Thursday, August 17, 2017

Planning a Training Schedule Basics; how to periodize your training to run your best

  The most important part of planning a full training cycle is to understand that training can be mostly dropped into three categories.  Training to improve your general physical qualities which may or may not make you race faster on its own but increases your ability to do more specific training.  Two, training to improve your ability to run fast generally, but not necessarily over a specific distance.  Three, workouts that directly increase your ability to run faster over a specific distance but may or may not improve your actual fitness. Put another way you do workouts to build the ability to do workouts that build the ability to run fast finally you do workouts to shape your fitness to perform your best at a specific distance.

  How you go about accomplishing this with your workouts is very much up to interpretation.  You may choose to do basically the same workouts year round and to change how they are executed in order to accomplish the goals of your season.  You may choose to do very different workouts for each phase to a such a degree that a sample week from each phase would seem completely unrelated. As long as you have embraced the general idea of progressing workouts to build to a peak set of races and a new plane of fitness you are ready to lay out your schedule.

  Step one in setting your schedule has to be time.  When is your goal race?  How many weeks do you have between now and then.  If the answer to that question is much less than twelve and you are not already about as good as you think you can be long term then I would suggest that you pick another goal race.  It is certainly possible to get ready to race in 10 weeks, or even less time, but you are not going to make any step forward in your general fitness.  Basically you can only run up to your stored potential not change your baseline.  So for example Nick Willis was hurt this spring and only started running 10 weeks before worlds.  His first workout was only 7 weeks before worlds.  The result?  He finished 8th.  So frankly the results were awesome.  The thing to remember is Nick's baseline after all these years is incredibly high, there are no major breakthroughs left to make. He is within spitting distance of the limits of the human body as we understand them today.  I have little doubt that if this was 15 years ago and Nick was in college and running just under 4:00 for the mile he and his coach would have approached things differently targeted fall cross country, trained through worlds, got knocked out in the heats at worlds, and made another step towards becoming the sub 3:50 miler and two time Olympic Medalist that he is.

  This raises the question is there a block of time that is too long?  Arthur Lydiard would say no, he liked to do year long cycles.  Personally I find that though I can make a cycle longer than 6 months work I don't seem to improve as much as if I break that period of time into two cycles.   So if you are looking at something in the 8 to 12 month range I would find another target race about half way between now and your big goal race to target as an interim goal.  In the long run I think you will find you will run better in the big goal race doing it that way.

  Once you know how much time you have you can create your cycles.  If your goal race is a marathon then you are going to taper for 1 to 3 weeks before the race and the rest of your season you will be training pretty hard.  If your goal race is shorter you may want to create a racing season of 4 to 8 weeks around it where your mileage is low, 50 to 60% of your normal volume, with lower volume, high intensity workouts and a lot of racing, at least one per week.   I would put the main goal race 2 to 4 weeks into this race phase, the first couple of weeks of lighter volume will serve as the taper and realizing that after 4 to 8 weeks of training at this lower volume your fitness will start to erode.

  For your specific phase you want to plan 5 to 7 weeks.  You can squeak by with 4 weeks particularly if you are doing a shorter distance racing season like described above.  You can stretch this to 8 weeks, particularly if you are focused on a marathon or half marathon and have a half marathon or two slipped into the specific phase as tune up races.  Keep in mind that there are limited returns on the specific phase. Meaning that if you go too long you will not get faster.  This is the training that shapes your fitness not the phase that builds it.  You polish the diamond but you aren't making it bigger or harder.

  Some people do a very clear middle phase, a pre-competition or special phase.  For me it is always the transition period from the end of the base and the beginning of the specific phase.  So in my case it isn't well defined.  I may be doing a workout that is really a special phase workout for one system while my other workout the same week is really still firmly in the base phase.  Either way this phase should really be three or four weeks.  Five at the absolute most.  You are starting to do some very hard, and in the case of the 10k down, very anaerobic workouts here. On top of that your volume is still very high.  If you push this phase too long you are just going to end up sick or hurt.

  The rest of your time is the base phase.  For me this is a period that naturally progresses into the special phase and I adjust the progression of my workouts based on how much time I have.  You have a lot of flexibility in the length of this cycle.  The work you are doing may be hard but it isn't as tough on your system as some of the other phases so you can,in a jam, easily train like this for 3 months or even more. Ideally I suggest 6 to 8 weeks but longer is ok.

  You can get away with less but this is the phase where the work is done for big improvements so you are selling yourself short if you are cutting this cycle short.  However in a situation like high school or college where you are running three seasons this can be tough.  My advice in those situations is to follow a program that has less variation from cycle to cycle so that you can always be in acceptable racing shape but utilize subtle adjustments so that you are actually targeting long term improvement.  Also during the early part of the indoor and outdoor seasons try to hit a couple of very good base phase workouts. For example a strong fundamental tempo or two or a really good hill circuit workout.  These are good because you need them but also if you have been doing a lot of race specific work you are really starting to get limited returns by the end of the season and doing these sort of workouts for a couple weeks gives your body a chance to target other systems and your mind a chance to focus on different tasks.  This will not only be better for your physical development but also for your mental motivation and sanity.  Then of course you can get in an extended base phase during the summer.

  To set up your general outline go through this process:
  1. When is my goal race? count back your taper from that day.
2. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for specific training.
3. Allow 3 to 4 weeks for special training.
4. How much time does that leave?  If it is less than 4 weeks strongly consider changing your goal race. This time is your base phase.
  

  A word on racing through the phases.  It is ok to race in all of these phases but races that are run during the non- specific phase should not be tapered for, it is always ok to reduce training after to recover if needed.  Also it is important to understand that improvements in the early and even middle phase may not translate directly to results in racing.  This is more and more likely the case the shorter the race you run.  It is key that you focus on the progression of your workouts during this time instead of any race or time trial to measure your fitness gains, as these can be misleading.  For example lets say you ran 10:00 for two miles last spring and you are spending your summer doing base work after a couple weeks recovery back in June.  Over the last couple months you have taken your fundamental tempo from 6 miles at 6 minute pace to 12 miles at 6 minute pace.  You have also found that in your hill circuit you can now do 5 sets instead of the 3 you started with and your able to accomplish each set 5 to 10 seconds faster.  You have made a huge jump in fitness!  But if you go and run a two mile time trial with your teammates to kick off cross country season.  You will likely run in the 10:20 range.  This can seem like a failure.  I mean you were so much faster in the spring.  The key is that you have not been training to improve your race specifically.  You have created in your body a fitness that will enable you to do the workouts needed to run a much faster 2 mile but you're not there right now. That is totally ok because your state championship is still almost three months away and you will be ready to split sub 10 on your way to 5k by the time it rolls around.  You need to focus on the improvements in your workouts as a measure of your increased fitness.

  That said don't panic if you do run 9:50 in our hypothetical time trial.  As long as your base workouts have shown improvement it just means that your base fitness was so poor that you have been able to move past your sharpened up race fitness by improving it.  Your in for some great improvements. However if you did improve greatly in the time trial but you hadn't seen improvement in your base workouts you may want to re-evaluate your training as you may be doing too much specific work and not enough general fitness work.

 Next up you need to progress our workouts through the phases. All of your workouts should have a logical progression and a specific end goal.  They may get longer, they may get faster, the recovery may get shorter, but each should have an end goal and a clear step by step progression there.  That goal should be directly related to your race goal.  If you are having trouble figuring this part out it can be helpful to think of it this way.
What are the workouts needed to run X time for my goal race.?
 Those are your final goal workouts.  
Now what type of workouts would set someone up to do those workouts?  
Those are your special and early specific workouts. 
What type of workouts need to done to build the general fitness to do those workouts?
Those are your end of base phase workouts
What am I capable of doing right now for the type of workouts I want to run at the end of my base phase?
Those are your starting workouts

  Let's look at how a couple of workouts might progress through the seasons.   First let's stick with our 10:00 two miler heading into cross country.  Looking at his specific pace work it is reasonable for this athlete to have a goal of 15:30 for a fast 5k, or a 5k goal pace of 5:00 mile pace.  In the base phase I would have this athlete start with 10 to 20  200 meter reps at goal pace with 200 meters jogging or 1 minute standing recovery.  The idea would be run the pace as even and as relaxed as possible.  You don't want this to be a hard session.   The second session would be 20 to 25 x 200 with the same rest, the same pace, and the same goal.  We have simply extended the volume of the session.  The third session would be 12x400 meters at goal pace with 2mins recovery,  once again you have the same goal of relaxation.  We have kept the global volume the same but increased the duration of each rep, moving us one step closer to our end goal of holding this pace for 5k with no breaks.

  Keep in mind these sessions would be among the easiest of the base phase, as specific work is the least targeted during this phase.  Moving into the special phase I would do the 12x400 again but now with only a 100 meter jog recovery, same pace but now the goal shifts a little.  You still want to be as relaxed as possible but if the workout gets hard then you need to run as hard as needed to still hit the pace.   At the end of the special phase I would extend this workout to something like 8 to 10x600m at goal pace with 200m rest.  As you come into the special phase the frequency and the intensity of the specific workouts should increase.  Also your max lass workouts should now involve a lot of specific pace running, and your alternations/threshold work could now involve a lot of specific pace running as well.  The specific workout we have been tracking would be repeated a few more times during the specific phase, each time increasing the distance of the rep while not changing the pace or increasing the recovery.

  Let's look at another type of workout and how it might be progressed.  Mile repeats.  Using our same athlete and assuming a mile PR in the 4:30 to 4:40 range I would have him start with a session like 6xmile at one minute slower than mile PB, so 5:30 to 5:40 with a full 3 minutes recovery.  The goal of the session in this phase is to build muscular endurance and aerobic fitness.  The reps should feel very relaxed and the recovery should seem to long.  I would not progress this workout much through the base phase but I would repeat it a few times.  Measuring improvement by how much more relaxed the athlete can feel.  Moving into the special phase I would keep the number of reps, 6, and the rest, 3 minutes, the same but I would increase the pace.  Trying to run 5 to 10 seconds faster, per mile, each time the workout is repeated.  I would carry this type of increase into the specific phase.  As the pace approaches 5:00 per mile this workout will get very hard and it may be necessary to decrease the volume to 4 or 5 repeats in order for the athlete to complete the session at 5:00 pace but in young or fast improving athletes you will often see them able to run the goal pace for 6 reps by the end of the specific phase.  So in this case we have adjusted a workout to change it's focus rather than adjust the intensity of a workout to match the phase. As a side not if I was prepping the athlete for the 10k I would likely not drop the pace all the way to 5k pace instead stopping at 10k pace, say 5:10? for this athlete, but I would reduce the recovery to 1 or 2 mins or a 200 to 400 meter jog.

  To sum up.  Find your timeline.  Plan for a taper or racing season, plan 4 to 6 weeks of specific training, 3 to 4 weeks of special training and the time you have remaining is for base work.  Make sure that your workouts address all areas of fitness with particular focus on the four pillars of successful racing, http://nateruns.blogspot.com/2017/08/four-pillars-of-training-for-fast.html.  Make sure that your workouts all have a purpose, which often is to build the ability to do the next similar workout, and an end goal which should be to race a specific distance at a specific pace or competitive level.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Four Pillars of Training for Fast Running

   Over the last twenty years of training I have found in my own training and in looking at the training of others with much better success than I've had that there seem to be four types of workouts you should focus on to build a balanced fitness and run up to the maximum of your potential.  These are not the only running you should do but they are sessions that are used regularly in pretty much every program I have looked at that produced unusually good results.

  These sessions are not an exhaustive list of all the types of workouts you should do but they are the four main pillars that hold up all of the other training.  If you are doing these you will do well.  If you aren't you will likely not get the most out of yourself.

  Pillar 1- Fundamental tempos- These have many names, I've used Renato Canova's name for them.  Jerry Schumacher calls them rythm runs, Joe Vigil calls them, fast endurance runs or 30km tests, George Malley or Bob Hodge would probably call it running a bit faster than normal sometimes.  Call them what you want, just make sure you do them. These are longer runs at pace that is faster than training pace but not as fast as tempo pace.  For a beginning, low mileage runner this might only be five or six miles long.  For a competitive marathoner they might get as long as thirty miles.   The key to this session is relaxation at a pace that is not exactly fast but is faster than you do or really could do day in day out for your training runs.   A good starting place for these is a minute per mile slower than your 5k race pace.  These should be done throughout the training year but you would do them much more often during the early phases and much less as you get into the thick of your racing season.  Similarly these are important for all runners but even more so for the developing runner.

  Pillar 2- Specific work/max lass workouts- I combine these because if your event is 1500 to 10k then the specific version of the max lass workouts is your key specific workouts but in the marathon the key is much more just specific paced running and max lass becomes much more secondary.   For me specific workouts mean running within about 1% of race pace.  So if your training to run a ten minute two mile specific pace would be 4:57 to 5:03 per mile.  I would hesitate a guess that more effort is wasted on running, supposedly, specific workouts that are too fast than in any other area of training.  If your goal is a 10 minute two mile and the quarter repeats you are doing feel too easy at 75 you should NOT run them faster.  You should either run them with shorter rest or you should run longer repeats at the same pace.  If it is early in the training cycle then you should focus on embracing the efforts feeling easy and try to make them feel as easy as you possibly can.

  Max lass workouts are workouts that try to create an ability to hold the amount of lacate, ie acid, in your blood at an essentially steady level while running your specific race pace.  For a long time it was thought that you could only really do this at 10 mile to half marathon race pace but it has been found that athletes can produce a defacto max lass at much faster paces, ie 3k to 10k race pace, where they hold lactate levels basically steady for 5 to 25 minutes.  Workouts for max lass in the base phase focus on doing explosive work, like short hill sprints, bounding, sprinting etc., while your body has a ton of latic acid in it.  This can be accomplished through hill circuits or doing hard track repeats with circuits or hill sprints mixed into the rests between the intervals.  As you move to the specific phase these workouts morph to involve repetitions at race pace mixed with explosive sprint reps.

  These workouts, both specific marathon workouts and max lass workouts, are only a small change from traditional or "normal" workouts. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you are fine just doing your regular sessions and working hard.  These sessions are probably the biggest difference in the performances we see today verses the 1980's.   For a long period of time it seemed that the best in the world were sort of pinned into the 13 teens, 27 lows and 2:07 to 2:08 range.  Now I'm not trying to say that EPO wasn't involved in the sudden proliferation of sub 13 men in the 1990's.  I'm not that naive.  That said there were many highly dedicated very hard working and talented men in the 1970's and 80's and only a few slipped under 13:10, notably Henry Rono and David Moorecroft.  Even if you discount some of the best in the world today there are many athletes who I feel very secure in saying are clean who are running well under 13:10.  Ben True, Hassan Mead, Chris Solinsky, Matt Tegankamp, Sam Chelanga come to mind very quickly.  I simply don't believe they are more talented then say Matt Centrowitz Sr., 13:12 or Lasse Viren, 13:16.  When you look at this improved standard and then consider that the vast majority of the training is unchanged in the last fourty years it becomes clear that something subtle but important has happened.  Both generations did high mileage.  Both generations did tempo runs, intervals, long runs.  Both generations ran on mondo tracks and even had pace setters, though admittedly Viren never ran well in a race that was paced.  This leaves the question, what is different?  The answer, to my mind, is in the two types of workouts I have highlighted above.  So if you are asking do I think that if the runners of the past were doing more of these sessions they would have been faster my simple answer is yes.  I do not believe it is likely or even possible that someone like Craig Virgin could have worked harder than he did and he ran 8:40.9 for two miles in high school so it is also unlikely that any number of athletes are significantly more talented than he was.   Yet we have a number of guys running much faster.  Some of this could be chalked up to faster races.  I have no doubt that at times in his career Craig could have run in the 13:10 range if the race had been going at that pace but I find it hard to believe simple pacing would drop him 20 seconds.  So what are the likes of Ben True, 13:02, Matt Tegenkamp, 12:58 and Chris Solinsky, 12:55 doing differently?  I believe the answer is fundamental tempos and max lass workouts.  Though I' imagine that none of them call them by those names.

Pillar 3- Threshold workouts.  Traditionally this would be your half marathon paced tempo run.  I would include those but I personally focus much more on alternation style intervals.  I believe these are far more effective in improving threshold as well as overall fitness.  Your threshold or steady state pace is the single most important fitness maker in deciding your success in races from 3k to marathon.  If you have a high threshold you will race well.  If you have also do some decent specific workouts with that high threshold you will race very well.   Raising your threshold is how you make a pace that is hard to run for longer than a few hundred meters into something you can run easily for a few miles.
  Alternation workouts for threshold included things like Aussie Quarters, http://nateruns.blogspot.com/2014/12/workout-wednesday-australian-quarters.html, Moneghetti Fartleks, http://nateruns.blogspot.com/2015/01/monaghetti-fartlek.html, or Renato Canova style alternations, http://nateruns.blogspot.com/2015/02/workout-wednesday-alternations-for-5k.html.  Basically any workout where you mix in intervals of faster than half marathon paced running with quick, faster than regular training paced, recoveries.
 Threshold workouts are closely related to the fundamental tempos in terms of the changes that they create in your body.  Improvements in one of these workouts will lead to improvements in the other.  If you find yourself plateaued in either of these work types very often the answer is to focus on the other.  For more than a year early in my career I could not find a way to run a threshold run under 5:10 per mile or so.  If I did one mile at 5:00 pace it felt painfully easy but somewhere between 3 and 5 miles it became incredibly hard. Then I found fundamental tempo's and within a few months I could do 5 mile tempo runs at 4:50 per mile.  In the more then a decade that has past since I have seen this connection in my training again and again.

Pillar 4- Speed work.  This is NOT anaerobic work.  This is work focused on teaching the body to run fast while remaining relaxed.  This can be as simple as strides.  It can be done in great volume or in very low volume with great regularity.  I try to never let a week go by where I don't do at least some session for speed.  Joe Vigil, who is a much better coach then me, tries to never let a day go by where it doesn't get touched on.
   Nearly everyone runs fast in their training but too often we fall into the trap of thinking fast and hard are the same thing.  Much like the workouts in pillar one speed sessions should not be hard. They are more than an easy day but not nearly a hard day.  You can address the need for this type of work in a ton of different ways.  You can do sets of strides, 4 to 15, as often as daily or you can do short hill sprints, under 15 seconds.  I often do longer sessions like 30x100m or mix 10 to 20 second high speed bursts into a regular run with full recovery between efforts.  The two keys to this type of work are a focus on good, relaxed, powerful running form and taking full recovery between efforts.  It is easy to slip into not taking enough rest between these sessions, it is all but impossible to take too much recovery.

  There you have it.  As I stated above I don't expect this to be the only training you do but I do expect that this is what your training schedule should be designed around. If you are regularly working on all of these systems you will do well.  If you then start to put them into a well designed progression of increased volume and periodized adjustments you will be truly training and not just running and you will see some impressive results.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Weekly Training Blog August 7 to 13, 2017

Monday AM 10k, started with Uta and Melissa, 45:03, starting to cough more after feeling kinda shitty last 2 or 3 days.
PM 10.2 miles around Northfield Mount Hermon, first 7 miles or so with camp counselors, 1:21:47

Tuesday PM road 4 with Uta, 29:04, basically only ran to get Uta some exercise.  Felt pretty shitty, coughing a lot.

Wednesday PM road 5, 34:44, still sick.

Thursday AM at granite state camp as a speaker.  I was pretty sick and didn't hang out long but had a good time all the same.  should have stuck around to run but I had decided to take the day off
PM Found out Melissa had Lyme and felt like a wuss for wanting to take a the day off for a small cold so I did a road 5 in 34:31

Friday Noon road 10, 1:05:45, feeling better, but coughing a lot.

Saturday PM road 10, 1:05:14, coughing less, feel normal other than that and some left of sinus stuff I'm about ready to go

Sunday AM 10.4 on roads, first 2k with Melissa and Uta, coughing only after runs now.
PM road 5, 34:27

Summary 66 miles or so for the week, no quality, but I'm healthy again and nothing much was lost but time.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Training Blog July 31 to August 6, 2017

Monday AM 3+ warm up, drills, strides, 200m in 31, jogging, Aussie Quarters averaged 68/45 fastest rep was 67.0 on the last one, slowest was 69.2 on the penultimate one.  15:18 for the 3 miles.  Huge improvement, not a great session in the scope of things but massive improvement from where I have been. 3.5 cool down
PM road 5 with Uta in 35:49, dead lifts after the run

Tuesday AM road 10 solo, 1:06:16
PM 5 miles around Phillips fields with Uta and Melissa in 44:19

Wednesday AM paced Melissa's 8 mile progression run on Chelmsford rail trail, 54:16
PM 3+ warm up, drills, 400m in 74, 500m jogging, then 30x100m in 15 with 100m slow jog full recovery, 3.5 cool down

Thursday AM road 12 solo, 1:19:11, squats after the run
PM road 5 solo, 34:57

Friday AM some lifting, drills and massage with Anna
Noon road 10, 1:10:08
took rest of day off, coming down with sore throat, very tired

Saturday AM 3+ warm up, drills, strides, quarter mile in 69, Race John Leclerc windmill 5k in Templeton, 1st place CR, 15:10, splits 5:00, 9:57, 14:42.  Still a bit sick, not the best effort.  Not sharp enough to run real hard from the front.  All in all I was pretty happy with this, for where I am at right now. 3 mile cool down largely with the next two finishers.
PM road 5, 35:51
A quarter mile or so into the race.

Sunday AM road 8.2 with Uta, 57:15
PM road 8.2 solo, 55:42.  I would have done a longer run today but I was feeling pretty shitty still and decided to do a bit less in hopes of aiding my return to being not sick...

Summary 108 miles for the week, nice Aussie quarters session, nice rust buster race, good speed/muscular session. I feel like I'm moving forward real well overall.  The coordination hasn't been good.  I doubt I would have held it for much longer had I gone past 12 on Tuesday.  I'm not fit but I really feel like I'm improving very steadily and I could see myself running pretty well in another month or two at this rate.   I hope you are training well.  

If you want to buy some rabbit gear and get 10% off use this link http://rabbit.refr.cc/nathanielj

Monday, July 31, 2017

Training Blog July 24 to 30, 2017 Getting Stronger...

Monday noon road 10 miles 1:08:34, tired, spent most of the day catching up on yard work and errands...

Tuesday AM 5.3 miles with Melissa and Uta, 39:25
PM at rail trail 3 mile warm up, drills and strides, 4x2 miles with 2mins of drills recovery, 10:22, 10:27, 10:15, 10:09.  Actually started to feel good by the last one which was nice.  Getting a bit of endurance back.  2.2 mile cool down

Wednesday AM 7.1 miles in 54:24, pacing Melissa through her 2x2 mile, in 12:40 and 1xhalf mile in 2:55 workout.  We also did some drills and strides during this.
PM 8.1 miles on roads solo, 55:27

Thursday AM at Phillips Academy, 3 warm up, drills, strides, 10x300m with 300m jog, ie full recovery and then some.  This is muscular work so the first one basically felt the same as the last one except I had bit of fatigue in the quads and calves, no acid burn etc...  Averaged 46.9 with fastest at 46.5 and slowest at 47.3, jogs were very slow, mostly over 2mins.  3 mile cool down

Full disclosure I went fishing instead of doing a second run, pretty lazy choice but it was a really nice afternoon and I'm trying not to go too crazy with the mileage...

Friday AM road 10 mile solo, 1:05:37
PM 5.1 miles around Phillips fields with Melissa and Uta, 42:11

Saturday PM 3 warm up, drills and strides, 5x mile on rail trail, 5:21, 5:08, 4:59, 4:52, 4:50.  Goal was to be in the 5:20's then 10's then 0's then 50's then 40's.  Given my current 5k fitness, ~15:00 that was a fairly big ask and by being on the low end of the first 4 reps I pretty much screwed myself.   The first 3 actually felt pretty good I was even having delusions of grandeur that I would bust out a 6th rep in the 4:30's but by the half mile in the 4th rep the reality that running much under 5min pace is pretty hard for me right now settled in.  Rests were 2mins with drills. Actually the rests were exactly 1:59 for every one which I find a little funny, I'm not usually that consistent. 3 mile cool down.

Sunday AM with Melissa on rail trail.  This was here long run/workout.  So we ran 11.6 miles with no stopping 3 miles easy as warm up, then 5 miles of 3/4 in the 4:30's, 6:0's pace, with 1/4 slow jog recovery then 3.6 miles easy at the end, 1:30:16 for the whole thing.
PM road 8.2 solo, 55:19, saw a deer very close up, about 15 feet.  Finished off a good week for wildlife.

Summary 102 miles for the week, three nice workouts.  I'm starting to get to a point where I can see my body wanting to get back to 'normal' paces and abilities.  I'm not there yet but hopefully over the next few weeks it will happen.
  The weather this week was crazy nice, probably the nicest whole week I have ever trained through in a Massachusetts summer.  Generally we have very high humidity and very high dew points so that even 80 degrees tends to feel like a death march.  This week not only was the temp in the high seventies and low 80's but it felt cool.  It really was a nice break.  It looks like the humidity is going to be back this week so we'll see how I handle it.  Generally it doesn't bother me too much for a single session but it grinds me down and I have to start putting in more rest days.  We are however coming into August and often the mornings and evenings are cooler in August giving a chance to work around the heat more effectively.
  This week I'm going to do a couple of workouts and a 5k race.  I'm planning on trying to start racing into shape over the course of this month.  Just hopping into some local races and running hard.  I'm ready for that.  I still don't know for sure what I'll be focused on for the fall, that is going to depend on how the next 6 to 8 weeks go but it is time to start trying to hurt a little for real.
  This weekends race will be the John Leclerc Memorial Wind Turbine 5k in my hometown of Templeton, MA.  It raises money for cross country program which was a power house for many years but fell on hard times right after I graduated with the addition of a lot of other sports, Narragansett is a tiny school.  From the programs inception in 1963 through to 1998 they never had a losing season and won state titles in 1966, 1979, 1983, 1995, 1996.  The titles in '79 and '83 were when Massachusetts didn't have divisions so that was beating schools that were 10 to 20 times larger. Since then they have struggled.
   My expectations are pretty low.  I'm going to aim for 15:00 but I'm not feeling confident that I'll be able to run that.


'back in the day' front page of the local paper from the first state champion team I was on at Narragansett

Monday, July 24, 2017

Training Blog July 17 to 23, 2017

Monday AM road 5 with Uta, 35:41
               PM road 10, solo, 1:03:32

Tuesday AM road 5 with Melissa and Uta, 39:26
PM 3.8 warm up, drills, 30x100m all but one in the 15s, slipped up on 5th or 6th one and ran a 16.1, 3.8 cool down

Wednesday AM 13.3 miles, 1:33:59, first 2 miles and last two miles with Melissa and Anna on Chelmsford rail trail.
PM 4 miles on road, first 2 with Uta, 30:15

Thursday AM 5 mile 37:19, with Uta
PM road 10, 1:05:05

Friday AM on Phillips Academy fields, 2 warm up, 20k fundamental pace tempo, 1:12:55
noon drills, some lifting and massage with Anna

Saturday AM rail trail 5.2 with Melissa
PM road 10, 1:06:27

Sunday AM 3 mile warm up, drills, strides, 200m in 31, jogging, Aussie Quarters goal was to run 50 for the recovery 200's and 68 for the on four hundreds.  I went 46/68/51/67/51/68/50/68/50/68/50/68/50/68/49/67  for 15:49 for the full 3 miles.  A long way off sub 15 and where I want to be but a small step in the right direction. 3.5 cool down
PM road 10 with Melissa, 1:18:14

Summary 115 miles, three good workouts.  All and all a decent week.  Some nice training.  Getting back to some lifting.  I need to get into yoga again in the next couple weeks. Other than that really just trying to string some more weeks together and keep making the baby steps towards some good fitness.

  Hope you are well.
  If you want 10% off some rabbit gear click the link below..
http://rabbit.refr.cc/nathanielj

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fishing with Dick Beardsley; A Day I'll Never Forget

  For my birthday last year Melissa went very over the top and gave me a trip to Bemidji Minnesota to stay at Jill and Dick Beardsley's bed and breakfast, http://www.lakebemidjibandb.com/, and to spend a day fishing with Dick Beardsley, http://www.dickbeardsley.com/.  I'm all about delayed gratification but waiting almost a full year for my birthday gift was pretty extreme, even by my standards!  In the end however it was worth it in every way.

  Melissa and I flew out mid morning on Tuesday and arrived in Minneapolis rather quickly.   Then we drove the 3 and half hours to Bemidji.  I really enjoyed the ride as we moved through the city then suburbs then a lot of farm country and then into more of the north woods.   Melissa was less enthused about it. Honestly next time I'll probably fly to Bemidji but having only really been to Minnesota once before it was nice to get out and see some of it.   We were greeted at the Bed and Breakfast by Dick who said he didn't usually play host but Jill was a bit under the weather.  He then steered us to a great little restaurant around the corner for an amazing meal at the end of a long day.  Before we headed out he asked what we wanted to fish for.  Having never caught a walleye and having grown up bass fishing most every weekend I told him either would be wonderful.  We set up a meeting time of 6:30AM and Dick said he would drive us down to a couple of Lakes in the Detroit lakes region where he grew up.

  The next morning Dick was ready go early when we came down from our room.  He informed us there had been crazy storms in the Detroit lakes and there were a ton of trees down so we were going to stay a bit closer and go to a couple of nearby lakes.  I was a bit concerned to hear this as I assumed that plan B was likely not a as good as plan A.  However Dick was all smiles and only wanted to know what kind of sandwiches we would like.  A few minutes later Dick was ready to go with a picnic basket in hand.  Seriously this had to be a dream.

  We popped in for bait around the corner and then to gas up the boat.  In doing so Dick knocked something over and yelled out, "Son of a buck!"  The funny part is that is really what he said.  It was the first of an endless number of exclamations over the course of the day that were both overwhelmingly creative and genuine while never once including even a borderline bad word.

  A few minutes later Dick had us on the water and heading out to a sunken Island to go after some early morning walleye.  He had warned us that the walleye were slow to bite in the mid summer but assured us we would get some and then we would take a mid day break and drive to another Lake to get some heavy action on small and largemouth bass.

  Dick quickly got us set up with some live bait, even putting it on the hook for us, which was good as I didn't see Melissa grabbing a leech and hooking it anytime soon.  He then explained how to cast so expertly that Melissa, who had never been fishing in her life, not even as a kid was casting like a pro in less than a minute.  Once he had us set up and our baits were in the water Dick threw a line in as well.  Almost instantly he was exclaiming "jimminy christmas there's one!"

  Now one time when I was a kid my dad got permission for us to go fishing on a private pond and he caught one on the first cast and that was a start to just about the best day of fishing we ever had.  It is also the only time in my life prior to this trip that I had seen a fish caught on the first cast.

  To say I was excited at this point is the understatement of the century.  Dick however was telling us not to worry and that even though catching one on the first cast is supposed to bad luck he was sure we would do fine and that even tough that one was a bass he was sure we would get some walleye soon.

  Within a couple minutes he was proved right.  Melissa had one on.  The girl who prior to this had never held a rod or been on a fishing boat was hooked up and loving it!  It was a bullhead, much to Dick's delight and surprise.  It made me feel better about not getting one yet because obviously this was a fluke fish and not something Melissa had done with skill.

  A couple minutes later Melissa had another, this one was a bass and I could see a trend starting.  Dick and Melissa kept hitting them and I kept setting the hook on grass and getting my bait stolen.  Though I did get one solid hit and set the hook to have the line almost instantly go slack and found myself biten off which Dick assured me was a pike, which were plentiful here as well.  I was obviously paying a price to karma for underestimating Melissa!

Melissa with her first, of many, bass

Meanwhile as the other two kept reeling them in one after another, Dick even getting one while he was unhooking the one Melissa had just caught, The pole nearly went out of the boat as Dick dove across the bow to get it!  We were having some of the most engaging and fun conversation I have had in a long time.  I knew Dick was a story teller but he is also a conversationalist and we flowed along laughing and going on like lifelong friends.   Meanwhile I was stunned to see the ear to ear smile glued to Melissa's face as she had insisted since telling me about this trip that she was only going fishing to "take one for the team."  Now she was having as much fun as me.
Melissa's Fishing Smile

  Now as we went along Melissa and Dick were catching a great combo of bass, walleye and even a couple of northern pike.  With Dick getting legitimately disappointed each time the fist turned out to be something other than a walleye!  This included when it was a nearly 30 inch long Northern Pike! It was hilarious.  I was still struggling with the fish but positively having the time of my life.  At one point while we were talking Dick actually said "we are like two peas in a pod, you and I."  Now I have received some compliments in my life but that one has to be one of the highest a guy like me could ever get.   It is hard to describe what makes a day like this so magically.  It wasn't perfect weather, it was cool and windy and at times it rained a bit.  I wasn't catching anything, yet, but here I was with the love of my life who was having an unexpectedly wonderful time and talking with Dick it really felt like we had been friends for years.  My cheeks were actually starting to hurt from laughing and smiling so much.

 This is a walleye for those who don't fish
Dick with the largest of the pike he caught.  How this thing didn't bite off his line I'll never know. 

   Before long Dick decided the bite was slowing, though this was not too obvious to me, we had already caught more fish then in any day of my life to date, and we were heading for a snack and the second lake.   This one was down the end of a series of ever smaller dirt roads and we were greeted by a pair of nesting loons and their two young babies. 

  Dick drove us to the middle of the lake to set us up with rubber worms and explain how he wanted us to fish them.  He set up Melissa first and as he was setting up his rod and mine she cast out.  Dick sort of chuckled and said this wasn't were we were going to fish but she was free to try anyway.  Within a few seconds Melissa was hooked up.  First cast again!  Dick was full of fun exclamations for this one.  Amazed that Melissa had somehow caught this bass in 50 feet of water with no structure around.  As soon as he got back to tying his line Melissa had a second one on.  First two casts back to back! Yeah it was that kind of day.

 Melissa's first cast

Melissa's second cast

  All rigged up we headed off to the target spot, but not before Dick geo-located the spot and studied his sonar a bit to get an idea why she was hitting them out in the middle of nowhere.  This was one a few moments on the day when it struck me why Dick was so darn good at fishing.  He is meticulous and he is always learning.  He actually went back to the same spot a couple days later when he had a free afternoon to do some research. 

  On the target spot I almost immediately hooked one and was glad to finally be catching fish like everyone else, except it was a tiny rock bass.  I mean I couldn't believe the the thing could even get the hook in its mouth!  Melissa was taking no small joy in my woes and really it was almost making the trip more fun.  That said with the ice broken now I was now catching them with the same frequency as the other two.  A couple small large mouths and a couple more rock bass came quickly and then off a point I hooked into something I could tell was better.

My first fish of the day!  It was a whopper!

  As it got closer to the boat it really dug in and I realized I was onto a really nice one.  As it came by the front of the boat Dick got a good look at it and he got really excited!  He started shouting his very personal and wonderful string of non-swear exclamations.  Including, I kid you not, "Jimminy Christmas that one is a dandy!"  And it was.  At 18 inches and in the 3 to 4 pound range it was the largest smallmouth I've ever caught and Dick and I celebrated with an off balance awkward fist bump and something like a little dance.  It was a hilarious and wonderful moment in a great day.

  The weather actually turned on us a bit and it rained pretty steady for a little bit.  The thing was we hardly noticed.  We were catching fish left and right.  I actually didn't realize how hard it had rained until I saw Melissa's pictures at the end of the day and saw my shorts were soaked in one picture.   At one point Melissa and Dick caught fish simultaneously and Melissa finished off her amazing string with a largemouth that was about the same size as my smallmouth.   Finally it was time to head home.

  Arriving back at the Bed and Breakfast we were like three kids pouring into the yard talking all at once about the amazing day we had.  Dick wasn't too thrilled with the fishing but all of us had really just loved spending the day together and enjoying the conversation, the sights, from loons to eagles, and the wonderful fresh air of the great North.  Ok for me the fishing was pretty amazing too but Dick has high standards and I had to explain to Melissa that it doesn't normally go that well on the water.  At least not when you don't have Dick showing you the way. 

My big smallmouth

  We enjoyed the rest of our trip.  Jill makes some of the best, and fanciest breakfasts I've ever had.  She made a frittata one morning that I'll be dreaming about and trying to recreate for years to come.  We went hiking in a few different places, including crossing the headwaters of the Mississippi River, with the Beardsley's little mini golden doodle, Scarlett, who Melissa grew so attached to that when we left and Scarlett chased us to the fence and then started barking Melissa started crying.  Believe me we have had some great vacations together but Melissa has never cried when it was time to go home before.   The bed and breakfast itself is very cute with only 3 guest rooms and Jill keeps it SPOTLESS, but the biggest thing was the friendship we built with Dick and Jill.   Melissa and I commented again and again to each other that although Bedmidji is nice it isn't nearly the nicest place we have been but that Jill and Dick made this truly a trip of a lifetime full of memories and stories that we will treasure and share for the rest of our lives. 

  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Training Blog July 10 to 16, 2017

Monday AM 3.8 warm up, drills, strides. Attempted Aussie Quarters.  It was a bit windy, a good bit hot and I got kicked off the track, though I don't think the last two would have been pretty had I been able to stay. Goal was 50 for the rest 68 for the rep.  Went 49/67/53/67/50/68/50/69/51/68/51/69- total time 11:58 for 3600 meters, 5:20 mile pace. 3.8 mile cool down

Tuesday AM 5.2 miles solo, 38:53, was planning to go further but heard there was a bad traffic day going so I cut it short as we need to get to the airport.

PM travel to Bemidji, MN

Wednesday Off day Fishing all day with Dick Beardsley and Melissa.  Once in a lifetime experience gonna write a blog about it soon.

Thursday AM 9.7 miles, first 5 with Melissa, in 1:10:07
PM 6.1 miles solo, 39:08

Friday AM 3 mile warm up, first 1.5 with Melissa, then some drills and strides.  Mona Fartlek on awesome rail trail along the lake. covered 3.75 miles, 5:20 pace.  Which is about right for where I am fitness wise at the moment.  3 mile cool down.

Saturday AM 10.1 miles, 1:15, first 6 miles with Melissa.
PM travel back home, got back about 1am.

Sunday Noon 3 mile warm up, with Melissa, drills and a couple light strides.  3x2 miles with bit over 2 mins of drills recovery, very warm and humid. 10:26(5:15/5:11), 10:30(5:21/5:09), 10:24(5:13/5:11) 1 mile cool down, mostly with Melissa.

Summary not much in the way of miles this week but that was planned given that we were traveling and vacationing.  I was real happy to get in three good workouts.   We had an amazing trip. Really something every runner, or fisherman has to do.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekly Training Blog July 3 to 9, 2017

Monday AM 6 miles on roads and trails in Saratoga, NY, 46:10, first couple of miles with Melissa and Uta.

PM 4.3 miles on roads and trails in Saratoga, 29:54, solo.

Tuesday AM about 3 miles warm up, some with Melissa, some drills, some strides.  Race Firecracker 4 mile, 6th place 20:08, basically just turned myself inside out trying to stay with Scott Mindel.  Both of us were hoping to slip under 20:00 but just couldn't quite hold it up the last hill before the finish.  Splits 4:52(got sucked out by all the fast starting youngsters.  At 400m I was in about 40th place with 2 or 3 high school girls in front of me), 9:53(5:01), starting to hurt pretty good, 14:55(5:02), I was basically all out at this point.  last mile was 5:12.  I was really struggling.   Good run for where I'm at but I would have been thrilled to slide under 20 at this point. 2 mile cool down some with Melissa and Uta


PM 4 miles on roads back home solo, 28:46

Wednesday AM ~9 miles, I don't have an exact time.  Running with melissa, about 5 or 6 miles in Melissa tripped and really bashed her knee. I ran home to get the car and go pick her up but had shut my watch off for part of that return trip and it wasn't my normal route, I took the most direct way back, so I don't know the exact distance or time.  Melissa got X-rays and nothing broken but the knee was the size of a softball for a couple days.

PM 5.1 miles on road with Uta, in 36:03

Thursday AM 3.8 warm up to track, some drills, 16x200 meters for speed with full 400m jog breaks in about 2mins.  The idea is to be fresh for each 200 as to run with good form and work on the muscular side of things.  averaged just over 31 for the 200's. 3.8 cool down.

Friday AM road and trail 10 solo, 1:09:01
PM road 5 with Uta, 33:07

Saturday Noon 1.5 warm up, very slow with Melissa and Uta as Melissa tested out the knee. Then 10 mile fundamental tempo around Phillips fields, very humid!, 58:00.  Really dehydrated by the end.

Sunday AM road and trail 12, 1:25:20

Summary about 90 miles for the week, three quality sessions, one of which was the race which was a very nice step in the right direction.  Looking back at this week I would say that I'm actually training now which is nice to see.  I should start to progress fairly quickly now.
  This week Melissa and I are going to Bemidji, Mn to stay at Dick Beardsley's bed and breakfast, see the headwaters of the Mississippi and do some exploring.  I'm really excited about the trip.  I love travel, I love got places I've never been.  Melissa has agreed to go fishing with Dick and I which is awesome and the place looks really good for running.  As with any travel week however it means my training plans are quite flexible and we'll just see how things turn out.
  Last fun thing for the week is resting HR.  I don't use heart rate much for training but I have long used my resting HR when I wake up as a gauge of how my body was doing.  I have a pretty low HR after all these years though it does go up when I have a lay off.  Anyway one of the things I love about the garmin watch I have is that it tracks hr and gives you an average resting HR as well as your low for the last 4 hours.  It is just more accurate than checking your pulse as you are getting up.  Generally speaking my average resting is just about 40 bpm.  Give or take 3 or 4 beats.  When I haven't run in a month or more that comes up to the high 40s or even low 50s.  However for whatever reason on Thursday this week it was much lower,
 It isn't the best pic but if you look to you can see my HR at the moment on the left was 47 bpm but my average resting HR to the right was 30.  This is very low for me.  I know when I had surgery on my back the nurse said I stayed pretty steady around 26 bpm, but I sorta figured that was artificially low because of the anesthesia.  Over the years I have often had it down around 30 when I checked it in the morning but this is  the first time since I got the watch that I have had an average this low.  Occasionally it has dipped into the 20's for a minute or two but not had that as a resting average.  Anyway I just find it neat.  Hope you are well.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Training Log June 26 to July 3, 2017

Me in my rabbit kit on the carriage roads in Bar Harbor.

Monday PM road 8.1 solo 51:24

Tuesday AM 3.8 warm up to the track, drills, strides, 8x400m with slow 200 jogs (avg. 65 seconds) averaged 68.4 for the 400's with a few 69's and a 65.9 for the last one. I did a 200 jog at the finish just so I could cover the 3 miles for comparison as I move to Aussie Quarters in the coming weeks, 17:54, ie not fast.  Felt pretty smooth and though it was a shock to the system I felt strong in spite of some real deal humidity. 3.8 cool down. 

Most everyday I since school ended I have been walking a few miles with Uta to keep her exercise up, she doesn't run as much when it is hot, and to get some more volume on my legs.  This week we had my father in laws dog to join us for a few of those walks.

Wednesday Noon 8.2 miles around Eagle lake area in Bar Harbor with Melissa and Uta.  Melissa was doing a workout and I was pacing.  Very nice little run despite the fact that we literally just hopped out of the car after a 4.5 hour drive and did this before going to the hotel.  I was mostly impressed with Melissa being able to do a great workout like that but I was also happy my back seemed un-bothered which isn't always the case after a long car ride.

Thursday AM 10.2 miles around carriage roads, first 3 miles easy with Melissa and Uta, then would do 20 second sprints, jog back to join them and do another 2 mins later when they finished their run I did 20 second sprints and then just jogged back to where I had started and repeated this until I had done 30 sprints.   I did a mile cool down.

a bit later in the AM  we had some car issues and this lead to a lot of walking and I got board with it so I ran about 2k on the roads.

Friday PM road and trail 10, 1:10:46,  felt pretty darn flat.

Saturday AM  on chelmsford rail trail, 1.8 warm up with Melissa and Anna, did some drills and strides and a 30 second effort, then 3 miles in 15:52, drills, .2 miles before realizing I had stopped the watch, so I took 45 seconds did another drill, then did 2 miles in 10:23, drills, and 1 mile in 4:58, drills, then met back up with Melissa and Anna for a cool down of 1.8 miles. After the run we went to the gym where I mostly did some easy mobility stuff but Anna and Melissa suckered me into a circuit which has left me with some sore shoulders.

Uta did not want to get out of bed this morning.  Neither did I.

Sunday AM road 10.5 in 1:11:36, first 3.3 with Uta, but it was too hot for her to do much so I dropped her off and finished solo.  

Summary about 70 miles for the week, very happy with all three workouts.  Resting HR is coming back down to normal which is a good sign for a slow return of aerobic fitness. All in all another step in the right direction.  
  For all of you who ordered the rabbit gear with the link, which I'll provide again below, thanks!  I hope you like it.  If you want to tell me about your experience with it I'd be really interested and you can email me directly, nateruns at hotmail , or leave a comment. I may do a blog on it later or send some feedback to the company or just use it to help me chose what stuff to get myself!  

Link to get 10% off rabbit gear http://rabbit.refr.cc/nathanielj


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Training Blog June 19 to 25, 2017 Sorta Training


Me finishing at last weekends USATF-NE 5 mile Championship

After the race last weekend, which was pretty humid, my legs were just junk for a few days.  I wan't sore and I felt find walking around but when I would run my legs felt crushed and I felt very heavy and with no power.  I was also feeling really dehydrated overall.  I had my last two days of school on Monday and Tuesday and then my summer vacation started.  I didn't get hired for summer school so I'll at least be getting some quality recovery in.

Monday PM road 6 in 42:55

Tuesday PM road 8, 56:44, surprised to still feel this flat.

Wednesday Noon road and trail 10, pretty hot and humid, 1:09:06.  Felt pretty shitty but a shade better then the last two days so I decided on an easy day for tomorrow and to try 100's on Friday.

Thursday 5PM 8 miles in 52:53, I didn't feel good but I didn't feel like complete crap so a good step in the right direction

Friday Noon stupid humid.  I had been out in the AM and it was humid but didn't feel too bad.  As I was getting ready to run I checked the temp and it was like 82 or so and I thought nice it hasn't really warmed up this will be great.  I knew I was wrong the moment I opened the door.  It was intense.  4 mile warm up to the track in 29:13 then drills, 20x100m at an average of 16.0 with very slow 100 jog recoveries, covered 4k, then 4 mile cool down in 27:38.  It was so hot that I actually drank out of a discarded water bottle at the track because I wasn't sure I would make it the 4 miles back to the house without some water. 

Saturday AM 8 miles around Phillips fields and track mostly with Melissa.  I did her warm up, jogged around while she did drills and strides, then paced her 4 mile tempo run in 26:00 then jogged during her 4 minute recovery and paced her on a 2:49 800 going 93/76.  Then an easy cool down with her. It rained pretty hard at times but the cooler water felt very nice.

Sunday AM humidity had blown out and ran pretty early on the very shaded Chelmsford rail trail. 3 mile warm up with Melissa and Uta, 23:10, drills and strides, 2x2 miles with 3mins of drills for the recovery and a few drills right after.  10:26 (5:20/5:06), 10:26 (5:18/5:08).  Felt pretty good but my legs were suprisingly heavy on the second rep.  I have the engine but the body is very unfit. 3 mile cool down with Melissa, Uta and we quickly picked up Kara Haas, in 23:40

Summary 61 miles and a couple of light workouts a nice step in the right direction.   

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Training Blog June 12 to 18, 2017

Monday off- kids had a cruise after school as a field trip and knowing I had a long couple days I decided to sleep in to 5:50 and skip the AM run as well.  Got home about midnight.  There was a time but I'm not fit enough for that sort of crazy shit at the moment.

Tuesday  Kids had another field trip so I spent 8 hours outside in the 90 degree sun, lot of fun but I was pretty zonked
              PM 5 miles with Melissa in 44:47 we were crawling and I wasn't complaining!

Wednesday PM 10.1 around Phillips, first 1.5 with Melissa then solo, 1:10:36

Thursday PM 6 miles on road with Uta in 39:27

Friday PM 3 miles with Melissa and Uta in the rain, just exhausted at the end of a long week and decided to take it easy, 22:12

Saturday PM 6 miles on road with Uta, 38:40

Sunday AM 2 plus warm up with Melissa, some strides, race Ribfest 5 mile, USATF-NE championship, 12th place, 25:55, humid.  was 15:41 at 5k which is about equal to the race I ran a travs trail a few weeks back so a decent step in the right direction.  The last 3k sucked, 10:05, but it had a long gradual uphill that caused everyone to slow, leaders ran around 9:25, and I was pretty done with the humidity.   Not what I had hoped for looking at things as I started running a couple months ago but given how little I have done, really just some jogging around, I'll take it. 3 mile cool down with Melissa in 25mins tot. 11

Summary 42 miles, one race.  My last day of school is Tuesday so I'm really hoping to get back in the game over the next couple of weeks. I feel pretty good and if I come out of the race ok I should be good for a jump up in miles.  I'd love to be around 60 this week but even more I would love to start doing a little training and not just jogging.

This is the sweet Millennium Running grilling spatula I one for my age graded performance. I didn't own one and I do want one so that made this a pretty awesome prize.  I have to hand it to John Mortimer it was a heck of nice event and there were a lot of really neat details.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Training Blog June 5 to 11, 2017

Monday Off had some calf soreness and it had been 16 days since my last day off so I decided this was a good spot for an off day.  In terms of the calf it was a perfect choice in terms of how the week went overall I would have liked to have taken a day later in the week.

Tuesday developed a wicked sore thoat over the course of the day.
                PM 9.1 at Phillips with Uta in a cold rain- actually wore a hat and gloves.  1:00:14

Wednesday sore throat has expanded to a running nose and some head congestion.
                  PM 6miles on road solo, in a reverse from yesterday it was a bit hot to bring Uta, 37:32

Thursday sore throat better but congestion much worse, head feels like it is in a cloud, tons of crap coming out of nose and chest.
                 PM road 5 with Uta, 31:47

Friday about the same as Yesterday
               PM road 8.2, 51:25, this was not the best run, I felt like crap, I had some coordination issues and just generally didn't enjoy myself.

Saturday AM road 7, first 3 with Uta, dropped her off then ran solo, 46:36, feeling improved to day, not great but I slept around 12 hours and the chest congestion is largely gone and my nose isn't producing nearly as much shit.

Sunday Noon 11 miles around Phillips, very hot, struggled, 1:11:51.

Summary 46 miles for the week.  I got a head cold, which wasn't that great.  I have a standing rule that I don't do speed when I have a head cold because it pretty much always causes it to turn into bronchitis which seems to never die.   I'm starting to feel better this afternoon so hopefully back to moving forward this week.
  I was able to improve the calf a lot which feels great now and I did increase the short day and the long run so not a lost week but obviously not what I had hoped for.
  This week I have tomorrow planned as an off day.  I don't feel I need it physically but my kids have a field trip that means my day will be out the door a bit before 7am and home around midnight.  I  could do an AM run but I don't think that would be a great set up for the rest of the week given that I obviously won't be getting that much sleep Monday night and I don't hold up that well over the week after a couple of nights of short sleep.
  I'm also racing again this week to help round out the CMS team for the USATF-NE 5 mile champs.  It is also a chance to take a dip stick on the fitness.  We'll see what the weather looks like but the course is New England flat so if it isn't super hot I'd like to try and slip under 25:00 but given how little I have done that is probably a very tall order.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Training Blog May 29 to June 4

Monday AM 9.1 miles with Uta around Phillips in 54:19, sort of an unplanned fundamental tempo

Tuesday PM 5 miles at Phillips with Uta and Melissa, 41:37

Wednesday PM 3+ warm up 15 strides with jog back recoveries, 3+ cool down. Calf a bit tired/sore after this

Thursday PM 4 miles with Uta, 27:28

Friday PM 9 miles around Phillips, 1:06:34, first 5 with Melissa and Uta

Saturday AM 6 miles road with Uta, 40:33

Sunday PM road 10 solo, 1:04:50

This is a pic of me eating pickles, you know because they are delicious and we needed to go grocery shopping.  That is why I'm eating the pickles I'm posting the pic because I feel like the blog needs more photos. 

Summary 52 miles for the week.  Two moderate efforts.  I did a bunch of feldenkrais stuff but didn't make any breakthroughs or anything.  Some of it is very neat/weird.  Tough to describe but you really have this moments when you feel like you are reprogramming your mind/body connection.
  My calf is a bit tired but I haven't had a day off in 16 days so I'll take one tomorrow.   Next couple of weeks are pretty busy but then summer comes and the living is easy.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Training Blog May 22 to 28, 2017

Monday AM road 4 with Uta, 28:04

Tuesday PM 7.2 miles around Phillips Academy, first 5 miles with Uta and Melissa, this felt pretty good.

Wednesday PM 5.2 miles on roads with Uta in 34:29.  Uta was more into this one than I was...

Thursday PM 8.2 on the roads in the rain with Uta, nice run, 52:03, planned strides for tonight but was getting pretty cold/tight by the time I finished up so I decided to skip them.

Friday PM road 5 mile solo, gave Uta the evening off, 32:41

Saturday AM at Chelmsford rail trail, 3.1 mile warm up, strides- this felt really excellent, all between 4:20 and 4:35 pace but felt easy and smooth, 2 mile tempo- this felt less excellent, aerobically ok but my quads were a bit burny by the end and my HR looks to have been through the roof, for what the watch hr is worth, 10:22 (5:13, 5:09), 3.4 miles cool down

Sunday PM I was in VT for a memorial for my Brother and slipped in a jog on the AT, I planned on 5 but this was pretty hilly single track and so after 25 mins, and according to the Garmin 1.88 miles, I turned around, I would guess it was longer than that given the dense tree cover and very windy nature of the trail but probably not all that much longer...

Summary 43 miles for the week, give or take.  One light workout.  I'm finally to the point where I was willing to write myself a bit of a schedule.  In general I am addicted to having a plan and following a schedule.  I'm pretty good about listening to my body and making adjustments to that schedule as needed.  I would guess I only follow it to the letter in somewhere between 1 week out of 5 to 1 week out of 10 but I do feel that having a plan, knowing how the workouts need to progress and what workouts are going into the overall mix keeps me from training out of balance or from getting caught up in training for training sake.   That said early in a comeback things are so touch and go I find that plans cause nothing but complications, disappointments and artificial barriers.  Far better to just have a general sense of what you are trying to do, is today a recovery day or an increase day or a day I'm going to try to run a 'new' pace.  Then listen to the body.  Many runs I start in the early part of a comeback even as I start the run I don't know how far it is going to be.  I will head out with the intention of trying to run farther then my last 'push day' but that might mean doing 1 minute more or 2 miles more depending on how the body reacts and feels on the day.  I also always end up taking a day off that I don't want to take because I can feel the pressures building in the body and that I'm not as recovered on a given day as I should be before adding new stimulus.
  Beyond that I have continued with one to two Feldenkrais sessions per day for cross training.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Training Blog May 15 to 21

Monday 3 miles in 19:19 with Uta

Tuesday 5 miles with Uta and Melissa, 39:42

Wednesday 4 miles in 26:10

Thursday 6.7 miles, 6 miles in 37:01 then four strides with Jog back recovery

Friday off

Saturday 4.1 miles with Uta and Melissa in 31:18

Sunday 2 mile warm up with Melissa, strides, 30 second fast effort, race Travs Trail 3 mile in 15:38, 1st place. 1.5 mile cool down with Melissa and Kara Haas.

Summary 30 miles for week. 1 race.  I did a ton of the Feldenkrais work.  Which is not hard, all sort of neurological.  Ok why the race.  Basically I love this race.  This and the great bay 5k are my two favorite local races.  Also I have won here for a few years in a row and I didn't want to give up the streak without a fight. Not an ideal point to race but hey sometimes you need to bend the rules.
  Hope you are well.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Rabbit Elite and Training for May 1 to 7



New 'sponsor'

  I joined the Rabbit Elite team.  I'm still running for CMS this is an equipment team like Hurricanes or Volee. I joined because I really like the company.  They are small but they still sponsor some up and coming pros.   They make all of their stuff in the USA and it is really nice kit.  If you want to try it out click on the link below and get 10% off.

10% off on Rabbit Running Apparel


Training

May 1 to 7

Monday bikram yoga

Tuesday 4 miles in 28:50

Wednesday bikram yoga

Thursday 4 miles in 28:03

Friday bikram yoga

Saturday 4 miles with Melissa and Uta in 31:00

Sunday off


May 8 to 14

Monday 5 miles with Uta in 33:04

Tuesday bikram yoga

Wednesday 5 miles with Uta in 33:05- same loop as Monday I think we deserve some points for consistency.

Thursday 2 miles with Uta in 13:37

Friday 5 miles with Uta, first three with a very tired Melissa, 36:32

Saturday 3 miles with Uta and Melissa, 23:29.
                 I also did a ton of yard work, turning two large compost piles, spreading compost and mulch in my garden and other random stuff like that. 
               Before bed I did a half hour Feldenkrais 'lesson', more on that in the summary. 

Sunday 6.7 miles around Phillips with Melissa and Uta, 52:47. 

Summary I'm back running a little bit, so I'm obviously happy about that.  The calf thing is still there but only very lightly.  The key to fixing it was a Feldenkrais routine, which they call lessons for whatever reason, for pelvic mobility.  After I did it the first time I was able to run without pain for the first time.  I have been doing it before every run and at least once on most of the days I haven't been running.  
  I honestly have tried most every type of cross training or injury treatment that you can imagine but honestly up until a few months ago I had never heard of Feldenkrais.  It is different.  The idea is to improve your mechanical running and muscular balance through exercises that improve your running coordination and neurological firing patterns.  The lessons are easy to do physically, if anything the risk is that you push to hard. 
  Melissa has been doing some Feldenkrais stuff that Anna set her up with through Terrence Mahon.  She is the one who found the pelvic routine that helped me get back moving in the right direction.  My plan now is to do a pretty involved program over the next 7 weeks as I slowly build up my running to see if it helps my coordination problem.  Obviously I'll keep you updated on how it goes. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Training Blog April 24 to 30, 2017, a tiny step forward, hopefully.

  So this was another week of very little but I did manage to do a couple of "runs".  I went to yoga on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I ran two miles in 16mins on Thursday and 3 miles in 24mins on Saturday, both of those were with Melissa and Uta.  I got massage and acupuncture on Saturday after the run.

  The back is still a bit wonky and I'm not doing forward bends in Yoga but other than that and right when I get out of bed in the morning.  The calf feels fine but I did get some soreness after both runs that doesn't feel quite 'right'.

  The problem seems to source from my back/hip on the right side and I'm doing exercise for that area and hopefully with that I'll be able to build up real slow to some real running.   I'm not super confident because the area just doesn't feel right but at the moment I don't have a better plan.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Weekly training, or not, blog April 16 to 23, 2017

  I went to yoga on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and twice on Sunday.  I saw Anna on Monday and got a massage but she did have me jog for 20 feet or so to see if there was anything glaring wrong with my stride.  The verdict, I'm not extending and I'm not fully pronating but compared to past sins I don't actually look that bad.

  So I was planning on running Friday afternoon but instead I threw my back out doing some weeding in the garden.  It actually wasn't that bad but I wanted to play it safe.  I got up still feeling tight but not too crazy bad on Saturday morning and then when I was eating breakfast it totally spasmed.  As someone who has had low back surgery I have had my fair share of 'throwing the old back out' but this one was a personal worst.  I couldn't believe it.  It was some real pain.  I couldn't move I actually thought I might be stuck on the floor for a long while.

  Now I can't take muscle relaxers because my spine wasn't fused so I needed a fix.  I went to yoga and basically laid in the the hot room for 90% of it and I did a lot of heating and Mckenzie back relaxer exercises and as it slowly loosened up a bit a lot of lacrosse ball massage.  Finally tonight after second yoga I sort of invented a new exercise/lacrosse ball massage movement that got it to let go and I find myself suddenly like 95% better.  I'll probably hold off another day on running because at this point I've missed so much time one more day doesn't really matter but I hopefully good to go.

 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Training Blog April 10 to 16, 2017 Just a lot of Yoga

So I tried running on Wednesday, the leg felt 100% all day so I figured I'd go for a mile or two and see.  It felt fine if a bit weak for the first minute then steadily got a bit worse and by the time I stopped after one short loop of the neighborhood, 3/4 of a mile, it was pretty sore.  Then it felt pretty set back the next day or two.

  These leaves me with two basic theories.  Possibility one is that I have a small tear in the muscle.  Which means I need to wait another week or two and it will come back around.  Just keep up the same treatment.  Possibility two is that I have a fibula stress fracture and I'm feeling referenced pain in the muscle.  I very much doubt this one but perhaps.  This would mean another 3 weeks off and that the extra cross training isn't helping me much.  I can solve this by getting some imaging. I may or may not do that.  There is no real treatment for either.  As such and given that I'm not in love with info for info sake I may just wait and see how it comes along, but I do have this week off from school so I'll end up doing whatever Melissa and Anna think is best.

  Other than the little run I did a good bit of Yoga and cross training.  I went to Bikram on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.  My yoga practice is in a good place.  I joke with Anna that if I was paying her for cross training to help my yoga I'd have to give her a raise.

  I've missed enough time that I am going to have to rework my training plans which is very disappointing but that is how the cookie crumbles and one of the great things about New England is there are always other races you can target.

  Hope you're doing better than I and that the weather is as nice where you are as it is here for me.
-

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Training Blog April 3 to 9, 2007, still banged up.

  Calf was shitty all week. I got a massage on Monday afternoon, tried jogging on Tuesday.  Made it less than a minute and stopped.  It isn't super painful but it gets a bit worse with every stride.  So it would be counter productive to push it.  I went to Yoga on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.  I also got massage and accupuncture on Saturday.  I tried running again this afternoon and again made it about a minute.  I'm doing a good bit of mobility work on it each day at home and overall it feels pretty good. I just have this one crazy knot.
  On the plus side I have been getting caught up on yard work and work work so that is something.  Really hope to get rocking this week.  Hope you are doing better than me.  -Nate

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Training week March 27 to April 2, 2017 Not Too Old to Make Mistakes...

Monday AM road 4 mile with Uta, 31:40
               PM road 10.1 mile solo, 1:05:33, ended up with bilaterally tight calves.

Tuesday PM cold rain so I did 10 on the treadmill in 1:01:18- this seems fast in comparison to my regular runs but was actually a lighter effort then my normal runs which are pretty hilly, both calves pretty tight.

Wednesday PM plan was to do a fartlek if my calves weren't too bad. did the first 3 miles of my 10 mile loop as warm up then started on 10x30 second fartlek, the first two felt pretty good but my left calf spasmed after the 2nd one.  I stopped and stretched and it felt pretty good so I decided to just jog the full 10 mile but not turn around, going back from whence I came I could be home in 3.5 miles verses 6.5 more if I continued the loop.   So for a couple miles things felt pretty good then it started to tighten up again so I stopped and stretched.  When I started up again I it didn't feel so hot and about a half mile later I was going up a hill and it spasmed worst then the first time.  I stopped and could tell it was pretty bad.  So I made the not fun choice to walk home, 55 cold minutes later I was home and not too happy about it.

Thursday PM 90mins bikram yoga.

Friday off

Saturday  snow removal

Sunday AM bikram yoga 90mins.

Summary generally after any recovery I try to take my time building back up but I decided to try something new with only taking one week down I thought I could jump in and go normal full on.  I thought I would get a bit sore.  So I was a bit surprised my calves were super tight after day one, that is why I dumped the AM run the next couple days and I had planned a tougher workout on tuesday and decided to try an easier one on Wednesday.  Not easy enough.  The calf feels a lot better now but I tried running on it and it wasn't quite ready for that.  I'll get it worked on tomorrow and do some more yoga this week and hopefully be back in the saddle by the end of the week.