Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Riding the clutch

Slowly getting used to the time continuum necessary for training and the mind of an ultra runner.  I know 50-60 miles a week appears paultry to serious runners, but it doesn't zip by at 6:45 - 7:15 per mile pace anymore.  I go more by time, so if it is 8 - 9 minutes a mile so be it.  Soon, I believe I will move my 60 minute runs up to 1:10 which has always been my bread and butter goal.  I think that should go by rather quickly in my head, but I guess we'll see once winter actually gets here.  The 1:10 sessions worked well in 2009 so I won't get greedy. 

I actually wasn't looking forward to getting back to morning runs, but it is nice to be done.  Like Clem said a week ago, "It's like your cheating."  Kind of.  I get home and can just not worry about it.  Of course it's nice knowing on this end someone is down the road waiting for you to show up.  Accountability can be a good thing.  When you get home in the winter your tired and they are making dinner.  The conditions are crap and it is pitch dark.  It is so easy to take a "recovery day."

Running daily eventually toughens you up.  I feel tired, but after moving around all day and a decent nights sleep your ready to do it all over again.  After several months our loop time has decreased by 2-3 minutes, though it doesn't seem we are running any faster.  That is the training effect.  Because it takes a while to get there it also doesn't disappear after 1-2 weeks of illness or injury.  I have a few small issues, but nothing serious at this point.  Most dents have been from mis-steps or slips.  Usually a couple miles loosens things up and you get back to work.

I am running all about I want to at this point.  Wouldn't mind approaching 70, but I need to stay somewhat conservative.  Not sure I can continue to "stay fresh" for the serious training needed in a couple months if I push the limit.  When the hard training comes it is just that.  Hard.  The odd part is, on the runs themselves I can get the work in.  It is the constant feeling of tiredness throughout the day which is difficult.  I want to get there in good enough shape that this is limited to only the weekends and an occasional week day. 

I've laid out my plan.  It is about 80% of past volume.  The strength/speed portion will be close to 95% volume at about 85% of past effort.  This could change a bit, but I don't expect I am capable of doing sub 6:00 miling too much and incorporating the long runs necessary for the sport.  I just don't recover like I used to.  The long runs are a big portion of the sport, so I don't want to drag through every one of them.  I also don't want to be fully rested.  This will be where the experience comes in.  Easy days will be required.  Hard training will be required.  Finding the proper mix is what makes this sport entertaining.  One thing I do know, the bigger the base the higher the peak.  There is a bit more room for adjusting.  When you are in a position you feel you absolutely have to do something due to lack of training...mistakes are made.  I've lived it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Moistened bint

I was looking at a couple ultra race calendars and I must say there are quite a few runs around.  What gets me is what some races charge for entry fees.  Seventy bucks for early entry into a 50k?  Are you kidding me?  Sixty bucks for a half marathon?  We are really fortunate around Wisconsin to have reasonably priced events.  There was a time would I'd enter the occasional short race for the sake of racing.  At $25.00 for Pete and Harry's 5k I'll pass.

It is good to see so many people running.  Most people know I run, so as most of you, I get the update on people's running friends and a local half marathon they are shooting for.  Of course everyone has a friend who is really fast.  What can you run a half in?  I don't really enjoy talking about running outside the inner circle.  I do however find myself interested in sports others participate in, especially if they are competitive.  I enjoy finding out their training philosophy and their perspective on competition.

The thing about talking about running with people who don't run, or worse, people who believe they know a lot about it is the evaluation process.  You can tell when people are trying to pin you down about your running so they can find something to one up you.  Inside I want to say something like, "Go get your band of merry men and lets run that 5k this weekend."  But I don't.  I'm not happy I feel that way, but I do like that the competitive juices are still there.  So, like most, I pretend my best days are behind me and I'm happy hobby jogging most days of the week.

Last week:

Mon = 7.0 w/ Jamie and dogs
Tue = 7.0 w/ Jamie and dogs
Wed = 9.2 w/ Jamie and his dog
Thu = 7.2 w/ Jamie and dogs
Fri = 17.4 w/ some of it w/ Christine and Robert
Sat = 8.2 w/ my dog
Sun = 5.0 w/ my dog

Week = 61.0

Feeling decent.  Not sure I'll do the whole 50k this coming Saturday.  I want to.  Just not sure I am capable of holding back as much as I want.  Also, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.  It would certainly take something out of me for a week.  It will be a game day decision.  With nice weather it will be difficult not to take advantage and run the whole thing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winding out in low

It should not take any one long to discover my favorite race and event of "ALL-TIME" is the Ice Age 50 mile.  I ponder it everyday from about November to race day.  Primarily I'm always tweaking training thoughts on what I should be doing.  If anything it gets me out the door.  For whatever reason, my willingness to train changes as does my reason for being out there.  I like the years I get motivated to race.  Some years it just becomes more important.  I thought the urge would gradually fade away as I aged, but it just keeps coming back.  Sometimes you just want to be in the mix.

If your looking for info on hydration, eating, supplements, et cetera, I am not the guy for that.  You think I'd try and study this, but for the most part I seem to do okay taking something at every station, drinking regularly, and staying on top of my electrolytes every hour.  When I'm running out there, I just try and achieve a certain feel and wait for a hot spot the last 15-20 miles.  That is what my training is pointed at.

I don't feel over the hill, but myself and many of my contemporaries stuggle with doing too much, not knowing when to rest, or back off when an injury seems iminent.  This is reality.  I'm not going to be pounding out 80 mile weeks.  I just can't or won't do it on a regular basis.  It is really all about surviving the day and having something for tomorrow (Grabowski).  This fits my running style, habits, tradition, or whatever you want to call it.  I like to run everyday and feel like I made progress.  It just seems to make me mentally and physically stronger.  Sure I take days off, but more so now because it seems like the best decision.

When I tell you I have literally trained about everyway I can think of, I am not lying.  I tried a put it all in the long run last year philosophy, which was basically one weekly long run, 3 shorter runs, and 3 days off.  It didn't pan out for me.  So, I've been pouring through the training logs trying to mine out what may produce the best results.  This is what I've concluded.

1. Don't get too far ahead of yourself.  Keep it fresh.  Slowly increase the weekly miles.  Get used to running everyday.  The main training should take place starting at the end of February.  Get there in one piece.
2. Get some longer runs in, but don't become a slave to them.  Try and remember your running the next day.  Slowly get used to the idea that Wednesday should eventually be near 2 hours.  I don't need to be there right now...stay a bit hungry.
3. When you run the occasional 50k before the training begins in earnest, do it in a manner which mimics training and not throwing down the gauntlet.  Stuff like this will compromise your training for a couple weeks if your not careful.  Not to mention it will make Dave a dull boy.
4. Sometime in January it is okay to do some up tempo work (Grabowski language).  Maybe only 2-3 miles a couple times a week, but at a solid effort.  Just get used to the idea of legging it out a bit.
5. Maybe transition some of this to a weekly hill work like 4 x 2:30 up hospital hill.  Again, not like the old days of blasting them, but a real solid effort...the kind that fits me and usually by myself.
6. When it is 11-12 weeks out from Ice Age, have a set plan on what you expect to do over that time.  Write it down and execute.  You can't run everyone else's workouts.
7. Keep these things in mind concerning the schedule.
- I won't need a run of 3-5 hours every weekend.
- I have to maintain the mid week long run.
- Resist the urge to run twice a day just to get miles in the log book.
- When I do my two faster runs a week, don't worry that the run that day didn't cover a lot of distance.  Don't become a slave to the watch. 
- On the easy easy.  I don't have to prove to myself everyday I can run fast...and don't add in extra miles.
- The day after the long run, get used to the idea of running easy for 1:00 - 1:30.
- Race sparingly.
- Train at Nordic often and consider doing 1-2 of the long runs by myself.  I tend to get a better idea of what I can do rather than watching someone set the pace or go buck wild.  It gives you a better feel for your personal ebb and flow.  After all, at Ice Age you basically are left to your own thoughts, so get used to it.
- Lastly, don't be afraid of a little rest.  At some point in time your body needs to absorb the training.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

From North, South, East, and West

Good functionality the past two weeks.  Sore here and there, but when you go to the biggest dance of the year, you dance with the one who brung ya.

12/5 = 7.0 w/ Jamie and dogs
12/6 = 7.0 w/ Jamie and dogs
12/7 = 7.0 w/ Jamie and dogs
12/8 = OFF
12/9 = 6.3 w/ Jamie and dogs
12/10 = 19.4 w/ John Ejnik in 3:01, 9 degrees F at start
12/11 = 9.6 w/ Minooka crew

Week = 56.3

12/12 = 6.3 w/ Jamie and dogs
12/13 = 7.0 w/ Jamie and dogs
12/14 = 6.0 on TM and tweaked groin
12/15 = 6.5 w/ Jamie and dogs
12/16 = 7.1 w/ Jamie and dogs
12/17 = 9.1 w/ Joel at Funk Road
12/18 = 15.1 w/ Christine at Lapham (2 Crawford loops)

Week = 57.1

Nothing fancy.  Just good aerobic training.  Getting used to the idea of running everyday...which I prefer.  Want to work on getting the Wednesday run a bit longer.

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's only a model

The one thing about running is you are sure to have experiences in life you wouldn't have had watching The Flintstones.  Some are planned for and others are not.  Here's a few of my memorable experiences.

- Double crossing of the Grand Canyon in 2009 with Andy, Barry, and Clem.  Farging A.

- Circa 1979 I was running down Devil's Elbow Road which has various twists and hills.  I had heard of a big buck in the area and I was about to meet him face to face.  Sunset, coming up a small rise to an open field to my left.  One tree was between us when I caught a glimpse.  Massive, perhaps 15 yards away.  I stopped and looked right at him.  He didn't move.  After about 20 seconds of eye balling each other he cantored off across the road in front of me.

- My first Boston Marathon in 2002.  A very patriotic year as it was the first race after 9/11.  I set my marathon PR there at 40 years old.

- Around 2004 I went on a typical marathon training run of 20 miles.  There was no plan, I wasn't rested...just go and get it in.  There is a spot at about 0.4 miles into the run I always check my watch.  I was through there about 25 seconds fast which seemed odd because I didn't feel like I was moving any faster.  It just felt easy.  One of those rare days you don't tire.  You just go faster and faster wondering when it will end.  It didn't and I logged a 2:08.  I have never had a training run before or since of that length that felt so easy. 

- One winter up here in Wisconsin I had a 32 mile training run planned for Saturday.  Looking at the weather that Wednesday I saw the weekend was going to be -35 degree F wind chill.  I got up at 2:30 AM the next morning in the middle of January and got it in.  I kept thinking what my old boss used to say.  "Don't let the bastard's grind you down." 

- 1983 on a trainig run with two other guys from the XC team early Saturday.  A truck comes by and runs us off the road.  Pleasant communications were exchanged and the truck headed back.  After a bit more communicating the truck turns around and tries to run us over.  It is now driving through people's yards and over whatever to get us.  Neighbors are wondering why a pick-up is blowing threw the lawn.  No one was hurt, but we did end up seeing the guy in court.

- Around 78' I ran the Wheeling, WV 20k and stuck around for the awards banquet mainly because they drew a slew of good runners.  Big banquet area and well attended.  Just when it started, with few seats left open a guy sits beside me.  It was Bill Rodgers.  I went back in 98' and saw Bill there again after the race.  I know enough about Bill that he says stuff like this to a lot of people, but he said, "We've met here before haven't we."  Good enough for me.  He beat me both times.

It's been fun.  I've found people's dogs and lost people's dogs.  I've had stuff thrown at me.  People have needed help fixing tires or directions.  I could feel a tool box with the tools I've found.  I already told the story of coming back with three boxes of cigars for my Dad.  The only thing which has not come to fruition is finding a bunch of cash.  Biggest haul was about a dollar.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Questions I've been asked?

What pace should I run in the marathon?  - I largely don't know, but if your shooting for time this is the one thing you try and figure out.  If there is time, go run a race of 10k to 13.1 and plug it in one of those fancy calculators. 

Have you ever carbo loaded?  - Yes, about a dozen times.  It has never done me a dis-service.  I also can't ever say it was what made my day.  I am more inclined not to do it now-a-days.

What trail shoes do you like?  - I don't run in trail shoes.  When I wanted to pop a good effort, I usually ran in light-weight trainers.

What kind of speed work do you do?  - I think it payed the best results when I followed a structured plan.  This usually consisted of a weekly tempo (hard) of 15 - 30 minutes and an interval workout on the track.  My best results came from 8 x 800m sessions (hard).  I used to like to turn and burn, but now I am more the 2m to 8k at a moderately hard pace.  If I was to add another element it would be 6 x 4:00 w/ 2:00 rest on the roads, or 8 x 2:00 w/ 1:30 rest at 5k race pace.

How do you taper?  - I go by the book, 75% 3 weeks out, 50% 2 weeks out, and 25% 1 week out for average weekly mileage.  Keep the intensity at shorter distances and shorten the long run.

When do you take days off?  - When I don't feel like running or am hurt.  I don't run that much anymore, but I have averaged 42 miles a week this year.  I am always in some kind of shape and getting up to 60 isn't a problem when the urge to race comes.

Do you run hills?  - Not as much as much as I should.  There is some gold to be mined in hills.  I want to get back to this.  Lots of value in a twice a week effort of 4 x 2:30 steep hill session as hard as you can handle.  Like to recover at top and do some cruising down as well when healthy.

How should I run 50 miles to achieve a good time?  - If you have been training earnestly, I would say it is best to go out at your normal training pace and let it come to you.  Meaning, when you feel real good resist the urge to go.  Take care of yourself, hydrate, fuel, take care of the intangibles.  After you get through the first bad patch usually somewhere midway, get your mojo back and look for a hot spot to run it in.  The simple act of passing people gets one fired up.

How can I get better? - Find time to run more mileage.  Another 15-20 a week is huge.  From that mileage, add another hour run, add another hour to your long run, and use the rest of it to establish a mid-week longer run of near 2 hours.  When you master this, move one of your weekly runs to a speed type session.

How do you fuel?  - I eat at least two hours before the event.  During the run I tend to eat more the first half and go to gel type products and Pepsi/Coke the last 15-20 miles.  I take 1-2 electrolyte pills an hour.  I sweat a lot, so I have to drink continually until I slosh and then I go to water.