The First Moment of Truth / Doubt #nycm #running

I don’t know if it’s a prioritization thing or a psychological thing, but I have yet to fill out my training plan completely, either in my Training Plan or in my Google Docs spreadsheet.

Last week featured back-to-back 11 and 13 milers, ending with a 15 miler at the end of the week.

Wednesday (tomorrow) and Sunday this week and next feature a 14 miler and an 18 miler.  Those seem pretty daunting at this point.

It’s not the distance or weekly volume that has me apprehensive. I’ve went as far as 23 miles in training runs before. My plans have peaked with a few consecutive weeks around 80 miles per week. With this plan, my first 20 miler is still weeks away, and the plan peaks at 70 miles per week.

One difference is that this plan is structured differently: My former (often improvised) 80+ mile plans consisted of lots of “doubles”: 2 runs in a day. It’s a little easier to squeeze in workouts when you do 7 miles, 5 miles, etc… then one 20 miler. I’m also trying to stay fairly faithful to the up-tempo and marathon pace long run schedule (so far).

Another possible difference is that my work and family schedule have made me favor (almost exclusively) the early morning run. I was doing outdoor runs for some of those, but the excessively humid air on the one cool day in the middle of a long hot streak was so laden with gnats that I really haven’t had the interest in getting back out there in the darkness until it cools off a little.

That leaves me running on the treadmill, and for the interest of time, the treadmill downstairs.

For 2+ hours.

Twice a week.

Maybe I’ll venture outside tomorrow morning.

Two 2+ hour runs on a treadmill in the same week.

5k strategy for Anthem

– Line up in view of starting line. Lookout for anyone with a music playing device, especially if larger than an iPod nano. These participants are in it for the long haul. They will also likely drop their player right at the start.
– Run a sustainable-without-throwing-up pace for the first mile.
– Mile 2: Tell the doubt in your head to be quiet.
– Mile 3: That person 50 yards in front of you needs to be chased down. (insert motivation here)
– last tenth: This is the medieval, charging the battlefield stretch. Close those final 500+ yards as hard as you can.

Good luck.

Best advice I’ve received on “What’s my marathon goal?”

I asked what’s my marathon goal:

I have no clue what I can really go for as far as a Marathon time goes.


  • 3 months of 260+ mile months
  • 20:52 5k PR in September in warm (humid and 79) conditions.
  • Very manageable 58:46 8-mile tempo (10-miles total in 1:17:46) yesterday
  • Marathon on November 7 in Indianapolis.

My only hesitation is that I really didn’t have many recent longer medium/hard workouts (beyond 2-3 miles of faster running) until yesterday.
I assume that in the right conditions, 3:39 is too soft a target.  I was thinking to stretch for 3:30, but now I’m looking at what I’ve accomplished and started thinking that *not stretching* for something faster would be a complete waste of my training.

Any thoughts?

My favorite response:

Does it really matter? I’m not being a wiseass, seriously, does having a bunch of yahoos on the internet try to narrow the target really make people feel better?

I think if you’re actually well trained then you probably have a really solid idea what you’re capable of–within a small range. But even if you don’t…you’re going to run what you’re capable of as long as you don’t do anything stupid like stick to a preconcieved pacing plan that takes you out too fast even though your body is telling you it’s too fast (or at least it would be if you’d listen to it instead of staring at your pace pracelet and garmin.)

Do this: when the race starts, go out at a pace you feel like is about the fastest you can maintain for 26.2 miles or so. Take constant inventory of your body and your surroundings. At the end you sould expect it to get quite hard. When this happens, just go like hell until someone wraps you in mylar.

I get more miles in before sun up than most people get all week #running #twit2fit

I ran 12 miles (just below 10-minute pace), mostly in the dark, on a clear morning in Fern Creek this morning.  When away from main roads, I could clearly see more stars in the sky than I ever did growing up in my old neighborhood.  The sun came up by mile 10.

The wind was brisk for the first four miles, the pace sluggish from Saturday’s long run, my throat dehydrated from the remains of a sinus infection turned hacking cough.  All things considered, a good run:

Continuing with the direction begun on Saturday’s 22-miler, I decided that running outside was going to be my best option for getting my miles in today, and for staying healthy the rest of the week:

  • No treadmill means no artificially forced pace, too fast or slow.
  • No treadmill means the inclines are realistic.
  • No treadmill means I don’t have to rush through my workout because I’m watching the clock or trying to finish before the toddler wakes up.

RunningAHEAD – Strings_n_88keys’s log: View Workout.

Overcoming excuses to run outside (22-miler in 3:33:29) #twit2fit #running

I’ve been mostly “treadmill-bound” for the last several weeks.  Part of it is due to schedule conflicts–it’s hard to run outside when your only options are in the middle of the night and before the sun is up in the morning, especially when you have kids to watch.  However, part of my treadmill is due to making excuses on why I couldn’t run outside.  Here they are:

  1. It’s hot (took care of that one this summer)
  2. It’s rainy out (I added this one after overcoming my aversion to hot weather)
  3. My wife worked last night, so I can’t go run all over the place at 5:30 am [on a Saturday]
  4. Midday runs in my neighborhood are congested and cross busy streets.
  5. I can watch football most of the day if I run my long run on the treadmill.

I let my wife sleep in today, so I was going to run the treadmill downstairs for 3 1/2 hours for 22 miles.  I decided that, for some reason, that wouldn’t be very productive or enjoyable.

Second option, I decided to work out a 7-1/3 mile loop to run 3 times.  I figured that I’d just attempt to bail out of the run after the first loop.

Instead, 2 miles into the loop run, I decided to go catch up with my wife at Seneca Park for a Filipino gathering (starting in Fern Creek)… here’s the map for the first half:

Second half: I hung out a little while there before attempting to continue on to the Cherokee Park Scenic Loop [almost found it, too]–my wife was headed to Bellarmine for the Irish festival, so I planned to finish up there. Getting lost in the hills between Cherokee and Seneca was rough, as was the muscle pain from stopping my run for an extended period of time, but I managed to fight through it:

This run was actually slower than my last 20+ miler, but the average incline was about 1% greater, and the stop in the middle really killed my momentum.

Suspend doubt #twit2fit #running

Zig Ziglar reminded me of the “fake it ’til you make it” mentality.  Suspend doubt, and trust that the pieces will fall into place later, and that you have the ability to connect the dots. I found this mentality critical when trying to understand calculus.   No, I never had a real problem understanding calculus.  I did, however, have moments where my understanding lapsed.  I noticed some fellow students getting stuck at that understanding gap, yet I would instead accept things as they were stated and allow the gaps in understanding to fill themselves in.

My biggest challenges to date have been because of doubt and not lack of ability. Writer’s block nearly prevented me from getting my master’s degree.  I always had doubts that what I was looking at was worthwhile.  I had fits and starts with many research ideas because I couldn’t believe in myself or the idea.  I finished my thesis, because time constraints forced me to suspend the doubts.

The same goes for my running.  Until age 29, I had a few moments where I attempted to become a runner.  I failed miserably.  I’d get about a week or so into my efforts and give up, because I did not see any progress.  Unfortunately, if you look for progress, it won’t happen.

Then something happened.  3 months before my 30th birthday, I started walking 3-5 miles per day, every day.  Without realizing it, I was jogging a little more each time and walking a little less:

  • By June, I had managed to run my first consecutive mile in my entire life.
  • By my 30th birthday, I ran my first 5k (33:44 – 10:52/mile).
  • By that December, I ran my first half-marathon (2:08:23 – 9:49/mile).
  • By the follow November, I ran my first marathon (4:34:06 – 10:28/mile).
  • In six more months, I ran my fastest marathon in 3:39:45 – 8:24/mile.  I began this blog shortly before that race, and let other people know about it after the race.  I believe the only way I can continue to improve is get beyond goals that are reasonable in my mind, as I’ve already passed all of those goals, anyway.

View all races.

I believe the first thing that happens when doubt creeps in is that we lose focus, and the doubt gives us an “easy out”.  Don’t take it.  Maintain focus.  Dispel those doubts.

Cancel your runners magazine subscription #twit2fit

No, I don’t mean that, do I? Ok, then, as long as you just read it for the pictures, it’s okay to keep it.

Actually, I have nothing against the popular running hobbyist magazines. However, you must realize what a magazine is. Magazines have several new messages every issue. Otherwise, why would you need the next issue?

While some may even take issue with some of the advice presented in the articles, I think there’s a greater danger: lack of consistency. Just like you can’t chase every mutual fund that a money magazine recommends, or go with the diet that you’ve obeyed the best that day, you can’t change training plans on a weekly or monthly basis.

Yet, that is just what will happen if you take the articles to heart: you’ll switch plans. You’ll switch because the first thing that will happen is the doubt that you can pull this off, that this plan is right for you. It happens on term papers, on novels, on investments, and certainly on a 16 week training plan. To compound the psychological effects, your body will be giving you feedback through all of the tough workouts, through all the pushing yourself a little further. Your body has to restructure itself to grow, and while that process should not cause excruciating pain, it will probably cause some discomfort.

Whether you’re going from couch to 5k, training for your first half-marathon, or taking the plunge for your first marathon, stretching your limits is not comfortable. Stepping out of your comfort zone is how you grow. Revisiting that feeling, again and again, is how you excel.

If you’re doing you first training for a specific distance, any plan that increases weekly mileage an average of 5% per week and mixes in different speed runs will work. Go fast once per week, go long once per week, and enjoy all of your runs.

Good luck.

Added from an @runtowin comment:

Some runner’s magazines concentrate on local stories and are way better than the national ones anyway (New England Runner)