Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2nd half of training for the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon

This is a fairly long post - more like a diary log of the last 7 weeks of my 16 weeks full marathon training leading up to the Mohawk Hudson River marathon on 7th October.  It is a continuation of the  previously logged training details of month 1 and month 2

Half way through the 10th week  of my Full marathon training I traveled to the US and did the remaining training mostly in the Southbury, Connecticut area. I  continued training using  the 'Run Less,Run Faster' program of FIRST doing 3 running workouts and 2 cross-training cycling workouts every week. For the cycling cross-training workouts as well as for strengthening exercises  I took temporary membership of  the gym in Southbury. Compared to the gyms that I have seen in India this gym had excellent facilities including a large area exclusively for stretching exercises where foam rollers, exercise bands and exercise balls of various sizes were available. With a fairly large number of folks exercising on a regular basis in the gym I was motivated to go there often twice a day to do my foam roller and stretching exercises - in the morning usually after a run or cycling workout and again in the afternoon/early evening. The mornings were a bit of a challenge. Unlike while in Bangalore my workouts during weekday mornings were usually post 930/10am due to work related meetings with India. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed using the gym and it certainly motivated  me to stay obsessively focused on stretching and strengthening during the last 8 weeks of training. I used some of the machines available in the gym during weeks 7 through 4 doing strengthening exercises for the Adductor,Abductor, glutes, hamstrings and quads. The machines here were different from the ones I am used to from the Manipal Hospital Department of sports  medicine - the weights I was able to handle here were substantially lower.  During weeks 3 and 2 I focused on strengthening through squats, lunges and step-ups rather than weights. While finishing up a stretch of the right quads using a bench in the gym I hit my right toe thumb against an iron rod resulting in a swelling and pain for several weeks. While the pain reduced substantially there was a certain discomfort in the toe thumb even on race day.

As soon as I went out for my first run in Southbury  - a 10 miler at marathon pace (8:19 per mile) on 23rd August - I realised how hilly the terrain was. The roads in the the area had lots of ups and downs some of them being fairly steep and long. Though I have run in this area earlier this is the first time I was doing a timed run.  Though I did the 10 miler as per goal  I found the 20 miler a week later to be extremely challenging. Due to the steep ascents I ended up with an average pace of 8:57/mi versus the goal of 8:49 with several 9 mins+ and 10 mins+ miles. The Garmin connect entry gives  mile wise splits.  After struggling through a 15 miler on 8th September I did the next two long runs (a 23 miler and a 13 miler) in the Fairfield Connecticut area along the Atlantic ocean. In these runs I met my target average per mile pace as well being reasonably even across the distance as is evident from the splits. The route was very scenic and there were numerous runners and cyclists on the roads on both days. I had a minor scare when I pulled my right calf in the 11th mile of the 13 miler on 23rd September and had to walk for nearly half a mile. Fortunately I was able to recover from this in a couple of days. 

For the medium distance runs as well as one interval workout I used the Larkin Bridle trail close by. It was a beautiful trail. However, like most trails it was uneven resulting in high risk of tripping and injury. I was fortunate to get away without any adverse impact in the one 15 miler, two tempo runs and a 5 x 600m intervals that I did on the trail. However, I did have a couple of (mis)adventures. While doing my first (15 mile) run on the trail I unknowingly wondered off the trail into the drive way of a house where I encountered a couple of mastiffs charging at me. Fortunately I realized my folly and stopped just in time - plus the dogs were thwarted by an electronic fence. On another day while doing a warm up run on my way to a 10 x 400m interval run a couple of great danes being walked by a lady cut loose and charged at me. I fell on the trail and the dogs were literally on my face. Fortunately I got away with a few minor bruises. However, I was too shaken up and abandoned the run that day. This however, pushed me to research the athletic tracks at the local high school.

The 400m tracks at Pomperaug High school were excellent for interval training. I also did a couple of tempo runs and a 10 miler in the area around the school - finishing the runs with a few laps on the tracks. With facilities like these in a school in a relatively small town like Southbury it is no surprise that there are lot more faster runners in the US. However, even in the US one needs to watch our for dogs. I found that dogs being walked often become aggressive on seeing a runner and the owner may or may not be able to control the dog.

I have been using the Addidas Supernova Cushion/Glide shoe (except for briefly trying out ASICS Gel Kayono 13 for a few weeks) ever since I took to long distance running over 10 years ago. I am very conservative about changing my shoe specially half through training. However, from week 11 onwards I switched to a Brooks Defyance 5 shoe and ran the race with the same shoe. More details on the shoes in a future post.

Summary of month 3 and 4 workouts :

Week of August 13th (#9)
  • 1 mile/2miles/3 x 800 m  - target : 6:57/13:53/3:20; actual : 7:01/14:20/3:32/3:20/3:17
  • 4 miles mid tempo run - target :  7:45/mile; actual : 10 miler in about 1:40; miles 5 and 6 at 7:45 and 7:48 - Independence day run and breakfast with BHUKMP gang
  • 20 mile long run - target : 8:49/mile;actual : 1st 10 miles at 8:41/mile and then 8 miles at 8:04/mile(Fast finish long run)
  • Cycling 1: 10mins Easy/1min hard,1min easy/2min hard,1min easy/3min hard,1min easy/3min hard,1min easy/3min hard,1 min easy/8mins Easy
Week of August 20th(#10)
  • 3 x (2 x 1200m)   - target : 5:06; actual : 4:55/5:03/5:00/5:04/5:06/5:10
  • 10 miles tempo run at marathon pace - target :  8:19/mile; actual : 8:15/mile; miles 8 - 8:41 and mile 9 -  8:38  
  • 15 mile long run - target : 8:39/mile;actual : 8:27/mile;varying between 8:01 and 8:57
  • No cycling this week
Week of August 27th(#11)
  • 1K/2K/1K/1K   - target : 4:12/8:46/4:12/4:12; actual : 4:19/8:44/4:23/4:25
  • 5 miles tempo run at marathon pace - target :  8:19/mile; actual : 7:51/mile
  • 20 mile long run - target : 8:49/mile;actual : 8:57/mile;varying between 8:18 and 10:35
  • Additional 6.37 mile easy run in Michigan at 8:50/mile
  • Cycling 1 : 8mins Easy/6 x(2min Easy,2mins hard)/8 mins Easy
  • Cycling 2 : 46 mins/20Km Moderate
Week of September 3rd(#12)      
  • 3 x 600m    - target : 2:29; actual : 4:19/8:44/4:23/4:25
  • 10 miles tempo run at marathon pace - target :  8:19/mile; actual : 8:09/mile  
  • 15 mile long run - target : 8:29/mile;actual : 8:52/mile;varying between 8:01 and 11:09
  • Cycling 1 : 45 mins/20 Kms 
  • Cycling 2 : 60 mins/25.5 mins
Week of September 10th(#13)      
  • 10 x 400m    - target : 1:38; actual : 1:26/1:33/1:34/1:34/1:35/1:34/1:36/1:36/1:34/1:32 (Pomperaug High School Tracks) 
  • 8 miles tempo run at marathon pace - target :  8:19/mile; actual : 7:56/mile  
  • 20 mile long run - target : 8:34/mile;actual : 23 miles at 8:24/mile;varying between 7:56 and 9:05
  • Cycling 1 : 25 Kms/55 minutes
  • Cycling 2 : 20 Kms/ 45 minutes
Week of September 17th(#14)   
  • 8 x 800m    - target : 3:20; actual : 3:19/3:22/3:23/3:24/3:29/3:28/3:21/3:22 (Pomperaug High School Tracks)
  • Tempo run skipped due to travel
  • 13 mile long run - target : 8:19/mile;actual : 8:15/mile
  • Cycling 1: 12 Kms/ 45 minutes in the Hotel gym in Austin
Week of September  24th(#15)       
  • 5 x 1K  - target : 4:12; actual : 3:58/4:04/4:03/4:04/4:05 (Pomperaug High School Tracks)
  • 3 miles short  tempo run - target :  7:30/mile; actual : 7:25/7:21/7:23
  • 10 mile long run  at marathon pace- target : 8:19/mile;actual : 8:11/mile;varying between 8:01 and 8:26
  • Cycling 1 : 19 Km/45 minutes
  • Cycling 2  : 17 Km/40 minutes
Week of October 1st (#16)
  • Easy 47.5 minutes run - 5.31 miles at 8:56/mile
  • 4 miles easy run  ; actual : 8:37/8:03/8:11/8:24
  • Cycling 1 : easy 35 minutes cycling
  • Cycling 2 : easy 30 minutes cycling
Training Summary :

As would be expected over a 16 weeks period the training had its share of ups and downs. Overall I did most of the run workouts skipping not more than 4 of the 47 training runs (48th being the marathon itself!!). A few runs were surely below par, most went as per goal and some of them went better than goal. I was very apprehensive about interval training when I started the training. Half-way through I felt quite comfortable with it and towards the end I even started to enjoy it. My favorite run though remains the tempo run - I find the short/medium distance ,at faster than marathon pace but slower than 10K pace, fairly comfortable and almost all of them went better than goal. As in the past  I have been experiencing a swing of 3-5 pounds in my weight during a day.  When I started my 16 weeks training on 17th June my weight was 59.7 Kgs or 131 Lbs. In the week leading to the race the weight varied from 125 Lbs in the morning after a workout to 130 Lbs at the end of the day before going to sleep. On race day the weight was about 57.5 Kgs or 126.5 pounds. 

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