Sunday, December 28, 2008

1000km Complete

Well, I just finished the last 11 km. I've completed my 2008 goal of running 1000km.

How do I feel? Great, I was a little worried in the early Fall after having a low mileage summer due to injury/recovery and low motivation. I feel great that when I realized my goal as slipping I stepped up and put in the work needed to make it happen.

What did I get from achieving this? The satisfaction that I can achieve a short term goal which helps me on my life-long journey of good health.

How can short term be one year? Well, it has always been easy for me to say, hmm I will go after some goal like finishing my first 10km, 1/2 Marathon, or Marathon; but it has always been hard to keep on track after those goals and keep up the good work I had done. So, at the end of 2007 I figured I would try to run 1000km in 2008 as a way to motivate myself to maintain the fitness that I obtain via training for a race. Hence, I see a 1 year goal as a short term goal in the pursuit of a lifetime objective.

Here's too another good year of running in 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

X-Training; X-Country Skiing Style

I've been out the last two days cross country skiing. Yesterday evening I was out for 55mins and today I was out for 65 mins.

Last night I got back and was feeling, "Ah, that was not bad I barely noticed I did exercise," until I bent down to undo my boots. Then when I started to walk I was like a drunk. Doh, gotta let the body get used to the different bio-mechanical repetitive action of skiing.

Today was better (as in less like a drunken sailor after skiing) and I got a better workout over all. Yesterday I skied on the trail system (biking, running, walking, rollerblading in the summer) near (.5km) my house.

Today was way more fun, I went to the "Beaver Pond" as it is called, also near my house (about 5.5 k by running; yes I know the distance since I pass it often). The trails around the Beaver Pond are through rolling hills (ok, hills for Ottawa) so there were some fun downhill sections, lots of flat open trails through beautiful woods, and a little bit of climbing (ok a lot of climbing sometimes, man I am going to be paying for some of those climbs in the next day or two).

I think cross country skiing is a great way to cross train for running. I am using muscles in my back and core that I never directly attack on my runs. A key to strong long distance running are your core muscles (everything around your mid-section). These muscles keep you upright and allow you to run more efficiently. So one side effect of cross country skiing should be improved distance running once the winter weather abates and I get closer to the Marathon.

Other reasons I think cross country skiing will improve my running fitness. As mentioned, I am getting a total body workout while getting a good aerobic workout at the same time. I also strongly feel that cross training allows your body to balance out the overuse that a single sport can place on the key muscles required for that sport. So I think of cross training as a way to actively rest those hammered muscles while toning the stablizing muscles which will help keep me running further and faster.

Another bonus to cross country skiing is that research (yes they research everything it seems) shows that the same amount of time spent cross country skiing as running, at the same heart rate range, produced similar physiological effects in male (study was only done on men) test subjects. So for me, that means I plan to mix up some of my runs with cross country skiing as a way to optimize my time training and participating in two sports I love (running and cross country skiing). If the study is correct I should be getting similar improvements to my body minus the pounding that running produces.

So I figure with at least 2 runs a week and then 1-2 days of cross country skiiing (depending on the weather since when the skiiing is good I will out there more until the ice arrives on the canal, then it's time for some speed skating on the canal) I should be right on track with training through the winter. WItht he added bonus that my body will have taken a little less pounding but still be adapting to longer endurance activity.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Year of Living Iron

Ok, here's the idea (proposed by my buddy, The Hiking Man). Take my 1000km of running, add the equivalent amount of swimming and biking as per the ratios for an Ironman. Complete it in a year and then you have The Year of Living Iron.

What would this entail. Well an Ironman has the following distances:
  • 3.9km Swim
  • 180km Bike
  • 42.2 km Run
The Year of Living Iron would be:
  • 93km Swim
  • 4266km Bike
  • 1000km Run
Some rough calculations would result in the following numbers for me to complete this in a year:
  • Swim: 47 hours, let's say 1/2 per day, so 93 days
  • Bike: 152 hours, let's say 1 hour a day, broken into 2 (morning/evening) bike commutes for 152 days to complete this
  • Run: We know that one, about 3 runs a week or 168 days of running, about 100 hours in total.
So, is it possible? Yes. What would the hardest part be? For me, getting to the pool for 47 hours and fitting bike commuting + Preschool drop-offs for my boys. The running is a no brainer, that one I have fit in.

An interesting idea non-the less. I will keep this one in my back pocket for another year.

Holy Motivation Batman

Ok, this was an awesome piece of marketing.

How did I receive it? In the mail.

What was it? A post card reminding me to sign up for the 2009 Ottawa Marathon.

What was on the front of the post card? Only my Marathon finish time from 2008 with a little motivational text thrown in.

Ya, ya, you got me, ok I am signing up. Man they are good.

Here it is:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cross Training - Canadian Style

How hardy are Canadians?
  • We train outdoors in sub-zero temperatures.
  • We run races in the Arctic. (Not me though, I'm not that insane.)
  • We have snowshoe races in -18C and lower temperatures.
  • We have Winter Triathlons!!!
Baring some strange emergency (more teething from my 5 month old blowing away any semblance of a good nights sleep for a week, man you want cranky; ok let's not go there) I plan to do this years Winterlude Triathlon.

What is the Winterlude Triathlon?
  • Held Feb 7th, 2009 during Ottawa's Winterlude celebration.
  • A race combining an 8-km skate, 5-km ski and 5-km run
  • Your normal, less than ordinary Canadian Good Time.
Get more details at The Winterlude Triathlon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Procrastinating In a Good Way

I have a tendency to procrastinate some times, but in a good way. How is that you ask?

Well, I will have a dozen projects (quite literally) going on at one time and when I tell myself, ok you really need to work on that painting which is 80% done, I go off on a tangent and work on some other project which has been waiting for my attention. So what am I avoiding tonight?

Well, I really need to get that painting finished, but I also really need to get a training plan in place for the start of January when I kick up the mileage as I train for a spring Marathon. So, painting out for tonight, and Marathon planning it is.

Ok, so I just got back from my 10km run. I laid out the route using and ran that. I used the route to calibrate my iPod+ chip so that it should give me more refined results for the next while (I will need to recalibrate when the snow and ice abates). I ran pretty hard tonight since I missed my weekend run and figured I'd put in some gusto.

Time for 10km was 53 mins on the nose. That works out to 5:18/km. Based on the training plan I am following that works out to equivalent race times of 25:20 for a 5 km, 1:57:25 for a Half-Marathon, and 4:06:31 for a Marathon. I can say right now, the Marathon would be pushing it, since I need some drastic mileage and time on the legs to get up to that. It would also be 22 mins faster than my other (first/best) Marathon time. So maybe that is a good goal time for a spring Marathon (I am not committing to that but it is something to keep in mind).

So based on my time tonight, here are my target training speeds for January 2009.

Key Workout #1
  • 5km Race Time: 25:20
  • 400m Pace: 1:52
  • 600m Pace: 2:50
  • 800m Pace: 3:49
  • 1km Pace: 4:48
  • 1200m Pace: 5:49
  • 1600m Pace: 7:53
  • 2km Pace: 9:57
Key Workout #2 - Pace/mile
  • Short Tempo: 8:26
  • Mid Tempo: 8:41
  • Long Tempo: 8:56
  • Easy: 10:01
Key Workout #3 - Pace/mile
  • Long Tempo: 8:56
  • MP: 9:25
  • MP+10: 9:35
  • MP+15: 9:40
  • MP+20: 9:45
  • MP+30: 9:55
  • MP+45: 10:10
  • MP+60: 10:25
  • HMP: 9:05
  • HMP+20: 9:25
  • MHP+30: 9:35
Holy a lot of paces Batman!!

Ya, it is but you write it down so that you don't need to look it up in the book all the time. The training plan I have is for 16 weeks. The training plan has the required training distances and paces are indicated for the 3 specific runs/week using the above terminology.

Key Workout #1 is a speed workout which is why there are so many short distances with an associated pace. This workout is meant for a track. Something that I will have to improvise in the winter (I might try to do these on the treadmill at work). As you can see, this workout is about speed. It has me running more than a minute faster per mile than race pace. The goal with this workout is to teach the body to run faster by performing at higher speeds and trains the body to more efficiently utilize oxygen intake.

Key Workout #2 is, as the pace names suggest, a Tempo training session. What is tempo? Tempo training consists of a couple slow miles to warm up and then a few miles at tempo pace which is a slightly faster than race pace speed. This workout is about teaching the body to maintain speed over longer distances. This pushes the envelope as the body must learn to deal with lactic acid buildup over longer periods, thereby making you more efficient for the slightly slower Marathon pace.

Then there is Key Workout #3, the long run. A translation of the acronyms is MP = Marathon Pace, HMP = Half Marathon Pace. The +xx indicates add xx seconds to the MP or HMP. So what good is a long run at slightly slower than Marathon Pace? Well, this is the workout that is going to get me to the end of the Marathon. The speed workouts will help me run faster and be more efficient, but this run is a long run of 6-20 miles (10km-32km) which will give me the time on my feet to allow my body to adjust to the beating I will subject it too on race day. You see race day, I will be running faster and by doing so I will be punishing my body that little bit more, not to mention race day will bring with it an additional 7-10km more distance than my longest training run.

So, how long is a Marathon? Several years of running, give or take a few, to get enough mileage on you to be able to train dedicated for 16-28 weeks, an only then does it take about 4 hours give or take an hour for most of us mere mortals.

Ok, enough chatting. Time to get these numbers into the spreadsheet that tracks my running exploits. The sheet that does not lie ;-)

28 more km to 1000km!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Running Man

I was out for a run with Hiking Man this past Thursday. It was a good run but I thought the mileage on my new iPod+ chip was a little high for what the run felt like. Sure enough, when I got home the 8km it was posting was more like 6.7-7km, so I will settle for 7km for that one (so the Hiking Man does not feel like it was a total loss).

Tonight I am going to go knock off another 10 km. Waiting for final confirmation my son is sleeping so my wife only has one little one to handle (bed time is a fun time but not when the 5 month old is teething, like now and the 3 year old never had outside play since it was too icey/raining for Pre-School to send them outside, so he was a little hyper tonight).

That said, here is tonight's run:

Time to go get ready, looks like the 3 year old is out.

A running we will go...a running we will go...high ho the merry oh...a running we will go....