Thursday, October 22, 2009

10.22.09 - Back to Blogging

OK. I am bowing to the occasional, though consistent, pressure from GZ to start blogging again. I plan on keeping up with it, but we'll see...

I assume I'll be using this forum for discussing my training, musing on the wacky world of running (and the wacky world as well when necessary), and just documenting some of the day to day happenings in my life.

So, what's been going on with my running (and yes, it is MY running)? Why have I not raced since July 27, 2006 (~3 years & 3 months ago)?

I had foot surgery over 1 1/2 years ago - removing a sick sesamoid bone from my big toe joint that had apparently been stress fractured for over 2 years. That actually followed over 1 1/2 years of life without racing (and more time than that of pain free running).

The recovery from the foot surgery has come in fits and starts. My first post-surgery run took place on September 24, 2008. I finished 2008 with a grand total of 348.5 treadmill miles. I first ran outside on February 3, 2009. But based on how my foot and form felt, I rarely had the confidence that I'd be able to progress to actual TRAINING anytime soon. I also spent a lot of time on the Concept 2 indoor rowing ergometer and Precor elliptical machine. So while I hadn't done much running "training" since 2006, I think I could say that for much of the time, I'd stayed "fit."

So I was running in 2009. Through July, I had put in the following months of mileage:
  • January 224M
  • February 178.4M
  • March 182M
  • April 89.2M
  • May 147.5M
  • June 146M
  • July 194M
Then a few things came together. In early August, I happened to start putting in a little more mileage, and had a short trip to the Tetons with the family and in-laws. I had a 13.2M (2:04:20) trail run up & back the Cache Creek from Jackson. And I had an epic 20 mile Lake Solitude hike in the National Park. When I came back, I found myself increasingly motivated to put in some bigger miles and potentially take a stab at a comeback. The other element that came in to play were some of the discussions with GZ and Tim on MAF training.

The more I discussed it, read about it, and thought about it, the more it seemed to make sense for this point in my running. I had (and have) no races lined up. I was still coming off of a long-term injury break. And I wanted to try something different. In numerous back & forths with Tim, I settled on a MAF HR "window" of 115 to 130, and have been very loyal to those numbers for the past 2 months. I'll detail the training a little more in a future post, but the MAF training has allowed me to run every day and post the following weeks since (keep in mind, I still do a fair number of miles on the treadmill - more on that later):
  • 91M
  • 95M
  • 102M
  • 92M
  • 106M
  • 96M
  • 120M
  • 106M
  • 94M
While I've run some 100M+ weeks in the past, this stretch of consistent mileage is pretty unprecedented for me. The beauty of the MAF training (to me) is that a) there are no "quality" runs or workouts to recover from that inhibit my ability to pile on the mileage, and b) there is no worry about piling on too much mileage and not being recovered for the next quality run/workout. That, and the relatively low intensity of the daily workouts have apparently been kind to my feet. As a side note, during this same 9 week period, I've also posted the following weekly totals on the rowing machine: 16K, 16K, 24K, 36K, 32K, 48K, 40K, 50K, and 58K (all @ with the same HR "restrictions").

I've committed to continuing my MAF base building through the end of 2009, and I've found no reason to derivate from that plan. Again, I'll soon post some more details and the progress of my training over the past couple of months, and what I hope to transition into after I'm done with this "block" of MAF work. So, more later...

In the meantime, I did want to mention seeing this blurb about the Des Moines Marathon from over the weekend. It reminded me of running the Joe Colton's Off Road Adventure Run back in 2005. GZ and I headed up there, and learned from the race director that there was a good chance we could get stopped by a train during the race. Not knowing how the race would play out (or even if a train would affect the race), it was interesting musing on the possibilities. I thought about one ideal turn of events with a train showing up - seeing the train, and either passing the leader or extending my lead and outracing the train, leaving my nearest competitors stuck behind the train while I recovered from my mid-race surge. But there were less exciting options - losing one's well earned lead, getting run over by the train, or having the train actually STOP on the tracks. As it turned out, I ended up running in 2nd for much of the 15 Mile race that year, probably trailing by close to 2 miles at points in the race behind Kristian Agnew (1:22:21 to 1:31:42). And I had to deal with the weak mental mindset of hoping for a train to slow him down. No such luck... But this weekend's Des Moines Marathon does make me laugh at running's place in things. I realize that Des Moines is not Chicago, or the Olympics...but can you imagine a train affecting the result of the SuperBowl or World Series?

Today's training (10.22.09):
  • AM weigh-in: 169.4#
  • AM - Rowing: 10K (39:34.7) 31 spm, AHR120/MHR125...
  • AM - Running: ...8M treadmill (55:04) i=1, AHR116/MHR122
  • PM (1:30) - Running: 7.5M (52:42), AHR122/MHR129. Home to Thomas Res (.79M), 8 x .71M Thomas Res loops (5.68M), Thomas Res to Home (.79M - 7.26M total), 5 x strides on path behind house.
  • Running Totals: 15.5M day / 71.5M week / 336.5M month
  • Rowing Totals: 10K day / 26K week / 156K month
As promised, I wanted to kick around what I see as some of the benefits with the MAF work I've been doing. First, I've done a couple of traditional MAF tests on the track, although Tim mentioned that I haven't fully recovered for them - need to figure that one out a little more. Otherwise, I think I've kept everything the same from one to the next - here's my 2 results:

MAF track test #1 (@ Erie Middle School track 09.10.09 - 3M WU)
  • 8K (36:01), 7:14.7/M, AHR128/133 (7:54@MAF+/28:07@MAF - in trying to keep HR right below 130, it can be quite easy to go "over the top." Again, my MAF "zone" has been 115-130)
  • 7:08.7(AHR128), 7:12.6(128), 7:14(128), 7:13.5(128), 7:12.2(128)
  • Weight = 179#
MAF track test #2 (@ EMS track 10.09.09 - 3M WU)
  • 8K (34:29.1), 6:56.2/M, AHR127/131 (2:17@MAF+/32:01@MAF - better control on keeping HR under 130 this time out)
  • 6:53.2(AHR126), 6:53.7(127), 6:53.8(127), 6:53.7(127), 6:54.7(128)
  • Weight - 173#
So obviously, my time/pace has dropped a good chunk from #1 to #2. At the same time, my weight's dropped 6 pounds - which has to be considered. Overall, I weighed in at 187.6# on 08.17.09, and this morning was the first time in a LONG time that I came in under 170# - 169.4#. So, shedding close to 10% of my body weight has obviously been helpful - both to my health (especially my foot), and to my running efficiency. I think the relatively low intensity work has allowed me to train at a relatively high volume, and I've simultaneously been able to eat rather sensibly - which I've had significant issues with over the years. This all adds up to the 18.2# drop in weight.

One of the questions I keep kicking around in my head, is why I'm able to put in this type of volume while staying healthy. My educated guess is that in the past it's been either too much intensity (quality), or better put, too much quality before I've established a necessary amount of structural strength. So, based on that theory, I'm currently building my structural strength, so if that when I begin working in the quality runs and workouts in the new year, my body will be much better prepared to handle it. I haven't had to worry about it yet, but I'm still not sure what the plan will be come January. I figure to start working in lactate threshold (LT) runs, V02 Max based interval workouts, and depending on how my foot feels - some hill work. The current plan is to focus that training on maximizing my track 5000m performance, while being able to race well below (1500/mile) and above (10K). More later...


GZ said...

So you don't blog for a year and then you put EVERYTHING in there. Awesome. New background. New header pic. Good stuff.

I really do hope you get it back ... and we can race trains again.

TGeldean said...

I'll be bugging you about the blog site "manipulation" - still new to that aspect. So can we get out for a run again, now that I'm blogging? Friday or Saturday morning?