Friday, December 14, 2007

Upcoming Training/Racing

I've been feeling a little sick the last few days (actually, really sick), so had to take a few days off from running and missed work Wednesday through Friday - which just means I'll have a lot to do when Monday rolls around. As far as running goes, I've decided to take the weekend off and get a fresh start on Monday.

This time off has given me the time to plan my upcoming races and a rough draft of my training. The race I've decided to focus on is the Louisville's Lovin' the Hills 50K trail race on Feb. 16, and possibly the Land Between the Lakes 50-Mile trail race on March 8. My goals are to enjoy the trail races and finish them strong without much expectations.

As far as training, I'm going to concentrate on getting ready for the 50K race and then worry about the races that follow. I'm trying to take it one race at a time during 2008. Sometimes I look too far ahead, thinking about races months away when I should focus on the upcoming race. A typical week will include four runs during the week of 40-60 minutes with one harder run or workout, and a long run on the weekend. Instead of planning out a training schedule weeks in advance, I'm going to plan it week-by-week, looking at what I did the previous week and looking ahead to the following week. That way I won't get to caught up in mileage and training logs, avoid burnout and decrease my chances of injuries.

Hopefully that will get me ready for the 50K.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Most of the runners I know are binge runners. That is they don't run on a regular basis, rather take months off at a time and then push in the mileage just before a key race, only to repeat the cycle again.

While I've been known to do this at times, I try to have more of a consistent long-term running program. If I just keep running all year, minus a few rest weeks following a marathon, then it doesn't take me too long to prep for any race of any distance. (If I don't have a race coming up, I'll go out and run 30-45 minutes 4 times per week, and run a longer run on the weekend of 10-12 miles. That keeps me fresh and ready to tackle a more specific training program of 5K-Marathon races.)

Here are a few of the programs I used when preparing for a race. These are only examples - I don't like having day-to-day, week-to-week set schedules. When I start these schedules, I'm already in decent shape. They are rarely started from scratch.

5K-10K Training
Mon...45 minutes steady
Tues...Intervals equaling 3 miles (ex. 12 400s, 600 800s or 3 1600s)
Wed...45 minutes steady
Thurs...Hills sprints
Fri...45 minutes easy
Sat...10-12 miles long run

Half-Marathon Training
Mon...45-60 minutes steady
Tues...Intervals equalling 6 miles (ex. 3 2-mile runs or 6 1-mile runs)
Wed...45-60 minutes steady
Thurs...Hill sprints or 4-7 tempo run at half-marathon pace
Fri...45-60 minutes easy
Sat...12-16 miles long run

Marathon Training
Mon...60 minutes steady
Tues...10 800 repeats at Marathon Time (3:00:00 marathon = 3:00 800)
Wed...60 minutes steady
Thurs...4-7 tempo at half-marathon pace or 10-12 at marathon pace
Fri...60 minutes easy
Sat...16-22 miles long run

Though these training schedules are nothing compared to what I did in college, they still get me in shape to run close-to-best times. If I follow these schedules, I can typically run high 16s in the 5K, high 34s in the 10K, around 1:18:00 in the half and around 3 hours in the full.

The key is the find out what works best for YOU! For me, it's simplicity in training, staying in decent shape all year and running one longer run per week, regardless of race distance.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A time to reflect

I enjoy a day away from running — away from the everyday training and pounding away on the lower extremities — but rest days can be tough at times. Unlike most days when I have to talk myself into going for a run, I actually feel like running today. But I'm making myself take off because of the 8-mile trail race yesterday. Surprisingly, I don't even feel like I raced yesterday. That's definitely a good thing.

Besides the needed rest and recovery, a day off gives you time to reflect on your previous running and goals ahead. I tend to take at least one day off per week, and always try to take the day after a race off. During college, this was a problem that more often than not led to sub-par performances towards the end of the season.
Here's what a typical mid-season week looked like in while at Cumberland College...

Monday: AM 4 miles / PM 3 2-mile repeats or 5 1-mile repeats
Tuesday: AM 4 miles / PM 8 miles
Wednesday: AM 4 miles / PM 10-mile tempo
Thursday: AM 4 miles / PM 8 miles
Friday: AM 4 miles / PM 4 miles
Saturday: 8K Race
Sunday: 12 miles

Now, I'm no where near that kind of mileage. I'm lucky to get in six runs a week (as opposed to 12 in college) and 40 miles (as opposed to 80-85). After all, I'm married, have a baby girl and work odd hours as a sports editor: 45-55 hours per week. Sometimes I run in the morning, sometimes I leave work to get in a run, sometimes I run after work and sometimes I run just before going to bed late at night. It's a challenge at times, that's for sure, but it's one I enjoy. And I feel running helps me out in my non-running life as well — if anything, it's a stress reliever.

Well, just thought I would share my thoughts on rest days and a little about my college training. I'll be back on the roads tomorrow, where ever they may take me, and hopefully get fit enough to race well in the coming months.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Otter Creek 8-Mile Trail Race

In my quest to become an official "trail" runner, I completed the Otter Creek 8-Mile Trail Race this morning. Though I had limited training (just five training days in the past six weeks), I felt relatively good on the up-and-down, very! muddy course. And it was a great experience for future trail runs.

While running with the lead pack, I lost a shoe less than a mile into the race. After around 20 seconds of running shoeless, I decided to go back to get the shoe since it was so early in the race. I lost about 2 minutes total time and about 20 places (it took me a while to actually get the shoe out of the mud and get it back on my feet). I sprinted around the runners that went past me while I was making a fool of myself in the mud, and eventually settled into around the fifth position.

Surprisingly, I felt good for most of the run, though a majority of the course was through almost un-runable mud. And the hills made it very tough to get decent footing or make up ground on the front runners. The downhills were just dangerous at times.

I won this race a few years back, when I was in much better shape, and finished third overall today. My time was around 1 hour and 1 minute, about five minutes slower than my best on the one-loop course.

Well...the race kind of got me pumped up to do more trail running, and longer distances. My plan is to run the Louisville Lovin' the Hills 50K (31 miles) on Feb. 16. After that, I might go to longer distances, find a marathon to run or get into triathlons.

My best times include 55 seconds for 400 meters, 2:04 for 800 meters, 4:20 for 1,500 meters, 16:30 for 5K, 27:05 for 8K, 33:50 for 10K, 1:16 for the half-marathon and 2:59 for the marathon. I also ran a 9:22 50-mile race in Chicago last year, but had a very rough second half (running the first 25 miles in 3:20 and the second in 6:02).

After too many "short" races to keep count, and four years of intense running in college, I'm now ready to make the leap into the ultramarathon world. Besides my one 50-miler, I've rode my bicycle from my house in Kentucky to Daytone Beach in Florida (averaging about 150 miles per day for 7 days), and I've run from Indiana to Tennessee (averaging around 40 miles per day for 6 days).

I will now concentrate on longer runs in training. Hopefully I'll be ready for the 31-miler!