First Successful 12 x Quarters in Years

Hey, the first major success of 2019, I was able to complete a 12 x .25 repeats, with .25 recoveries – something that I have not been able to do in years!

Fist pump!!! Yeah.

With nasty weather outside, there was not way I was going to do speedwork on anything but the treadmill. Although Bennie and I did get a 2.0 mile walk in before I left for the gym.

Last night I was re-reading Hanson’s Marathon Method (no I am not going to do a marathon), because I remembered that it had a LOT of great ideas and sound advice that a lot of runners have used successfully.

Now I have done pretty well in the avoiding injury department lately (knock on wood), because I am running a little smahter than I have in the past. However, when I re-read the section on how they plan their speed work, a big arse light came on for me. Ummmm Harold maybe you are attempting to run too fast for your actual conditioning and your recoveries have been at what I would expect to be Marathon Race Pace.

That remembering how I used to train versus how I should be training. Continue reading

Just Running and Having Fun While Doing It

Well after walking down-back with Bennie in a bit of a snow squall, I decided that running on the treadmill was going to be a better choice this morning.

Besides I was just a little interested in how my first run back to not paying attention to my heart-rate, was going to compare to where I was before I started the heart-rate training experiment.

To be honest I was interested to see if I had lost any endurance over the last three weeks, while doing heart-rate training. Continue reading

Cheater Treadmill 5K Equals Hanging On

Today, I did a Cheater 5K and am still proud of how well I ran.

The breeze was coming out of the Northwest, well I guess it was a bit more than a breeze since the weather app said it was pretty steady at 20 mph and gusting higher. When you add that to temps in the mid 20’s, that is well below my personal safety threshold for running outside.

Which meant another treadmill session.

Last night I had a sneaking suspicion looking at the forecast that I would be indoors today and had thought about what I wanted to do for my “faster” session today. In the end I figured that if I had to do a treadmill today that I was going to see how long I could last at race pace (well at least what I would love my race pace to be).

At this point I would love to be able to maintain a sub 7:00 minute pace for a 5K, something I have not done for a while.

However, I am not in that kind of shape physically or mentally at this point in my training. So I will be honest that going in, I didn’t have a lot of confidence that I could do the whole run at that pace, which meant that I wouldn’t do it even if I could do it.

As Henry Ford once said and something that I had posted in my classrooms when I was a teacher.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.

Guess what – he was right.

I did a mile warm-up at 7.0 mph, stopped, reset my playlist – for speedwork on the treadmill I like to listen to Heilung (a German group that I don’t understand anything they say, but the beat is perfect for me and running faster), composed myself and set the speed to 8.7 mph and ran.

The first mile wasn’t bad, actually I felt quite strong and thought that I would be able to get at least 2.0 miles in at that pace.

Err no. I got to 1.10 and I lost my focus. My fault and I know exactly what happened. One of my neighbors got on the treadmill next to me and while I didn’t acknowledge him or anything, I lost it. I got to thinking about a few other things unrelated to running fast on that damn treadmill.

Where is that mental toughness Harold…something as minor as someone you know getting on a treadmill beside you shouldn’t cause you to loose focus that easily. Well it did. I made it to 1.30 and had a choice to make.

  1. Either slow down and change the workout or
  2. Reach out with my right hand and hang on to the treadmill and not change the speed.

I chose number 2.

Yeah, I know that this treadmill cheating, screws with your form, is not exactly running the same speed and all that other nonsense. However, at the same time it forces my legs to keep turning over at a faster than usual speed and while it might be a quick rest mentally, it is a faster recovery period than I would do otherwise.

The rest of the 5K was still done at 8.7 mph, but every 0.1, I would alternate holding on to the treadmill with my right hand and then running hands-free. With that idea in my head I completed the next 1.8 miles.

That is why I call this run a Cheater 5K, since I didn’t do it without holding onto the treadmill, but at the same time judging by how wet my t-shirt was, it was still a quality workout.

I even got a compliment from my neighbor once I got done. I walked for a quarter mile to get the body back to normal.

Then I did a mile cool-down at 7.0 mph.

The Reebok RunFasts did a great job. No issues with the shoes, so I can’t blame them at all for anything – they did exactly what they were supposed to do.

The reality is that

While I did hang-on to the treadmill way too much for the last 1.8, my legs held up quite nicely at race pace for the 5K distance. Which was a huge confidence builder!!! It means that my body CAN DO IT, now I just have to get the brain to figure out that I will not die if I attempt to run a sub 21:20 (it would be a new post-55 PR).

Now I “know” it is possible for me to run that fast, I almost did it today. Every so often I will repeat this workout to see where I am in regards to my readiness to chase after that fast 5K.

The other thing is that I am following another Shaw on Strava and his running has motivated me to believe that I can take my running up a notch or two, even though I am past that 60 age group marker. While I am not in John Shaw’s class by any stretch of the imagination, since I started following him on Strava, his runs do give me permission to believe that I can run faster than I thought that I could. He is older than I am and running much faster times. I have to live up to that Shaw surname and the example he has given me.

Now to loose that 15 pounds, train smahter (control the things I can) and not be stoopid about things that I can’t control. I want to do it, now to actually get out there and do it, without injuring or breaking the old fart’s body. 😉

I will get there, but now to do the process to get there and yes, it is a process.

Snowblowing and Treadmilling

This morning was the usual nasty storm day routine, get up walk Bennie before the sun was up, to see what it was like outside, get ready to do chauffeur duty and then plan on doing whatever workout I had planned over at Planet Fitness’ treadmill.

Well two out three ain’t bad.

Bennie’s walk was fairly nasty – the snow was great for snow ball fights and making a snowman, but heavy wet and nasty for moving it around to get it out of the driveway(s). Chauffeur duty went without a problem, 4WD all the way in and just going as fast as I was comfortable driving – so there was a line of traffic behind me – too bad.

On the way over to the gym I had to stop at Wally World for cat litter and the most important thing wine. We have a glass of wine with our evening meal (gotta be healthy doncha know) and there wasn’t any in the house, so I had to stop and get a nice Paisano.

By the time I got out of there the wind was really picking up, which along with the heavy, wet snow I thought it was a better idea to get home in case the power went out (luckily it didn’t). However, that meant that my workout would have to wait.

No need to worry – I got too much of a workout in this morning.

After I got home, I spent two and half hours behind the snowblower. It might sound like something that is pretty easy, but moving that beast around in heavy wet snow is a serious upper and lower body workout. Although it was still snowing heavily, by the time I got done I was completely soaked through all my layers and starting to shiver a little, so I was glad that I was done.

After getting dry clothes on, all I could manage to do was sit on the couch for about 15-20 minutes to warm-up and get up enough energy to help get lunch going. One thing about being so tired is that it lowers my ability to resist indulging in food that I am attempting to avoid.

While I am looking closer at the idea of Low Carbohydrate eating, I haven’t really decided whether it is for me or not yet. There is a lot more to it that I want to understand and think about before I commit to doing anything drastic. However, I am attempting lower my carbs intake just as a matter of course, especially the amount of processed foods that end up going down the pie hole.

I craved the salt and the fastest way to get salt into me is chips, so I indulged.

Then I sat on the couch and the next thing that I knew it was almost time for me to head back out to get my gym workout in – one of those lights-out, nobodies home, kind of naps.

Yeah I had planned on going to the gym even though I had a fairly intense workout behind the snowblower this morning.

The roads were still nasty in Sidney, but got a lot better once I got to Augusta, so the traveling was a lot better this afternoon. Then while changing, I decided that there was no way that I was going to do a quality speed work session as tired as I was feeling, plus the chips and egg salad sandwich were not sitting too well in the tummy. I figured that I would start at 7 mph and see how I felt after a mile and go from there.

Everything was fine until about a quarter mile and while I got another quarter in, I had to make a mad dash for the locker room. That upset stomach wasn’t going to wait. I came pretty close to not getting back out on the treadmill.

However, I still had about an hour and half that I would need to do something else and I was feeling a bit better after my “locker room visit”, so I got back on the treadmill. I started over and figured that it had to be better than the first try.

No issues, after about a half mile another runner got on the treadmill beside me and setup at the same speed. Now this guy looked like a collegiate kind of runner. Young, tall, whippet lean and yeah, me old fat and gray. 🙂

We may have done the first mile the same speed, but he was doing a progression work out and picked up the speed .2 every half mile. I am pretty sure at 4.0 miles to finish up 5.0 miles he cranked it hard – luckily for my ego, I had finished my workout.

Ahhhh to be young and able to run like that – yes, I was and am jealous. It is just part of the aging process to be jealous of those that are now younger than me.

Since he was doing a progression workout, I did a much more conservative one through 3.0 miles. At that point my legs were pretty much toast and I knew that holding a steady faster pace wasn’t going to happen after this morning’s workout. So I decided to do some strides to take my mind off things. I did 4 x 0.1 and 1 x 0.2 @ 9.2 mph to finish up the 4.0 miles.

At that point, I was tired, but still had a lot of time left before I needed to get going, so I did .25 @ 15% incline at 4.0 mph and then went out back and abused the old body on the foam roller for about 20 minutes.

This was not the workout that I had planned, but it was still a helluva workout, when you add in the snowblowing stuff to the treadmill time, it was more than I usually do in a day.

In other words a really good day.

Moved my Run to Augusta – Safer

After yesterday’s walk with grips on – yeah the ice was pretty bad down-back

I wasn’t sure about how it would be down there this morning, but I am not all that keen on the grips, especially running in them, so I decided to chance just wearing my trail running shoes on Bennie’s long walk.

Walking down there was not great, but doable in the trail shoes, but when I did a couple of quick pickups the shoes couldn’t get a good grip due to the ice underneath the slush and light snow that fell last night.

So I decided that discretion was the better part valor and that I would run in Augusta or hit the treadmill, if the roads were not all that great.

When I went by the bank on Outer Civic Center Drive, it said 31*F and while the roads seemed a little wet looking, they also had plenty of whatever Augusta is using this year to treat the roads. I had the truck in 2WD and was having no issues – a good sign. Usually in 2WD if the road is not good for running, the rear end sliding around usually lets me know pretty quickly.

While going into Planet Fitness the parking lot felt solid, so I decided to do my planned 7.0 miles outside. Especially, since tomorrow it sounds like we are going to get another 4-12 inches of snow – depending upon where the snow/freezing rain line ends up. Which means more treadmill time, so I needed to take advantage of decent weather while it was there.

31*F isn’t real warm and there was just a little breeze (just enough to be a pain), so I geared up for freezing temps and headed out the door. I wasn’t looking to go fast, just get in the 7.0 miles. I started out comfortably and kept it at acomfortable effort level until I had 2.0 miles left and then I did pick it up a little.

The roads in Augusta were fine and even though there is a lot more traffic on Outer Civic Center Drive, the breakdown lane makes it a LOT safer to run on than running out where I live. That jumping/running onto the road shoulders and not being able to see what you are running on can get dicey pretty quickly and then when you are attempting to get back on the tar – if there is still snow on your feet…well that can get interesting too. Especially, doing it multiple times during a run – a some point the law of averages tends to catch up with you and something goes wrong at the worst time.

It wasn’t anything special as far as runs go. It was one of those get it done runs where you put good miles on the legs and smile when you are done.

I know I did.

A Run Down-Back in Tempo 9s

Well there, it warmed up just a bit today and the winds died down to reasonable levels and after a couple of days of record breaking cold temperatures it almost felt somewhat warm. Well really it only got back to a bit more seasonable temps. Mid 30s, 5-10 mph breeze and weak sunshine.

I am also getting close to having 50 miles on my adidas Tempo 9s and one of the tests I have for running shoes this time of year is how they perform down-back on both dirt and now the packed snow…errr white ice.

Yeah, running on these roads in winter can be rather interesting and I have to really pay attention to what I am doing. However, as long as you can stay on the sides or the middle (where the tire prints are), you can get some traction and don’t need spikes or screws on your shoes to run. If you get in the travel lane too long, all bets are off and you will find out how padded your arse is. Continue reading

My Running Outside Winter Guidelines and 10 Treadmill Miles

I am not really all that wimpy, but I put in a set of guidelines for running outside in Winter-like conditions, that I really believe helped me stay healthier than I have been in a long time at the end of a long and tough winter last year.

They worked fairly well last year when I paid attention to what I was doing, so I have a feeling that I will use them again this year.

  • First if there is ice on the road – run on the treadmill or use the elliptical
  • Second if it is below 20*F with or without windchills – run on the treadmill or use the elliptical
  • Third if it is in the 30’s and raining – run on the treadmill or use the elliptical
  • Fourth if is below 30*F and you are planning on a long run – use the treadmill

If I have any question about the conditions, I take Bennie for a walk and figure out if it is okay to run outside or if moving the workout inside is the correct solution. How he reacts to the conditions out there goes a long ways in my decision making process, plus I get to feel first hand how things really are.

Could I run outside in worse conditions than what I have set as my criteria to move inside?

Sure I have done it in the past without too many issues and every so often I ignore my own criteria, but at this stage of my running life I enjoy running in shorts and t-shirts versus bundling up to get outside.

Treadmilling it

After yesterday’s day off, I wanted to get in a little loner run than usual and the temps/wind chills were in the lower teens at the house (we are usually 5*F colder than Augusta-the official weather for the area). This is below my second criteria, so I headed into Planet Fitness for a treadmill run. Continue reading

Hard Repeats and Expectations

We got lucky, most of the storm missed us. It was supposed to start sometime between 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM, but didn’t until I headed down to the gym at 10:00 AM. Even then when I got home at 12:30 PM, the snow wasn’t sticking to the roads at all. Although looking out the window we now have around three inches, the storm itself is just about over.

In other words not a big deal. 🙂

As you can see down-back was rather icy and slick with that little coating of snow from yesterday, so no running down there for a while, especially since walking down there with Bennie can be an adventure. However, I had planned on going to the gym to use the treadmill no matter what the temps or road conditions were to get in a quality workout.

I really wanted to push myself a little harder than I have in a while and see if the old body would hold together. Although I was a little concerned with my left upper calf area, it felt off after walking down back this morning. I thought that I might have tweaked it just a little walking on the ice.

What did I end up doing?

0.5 @ 7.2 mph – warm-up

0.5 @ 9.1mph – this is about as fast as I want to go for a while. It is almost 30 seconds above what I consider my 5K race pace and I don’t think that I could hold this pace for the full 5K distance with my current level of fitness. This pace was more to push me out of my comfort zone.

0.20 @ 7.0

0.30 @ 9.1 mph

0.20 @ 7.0

0.30 @ 9.1 mph

0.20 @ 7.0

0.30 @ 9.1 mph

0.20 @ 7.0

0.30 @ 9.1 mph

0.30 @ 7.0

0.30 @ 9.1 mph

22:43/3.1 — I was so tired at the end of these repeats that I forgot to turn-off my Garmin for a short time – maybe 15-20 seconds elapsed, before I started breathing semi-normally again and realized that I hadn’t shut it off.

Breathing can be a pretty big deal.

I do find it pretty amazing what a difference that 0.3 mph on the treadmill can make in how I feel during a run. Last week, I ran 8.8 mph for the repeat speeds and felt pretty strong through the 5K portion of the run. When I kicked it up to 9.1 mph (supposedly a 6:35 pace), it kicked my arse – bad today.

Although it might have something to do with wearing actual race day shoes that were 2.5 ounces lighter last week too. At those speeds and effort levels the extra weight does make a difference. Which means that next week I will keep it at this speed, but use the RunFasts versus the Tempo 9s. Yeah, this pace/effort level on the treadmill does push me to work harder and it doesn’t put as many limits on my running.

The left calf did bother a little to begin with, but seemed to loosen up more as I got into the workout and by the last fast repeat, I had stopped noticing it.

Then I wanted to get some more miles in, so after walking for a quarter mile I started to run again. This time I started out at 7.2 mph and by the time I got to .1 I decided that if I wanted to make 3.0 miles alive, that I either needed to slow down or head outside where I would definitely run slower. I didn’t feel like getting all geared up, so I slowed it down to 7.0 mph and probably should have slowed down to 6.5 mph, but me being me – I kept it at 7.0 and sucked it up.

I was beat and the legs were tired, but I wanted to force myself to run a little faster on tired legs than I normally do, so I kept going and finally the body recovered enough or is the brain recovered enough to get through the rest of the workout. I think it is more about the mental side of the game than the physical and to be honest that is the part I need to work on the most.

The mileage is still off on the Milestone (it was quite short – by over a .50) and I had to calibrate it after the fact, so the pace and splits probably ain’t all that accurate.

I have been using the Milestone Footpod to track my running in the Tempo 9s and while it didn’t show any big surprises for this run (still a heel striker), it just re-emphasized to me, that in order for me to run like they suggest or meet their “good” metrics it is more about me running faster than having great running form all the time.

The faster I run the more efficient my form becomes. Unfortunately, I cannot run that far with this body anymore at those more efficient speeds.

Yeah, I also ran this workout in the adidas Tempo 9s and guess what, I didn’t think about them at all during the run. So they done good.

A tough workout where I pushed against some of the limits I have set for myself both physically AND mentally. Could I train at these speeds very often, no. Can I train at this 9.1 mph for repeats yes, could I race at that speed – to be determined, but I am not going to purposely set limits on what I can do versus what I am supposed to do as an old fart – not yet anyway.

You never know what will happen, go out hard, run hard and finish harder, the times will take care of themselves.

All I know is that nap sure did feel good after that workout.

A quality workout in the books.

About Half an Inch of Sloppy Outside

After yesterday’s longer run, I was looking for about 45:00 minutes of comfortable running. However, while I was waiting to run, we got about a half an inch of snow. You know just enough to make you go yech, but not really enough to claim I needed a rest day either.

Also I wanted to see how the adidas Tempo 9s did on a little snow and wet roads, but I wasn’t going to go down back to play on the white ice in them. I do have a little more respect for falling and what happens when I don’t bounce so well than I used to.

So I trundled out the door and did five laps on the road in front of the house.

Yeah, a real exciting course, but I have learned the hard way out heah, when there is a bit of snow on top of cold asphalt roads (it got down to 17*F last night) to be very cognizant of where I run. Then when the snow starts to melt, that safe rather than sorry is what I need to do.

Especially when the temperature was 28*F, roads that a short time before were melting snow can suddenly have a serious glaze of ice on them all too quickly, if the wind decides to pick up. Usually about half way through a run or when you are heading down a big hill. Things can get dicey very quickly in that kind of situation.

My effort levels were pretty steady throughout the run, although on the last lap I picked it up a little, I was not attempting to go all that fast. I was more concerned about the footing and how the Tempo 9s were doing.

Speaking of the Tempo 9s how did they do on half an inch of snow and wet roads.

No issues, they have great grip, a nice tread pattern that snow doesn’t cake up (or at least it didn’t for me today). I felt in control on turns and could pick up the pace when I wanted in the snowy sections. Well, except on one patch of road that I would have preferred some carbide tips, due to the passage of some vehicles and how they compressed the snow down to ice in that section.

Although my feet did get pretty wet splashing around out there, but I also found out that I can wear my Darn Tough merino wools socks with the Tempo 9s, so my feet while a bit wet, were not really cold either. That is one thing I am liking a lot about the Tempo 9s – they are not a fussy shoe for me when it comes to which socks I need to wear with them.

With the tread on the bottom, I would not hesitate to run in the Tempo 9s for most of my winter running outside. Although during a nasty storm or if I was running the snowmobile trails I know that I would want shoes with a little more grip and a more weather resistant upper.

A good run and I got to put some more of the Tempo 9 puzzle together.