Monday, December 29, 2014

December 22 - 28 Training

Mon: 8.6 miles easy with 3x30s pick-ups (6:53). Threw in some 30sec pick-ups to get a little leg turnover.  

Tue: 10.5 miles with 6 miles of .33/.67 miles hard/easy (6:54).  Goal was to run the .33 mile at 5:00-5:10 pace, which I had no problem doing. Splits were 1:37, 1:41, 1:42, 1:40, 1:42, and 1:43.  

Wed: 10.2 miles with 8 mile progression from 6:30-6:15. Felt very comfortable, smooth and easy. Ran the 8-mile progression in 50:41 - 6:20 pace. Splits were 6:29, 6;29, 6:22, 6:23, 6:18, 6:16, 6:13, and 6:15.

Thu: 9.8 miles easy (6:58)

Fri: 8.1 miles easy with 6x30s pick-ups (7:08). For some reason I chose to run the pick-ups on the hilly portion of the run.  Not sure why, but it felt good.  

Sat: 16 miles long run (6:44). Ran in Williamsburg, VA. I thought that I'd run most of the miles at 6:50-7:00, but by mile 4 I was running very comfortable and easily hitting 6:30-6:40ish pace.  Was nice to run in historical Williamsburg. 

Sun: 7.2 miles easy (7:12). Nice and easy in downtown Williamsburg and around the William and Mary College campus.  I think I strained a chest muscle in my upper right chest when I stopped at an intersection and stretched my upper body. Guess it was a sign that I should be stretching my legs and not my upper body.  

Weekly Total: 70.4 miles on 7 runs/7 days
Pretty good volume considering it's my 3rd week following the marathon.  The body and legs feel completely recovered from CIM.  
I'll end 2014 with just over 3400 miles, about 66 miles/week.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

December 15 - 21 Training

Mon: 4.1 miles easy with 2x30s pick-ups (7:14)

Tue: APFT: push-ups - 105, sit-ups - 103, 2-mile - 10:35; 3.1 miles easy (7:40). 
It was a scheduled day off from running but I had my semi-annual Army Physical Fitness Test. I haven't done much push-ups and sit-ups over the last couple months, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm glad it went well and I still broke 100 reps. The 2-mile run felt like a good hard tempo. Ran 5:23 and 5:12 splits.

Wed: 7 miles easy (7:02)

Thu: 8.1 miles easy with 4x30s pick-ups (7:02). Felt good and smooth.

Fri: Did no run. Scheduled day off as part of recovery. Massage. 

Sat: 12.2 miles long run (6:50). Felt nice and easy

Sun: 5 miles easy (7:15)

Weekly Total: 41.5 miles on 6 runs/6 days
It was a good week of recovery. I should be ready to transition to some moderate workouts over the next couple weeks.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

CIM Marathon Training Review

I achieved great success at the California International Marathon (CIM) and it would be a shame if I didn't capture all the things that went well or didn't go so well during my marathon training and CIM race.  

What I did well:
  • Coach. I've been self-coached the past couple years using a mixture of Greg McMillan's training philosophy and Jack Daniel's Running Formula (book).  While I had good success as a self-coached athlete (56th Overall at 2012 Boston, 3rd Place at 2013 Boston2BigSur Challenge, 3rd Place 2014 All-American Marathon), I felt that I needed a coach not only to stay discipline and keep me accountable, but more importantly I felt I needed and wanted to try a different training structure.  Deep inside I wanted to get back to running sub-2:35 or hopefully a PR for the marathon, but knew I would need some guidance and coaching.  Thanks to Coach Scott Wietecha (2:17 Marathon, 63 Half) I was able to run a new PR and break my own Guam National Marathon Record.
  • Miles.  While I've always been a moderate to high-mileage runner, I only averaged about 70-80 miles/week with a few weeks at 80-95 during my previous marathon training cycles.  This time around, during the 18 weeks of training (not including a 2-wk taper) leading up to CIM, I ran 5 weeks at 80-89 miles, 11 weeks at 90-99 miles and one (1) week over 100 miles.  I averaged 89.7 miles during the 18-week marathon training cycle.  
  • Running doubles.  I ran more doubles as part of my mileage increase.  A normal training week consisted of about 11-13 workouts.  It may seem like I had a lot of time on my schedule to run, but that wasn't the case.  During the work week, I would normally have to run my first workout as early as 4:30-5:30am and my second workout during lunch or after work.  On double-days, my 2nd workout was no more than 4-5 miles at a very easy pace.  
  • Take it Easy.  I actually ran "EASY" on my easy days.  After seeing how slow and easy Scott was running his easy runs, I figured I should run my easy runs easier.  I averaged 7:00 pace or slower on my easy runs, whereas I used to average about 6:40-7:00 pace.  The slower pace running allowed me to increase the mileage without feeling very fatigue and saved the legs for the faster workouts.    

  • Progression Runs.  I ran a lot of my quality workouts as a progression run.  It didn't matter if it was an interval session on the track, mile repeats, tempo run, or marathon pace workout, I ran or tried to run a faster pace as the workout progressed.  This was key because it taught me how to be patient early and to save the faster running for the second half of the workout/race, therefore running negative splits.   CIM was a perfect example: I ran negative split halves of 1:16:41 and 1:15:48, with the last 10K being my fastest section of the marathon.  
  • Long Runs.  I alternated my weekly long runs between normal long runs and long run variations mostly on rolling terrain to simulate the CIM course.  The long run variations included workouts at marathon effort/pace or faster.  There were a couple long run workouts that I thought were key during my train-up.  One was an 18-miler at 4300 ft elevation that consisted of 5x2 miles at marathon effort.  Each 2-mile rep was faster than the previous.  The other key long run workout contained 10 miles of 1/2 mile steady (6:15-6:20pace) followed by 1/2 mile hard (5:30-5:40ish pace) on rolling hills.  I also ran many of my long runs without taking in any fuel (electrolytes, gels, etc.), i.e. glycogen-depleting long runs, which teaches the body to metabolize fat more efficiently and enables runners to maintain race pace longer.   
  • Altitude Training.  I was fortunate to get in 5 solid weeks of moderate altitude (3900 ft) training while at Fort Bliss (El Paso), TX for work.  Studies have shown that moderate altitude training improves performance.  (Zap Fitness trains at moderate altitude of 3500-4000 ft.) I'm sure I reaped some benefits from the 5 weeks of altitude training.  I averaged just under 93 miles/week and got in some very good quality sessions.  
  • Nutrition. I stuck to what works for me.  I always took in my Herbalife24 (HL24) Rebuild Endurance recovery shake immediately after my workout.  Pre-race: I ate lots of carbs the two nights before the race and stayed hydrated.  On the morning of the race I had my usual pre-race meal: bagel, HL24 Formula 1 Sport shake, yogurt, banana and coffee.  During the race, I consumed a total of 5 PowerGels and 1 GU (offered on the course).  I also alternated my hydration between an electrolyte drink (Nuun) and water at each aid station.  I think I only skipped one aid station.  
  • Race strategy.  I think the one thing I'm good at with marathons is running my own race.  It's very rare that I'll get suckered into going out too hard or running faster than I should be running.  At CIM, I was patient early in the race and did not push the pace even when things felt very easy and comfortable.  Obviously, it paid off because I ran a huge negative split and did not die in the end.  
Run your own race.

What I can do better at:
  • Stretching.  I'm horrible at it.  I'll be honest, I did almost no stretching besides maybe some calf and quad stretches (for about 15 sec) immediately after my runs.  I don't think it's a matter of not wanting to do it, but not having the time to do it (excuses).    
  • Core exercises or cross-training.  I'm usually good about doing my core exercises or some cross-training, but during this training cycle I was not consistent with doing them.    I need to get back at it to ensure I stay injury-free.
  • Races.  I like to run races, but it didn't seem like I raced much or maybe I did.  I think I felt like I didn't race much because I ran most of my races (ran a total of 4 races between Jul-Nov), besides Philly Half, as tempo runs or hard workouts.  
With CIM in the books, it's now time to look ahead towards my next big race, 2015 Boston Marathon.  My plan is to continue doing the things I did well for CIM and improve on the things I didn't do so well.  I already started incorporating some structured stretching after my runs.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 8 - 14 Training

Mon: Did not run (DNR); Marathon recovery. Legs are a little sore and tight, but not nearly as bad as I felt after previous marathons.

Tue: DNR

Wed: DNR

Thu: 4 miles very easy (7:44). Legs still a little sore and tight, but other than that I felt good.

Fri: 7 miles easy (7:10). Still on recovery. Felt good and smooth. 

Sat: 6.6 miles easy (7:11). Happy with how the legs felt.  

Sun: 10.1 miles easy (6:50)

Weekly Total: 27.7 miles on 4 runs/4 days
I'll use the next few weeks to recover and then transition to some moderate workouts and start getting ready for Boston.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

California International Marathon (CIM)

I was really looking forward to CIM. I had an excellent build up, trained hard and was eager to redeem myself after a couple sub-par marathons earlier this year. My 1:13 Philly half-marathon in September followed by five solid weeks of moderate altitude training in El Paso indicated I was fit and ready to run close to or faster than my personal best. My main goal entering this race was to run 2:35 or better, which I haven't done in over 3 years. However, in the back of my mind, I truly wanted to run a new marathon personal best. CIM was the right marathon to take a shot at a new marathon PR because of its fast course (but not easy) and the depth of runners in the 2:30s. 

I woke up at 4am and went downstairs to the hotel dining area for breakfast. I had my usual pre-race meal: a bagel with peanut butter and jelly, yogurt, banana, Herbalife24 Formula 1 Sport shake and a cup of coffee. An hour later I hopped on the runners' shuttle bus to Folsom. When we got to Folsom I remained on the bus to stay warm and hydrated with Herbalife24 Prolong. About 30 minutes before the start I went for a mile jog, did some strides and then headed to the start line. At the start I lined up about five rows back so I wouldn't take off like I was running a 5K. 

When the race started I slowly settled into what felt like marathon pace/effort, around 5:50-5:55 pace. About a mile into the race, I found myself running alongside a pack of about 8-10 girls.  I'm sure the girls were all aiming for the US Olympic Marathon Trials A (2:37) or B (2:43) Standard. I asked the guy leading the pack what pace he was running, and he responded with 2:37 and that he was running the entire marathon. I was actually surprised because we had split Mile 1 at 5:52, which in my mind was a little too fast for a 2:37 marathon. The pacer might have realized it because I didn't see him or the pack of girls shortly after. (I later read that a total of 20 US women and 10 men qualified for the 2016 Olympics Marathon Trials.)

I clicked off mostly 5:52's for the first 6 miles (5:52, 5:53, 5:49, 5:52, 5:49, and 5:52) feeling comfortable and smooth.  At 4 miles I was 10 meters behind a pack of about 12 runners which was being led by Michael Wardian.  Mike had competed in the North Face Endurance 50-miler in San Francisco the day before. I'm not sure if he even had time to clean up after the 50-miler.  The guy's a Beast!  I thought about putting in a surge to catch up to the pack, but decided not to since I was more focused on running my own race.  It was the right decision because within a few miles after the 10K mark, which I crossed in 36:31, the pack began to string out and I eventually overtook most of the runners with the exception of Mike and a couple other guys. I took my first gel at 5.5 miles.

I hit the half-marathon mark in 1:16:41 still feeling great.  The hills in the first half were noticeable, but not steep or long enough to break up my rhythm. The hill I remember most was the semi steep hill on Sunrise Blvd around 10.5 miles.  The steep hill is part of the San Juan Hills which rolls from miles 10.5 to 13.  Approaching Sunrise Blvd we ran ran downhill and then climbed a hill that was about a 1/4 mile long.  I think my strong hill running ability showed here because I ran splits of 5:47, 5:48 and 5:51 on the San Juan Hills (11-13 miles).  I was well prepared for the hills and the rolling course because 1) my coach (Scott) put together a solid training schedule that incorporated some intense training on rolling terrain, and 2) I trained on hills that were steeper in grade and longer than the CIM hills.  I took my second gel at the 13 mile mark. Splits for Miles 7-13 were: 5:52, 5:56, 5:54, 5:47, 5:47, 5:48, and 5:51.  

Miles 14-20 were uneventful.  I continued to throw down splits between 5:47-5:53 (5:53, 5:53, 5:48, 5:52, 5:51, 5:43, and 5:50).  During this stretch of the race I took in a gel at miles 16.5 and 19.4.  At Mile 20 (1:56:57 - 5:51 pace), I was still feeling good, but was a little worried I'd suddenly encounter a cramp in my legs.  In my last two marathons (2014 Boston Marathon and All-American Marathon), I cramped badly between 18-20 miles and suffered through the last 10K of those races.  I didn't want to experience the suffering again.  

Around Mile 21, I passed the women's pre-race favorite and 2:27 marathoner, Renee Metivier Baillie.  I was surprised and felt bad to see Renee, because she was hoping to take down the 2:29 course record and was obviously not having a good day.  Shortly after passing Renee I had a little scare.  I felt a minor twinge on my left hamstring, almost as if a cramp was about to happen.  To fight off the developing cramp, I took in my last gel (carried 5 with me) and some Nuun, an electrolyte drink offered on the course.    The gel and electrolytes must have helped because I didn't break a stride and ran splits of 5:48 and 5:49 for Miles 21 and 22.  On the 23rd mile, I felt another twinge on the same spot.  Luckily, there was an aid station at 23.5 miles that offered GU.  I took a GU and drank two cups of Nuun at the aid station.  The fuel must have worked again because I ran 5:43 and 5:48 for Miles 23 and 24.  I don't know what flavor of GU it was, but it didn't taste all that good and I really didn't care.  I just didn't want to cramp this late in the race when I was on pace to run a PR.
With only a couple more miles to go, I kept telling myself to relax and stay focus.  Around Mile 25, I caught up to Mike Wardian and briefly chatted with him.  For some reason, seeing and catching up to Mike gave me a boost of confidence.  I told Mike that I was having a good race and was on pace to run a PR.  He told me to Go Get It!  Mike finished in an impressive 2:33 following a 50-miler. Impressive!  Mile 25 was a 5:48. In the last mile, I pretty much gave it my all.  With about a half mile to the finish, I passed the 3rd place female, Kristen Zaitz, and was closing in on the 2nd place female, Jane Kibii.  Unfortunately, I ran out of real estate and could not overtake Jane.  My Mile 26 split (5:33) was the fastest split of the race.  

The CIM Finish can be heart-breaking to runners because you can't see the finish line from 8th St.  It's not until runners make the turn onto Capitol Mall that they'll see the finish about 50 meters ahead.  When I turned onto Capitol Mall I saw the clock read 2:32:xx.  I was so happy I started celebrating by throwing fist pumps in the air as I approached the finish.  I crossed the finish with an official time of 2:32:29, a personal best by 1:21.  

CIM Finish.

As my coach said, I ran this race like a pro.  I've ran negative splits for the marathon a few times, but I've never ran almost a minute faster for the 2nd half.  I ran the 1st and 2nd halves of the race in 1:16:41 and 1:15:48, a 53 second negative split.  I also ran the last 10K of the race in 35:32 (5:44 pace), which is the fastest 10K split in all of my marathons.  Below are my official splits and GPS splits:

Mile  Split
1       5:52
2       5:53
3       5:49
4       5:52
5       5:49
6       5:52
7       5:52
8       5:56
9       5:54
10     5:47
11     5:47
12     5:48
13     5:51
14     5:53
15     5:53
16     5:48
17     5:52
18     5:51
19     5:43
20     5:50
21     5:49
22     5:50
23     5:47
24     5:43
25     5:48
26     5:33

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

December 1 - 7 Training

Mon: 6.2 miles easy (7:18)

Tue: 8.2 miles with 2x2 miles at MP (5:50-5:55). Felt good and comfortable. First 2M was in 11:38 (5:48, 5:50) and the 2nd in 11:39 (5:49, 5:50).  The legs felt like it wanted to go faster but I tried to stay within range. 

Wed: 6.2 miles easy (7:29) I ran sort of a hilly route so I would run very easy. 

Thu: 7.2 miles with 2x1/2 mile at half-marathon effort with 1/2 mile easy. Leg turnover felt good.  I didn't worry about splits but it was nice to know that I ran 5:30 pace, which is what the effort felt like.  

Fri: 3 miles very easy (7:38)

Sat: 4 miles easy with 2x30s pick-ups (7:30)

Sun: 27.2 miles with California International Marathon (CIM) in 2:32:29, 64th Overall & 6th AG. It was a new Personal Best by 1:21 and new Guam National Record for the Marathon. As my coach said, I ran this race like a Pro.  My half splits were 1:16:41 & 1:15:48, the last 10K in 35:32 (5:43 pace), and the last mile in 5:33.  

Weekly Total: 62 miles in 7 days/7 runs
CIM was by far my best executed race.  I was patient, ran comfortable early and then dropped the pace in the later part of the race.  Race report to follow.  

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

November 17 - 30 Training

November 17 - 23

Mom: AM – 6 miles easy (7:34)

Tue: 8.2 miles eas with 6x30s pick-ups

Wed: AM – 9.5 miles with 14x60s on/off.  Weather was crap – cold (39 deg) and rainy.  Ran the fartlek on rolling terrain with the on portion at 10K effort and the off portion moderate.  Averaged 5:20 and 6:30 for the on/off portions.  PM – Skipped run. Traveled through a winter storm for the Thanksgiving weekend.  

Thu: 6.4 miles easy (7:06). Lots of snow in Lexington MA, but as expected the roads were cleared.  

Fri: 12 miles with 5 miles moderate at 6:35-6:30 followed by 5 miles at MP 5:50-5:55. The 5 miles moderate (32:30 – 6:30 pace) felt comfortable. The next 5 miles at MP felt controlled, but not as smooth as I’d hoped for.  Splits for the MP portion were 5:47, 5:48, 5:54, 5:49, 5:50 (34:08 – 5:50 pace). 

Sat: 8 miles easy (7:12)

Sun: 15 miles long run (6:54). Ran out (52:30) and back (50:48) on the Minuteman Trail.  Pretty amazing that the trail was cleared of snow.  There were some slick spots from black ice but nothing to worry about.  

Weekly Total: 65.1 miles on 7 runs/7 days
One week down one more to go.  Legs are starting to freshen up from the decrease in volume.  


November 23 - 30

Mon: AM – 8.3 miles with 4x30s pick-ups (7:00);  PM – 4.2 miles easy (7:05)

Tue: AM – 11.5 miles with 4 mile Tempo (22:34 – 5:38 pace) and 4x400m uphill sprints.  Plan was to run the 4M tempo at 5:35 pace and the 400m uphill sprints at about mile effort.  It was so cold (12deg RealFeel) I considered running the tempo on the treadmill.  However, I manned up and ran the tempo on the track.  The tempo was tougher than I thought it should have felt.  The 1st mile (5:36) was okay, but I didn’t feel smooth.  The next couple miles (5:43, 5:41) were a struggle.  I actually thought about cutting the workout short because I wasn’t hitting my splits.  I toughed out the last mile and ran a 5:33.  The 400m uphill sprints were just brutal.  I thought that I'd feel the wobbly legs on the last 2 reps, but experienced it in all of them.  400m uphill splits were 1:28, 1:34, 1:30, and 1:38.   PM - 4.2 miles easy (7:05)

Wed: AM - 10 miles easy (6:58); PM - 4.3 miles easy (7:11)

Thu: AM - 6.5 miles easy (7:29); PM - 4 miles easy (7:20)

Fri: AM - 16.2 miles with 2x6 miles at 5:50-5:55 pace. First 6-mile segment felt tougher than the 2nd segment.  Splits were: 35:20 (5:55, 5:52, 5:54, 5:52, 5:53, 5:54) – 5:53 avg pace, and 34:57 (5:50, 5:51, 5:48, 5:49, 5:51, 5:49) – 5:50 avg pace.  PM – 3.5 miles easy (7:23)

Sat: AM – 6.5 miles easy (7:13); PM – 4 miles easy (7:28)

Sun: 20 miles long run (6:48). Ran comfortably to get in the distance.  The first 13 miles were on rolling and the last 7 fairly flat.  Felt like I was jogging in the late miles.  

Weekly Total: 103.2 miles on 13 runs/7 days.  
It was my last tough week of training for CIM.  It was also the first week of 100+ miles during this training cycle.  I think the last time I logged 100+ miles in one week was about a year ago.