2016 New York City Marathon Training – Week 9

NYCM Week 9 Infographic


Last Sunday, I had a great long run on the treadmill in large part because I was watching the men’s Olympic marathon.  The weather broke this week and I had some better than usual runs.  But, another heat wave arrived yesterday and led to a demoralizing long run today.

Training Schedule
August 21st – August 27th

Sunday: Long Run.  18 miles.
Monday: Off.
Tuesday: 9 miles recovery.
Wednesday: Tempo Run.  10 x 1K w/2 minute recoveries.
Thursday: 8 miles recovery.
Friday: 10 miles recovery.
Saturday: Long Run.  18 miles w/10 x 1 mile @ marathon pace or effort w/1:00 rests.

Mileage Total: ~75 Miles

Adaptations. Last week, I emailed my coach and learned I could the “recovery” runs a little harder.  I took advantage of the cooler weather to turn those recovery run shuffles into slightly harder runs.  On Saturday, I only managed 9 repetitions of 1 mile at marathon pace or effort.

Workout Details

Long Run 18 miles.  [Log Details]


I woke up to temperatures in the high 70s and humidity in the high 80s.  I decided to run on the treadmill even though it didn’t feel completely miserable outside.  I still had doubts about my foot pod but I started thinking it might be accurate after all.  Still, I ran the workout by time – I broke that into three 50 minute segments.

I timed the run so I could watch the Men’s Olympic Marathon as a distraction.  I also listened to my potential New York City Marathon playlist.

I ran the first 90 minute segment with the treadmill at 5.6-5.9 (10:43-10:10 pace) and it felt very easy.  For the next one, I incrementally increased the speed to 6.5 (9:14 pace).  The effort still felt pretty comfortable.  But, I was disappointed to see Meb Keflezighi was suffering in the race!  I started chanting, Come on, Meb!  During the third 90 minute set, I increased the treadmill setting to 6.9 (8:42 pace).  By then, I was cheering for Galen Rupp to hold on.  The marathon finished but I still had about 10 minutes of running to go.

I finished the run feeling like I had an honest workout – my legs got the opportunity to stride out a little but I wasn’t completely exhausted.

Split paces=8:25, 7:57, 7:35?  (Foot pod calibration=108.9).

Tempo Run. 10 x 1K w/2 minute recoveries.  [Log Details]

The air temperature was in the high 60s, so I was hopeful that maybe I could pull off a good run.  My coach didn’t put any pace notes in the workout, but just cautioned me not to go out too fast.  I decided to just play it by ear.

I ran the first few repetitions pretty easy.  Without any pace or effort guidelines, I decided to just run a little faster than my recent “recovery” runs.  After a few repetitions, I began to realize this workout was going to go a little longer than I anticipated.

I turned around just north of Old Town Alexandria.  I sped up a little on the way back but it wasn’t a conscious decision.  Instead, I think this was an indication of why I needed to start slower.

Wood Bridge on the MVT

Wood Bridge on the Mount Vernon Trail

Overall, it was a pretty uneventful workout.  I ran such an easy pace that finishing wasn’t really in doubt.  But, it didn’t feel very satisfying.  I told myself to stay positive while I work out the adjustment to my training schedule and the heat.

Split paces=8:22, 8:19, 8:37, 8:12, 8:29, 8:22, 7:54, 7:52, 7:57, 7:52.  Average=8:12.

Long Run.  18 miles w/10 x 1 mile @ marathon pace or effort w/1:00 rest.  [Log Details]

I started the run very easy, particularly since it was uphill.  At the 7.30 mile mark, when the trail went downhill and flat, I started the intervals.

The first repetition was all downhill and fast.  I ran a little harder than the conditions may have warranted but it still felt like marathon effort.

The first repetition all downhill and fast.  I ran a little harder than the conditions may have warranted but it still felt like marathon effort.  But during the 5th repetition, I decided to dial things back significantly and mentally prepare myself to just finish.

I stopped for water during the start of the sixth repetition at the new water fountain by the airport.  A fellow runner stopped and called it a life saver.  I nodded in agreement.  I felt better after the break.

Post Run Slurpee

Post Run Slurpee

I stopped for water during the start of the sixth repetition.  A fellow runner stopped and called it a life saver.  I nodded in agreement.  During the seventh repetitions, I faded badly.   I stopped under a tree during the break for some additional rest.

During the 8th repetition, I felt like I was absolutely baking.  During the next rest break, I sat down on the base of an electrical wire post.  I was so tired!  I felt the tears welling up in my eyes.

After maybe a minute, I willed myself to keep running.  But, the 9th repetition was a shuffle and the 10th had so much walking that I ended the workout.

I wasn’t upset on the walk home.  I knew the conditions were just too much.  I was actually happy I ran a few of the repetitions hard.

Split paces=8:12, 8:31, 8:33, 8:33, 9:24, 8:33, 9:05, 9:27, 10:18.  Average=8:57.


I felt good but my left piriformis and feet were sore early in the week.  I think the treadmill running opened up my stride and aggravated my glutes.  And, the Brooks Ghost 8 hurt my feet since they’re less flexible than the Mizunos.


Break in the Heat WaveThe weather was hot and humid on Sunday, so I ran my long run on the treadmill.  The temperature broke on Monday and most of the week was bearable.  But, by Thursday, another heat wave rolled into the area.

Racing Schedule 

Next Race. Parks Half Marathon on September 11th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Future Races.  I’m having doubts about my New York City Marathon performance so I’ve already started looking ahead to spring marathons.  I’ll run the Boston Marathon but not as a goal race.  I’m looking at late spring marathons like Sugarloaf, Ottawa, and Vermont City.

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Training Supplement – August 24, 2016


The final days of The Olympic Games were thrilling!  I also caught up on my favorite podcasts.  I worked on my New York City Marathon playlist.  I’m mid-way through The Science of Running but am going to put it away for a while.  No new clothing or gear but I customized the watch face on my Garmin 630.

Clothing & Gear

Custom Watch Face

What time is it?!

GPS Watches.  I found an app that allows me to set any picture as a watch face!  I uploaded a picture of my game face so I can scowl at myself all day long.

Clothes.  It seems as thought I haven’t bought any running clothes in months!  I visited my local running store this week and cruised several websites but didn’t see anything I liked.  Have I finally purchased everything I need?

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)

Nutrition & Hydration 

Nutrition. The bland diet the night before workouts continues to keep GI distress away.  I’ve been consistently having baked salmon with teriyaki sauce and quinoa with brown rice for dinner the evenings before workout days.  I’ve also gone with water rather than sports drinks during tempo and interval runs.


Water Parks.  During a heat wave, there’s nothing quite like finishing a run with a frolic through a water park.

Water Fountain

Water Park

Media & Motivation

Music. “Brave,” by Sara Bareilles.  Sunday’s long run on the treadmill prompted me to start working on my New York City Marathon Playlist.  This might be the song I hear when I cross the finish  line.

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

TelevisionRio Olympics.  There was lots of excitement this week – Alyson Felix’s six gold medals, Matt Centrowitz Jr. winning the 1500, the men’s marathon…   As this Runner’s World Top 15 Running Moments at the 2016 Olympics piece shows, U.S. Track & Field was inspiring.  I may pay my dues on time this year.

Podcasts.  “Shalane Flanagan and Frank Shorter,” by The Runner’s World Show.  Shalane Flanagan talked about her fluid intake at the U.S. Olympic Trials.  I had no idea elites were so technical about their fluids!  Can I have that analysis done?  Also, Frank Shorter told riveting stories about his Olympic marathon races and childhood abuse.

Books.  The Science of Running,” by Steve Magness.  I continued reading this book but decided to stop at the “How to Train” section until after the New York City Marathon.  The chapter on the genetics of training led me to conclude that there’s some consensus that high mileage is “good” but the intensity of those miles is debatable.  And, the author supported the idea of doing base work first in training, and then intensity.  These ideas will undoubtedly inform my next training cycle.

Magazines.  The August issue of Runner’s World had marathon racing tips from the top American runners.  The free version on their website is titled, “Lessons on Racing, Pacing, and Focus from the American Trials, by Alex Hutchinson.  The two that I want to keep in mind for the New York City Marathon are: 1) sticking to my race plan and 2) resisting the urge to surge.  In recent marathons, I’ve thrown in fast middle miles when I’ve felt good and paid for it down the road.  The Fall Shoe Guide 2016 was also in that issue.  The Brooks Ghost 9 is a best buy but, as I’ve written, I didn’t like how it fit my foot.

Motivation.  “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” –Tony Robbins.

This training cycle, I hired a coach to see if it would improve my race times.  It’s been hard letting go of control but I truly believe if you don’t experiment with your training, you won’t really know what works for you.

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2016 New York City Marathon Training – Week 8

NYCM Week 8 Infographic

My training had a little more variety this week.  I ran two tempo runs as workouts – one on the treadmill and the other on the trails.  But, the heat and suspicious treadmill data continued to confound any of my attempts to run by race pace.  My other runs ranged from “recovery” to “moderate”.

Training Schedule
August 14th – August 20th

Sunday: 7 miles recovery.
Monday: 8 miles recovery.
Tuesday: Tempo Run. 3 x 2 miles @ half marathon effort.
Wednesday: 10 miles moderate.
Thursday: 7 miles recovery.
FridayTempo Run.  3 x 15 minutes (5 minutes @ marathon pace, 5 minutes @ half marathon pace, and 5 minutes @ 10K) w/ 3 minute recoveries.
Saturday: 5 miles recovery.

Mileage Total: ~58 Miles

Adaptations.  On Sunday and Monday, I cut my recovery runs short due to heat.  On Friday’s tempo workout, I cut the last set short because I only planned on running 11 miles and was running late for work.

Workout Details

Tempo Run. 3 x 2 miles @ half marathon effort. [Log Details]


With morning air temperatures in the high 70s and humidity at low 90 percent, I decided to run on the treadmill.

Last week, I doubted the readings I got from my foot pod on the treadmill.  For this run, I decided to run the segments by time rather than distance and to use the treadmill settings as a guide for pace.  (Before the workout, I checked the calibration factor on my foot pod.  It was 109.9.)

The first repetition, with the treadmill at 7.5 (8:00 pace), felt harder than half marathon pace but not quite 10K pace.  It felt “hard” but I wasn’t too concerned.  The second repetition was pretty tiring.  I started with the treadmill at 7.5 setting but went down to 7.0 (8:34 pace) about mid-way through and then 6.4 (9:23 pace) with about 3 minutes left.  The third repetition was a mess.  I started with the treadmill at 6.9 (8:42 pace), but then went down to 6.6 (9:05 pace) before ending the segment early.

I was disappointed with how the workout went.  Obviously, I started the workout way too hard and paid for it.  I’m beginning to believe my foot pod might be close to accurate.

Split paces=6:47, 7:23, 8:00?

View of Shirlington

View of Shirlington

Tempo Run.  3 x 15 minutes (5 minutes @ marathon pace, 5 minutes @ half marathon pace, and 5 minutes @ 10K) w/ 3 minute recoveries. [Log Details]

The weather was a little more pleasant on this morning – the temperature was 76 degrees with humidity in the low 70s at the start.  Normally, I start my speed work on the Four Mile Run Trail, but I decided to run an 11-mile loop that included the Mount Vernon Trail instead for a change of scenery.

I kept the warm-up pretty easy and felt fresh going into the workout.  The first set started on a downhill so it was fast.  It was also in an urban area so I had to stop a few times.  But generally, it felt pretty comfortable.  The second set was entirely on the flat Mount Vernon Trail.  It started to feel hard about mid-way through the half marathon pace segment.  Strangely, the 10K segment felt easier.  I ended the third set after the marathon pace segment since the workout was going long and I was running late.

I felt good about this workout because the paces were consistent for a change.

Splits=8:12, 8:17, 7:58 (set 1); 8:20, 8:22, 8:00 (set 2).  Overall pace=9:27.


Generally, I feel great.  Saturday’s long run on the treadmill left my hips and calfs a little sore.   Both felt better by Thursday, though.


Leading into the week, the Washington D.C. area had been under a heat wave with record-setting temperatures.  It broke on Wednesday but morning temperatures were still in the high 70s with humidity around 70%.

Water Fountain

Water Fountain

Racing Schedule

Next race: Parks Half Marathon on September 11th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

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Training Supplement – August 18, 2016


I was inspired by the U.S. Olympic Track and Field athletes this week.  But, I found it hard to stay motivated during this recent heat wave.  I used my new foot pod to measure pace and distance on the treadmill but the calibration is off.  Still reading, The Science of Running.

Clothing & Gear

Foot Pod.  I’d been wearing a foot pod on almost all of my runs for the past two weeks allowing it to auto-calibrate.  But, I’m not sure I can trust the accuracy.  (Full disclosure: I was transferring it between shoes, but putting it in the same spot.  However, I may not have put it in the same direction each time.)  During Saturday’s long run, the pace on my Garmin seemed way off from treadmill setting.  For example, I started the workout with the treadmill at 6.9 for the first 3 miles, which was supposed to be 8:45 pace.  But, my Garmin showed 7:15 pace!  I had similar results during my treadmill runs on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I really don’t think I’m that fast yet.  So, I think I have to come up with another way to gauge pace on the treadmill.

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)


Nutrition & Hydration 

Pre-workout nutrition.  I wanted a little something in my stomach before my moderate run on Wednesday.  The nice thing about Stridebox is that I have a never ending supply of nutrition bars.  I tried the gluten-free JimmyBar! from the June 2016 box.  I liked the crispy rice but not the overall density of the bar.  Still, I thought it was pretty tasty for an all-natural nutrition bar.


Parks. I used the heat as an excuse to check out the flowers in a local park.

Bright flowers

Bright flowers

Black Eyed Susans

Black Eyed Susans

Water Fountains.  Some of the water fountains on my routes were out this week.  Very bad timing given the heat wave.   I reported the problems this morning so hopefully, they’ll be fixed soon.

Media & Motivation

Music. “Deee-Lite Theme,” by Deee-Lite.  I wish I had a theme song.

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

TelevisionRio Olympics.  The track and field events started on Friday!  I watched Molly Huddle finish 6th in the 10,000 meters.  She’s such a strong runner.  I’m really looking forward to her marathon debut at the 2016 New York City Marathon.  I’m disappointed I won’t be able to watch it live since I’ll be running, too.  I also watched the women’s marathon on Sunday morning.  I was cheering for Desiree Linden to come from behind but when that didn’t happen, cheered for Shalane Flanagan to stay with the lead pack.  It was an exciting race!

Podcasts.  “How to Make Sure You Condition Your Mind the Way You Condition Your Body,” from Runners Connect.  This cast featured “peak performance strategist” Scott Welle.  It motivated me to work a little hard than I have been since, deep down, I know I haven’t been giving my all in workouts lately.

Books.  This week in “The Science of Running,” I read about efficiency: bio-mechanical, neuro-muscular, and metabolic.  In the bio-mechanical section, the author explained how a stiffer muscle is more efficient than a looser one and therefore, increased flexibility isn’t a great thing for runners.  He also covered the heel strike (less energy used so more efficient) and over-striding (more energy used so less efficient) issues.

Websites and Blogs.  “The Problem Is Not Women Running Alone,” from Runner’s World.  This article came out after three female runners were killed in New York, Washington, and Michigan.  I agree with the author that much of the safety advice given to women just isn’t practical.  For my own part, I try to be aware of my surroundings at all times but I prefer running alone.

Motivation.  Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napoleon Hill

I channeled all of these character traits this week.  Marathon training during a heat wave resulted in a lot of perspiration!  But, I was persistent and worked through it.  Fall is only a few weeks away so I just have to be patient.


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2016 New York City Marathon Training – Week 7

NYCM Week 7

An exhausting long progression run on Sunday and then a lot of easy running.  I had a fartlek run on Wednesday, but I didn’t understand my coach’s notes so it was more like an easy run with some pick-ups.  Then, more easy running.  Long progression run today on the treadmill and I struggled with pace.

Training Schedule
August 7th – August 13th

Sunday: Long Progression Run. 15 miles @ easy to 10K pace.
Monday:  7 miles recovery.
Tuesday: 8 miles recovery.
Wednesday: Fartlek Run.  2 x 1 minute “on”, 2 minutes “off”, 3 minutes “on”, 2 minutes “off”, 1 minute “on”.
Thursday: 8 miles recovery.
Friday: 7 miles recovery.
SaturdayLong Progression Run.  18 miles @ easy to 10K pace – 25 seconds.

Mileage Total: ~71 Miles

Adaptations. I struggled a little following the schedule.  I didn’t hit goal paces during Sunday’s progression run but I ran as hard as I could in the heat and humidity.  I didn’t understand Wednesday’s fartlek run and only ran about 8 minutes “hard”.  Then, I asked my coach if I could run long on Saturday instead of Sunday.  (Bonus: I can watch the women’s Olympic marathon live tomorrow.)

Workout Details

Long Progression Run 15 miles @ easy to 10K pace.  [Log Details]

When I saw this workout, I thought the only way I could hit 7:20 pace was on the treadmill.  But, it wasn’t horrid out – 72 degrees and 66% humidity.  But, the route I picked started with a net uphill, meaning those sub-9:00 paces at the start would be hard.  Finally, I thought, “The New York City Marathon isn’t run on a treadmill,” and prepared to run outside.

I tried to run the first two miles easy and then run about 20 seconds/mile harder for each segment.  But, the pace wasn’t there.  At about 6 miles in, I felt as though I needed to slow down a lot if I wanted to finish 15 miles.  However, I still thought maybe I could run faster on the back portion of the run since it would be downhill.  I turned around 8.75 miles into the run.


View of the Beltway

View of the Beltway

There were a few inclines initially going back but I increased my leg turnover a lot once the net downhill kicked in.  I was ran as hard as I could most of the way back but there were a few short periods where I felt like I needed to ease off the pace to finish.

Split paces=2 miles at 9:13, 2 miles at 9:06, 3 miles at 9:03, 3 miles at 9:17, 3 miles at 9:01, 2 miles at 8:44Overall pace=9:05.

Fartlek Run. Fartlek Run.  2 x 1 minute “on”, 2 minutes “off”, 3 minutes “on”, 2 minutes “off”, 1 minute “on”..  [Log Details]

Description: I want to break up some of the longer efforts to get in something with a little more turnover. I think it will put some life back in your legs.

Other: Workout notes read “1,2,3,2,1 x 2 Fartlek” but I didn’t see the x2 part when I created the workout and instead just saw the “1,2,3,2,1,2,3,2,1 hard with equal moderate”.  Also, didn’t see the moderate part.

In the end, this didn’t feel like a workout at all.  This is one of the downsides of not having a coach present, I suppose.

Pace for “On” segments=1 minute at 9:06, 3 minutes at 8:35, 1 minute at 8:20, 3 minutes  7:54, 1 minute at 7:42.

Long Progression Run 18 miles @ easy to 10K pace  [Log Details].


The region was in the middle of a heat wave, so I ran on the treadmill.  I’d been wearing my new foot pod on runs, allowing it to auto-calibrate and help me determine pace on the treadmill.  I got to the gym, looked around, and Eye of the Tiger wasn’t there.  Bummer.  I listened to my playlist from last year’s New York City Marathon to get me through the run.

I set the treadmill at 6.9 for the first 3 miles, which was supposed to be 8:45 pace.  But, my Garmin was reading 7:10-7:20 pace!  I restarted the workout and ignored the pace reading for the next few segments.  I decided to run by time instead of distance.  I also downed a Crank Sport e-Gel, (Radical Raspberry).

I ran 3 miles 7.0 (8:34 pace) and 3 miles at 7.3 (8:13 pace).  My Garmin still showed low-7:00/high 6:00 pace.  I stopped the treadmill since it was close to an hour of running, refilled my water bottle, and started my second Crank Sport e-Gel (Juicy Watermelon).

The next segment was on the 7.7 setting (7:45 pace).  I faded hard.  I pushed to finish 22:15 at that setting.  I stopped and reassessed.  I was tired but I wanted to finish this workout!

During the next 3 mile segment, which should have been at the 8.0 setting (7:30 pace), I had to slow down a lot.  I was out of steam.  For the 2 miles at 7:15 pace, which would have been a treadmill setting of 8.3, I just couldn’t hold it for more than a minute before dropping the pace down.  I managed a mile before doing a cool-down.

It was rough but I felt satisfied with the run.  It’s hard to figure out pace on a treadmill and I guessed wrong.  If my foot pod is to be believed, I ran about 19 miles at 7:26 pace.  But, I think it was closer to 18 at 8:00.

Split paces=?.


My legs were destroyed after Sunday’s long run but they recovered after a few days of easy running.  But, my sleep suffered since I was watching Olympic coverage late into the night.


A heat wave rolled into the area on Thursday.  On Friday’s recovery run, it was already 81 degrees and 77% humidity when I started.  I did Saturday’s long run on the treadmill to avoid heat indices in the 90s by 7am.

Racing Schedule

Next race: Parks Half Marathon on September 11th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)


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Training Supplement – August 10, 2016


It’s been an Olympic Week!  “One Moment in Time” came up on my playlist and inspired a couple of workouts.  I tried some new products for fueling my runs and traded big spaghetti dinners for bland salmon with rice the night before workouts.  The sidewalk in my neighborhood was fixed!  And, I read more Science of Running.

In my haste to post on Wednesday morning last week, I realized the next day that some content wasn’t included!  Somehow, I didn’t save my most recent draft on WordPress and published a previous version.  I didn’t go through and edit everything I’d changed that morning, but I added the sections I’d written on trying UCAN’s hydration product, the Runners World podcast on Team RWB, and the August edition of that magazine.  If you’re interested in those things, check out last week’s updated post.

Clothing & Gear

Shoes.  The Mizuno Wave Rider 19s don’t seem to be going anywhere so I ordered a new pair so I now have three shoes in rotation – two Mizunos and the Brooks Ghost 8s.

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)

Nutrition & Hydration 

Stridebox - August 2016

Stridebox – August 2016

Hydration.  I was excited to try Tailwind when it came in my May 2016 Stridebox.  A woman in my running club used it to fuel her first ultra and recommended it.  I took it with me on my long run this week.  One packet has 200 calories, 606 mg of sodium, 276 mg of potassium, and 50 g of carbohydrate.  I liked it, but my tongue got tired of the taste.  It’s salty but not in a bad way, to me – I prefer salty over sweet.  But by the end of the run, I felt like it coated my tongue.

Electrolytes.  This week, I tried Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator on a run.  At first, I thought it was too sweet but it grew on me.  It’s made with red beet juice powder, and I tend not to like the taste of beets, but I was okay with this.  I wasn’t wowed, though, and it wasn’t very high on the electrolytes runners tend to want, (e.g. sodium and potassium).

Pre-workout nutrition.  The bland dinner seemed to be working.  I had salmon with rice for dinner the night before my tempo run on Friday and progression long run on Sunday, and my GI tract was much happier.


Fixed Sidewalk Hazard

Nothing is permanent. Fixed Sidewalk Hazard.

Hazards.  To my surprise, the sidewalk in my neighborhood was fixed!  I can’t imagine it was a coincidence that I just blogged about it two weeks ago.  If someone who reads this blog made that happen, thank you!  Selfishly, it’s one less thing I have to worry about when I’m starting or finishing my runs.  But, I’m sure everyone in the neighborhood appreciates it.




Media & Motivation

Music.  “One Moment in Time,” Whitney Houston.  The Olympic Games started this week!

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

Podcasts.  “Mike Long,” from RunnersConnect.  An amazing story that had me reminding myself to practice gratitude and perspective.

Rio 2016” from The Runner’s World Show.  I was confused about the Russian athlete ban since I saw they were in the Parade of Nations during the Opening Ceremonies, but this explained it.  But, my favorite part of the podcast was this quote about sport: “The voluntary acceptance of unnecessary obstacles,” from Bernard Suits.  (The actual quote is more like “…playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles”.)

Books.  The Science of Running,” by Steve Magness.  I got to chapter on VO2max.  Very timely since a few days earlier, my Garmin 630 told me that my VO2max was 49, which corresponds to a sub 3:15:00 marathon according to the tables in Daniels Running Formula!  Ominously, the chapter was titled, “The Fallacy of V02max.”  The author pointed to studies showing that VO2max doesn’t correlate with performance.  He posits that trained distance runners should train based on recent race performances or percentages of goal race paces rather than VO2max.  So much for that 48!  I also read the chapter on lactate.  He notes, contrary to the popular notion, it doesn’t cause fatigue but rather it correlates to it.  He offers several workouts aimed at improving lactate threshold (LT) including runs at marathon pace, traditional tempo, and long intervals.

TelevisionRio Olympics.  The track and field events start on Friday, but I went back to my roots and have been watching Team USA Field Hockey.

Motivation.  “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” –Arthur Ashe

In so many ways, I feel like I’ve been starting over this training cycle.  Adapting to being coached, learning what paces feel right and what my stomach will tolerate…  Being a new runner is frustrating.

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2016 New York City Marathon Training – Week 6

NYCM Week 6 Infographic

How committed am I to my training?  I did a long run before work on Monday.  It was my slowest long run in two years because I focused on effort over pace due to the heat and humidity.  But, I found some speed during my mid-week moderate run.  I finished my 7 x 1 mile tempo workout without any problems to round out the week.

Training Schedule
July 31st – August 6th

Sunday: 5 miles recovery.
MondayLong Run.  18 miles.
Tuesday:  Rest day.
Wednesday: 7 miles recovery.
Thursday: Moderate Run.  9 miles moderate.
Friday: Tempo Run.  7 x 1 mile w/90 second recoveries.
Saturday: 5 miles recovery

Mileage Total: ~55 Miles

Adaptations.  None.  The intensity definitely increased, though!

Workout Details

Long Run 18 miles [Log Details].

This week, my long run fell on a weekday.  My coach has me on a 10-day training schedule, which means my long run and other workouts might not fall on the same day each week.

I started reading the Science of Running this week.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment if I concentrated on doing long run so effortlessly that my brain would never get the idea that I had to stop.  I think most people call this “running easy”.

During the first few miles, I felt a little groggy from running so early.  In particular, my legs felt a little heavy.  Then, just as I was feeling alert, I experienced GI issues AGAIN!  I tried the restroom door at a park just off the trail but it was locked.  (Sigh.)  I listened to podcasts during the run, which kept my mind off the discomfort but also the pace.

Washington in the Morning

Washington in the Morning

About an hour later, I stopped to use a port-a-potty at Gravelly Point.  I felt a “second wind” after the pit stop and ran a little harder for a while but when I thought about how far I had to go, dialed it back.

Overall, I slowed down so much that I didn’t really struggle despite the heat and humidity. It was the slowest long run I’ve done in years but it didn’t feel like a slog.  My form never broke down to the slumped-over shuffle that it’s been lately.

Overall pace=9:57.

Moderate Run. 9 miles [Log Details].

The weather turned cooler on Wednesday.  The heat wave had broken.  Yes!

Lone Flower

Lone Flower

Early on, I tried to tap into what felt like a “moderate” effort.  I wanted to finish the run thinking, That wasn’t bad.  I didn’t really check my Garmin and just ran by effort for the first few miles.  But, when I hit the flat section of the Mount Vernon Trail, I saw I was running low 8:00 pace!  What?!  Strangely, I really didn’t feel like I would have described the effort as “moderate”.

About 5 or 6 miles into the run, I was working a little harder to keep my form together.  But, tried to straddle the line between what would feel “moderate” at the end of the run and what would feel “hard”.  I also reminded myself that I had a tempo run the next day.  Still, I felt I would need to run a lot harder for this run to have felt like an all out effort.

In the end, I couldn’t believe how fast I finished!  I haven’t run this fast outside since March!

Overall pace=8:22.

Tempo Run. 7 x 1 mile w/90 second recoveries [Log Details].

I think my coach intentionally left out any reference to pace for this workout.  I was fine with that.  Since reading The Science of Running, (well, starting it anyway), I’ve been trying to tap into effort more than pace.  I was assigned 4 x 200m to run before the interval session.

Even though I wanted to run by effort – I told myself I needed to run only as hard as it took to finish all 7 repeats feeling  “very tired” at the end – I used my HR monitor to see how that perception of effort showed up.  During the first three repetitions, I tried to keep my HR in the 68-72 range.  By the fourth and fifth interval, I let my HR spike a little but still tried to stay in that neighborhood.  For the last two, I ran mostly by feel but watched my HR on some of the steeper sections.

In the end, the run was close to 12 miles when the warm-up, cool-down, and 200m strides were taken into account.  It was a pretty hard workout but not impossible.

Splits=8:21, 8:35, 8:20, 8:28, 8:26, 8:19, 8:35.  Average=8:26.


Generally, I felt great.  My hips and glutes were a little sore all week.  It wasn’t quite the pain I felt when my piriformis was acting up but more like the discomfort from using muscles that haven’t been used in a while.  I’ve noticed I’m running more upright since last Saturday’s tempo run on the treadmill.


Much more tolerable than last week.  Morning temperatures were in the 70s all week with 70% humidity once the morning dew layer burned off.

Racing Schedule

Next race: Parks Half Marathon on September 11th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

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Training Supplement – August 3, 2016


Hello, August! Only a few more weeks of hot weather running. I’m retreating to the treadmill for workouts on days above 80 degrees. I was very excited to drink from the new water fountain on the Mount Vernon Trail. I listened to some good podcasts and started reading The Science of Running.

In my haste to post on Wednesday morning, I realized the next day that some content wasn’t included!  Somehow, I didn’t save my most recent draft on WordPress and published a previous version.  I didn’t go through and edit everything I’d changed but I added the sections I’d written on trying UCAN’s hydration product, the Runners World podcast on Team RWB, and the August edition of that magazine.

Clothing & Gear

Footpod packaging

Footpod packaging

Shoes.  I gave up on the Brooks Ghost 9.  In the end, I thought the ride was a little flat and it never fit well in the forefoot.  I could never get my Speedlaces snug or loose enough.  I’m enjoying the Brooks Ghost 8s, though.  I wish I’d tried them earlier.

Footpod.  I decided to retreat to the treadmill for runs on days over 80 degrees after another miserable recovery run.  Unfortunately, at some point, I lost my Garmin footpod and had to buy a new one.  Despite having an internal accelerometer, the Garmin 630 has not measured my pace very accurately on the treadmill.  I’ve been wearing it on my runs and hopefully, it’ll automatically calibrate and give more accurate readings on future treadmill runs.

Nutrition & Hydration

Hydration.  I mixed up some Generation UCAN Hydrate for one of my recovery runs.  I didn’t like the sports drink so I took a sip before heading out the door.  It tasted very bland.  I decided to run without it but when I came back from my run, I tried it again and it was more flavorful.  Perhaps I didn’t mixed it very well.  Still, I prefer the flavor of Nuun or LiquidIV, and both of those products have more sodium.  LiquidIV has more potassium but Nuun is about the same.

Pre-Workout Nutrition.  I continued to struggle with GI problems this week.  It’s frustrating because as a newer runner, I had these issues and worked hard to blow past them.  Now, I feel like I’m dealing with them anew.  I’m wondering if I should eat the good stuff at lunch and put myself on a bland diet of rice and a little protein for dinner.


Water Fountains.  The highlight of my long run on Monday had to be when I drank from the water fountain near National Airport for the first time!  The upper 7 miles of the Mount Vernon Trail had been without a single water fountain until one was installed this winter.

National Airport Water Fountain

National Airport Water Fountain

I’m sure there were people wondering why I was taking a picture of a water fountain.

Hazards.  As I finished my run this morning, I noticed the stretch of sidewalk I wrote about last week was closed!  It looked like workman were fixing the drains.  Maybe they’ll repair the sidewalk when they’re done!

Media & Motivation

Music.  “Demons,” by Imagine Dragons.  I ran a 6 mile tempo run on the treadmill on Saturday.  I relied on my tunes to get through it, including this song.

Books.  The Science of Running,” by Steve Magness.  I finally started reading The Science of Running.  It’s very dense and I imagine I’ll have to share my thoughts on the book over several posts since I only made it through about 60 pages.  The first part of the book is on what causes fatigue, the feedback the brain uses to determine fatigue, and what the brain does in response.  “…[T]he brain ensured the exhaustion occurred at the finish line and not before”.  There was a lot of discussion on running in heat and how the brain anticipates when the body’s core temperature will get too high and starts to shut things down early.

Podcasts.”Team Red, White and Blue,” The Runner’s World Show.  I really enjoyed this episode.  I’ve seen Team RWB runners at races but didn’t really know what they were about.  I assumed the group was only for active military or veterans, so I was surprised to hear that they encourage civilians to join the club.

Magazines.  I started a subscription to Runner’s World.  The August issue had a helpful guide to sports bras, “Support Group: Best Sports Bras for Every Size.”  There was also some tips on summer running in Jeff Galloway’s column.  I also enjoyed an article by Frank Shorter on his second place finish at the 1976 Olympic marathon.

Kennedy Center with Ducks

Kennedy Center with Ducks

Motivation.  “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

I ran my slowest long run in two years this week.  It wasn’t demoralizing though.  Unlike other runs this week, I didn’t feel the need to stop and that felt like progress..

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2016 New York City Marathon Training – Week 5

Between the heat and humidity, I hit a wall this week physically and mentally.  Tuesday’s interval workout left me completely wrecked.  Wednesday’s moderate run wasn’t much better.  So, I ran today’s tempo run inside on a treadmill.  That was better.  But overall, I’d like to forget this week ever happened.

NYCM Week 5

Training Schedule
July 24th – July 30th

Sunday: 5 miles recovery.
Monday: 6 miles recovery.
Tuesday: Interval Run. 8 x 1K w/2 minute recovery.
Wednesday: 9 miles moderate.
Thursday: 7 miles recovery.
Friday: 7 miles recovery.
Saturday: Tempo Run.  6 miles @ marathon pace – 10-15 seconds.

Mileage Total: ~52 Miles

Adaptations.  I cut the last repetition of Tuesday’s interval workout short and walked the cool-down due to heat exhaustion  Similarly, I only managed 6 miles on Thursday after deciding  I was working too hard for a “recovery” run.  Otherwise, I followed my schedule.  



Workout Details

Interval Run 8 x 1K w/2 minute recovery [Log Details].

It was hot and humid outside, so I thought about running on the treadmill for this workout but I didn’t give myself enough wiggle room to drive to the gym and back.  My workout notes didn’t list paces but based on previous emails with my coach (and with the heat), I thought maybe it should just be “hard”.   Since Liquid IV caused problems for me in recent workouts, I went with Gatorade instead.

The first three repetitions went well.  But then, to my surprise, the wheels started to fall off.  I had some major GI issues and urgently needed to take bathroom break.  On the bright side, I wasn’t far from the Washington Sailing Marina.  Even though I’ve run past it hundreds of times, this was my first time using the facility.

View from the Washington Sailing Marina

View from the Washington Sailing Marina

I thought I would feel better after such a long break but I didn’t.  It was a slow slog finishing the workout.  I cut the last interval short because I thought, Who was I kidding?   And, I still had a 2 mile walk home ahead of me.

I felt terrible for hours after the run.  Intermittently, I felt like I was going to faint (even though I’ve never fainted) and my concentration was off until around noon.  I think I may have suffered from heat stroke/exhaustion.

1K Split paces=7:48, 8:05, 8:28, 8:36, 8:24 8:48, 9:34, 9:38 (0.36 mi).

Moderate Run.  9 miles [Log Details].

I was pretty excited about this run.  After so much recovery running last week, my coach finally gave me a mid-week “moderate” workout!  But, having struggled so badly the day before, I knew I shouldn’t aim for much better than recovery effort.  I wore my heart rate monitor – even though I don’t really have a clue about HR training – thinking that it would help keep me out of trouble.

In general, the run felt fine until the final 3 miles.  By that point, my heart rate was consistently in the hig-160s, which I thought was high based on previous workouts.  I stopped a few times – mostly when my HR peaked above 170 – and invariably restarted when my HR had dropped to the 140s.  But, those breaks didn’t seem very helpful.  My HR went back to those higher readings pretty quickly.

I finished the run but decided I wouldn’t run workouts in 80+degree temperatures again.

Overall pace=9:24.  Average HR=161.

Tempo Run. 6 miles @ marathon pace – 10-15 seconds.  [Log Details].


Even though the temperature was high-70 this morning, I headed to the treadmill.  I wanted to have a good workout this week!

I read my coach’s notes before heading out and it seemed like my goal was to stay engaged with tempo pace.  Based on last week’s workout, I thought I could hold the 7.5 setting for appropriately 6 miles.

The warmup felt harder than it might have on the roads.  Early on, I calculated that 50 minutes would be about 12 songs.  So, I ticked off songs rather than focusing on time or heart rate.   But, mid-way through, it felt challenging.

Inner Jillian Michaels: “Do you feel as bad as Shalane did at the finish of the Olympic marathon trials?”

Me: “No.”

Inner Jillian Michaels: “Then keep running.”

Me: “That’s really not a fair comparison.  Who else has ever felt that bad?!!!”

I finished the tempo segment feeling pretty exhausted but also as though I could have gone a little further.  I took a 3 minute break and then did a 10 minute cool down.  The workout made me feel better about the training week.

Tempo segment pace=7:54?  Average HR=174.


Working so hard on Tuesday’s interval workout led to lingering muscle fatigue in my legs all week.  Otherwise, I felt fine.


I have friends in Florida so I try not to complain too much about the weather but, this week, Washington, DC had the highest heat index east of the California desert.

Racing Schedule 

Next race: Parks Half Marathon on September 11th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

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Training Supplement – July 27, 2016

It was a hot week.  But, Kelly Clarkson promised that what doesn’t kill me will makes me stronger and a podcast reminded me that bad days are “the cost of doing business” if I want to get better.  My new heart rate monitor provided numbers on my running dynamics.  And, the Sweetgreen app made healthy lunches excuse-proof.


Clothing & Gear

GPS Watches.  Last week, I purchased a heart rate monitor for my Garmin 630.  In addition to heart rate, the HR monitor tracks a few running dynamics.

  • Running Dynamics 072116

    Running Dynamics 072116

    Vertical Oscillation.  This measures how much a runner goes up rather than out.  According to Wearable, “Typical oscillation is between 6 and 13 cm with the Paula Radcliffe’s of this world moving at the lower end of that scale.”  My VO was in the 10 cm range, which means I’m pretty average.

  • Time Balance.  This metric is about how much time each foot spent on the ground.  I was fascinated to see that my left leg is consistently on the ground less than my right!  Why am I spending more time on my right foot than my left?!  My best guess: I’m still over-compensating for my left piriformis pain.
  • Ground Contact Time.  This metric was pretty self-explanatory.  It seemed as though I was usually in the 250 microsecond range but it would be interesting to see if that number dropped during a race.

In the end, I can’t say I’m going to track any of these metrics.  It seems to me there are so many things I should improve before I start worrying about my vertical oscillation.

Compression Sleeves.  My calves were sore from running on the treadmill on Saturday.  I think the repetitive motion on the same incline stressed them out more than usual.  Even though I haven’t been convinced they help, I wore my CEP Compression Sleeves all day on Sunday to see if they would ease the recovery.  I’m not still not sure I would have felt any worse if I hadn’t worn them.

Nutrition & Hydration

Pre-workout nutrition.  I wanted a little something before my interval workout on Tuesday, so I snacked on Fuel 100 Electro-Bites, which came in my November 2016 Stridebox.  I didn’t eat very many of them.  I liked the pumpkin spice flavor but they were very dry – like a graham cracker but not sweet.

Workout hydration and electrolytes.  I switched to Gatorade on Tuesday’s interval workout since I’ve been having some GI distress with Liquid IV in hopes that I would handle it better.  Nope.  In fact, it was worse!  I went back to Liquid IV the next day and my system liked it better but I’m not convinced it’s the solution.  I may go back to plain water for anything but long runs.

Nutrition. In addition to Pret a Manager, I like getting a salad for lunch at Sweetgreen.  But, the line is always so long.  Twice this week, I used the app to order and pay for my salad.  It was great!  Although now, I don’t have an excuse for not eating a healthy lunch.


Permanent Hazard

Permanent Hazard

Hazards.  Since I started documenting some of the hazards I encounter on my runs last week, I thought I would share one that I deal with almost every day.  This sidewalk hazard has been around for so long that there’s lush vegetation growing around it.  The traffic cone is a nice touch, too.  It’ll be interesting to see if and when this section of sidewalk ever gets fixed.

Construction.  I thought it was a funny coincidence that there was an article on the property I was planning to track on a local news website.  Perhaps I can monitor the project’s progress for them, as well.


Media & Motivation

Music.  Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” by Kelly Clarkson.  This song came on during one of my hot and humid runs this week and I hoped it’s message was true.  (My Spotify Discover playlist was a bust this week.  For some reason, I keep getting remakes of “Payphone,” by Maroon 5 as recommendations but so far, I’ve resisted buying any version). 

Books.  Summer Reading List: Olympics Edition,” from Miles to the Trials.  I mostly wanted to bookmark this list so I can go back to it once I finish all the other running-related books I haven’t finished or started.

Podcasts.  “Justin Park,” from Final Surge.  I thought he told a nice story of following your passion to become a professional athlete despite obstacles.  My favorite part was where he talked about the “cost of doing business”.  If you want to get the best out of yourself, invariably, there will be days when you’re not at your best and you have to just accept that.

Counties, Cities and Townships,” from Pace the Nation.  The opening discussion on training in the heat was timely for me since I’ve been struggle with that lately.  Like one of the hosts, I don’t like getting to a place in my training where I’m bargaining with myself in workouts because I’m struggling.  I don’t think that’s a good place to be mentally.  The interview with Matt Centrowitz Sr. was also enjoyable.  It was interesting getting a “peak behind the curtain” on what his son, who won the 1500m in the trials, might be going through leading up to the Olympics.

Runner Rankings.  The Spring 2016 Regional Runner Rankings from Potomac River Runners came out a few weeks or months ago.  I was 32nd in my age group, which is nice since I think I only ran two local races this spring – the Rock n Roll DC Half Marathon and the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.



Motivation.  “The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.” – Ken Doherty

Just as my training was coming together, the weather heated up and my progress came to a screeching halt.  (More on that in a few days.)  But, I’m trying to keep my spirits up.

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