Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Bump in the Road

Training for my first full marathon had been going along quite well, until about 2 weeks ago when I started getting stabbing pains on the outer side of my knee. After lowering my training volume for a week, it was still there when I ran. So after I visited my Dr, he said it sounded like IT band issues. He gave me a treatment plan as well as a training plan to get back going again. Unfortunately with only about 5 weeks left till Nashville, I will have to make some choices.

  • I can still try to run it, but will not perform anywhere near where I was hoping. 
  • I can cut back to a half marathon
Not sure at this point which I will choose. All I know is that I'll be off running for a week and be revamping my training as well for future races.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Past Few Weeks: The Bad, the Good and the Ugly.

The Bad
Week 6 was interesting to say the least.  Lower mileage during the week ramping up for Saturday's 18 miler. I ended up going out after lunch on Saturday. It was low 30˚s with a brisk wind. Not quite as painfully cold as the week before (no ice on my water bottle this time). I was pumped about this run (and a little nervous to be honest) so I was eager to hit the road. Unfortunately I let my excitement for the new distance get the better of me and I went out too fast. My target average pace was supposed to be 9:45. I felt great the first 4 miles averaging 8:45. Mistake. By mile 10 I was hitting 10 minute miles and by the end it was around 11:30 minute miles and I hurt. My muscles were screaming at me for a while after that one.

28 miles for the week

I consulted with my awesome (and much more experienced) sponsored Hammer athlete group for some advice. Obviously pacing was brought up. I will be managing pace next time using my heart rate monitor to see if I can even out the whole thing and stay feeling better longer.

I also started reading a new book this last week. It is "Racing Weight" by Matt Fitzgerald. After having lost a great deal of weight, my previous hard cut diet was not working for me anymore. It got rid of the bulk of my fat stores but the last 15 pounds or so are gonna be stubborn, so I wanted to get a newer sustainable plan aimed at performance and getting lean, not getting skinny. So far it's pretty good stuff. I'll do a write up later in more depth.

The Good
Week 7 went better. My first 20 miler ever was a rainy 34 degree day. But I got out there and did it. I fueled more often and kept a more even  pace throughout. I ended feeling much better than the previous week. A lot less sore and a lot happier with the whole experience.

33.5 miles for the week

Some Rest
Week 8 was a  good rest week. I ended up putting in a lot less miles, but I was a good recovery week. I missed 1 workout on Saturday.

20 miles for the week

The Ugly

Week 9 : This winter has been the worst for training for my first full marathon. The bitterly cold weather has forced me to log way too many treadmill runs. But so far Saturdays have been 'good enough' to run outside. But sadly single digits and freshly iced roads made running outside not possibly for me. Seeing as it was scheduled only for a 16 miler, I decided to suck it up and do it on the treadmill. Lets just say that I am DONE with winter. 16 miles on a treadmill is miserable. 150 minutes of going NOWHERE! ugh. But I got it done and with a 2%-3% incline the whole time, I feel pretty good about the effort. I missed 1 workout this week.

29 Miles for the week

Next week is back to a 20 miler again. With 37 miles scheduled for the week. We will see how that treats me. 10 weeks until race day.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Week 5 Recap

Week 5 of 19 is in the books. I'm already a 1/4 of the way into my first marathon training plan and things are going well. I'm in the middle of a long run mileage ramp-up. 14 miler in week 4, 16 miler this past weekend, next is 18, then 20.

The 16 miler on Saturday went well. I think it would have gone a little better had it not been for the cold. At 18°F it was a bit chillier than I like to run in, but there was no way I was gonna do 16 miles on the treadmill. So 3 layers of long sleeve shirts, 2 layers of gloves and my trusty cold gear tights, mask and a fleece headband and I was off. It was a first for me to have to break the ice off my water bottle valve to open it each time I took a drink. I averaged a 9:31 pace which is actually 14 sec/mile faster than my plan called for left me feeling good about the outing. Had a banana before the run, Perpetuum Solids about 4.5 miles in, Hammer Gel at miles 8 and 12. Also had an Endurolyte Fizz in my water bottle. Energy-wise I felt good throughout the run.

Total mileage for the week was 30.8 miles.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Hammer Balm or as I like to call it "Relief that Smells like Christmas!"

Tight and sore muscles, we all get them from time to time. The foam roller comes out and you try to work out the kinks, but sometimes you need a little extra something. Here is where you have some options, you can of course go with the standard medicated ointments, that first smell like a medicine cabinet exploded and two, feel like you have just unleashed the fires of Mount Doom on your tired legs. Enter a much better option: Hammer Balm. I got a sample tube of it back a while ago and have been using it lately. I have to say it's a great alternative. First of all, it does not hit you like a ton of bricks. It is a gentle soothing feeling rather than an intense burn second, it smells like Christmas! Hear me out, when I was a kid, we did an art project in school where we made an ornament by taking an orange and completely covering it with cloves. This was a good 30 years ago. The moment I opened the tube, I discovered that clove oil is one of the ingredients of Hammer Balm and it was Christmas, especially for my aching calves! So instead of burning out my eyes with medicine smell, you get a product made from Clove, Ginger and Arnica and Cayenne. It comes in 3 sizes, 4oz, 1.5oz and 1/3oz. The 1/3 oz has lasted a surprisingly long time since you don't need a lot of it to work and at $4.95 it's also a great size to try it out.

If you are looking for an alternative for those aches, give Hammer Balm a shot, it might be exactly what you are looking for.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Marathon Training Week 3

Part of the problem with starting training in the middle of the holidays was going to be schedule. So this past week we left town for the great white north to visit my wife's folks. Luckily they are members of a nice little fitness place called Xperience Fitness in Vadnais Heights, MN. I swapped my week 3 and 4 of my plan so that week 3 would be a recovery week ( a choice I may still regret ) so I put in 3, 6 mile runs at around a 9 min mile pace. I should have also gotten in another 5 mile run, but was not feeling great on Monday so was a workout behind for the week. But that's ok. I'm coming out of the holidays without too much extra baggage since I didn't slack off the workouts and tried to keep my eating in check to at least some degree. Also this next week begins my official sponsorship with Hammer Nutrition, so that is awesome too!



2013 A Running Year in Review

2013 has been quite a year as my first year of serious running.  I thought I would try to make some sense of it in a quick post.

  • In late 2012 I had started running, then at the turn of the year, I decided to step up my running and start focusing on weight loss. I was about 230 pounds and dealing with the beginnings of some weight related health issues. I ramped up the running to 3-4 times a week @ 5k distance on the treadmill. By summer I had made it to about 175lbs. Since then I've been fluctuating from 175-185. I still have about 10-15 pounds to lose. That's for next year.
  • June 1st, while visiting my folks in Phoenix, I ran 13.1 miles in a single workout for the first time. It took over 2 and a half hours, but I did it. It was a run to the top of South Mountain and back again. It was a truly inspirational moment watching the sun rise over the valley as I ran up the mountain road by myself.
  • September 28th, I ran the FCC Preschool 5K for the 2nd year in a row and ran it 10 minutes faster than last year at 24m 55s. So there is my 5K PR
  • October 27th, I ran my first 1/2 marathon in St Louis. The Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon was a great experience and let me set a 1:52:25 PR. 
  • December 25th, as a Christmas gift from my family, I registered for the Rock 'n' Roll - Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN.
  • December 28th, the last run of the year, I hit the 1134 mile mark for 2013.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Choice is Made!


For Christmas, my family surprised me with the registration fees for the Rock 'n' Roll Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN on Saturday, April 26th 2014. This will be my first full marathon and I've already been warned that it's a hilly one. My Runner's World Smartcoach plan puts me at running a 3h:36m marathon. Smartcoach was only about 5 seconds/mile off on it's estimate for my 1/2, so it's at least in the ballpark. I signed up with the 3h:45m group, but I can always adjust as the dates get closer.

Monday, December 23, 2013

So it begins...again!

This past week I started a new training plan. 26 miles in 4 runs. They were all on the treadmill since we got a bunch of Snow, Ice and Rain in the last weeks. That's ok though. But I do have to say that 10 miles on the treadmill was BORING, even if I could watch Netflix at the same time.

5 miles - easy
6 miles - tempo : 8m 15s / Mile pace for 4 miles
5 miles - easy
10 miles - long :  9m 24s / Mile pace

The major difference in this plan from the last one is that it is not a half marathon plan. It is a full marathon plan! I've got 18 weeks until the marathon. There are 2 marathons in the last weekend of April of 2014 and I haven't made up my mind which one to run yet. They are the Illinois Marathon or the Nashville Rock n Roll Marathon. I'm leaning towards Nashville, but have had a bunch of folks tell me that the Illinois Marathon is a good race. Any thoughts about either of these races?

I also got notified last week that I will be a Hammer Nutrition sponsored Athlete for 2014! I've been very happy with Hammer Gel & Endurolytes. Be sure to check them out. You can also get 15% off your first order from them. Use this link below or mention my email johnny.matthews@gmail.com or customer number (218538) when you check out!