2010 run summary

812 miles (average 67.7 miles per month)

Today’s run (street): 4.3 miles

After looking back on 2010’s running record I am satisfied with my performance this year. Even though things started slow (pneumonia limited January’s mileage to 22% of my monthly average) I still managed to cover over 800 running miles, plus numerous elliptical miles. The histogram above reflects a greater focus on distance starting in August when I was training for the Dirty Sock and Great Cow Harbor 10K’s. Despite the rough start I did improve over 2009 in the following areas:

  • Average distance per run  (+ .48 miles)
  • Longest distance run (+ 1.7 miles)
  • Average speed per run (+ .2 MPH)
  • Average run cadence (+ 2 steps per minute)
  • Median distance per run (.45 miles)

I also attained personal bests for a 10K and longest distance covered in a single run (also single day). I’ll be posting my 2011 running goals soon and also report on how I did against my 2010 goals.

This morning I went out for my final run of 2010. The temperatures have been rising over the past week and it was about 34 degrees when I stepped outside. I wore the Kinvaras that felt much better than the Karhu’s that I ran in yesterday. The better feel of my running shoes combined with the crisp late December air provided an energetic start. I ran an extended version of one of my regular routes and cruised along through the neighborhood without regard to pace. I did a firmware update on my Garmin FR60 this week and haven’t adjusted the display to reflect anything but time and distance. It’s been fun not knowing until the end how fast I’d run my distance.

The entire run felt effortless and my cadence reflected that, averaging about 85 SPM. I ended up running about 45 seconds per mile faster than yesterday and didn’t experience fatigue near the end of my run as I did on Thursday. It was a great run capping off a really good year of running. I’m hoping to do some new things in 2011, such as running a half marathon. For now I’m thankful to look forward to a full month of running in January.

Some new perspective on performance goals

Today’s run (street): 2.75 miles

I’ve been thinking about my running focus for 2011 and my goals for next year. I’d like to increase the length of my runs and also work on tactical performance. In terms of distance, I’ve been averaging between 6 and 7 miles for my weekly “long” runs and in the last month I’ve done some runs exceeding 8 miles. Lately my weekend distances have been closer to six miles due to my running 10K’s twice in November. My hope is to soon cover more distance than that – 9 or 10 miles – as often as I can. The toughest part of that is finding the time to run for 90+ minutes and to find interesting routes that provide enough distance.

In terms of tactical performance, I’ve thought about the way I’ve trained over the last month, with easy runs at easy paces preparing for races where I go all-out. It seems to be working. My average training runs have been on the middle and high side of 9:00 per miles but I’ve managed 9:05 and 8:53 respectively on my recent 10K’s. I’d like to continue the easy runs (like this morning’s steady run at 9:30/mile) but in place of races (I’m not sure if I’ll compete again this year) I might try some “Run as fast as you can for two miles” workouts. Rather than suffering the complexities of speed drills I’m thinking this might accomplish the mission of recruiting fast twitch muscles along with the slow. I’m going to make it a goal to run two miles under 8:00 per mile. That seems like a challenging but viable goal. Right now I’m not sure I can break 8:00 for one mile although my experience at the Long Beach 10K tells me I’m close.

Six weeks to complete my 2010 running goals

It’s almost the end of November and less than 6 weeks left in 2010 so I thought I’d see how I was doing against my running goals. Hopefully, anything I haven’t achieved can be done in the time remaining. 

1. Fully transition to mid/front foot running style.
I’m not sure if I have actually done this because it’s hard to know exactly where your foot falls when you run. I must have adapted my style to some degree since I’m running primarily in the neutral Kinvaras without any problems. Landing mid foot would be a good explanation for that.

2. Raise at least $200 for charitable causes by donating $5 per race mile.
I’ll be updating the donation widget at the end of this week. As of the Hope for Warriors 10K I surpassed $200 and last Sunday’s 10K plus this Thursday’s 5K will add $47 more.

3. PR in a race – preferably in a longer distance than 5K.
PR’d at 10K over two consecutive weeks. Better than I’d hoped for.

4. Run trails at three or more NY state parks that I have yet to visit.
Muttontown only so far. I need to actually run, not hike Caleb Smith. That still leaves a third.

5. Run a continuous 10 mile route under 9:30/mile.
This is actually two goals – distance and pace. I’m going to focus on the distance and even if I don’t achieve the pace goal I’ll consider it completed.

6. Participate in at least 5 races.
Completed seven already this year.

7. Finish the year as excited about running as I am right now.
Hopefully nothing will change in the next six weeks!

I’m looking to do a long run over the Thanksgiving break targeting 9+ miles. If I cover 10 it’s another goal completed. If I don’t do it this week I still have five more weekends to reach that milestone.

2010 running goals — progress report

Today’s workout (elliptical): 26 minutes

Somehow it’s already September and it has been months since I’ve done a check in on my 2010 running goals. My year started out tough with my recovery from pneumonia through most of January. I still feel like I lost a month but I’m certainly back into the fold these days. A quick review of my goals that I set in late January shows I’m fairly well on track. I think there’s a good chance that I’ll make most of them.

Progress report on 2010 goals

1. Fully transition to mid/front foot running style.
I’ve been spending more time with my Saucony Kinvaras, shoes that help me land on my mid-foot rather than off my heel. Still, I prefer my Brooks for longer distances as well as my Grid Tangents that have a more conventional build. I’d say that my style is generally mid and forefoot oriented but a full transition has not happened and may not by year’s end.
2. Raise at least $200 for charitable causes by donating per race mile.
So far I’ve raised $130 (I’ve also had an anonymous donator) and I should be adding $30 more after Great Cow Harbor. That will leave $40 to raise (eight more race miles) between then and New Year’s. I believe this is highly possible.

3. PR in a race – preferably in a longer distance than 5K (but I’ll happily take a new 5K PR!).
Well, technically, my XTERRA trail race in March was a PR because it was a new distance but I won’t take credit for it as a PR. This is because the race distance was modified just prior to the start and it’s almost a given that I won’t run a race with that unique length again. I had my chances on the Marcie Mazzola 5K, the New Hyde Park 8K and the Dirty Sock 10K but didn’t do better than last year. Cow Harbor will provide an opportunity to beat my 10K PR although the deck may be stacked because my prior 10Ks have been on a dirt course.

4. Run trails at three or more NY state parks that I have yet to visit.
I guess I can’t take credit for my Colorado park running so I’m 1 for 3 having run in Muttontown Preserve. I have my eye on Caleb Smith this fall so that leaves one more — Bear Mountain or the Gunks in New Paltz would be awesome.

5. Run a continuous 10 mile route under 9:30/mile.
My personal distance record is still 8.15 miles although I have been working toward more frequent long runs that will prepare me for an eventual 10. Ten under 9:30/mile? That’s another challenge.

6. Participate in at least 5 races. Bonus points for running one in NYC.
So far it’s four with one on the calendar and another planned for November. I’m looking for races in October and December to make it 8 for 2010. Maybe one in NYC?

7. Finish the year as excited about running as I am right now.
Definitely on track for this one!

2010 Running Goals

I would have completed my 2010 running goals in late December but my bout with pneumonia got the best of me. Even during my recovery I was a bit diffident in terms of what I’d be capable of accomplishing as a runner. My weakened condition made me feel like I’d never run again like I had in the fourth quarter of ’09 where I did my best running to date. After this weekend’s runs I feel much better about what I could accomplish. I was reading fellow runner/blogger EZEthan’s recent post if his 2010 running goals and it prompted me to focus on mine.

2010 Running Goals 

1. Fully transition to mid/front foot running style. I’m still very intrigued by the things I read in the book “Born to Run” about the Tarahumara running style. My father, who has been walking the streets of NYC for decades, told me that he’s moved fully to a front foot walking style and is seeing great benefits. I’m right behind you Dad!

2. Raise at least $200 for charitable causes by donating per race mile.

3. PR in a race – preferably in a longer distance than 5K (but I’ll happily take a new 5K PR!).

4. Run trails at three or more NY state parks that I have yet to visit.

5. Run a continuous 10 mile route under 9:30/mile.

6. Participate in at least 5 races. Bonus points for running one in NYC.

7. Finish the year as excited about running as I am right now.

I think my approach to running in 2010 will be less focused on competitiveness and more on perfecting my style and efficiency. I really want to consistently reach the state of fully pleasurable running. I think achieving that will be a gateway to longer distances (13.1 miles?). In the meantime the goals are set. I’m ready to start knocking them down.

One more thing – Runners’s World just posted their top 100 running blogs for 2009. The Emerging Runner came in at #4!

Thinking about 2010 running goals

I’m not sure if it’s due to a lack of rest or if my weekend running pushed me past my limits but I have been mighty tired over the last couple of days. I didn’t plan to run on Monday because that’s always been my rest day. I instituted that early this year as part of my 2009 running goals and I have stuck to it with beneficial results. After falling asleep on the train ride home last night I decided to string two rest days together and skip my workout this morning in the name of true recovery. It was the right thing to do and I got an extra hour’s sleep plus another 30 minutes on the train ride in. I had my second can of FRS this morning and I feel alert and ready for what should be a very busy day. I noticed that each 11.5 oz can contains only 25 calories so I looked more closely at the ingredient list and saw that FRS contains sucralose. I guess I’m okay with that since the stuff tastes fine and it isn’t cloyingly sweet.

I’ve started thinking about my 2010 running goals now that we are in the last two months of the year. I may have made the current year’s goals a little too easy since I achieved them all by August so I’ll need to throw some “stretch goals” into the mix. One goal will definitely relate to pace and another to distance. One should include a new running experience of some kind. I’ll think more about it and will post 2010 goals in December. I’m still not sure about whether to take on the challenge of a half marathon and if I do I’ll need to figure out how to do that without adding more training time. The most important thing to do is keep an optimal balance between work, family and training. So far, so good.

The toughest seven miles so far

Last week’s relay had me thinking a lot about both my potential and limits for distance running. This weekend’s NY Marathon has me thinking a lot about the fact that around 40,000 runners will start that race on Sunday morning. I don’t think runners need to qualify for NY like they do for Boston but I suspect that most people who go through the process of signing up (there’s a lottery that limits the number of entrants) probably have designs of at least finishing the race. That’s a lot of people who can run 26.2 miles in a single day, usually within 4.5 hours. During last week’s Cape Cod Marathon relay I was observing the marathon runners (who could be differentiated from we relay runners by the color of their numbers). When I resumed the race for my second leg at mile nine I looked for signs of fatigue amongst those committed to the full course. I couldn’t imagine needing to cover another 17 miles (I got to roll off after 5.7) and I wondered what goes through the head of person who knows they’ll be running for three, four or more hours without stopping. I guess it all comes down to expectations and conditioning. I knew after my 9 miles last Sunday that even doing 13.1 would be a struggle. As for running 26.2 miles in one shot? Unlikely.

All the same I really do want to break the ten mile barrier so upon AG’s suggestion I decided to focus one weekend day on distance and location and the other on either speed or recovery. In terms of location, the idea is to get out of the neighborhood and see more interesting things than houses and cars. I headed over to Bethpage State Park that has long paved bike paths, trails and a cross-country course that overlaps through soccer fields and (possibly) golf courses. When I arrived I saw numerous yellow buses and groups of high school age students running in packs. There was some sort of XC meeting happening so I decided to head to the bike paths because the crowds seemed to be avoiding those. The entrance to bike trails starts with a steep but short hill and I felt fine through the first few miles of rolling hills. I’d decided to run about 30-40 minutes in one direction and head back at that point. The first 3.5 miles were fairly easy despite some frequent hills at the beginning. Most of the rest was either level or downward-sloping. I appreciated that in the moment but dreaded the hills for the return. I passed most runners that I encountered on my southern leg but on the way back I was passed by three very fit (and friendly) runners, one of whom I encountered again upon his out-and-back as I was coming in near the finish.

I averaged 9:20 for the first half and 9:40 for the return, covering 7.1 miles around 9:30/mile. With all those hills I was happy to make the pace that I did and I was exhausted from the workout. As far as being able to cover 10 miles in single run I still have work to do. When the time comes to tackle that distance I hope the route is less challenging than today’s tough run.

Relay race ruminating

I was looking at information about the Cape Cod Marathon last night and read some comments from people who characterized the course as fairly challenging. Given the elevation profile they list on the marathon website I’m willing to believe that. I guess it would be brutal to face all those hills over 26.2 miles. As I ran on Saturday and Sunday I thought about that fact that I’m training for a marathon relay. If all goes according to plan on Sunday I will have run more miles in a single day than ever before. Still, my two legs only add up to a little more than a third of the marathon distance. As I attacked those hills on Sunday I thought about the 1,000+ people on race day that will need to run every foot of the course. That takes a combination of fitness and commitment that I cannot match at this point. Running a full marathon would involve some significant weekly distance although, according to the website Cool Running, you can get by with the 20 or so miles per week that I do now. I don’t buy that since there is NO WAY that I could run 26.2 miles in a single day, let alone within 4 hours.

I’m thinking about next year’s running goals and a half marathon is definitely under consideration. I will need to expand upon my personal distance record of 7.6 continuous miles and that, perhaps, is another goal for 2010. I’m planning to run about 8 more miles before Sunday and give myself one rest day before the race. I’ve learned a lot in the four races I’ve run this year and I hope to apply this experience and knowledge on Sunday. I’m excited for a lot of reasons including the fact that I’ll be competing, for the first time, in my home state.

The economy tanked but my running’s improved

It was a year ago today when I was in Boston to give a talk to an audience of Wall Street analysts and economists about emerging media technologies. I went down to the fitness center in my hotel early in the day to run on the treadmill. At that point in my running routine was: walk a lot, run a little, then walk some more. I remember being excited to use a high-end treadmill with features that included a heart rate monitor and programmed courses that provided variable elevations and speeds. The treadmills also had individual television sets in front of them and, as I ran, I was horrified to see news that my NY office’s next door neighbor, Lehman Brothers, had filed for the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history. The Dow fell 504 points that day on its way to a low of 6,470. Things are still tough but at least, for now, it seems to be heading in the right direction.

Thinking about that moment put the last year into perspective for me. From a business perspective there’s little good to say. In terms of fitness it’s been a very good year. While the Dow dropped another 40% after that day in Boston, over the last year I’ve managed to reduce my weight by 20% and increase my average weekly running distance by over 75%. In 2009 I’ve accomplished all four of my running goals:

1. Participate in at least four local races.
2. Run a complete 10K course (individually or in a race).

3. Run three miles under 8:40/mile.
4. Incorporate one rest day into my weekly training schedule.

It’s still only September and my chances of making such dramatic performance gains (compared with this last year) by next September are slim. I’m already beginning to think about 2010 running goals and I’m even thinking of adding a couple of more goals for 2009. While I don’t plan (and hope not to) lose any more weight I would like to see my weekly average distance improve. I’ve been doing my 4:00 AM runs for a couple of months now and those runs have added at least three miles to my previous weekly numbers. I’ll also need to make some changes in my training to make real progress on my pace. That will probably mean integrating tempo runs and speed work once a week into my training. I’m fine with that since the last time I ran intervals I thought that they were a lot of fun. When it’s a weekly activity my perspective on that will likely change. All things being equal, for the next 12 months I’m hoping for some great running experiences and a much better outlook on Wall Street.

Morning Glory

Time to add another $20 to the Garmin fund for todays’ early run. I was hoping to beat 9:05 and continue my steady improvement in pace during these morning excursions. I went out fast from the start encouraged by the fact that, right now, I am not suffering any injuries that would mitigate my efforts. I knew I was moving well and I thought about how running with others can help improve speed so I imagined I was trying to keep up with a fast paced crowd. In truth it was just me and lots of rabbits. I decided to run hard for as long as I could and throttle back if I got tired. I knew I could run one mile fairly fast (compared to my average pace) so I was curious to see how far I could go before I started to feel depleted.

It was cool but already humid and those conditions worked for me. I felt like I had a fair amount of glycogen on reserve as I passed the 12 minute mark. I didn’t look at my pace or distance and I was very curious to know if I was really doing well or if I was experiencing a 4:00 AM delusion. I returned home after covering 2.5 miles in about 22 minutes and was very pleased to see I’d averaged a pace of 8:40/mile.

I think today’s $20 was well earned but lately I’m wondering whether I want the 405 or if my new 3GS iPhone will provide adequate utility for GPS and elevation mapping. But that’s a subject for another post!