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  1. 5 points
    Note: I copied and pasted this from my blog, and some of the links do not work but I am too lazy to check and change them all, so if you can't get to linked material from this post, refer to the original post here. I've seen so many benefits from slowing down my easy runs that I want to tell the world so every runner can get these benefits. Learn from my mistakes, everyone! In the future I'll post more details about my personal experience, but in short, when I slowed down my easy runs I felt much stronger, had markedly fewer injuries/niggles, had reduced incidences of illness, experienced performance improvements (PRs in every distance from 5k to marathon at age 38-39), and began enjoying running even more, which I didn't even think was possible! I think why many runners don't do it is because running faster can produce short-term gains, and we see those gains and think that it works - I have been guilty of thinking exactly that! Plus it is fun to run fast and to say a certain "impressive" pace is easy. In this post I've linked and summarized some great articles on the topic that have been written by people who are more knowledgeable and faster than me. I mean, if Sally Kipyego runs her recovery runs at 8:30 pace or slower, why are 3:00 marathoners running theirs at 7:00 pace? The Two Simple Reasons Your Easy Days are Ruining Your Training My favorite piece from this article is: "You cannot run too slowly on a recovery day, only too fast. Make sure you understand that. It is a simple concept that is notoriously hard to grasp." The author notes, "In high school, I would often race my easy days around 6:45 mile pace and run my workout days around 6:30 pace. Ten years later, as a professional runner, I run many of my hard workouts at 5-minute mile pace or faster and my easy days at 8:30 pace or slower." I have read in several places that a big difference between amateur and professional runners is that amateurs have a much smaller pace differential between easy pace and workouts, wheres professionals have a huge pace differential. If you are running tempos at 7:30 pace and easy runs at 8:00 pace, you are either under-performing in workouts or over-reaching on easy days, and I would bet it is the latter! The author also mentioned that going easy by "feel" is best for most runners, and while I agree with this after a person has learned to run easy, I see that a lot of runners don't know what it's like to actually run easy - they think they are doing it when they are running a moderate pace (I have been one of those people)! "Easy" and "not hard" are not the same. You're Running Too Fast For Recovery Runs, Trust Us I mean, if you can't trust Runners World for training advice, who can you trust? Hah! Running slow is very common with Kenyan-born runners, and no one can argue what distance running powerhouses they are. The article notes, "Sally Kipyego, an Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000 meters, can hold a sub-5:00 minute pace in the event. Achieving that requires Kipyego to log plenty of hard track sessions and tempo runs. Yet on her non-workout days, she ambles along at 8:30-per-mile pace, sometimes even slower." Her easy pace is over 3:30 slower than her 10K pace, and clearly it works. Sally recently placed 3rd in the 2020 Olympic Trials. Side note: It completely blows my mind that a woman can average 4:55 pace for 6.2 miles! I've read this time and time again, and you will see it as a recurring theme in this summary: “The common denominator among most really successful runners, people running at a high level, is a really wide chasm between training-run pace and where they work out....Brenda Martinez, who has PRs of 1:57.91 for 800m and 4:00.94 for 1500m, is a perfect example of this. Under the guidance of coach Joe Vigil, she’ll run 8 x 1,000m repeats at 2:55 [that is 4:41/mile pace!], but on her easy days, she’ll run a 9-minute pace." The article also advises "runners to use 10K race pace plus 2 minutes for easy-day pace, wear heart rate monitors (and aim for 65 to 70 percent of maximum heart rate), or take occasional treadmill runs to monitor pace." While I am not at all a fan of treadmill running, it's clear there are benefits to setting it at a certain pace, whether easy or on a workout day, and letting it keep you there! This article presents the other side of the coin too (faster easy days and when they might be appropriate). How Fast Should Your Easy Runs Be? This one provides great scientific explanations, and if you're interested in the science behind easy running make sure to read the whole article. Just like heart rate doesn't lie, science does not lie! It also breaks down a lot of common questions (e.g., "But if I feel good can I run faster?", "Don't I get more benefit from running faster?", "How slow is too slow?", etc.). I have personally found that I will run a faster marathon off of almost all easy running than off of frequent workouts at a slightly lower mileage volume. This is probably because, "...nothing will consistently help you improve continuously like developing the aerobic system." For the numerically minded (and really, what runner isn't), "Your optimal easy run pace for aerobic development is between 55 and 75% of your 5k pace, with the average pace being about 65 %.... Running faster than 75% of your 5k pace on your long run doesn’t provide a lot of additional physiological benefit....In fact, the research indicates that it would be just as advantageous to run slower as it would be to run faster...Even though 50-55 % of 5k pace will seem too easy, the research clearly demonstrates that it still provides near optimal physiological aerobic adaptation." Why Running Slow Will Make You Fast "Many runners have a distorted view of what 'easy' means". This post summaries a couple of scientific studies and concludes that you cannot run too slow on your easy days and that easy pace should vary from day to day! I think that's another sign of "not real" easy pace (or at least it was for me): always running the same pace on easy runs, or stating ahead of time what your easy pace is going to be. The post mentions the 2:00+ current 5k pace guideline for easy runs, which I've seen noted in numerous paces and based on my personal experience is pretty solid. Why Running Slow Can Eventually Help You Run Faster I acknowledge that the slow easy runs method may not be best for short-term success. If you are running one training block, you might be better off running faster every day. But if that describes you, I doubt you're inventing the time to read this post, plus most runners I know are in it for the long-haul! If the previous information isn't convincing you that this method works, perhaps this expert will scare you, "So if all your runs are too fast, according to Bartholic, you’re not developing the power system that you need for 97 percent of a race...Your maximum aerobic benefit is going to be running slowly....When you’re running slowly, and your injury risk is lower, you can run more often, more miles, and build up slowly,” In the past I've fallen victim to thinking that I had to run a lot of workouts to get faster, but I had a similar experience to this: “You think you have to do a lot of speed work to get faster,” he said, “but after doing most of my runs at a slow pace my marathon finish time was much faster.” This article mentions how to calculate an appropriate easy pace based on heart rate, and also mentions the "talk test". I don't know how the talk test goes for others, but I can converse when running marathon pace but that is NOT an easy pace for me. It's Okay To Run Slow, Really If your race performance has plateaued or you've dealt with reoccurring injuries, slowing down your easy runs might be just what you need to break through. It seems very counter-intuitive; we want to go pound workouts and pick up the pace every day to get faster, but "While some runners have success with faster paces on easy days (particularly lower volume runners), eventually even those runners usually see diminishing returns as aerobic adaptations from moderate running get tapped out." "Polarization essentially means that training is usually easy or hard, rather than a grinding-it-out moderate all the time. Lots of “grey-area” moderate running can increase injury risk and lead to stagnation due to the absence of adequate recovery and faster stimuli." When I was training for a goal pace of 6:15 for the Indy Monumental Marathon, I noticed that I rarely ran between 6:15-7:45 pace - the "gray area" for me (if I was hitting 7:15-7:30 at the end of an easy run it was only because someone I was running with was speeding up). My workouts were at 5:30-6:15 pace, and my easy runs were 7:45-8:30 pace. It wouldn't have hurt me to run easy runs slower than that - many runners who are much faster than me do. How Running Slow Makes You Faster Seriously, run slow to run fast. "...as 2018 Ironman World Championships runner-up Bart Aernouts said... “a slow run can only be too fast, not too slow” [notice a reoccurring theme here?]. Bart’s really easy runs are paced between 6:54/mile and 8:03/mile. That’s not super slow, but some of you are likely running most of your runs at a similar pace – and you’re likely not one of only two men to finish the iconic Kona Ironman course in under eight hours, running a 2:45:41 marathon, averaging 6:19/mile after a 2.4-mile swim, and a 112-mile ride in the Hawaiian heat. If that’s the case, it’s time to slow it down." I think that pretty much speaks for itself - a 2:45 marathon after swimming and biking for 5+ hours in terribly hot conditions in insane! But what pace should we run? "For non-elite athletes, coach Luke Humphrey...recommends 1:30–2:30 minutes per mile slower than goal race pace." I'm not sure what race distance he is referring to, but less than 90 seconds per mile slower than any race pace is too fast to really be easy; well, unless you are one of those amazing people running 50 to 100 milers! The article also mentions the importance of the other pieces of training programs, such as fast intervals. While this post is not about them, workouts are obviously essential to race success and should be included in a training schedule in addition to the awesome easy runs we are focused on here. Here's How Slow Your Easy Runs Should Really Be This x 1000: "But just because you can push harder than a true easy pace doesn't mean you always should." Just because you can run faster on easy days doesn't mean it's a smart idea! This article also discusses the difference between marathoners running sub-3:00 vs. 4-6 hours, which I thought was a helpful distinction. The faster you're racing, the more differential you should have between easy pace and marathon pace. A 2:59 marathoner needs to slow the pace down 1:30 or so per mile, while someone running a 4:30 marathon may only need to slow down by 0:45-1:15. This is important for marathoners: "Part of doing those slower runs is that it teaches our bodies to burn fat, which is really important in a marathon because our carbohydrate stores only last so long," she says. "So the more efficient we are burning fat, the more we can push off hitting the wall." This is also a good point I hadn't thought about until now, but when I was running easy runs too fast I was more apt to hit the wall. What Pace Should My Easy Runs Be? I personally experienced this: "More often than not, when a runner’s race times plateau it’s a sign that there’s not enough variety in the training program, they’re not recovering well from the work they’re doing day after day, or some combination of the two." We runners always want a number! "I recommend easy/recovery runs to be 90 seconds to 2 minutes per mile slower than your marathon pace." The author discusses the easy runs of 2:13-2:14 marathoners: "with a majority of those runs in the 7:30 per mile pace range—nearly two-and-a-half minutes per mile slower than the paces they could race a marathon!" If 2:13-2:14 marathoners are running easy runs at 7:30, I certainly don't need to be! Using the 80/20 Rule to Balance Triathlon Training Intensity While this article is clearly about triathlon and not running, the point about the "moderate intensity rut" is spot on. "Recreational triathletes spend a much smaller percentage of their training time at low intensity and a much larger percentage at moderate intensity" (compared to elites and professionals who perform much better). Another case of running slower to perform better! You Can't Run Too Slow on Your Long Runs! I mean, the title says it all. He recommends marathon pace + 2:00. In some ways it is harder to run slower for long runs, because it means significantly more time on feet! This article isn't focused on advanced marathon runners, but I think it's important to note that if you are trying to work your marathon time down, workout long runs become very important, especially later in the training cycle. I found this long article on base training after I wrote this original post, and it doesn't exactly fit in this post, but I wanted to add it to show the importance of aerobic development. The author also notes that you'd be surprised at how well you can race off of lots of easy mileage plus some strides, and I have experienced that. Now is the perfect time to train like that, since it's an investment in long-term development and we are unsure when races will happen again! Here are a few examples from some really fast people: Nick, a 15:45 5k and 32:29 10k runner ran these PRs at age 37, bettering his college bests, after slowing down his easy runs to an average of 7:45. Read his details here. Shawanna calls it sexy pace! She is a 2:45 marathoner who runs a lot at 8:00-9:30 pace. You can see one of such runs here, but her Instagram account and Strava are full of them (she is also the best ambassador for running positivity that I know - you can't help but smile and love running when you see anything she posts). This post by Sam says it all - she ran 3 blazing fast mile time trials (in Alabama in June!), and her average pace for all of her running was 8:34. Aside from her impressive 5:02 mile, she has also run a 17:20 5k and a 2:49 marathon with easy running from 8:00-9:00+. Molly Seidel, the runner up in the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials, posts all of her runs on her Strava, and her easy runs are usually 7:30-8:00 (relative to her 5:30 marathon pace!). Keira D'Amato has been making headlines during quarantine, including time trialing a 15:04 5k and 4:33 mile. Her Strava shows many runs between 8:00-9:00 pace. Hiruni Wijayaratne is a 2:34 marathoner hoping to represent Sri Lanka in the next Olympics, and at the end of this podcast she notes that her easy days will be 9:00 pace, maybe 8:40. Now is the perfect time to experiment in training, with no races for the foreseeable future. If you try slowing down easy runs and don't like it, then you can always speed them back up. In the words of Dr. Seuss, "You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may."
  2. 3 points
    Over two weeks since my last entry. No excuses. I at first supposed that my mind was simply on other things, but if I'm being honest, I think it's because my personal motivation just isn't here right now. I never raced much, but for the last ten years I've at least had a marathon or two out there that I was working on. Truth is, as the audience here has dwindled and the interaction with it, I miss the buss of having people comment and ask questions and voice opinions on what I've written. Having someone tell me it's OK when I struggle through a bad run helped me get out on the road again the next day. Multiply that by what used to be several - sometimes dozens - back in the Loop's heyday, and I was constantly lifted up. It's harder when you feel alone. Still out there, though, regardless. It's what I do. What I am. Not going to lie, though - I miss the kudos. I'm at the stage of my post-covid comeback where it feels like things aren't happening the way I want. Just impatience, I'm sure, like it usually is. Tinkbot posted during the week that she ran the same number of miles that she got sleep the night before. She's got two littles now and sleep is a precious and rare commodity for a young mother. The 4.5 miles pushing the stroller were no doubt tougher for her than the 7.5 I struggled with yesterday in my effort to matched her sleep/miles adventure. I've done a couple of Saturdays in a row at 6 miles and was thinking 7 or 8 this week anyway, which is about what I sleep every night, so it wasn't going to be any extra effort, really. I have developed the nasty habit of needing to take a dump sometime during what seems like every single one of my morning runs. So I woke up, took my time eating breakfast, visiting the bathroom a few times (with mostly disappointing results), and finally left when it felt like nothing was going to happen again. First miles lately have been extra slow. Part of it's normal for mile 1 to warm up, part of it's the morning which my right knee doesn't seem to like anymore for about a quarter mile. But after that things loosen up and it's just a matter of getting where I plan to go that day. Even though Michigan is mostly opened up, traffic remains lighter than in the past, and even if I miss a light I can often go through on the red, since there aren't any cars, especially at 7 am on a Saturday morning. When I was young and fast I'd think nothing of darting in and out of traffic whenever. Now I'm a much more sane, relaxed, conscientious and law-abiding runner. And slower, don't forget slower. There was a woman I passed in mile 1 that I passed in the other direction coming back in mile 6. That doesn't happen every day. No telling how far she went in the one direction before coming south to the street I was returning on. Waved both times, which was nice. Of course I had a Code Abby about half way. Lucky for me, there was a park, not much used now because, you know. And there was a honey bucket shack put there by the city every summer. Suppose it's cheaper than building and maintaining an actual bathroom. Despite the fact that it's not guaranteed to be sanitized, I used it. I know the science isn't complete about how much immunity I might have at this point, I feel pretty good about my chances since I had no plans to be licking my butt afterwards, and there was little contact with my hands that would have been able to travel to my mouth/nose. The danger from e-coli is likely much greater from a POP than covid. Anyway, so much for the extra time I spent at home before running. Ran out of gas somewhere in mile 5 and struggled the rest of the way in. It was warm and humid like it's been all summer, but I had hoped to be able to push just one more measly mile than I did the previous two Saturdays. So kind of disappointed. Both the girls were working yesterday, so I spent my time cleaning windows and toilets, and watching some movies on Amazon, since the Tigers-Reds game was rained out. Today we're going to church for the first time in 4 months. Only 25 people will be there, as the congregation rotates through the alphabet with groups of 25 attending one of four services held every week. At that rate, we'll be there once a month. The other times, they have a Zoom broadcast of one of them that we can call in for. Hardly the same, but better than nothing, although we try to have a weekly family devotional scheduled around work schedules. Crazy all the things we used to take for granted as normal until a few months ago. Reminds me that we're not really in charge of things on this tiny little planet like we often think we are. Man has done some amazing things, but we're actually a pretty fragile species. Life is fragile. So many things we think are so very important aren't so much, really. Seems to me we'd be better off if we remembered that.
  3. 3 points
    July 2020 in review! Total mileage for the month: 290.3 June 29-July 5: 62.2 July 6-12: 71 July 13-19: 60.7 July 20-26: 75.0 July 27-Aug. 2: projected at 64, and I noticed my weekly mileage totals illustrate that I've been taking a day off every other week #jumpingjuly Workouts: July 9: 6 x 2:00 hill repeats within a 9.11 mile run (yes, the 911 was on purpose!). This was Christian's workout and the type I never run on my own accord, meaning that it's good for me because it addresses my weaknesses. Nothing like trying to keep up with a couple of 24 year olds on a hill to get the heart pumping! I miss the GAP feature on Strava (now only on the paid version), but this was a good effort for me, and I kept up with the ladies who were recently running in college, so I'm calling it a win. July 14: 5 mile tempo at 6:45 average via 6:42, 6:49, 6:36, 6:41, 6:56 (2 warm up, 2 cool down). Christian had a 5 mile tempo at 6:45-6:50 so I decided to go for it, even though I really had no idea if I could run it. It felt really good and not very hard for the first half, then I think we got a little too ambitious on mile 3, and mile 4 was harder, then suddenly mile 5 was quite a struggle (for me, she finished strong!). It was unlike tempos feel when I'm in good shape; usually on those the first mile or two is the worst and then I find a groove and finish with my fastest mile. As I was fighting to stay under 7:00 during mile 5, I started thinking, "I used to fight to stay under 6:00 (!!)." I really have no idea how I used to run tempos so fast. But, for being back to running for 6 weeks and not having run any miles under 7:00 before this workout, I was happy to run my 1st through 5th sub-7:00 miles back consecutively. July 16: 5 miles easy, 10 x 1:00 moderate/1:00 easy, cool down to 9 miles. I helped my friend Amy with a starter workout and I ended up feeling really good on the pushes, which averaged about 6:30 pace. I would have guessed they were more like 7:00 pace, so things are feeling smoother. July 21: 6 x 1 mile tempos with 1:00 recoveries in 6:22, 6:28, 6:18, 6:22, 6:27, 6:34 - average 6:25 (2.2 warm up, 2 cool down). Christian had this workout with a goal pace of 6:30-6:35, but we got out a little fast and then it changed to try to stay under 6:30. I felt good for 4, then 5 was a stretch and 6 was a struggle. Christian is in one rep better shape than me (we were together for 1-5 but her last mile was 6:20, like the July 14 workout where we were together for 4 miles but she finished strong and I died on the last mile) so it's really helpful for me to run workouts with her! I couldn't have run this on my own. July 23: Fartlek of 3 x 3' on/90" off/2' on/1' off/1' on/30" off (2 warm up, 5.3 cool down - the farlek covered 3.7 miles so it was an 11 mile day). This was, again, Christian's workout that she was kind enough to drag me along for - she says I'm helping her but she is definitely in better shape than me and I mostly hang on! It's been really good for me to get some speed back. This was a nice effort-based relatively short workout. Our push paces ranged from 6:01-6:27. Afterward I told Amy I wanted to run 4 more miles so she took me out for 5... July 28: 3 easy, 3 moderate in 6:58, 7:01, 6:54, 4 easy. Missy asked me to do 4 miles sub-7:00 with her but I stopped at 3 (plus 2 wasn't even sub-7:00) - which is the beauty of not having a training schedule I guess, but I was not feeling it on this run. Our third warm up mile was 7:33 and that already felt hard so I knew I was in trouble. In hindsight I think I did a bit too much the previous week, so live and learn! The weather was also atrocious, but that was the case for every run this month so I did not even note it (dew points of 70-76*). Strides or hill strides on July 2, 4, 7, 13, 18, 20, 27. No running doubles this month. It's possible that 75 miles is the highest weekly mileage I've done in singles only, and if not it's close. Cross-Training: Biking: I biked on July 5 and 19, and to and from running group several times. Elliptigo-ing: My elliptigo arrived on July 23. I rode it as double on July 23, 27, 30, and on July 29 for a day off running. I'm not good enough on it yet to get my heart rate up to where I need to, but I'm improving each ride. I think it's like running about half the distance, e.g., an 8 mile elliptigo ride is like a 4 mile run. The website said that most people don't use all 8 gears, but riding in the Ozarks I definitely need them all! Strength Training: 1:55, 2:01, 2:16, 1:45. Yoga: 1:05, 1:25, 1:10, 1:30. My first ElliptiGo ride Long Runs: July 3 - 15 miles (8:18). This was a hot, humid, hilly, breakfast run! A Friday long run worked best for most of our running group this week, so we ran long a day earlier and then had breakfast at First Watch after. I'd planned to do a light progression in the final 5 miles - dropping about 10 seconds per mile (something like 8:10, 8:00, 7:50, 7:40, 7:30), but at mile 10 when we were facing 3.5 miles of net uphill and I'd sweated out more fluid than anyone should, I decided I didn't really need to do that! Everyone ran slightly different distances, but the group included Sean, Sierra, Christian, Rebecca, and Elise. July 11: 16.2 miles (8:04). I only planned to run 15 so the extra mile shows I was feeling good - I got faster/stronger throughout and my final 7 miles were in the 7's or very close (e.g., 8:01), keeping it easy - this was also the first time I saw 7:30ish miles (the final 2) with my heart rate truly in an easy zone during this return. I ran 3 miles solo, 9 with Christian and Sierra (they had a cut-back week), then 4 solo. July 17: 13 miles (7:46) on a Friday long run. I was thrilled with this one because it was the effort level that just 4 weeks previously got me about 8:30 pace! I ran with Missy chatting the whole time and didn't realize that we were staying around 7:45 pace until I stopped my watch at the end. This was my first cut-back week since I started running again at the beginning of June - I built for 6 weeks then took the 7th week down, which is probably a little too much, but I am calling it a win because in the past I wouldn't have taken any weeks down when not being coached. July 25: 15 miles (8:00) on the Bass Pro half marathon course, kind of as part of the Bass Pro Recycle Run. Our group of Rebecca, Christian, Sierra, and Colin and decided to run the half course (which is also 13.1 miles of the full course) for those in the group training for Bass Pro who haven't run it before. We all got goodies and snacks afterward! Will the Bass Pro Marathon weekend actually happen? Kind of doubtful. Will I run one of the races if it does? Likely. Running Highlights: My running group did Jumping July photos almost every day! We decided that Jumping January wasn't enough for the year. I included almost all of them in this post. I ran my first 7-day week back July 6-12, and I was proud of myself for waiting that long. The following week I took a day off, then another 7 day week July 20-26. A day off every other week for me may be a good spot right now, but in August I will let my coach decide! I enjoyed this article, about time trial PRs and whether they "count". I'm not in a position for this to be an issue (there is not enough GPS error in the world for me to PR at the moment!), but I've seen a lot of people run really fast time trials during COVID-19 and I think it's awesome! Personally, I would not count a time trial PR unless it was run on a track with manual splits, or if I could run a certified road course exactly (which would be difficult). I see people using GPS on the track and shake my head...a 5k is 12.5 laps, not 11.7 no matter what your Garmin says! On a straight course GPSs can be really close or even right on, but you just don't know the margin of error that day. You may have actually run faster than your watch says too! In the big scheme of things I also think if it makes someone happy right now then so be it, but you're setting yourself up for future disappointment by running (for example) 50 laps on the track and calling it a half marathon PR. But my favorite parts of the article was that the author mentioned that really every PR has an asterisk - whether it was perfect weather, a fast course, a great pace group, etc. - and a contributor mentioned that he always figured he could actually run 1-2% faster than his PR since there is always something not quite ideal about race day. I agree with both of these so much! Life Highlights Our garden thrived this month, producing tomatoes (several varieties), peppers (several varieties), eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, okra, cucumbers, and lots of blackberries. Since no one is taking real vacations this year, we have had family visitors instead. My brother-in-law's family stayed with us for almost 3 weeks, and my parents visited for 4 days this month. I didn't do much with my brother-in-law's family because I was in quarantine most of the time they were here (after a firsthand COVID exposure, but it was outdoors and I was fine), but Albani and Jon did some fun outdoor activities with them (zoo, farmers market, etc.). We took my parents to Dogwood Canyon and made a day of grilling out at home another day, plus lots of board and card games. Savasana, or corpse pose Nugget got sprayed by a skunk this month, & this was how he felt about the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, & Dawn bath Latest cross-stitch Dogwood Canyon About half of our butternut & spaghetti squash harvest! Books: Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb Someone We Know by Shari Lapenda An Anonymous Girl by Grer Hendricks The Turn the Key by Ruth Ware Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0) by Suzanne Collins I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller Theme for the month: Different goals. I'm not going to run a yearly mileage PR because I had to take 15.5 weeks off, but my goal is to run 2020 miles in 2020. I did the math on what this would take - averaging 54 mpw from here on, which is very doable as long as I stay healthy. I also was inspired by my friend Liz's recent virtual half to set the goal of running a 1:25 half this fall. I have run every time between 1:20-1:29 (most multiple times) except for 1:25! What makes this ironic is that I had the goal of running a 1:25 for years, but then I ran a 1:24 and that was that. After my time off that also seems do-able, whereas PRing in the half does not. People who run really fast off of cross-training, I salute you, but I am sure not one of you!
  4. 3 points
    I can't remember the last time I posted. Was it March? April? I've been in a time warp since mid-March, so it's hard to remember anything anymore. I think the last monthly recap I did was February, so that's fun. Although my employer (local health department) is on the front lines of COVID, I can't say that I'm necessarily on those lines. The epidemiologists, disease investigators, and contact tracers are on those lines, as well as our environmental health folks, who have been tasked with enforcement of emergency orders. I sort of think of my colleagues as the offensive and defensive lines, while I am on special teams. I get more breaks, but hot damn, we've all had a lot of playing time the past 4 months. In Loop-relevant life, I sat out of running most of April due to severe allergies that would often lead to sinus migraines. Thankfully, I had invested in a spin bike, so got in lots of indoor miles, with some yoga & strength. Of course, I still managed to gain what some call the quarantine 10; I call it the pandemic 10 because I was still going into the office daily & didn't necessarily feel quarantined. May came around and I was able to increase my running outside, and continued more running through June. I joined in a few virtual races, including a "team relay" across Missouri. I forced myself back into a workout routine, setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier to escape the heat as much as possible and to get a workout in earlier in the day. It was a great decision. I was averaging 15-20 miles a week, doing some speed workouts occasionally, and I have been slowly running off the pandemic 10 (in addition to cleaning up my diet a little bit). We escaped to the country over the July 4th weekend to visit my parents, who I hadn't seen since Christmas. That was really nice. Plus, there were no fireworks to be heard anywhere, and it was a relief to not have Jeff the dog freaking out every two seconds while the neighbors do their crazy show. Last week, I had started a new routine, only to be interrupted by not feeling well. COVID rapid test says "not it!" but I know they have a high false negative rate, so I have been adhering to the isolation recommendations and am very excited that today is the last day of that. Still feel "off" but did a two mile run yesterday morning with no impact on my energy levels throughout the day, which makes me happy. As for future plans ... yeah. Have none. Been joining a running group occasionally that is taking lots of COVID precautions, which makes my public health self very happy. Having new routes every 3rd Saturday has been a delight, and it's just nice to change up the routine. Peloton is having a "Pelothon" for the next month or something, which involves joining a team (#LegendsofFun, anyone?) and taking classes from the instructors who are the team leads. Two of the instructors have outdoor guided runs, so glad I can participate in this and also not feel like I have to give up running outside. This will have me adding in more yoga, which is a good thing. Maybe those hamstrings will finally be like supple leopards by the end of this. In other news, I passed the due date I had been given for last year's pregnancy, which was a relief. I took the day off, watched both Princess Diaries and wrote a letter. The day after, I felt so much better. I hadn't realized how much I had hung onto that date until it had passed. Now, we are heading into the last month of not being pregnant before we have to reach out to a doctor. While expected - I am 37 after all - there are some underlying emotions I find hard to explain at the moment. I decided this morning that I just as well commit to getting as healthy as possible (note I said healthy, not fit or ripped or anything else), because that can only be beneficial. So here's to cooking fresh meals, working up a sweat, well-rounded workouts, and keeping that mind clear. What goals are keeping you focused in a world of no races?
  5. 3 points
    And I didn't even get out to see most of it. Just the views from Denver and Franktown. But it was a great long weekend anyway. T-Rex got to see her boy, we met his parents, and we spent a little time with some old friends. Not working for 5 days was good, too. Got a couple of runs in on Friday and Saturday. Friday was in Franktown. That's a half hour south of Denver, if you were wondering. There's not much there, which is fine. Lots of big houses, spread out over lots of area. Our friends live at the top of a hill with spectacular views both near and far. I was going to keep it short on Friday since we'd traveled the day before, not to mention that I haven't done any hills in forever and it was at 6,500 feet above sea level. Not what I'm used to. Fortunately, the first day or two the blood still has oxygen from where you came from, so the only thing that kicked my butt was the actual climbing. I've run here once before and remember how steep that last mile-long hill back to the house is. Yikes! Anyways, I eyeballed the map on my phone and figured I could do a loop out to the highway, then down to the turn off where we drove up the night before. I knew that last piece was a mile, and it sort of looked like a mile to the highway, then another to the turn off. 3 miles. They told me they've had a couple of cougar sightings in the area but I wasn't worried about that. There's also a bear that's been rummaging through people's garbage cans. Wasn't too excited about that prospect, although it didn't seem like a good idea to discuss that with Mrs. Dave until maybe after we got home. Saw four deer at the first intersection, then another two just before the highway. My plan was to cross and run on the south side of the road against traffic, but noticed a single track that paralleled the highway about 15 yards from the traffic (what traffic there was, which wasn't much), so I ran on that. This is also about where I began to see that my 3 miles was actually going to be more like 4. But this was mostly downhill, so I felt OK and was in no hurry. Turns out it was 4 miles to the turn off, so this was a 5-miler. That was fine with me, but I wondered if Mrs. Dave would be worried when I was 15 minutes later than I told her I was going to be. She slept through most of it, so it was fine. As expected, that last climb was a killer, but I only walked at little for the steepest part. Saturday's run was a 3 mile out and back from a hotel. We figured to save the drive time that day so didn't go back to Franktown that night. The hotel was just a mile or so from the first house we had in Denver back in 1987, so it was a little nostalgia tour. Ran past a golf course where I'd lost a pitching wedge one day. A mile and a half out comes really quickly. I felt like going farther, but this wasn't a run-cation, so I headed back. Most of our time was spent getting to know this kid that T-Rex is all gaga over. We went to a couple of escape rooms and decided we really like them, even though we felt pretty stupid most of the time. Denver has some really nice min-golf courses and we played a couple of those, too. It was at or near 100o the whole weekend, but 100o in Denver feels like 80o in Detroit, so we didn't mind so much. And we ate too much. Never had any trouble with the altitude until the airport on the way home yesterday, when I had to navigate a broken escalator carrying our one checked bag that only weighed 35 pounds. Holy moly, I was sucking serious wind before getting to the top. Good thing I didn't run that day. Back at home and nothing's changed here. Still working at the dining room table and expect to be here for the rest of the year. Sometime soon they'll approve a date for me to go to the office and clear out whatever person stuff I left there. I may never go back at least for my current client/contract. I last filled my gas tank in mid-March. After the drive to and from the airport, I still have a quarter of a tank. Crazy world.
  6. 2 points
    I have slowlyyyyyyyyyyyy started back running after recovering from my hip injury. I have been running 4 days a week for the last couple of weeks for 15 miles total each week, with my long now 5 miles. I running slow and easy to build up my strength averaging about 10 minute miles with my heart rate getting closer to my easy effort rate. The week of July 19th I was on vacation with my wife and 2 daughters, and we went to Grand Haven, MI to a place we have renting every summer for the last 15 years or so. This is one of my favorite places to go on vacation, as it has all the amenities of home, is in a quiet area, and best of all is across the street from beautiful Lake Michigan with beach access. Even though the Lake Michigan beach has literally disappeared in some areas do to rising lake levels and erosion, there are still areas to sit or layout without the crowds of a public beach. I love running there it has a quite road that goes to the Marina on the Grand River were I usually see some fellow runners and walkers. It also has some trails nearby to do some trail running. But the best part for me is after a run that leaves me hot and sweaty I can just go across the street, take my shirt, shoes and socks off and jump into the clear and refreshing water of Lake Michigan to cool off, ahhhh. I was also able to finish the Running with Sherman book by Christopher Mcdougall, which I really enjoyed with its many side stories and just how people of different values can work together for good. A good lesson for today.
  7. 2 points
    No races, yet I am breaking all my records for mileage. I'm running more than ever, yet the body is hanging in there just fine - no injuries or even sore spots to speak of. Without race goals, this year is about adjusting to running more and seeing how that goes. Well, it has gone exceedingly well! In January I committed to 4 days a week for the whole year. Ever since age 18, I've always thought I needed rest days. For 30 years I never ran more than 3 days a week - sometimes much less. Then even when I got more serious for the last ten years, I usually ran 3 days a week, with 4 when I was in marathon training and very occasionally would do 5. I ran too hard usually, and felt like I needed rest days. Well this year I am discovering that I don't need to pamper myself. I've just been gradually increasing the miles. Doing less speedwork since track club is cancelled and there are no races. In April I switched to 5 days a week and committed to it, and have hit 5 days for 16 straight weeks. This week I'm switching to 6 days a week and I'm going to keep that up for at least 8 weeks if all goes well. I have not run 6 times in a week since college! But now it seems normal to just do a run every day. Because I really have little else going on in my life. I'm looking at 198 miles for July which is a record for July, after record highs in June, May and April. I passed 1,000 for the year last week, much earlier than ever and am on track for over 1,800 miles which is a huge record since high school. So I'm feeling great about the endurance. The speed is still not what it was a few years ago, but it's getting better. This year is all about endurance. Because I do have a new goal. Chicago cancelled, and my planned local backup in Big Bear cancelled, so I figured my Fall marathon plan was dead. But then I checked St. George again, and they recently said they are still planning to have their event on October 3rd. So I went ahead and signed up. It's a downhill marathon which promises to be even easier than Chicago to get my BQ, as long as I don't trash my quads too much. So I am re-energized and motivated and excited to have something to train for. With nine weeks to go, I have averaged 43 miles/week for the last 8 weeks, and I'm going over 50 this week, and hopefully for the next 7 weeks. My long run is already to 15 so I am readier than I have ever been at this stage. Just need Covid to stay out of Utah and my body to stay healthy. Tomorrow I am doing a 13 mile run which is almost all downhill, about 1,000 feet down from the local peak down to the beach, and than 3 miles flat on trashed quads. We'll see if I can train my legs for the beating they will take. Then two easy days and 16 on Sunday. If I survive this week I will feel pretty good about my chances.
  8. 2 points
    Slowly adding miles in. 5 yesterday that went pretty well. Switched to morning runs because it's been in the 90s. The catch with morning runs for me is the bowel processes that never seem to decide what they're going to do until half way through my runs. Code Abby! But, I'm running and except for the first mile that seems to take more of to get into the flow than it does in the afternoon, my normal paces have returned. Was even flirting with sub-8 yesterday before I had to stop abruptly to make sure there wasn't a mess to leave on the sidewalk. Ew. For the present, I'm content with just building up until I can do some double digits again. After that, we'll see what the landscape looks like for the new racing normal. I got an email for an Independence Day 5K that had a wide start window for everyone to distance. It was only $20, too. But it was also over an hour's drive and I'm not feeling up to racing yet anyway. I didn't feel the need for the admittedly minimal expense or the 2-plus hours in a car on Saturday morning. Instead, I decided (after my 5) to touch up the fence. There are a few pickets that could be replaced and maybe some fresh paint. Sadly, Home Depot had different sized pickets than they did when I built the fence. Hoping they were just out of them. So, I've been meaning to put something permanent around the peonies on the north side of the house. Peonies seem to have bloom too heavy for their stalks, so once they get near the flower stage, they fall over and look sickly. Every year I've just wrapped some twine around them and anchored it to the fence and that holds them up reasonably well. I had several pieces of the old pickets in the garage left over from original fence building (10 years ago). I cut a bunch of them down to 12 inches and made a matching mini fence for the flowers. This will both square off the area and support the plants. Since I used the same material as the main fence, from the street it will look like the flowers are sort of popping up from the middle of the fence. And when there flowers are gone, it will look like part of the fence. Cut the rest of the dead branches from the cherry tree in the back. I do this all by hand with a bow saw. It's basically the only cross training I ever do. Works up quite a sweat and my arms get really tired. I cut the larger pieces into firewood for an emergency. Normally, we never use our fireplace because I hate cleaning up after. But you never know when the power might go out some cold winter. Anyway, I was down to the last few pieces - the largest - when my neighbor asked if I wanted to borrow his sawzall. At first I begged off because of my cross training regimen, then accepted and turned what was going to be another hour of sweat into 5 minutes of noise. Headed to Denver this coming weekend for a mini vaca. T-Rex wants to see her BF and we just want to get away. The kids haven't seen each other in person since Christmas because school's been closed. I'll try to get a couple of runs in.
  9. 2 points
    It's been almost 2 months since my last bloop where I was sidelined from running with my hip injury and had started bicycling. After bicycling for 2 weeks I tried to resume running and failed miserably with my hip soreness returning immediately when I started to run, back to bicycling. I continued bicycling for another 2 weeks averaging about 60 miles per week. I took a week off and finished a couple of planter boxes for my wife that I had been promising her for almost a year. I used left over decking materials from our deck we had built last year and it took me a month time wise with almost half of the time spend calculating how to use the left over decking to make the correct number and length of boards needed for the planter boxes. I had check and correct and re-check my numbers multiple times to finally feel confident enough to start cutting the left over decking materials. After the week off I tried run(5-7 min)/walking(3 min) my standard 3.4 running loop and was able to complete it successfully without a hip pain (Hooray!). I waited a few more days and completed another run/walk running loop, and then ran the whole 3.4 mile loop successfully without any hip pain although at what I thought was a very easy pace for me, though my heart rate was up at my previous tempo pace. rate I have continued running easy 3.4 mile loops 3-4 times a week, once feeling a little hip pain afterwards. I will continue to running slow (9:30 - 10 min pace) to build up my endurance. I really appreciate it to be able to be back running, I enjoy it so much more than bicycling.
  10. 1 point
    June 2020 in review! Total running mileage for the month: 241.5 June 1-7: 47 - this was my first real week of running back! June 8-14: 55.4 June 15-21: 60.1 June 22-28: 60 June 29-July 4: TBD, probably around 60 again Rebecca & Jack gapping the group on a beautiful farm road morning (Missy also gapped us, then stopped to take photos!) Total bike mileage for the month: 95.8 - just posting this because it's quite clear I dropped biking real quick once I started running, plus I had some issues from my bike seat after a huge Memorial Day riding weekend and am not sure I could ever go back to riding 300+ mpw now. #thingsnoonetellsyouaboutbiking Starting on June 23 I was able to start bike commuting to some of our group runs, which was a great way to keep using my bike some and to add onto runs without adding any impact. See, I biked some! This was after the June 30 fartlek workout Post-15 miler Post mini-workout on June 25 Workouts: June 23: 5 miles moderate at 7:09 average (1 warm up, 2 cool down) with my friend Christian who had this workout. It seemed like a very non-intimidating way to do something that wasn't very easy running, and my hip felt great so it was a success! I miss the GAP feature on the free Strava, because we ran a rolling route (259 ft gain) and I thought my effort was more even than my pace showed (range of 7:02-7:19). June 25: 6 x 1:00 pick ups to tempo effort (5:58-6:32) at the beginning of miles 2-6 of an 8 mile run. Like June 23, this also Christian's workout and it seemed like another great "intro workout" for me. It's pretty easy to run only easy runs when everyone else is running easy, but it's harder than I realized when others are doing workouts at the group run! June 30: 4 x 2', 1', 30" fartlek at tempo effort (6:02-6:43 on a rolling route) with equal recoveries and 2ish warm up, 1.5ish cool down. I am loving these effort-based workouts - thanks, Christian's coach! Related note: I plan to start back with my awesome coach in August so she can save me from myself. I'm not really training for anything so I've just been doing what sounds fun, which will equate to me doing too much if I don't go back to being coached (I think it makes me a great training buddy though, I say yes to about everything!). I did strides, hill strides, or unstructured pick-ups 1-2 times a week every week, because I do plan to race again some day. Doubles: June 30 - I said I was going to wait until July to do any doubles, but I don't think one day made a difference! Strength Training: 2:00, 1:42, 2:00, 2:43 Yoga: 0:40, 1:20, 1:00, 1:00 (2-4 x 0:20 practices each week) Global Running Day! I felt so old when these two mentioned they graduated high school in 2014, haha! Long Runs: June 6: 12.2 miles (8:31)! I have never been so proud of a slower-than-usual-easy-pace 12 miles (this was my sixth real run back). It was 73 degrees, with a dew point of 72, which is pretty much death, so the friends I ran with (Christian and Claudio) didn't mind taking it slow - I could not have run this far very fast, although I do think I could have done better without the dew point of death. I was planning to go for 10 but Christian was running 12 and I felt good so I went with it. June 13: 13.1 miles (8:26). A good-sized group run, with Abby, Claudio, and Sean. June 20: 15.1 miles (8:15). This was another nice group run with Paul, Sean, Claudio, Daniel, Christian, and Rebecca. Coming back from time off is the only time I can drop around 10 second/week from my zone 1 pace while also adding 1-2 miles/week! June 27: 14 miles (8:15). Yet another nice group run with Christian, Abby, Claudio, Sean, Rachel, Sierra, and Amy. It was an unintentional progression (8:40ish down to 7:20ish), but we ran an almost mile out-and-back section that we usually avoid due to the long hills on (there are currently 2 porta-potties on it due to construction and several group members needed them along the way), and those miles were a bit slower. I also did medium long runs on Wednesdays starting the second week of the month with 10.2, 11, and 12.2. Post 13.1 Running Highlights: Clearly, returning to "real" running was the huge highlight of this month! During the final week of May I did five run/walks and one straight run, and the first week of June I switched to all running. Words cannot express how good it felt! I thought I loved biking until I started running again and felt a hundred times better. My endurance came back quickly (perhaps the biking wasn't totally worthless), and I have no idea if/when my speed will come back but I don't care that much at this point! I'm thankful for what I have instead of wanting more. I had to hold myself back to not run more mileage, but I stuck with 6 runs a week this month - one day off each week and no doubles. I ordered an Ellipigo! I've wanted one for years but I think I always felt that buying one was admitting I'd be cross-training (which normally means I am not running). It is ironic that I bought this now and not 5 months ago, but I am going to try a little lower mileage supplemented with the Elliptigo training and see what happens. Now is a great time to experiment in training, and staying healthy is very important to me. My Elliptigo is scheduled to ship on July 13. My resting heart rate was running around 50 when I started back to running after 15 weeks off, but by the end of June it was down to 33-34, which I thought was crazy! I've seen it hit 28-30 when I'm at top fitness, but I have never seen it change so quickly (I've only had a Garmin that monitors it since early 2019 though). I also learned that it is much easier to get your HR high when you are out of shape! My first week back I couldn't keep my HR in my easy range no matter how slow I ran, and I still have long way to go but it's getting better every week. We are better at running than at centering for photos Strava sent me some goodies! This buff from the Run Farther & Faster podcast is great for keeping sweat out of my eyes on the spin bike (can also be used as a COVID mask!) Albani told me that "llamas are trending" My sedentary cross-stitching hobby lives on! With cat & cousin Albani's summer job at the farmer's market Yet they wouldn't do yoga with me Life Highlights: We did a lot of gardening this month... I learned that I highly dislike gardening when I'm in "single parent mode", and told Jon that if he was gone much longer the garden was going to die. Fortunately it all lived, and I got really good at mowing our yard! Jon was traveling for work from May 8 through June 19, and I developed a huge admiration for single parents. We did this once before and I remember feeling the same way then! Albani is now old enough to stay at home by herself while I run (she is also sleeping), but last time she was (I think) 8, so I only ran loops around my neighborhood in case she woke up while I was out. One week back then I ran over 60 miles, including a 20 mile long run, on that 0.8 loop! I have been cutting my own hair and Albani's hair during COVID-19, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep doing it! We also did highlights this month. We celebrated Father's Day with take-out ribs and working in the garden. Jon and Albani are selling produce (mostly blackberries) at a local farmer's market 3 days a week; I help on Saturdays (after my long run, of course). We had visitors for the last week of the month, my brother-in-law and his two children who are a little older than Albani. Albani is dying for a phone like them, but we aren't letting her get one until she starts driving. She often tells me that all of her friends have phones (which I believe, based on what I saw at middle school orientation), and I always respond, "Good, you can borrow one of theirs if you need to make a call." Summer evenings I'd missed this church sign! Orange Leaf Friday Albani got an Andy's gift card along with her Timothy award for Awana Big beets Father's Day She likes to do this and ask us if we'd buy her I found this gem when looking for old pics of my dad & I for Father's Day - a little road race in 1987 Books: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes The Dance by Richard Paul Evans The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead An Unwanted Guest by Sherri Lapena I am about 30% through I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb (it's 1444 pages) My reading suffered this month, because every weekday was non-stop from when I woke up between 4:30-5:00 a.m. and went to bed between 9:00-9:30 p.m. (i.e., I only read to fall asleep in bed and on weekends). I read ebooks during easy rides on my spin bike, and I only did one of those this month (vs. about 5 times a week when I wasn't running)! Theme for the month: Endorphins. I have never been so thrilled with 6 mile slow runs as I was on June 1 and 2, or for really any running I did this month! Does time off reset your endorphin levels?
  11. 1 point
    I could also title this "I seem so slow." Coming back from a layoff is painfully slow. On the plus side, this is not an injury layoff, so there are no phantom pains and the ever present fear of re-injury that comes with those. My hip - was that a twinge in my hip? Did my hamstring just pull again? I could keep this list going for a while. Happily, nope. None of that. Just slow, plodding, one foot in front of the other re-building the old leg and heart and lung muscles so I can call myself a runner again. So I can leave the thoughts of how to turn in my IRUN26.2 vanity license plate since I can't run marathons anymore. Double digits seem like a long ways out from where I sit today. And where do I sit today? At the dining room table, which is my office since the middle of March. My latest puzzle, a 2,000 piece of Van Gogh's Starry Night lays on the other side of my TV screen/computer monitor. I'll leave it there for a couple of days as a tribute to the 49 hours I spent putting it together over the last two weeks. Officially started running again two weeks ago, on the 12th of June. That was a 2-1/4 mile, 9 and a half minute pace struggle. But better than the run before that, when I was still a walking covid-19 case. (2 miles at 10 and a half). Nice to breathe normally for the first time in a couple of months. Since then, I've kept it to 2 miles except for last Saturday and Monday, when I did 3. Have to remember how long it takes to get back everything I've lost. I'm encouraged by how the paces are improving, getting back into the neighborhood where 9 minutes is an easy run. Monday's 3 featured two good splits - 8:40 and 8:30. I've done a few morning runs, thanks to the short mileage and my old man's inability to sleep much past 5:00 am, in addition to my daily work commute being the 12 feet from the kitchen to the dining room. More than enough time to do a couple of miles, cool off and shower before heading to the office. The advice to new runners is always to expect 6-8 weeks before you feel the benefits of running and things start to feel good. Same with runners who are just out of shape. I've done this many, many times and will likely do so again. I'm also fortunate that I hadn't signed up or even planned on any races this year, except the one marathon in May. The way things look around the country, fall will probably be a zero in the race calendar and next spring isn't a sure bet, either. I expect that virtual racing will be the norm for some time to come. What will that do for my 50-state quest? If all races become virtual, do I register for one in each of my states and run from home? I think I need to actually run IN the state for it to count. So then do I register, travel to anywhere in that state and count it? For example, would I sign up for Chicago and run a virtual marathon in Joliet? I imagine someone (several someone's) will find a way to survive and thrive in the marathon making business even with the realities of the post-covid world. Stay healthy, my friends.
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