Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday Morning Long Runs

I love running my long slow runs (LSR) on Saturday morning, preferably at an early early early hour. Yesterday, I took off at 5:30 for a seven mile run. Not the longest distance, but I am slowly ramping up, sticking to the ten percent rule. The ten percent rule is a common running rule of thumb which states that we should not increase our weekly total distance run by more than 10% of the prior week, or we risk injury. My plan asked me to run 4 of these seven miles at my long slow pace of 10:00min/mile or more, and the last three at a tempo pace of 9:15. I pretty much nailed it and felt good the whole way.

This typical Saturday route starts out with a half mile uphill, then levels out on the canal for more distance than most people need. The Phoenix canal system goes for miles and miles East and West, mostly in one mile segments divided by major cross streets that are designed to scare the living shit out of scampering runners. Since I almost always do an out and back route, the run ends on that same half mile going downhill, which really helps with pacing and the psychological delayed-gratification feeling of finishing fast.

I am also monitoring my Heart Rate (HR) again because I'm trying to identify zones of running effort. If your telescope is strong enough to see the graph above, you can see a HR of low to mid 140's for the first 4 miles then up to around 160 for the last three miles. These zones are different for different people depending on a lot of factors. My 160 will almost never be the same as your 160. Without going into too much detail, these numbers can be used to identify zones of perceived effort. They can be used for a lot more than that, but I'm sticking to perceived effort for now. For me right now in my life, a HR below 150 is an easy rate where I can continue for a long time and hold a conversation with another person (real or imagined) or a 1 year old labrador retriever. On a percentage scale, 100% is my all out run-for-your-life can't do anything but get away from the Boogieman, and 60% is my conversational long run pace. So I would say that the 160 was probably near the 80-85% zone. I could maybe continue at that pace for about 5 miles or so. The more I track HR, the more accurate and precise these measures will become, until I cross-over into data overload and then I put it away for a while.
These Heart rate zones can change over time based on fitness, so it's a good idea for me to wear the HR monitor, at least periodically, for overall accountability and to track changes in my overall running fitness. I'm a huge fan of the Garmin running GPS systems, and I use the Garmin Forerunner 305 with the Garmin HR monitor bra-strap.

"I would be very interested in testing and positively reviewing a brand new Garmin Forerunner 910XT multi-sport trainer", he gratuitously asserted to the Google digital marketing Venus FlyTrap.
Beautiful! Just beautiful!!
I've scheduled a race every month this year, mostly races I've run in the past. but there are a few new venues on the list, and I'm looking forward to competing against Jeph, my younger virtual training partner. I am also continuing to hold to the sweets-free January challenge. I've lost nearly ten pounds of blubber, and I do believe it's making a real difference. My wife is joining me, but she is considering a one day a month cheat-day. I thought about it, but know that one day of cheating will end up with me seeing June on the calendar from a back booth at Arby's.
Bring It!
FYTO 5K is next weekend. Are you registered? RTP has somehow gained another follower, welcome to sporadic randomness!

Monday, January 16, 2012

No Sweets January

No caption as per orders of US Secret Service
I snuck in a new year resolution to abstain completely from sweets for the month of January, and so far, have been successful. We had relatives in town last week and there were many prime opportunities to have dessert, but I used the Nancy Reagan slogan and kept to my fast. As a result of the plan, I have not been eating anything past 6:30pm, have been eating more healthful foods, and by adding on an increased running plan, I have dropped 8 pounds of my planned eventual 25.

I got a really nice email of support from a friend and fellow JMU alumni (Go Dukes!) in Colorado who has been sweets-free for a long time. He claims that it has resulted in much faster running times, more energy, and an overall healthier life. We share the same experience that moderation just doesn't work for us. It's all or nothing. People told me that there would likely be withdrawal symptoms such as headache, fatigue, irritability, etc., but I haven't really felt any of that. Kinda nice. To reiterate, I am sweets-free, not sugar free. It is pretty difficult to go sugar-free, though I am avoiding all the obvious sugary foods. I am also avoiding foods heavy in white flour and other sugar producing carbs. The idea is to eliminate sweets, be reasonable with other foods including eating healthy whenever possible, and to follow a running plan with set running goals. In 2012, I want to break 25:00 in the 5K distance, and 2:00 in the 1/2 marathon distance, and I'd like to drop about 20-25 pounds along the way. He doesn't know it, but Georgia Snail has been a pretty big influence. He dropped a bunch of weight, is running a rigorous running plan, and is a MUCH better runner than he was a year ago.
These kids told the bicycle pacers, "you're almost there!"
What an inspiring blast it was yesterday to see the AZ RnR marathoners go by right in our neighborhood. We live right near mile 10 on the marathon course, and met up with friends and neighbors to watch the racers. It was amazing to see the variety of athletes and to yell words of encouragement. We saw the wheelchair racers, the elite men and women, Adam, EMZ, Demi, and a few other friends. Great job to all who raced yesterday.

Trisha Miller, eventual winner in women's division
"It's aboooouuut this big"
Front Running Men

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 RTP Goals

2011 was a great year, due largely to the birth of our daughter Amelia. She is now almost 5 months old and defining childhood obesity thriving in a spiritually positive household. I have also been a nomad at work, Principalling at four different sites while our new school has been constructed. Now it's done and we move in this week and hopefully return to some sense of normalcy. Blogging has slowed down considerably for want of subject matter, but its definitely time to update the old resolution list and goal set for the year ahead.

  • January Challenge: My buddy Chris and I decided to set a 30 day challenge to jump start 2012. So, we are going to go these next 30 days sugar-free. No processed/refined sugars such as candy, cake, ice cream, soda, cookies, etc. Easy on the sugary fruits and veggies but okay in moderation. Also watch the high sugar producing carbs such as bagels and other foods heavy in white flour. Also, no sugar substitutes such as diet foods or even stevia. No sugar means no sugar. In addition, we are going to run everyday for these 30 days, but the usual 'non-running' days are limited to two miles slow. All will be logged in Myfitnesspal and Daily mile for accountability purposes. Penalties for cheating have not been formally established, but will likely include public humiliation involving a canal run with running bra and VERY short shorty shorts with a brown stain in the back. We will announce this if needed so you can be there to witness/photograph.
  • Follow a running plan for fitness and to set new PR's in the 5K and half marathon distances. My ultimate goal is to run a sub-25 minute 5K and to run a sub 2:00 half marathon. Not sure if I can make both of those this year. The plan will include running my long runs much longer and much slower, and running my short runs a bit longer and much faster. There will also be some speed/track work as the base gets built.
  • Run some trails
  • Race schedule: FYTO and SYTO 5K's, Runner's Den 10K, Pats' Run, ARR Summer Series 5K's, Some kind of race in Central Coast California while we are on vacation there, Grasshopper Bridge 5K, Cactus Cha Cha 7 mile trail run, ARR T'Giving Day Classic, Fiesta Bowl 1/2 marathon. I also need to work in a 1/2 marathon earlier in the year, but I haven't picked one out yet.
  • Ride the bike to school. Easier now that I will be at one site.
  • Enjoy family and friends
That's pretty much it. Not thrilling, but on the other hand, I'm just amazed to be setting goals like this and the see the progress I have made in the past three years. Thanks to all the Loyal RTP followers, and even to the lurkers though you are just plain creepy.

Got any experience with sugar-free? What can I expect? Late night DT's and hallucinogenic dreams about Willy Wonka? Or a much more mild withdrawal and the typical dreams about Oompa Loompas?

Everyman's Dream