Saturday, January 28, 2012

Time flies!

My last post, I had run 22 miles for my long run on Saturday, since, I ran 16 last week and 18 today. I have just 3 long runs left and then the Saturday before the marathon, I just jog 2 miles. I can't believe I have been on my training program for 8 weeks! I certainly picked a great winter to train, with little snow, and unseasonably warm temps, it has been a pleasure to be outdoors.

I promised to post the recipe for the energy gel, which I will do, although I found out it really wasn't for me. There are many different ways to fuel your body, some are faster working, others slower. the honey based recipe ended up giving me cramps. I tried a gel recommended by someone at PR Running in Westboro, it is a gel that is absorbed slower. I used it two weeks in a row with great success. It is called Hammer Gel. I used this along with an electrolyte powder, also recommended.

One more thing I have been eager to mention is something that has been responsible for helping me stay on my training schedule, especially the Saturday runs. I make sure I get all my things together the night before. Water bottle, shoes socks etc. all ready to go. It makes it very easy to get ready and eliminates any opportunity to find an excuse to go back to bed. I think it just allows me to keep my brain shut off for as long as possible, the next thing I know, I'm half way through my run. So by then I am all warmed up, it is usually just getting light out, and I am ready to work hard to finish.

My pace has been steadily improving, although I feel I still have a ways to go, I am much better than I was two months ago. That's it for now. Keep up on articles on Active.com and Runners World. The more you learn, the better you will  perform.

Happy running!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Listen to your body.

Got a nice early start, very cold out at 5am. Dressed appropriately for the weather, I had my water bottle in hand and my new homemade energy gels ( recipe in a later post for sure). I was scheduled to do 22, but, had the thought that I may try for 26.2. Well, sometimes you have to listen to your body, and at about 20 miles, mine was definitely telling me that 22 was going to be more than enough for today. I finished the run, not strong I might add, oh well. The key thing is I didn't push it and so my recovery has been good.

After my long runs I make sure to lie on my back and put my legs up vertical, I try for 5 to 10 minutes. Then I stretch. When I shower, I finish with letting cold water run on my legs, usually for as long as I can stand it. So far this has worked well, I usually don't get too stiff. Also a protein drink or chocolate milk within about 30 minutes, then I start getting rehydrated with water.

Looking forward to an easy 5 miles tomorrow, and then next week some intervals at the track. One thing for sure is this winter has been amazing for running. I feel very fortunate about that.

Here is a great article worth reading, Trisha Reeves wrote it for Active.com, How to find your mid foot. It has so much information helpful for developing a good running form.

Happy running.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I finally got the pace right

I have so many things to write about. I take notes when ideas and thoughts pop into my head. I then try to organize it into something that makes sense. The problem is that time goes by so fast, that by the time I go to write, it seems like old news to me. So, what I am planning to do is not worry about it so much and just post things as the mood strikes, we'll see how this works out.

Last weekend I ran my 18 miles, it ended up being a little longer. I learned from the week before and went out nice and slow. I came up with a new route, an extension of my usual loop, and then my regular loop. So, two 7 mile loops and one 4.8. The advantage of the loop is you never end up being too far from home, and it gives you an opportunity to stash some water, and you can drop off extra clothing, flashlight etc. My goal was to start slow and speed up throughout the run, to finish at my marathon goal pace of 7min 46 sec. per mile. It was a success, I did my last mile at 7: 30. The idea is to train properly so you can finish the marathon, or any race, strong. One additional thing about running the loops that I have found out for myself is that 3 times around, to get to my total distance is optimal for me. I think that any more, 4 or 5 gets boring and just makes the run seem too long especially if your tired. I am hoping that my Hyannis marathon route, which is two loops, will work out. I think it will! When I am out running and get to 13.1, I say to myself, ok, one more time around.

Tomorrow is Saturday, my long day. I am scheduled for 22 miles. I may try to stretch it to 26.2 just to get the feel for that distance. Pace isn't important for this run so just to finish would be great, less than four hours is what I would be very happy with, if I do the 26. I better start early to get this one done. This is the longest run for my training, then I start working on improving my speed.

Happy running!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Don't go out too fast!

Not starting out too fast either training or in a race has always been a challenge for me. As recently as last week, I set off on my Saturday run, Saturday is my long day. The long run is an important day in preparation for an upcoming race, mine being the Hyannis marathon at the end of February. My training program had me scheduled for 16 miles, a manageable distance as long as I don't start out too fast. I had picked a new route, thinking that a less hilly course could help me get a little better time. I waited for it to get light out that morning and I was ready to go. With my GPS watch turned on, I hit the start button. I'll spare you the details of every step but I will tell you that at mile 9 I felt like I had nothing left. 7 more to go and no chance of quiting, my new route was what they call out and back, just as the name describes, I ran until the GPS said 8 miles and turned around. In the beginning I didn't pay too much attention to my time, I knew I was running fast, and fast is good, right? Well at the end I was not running fast, I was running on empty and was just happy to get home. It wasn't until later in the day I put my GPS watch on my computer. I was able to look at each mile and my time. Well, no wonder I ran out of steam, my first 5 miles were way faster than I should have been running, so hard to tell while I was doing it though. I have quite a few more long days before race time so I'll give it another shot next weekend, the distance is 18 mi. Slow and steady wins the race! I'll let you know how I do. Happy running.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Probably as good a day as any to start a blog about running. I am sure many resolutions are being made today about running, diet and exercise in general. I hope that all those people wanting to get into better shape succeed. Perhaps our paths might cross someday and I can provide some information or inspiration. At least I have the running thing well under way which I will elaborate on in time. If I can be as dedicated about writing as I have recently been about running, I will be very pleased. One thing I hope to achieve is to satisfy a desire to talk about my running without boring my family, mainly my wife to tears. My wife, Kathleen, of 23 years has been very patient and helpful, yet sometimes has to say "enough". OK, I know I can talk and talk about running, but I feel I have a lot to say, and I just need to let it out. Wow, I think this has the potential to be more fun than I imagined. Well, if I'm supposed to be writing about running here goes. First of all. why sneakers optional? Thank you daughter Morgan, 20 year old, oldest of four for the suggestion. Amazing how many names of running blogs are already taken, I mean a crazy amount of names I came up with, and I didn't want to just add Kevin to the beginning or end. Sneakers optional does say a lot about me. Having recently gotten back into running, it was suggested by a stranger in a bookstore that I read Born To Run, and that is really where this story begins. Inspiring is not an adequate description of what this book was to me, it needs to be put under "life changing". If you are a runner this book is a must read. I was with daughter #2 at the time I bought the book so I will take this time to mention 18 year old Jillian. So, my journey from reading that book until now has only been about six months. In that short time, I have gone from thinking I was going to be a barefoot runner, to five fingers, to where I am at now. What I learned quickly was that barefoot running can be a great step in the process of becoming a better runner but it doesn't need to be the last step. It isn't for everyone that is for sure, although, I think it can benefit most people as a tool to teach us to run properly and injury free. The next book I read was Barefoot Running Step By Step. This book served, as the name implies, what I needed to know to progress along in my pursuit of what was going to work for me. So where am I now? I train in shoes most of the time, 75%, the remaining I go either barefoot or five fingers depending on weather conditions and terrain. This balance has kept me injury free and running distances I never thought I would be capable of, ever, and enjoying it. Well, I can't be completely honest without saying, yes there are times I think, really, I need to run that far, today? I can say one thing, I am learning so much about running and myself, and it's these things I will be sharing in this blog. There it is, post #1 a little rough, but done. I am starting the new year off exactly the way I wanted to. Happy New Year everyone and happy running.