Week 3: BQ Training with Run Less Run Faster

Aug 11, 2013 by

Week 3: BQ Training with Run Less Run Faster

Here is my report for week three of sixteen of my Outer Banks 2013 marathon training. I am following the 3:25:00 Boston Qualifier plan outlined in the book Run Less Run Faster.

To review week two, click here.

To review week one, click here.

Short version: A solid week.  Right on target for the Runs #1 (track/speed) and #3 (long).  Tried a different route on run #2 (5 mile tempo) and encountered some tough hills, coming up a few seconds per mile short of target. No big deal.  Still feel I am on track.  For the long version, keep reading.

Cross Training. Monday and Wednesday

Some scheduling conflicts this week meant swimming on Monday and Wednesday. Successfully completed the two prescribed swim workouts. This week’s swims called for doing the 20 lengths kick board again, as in week one, but this time, the rest interval dropped from 30 seconds to 20 seconds. No big deal, other than this is harder than it sounds to any non-swimmer.  I was glad to complete them.  This drill works on ankle flexibility and hip strength.

The only other cross training for the week was 700 yards of free style swimming before and after these kick board workouts.  I contemplated a long swim or bicycle ride on Friday but decided to rest up for my long Saturday run.

Grade: Pass

Run workout #1. Tuesday

At the high school track once again. This workout called for 1200m (3 laps)  in 4:47, 1000m in 3:56, 800m in 3:08, 600m in 2:20 and 400m in 1:32.  Quite a lot to keep up with. Results:

  • 1200: 4:38 (-.09)
  • 1000: 3:59 (+.03)
  • 800: 3:08 (-)
  • 600: 2:12 (-.08)
  • 400: 1:26 (-.06)

Grade: A. Felt great. Aided by unusually cool weather.

Run workout #2. Thursday

Run #2 again called for a seven mile run: one easy mile warm up, then five miles at a 7:34 pace, then one mile easy cool down. This target pace is 15 seconds faster per mile than last week’s pace.  I was pretty hopeful on this, as I actually did last week’s 5 tough miles at a 7:39 pace, but I was going to use a different route.  I would run near the high school, as my son had cross country practice. As usual, I walked a bit before I started my easy mile one run. Here are the results:

  • Mile 1: 9:28
  • Mile 2: 7:27
  • Mile 3: 7:39
  • Mile 4: 7:24
  • Mile 5: 7:53
  • Mile 6: 7:42
  • Mile 7: 11:25

Grade: B+. The hottest run yet in the three weeks of training at 90 degrees.  I tried a new and different route near the high school during my son’s cross country practice. This turned out to be a mistake.  I am not opposed to hill work at all, but during these timed runs, I tried to limit the hills.  Unfortunately, I underestimated the hills on this route.  From the 2.5 mile mark to the 4 mile mark, the course had 260 feet of climb.  By the time this kicked my tail, I didn’t have anything left to make up the lost time in mile 5.  I ended with a 7:37/mile pace for the five miles.  A great workout, but a tad short of goal.

Here is the elevation graph of the file mile tempo run.  I’ve highlighted the tough climb.

Elevation Map of Five Mile Run.

Run Workout #3. Saturday

The last run for the week called for 17 miles at an 8:34/mile pace.  This was the same pace as last week’s run but two miles farther.  After last week’s miserable finish with stomach issues, I was concerned about adding two more miles.  I hoped the electrolyte tablets I experimented with in my water last week were to blame for the problems, so I scrapped them this week.  In addition to adding a few more ounces of water to my Camelbak hydration pack, I took along  electrolyte pills and three gels.  I also left a bottle of ice water at the entrance of my neighborhood in case of emergency later.  This turned out to be the smart move of the day.

The dumb move of the day turned out to be my start time.  I slept in a bit longer and did not hit the road until almost 7:00am.  Mistake. The weather was typical muggy August morning and there were no clouds in the sky.  Fortunately, there was a good bit a shade on the roads I chose, but  I couldn’t avoid the sun completely.  By mile 11, it was approaching 80 degrees and every bit of my clothing was completely soaked in sweat.

I passed entrance to my neighborhood at this time.  I had plenty of water in my hydration pack, but I still made use of my stashed water bottle by squirting the ice cold water on my head.  This was just the boost I needed.  For the last six miles, I kept my  head cool this way.  With two miles to go, my overall pace was 8:35/mile.  Time to step it up. I managed to push hard and finish the last mile in 8:18,  completing the 17 miles in 2:25:45.  This came out to be an 8:33/mile pace.

Grade: A

Week Three Summary

A good solid week.  As with last week,  I feel like I’m still on track. The body feels pretty good, and I’m not sensing any early signs of trouble.  I’ll be experimenting with nutrition on the long runs (and the days before) to see if I can dial in the proper fuel.

Up Next

Here’s what is in store for week four:

Run #1: Track work. 5 x 1000m in 3:56 with 400m rest intervals.
Run #2: 1 mile easy, 4 miles @ 7:19/mile, 1 mile easy.  Will try to find a flatter layout of this run.
Run #3: 20 miles @ 8:49/mile

Cross Training: Swim and kick for 20 minutes straight.

Runs #1 and 2 worry me this week.

Stay tuned and POFIFOTO!

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Madness and Methods

Jul 21, 2013 by

Madness and Methods

If you wake up and don’t want to smile,
If it takes just a little while,
Open your eyes and look at the day,
You’ll see things in a different way.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

Don’t Stop, Fleetwood Mac

It wasn’t long after my disappointing second half collapse in the 2013 Columbia Marathon, that I told my friend and training partner, Craig, that I was going to shoot for a Boston Marathon qualifying time (BQ) in my next marathon.  “You mean you haven’t been?” he replied.  Ha, ha.  Amateur night is Thursday down at the comedy club, my friend.

He was right, though.  I hadn’t been holding anything back in my marathon efforts.  However, my best wasn’t good enough.  As a matter of fact, it was not even been close.

If you don’t know, to run the  Boston marathon, you must qualify in your age group by beating a certain time in a certified marathon.  This year, I moved up an age group, shaving 10 minutes off my time needed just by getting older.  Still, the time to beat for my 45-49 age group is 3:25:00.  That’s three hours twenty-five minutes, a 7:49/mile pace.

How far away am I?  My best marathon so far was 3:47:40 at Myrtle Beach in 2011.  So, my best is twenty-two minutes short of where I need to be, about 40 seconds per mile too slow.  That may not sound like much, but over the course of 26.2 miles, it is.

How do I plan to do this? I am returning to the “method” or training plan/philosophy I used in that best time at Myrtle Beach in 2011.  For the next 16 weeks, I will be following the Run Less Run Faster (RLRF) plan for beating 3:25:00.  The authors of RLRF say 3:25:00 is realistic if your 5K time is 21:06 or better.  My best recently was 21:26. That puts me a bit short but I’m just dumb enough to try.

During the week, I will do three quality runs.  The first will be a speed work session at the track.  The second will be a tempo run, slightly slower and usually longer than the speed work.  The final will be a long run, ranging from 13-20 miles. The workouts are a bit more intense than I have done in a while.  I will have a tough time meeting the run workouts, especially in the summer heat.  That’s part of the plan, too, though.  Suffer in the heat, and hope a November race is nice and cool.  That is much better than training in the cold and having an unusually warm race.

How does one run less and yet run faster?   By substituting “junk” mile recovery runs with cross training that works the aerobic system while resting the legs.  My cross training will consist of swim and cycling workouts, and I will do these between run days, not running two days in a row.  When I first attempted to follow this plan in 2011, I did no swimming, and my cycling was done on a low end exercise bike I bought for the house.  This time, I have access to a gym pool, and I plan on doing mostly swim cross training.  I also have a road bicycle now, so I may add an additional sixth workout on days after my long run, an easy recovery bike ride.

So, can I accomplish 3:24:59 or better?  We’ll see. Another source, The Runner’s World race predictor calculator, says I can do 3:25:34 with a 5K time of 21:26.  Should be interesting.

Final Puzzle Piece

In addition to following a more structured plan again, I have one other strategy for this race.   Since my last three road marathons were fairly hilly courses, I plan to return to the coast for this effort.   I have signed up for the Outer Banks Marathon in North Carolina on November 10, 2013.  Apparently there is only one hill, a bridge about the 23 mile mark.

That’s it for now.  Each week leading up to the marathon, I will post my scorecard for the week.  In the scorecard, I will list what the workouts were and how close I came to completing them in the appropriate time.





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