>Racing>2023 The Waltons: Racing & Training Thread
Mick - some fall marathons other than NYC in the general vicinity (i.e. 2-3 hours' drive from NY) include the Atlantic City Marathon on October 22 and the Philadelphia Marathon on November 19. I've run the half in AC and it's a pretty flat course, though even in October you can get some hot days. Philly was the first marathon I ever ran and it has some hills, but by mid-November you probably won't have to worry about it being too warm.
AC is super easy logistically (once you get there). Hotels right on the boardwalk are within walking distance and even the elevated weekend pricing is probably less than the larger city hotel prices.
Baltimore County has NCR the weekend after Thanksgiving. it's pretty small, like 700 people max, but relatively flat rail trail (so 1% grade heading out, downgrade coming back). A=And you get a cool fleece blanket at the finish.
Hey all, pretty quiet from me lately, but just dropping by to say we had a healthy baby girl, Claudia (as some of you already picked up from Strava). Mum and her are doing well and hopefully out of hospital tomorrow. I managed to squeak a few miles in last week but nothing to write home about, just keeping the legs ticking over.
3,000m: 9:07.7 (Nov-21) | 5,000m: 15:39 (Dec-19) | 10,000m: 32:34 (Mar-20)
10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) | HM: 1:09:41 (May-21)* | FM: 2:41:41 (Oct-20)
* Net downhill course
Last race: Xterra Riverhead, 3 Sept, got super muddy.
Up next: Devonport HM, 1 Oct, goal: course PB.
"CONSISTENCY IS KING"
Federal Twist 10k, Stockton, NJ, 6/3/23
I last ran this race two years ago in 79º (26C) with bright sunshine, in 58:21, and came in 2nd in my AG. Today conditions were better, but still not good for racing at 72º (22C) and cloudy but humid, so I had hopes of improving over last year's time. The course is far from fast, as I'll get into later, and after doing my warmup run on the canal towpath in street shoes, which were experiencing a little slip on the layer of small gravel that covered most of the path, I switched to trail shoes.
This was one of those races where nobody wanted to move up to the start line, so I shrugged and lined up right at the line, knowing I'd be passed quickly. The race starts and ends in a vineyard and the first hundred yards was on grass that was cut long and hid the very uneven ground underneath, which caused some knee-buckling strides, but no twisted ankles (and another reason I was better off in trail shoes). After that first stretch the rest of the first ½ mile was on grass over hard-packed ground that was less uneven. The fastest people passed me in this part.
Next was a ½ mile on pavement, the only paved portion of the race, which included a steep climb of about 100' (30m), where more of the faster people passed me. Then a turn onto a firm dirt road to go back downhill, which I did at speed, but not catching anyone. The next 4 miles were on the towpath, which is where my trail shoes paid off as I noticed very little slip with them. At the two-mile mark there were about 40 people ahead of me, but I couldn't hear many behind me. Twice between the 2-mile point and the turnaround at 3.8 miles, a lone runner passed me and both times I managed to keep up for a while, but they pulled away from me.
After the turnaround, there was about half a mile where I heard footsteps close behind. Twice, the runner moved over to pass me but didn't, then the third time she passed me and moved over in front of me. However, after about a quarter mile she slowed and I passed her back. During the time that she was behind me, pushing me on, and when I passed her back, we were catching up on another pair of runners. I used this other pair as a target to keep going after I passed back the woman who had passed me. We both passed the two people ahead of us and I could hear her close behind again. With a little more than a half mile to go, the course went down off the towpath in a tight, steep drop and the woman behind me cursed a bit at the sight. I heard that and I threw caution to the winds, taking it in four big steps, putting some distance between us.
Shortly after, we were back on the grounds of the vineyard, running on grass again, and on tired legs it was torture. The woman who had been with me for so long made one last effort to pass me, drawing even on a turn, but then dropping back again. I thought she was about to finally get me when I saw someone out of the corner of my eye, but it was a runner I hadn't been aware of who passed me and kept right on going. With less than a ¼ mile to go, and my legs screaming on the uneven ground, I reeled in another runner who was fading. At this point I was coming up on two 5k runners who were walking side by side and taking up the entire space between the grape vines. I was about to say something when a runner behind me spoke up and got them to move - a tactical error since I was now aware of him with two turns to go. We passed the walkers, and made the penultimate turn. I used my position in front to hold the inside line and kept ahead to the final turn. The last stretch was the ground we'd covered at the start - long grass over uneven ground. My legs were almost done and I was swinging my arms hard to stay ahead. I managed to just edge out the guy behind me (though be beat me on clock time, but nobody cares about that during the heat of the moment) and the woman who was behind me for most of the last half of the race finished shortly thereafter.
I ran 54:23, a 4-minute improvement over two years ago, and came in 5th in my AG, three spots lower, which just goes to show you can't control who shows up to run. I felt really good about my race. I was able to hold a steady pace for most of the 4+ miles on the towpath and I hung on at the end on the grass when my legs wanted to quit. As a bonus, once I finished I learned my son had come in 7th of 131 in the 5k, winning his AG (of 2 people). So while not a fast time for me, it was a good result on a hard course in warm weather.
5k 23:48.45 (3/22); 4M 31:26 (2/22); 5M 38:57 (11/22); 10k 49:24 (10/22); Half 1:48:32 (10/22)Upcoming race(s): NYC Marathon, 11/5/23; Turkey Trot, 11/25
Congratulations, Mark! Hope DD1 doesn’t mind sharing the attention with her baby sister.
Good job on the race (and RR), Fred. It’s always fun to have people to race with, and at least around here turnout is low enough that it’s not guaranteed in our few 10Ks and halves.
My Sunday run may have been my slowest ever when I wasn’t injured. Not sure why, as the weather was fine and it had been four days since a hardish long run that hadn’t seemed to affect the previous couple of runs. Regardless, by the end of the week my pace was getting close to normal again. My hamstrings are still complaining, but more so on some days than others. DW had been inspired by our Omaha 5K to start doing strides after some of her morning gym workouts, but she tweaked her Achilles and now can sympathize with me while using my Strassburg sock.
Sun - 10.1 miles in park AM sluggish @ 9:10, glutes & hamstrings sore the whole way but didn’t get worse
Mon - 7.5 miles very slow on treadmill (90:25) with 40-second walk breaks/6:00, split into 48:25 AM & 42 PM, hamstrings a little better
Tues - 8.3 miles in park PM @ 8:54, glutes sore
Weds - ~44 minutes swimming, faster than usual
Thurs - 10.1 miles in park AM @ 8:46, temp 79/26, TDP 142
Fri - 7.5 miles very slow on treadmill (90:25) with 40-second walk breaks/6:00, split into 72:25 & 18 with 1-hour break
Sat - 8.3 miles in park PM @ 8:34, temp 89/32, TDP 146, L hamstring a little sore
Total - 51.8 miles
YTD Average - 36.1 mpw
Post-1987 PRs: Half 1:30:14 (2019); 10K 39:35 (2019); 5K 19:12 (2017); Mile 5:37.3 (2020)
'23 Goals: health; consistency; age-graded PRs; half < 1:30
Fred - nice RR and well done on the 4 minute improvement.
Mark - congrats.
My week was good, biggest week since May last year. Not that my weeks are really ever big these days. Fri run had quite a fade, and today was very wet and windy. Also one strength session too.
PRs: 5km 18:43 (Dec 2015), 10km 39:59 (Sep 2020), half 1:26:16 (Sep 2016), full 3:09:28 (Jun 2015)
40+ PRs: 5km 19:31 (Oct 2020), 10km 39:59 (Sep 2020), half 1:29:39 (Jun 2018), full 3:13:55 (Sep 2022)
Mother of Cats
Fred - well done. That race course sounds like misery, but I guess some people like it that way. A course like that certainly adds complexity to one's race strategy.
James - perhaps you were fighting off a bug and didn't know it?
Watson - congrats on a bigger than normal week!
54 miles running, ~1000 yards swimming and 3 hours pool-running.M: 90 minutes pool-running and streaming yoga.T: 8.5 miles, including an 800 in 3:23 (pulled the plug on the workout), followed by upper body strengthwork and core.W: 10 miles, including 16x400m with 100m float. The 400s averaged 1:41 and the 100m float averaged 31 seconds. Followed with leg strengthwork and 500 yards recovery swimming.Th: 90 minutes pool-running and streaming yoga. F: 1.5 miles very easy (9:41) and 9 miles easy (9:33) plus drills and strides.Sa: 14.5 miles, with 2x4 miles at marathon effort in 30:01 (7:30 pace) and 29:54 (7:29 pace). Followed with leg strengthwork and 500 meters recovery swimming.Su: 8.5 miles very easy (9:22), drills+strides, and 2 miles very easy (8:55), followed by upper body strengthwork and core.
The week started with a hiccup. I've been playing with the timing of the medication I take for the dystonia/neuro stuff and tried an extra dose right before the Tuesday workout. Unfortunately, that turned out to be too much, and made the dystonia flare instead of reducing it. I made it through 1.5 800s, and then decided to bail and return the next day.
So I came back on Wednesday (returning to previous medication schedule) and hopped into the team's 25x400m workout (that's 25 400m reps at 10K pace with a 100m float between each). I've always found 25 reps to be too much for me, but 16 reps is just the right amount of work, so I did that. It was a big and hard workout, but not an excessively big and hard workout, and I was pretty happy with it. The entire workout (intervals plus floats) added up to 8K in 35:09, which is not too far from tempo pace for me, so that was another indication that I got it right.
Since I did 16x400 on Wednesday, I skipped the Friday tempo, instead timing it for my teammates (ran before and after), and just did a marathon effort workout on Saturday.
I'm now less than 2 weeks from the Garry Bjorklund half, so I'm in maintenance mode until then. Then I'll take a few days pool-running before thinking about starting training for Chicago.
Everyone's gotta running blog; I'm the only one with a POOL-RUNNING blog.
And...if you want a running Instagram where all the pictures are of cats, I've got you covered.
Hot Weather Complainer
Will catch up on everyone's posts soon. My coach asked for an event review while it's fresh even though I wasn't keen on one. So I'll post it here too. Thanks all for the amazing support.
INSTRUCTIONS Fill in the spaces underneath each of these headings for me and I look forward to chatting about your day out on the weekend.
PRE RACE GOAL What was your "A" goal coming into this event?
Around 3:15-20, but really just to have a good race without cramp.
FINISHING TIME What was your finishing time?
FULL DAY DESCRIPTION Break down the day for me into the following subheadings and add in as much or as little detail as you like.
6/10 Slept okay with a few wake ups. The week leading up was okay too, probably would have liked a bit more though.
PRE RACE ROUTINE (what you did before you left the house)
Up about 5am for breakfast and shower etc. Left at 7am. Everything went as planned, no rushing or stress.
Easy 20 minute drive, arrived at 7:25am so plenty of time to warm up and relax.
10/10 Felt good, no obvious niggles.
THE RACE (what happened? when did it happen? ie "I felt great at the 24km aid station")
The first lap was pretty good. From about 5km onwards I felt a weird soreness in my left groin which gradually got a bit worse. What is it with these races and feeling a new niggle I've never felt before? It gave me some negative thoughts but I used Quinny's techniques to let them float away. The second half of the lap had a slight tailwind and some very minor downhills and I started feeling pretty good. Saw Beth for drinks at 7km and 17km, she told me I looked good. I took gels every 30 mins and after 17km I felt a little sick for about 5 mins, I assumed because I'd taken on so much sugar. The end of the lap joined up with the slower 10km walkers and did a loop of the start/finish area which gave me a real boost.
On the way back out there was plenty of support from 10km walkers. This part of the race felt amazing, from 21km-25km into a headwind but I had good rhythm, and energy levels were really good. At around 25km I thought to myself I had already had issues at this point in Melbourne and Christchurch. There was a drinks station at 26km and just as I went through I felt a pain on the right of my knee and thought that feels weird. A few hundred metres later it developed into a sharp cramp on my inner quad (directly down from the sore groin).
It's never started there before. I couldn't believe it. Stopped and stretched and stopped my watch. Beth was going to be waiting at 27km so I knew I could pull out soon. Once it stopped I started running again and found if I went faster the pain went away. And the pain in the groin was now gone. Told Beth to head around to Old Tai Tapu Road because I was cramping and would pull out when it came on strong. I felt really good again until about 32km. I'd seen Beth a few times and she told me to work through it. But at 32km it was bad enough that if she'd been there I would have got in the car. Got going again and slowed it down to around 5:00min/km and worked out I'd still get 3:20 if I just ran that pace. Energy was fine, it was just the cramp stopping me. By the time I got to 37km I figured I was close enough to finish but the last 5km was an absolute horror show. At times I just couldn't move and the pain was excruciating.
Just like Melbourne I started adjusting what time I would accept. At 41km I was in so much pain I thought it would be 25-30 mins to get to the finish. It was so painful it almost made me vomit, and I'm sad to say during one of the episodes I lost control of my bladder. I got going again and managed to hobble to the finish without another stop. As I came into the final loop I saw the clock and realised I could at least beat the Melbourne time so picked it up and risked cramp in the finish chute but got there 15 seconds under.
FINISH (How did it feel?)
Pretty gutting but a relief to be able to stop.
5 gels, 4 500ml electrolyte + carb drinks
WHAT WENT REALLY WELL?
WHAT COULD WE DEFINITELY DO BETTER NEXT TIME?
I'm kind of at a loss here. Why don't I have these issues in training? 3 weeks ago I did a harder session than this and crushed it. It's part mental but there must be a physical component we haven't found. I think maybe we try building the mileage to 120-140km weeks, maybe in a build phase over summer. For now I will focus on recovery and some shorter races. Beth did suggest I try a 32-35km training run, all at race pace and see what happens...I know this goes against a lot of training principles but at this stage it seems like as good an idea as any.
I now have no idea whether I want to try and get to New York. I'll still go to Melbourne for the half to try and get a qualifying time but I don't know if I'll use it. I think the long term goal can be trying (yet again) to nail a good race at Christchurch in April 2024. Of course, I reserve the right over the next few weeks to retire from this distance completely...
5km: 18:40 9/23 │ 10km: 39:10 8/23 │ HM: 1:26:48 9/23 │ M: 3:34:49 6/23
Christchurch Marathon April 21, 2024
Darkwave - I get your training weeks a little confused. Is the 54 miles just ground running, or is there some pool miles in there too? And are the pool miles scaled as 1 mile in the pool will take much longer than 1 mile on the road/trail/track.
Steve - I don't think going to 120-140km is the answer here. Can you post some of your better long training runs in here? Beth's suggestion of a 32-25km run at race pace has some merits, or though it would realistically need to be a little slower than true race pace, as I don't think anyone can do 80%+ at race pace.
This is the one I mentioned as being a harder workout than the race - 7km easy into 13km race pace into 10km tempo with 5km cool down. I felt really fresh at the end and backed up with a med long the next day:
What's your thinking on higher mileage not being the answer? My thinking is it may make me more resilient but it's just a guess. I wonder if I do the long race pace workout then get a blood test quite soon afterwards. But if it's something physical that seems to happen with extended periods at race pace you'd think it would have happened in the above session. Maybe kicking down the pace prevented it for some reason I don't understand.
The 54 miles is just land running. On my own training log, I count pool-running as separate miles, using 10 minutes = 1 mile for easy math (in practice, I think 12 minutes is probably the better equivalent). Here, I've ended up shifting to using time, since it will make more sense.
This is the one I mentioned as being a harder workout than the race - 7km easy into 13km race pace into 10km tempo with 5km cool down. I felt really fresh at the end and backed up with a med long the next day:
Steve - see my question on the other thread - did you ever go DIRECTLY into race pace with no easy miles before hand when training? I keep thinking that might be the difference.
Watson - those 25k runs look monster!
Steve - sorry man I really hoped you would be able to push through. Don’t give up now - try again in the spring! What shoes did you race in?
longboat- Keep me in mind for it. I think Flavio is going too. Its not a great time of the year workwise in December we are quite busy. But that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to run a PR together with Flavio
James / Half / Fred - I am in the US right now and I find everything has really gotten quite expensive? I will have to rethink the whole East coast trip - maybe one day I will qualify for one of the big races.
Fred - great race and report! Congratulations
Darkwave - your team means business. 25x400 sounds excruciating and painful…great week! I didn’t know of distonia until I read your posts and now I learned that Kara Goucher deals with it as well. She mentioned it on one of the podcasts I listened to. Great week despite the medication hickups. Sometimes I am puzzled how you do your warmups followed by track workouts as it looks like you start, stop, start again. But I guess thats when you go out with the team?
Me - week 16 of the 18 week plan. I bought new shoes they are great (saucony Speed 3) and decent color plus 50% off. Am travelling now so did one quality workout on Sunday rather than Monday
Steve - To the extent that it might not be a training issue but more mental (knowing you're in a race making you more tense, which leads to you cramping earlier than you would in a training run at the same effort), is there something else you can change up on race day? Would it help to pace someone to a 3:25, or pace them most of the way and then speed up in the last 10km? Or to arrange beforehand to run the whole way with someone about your speed - might that be different enough to reduce the tension?
Steve - the reason I'm against you going to the 120-140km weeks are:
- You have much better training long runs, like what you posted. So it's something about the race day, taper etc. which is causing you a problem.
- It's a lot of extra time per week on a hobby.
- Not everybody does better once volume gets high. Darkwave and Mark are examples who do better on 80-100km weeks rather than higher.
In terms of your marathon racing:
- Why do warm up runs? I get a 2:30 guy/girl doing warm up runs, but for 3+ hour runner I don't think it's needed. I've never done them, I think they take away much more than they give for 3+ hour runners.
- Maybe starting slower would be good. Your 35km run had a long warm up period.
- Maybe lower expectations for your next marathon. Maybe just aim for 3:25 which would be a PR, with the first 10km in 50 minutes, then look for 4:45/km pace, and if at 30km it's going really well then maybe kick on and go a little quicker. If you pulled that off you'd end up 3:20-3:25 depending on whether you speed up at 30km.
Mark - Congratulations! Great news when mother and child are both doing well and coming home soon.
Steve - I've neither the experience nor the expertise to offer anything besides sympathy and condolences. In my last marathon what I thought was a cramp turned out to be a sciatica issue. I hope you solve it.
Mick - Thank you. I thought things getting expensive was more or less a global issue these days. Without knowing when you were last here, it's hard to say. I like the Saucony's too, when I can get them at a discount, like you did. Nice week.
Darkwave - Thanks. It's been commented that I race a lot, so I guess I like to mix things up with the occasional difficult course such as the 10k; it's no fun always running flat, paved routes. Fine tuning medication is always a fraught endeavor, but often worth it once you get the right strategy. That's quite a workout you did. I bet it helps to be doing all those 400s as part of a group.
Watson - Thanks. I have to give the weather a lot of credit for the big improvement. 72 and cloudy is a lot better than 79 and sunny. Nice job on your highest mileage week in a year.
James - Thank you. Yes, you're right - it's nice when the field is large enough to have people to race against but not so large that I'm just part of a crowd with a constantly changing group of people around me. Nice week of running. I wouldn't worry about one slow run. They happen.
I managed 41.6 miles/66.9km/7:03:47 for the week, which met my threshold of getting at least 40. With marathon training starting in July, I'd like to get used to running 40 miles/week during June and running at least an hour when I don't have a race the next day (or on race day). I've been quite fortunate that our early mornings are still quite cool here, generally 50º - 60º (10-15C).
Federal Twist 10k