Thursday, June 29, 2017

Less than a week to the AJC Peachtree 10k

We're 5 days away from the AJC Peachtree 10k, and I'm looking forward to toeing the line for the first time since early May. After a disappointing Bloomsday Run, I took a couple of low intensity training weeks while I tried to figure out why I felt so wiped out even though I had been hitting solid workouts for a couple of months. I decided to get my blood work looked at, which I normally do a couple times per year, but didn't expect to find anything interesting as my key levels (vitamin b, iron, hematocrit, etc.) have been consistent for years. In the past I have actually had to back off my iron supplement as my levels were getting a little higher than necessary. This time was different; my ferratin levels had dropped by two-thirds from my last test even though I had been supplementing regularly. It seems the most likely explanation is the way in which I had been spreading out my calcium supplement throughout the day. I knew that calcium and iron should be taken at separate times in order to promote absorption, and I thought I was allowing enough time in between. Following my string of three stress fractures in 2015 and 2016, I was very persistent in my calcium, vitamin d, and magnesium trying to improve my bone density, but until this year, I had been taking them all at once before bed. A nutritionist recommended I spread these supplements out by taking them 3 times throughout the day (1 tablet was only 33% of daily recommended dose) to help with my bone density. It seems that this recommendation was likely preventing me from absorbing iron from my food or supplements thus causing the unusual fatigue. While I was able to have decent workouts, I was not recovering well and was having to run very slow on other days. Once I got the results after Bloomsday, I increased my vitamin b and iron supplementation, began taking calcium once per day in the evening, and did my first several workouts based purely on effort without looking at my watch until the end to ensure I wasn't racing to chase times. Within about two weeks, I started to feel like my old self again, and not only were workouts clicking, but easy days felt smooth as well. Unfortunately this has delayed my training by a few weeks heading into Peachtree, but I have had a solid 5-6 weeks, and it's not like I was starting from scratch. I'm optimistic moving forward, and I'm looking forward to using this as a spring board into a fall marathon, which I will hopefully be choosing within the next week. 

As usual, the Peachtree field is loaded, and the extra time between the USATF Championships and this race will allow more runners to come back. 10k will be a bit of a shocker for my body, but I've done what I can to prepare, and I plan on sticking my nose in it. I arrived in Atlanta 10 days before the race in order to acclimate to the heat as we've had an unusually cold spring and summer in Portland, and the humidity can be a tough adjustment. I feel great mentally and physically, and I'm looking forward to competing on Tuesday at 7:30 EST in Atlanta.  My last few weeks of training are below. They're not as detailed as before;I will add specifics for my week by week recaps leading up to the fall marathon. I'm looking forward to a great second half of 2017! Thanks for reading. 

Tuesday6/6/20178 x 1 mile at 4:48, 4:44, 4:40, 4:36, 4:32, 4:28, 4:24, 4:20, 2 min rests
Wednesday6/7/2017
Thursday6/8/201712 X 200m @29-30 or hill repeats
Friday6/9/2017
Saturday6/10/2017Tempo 3 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile (4:40, 4:438, 4:27) with 2min, then 1 min rests
Sunday6/11/2017Long. 2 hours
Monday6/12/2017
Tuesday6/13/2017 Weekly total: 110 miles
Wednesday6/14/20176 x 1 mile @ 4:36, 4:32, 4:28, 4:24, 4:20, 4:18 with 3 min rest
Thursday6/15/2017
Friday6/16/2017
Saturday6/17/201710 miles @5:10->4:45
Sunday6/18/2017Long, 2 hours
Monday6/19/2017
Tuesday6/20/201715 x 200m hills, Weekly Total: 110 miles
Wednesday6/21/2017
Thursday6/22/20174 tempo @ 18:50, 6 x 200 @ 29-30
Friday6/23/2017
Saturday6/24/2017Long 1:45,
Sunday6/25/2017
Monday6/26/201710 x 500 @ 78-79 w/100 meter jog (about 40 seconds)
Tuesday6/27/2017 Weekly Total: 90 miles
Wednesday6/28/2017
Thursday6/29/2017
Friday6/30/20175-6 x 1000m @ 71+ 4-5 x 200m @31-32
Saturday7/1/2017
Sunday7/2/2017
Monday7/3/2017
Tuesday7/4/2017RACE 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

One day to Bloomsday

I'm excited to get back to racing tomorrow at the Bloomsday 12k in Spokane! This is a race that I've wanted to run for some time, but track season always got in the way. With 45,000 participants, it is a massive event, and the entire city embraces it. As usual the competition is stacked. Here's a look at the elite fields.

The course is very hilly, and the 12k distance is a bit challenging to prepare for mentally, but I'm hoping it feeds my cross country background. After my last plantaris injury, training has steadily progressed the last 8 weeks, and while it's difficult to judge my fitness with certainty, I know I'm ready for a good day tomorrow. More importantly, I'm 100% healthy, so no matter what, I know I'll get to take all this progress into the rest of spring and summer. That's a feeling I haven't had since 2015!

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out the final two weeks of training below.

Weeks to go: 1 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday off off 40 minutes 0
Tuesday 11 5 + drills and strides 16
Wednesday 6 x mile starting @ 4:30 workding down to 4:20 5.5 18
Thursday 11 5 40 minutes 16
Friday 10+ drills and strides off 10
Saturday 3 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile @ 4:40-4:42 5 17
Sunday 16 easy off 16
TOTAL 93
Weeks to go: 0 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 11 5 16
Tuesday 10 5 40 minutes 15
Wednesday 5 x 1km @ 2:57, 1 min rest, 6 x 200 @ 28-30 off 16
Thursday 9 5 14
Friday 8 8
Saturday 5 + drills and strides 5.5
Sunday Bloomsday 12k off

Friday, April 28, 2017

Less than 2 weeks to Bloomsday

Another wet week in the books and I'm on track to toe the line healthy and fit for Bloomsday in a little over a week. After attempting several marathon build-ups in a row over the last 18 months, it feels refreshing to get back to training for shorter distances. Continuous marathon training can really make you feel stagnant physically and mentally, and I think all marathoners can benefit from dropping in distance for workouts and races for at least a little while each year. While I haven't quite hit workouts that make me think I'm in 10k PR shape, I am surprised at how quickly track workouts are coming back to me. I'm trying to patient, but I can start to see my fitness just over the horizon in a matter of weeks. I have time for one more big interval workout before Bloomsday that will hopefully be a nice confidence builder.

I'm looking forward to competing over 12km without worrying about the clock. I normally have a decent sense of my own effort and can measure out my race pretty well by feel without knowing any splits. Bloomsday is also a fairly hilly course which should play to my advantage. It will be a great opportunity to get back to basics and have something to show for the last several months of training.

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below.


Weeks to go: 2
AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 5 off 40 minutes 5
Tuesday 5 15 x 200 @ 29-30 w/200 meter jog recovery 16
Wednesday 14 off 40 minutes 14
Thursday 11 5+ drills and strides 16
Friday 6 10 x 500 meters (77-80 seconds) 100 meter jog recovery 16
Saturday 11 5 40 minutes 16
Sunday 18, push 14-18 @ 4:55-5:00 off 18
TOTAL 101

Friday, April 21, 2017

Less than 3 weeks to Bloomsday

Portland is on pace to have the wettest year since records started being kept in 1894. It has been a rough winter and spring, but the couple of days we've had with sun in April have felt incredible. I lucked out with both of my workouts this week with weather I haven't trained in since last year, and I definitely had an extra spring in my step. Some of it is mental, but it is physically much easier to run when it's not 40 degrees, windy, and putting your legs through an ice bath with heavy rain. Unfortunately there isn't much of a reason to be optimistic about the weather turning for the long run as we have had years where the rain doesn't stop until July. The trails have been a mess, but one positive note to running through war-torn Forest Park this year is that I'm putting a lot of miles in shoes that haven't worn much in the past. It's been fun to put the tread and fit to the test and still get some soft miles in. If you're looking for a new trail shoe, check out the Brooks Mazama and the Caldera. The Mazama really holds onto the ankle, is more firm, and built like a racing flat. The Caldera is great for longer runs as you have a more cushion under your foot and more surface contact for when you're running a bit slower.

We're edging closer to Bloomsday, and I am very excited to show something for my last several months of training. In spite of the setbacks, I am quite fit at the moment. I'm sure I'll still need a few more races under my belt to chip off the rest of the rust, but I hope to get that over the next couple of months. I'll also be spending the final 3 weeks of training getting a few fast workouts in as we've been mostly focused on strength since early March after my plantaris injury. I'll post those workouts next week.

This will be my first go at Bloomsday, so any course advice would be greatly appreciated! Comment on this blog, are find me on Twitter: @ryavail
Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below.

Weeks to go: 3 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 9 off 40 minutes 9
Tuesday 11 5 + drills and strides 16
Wednesday 4 mile tempo @ 19:01, 3 x mile @ 4:38, 4:37, 4:34, rest = 1 min 4.5 18.5
Thursday 11 5 40 minutes 16
Friday 10 5+ drills and strides 15
Saturday 12 mile tempo @ 4:58 pace off 18
Sunday 7.5 off 40 minutes 7.5
TOTAL 100

Friday, April 14, 2017

Less than 4 weeks to Bloomsday

It's been quite a while since I have posted my training, and I apologize for that. Following my disappointment in New York, I decided to take a short break, and the break kept extending itself as new challenges arose. I also felt that I was continuing to toot my own horn when it came to workouts without producing race results. I'll give a very brief rundown of the last several months, and then give a recap of my most recent training.

NYC was several months ago, but I think it's important to note that no injury occurred. I simply had a bad day. Bad marathon days certainly happen, and I think one could argue this was my first truly bad day. The timing was rough after being hurt for so long. Training had been going well, and I was confident and ready. Fortunately that training has not gone to waste, and I continue to inch towards my best fitness. 

The next race was the US XC Champs, which I also had high hopes for, but disappointed myself once more. I don't know exaclty why, as my workouts for the 8 weeks leading up the race were strong by my standards. I can blame it on the fact that I hadn't finished a race in 18 months, or not going to altitude before, but either way, I didn't reach my expectations. I followed the US XC Champs with a few of the best workouts I have had in at least a couple of years and was excited heading into NACAC XC in Boca Raton, FL as well as Gate River in mid-March. Unfortunately, the week of NACAC, I suffered a small tear in my plantaris. I had originally thought I had damaged my achilles, but an ultrasound fortunately showed that was not the case. It still required 2 weeks in the pool, so there was a bit of a setback in fitness, but nothing overwhelming. I have been slowly building back up since then and am back to reasonable volume and training. I plan to start posting my training weekly again and look forward to a productive spring/summer. 

It seems that the plantaris injury was caused by wearing spikes during training after the long break from track workouts. Because of this I have decided to skip track this season and focus on the roads. I will be running the Bloomsday 12k on May 7th and look to follow this up with Peachtree on July 4th. I will likely select something between these races as well as something in the early fall. This will hopefully put me in position to have several months of 100+ mile weeks under my belt before building up for an early fall marathon. 

I truly appreciate all the support this last year and a half, and I am extremely anxious to turn all my training from the last half year into race results. Thanks for reading, and I'm looking forward to re-engaging with my blog!

Weeks to go: 4 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 6 + drills and strides 1 hour aqua jog 6
Tuesday Fartlek: (5 min, 4, 3)(4, 3, 2)(3, 2, 1) w/half recovery  5 40 minutes 17
Wednesday 14 off 14
Thursday 10 + drills and 150 meter strides 5 40 minutes 15
Friday 10 5 15
Saturday 3 miles, 2 miles, 1 miles (4:46 pace, 4:42, 4:39), rest = 3 min, 2 min 5 40 minutes 16
Sunday 18 off 18
TOTAL 101

Saturday, November 5, 2016

1 day to the TCS New York City Marathon: Last week's training

Tomorrow is the day I've been working toward since I was able to start running again in April. It's been a very trying year, but I now have 7 healthy months of training under my belt, and I can safely say that the injury cycle has been broken, and I am back on track for a great marathon tomorrow and a healthy 2017.

In past marathons I have been able to check all the boxes I thought I needed to build my confidence going into a race. I was able to say I hit workouts as fast as I was aiming for, I stuck to my nutrition plan, completed all the supplemental training, and ran all the high mileage weeks. This time around I can check every box except the last one, and it has been an exercise in confidence. I had to be extremely careful these last 12 weeks which led me into the pool every time I felt tightness that I was uncomfortable with. I was most likely overreacting each time, but it is extremely difficult to catch a stress fracture before it's too late. Whether it was an overreaction or not doesn't really matter. My marathon specific workouts have been on par or at times surpassed any of my training blocks in the past, and I'm showing up to the line healthy. When starting this marathon segment months ago, I had convinced my self that I would only be able to get to an 80 or 90% fitness level without getting hurt. I am hoping now that I am actually closer to 100% and heading into race day feeling fresh.

The curse is broken! It's time to let the training (especially the countless hours of horrendously boring aquajogging) pay off. The field is obviously very competitive, and the American field is deep. New York is always a surprise in terms of how fast it starts, where moves are made, and who is having a good or bad day. I plan to stick my nose in the thick of it and be ready to adapt at any moment.

Thank you to the New York Road Runners for giving me the platform to continue my career among some of the best competition in the world, on the greatest marathon stage in the world. Thank you also to Brooks for sticking with me through this rough patch and committing to me well beyond 2016!


Weeks to go: 2 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 90 minutes aqua jogging off 1 hour 0
Tuesday 11.5 5.5 + drills and strides 17
Wednesday 4 x 2 miles w/2 min rest @ 4:41-4:45 off 15
Thursday 11 5 16
Friday 1 hour aqua jogging off 30 minutes 0
Saturday 10 5 15
Sunday 15 easy off 30 minutes 15
TOTAL 78

Weeks to go: 1
AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 70 minutes aqua jogging 40 minutes elliptical 30 minutes 0
Tuesday 5 x 1km @ 2:54-2:57 w/1 min rest 5 16
Wednesday off travel to NYC off 0
Thursday 1 hour easy off 9
Friday 50 minutes easy + drills and strides off 8
Saturday 30 minutes easy off 4
Sunday NYC Marathon off

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Less than 2 weeks to the TCS New York City Marathon: Last week's training

I'm happy to report that the concerning tightness in my back from the previous week has disappeared even after the long, hard tempo a week and a half ago. I was back to running six days this last week, and the body feels great. Sometimes forced rest can be beneficial, especially squeezed between high volume and high intensity workouts. I certainly don't want to jinx myself, but I am looking forward to starting the New York Marathon healthy, rested, and fit!

Playing it safe, we went to a Fartlek for the mid-week workout and decided to save my last threshold effort workout for this week. I have also backed off the lifting once feeling the back tightness two weeks ago, but it was about time for that anyway. I wanted one last week of decent volume before starting a brief, two week taper. The previous week had so much time in the pool that I do not feel that I am risking fresh legs by popping back up to 100 in 6 days. I still plan 1-2 days off and my final pool session during the coming 10 days, so my legs won't have any excuse not to show up as ready as my mind on November 6th.

With nearly all important training in the bank, this next week will be more about healthy distractions, reflection, and dialing in a race plan which I will share more about next week. Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below.

Weeks to go: 3 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 90 minutes aqua jogging off 1 hour 0
Tuesday 12 5 + drills and strides 17
Wednesday Fartlek: 3 x (5, 4, 3) w/half recovery jog off 40 minutes 15
Thursday 12 5 17
Friday 10 5 + drills and strides 40 minutes 15
Saturday 12 6 18
Sunday 18 miles, push 4 @ 4:59 from 13-17 off 18
TOTAL 100