Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Tempo Run

If the goal of a Tempo run is to make you run outside your comfort zone, then this was a success. I had heard of Tempo runs but didn't know what they were, so after a quick query of the god of all knowledge (Internet), I had an idea what they were. The only problem is that you are supposed to run at your 10K pace. The only 10K I have ever run was the Les Bois 10K and that is a 3 mile climb, followed by a 3 return. As such, I have no idea what my 10K pace is. So I just made it a little slower than my Yasso 800 speed.
Again, I decided to create a workout on my Garmin for this to help me (I like letting my watch tell me when it is time to change up and I don't have to keep looking at it). I set my target tempo pace to be between 10:00 and 10:30, plus a 10 minute warm up and 10 minute cool down. I did discover that on my Garmin 405, I can only have 1 course and 1 workout uploaded to the watch at a time. (I just need to make sure I upload the course and workout before I go for a run.)
I started off not feeling very good. My stomach was bothering me again this morning and I felt very Blah, and my starting pace really showed it. I normally start off fast and slow down but this time I did the opposite. My starting pace was 11:30 but by the time my warm up was over, I was pushing 10:30. When my Garmin told me it was time to start running at pace, I thought for sure it would be screaming at me to speed up, but when I look down at it, it was telling me to slow down and that my pace was 9:00. I didn't know I had that pace in me. I finally managed to settle into a pace my Garmin liked and away I went. I was supposed to keep this pace for 20 minutes, but after 16, I just had to slow down (the web site did say between 15 and 20 minutes). After the Tempo part, I was supposed to cool down for 10 minutes but I ended up walking.
It felt good and both this and the Yassos are making me focus on my pace more, which is something I never do. 
Distance: 3 miles
Time: 36 minutes

Yasso 800s


I decided in order to reach my goal of a new PR in September, that I would add running Yasso 800s into my running routine.  I had read about Yasso 800s a few years ago when training for my first marathon (and even ran one set). I decided to dust off this training method and incorporate it into my running. Since my goal it so run a 5 hour marathon, that meant I had to run 800s in 5 minutes, followed by jogging for 5 minutes. You start the first week off doing 4 sets. Then you add addition 800 per week until you reach 10 sets.

This first set was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. Don't get me wrong, I did have to push myself, but I wasn't dying at the end of the 800.

After doing some research on my watch for following GPS courses, I found out about setting up a workout on it. I thought I would give it a try for my Yasso 800s. It was pretty easy to setup (I setup a warmup, 800, recovery (repeat steps), cool down). I then uploaded it to my watch and let it tell me when to go and when to slow. Here were my times:

1st 800: 4:56 (it felt good when I started off and my Garmin told me to slow down) 
2nd 800: 4:55 
3rd 800: 5:00 
4th 800: 5:04

Next week I do 5 800s.

Polecat Trail


Most months, a local running store (Pulse Running) holds a FKT course. (FKT = Fastest (or Funnest) Known Time) They reward the fasted runners (boy and girl) and then do a drawing for everyone else. This is the first time I tried to run the course in the month we were supposed to. 

They always offer a Garmin GPS of the course you are supposed to run. Me, not knowing the foot hills at all, need a lot of help staying on the correct course. After a little research, I figured out how to upload a course to my Garmin 405 watch and how to use it to figure out where I am supposed to run. I was bound and determined to follow the course this time (I have tried others but still get lost). Now I have never been to this trail before so my first challenge was to find the trailhead. Fortunately, Pulse Running had some good directions. When I arrived, there was only one car in the parking lot. I didn't realize that there was someone it in until I was ready to start.

I took a quick look at the map at the trailhead and realized that this route just followed the Polecat trail. This information would be very valuable later. I started out and the arrow on my Garmin was pointing the right way. When I reached the second branch however, the arrow on the Garmin was pointing back the way I came. However, the Polecat trail went on straight (the trail markers were most helpful), and the side trail cut back to teh right. I was confused here. Believing I should "Trust the Garmin", I turned right and headed up the side trail. When I got about 30 yards however, my Garmin beeped at me and told me that I had "lost the course." I stopped and looked and it was pointing back teh way I came. So I turned around and after three steps, it beeped again and said "course found" and pointed me back to the parking lot. I tested this three step zone a couple of times and finally decided to ignore the Garmin and follow the signs. 

Polecat Trailhead Parking

As I headed back to Polecat trail, I realized that Polecat when straight on for about 20 yards and then cut back up the side of the opposite hill. So I think my Garmin was trying to tell me I needed to go up that hill, but it was not very clear and gave me bad information at the intersection.

Out of 6 intersections, my Garmin pointed me the wrong way 50% of the time. Not really helpful in finding the right trail. It was good at telling me when I was way off course, so I guess that is something.

Polecat Trail

The Polecat trail was really nice. I had the trail to myself until I reached 1/2 way. Oh and it was here that my garmin told me that the "virtual partner" had just finished the course. This is a feature I need to turn off. At this point I started seeing a good stream of runners and bikers.

The Boise Foothills: Lots and lots of trails.

Overall, it was a lot of fun exploring this trail. I will say that I am less than impressed with my new Garmin 405. Not only was it less than helpful on navigating the course, but at the start of the run, it had trouble figuring out where I was. I started and stopped in the same place, but my Garmin had me starting out in the middle of nowhere. I think for courses, that I need to let the Garmin sit for a minute before starting my run so it can get a good GPS fix.

Change of Running plans.

Two weeks ago, while running a trail course, my knee started to hurt on steep downhill sections. It hurt just trying to walk down the hills. Strangly enough, it felt fine on flat or gradual downhills (walking or running). As such, knowing that I have a 50K trail race in 3 weeks, and that it is a challenging course, I had to really think about if I wanted to push my knees. Whenever I have such a decision like this, I think back to what my goals are for the year. This year my goal has been to run more and run healthy. If I hurt my knee bad while doing the 50K, then I would be laid up recovering. I know myself well enough to know that if I do that then, I will get off my diet and won't exercise at all (sad but true about me). As such, I think my best plan is skip the 50K and work on building up my knee for running steep downhills.

So what does that mean for my running plans for the year? Outside of the Foothills 50K Frenzy in October and the Goofy Challenge in January, I had no plans after the Silver City 50K. This gave me a chance to think about what I want to do for teh second half of the year for running. After some thought, I have decided that I want to build up my endurance so I can run further. Currently in all three marathons I have completed, I have walked form about mile 18 on (the last marathon I walked from mile 16 on). As you can tell my current PR is not very impressive for the marathon (5:35). I know I can beat this time if I can just run the entire way. So I found a marthon at the end of September (the Idaho Wine Run) and I have decided to try to beat 5 hours in that marathon. This does mean a shift in my training. Currently I have not been doing anything but putting in miles. Now I will have to do some workouts that will help me work on my pace and speed. 

Even though my goal is to cut 35 minutes off my best Marathon time, I think it is completely doable. I will keep you posted.