Monday, May 26, 2014

New Training Coach and Biggest Little 5k Recap

Last weekend I ran the Biggest Little 5k. I always hate the chance to pass up a cheap 5k on the weekends (this one was only $25). I should have had some sense of how things would go down just by the start time of 10:00am in 80 degree weather.

At packet pickup, they told me the t-shirts have been lost in the mail along with all of the samples. So the only thing I got at the pickup was my bib. Lucky number 666.

The day of the race at the start line, I was greeted by a cloud of smoke from spectators. The person starting the race was thanking us all for coming and then randomly said "begin". Everyone just kind of stood around looking confused. He said again "start". Again, everyone was standing around. Finally, he said, "start means go". A few people started walking past the start line a little confused, and then finally everyone took off running. I was confused myself. Usually we sing the national anthem, or at least have a countdown to the start. Because of this delay, everyone had 10sec added to their overall time (it was not a chip start). The run itself was hot and kind of dreadful. The course was poorly marked, and there were not any volunteers along the course except at the aide station. Luckily, a lot of 5ks around Reno are held on this exact course, so I knew where to go. I don't really have much more to say about the course. I did ok and came in at 25:48 (25:36 according to my watch). They gave out prizes for the top 3 overall, which kind of sucks because the top 3 were all men. I don't think I would do this race again, but since it is the inaugural year, it might be better next year after they get feedback.

In other news. I got a running coach! I joined a program called Endurance Fitness and Scientific Testing (EFAST). It includes a personalized training plan and a 1 or 2 days a week run team. The run team is awesome, because it is highly coached and I receive a lot of feedback on my form and speed. At the beginning of each run we perform running drills and at the end we have a team stretch and core workout. I have heard a lot of positive things about EFAST and how much people I know have improved upon joining. I am excited to be part of this and see is I improve any. I just finished my first week in the program. It was a tough first week. The week included track intervals, a hill run, a progressive run, and then a long run. I have to admit, my legs were like lead all week. I am used to running easy almost every day.

Have you ever joined a coaching program?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Stamina vs. Endurance and Moms on the Run Recap

After today's 10k race, I realized a hard truth, I am seriously lacking stamina. I am able to keep a 7:57/mi pace for a 5k, but I seriously struggle to keep a 8:40/mi pace in a 10k. I know my 5k and 10k pace wont be the same, but that's almost a minute per mile slower. According to the McMillan Running Calculator (which is my running pace end all, be all) with my 5k time, I should be running a 51:26 (8:17/mi) 10k. Instead, I ran a 53:49 10k today. Which is a new PR for me, but nowhere near what I could be running. On my quest to be an ever improving runner, naturally, the first thing I did upon arriving home from the race was research on how I could increase my stamina. What I found was a little upsetting.

I found that the two words, endurance and stamina, were used interchangeably. I want to help set the record straight. Endurance and stamina are not the same thing. Endurance is basically how long you can go (ie: a 50k runner probably has great endurance to cover that distance). Stamina on the other hand, is the ability to run a certain distance at a chosen sustained effort (ie: an Olympic 5k runner probably has great stamina to run 3 sub 4min miles, but probably doesn't have the endurance of the 50k runner) For a runner like me, I think I have fairly good endurance, but I lack stamina. I was not able to find anything on how I can improve my stamina (I found a lot on how to increase endurance), but I did find that the pace you train at is the pace your body becomes most economic at. In essence, if you train easy all the time, you will not be able to maintain a hard pace during a race. So, I think I need to start doing more race paced runs, and incorporating progression runs for my long runs. Right now I only have 2 speeds. Easy and hard. No middle ground. Over the next few months, I want my focus to be on improving stamina, while maintaining my endurance.

So, as I mentioned earlier, I ran the 14th Annual Pinocchio's Moms on the Run. It is a 3k/5k walk or a 5k/10k run. I opted for the 10k run because I have only ran one 10k previously and I wanted to see how I would do after half marathon training. My work sponsored a team, so it was even better because that meant a free race!

I arrived at the race early because I was chosen as team captain so I had all the the bibs and shirts for my co-workers. Only 2 out of 8 coworkers actually showed up at 8:15am like we had planned. The other ones came up to me about 3 minutes before the start of the race (8:57am) asking for their stuff. Luckily they were walking and could wait until the end to get their shirts, etc.

When the race started, my plan was to average 8:20 pace the entire time. I wanted a nice evenly split race. Probably not the best plan because the first half of the race is uphill. I did manage to run a negative splits (minus the first mile). There were about 3,000 walkers and runners all staring at the same time, so needless to say it was very crowded that first mile. I was staring at my watch for most of the first mile, trying to tell my self to slow down and not get ahead of myself.

After the first mile, things were not that great for me. I was struggling to keep a sub 9min pace. It started getting really hot, and everyone seemed to be able to run a lot faster than me. There was some mini hills that just seemed to suck the energy right out of me. When I saw the 5k turnaround sign, I kept wishing I signed up for the 5k instead. But, I didn't and I had to keep on keeping. The course was basically an out and back, except for one section in the final 2 miles we ran around a neighborhood block (which was uphill, ugh). For the final mile I just decided to leave it all on the course and really give it a go. Unfortunately my go wasn't enough to rescue my race time.

Overall, I am a little disappointed in how quickly I felt tired, but still happy for a PR!

Time: 53:49
Splits: 8:30 / 8:55 / 8:53 / 8:46 / 8:44 / 8:19 / 7:26 (final .2)

Do you have any thoughts on increasing stamina?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Month in Review - April

I thought it would be a good idea to start a monthly training post where I can reflect on what I’ve done, lessons I can apply to future training, and what I hope to accomplish for the coming month. April was a low month for me as far as mileage goes. I ran my first half marathon and with the taper week, race week and the recovery week, I lost a lot of running time.
I have been trying to focus on running my easy runs easy lately, and I did well at that this month. I just started adding speed work back into my training after an almost year hiatus. Unlike most runners I have met, I am a speed junkie! I love running fast, so I am looking forward to the speed sessions coming up.

Total Miles: 83.6
Peak weekly mileage: 4/21-4/27 (27.4mi)
Longest Run: 13.1mi
Average Pace: 9:43/mi (including races, without races my guess would be about 10:05/mi)
Races: 2
Downtown River Run Half Marathon 4/13/2014 (1:59:48) Automatic PR!
Race to End Domestic Violence 4/19/2014 (26:16)
Lessons learned:
  • Racing less than a week after my first half marathon was probably not the best idea. Legs felt great and recovered all week…until I started running.
  • For next half marathon, I can run the first half a little less conservatively.
  • Hydration really does affect performance.
Plans for May:
This month I just hope to keep increasing my weekly mileage. I am following a new training plan to help me increase safely. I also hope to run more hills this month. I am used to running on flat roads, but I have a hilly race in June that I need to be prepared for. I have one race that I am signed up for in May, the Mom’s on the Run 10k. I have previously only ran one 10k, and I would like to see if I have improved, but I am not putting too much pressure on this race.

How did your training go in April?
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