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!

Week 2 and some more Yasso 800’s

After enjoying a few days off with the long Independence Day weekend, I had to get back into it. The weather on Tuesday was cool and there was a constant drizzle. I decided to put my run off for another day. Wednesday dawned with clear skies and yet the temperature was still remaining cool at about 25° C., so I knew I would be running later in the afternoon. Even though it is summer and I could head out at just about any point in the day, I want to set up a routine that will work when school is back in session, so I took care of some home chores and decided to head out just after 5PM.

As I was getting ready to go, I decided that I would once again ride my bike to the track and tackle the Yasso 800’s. Using the YCGTD plan for week 2 I needed to run two 800’s. Once at the track, with such a short ride, I felt that I should try to run at least one mile as a warm up, so I changed into my running shoes and set off. I was running at a steady pace, but not pushing it, I just wanted to get warm, work up a little sweat and be loose for the 800’s. I was pleasantly surprised when I finished the fourth lap and the Accusplit 620 showed a time of just over 9 minutes.

I grabbed a drink of water and walked about 200 yards and prepared for the first of the 800’s. Since I am changing the target time for my goal of a 10 miler in November, I decided that I would not set a target pace for today. I still wanted to be at least close to the times I ran last time, but I wasn’t going to be deliberately slow or fast, I was just going to let my body dictate pace. So after positioning my water bottle about 15 yards past the start finish, I walked back to the line, counted down, and took off. The first 400 was completed in just over two minutes, and I was settling into a steady rhythm, consistent pace and good posture with regular breathing, and crossed the line in 4m03s. Not too bad, but could I recover in a few minutes and do the same? I picked up my water bottle, took a drink and walked a lap.

Passed the line and replaced the water bottle, prepared to go for Yasso 800 number two. No difference in pace, maintaining posture, head up, regular breathing,

Stopwatch with time for an 800m run

3m58s

just watching my feet hit the track, running on the line, calling cadence in my head, I finished the first lap and it took all my will not to check the time. Coming around the final corner and I was holding back the urge to pick up the pace, to sprint, and go for a strong finish. I maintained my pace, crossed the line, hit the stop button and took a look, 3m58s!

I walked a lap and held an internal debate on whether or not to try to run another one or to pack it up and go home.

I packed it up and went home. I have a plan, a road map, and a goal. I am going to revise my target time and also work on modifying the actual YCGTD plan to work more with a 10 mile distance. A Super-Typhoon is causing chaos with the weather in the area, but the good news is that the current forecast is for hot days with no precipitation. I am looking forward to a long run on Friday and then finish the week with a tempo run on the weekend.

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!