No resting on this Labor Day

Hard core

Today’s  workout (core, upper body): 30 minutes

Happy Labor Day. It has always bothered me that this holiday serves as a gateway to the start of the new school year. After all, how can you enjoy the day knowing that your summer will end abruptly at 6:00 AM the next morning? It’s been a while since I’ve personally experienced that dread, but I still feel it for my kids. However, they seem to be just fine about it.

Grey skies and high humidity undercut the opportunity for outdoor fun most of the day, but we managed to get out for a while for some backyard fun. Monday is usually my rest day, but I felt the need for some additional activity. I pulled out my floor mat and my four year old issue of Runner’s World that has my favorite set of Lolo Jones core exercises. I followed that with some upper body work, along with a set of sit ups and push ups.

That may sound like a lot of work, but it really wasn’t too bad. Just like yesterday’s experience on the elliptical, I realized how long I’ve neglected core and upper body exercise. Does my departure from running over the last two days mean that my workouts will now involve more cross-training? Based on my history, I’m guessing no. But for now, it may provide some extra dimension in my Cow Harbor training.

Speed decline, is it nature or nurture?

My story in two axis

Today’s run (street): 3.25 miles

Conditions were near perfect when I went out for my morning run. The 7:00 AM sun was low enough to cast great shade along my route and the air felt cool and dry. The neighborhood was quiet, with just a few cars and a couple of walkers. I moved along well and thought about the fact that my running performance has suffered greatly this year.

A few years ago, I would average around 27 minutes for a three mile training run. Over time, my normal training pace has edged up almost a minute per mile. Back in 2010, I went out on every run with a pace goal in mind, and I was racing far more frequently than I have this year. That may explain some of the loss of speed.

I’m not willing to concede any performance drops to age at this point. Although I really want to run for the sake of running, I do find myself thinking about turnover and stride length while on the road. If I look at my pace on the Garmin during a run, I’m often surprised by how much effort it takes to break 9:00 minutes.

Every time I find myself on a run, struggling to stay under 10:00/mile, I vow that I’ll go back to doing core exercises and speed work at the track. Somehow I forget that commitment once I get home. I think it’s time to get serious about speed. I’m due to run with a friend this week who tends to push me past my comfort zone. Maybe that’s exactly what I need right now.

Ready or not, I’m racing tomorrow

It’s less than a day until I line up for the Run for the Warriors 10K and I’m curious to see how I do. I don’t have high expectations for a record setting performance, although I do have a finish time goal. I’ll reveal how close I come to that, after the race.

I’m usually primed for competition the days before a race and (if I’ve followed my training plan) reach my peak on race day. Last week’s seven mile run confirmed that I’m out of practice for distances greater than than 5 miles. I don’t know how I’ll be feeling when I pass that point but (at least) the effects from my flu shot and my semi-cold seem to have passed.

This morning I ran through my favorite set of core exercises. It’s a light workout that won’t do much, but it might help a little. Tomorrow I’ll start slow and pick up the pace as I go along, aiming for negative splits for the second half. That may be a little ambitious, but it’s a strategy. It’s been a busy Saturday but I did get some extra sleep last night. Will proper rest and feeling healthy translate into a good run? I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Getting strategic

This is my fourth consecutive day without a run. It’s probably the longest I’ve gone without running since recovering from pneumonia over a year ago. My knee has responded well to the icing and compression and is much improved today. If it wasn’t so close to race day I would have tried an easy run this morning. I felt like I needed to do some type of workout when I got up so I did a series of core exercises that included push ups and sit-ups. I’m not sure how much benefit I got from all that but I did work up a sweat.

I’m thinking a lot right now about my strategy for hydration and nutrition during the race. I’ll carry electrolyte drink in a hand bottle and also rely on the water stations to supplement my supply. I’ve used GU Espresso Love and Roctane gels and I like them both. Per discussions with friend FS, I’ll plan to take one 30 minutes prior to the start, another at around 4 or 5 miles and the last one at the 10 mile mark. My friend and accomplished marathoner CMc stressed that I should start slow and work up my pace as I go. Sound advice on all counts.

Core values preparing for Sunday’s 10K

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Today’s workout (hand weights and core): 20 minutes

I wasn’t ready to fully rest this morning so I did a light upper body workout with weights and then completed a cycle of the “Lolo Jones” core exercises. These exercises were featured in an article I’d saved from Runner’s World in 2009. It’s a fast workout but I usually feel good after I do it. I looked at the Run for the Warriors course this morning and saw that it’s a big rectangle with lots of straightaways. I understand that it’s a relatively flat course and that will be a relief compared with the hilly terrain of the Cow Harbor race in Northport.

The temperatures should be in the mid to high 50’s at 9:30 AM when the race is scheduled to start. I think I have my gear selected: Nike compression pants, Zensah calf sleeves, Brooks Rev-T jersey and my Saucony Kinvaras. Five months ago I would probably have chosen the Grid Tangents or the Brooks GTS 10’s but I’ve really come to appreciate the performance of Kinveras as both a training and race day shoe. According to Dave who has previously run this race (and will be running it again this year), tomorrow’s event will be inspiring as it honors veterans from all wars and features many veteran’s groups. We are big supporters of those who provide service to the country and are glad to participate in an event that generates so many donations for veterans.