Blog

Berlin Marathon Training Week #6 Day 5 Back to Normalcy

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Mostly sunny, 79 degrees with 50% humidity

Type of Run: Semi-long

Length: 10.26 miles + 5 sprint strides

Type of route: Gradual inclines and declines with four hill climbs and four hill descents

Time: 1 hour, 12 minutes, 13 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:03

Average heart rate: 145

Reason for Run: This was the weekly semi-long run. As my training progresses, this run will increase to a max of 13 to 14 miles. Semi-long runs should be run faster than long runs but not nearly as fast as tempo runs. The goal is to build endurance. Sprint strides help improve leg turnover, running efficiency and speed.

How did I feel? Good. I ran at a comfortable pace. I felt in control which was good because warmer temperatures and higher humidity levels can have a major effect on your runs. The route is not easy with four hill climbs on the streets. Running hills is a great way to build leg strength because you’re forcing your muscles to work harder. This was a good workout before a challenging interval session tomorrow which I’m sure you’ll be excited to read about.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #6 Day 4 Another Super Early Run

Location: Tulare, CA.

Temperature: Clear, 75 degrees with 79% humidity

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 8.11 miles

Type of route: Flat

Time: 59 minutes, 53 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:23

Average heart rate: 135

Reason for Run: This was a recovery run meant to be taken easy after a hard workout like a tempo run.

How did I feel? Fine. Again, I had to run roughly at 3:30am due to 100+ degree temperatures during the day. I had a pleasant experience running that early in the morning before so I did it again. The high humidity does make things uncomfortable as I was drenched in sweat following the run. That may sound gross. Well, I felt gross. I ran the same route as the morning before except I did it in reverse and added about a mile. I chose the same route because I didn’t want to venture off and get lost in a town I don’t know. I wore reflective gear again. I only saw two or three cars. I took it easy although the effort felt a little faster than my pace probably because I ran so early and the humidity was bothersome to a point. All in all, I was happy with the run. Tomorrow will be another run home.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #6 Day 3 A Very, Very, Very Early Tempo Run

Location: Tulare, CA.

Temperature: Clear, 78 degrees with roughly 75% humidity

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 7.27 miles

Type of route: Flat

Time: 45 minutes, 14 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:13

Average heart rate: 156

Reason for Run: A tempo run helps build stamina and speed. A tempo run is a hard run designed to help the body adapt to race-like conditions when the pace will be fast. The idea is to run comfortably hard.

How did I feel? Good. I was in Tulare for work. High temperatures in Tulare this week have been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t cool down to under 90 until well after dark so running during the day after work would’ve been foolish and a threat to my health as I would risk heat stroke. How did I solve this problem? I woke up really, really, really early. How early? I got out of bed at 2:45am! I started my run at 3:30am after warming up. Yes, this was a very early run. It was the only time temperatures were cool enough to run. It was still warm and felt even warmer thanks to the high humidity. However, I didn’t have to worry about the sun beating on me. When I finished my run I was covered in sweat as if I jumped into a pool. That’s because the moisture in the air doesn’t allow the sweat to evaporate off my body as efficiently. This actually makes it harder for my body to cool down so one has to be careful when running in humid conditions so one doesn’t overheat.

My pacing for this tempo run was solid. My mile splits ranged from 6:10 to 6:16 so I was consistent though the flat route I ran helped with that. I did wear reflective gear and a headlamp so the few cars that were out could see me. The neighborhood I was in was quiet so it made for a pleasant run as I had nothing to stress about as far as cars or anything else. It was quite an experience running that early although I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are an experienced runner because you have to watch for bumps on the sidewalks and streets and for cars (drivers don’t expect to see pedestrians or runners at that time so they may not be paying total attention).  Also, you have to know your surroundings in case bad people might be around. It also helps to have a cell phone just in case something happens.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #6 Day 2 An Easy Day With Some Hills

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 85 degrees

Type of Run: Easy With Hills

Length: 7.09 miles + 5 sprint strides

Type of route: Two hills climbs with two downhill descents mixed with some gradual inclines and declines and flat portions

Time: 51 minutes, 30 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:16

Average heart rate: 140

Reason for Run: This was a recovery run meant to be taken easy after a hard workout such as a long run. I chose a route with two solid hill climbs to build leg strength and work on running form. The sprint strides help improve leg turnover and speed.

How did I feel? Fine. I took it easy today so the warm weather didn’t really bother me as I kept my intensity low. I’ve been trying to slow down more on easy day runs to help my legs recover. So far, it’s been working. During the middle of training, my legs almost never seem fresh. This is by design. In a marathon during the late stages of the race, your legs start to feel tired, achy and heavy. It’s at this time you need to increase the intensity to try to maintain your current pace. It’s easier to do with experience running on fatigued legs.

Also, during the early part of my run, I saw the Run With Us Monday Fun Run group. I’ve run with this group a few times. It’s a great way to meet fellow runners and run with other people. They have 4 and 6-mile run options along with a 5k walk. It’s not competitive and there’s someone there who’s at your pace. See this blog post if you’re considering running with a group.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #6 Day 1 A Proper Long Run

 

Temperature: Sunny, 83 degrees

Type of Run: Long

Length: 16.38 miles

Type of route: Gradual inclines and declines with three hill climbs

Time: 2 hours, 1 minute, 21 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:24

Average heart rate: 147

Reason for Run: This was a long run. The purpose of the long run is to build endurance. It can improve the body’s ability to use both glycogen and fat as a fuel sources for muscles as well as build heart strength.

How did I feel? Ok. Today’s long run was much better than the last long run a couple weeks ago in which I ran too fast. I took it easy the whole way. The heat and slight humidity were a factor in making the run tough. When there’s not a cloud in the sky, the sun can really beat on you, making it feel much hotter than what it is. It can make the run seem grueling which it did at times. This can test your mental toughness as it’s very easy to stop. When running long in warm weather be sure to hydrate the night before and run with water or a hydration drink in a bottle/s or a camelbak so you can get fluids into your body to avoid dehydration.

Why did I run long a day after an interval/speed workout? I’ll be out of town again for work for two days later this week so I may be unable to run on one or both days. Therefore, I decided to run today when normally I would take Sunday off. I ran long because I had plenty of time early in the day to run and figured running long today would be better than tomorrow when I might be more tired after work. This is a “Do as I say not as I do.”  situation. Generally, I and you should run easy or take the day off after a hard workout such as an interval workout, long run or tempo run. You want to give your body time to recover from the hard effort. Being in pretty good shape, I can get away with back-to-back hard efforts on occasion. It’s something I rarely do and only did because of my upcoming work schedule. When you’re a regular person, adjustments to your running schedule have to be made due to things like work. With careful planning, this can be done.

Berlin Marathon Training Week #5 Day 6 A Speedy Day

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 85 degrees

Type of Run: Interval/Speed

Length: 4.54 miles (5 x 400m; 1-mile, 5 x 300m; 1200m; 5 x 200m)

Type of route: 400-meter oval track

Time: 23 minutes, 39 seconds (1:17, 1:16, 1:16, 1:16, 1:15; 5:35; :56, :55, :56, :55, :55; 4:11; :36, :35, :35, :36, :34)

Pace per mile: 5:13

Average heart rate: 156

Reason for Run: This was an interval workout designed to improve speed endurance as well as running efficiency and economy.

How did I feel? Good. The warm weather didn’t really bother me today. I was pleased with my pacing and consistency. My mile time and time for the 1200-meter rep were faster than I expected. This is good because I think it means I’m getting stronger handling longer interval reps. This wraps up my 5th week of formal marathon training. It’s also the second straight week I’ve run more than 50 miles. I have 2 to 3 days of travel next week which will cause me to make some slight adjustments in the training. I plan to write more columns about running soon along with keeping this training log. I hope you’ve gotten some insight with the training log about how people like myself prepare for marathons.

Berlin Marathon Training Week #5 Day 5 A Run Home

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 84 degrees

Type of Run: Medium-long

Length: 11 miles

Type of route: Gradual inclines and declines with four small hill climbs

Time: 1 hour, 17 minutes, 58 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:05

Average heart rate: 146

Reason for Run: This was a medium-long run intended to build endurance and boost weekly mileage.

How did I feel? Good even though I was a little tired. This was my first run back home in two weeks. It’s nice to be back and run in familiar territory. The past two weeks I’ve been running in flat areas. Pasadena has some good hill climbs so it was nice to run hills again and build leg strength. The temperature was warm so I made sure to wear my camelbak so I could drink water. I also took it easy due to the warm weather so I wouldn’t get fatigued quickly.

Berlin Marathon Training Week #5 Day 4 A Hot Run in Fresno

Location: Fresno, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 93 degrees

Type of Run: Medium-long

Length: 9.18 miles

Type of route: Mostly flat

Time: 1 hour, 1 minute, 57 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:45

Average heart rate: 163

Reason for Run: This was a medium-long run intended to build endurance and boost weekly mileage.

How did I feel? Decent. It was very sunny and hot at 93 degrees. My pace was a faster than what it should’ve been given the heat so I cut the planned 10-miles short a bit. Because I’m traveling, I didn’t have my camelbak for water which I would’ve worn had this run been at home. Running in the heat is not easy though it does have surprising benefits despite its difficulty. As you can see, my heart rate was quite high for the pace. This was due to the heat as my body had to work harder in the hot weather. I wouldn’t recommend a beginner train in hot weather due to risk of dehydration and other heat-related illnesses.  This should be done by more experienced athletes who understand how to properly hydrate and pace in the heat. You have to know your body and what it can and can’t tolerate. This is done through experience.

Berlin Marathon Training Week #5 Day 3 East Bay Tempo Run

Location: Hayward, CA.

Temperature: 69 degrees

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 7.16 miles

Type of route: Mostly flat

Time: 43 minutes, 40 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:06

Average heart rate: 155

Reason for Run: A weekly tempo run builds endurance and speed. It trains the body to get used to higher intensity running. This will allow you to race well as the faster pace won’t be such a shock.

How did I feel? Mostly good. I say mostly because I had to stop after 3 miles for several minutes for a potty break. That may sound like TMI but if you run enough, you’ll have to stop on occasion for potty breaks. It happens to every runner from the beginner to the world’s best as you can see here. I hate stopping in the middle of a run but there was nothing I could do unless I wanted to have a mid-run accident. No thanks. After the unintended break, I ran the final four miles at a similar pace as the first three. My mile splits were rather consistent so I was happy with that because it meant I didn’t slow down toward the end of the run.

Berlin Marathon Training Week #5 Day 2 An Elevated Run in the Biggest Little City in the World

Location: Reno, NV

Temperature: 70 degrees

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 8.74 miles

Type of route: Mostly flat

Time: 1 hour, 4 minutes, 30 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:23

Average heart rate: 141

Reason for Run: Today was meant to be an easy run. Due to time constraints, I shaved more than a mile off my intended distance of 10 miles. I figure I can make up the mile later in the week.

How did I feel? Good. Reno is at about 4,500 feet above sea level so I got a run in at altitude. The higher you are, the less oxygen there is in the air which means you get tired faster as your muscles are getting less energy from oxygen. I felt a little winded to start the run which was clearly an effect of the altitude. Also, my pace was slower than normal for my effort. Again, the result of altitude running. The longer you are at altitude, your body will adjust to the oxygen levels. A lot of elite runners will train and live at altitude because the body adapts to less oxygen. When they race at lower elevations, their bodies become more efficient at using the extra oxygen. This can give them the boost they need to win races. Being in Reno only one day will not give me benefits of altitude running. I would need to stay there for at least two weeks to receive any benefits. Having seen Reno now, I think I’ll pass on staying for more than a day.