The Week That Was 4/4/2011-4/10/2011

April 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

This was the second of three planned weeks of phase II of my half-marathon training for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in June.  While I completed every work-out, I didn’t dominate them so I’m thinking that I may extend this phase a week.

Looking at this week, on Tuesday, I did a repetition/hill workout and did OK but not great.  I really struggled with my tempo run on Tuesday.  The ideal tempo workout would be 20 minutes at my tempo pace (currently 7:17) but I managed only to do one mile and then a second half mile.  Now, to be fair, this was my first tempo work since last fall so maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself but I really struggled with this workout.  My third work-out was a 10 mile long run which I actually over-ran–suppose to do 8:40s but ended up with a 8:28 average.

So overall, I had one bad workout, one so-so workout, and one good workout.  Looking at the schedule, though, Tempo work continues through the rest of the schedule so extending Phase II by a week would really just give me one more rep/hill workout so I’m not sure.  My left hip really bothered me during the disastrous Tempo run.

The good thing is, though, is since getting my Superfeet inserts, I’ve used only my oldest pair of Pegasus and really haven’t noticed an improvement–if anything, they have gotten sorer.  For my long run on Sunday, however, I wore a newer pair and today my Achilles tendons actually feel better than they did Sunday when I work up.  I’ve come up with the theory that new Pegasus provide enough motion-control for me but, as a cushioned shoe, they lose that control more rapidly than a true motion-control shoe.  And as they lose whatever control capabilities my Achilles take the brunt.

That would explain why I get short-term relief from new shoes but it doesn’t last long.  So hopefully switching to a true motion-control shoe will help–maybe I’ll make that more of a priority.  I still have a fresh pair of Pegasus with 0 miles on them that I was going to use before trying something new but maybe that will need to change.


A New Phase

March 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

After “building base” for the last few weeks, I enter a new phase this week–focusing on repetition (strength) work.   Last week was difficult, for a variety of excuses, I missed four consecutive days.  A mini-taper I guess for this new phase.

The difficult part of this first week is that I’m planning on running a race, the Ron Daws Memorial 25k, on Saturday.  I am hoping to do a hill workout on Tuesday and then take easy days until the race.

It is fitting that this race comes during this week.  While most of my training plan is using Jack Daniels‘ plan, the rep work I am doing comes out of Daws‘ book, Running Your Best: The Committed Runner’s Guide to Training and Racing.

Daws credits Arthur Lydiard with the hill drills that he details in his book.  The circuits I do include an uphill portion that include various plyometric drills like skipping, prancing, butt-kickers, bounding, and broad-jumps.  After a recovery, I do 2×200 meter rep, and a rapid downhill.  And repeat.

The trouble with doing this and then racing is that at first, it makes you weaker before it makes you stronger.

But I figure that running the Ron Daws 25k was an acceptable option.  Not only because of its name but because from everything I’ve heard, it is a killer course. A hilly course that will give both a douse of strength work and, because of the distance, endurance work.  May be a bit early in the training cycle but I can always back off during the race.

And, incidentally, I’ve been prehabbing–it seems every year when I start doing these hill workouts, my ITB starts to bother me. Several years ago, I saw a physical therapist for this and was given some exercises to do.  Whenever I have hill-induced ITB problems, the same exercises help make the ITB problems disappear.  This year, I was smart enough to start the exercises before the hill workouts. Let’s hope they work.

Training Schedule, Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

March 6, 2011 § 3 Comments

I took some time to plot out my training schedule for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in June.  I like to use a combination of Jack Daniels‘ plan, as found his book, Jack Daniels’ Running Formula, and Ron Daws‘ hill workouts (his interpretation of Arthur Lydiard‘s hill workouts), as found in Running Your Best: The Committed  Runner’s Guide to Training and Racing.  I substitute Daws’ hill workouts for Daniels’ Repetition workouts.


Phase Week Start Date Primary Secondary Tertiary Comments


I 14 3/7 Easy Easy Easy


13 3/14


12 3/21


II 11 3/28 R or I T L or LT Ron Daws 25k


10 4/4


9 4/11


III 8 4/18 I or LT T MP


7 4/25  Lake Minnetonka 13.1


6 5/2


5 5/9


4 5/16


IV 3 5/23 T lT MP


2 5/30


1 6/6


0 6/13 Race

Paces, based of a VDOT of 46 from my 21:45 5k on 2/5/2011.

L = Long, 8:48 pace
E = Easy, 8:48
MP = Marathon Pace, 7:48
T = Threshold, 7:17
LT = Long Threshold, 20 min of Threshold + 60 min Easy
I = Interval, 1:40/400m
R = Repetition, 94/400m


November 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Sometimes it takes an experience in a different, lessor realm to make a lesson clear in a primary aspect of your life.

We are in the process of finishing our basement.  Basic stuff, putting up some walls, running electrical circuits, and dry-walling.  Saturday, I rented a truck and hauled drywall home.  I carried 26 sheets of the stuff from our garage, where I initially unloaded it, down a snow-covered small slope into our basement.  Roughly 45 yards.

I’m a runner and I have been since 1984–my commitment has wavered off and on, but for the last decade or so, I have done at least 500 or so miles per year–about 66 hours of running.  My leg muscles are relatively strong.  My arm muscles are not.

Each sheet of drywall weighs about 55 pounds–over a third of my body weight.  I knew I was in for a work-out.

The first sheet was not too bad.  Around the seventh, I noticed my grip started to weaken on my panel carrier.


So naturally, I decided to speed the process by carrying two sheets at a time.

It was a disaster.  I made it about ten yards before I had to stop the first time.  I ended up stopping five times on that one load.  Not only did I slow down the process tremendously, I risked damaging the drywall.  The lesson I learned was that doubling the workload (weight)  much more twice the work if you exceed your strength limits.  Whether you are running uphill, into the wind or on a high-resistance surface like sand, snow, or sloppy mud, at some level of difficulty, you might exceed your strength limits and crash.


After the disaster of sheets eight and nine, I started to alternate arms.  Up to that point, I had used only my dominant, right arm.  I noticed with the very first carry using my left arm that the lack of strength in that arm prevented me from using good form–making the carry more difficult.  I found out with my right arm that by bending my elbow enough so that my hand was up against my hip, I could partially sit the sheet on my hip, taking some of the load off from my arm.  I was not able to lift the sheet high enough with my weaker left arm to get the same advantage so the stronger arm was not only able to more easily lift the sheets on its own but because it was strong enough to use better form, it was able to make the job easier by distributing the load (although my right hip wasn’t too thrilled about that).

Good running form makes running easier but requires enough strength to do so.  A weakness in the muscles will result in poor form and slower running.  This reminds me of the book, Explosive Running, by Dr. Michael Yessis.  In his book, Dr. Yessis talked about form problems, their causes, and provides strengthening exercises to correct them.

It also reminds me of how Arthur Lydiad (as interpreted by Ron Daws) scheduled strength-building hill workouts early in a training cycle so the runner is better prepared for the training.  I think Jack Daniels might also use strength workouts early too, although on the track–my copy of his book is packed away so I am unable to verify that.


As I continued my marathon of carrying 26 sheets, my right arm fatigued slower than my left.  By the end, I would do two carries with my right arm for each with the left.  Being stronger and using better form with my right arm prevented it from fatiguing as fast as the left arm.

As both arms got tired, my form got worse and my control suffered.  I had increased risk of damaging both the sheets of drywall and myself.  I did end up with some minor dents in a few of the later sheets–I survived basically unscathed.

The obvious lesson for my running is that being strong allows you to run longer, faster, and with better form.  This should also help prevent injuries because as your form gets sloppy, injuries are more likely to occur.

I knew all these things before but having first-hand experience in a different context–one where my strength, or more accurately, my lack of strength, was more obvious–helped make those points so more obvious.

As a Daws disciple, I believe in running hills and doing a set of form drills to help strengthen your legs.  I should also do core work, although I seldom do–my running would benefit, however.


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