This week’s long run

This week’s long run got pushed further out in the week, I keep getting further and further away from a consistent Monday LSD run. Overall I am going to say that is ok as I have been getting them in and I keep making them longer. However Monday is the perfect day of the week for them so hopefully I can get back on track especially considering that today’s run was the second quality run I did this week (actually second run in a row too). Though to do another long run in three dyas seems excessive.

I feel like I am really building on my base, the long runs seem much easier or should I say less painful! Today’s run was 12 miles exactly and interestingly I almost kept it under a 10 min mile pace (ended at 10:04). I was under 10 through nine miles, but the final three were more or less uphill as I climbed up from the waterfront to my neighborhood. And I can’t really say the entire three miles was all up-hill either, but there are some tough patches!

This was actually the second fast run that I did. Two days ago I did eight miles at a 9:13 pace which felt really good. I was strong throughout and even considered adding some miles to make that my long run but I had a rehearsal that night and was already pushing it.

I’m not really sure what has changed to make these runs feel better. I have been eating and sleeping well, so I am sure that had something to do with it. Still it doesn’t seem like that would completely explain why I have been running so strongly as of late. Both of the last two runs have been on injection day and I have always said that I feel stronger after the rebif, so maybe that has helped as well. My weight is also down a bit and I am sure that is a factor. Whatever it is I’ll take it!

I have been curious to see how my feet reacted to the increase in miles and the consistent longer runs with the zero-drop shoes. I really feel like a convert. I don’t have nearly the fot pain that I was experiencing before with the thicker heals, in fact I wore a pair of boots the other day that made me imagine that this is what high heals must be like! Changing my stride to more of a ball landing/mid-strike (as opposed to just a mid-strike landing) is working better than I had imagined. I have always felt like more of a distance runner than a sprinter. Initially I was concerned that I wouldn’t like running more like a sprinter, but it seems to feel much better overall even though the majority of my running is mid-strike oriented. With the zero-drops I occasionally will concentrate on my feet landing on the balls of my feet and spreading out in my shoes (Altra) expansive toe box. It feels really good landing that way. Despite initially having trouble lifting my feet enough to clear cracks an other obstacles, I seem to have corrected my gate enough so that it is not an issue (even though I am not lifting my feet much higher, at least consciously).

I have been pretty good about fueling for my last couple of long runs, gels and water. They both seem to make a pretty huge difference in my running performance. Today I was starting to fade a bit around six miles. A couple slugs of Hammer gel and my energy level picked up and I was able to comfortably continue.

The long runs have been great but I am reaching that point where increasing the mileage every time is making the runs a huge commitment, both in terms of time and the mental ability to gear up for them. Two hours seems pretty doable, but I know longer runs are soon going to be getting up closer to three (an beyond). My other problem with them is having interesting places to go. I have a pretty decent 11 mile run that I can add onto so maybe I’ll use that as a base for my longer runs and then just add on. Today’s route was new(ish) to me and I could probably use that as a good base as well even though I don’t really care for all the uphill at the end (pretty much my curse living on a hill.

I am starting to think about a long race again. My pace is pretty slow even though I do feel it getting faster (or is that just the last two? Yes it probably is). Still running another marathon would be fun, maybe make it a destination run which would be super fun (then again I can’t think of a better place to sleep the night before than my own bed.) We’ll see.

Oh and did I mention it was 28 degrees when I left? Brrrrrr.

Fastest run yet (well in recent days anyway…)

Today I headed out on my typical 10k course, basically the same route I have been doing a lot lately. Since I rededicated myself to running regularly about three weeks ago I think I have run this route every time but once. One nice thing about doing your running in this manner is it really allows you to judge improvements. So my mini-goal as of late has been to speed up my times. I have been fighting a cold/flu for the last week or so but I have still been able to keep up with running albeit slow runs of greater than 10 min miles. So my mini-goal should be attainable! Not only have I increased my general fitness, but I have also beaten this bug. So on Thursday when I finally topped the 10 min mile mark for an average pace I was pretty excited and figured I was on my way. But then the next day (yesterday) I was back over 10 min miles, my excuse de jour is that I rolled my ankle in the middle of the run. The rolled ankle was not bad enough that I had to hobble home, my rubber ankle rebounded pretty quickly and I was able to walk it off. But I do think that slowed me down a bit as I was trying to be careful.

As a side note I have been experiencing what I think is probably an over-training issue with my foot. Could also have something to do with the new shoes (more than likely a combo). I have some pain on the top of my foot right in the area of the top of my shoe tongue. I really only feel it when I first get started and then it seems to go away. I loosened my laces a bit today and I think that might have actually helped but I still felt the ache for the first mile or so. It seems to be lessened if I focus on a mid-strike and more pronounced if I am hitting with ball of my foot. Hills also seem to irritate this pain a bit. But like I said after a mile or so the pain seems to be gone.

So today I struck out for run #3 in a row. What was different today? I didn’t have the ankle as an excuse, it felt fine (not even a twinge). The top of my foot still experienced pain for the first mile, but that went away as I got going. So, back to the difference (enough whining), I decided early in my run to start pushing myself. It wasn’t quite a tempo run, but I refused to let myself take it easy. My runs have been coming easier and easier which is nice, but today I pushed myself back into that point of exertion similar to how things felt when I was starting out again. I kept reminding myself to go and not take it easy. Again, this was by no means a race pace, but I felt myself working hard throughout the run. And that was the difference. These past three weeks I was just happy to be running regularly again. Today I got passed that and into a training mindset. Well not completely, but I wanted to work today and it paid off. After four miles I was pretty sure I was going to break a 10 min mile average as I was three mins up. I kept pushing and was soon four mins ahead. By the time I finished my average pace was 9:17. Pretty happy with that! Hopefully I will keep that work ethic up or at least on quality run days.

My PR for a 10k is 49:00, today I hit 10k at around 56 mins. Not to bad and plenty of room for improvement.

Six days in a row

Another milestone passed: six days in a row and a good start to the miles this week with my 8.5 recovery run. If I was concerned about the five days in a row to make 40, I was even more skeptical about getting a good start to the week by running a sixth day in a row. I did a pretty good job with the recovery run today, my avg HR came out under my 70% recovery ceiling, but just barely at 143. It was a good run and I don’t feel too tired after. I am a bit concerned about over-doing it as in general I have felt somewhat sluggish lately which I mostly blame on the miles. But for the most part I am doing ok I think. I probably will either take tomorrow off or do my short three mile tempo run, mostly just to get up to seven days in a row!

The natural running seems to be going pretty well for me, not that I wasn’t doing a for/mid strike anyway, but now that I am concentrating on it I see that I really do it on a regular basis. At one point today I noticed myself slipping into landing on my heels. I was tired and it felt more comfortable, but I didn’t give in and regained my focus on proper form.

Today’s run turned into a long one

I set out today with the only goal being burn off the frustration I had just amassed doing a really tedious task creating a million lightly different versions of the same banner ad. My mind was pretty mushy and I was really ready to get out and do some moving (I didn’t run the past two days, Mon was too cold and wet and Tues was rehearsal and I find running adversely affects my playing, I get sort of confused and lost in the music.) I took the dog with me for the first mile, that was about the max that she could do. She had a great time and did a pretty good job on staying focused on moving forward. Her sniffing suffered a bit as we didn’t get to stop at every evergreen plant (her fav smell-wise).

So after I looped back home and dropped her off I headed out towards East Moreland for one of my typical routes. I ended up deciding to take the Springwater trail and then into East Moreland and reed. I kept adding little bits to the run (I did the long route through reed and then added the track on the campus. All in all it ended up being 10.5 miles and became more of an LSD run than anything though my HR was pretty high throughout, so I guess I should call it a junk run instead.

I spent much of the run concentrating on my mid/for foot strike. I think I pretty much do it naturally now, but it is still good to focus on those form things every once in awhile. Near the end I found myself doing more of a rolling step landing on my heel. It was more comfortable and being tired I was flapping my step a bit. I was tempted to just let my form degrade, but I refocused and pulled it all together. It was a good run and a good chu8nk of miles, I needed it this week if I am going to make 40 (or close to it) as I blew the first two days of the week. Back on track!