Papain. It wasn’t cheap (the bottle of 120 I got was about $48), and no one really carries it: I had to go to a specialty store in West Las Vegas aptly called Stay Healthy(!) to find them.

But if this does work for me, I do think I’ll recover quicker and avoid exercise-related inflammation. Plus, of course, it would help with whatever issue popped up yesterday, and speed along its healing.

For now, I’m taking it mostly easy today aside from the planned cross training workout. Maybe I’ll take a nap. Busy week of training starts tomorrow, with rest days Thursday and Sunday, though it’s a down week so Saturday’s training isn’t currently planned to be terribly long. The real hammer week will be the following week, ending with my planned Vancouver getaway. After that, we head downhill into the taper for Indy.

More to come.

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Checking In 10/2/2021

There won’t be an outdoor run today. The weather was fine, but I clearly needed to sleep in quite a bit, which for me is until about 6:30am, and at that point it’s far too late in the morning to get to starting a long run and not end up in too hot conditions for the run to go fine.

So the plan today and tomorrow is to work on the treadmill at easy pace to marathon pace, by swinging two workouts. Plan A was to do a long run of about 16-18 miles today and an hour of running tomorrow, and in each I’d stop and walk after 2 miles for fluid and fuel, as I will when I run Indy.

Workout 1 is an easy interval style long run, running most of it at an easy, slow pace where every 10 minutes I’d briefly surge to marathon pace, then dial back to easy pace. I’d pause every 20 minutes for fluid and fuel, then resume. Obviously the gym treadmills stop at one hour, so that break would be a bit longer, but I’d restart and get right back at it until I’ve done three hours.

However, if not feeling like death, the 3rd hour would increase 15 minutes in from easy pace running to marathon pace running, with 30 second surges to Easy Interval pace every 10 minutes. Again, I’d stop every 20 minutes for fluid and fuel as before.

Workout 2 is a marathon pace workout that should take about 80-90 minutes, and basically practices the mechanics of race day. I start with marathon pace, then slow to a walk at 2 miles to take fluid and fuel. Once situated I get back to marathon pace until I get to 4 miles, then stop the treadmill outright for fluid and fuel in a more extended break. Once ready, I restart the treadmill and repeat the process, ultimately doing four long marathon intervals of about 2 miles each. The reason I don’t do a full hour ending with a runout is I want to simulate the true mechanics of running between the Indy aid stations, and ending each hour with a shorter run-out screws that up.

I could start on the treadmill today and find it won’t work for my body to go 3 hours today, so then I could pivot to Workout 2 and only do an hour, maybe only do three 2-mile intervals since I’ll have been running a bit by that point, then take it easy the rest of the day and go for the long Workout 1 tomorrow.

However, Workout 1 today and Workout 2 tomorrow is the plan for now, and I believe that can work just fine. If I get through this weekend with both completed as planned, I’m in very good shape for Indy given where I was a month ago.

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Checking In 10/1/2021

Yesterday’s treadmill workout ended up being a total success. Who knew.

I had briefly considered running outside at the park after work, as it was somewhat cool for Vegas outside, but when I got off work the sun turned out a bit too hot for that, so I went with Plan A and headed to the gym.

Plan A turned out just fine, even though the workout ended up taking after 7pm to finish, around 90 minutes of total time at the gym.

On the treadmill I ran a kilometer (I set the machine to show me kilometers instead of miles) at a pace defined according to my projected 10K effort by charts in Klaas Lok’s Easy interval Method (between 5.9 and 6.3 mph), then stopped for water and then jogged an easy kilometer at a much slower recovery pace. I repeated this process four times for 8K total, then finished with a “run-out” where I ran above the top pace (6.4mph) until I got to 60 total minutes of running. It turned out the run-out was a 5th kilometer interval, as I got to 9K right before the hour was up.

The workout while tiring felt good and none of the intervals were any sort of agony, never felt like I wanted them to be over. I got great practice at faster paces but not so fast that I couldn’t be sure if I could finish the workout. I guess this workout is a keeper!

On my recovery intervals I experimented with what I project to be my marathon pace, holding it for about 200-300 meters before fading back to recovery pace, as it wasn’t too much faster than the recovery pace (it’s certainly below the interval paces). This wasn’t at all difficult, so that’s a good sign.

The next treadmill workout will probably be extended marathon pace intervals, to simulate the rhythm of race day at Indy next month. I plan to run station to station, and then slow to a walk for fluid and fuel at each aid station. This will require about 10-20 minutes of running between the stations, then about 30 seconds of walking.

So for marathon intervals I run 20 minute intervals (simulating only the longest distances between stations will make the shorter ones feel easier) with 30 second walk breaks to take in water and fuel.

This can be an easier, more aerobic workout, while the easy intervals are more of a strength-endurance workout. These can be alternated during midweek. If I need to bring a long workout indoors, at this point it makes the most sense to do the marathon intervals in multiple hour-long chunks and try to at least get to 17 miles.

Today is a full rest day, and tomorrow I’d like to attempt an early morning outdoor long run. But if anything goes awry or it gets too late to start the workout, I could move it indoor and give the multi-hour intervals a shot then.

Overall, it feels great to be doing some serious run training once again, and Indy feels within reach as of now. Even though the long workouts will tell me how close I am to ready, I’m liking my chances.

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Checking In 9/30/2021

Other than a spur of the moment afternoon work break run, yesterday was a full day off from training. I had to do my laundry last night, and that gave me a convenient excuse to come straight home and not go to the gym. I had a good dinner and slept reasonably well, even if I did wake up early today.

Today I’m gunning for running a good 7-8 miles, which would be the most midweek running miles I’ve logged since the end of June. I’ll run on at least one work break, and the main plan is to do what I did Tuesday, with a full Phillips-style walk/run warmup, then 60 minutes of 1000 meter easy intervals on the treadmill with a run-out to finish a full hour (an interval run until the clock hits 1:00:00).

If this works as intended (which given how Tuesday went I’m thinking it will), I’ll finish the day with roughly 7.5 miles. Tomorrow is another scheduled day off before a long workout Saturday, so even if today is really tough to get through I’ll have all of tomorrow to recover.

If I get through the weekend feeling reasonably good (I expect to feel somewhat weary and work-sore), I’ll likely do at least three of these next week and cross train in-between as well as through any rough patches.

The plan is to stay in town for the next couple weekends (I could be swayed to travel next weekend but the plan is to stay for now). I’ll bring fuel for the long Saturday workout, so if I can log the intended mileage and recover in reasonable time I think I’ll be in a good place training-wise. I’ll be able to log at least two more long weekend workouts (obviously the Vancouver trip will be one), if not another long workout next weekend (which is a swing weekend: I’ll see how I’m feeling and if I need that to be more of a break, I’ll take it).

Vegas mornings have cooled off considerably, and while it’s still a bit warm to go long (high 60’s Fahrenheit in the mornings) the conditions are decent enough to go for it. If the wildfire smoke comes back, the current treadmill format might be suitable for a long workout, or at least part of it on the treadmill with long cross training behind it.

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Checking in 9/29/2021

Yesterday I got back on the treadmill for the first time in two months, and used the run/walk sequences I mentioned yesterday to run about 5.5 miles.

I mentioned yesterday I thought my hamstring issues were directly related to running on the treadmill. My 2019 injury actually happened while running on a treadmill. And my more recent hamstring problem began two days after my longest workout ever on a treadmill (12.2 miles). So I decided I’d avoid the treadmill going forward.

That is, until this week, with the Caldor smoke still causing Vegas problems, and I realized I wasn’t going to get any quality pollution-free running unless I went inside and figured out some way to safely get quality mileage on the treadmill. I could run slow on the treadmill but that’s simply not going to help me get ready at this stage. But I couldn’t just go non-stop or extended periods at marathon pace or faster. I figured if I built walk breaks in with faster running, that would give my legs enough breaks to minimize the risk of creating or restoring any problems.

I did feel some pressure in my hamstrings as the workout progressed, but I always had a walk break coming up and it always went away with some easy walking. I still feel like I’m playing with fire when I use the treadmill, but I’m going to use it this way and see how far I can go with it for now.

Today is a scheduled rest day, and while I considered riding the spin bike at the gym tonight, I also have to do laundry and some other tasks at home tonight so it’s going to be a full rest day. Vegas got some wind that reportedly blew away the smoke overnight, but it’s hard to tell this morning as it’s partly cloudy (actual weather clouds, not the smoke). I don’t smell any smoke, though, so that’s a good sign. I might go take one work break run, but will otherwise walk and rest. I feel generally tired this morning so I probably could use rest.

I had a trip planned for this weekend but will probably nix it and mix up a long workout at the gym Saturday. I might even remember my headphones this time!

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