London Marathon Training Week #4 Day 5 Dead Legs Alter Interval Workout

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 74 degrees

Type of Run: Speed/Intervals

Length: 4.99 miles ( 4 x 1mi-400m)

Type of route: 400-meter oval track

Time: 29 minutes, 59 seconds (5:56, 6:03, 6:06, 6:10; 1:29, 1:26, 1:25, 1:24)

Pace per mile: 6:01

Reason for Run: A speed/interval workout is a good way to prep for a race because the intense effort mimics the effort you’ll have in a race. Intervals build stamina, strength and leg speed. I chose mile repetitions because I’m preparing for a half marathon next week and want to get my body used to longer intense efforts. I chose 400 meter reps to work a bit on leg speed.

How did I feel? Not good. My goal for this workout was to run 6-8 x 1-mile reps. I was only able to complete four then decided to finish with four 400-meter reps. As you can see above, my time for each mile rep kept getting slower. Usually, my times are consistent but not for this workout. Why? During the first mile, my legs felt dead. This was probably a result of the soreness I’ve been experiencing in my quads the previous two days. The muscles were just worn out and I just couldn’t really run any faster. I gave myself about 1:30 recovery time between each mile rep. The rest didn’t help as each mile got harder because my legs didn’t want to move. Also, since I’m still recovering from an illness, my breathing isn’t quite normal yet. While breathing during less intense efforts wasn’t a problem, it was a bit of a bother for the intervals. Breathing is important because you need as much oxygen as possible in your body to give the muscles energy. After gutting it out for four miles, I switched and decided to finish with 400-meter reps. Even those were much slower than my  usual times. Again, dead legs. The energy just wasn’t there. Sometimes you just have to shut it down. It’s a bit frustrating because I’m running the Pasadena Half Marathon next week. It’s a home course too. While this isn’t the main goal race, it’s still a race I’d like to run well. However, illness put a dent in training for this race. I was expecting to run under 1 hour, 20 minutes. Now, I’m just hoping to run as well as I possibly can but sub 1:20 seems a bit unrealistic now. It’s unfortunate but I have to maintain a positive attitude to have a good race experience. It’s better to get sick now rather than a week before the London Marathon. Now, that would be awful.  The goal next week is to finish and say “I ran that as well as I could.” If I can do that then it’ll be a success.

Running With You,

Donald

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London Marathon Training Week #4 Day 4 An Easy Run As I Recover

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Mostly sunny, 52 degrees

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 6.31 miles

Type of route: Gradual uphill and downhill with one uphill climb and two downhill descents

Time: 46 minutes, 45 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:25

Reason for Run: This was an easy run at a manageable pace meant to be done a day after a longer run. The goal was to keep the mileage low so my legs could recover after a 10-mile run and be ready for an interval workout the following day.

How did I feel? Fine. I kept the pace at a comfortable level and finished the run without any problems. I hardly coughed afterward and didn’t feel any lingering effects of illness. I’m hoping I can be ready for the half-marathon coming up in nine days. The one thing that did bother me today though was sore quad muscles. I believe they’re sore from single-leg squats I do three times a week. It’s odd because I never took a long period of time off from this exercise so the soreness is a bit strange. My legs should be used to the squats. I perform them mostly to strengthen my glute and hip muscles. They also work the hamstrings and quads. The soreness is a bit bothersome during the run. I’m hoping it won’t slow me down too much for my interval workout. I believe the soreness should go away in a few days so I’m not worried they’ll still be sore on race day coming up.

Running With You,

Donald

London Marathon Training Week #4 Day 3 A Shorter Long Run

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Early Evening, 60 degrees

Type of Run: Shorter long run

Length: 10.42 miles

Type of route: Gradual uphill and downhill with one uphill climb and one downhill descent

Time: 1 hour, 19 minutes, 19 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:38

Reason for Run: This was a shorter long run done at an easy and comfortable pace. Since I’m bouncing back from an illness I want to come back slowly and not do too much mileage too soon.

How did I feel? Good. I felt my body could handle 10 miles now. It’d be a good test since I have a half marathon 10 days from now. Well, I think I passed the test as I felt good throughout the run. I felt fine afterward too with very little coughing. I think I’m close to full strength again. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. I’m hoping to complete a mile repeat workout in two days. I’m on schedule for that but we’ll see how tomorrow shapes up. I also think part of the reason why I feel so good is that my legs are fresh. In the middle of training, my legs can feel achy, heavy and worn down. This leads to a not-so-fresh feeling during training runs. However, it’s important to understand that running on tired legs will help during a marathon. Once you hit mile 15 or so, your legs can start feeling achy. You need to tough that out. If you’re used to running on tired legs, you can manage.

Running With You,

Donald

London Marathon Training Week #4 Day 2 Feeling Much Better

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Early Evening, 58 degrees

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 7.95 miles

Type of route: Gradual uphill and downhill with one uphill climb and one downhill descent

Time: 59 minutes, 9 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:26

Reason for Run: This was a run done at a comfortable pace. The purpose was to see how I feel following a lingering and pesky illness/cold. My plan was to cut it short if I felt unwell or keep running the entire way if I felt good.

How did I feel? Much much better than the last time I ran. I took two days off following my last run which ended with me feeling fatigued. The rest of that day I felt weak, tired, achy and feverish. I took some cold medicine and rested then felt immediately better the next day. I took that next day off from running just to be safe. I also took the next day off too just to be safe even though I continued to feel better. I decided to run today since I felt good once again. There was no chest pain or weakness/fatigue. I still have a slight lingering cough and some minor congestion but it’s nothing serious. My body felt up to the task today so I gave running a go. I felt very good from the beginning. I kept the pacing easy and was able to complete about 8 miles. Afterward, I felt fine. The lingering cough is still there but I didn’t have any kind of coughing fit which is a good sign. It appears I’m on my way to recovery. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

Running With You,

Donald

London Marathon Training Week #4 Day 1 The Sick Bug Bests Me

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 60 degrees

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 6.63 miles

Type of route: Gradual uphill and downhill with one small uphill climb and one big uphill climb along with two downhill descents

Time: 50 minutes, 36 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:38

Reason for Run: This was an easy run designed to follow my previous three runs. I wanted to see if my body, while still recovering from illness, could handle the mileage again.

How did I feel? Unwell. While I did finish the run, the illness flared up. I woke up after more than 8 hours of quality sleep still feeling very tired for some reason. My body was not as energetic as I had hoped. Despite that, I decided to run anyway. It had been more than a week after I got sick. I should be better, or so I thought. I had to manage my pacing and breathing as I was still dealing with a cough and what felt like an inflamed spot in my chest. My body felt weaker on this run than it did the day before. My pacing was slower than what I felt it should’ve been. I felt weaker and weaker as the run progressed. After I finished, I felt even worse. I had zero energy and felt completely fatigued. On top of that, I developed several coughing fits hours after the run. I had zero energy and rested most of the day. I even felt feverish. The wife and I went to get some cough and decongestant medicine. We also got a smoothie. I took the medicine and finished the smoothie and went to bed. The sleep must have helped because I woke up feeling significantly better. Much of the coughing went away and, more importantly, so did the inflamed sensation in my chest. I’m hopeful this bug is gone especially with a half marathon only two weeks away. It’s a race I feel wholly unprepared for. However, the lesson for this run is that I still need a day or two of rest before attempting to run again even with my suddenly quick recovery.

Running With You,

Donald

London Marathon Training Week #3 Days 1, 2 and 3 Still Sick

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

NOTE #2: I’m combining multiple days since I was unable to blog recently due mostly to illness

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperatures: Day 1–Mostly Sunny, 70 degrees, Day 2–Sunny 72 degrees, Day 3–Sunny 70 degrees

Types of Run: Day 1–Easy, Day 2–Easy, Day 3–Easy

Lengths: Day 1–2.03 miles, Day 2–4.87 miles, Day 3–6.28 miles

Types of routes: Day 1–small gradual uphill but mostly flat; Day 2–gradual uphill and downhill with one uphill climb and one downhill descent; Day 3–gradual uphill and downhill with one downhill descent and one uphill climb

Times: Day 1–15 minutes, 36 seconds; Day 2–36 minutes, 22 seconds; Day 3– 45 minutes, 36 seconds

Paces per mile: Day 1–7:41, Day 2–7:28, Day 3–7:16

Reason for Run: Day 1–After six days off from illness, which seemed to be a bad cold, this was a test run. The purpose was to see how I’d feel running again. I took it easy.

Day 2–This run was a recovery from illness run. I felt stronger than the day before and went longer.

Day 3–I took it easy again as my body still isn’t 100%. However, I did feel stronger so I increased the mileage.

How did I feel? Day 1–Ok. The sick bug clogged my sinuses and made breathing while running tough. I took it easy but still felt weak from the illness.

Day 2–Better but not great. My sinuses were less clogged on this day so my breathing was easier. I was able to run more than twice as long as the previous day. I still didn’t feel at full strength.

Day 3–Getting better BUT–the illness is now affecting my chest. I have developed a cough and I can feel a spot in my chest that feels inflamed and irritated. Despite that, I was still able to run but had to watch my breathing so as not to develop a coughing fit while running. I was able to run over six miles, which was great, but my concern is that I don’t want to develop bronchitis.

Running With You,

Donald

Top 5 Ways to Start (And Keep) Running in 2018

While I’m still resting from some kind of cold-type virus in my system, I’m going to offer advice to those who’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to run more. Every January, people make resolutions to better themselves. Often, these resolutions include getting in better shape, losing weight and exercising more. Some people choose to run for that exercise but they don’t know how to properly get started. That can lead to injury or so much discomfort and displeasure that they get discouraged and quit. I want to offer five tips to get people started the right way so they can start and continue a running routine so that it becomes habit—a good habit.

rose-bowl-5k2
This is me last January. I was able to run consistently throughout the year despite a hectic work/travel schedule. If I can do it, then I know you can too. 

1. Buy A Pair of Running Shoes

If you’re new to running, it’s best to buy a pair of running shoes rather than use whatever gym or tennis shoes you have now. Why? Running shoes are specifically designed for the wear and tear of running. Regular tennis or gym shoes are not made for that kind of stress. A good pair of running shoes (or two or three) can significantly reduce the risk of injury as the shoes can absorb the shock of continuous pounding on the ground. If you’re running in older running shoes or tennis shoes and feel achy and pain the legs then you should buy some running shoes ASAP.

Which shoes are best? That depends on your choice. If you’re looking for new shoes, I highly recommend visiting a running store or a Nike or New Balance store. Why? Workers at these stores are generally better-trained and are more knowledgeable about running shoes specifically. They can offer you more personalized attention and make quality recommendations based on your needs. While I like Skechers shoes, employees at its stores are hit-and-miss when it comes to running shoes. Some know their stuff. Others have more of a general knowledge of shoes. Employees at general shoe stores such as Foot Locker or W.S.S. are fine and have general knowledge about shoes but most of them wouldn’t be able to specifically inform you about running shoes and make recommendations.  A good pair of running shoes can last between 300-600 miles–sometimes longer.

2. Run at the Same Time Everyday (if you can)

The key to making running part of your routine is to do it at the same time of day each time you do it. It’s easy to get into a habit if you do the same thing at the same time each day. Of course, this may not be easy because of traveling or work schedule, etc. If that’s the case, then I recommend looking at your schedule to find a time that you can fit in a run.

3. Stretch Before You Start

It’s important you have loose and relaxed muscles before you start a run, especially if it’s new to you. Having looser muscles will reduce your risk of injury. There are many different stretching routines. Some people recommend static stretching while others swear against it before a run. Others say dynamic stretching is best. Static stretching is when you do something like touch your toes for 30 seconds. You’re static–not moving. Dynamic stretching is moving your leg side-to-side. You’re working the muscle by moving it. I recommend doing some research and figure out what works best for you and spend at least 5 minutes stretching before a run.

4. Start Slowly and Build Up

The worst thing you can do is to decide that you just have to run 4 to 5 miles without stopping on your first few runs just to prove you’re tough and not a wuss. That’s completely foolish if you’re new to running. You’ll end up hurt or extremely sore or both–not to mention completely exhausted. That’s the fast-track to quitting. You don’t have to conquer running in your first week, month or even year. If you’re totally new to running, try to walk/run just one mile your first couple days. Walk a quarter-mile, run a quarter-mile, etc. When you do run, go slowly. No need to sprint or run hard yet. You should finish the quarter-mile without feeling wiped out. You also don’t have to run every day in a week. Start by running three days a week. After one week, build up to walk/running a mile-and-a-quarter. After a month or two, build up to four days a week of running. My advice is not a hard-and-fast rule. It’s merely a guide. The purpose of the gradual build up is to reduce injury risk and get you motivated to accomplish more. If you can walk/run a mile then surely you can walk/run a mile-and-a-half, right? Show yourself then.

5. Hire a Running Coach 

A running coach is someone knowledgeable about running who can put you on a path to success. He or she can give you a training plan, help motivate/inspire you and work with you to correct any mistakes you might be making. Coaches nowadays don’t have to show up at your door or meet you at a park. You can communicate with them through email or social media if their in-person cost is too expensive for you.

What kind of coach should you hire? You should hire whoever you feel comfortable with based on communication and price. If you’re completely new to running, look for a coach who works with newbies and regular people as opposed to a coach who trains Olympic hopefuls. While the latter coach works with top athletes, he or she may not relate to your needs and may try to motivate in ways that could discourage rather than push you.

It’s best if the coach is certified with a credible organization. I’m certified with USA Track & Field. You can always ask the coach if they’re certified and then check to see if the entity is legit. A running coach can put you where you want to be.

Running With You,

Donald

London Marathon Training Week #2 Days 2, 3 and 4 From Good to Sick

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

NOTE #2: I’m combining multiple days since I was unable to blog recently due to a busy schedule and illness

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperatures: Day 2–Mostly Sunny, 64 degrees, Day 3–Sunny 71 degrees, Day 4–Sunny 52 degrees

Types of Run: Day 2–Tempo, Day 3–Easy, Day 4–Long

Lengths: Day 2–7.09 miles, Day 3–8.12 miles, Day 4–17.2 miles

Types of routes: Day 2–some gradual uphill and downhill, two uphill climbs and two downhill descents; Day 3–gradual uphill and downhill with one small uphill climb; Day 4–four uphill climbs, three downhill descents, gradual uphill and downhill

Times: Day 2–45 minutes, 6 seconds; Day 3–59 minutes, 50 seconds; Day 4– 2 hours, 10 minutes, 25 seconds

Paces per mile: Day 2–6:22, Day 3–7:22, Day 4–7:35

Reason for Run: Day 2–This was a tempo run. Normally, I like to run tempo runs in the middle of the training week on days 3 or 4 but with Christmas this week and a very busy work schedule, I pushed up the tempo run to day 2. A tempo run is designed to mimic a race by running at a harder than normal pace. It’s not done at race pace but rather comfortably hard, meaning it’s tough but not exhausting. Tempo runs build physical strength, speed and endurance. They can also train the body to deal with fatigue better. Tempo runs can also help the body clear lactic acid from muscles which help build the endurance needed to sustain a fast pace in a long race. To better handle race conditions, a tempo run should be done once a week.

Day 3–This was a run done at a comfortable pace since it was completed a day after a tempo run. This run is to build mileage but not overwhelm the body.

Day 4–This was the usual weekly long run. I built up this week to 17+ miles. I took it easy and at a comfortable pace. Long runs build endurance as well as physical and mental strength. They also help the body burn carbs and fat more efficiently which will help prevent hitting the wall during a marathon. This will allow you to sustain a solid pace throughout much of the race.

How did I feel? Day 2–Good. This route is not easy and not conducive to running a fast time, especially for a tempo run. There are two solid hill climbs that help build leg strength but do slow you down. Despite that, I felt my pace was solid considering.

Day 3–Fine. I kept the pace easy. I felt there were no problems completing this route.

Day 4–Fine mostly. I took it easy again. This route had four good hill climbs so I wanted to make sure I was able to handle those. I did start to fatigue a bit the last two miles or so.  I was a little more worn out and achy afterward than usual especially since I didn’t run hard. As it turned out, I was experiencing the early stages of what is apparently some kind of cold virus. This has unexpectedly thrown off my training as I was going to fit in a speed workout over this weekend and, perhaps, another run. Physically, I was unable to do that. Illness always throws off training but it’s more important to rest. I was unable to run anyway because I was simply too weak to do so. I feel better today and might try to run tomorrow if I continue to make progress. While it seems like taking a couple days off will derail training, I can assure you it will not. It’s always better to rest and bounce back when you feel strong again.

Running With You,

Donald

London Marathon Training Week #2 Day 1 Christmas Eve Morning Run

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Sunrise, 50 degrees

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 6.14 miles

Type of route: One downhill descent, one uphill climb, gradual uphill and downhill around Rose Bowl loop

Time: 46 minutes, 33 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:35

Reason for Run: This was an easy run to follow a more intense workout which happened to be mile repeats. I kept the pace relaxed and mileage down. I ran at sunrise since that’s the time that would best fit my schedule.

How did I feel? Fine. I took it easy. Even though it’s Christmas-time, training still needs to get done. Christmas will be a day off for me which is why I ran today. Usually, I like to take Sundays off. I’ll enjoy Christmas and I hope you do too then it’s back to the grind. Merry Christmas and happy running!

Running With You,

Donald

London Marathon Training Week #1 Day 6 Mile Repeats Mile Repeats Mile Repeats

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

Location: La Canada, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 64 degrees

Type of Run: Speed/Interval

Length: 6 miles (6 x 1-mile)

Type of route: 400-meter oval track

Time: 35 minutes, 18 seconds  (5:55, 5:56, 5:53, 5:50, 5:53, 5:51)

Pace per mile: 5:53

Reason for Run: This was a speed or interval workout. The goal of these workouts is to improve speed endurance, running efficiency and strength and to mimic the intensity of a race. You can’t run fast if you don’t run fast. Your body needs to feel what it’s like to run hard so it can adapt and adjust to better prepare you for a race. Mile repeats are great workouts because you can choose a pace to run and it’s long enough to feel the intensity for a duration that will challenge you mentally as well. I chose to do six reps because at this stage in the training, that’s long enough to gauge my fitness post-Berlin Marathon but not long enough to exhaust me with much more difficult training ahead. I gave myself anywhere from one minute to 1:20 rest between each rep. I kept the rest period short to mimic a race so it could help me with my pacing. Knowing I don’t get much rest in between reps will help keep me measured in my pacing and let me know where I’m at fitness-wise a month before a half-marathon.

How did I feel? Decent. I started the first mile not feeling great but not feeling bad either. I felt a little blah. I was a bit tired and wasn’t sure at that point if I would have a good, mediocre or bad workout. I felt a little better on my second mile and then felt gradually better throughout the rest of the workout with mile four being my fastest rep. I wanted to run at my goal half-marathon pace of between 5:50 and 6:00. I did that with the average time being 5:53 for each repeat.  I was pleased with this because it shows my endurance is at a high level because I didn’t slow down as the workout progressed. I can feel the strength and endurance now because I can often pick up the pace as a run continues. When I was younger, this was difficult. I was good at starting fast but I’d often slow down toward the end. Now, I feel much more in control and understand my body and what it can and can’t handle. There are some days that it can’t handle intensity so it’s best just to back off. Basically, this means I’m becoming a smarter and more confident runner. I know if I start on the slower side I can just pick up the pace a bit without fear of becoming worn out.

Running With You,

Donald