Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Oh, hai. Just a quick post about the workout I did last night. I was feeling a bit rickety after my run Monday at PRC. It ended up being just over six miles and I accidentally wore the wrong shoes. Without noticing I put on my "everyday" sneakers, which are a retired pair of Nike Structures with 430 miles on them. Oops. About halfway through the run I was wondering why my legs felt like garbage and I looked down and was like... "Oh, that makes sense."

Anyways, I still felt a little out of sorts yesterday, not bad, but not great. Regardless, I wanted to get my four mile "speed" run this week out of the way. When the Sunstone route came out and it was a journey up the hilliest part of Beaverton, I knew that wasn't a good option for a tempo run. For whatever reason I got a wild hair and started to think about doing intervals on the track at Southridge High. I knew I wanted to vary my speed runs this training cycle, they can't all be four or five mile tempo runs, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to get some variety in.

This time around I had the right shoes on and after a warm up lap my legs were actually feeling pretty good. So I went for it. The plan was 8 x 400m with 400m rests. A workout I had done numerous times in the past. It would be a good baseline to compare my fitness back against 2013-2015 when I was significantly faster. I remember my 400 times usually being around 1:35 back then, so I was a little surprised when my first 400 clocked in at 1:32.5. Huh?

Interval times: 1:32.5, 1:33.9, 1:33.1, 1:34.5, 1:34.9, 1:34.7, 1:35.1, 1:32.6
Overall Average: 1:33.9 (6:16 per mile)

Every lap I was blown away at the times. There was no way. I was expecting like 1:42 or something. Needless to say, my first set of intervals in almost four years was a success! Looking back at my training log on Garmin Connect, this was the fastest I had averaged on 400m intervals. Even beating back when I was in my best shape. What gives?

I'm almost certain the reason I was able do them so quickly was because of my wholesale embrace of the "run slower to run faster" running theory. Basically, do your easy runs TRULY easy. Too many runners, the vast majority I would say, run their easy runs too quick. It feels "easy" but it isn't necessarily the easiest on your body. I used to do this all the time. I would run an "easy" 8:45 pace and then call 7:45/mile a tempo run.

While I was aware of this theory back in the day, I would kind of "yeah, yeah" poo poo it. Now, if I was sore and I truly needed an easy run, I would do it, but basically the majority of my "easy" runs were really "moderate" runs. Also, looking back at my old intervals, my "rest" laps were done at like a 9:00/mile pace. That's not resting! No wonder I wasn't able to hit the actual intervals harder. I shake my head looking back at my historical data sometimes. My recovery laps were 10:30-11:30ish this time around and I started to walk parts toward the end. Frankly, I could have walked the recovery laps and hit the intervals harder and it would have been a better workout.

Anyways, I am a huge subscriber of the "actually easy" run now. It works, people! Sometimes I miss chatting with people at run group because of it. You are going to run 9:00s? Sorry, see ya. I'll be back here doing 10:00s. I think this workout shows tangible result of that restraint though. I'm building mileage and hitting my speedwork hard when I do it. Speedwork on tired legs is not nearly as effective. So onward with this training style I go! I will sing its virtues from the hilltops.

Now watch me run a 5:15 marathon...

Saturday, June 15, 2019


Tomorrow, by resting and doing absolutely nothing, I will have completed my second official week of Portland Marathon training. However, as you can see by the calendar off to the right, I actually got in the groove a few weeks back. With the weather officially turning over to "nice," it has not been hard to motivate myself to get out there. And, with a running group almost every night I want to run, they are usually pretty fun too!

My long run distance is already up to 16 miles. My last four weekends have been 13.1, 13.5, 15, and 16. None of those were particularly hard either. The sixteen mile run today was a breeze. So that's really cool. I think after all these years my legs are adapting well and remembering distance after some time off. My legs also being treated for psoriatic arthritis helps. Who knows how long I had it at a low level affecting me. My knees never bug me anymore. Nary a complaint.

Last year, I basically did no speedwork. A couple of races during the training cycle and maybe like three random tempo runs? Nothing structured though. That was on purpose. The whole point of last year was to build mileage and see if my knees would hit a limit at some point. Everything last year went off swimmingly. I honestly think my knees are better than ever. I could do a 100 mile race and I don't think they'd be any worse off than anyone else's knees (I am NOT going to do a 100 miler btw!).

Group long run last Saturday for 15 miles
So, with that said, I am determined to do speedwork this year. Once a week I will do a speed run of some sort. Probably a lot of tempo runs, because that is still something I can do at run group and sometimes even have someone run with me. But I would also like to break off to the track and do some intervals at some point. We'll see. While I am dedicated to one speed run a week, I'm going to just play those by ear. Maybe sometimes I'll feel like doing it on Tuesday. Maybe some weeks I'll wait until Thursday. Just as long as I get it in.

In addition to the speed runs, I plan to do a couple races too. Nothing in stone yet, but a half marathon around the Fourth of July weekend and then probably another half in there somewhere. I meant to do more 5Ks and 10Ks, but those are hard with long runs on Saturday. If I do a lot of tempo runs though, I will basically be doing the same thing, so maybe I can distract myself with shorter races once the marathon cycle is over.

Anyways, that's the update! Can't believe I am in the middle of a training cycle again. At the same time though, it just feels right. What would my summers be without waking up at 6:45am on a Saturday on run for hours on end?