Archive for the ‘running’ Category

Half Marathon Race Report

May 20, 2010

Here is my race report from last year. I did the same race this year.

I ran at 9:38 minutes per mile average give a few take a few here and there. My last mile was the fastest. Lat year I was basically on the same pace for the first half, then died and got a stress fracture in my foot for the effort. This year I finished up strong, passed people the last 2 miles and ran a total of 7 miles the following two days after the race.

What a great difference a year makes when you train consistently.

I think the best thing I did was to plan where my wife and kids would be on the course to meet me and cheer me on and then visualiize the race in my head the night before and the morning of the race. I had envisioned high fives for the family at mile 9.3 and that kept me running strong from mile 7 to mile 9 looking forward to the moment.

There was a girl just behind me the whole race that had a friend, a loud friend, who must have bounced along 2 miles at a time in her car to cheer her on. The sign said “Dig Deep DIVA”, which didn’t really speak to me, but I did get a bit of extra motivation running by her as she cheered everyone that went by on.

It was quite an accomplishment to think I wasn’t going to be able to run any faster this year. In fact I had planned on 10 minute miles being my stretch goal. Dropping from 2:14 to 2:06 was a huge boost in my confidence. I am going to go kill it on this sprint tri coming up. I want to drop about the same amount of time and try and run 9 minute miles. That would be amazing if I can pull it off.


Long Runs and Heart Rate Training

March 16, 2010

I did a little research this week and thought I would share what I found about using your heart rate as a training tool.

I got in a long run of 6.65 miles on Sunday. I did it at a slow pace of 10:50 per mile average. I was shooting for 11 minute miles thinking that would allow me to keep my heart rate lower than usual around 140 bpm to start out. I know I was on exactly 11:00 miles at 3.1 miles, so I actually ran a negative split of about 17 seconds per mile pace the rest of the way and it included a slight uphill section about a half mile long. I was worried a little about having sore legs Monday and even today, but then I read a post a coach wrote about sore legs and it made me feel better:

I just got so used to running all out last year as I did most of my running at lunch in a group that was faster. It is hard for me to run at this lower heart rate because I feel so good I have the urge to speed up. I must have glanced down at least 10 times during the run where I saw my hear rate in the 150’s and forced myself to slow down. Since I didn’t have anything to drink my heart rate naturally drifted up. That is the one thing about heart rate training that has always bothered me a bit since I didn’t know why. Recently though I read an article that explained why. It was in a magazine that I cannot recall. I found a few articles online that also explain the various things that affect your heart rate as you work out. So when you use heart rate as a tool for training you need to know these things so you know why it might be acting differently.

  • Cardiac drift: Heart rate goes up because sweat mainly comes from the fluid in your blood so the decreased volume of blood means your heart has to beat faster. (fifth item in the article: )
  • Heart rate goes up as your body temperature increases, which happens during exercise. 
  •  Heart rate goes up as ambient temperature and humidity increase so you will have a higher rate on a hotter or more humid day even if you do the same workout. This and the last item are obviously tied together and are described on the link as above.
  • Another item that is something to watch once you use heart rate monitoring for a while is that when you get sick your heart rate increases. So if you get in the habit of checking your resting heart rate in the morning before getting up and notice it’s higher than normal it might be a sign your body is working on something. Maybe you sleepwalked at 3 am to get a PB&J or maybe you are getting sick, maybe you woke up dehydrated, or maybe you are training so hard that you did not recover overnight. You cannot measure this a few times and get a clue. You will need to keep a watch out over time.
  • Another thing to note about heart rate is that your resting heart rate will decrease as you get more fit. Mine went from around 60 to about 45 so far. Also the recovery of heart rate to normal levels after working out happens faster as you become fitter for the same length and intensity of exercise.

For more info on training in heart rate zones try this link:  

I have decided that I trained to intense all the time while running last year, so I will be doing a lot more less intense stuff. I am starting a little later than I should be as this is what is considered base training, but I will just not run the races too intense and get a worse time than last year but then enjoy the rest of the year without the same injury.

My Race Season

March 16, 2010

I want to do a lot of the same races this year. I am going to do three spring runs, 10k trail, 12k road, and 21k (half marathon) over the period of 5 weeks ending mid-May. Then I will do a sprint triathlon, maybe a second and third if the dates work. These races will see me going hard, but not all out. The idea is to have a structured workout with the race butterflies. I will work on transition ideas for T1, and try and get my swimming going well from the first minute. No more hyperventilating from starting too fast for me!

July I will be doing the same almost Olympic race. It’s a little short on the swim and run but is a classic around these parts. I plan to skip the August Oly I did last year and replace it with something else. I might do an open water swim, maybe a bike tour, or I might do a… well… a half ironman. Yeah, you heard me right, I have gone mad. It’s in my home town and would like to try it. I will not do it if I have trouble building up to the half marathon, or for some reason cannot keep up the running volume after the half. In other words I must be injury free and able to build my volumes up to riding more than 60 miles a week and running more than 30 with long runs of more than 13 miles. If I cannot or do not build up to this, then I won’t sign up. I am giving it about a 33% chance of it happening at this point in time.

In September I will do the same Oly I did last year. The race was great and it is a nice end to the year. I love how the swim starts up a river into the current on a cold morning with steam rising off the water around a long slow bend so far that you can’t see the end of the swim. It intimidates people, but I loved it. This is the race I will be going all out for. Because it is my “A” race, I will evaluate how I did last year.

I had a great swim. My time was 54 seconds a lap equivalent (50 yards). Each 5 seconds a lap is about 2 minutes improvement in the swim time. So I am not expecting to be able to do more than a 2:00 improvement on my overall time based on effort in the swim. As a comparison I took the 4 quartiles (top 25%, second 25% etc) and averaged their times per lap: 45, 56, 60, and 72 seconds. I was in the middle of the second quartile with my time, 64th of 165 total entrants.

My transition was very slow. The running 100 yards directly on the boat launch/parking lot with no carpets slowed me up a bit. Then there was the tiredness I had to fight through as I got changed. It took me 3:53 to go from the swim to the bike. The overall average was 3:10, the quartiles are a better representation, 1:36, 2:42, 3:35, and 4:36. I fared slightly better than my overall group around me by just a few seconds as I was in the last quartile overall but I was out of my league with those around me at the time since my swim was fast. The thing is there is no reason for this wasted time. I should be able to change my clothes faster than 50% of the people if I put a little effort into it, for goodness sakes. My goal is to get this done in 2:00, so I will need to practice and work out the kinks a bit. So I can knock off almost 2:00 from the total, 1:53 to be exact.

It took me 1:26 to ride my bike 40k, 24.8 miles. That is a speed of 17.2 mph, by quartiles again the speeds were: 21.9, 19.7, 18.6, and 16.5 mph. Again I fit right in where I should be according to my finish, but it left me wanting for more. I would hope that I could hit the average of a group of men and women at a minimum which would be 18.9 mph. This then is my goal. I am working more on the bike this year because of how poorly all my bike outings went so that goal should be there for the taking.

My second transition was a good time, right where I would expect and of little consequence. If I save 7 seconds I can round up both transitions to a 2:00 improvement.

The run will get better by being able to do more volume. It took me 1:13, which is an 11:44 per mile pace. I ran a 10k race early in the year at a 9:13 pace. So the speed is there, I just get tired and can’t do it as fast. I will never make a 10k PR during an Olympic triathlon, but I should not drop off that much. I would hope I wouldn’t drop off more than 40 seconds to a minute a mile. I never did run a triathlon where I felt good on the run like I do when I just go run. So this will be a work in progress and I will likely not have the big improvements here. The quartiles for the triathlon participants at minutes per mile pace: 7:12, 8:07, 9:43, 11:00. I was pretty much last place, a confirmation that the distance was a bit too long for me to hold up.

It is not too long anymore though. I am working out for over 2 hours a day 3 days a week and 1 hour to 1 ¼ hours two other days. It will not be too long after I do this for 8 more months and then get out there to ravage the course. My initial goal for the run is first to hit 10 minute miles. This will work out if I can build up to handle the distance well. Put another way I need to build my endurance to 3 hours of hard workout.

To sum it all up, I am thinking I can reach the goal of saving 2 minutes on the swim, 2 minutes in transitions, 8 minutes on the bike, and 10 minutes on the run. So I could potentially finish the race in 2 hours 52 minutes which would be about 100th out of 165 in last years race. So my goal at this point is to crack the top 100. I will just not mention to anyone that there are only 165 entrants when I tell them of this goal.