At the moment my training is dragging a bit, at least compared to previous years. I think the main problem is that am trying to train like I did when I was better conditioned and am trying to do too much in a short time. I am also a couple years older, so need to make adjustments for this as well. My next planned race is a 6-hour benefits run in March, which means I have around 7 weeks to train. I think the next couple weeks I am going to try concentrate on core training, than gradually increase the mileage up to the race. My goal for the 6-hour race is 50 km, but anything over the marathon distance is acceptable.
Yesterday the temperature slowly crawled above the freezing point and much of the remaining snow has melted, so I decided to try a run on the local forest trails. The roads and asphalt bike paths leading to the forest were pretty much free of ice and snow, except for a couple shady places. The forest paths still had snow and ice in the middle, but on each side of the path the snow was gone where hunters and forest workers had driven through. For the most part I was able to cruise through my run without hesitation, but as it got dark I did slow a bit because I couldn’t see if there was ice or not. I ended up with a 16 km (10 mi) run at an average pace of 6:06 min/km (9:49 min/mi).
Tonight I want to run again, RB may run part of the run with me if the weather stays nice. On Saturday I want to run with my running club, and on Sunday I want to try to get in 20 miles.
The weather in my area remains cold and the trails slick. A picture from last weekend that has been circulating around on the Internet shows how bad it was on the day I tried out my spikes (see last post).
The roads are now clear, but unfortunately my cold continues to linger, so I have decided not to run the 50K on the weekend. This will give me approximately 2 months to prepare for the next opportunity, a 6-Hour race on March 17.
My cold is better, but doesn’t seem to want to go away, after running on Tuesday I decided to wait a few days to run again. On Friday after work I headed out for a faster 11 km loop, but a light snowfall left the trails in bad shape, so my fast 11 km turned into a slow loop.
Training on the weekend was further complicated by freezing rain on Saturday night, luckily I ran a 8 km loop with RB at our running club before the trails froze. On Sunday morning I woke up to a thick layer of ice on the streets and sidewalks. It was so bad that church was cancelled, it was just too treacherous outside…so my wife was rather surprised when I said I was going for a run…but I had a mission, I wanted to try out my spikes that I had bought a few months before. The soft metal spikes are housed in a thick rubber frame that straps onto the bottom of my running shoes, conditions were perfect for putting these to the test.
The side streets where we live and many of the sidewalks were still solid ice as I gingerly started out, but the spikes were fantastic, I could run at normal speed without any slippage, amazing! As I headed out of town I turned a couple heads from those hacking away at the ice in front of their houses, they must have thought I was insane, but I was having a great time, and the longer I ran the more confidence I had in my spikes. On the forest paths where I ran the night before was packed snow with a layer of frozen rain on top, normally very dangerous, but I cruised right through without a second thought, the spikes really made a difference. I ended up running 22 km (almost 14 mi.) at normal long run pace, which is 10 km shorter as what was on my training plan, but I thought it better to shorten the run as my cold is still lingering.
The temperature is supposed to stay below freezing this week, which means I will most likely need to continue wearing my spikes. Next Saturday is the 50K race in Rodgau, Germany, but most likely I will not participate, as I am not fully recovered from my cold and the weather is not promising. If my conditioning were optimal I would probably consider it, but I haven’t run a marathon since last June and have only done a couple long runs between 15 and 19 miles…I either need to be strong physically or strong mentally, when both are less than optimal than for me it’s better to keep training for another day.
My cold is slowly getting better, so I went for a run last night, 13 km at a 6:18 min/km (10:08 min/mi.) pace. There was a little bit of powder snow on the trails, but it was fresh and not too slippery. I pushed the pace a little harder after warming up, but noticed my breathing still isn’t back to normal due to my cold, so settled back to a comfortable pace. Over the next few days we are supposed to get more snow, and colder temperatures, the trails could start getting ugly by the weekend.
This past week started out very optimistic, but by Monday night the scratchy throat provided the first warning of what was to follow, I ran an easy run with RB on Tuesday after work, hoping it would not get worse, but by Wednesday I was broadsided with a full blown cold. The rest of the week I didn’t run, most evenings electing to go to bed early as I had no real energy or desire to run. On Saturday I finally ventured out to run with the running club, doing an 8 km run with RB and a couple others, the slower pace still proved to be challenging. On Sunday I had a 20-miler scheduled, but elected to run just half of it, I felt much better, but with my first marathon coming up in 2 weeks thought it would be better to quit early and rest. This morning I feel better, my voice is almost normal and my runny nose has slowed to a trickle, I hope this is a sign that I have finally licked my cold and on the road to recovery.
After work yesterday I ran by RB’s house and we ran 8 km (5 mi.) together before dark. After dropping her off and chatting a couple minutes, I headed over the asphalted paths between the fields separating our town and the neighboring town of Spoeck. By this time it was quite dark out, but the paths are about 1 ½ car width wide and very smooth, perfect for a faster paced run in the dark. My legs were still tired from my long run on Sunday, but I decided to try to run a few kilometers at roughly a 5:30 min/km (8:51 min/mi.), which is my current “speed training” pace. As it was dark I didn’t worry about trying to look at my watch, but after the run I checked my times and noticed I was a bit slower than I thought, around 5:38/km for 5K…I guess it was too soon after my long run after all.
I was thinking about running again this evening, but last night I started feeling the first signs of a cold coming on, that uncomfortable dry, scratchy throat, and this morning is no better …just what I don’t need as I finally getting back into the training routine…but a possible explanation of why I thought I was running faster than I actually was last night.
Yesterday I took a night off from training and did some finishing work in our guest bathroom upstairs in the house. This is one of the four rooms that we remodeled in the shed that is attached to our house. Most of the remodeling is done, but there are dozens of little projects left to do, but these jobs can be spread out over the year, so I should be able to spend more time on my training.
From June to October I ran an average of 3 times a week, in November I increased this to four times a week, and started running my long runs again (i.e. over 12 miles). As my conditioning has been improving I have slowly added some faster mileage, using mixed in with my midweek run(s). I have to be very careful with speed workouts, I’ve noticed my pinched nerve in the back is easy aggravated when I do too much too soon. I have been slack on doing any core and upper body training, so want to slowly mix in some Crossfit/weight training and swimming.
For now I am going to try to continue to run about 50 miles a week for a while, slowly building up my training speed and endurance. On January 26 is my first race, a 50K race in Rodgau, Germany near Frankfurt. I finished the race last year in about 5 ½ hours, but was in slightly better condition, so this year it will be a good test of my fortitude.
…since at least 7 months, my first week of hopefully what will be “normal” training for this years race activities. On Tuesday (New Years Day) I ran 15 km, easy pace around 6:20 min./km, and on Thursday 17 km, at about the same tempo. On Saturday, I went to my running club an hour early and ran 10 km, then another 10 km with friends for a total of 20 km at a 6:05 min./km pace. Today I ran 5 miles, then stopped by my Running Buddy’s (RB) house and picked her up, she ran about 5 miles with me. After dropping her off I continued on until I completed my planned 30 km (about 18.5 miles). The run went pretty well, I felt good until about 25 km, then had to really strain to keep up the pace, I finished in 3 hours and 20 minutes, about average for my current condition, but at least 20 minutes slower than what I could achieve in say pre-2011.
If you have read my blog in the past you may remember that I ran my first (and only) 100 mile race in September, 2010 and also that I had back issues since the beginning of that year (pinched nerve). The latter problem I have learned to live with, trough gymnastic training and other exercises, but as it is connected to the nerves in my right leg I occasionally have pain and/or numbness in my lower leg and/or foot, especially when I run too much speed training.
The 100 mile race left me exhausted, it took me at least 6-9 months to bring my performance back to a halfway acceptable performance, but several other factors, including an increased workload and a major home renovation this past year have prevented me from trying to bring my level of condition up towards my pre-2011 level. Thus my main goal this year is to improve my endurance and eventually speed, adjusted naturally to my age (53). This blog will document this journey, hopefully it will be a success story, but in any case I have a lot of hard work ahead of me.
It has been over 6 months since I have lined up for a marathon or ultra, time to start getting serious about training so I can change this. I continued running the second half of 2012, but mostly to keep the weight down and maintain my sanity during over 6 months of home remodeling.
I started slowly building up my mileage about 7-8 weeks ago, I’m up to about 60 km a week, with my long run currently 28 km. The six months of easy running greatly reduced my speed, I estimate my current fitness level is equivalent to about 4-5 years ago, in other words I have a lot of work ahead of me.
My goals are rather vague for this year, I definetly want to run the 80 km (50 mile) ultra in my area in June, and may also run a 100 km if I feel I am ready. My best marathon time last year was 4:49 and in 2011 4:22, I would like to bring that back down to around 4 hours by the end of the summer.
Well let me know if anyone is still out there, I have been reading most blogs off and on, but generally haven’t taken the time to comment, I hope to change this as well, I’ve missed the “community”.