Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Heavy Leg Workouts

Is it the summer? Lack of motivation? For whatever the reason, most of my recent workouts and runs have felt heavy legged. I haven't had the motivation to kick it into my highest gear in the last 30 meters of intervals or just to raise my heartrate too high. Just going through the motions of workouts. Be that as it may, I'm still getting my mileage. Here are my last two workouts:

Tuesday Central Park hill fartleks

Wednesday easy miles

Current training calendar

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Most Memorable Long Run

Had a truly memorable long run in the park this evening. Except for the relative warmth and humidity, it started off rather unassumingly. Part of me wished I had run in the morning because it was cooler and I could've spectated the NY triathlon. But things turned out for the better.

I endured the first 6 miles of ~95% humidity and 83F. In a matter of minutes, the skies opened up. And I mean O P E N E D. Crackling thunder, lightning, and torrential flow from the heavens. At one point, the rain was so thick I couldn't see past 100 yards. Heading up Harlem Hill had the surreal feeling of running upstream on moving ground. At one point, I thought there was a low-flying chopper directly overhead only to realize it was crackling thunder. It felt so close a lady running ahead of me jump startled. It was perfect running weather. I thought the only thing missing was my wife to enjoy the downpour with me. :-)

The rain finally subsided after 4-5 miles. What started off as a soupy, muggy run turned out to be one of the favorite runs I've ever had here in NY.

Now if I could only get my ipod working again.

Current training spreadsheet

Easy Morning Run, Great Day

Enjoyed a great day today. Started off with an easy morning run around the Central Park reservoir, and that wasn't even any where near my favorite part of the day. Sara finally got me out to paddle an outrigger canoe with New York Outrigger. Even though it was on the Hudson, it was a great experience to be out on open water again. We went for about 1.5 miles shoulder burning miles, and the burn wasn't from the sun either. It's a terrific upper body workout and a great change of pace from running. Working out under the hot sun always stirs up a good appetite, so we had an unexpectedly tasty brunch at Smorgas Chef. After a couple of hours of eating, relaxing and talking, we had a nice walk home. Felt like we were dating all over again :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Central Park 5 Mi Loop w/ Tabata Set

It was a pleasant, cool workout in the rain tonight and I enjoyed a pensive run. Running is my favorite form of meditation. I escape a little deeper when the rain chases most runners, bikers and tourists away from the park. Those escapes aren't meant to be documented.

As far as the workout is concerned, instead of trying to time a strict 20 seconds, I've noted it takes me just a little 20s to sprint from pole to every other pole along the east side straightaway in the park. I used those as guides, took 10s breaks, and repeated 8 times. Winded, yes, but not as I have been in the past. Admittedly, I did not do this workout at 100%. Probably more along 85%. But it's okay with me for now. Seems I'm going back to 2007 training mode where I'm just doing comfortable mileage. But it's okay for now because I have not yet defined my performance goals for the marathon.

Here's my spreadsheet so far this week. Planning on going for an easy 6-7 tomorrow morning and then 13 on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Strength Training & Stretching

My body is still recovering from last night's workout so instead of going for an easy run, I decided to do some strength training and stretching. Since I'm still in July, I decided to continue with my pull-ups and push-ups challenge. Also added crunches to the routine, and finished off with about 25 minutes of leg stretching for some sort of speed session in CP tomorrow.

The past few weeks, I thought my push-up numbers were hindered because they were done after the pull-ups. Not so. My max per one set are as follows:

Push-ups: 65
Pull-ups: 24

I guess my back has gotten stronger this past month, but not much progress with the pecs.

It's going to be interesting to see my training calendar after this training session is done. It'll provide a nice, quick view of my activities instead of browsing page to page.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NYRR workout | 6x Columbus Cirle to Tavern on Green ~ 600m

Tonight I felt like running, which means my legs usually feel pretty sprite and light. I also hadn't run since Saturday so I felt fresh. To my surprise, my legs felt slow and heavy on the way to the workout. No biggie, I thought. I figure I'd feel better once the workout started.

The repeat distance from Columbus Circle to Tavern on the Green covers approximately the last 600m of the NYC marathon. There is an incline at about the halfway point which continues to the finish line. The incline is more pronounced the first 50m. My strategy is usually to go fairly easy on the flat and then be aggressive on the inclines. I figure I get a better strengthening session that way. My splits were as follows:

Rep 1: 1:46
Rep 2: 1:46
Rep 3: 1:46
Rep 4: 1:42
Rep 5: 1:42
Rep 6: 1:41

The difference between training this year so far is that I probably would have done those repeats in mid 1:30's. I'm not there yet, and I'm actually not sure if I want to be there. We'll see where I am in the coming weeks. It's still early.

My 09 NYC Marathon Training Calendar

Finally put together my training calendar for this year. Haven't followed one since I first started training around the turn of the millennium. Even then, it wasn't my own. I do remember though, the gist of the training. Check it out on Google docs:

I'm not exactly a stickler for structured training. I would much rather have a guide for every week, and that's how I've put together my calendar. The green days are speed workout days. Yellow days are discretionary, which means I can do whatever my body feels like doing that day. One orange days are for recovery, and one weekend day for a long run.

As I go through each week, I'll be filling out my activities. I already keep track on, but I like seeing the color-coding to remind me what I have to do. I'm going to try to replicate my training earlier this year for the NJ marathon where I BQ'ed. I did shorter training mileage, but kept the long runs (an absolute must!). The faster time, I believe, was a result of doing more speed training throughout the week. Last year, I was doing it only once per week.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009 NYC Marathon Countdown

Finally started today. Sixteen weeks and counting.

Had the company of a good friend this morning for my first long training run (11+ miles), and while I appreciated the company, I felt like I labored more than I should have. We were going a little fast for the first 5 miles at about a 7:10 clip, but that's something I should be able to handle at this point. I'm still thinking of my goals for this race. Speed? Comfort? Not sure yet, but I'm going to try and define them this first week.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Easy Run Today

Besides the Wednesday track workout, all my runs this week have been short and easy. That included today's bridge run over Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. I'm hoping it'll be a short summer. I wasn't too fond of the heat and humidity. Interestingly, I used to love working out in this heat. Not anymore. Maybe age has something to do with it.

Go out for my first weekend "long" run tomorrow. I say long because it'll only be the second time I'm looking to run past 10 miles in a couple of months. I'll build up over the next few weeks and hope to have 4-6 twenty milers done before the marathon. I'm going to try to post up a schedule in the coming days.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Turned the Corner

I think I'm over my yearly period, as my wife likes to call it. Goals and workout wise, focus is resharpening and intentions clear, which is exactly how I like it. I think the most helpful changes I've made in the last week to help me turn things around are...
  • going to bed before midnight
  • reestablish that I'm training for something (NYC marathon - 16+ wks left!)
I wish those were magic bullets every time I feel lazy, worn or burned out, but it seems to change every single time. I've come to realize that I just have to try and minimize the damage whenever this period happens.

That said, I'm off to do some pushups, pullups and stretches. I haven't been keeping up with my strength exercises as I should because I realized I'm not going to reach 100 straight or 30 straight. As of tonight, my max numbers are as follows:

  • 25 pullups. Last two barely got my chin past the bar.
  • 65 pushups. I think this number is affected because I do it after my pullups.
Anyways, it's good to feel reenergized and no longer mopy dopy.

Niketown Workout | 4 x 1 mile - 10k pace

Now that I've officially decided to start training for the marathon, it's time to start getting my legs acclimated to long distances again. 16.5 weeks from the NYC marathon, I thought tonight would be as good a time as any.

Started my workout this evening with a 2.4 mile commute from my downtown Manhattan to Paragon in Union Square. From there, the Niketown group headed out to the east side track about 1.9 (door to track according to my Garmin 405) miles away. Tonight's workout was four cruise intervals with a minute break between each set. My times were as follows:

Mile 1 | 6:39 - always feels hardest
Mile 2 | 6:39 - felt easier
Mile 3 | 6:37 - little harder
Mile 4 | 6:32 - picked it up over the last 100m to bring down time

The workout was sustainable and uncomfortable. Sustainable because of the easier pace. Uncomfortable because of the warmth. I can't believe I've done Honolulu Marathon's in this weather. Another 1.9 miles cooldown jog to Paragon made my total mileage about 10.2 miles. Significant for me because I haven't done that in a couple of months.

Interestingly enough, I felt like a hamster during these workouts. I've never been a track workout person. I prefer the undulating hills and changing views in Central Park over counting laps.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Inactive Weekend

On the workout front, this is the first weekend I've done nothing in Lord knows how long. Funny thing is, I didn't miss it. I've been in Philly and in central New Jersey this weekend for my best man's wedding and wedding related activities, and while I did think of going for a run this morning, it never got past that. Instead, I napped, ate, and napped some more. I still wonder if I can ever completely let go and not care. Maybe next summer, after the Boston.

The NYC marathon is on Nov. 1, which leaves me about 3 1/2 mo's. I started seriously training for the NJ marathon when the calendar turned February, which gave me just about 3 months. My rationalization is that I'm at a better starting point now than I was in February, so it was okay to completely take off this weekend. I do have to start training for the NYC half marathon next month though.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

CP bridle path easy run

Still in my maintenance, not so into running mode but still need to go through the motions mode. So that means easy miles at every opportunity. Ran with my neighbor across the hall again. We've lived across each other since Sara and I moved here and only now we've been going on runs together. Still, it's always nice to get to know neighbors.

Our route was my usual bridle path run to 102nd st. Forgot to switch on my watch from Columbus Circle so the distance is inaccurate. My legs felt heavy from last night's workout, but that's still expected. Once I start moving my mileage up to the 40's and 50's and my body reacclimates to more running, I should recover faster from the hard workouts.

Schedulewise, I'll probably start doing my long runs in August. July's been unusually busy. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Rather enjoy all of that for now before I train for the NYC marathon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NYRR Workout | 3 x 1mi repeats on CP lower loop

After a seemingly intense work day, I felt like I needed to give my negative energy a good a** kicking goodbye in the form a speed workout. Needed to create some happy juice, and nothing gets rid of grumpiness and gets happy juices flowing like a speed workout. I've been saying that I haven't cared much about running lately. That's still true, but I still need to go through the motions so I don't hurt myself training for and running a marathon.

Tonight's workout were 3 x 1 mile repeats starting at about 68th st on CP East and running CP's lower loop in a clockwise direction to the marathon finish at Tavern on The Green. The route runs flat, decline, flat (mostly), and an incline to the finish. My repeats were as follows:

Mile 1: 6:39 (was catching up with a friend, thus the slower time)
Mile 2: 6:11
Mile 3: 6:10
The highlight of my workout was actually just before the 3rd repeat, when I saw my wife jogging by and we got to say a quick hello. It was just fun to see her out there and give her a little kiss :-)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Coming Around

No matter how hard I try to fight it or deny it, every year I reach a period of not wanting to run. My miles are not as enjoyable and my efforts laborious. I think this most recent bout is finally, thankfully, coming to an end.

My mileage the last several weeks have been in the low to mid 20's. Speed workouts have been only once/week. No long runs. To mix things up, I've been biking, strength training and stretching.

But today, I felt like I finally started to turn the corner. Not because I went running, because I didn't. I just started to miss running again. For that reason, I decided to not run today. I want to feed the drive so I start to itch and feel the drive again. I'm going to deny myself for another couple of weeks then start marathon training.

And I'm pretty sure I'll be really eager.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Strength Training Update

It's been over week since me and a couple of colleagues started our strength training challenge, with the ultimate goal being 100 pushups straight and 30(?) pullups straight. I've done reps about every other or every 3rd day. The following is a comparison of my baseline start last week and where I am today.

60 pushups
13 pullups

65 pushups
19 pullups

Quite a big jump on the pullups, so I think it's a combination of a weak night last week and doing them wrong today. I think I'm supposed to straighten my arms and hang before I start my next one. Have a little less than a month to be my mini version of a ninja warrior! :-)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June Mileage

All that needs to be said about my efforts last month is that I did not break 30 miles in any week. And I'm quite happy with that! In about two weeks I'll start training for the NYC marathon. A couple of months later, I'll be training for another spring marathon - the Boston! So I feel like it's a good idea to take breaks when I can. I'm not an elite runner and enjoy spending my time doing others things. :-)

Niketown Track Workout - 2x800 | 2x600 | 2x400

Since I missed my NYRRC workout last night, I had to attend the Niketown workout. I had originally planned on running from work to Paragon Sports but left work too late. Got there just a few minutes before we left for the track, enough time to say chat with some colleagues.

After the nearly two mile commute to the track and a brief stretch, we were ready for our workout. My splits were as follows:

800 - 3:02
-- 200m easy jog
800 - 3:04
-- 200m easy jog
600 - 2:11
-- 200m easy jog
600 - 2:12
-- 200m easy jog
400 - 1:16
-- 200m easy jog
400 - 1:15
-- 200m easy jog

Based on my HR, I should have been able to push a little harder tonight. And I did feel that way. It was a good short workout, but last week's worker was definitely harder. I just feel like I'm done with really pushing for faster times.