Sunday, December 30, 2007

Screw the shoes!


After thinking about it for weeks, I decided not to invest in snow (shoe or spikes) gear and try the shoe screw alternative.

I prepared them this week so I could run on Adam's RTA steroid course yesterday. More on that later.

I used the 1/2 inch zinc plated sheet metal scres (#8 hex head). They worked great. In fact, I had no problem keeping up with the guys with Kahtoola Microspikes. I loved being able to run down a steep hill of deep snow, and barely slip. Uphill was fine, although I had help with lots of tracks already made (stairs).

I was worried at the feel of something different on the bottom of the shoe. I did not notice anything. I even forgot they were there.

1 - They work great
2 - They are cheap

1 - You can't take the off during the run (microspikes slip of easily)
2 - I put them on regular trail shoes, and my feet were cold and wet by the end of the run
3 - I eventually will forget about them and will walk onto my hardwood floor with them (I am that absent minded).

The run yesterday was a blast out at Richard T. Anderson. Adam made it a near impossible loop to run. It was almost more of a mountain hike than a run.

It's a good place to do hills, but almost too much. Great if you are doing hill repeats.

Luckily I have been doing hill repeats and survived, but I only did one loop. My Forerunner said 4.2 miles. It took an hour and 20 minutes. LOL

I called it a day after one loop as the group all left.

Short recap. Lots to do

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lactate Threshold has improved!

Mondays are my LT days, and today I moved it up one notch (8.4 mph to 8.5 mph).

After a 1 mile warm up, I did 6 miles at 8.5 (7:03 pace) at 2% incline. Heart Rate stayed under LT (about 167) until about 4.5 miles into that pace. The rest gradually increased to 174.

No soreness or exhaustion. In fact, it was not hard to complete the workout. I think this is how LT's are supposed to work.

I plan to do the same exact workout next Monday and compare my HR data.

Time and patience will get that pace well under 7.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

No Pain...... Gain

The key factor in winter training for me has always been "get conditioned, but recover and/or don't get injured"

This year was the first year without any shin splints. I attribute this to most of the long stuff done on trails.

I went back to the basics recently and realized I have been doing my recovery runs too fast. I think I always knew this, but lacked the discipline to slow down. I think I had an issue with running an 8.5 - 9 minute mile pace after a 10 mile run at 7:15. My ego is fragile.

So, winter plan has turned into a PATIENCE plan on maintaining while building in key areas. "Base Training" is not what I would call it, as I could not run until February, quickly ramp up 1 month, and could comfortably run 40-50 miles per week.

I call it maintenance, because it is what it sounds. What I lose in long distance training (runs over 20 miles), I gain in better LT and hill training.

Yesterday was to be a long run, 15-20 miles. After Steve mentioned the forecast, thanks man, I decided to take it indoor on the dreadmill, or "treatmill" (Adam). My concept of maintenance was not to get injured, or beat myself into oblivion, so I left the 15-20 mile run open to adjustment if needed.

I did a .5 mile warm up at 8:35 pace at 2% incline, and then increased it to 8 min. mile. My HR kept under 150 until mile 12. I then reduced the pace to 10 min. mile for .5 to 1 mile, then back up to 8:35 for 1-2 miles. I was trying to minimize the time I spent in over 150 HR. I could have done the first 12 at 8:35, but was afraid I would lose focus from boredom.

It was a good learning run for me. I ended up doing 16 miles, and my HR only got into to upper 150's briefly, never 160. I used to always spend significant time in the 160's during long runs.

Results today, no pain! Some slight soreness, but no danger signs.

My recovery run today will be at a 9 minute pace for 6 miles. If I feel ill effects coming on from this training approach, I will back off.

I will be in Chicago over next weekend, so probably will miss a few days, which will help cushion.

So the conclusion from what I am learning, which everybody already knows
Recovery days - 2 minutes slower pace than LT pace
Long runs - 1 - 1.5 minutes slower than LT pace
And for now, no VO2 workouts (maybe none for the next year)

And for those who expressed concern for my training methods, take the gloves off and give me some real crap. No sugar coating here!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Virtual Hills


Another day on the dreadmill yesterday.

Hill repeats again

8 intervals of 1/2 mile, 5mph, 15% incline.

I was able to do 8 with only hitting 170 HR on the final interval. So, this can officially double as an LT workout.

I am a little sore, but not "in pain".

I am getting psyched for spring already, assuming I can hold these 3 key workouts per week (LT, Hills, Long run).

A sub 8 hour Ice Age might be realistic instead of pie in the sky.

I am getting closer to firming up my 2008 race schedule, and with that I will have goal times. I usually set them out of reach so I don't slack off.

Recovery run today, misc. tomorrow, and hopefully a long on Saturday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winter Maintenance

I was able to get in 50 miles last week, most of it low key.

I have switched to "maintenance" mode, with weekly goals of 1 LT workout, 1 hill workout, and 1 long run. The long run being winter long run, so 10 miles or more.

I put in the LT run yesterday and held 6 miles at a 7:08 pace. I am almost to the point of bumping up the speed one notch on LT.

Recovery run today, hills tomorrow.

It has all been dreadmill running, which I am fine with now.

Looking to go at least 15 miles on Saturday, but really want to do that outside. I have not figured out the location yet (I don't have any cool snow gear).

This will be the schedule more or less until late Feb, with particular focus on increasing that LT pace, and increasing the number of hill repeats.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Winter Cross Training


After taking 3 days off from running two weeks ago, and 4 days off last week, I mentally feel like I am starting over. I know its not true, but "the other half is mental" part usually gets me.

I have enjoyed my snow shovel cross training, though.

On Sunday morning we had 8 inches on the driveway. I have a pretty large driveway, one that "has to be snowblowed or plowed". Me being an ultra dude now said "forget that... tough is the man that can shovel it all". In reality, me snowblower is broken, but the tough part sounds better.

I remember back to Dick Beardsley talking about how he used snow shoveling as a way to get back in shape after (one of many serious) an injury.

In half an hour I had two thirds done. I almost slapped on the HR monitor to do a recap. It was a good workout. I realized how good of shape I am still in, as I probably did the whole drive faster than most would shovel one half the size, and I was not even tired.

Back to running,
This week so far all on the dreadmill -
Monday - Tempo run - 6miles - 4 at tempo (7:10 pace)
Tuesday - recovery 6 - plus some weights + shoveling
Wednesday - Hills (7 half mile repeats at 15% grade - 5 mph) - more shoveling

Need to get a long run in soon, but I will not do it on the dreadmill, I don't have Yak Traks, or snowshoes. I guess I will have to compromise somewhere.

The next three months are always the hardest for me to stay running. I guess we are pretty much at the start point for spring races. We are 4 months out from the Chippewa 50k, so that will help the focus.