Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Current Training Plan

  This is an outline of my training schedule for the near future.  Basically until I get really fit or come up with a goal race.  This is a base phase or general fitness schedule.  This is not targeting racing well.  It is targeting improving my overall fitness.  It isn't too different from good half marathon specific training but I'm not doing it with a specific half marathon race in mind though I will likely run the New Bedford Half Marathon in March as well as the Jones 10 mile in February and a 15k in early April.

  This schedule is designed around four main goals.  In no order to return general aerobic fitness, to improve lactic threshold, to improve muscular power and efficiency, and to touch on every major training speed and effort in each two week cycle.  The workouts I selected were selected based on two main criteria.  First did they accomplish the training goal and second they had to work with the training resources and limitations I have currently.  Ie, I need to be able to do them without a track, in a New England winter, and in the dark as 11 out of 13 of my runs each week from early November until March are generally run in the dark.

  I like repeating a similar or even identical micro cycle a few times through a phase of training.  Partially because I can gauge how my body is progressing but also I'm just a very habital person who if I didn't give a damn about performance would probably do the same double every day over the same routes at the same effort. I like what I'm doing to be a bit mindless so I can focus entirely on doing it well.  Or at least that is the excuse I give myself.  

  Without further B.S. here is the schedule

For both week one and two I do an easy morning run, almost always 4 miles because of time constraints, Monday through Saturday.  On Saturday the run maybe done as the afternoon session and it maybe longer.

Week 1

Monday in the afternoon I'll do 10 miles at a steady effort- generally between 6:00 and 7:00 per mile, depending on conditions and how I'm feeling.  This is a fairly hilly run as there are a lot of hills around here.  After the run I'll do either Squats, dead lifts or box jumps.  The run is for recovery and general aerobic fitness, the exercises are for range of motion in my hips, power in my ankles and glutes and to increase strength as a means of increasing efficiency.

Tuesday in the afternoon I'll do a Mona Fartlek ( This is most importantly a bounce threshold or alternation session.  I would actually prefer to do Aussie quarters, ( right now to be able to focus on specific paces but with no indoor track option that isn't happening.  The secondary focus of this session is to touch on a bunch of quicker paces 5k down to perhaps mile.   After this session I'll do either squats, deadlifts, or box jumps.

Wednesday in the afternoon I'll do a medium long run.  Right now that is only 12 miles I'll build it up to 16, I should go up to 18 but frankly 18 miles after work in the dark is a tall order particularly when sandwiched between two workout days. Physiologically this workout is for basic aerobic fitness and there is a time on the feet efficiency training effect for the leg muscles but for me it is much more plainly about building up my ability to run longer without coordination problems.  Finally you guessed it I plan on doing either squats, deadlifts or box jumps after the run.

Thursday in the afternoon, short hill sprints- max effort very short, 10 seconds give or take. I'd prefer to keep with the 100's and the like but without a track that isn't an option and I don't have much for flat areas with good footing so short hills it is.  To be honest as a general rule I like short hills better anyway but right now I want to focus on my form on the flat so I'm sorry to lose that.  These are obviously a muscular exercise though they do also help increase the stroke volume of the heart.  I will start the winter only doing about 10 of these but I'll increase that by 2 or 3 sprints each time.  In the past I have done 30 or more sprints though I doubt I'll get to that many.  It will be key for me to keep good form on these which is a struggle for me on hills but I have been improving so hopefully it will be good practice. squats, deadlifts or box jumps after

Friday 10 miles, same as Monday.

Saturday 4x2 miles at Half marathon pace. with 3min recoveries with drills.  This is for lactate threshold and muscular endurance at speed.  The drills help with the latter and with improving form.

Sunday Long run- I'm around 13/14 miles now will try to push out to 20 to 22.  Long run is for basic aerobic fitness, efficiency and muscular endurance. I may do squats, deadlifts or box jumps after this.

Week 2

Monday same as last week

Tuesday 3 mile tempo, half marathon to marathon pace, 10x30 second hill repeats at a good effort, but not max, focus on form putting weight of stride on glutes and quads. Try not to hunch at shoulders. This is for lactate threshold and muscular power and efficiency.

Wednesday same as last week

Thursday 6 x mile at 10k pace with 2 to 3 mins recovery with drills- bit of threshold, lot of muscular efficiency and muscular endurance.

Friday same as last week

Saturday 20 to 30 x 20 second sprints fartlek style, meaning I'll just put them in on a run where the footing looks good. Full recovery.  This is for muscular efficiency and endurance.  Though it is also good for stroke volume but not as good as the hills.

Sunday fundamental tempo run in the 5:25 to 5:50 per mile range over rolling hills.  Hopefully as the coordination improves I'll be able to increase the volume on these.  This is my single favorite type of workout.  I have since beginning the form work I have been able to to up to 22 miles like this but only on soft surfaces.  So on the road I've been stuck in the 12 to 15 mile range on a good day.  I'm going to start in the 9 mile range and try to build up.  I may play with stopping for drills and continuing on in an attempt to 'teach' the body to hold the form that doesn't lead to coordination issues.  This is for aerobic fitness.  Sessions like this can lead to huge jumps in general aerobic fitness as well as your threshold.  I actually don't know exactly why perhaps it is simply that it is an under trained area or it is that threshold is impacted well by not going over it but by testing it from below.  I can tell you that these workouts changed my life as such for me I simply believe in them as an article of faith.  Also as I mentioned I love doing them.  Running for a long time at a quick pace is to me the single most enjoyable training experience.

Odds and Ends

 In weeks that I race I'll just drop the hard effort from the weekend.  If I race on a Sunday I'll skip the long run as well.  I'm planning a few races over the winter.  A 5k on the 1st.  A 5 mile, a 10 mile and a track 5k in February and a half marathon in March.  Hopefully by that point the winter is coming to an end and I'm getting fit and I'll be able to move onto a new training program with more specific goals. 

2016 in review and Goals for 2017

  2016 in Review

 Well that sucked...  For me, and it seems a lot of people 2016 was a year I would prefer to not remember for very long.  In terms of running and life. I lost my brother and my relationship with my father which has never been all that hot pretty much seems to have ended. I missed most of the years training and racing.  I had some of the slowest annual best I have had since college.  I also ran the slowest 5k I have run since my senior year in high school. I missed the most training I have since my 'injury period' during college when I couldn't seem to run around the block without getting a new injury. 
  All that said I feel optimistic about the future. I am finally back training.  I have rehab my body to the point that I can do things I can't remember ever being able to do before which has me running quickly with a level of relaxation I've never had before.  Now 6 months off from running means my fitness is so poor that even feeling smooth I have no real racing ability. 
  In terms of accomplishing my goals for last year, be they process or outcome for the most part they were failures.  That said the two goals I did accomplish were to run a sub 15 5k race, my 14th straight year with at least one of those, and a sub 25 5mile or 8k race, my 13th straight year.  I do feel like I dodged a bullet getting those two out of the way before my troubles killed the year.

2017 Goals

  Goal 1 as it is every year is finally put the coordination troubles to bed and return to a competitive marathon.  I don't see this happening in the first half of the year but I do see reason for hope that it could happen and I believe I'm on a path that could finally get me running with no problems.

  Second I want to stay focused on really training in a balanced way and not fall into just running.  

  Third  I want to keep up my yoga and other cross training.  These are very hard to fit into my day to day life but I think they are the key to running well as I get older and to fixing the coordination. 

  For outcome goals I want to keep my sub 15 and sub 25 streaks going.  I'm going to race a flat road 5k on the first in hopes of checking that one off the list right away.  It is a pretty tall order given my fitness but I'm fit enough to take a shot at it.   

  Beyond those two goals I want to return to sub 14:20 5k shape, sub 30 road 10k race and sub 1:05 half marathon racing. If I knock off one of each of those I will be super happy.

  I want to return to the Cow Harbor 10k and to the top 10 there. 

  I also have some life goals I would like to check off the list.   Win a big check, you know the photo op kind, I don't care about the amount.  Go 1,2 at a race with Melissa. Win a unique and cool prize. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Training Blog December 19 to 25, 2016

Monday AM road 4 with Melissa and Uta, 32:41 tot. 4
               PM Massage with Anna-
I'm pretty sure Anna approached massage like this overhead lift and is intent on causing maximum pain.

Tuesday AM 4 miles with Melissa and Uta, 32:14 tot. 4
               PM 3.1 miles warm up with Uta, 1/4 mile jog to start after dropping her off, drills, strides, Monaghetti Fartlek, covered 3.85 miles in the 20 minutes. 5:11 pace. Pretty nice to run the same pace as last time but to go for twice the time. 3.2 cool down, squats after 6x6 starting at 75lbs up to 125lbs.

Mona rates this mona a "toughen up buttercup" --- sure it is a step in the right direction but there are no participation awards around here.

Wednesday AM 4 miles road with Uta, 29:09 tot. 4
                    PM Raleigh Tavern 10, 1:07:04, deadlifts after 6x6 starting at 115lbs up to 155lbs tot. 10.1

Thursday AM 4 miles road with Uta, 29:31, light snow tot. 4
                 PM 4 miles and box jumps, supposed to do hill reps but I was foiled by ice, crazy icy and no salt or sand on the roads, 3x10 at 20in, 24in, 30in on the box jumps tot. 4

Friday AM 4 miles with Uta, not as icy, they had salted, but corners were still touch and go tot. 4
            PM Raleigh Tavern 10 mile, 1:07:47, normal Friday night exhaustion, tot. 10.1

Saturday AM cold hard rain, 3.1 mile warm up with Uta, drop her off, change to dry top, 1.2 miles out to course, 4x2 miles on lightly rolling road loop, at tempo effort.  I figured with the tougher course, compared to the rail trail, that I would be hard pressed to run much under 5:20 pace but was pleasantly surprised.  So I did 4 drills, then 2 miles-10:26(5:14/5:11), 2:59 recovery with 4 new drills, 2 miles- 10:18 (5:06/5:11), 3:00 recovery with 4 new drills, 2 miles- 10:16(5:05/5:10), 3:02 recovery with 3 new drills, 2 miles- 10:10(5:03/5:06)  As you can tell from the splits the 2nd mile was a bit tougher, sort of a lolly pop loop and the biggest hill is in the first 600m and last 600m.  I think it is fairly equal both ways but there is a difference between doing it on fresh legs at the start and in the last 1/3rd of the rep. 1.2 cool down 7:58 

PM Christmas Eve festivities

Sunday AM 13 miles on road, bit icy, but the sun was shining and it was a glorious morning, 1:22:19 tot. 13

Summary 82 miles for the week, two good workouts. Fighting the weather a bit but I'm very happy with this week.   Keeping my head up and moving forward. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Training December 12 to 18, 2016

Monday- We landed at Manchester a bit after 4AM after a long string of delays.  Then we had a nice drive home in the snow.  I got to bed at 5:20am and the alarm went off at 6AM and it was off to work.  As such I didn't run.

Tuesday AM I actually did try to get up and run but couldn't do it.
                PM about 4 miles warm up, because I took Uta for a bit over 3 then dropped her at the house, then jogged to start and did drills and strides, 3 mile tempo on winter street in 15:07, (5:04, 10:07) then 10x30 second hills, focus on form so they were only like 90% efforts.  I was shocked that this went that well. 3+ cool down  tot. 12+

Wednesday AM 4 miles road with Uta, 30:13 tot. 4
                     PM road 10.2 with Uta, in 1:05:40, did 6x6 dead lifts starting at 95 up to 145lbs tot. 10.2

Thursday AM 4 miles road with Uta, 30:24 tot. 4
                  PM  ran from School because I had parent conferences so we had a break between the afternoon and evening sessions to go eat.  I used it to workout.  I did 3+ warm up, drills, strides, and a 400m on the track, which was snow covered and turned out to be quite icy in 82 seconds.  I decided that wasn't going to work.  I found a turf soccer field that was basically clear so I did 6x5mins with 3mins recovery with drills during the breaks I ended up covering more than a mile on each rep which was surprising considering how cold/windy it was and how many layers I was wearing. only a mile cool down tot. 11.5

Friday AM road 4 solo, very cold, windchill was -16 and Uta wanted no part of it, 28:31 tot. 4
             PM road 10.2 with Uta, cold 12 degrees, very tired, 1:07:31 tot. 10.2

Saturday body finally broke down a bit from the lack of sleep, I slept 14 hours and had a bit of stomach bug. took the day mostly off except for 2 hours of shoveling.

Sunday AM 11+ easy, first 7 with Uta and Melissa, hips were sore from shoveling, 1:21:35 tot. 11.2
              PM Bikram yoga, 90mins

Summary 67 miles, two very good workouts.  All things considered I couldn't be much happier with this week.  So I didn't do a mona fartlek so no mona rating picks instead I'll just give you a series of cute Uta photos….

Uta wanting to eat a nearby chipmunk

Uta texting

Uta and her buddy polar bear

Uta drinks a hard cider at the end of a long day of being awesome

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Weekly Training Blog December

 Alligator from an awesome boat tour in Wakulla State Park during which we saw a bunch of these guys and a few Manatees.

 Monday AM 4 miles with Uta, 30:15, tot. 4
                3:30PM cross training and massage with Anna, mostly did handstands and variations of jerks
                6:30PM raliegh tavern 10 mile, total ice skating shit show, 1:10:38, dead lifts after 6x6 start at 95lbs up to 155lbs tot. 10.2

Tuesday AM out and back on Dale with Uta and Melissa, 33:45, it was icy again but not nearly as bad as last night but Melissa HATES ice so we went pretty slow tot. 4
                PM 3+ warm up, drills, strides, half Mona fartlek on Glendale loop, not as icy as last few runs but there were a couple spots, averaged 5:12 pace for the 10mins and felt much better. 3+ cool down
I thought this would get a Steve Moneghetti "Atta Boy" rating but…
Instead I actually got a "what the hell are you talking about?" because it is only the 2nd Mona of the cycle and it was still only a half mona.

Wednesday AM road 4 with Uta in mix of snow, freezing rain and rain. 30:37 tot. 4
                     PM raliegh tavern 10 mile, 1:08:38, box jumps after 3x10 at 20in, 24in, 30in tot. 10.2

Thursday AM road 4 with Melissa and Uta, 31:57
                  PM off I had a very long day at work, it was getting late and I knew I had to be up at 2:30am the next morning for our flight so I had dinner and went to bed.

Friday AM off for travel to Tallahassee 
            PM 41mins of jogging around the course and drills, tot. 5++

Saturday AM 10min warm up with Melissa before her race.  Then 18min warm up after she started the race, drills, 4min jog to start, wait in check in line then forced in 5 strides in the 5mins before the start.  Race USATF club xc championships.  I finished 119th and ran 32:10.  Splits 5:02, 10:11, 15:15, 20:43(long), 25:36(short), 30:55.   I finished about 15 seconds and 17 places in Front of John Schilkowsky who beat me by about 15 or 20 seconds last weekend so I felt good about that.  I followed my race plan pretty much perfectly and I competed well over the last couple miles.  I'm super unfit so this was about as good as I could hope for.  In 2005 I was really fit and ran club cross but raced like an idiot and though I had a shot at the top 10 I ended up 85th or so.  The field is much deeper now and I got 119th in awful shape so I feel pretty good about how I approached things.

  Now the story….  So let me be clear.  I started it.  I was moving up through the field and after 2 miles I was cutting across on the tangent and I cut a guy off.  Not on purpose but I was cutting across the field and there was contact and we both got a good stumble in.  A few seconds later the other guy rushes up next to me and gives me a good elbow. Ok fair enough.  Then he keeps leaning into me and elbow pushing me over to the edge of the course, which at this spot was some heavy bushes.  I probably should have said something but I didn't.  I have a temper when I race, and yes I know I was in the middle of the pack with no shot at doing anything but that doesn't have any impact on my competitiveness.  Anyway I sort of used my right arm and threw the guy to the ground.  That wasn't really my intent.  I just wanted to give him a good enough jolt that he would cut the shit and we'd move on but down he went.  Now his teammates around him were none too happy, for obvious reasons and were shouting and stuff.  I was moving faster so I was out of range fairly quickly but when someone tells you I'm an a-hole, keep in mind sometimes I'm an a-hole.   I actually sort of figured I'd be dq'd but either they never ended up complaining to the officials or the officials were like Umm you all finished a 100 and what? and blew them off.

Sunday AM 14 miles solo out and back on St. Marks rail trail, 1:30:22. Awesome place to run would love to do tempo's on this.  We do have the Chelmsford rail trail now which is very similar, though has more road crossings and obviously living up here it is out of commission for fast running for the next 4 or 5 months. tot. 14

Summary 75 miles, one decent workout, one decent race. I'm happy with this.  The race is poorly placed in the overall scheme of things, So I end up not increasing to the 90's this week and with a travel nightmare that ended up in Melissa and I getting back to our house Monday morning at 5:20AM and me at work at 7:20AM after that I didn't run yesterday or this morning so this week will not be an increase week either.

  That said it was a nice trip and I was very happy with the race for the shape I am in.  I executed my race plan perfectly.  I really would have loved to be sub 32 and top 100 but honestly I thought those goals going in were wildly unrealistic so to come as close as I did I'm very happy.

  Generally speaking I am feeling strong and moving freely.  I am still having coordination issues but I could see those being wiped out in the coming year if I continue to make the muscular progress I have been making.  Additionally I feel that the improved muscular power, and more importantly range of motion, have made me MUCH more efficient at speed and so I am noticing very fast improvement with little work and I think I could end up running quite well in the coming months with some good training.

  That said I have some concerns about moving training forward in the winter. I have to lay out a training schedule that will be balanced and effective but can be accomplished without access to a track or much in the way of extended flat ground.  Where footing will be to varying degrees a problem on nearly every run.  That will work with 10 out of 13 runs being completed in darkness each week.  All of these issues can be overcome but it means that planning becomes very important.  I have my schedule to a point that I'm pretty happy with it and I should have it pretty well squared away by the end of this week.  There are some small things about running in the dark and on the ice that annoy the hell out of me that I'll simply need to such it up and deal with but other than that the biggest hurdles were making a plan that would accomplish my goals within the constraints of a New England winter, my schedule, and my current training resources.

Lastly, and I think this is pretty obvious, Mona is not judging my workouts, I don't know him, He certainly doesn't know me.  I'm just a fan, of him and his fartlek.  I don't own the pics.  I just stole them offline.  I don't have ads on the blog.  I don't make any money for this as such I don't feel guilty doing that.  If you own one of the pictures and don't want me to use it just post a comment or message me.  If you are Steve Moneghetti, first thank you for checking out my blog!  I'm honored!  Loved your book by the way.  Second I'm guessing you know it is all in good fun but if for whatever reason you don't want me to continue just message me or comment.  Getting a cease and desist note from one of my running hero's will rate right up there with my other odd life accomplishments like taking an ice bath with Teg and Solinsky and Frank Shorter saying "Hi, Nate." to me.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Weekly Training November 28 to December 4, 2016 Almost real training...

Monday AM road 4 mile with Uta, 30:07 tot. 4
               PM 8.3 miles, roads in 56:32. This was in a cold rain, of course it was dark as well. This was
                      one of those runs where you are kinda certain someone is going to run you over tot. 8.3

This is the start of my race Saturday.  If my form looked that good all the time I'd be a happy man. The gentleman on my left shoulder is the eventual winner John Schilkowsky.

Tuesday AM 4 miles in cold rain with Melissa and Uta on roads, 31:26 tot. 4
                PM 45 degrees and pouring cold rain.  I did a 3.1 mile warm up with Uta then toweled her
                       off before heading out again- this time spent socked to the bone not moving much was
                       not helpful to the warm up process.  I jogged a quarter mile from the house to my fartlek
                       loop, did drills- a skip, b skip , a+c skip, hops, both types of side skips fast exchange
                      with hold.  Then some strides.  Then did a half a Moneghetti Fartlek, 10mins- 1x90,
                      2x60, 2x30, 2x15 with equal rest.  I covered 1.87 miles in the 10mins that is 5:20 pace.
                      Interestingly in the 90 second rep I was in the range of how far I would go when running
                      Full Mona's that cover 4 miles.  Just keep in mind when I do that the recovery pace has to
                      be in the 5:20 per mile range and today I was averaging that pace overall. It was good to
                      get in a fartlek but humbling to see how far from full fitness I still am.  2.4 mile cool
                      down in 17:39. tot. 8.3 miles
Even though it was nice to get back to doing one of my favorite workouts if I'm going to be honest this half Moneghetti would definitely have to rate a Steve Moneghetti is not impressed. 

Wednesday AM 4 miles with Uta on the roads, not really raining just really foggy.  No time as I forgot
                            to stop the watch tot. 4
                    PM Road 8 miles solo in cold hard rain, 53:21, not an enjoyable run tot. 8

Thursday AM 4 miles with Uta in, you guessed it, a cold rain. tot. 4
                  PM at North Andover track, 2 miles warm up, 15:17, full drills. 15x200m with 2mins rest-
                         jogged 200m on most of the recoveries.  I did the first 4 with some of the 400/800 girls
                         from Merrimack College who were working out and on those ones I walked across the
                         infield with them on the recoveries. I averaged 31.74 for the 200's. Felt pretty easy
                         overall.  I wanted to do this 'on' 2mins not with 2mins rest but I took the chance to run
                         with some people at the start over my original plan as extra rest is not a problem on this
                         session because it is all about the muscular development, 3+ mile cool down 20mins 
                         tot. 8.6 miles

Friday AM 4.1 miles roads with Melissa and Uta in 31:26.  Holy crap it wasn't raining at all.  I mean it
                    was still dark and cold because well all my weekday runs in the winter are in the dark and
                    cold but no rain! tot. 4.1
             PM 8.2 miles on roads with Uta who wanted to hammer, particularly after we ran into and then
                    for a short stretch sort of with a group of deer. time-52:45 tot. 8.2 miles

Saturday 1pm 3+ miles warm up, bunch of drills, bunch of strides, Race Frozen Frolic 3.4 mile in Wakefield MA. finished 2nd behind John Schilkowsky who has run 4:02 and 8:06 in the past but I have no idea what kind of shape he is in now. I lead to about 2.8 miles or so and then he went by me and really buried me from there to the finish.  The course is very flat but it was super windy.  From about 600m to 2 miles most of the course was into a VERY strong head wind.  From 2 miles to the finish you had mostly a very nice tailwind.  Splits 1-5:03.02, 2-10:04.28 (5:01.26), 3- 14:57.35 (4:53.09), 1:53 for the last .4 (4:50 mile pace).  The good news was that I ran this course 2 years ago and ran 16:53.  That was a bad day at the time but to be back to a place where I am running faster on a good day than I was in the past on a bad day is a big step forward.  Back into the ballpark of my normal racing.  So I'm really happy with the run. I was also really happy that I was able to race hard been locked in a sort of 90% effort the last few races so it was nice to start to get tough again.  Did about 3 miles cool down mostly with two UML runners who did a tempo in the race.  tot. 10.4 miles 
This is me at the finish. Form isn't that bad.  Little forward lean at the waist, some collapsing in the hips but not awful. 

Sunday AM 14.1 miles on roads, 1:30:56, sadly this kinda felt like a long run, but hey its been a while so I'll take it.  I did hops, knees to chest jumps, box jumps 10x20in, 10x24in, 10x30in and squats, 6x6 starting at 65lbs and going up to 115lbs after the run. tot. 14.1 miles

Video of me doing the last set of box jumps

PM bikram yoga

Summary ~86 miles for the week, two workouts, one race.  Like I said that is almost real training.  The miles were a nice step up.  The workouts obviously pretty light but they were fine for where I'm at and the race was certainly a step forward and honestly better than I had hoped for.  My goal was to run 5:00  pace, which would have been 17:00 but with the wind I really thought there was no way that was going to happen so I was very happy to actually be under that.  Slowly, ever so slowly, I'm working my way back.  Unfortunately for the next 3 to 5 months the weather and darkness are going to make things harder so this is a rough time to be just getting my wheels under me but sometimes that is just how it goes. Hope your running is going well.