Weeks 3 and 4

3:27, 3:37, 3:32. As I closed out an abbreviated week 3 these were the times for the Yasso 800 workout.

Temperature about 30°C or about 86°F with 78% humidity, it was muggy.  I needed to get outside and wanted to finish the week with a good strong workout. I also wanted to ride my bicycle and then get in a run. The track was beckoning for the run, and a quick loop on the bicycle, the long way around and I was warmed up and ready.

I arrived at the track, deserted as usual, probably because it is not real smart to run when it is 30°C with high humidity. I had plenty of water and there was a nice breeze blowing, so I started off immediately with a quick 400 to see what my time would be and was surprised to see it was taking me less than 1m50s to run at probably 70% race pace. I proceeded to alternate walking and running for three more laps. At this point I still had not decided if I was going to try another Tempo run or if I would attempt three 800’s. I got my extra water bottle and placed it beyond the finish line, decision made, I would go for the Yasso 800 workout.

The times! I was surprised and yet not surprised, knowing that the first few weeks into any kind of conditioning program, from my experience, is when gains and improvements are made in bunches.

For the second run of the week I decided that I would go for another long run of 8K.

Zoot Running shorts with compression liner.

Running Shorts

The weather conditions were more of the same from the weekend, hot with a chance of rain. I set off into partly cloudy conditions with a slight breeze, 32°C and about 60% humidity. FUN! I was feeling fine, but my legs were still sore from the Yasso 800’s. Then it hit. The farm nearby was burning weeds and trash and the local firefighting school was holding an outdoor class with lots of flames, smoke and fumes. I decided to continue to the 2.5K turnaround and then walk back until clear of the smoke and fumes. Once clear of the visible smoke I ran some fartleks using light posts as markers. Total distance 5K.

For the third run of the week, I figured that I would ride my bicycle instead.

Picture of my custom Bike Friday AirTriday model

Green Gear Bike Friday AirTriday

I wanted to put in a long sustained effort, something that I just was not having any luck with on the runs. It was still hot upper 20’s and the humidity was high 50~60% and rain was forecast, but never materialized, I knew on the bicycle I should be able to ride for an hour or longer. There is a loop that I ride that is about 17K, so my goal was to ride three circuits before the sun went down. Each loop was taking about 30 minutes so I put in a little over 1.5 hours in the saddle.

During the last week, the fourth week since starting this plan, I did not get in any runs since I was actually on vacation and visiting with family. And it was great. Enjoyed lots of really good food, and time just doing, well, nothing. Looking back I can see where I could have taken a couple of runs, and I did contemplate it, but opted not to. It will be interesting this week to see how I am doing. I am planning to start the week with another long bicycle ride and will be adjusting my running courses as I move towards more evening runs, so I will be looking for more lighted courses.

Mid-August I will be in downtown Tokyo, and I always enjoy running there. It is seriously a concrete jungle and even running at 7 or 8PM you can feel the heat radiating off the street.

Until next time: Still Running!

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Catching up…

It’s been one of those weeks. Staying motivated and getting out and running, but not taking the time to sit down and write about it. The second weeks runs were completed and in the books, and I was getting ready to start week three but due to the wonderful rainy season I needed to postpone the planned runs. During rainy season we often get days of rain without any let up.  24 hours of continuous downpour, the kind of rain where unless you absolutely need to go out, you don’t. This necessitates adjusting schedules, and identifying alternatives to keep active, otherwise breakfast, lunch and dinner go directly to fat. A couple trips up and down the stairs (8 flights), push-ups, sit-ups and dumbbells are my usual choices. I also make use of the 7 minute workout app on the Kindle.

The rain disrupted the plan for week 3 of the 18 week plan that will help me meet my goal of successfully running a 10 miler in mid-November. Not a great way to start considering that I really needed these first three weeks to build a base, since I have already identified that week’s 4, 5, 8 and 9 are going to test my dedication and time management efforts.

The You Can Go the Distance (YCGTD) workout plan only has three running days built in, and for the second week I needed to complete the long and the tempo runs. I was able to get these in before the rains hit. I chose to run the same distance for the long run of 8K, which I had in the first week.

For the Long Run the day was hot and significantly it was quite humid, approaching 75%. It usually takes me a few hundred meters to get comfortable with running, but from the beginning I was not comfortable breathing in spite of a good stride and posture. I decided to keep at it, and just concentrate on posture and deep breathing hoping that everything would fall into place. I arrived at the turnaround for the 5K route and checked the trusty Accusplit 620 only to discover that I must have inadvertently stopped it. Nothing to do, but note the time, hit start and continue running. I finished with a Mystery Time for the 8K.

The final time will be a mystery.

Mystery Time

I estimated that my time was about 46 minutes based on the time and my previous times for the 8K and the 2.5K splits. During the last half of the run, my breathing became more comfortable, but I never really felt good. I believe that a combination of the heat and humidity were the cause, since I was not able to find anything internally to be the cause.

On Sunday (7/10) I decided to brave the track for the 12 agonizing laps of the Tempo Run. I rode my bicycle over to the track, and then jogged a mile to warm up and to see if I was still going to have breathing issues. I did not. The temperature was close to the same, but the humidity was only around 60%. I told myself to be careful with the Start/Stop button on the trusty Accusplit 620, as I hit the start button and started the run.There was a fairly strong head wind on the finishing straight that was all but imperceptible on the back straight when I was hoping for a tailwind (it was there, I just couldn’t feel it).

Picture of stopwatch on the running track surface showing the time of the run

Accusplit 620 on the track!

As suspected, I wasn’t really enjoying running in circles, but I wanted to check my time on an accurately measured course. I did not really pay attention to any splits, just checking each lap to make sure that I had not accidentally stopped the timer! I finished the 3 miles on pace with my expectations at 26m14.59s.

Then the rain came and threw a wrench in my running plans. To get caught up and in the spirit of the Tour de France I wanted to put in some miles on my bicycle beyond just a short ride to the track and back, so I started with two laps around the area which is about 40K, and then a quick change and out for a run. When I was in Sasebo, this was a favorite weekend and summer workout, ride for an hour, and then run. I tried a new route for the run and while it was a bit short of my 5K goal, I think I can make a couple adjustments to get it there.

Until next time: Still Running!

Long Run…..

I know that I should be running and training in all conditions, and this paid off for me when I was in competitive athletics, but right now I am in this just for my health and fitness goals, so I am not ready to spend an afternoon running in the rain. I live in a country (Japan) where rain is as common as the sunshine in my home state of Colorado, so I was checking the weather forecast and it looked like rain was coming my way. I wanted to get out and run before the rain. On Sunday I ran the Yasso 800’s and firmed up my plan, so on Tuesday I was debating either putting in the tempo run or a long run. As much as I dread the track work, the tempo runs probably bother me more, so I opted for the long run. I set my distance at 8K, since I have a course that I have mapped and this distance was marked and I also knew that I could make it. I consulted the plan for a target pace and set off.

Knowing that I have about 20 weeks until the event and realizing that I am really working on building a base and trying to not allow my exuberance push me into an injury, I tried to keep my pace down, but at my 5K turnaround point I was already nearly 30 seconds ahead of my most recent 2.5K time. Yet, I couldn’t slow more. Running deliberately slow to me is very difficult, and I have spent enough time previously with heartrate monitors (HRM), and stop watches with split timers, to just listen to my body and adjust my effort based on how I am feeling. As I have previously posted I used a HRM a long time ago, and now I just don’t feel like investing in that kind of tech, I do invest in other tech such as my collection of compression wear, and I don’t have a personal cell phone, so my timing is courtesy of my trusty Accusplit 620. Accusplit620It can take a split, but it does not store them. It’s good for a total time and that is all I need.

I made the turn at the 4K mark and the time showed about 23 minutes, and the target time for a run like this was about 57 minutes based on the goal I had established. Now I had not run this far in quite a while so I was concerned with running all the way to the end, and maintaining form. I feel I did a pretty good job, I tried to maintain pace and was not concerned with doing a negative split (I really like negatives, maybe a carryover from years of swimming), I just wanted to complete. As I turned the final corner there is a slight downhill and then up and left to the finish, I could feel the angle and crossed the line in 45m:33s.

Climbed the stairs to home, took a shower and layered on the compression wear. I had to get up and go to work the next day and I needed those legs to work! Last year I got a pair of CW-X Endurance Generator tights and I love them both during a run and after a run. The fabric is really like taping. I woke up the next morning ready for work. Endurance Generator

Looking at the times and the plans, I am going to have to take a long look at my goal time of 2 hours for the 10 miles. I think that I am simply running too fast already for that time to be a challenge. I am going to wait a couple weeks until I do that. I have a week coming up where I am going to be free to really engage in running and working out, and then I will also have some time in late July and early August, where I will have to make a strong effort to get a run in. I don’t think I will hurt my chances of success if I continue for a few weeks and then change the goal time, as long as I don’t wait until September!

My next run is scheduled for Thursday and it will be a tempo run. I am not sure when I will run, it will depend on the weather forecast. I may try to run at the track since that will give me my most accurate measure of distance. Until then – Still Running!