Endurance Training (Base Building) – December 2014

This is posting is from Gator Ray's TRAVELS for the month of December 2014; however, this posting includes all of Base Training Week 7 (01 & 03 January 2015). 03 January 2015 - Base Training Week 7, Day 3 The weather was warm today [~63°F, 52% RH (relative humidity)], when Janet and I returned from meeting her younger step-brother and his family for lunch in Floresville, TX; and, since the sun would not set for more than an hour and a half, I changed into running clothes and headed out for an Easy Pace Training Run. I had jogged less than a 1/2 mile, when I realized that I, really, had not allowed myself adequate time for recovery--old geezers need to allow more time for recovery than younger runners. In particular, both my hamstrings and quads were still sore from my Long Run on New Year's Day 2015. I soon found that, if my running form was correct, my quads and hamstring muscles were not stressed; i.e., I didn't notice that they were, in deed, sore (DOMS) [At least, my feeling their soreness was lessened]. Endurance Running - Week 7 of 13 Weeks, Day 3 of 4 Days I think that my sore leg muscles, actually, helped me to keep good running form, even though I, also, felt tired overall. By the time I had crested that steep hill, I was huffin'-n-puffin' and was having to apply some effort just to keep my cadence up (close) to what I want to maintain (180 spm). So, I decided to just try to maintain an easy, consistent effort (by feel) and to keep an eye on maintaining my running cadence; thinking that, due to feeling tired, would produce a slow, even pace. I was wrong about the slow, even pace! Or, maybe, I have seen an improvement in my pace due to stronger glues and just haven't allowed myself to run faster paces thus far in my training. Mostly, I have tried to keep my training pace limited between 10:00/mi and 11:00/mi; I haven't been altogether successful in doing that; but, better than today's running pace. As I understand the principal, in "Base Building," the object is to develop the body's cardiovascular system (which includes developing the body's ability to utilize the oxygen transported to the muscles cells in burning the glycogen stored in those cells and in converting fat to glycogen for fuel) by slow paced runs and by slowly increasing the distance or time spent in the running session each four to six weeks period during the base building cycle. So, what does that mean for a runner? That, while developing some speed during the cycle is important, the runner has to run those unbearably slow running paces; and, even though, the runner feels like the effort is an easy one, the runner absolutely must train, for the majority of running sessions, at the easy paces developed by Running Coach Jack Daniels, PhD, and prescribed by his formulae and tables. Coach Daniels' paces are those for the individual runner and are based upon the runner's current fitness (not the fitness that the runner hopes to be on race day, but the runner's current fitness). [For finding your own set of paces, use one (or both) of the VDOT online Calculators by RunBayou and by AttackPoint, links in sidebar frame.] Technically, as I understand Coach Daniels' book, his prescribed paces are for training and for projecting races paces for various racing distances...assuming that the runner's endurance is sufficient for the distance; e.g., those calculations give me a projected running pace [~9:46/mi] for a full marathon [4:16:03] based upon my current VDOT [35.68, usually round down to the integer 35]; however, today I'm not capable of running that distance (26.2 miles, or 42.2k). Happy Running!!! 01 January 2015 - Base Training Week 7, Day 2 I managed to get out of my wimpy mode--with some prodding from my wife--and went out for my first run of the new year, a mid-afternoon run. The weather was chilly (~40°F) with a light, misting rain and very little breeze. I dressed in long, compression tights; a long-sleeved, compression shirt; and a runner's winter skull cap. By the end of my WU and first training mile, I realized that I had overdressed--I was sweating...quite a bit! I discovered that the previous two days without running seemed to have a positive effect on today's running session (at least, for the WU [1 mi] and scheduled training run [12 mi]); in fact, I was able to maintain a reasonable pace--disregarding Mile 2 and Mile 9, each of which included a steep hill (~10% grade)--for ~14 miles before my legs started to complain and I slowed my pace. Endurance Running - Week 7 of 13 Weeks, Day 2 of 4 Days [My 1st Training Run of 2015] Several times, I've made a big deal of those steep hills--complaining about how much effort is required and how slow my pace is going uphill--and, even though they are not my favorite part of a training run, I have to credit those same hills with strengthening my glutes and my quads. I believe that my pace hasn't, yet, improved from stronger glutes; but, my running form has improved! Running those steep hills has strengthened my glutes to the point that my running form, now, makes use of those muscles; i.e., they are activated during running. Previously, my glutes weren't activated; my running gait resembled more of a walking gait than running and I was overstriding; i.e., my leading foot was landing well ahead of my center of mass and I was leaning forward from the waist. In good running form, the leading foot strikes the running surface under (or very nearly under) the runner's center of mass and the runner leans forward from the ankles. Usually, the faster the pace, the greater the forward lean; i.e., sprinters have greater forward lean than marathoners. However, during most endurance running the runner's forward lean is not more than a few degrees from vertical. Happy New Year! And, Happy Running!! 29 December 2014 - Base Training Week 7, Day 1 Today was a little warm to be running in a long sleeve tee shirt; but, I wore one anyway. The weather was clear, sunny, and very little breeze; the temperature and relative humidity were 63F and 42%. The run was scheduled for four miles; and, I planned an easy pace, but I didn't expect that I would have to concentrate to keep up my running cadence! Today's run was back among those steep hills, just south of Sattler, TX; however, the only wildlife that I saw during today's run was one, lone doe standing in a small clearing behind a line of trees along the roadway. Endurance Running - Week 7 of 13 Weeks, Day 1 of 4 Days Repeating what I just indicated: I was really surprised that, in today's run, I couldn't just run (and focus upon the joy of running), but had to focus upon maintaining my running cadence. Even my cadence during the WU was slower than usual--I'm not as concerned that my cadence running up the steep hill of the first training mile was lower than normal (those steep hills are always an effort: both cadence and pace). Happy Running! 26 December 2014 - Base Training Week 6, Day 4 After a day of feasting at the Triple R [the River Retreat of my BIL (brother-in-law) and SIL (sister-in-law), located on the banks of the Colorado River just a few miles from Matagorda, TX], I woke up late (~08:30), was still stuffed from Christmas night's supper, and didn't feel like going for a run. But, two hours later, my wife and her SIL shamed me into running as they laced up and headed out the door, even though they were dodging light, misting, rain showers passing through the area. So, I, too, put on my running clothes and headed out for my week's Long Run, a scheduled training run, of 11 miles plus a one mile WU. The weather was not ideal, but not too bad, either; the morning was overcast, misting intermittent rains, 64F, but 100% relative humidity. Endurance Running - Week 6 of 13 Weeks, Day 4 of 4 Days During the first several miles, I was occupied with observing neighborhood scenery. But, the neighborhood environment was left behind and was replaced with rural, ranch and farm land; so, I was occupied with watching cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and tilled soil. Soon, eight miles had clicked by and I was at a turn around point to begin retracing most of my route...nine miles, and I, now, became more occupied with keeping my cadence up and my pace slow...and, soon, my Garmin indicated I had completed the 12 miles for my Long Run; but, I was still more than a mile from my starting point. So, of course, I continued running. I don't know whether I was bored with the repeated scenery, with the weather, or with the run itself or was just tired; but, after those 12 training miles, I felt like quitting--I'm sure it was mental, rather than physical because I did not seem to have any trouble maintaining the easy (slow) pace. I ran a total of nearly 35 miles, this week--about 3.5 miles farther than last week's total mileage (~10% increase). With next week being another holiday week, we'll have to see whether or not I can get all four runs completed. Happy Running! 24 December 2014 - Base Training Week 6, Day 3 Today was cool, but not as cool as yesterday and not nearly as breezy. It was a good day for a run; however, it was my third consecutive day of training. I don't like training on more than two consecutive days, primarily because it doesn't allow enough recovery time--especially, for a very senior adult. But, all three runs this week have been easy pace training runs and tomorrow is Christmas Day (no running on Christmas Day--that's a day to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ). Endurance Running - Week 6 of 13 Weeks, Day 3 of 4 Days Running three consecutive training days did produce slower pacing each mile than the same run two days ago. That's just as I might have predicted. Now, however, I plan a few consecutive days without training, I should be fully recovered and my muscles should be filled with glycogen; so, after Christmas, my Long Training Run for the week should be a good run. Merry Christmas! And, Happy running. 23 December 2014 - Base Training Week 6, Day 2 Today was a cool and breezy day, a good day for running. The ambient temperature was about 55F for the entire run; I don't really know what the wind speed might have been but, I'm guessing, it was in excess of 12 mph. The wind caused me to feel cool (chilly) until near the end of Mile-3 of the training run, when I started sweating and feeling warm; and, that's about when I really started to enjoy the run; i.e., just running. Unlike yesterday's run, today's run felt good, right from the beginning of my WU. I didn't look at my Garmin 620 during the run, except to acknowledge each mile ticking by. As usual, though, running up the steep hill, at the beginning of my training run, required a lot of effort and was very difficult to maintain my cadence and training pace up that hill; but, today, I did maintain close to the cadence that I try to run, 180 spm; I only dropped to 176 spm on the way up--never mind my pace! Endurance Running - Week 6 of 13 Weeks, Day 2 of 4 Days Today's training run was scheduled for 5 miles; so, with my one mile WU, my KD was two miles: 8 miles, total. I could have shortened the KD by taking only two laps around the loop of Wild Turkey Run [the name of the street], rather than three; but, I just felt so good running and was really enjoying the time outdoors. While I cannot say that I like the steep hills at the beginning of my training runs, I believe that they have added strength to my running, especially to my glutes [gluteus maximus/medius/minimus, aka fanny muscles] and have improved my running form. Merry Christmas and Happy running! 22 December 2014 - Base Training Week 6, Day 1 Today's training run was scheduled for 4 miles; but, my route was 6.49 mi, including the 1 mi (mile) WU and a 1.49 mi KD (kool down) to return to the starting place (home). What really surprised me is that, from the very beginning of today's run (WU through KD), I felt tired, without energy to complete the run. Boy, that steep hill nearly brought my training run to a training walk; but, I persevered and maintained my cadence (sort of maintained it), even though my pace was a walking speed. Endurance Running - Base Building, Week 6 of 13 Weeks, Day 1 of 4 Days Let me define two terms, as I use them.

Pace is running (or walking) speed, stated in "minutes/mile" (min/mi or min:sec/mile); so, today's average pace would be indicated as "10:25/mi." Cadence is the number of steps per unit of time, usually stated in "steps/minute" (steps/min or spm). Some runners and coaches define the "number of steps" by counting each time the left foot or the right foot strikes the ground; e.g., 92 spm; but, I define "number of steps" by counting each time the left foot strikes the ground and the right foot strikes the ground;" e.g., 184 spm. [Both examples represent the same cadence.]

Merry Christmas!!! and Happy running! 20 December 2014 - Base Training Week 5, Day 4 Today was the day scheduled for this week's Long Run. Recall that I'm repeating training Week 5 of base training; the schedule calls for a 10 mile run; so, I added the 1 mile WU and ran ten, easy paced miles...but, at the end of my training run, since I was about 1 mile from home, I continued to run until I returned to my starting point (aka, home). Endurance Running - Base Building, Week 5 of 13 Weeks, Day 4 of 4 Days The day was cool and windy (~55ºF) and the sky was overcast--a good day for a Long Run! I planned to run about 11:00/mile pace and believed that should be no problem, since I had planned to run both steep hills; in fact, I actually walked from base to crest of the second steep hill! Today, I took my camera with me and there were a few deer and a roadrunner, which crossed in front of me; but, it took so long getting the camera out of my pocket that the deer had long disappeared into the dense foliage and, well, the roadrunner had run into someone's yard and disappeared as well...maybe next week I can snap a few photos of wildlife. Trying to get fit and to keep fit! Who would think that running can be fun!!! Happy Running!!! 18 December 2014 - Base Training Week 5, Day 3 Today's run started out to be an easy pace run--1 mile WU + 3 mile Easy Pace--but, it turned into a Medium Pace Run. Endurance Running - Base Building, Week 5 of 13 Weeks, Day 3 of 4 Days Actually, during the today's training, I wasn't paying attention to my pace at all; I was, simply, enjoying the run. Yes, I did notice when I had completed the 3 miles of today's scheduled training; but, I was feeling great and decided to just keep running. However, I came to the point on the roadway where I could take one or the other fork in the road--both forks lead to 10+% grade hills that are about 1/2 mile to the crest--so, I came to my senses and returned home! After I returned home and uploaded the data from my Garmin FR620 (GPS Watch), I was amazed to find that as the run progressed (after the mile that included the steep hill) my pace actually improved! [Note that my fourth training mile (mile five of the run) was a record of running down the steep hill--which is much easier than running up the steep hill--and is excluded from my analysis.] Happy running! 16 December 2014 - Base Training Week 5, Day 2 After yesterday's Medium Pace Run, I decided that today's training run should be closer to an easy pace than yesterday's. Besides, the schedule called for a 5 mile, mid-week run. Once again, that first hill (~10.5% grade) drained my strength! Endurance Running - Base Building, Week 5 of 13 Weeks, Day 2 of 4 Days The route that I've run, yesterday and today, is fairly heavily wooded. Today's run must have spooked the local deer population because there were several sets of does and one set of two stags (bucks) racing across the roadway within a couple of hundred feet in front of me. The first set of does crossed less than one hundred feet in front of me just as I was cresting that initial hill; I was so focused upon just struggling up the hill that the appearance of those does really startled me (somewhat of an understatement!!!). Maybe, I should consider taking a camera with me the next time that I go for an easy pace run so that I can document those encounters? Although the weather was moderate and windy when I left to run, I was sweating profusely by the time that I got to training mile three; and, the wind was not adequate to keep me feeling cool. But, I will state that the easy pace run was refreshing and, well, easy <no pun intended>. For the record, my easy pace is, currently, in the range of 11:07/mile - 11:15/mile. To establish the pace range, I use two, online sources (both sources use calculations found in Daniels' Running Formula, Second Edition, by Jack Daniels, PhD), which calculate running paces (the paces are based upon my current fitness) that differ from each other...hence, a range of paces. The online sources that I use are:

AttackPoint and RunBayou.

To begin the process, just enter your results from a recent race and the race distance; then, click the "Calculate" button. If you haven't participated in a race, recently, just go for a timed practice run (5k or longer) and use those results. If you have a GPS watch/HRM (heart rate monitor), your results will be more accurate; but, if you don't, measure the appropriate distance and use a stop watch. For younger runners; i.e., age less than five decades , I would suggest that, after about 4-5 weeks of consistent training, a timed 5k practice run should be performed to update your training paces due to improving fitness; but, for older runners (also, new or inexperienced runners), I suggest performing a timed 5k training run every 5-6 weeks of consistent training. I recommend, also, that you keep a log of your training and, especially, results of your races and timed practice runs; and, record and keep your calculated training paces from one (or both) of the online calculators. Happy Running 15 December 2014 - Resume Endurance Training On 07 December 2014, I ran the San Antonio Half Marathon; and, I performed pretty well for an old guy [Official time: 2:02:08]. But, during this past week--between the foot race and today--I simply ran two short recovery workouts and one 10-miler recovery workout. But, beginning today, I've resumed training at Week 5 of a 16 13 week schedule. BTW, I'm planning to follow (more or less) the training schedule from The Non-Runners' Marathon Trainer, by David Whitsett et al. (It's the same training plan that I used in 2011 to, successfully, prepare for the Marine Corps Marathon, Official time: 4:34:51). However, one modification that I've made to the plan is that I've added a one mile WU (warm up) at the beginning of the scheduled workout; also, I, usually, include three, 20 second strides in each WU, but not if there is a steep (8% or greater) grade within the WU mile. [Twenty second strides, as I use the term, are brief, running intervals during which I build my speed, within about 5 seconds, to a 5k race pace (currently, 8:18/mile - 8:26/mile pace) or faster; I hold that race pace for about 10 seconds; and then, I reduce my speed to the workout pace, within about 5 seconds. Other duration strides; e.g., 30 second strides, 60 second strides, etc., use the same buildup and slowdown timing but use the appropriate "hold" pace duration to make the total stride time to equal the duration required. Each stride is separated from the next stride by easy pace running (currently, 11:07/mile - 11:15/mile pace) for 20-to-120 seconds, depending upon my fitness at the time of the workout.] Endurance Running - Base Building, Week 5 of 13 Weeks, Day 1 of 4 Days I'm not yet training for a marathon; I'm just building my fitness base with this training. I may run a few more half marathons over the next several months, just to verify that my fitness continues to improve. My plan is to reach a consistent 35+ miles/week, running four days/week, before beginning serious training for a marathon. I hope to find a marathon for the October-December 2015 time frame, which will allow me to complete a full 24 weeks of marathon training...without injury. I've discovered that traveling around North America and spending less than 2-3 weeks at any one location makes training (even base building) difficult; so, we'll see how it goes. Happy Running!

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