Thursday, February 18, 2010


I just had a fantastic run at the park!  This week's run was to be the same as last week's, with an extra mile repeat thrown in (1.5mi WU, 4x 1mi @ 6:26, 1.5mi CD).  I wore my heart rate monitor this week, just to compare with last week's punk-out.  I had a great run; I nailed my mile repeats (6:22, 6:23, 6:23, 6:19), and they felt smooth and easy.  For some reason, tonight I felt like I was running more like a gazelle than like a buffalo.  Maybe I'm evolving...

As for the heart rate verdict, my average heart rate on the last mile repeat tonight was 170 bpm, as compared to an average heart rate of 185 over the last .85 miles I ran last week on the treadmill.  So... I was definitely running too fast last week, and I was correct to back off when it felt like too much.  Yay, me!

This week:

Last week: (pace comes from my Garmin footpod- accuracy unknown)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Punking out

Last night was the first time I've punked out in a workout in a long, long time.  It was cold (low 40's) and monsooning out, so I opted to do my tempo workout indoors on a treadmill (which sucks).  The plan was to run 1.5 warmup, 3x 1mile @ 10k pace, and 1.5 mile cooldown.  I followed conventional wisdom and set the treadmill at a 1% grade to make the pace more equivalent to running outdoors.  For some reason, this workout was tough!  I made it through the first mile wondering if I would be able to finish the workout.  I made it through mile 2, and my heartrate was way higher than it should have been at 10k pace (I thought- I'm not actually sure what it's supposed to be).  On my 3rd mile, I was miserable just starting out, and on a treadmill you don't have the option of slowing down to cheat a bit (without making a conscious decision to do so).  I told myself to just run 1/2 a mile, and then if I wanted I could stop (knowing that at that point I would talk myself into going farther).  At 1/2 mile, I talked myself into running to 3/4 mile, but I felt like I was on the final sprint of a race!  I was gasping; I was dying!  At 3/4 mile I knew I was close to the finish, but really didn't think I could go any further, and I ended up pushing another minute or so to 0.85 mile, and then I hit "stop".  I hit "stop"!  I was dying; I was done; but I was so disappointed in myself for giving in.  (I did finish my cool down afterward)

I'm not sure why that workout was so tough.  My Garmin footpod said I was running 6:03 min/mile instead of the 6:26 to which I set the treadmill, but which one was accurate? (I'd guess the treadmill)  My heart rate when I hit stop was 190, which seems a little high for a training run, but I looked back through my run data from the last couple of months and realized that I haven't really been wearing the monitor for speed work or tempo work, so I have no real basis for comparison.  On my long runs at marathon pace, my heart rate topped out around 172, but that's not really a comparable intensity.  Maybe I was feeling the effects of accumulated fatigue from workouts earlier in the week?  Or maybe it was just a tough workout I was going to have to gut out to make it through.

Anyway...  I was pretty disappointed in myself for pulling the plug in the middle of the workout.  It sounds like such a minor thing, but in training it's the discipline to do what you set out to do that forces you into improvement.

Launching Triathlon Season

Well, lots has happened since the Houston Marathon.  I spent the first 3 weeks after the marathon mainly focused on avoiding injury (since I've managed to injure myself in the weeks after the Houston Marathon twice in the last several years).  At this point in the year, I typically have been in a running-only mode, and after the marathon start to shift into triathlon training mode.  I'm usually filled to the brim with both excitement and motivation, and it's pretty easy to write checks my body isn't yet ready to cash (three years ago I went out the weekend after the marathon, and rode 42 miles in hills on Saturday, another 30 miles on Sunday morning, and then ran 10 miles on Sunday afternoon.  That was my last run that year until April.  I did all of my run training for Ironman Arizona that year in a pool, which distinctly resembles a form of torture, particularly if you find yourself doing 2+ hour runs in an enclosed dungeon of a natatorium while your friends are all running outside in the sun on a beautiful spring morning.  Being injured did take a lot of the pressure off for IM Arizona, though, since I didn't really know if I would finish until I crossed the finish line.  Anyway...).

So this year, I resolved to be careful in the weeks following the marathon, and, even though it was very tough, I succeeded.  It is nearly a month after the marathon, and I am healthy, and have even established a routine of sorts, combining my cycling and run training (I did sneak a couple of swims in there, but it would be a gross exaggeration to imply that I've established any sort of routine on that front).  My main goals for the next couple of months are:
a) to improve my cycling threshold power by 20% (my starting point is pretty low)
b) to break 40 min in a 10K

My planned weekly routine looks like this:
Monday: swim, recovery run (optional)
Tuesday: bike trainer workout (am), run track workout (pm)
Wednesday: bike trainer workout
Thursday: run tempo workout, masters swim workout (pm)
Friday: off
Saturday: long run, swim
Sunday: long bike ride

So far I've been doing all of that for the last couple of weeks, except the swimming.

I'm excited about triathlon season!  I'm especially excited to be starting this triathlon season healthy!  (my first time since 2006).  I hope to improve significantly on the bike this season (narrowing the performance gap with my competitors), and to maintain some of my new-found running speed throughout the season.