Monday, February 27, 2012


I spent the last 5 minutes staring out the window, trying to decide whether I should go for a run or not. Typically, if it takes that much effort to get out the door, then the answer is no. So here I am eating my lunch and blogging instead.

Last week I managed my second week in a row at 70 miles. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, given the way Saturday’s run started. Heading into the run I needed 16 miles to reach my goal. The first mile went by and I was barely under 9 minutes. But it wasn’t an easy 9:00 pace, it was a heavy-legged mile and I wondered how I’d ever make it 15 more miles. Luckily things started to come around and I managed to finish the run averaging 8:05 pace.

It’s really no surprise that I was tired. When I stopped to think about it, I remember that I did a 5K on Sunday (with a 6 mile cooldown), 13 miles on Wednesday, and a 5 mile tempo run on Thursday (8 miles total).

Ideally, I’d like to have one more big week before cutting back, but realistically, I don’t see that happening. Physically, I’m feeling fine. Mentally, I’m looking forward to a little break. So I’ll take one.

One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is how high should I go with my mileage this training cycle. I know I run well off of a large base – something like 3 months of 300+ miles (i.e. 70 MPW). So do I stick where I’m at and try to put together three weeks of 70 miles or do I bump my mileage a little and try to keep building?

I will say that it felt like my metabolism really kicked in around last Wednesday. I was so hungry that afternoon that I spent most of it walking around the office in search of food. That’s not a good thing when it’s Girl Scout Cookie season. I probably could have lost another 2 pounds if it weren’t for that.

Finally, congrats to Amanda Smock on winning the US Indoor triple jump championship over the weekend. I just happened to be looking at the running results at the time the triple jump was taking place. Amanda was in third after the 4th round. Her 5th round jump gave her the lead and she hung on through the 6th round.

Quote of the Day;

“Thanks to all for the support, feeling pretty loved. Looking forward to putting in some work this week and then headed to the World Indoor Competition in Turkey!!” – Amanda Smock, commenting to all her supporters on facebook

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Quick – I need your help in naming my new dog. Here’s a photo of him.

I’m thinking “Mr. Big”. Any other ideas?

He definitely gives new meaning to the term “wiener dog”.

I haven’t written since my 5K on Sunday, but it’s been a good week. I focused on recovery on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I bumped my mid-week medium-long run from 12 to 13. I’ve run the last three of these on a very flat trail. I was hoping to hit the rolling hills of Hyland this week, but we got some snow Monday night and I wasn’t sure what kind of shape the trails would be in.

It figures that we’d finally receive some snow the week of the Birkie. That’s some kind of cruel joke by Mother Nature. Good luck to all the skiers heading to the race this weekend.

Today I had a great tempo run on the treadmill. My last attempt at a tempo run was two weeks ago and I only managed 3 miles at 6:48 pace. Afterwards I wrote about how I wasn’t in control of the workout. I was fighting the whole time. Well, today was the opposite. I let the workout come to me as I started out at 7:03 pace and gradually kept speeding up. The last half mile was at 6:35 pace and even that felt controlled. I ended up with 8 miles total, including 5 miles at 6:49 pace.

Looking back on my last tempo, it may have been too close to the half marathon I ran. It was 11 days later, which is right on the bubble for recovery time recommended by Pete Magill who I mentioned recently. Had I waited another day or two, I probably would have felt “normal”. In any case, it was nice to have bounced back today.

Finally, I forgot to mention my WAVA % after last weekend’s 5k. It calculated to 68.8%, which is up from 68.2% for the meet of miles. So that’s another indicator that I’m going in the right direction.

Quote of the Day;

“Instead of stuffing workouts into our training logs like Takeru Kobayashi inhales hot dogs, we should focus on two factors; 1) The correct training volume and intensity required to trigger a desired adaptation and 2) the recovery period needed to allow the adaptation to occur.” – Pete Magill

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Yesterday I was planning on 12-14 miles for my "long" run.  I ended up getting in 16, which gave me 70 for the week.  Even though I had a 5K schedule for this morning, I wasn't too worried because it the pace for my long run was nice and relaxed.

Even though I'm trying to shed some weight, I really only get on the scale once a week - typically after my Saturday run.  I was up as high as 158 and then I got "stuck" at 155-156 for the longest time.  I'm happy to report that I was down to 153 yesterday.  I still have a good 5-6 pounds to go, but it's nice to finally get below 155.

Leading up to today's 5K, I figured I'd be right around 20-flat, based on Daniels' VDOT charts.  The nice thing about 20-flat is that it makes for easy math; 20/5 = 4:00/km or 48 seconds per lap.  I was hoping to run that pace for as long as possible and then hopefully pick it up a little at the end.  As you can imagine with an indoor track meet, there weren't a lot of people in the race - maybe 20.  It's not like a local 5K where there are always people around you.  So when Michael was just ahead of me after 2 laps, I decided to try and stick with him, even though we were running a little faster than expected.  After about a mile, Mike pulled away I was left to run solo the rest of the way.  Looking at my kilometer splits below, you can see a pretty sharp drop off after 2K.  By 4K I was right at 16:00 or 16:01 and I knew breaking 20 was going to be close.  I did manage to pick it up and finish in 19:57.


I'm not sure I'd call breaking 20 a "milestone".  Not breaking 20 would probably have been a milestone, but one indicating that I was going in the wrong direction, since I probably have run over 20 minutes for 5K in 20 years.

Based on my Meet of Miles time, my VDOT was squarly between 49 and 50.  19:57 puts me at 50, so it appears I'm making baby steps.

Finally, thanks to Gary Westlund and his crew at Charities Challenge for putting on a great event.  These guys run a number of meets throughout the winter, so if you're interested in working on your speed over the winter, be sure and check them out.

Quote of the day;
"This is the longest November I can ever remember." - John Naslund, commenting on our mild winter

Friday, February 17, 2012


Last night I pulled the trigger and signed up for TCM. I love this event, but haven’t run it since 2008. (Where does the time go?) As much as I love it, it still pains me to have to register nearly 8 months ahead of time. Sure I could wait, but then the price keeps increasing. Figuring that my thoughts about doing this race in 2012 wouldn’t change, I decided to register. I’ve probably bitched about this before, but man, that service charge really drives me crazy. At work, we are constantly trying to drive customers to the web because the order entry costs are cheaper. Yet when I sign up for a race online I have to pay $8.60 in service charges. Dang! I guess the $105 entry fee isn’t enough. I almost wish they’d charge me $115 without the service charge.

Okay, I got that off my chest.

One thing that’s been on my mind lately is making sure I’m getting enough recovery time in each week with this Endless Season program. I’m partially concerned because TCM is 8 months away and I know that I have a tendency to dig myself into a hole during the summer if I’m not careful.

Anyway, Pete Magill is another writer for Running Times and he usually writes about training for Masters runners. Last October he wrote an article about recovery time needed after races and between hard workouts. One of his charts recommends 4.5 days between hard workouts for someone in their 40s who’s in medium shape. Well, if I workout hard on Monday, that means my next hard workout would be Friday or Saturday. So am I supposed to run a hard tempo on Friday? But I like to do my long runs on Saturday. Do I push those to Sunday? What about the mid-week progression run? If I throw that in the mix, does it delay my recovery time? These are the types of questions I have rolling around in my head.

If I followed the Endless Season program exactly, I’d be doing an interval session, tempo and long run every week – along with the mid-week progression. I can already see the hole being dug. So right now I’m going to focus on getting in 3 workouts (i.e. intervals or tempos) every 2 weeks. With that in mind, I postponed my tempo run this week – moving it to next week.

I was thinking about Jessie Diggins some more and I really think some company should sign her to a long-term sponsorship deal ASAP. Think about it, she’s have a tremendous rookie season on the world cup, she’s attractive, speaks very well on camera and writes an entertaining blog. Oh yeah, and she’s only 19. That means she’ll be 21 at the next winter Olympics, then 25, and then 29. She will be around for awhile and could easily replace Lindsey Vonn as the face of the Olympic Games. I’m just saying – you heard it here first.

Quote of the Day;

“I’m psyched out of my mind on getting a photo finish with an Olympic Gold Medalist! I think I must have been in a lot of pain because I couldn’t stay standing at the finish but I was so excited I couldn’t feel a thing, which was just fine with me! I found out later than I had the fastest anchor leg over Kalla and Bjoergen, which I’m going to solidly blame on the fast skis. Thank you Salomon for Hooking. Me. Up. This. Year!” - Jessie Diggins

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Of course, it makes sense when following a program named the Endless Season that you would race a lot. The whole idea is that you want to be race-ready all the time. The tradeoff being that you don’t race all-out and you never really peak for any specific event during the season – or at least not until the end. The author, Joe Rubio, argues that most runners don’t get the peaking phase right anyway. So why not take it out of the equation?

Longtime readers may not believe this, but here’s the race schedule I put together for 2012. NOTE: (gp) = MDRA grand prix event;

1/9 – Meet of Miles (gp)
1/23 – Winter Carnival Half (gp)

2/19 – Indoor track 5,000m

3/11 – Indoor track 5,000m
3/18 – Human Race 8K (gp)
3/24 – MDRA 4-mile

4/7 or 4/14 - ?
4/21 – Fitger’s 5K
4/28 – Get in Gear 10K (gp)

5/12 – New Prague Half (gp)
5/17 – TC-1 mile
5/28 – Brian Kraft 5K (gp)

6/10 – Outdoor track 5,000m
6/15 or 6/23 - ?

7/4 – Firecracker 10K
7/15 – Raspberry 5M
7/26 – Rice Street Mile (gp)
7/28 – Run for Blood 5K (gp)

8/12 – MDRA 15K
8/25 – Rochester Half (gp) – might be on vacation

9/3 – Victory 10K (gp)
9/9 – City of Lakes 25K (gp)

10/7 – TCM (gp)

11/4 – Rocky’s Run (gp)

As of now my plan is to follow this plan through the end of July and then transition to a 8-week marathon build-up with a two week taper.

As usual, everything sounds good on paper. Let’s see if I can make it work.

Quote of the Day;

“Many elites have prospered on this "endless season" approach. In the 1970s and early '80s, many runners would get themselves into pretty good shape, race fairly often and remain in this mode for months on end… Do you need to race every week? Probably not, but a race every two to three weeks helps immensely. Additionally, racing is a skill, and to become proficient at any skill, you need to practice it repeatedly to show improvement.” – Joe Rubio

Monday, February 13, 2012


I thought I’d start out by sharing some of my recent “favorites”. This weekend I watched Ride the Divide, a documentary on the 2700 mile bike race from Canada to Mexico. I highly recommend this movie, even if you’re not a biker. If nothing else, the stunning images will be worth it.

My favorite part of this movie is when one of the guys that dropped out is talking to Matthew Lee who’s in the lead. The guy that dropped out is talking about the grind of being out there by himself and the mental toll it had taken on him. Matt’s eyes light up and he says something like, “That’s what it’s all about!” Clearly he has a unique perspective on the whole event.

Here’s the trailer for the movie;

Ride The Divide Movie Trailer from Ride The Divide on Vimeo.

I don’t have a physical list of my favorite athletes, but if I did, Amy Hastings and Jessie Diggins would now be on it. If you remember, Amy was 4th at the Olympic Trials Marathon and prior to that, she ran 2:27 at Los Angeles . Jessie is from Minnesota and at 19 or 20 years old is already one of the top cross country skiers in the world. Of course, it doesn’t hurt they these two are super cute. Seriously, if Jessie doesn’t get you to like cross country skiing, nothing will.

Here’s a video of Jessie from earlier this year.

And speaking of favorites, Lauren Fleshman has been on my list for a while. Here’s a speech she gave recently about being a dreamer.

As for me, I backed my mileage off to 44 miles last week. Today I took advantage of a vacation day and the fact that we don’t have any snow and I hit the local track for a workout. I ended up running 8 x 400 at 2 mile pace with a 200m jog in between. The last time I tried this workout was the day after Christmas. It was 50 degree, which was nice, but I was running on a dirt track and the warm conditions made it soft and slow. Today I jumped the fence at the local high school and race on the mondo surface. Overall, I averaged around 1:32, which is at the slower end of what McMillan’s Calculator says I should be able to run. That’s fine with me. I’m sure I could have run them in 1:30 or less, but I kept repeating, “stay in control” the whole time.

An interesting thing I noticed when looking at this calculator – although my WAVA % is higher for my mile race than my half marathon race, McMillan ranks my half marathon as a better performance.

Quote of the day;

"I was really happy to get the record. It's been a big goal of mine for quite awhile. I wasn't in the best position for the first half of the race and was boxed in against the rail, but I just had to be patient and make passes when things opened up. I probably wasted a lot of energy fighting for position, so I would have liked to have gone a bit faster, but I was happy with the race." – BYU’s Miles Batty after setting an indoor collegiate record for the mile in 3:54.54

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


I’ve always said that my body doesn’t necessarily follow the man-made 7 day week. Often it’s convenient to break our training into 7-day cycles or multiples thereof – for example, the approach to building a base that I mentioned in my last post. I have had success with building for 3 weeks before backing off for a week. However, lately my body, actually probably more so, my mind, is telling me I need to back off. Now!

Could I make it through till Sunday before backing off? Yeah, probably. But I’m also reminded of a few things; 1) it’s still early February, 2) I just ran a half marathon 1.5 weeks ago, 3) I’ve been building rather steadily since the end of November, and 4) as one of my old/wise training partners said on Saturday, you gotta have patience.

So what are the signs that I need a break? Like I mentioned yesterday, that I was first day where I felt like I needed a break. Then today I scheduled a tempo run. Throughout the workout I gradually talked myself into doing a shorter and shorter tempo. I started by thinking that I wouldn’t go as fast as last time, but I’d do 6 miles instead of 5. Then I thought, what if I just do the same pace as last time but only do 4 miles? Finally, I settle on running slightly faster (6:48 pace), but for only 3 miles.

One of the axioms of the Endless Season approach to training is staying in control of your workouts. I feel like I broke that rule today because as I kept shortening the distance of my tempo, I kept telling myself I had to go faster. By the end, it felt like I was just throwing myself along the treadmill as I tried to make up for cutting the workout short.

With all that going on, I’m going to begin my cutback “week” now and enjoy a few easy days before ratcheting things back up.

Quote of the Day;

"I did something risky today. I didn't have a rust-buster. I went straight from heavy aerobic work in Monument (Colorado) at 7000 feet, and I tried to just come down and race fast. Whether you're in middle school or high school, that's what it looks like when somebody dies in a race." – Jenny Simpson, after going out with the leaders last weekend at the New Balance 3000m

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Typically, while building my mileage in the past, I’d increase my mileage by about 5 MPW for three weeks in a row and then cut back for a week. And then I’d repeat that pattern over and over. I remember reading somewhere that Jack Daniels recommended picking a level and maintaining it for three straight weeks before doing a cutback week. Then increase your mileage and hold that for three weeks again. I thought I would try that approach this time around. Right now I’m on my third week of hovering around 60-64 MPW.

Other things I’m working on include building my mid-week medium-long run (right now I’m at 12), bumping my long run (right now that’s at 14) and adding 1 to 2 double days per week.

Today was the first day in awhile where I did not want to get out the door. Even with 8 hours of sleep last night, I felt pretty tired. I convinced myself to just go out for a very easy 5 miles. Of course, once I got started I was fine. I’m planning on a tempo run tomorrow, so hopefully today’s run will pay off tomorrow.

Finally, be sure to check out my latest interview with Michelle Frey.

Quote of the Day;

“For me the end all be all is not the Olympics. It’s running PRs, having a blast meeting the girls to run and do workouts, and winning races like the City Of Lakes 25k or Get in Gear. I’m excited to run many more good marathons, and if that qualifies me for 2016 and I finish in the top 10 or 20, that’s fantastic. But I’m pretty realistic, I’m not going to spend the next 4 years thinking about what I need to do to make an Olympic team.”Michelle Frey

Friday, February 03, 2012


I mentioned using a journal (which is different from my training log) and setting new goals each month. I’m not sure if the journal is the reason, but I will say that I seem to have more motivation than I’ve had in a long time. I’ve always said that you can’t fake motivation. It just doesn’t work that way. I don’t know how you get/stay motivated, but I know you can’t fake it.

After a race like a half marathon, I tend to wait a week to a week and a half before doing a hard workout. With that in mind, my goal this week has been to get in another 60 mile week. I’m one 12 miler away from achieving that.

One thing that has worked for me in the past is including a mid-week medium-long run. I’ve always said, when I can pump out a two hour run in the middle of the week without even thinking about it, then I’m getting fit. And if that two hour run happens to be a hilly trail run, that’s even better. In December, I had a bunch of 10 mile trail runs in the middle of each week. Now that we have a little snow, I decided to focus on distance this Wednesday rather than worrying about running a hilly route. I was able to make it 12 miles on the pancake flat Greenway trail.

While I don’t like to do hard workouts too soon after a half marathon, I didn’t have any problems running some hill repeats this morning. I like to run my hill repeats in more of a bounding manner where I focus on pumping my arms and driving my knees. This method means I’m going up the hill rather slowly, so I never get my heart rate up too high. That’s why I don’t consider this morning’s workout “hard”. Typically, I don’t do strides much in the winter due to the cold and the snowy paths. This morning I took advantage of the dry pavement and included strides after each hill repeat.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of jumping in an indoor 3K this Sunday, but I haven’t decided yet. I may just wait 2 more weeks and jump in an indoor 5K.

Quote of the Day;

“It doesn’t get any easier, you just go faster.” – Greg Lemond