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Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

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Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:39 pm

I’m not sure what race I’m training for yet, though I’d like to run a marathon this fall. I expect to run either the half or the full at Newport in October. I had planned to run Hartford, but work has already bumped that off. Coincidentally, that work conflict will put me in Newport that weekend, and that half/full is the next day (Sunday).



I may run the half in Newport and target Cape Cod for the full.



That is, if I can get through a training cycle healthy!



My history in that regard has not been so great. Too often, my training blogs have turned into injury blogs, including my most recent, which focused on my (aborted) training for Vermont 2011, which ended unhappily last month, due to persistent PF, with some bronchitis thrown in. In 6 marathon training cycles, I have been injured badly enough in 3 of them to miss significant training. I started 5 of those races, and finished 4 of them. Not great.



And I’ve tried it all different ways. More miles, less miles. Faster, slower. More days, fewer days. I can’t discern a pattern that definitely worked for the long run.



Now, I’m hoping to get past this PF and keep going. My goals are modest. Ideally, I would like to PR, but the chances of that grow increasingly dim, it seems! My PR was my first marathon, run in ’07, off a training schedule interrupted by injury. Despite more miles, better training advice and improved execution, and subsequent training cycles completed without injury, I’ve not been able to improve on my marathon time. Time may be running out on that, as I’m 54 and oddly not getting any younger. Whether I can PR or not, I’d like to run once again under 4 hours, which I’ve done three times.



The first two months of 2011 were solid, but subsequent months featured only sporadic training, given the onset of very bad PF. I was not able to run through it in the end. It seems quite a bit better now, though not 100%. The doc says I can run through it. But I think I need to try something different, and at this point I’ve settled on a cross-training approach, where I would run 3 days a week and cycle twice. The running miles would stay relatively low, with a weekend long run building to 20 miles. The concept is to run T/Th/Sa and to bike W/Su, though with a lot of flexibility to move that around. The Wednesday ride would be 45 min. to an hour, and the Sunday ride would be between 2 and 3 hrs.



The good news is that I ran Sunday: 6 miles @ about 9:05. Hadn’t run in 6 weeks. I was surprised how out of shape I was. Sore the next day! I ran yesterday (4 miles), and biked this morning (10+ miles). I expect to run tomorrow morning, take Friday off, then run/bike Sa/Su.



We’ll see where this goes. I’m hoping the switchover to biking will alleviate some of the stress that leads to injury and make the PF issue more manageable. But maybe it will be worse! It’s an experiment, and one that I hope will at least leave me quite fit, which after all is my key goal.



In the meantime, I’m looking forward to running some shorter races this summer, and not freaking out over whether that is risky during my marathon training schedule (some circumstances in the past have suggested this as a problem, but I’m not willing to be a slave to that fear – the short races are too much fun!).



If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading – I think my blog posts will usually be mercifully short.



Crossing my fingers…
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Seth Harrison on Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:07 pm

Michael, obviously I can relate to your plight!
Here's to a pain free training and a decent summer and fall training cycle, followed by a sub 4 hour marathon.
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:10 pm

Michael, this is the first of your blogs that I've been around to tune in to, and I'm sorry to hear that you've been fighting injuries for so long. Cycling is an excellent way to build the aerobic fitness that general easy/GA runs would otherwise do, and having less time on your feet might be the answer to keeping them healthy. I'll be following along with my fingers crossed as well.
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:04 pm

@Seth Harrison wrote:Michael, obviously I can relate to your plight!
Here's to a pain free training and a decent summer and fall training cycle, followed by a sub 4 hour marathon.

Thanks Seth - I'm just grateful my injuries have all been overuse injuries that did not require any surgery!
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:05 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Michael, this is the first of your blogs that I've been around to tune in to, and I'm sorry to hear that you've been fighting injuries for so long. Cycling is an excellent way to build the aerobic fitness that general easy/GA runs would otherwise do, and having less time on your feet might be the answer to keeping them healthy. I'll be following along with my fingers crossed as well.

Mike - thanks for your good wishes - I think I need a new bike...
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:05 am

Banged out another 4 miles on the hills this morning. Still surprised by how much detraining I've experienced. Tired at the end. Now I get a day off and then go a little longer on Saturday, per the plan.

Swampy here this morning. Not real hot, but way humid. Foggy specs most of the way. I really don't mind the drenching sweat, but the foggy glasses makes me nuts.

I was the only runner out this morning. Tuesday I had the pleasure of crossing paths twice with one of our neighbors, who runs XC and track at UConn. I was glad we were running in opposite directions - I told her I didn't want her to "lap" me!
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Kenny B. on Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:28 am

@Michael Enright wrote:Banged out another 4 miles on the hills this morning. Still surprised by how much detraining I've experienced. Tired at the end. Now I get a day off and then go a little longer on Saturday, per the plan.

Swampy here this morning. Not real hot, but way humid. Foggy specs most of the way. I really don't mind the drenching sweat, but the foggy glasses makes me nuts.

Hopefully you can get in a solid training this cycle. Ups and down when will it level out? Yes, it was crazy soupy outside today. Thankfully I did an easy 5 miles would not love doing speedwork in this weather. But it will happen!
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:43 am

@Kenny B. wrote:
@Michael Enright wrote:Banged out another 4 miles on the hills this morning. Still surprised by how much detraining I've experienced. Tired at the end. Now I get a day off and then go a little longer on Saturday, per the plan.

Swampy here this morning. Not real hot, but way humid. Foggy specs most of the way. I really don't mind the drenching sweat, but the foggy glasses makes me nuts.

Hopefully you can get in a solid training this cycle. Ups and down when will it level out? Yes, it was crazy soupy outside today. Thankfully I did an easy 5 miles would not love doing speedwork in this weather. But it will happen!

Thanks Kenny. I liked your "cottage cheese" reference, wherever I saw that.
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Sat Jun 25, 2011 4:36 pm

Went out to run at least 8, hopefully 10. Ended up doing 11. Only reason was that I wasn't wearing my garmin (instead had on my cheap-o heart rate monitor/stop watch) and someone did away with one of the mile markers on the rail trail (which just happened to be the one I was planning on turning around at!). By the time I figured it out, I was well past it, and since I know pretty much where the next half mile is, I just went to that point and came back.

Felt old and slow! I'm still way off of where I want to be. I'm glad I wore the heart rate monitor, because keeping an eye on it helped me to stay nice and slow, and I sure needed that today. If I'd just run by "feel", I would have burned out after 6 miles. As it was, I was darned tired at the end of the 11. I'm still learning with the heart rate stuff, and really need to test out my max - need a 5k for that, I think. Based on my experimentation on the treadmill in the winter, I think I max out somewhere around 180. Whatever it is, it is way higher than the 220 minus your age formula for me.

Heading out in a few to pick up a new hybrid bike I bought. My 29 year old Raleigh ten speed is kind of scary to ride. Plus, its tough when I get that even onto the rail trail. The hybrid ought to be a lot better for that, and I'm looking forward to giving it a ride tomorrow and checking it out.

My wife and older daughter have headed up to Foxborough to go to the Taylor Swift concert. Why they couldn't go this past Wednesday when she was playing across the street from my office instead is beyond me. At least the weather seems to have cleared, so they won't get rained on.

That leaves me and Lucas home alone, since my oldest is off with the family of one of his friends on Long Island and the younger daughter is staying overnight in New London with her friend, who is competing in the CT version of the Miss Teen USA pageant. Lucas (almost 13) and I will rock the town, I'm sure. Well, at least we will if his friend Nick doesn't come over for the night (pending), leaving me to watch old movies on TV...
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  mul21 on Sat Jun 25, 2011 4:48 pm

@Michael Enright wrote: Based on my experimentation on the treadmill in the winter, I think I max out somewhere around 180. Whatever it is, it is way higher than the 220 minus your age formula for me.


More than anything else, this seems to be a common theme amongst those of us who are distance runners. I think Chris McKee is about the only guy I can think of who is even close to that number and my max is somewhere in the 200-205 range at 35. Definitely a good thing to keep an eye on coming back from niggles to keep yourself honest.
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:09 am

@mul21 wrote:
@Michael Enright wrote: Based on my experimentation on the treadmill in the winter, I think I max out somewhere around 180. Whatever it is, it is way higher than the 220 minus your age formula for me.


More than anything else, this seems to be a common theme amongst those of us who are distance runners. I think Chris McKee is about the only guy I can think of who is even close to that number and my max is somewhere in the 200-205 range at 35. Definitely a good thing to keep an eye on coming back from niggles to keep yourself honest.

Even when I was running 25 years ago and would occasionally pay attention to heart rate, I thought I was some kind of freak!
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:17 am

I got out for a 25+ mile bike ride on my new bike this morning. Nice inaugural ride. I love it!

My friend Scott, who is older than me and mostly cycles and does "hot" yoga (man, that's some crazy stuff - read about that sometime) is in terrific shape and has been bugging me the last couple of weeks to take a ride with him. I warned him that I would slow him down (he is a serious road cyclist with a nice road bike), especially after running the 11 yesterday, but he was still up for it. He had a limited time window though, because he was going to do some family stuff. Worked for me.

We headed out on a gorgeous morning here (sunny, probably around 70, not too humid). I forgot to hit my garmin until we were about a mile and a half out, and we'd already gone up about from 150 feet to the starting point on the chart (below, if I can figure out how to put an image in - oops, I couldn't so I'll try to figure that out and come back to it later). We took it easy, did some nice hills, and talked quite a bit. Stopped to agree on the next course change a couple of times, and then stopped when I "dropped him off" at his house - I kept going to add a few miles and get it up over 25 miles. So we didn't break any speed records, but I wasn't looking to in my first relatively hard weekend of running one day and biking the next.

All went well. It was really nice to have the wider gear range on the new bike than on my old ten speed, especially on some of the steeper hills. Nothing like low, low, low gear!!!

The PF seems to be reacting well to this regimen. It was noticeable post-run yesterday and this morning, but not bad, and then I got in a nice workout that didn't aggravate it at all, and it feels pretty good. Maybe this whole idea will work! Whether it does or not, I'm really enjoying the riding. I'm also sort of a baby on some of the steeper downhills, but I let it out a little more today, and gaining confidence. Nothing like having just the helmet between me and the road while going 40 mph!
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:56 pm

Nothing like riding a bike... I was going to qualify that statement with something like "after an extended absence" or something, but then I decided, no, there's really just nothing like riding a bike. Glad you enjoyed your inaugural ride. Good company definitely makes it a bit easier and more fun, especially when the miles start to grind (that's where you start sitting on your friend's wheel Wink ). Glad the regimen is working so far!
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Kenny B. on Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:00 pm

My max is way higher also im at 200is.
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:17 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Nothing like riding a bike... I was going to qualify that statement with something like "after an extended absence" or something, but then I decided, no, there's really just nothing like riding a bike. Glad you enjoyed your inaugural ride. Good company definitely makes it a bit easier and more fun, especially when the miles start to grind (that's where you start sitting on your friend's wheel Wink ). Glad the regimen is working so far!

It was a lot of fun to have company on the ride. I tend to run solo, but I've almost always ridden solo. The hills were a lot easier with someone to suffer through them with!
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:18 pm

@Kenny B. wrote:My max is way higher also im at 200is.

Keeps you movin', Kenny, your ticker just won't let you slow down!
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:35 pm



I'm trying to post the elevation chart again. Let's see if I can make it work this time. Hey, it worked (like on my 10th attempt to figure it out and edit it, I wonder if I can do that again).

Gives a good idea of the hills. The first 1.3 miles or so were not on the garmin (I did not hit "start"!). We actually started at about 150 feet, and went up from there in that first 1.3.
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:36 am

Another hilly 5 mile run this morning. A bit humid, but pretty nice. I just took it easy. My butt was still a little sore from the bike ride this weekend. I have to keep in mind that I'm really base building after a weak and/or idle few months, and that I need to take it slow as I try to overcome that and the PF together. That actually made for a fairly pleasant, but slow, run.

It was also nature morning, it seemed. Saw a fox that was just about close enough to trip over (well, that is an exaggeration, but it was pretty darn close), and then a deer in the middle of the road. If you told me when I was growing up on the south side that I would be coming across these things on a morning run one day, I would have told you that you were nuts.

My neighbor's daughter who runs college xc and track was out again, this time running with a guy. I told her she was smart to run with some company. She's awfully cute - I hope he's nice to her!
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Kenny B. on Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:47 am

Some hilly route for sure! Nice job getting out there today sounded wonderful.
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:08 pm

Thanks Kenny.

Another nice early morning bike ride this morning (12.65 miles). Took about an hour. Seems like I don't make up for those long uphills when I go downhill! I'm just a bit chicken to open it up as fast as I could.

The cycling seems to agree with me. I noticed the PF during the day yesterday, but it wasn't too bad. Knowing that I would be cycling today helped, because I wasn't living in fear, as I had been, about how it would feel after two days of running in a row. This morning it felt pretty good, and it felt even better post-ride. So this seems to be working so far.

At the moment, my thought is to aim to duplicate the weekly running miles found in Novice I, and bike for 3 to 4 hours (short on Wed., long on Sat. or Sun.). So right now that means about 35 to 45 miles on the bike for the week. Last week I was a little over 35, and I'm thinking this week I'll probably be a few more.

So far, so good.

I think I'm going to run a 5k with my daughter a week from Friday. Its a small local race, we've done it for the last few years, and its a point-to-point net downhill run. Might be a good one to wear the HR monitor for and try to peg HR max a little better.
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:43 pm

That downhill comfort will come with time. You'll benefit from keeping your legs moving (even if they're completely spinning and encountering no resistance) while you coast, too, as it'll keep the blood flowing and freshen your legs for the next time they're needed. Glad the bike's being kind to you.
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Jerry on Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:12 pm

Cool Michael blog. Bike and run should work well. Tim Miller even uses that approach for a sub 3.
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Alex Kubacki on Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:13 pm

Michael this is the elevation profile for Cape Cod. It doesn't look like much but from 15-23 you're either going up or down and it can do a number on your legs. This is definately a course you want to save something for the second half. I passed a lot people walking of those who went out too fast. I'm signed up already for it again as part of the Clam Chowdah Challenge.



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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:33 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:That downhill comfort will come with time. You'll benefit from keeping your legs moving (even if they're completely spinning and encountering no resistance) while you coast, too, as it'll keep the blood flowing and freshen your legs for the next time they're needed. Glad the bike's being kind to you.

Thanks Mike. Especially the advice to keep 'em spinning while I coast downhill - I'm learning a lot the last few days about how I should do things on the bike (the guy I road with on Sunday gave me a lot of tips). It was easier when I used to cycle up the bike path in Chicago up to Kenilworth - it was always flat and I just kept it in the same gear all the way up and back!
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Re: Crossing My Training And Crossing My Fingers

Post  Michael Enright on Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:34 pm

@Jerry wrote:Cool Michael blog. Bike and run should work well. Tim Miller even uses that approach for a sub 3.

Thanks Jerry. I won't be catching Tim any time soon!
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