Week in Review: April 2-8, 2012

Mileage was the key theme for this week.  This week offered more opportunity to put in some time – my wife and kids were out of town and work was slow.  I put the time to good use:

  • Running:  5 runs for 73 miles, 11+ hours
  • Riding:  1 ride for 64 miles, just under 4 hours
  • strength:  1 strength workout (not counting Saturday)

Together with last week, this represents the highest mileage I’ve logged in a long time.  And I have been feeling fatigue and some aches.  But it doesn’t seem serious.  I should feel better as my body adapts to the mileage.  I could also get a lot of benefit by improving my nutrition and rest/recovery.  It hasn’t been terrible, but I know I’m not eating well enough or sleeping enough.  That will become a bigger and bigger constraint over time until I fix it.

I’m thinking through the balance of mileage and intensity that I need/want to go for.  This higher mileage has been almost exclusively at a lower intensity.  With Pikes Peak just under 19 weeks away, I think I need to start increasing my intensity.  I will probably start adding intensity in the coming weeks.  In last week’s review, I also suggested that 55-65 miles per week was about right for me.  I still think that’s accurate, especially when I’m at higher intensity.

One positive aspect of this week’s training were the back-to-back runs.  I managed to sneak in runs on Monday and Tuesday (this was three in a row considering that I ran Sunday), then again on Thursday and Friday.  Each set of back-to-back runs covered 28+ miles.  On the other hand, my running performance has been worsening over time.  I’m not sounding an alarm bell on that yet…there are too many things changing, especially the mileage (which keeps going up).

I could see next week being either another relatively low intensity week with lots of mileage.  Or it could be lower mileage and higher intensity.  I’ll just have to let it play out.

I’m watching a replay of Paris-Roubaix.  I don’t know what people think of pro bike racers, but I’ve got to give them credit for riding this race.  It’s vicious.

Details of this week are below.

Monday (April 2)

Treadmill “hill” workout.  The treadmill starts to take on an increased importance for me in the coming weeks.  I don’t necessarily like it, but it’s the best way for me to get the effect of a big uphill.  This run was 12 miles, with the last 11 miles coming at grades between 9-15% on the mill.  I was really happy with this, especially since yesterday’s workout was on a hill.  Two hill workouts in a row.  HR average 145, 2 hrs, 23 minutes.  That’s a long time for 12 miles, but it was a pretty steep incline.

Tuesday (April 3)

On the rocky trails in Schooley’s Mountain Park again.  Cool but not cold.  Breezy.  Perfect spring day.  This will need to be another staple run for me–to help develop technical skills.  It’s obvious that I need some work on the trails.  I fell a couple times towards the end…when I get tired, it gets harder for me to clear the rocks and roots.  This was 4 loops on a 3.5 mile loop.  Add the distance to and from the park, and the total is 18 miles.  2 hours, 34 minutes.  HR average 143.

Post-run:  Body weight leg strength workout.  Five iterations of:

  • Jumprope:  50 both legs, 20 each leg (single), 50 both
  • 20 step-ups each leg
  • 20 prisoner squats

Not sure what to expect tomorrow.  This body weight workout usually makes me feel bad.

Wednesday (April 4)

Felt better than expected getting up today–I must be getting a bit stronger on the body weight strength workout.  Glad to get on the bike today.  This was a new route that covered 64 miles, give or take a couple (I got lost).  Rode into Pennsylvania.  Really happy with this.  Even as I get more fatigued, I’m feeling stronger and stronger on the bike.  This has to be a good sign.  3 hrs, 57 minutes.

Thursday (April 5)

Easy running in Schooley’s Mountain Park, with 12 short hill sprints in the middle.  Took the dog and was able to let him off leash.  He’s like a pig in slop when he’s running off leash in a park like that.  He’s great to run with…stays close and is really a joy to watch run.  7 miles, 1 hr 6 minutes.  Did not wear the HR monitor.

Any time I can get onto a trail, it’s helpful.

The hill sprints didn’t feel great, but I wanted to get a bit of intensity going.

Friday (April 6)

Long run today…Columbia Trail to High Bridge.  This is a very different trail than the one in Schooley’s Mountain Park.  This one is flat and smooth.  The one in Schooley’s Mountain Park is hilly and super-rocky.  While this run didn’t help me develop trail running skills, it was nice to get off the asphalt and onto the crushed gravel.  Mostly flat (except the beginning and end).

I decided to kick up the intensity for about 2.5 miles towards the end of this.  Instead of my usual HR range near 145, I increased the intensity to an average of 156.  The running felt labored, even though I was trying to relax.  I felt really bad after this; the rest of the run was terrible.

21 miles in 3 hrs, 17 minutes.  HR average 146.

Afternoon:  Donated blood.  Wondering if I should work out on Saturday…was encouraged not to do anything “strenuous” for 24 hours.  Does a MAF run count as “strenuous?”

Saturday (April 7)

Woke up feeling weak and sore.  Felt better (as usual) after stretching.  Debated a ride, but decided against it.

Instead, decided to do a heavy bit of yard work.  4+ hours in the yard, divided pretty evenly between splitting fire wood and moving a large pile of rocks.  At some point I’ll take a picture of my yard.  I’ve got just over 3 acres.  One “benefit,” if you could call it that, is that I’ve got plenty of rocks to move around in case I want strength work.  I just go outside and lift some rocks.

Although I won’t log it as a strength workout, I don’t feel bad about taking the day “off” in the form of 4+ hours of outside work.

Sunday (April 8)

Debated whether to ride or run today.  I felt good enough to do either.  In the first 6 days of this week, I’d run 58 miles and ridden 64.  I get nervous when the running miles start to hit the upper 60s.  But I decided to run anyway.  The big driver for the decision to run was actually the coming week.  It’s setting up like I’ll be running Tuesday and Wednesday, so I reserved my ride for Monday.

Easy 15 miles, very careful not to risk  injury.  2 hrs, 18 minutes.  HR average 145.  Another beautiful day of weather.


Long time gone

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog.  Going to make an effort to get back after it.  May not post every day, but hopefully every post will be interesting for one reason or another.

I have been busy over the first couple months in 2012.  Here are some highlights.  I’ll probably expand on some of these over the coming weeks.

  • In 2012, I’ve run 22 times for 259 miles.  My best weeks running were the last couple of weeks in January, with 76 and 61 miles respectively.
  • I have been walking in an air cast / removable boot for the past few weeks.  So I logged zero miles running from February 5th through February 25th.  The good news is I was out for 8 easy miles today and felt pretty much no pain.
  • In 2012, I’ve ridden 13 times for 779 miles.  This has been really, really fun.  I cranked up my riding in response to this little foot pain problem.  This riding includes a century which was hard but fun.  Lots of climbing too.  Maintenance-wise, I managed to replace my chain on my own.  This may not sound like much, but it’s pretty good for a guy who’s not allowed to use any power equipment inside the house.
  • I joined a YMCA, mostly because I love taking the kids swimming.  But now I have the opportunity to swim, deep water run and use some weights.  I did this “swim and gym” session once and am looking forward to more of that.
  • I got a job.  It’s a large software vendor based in California.  The founder is a pretty eclectic dude who’s into boat racing and some other stuff.  Real work starts again on Monday February 27th.  I haven’t been this excited about work in at least 10 years.  I actually had to remind myself how my alarm clock works; I haven’t used it in about 6 months.
  • I am listening regularly now to the Endurance Planet Ask the Ultrarunner and Sports Nutrition podcasts.  These things and the research I’ve done as a result have increased my knowledge a lot and given me a ton of ideas on workouts.
  • My nutrition / eating habits still suck.  I’m working on these though and have new ideas on how to deal with them.

Not to jinx anything, but the weather in New Jersey has been awesome this winter.  Very manageable and great for outside workouts.  We’re almost into March, so things are looking good.

So a bunch of stuff, mostly good.

I feel like I’m ready to have a good streak here.

Real excited.

Catching up + Motivation

Didn’t post for the past few days, but I’ve been consistent in making the time to work out.

Tuesday…15 miles running, hard uphills, about 25% of the run was hard uphill

Wednesday…7 miles running, including 10 downhill sprints that were just under a quarter mile

Thursday…50 miles riding, somewhat easy but with 2,300 feet of vertical gain

Lately I’ve been mapping out some new routes for my rides.  Today I came across this sign.  I thought it was a good sign for the start of 2012.

I also liked this on motivation vs. follow-through.  I’ve posted here before about the notion that I know what I should do and I even plan to do it.  But when the moment comes, I shrink away.  I’ve thought it was motivation.  Maybe not.  Maybe I need to shut my brain down a bit.

I was at the library a couple days ago with my 2-year old, and on a whim I picked up ESPN:  Those Guys Have All The Fun.  For the past few years I’ve been reading mostly classic fiction and business books, so this year I decided to branch out a bit.  The book is thick (~750 pages), but it’s a fast read.  It’s told mostly through interview snippets with direct quotes from the big ESPN players over the years.  I’m curious to see how the authors weave the story lines.  Right now I’m just at the beginning, where ESPN is starting out.  Very interesting stuff there.

Monday January 2

First workout of the year today…54 miles cycling in just over 3.5 hours.  The first half of this ride was difficult, heading straight into a 15-20 mph wind.  The second half was much more fun.

Yesterday was 3 hours of splitting fire wood.  I woke up this morning stiff and sore, but I felt better after stretching.



Riding Fiddler’s Elbow

Riding again today…57 miles, including Fiddler’s Elbow at about 30 miles in.  3 hrs, 45 minutes.

Fiddler’s Elbow is about as close as I’ll come to riding real hills.  It gains about 925 feet of elevation in just over 2 miles.  The grade of some sections reaches 20%.  I found myself swaying on the road, pulling hard with my arms and breathing super heavy.  I hope it will get better in the future.

I’m starting to find a groove with riding.  I’m liking the 50+ mile rides, and thankfully I have the time.  So while I have the time, I’ll keep doing it.  I’m also going to be seeking out more hills.

Right now I’m looking to ride long, run long and run short intense efforts.  I’m de-prioritizing tempo runs at intermediate distances out for now.  My focus is on building aerobic fitness, strength and speed.

Friday riding

Covered 89 miles today on the bike.  About 5 hrs, 45 minutes.  Two day total of over 140 miles and over 8 hours in the saddle.

The ride was originally supposed to be about 75 miles, but two wrong turns extended it by a bit.  I wasn’t overly concerned though—I was feeling good…not too cold or too tired.  And I had plenty of nutrition.  I tried my camelbak today and loved it.  Easy to drink from and holds a lot of fluid, not to mention other useful things like extra tubes, clothes and nutrition.  I’m also getting better at not sweating when I ride, which makes it much easier when my body starts to get colder late.

I’ve been debating whether to continue extending the distance of these rides indefinitely.  Right now my plan is to get up to 125 miles or so.  That distance will probably have me riding for more time than is required, but I like it too much to cut it short.  I think it’s especially ok to ride long like this right now, before I get into more structured training in the spring.  Right now I’m hoping the long rides really work my aerobic fitness.  In the spring I will likely shorten the rides (maybe to 5-6 hours only) but increase the intensity.

But those plans are for the future.  Right now I’m enjoying the riding and hoping to continue it.

My legs felt better than I expected this am.  Interested to see how they feel tomorrow morning.

The Flinch + Bike Riding

Last night I finished The Flinch, by Julien Smith.  It’s another installment from Seth Godin’s Domino Project.  I read and liked Poke the Box, so I figured I’d give The Flinch a try.  The fact that it cost $0 made it an easy decision.

Like Poke the Box, The Flinch is more of a manifesto than a book.  It’s short and worth a read.

The Flinch resonated with me.  Smith’s point is that flinching is an instinctive reaction that we need to face if we want to achieve everything we’re capable of.  I’ve seen it for myself, lived it, am still living it.  It never goes away.  I haven’t figured out how to deal with it yet.

Smith’s book is mostly motivation.  I can see myself going back to it frequently.

For me the flinch manifests itself as an impulse that pushes me towards things I know aren’t right.  Call it a weakness.  It arrives mostly in my eating habits.  I’ve chronicled them enough here that I’m sure everyone (including me) is sick of hearing about it.  Smith’s solution for facing the flinch is a lot like what I described here.  Stress can be a good thing.  The key is how you think about it.

If you like to read and have an eBook reader, I recommend picking it up.

Anyway, did 54 miles on the bike today.  It was a fun ride.  Started out with wet roads but the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful day.  Mid to upper 40s, just perfect.  I love riding on days like that.

Moderate intensity and I felt good the whole time.