Marathon Training – Week 11

Week 11 was capped off with a 12 mile run this morning at Sugar Land Memorial Park. My pace group’s run had has go north out of the park along University Blvd, turning into the University of Houston @ Sugar Land campus and running around the parking lot twice, and then returning to the park via University again. From there we turned east onto Commonwealth Blvd and followed that all the way to Oilfield Rd before turning once again to the park. Once back at the park we then ran both loops of the park to finish.

It was a really good run. I finished in 2:06:30 which puts me right at the pace I’m trying to maintain. I listened to my friend who told me to eat a bigger breakfast before these longer runs, and that helped maintain my energy level throughout out the run (supplemented with 2 Gu packs during the run as well). I didn’t bonk at all during the run, and maintained a pretty consistent pace. Perhaps the only drawback was learning new things that became sore: my arms and right shoulder especially are screaming at me right now.

The rest of the week’s training was uneventful except for the fact that we were impacted by Hurricane Ike all week. Last Saturday’s run was cancelled so it has been two weeks since I last ran a long distance. I was able to get in all the required training this week, despite the storm recovery, and fortunately our running group took the effort to plan out a route that was mostly free of storm debris.

In week 12 we ratchet the mileage back down to a 10 mile long run; the Houston Half Marathon is about a month away so I have full confidence in running that, since I effectively was only a mile away from that today.

Marathon Training – Week 9

Saturday finished up week # 9 of my marathon training program. Week # 9 followed a light week # 8 where we only ran 6 miles; we had 9 miles in the pipe for the Saturday long run. From what I understand, the light weeks are key in letting your body recover its strength for pushing further ahead so at first I was looking forward to the next long run.

Then on day 1 of week # 9 I got sick and was out of action until Tuesday. I wound up only running two runs during the week, instead of the 4 runs I had planned. When Saturday rolled around I still didn’t feel 100% but decided I need to try the full run anyway. I wound up running with my friend Teri at Sugar Land Memorial Park instead of my big running group. Because of the layout of the park’s trails we wound up running closer to 10 miles instead of 9, total.

Bottom line: 10 miles was a real bitch. I felt pretty worn out after being sick during the week and without my normal pacing group I found it much harder to maintain a consistent pace or plan my own. Towards the end I was going, very, very slow. Overall, I finished right at 2 hours, for a 12:00 minute/mile average pace, compared to the 10:00 minute/mile average pace I had been averaging on the longer runs. I also found that all the little things the old timers warned me about was completely true: at runs past 90 minutes in time you start to find new places that hurt.

This week, # 10, is only scheduled for 10 miles so I’ll get a chance to do 10 miles again before pushing forward.

Marathon Training, week 5

Saturday finished up my 5th week of marathon training. We had a 6 mile run scheduled, which matches the longest run I’ve yet done.

To make matters more interesting I moved forward a pace group to the ‘yellow’ group which runs at between a 9 to 10 minute pace. I finished in the middle of the group at just under an hour for the 6 miles, so right on pace. This pace does keep my heart rate very high (over 160 average) but so far it is a comfortable pace for me to maintain so we’ll see how it goes on the longer runs.

As of yet, I’ve had no issues with injury creeping back up so I’m very happy with that. I do find immediate body feedback from the longer runs but that’s as expected.

Next week we are targeted to run 7 miles. I’ll likely run without the group for this weekend in order to run with some friends and to get a break from the super-early morning starts as I don’t really like running in the dark.

Maribelle’s On the Bay 5K

Saturday I ran in my first organized 5K event. It was the Maribelle’s On the Bay 5K hosted by the folks at On The Run. The course was out from Maribelle’s pub in Seabrook to the middle of town and back. Unfortunately being along the water there was little to block the morning sun’s full intensity so it was one hell of a hot run.

The official results had me finishing in 28:29 which equates to a 9:10 per mile average pace. I’m very happy with both numbers since that is much better than I had expected my 5K pace to actually be. This time still left me fairly far down in place for both my age group and overall, but given I’ve only really started running a few months ago this is probably not a bad thing.

I’ll be changing my running group in the half-marathon training from the 10 – 12 minute group down to to the 9 – 10 minute group based upon this time, along with the reality that I have been finishing the weekly long runs in the first part of the group anyway.

Not surprising, the heart rate data for the event shows my heart rate entered my maximum zone after 3 minutes and stayed through through the duration. I wound up with an average heart rate of 166 and a peak of 174. All that effort and only a measly 391 k-calories burned, barely enough for a Clif bar for breakfast.

The 5K was fun, but I completely understand why distance runners don’t like them very much. It is very difficult to get warmed up and into a good rhythm in such a short duration event.

Marathon Training, Week 1

Yesterday I capped off my first official week of marathon training with the Fort Bend Fit training group. Their training plan have 3 runs during the week with a long run every Saturday morning. I’m in the Red group, for those with a 10 to 12 minute per mile pace over 5K. I’m presently running closer to a 9 minute mile which would place me in the Yellow group, but I want to see if I can maintain my pace over longer distances before I change running groups.

This week’s Saturday run was approximately 3 miles. It was a nice, easy run compared to some of the other runs earlier in the week where for one reason or another I kept bonking. Running in a very large group is actually great fun and really helps keep motivation up. My pace for the entire run, including a couple of waits for lights, was 10:30; average heart rate was 162 with a peak of 173.

This Saturday was also the first time I wore my Amphipod Running Belt with 3 bottles. It was reasonably comfortable, and having liquid available anytime during the run was nice, but at this point I’d really rather not wear it. I can get away with not wearing it on 30 minute or less runs, but longer than that it is mandatory.

For the week as a whole, I ran 2 hours 16 minutes and 10.5 miles, plus a few cycling rides and a cycling criterium on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to week 2 where Saturday’s run is 4 miles.

Running so far this summer has been going well. Resting a couple of weeks after I hurt my knee, plus some running form advice from my friend Teri, led to me being able to run much further, faster, and with no discomfort. I was even able to go on a great ~7 mile run around the US Naval Academy when I was visiting Annapolis for work a couple of weeks ago.

I’m currently signed up for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon on January 18, 2009 but I may try the full marathon depending upon how training progresses and how my run in the Houston Half marathon on October 26, 2008 goes. Balancing running time with bicycling time will likely prove to be the most difficult part of the training season.