10K Training and Almost a 5K Run

IMG_4493I did try to run a 5K race on Saturday but I came up short because the route wasn’t 5K. My Fitbit measured only 2.2 miles. It was a low-budget race. No bibs, no clocks, timing chips, etc. There was portion of the route you were supposed to run twice but very few understood that part. Oh well, I ran 2.2 miles and that’s the furthest I’ve gone since my bypass surgery and I got to run somewhere new. The route was hilly. My Fitbit showed 147 feet of elevation. I was hoping to average under a 12 minute per mile pace but with the terrain it ended up being a 13:22 pace.

Ok, that’s pretty much how the week ended so now let me tell you how it started. The week started with interval training. 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk. I’ve decided not to worry much about the split times. While I’m not running steep graded hills, they do have an impact on the times. Now I’m just focusing more on the level of effort. I finished with some weight training.

Tuesday was a benchmark run with the Nike Run Club app. After the run, I continued walking until I hit 5 miles.

Wednesday I started with a one mile warm-up before my intervals. The intervals were a repeat of Monday’s training. I had some things to take care of in the morning so I skipped by weight training. I took the day off on Thursday because I had a few appointments in the morning.

Friday started with a 1.5 mile run. My goal was to finish at an 11:48 per mile pace. I was close. I finished at a 11:49 per mile pace. Also, this makes the longest continuous run since before my bypass surgery. Next, interval training again but this time the intervals were: 2 minute run + 2 minute walk, 3 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2; 2 minute run + 2 minute walk.

Saturday was the 5K run that wasn’t but after the run I went to the gym to do some weight training.

Sunday isn’t over yet but I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Either take the day off or go to the gym for 30 minutes on the rowing machine.

Training Recap

Monday, September 10:
1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, September 11:
15 minute benchmark run using the Nike Run + app.

Walk for 5 miles (counting run).

Wednesday, September 12:
One mile warm-up run at 11:21 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk

Thursday, September 13:
Rest day.

Friday, September 14:
1.5 mile warm-up run at a 11:49 per mile pace.

2 minute run + 2 minute walk, 3 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2; 2 minute run + 2 minute walk.

Saturday, September 15:
5K Race

Weight training at the gym.

Sunday, September 16:
? I haven’t decided what to do. Maybe go to the gym for 30 minutes on the rowing machine or just call it a rest day. I’m leaning towards calling it a rest day. What do you think?

Week Two: 10K Training

IMG_4483Monday started with a .75 mile tempo run. The goal was to finish in 10:05 but I came up a little short. My finish time was 10:13. Still pretty good especially considering the last quarter of a mile was slightly uphill. After the tempo run it was intervals. 1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2. Then I finished the workout at the gym lifting lighter weight than last week but did 20 reps x 3 instead of 10 reps.

Tuesday was a nice 3.97 mile walk and then some bodyweight core strengthing exercises.

Wednesday started with a half mile warmup at about a 10:55 per mile pace then the interval set from Monday was repeated. My split times are becoming a little more consistent but I still need some work in that area. I had intended to go to the gym after my run but I couldn’t work it into my schedule.

Thursday I did my first speed work session. I’ve never liked speed work and I can honestly say that hasn’t changed. I did 4 x 400 meters. The goal was to average a 9:25 per mile pace. I did it with a 9:18 pace. My split times were very inconsistent. Each split got a little slower and the last 400 meters came in at over 10 minutes per mile pace. I was sucking wind on that last one! After this short but intense workout I headed to the gym for the weight training I missed yesterday.

Friday was intervals using the Fitness22 10K Runner app. 1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 6. While not perfect, my split times for were a even more consistent than on Wednesday. I’m starting to feel a little more like a runner now. Not quite there yet, but I’m making progress. Afterwards, I should have done some core strengthing but I blew it off.

Saturday was a rest day. It’s college football season so my focus on Saturday is watching football. The Dawgs of Georgia beat South Carolina 41-17 so it was a good day for me. Drank too much beer and ate too much food but hey, once in a while you gotta let loose a little.

Sunday was a Nike+ Run Club app benchmark run. I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or its just the way the app works but once I’m done, I don’t have the split time to know how fast I ran during the 3 minute benchmark. Anyone out there have any advice? After the benchmark run I went to Anytime Fitness and rode a stationary bike for 40 minutes. I haven’t been on a bike in a while and my butt hurt a little once I finished. I may have to wear my cycling shorts the next time.

Training Recap

Monday, September 3:
Tempo run at 10:12 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2.

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, September 4:
Walk 3.97 miles and bodyweight core strength training.

Wednesday, September 5:
Half mile warmup at a 10:55 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2

Thursday, September 6:
Speed work: 4 x 400 meters. Averaged a 9:18 per mile pace but each 400 meters got slower and slower.

Weight training at the gym.

Friday, September 7:
1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 6. Running split times were: 9:56, 8:28, 10:02, 9:22, 8:51, 10:01. The splits times over ten minutes per mile pace had hills.

Saturday, September 8:
Rest day.

Sunday, September 9:
3 minute benchmark run and then 40 minutes on the stationary bike.

The First Week Back to Running

IMG_4421My first official week of training for a race since the first of the year. I had to scratch my training and running in the Indy Mini Marathon because of the heart issues but now I’m no longer on the mend and looking forward to running again.

I know it will be a slow start. Not quite, but almost like starting all over. I realize the importance of including strength training into my workout routines now so the time and effort is going to increase as well. That’s Ok. I’ve got the time now that I don’t have to go to a real job anymore!

By Wednesday I was so stinking sore! Sitting down or getting up really hurt. It could be from the running but I think it’s mostly from the weight training and the bodyweight core workouts. I haven’t done any core workouts in a long time and I’m going from one set of each weight machine to three sets. That third set is sometimes a struggle. For someone that has no butt, I sure can feel mine now!

On Thursday I ran my first full mile since March 18th of this year. It was supposed to be an easy 12 minute a mile pace but it ended up as a 11:42 pace and none of it was easy. But I did it! My first running milestone after triple bypass surgery so I’m very happy about that.

Friday was an easy four mile walk day.

On Saturday I woke up really early–3:30 in the morning. I tried going back to sleep but after over an hour of tossing and turning I went ahead and got up. Decided to surf the net for a while and then I realized it was the first day of registration for the Jingle Jam 10K on December 1st. So… I just signed up for my first race after bypass surgery!

Training was pretty much a repeat of Wednesday except I flip flopped the half mile recovery run and changed it to a half mile warmup run.

All in all I think it was a pretty good start.

Training Recap

Monday, August 27:
Three minute benchmark run using the Nike+ Run Club app.

1 minute run/1.5 minute walk x 6 using the Fitness22 10K Runner app.

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, August 28:
Walk 2.67 miles and bodyweight core strength training.

Wednesday, August 29:
1 Minute Run + 1.5 Minute Walk x 8

I got the split times today!

IMG_4457

The odd number splits are the runs, the even numbers the walks. The first split was slower I’m sure because of the soreness in my legs and it took some time to loosen up. Split 11 was slow because it was all uphill. Split 15 was mostly uphill. I have to say I’m very surprised about the split times. Much faster than I expected for sure.

Half Mile Recovery Run
I tried to keep the pace at about 11:45 per mile pace. It ended up being a 11:34 pace.

Strength training at the gym.

Thursday, August 30:
Ran 1 mile and bodyweight core strength training. Milestone: 1st mile running since before triple bypass. Pace for the mile was 11:42.

Bodyweight core strength training.

Friday, August 31:
Easy four mile walk.

Saturday, September 1:
Half Mile Warmup Run

1 Minute Run + 1.5 Minute Walk x 8

Split times were:

IMG_4477

Split 11 kicked my butt. Split 13 and 15 were both slightly uphill and after split 11 I never really fully recovered.

Sunday, September 2:
Rest day.

ChiRunning???

A few weeks ago a fellow runner and blogger, Jessica Payne opened my eyes to ChiRunning. If you haven’t visited Jess’s blog I encourage you to check it out at, http://runpinkjess.com. Jessica was raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and held a little drawing for donors. I was lucky enough to win and the prize was a book titled, “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer. I had never heard of ChiRunning before getting the book but after a quick browse through the pages I was intrigued enough to read it in more detail.

ChiRunning is a running technique based on martial arts skills of T’ai Chi. ChiRunning seems to be closely related to the elements of neigong and qigong which focuses on breathing, movement and awareness exercises. ChiRunning was created by Danny Dreyer in 1999. You can learn more by visiting his website at, http://www.chirunning.com

Basically, the main principles of ChiRunning are:

  • Relaxation
  • Correct alignment and posture
  • Landing with a midfoot strike
  • Using a “gravity-assisted” forward lean
  • Engaging core strength for propulsion
  • Connecting the mind and body to prevent injury

Through my own running experience I’ve discovered relaxation, posture and a midfoot strike are keys to preventing injuries so much of the focus in ChiRunning follows my own principles of running. Martial arts is something I’ve never had an interest but running relaxed without injury is something I have a great deal of interest. I like enough of the principles of ChiRunning I’m willing to give it a try.

I’ve just barely examined the focus areas of ChiRunning and it will probably take me several weeks to a few months just to get comfortable with the focus areas. I know it’s going to take months for this technique to become natural.

This week I’m just focusing on two things: nose breathing and cadence. I’ve always been a mouth breather. ChiRunning principles ask you to breath in from your nose and exhale out of your mouth. I can’t believe how hard this is for me to change. I get all out of whack. I forget to breath out from my mouth. Sometimes my stomach is going in when it should be going out. Or I completely forget to breath in through my nose and start breathing in and out through my mouth. I’m hoping this is a common problem for runners to learn. I’m just a few months shy of sixty years old and you know what they say about teaching old dogs new tricks. I’m hoping my problem is the former and not the latter.

Cadence seems to come naturally for me! ChiRunning asks you to run with a cadence between 85-90 strides per minute. After a few trial tests of my cadence I’m pretty confident my natural pace is at or very close to 90 strides per minute. At least I have one focus area I don’t have to worry much about. I’m sure my cadence does fluctuate and I know I’ll need to work on that but staying steady isn’t usually that hard for me.

I’m posting this now for two reasons really. Now that it’s public knowledge this puts a little more pressure on me to continue practicing ChiRunning. I’m willing to give it six months to a year before I pass judgement. So, that means you probably won’t hear a lot about my specific progress with learning ChiRunning for several months. Maybe on my 60th birthday would be a good time to post an update? What do you think? I’m curious to see what affect this will have on my performance. If my performance drops initially I’m not going to be too concerned. I want to give this a fair shot. My second reason is I didn’t want to wait six months to a year to tell you about my experience with ChiRunning. If I think there is potential benefit to this technique then you should know it. If this posts sparks any curiosity in ChiRunning then by all means don’t wait for me to tell you how well (or not) it works. Go ahead and explore and learn about it for yourself.

There! Now I’ve said it. I’m not sure where this journey will take me but I plan to enjoy the ride.

 

Six More 10K’s Later…

Time to wrap up this introduction now. Since that 10K race in 2013 I’ve finished four 5K races and six 10K’s. I’ve got one more 10K race scheduled for the end of February and that will be it until the half marathon at the end of April.

EPSON MFP image
Broad Street Ramble October 31, 2015

I’ve made slow but steady progress since 2013. I ran the Broad Street Ramble 10K at the end of October 2015 and finished the race with a time of 01:04:44. That’s over 11 minutes faster than 2013! My last 5K was almost a year ago and I finished it with a time of 31:10. I feel like I can get that under 30 minutes now.

The upcoming 10K is an event I’ve never ran before. Since my focus is on training for the upcoming half marathon I don’t expect to hit a new personal record (PR) at this one.

I’ll probably never get back to my 10K finish times in the 44-55 minute range from twenty years ago. I’m Ok with that. I do hope to break the 60 minute mark sometime during the Fall 2016 running season though. That’s my goal anyway and time will tell if I can do it.

10K Race Day

The day arrives when I will run my first 10K race in nineteen years! I can’t say I was really ready but I prepared enough to get out there and finish the race. The night before the race we had thunderstorms like crazy. It pretty much rained all night. By race time the rain had stopped but it was unusually warm for the time of year and the humidity was well over 90%.

10K_2013
Jingle Jam 10K 2013

I think you can tell by the expression on my face I was struggling a bit toward the finish line. My finish time was 1:15:59. Not exactly a smoking fast pace. Still, I finished the race and that was my goal and I achieved it.

Sign-up for My First Organized Race

Now that I feel like I can call myself a runner again I’m ready to go out and run in an organized event. I search the internet for races in my area and I find a 10K scheduled in about eight weeks. At the time I certainly didn’t feel prepared for a 10K and would have rather signed up for a 5K but there wasn’t anything available that fit my schedule. I decide to go ahead and sign-up for the 10K.

With eight weeks to get ready I added the 10K Runner app to my iPhone to use as my training plan. The 10K Runner app is a fourteen week program with the first eight weeks exactly like the 5K Runner app. If I started with week nine I could complete the training program in time for the 10K race.

Now, I managed to complete the program in time for the race but in hindsight I should not have. I really should have started the 10K program from the very beginning. Before the training was complete I started having some pain in my left knee. I could still run, in fact it felt better when I did. My knee hurt the rest of the day. I did go to a sports doctor to have it checked out and he didn’t find anything obviously wrong with my knee. He gave me a prescription for some anti-inflammatory meds and told me to go out and do as much as I felt comfortable to do.

The meds helped but I didn’t want to take them for very long. After each run I would ice down my knee to help with any swelling. I couldn’t see any swelling but I didn’t want to take any chances either. It took me several more months to figure out what was going on with my knee. The problem wasn’t from overuse but from poor running mechanics. I’m convinced had I started the 10K Runner training program from week one instead of week nine I would have detected the running mechanics problem much sooner. Also, starting at week one would have given my muscles and joints a chance to regroup after finishing the 5K training program. This alone may have prevented my knee pain altogether. I’ll write more about running mechanics on a later date.