Monday, September 28, 2009

11 weeks until the Rocket City Marathon

Training for the sub 3:00 attempt hasn't been going well. I've bailed on the last 2, 20 mile runs. Never really even started with the intent of going that far. The heat and humidity were the biggest excuse. Welcome break in the weather this week should allow for the first 20 miler in 3 weeks. The speed and hill workouts have been going ok. BQ1 has joined me for a few of those workouts. Marathon pace isn't coming easily yet, but it took awhile last cycle.

Biggest disappointment this cycle is the mileage. I've targeted 80 miles per week. It's only happened once. The lack of the 20 miler, only gives me around 74 miles for the week. That's about what I was averaging on the last training cycle. To step it up a notch, I'm going to either need to start hitting the 20 milers every week or start to double twice a week. The double is tough, I've only managed to do that once or twice ever.

Damn near let the running streak go on Saturday.(but needed the mileage) Slept in and the the rain had already set in for the day. I wasn't about to go out for another run in the rain, the 3rd for the week. Ended up waiting until the rain had passed through completely and got the run in around 2:00 in the afternoon. Little warmer than I'm used to running and not as much down time till the run the next morning. Seemed to affect the last couple of miles of the next days long run. It was a death slog home.

Hate that I'm going to miss everyone running the Murfreesboro Half marathon. I was looking forward to riding around the course on the bike. Family getaway in the mountains instead. I'll need to get my long run done before we leave for the weekend. Probably end up doing it on Friday morning.

Friday, September 18, 2009

23 + mile end o' round

Commute from hell this evening. Speedy calls me at 5:00 to tell me I-24 is basically closed down/backed up for 10 miles. So, being the smart guy, I think just continue down Murfreesboro road home. Wow, wrongo. Stopped before I even got to Briley Parkway after an hour on the road and probably not even 10 miles closer to home. Been down this road before and figured out it would be better to stop for awhile. Beer on the way home made the pit stop neccessary anyway, might as well get something to eat. Speedy called and suggested I-40 or why the hell didn't you go I-65. Well, for one I'm working downtown now, so I-65 wasn't really a consideration. To far out of the way. Called PJ and she says the web cams show I-24 moving at Hickory Hollow parkway. Cops at Micky D's say the interstate is going to be closed to at least 10 pm. Who to believe cops or the web cam? Continue down Murfreesboro road at a snails pace. Pass my first opportunity to get to I-40 at Briley Parkway and keep inching along. Beer I rented wants out, time to stop again. Cut thru the parking lot for Dell Computer, stop and relieve myself and get back to Murfreesboro road, right behind the same damn truck with the kayak's I was behind before the pee break. Sheeeeit. Finally make it to the parkway that cuts through to the airport and I-40. Sweet. No traffic. Just extra 23 miles to I-840 and then another 10 miles or so home. Jeez, 30 minute commute this morning is a 3 hour 45 minute epic going home. BLAHHHHHHH. Working downtown sucks.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Only three lanes of Interstate 24 eastbound near the Bell Road exit were open Friday afternoon after some construction blasting went awry.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation confirmed that blasting has been occurring daily in this area at 2 p.m., but something went wrong causing debris to land on the interstate.

At times, traffic was backed up for more than 10 miles.

Workers hoped to have the interstate fully reopened by 10 p.m. A state fire marshal was expected to investigate the blasting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Target race has come and gone. First objective met. Got first in my age group(more importantly the Free Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwiches for a year), but not quite where I wanted to be time wise. Should have been about 10 seconds quicker per mile. Reality check for the Louisville marathon. The training isn't where it needs to be. According to McMillan I'm not even in 3:10 shape. Need to scrap the hill workouts. They did make me stronger on the hills, but my speed suffered.

Back to the McMillan plan and pump up the mileage to around 80 miles per week. No, Louisville marathon, no Monkey bandit (volunteer ?): goal race will be in Huntsville, Alabama, the Rocket City marathon on December 12th. This is where I got my Boston qualifying time in 2004. Great place for a sub 3:00 attempt.

See the benefit of structure in the training plan and how all of the different pieces fit together. The sub 3:00 attempt is going to take a very concentrated effort across all of the different aspects of the program. Lots of miles to build strength. Lots of different kinds of speed workouts; tempos, steady state, and some shorter faster stuff for quicker turn over. Long runs with fast finishes and some fast miles in the middle. The days of the LSD (long,slow,distance) runs are over, no place for them in a fast marathon attempt.

The running streak is mostly novelty, but does help to increase the mileage. More importantly its helping to keep me injury free. The little aches and pains come and go. The plantar facia has finally subsided.

One piece of the training puzzle that was left out this cycle was training with faster runners. The fast guys made me faster. It wasn't really the the target workouts, those where on my own for the most part. It was the easy days, when those guys would push to their easy pace or better and force me out of my comfort zone. Hopefully, most of the guys will be back training this fall and we can feed off each other. Be nice to add some new runners to the group but kind of difficult to get anyone out to run at 4:30 in the morning.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Barefoot running

Abebe Bikila won the 1960 Olympic marathon barefoot. Adidas was the shoe sponsor that year and didn't have a pair that fit Bikila. His comment on why he ran barefoot, “I wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism." He won the 1964 Olympic marathon setting a new world record, but wearing shoes. So how come he didn't continue to run barefoot? The biggest presumption would be the shoe companies provide runners at this level with free shoes. Ok, but if running barefoot is better, why don't any other elites run barefoot? Some unknown runner wins a major marathon pretty regularly, they don't have any incentive from the shoe companies to run with shoes. Perhaps, they do and its' like the conspiracy theory. Any barefoot runner seen at the start of a major race is pulled to the side and put in shoes. Bet the shoe companies even have a vigilante squad of shoe shodders just for this operation. Probably even have some kind of turf war over which shoe company will shod the next barefoot runner.

What? Don't think enough fast runners are running barefoot to worry the shoe companies? But, isn't that one of the major reasons for running barefoot. It's more natural, efficient and faster. Drills run barefoot on grass help with form for runners who need to change their stride. But, aren't the fast runners already as efficient as they need to be? Most of them would like to have as light of a race flat as possible, why not just eliminate the shoe completely?

Perhaps it has more to do with the utility the shoe provides. The lightest racing flat, still protects the bottom of the foot from the road. Barefoot runners toughen up their feet to accomplish the same thing. Why don't the elites do the same? Does the addition of the 5 ounces of racing flat slow an elite down enough to consider running barefoot, or is it that it isn't worthwhile to pursue training without shoes to eliminate that 5 ounces?

Yes, every one is born barefoot. The cavemen didn't have shoes. So what, they didn't have microwaves, either. Think I'll continue wearing shoes, though I'd really like to find a lightweight shoe with cushioning in the forefoot and nothing in the heel. Yes, the shoe companies are evil and make shoes that most people don't need and I sure as hell wish they'd make a model for 2-3 years in a row without changing it to market it in a different manner or to the latest fad or demographic.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Cool mornings the last couple of days, fall is approaching, even though it doesn't say so on the calendar. Time to start thinking about a fall marathon. Only have about 4 or 5 different marathons to chose from every weekend from now until the end of spring. Easier to decide on which training program to follow or make up your own.

In the past I've always used a set marathon training schedule, with everything laid out week over week. That's the approach I've taken for the last 12 years. This year is different, I'm flying by the seat of my pants. Nothing written down. I'm just going to run every day, that'll keep my running streak alive. Run fast once or twice a week or as the mood hits me. Run long at least once a week. Throw in a few fast finish long runs. Mix in some trails and run lots of hills and lots of miles.

I do plan on trying to average close to 80 miles per week. That's the one thing certain week over week. My last marathon effort was simplified by running more miles than I've run in the past. I'm to cheap to hire a coach and not fast enough that it would be worth it anyway. But, even a coach isn't a guarantee of training someone to a peak effort. Just look at the latest American Record broken in the 5k.

Jack Daniels Running Formula has helped me to set personal records in the every distance except the marathon. I'll sprinkle in a few of his speed workouts to get some leg turnover. Never did read the entire book. Once a runner is probably the only running book, I've read cover to cover. Most running books are pretty dry reading. I don't really care to know the science of why I need to run 20 miles, only that it's going to build some endurance, so I don't have the death march going in the last 10k of my next marathon.

Greg McMillan's program worked realy well in my last marathon effort, but I really only used three of the key workouts every week. I'm a big fan of his approach and his calculator works pretty well to give some guidelines on training paces and goals. I gave up on the trying to run long runs without any carbs. That's a disaster for me. Though I have trained my body to require less water.

Malmo's manifesto is great in it's simplicity. Other programs work for some, Hal Higdon, Jeff Gallowy and even FIRST. Dozens of marathon training programs out for the first timer, as well as those trying to qualify for Boston.