Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Less than 6 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

After another week of solid volume I am happy to report that I am tired but healthy. My body is holding up as well as I could ask for, and I am now on the second half of the marathon training block. That does not mean that I am in the clear from injury by any means. Before the Olympic Trials Marathon last year, I was diagnosed with a femoral stress fracture the week before the race. It's easy to ignore warning signs of a serious injury when training is going well, and I am determined to not make that mistake again. Predicting an injury before it gets past the point of no return is very difficult, but my experience the last couple of years has at least forced me to take time off when in doubt. A week in the pool is much better than 12 weeks in the pool, and very little fitness is lost. I hope I continue to feel this way over the next 5-6 weeks, but I am trying to stay closely tuned in to what my body is telling me and am prepared to adapt if needed.

I'm now on my last few days in Czech. Going home is always enjoyable, but Czech has become a second home to me as I have spent a couple months a year here for the last decade and even lived in Prague for about 18 months. In terms of training, the timing is perfect as I will be able to use my last 5 weeks to train on faster terrain and at sea level in order to put the final touches on the training segment before Berlin. I'll be back in Czech a week before the marathon to recover from travel and adjust to the time difference. I always prefer to stay somewhere familiar where I know the running routes and can cook my own food for as long as possible before a race, so I consider myself very lucky to have a home base in Europe that allows me to do that.

There are several guys living in Portland who are training for fall marathons currently, and I will do my best to recruit some training partners for this next stretch. I haven't run a step with another person since I left Portland last month, so a little company would be appreciated. Thanks again for reading and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weeks to go: 7 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Tuesday 12.5 + drills and strides 6 18.5
Wednesday 4 mi, 3 mi, 2 mi, 1 mi starting 4:46, finishing 4:37, rest = 4 min, 3, 2 5 22
Thursday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Friday 1 hour + 8 x 200 meter hills 6 19
Saturday 10 off 40 minutes 10
Sunday 15 mi tempo @ 5:06 (hilly) off 21
Total: 130.5

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Less than 7 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

It's easy to find a little extra motivation for training watching the IAAF World Champs this year with all the fantastic performances so far. It has been a real pleasure to see the US efforts by Amy Cragg, Jenny Simpson, and Evan Jager, and plenty of excellent races off the podium as well. Seeing the disappointment on the faces of the US men in the 10km after running PBs in a championship race really shows how far US distance running has come over the last several years in terms of expectations and mentality. There is still a good deal of racing left, and several great US distance stars on deck.

As for my training, I had another productive week in southern Czech. I'm feeling stronger over the difficult terrain and slight elevation, and my workouts and easy runs are slowly starting to show it. I'm feeling exhausted most of the time, which is a normal part of marathon training, and I'm combating the fatigue with daily naps, long nights of sleep, and a high protein diet. It feels good to be putting in this kind of mileage again. Before NYC this last fall, I limited myself to 100 miles per week, and while my workouts went well, I went into them quite fresh which isn't necessarily ideal during marathon prep. My mileage is now oscillating from 120 -130 miles per week now, but with 1 very easy day in order to average closer to 20 miles per day on the other days of the week. So far the body is holding up very well, so my long term goal remains to get back to 140+ miles per week come next spring. It's been a long road since the injuries began in 2015, but I'm very close to being back to where I want to be.

The next 5 weeks will be the real meat of the training cycle and I'll be able to make a more realistic goal for Berlin during this time. Getting back to Portland and knocking out a few faster long runs on a more Berlin like course should give me the last bit of confidence that I'll need heading into September 24th. I booked my flight yesterday, planning to arrive a week early to adjust to the time change and recover from the flight. That step has made the race feel much more tangible and I'm fighting off any sudden sense of urgency as I am not even half-way through this training block.

Some of the training posted below was already posted last week, but I wanted to get back to a Monday-Sunday calendar going forward, so what you see is my last completed week of training which started 8 weeks before Berlin. Thanks again for reading and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weeks to go: 8 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Tuesday 12.5 + drills and strides off 12.5
Wednesday  4 mi tempo @ 4:45-4:46, 30 minute run, 3 mi tempo @ 4:42-4:43 4 22
Thursday 12 6 40 minutes 18.5
Friday 1 hour + 8 x 200 meter hills 5 17
Saturday 7 off 40 minutes 7
Sunday 25 miles, 18-22 @ 4:52 off 25
Total: 122

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Less than 8 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

It's been a little while since the Peachtree 10k US Champs, but it took some time to settle on my next race. While the 10k wasn't a perfect race, it was a huge step forward for me after the injury ridden last 18 months. I went through 5km at 13:52 and the wheels didn't fall off. The first 5km is mostly downhill, but regardless, I felt more like my old self than I had in any race since the injuries began. Now that I have many months of consistent training and my blood work back to normal, I am optimistic about the fall and winter.

After a lot of deliberation I have decided for the Berlin Marathon this fall.  After getting out over my skis in New York this fall, I am looking for a controlled environment in which I can gain confidence heading into the spring. I would like an extra month of training for confidence, but that is almost always the case. I went backpacking for a few days following Peachtree to have a mental break before the marathon buildup, and then jumped right back in where I left off, leaving myself with about 11.5 weeks to prepare for Berlin. It looks like we'll have a small group of runners shooting for the 2:09-2:10ish range, so I should have people to run with as well as a couple of pace makers. Scott Overall (2:10) will be in this group, which is a big boost, as we have run in the same pace group during two of my PRs in the past (Fukuoka and London). Hopefully our training will progress at a similar pace and we both end up healthy at the starting line and can feed off each other on September. 24th.

I am currently back training in the Czech countryside as we spend time with my wife's family. I've
mentioned this in the past, but the running routes are fantastic in southern Czech (Vysocina), although hitting times is quite difficult as it is very hilly with a little elevation (2500ft.) The elevation isn't much, but combined with the hills, workouts are still fairly challenging. It's a great spot for base building, so the timing couldn't be better. I will be in Portland for the final 5 weeks of training and will be able to fine tune then.

I'm slowly building my mileage back up to marathon range but will still keep my volume between 120 and 130 for this segment. That includes one day (Saturday) of either very easy or off meaning that I am still averaging 20+ miles per day the other 6 days of the week. I am looking to get my mid-week workouts to 16-18 miles most weeks including warmup and cooldown to build strength as well.

Below are the last few weeks of training, and I will be posting the rest of the weeks leading up to Berlin. Thanks again for reading, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weeks To go Weekly Miles      
11 120 Monday    
    Wednesday   10 x 1 mile starting @ 4:57 down to 4:40, rest = 1 min
    Sunday   22 miles with 4 mile push @ 4:55
10 125 Monday    
    Wednesday   tempo runs 3.5, 2.5, 1.5@ 71ish, rest = 2 min, 1 min
    Friday   Run + 8 x 200 meter hills
    Sunday   23 mile moderate long run
9 130 Monday    
    Tuesday   8 x 1 mile @ 4:45-->4:25
    Thursday   Run + 8 x strides
    Friday   12 miles @ 5:00
    Sunday   24 mile moderate long run
8 120 Monday    
    Wednesday   4 mile tempo, 30 min run, 3mile tempo @ 4:45ish

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
Thursday6/8/201712 X 200m @29-30 or hill repeats
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
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
Saturday6/17/201710 miles @5:10->4:45
Sunday6/18/2017Long, 2 hours
Tuesday6/20/201715 x 200m hills, Weekly Total: 110 miles
Thursday6/22/20174 tempo @ 18:50, 6 x 200 @ 29-30
Saturday6/24/2017Long 1:45,
Monday6/26/201710 x 500 @ 78-79 w/100 meter jog (about 40 seconds)
Tuesday6/27/2017 Weekly Total: 90 miles
Friday6/30/20175-6 x 1000m @ 71+ 4-5 x 200m @31-32

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
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

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