Monday, July 28, 2008


Sometimes things work out for the best when you plan out all the details. Sometimes things work out for the best when your plans fall apart. In the first instance, last week’s 22-mile run is a good example; nice weather, perfect course, plenty of water, some company along the way, etc.

As for the second instance, that occurred Saturday morning when I went to run a 10K race in northern Wisconsin. I used to run the Firechief’s 10K as far back as junior high school – it’s been around forever. Well, I guess ‘forever’ means ‘until 2007’. My mom warned me that she didn’t think they were having the race this year. But I saw info for it online, so I wasn’t sure what to believe. Since the race is only 10 miles from my parent’s house, I drove over any way. I pulled into town around 8:15 for the 9:00 start and things didn’t look good. While there was activity, it was of the flea market variety, not the running race variety.

I asked around, but couldn’t seem to get a straight answer; “I’m not sure.” “Yeah, I think they’re still having it.” Even the cop I asked said, “It was advertised.”

Rather than waste time waiting for a race that wasn’t going to happen, I decided to head out for a run and followed the old course – or at least, how I remembered it. I forgot how tough this course is. Even though you start and finish in roughly the same location, the amount of up hills leaves you wondering, “Where were the down hills?” And mile 2.5 to 3.5 was up a gradual hill, into a 10-15 mph wind, on gravel – not a good combination for fast times.

In the end, I think this was a blessing in disguise. Given that I ran a hard workout Tuesday and then ran long on Thursday, I don’t think my body was ready for a race on Saturday. I’m at the point where I need more recovery between my hard workouts. So ‘missing’ the race probably worked out for the best.

And now I’m not sure when my body will be ready for anything other than easy running. After returning from ‘the race’ I was helping my dad and brother tear down an old barn. At the end of the day there was a piece made out of 2 pillars with another board across the top that my brother and I were going to knock down. Well instead of both pillars falling away from us, his fell away while mine spun back toward me. The board across the top conked me on the head, knocking me on my ass – followed by the pillar landing on my right quad.

Luckily, I didn’t break or tear anything – or worse. The teardrop part of my quad, right above my knee took the biggest blow. It has a big scrape on it and is swollen. I was able to run 5 easy miles on it last night and another 10 this morning. It bothers me the most when I’m running downhill, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. I thought about doing an interval workout this morning in order to ‘makeup’ for the missed 10K, but in the end I figured that wouldn’t be a good idea.

So, for now, it’s a self-imposed cutback week, which I probably need anyway.

Quote of the day;

“Timber...oomph...I’m okay.” – me


Anonymous said...

Hey Chief, take it easy. Rarely is any project I help my Dad w/ back home easy. He used to save them up, until I told him I'm kinda on vacation.

Your keeping it consistent and that's what I like. I could stay on a plan, but I faired just as good or better when I free-wheeled. Long run, medium long run, a couple hard efforts and easy days is the combo.

As I have mentioned before, I really liked a weekly 2m to 8k time trial to see were I was at. Sometimes I made it a point to blast one out, but it's important to understand somedays you can't do that. I never knew what distance I would complete until I ran a few laps. If it didn't come easy then I would stay around 5:50 - 6:00 until it was too hard. If I was at sub 5:40 then I would usually cap it off at the 5k and call it a day.

Now a lot of coaches suggest 10% of your total weekly mileage in speed/tempo related work. When I was running your mileage I tended to ignore this sometimes and do 15 - 20 % some weeks. Man does that toughen you up.

I liked to also race Saturday at an 8k to Half and then come back the next day and pull a 20 miler at about 25 seconds over marathon pace. I would then take off Monday, run and easy 2m time trial Tuesday and dog the workouts for a couple days, meaning I didn't care what pace I ran.

The Beck program taught me to run various speed workouts and variations through the weeks and change up systems. Long hard runs, speed on tired legs, long and short tempos at pace and three days of nothing or real easy stuff so I could absorb the training.

I love the track. I did a ton of my work there, including long runs. That way I could get fluids and build an iron clad perception of what pace felt like. It can get boring, but eventually you just get that mile to mile cadence you need to have for the thon.

One workout I enjoyed was a 32k one in which I would run each 8k progressively faster. The first you get out there and find rhythym. The second you maintain what you have built, the third I juice it up a bit and get near thon pace, and on the last one I generally would go under marathon pace. Very rewarding and I only did one about 6 weeks out to see how it went. Then 3 weeks out it was a 25k or 30k on the track at pace, but I usually went 5 - 10 seconds under pace. Then I knew I was ready.

All this variation allowed me to see my low end and top end. With these types of workouts I didn't need many other long runs.

I don't want to give the impression I was banging it every week like this, but just about every other week. I never worried about a day off per week and two short easy runs. With less than 9 weeks to go to a marathon the mileage didn't really matter to me anymore and 60-70 a week was fine.

If I was going to run at say 6:20 to 6:30 pace for the thon, I wanted to establish what this was and I how I would feel under different stress loads. When healthy, I never doubted on race day that the first 20 miles would fly by because I did many workouts close in similation. When people ask me what pace they should run it just kills me. What pace have you been training at and for the past 2 months? Is not this the most essential element in racing? I never liked to venture a guess, or just hope it was going to happen.

Another thing about PR races. If this is ones desire then you have to line up with these kinds of confidence workouts. PR races come when you execute the plan and put yourself in a position to move beyond. Anytime I PR'd was because I had to move to a new pain threshold and hold it. None were ever remotely easy. In fact they can set the bar so high you don't know or want to experience it again.

At Boston in 2002, I was having a rough time. I just keep pulling every rabbit out of the hat trying to not fade more than the 10 -15 seconds a mile slower I was in the hills. I made my mind up at 21 I was going to run down that damn hill and keep on going for as long as I could. I caught a hot spot and ran 5:50 pace the rest of the way in and passed 100 people. It sounds like bravado now and I don't want it to, but if I was ever going to PR I had to. I was 40 then and I knew it was now or never. I couldn't walk for a week, but it was damn rewarding.

Sorry for the ramble, I have to go fish now.


Anonymous said...

Glad your ok! I enjoy reading your blog, and the interviews are awesome.

I ran Bix 7 last Saturday, then perhaps foolishly ran a 20 miler the next morning along the Mississippi River bike/run trail. I see that Double likes to do the same thing, so maybe it was not such a bad idea after all.

Happy recovery!

Chad said...

Double, lots of good stuff there. And you're right, there are lots of projects at my dad's house and none of them are easy.

Anon, thanks for the nice words. If you're memicing Double's training, you're on the right track.