Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Less than 11 weeks to the TCS New York City Marathon: Last week's training

It feels great to have NYC locked into my schedule again after a rough year of repeated injuries. I hope that I am on track for a healthy November return, and I am doing my best to be tuned-in to my body and feel out any signs of concern. I believe I am doing everything I can to make this comeback last and get back to racing. I have consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, checked my bone density, met with an endocrinologist, added more specific strength training, and most importantly, I am ramping up volume at a much slower rate.

With that said, it's been difficult to stay patient the last few months. Aqua jogging continues to amaze me in it's ability to become more boring just when I think it has hit a low. It will continue to be a part of my life for quite some time still, but fortunately it is minimal compared to my running now! When I was able to return to workouts, they were mostly fartleks and hills, and a decent level of fitness felt far away for a couple months. That has definitely changed over the last few weeks, and this last weekend in particular was a surprising break though given my low volume and only a few solid long runs under my belt.

For those who have followed my training in the past, the workout has become a staple during marathon training. 3 mile warmup, 4 mile tempo, 10 mile moderate-easy run, 4 mile tempo, short cooldown. My quickest 4 mile tempo over the last couple months has been 19:17, although that has been several weeks, so a reasonable goal in my mind was to try to match this in my tempos on Sunday. I ended up being able to run 19:05 and 18:56 feeling much more comfortable than I thought was possible at this stage. I'm not sure where the strength came from to run miles 17-21 for the day so well, but it's motivating to see that I can match some of my best marathon workouts with lower volume than normal. The goal will be to keep the volume below 120 miles per week for the entire build-up, but maintain the same level of intensity on workout and long run days. At 95 miles per week (in 6 days), I still have a ways to go, and now is probably the most likely time to get hurt as volume continues to edge up and my fitness level may be beyond what my bones are ready for. I have to stay vigilant and be ready to take off days and pool days as necessary, throwing my mileage goals out the window when needed.

Being in Czech for the past six weeks has also been helpful to mix up the environment and get some aqua jogging in outdoors along with some great biking. The terrain near my in-laws is hilly and at some elevation, making it a great place for me to ignore times and go by effort early on. I just returned to Portland on Friday and will be here for the remainder of my build-up.

Feel free to take a look at some of my training and progression from the last several weeks. With about 10.5 weeks to go, I actually think I will be ready for my best marathon yet following my years of big base mileage and feeling more refreshed going into hard training sessions.

Thanks again for reading, and I'll be back to posting weekly training updates all the way to Nov. 6th!

NYC 2016
WEEKS TO GO Miles/days Xtrain
22 46/6 6-Jun 50 min
6 7-Jun 50 + short fartlek
8-Jun 55 min
9-Jun 55+ strides
10-Jun off
11-Jun 40-45 min + hills
12-Jun 65-70 min
21 51/6 6 13-Jun 55 min
14-Jun 20 min warm up, 4 mile 19:29 +4 x200m, 15 min cool down
15-Jun Off
16-Jun 40-45 min +4-6 x 200m strides
17-Jun 60 min
18-Jun 60 min including 15-18 min of fartlek on half recoveries
19-Jun 70 min
20 45/5 6 20-Jun Off
21-Jun 60 min + Strides
22-Jun 25 warm up, 4 mile 19:18, 15 cool down
23-Jun 60 min
24-Jun 30 min + 10 x 30-40 secod hills
25-Jun Off
26-Jun 75 min
19 55/6 6 27-Jun 45 min + strides
28-Jun 70 including  21 min of fartlek
29-Jun 60 min
30-Jun Off
1-Jul 60 min + Strides
2-Jul 25 warm up, 4 mile 19:20, 20 min cool down
3-Jul 80?
18 80/6 4 4-Jul 60 min
5-Jul 10 x 1 mile, 5:14->4:42, x=4:56
6-Jul OFF
7-Jul 70 + strides, PM 30 min
8-Jul 70 min
9-Jul 15 x 200 hills, PM 30 min
10-Jul 1:45, 16
17 55/5 4 hours 11-Jul OFF
12-Jul 30 min warm up, 4 mile tempo @ 19:00-19:10 + 6 x 200m @ 31ish,
20 min cool down
13-Jul 70 min
14-Jul 60 min
15-Jul 30 min + 10-15 x hills, 30 min cool down
16-Jul 80 min
17-Jul OFF
16 75/6 4 hours 18-Jul 10-11 miles + Strides
19-Jul 10 x 1 mile, 5:05 -->4:35, 1 min to 90 second recoveries
20-Jul 8-9 miles easy
21-Jul 12-13 miles
22-Jul OFF
23-Jul 30 min + 10-15 hills, 30 min cool down
24-Jul 15 miles, push 10-11-12 @ 5:00-5:10
15 85/6 4 hours 25-Jul am 10 miles, pm: 5 miles
26-Jul am 13 miles
27-Jul 30 minute warm up, 3 mile@71-72, 2 min, 2 mile@ 70-71, 1 min,
1 mile @69-70, 20 min cool down
28-Jul am 10 miles, pm 5 miles
29-Jul OFF
30-Jul 25 min warm up, Fartlek 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1 equal recovery,
15 min cool down
31-Jul 17 miles 
14 90/6 3 hours 1-Aug am 10 miles, pm 5 miles
2-Aug 8 x 1 mile on hilly course, 2 min rest (4:50-4:30)
3-Aug 13 miles
4-Aug am 8 miles, pm 7 miles
5-Aug OFF
6-Aug am 10 miles, pm 5 miles
7-Aug 18 miles, push 12-15 @4:56-5:00
13 60/5 5 hours 8-Aug OFF
9-Aug 10 + drills and strides
10-Aug 10 mile tempo @ 5:00
11-Aug 10 miles
12-Aug OFF
13-Aug 30 min + 15 x hill, 30 min
14-Aug 20 miles easy
12 95/6 3 hours 15-Aug AM: 11 miles, PM: 5 miles
16-Aug AM: 12 miles, PM: 5 miles
17-Aug 7 x mile on hilly course (4:50-4:30), 3 minutes rest
18-Aug 1 hour easy
19-Aug OFF-travel from Prague to Portland
20-Aug 1 hour easy
21-Aug 3 mi warmup, 4 mi tempo @ 19:05, 10 miles @ 57:00,
4 mile tempo @ 18:56, 1 mi cooldown

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fall and beyond

The Olympic Trials are two days away, and I am sad to confirm that I will not be running the 10km this year. While my fitness is coming back quickly after the femoral stress fracture, I am forcing myself to keep the intensity low while my muscles and bones catch up to my cardio strength in an attempt to break the injury cycle. Skipping the Olympic Trials when I have the qualifying time was an extremely difficult decision, but if I want to continue my running career, I must be painfully patient through the summer and early fall. With last year's performance in the USA Track and Field Champs, I know my track career still has legs, and I expect to be competing in Eugene in 2017.

I am on track to be in great shape for a fall marathon. I don't know exactly which marathon yet, but a race in the mid to late fall will allow enough time for me to ramp up slowly and be in peak fitness.

There is not much to report in terms of training, but I have posted my last two weeks below. I am continuing with my lifting routines, but I do plan on easing up in the near future as workouts become more intense. I feel like I have returned to my football days with the Olympic lifts, but the goal now is to simply load the bones and muscles without impact to ease my transition back. I have also started using a new product called Tune to measure my footstrike, cadence, distance, speed, etc. in an attempt to learn about some of my deficiencies as I move forward with strength training. I am still in my initial 4 week analysis period, but I am confident that I will be able to use the data to stay healthy through the fall.

I am looking forward to heading down to Eugene to cheer, and I am especially looking forward to hanging out at the Brooks house and providing support to all the Brooks athletes competing in the trials! Good luck to everyone in the 10km, and I look forward to vying for a spot in 2020.

Last 2 weeks training:

Monday off, 90 minutes aqua jogging
Tuesday 60 min + strides
Wednesday 25 min warm up, 4 mile tempo @ 19:30ish, 15 min cool down, 45 minutes elliptical + lifting
Thursday 60 min, 45 minutes elliptical
Friday 30 min + 10 X 30-40 second hills, 60 minutes aqua jogging +lifting
Saturday off
Sunday 75 min, 45 minutes aqua jogging
Monday 45 min + strides, 45 minutes elliiptical
Tuesday 70 min including Fartlek: (5, 4, 3, 4, 3, 2)w/ half rest, 40 minutes elliptical + lifting
Wednesday 60 min, 60 minutes aqua jogging
Thursday off
Friday 60 min + strides + lifting

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Healthy and training

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but there hasn't been much to write about since my last injury. After the string of bone injuries, I have been taking the come-back much slower this time around, and so far everything is progressing well. With the Olympic Trials 10km approaching quickly, I have not made a decision on whether or not I will compete as I do not want to push myself to over-train with a solid date on the calendar. I will take it one week at a time.

From the femoral fracture in February which kept me from the Olympic Marathon Trials, I took two weeks on crutches, four weeks with no exercise, and a total of 10 weeks before returning to the Alter-G. The return to ground running has been painstakingly slow, but I am doing everything I can do break the cycle. Over the same span, I have checked bone density, met with an endocrinologist, and have been pushing my limits on strength training. I have always been proactive with general strength work, but my routine has now included heavier leg lifts such as dead lift and multiple forms of squats. The goal is to load the bones and muscles a much as possible without the pounding of running to help ease the transition. I am hoping the strength training, supplements, and slow return to running will have me on pace for a summer/fall racing plan.

One of the more challenging aspects to this come back is the effort to take off days at the first sign of trouble. This meant taking three days off last week with some very mild quad tightness. It was certainly over-cautious, but that will have to be my state of mind for the next several months. When training increases, tightness and soreness are bound to occur, and it will take serious patience and focus to ease my way through without incurring another injury.

I will return to my usual weekly training log within the next week or two, and below you will see my running progression since day one. This has been supplemented with pool, elliptical, and some additional Alter-G in an effort to get 1:30-2:00 of cardio 6 days per week. I will be posting again shortly with a more detailed 2016 race plan. Thanks again for reading, and it's great to be back at it!

3:30: 15 minutes Alter-G @ 65%
4/1: 20 minutes Alter-G @65%, last 5 @ 70%
4/2: 20 minutes Alter - G @ 65%, last 5 @ 70%
4/4: 20 minutes Alter-G @ 65%, 5 @ 70%, 5 @75%
4/5: 15 minutes Alter-G @ 65%, 10 @ 70%, 5 @ 75%
4/7: 20 minutes Alter-G @ 70%, 5 @75%, 5 @ 80%
4/8: 15 minutes Alter-G @ 70, 10 @ 75%, 5 @ 80%
4/9: 10 minutes Alter-G @ 70%, 10@75%, 10@80%
4/11: 20 minutes Alter-G @ 70, 10 @ 75%, 10@80%
4/12: 20 minutes Alter-G @ 70, 10 @ 75%, 10@80%
4/13: 10 minutes Alter-G @ 70%, 20 @ 80%, 10@85%
4/14: 20 minutes Alter-G @ 75%, 10@80%, 10@85%
4/16: 20 minutes Alter-G, 10 minutes soft ground
4/17: 15 minutes Alter-G @ 80-85%, 15 minutes soft ground
4/19: 25 minutes ground
4/20: 25 minutes ground
4/21: 30 minutes ground
4/23: 30 minutes ground
4/24: 30 minutes ground
4/25: 35 minutes ground
4/26: 30 minutes Alter-G @ 80%
4/28: 35 minutes ground
4/29: 40 minutes ground
4/30: 35 minutes Alter-G @ 80%
5/1: 40 minutes ground
5/3: 40 minutes ground
5/4: 40 minutes ground
5/5: 35 minutes ground + strides
5/7: 50 minutes ground
5/8: 40 minutes + strides
5/9: 45 minutes
5/10: 50 minutes
5/12: 30 minutes + 8 x 200 meter hills
5/13: 45 minutes
5/14: 50 minutes + strides
5/15: 55 minutes
5/17: 35 minutes + 8 x 200 meter hills
5/18: 45 minutes
5/19: Fartlek: 6 x 3 minutes on, 1 minute off
5/21: 60 minutes
5/23: 60 minutes
5/24: 10 x 200 meter hills (65 min total running)
5/25: 45 minutes
5/26: 55 minutes + strides
5/27: Fartlek: 3 x (1 min, 2, 3)
Quad tightness - 3 days off
6/1: 35 minutes
6/2: 40 minutes

Friday, February 12, 2016

Reflecting on another injury setback

I will make this brief as I don't want to draw attention away from the Olympic Marathon Trials tomorrow, but I do want to put a few thoughts down before the race to avoid any inclination to make "what-if" statements following the race.

I have suffered my 3rd bone-related injury since the summer, with the timing on this being less than a week from the Olympic Trials. While it seems that there is some deficiency that has locked me into a never-ending pattern, I don't think that is the case. In July I suffered a navicular stress reaction which seemed to creep up during the 10km at the US Outdoor Track and Field Championships. This is the only injury that I don't have an explanation for other than bad luck. I did not do everything I could in terms of rehab on that right foot in my comeback as I didn't want to aggravate the bone, but this left me with weaknesses and compensation issues and ultimately a stress fracture in my left sacrum 7 weeks into my return. Oddly enough I have spoken with three other athletes who have had this exact same progression of injuries. This sacral stress fracture left me in a tough spot as the Olympic Marathon Trials were approaching fast and I had to make a decision quickly on whether or not to give them a shot. I was cleared to start on the Alter-G just a month into my recovery and I began to regain fitness very quickly. I was able to take my first ground steps about 3 months out from the trials, and again progressed quickly in terms of fitness and volume. My coach and I had discussed keeping volume much lower throughout this period in order to avoid injury, but as my fitness returned and everything was pointing towards the possibility of contending for a spot, I got greedy and amped of volume and intensity to past levels in order to prove to myself that I had the required fitness. I decided it was worth trying to get to 95-100% rather than try the race at 80% Even though I understood I was risking a third stress fracture, I had thought I was in the clear by the time I started to feel pain in my quad during my trip to Chula Vista. If anything, I thought this would have come a month ago, but not now. I have had my bone density checked and met with a nutritionist, both of which checked out well in my favor, but at least I can rule them out as causes.

So in short, this third stress fracture is simply a matter of pushing much too hard too soon. Had I not tried to give this training block my all and I didn't make the team, I would have regretted it, so I am going to take solace in the fact that my fitness came back so quickly and look to be far more patient during this next comeback. Now that the time pressure has been lifted, I plan to come back very slowly and emphasize health rather than matching last year's volume and workout times. Thank you for the overwhelming support I have received from family, friends, and the entire running community. It really means a lot. I have no doubt that my greatest running achievements are ahead of me.

I'm going to be disappearing in Cuba for a couple weeks, but I'm already looking forward to getting back to cross training upon my return. Best of luck to all competitors tomorrow in Los Angeles. I am sure we're going to send our best marathon team yet to Rio. For those of you in Portland, please come out to the Rock 'n' Roo and support Doernbecher Children's Hospital and Shalane Flanagan in her attempt at another Olympic Team as we have come together to host this charity event:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Less than 3 weeks to the US Olympic Marathon Trials: Last week's training

The bulk of marathon training is now unfortunately behind me, but the next couple of weeks will be used to sharpen up before complete rest begins. I was fairly nervous heading into last week's long tempo as I felt it would be a big test of my marathon fitness after a short and condensed marathon build-up. Fortunately it went better than expected as I was able to average 4:58 for 16 miles in less than ideal conditions. This effort also came at the end of a 140 mile week, so to be able to pull that off with tired legs was a big confidence booster. There is only time left now for a couple more hard threshold efforts at lower volume, but the faster running should help knock the final bit of rust off.

I head to Chula Vista tomorrow for a couple weeks at the Olympic Training Center, and I'm looking forward to leaving the Portland rain behind. It will also be an excellent setting to relax and focus on the little things over my last couple of weeks. There is not a great deal of fitness to be gained from this point out, but it is an important time for risk aversion in terms of diet, sleep, and not over-training. I plan on checking out the Los Angeles course while I'm there so I can start visualizing each aspect of the race. The list of participants is nearly finalized, so it is also time to start making a more concrete race plan while I have a lot of down time in California.

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

Week 9 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 14 6 20
Tuesday 14.5 6 + drills and strides 40 minutes 20.5
Wednesday Fartlek: (1 min, 2, 3, 4) x 3, 17 miles total 5 22
Thursday 14.5 6 40 minutes 20.5
Friday 1 hour run + 8 x 200 @ 30-31 6 19
Saturday 11 5 30 minutes 16
Sunday 16 mile tempo @ 4:58 avg. off 22

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Less than 4 weeks to the Olympic Marathon Trials: Last week's training

I knew this short build-up toward the Olympic Marathon Trials would fly by, but I am still surprised that we are down to 3 and a half weeks until race day. In a week and a half I'll be heading down to Chula Vista for my final preparation and heat acclimatization. I'm not sorry to be leaving the cold rain, but I am sorry to be down to my last couple long run efforts. Even though long run workouts are the most challenging part of marathon prep, they are also a chance to prove to yourself that training is progressing the way it should.

The timing pushed two long run efforts into this week's 7 day block, and they both went surprisingly well. Both workouts were in the middle of fairly intense downpours with temperatures in the upper 30s, and that weather can often be worse than snow. I'm always decked out in excellent rain gear, but you still end up carrying a fair amount of extra water with you when you're in it for a few hours. While the Monday long run was a solid overall effort, it was Thursday and Sunday that made me feel like my old self again. I have run both workouts faster in the past, but not by a lot, and not in this nasty weather. These efforts also came in the middle of a 140 mile week, which I did not think I would get up to this time around, but my body is handling it much better than expected. I think I am fairly close to being back to my pre-NYC and pre-London fitness with 24 days to go. This coming weekend will be a big test as I aim for 16 miles at sub-5:00 on the tail end of my last big mileage week.

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

Week 8 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 25 miles, progressing to race pace and holding 18-22 @ 4:56 off 25
Tuesday 12 + drills and strides 6 18.5
Wednesday 12.5 6 40 minutes 18.5
Thursday 6 x 2km starting @ 6:00 and working down to 5:53, 1 min rest 19
Friday 14 6 +drills and strides 20
Saturday 12 5 40 minutes 17
Sunday 4 mile tempo @ 19:10, 10 mile run, 4 mile tempo @ 19:07, road off 22

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Less than 5 weeks to the Olympic Marathon Trials: Last week's training

There's less than a month to go until the big day, and training is still inching forward in the right direction. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I wouldn't mind having one more month to train, but my sacrum didn't ask my opinion when it fractured. This will be an interesting experiment moving forward with my training in future marathons after assessing the outcome next month in Los Angeles.

The biggest difference in this training block, outside of it being shorter and starting from cross training, has been the lack of faster intervals early on. In the past I have spent the first 2-3 weeks with 6-8 mile repeats that would typically cut down below 10km pace. I feel like this set me up well in later threshold and tempo efforts and allowed me to cut those down well below half and full marathon pace. I am now having trouble cutting down on these efforts and feel that I'm missing out on this background work. With that said, the long runs and steady state efforts are feeling nearly back to 100%. I am hoping that while getting through slightly lower quality interval and threshold sessions, my long run and marathon pace training is more significant at this point and is more indicative of my marathon fitness level. The next two weeks will be the most intense and will provide a great deal of feedback as to my progress. I continue to be optimistic, and I relish the opportunity to train and compete at all after my summer scare. 

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

Week 7 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 12.5 6 50 minutes 18.5
Tuesday 22 mile progressive long run off 22
Wednesday 12.5 6 + drills and strides 18.5
Thursday 12 1 hour aqua jogging 40 minutes 12
Friday 4 mile, 3 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile @ 4:50 pace 5 21
Saturday 12.5 6 + drills and strides 18.5
Sunday 14.5 5 40 minutes 19.5