Monday, December 28, 2009

Another 10 miler.

My company all but shuts down between Xmas and New Years so I have the week off. I got out for another 10 mile run today. It was similar to Saturday's run except slightly less climbing and the climbing was more concentrated. I ran a familiar route out to the top of Fox Island and back. My legs didn't feel as fresh as they did on Saturday but I was still able to push myself to keep a similar pace. I ran about an hour after I ate lunch and again had heartburn. I should carry a Tums or two with me... ugh.

It was in the low 40s and sunny today. I remembered to bring a hat instead of just a Spandex/Lycra beanie so the sun didn't constantly shine in my eyes. Living here I just expect it to be overcast all winter I guess. I was actually too warm most of the run. I was wearing knee-high socks (more on that later), running pants over a pair of Race Ready shorts and two shirts. The socks looked ridiculous pulled up to my knees so on my wife's fashion advice I wore running pants. This was a mistake; I should have just went with silly looking instead of overheated calves/shins. The double shirt was a bad call also. I'm still trying to nail down dressing for winter running here.

I ran the first mile slowly (9:21) to try to warm up. I've been reading Run Less Run Faster and the authors stress warming up and cooling down EVERY SINGLE RUN, something that I've usually only done for speed work sessions. After the slow first mile I went on to knock off miles between 7:01 and 7:47 depending on the hilliness of the roads. The route goes up a hill that's about a mile long right before the 5 mile turn-around point (the 7:47 split). I pushed pretty hard getting up the hill and didn't have a lot of energy to run back down fast once I got to the turn around. Overall I ran pretty evenly with a slight negative split. I was just gassed by the 9 mile point though. I was glad when I hit 9 miles and could run the last mile as cool-down. I had two Gels with me that I never touched. I probably should have eaten one about half way through the run.

The knee-socks that I was wearing were CW-X compression support socks. Another xmas present from me to me. They're nylon/polyurethane and have webbing to support the calves, ankle joints, and arch. They claim to reduce muscle fatigue, and increase recovery & circulation. I don't usually have sore calves on shorter runs. With the running pants, the socks just made my legs sweat that much more. That said I'm not sore and I ran at almost the same pace I did on Saturday so I don't think they were holding me back. They're the only pair of socks I've run in other than Wright double layer socks in the past 8 years or so. No blisters or skin issues but it was only 10 miles. I look forward to using these socks on 2 and 3 hour runs.

The shorts were new as well. I've been looking for a pair of running shorts that have a longer inseam than the tiny shorts that I've been wearing for years but I tend to be very prone to leg chafing. I don't know if there's something out there that long distance guys swear by so I just went with the brand that puts a bunch of pockets in the back of the shorts for holding stuff like gels or extra HEED. They seemed to work pretty well today. Anyone have suggestions on good running shorts?

The numbers:
Time: 1:20:29
Dist: 10.2
Avg: 7:53/mi (7:23/mi not counting the warm-up and cool-down miles)
Ascent/Descent: 2073 / 2107 (Garmin inflated numbers)
Avg HR: 147


I need to get one more run in before Jan 1st to hit 100 miles for the month for the first time since before my knee surgery.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Back to back runs and compression.

On Xmas it is becoming a tradition that I get out for a run with a few relatives who are over celebrating. This year I managed to gather up 5 people plus a baby in the BOB baby jogger though you wouldn't have known she was there. She slept the entire time from what I could tell. You have to love the overwhelming sleep inducing power of the jog stroller. Being of all different paces and abilities we ran at a moderate pace and regrouped if anyone got far behind. We just ran the "One Store Loop" as I call it and kept things pretty social.

Yesterday I was still itching to get out for a run and spend a little longer on my feet. I also wanted to give my new CW-X Pro compression tights a test. I wore them for the Xmas run but didn't really pay much attention to my legs. Yesterday the plan was to run out to the Tunnel trail then out past Kopachuck, down to the Rosedale store and back around Whitmore / 78th / Artondale toward the golf course and up 70th ave. From there I headed West down 40th and on home. Other than a little bit of heartburn I was feeling pretty good. It was in the high 30s temperature-wise, my legs were responding well and I was running a good bit faster than I usually do for mid distance runs. Like almost all runs I do around here there was a good bit of hills to run. I felt that I was running up the hills pretty strongly and the downhills were much faster than my normal pace. I don't know if it was the tights that were doing it or just me having a slow training week and a bit more rest.

The hardest part of the run was slogging up 70th ave at a 12 min/mi pace for the 1/3 of a mile or however long it is. I was able to dip under 6 min/mi pace for few of the following descents to balance that out. Another thing I tried out on the run was carrying two Ultimate Direction hand bottles instead of just one as I usually do. It felt more balanced carrying two bottles (as long as I remembered to drink from both of them instead of just emptying one first) and I didn't notice them as much as I do when I carry just one. I'm constantly switching hands with just one bottle and it's a minor annoyance. I also only drank about 1 1/3 bottles of HEED on the 10+ mile run which means that I could probably get away with a 16 mile run without stopping somewhere to refill.

So on to the tights... I'd been doing some research on compression clothes for running for a few weeks and planning on buying some compression socks to see if they were as good as other bloggers claim. I decided that I wanted to pick up some compression tights for an Xmas present. The reviews online for CW-X tights were very good and I saw a few reviews of other tights that mentioned that they "weren't quite as good as CW-X" so that was enough for me to consider CW-X. My first impression is that their sizing chart is unfortunately correct. It only goes up to 6'4" in the XL size tights. They're a little bit short for me and don't fit as snugly as I'd like them to around the waist/crotch. It's a shame (for me) that more companies don't offer tall sizes. They just blend the tall sizes in with the heavy sizes so that someone who's 6'6", 190lbs gets the same garment as someone 6'2" and 250lbs. The tights are made of lycra/spandex but they have additional strips/panels of tighter spandex in strategic places going diagonally up and down the legs, under the knees, around the calves, etc... that hold the muscles tight or something. The theory being that this gives improved circulation and less fatigue from the muscles bouncing. This is all supposed to improve performance and lessen / prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

I don't know if I ran faster yesterday because I thought the tights would make a difference or if they really did make the difference. I have been pushing myself with fast 10K runs on the treadmill at lunch the last two weeks as well. I'm a skeptic, so I'm hesitant to give much credit to a pair of tights. They were a little constrictive on my calves and quads/hamstrings when I first put them on but I forgot about that completely after the first minute or two running. I felt good during the run and better than I usually do after a run like this (elevation, distance). That said, I did experience both of the claims that CW-X makes: that performance will improve and DOMS will be less. I'd say it was a positive experience and possibly due in large part to the tights. Also, there was no chafing, another important criteria for running clothes for me. I'll keep using them and report back if I come to any conclusions.


Dist: 10.0 mi
Time: 1:15:17
Avg: 7:31/mi
Alt: 2655 (or 1327 if you divide by 2 to be realistic)
Avg HR: 151

Mile splits: 7:39, 8:33, 7:10, 6:56, 7:37, 7:30, 8:33, 6:57, 7:00, 7:18

Miles 2 and 7 had the major hills.

(Disclaimer: I selected and paid for the tights myself. I've never been in contact with anyone at CW-X. I'd definitely review their products if they wanted to send some to me however. Especially if they made a tall size.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Magic Carpet

After my fast runs on the treadmill last week I was actually looking forward to trying the "Boulder 10K" preset again this week. I ran it in 40:39 last week without going all-out. I figured that I didn't want to try it again last week, so I let my body rest a bit and came back on Tuesday at lunch. My hamstrings were still sore yesterday from doing dead-lifts at the gym last Friday. It was the first time in a few years that I'd done dead-lifts and I didn't use much weight (only 95 lbs!). Luckily the soreness didn't seem to affect my running.

The "Boulder 10K" is the only 10K preset on the treadmill. It starts out with a 2 minute warm-up period at walking speed which I turn up to an 8:00/mi pace. After the 2 minutes the clock starts and the speed increases to your pre-selected pace. You have to enter your speed in MPH instead of per-mile pace so I started with 9.5 MPH (6:18/mi pace)

The course starts out with no incline but over time it mixes up the incline between 0% and 3%, usually for anywhere from 0.2km - 1.0km. It's never really that hard, not even the 1km section at 3% because the incline sections are so short. The only shocker is a 0.2km section at 6% right before the end of the race. Back to my "race": I started out at 9.5 MPH and planned to pick up the pace if I was feeling good half way through.

I've heard people use the term "Magic Carpet" referring to the treadmill and I think it's apt as running on the treadmill feels so much easier than running on the road. You only have to keep up with the belt moving under you and not really propel yourself along. Looking at a treadmill effort chart, my 6:18 pace was equivalent to a 6:35 pace when I was running at 0% incline, 6:22 at 1% and 6:09 at 2%. I'm using this chart as a reference.

I felt good at the half way point (which I ran in ~19:30) and upped the pace to 9.7 MPH (6:11/mi). A few KM later I was starting to feel winded but still pretty good. I was fine on the 0% sections (which were equivalent to a slower pace really) and able to
hang on during the 2% and 3% sections. I increased the pace a few more times until the last 1km when I had the treadmill up to 10.2 MPH (5:53/mi). I couldn't keep that pace for the 6% spike so I slowed down to an 8:30/mi pace for the spike and then pushed it right back up to 10.2 MPH for the last 0.4km to the finish.

I didn't see the finishing time on the display because it immediately goes into a 2.0mph cool down which I bumped up to a 6.0 MPH pace for 2 minutes. After the cool down completed the treadmill stopped and my results came out:

Time: 38:23
Dist: 10K
Avg pace: 6:11/mi
Elevation: 400 ft.

I don't put much stock into that time unless I compare it against another treadmill 10K. I think that I'd add a 1 - 1.5 minutes onto that time for an approximation of a road 10K time on a semi-flat course. *Maybe* I'm under 40 minute pace on a good day. This does bode well for the 40 after 40 contest proposed by my friend MThead and quickly agreed to by Nockee and another friend. The goal being to break 40 in the 10K after turning 40. I turn 40 late next year so I have plenty of time to hunt for a fast 10K course that's hopefully flatter than the one I ran in Gig Harbor on Thanksgiving. With my form this good in the winter I just need to find a way
to keep from getting burned out before next fall but still keep my speed. I hope to run a couple of 50 km races next year to keep things interesting. Nothing planned yet but a few potentials that I'm looking into.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday longish run.

Catching up on the last week, I had the good treadmill 10K on Tuesday then had a so-so interval session (again on the treadmill) on Thursday. I did 4x800 @ 3:10 each. I set the incline to 3% which according to the incline pace equivalency charts I found converts that 6:20 to a 5:58 pace. Oops. I didn't want to do them that fast. I'm not sure if I totally believe that the 3% incline takes 20+ seconds/mile off of the equivalent road pace. I usually put 2.5% incline on the treadmill for my regular runs because the treadmill makes running so much easier than the road (and it burns a few more calories). I guess it's a good training technique either way.

I was set to do a long run on Saturday but had to take a rain check and move it to Sunday morning instead. I got up a little after 6, ate and got dressed. I took my time and got out the door at 7am which I found was about 30 minutes before the sun came up. I ran in the dark for the first 3.5 miles or so. I don't have a good feel that yet. I ran a two loop course so that I could carry my regular Ultimate Direction water bottle during the run and stash a spare bike water bottle full of Heed at the end of the first loop where the little family-owned convenience store I frequent was until last week when it closed (after 60+ years of operation sadly). I try to plan my routes around the local convenience stores so that I can run with one water bottle and carry Heed powder with me. I just stop at a store on the route and buy water to fill the bottle. There are no public water sources around here that I've found yet. I need to make friends along the route and stop at their houses to get water or something.

In any case, I did my first loop, then filled up with the stashed bottle and headed out on a different loop bringing the extra bottle. I dropped the bottle off about a mile away before I headed out toward Kopachuck state park to loop around the coast and back in toward Arletta. I tried to pick up the pace a bit but my stomach wasn't feeling great after last week's attempt to eat more fiber. I accidentally took too big of a dose of Psillium Husk fiber a few days in a row and have been paying for it all week. I don't need to go into any more detail that about it. I'm also trying to fight off a bit of a cold that my daughter brought home from pre-school.

I looped around to my stashed bottle, picked it up and drained it as I headed back toward home. I needed to be back by 9am and my pace had been falling off over the last few miles (see splits below) so I figured that I'd just skip the last 2 mile out and back near home and be happy with 13+ miles instead of 15+. It's always better to be 15 minutes early than 10 minutes late. When I gave in to the shorter distance I slowed down for the last mile to cool down. I've been listening to the Running Times podcast which covers some pretty good running topics, one of them being tapering and recovery. They underscored the importance of finishing runs with a slow jog at the end to help your muscles begin the process of flushing out the lactic acid to avoid some of the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) while beginning the recovery process.

I plodded home, made a bottle of Recoverite and hit the showers. Another one in the books.

Time: 1:49:19
Dist: 13.33
Avg Pace: 8:12
Ascent: 4922 (claims Garmin, I'd say about 1/2 that if you asked me)

I found it strange that my Avg HR for the run was only 147. That seems low to me. Maybe I'm taking it too easy and listening to the Quadrathon podcast isn't helping. :)

Splits (now that I know how to make the Garmin take them):
1: 8:19
2: 7:53
3: 8:07
4: 8:30
5: 7:52
6: 7:32
7: 8:19
8: 8:35
9: 7:43
10: 7:55
11: 8:20
12: 8:02
13: 8:54

You can see where the hills were by the times (4, 7, 13)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Treadmill 10K

I got to the gym on Tuesday for a run at lunch and found that under the "Advanced" presets there was a "hilly 10K" option on the treadmill. I selected it and started out at a 7:30/mi pace after the 2 min. warmup period that the program adds on to each side of the 10K. The hilly part of the program meant that the incline of the treadmill would change from 0% to 3% through out the "course" as it were. It wasn't that much of an incline as I usually set it to 2.5% or 3% when I run on the treadmill. The display counted the distance in Kilometers instead of Miles which was a little odd to get used to. Every Kilometer or two I bumped up the pace 0.2 mph. I got to the point where I was up to 9.5 mph for the last 2 or 3 KM. I held on at this pace for the rest of the "race" except for a short 6% incline spike that the program threw at me right before the end.

I finished the "race" in 40:39, coincidentally the same time that I finished the Turkey Trot 10K (real) race on Thanksgiving (which was only 6.01 miles according to my Garmin 305). I don't know what the conversion factor would be going from a treadmill to a real outdoor run but I'd guess that I'd be a minute slower on a mildly hilly outdoor course compared to the ease of just putting one foot in front of the other on a bouncy moving belt. The other downside of the treadmill is all the sweating. If I ever get one for home I'd have to put a fan in front of it.

I'm very happy with my time and at finding the hilly 10K preset on the treadmill. It's definitely something I'll try again. I also want to run a flat 10K on the treadmill and see how fast I can go. I'd like to see if I can set it to a 5:50 pace and just hang on for 37 minutes. Not this week though. I think one hard almost-race level effort is enough. I'll hope for running repeats (or accellerations) tomorrow and then lift (legs) on Friday before another long run on Saturday.

Time: 40:39
Dist: 10K
Pace: 6:33/mi.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Last week we were experiencing record low temps in the area, some days the high temp didn't break 32F. I'm from Southern California and not fully accustomed to this kind of weather yet so I took my training inside last week. I managed 3 runs on the treadmill at the gym. It's nice to be able to control your pace and stay warm but that's about all I can say for treadmills. Maybe if there were fans to cool you down and the belt didn't feel so flat and loose under your feet. In any case I mostly did shorter runs (4-6mi.) at a 7:05 - 7:45 pace.

On Sunday I found 2 hours to get outside and run. It was around 36F out so I bundled up a bit and grabbed my gloves. I ran an out and back route toward Rosedale and beyond. I put the Quadrathon podcast onthe iPod and set off. I'm not sure why but I can totally zone out listening to his podcast which he typically records while he is running. He talks about his training/gear/races while you hear his foot steps in the background. It's strangely comforting.

In any case I've been playing around with my Garmin Forerunner lately and figured out how to set it up with a pre-programmed run. I set it for 10 min. of warmup (below 135 HR), then 1:40 @ 7:15 pace or better, then 10 min. of cooldown. It was a decent way to go except you only get to see your program info and not your mileage, speed or HR. I need to figure that out for next time. The program worked except the part where I kept an 8:00 pace instead of 7:15. I blame the hills for that.

I would blame the light snow that fell for most of the run but it wasn't enough to stick to the ground and mostly just made me happy to be out running. Three cheers for Dopamine! With the warmup and cooldown at a slower pace I didn't get as many miles in as I would have liked.

Time: 2:00:00
Dist: 14.6
Pace: 8:16/mi. ?

Good to get out after missing last weekend's long run.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Twenty Eight!?

I missed yesterdays run. I'd planned to get out for a couple of hours but just ran out of time and wasn't really motivated to run with high winds and low temps (low 30s).

I was back at work today and the temp at lunch was 28F. I bundled up and walked over to the gym to run on the treadmill. It's easier than running outdoors but not nearly as enjoyable. I decided to try some speedwork and after a 1.5 mile warm-up @ 8:00/mi I ran 4 x 800m @ 3:00 each with 400m slow jogging between. It went fine but it's not the same as real track work.

Overall I managed:

Dist: 4.5mi.
Time: 34:00

I'm toying around with my training but I have no races / goals currently. I have a few ideas for races to try but nothing scheduled yet. I hope to run at least one 50K next year and break my PR in the 10K. I might try running another marathon.

I just hope I can keep the training up with the cold weather.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 4, 2009

cold or boring, pick one.

I missed Wednesday's run staying at home with a sick family so I was motivated to make today's run happen. I walked over to the gym at lunch like I always do with plans of running my 6 mile loop. As I walked it seemed colder than the last few days... much colder. I looked at the weather on my iPhone and saw 34F as the current temp. I had only packed shorts and two shirts to run in. I'd left the running tights and hat at home figuring that it'd be in the mid 40s as it was on Monday. I'd be pretty uncomfortable at the start of the run and maybe barely adequate during the run. I'm a cold weather wimp so I took my run inside to a treadmill.

The plan for today's run was slightly different. I was going to actually do warm-up and cool-down miles. Normally I just get going fast from the start. I'll be doing a sub-7 min pace within the first 1/10th of a mile out of the gym parking lot in the interest of saving time. As I've been reading Run Less Run Faster and looking at their prescribed runs and paces I see that they always recommend warm-up and cool-down as part of the run. No problem if I'm out on the weekend but at work I'm under a little more time pressure. According to my 10K pace from last week I was going to do the warm-up and cool-down miles at an 8:00/mi pace and the middle 4 miles at a mid-tempo pace which was 30 sec slower than my 10K pace or 7:10/mi.

I set the treadmill to a 3% incline and started off with my warm-up mile. It didn't feel all that slow. Maybe I'm supposed to gradually build up to 8:00/mi pace. Next I upped the speed until I was doing a 7:07 pace which was the closest I could get to 7:10. The next few miles felt fast but didn't go by fast enough. I had my iPod on shuffle, watched the other patrons walk by the row of treadmills and tried to ignore the big TVs playing CNN and some other horrible news station. After 2.5 fast miles I really wanted to slow down the pace and was about to do that but remembered the incline so I dropped it down to 1.5% instead of slowing down. That made enough difference that I could keep up the pace for the next mile and a half and make it to my cool down mile.

I'd forgotten how boring running on a treadmill was. I don't know how I did it when I was living in England doing 12 - 15 mile runs on them when the roads were too snowy to run outside. I worry that a bike trainer is going to be horribly boring just like a treadmill, and I haven't bought one yet because of this fear.

In any case I got my run in the books:

6 miles
7:26/mi pace

I'm not training for anything right now. I'm sure I'll go for Chris' 40 at 40 challenge as I love a bit of good natured competition with friends but I don't think I'll settle on a race to enter until at least spring. I have a silly idea that I'd like to run a 50K before then but I'm having trouble finding one around here. I'm doing 16 mile long runs these days mainly because I can and because that's about 2 hours of running for me. I guess I'm saying that I could be smarter about my training but I'm not really training for anything.