Monday, March 14, 2011


Anyone in here?  Sounds kind of quiet...

...OK, I really fell off the blogging habit - no particular reason, except I've been hesitant to post about my running in case I jinxed it.  Seriously, I'm kind of paranoid and superstitious sometimes - go figure..

Plus I know how depressed you all get when it seems like everything's going well with my running and I go and re-injure myself...  ;)

Anyway, I have my report cards done and a few minutes free so here's my training update.

So I last left off on Feb 20 after a successful weekend that included back to back workouts of a 2 hour 17 km long run with a big hill climb, and my first brick of the season.
Feb 20 - 26
I had two more decent mid week runs and then the following weekend, I did another brick and another long run, this time running 18km in 2 hours.  I ran up the hill faster this time, and had a faster pace over all, while still staying in zone 2.

Feb 27 - March 5
For a few days after, my shins were a little sore but not painful - in other words, they didn't feel injured.  That first week of March was really hectic and I wasn't able to get my Tuesday run in, which was just as well. I think my legs needed the rest. Thursday, I barely had any time to run and I only managed a quick 30 min run after work.  It was a rest week so I wasn't too worried about it.  My plan for the weekend was an easy run of 60-75 minutes but my legs were tired again and I think I was improperly fueled.  I ran 9km in one hour and then walked the last km back to the car. 

During this these two weeks, I actually hit the pool once and swam about 1200m in just under 35 minutes.  I felt good and comfortable, like I hadn't really been away from the pool since last August. I know I could go out and swim the 750m for the sprint right now without any trouble.  However, I won't push my luck and I'll start swimming on a regular basis at Spring Break.

I've also been cycling riding the trainer.  I've usually managed to fit in a 60-90 min workout during the week, as well as a 90 min brick ride on the weekends.

I've also been trying to do at least one, and preferably two, strength workouts each week.  One is usually done on Monday, my rest day, and the other, if I can fit it in, is done on Friday.

And this brings us to this past week, March 7-13

I've now jumped up into Base 3 training and it is significantly more difficult than Base 1 and 2. 

Up until now, I've been focussing on building aerobic base, with most of my workouts in zone 2 HR with a focus on drills and good form.

In Base 3, I'm now bringing in Muscular Endurance and Force workouts into the mix.  For the most part, that means hills with HR going into Zone 3-5.

Now you may remember that in the past, I have been forced to avoid speed work and hills when running. However, with my recent running successes, I decided it was time to try adding in a little bit of work to the run.

In fact, I've already found my running fitness has improved greatly. I've been running further and faster while still staying in Zone 2.  That in itself, is an accomplishment.

So this week called for 60-75 min run on Tuesday with 2X5 min hill repeats on a 4-5% grade, with walk/jog downhill recovery.  I did the hill behind my house which is closer to 8-9% (and similar to the one in the race) because it was just the right length to run in 5 minutes. My HR was jacked way up there but my legs felt ok.  I finished off the run in zone 1-2 and had time for 55 min in total. Not bad for my first attempt.

On Wednesday, I rode the trainer for 90 minutes. My legs were tired from the run on Tuesday but I forced myself to do it. After a good warm up, I did 2X5 min hard, in a big gear, HR Zone 4 with 2 min recovery. Then I finished with zone 2 to finish up the 90 min. Cadence was 88-90 rpm.

On Thursday, I was to run 60-75 min AE (zone 2). I ran the flats and finished up 10km in about 1:04, which is my fastest 10km ever.  Now, I've never raced a 10km and I'm pretty sure I could come close to, or beat an hour, in a 10km race, but I was very happy to have this pace for a training run.

Friday should have been a spin and/or strength workout but it was a hectic evening and by the time I got home, it was late, and I was tired and hungry so I rested instead. Since I had a big weekend ahead, I think it was a good decision.

Saturday - brick again.  90 minutes bike and 15 min run.  This time, my bike was strong, and my run was too. 15 minutes, 2.6 km - 5:45 km pace (9:15 min mile).

Sunday - another long run - this time 2:15-2:30 was the plan.  I decided to more or less run the whole half marathon route. This is the route I'll be running in two weeks as a training race.

This would be a good time to test fuel, water, and pacing for the race.  I parked the car near the 7/12 km point of the race and ran the flats out and back to the 7km mark, then did the actual route with the big hill, then finished on the flats. This simulated the course elevation and allowed me to refill my water bottle at the half way point.  I carried one electrolyte tablet that I popped into my bottle when I did the refill, and I carried a gel flask with two servings of Hammer Espresso gel which I took at 45 and 90 min mars.  That worked out really well because I started climbing the hill about 10 minutes after taking the gel and I felt really strong.  The second shot at the 1:30 mark, gave me the power to end the run strong.

My goal was to start cautiously around the 6:30/km mark until the hill, try to stay under 7:00/km up the hill, and then keep it steady until the last 3-5 km when I would try to pick up the pace.  I think I was more than successful.

Here are my splits, more or less:

6:19, 6:17, 6:21, 6:29, 6:28, 6:29, 6:37
6:32, 6:41, 6:28, 6:34, 6:34, 6:36, 6:39,
6:40, 6:29, 6:28, 6:15, 5:45, 5:49, 5:51

As you can see, I started off faster than I wanted and was finally able to rein it in after a couple of km.  I hit the hill hard at 8-9 km mark and my avg pace was great.  I think I went a bit too hard though, because from km 13-15, I slowed down a bit too much.  After I took the 2nd gel, I felt strong again and I was really able to kick ass for the last 3 km.

I was in HR zone 2 for the entire run except that last 3 km when I bumped it up to Zone 3.

Overall, I did about 2:15 for 21.1 km.  That is almost a 10 minute PR from my October half marathon in Victoria and I think it means I can set a realistic goal of 2:15 for the Okanagan College Half Marathon on March 27.  This only difference then will be that I have to use race time to refill my water bottle and I could lose a minute doing that. (For my training run, my Garmin shut off when I was stopped at the car.)

My goal for the half is to do 6:30's for the first 2-3 km, then speed up to 6:20-6:25.  I will try to stay at 6:30 up the hill, not faster, so I don't lose too much on the downhill and recovery kms after. Then I will push hard (5:45's) for the last 3 kms like I did in my training run.

This coming weekend, I am supposed to do another 2:00-2:30 run but I will play that by ear. If my legs are still really tired, I may cut it back 1:30-2:00 and I will definitely run easy - no hard push at the end.

I am really finding this is one big experiment and I'm having lots of fun.  My legs are pretty trashed this morning (Monday) and my ankle (PTT) was sore last night and today. I don't think it's a big issue - it seems to hurt after all my long runs but it only lasts a day or two.  We shall see. I have an ART appt with the chiro on Thursday so I plan to ask her about that. In the meantime I have it taped up with KT Tape.

Bye for now...  :)


Petraruns said...

Just listened to your latest podcast - delighted that your training is going well and - knock on wood- no injuries and the shins are holding up. Your training plan is really interesting and the only thing I can really comment on is the running. In my experience it was not until I started doing speed and tempo workouts that I really started to improve - however hard they are they really work. Sounds like everything's ticking along nicely for you right now - keep that up! Was going to write you an iTunes UK review but realised that of the 2 reviews there the most recent one is from me anyway so that would be a bit lame - but keep up the podcast, I'm loving it.

Kabekona Tri Girl said...

Great training!!!! And if you're doing a 2:15 in training...I suspect you will go faster in the race. I know you have a competitiveness in you. :) Wow, you're really kicking butt, great job!