Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 14 - One Hour Closer

60:01, steady. Hilly route. The weather was great. My thighs got a little chafed. My hip barely bothered me. Felt a twinge or two when I overextended my leg. Overall, the week was a bit disappointing, but I'm glad that I decided to take a couple days off to try to let my hip catch up. My time/distance goals won't be met, but I'm going to get right back into the plan this week.

This week, I will be running a 10k race, my first race in almost 4 years. I don't expect to perform particularly well, but I think it will be good to give me a general idea of where I'm starting at. A shorter race would probably be better for this kind of test, but a few family members are participating, and my entry fee has been paid as a gift, and so I'll do what I can. 

Week 2 Total: 167 minutes (2 hrs., 47 min.)
Week 3 Goal: 260 min. + 10k race [~50 min] = 310 min. (5 hrs., 10 min.)

S-30, M-50, Tu-30, W-70, Th-30, F-30, Sa-10k race 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 13 - Back, I Hope

30:01, easy. 

Felt rickety and stiff at first, but eventually found my groove and held it through. Still feeling stiff as hell and a bit sore, but I think I can manage. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 12 - Rest

Rest day--let the hips catch up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day Ten - Ouch

17 minutes or so. My hip was killing me and my watch died. So, yeah, taking tomorrow off.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day Nine - Again With the Hips

29:45, easy. My left hip did not improve, but didn't get substantially worse. Might pass on the next run if they're not improving.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day Eight - The Hips Don't Lie

30:01, very easy. My left hip was sore as hell today after a three hour car drive back home. I am still uncertain as to what the issue is. At times, I feel like a tendon is really tight inside of my leg (I can't feel it just by pressing on it). At other times, it just feels like a general soreness from underuse. It affects my stride, but in a neutral way it seems. The only time I feel it as a discomfort when I'm running is when I take a noticeably uneven or long stride. Otherwise, it's fine (even if noticeable). 

I have felt the same sensation after sitting for extended periods of time, long before I started running. This makes me think that it's probably not a direct result of running, but rather something that's maybe been exacerbated by it. I almost passed on the run for today, but when evening came around it felt more like a developmental soreness than a dangerous pain; therefore, I decided to take an easy jog. It turned out fine. It's still a bit sore, but I think that this is most likely one of many aches that pop up after leaving the sedentary life behind. I'll keep an eye on it.

Besides the left hip, though, all feels good. 

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Days Five, Six, and Seven - Coming Along

5/21 - 33:48, steady.
5/22 - 30:41, steady.
5/23 - 52:15, easy. Felt awesome, was able to kick it in a bit at the end and still feel great.

Well, Week No. 1 of training for the Frankfurt Marathon is going great. I've also totally kicked smoking, if there were any fear from my last post. (I still get some pretty good cravings and sometimes forget I'm a runner during them, but I have been able to push them away for now.) Overall, I feel great. Probably ran a good 20-23 miles this week, just to note for the records rather than caring at all about pace and whatnot. 

For week two, I want to avoid the rest day (unless completely necessary), and creep up to:
Su-30, M-30, Tu-45, W-30, Th-45, F-30, Sa-60

Week 1 Total: 218 min. (3 hr., 38 min.)
Week 2 Goal: 270 min. (4 hr., 30 min.)
Build-up Goal: 540 min. (9 hr., 0 min.)

1 down, 22 to go!

p.s. - I ordered Running with Lydiard by Lydiard & Gilmour. I'm going to try to put together a more comprehensive training plan sometime late next week, after reading the book.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day Four - Hot

40 min., nice steady pace. This is the longest run I've done in ages, and it was tough, but in a very good, fulfilling way. The weather was really warm, even though I wasn't on the road until about 8:00 p.m. I should note that each run I've done so far has been exactly even split to within 5 seconds. I think that the steady, moderately-high-mileage training I did in the past ingrained in me a pretty steady pacing sense. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day Three (Pt. 1)

So, I don't think there is a point to keeping this training diary is I am not going to be honest. Last night, I broke down and smoked two cigarettes. The craving was intense, I was sitting around reading and my body seemed to go to autopilot. It was like an out-of-body experience: I felt like I was watching myself do something terrible and meaningless, and there was nothing I could do about it. The cigarettes tasted awful, and I felt extremely guilty.

I take full responsibility for this, and am putting it behind me again. I still consider this day three, and I still feel mostly proud of myself for nearly quitting. I am done for real this time.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day Two - Let the Body Catch Up

(Because my marathon training and quitting of tobacco took place on the same day, I'm going to label my posts from now on--until at least my first marathon--by day to remind myself how long I've been at it in both senses.)

Like I said, I'm listening to my body and my common sense. I'm feeling really tired today; it's my second day in a row without a cigarette, which is emotionally and physically taxing (I hear it's the worst day in the quitting process), and my muscles are still pretty sore. For all of these reasons, I am taking the night off. I also want to let my body catch up to my motivation--and not break down and get injured before things even really get rolling.

So I'm going to relax and read some poetry, and probably some bubble-gum motivational runner stuff, which always helps with my cravings.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

30 min. (Day One)

Well, yesterday was the first day in about three years in which I did not smoke a single cigarette. It was really, really tough--but just thinking about running a marathon made every craving less intense. Luckily I have a great girlfriend and a great roommate who are both on-board with my quitting and managed to survive my irritable onslaught, and increasingly crafty justifications for smoking "just one more."

The run was decent: 30 minutes at a nice comfortable pace. My right hamstring was pretty tight, but it ended up loosening up a good deal by the end. I feel much less sore today already than I have in the past week. 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

20 min. Easy

Ran a nice, easy 20 minutes. Today is also my last day as a smoker. I have two Pall Malls left in my last pack. I'm going to smoke the last one before bed as a farewell, and then it's done with. It doesn't taste good anymore, it makes my throat hurt, and even my head sometimes. It costs an outrageous amount, especially in Ann Arbor, where a pack is a good $7.00 or so. There's no reason to smoke anymore, least of all because my marathon training officially commences tomorrow.

Here's the tentative plan for the week. I'm running by time rather than distance:


More important than following this exactly is listening to my body. I would probably be recommended against going from a sedentary pack-a-day smoker to running a schedule like this. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have always been skeptical and had a large degree of faith in myself. That's not to say I couldn't get injured--I definitely could, which is why I will definitely back off if things don't feel right.

That said, I also don't think your average sedentary pack-a-day smoker can get outside and run 30 minutes continuously. I'm not pushing the envelope here with regards to what I know I am capable of: all of my runs are close to 30 minutes, with slight bumps from there, up to 50 min. The goal for now is to be on my feet running easy miles until the soreness is gone.

In the Wind & Rain

5/15 - 30 min., easy. Legs still sore but getting better.

So, one of the things I'd like to do with this blog is to make it more than just a record of my training. I'd also like to put it in a wider context of helping other both with their training and their own development as a runner. I've found that there is not much helpful training information for runners in my position out there. I am not an absolute novice who wants to run solely to lose weight or have fun jogging. And yet, I am not in peak form--not even in racing form. Most training information out there is geared towards these two general groups, I've found: novices and veterans. I've run in the past, made some poor decisions and got out of shape, but want to return to my former fitness and even exceed it.

So, the goal that I've set for myself is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. For my age group, this would require a time of 3:10:59 or faster. Using my previous PRs and a race-time equivalence calculator, my previous level of fitness would suggest that, if in the next five months I can regain that level of fitness, I would be well in range: my 10-mile time indicates a marathon equivalent time of 3:11:36, while my shorter-distance PRs all suggest a faster time (all the way down to my mile PR which would suggest a 2:54 marathon). (Needless to say, all such numbers should be taken with a grain of salt--it's good enough for me to take 3:11 at a +/- 5 min. level and see that I am at least within range.)

This suggests a couple of things to me. First, my biggest weakness (outside of maintaining commitment to training) in the past was a lack of aerobic endurance. This is improved in a rather straightforward manner: a larger volume of aerobic work, i.e., base miles. Second, I believe that it is, in fact, possible for me to return to my fitness level at the time of that 10-mile race (the last race I ran before going into hibernation) in the next five months. This race was also run without any speedwork, and in fact after lower mileage/intensity than earlier in the year. (My motivation began dissolving before this final race.)

In short, I have faith in my ability to resume substantial training quickly, although I will certainly listen to my body.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The What & the How

5/14 - Rest. Insanely sore. Purging the inertia from my lazy bones.

What am I training for? I am getting back into training because of an intangible intrinsic urge. But I know this urge will disappear if I don't lock my gaze on something tangible. I will be living in Germany from July 2009 to August 2010 (14 months), and so will (obviously) need to find a goal race there.

I found one that may fit my requirements: it is the Frankfurt Marathon in (yes) Frankfurt. This race has two practical bonuses: it is in a major city that has direct, on-the-hour-every-hour train access to my future home city, and it takes place in late fall, about five or so months from now (October 25). 

That gives me, starting next week, 23 weeks of training time. I believe this is an ideal amount of training for my first marathon. It is long enough that I will have the time to build a very good base, and yet short enough that I won't lose motivation in the final stretch.

It's also timed perfectly: the race is the weekend after my first week of classes at the University of Freiburg (taper, anyone?). My training will also span vast stretches of time and space: from Ann Arbor, MI to the Upper Peninsula of MI to Berlin to Freiburg, with side trips to god knows how many other places. Talk about great environment. The downside to this, naturally, is that maintaining a training regimen is more difficult when one is moving around a lot, and experiencing radical life changes all around.

And now for the "how." One thing that I am very passionate about, at least concerning athletic training, is the methodology and training philosophy of Arthur Lydiard and his disciples. So far, this has been largely an arm-chair passion. But I would like to transform this desire into action into results. Lydiard's methods can be researched in detail online; I'd suggest googling it. I'll try to put up some super-useful links in the near future, but for now take a look at this. It's the most comprehensive guide to his methodology I've found online.

Now, I'm not going to fall into my old trap of drawing up intricate and exact training schedules, as I have in the past. It becomes very useless when just thinking about training so much leads to its own kind of burnout. Right now, I want to focus on running and running regularly. I'm going to train by time rather than distance. (For two reasons: first, I don't have a great way of measuring distance; and second, even if I did, it's way too early to pay attention to the times I'm running--it would only discourage me probably anyways.) 

Right now, I'll just stick with the skeleton of a training plan:
-10 weeks of base aerobic mileage
-4 wks of hill-training
-4 wks of anaerobic training
-3 wks of coördination training
-2 wks of taper

To be elaborated upon as I go, and as I feel. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One More Time.

5/13 - 30 min...

So, I could very easily delete or hide all of my previous entries. After all, years have passed since I last trained seriously. (Years have even passed since I proclaimed my "comeback.") Now I am here again. I know I must remain aware of my background. It is this background that flutters my heart when I think of running.

I'm going to humiliatingly confess the ills that destroyed my running life, ills that have stuck with me. First, I started smoking. A lot. I got up to about two packs per day not long ago. This is a relic of a bad time in my life, a time when I was unhappy and uncertain, and hung with the wrong people. Second, I survived a very long "blue period" of melancholy and confusion about my reality and purposes in life. I fell into and returned from mental illness. Third, I moved away from my hometown and I am now in college. 

In July, I am moving to Germany. There, I will be as far away from that old life as I have ever been, and may ever be. 

I am committed to running again. I am committed to quitting smoking. I am committed to being healthy again. I am committed to never being overcome by obsession again. 

I am committed to running a marathon. I am committed to leaving behind the darkness that destroyed my old life, while simultaneously sparking a new light. 

Twenty pounds later; over ten thousand cigarettes later; so many prescription drugs later; hundreds of miles away; on the verge of a new world (as thunder actually cracks outside my window): I begin again.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Training Log

--Training for Frankfurt Marathon - 25 Oct. 2009 --
Week Seven
1-Jul: 40 min.
30-Jun: Off.
29-Jun: 52 min.
28-Jun: ~25 min.
Week Six - 364 min.
27-Jun: 1:11:44
26-Jun: Off.
25-Jun: 2:03:48. Great success!
24-Jun: 41:30. Nice. Plantar fascia twinge.
23-Jun: 59:32. Great run.
22-Jun: 31 min. Felt like crap. Plantar fascia sore.
21-Jun: 38 min. Felt great. 2nd half almost all uphill.

Week Five - 215 min.

20-Jun: 1:16:07. After 10 hr drive, eating road crap, and sleeping 4 hours the night before.
19-Jun: Off. Packing/dinner out/saying good-bye.
18-Jun: 30 min., steady/strong.
17-Jun: 48:27, easy.
16-Jun: 1:01:01, 7 mi. - Felt strong. Warm.
15-Jun: Off, no good excuse (well, the barbecue was nice...)
14-Jun: Off, groin.

Week Four - 260 min.

13-Jun: 1:30:01 (10.11 mi.)
12-Jun: 50 min.
11-Jun: 40 min.
10-Jun: Off (ankle)
9-Jun: 60:10, easy.
8-Jun: 30 min., easy.
7-Jun: Off

Week Three ~ 225 min.

6-Jun: 10k Race, 47:50 (7:43/mi.)
5-Jun: Off, traveling.
4-Jun: 30 min., easy.
3-Jun: 70 min., steady. Felt great.
2-Jun: 30:19, steady. Great run.
1-Jun: ~45:00. (Watch died.)
31-May: Off, worn-down.

Week Two - 167 min.

30-May: 60:01, easy.
29-May: 30:01, easy.
28-May: Off. Hips.
27-May: 17 min. Forced to stop, hips terrible.
26-May: Off. Hips killing.
25-May: 30 min., easy. Hips tight and sore.
24-May: 30 min., easy. Left hip sore.

Week One - 218 min.

23-May: 52:15, easy.
22-May: 30:41, steady.
21-May: 33:48, steady.
20-May: 31 min., steady.
19-May: 40 min., steady.
18-May: Off (felt shitty)
17-May: 30 min., comfortable.

Pre-Training Plan Jogs

16-May-2009: 20 min., easy.
15-May-2009: 30 min., sore.
14-May-2009: Off
13-May-2009: 30 min.