Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 10: 3 quarters down, one to go

In a blog I wrote an eternity ago, I mentioned at great length how a quarter the way through anything is one of the worst milestones to hit. Only having a quarter to go though, is a superbly improved situation. I mean a quarter left feels almost like you are done. On reflection, this really only applies to running, a quarter to go in a basketball game feels like there isn’t enough time in the world. This start to the blog is an absolute train wreck.

With 9 weeks in the books there the end is in sight. It is fortunate that I really feel like I am starting to hit my stride, as I had a great week of running and am starting to feel comfortable at the 8 minute pace I am going to need to hold to hit my 1:45:00 goal. Last week I had two tough runs, the interval run was brutal and the 15k was difficult. The interval run came the morning after a soccer game, so I was already feeling sore, but 9 rounds of quarter mile repeats is going to suck no matter when you do it. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find an official 15k but the ran around Hoboken. While I didn’t really keep the pace I had too, it is always hard to judge my true speed when I have to stop for cars and traffic lights. Overall, the extra day off day from running has me feeling reenergized and ready to take on the next week.

So talking about next week, I have to do quite a bit of run swapping. I am starting the week off on Monday and going 4 straight days. With a little snowboard trip on the horizon, I am going to have to take Friday and Saturday off. The long run is an 11 miler, which is going to be hell after two days of riding but whatever thats the price you pay for fun. The tempo run hits the peak with 45 min, once again I am going to break it up into two parts. Hopefully it goes well. Thats all I got.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 9: Get yourself some miles

Whats up everybody it is time for me to commiserate on my many failures and praise myself for my few successes. Of course this means it is time for the next edition of the greatest weekly running training blog series of all time. This includes that series that elite marathon guy and his coach put out. I will not link it or include his name because his is infinitely more impressive then mine in terms of the actual running/fitness, not in terms of funny. I stick to my strengths, one of them being self-aggrandizing.

We are cooking with gas on ol’ Week 9 so lets waste no time and get into last weeks runs. In the course of one week I actually put up a 40 mile week, not intentionally, it just happened to work out that my long run the prior week was on Sunday and the long run last week was on Saturday. A lot of miles to be putting on the legs with little rest, but I think I balanced it well despite not taking any rest days. I did the first run on Monday, running 5 instead of 4.5 because I don’t read great. Not a big deal. On Tuesday my cross training was a soccer game, I may have mentioned this before but intense organized pick-up soccer is not the best cross training to supplement a running schedule. It is fun as shit though. That Meetup app is amazing for finding games.

I switched the tempo run with the 3-miler, my legs were killing me and I wanted to make sure I was able to focus on getting the most out of the tempo run, which is really hard to do the day after soccer. I think the tempo run went great, those runs wind up being close to 9 miles so besides being difficult they are also long. Solid workout though. The long run was 10 miles this week, which was actually a drop from last week. Honestly it went pretty poorly it was absolutely freezing out and I was shot. The pace run the next day went well though. We are at the point where my own refusal to scale back my other activities to ensure proper rest starts to take its toll. It is a problem I have no difficulty identifying, but refuse to do anything about.

Looking ahead things are pretty standard, until the 15k I am supposed to run this weekend. Where the hell am I going to find a 15k this weekend. This time I am supposed to run 5 miles, which for honesty’s sake I have already done. Soccer again this Tuesday. The workout is the same interval run I have been doing, just 9 rounds instead of 8. I know the workout I posted says 10, just change that number in your head with 9. Lets get after it this week!

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 8: Bienvenidos a Miami

For anyone following along with this blog series, that subtitle isn’t just a random attempt to make this a bilingual blog despite the lucrative opportunities that would provide. Lucrative in the sense that I will still lose money on it, but the joy of education will be it’s own reward. I was in the lovely city of Miami for the half marathon, though that is for another blog. I like to believe that the artist behind the classic “Big Willie Style” famous song is never far from my mind. The haters will point out that the song is not actually on that album. That is okay.

While the vacation was certainly enjoyable, it pains me to say that I left my Garmin Forerunner 235 running watch at the TSA checkpoint at the United Terminal in Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) on Friday, February 7th around 7:15 pm. Why all that specific detail, well imaginary person I am talking too, this blog is extraordinarily popular with TSA Agents and I know those longtime readers will be able to help me out. And longtime silent supporter Garmin will be able to make me whole again.

Okay with those tangents out of the way, time to talk running. Last week was a relatively calm week, this was the first week I was running 4.5 to start the week. Didn’t really make a difference, though once again I ran it Monday as I played soccer Tuesday Night. 1/9 with 4 shots on goal no big deal. Running the intervals the following day was kind of brutal, it was in exercise in control as I balanced keeping a good speed with keeping my hamstrings intact. Since a sadly lost my watch, I have no data on Thursday’s 3-miler and I also messed up my photo editing, please trust me that I ran it. Saturday I was supposed to run another 4, but seeing as I was already going to go 4 miles over on my long run, I kept it an easy 3. The long run went great, which you can read about later this week.

Looking ahead, well I already did one of the runs this week. But I despair as I think I need to move my running workout to Thursday so that I can have a running watch for it. Tragedy. Other then me continuing to complain, the long run is 10, and with the way I felt running that half, I anticipate no issues. At some point I lost the enthusiasm that I started this blog with and it shows. Shame, shame. Please find my watch TSA.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 7: Hey this might be working

With half of the training plan in the rear view mirror it is time for another edition of the greatest running blog series for amateur runners who wish to follow one mans quest for mediocrity. I’m talking Week 7 baby.

Milestones like the quarter done, halfway done, and the infamous 11/17ths done are always great points for reflection and since I sorely struggle for material to talk about writing this series I am always thankful when I hit one. I don’t think that I evaluate my own progress well or I really see the benefits of any training program as I constantly believe that I could do better or that some external factor contributed to the result. Since I don’t focus solely on running, there is a legitimate case to be made that I don’t maximize my running potential. I also could argue that all that stuff over the long term just makes me a better athlete, and while I will not see immediate improvements over time I will continue to get better without plateauing. I know one area I really struggle with is rest, I mean on the days I am supposed to refrain from physical activity I usually am doing some form of the gym, yoga or sports. This directly impacts my running as I don’t attack every run with the energy it deserves. But I really can’t help myself. This was deep. And way too long.

Halfway through the plan, Week 6 was absolutely brutal. I mean it too, I felt like dogshit all week. My runs did not suffer though, which is encouraging. I ran the 4-miler on Monday because I wanted to play in a soccer game Tuesday night. I did and that could have been a big mistake. I was so beyond sore Wednesday I thought there was no way that I would be able to effectively knock out the tempo run. But I did, fortunately by the time the warm up was over I was able to get moving. My calves and hamstrings were really feeling it, but they held up nicely. I mean 25 minutes of tempo is essentially running a 5k then taking a slight break and speeding another 2. Not an easy workout at all, but it went way better then I expected. I basically walked the 3-miler the next day, I was beaaaat up. Friday all I did was stretch, which broke my workout every day in January streak but I had to do it. I ran the 10k on Saturday but I will save discussion of that for another blog.

Looking ahead this is a little bit of a jump from what I have been running. 4.5 is the Tuesday run, I will be doing that today since I have soccer Tuesday night. The workout is another interval workout with 8 rounds. Fuck that is a lot. The weekend it is back to long runs, and I am super excited because I will be in lovely Miami running the Lifetime Miami Marathon & Half Marathon presented by cbdMD. I am doing the Half Marathon obviously. This is a little jump up from what the plan actually calls for, which is a 9-miler, but whatever the Miami race is so much fun.

So overall the second half of the plan is a huge step up work wise, but this plan has worked so well with my schedule and my body has responded to it that I trust that I will be ready for the Half in March. The 10k this weekend validated that I am getting much faster, so my usually dour, depressed self is feeling inspired. Crush it this global warming week everyone.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 6: Measuring stick week

Not really sure what that is supposed to mean but I think it sounded cool and this being the 22nd time I have had to come up with a subtitle for a running training plan blog I am almost completely shot on new and original ideas. Either way it is Week 6 and as everyone knows that is the measuring stick week.

Last week was probably the first week where I had that internal conflict of trying to work my schedule around the time commitment it takes to follow the plan and my own bodies ability to maintain the fitness to attack the runs. I think that starts to happen around the 25 mile weeks, my body needs a few weeks at that mileage to readjust and I am not exactly known for me ability to take true rest days. The time commitment starts to impede on my free time, but I also understand that if I didn’t cross train on the rest days that I probably wouldn’t feel as overwhelmed. That is the price to pay for mediocrity though.

So there were three runs worth mentioning from last week, the 4-miler, the interval workout, and the long run. I switched the days around because I had ran last week’s long run on Monday and wanted to give my body a little break, so the interval run was the first challenge of the week. You would think the extra sprint every two weeks really wouldn’t make much of a difference but after I ran the 6th one it took a fucking effort to do it one more time. Those sprints are brutal, the only saving grace is that they make the run go really quickly because the entire time I am thinking only about getting the next one done. Every time I hit around the .2 mile mark I can’t believe that it isn’t over. To be fair they are getting a little easier.

The 4-miler is only worth mentioning because it was a half mile jump from the week before. Idk something about 4 compared to 3.5 makes a difference in my mind. It is legit like 4 more minutes running but it is a mental thing. The long run I was beat on. I really did a poor job with it, I think the cumulative fatigue of my no rest days January is catching up to me. Felt slow and like the whole thing was a struggle. I did get it done though.

Looking at the upcoming week, I have a feeling that it is going to be one of the most challenging weeks. The tempo run is 40 minutes, I am not positive how I am going to break it up yet, but I would like to do it in one 25 minute block and one 15 minute block, separated by a 10 minute recovery. How I do it is largely going to be decided by how I feel that day, as I am playing soccer Tuesday night. The fun thing though is Saturday I am doing a 10k, I was lucky enough that there is one I can do so I will not be running my own race. Hopefully I am physically still standing by then because I need content for a race review. My goal is to shoot for 46 minutes, which is about 1:15 under my current PR. Only time will tell.

This blog felt long, have a good week everybody.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday's Week 5: Frozen fun for everyone

Welcome back to the personal journey of one blogger’s attempt to be the most amateur runner of all time. With a corny subtitle for the blog, lets dive right into it.

Last week had it’s challenges as it has truly become the dead of winter and is now obnoxiously cold. It is the point of the winter where I see these former track runners out in nothing but dick showing shorts and maybe a long sleeve shirt and I realize that I will never make the sacrifices needed to be a great runner or a fucking try-hard. If you are going to wear short ass shorts why do it in the freezing cold when your dick is going to look all shriveled up. Sure you look tough I guess, wearing nothing out there in the frozen tundra but these tiny flaps that show all your bony ass cheeks and withered tree branch legs, but all anyone is going to care about is that lack of bulge. Not putting yourself in a position to succeed. Or maybe I am just projecting my own insecurities. Continue on please.

Dick rant over, last week I had two challenging runs. The tempo run I thought went extremely well. After the first 20 minute tempo I knew that I had some more gas in the tank and could handle the second part without suicidal thoughts. I think for the first part I averaged close to a 7 minute mile, the second part maybe 7:30. Not too bad. I mean those runs at this point are going to be as long as my long runs, the workout topped out at almost 8 miles so they are not quick workouts. I can see that even from the last time I did it there was an improvement in both speed and endurance, maybe this fucker Hal Higdon is on to something. The long run was nothing crazy, I did an easy 7 yesterday as I had to shift the runs around. Add in three gym days and I would say I really got a good week in.

Which takes us to this week my friends. This week things are starting to pick up a little bit, the 3.5-miler from last week gets upped to a 4-miler, and now that it is at the 4 miles I am debating switching Tuesday’s and Thursdays so that I can do hills on Thursday’s without it affecting my speed workouts. Did that make sense? Whatever no going back now.

The workout is back to the interval’s, just throwing another one into the mix. I know that my workout says 5 miles, but now with 7 rounds of intervals it is def going to be a little longer. The long run is 8 miles. An 8 mile run is right about where I start considering the long run to be long enough that it impacts my day. When I am not training for something I rarely run over 6 miles unless I am feeling rambunctious or try-hardish so anything above 7 starts to feel like work. Which means it’s time to go to work, have a good week everyone. What a closing line, and while it may seem like I am ruining it by adding this, I would be remiss in my duties of self-promotion if I did not take this time to point that out.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 4: Quarter down, much more to go

A quarter of the way through anything has to be one of the most difficult checkpoints to try and rationalize that you are almost done. I mean a quarter the way through the Texans/Chiefs game Bill O’Brien probably thought things were going pretty well. A quarter of the way through a semester you still think you are going to keep up with all the work and not have to pull a few all-nighters just to keep the semblance of a decent GPA. A quarter of the way through Season 8 of Game of Thrones I thought that the season was going well. Just kidding that whole thing was trash. Just like me making that joke a year too late.

Point being it’s Monday and radiating positivity isn’t always the easiest thing. Not that it is my strong point anyway. At least I am getting this out on Monday.

I thought I was in for this nice easy week, and I guess for the most part it wasn’t an overwhelming amount of running, but with two speed days I felt like death. I am sure things would be easier if I actually did the workout the correct way, instead of turning it into an interval workout. Well I didn’t so that is my own fault. Obviously with only four days of running last week there is not much to talk about, but I am concerned at my inability to improve my performance in the 5k distance.

I kept it under 24 minutes which I guess isn’t terrible, but I think I can attribute it to a couple of factors. The first is just poor strategy, I come out the gate wayyyy to hot, I think I ran the first mile in under 7 minutes which set me up for disaster. The second is that on top of this training plan I am doing a decent amount of other exercise, so those rest days are not really rest days they are gym or some other activity days. Meaning that I am fucking gassed. The third is some accountability, I am bad at that distance. If I want some excuses I could tell you I got caught at a light for a minute, but that would be dishonest as I was so happy I got caught at that light. I needed the break and I knew the man in the sky had just provided me with a ready made excuse. If I want to take something positive from it a few minutes after I finished the run I felt fine and ready to go again.

Looking ahead there are really two runs worth taking a look at. The running workout is the murderous tempo run. I am going to do the same thing I did last time, just adding 5 more minutes to the first tempo. I also changed the end of it so the cool down has not set limit. Last time I was far from my apartment and had to stop to make the watch start again. As much as I hate these tempo runs after the last one I recognize how necessary they are. I am sure I will not be this positive halfway through it. The long run is back to mileage building, so I have to bang out a 7-miler. I am also going snowboarding this weekend, so no rest for the weary. Lets get after it