Saturday, January 31, 2015

Week One Recap

I decided for my second half to increase my mileage somewhat.  The Another Mother Runner basic half marathon plan was great, but I've read some research that suggests that about 40 miles a week is optimal for fitness (beyond that is necessary for small improvements, but there are diminishing returns.)

I wanted to run more, so I shopped around a bit for a plan.  I read the Hanson's Half Marathon book, which I'd highly recommend, but I don't think I'm up for running six days a week yet.  I know I can manage four or five and keep the injury bug at bay.

So, McMillan's plan from You (Only Faster) was the winner.  I think the book will be more useful once I have a little more experience.  I don't know how to tailor a plan to my strengths, because I don't know whether I'm oriented more toward Speed or Endurance.  I'm leaning Endurance right now because my half time way out performs the predictions based on my 5K time.  But I do  like interval workouts, so we'll see.

Week One is the first of eighteen weeks, and designed to begin the process of building up a mileage base.

Health: Meh.  Last week I had flu symptoms which resolved into a sinus cold that has clogged my head.  Not awful, but not ideal.
Injury Status:   Hip gets tight during runs but I am no longer having troubles with extending it.
Sleep:  The kiddo has decided that he needs to sleep touching me.  He wakes shrieking in his crib and then comes into bed.  I haven't been this tired since he was nursing twice a night as a newborn.

Plan: 40-50 minutes, easy.  Actual: 54 minutes, easy (avg: 10:21/mile)

Easy paces for me are supposed to be between 9:31-10:27; barely kept that one together over all the hills.  And it went a little long because I was conservatively shooting for the lower end of the range to keep my weekly jump in mileage reasonable, and completely misread the chart.

Plan: 40-60 minutes, or cross train, easy.  Actual: 49 minutes, easy (10:29)

Plan: 60-70 minutes, easy.  Actual: 61 minutes, easy (11:15)

I changed at the office, ran, and came back, where I ran into a colleague with whom I run occasionally.  She asked how it went.  I said, "Some days, it's just time on your feet."   The run was a slog from start to finish.  I would not recommend not sleeping and a head cold as a training regimen.

OFF.  The plan also has running as an option but my preference now is to run Tuesdays, and take Thursdays off completely.

Plan: 50-60 minutes, easy.  Actual: 56 minutes (10:38)

I changed, ran, came back, toweled off with Wet Wipes and ridiculously fruity deodorant, and headed to an afternoon of meetings.  Dinner was an excellent New York strip prepared by the husband, and it was delicious and needed.  Then he decided to stay up with the toddler at night so I could get an uninterrupted eight hours.  I slept in our guest room.  Absolute bliss.

Plan: 75-100 minutes, long.  Actual: 78 minutes (8 miles, 9:49)

Sleep works!  I ran with a friend along the gorgeous Ogden River Parkway.  It's very flat and great for just cruising along.  She had eight on her training schedule so I just ran with her as it met my time goals for the week. Long run paces are supposed to be from 9:33-10:51, so I was glad I nailed it, even with a large positive split.  

Total mileage: 28.7

Lessons learned:  One should not despair when one can't keep up an easy pace with a head cold on three hours of sleep.  One should instead, shake it off and take a nap.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Saucony Omni 12.

So, the month and a half off.  I had just managed to get my SI joint under control, and I went out too aggressively at a cold Thanksgiving 5K, and followed it up with a long trail run, and then gardening, and my left thigh, hip flexor, abductors, adductors, groin, everything, just told me NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE, and that was it.

I limped.  I read Kelly Starrett's Ready to Run and Jay Dicharry's Anatomy for Runners, and both are full of helpful tips for the injury-prone runner, some of which I adopted, and some of which I'll take with a grain of salt, as you'll see,

I'm feeling better now, but minimal cross-training, some lingering stiffness, and Christmas has set me back.

Nevertheless, this week starts the training program, and a few weeks back I picked up a pair of Saucony Omni 12s on clearance.  This is a monster of a stability shoe, but it has several features I like a lot.

First, they're a sharp-looking shoe. Not the most important feature, but still -- they look good.
Mine are in the teal colorway, but with 50 miles on them including one very muddy trail run, they're not quite as pretty as the stock photo!

Saucony a while back decided that all of their main shoes would be 8mm drop, and I really like this feature.  It is noticeable compared to my other standby, the ASICS Kayano, which has a ~13mm drop, but it doesn't feel wrong; I just notice my calf muscles working a bit more.  That's good, for me, because a lower drop means my hip has to do a bit less work to stabilize my foot. 

The heel doesn't flare much at all, which I also appreciate.  It feels sleeker.

The feature I really appreciate, however, is this:
The shoe is very straight, and the last is very stable.  After a decent amount of trial and error, I've figured out that one of my problems is that due to bunions, I have very little ability to stabilize my left foot with my toes, so a softer shoe, or one that curves leaves me with little leverage.

Now, straight lasts mean heavy motion control shoes, right?  Here's the thing -- the Omnis are really light, and their ride reminds me of their Mirage, which I love (except for its durability.)  So, it's a good shoe, I think, for someone like me who likes the idea of a more minimal shoe with a lower offset but doesn't yet have the strength to pull it off.

And that gets me to my last point.  Starrett recommends flat shoes for runners, and working toward them.  I'd wear a flat shoe if there was a stability model, but there's not, and while I completely believe that the right thing to do is work on my hip stability, the thing is, my poor hip needs all the help it can get.  Sometimes I think minimalist movement forgets that the shoe is supposed to fit the runner, not the other way around, and that the shoe is one tool the runner has among many.

The Omni rides a bit firm.  I prefer this -- it's easier for me to control a firmer shoe -- but I also suspect that it's designed for a heavier runner (which makes sense, given the demographics on who is likely to need a motion control shoe.)  I don't feel like I sink into the cushioning at all, and it rides high.  

Mostly, though, I'm just happy to finish a longer run without my hip instantly clenching, and these shoes just may be a winner....

Monday, January 19, 2015

Almost go time.

One week till a new round of half training, and with luck, some more than half-assed blogging!