Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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R&R at a B&B – Stratford, Ontario

The week of September 20th to October 2nd was an easy week ending with an “R” for racing at the Stratford Festival 10K on Sunday. A couple of years ago we stayed overnight in Stratford to see a production of Julius Caesar. We stayed at a charming B & B called the Judges Quarters. We vowed to return soon. I was looking for a race on Sunday, October 2nd and one of the very few choices on that day offered us the chance to return to Stratford for some racing and that particularly sweet form of relaxation that comes after racing.

After settling into our B & B we got our bearings and discovered the race start to be about 400 meters away, via a footpath.  The morning of the race I was able to jog to pick up my race kit in less than three minutes, return to our quarters to pin on my race bib, warm-up and return again for a final pre-race pit stop a real bonus with the unseasonably chilly temperature of 0C (with windchill).

The first 200 meters . . . time to settle in

I ran the first half of this rolling 10K at a steady, hard pace determined by my heart rate monitor. Around the halfway point I was passed by a masters female. I wished her luck and decided to stick to my plan of running steady picking up the pace over the last 3-4K. Shortly after I was passed I noticed that my heart rate had dropped a bit so I pushed a bit harder and passed the same woman. The competitive spirit began to set in and I decided to stop watching my heart rate and rather than wait for the drama of a a finishing kick, began a long steady hard drive to the finish over the last 3K.  I was able to pull away from her successfully and finished 20 seconds ahead. This competitor it turns out was a fresh entry into the 50-59 age category.

The pain of being pursued by a 50 year old with 25 meters to go

My time of 46:18 on a moderately slow course in the wind was quite an improvement on my 23:08 time on a flat 5K course three weeks ago. According to the age-graded tables for runners my time is equivalent to  just under 38 minutes in the open category. So it looks like 46:18 is the new 37:52. We age-groupers get our kicks from these relative comparisons but as I get older and the gap approaches 10 minutes over 10K, the effects of aging become more glaring.  Moving on however –  it felt great to run strong and steady and see my fitness improve over just three weeks.

Age-Grading Calculator from Runner's World

Exactly three hours after finishing the race I was sitting in the Stratford Festival Theatre 50 meters from the start of the race to see the Misanthrope by Moliere. Another indicator of passing time was the program mentioned the debut of this adaption took place in 1973 at the Old Vic in London with Diana Rigg as the female lead. My mother and I saw that production of the Misanthrope in 1973 when I was 17 years old – 38 years ago. I highly recommend this production as entirely entertaining and with excellent production values. What a wonderfully enjoyable day.

We’ll be returning in two months, not two years for our next visit as we have booked tickets for Gordon Lightfoot’s farewell tour which ends at the cosy Stratford Festival Theatre.  No racing however as I’ll be enjoying my post-NYC marathon down time. Yikes, New York, New York . . . four weeks to go!


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Gone running . . . 2 weeks@114K

Nearly two weeks since my last post.  Could it have anything to do with my training for NYC and working twice the number of hours designated to my job, which I love in spite of its busyness.  Perhaps.

Just another early morning run to the lake

I ran 114K or 70 miles each of the last two weeks but my life was not just about work and running, although blogging is taking a big hit. Here are some highlights of the past two weeks.

Cool crisp day by the falls

I was in Niagara Falls for a couple of days although I did put in full days of work, the view from my temporary office was great and I ate well.

Consumed in Niagara Falls

I ran 22 miles/34K on Saturday and my husband did a fantastic job of feeding me over the weekend.

What I ate after running 34K

  • We celebrated my husband’s birthday at our local Scottish pub the Caledonian.
  • I treated a new friend from Venezuala to a latte and left the cafe without paying.

My view from my office in Niagara Falls

  • I got my bike fixed up and it is now rides really well. I was not impressed with the tune-up done at Bike Couture but very impressed with the tune-up after the tune-up at Set Me Free on College at Grace street.
  • Our marriage sharing group reconvened after the summer break.
  • I ran into a new friend when she was in the middle of her longest run ever and we got to run together for a few miles.
  • I had breakfast with my former coach Zeba Crook who now teaches at Carelton.
  • I count my blessings while I make steady progress through Romeo Dallaire’s “Shake Hands with the Devil”.

The brother of one of my Saturday run pals died last week, giving us all pause to consider the fullness of our lives and the gifts sent our way.

Here is a  snippet from a favourite William Blake poem which I read at a friend’s “Celebration of Life” many years ago.

I thought Love lived in the hot sunshine,
But O, he lives in the moony light!
I thought to find Love in the heat of day,
But sweet Love is the comforter of night.

Seek Love in the pity of others’ woe,
In the gentle relief of another’s care,
In the darkness of night and the winter’s snow,
In the naked and outcast, seek Love there!

Thank you for reading . . .


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First race of the year!

After running the Sacramento Marathon in December I vowed to build upon my fitness level to get in great shape this year. Things got busy and if you have been following my blog, you’ll be tired of hearing how the volunteer project my husband and I took on in the spring, was all-consuming – but that it was along with being a highly rewarding endeavour.

Ed Whitlock

Ed Whitlock - It's been awhile

Finally, after a nine month lapse I raced 5K last Sunday at the Toronto Island Run.  Ed Whitlock regularly runs the signature Island 10K to get a sense of where his fitness is at.  Even if he is not at the top of his game or has an off day, chances are he will set a record.  That day he set a world age-group record for 80 year olds of  42:49.  Ed does it again.  Congrats!

Ed Whitlock

Ed Whitlock, 100 meters from another record

The Island race has been around for 31 years and has built on its success to become a polished, community event superbly run by the Longboat Roadrunners who have operated as a running club for as the race. In fact, it was while a member of the Longboat Roadrunners that I met my husband some 26 years ago.  The club name honours Tom Longboat who many regard as Canada’s greatest athlete.  Longboat was an Onandagan from Ohsweken, Ontario who won the Boston Marathon in 1907 by breaking the previous record over the old 24-1/2 mile course by four minutes and 59 seconds.  He was the dominant distance runner of his time.

Tom Longboat

As race day drew near I found myself distinctly lacking motivation and were it not for a commitment I to run the race might have decided otherwise. But, but, but . . . it was, and I did know it would be, just the thing to help focus my training for New York. I’ve been too busy to alter my schedule to attend group workouts and I really needed to be pushed. So I ran 23:04 which was good enough to place 2nd in the masters category. But I really hope to be running a lot faster over the next six months. Although it was the closest I have ever been to throwing up after a race due to having sprinted madly to pick off a runner at the finish line. Our times were the same but I was a microsecond ahead. I surprised myself by feeling obliged to push hard in the last 400 meters and try to catch every runner possible.

The Sherpa

My loving sherpa

The weather could not have been more pleasing and we ran into many old friends. For those unfamiliar with Toronto, if you ever visit, a trip to the Toronto Islands is a must. A 10-15 minute ferry ride gets you to a soothing green space with expansive lake Ontario vistas.

Toronto Island

Toronto Islands - Ya gotta go!

As I write, I find myself thinking about how a few years ago I was regularly running under 20 minutes for 5K. Will I ever go under 20 minutes again? Maybe a goal for my upcoming 56th year. But no time to waste, truly. As Ed Whitlock once famously said when queried about his race times. “Time is not on my side.”

Toronto Island Race

Will I ever run under 20 minutes again?


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Now we are four (runners)

I’ve set a record for the longest interval between blog posts of 8 days.  Surpassing the previous lapse of 7 days.  I have been and busy! I logged 60 hours of work and 60 miles of running with little time left to blog.

Wychwood barns

Sharing Saturday chores for a change

I started the week with aspirations to hit 70 miles however on my runs last Sunday and Monday, I felt as though I was running the final miles of a marathon as my legs were super-heavy.  Thus I knew that it was time to back off a little. I had planned to do a tempo run on Tuesday but instead ran an easy 7 miles.  I did a 45 minute section of tempo running on a 10 miler on Wednesday.  Even though I broke the 45 minutes into four sections I was not able to get my heartrate into the threshold zone consistently  because my legs went dead on me after the first 8 minutes.

Wychwood barns

Oh so succulent

I reconfigured the sequence of my workouts due to my belief that our annual family event was on Saturday and did my long run on Friday morning.  I set out with a minimum goal of 16 miles given the results of the last hard workout but happily felt good enough to get in 18 miles. I discovered on Friday afternoon that the family event was on Sunday not Saturday.  I decided to defer the 10 miler I had planned for Sunday to Monday in favour of being less rushed and also to give myself another rest day.

Wychwood barns

Beautiful beets

My husband usually does the meat and vegetable shopping on Saturdays while I’m running.  Due to my confusion about dates I was able to go along with him to the farmer’s market at the Wychwood Barns.  This market is on one of my long run routes and it was the first time I had been there in my civvies as prior visit have been when I needed to make a pit stop.

Wychwood barns

Fresh & fruity

Today I ran 10 miles with 8 x 2 minutes hard. The cooler temperature and the extra rest was a help as I felt great!  There is a lot of exciting stuff going on at our place. Our son just moved back from his year internship at Research in Motion and both he and his friend Alain, who lives with us, are going to join my husband and I in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. Before I had begun my workout, Alain was back from his run and just as I finished my run, Steven appeared, having just finished his. When my husband returned from his workout, he cooked up a big breakfast, well-deserved by all.

To find out more about what is keeping our household fit click on Scotiabank Charity Challenge to see our motivation.  CLICK HERE to find out more and perhaps place a pledge on me 🙂 If you would like to join our team just send your inquiry as a comment on this post.

Peace


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“The More You Move, the More You See”

I think I first saw this expression on the New Balance website.  Non-runners may not appreciate that using your legs to get you around town can be scenic and entertaining.

My NYC training plan called for 31K or 19 miles on Saturday. I had to be mentally tough going into it as the usual Saturday crowd were not around. I decided to focus on putting in the time on my feet and not worry about quality as that will come in good time. I devised a  scenic and mainly flat route and looked forward to taking my camera along.

Route to High Park

First mile to the west

Rather than the usual due south route down Strachan which is in the throes of  increased traffic caused by the Canadian National Exhibition, I ran west to High Park. Between Lansdowne and Roncesvalles are a few blocks blocks of urban decay, the outcome of a busy and confusing juncture where two streetcars lines intersect.  To enhance the ambience of this strip, leading the way was a man on a large motor scooter driving on the sidewalk whilst leaving a trail of marijuana smoke in his wake. Some people!

Tree that grows in Brooklyn

Urban decay, Ailanthus altissima, that tree that grows in Brooklyn

I entered into High Park by the northeast quadrant, running counter-clockwise on the trails past Grenadier Pond and then south to the lake and the Waterfront Trail.

High park trails

Favourite section of High Park trails

In High Park I was watching out for friends from People to People AID Organization Canada, who were holding a fundraising walk later that morning but did not see a soul as I must have been a bit too early having set out at 7:30 a.m.  That is the group for which my husband and I organized a the fundraising gala, People4Kids last April.

Grenadier Pond

Grenadier Pond 8 a.m.

The fogginess of the morning set the scene for some pretty and atmospheric sights and one rather euw’ish sight which I learned upon examining the photo I took was a tent caterpillar nest.

Tent Caterillar nest

Euw!!

When I hit the lake I went east for 3K and then back west through the Humber Bay Park east and then to a never-before-trod for me, destination of  Humber Bay Parks – Waterfront Trail

Butterfly garden

Twig sculpture in the butterfly garden

Running through the wild flower garden I spotted what I think were American goldfinch, twittering about. In Humber Bay park east, I saw what appeared to be a female cardinal.  The entrance to Humber Bay park east is quite a maze of paths and parking lots and I was on the lookout for the entrance to Humber Bay park west which I had over the course of three decades missed in my occasional forays to this area of the lakeshore.

Lighthouse, Humber Bay park west

To the lighthouse

I was successful in finding the entry point and was rewarded with a pleasant run of about two miles, out and back on this new found route. Waiting for this intrepid runner at the turnaround point were two surprises,  a groundhog and an historic lighthouse.

Grounghog

Twas a groundhog . . .

Along the way I also spotted a photo session with a lean, blond model wearing a black negligee and a large number of scuba divers, in and out of the water.

The run itself was verging on being a “slog” but with the help of some Gatorade, I perked up a bit in the second half.  I made two stops to drink Gatorade using the plastic bag technique mentioned in a PREVIOUS POST.  I’ve refined this method by adding a second chamber, sectioned off with an elastic.

Gatorade in a bag

Low tech fluid replenishing system

This weekend my husband was a model of support in that while I was out running he shopped for meat at Grace Street Meat Market, bought vegies and fruit at the Wychwood Barns farmer’s market, brought me my fatty latte from Starbuck’s (triple-venti-whole-milk-vanilla latte) and cooked me a bacon and egg breakfast.

I felt quite tired today, as though I was coming down with “something” and while I napped he went and did some essential grocery shopping and my son did the dishes after my husband had cooked breakfast again.  He also cooked dinner last night and is cooking dinner while I write. Thank you, thank you my darling.  This felt even more commendable given that he feels that I’m not coming down with  “something” but suffering the effects of two large glasses of wine enjoyed at a  party last night.  Alcohol has greater effect when in hard training, this is true.

I should also mention that getting out the door this morning for a 10K run was easier for having our roommate Alain to run with.  I certainly can’t complain about household support for my training.

So I got my 108KM in for this week and am hoping to hit 116 km or 70 miles for the upcoming week.  I’m sure looking forward to the easy week scheduled after that.  But the fatigue level of this week tells me that I am pushing myself in the way that one must, to get to the next level of fitness.

The more I move, the faster I’ll see that finish line at the New York City Marathon.  Olé!


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62 Miles = 100 Kilometers

Nowadays when I tell people how far I’ve run or my weekly mileage tally most people assume I mean kilometers not miles. So, for the record I ran 100 KM this week.

NYC Marathon

That would be miles, not kilometers

A highlight of the past eight days was that I ran with two new people. The first was our roommate Alain, a friend of my son’s who lives with us. We enjoyed a 10K run at a faster-than-usual easy day pace. A few days later I ran with a 19 year old friend from Afghanistan who hasn’t been running at all but did come second in the city wrestling championships in the 55 kilogram category. He easily ran with me for five miles through High Park including Deer Pen Road, the steepest road in the Park. He did this while wearing his wrestling shoes. We are planning to run again. It feels good to be able to run with fit youngsters who have mothers 10 years my junior.

I enjoyed introducing him to High Park. He lives less than a mile away but had never visited. He really enjoyed the trails and particularly enjoyed the part I dread most, the off-leash dog area of the trail. As it turns out, he had a dog in Afghanistan and as he started to tell me about his large Russian bred dog, said, “Things are different in my country” which was perhaps in my little world, the understatement of the year. I rightly guessed that his dog was an attack dog, trained to protect people and property.

He got quite a kick out the packs of unleashed dogs playing on the trail and encouraged one to run alongside us, to the chagrin of the owner. I do confess as a tending-to-cower runner in the presence of dogs, I rather enjoyed this show of confidence. My friend thought it quite funny that I would be scared of Canadian dogs. I asked a friend from Sierra Leone about the dogs in his country and he confirmed that owning 2-3 dogs trained this way was a necessity.

As for NYC Marathon training, the week went very well and I felt surprisingly good today after my 18 miler yesterday which went a big way in getting me past my minimum target of 60 miles for the week. Mixed in to those miles was 35 minutes of tempo running and 10 x 1 minute hard.

Yesterday I woke at 4:00 a.m. and set out on my 18 miler at 6:40 a.m. The morning grew hotter and more humid and while the run was hard, it was not a slog. I napped for a couple of hours afterward to make up for rising so early.

My goal for next week is to hit 65 miles minimum. I’m going to have to tighten up my time management as I’m heading into a very busy period at work.  Today I learned how to make lists on my BlackBerry which I hope will be one tool to improve my ability to Get Things Done.  One thing I’ve been doing this year to save time is to avoid shopping if at all possible. You would be amazed at how much time you can save if you decide just to get by with what you have and avoid stores.

Best to save that leg power for running not shopping.  Marathon training can save you money 🙂


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The Country Mile

Some of the toughest training I’ve done has been in the country. Thus I find that intense training while on a cottage vacation is to be avoided. I organize my mileage to peak just before such holidays in anticipation of unfavourable conditions such as ornery, ill-trained country dogs, trekking through bear country and narrow sloping shoulders on the highways and byways, elements which help do justice to the term a “country mile”.

Running Haliburton

North Shore Road, Haliburton Highlands

I once saw Dick Beardsley speak at the Ottawa Marathon Race Expo. He is famous for his Duel in the Sun with Alberto Salazar at the Boston Marathon in 1982 where they ran together for the full 26.2 miles and finished 2 seconds apart, Salazar the victor. At the Expo Dick Beardsley told us that whenever he had to train in the country he would visit the farms nearby and introduce himself to the neighbourhood dogs. Good advice if you want to experience less tension when running in the country. Though I admit that my fears have a tinge of irony in that the only time I have been bitten by a dog was while running on Queen Street West when a leashed dog leapt up and and set some faint tooth-marks into my thigh.

Cosy Corner

Cosy Corner, Haliburton – Sweet Tooth Special – Note: I could not eat the toast 🙂

My weekly mileage tally ending last Sunday was 56. This put me a little ahead of my NYC Marathon training plan, especially since I ran an unplanned-for 17 miles very early on the Saturday before we left for the Haliburton Highlands. I had planned to do 17 miles two weeks later but capped a successful four-week training bloc by doing more than planned. WooHoo!

My easy 6 miler last Sunday was run from a cottage on Boshkung Lake  just north of Carnarvon off of Highway 35 in Ontario.  Thankfully, after a one-mile busy stretch on the narrow shoulder of the highway, I was able to run on North Shore Road, a meandering road with varied terrain, which curves pleasantly along Beech Lake and is dotted with cottage homes and farms. This is the best cottage running I have ever enjoyed and for the first time, country miles felt shorter than city miles.

Stanhope museum

Roadside attraction

While it was an easy week for the legs, my arms were called into action. The first morning, I was invited to be the fourth in a game of tennis. I like tennis but since playing a bit as a girl, have averaged a game a decade.  The day was cool, the company congenial and the approach relaxed so I very much enjoyed this uncommon departure from my usual athletic routine.

Par Three Golf

Par Three Golf in Carnarvon

The tennis game sparked my desire to one day learn to play a bit better and my friend suggested that we might play now and again at Glendon College. After tennis, I had allowed myself the option to skip a run, but thanks to the initiative of my husband got out for a six miler although my legs were none too perky after 90 minutes of running around the court. In addition to tennis we kayaked , played ping pong and then had a nine-hole, par three game of golf; my score, an astonishing 24 over par at 51! My husband did much better and scored his first birdie ever.

North Shore Road, cycling

Bike Escort on North Shore Road

Yesterday, was our last day in the country and I ran earlier than the rest of the week.  My reward was seeing three deer in two separate sightings. I also spotted from afar a very large black dog prowling in front of a home and decided to do some double loops closer to home. It struck me then that part of the ease of my previous runs was due to having my husband leading the way on his bike. This was the first run I did solo.

Deer on North Shore Road

Deer on North Shore Road

So after being buoyed by my earlier runs, I returned home  like a dog with its tail between its legs in reporting that I chose the comfort of cars whizzing by on the main road to the perils of country dogs. My overactive imagination created the faint thought that perhaps that large black dog with white around the neck, seen from afar was a wolf. My husband will be distressed to read that I even mention this outrageous imagining. Perhaps I was influenced by thoughts of an outing planned for later that day, a trek to the Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre. To be honest, learning more about wolves made me well . . . more wary of dogs perhaps not the best outing for this easily startled runner. Awoooooooo . . .

Wolves at Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre

Wolf pack at Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre


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Massage Runs – How easy is that?

Lake Ontario

Favourite turnaround point

Ta da . . . I got my 55 miles the week past with a very easy 5 mile run Sunday morning.  This run was what I call a “massage run”.  Reasons for running this pace include; long run recovery, race recovery and double-run days.  Sometimes I joke that one of my strengths as a marathoner is my ability to run slow.  Some runners just do not have the temperament to run those slow miles that boost total mileage and total fitness. Their view is that running that slow is well, not really running.

Often times mileage accumulated this way are disparaged as junk miles.  Defined so if one takes a narrow view of training methods as a quantity versus quality. High mileage programs may essentially be the same as the low mileage quality programs except for the addition of those extra easy and very easy runs which at the 100 mile a week level might give you an extra 15-20 miles a week. At the peak of my training in years past I ran 11 times a week, with 4 days of double-workouts with most of those second runs falling into the very easy or massage pace zone.

What do those additional miles do for a runner?  Some like Matt Fitzgerald author of Mind, Body Running suggest that high-mileage training is one of the factors that improve running economy.  Anecdotely, I’ d agree that at the end of those high-mileage weeks the body is very motivated to find the most economical way to keep on moving.  You also in the most gradual of ways increase the strength of the musculoskeletal system and gently improve aerobic conditioning.

On the subject of real easy, non-running style here’s a quick recap of some of the things I’ve been up to in the past week or so that I have done while not running.  We went to a couple of theatre events, the first a sketch comedy production called All Grown Up by Asiansploitation a troupe we’ve followed for the past couple of years. The other Kim’s Convenience, voted best play at the Toronto Fringe Festival.  One very hot afternoon we escaped to the movies to see Cowboys and Aliens. I also watched The Fighter on DVD for the second time.  Really enjoyed that one, a classic sport redemption tale which I give ****1/2 out of 5 stars.

Kim's Convenience

Encore for Kim's Convenience, Best of the Toronto Fringe Festival

As for eating, we very much enjoyed a lunch at Pizza Libretto on Ossington avenue which included absolutely amazing vanilla ice cream and the best pannacotta I’ve ever tasted.  I was very proud of the Chap Chae, a Korean noodle dish that I made for an international pot luck dinner last night.  I made this with two very recently arrived acquaintances from North Korea in mind.

Chap Chae

Chap Chae, Korean Yam Noodle dish

Tonight due to a late departure from work we ate at the Caledonian, the only Scottish pub in Toronto where I took pleasure in one of my favourite dining out meals, a burger with fries.  Eat to run, run to eat . . . it is a good life.

Pannacotta

Best pannacotta ever!


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Hello, Goodbye – Sixteen Miles on a Saturday

I was feeling quite apprehensive about pulling off this long run due to some incredibly humid weather earlier this week, mileage and quality increases and weight work yesterday.  I had missed the last three Saturdays with my regular group and hoped for their company however I wanted to optimize the conditions for making it through at least 15 miles.

Saturday runners

Those Saturday Guys

One member of the Saturday group is heading off to France for a year and has rented his home to a runner from Holland.  So the run today was both a farewell and a welcome.  In the flurry of emails to plan this run, I tried to suggest that the ideal plan would be to run down to the lake.  Admittedly, the plan was a bit complicated and involved car transport for three of the runners but my survival instincts begged for the following; 1) minimal exposure to vehicular traffic 2) the cooling breezes of Lake Ontario 3) a flat route. I geared up mentally to run to our rendezvous point, meet the new guy, say goodbye to “R” then head off on my lonesome down to the lake.

On arriving at our meeting spot I was reminded that the Caribana parade which takes place by the lakeshore is today. This is one of two weekends of the year when running by the lake is to be avoided, the other is the weekend of the Molson Indy.  Thankfully, the humidity had lifted this morning and running uptown was not too bad.

I ran with the group for about 9 miles and then reversed directions on the beltline to run solo in order to ensure I’d hit my mileage target.  I ran over 16 miles at a brisker- than-usual pace on a hillier than planned for route.  The pace was faster than our usual due to the presence of an ailing 2:35 marathoner.   With 4 miles to go I sent an email to my husband to order my post-long-run latte.

Glen Cedar Road

Bridge at Glen Cedar Road - Four miles to go, time to order that latte

Tomorrow, I’ll run 5 miles to get to my 55 mile target for this week.  I’m feeling pretty good about my training this past month and encouraged by the ease of the run today.  I feel fine!


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Training for NYC – The Plan

Here is the draft of my training plan for the NYC Marathon, committed to paper while flying to Edmonton the other week.  I’ve since transferred the plan to the Excel spreadsheet that I’ve been using as my training log for over a decade.

Marathon Training Plan 2011

Training Plan for NYC Marathon

For all the gadgets in the world, I’ve found that sometimes there is nothing that beats pen and paper for keeping organized.  I’m at my best at Getting Things Done GTD®  à la Dave Allen when I have notepads strategically located around the house, so as to easily download from my mind, all the things that need doing.  CLICK HERE for my earlier post about Dave Allen.

You’ll see in my plan that I’m hoping to do 80 & 85 miles weeks at the peak of my training.  Pulling that off will depend on whether I can both increase the quality of my runs and increase mileage concurrently.  I used to be able to do this easily but with a lapse of a few years from hard training and age, we will have to see.

The “E” stands for Easy Week and as a concession to the aforementioned, I will experiment with two weeks hard, one week easy.  Previously, I would usually do three weeks hard and one week easy. “R” stands for race, the first being the Scotiabank Half-Marathon and then of course NYC.

I hit my target of 50 miles last week and this week got off to a good start with a workout that will segue into a weekly tempo run.  I ran a 4 mile warm-up outdoors and then hit the treadmill for 2 X 10 minutes of marathon-pace and tempo-pace running for a total of 8 miles.

Not all the treadmills at my gym are equipped to read out heart rate data and while fidgeting with the controls of one treadmill, I had to input my age.  By mistake I entered 50 and then my target heart rate which was 145, my marathon-pace heart rate.

Immediately I received in three warnings in quick succession that this was 85% of my maximum heart rate and did I realize the risk involved.  These warnings reminded me of how off-the-mark heart rate zone charts can be.  Normal resting heart rates for the general population differ by up to 20 beats.  Age maximums vary even more depending on fitness level.  If I had entered 172, which would be my target were I planning to run intervals, along with my correct age of 55 perhaps the treadmill would have gone on red alert and shut down.

My best advice to those seeking to improve their marathon times is get a lactate threshold test done.  This will insure that you are doing those important tempo runs at the just the right effort level. Runner know thyself.