Endurance Training (Base Building) – January 2015

This is posting is from Gator Ray's TRAVELS for the month of January 2015 (Base Building Weeks 8 - 10). 19 January 2015 – Base Training Week 10, Day 1 Today really was hot and had a bright blue sky; the forecast high temperature is 73°F. There is, also, a slight (very slight) breeze blowing along the ridge of the Summit Drive hill, though. Yesterday was a recovery day--even though I had given a little thought to completing Saturday's aborted Long Run (but, that thinking occurred Saturday and disappeared on Sunday morning! I may have benefited from a recovery walk, yesterday; but, that did not happen...I did nothing but relax/recover. However, I did decide to continue with my current Base Build program and force myself to actually run the rest of the scheduled runs at my current, calculated, easy pace. Endurance Running - Week 10 of 13 Weeks, Day 1 of 4 Days Surprisingly, my legs felt fairly fresh at the beginning of today's WU and I felt very good and optimistic. During the first six minutes of today's WU, I could tell that my left achilles still had some residual soreness from Saturday's incidents; but, as those first six minutes ticked off, the soreness eased and I was ready for the three 20-second strides. The Summit Drive steep grade proved that my body had not yet fully recovered from Saturday's 8 mile, aborted Long Run. However, when I reached the crest, I thought that I would just enjoy the run, hopefully at whatever slow pace I might run, rather than push myself to maintain a faster pace. Actually, the run was going quite well 'til about Mile 3.5-4.0, when my left achilles gave me a brief sensation of weakness and the soreness in my achilles returned. The incident of weakness was so brief that I easily recovered; however, during the remainder of today's run, I experienced the sensation about five more times. Each time, I noticed that my cadence had slowed, I was slightly overstriding, I was leaning from the waist, and my glutes were not involved (or were minimally involved) in propelling me forward. In my understanding, those are all signs of poor form--I had reverted to my old running form. And, with each achilles' incident, today, the soreness in my left achilles increased. I do not know what caused my reverting to poor form--maybe, I'll never know--but, focusing upon keeping/maintaining my cadence up, leaning from my ankles (not from my waist), and engaging my glutes; i.e., running with good running form, eased the soreness in my left achilles. So, after the end of today's scheduled training run, I allowed myself, during the KD (cool down) to slow my cadence, but continued to focus upon my running form as well as I could. Tonight, my left achilles is definitely sore--not incapacitating, though--just sore. So, it'll be a one, 200mg ibuprofen tablet night. Hopefully, the soreness will be gone tomorrow for the scheduled, easy pace, Mid-Week training run (8 miles). Happy Running!!! 17 January 2015 – Base Training Week 9, Day 3 (Run Terminated, Injury-Left Achilles) Today was down right hot; it was 68°F, when I left home for today's training session. The forecast high temperature for today was 70°F. Early this morning, I was hesitant to run today...after all, today's scheduled Long Run is 16 miles, plus a one mile WU; I felt okay (except for a headache); but, with the issues of this Training Week 9 and Training Week 8, I wasn't sure how the additional mileage would affect me. I shrugged off those nagging thoughts to began today's Long Run; and, after a one mile WU, I approached the steep grade on Summit Drive.
Looking up Steep Grade of Summit Drive - Near Beginning of Grade
Looking up Steep Grade of Summit Drive - Near Beginning of Grade
Looking up Steep Grade of Summit Drive - About 0.10 Mile from Beginning of Grade
Looking up Steep Grade of Summit Drive - About 0.10 Mile from Beginning of Grade
Looking up Steep Grade of Summit Drive - Near 1/3 Point
Looking up Steep Grade of Summit Drive - Near 1/3 Point
Looking up Steep Grade of Summit Drive - Near 1/2 Point
Looking up Steep Grade of Summit Drive - Near 1/2 Point
Looking up Steep Grade of Summit Drive - Approaching Crest
Looking up Steep Grade of Summit Drive - Approaching Crest
Summit Drive - Crest of Steep Grade, Looking at Next Grade
Summit Drive - Crest of Steep Grade, Looking at Next Grade
Endurance Running - Week 9 of 13 Weeks, Day 3 of 4 Days I felt as though I never really recovered from the Summit Drive steep grade, today; but, I continued running, nonetheless. At Mile 6 of today's session, I stopped running to take a one minute break, to drink some water, and to walk briefly--I planed to do the same again at Mile 12. However, about Mile 7.5, my left achilles felt like it was giving way; but, I recovered. However, right at Mile 8.0 of Training Run, it happened again; so, I terminated the run and walked back home. I'd rather terminate a training session than to risk injury just to complete it. [Those Training Run mile markers do include the 1 mi WU.] Near the end of Thursday's posting (15 Jan 2015), I posed a question to myself: "What changed from Training Week 7 and this week, Training Week 9?" Firstly, in Training Week 7, a holiday week, my training schedule was rearranged and the Long Run mileage was increased by nearly two miles, just six days after the previous Long Run. Secondly, in Training Week 7, only one day of rest separated my Long Run and a shorter, but a more intense run (pace was significantly faster). Thirdly, the next week's first run was scheduled with only one rest day between those runs. After that, in Training Week 8, my average HR began to increase (unless I slowed my pace). Furthermore (with the exception of this Training Week 9 after omitting the first short run of the week), I was not able to run faster paces than I was running in Training Weeks 8 and 9 and my legs were tired and sluggish. I believe that both increasing average training HR and tired legs are signs of over training, or lack of recovery between training sessions; either of those can lead to injuries. [Also, I, daily, record my resting HR; and, for the past two weeks, my resting HR has been elevated: another sign of over-training, or lack of recovery between training sessions.] At this point in my Base Building Training, I can either drop back to repeat Training Week 7 and move forward from there or add additional recovery days to the training schedule; i.e., change from a 7-day micro-cycle to a 12-day micro-cycle. I'm hesitant changing to a longer micro-cycle and I really like the 7-day cycle; but, an extended micro-cycle may well be the better option, allowing me to add body-weight, strength training to my program. An even better option might be to drop back to Training Week 7 (moving forward from there), to change to a longer micro-cycle, and to add body-wight, strength training. Decisions...decisions...and, all I want is to continue running (and, I'd really like to run another marathon either this year or next year). Happy Running!!! 15 January 2015 – Base Training Week 9, Day 2 Today was warmer than any day for the past week and was mostly sunny; today's high temperature was 59°F. I started today's run with a 1 mile WU, as usual; however, during the first mile of the training run, which includes a steep hill (grade) on Summit Drive, my legs began to feel slightly more tired and sluggish than they did last Tuesday (13 Jan 2015)--which was a surprise to me, since they felt so fresh during that run (after two days of recovery). Endurance Running - Week 9 of 13 Weeks, Day 2 of 4 Days After the run, my analysis of the running data indicates that my average HR (heart rate) was slightly higher than I would expect based upon my average pace from more than two weeks ago, when I started showing signs of training issues. That fact may be meaningful, or not; but, it could also indicate over-training or inadequate recovery time due to age. What changed from Training Week 7 and this week, Training Week 9? I'll wait to see whether any other issues materialize this week, or next, before I try to discover whether there is some pattern emerging or I'm just being paranoid. Happy Running!!! 13 January 2015 – Base Training Week 9, Day 1 (Injury-Right Calf) Today was cool and overcast; the forecast high temperature for today was 45°F, but it was only 41°F when I left home to go run. After a few minutes, I was not feeling the cool air at all and was enjoying the run. A couple of days rest made a real difference in the freshness of my legs. Even from the beginning of today's session, the only things on which I was focused were my running cadence and enjoying the run...except the Hilltop Ridge steep grade, I wasn't enjoying the hill!
Looking up Hilltop Ridge Steep Grade - Near 1/3 Point
Looking up Hilltop Ridge Steep Grade - Near 1/3 Point
Looking up Hilltop Ridge Steep Grade - Near 1/2 Point
Looking up Hilltop Ridge Steep Grade - Near 1/2 Point
Looking up Hilltop Ridge Steep Grade - Near 2/3 Point
Looking up Hilltop Ridge Steep Grade - Near 2/3 Point
Looking up Hilltop Ridge Steep Grade - Near 3/4 Point
Looking up Hilltop Ridge Steep Grade - Near 3/4 Point [That's not smoke or mist; it's a temporarily fogged lens from my holding the camera]
Deer watching Runner - About Mile 2.5
Deer watching Runner - About Mile 1.5 (Training Run)
Endurance Running - Week 9 of 13 Weeks, Day 1 of 4 Days The run was going well through Mile 2 of the training run (Mile 3, including the 1 mi WU); but, soon afterward, my right calf began to tighten (from experience, I knew that to be a precursor to a major cramp) and by the time I had passed Mile 3 (training run), the calf began to cramp, even though I had consciously slowed my pace and, not consciously, my cadence had slowed by nearly 15 spm (steps per minutes) [>7% reduction]. As soon as I realized that my cadence had dropped, I also realized that my running form seemed to have reverted to the form from which I have been trying to leave behind (a poor, overstriding, slower cadence, running form). I really had to fully concentrate upon my good running form for about the next 1/2 mile or more; but, within about 1.5-2 miles, I was rewarded with the pain in my cramping calf muscles subsiding; so, for the rest of today's training session and KD, I focused upon my running form--nothing else, just my running form. Analysis of today's running data, shows that my cadence had, fairly well, returned to pre-cramping levels and, I am surprised to see, that my overall pace from that point forward was faster. Faster than I realized, since I had tried to maintain the same perceived effort throughout today's session. When I returned home, I used a foam roller on my calf muscles of both legs. They were both tight and painful to the foam roller; but, I continued rolling them for about 5 minutes. Tonight, about 5-6 hours later, my right calf is painful (result of cramping) and my left calf is not. Tomorrow will be a rest day; so, I'll be using the foam roller, stretching, and ice tomorrow; but, tonight, it'll be ibuprofen before bedtime. I hope to avoid a calf injury and miss training. [Last April (2014), I had severe calf muscle cramps, couldn't run for several weeks, and wasn't able, even, to begin very light, short, easy pace (i.e., slow) running for six weeks.] If, on Thursday (15 Jan 2015), I'm not able to run my scheduled easy pace session, I may have to search for a registered massage therapist (or a physical therapist) to release (i.e., to massage) the cramping in my calf muscles. Happy Running!!! 10 January 2015 - Base Training Week 8, Day 4 This morning was cool and rainy with hardly any breeze at all; icicles (they were small) hung from the overhead utility lines. Today's high temperature was 38°F and, by 14:00 (2 PM), the temperature had already dropped to 37°F, but the rain had stopped. Clouds hung fairly low--I estimated they were only about 200-250 feet above the elevation of the RV campground where we are currently living--and, my estimate was confirmed before I arrived at the top of the steep hill. I was running in a mist and the temperature was definitely lower at the top of the hill. Endurance Running - Week 8 of 13 Weeks, Day 4 of 4 Days While running today, I made a decision to run all of today's training miles within the one neighborhood community along the ridge line of the one steep hill--I was being wimpy and didn't want to have to try to run up the second steep hill, as I had done for last week's Long Run. The good news is that I wasn't tired; but, my legs certainly weren't as fresh as last week's Long Run. However, toward the end of today's training session, my legs--and most other muscles in my body--were complaining; i.e., they, all, were tired and I was exhausted. After I got home and went inside, my legs began to ache; so, I lay on the floor with my feet elevated--one minute per mile of running. After lying there for ~16 minutes, the aching had subsided; but, when I started to get up, my hip adductor muscles (thigh muscles of both legs, which stabilize the hips and pull the legs toward the midline) started to cramp. I managed to stand up and stretch, which relaxed my adductors. I walked to the refrigerator and poured a glass of kefir (actually, a Lifeway non-fat kefir smoothie) [to supply carbohydrates and protein to my system] and dug into a container of Fage non-fat, plain, Greek yogurt [to supply more protein and some carbs]. About 30 min later, I felt recovered enough to wash my Garmin FR620 and associated HRM/chest strap and go take a bath. One unusual incident did happen during my training session today:

Somewhere between Mile 13.5 and Mile 13.6, a beautiful malamute bitch (female dog) came bolting toward me; she circled me and began jumping--it was obvious that she was friendly and just wanted to play; so, I put my hand down at my side and she came up sniffed my gloved hand and started licking it before bolting down the road ahead of me. I've been running through that particular neighborhood community for nearly two months and this is only the second time anyone's dog has run loose...at least, when I've been on the roadways.

She was really well cared for and had a lavender collar; so, I thought she must live very close to where I was currently running and that she would return home...but NO, she ran along with me (mostly about 100 yards [~100 meters] ahead) veering into neighbors' yards, into the brush, and into the woods; but, each time, she would always run back to see where I was running and would run past me, then take up her typical "point" position ahead of me. She seemed to be enjoying the sport of running with someone that was not so fast that she couldn't take side trips to investigate the neighborhood.

As I was running down the steep hill (~Mile 14.4), a young couple in a pickup truck were heading up the hill and spotted the dog--at that time, she was about 100 ft (~30.5 m) ahead of me. I successfully attracted their attention and saw that they were stopping; so, I, too, stopped. I explained that the dog had been running with me for about a mile and wouldn't go home--by that time the dog had moved about 100 yds ahead of me and waited. The young man wasn't too interested in chasing the dog and I was too tired to run any faster than I was, which certainly wasn't fast enough to catch her. However, before the couple departed, the young man did say that he would post a notice on the community website.

To shorten this already long story, the dog followed me back to my home, but stayed a couple of hundred feet from me--she just wanted to keep running; but, I was too fatigued to do anything but go inside to rest. I did look though the windows for her and would have gone out to try to hold her for authorities, but could not see where she had gone...hopefully, she has found her way to her home. [I know that, if she were my dog that had gone missing, I would be grieved for the loss, even if the loss were temporary.]

Happy Running!!! 08 January 2015 - Base Training Week 8, Day 3 Today was mostly overcast with few (very few) openings of blue sky and cool (high temperature: 38°F). I finally convinced myself that it wasn't getting any warmer when the temperature dropped to 37°F; so, I changed into my running clothes and bolted out the door. [Okay, truth in advertising, I exited through the door, same as usual; I didn't bolt! <a little poetic license> ] Endurance Running - Week 8 of 13 Weeks, Day 3 of 4 Days I was so jubilant that, from the very beginning of the WU, my legs were not tired today (no, my whole body). Also, it was obvious that, during my WU, my pace was much quicker than the two runs earlier this week and easier to maintain. The steep hill at the first training mile was not any easier and my pace was on par with a slow walk. After the second or third training mile, I believe that I had overcome the effects of the steep hill and I began to enjoy the run. However, I noticed, about that time, that my HR (heart rate) seemed higher than I wanted; and, the Garmin FR620 confirmed it. So, I slowed my pace but had to continue focusing upon slowing my pace. I have to confess that slowing my pace is easier when going up hill, even slight grades. <big grin> My next scheduled run is supposed to be a 14-miler, Long Run, on Saturday (10 Jan 2015); however, the whole area of the Texas Hill Country is forecast to receive freezing rain and below freezing temperatures (<32°F, 0°C). I've never had the pleasure (?) of running in such temperatures, NOR in freezing rain and icy roadways; so, we'll have to see whether I get out the door to run on Saturday for my last run this week--it may be that my last run this week actually will be run on the first day of next week. Each week's Long Run is the most important run; i.e., any other training day's run can be omitted without loss of fitness/endurance, but, the Long Run is too important to omit--that's my understanding of my base building training. Happy Running!!! 08 January 2015 - Base Training Week 8, Day 3 Today was mostly overcast with few (very few) openings of blue sky and cool (high temperature: 38°F). I finally convinced myself that it wasn't getting any warmer when the temperature dropped to 37°F; so, I changed into my running clothes and bolted out the door. [Okay, truth in advertising, I exited through the door, same as usual; I didn't bolt! <a little poetic license> ] Endurance Running - Week 8 of 13 Weeks, Day 3 of 4 Days I was so jubilant that, from the very beginning of the WU, my legs were not tired today (no, my whole body). Also, it was obvious that, during my WU, my pace was much quicker than the two runs earlier this week and easier to maintain. The steep hill at the first training mile was not any easier and my pace was on par with a slow walk. After the second or third training mile, I believe that I had overcome the effects of the steep hill and I began to enjoy the run. However, I noticed, about that time, that my HR (heart rate) seemed higher than I wanted; and, the Garmin FR620 confirmed it. So, I slowed my pace but had to continue focusing upon slowing my pace. I have to confess that slowing my pace is easier when going up hill, even slight grades. <big grin> My next scheduled run is supposed to be a 14-miler, Long Run, on Saturday (10 Jan 2015); however, the whole area of the Texas Hill Country is forecast to receive freezing rain and below freezing temperatures (<32°F, 0°C). I've never had the pleasure (?) of running in such temperatures, NOR in freezing rain and icy roadways; so, we'll have to see whether I get out the door to run on Saturday for my last run this week--it may be that my last run this week actually will be run on the first day of next week. Each week's Long Run is the most important run; i.e., any other training day's run can be omitted without loss of fitness/endurance, but, the Long Run is too important to omit--that's my understanding of my base building training. Happy Running!!! 06 January 2015 - Base Training Week 8, Day 2 The weather, this morning, was cool but, as noon approached, was warming. There may have been a cloud in the bright blue sky, but I don't recall seeing one. When I left home (currently, located in the Texas Hill Country) for today's mid-week run, the temperature had already risen to 58°F, and there was no breeze. Endurance Running - Week 8 of 13 Weeks, Day 2 of 4 Days Right after I started the WU (warm up) for today's training session, I realized that my legs (and hips) were still tired; but, by that time, I was already down the road and thought that, after the WU, my muscles might settle into an easy running pace and, hopefully, a reduced running effort--it didn't work out that way, though. The silver lining is that my muscles are not sore. During the entire run today, I had to concentrate on keeping my cadence at 180 spm or higher. I wasn't able to just enjoy running today; the run required mental and physical effort. But, tomorrow is a rest day--Janet and I are meeting RV friends in Fredericksburg, TX, to be tourists and do touristy things--and I'm planning for Thursday's (08 Jan 2015) running session (4 mi) to be run at a true easy pace (~11:00/mi, if I can force myself to run that slow)--I may, even, walk the steep hill, just to keep the overall effort lower. Happy Running!!! 05 January 2015 - Base Training Week 8, Day 1 First, I've made a change in my base training schedule; I have reduced the total number of training weeks from 16 to 13. I was reviewing my full training schedule on Sunday (04 Jan 2015) when I realized that the last three weeks of the schedule are taper weeks--recall that the program which I'm using is for 1st time marathon training (the goal is to finish a marathon without regard to pace or finishing time). Since I am using this current program for base building, I'll follow up this program with a maintenance training program. Then, if I can find a marathon in November or December of this year, I'll start training for the marathon. That's my plan today. Today was another cool day (48°F) but with a clear, bright sky with few clouds. I was surprised that I still feel fatigued--as though resting yesterday was inadequate, still, to recover from last weeks training runs; my legs were not sore (DOMS) but they were tired throughout the entire session. Endurance Running - Week 8 of 13 Weeks, Day 1 of 4 Days Last Saturday (03 Jan 2015), I stated that I lack the fitness to run a marathon--regardless what the pace--but, today, I question whether I still have the fitness to run a half marathon. Yes, I wrote that with tongue-in-cheek; but, after the easy pace run last Saturday, I really expected Sunday's rest day would leave me fully recovered for today's run session--it didn't!! So, the question is: Am I pushing my training too fast (over training)? Or, is it due to my age? Unfortunately, I suspect that the symptoms (and the cure) for either alternative will be the same; so, maybe, it isn't important which is the correct question. The cure for over training or for tired, old runners is sure to be, I feel certain, add more recovery time between running sessions and SLOW DOWN. I'll see how I feel during tomorrow's mid-week (6 miles) training run. Maybe, I'll have fresh legs, tomorrow, and find this is a minor issue, not a developing one. Happy Running!!!

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