Archive for June, 2012


E-Coaching

After many weeks of considering, I decided last week to sign up for Jeff Galloway e-coaching. I feel like I’ve gotten to a point with my running where I’ve maximized what I can do on my own and I need some expert help. My local running group has free coaching but their philosophy differs from what I’ve found to work for me. Galloway has a running group in NYC but that isn’t really feasible for my lifestyle. I like the Galloway training philosophy and I thought the e-coaching would be the right choice.
I registered on the Galloway website and paid for 6 months of e-coaching. I pay myself $1 per mile so I had saved up the money for this. A few days afterwards I received an email requesting more details: my age, gender, best race times at various distances, target race, and any challenges. I included my race schedule leading up to the Goofy. Of course Goofy is my target race.
Sunday evening I received my personalized training plan. Galloway believes in 2 mid-week runs of 30-45 min and then a long run on Saturday.
The first thing I noticed was that my weekend mileage increases quickly. I’m scheduled to run 7 miles this weekend and I will quickly be in double-digit long run range. Starting in the fall I will have several weekends with a Saturday long walk followed by a Sunday long run. He did take into account my race schedule. My favorite touch is the day before my Tower of Terror 10 mile race I’m scheduled for “5 mile walk around Disney World.” Cute!
My mid-week runs have more structure. Tuesdays are cadence drills followed by 1/2 mile repeats. Thursday are acceleration-gliders (I need to figure them out still) with cadence drills and hills. Cadence drills work on rapid foot turnover. Acceleration-gliders help with downhills and taking advantage of momentum. Hills help with quad strength and, well, running hills.
I’m a little alarmed by my target paces. No it’s not too fast. Quite the opposite. He recommends my long runs at 15:30 min/mile pace. Probably based on my marathon finish time. And my 1/2 mile repeats should be at 13:00 min/mile pace. My current tempo runs are more like 11:30-12:00 min/mile pace and my long runs at 13:30 min/mile pace.
And he wants me to decrease my run/walk ratios. I tried various ratios today during my 1/2 mile repeats. My best of the suggested ratios was run 30 sec/walk 30 sec. I did a 1/2 mile at 10:58 min/mile pace!
I’m going to follow his advice, even if it seems slow to me. I’m paying for his expertise and I will be a believer. I’m supposed to email on Tuesdays and get feedback. I’ll keep y’all posted!

I was up bright and early this morning with a 5:45am alarm. My clothes were laid out and ready to go. From bib being attached to my shirt to the chip being on my sneaker. I was soon dressed and ready to go. I made a quick stop at the local bagel store for some pre-race fuel and coffee before driving into the city. I was a bit worried about finding parking so I left plenty of time. I soon realized that it was easier to just use a garage.
I found the port-a-potties and immediately waited in line. Once that was done I headed to the starting area. Since I was in the gray corral instead of the brown, I mistakenly assumed I was in the second to last corral. Apparently this race is small enough that the gray corral was the last one. So much for moving up in the world….
There were the typical pre-start speeches, especially since was the 40th anniversary of this race – the 1st women’s road race. There were several Elite runners including some Olympians taking part in this race. Nothing more humbling than hearing that several runners were expected to finish under 35 minutes!!!
The morning was fairly humid. Skies were overcast and I think I felt a few drops of rain. Starting temperatures were close to 70F. I was definitely dressed for warm weather but it never makes me happy.
We started about 3 minutes behind clock time. The start was on Central Park West and we had plenty of space to spread out so crowding was not a big problem. I started with my run 1 min/walk 1 min strategy. I started fast – by Garmin time my 1st mile was just sub-11 min/mile but slowed down after that. We entered Central Park between mile 1 and mile 2. The course was somewhat hilly but not as bad as I expected. The More Magazine Half Marathon goes around e park in the opposite direction and the hills are much worse!
My 5K split was 36:47. I kept the run 1/walk 1 ratio until mile 4. I was feeling pretty strong so I increased to a run 2 min/walk 1 min ratio. Mile 6 was at 11:10 pace. Around mile 6 my friend Julia showed up and ran with me to the finish. My last 0.2 miles were around 10 min/mile pace. My final time was 1:12:22 or 11:40 min/mile pace.
Based on my half marathon finish times, my predicted best was 11:19 – 11:26 min/mile. While this was slightly slower than that, I feel I did the best I could today. I’d missed a few training runs recently and the humidity was a factor. Overall I’m proud of my performance.

Race Day Strategy

Saturday is Race Day for me. I will run my 1st race at a distance shorter than a half marathon. The NYRR Mini 10K is supposed to be a special race. I believe it was the 1st distance race in this country specifically and exclusively for women. And this year is the 40th running of the race which makes it even more special.
The race starts in Central Park at West 61st Street. The course runs up Central Park West and then heads into the Park (that’s Central Park for my non-New Yorker audience) to make a clockwise loop. The finish is back on the West Side, apparently in the same spot as the finish for the NYC Marathon. It’s a hilly course, as is any race is Central Park. The course goes in the opposite direction as the More Magazine Half Marathon that I ran in January.
Weather report for Saturday isn’t ideal. The high temperature is predicted around 81F with a low in the Los to mid 60s. There’s a chance of rain which means it’ll probably be humid. Start time is 8am. I almost miss Disney’s super early starts, if just for the cooler temperatures.
I picked up my race packet yesterday (on national running day). I was a little surprised to find that my bib has a gray stripe instead of my usual brown. NYRR, like Disney, does seeded corrals. The
last corral is brown. For my last two NYRR races I was in the brown corral (I’ve run the More Magazine Half Marathon twice). I was quite surprised (and pleased) to see that I’ve moved into the second to last corral – gray.
How to approach this race? I’m not really sure. My training hasn’t been ideal. The snubs infection cost me two long runs. I took a break from hill repeats and speed work due to illness and injury. My longest recent run was only 6.32 miles. More than race distance but I would have liked a 7 mile run.
According to the McMillan Calculator (he’s a running coach who developed a way to translate pace at one distance to predicted pace at another distance), I should be able to run somewhere between 11:19-11:26 min/mile for a 10K. That’s based on my 2 best half marathon finishes. The 11:26 is based on my most recent race which was also in warmer weather. So 11:30 min/mile is within reach for this race.
I think my plan is as follows: Start the race with a 1:1 ratio (run 1 min/walk 1 min) at about a 12 min/mile pace. A the 5K mark I can choose to increase my ration to 2:1 and speed up, assuming things are going well. Or just hang on and finish at 12 min/mile pace if things aren’t great. Theoretically this should give me negative splits (running faster in the second half of the race) and save me some juice for a strong finish.
And, of course, the most important plan is to have fun!

Injuries. The plague of any athlete. When can you press on and when do you need to rest? What’s preventable and what’s inevitable? And just UGH!
I did my second 3 mile run on Thursday followed by a 5 mile treadmill run on Saturday. I guess I should be grateful that it was pouring Saturday morning because I would have been forced to run indoors either way as my husband was away this past weekend. Either later on Saturday or sometime Sunday my left leg started to hurt. It feels like a muscle strain in my left thigh. The pain is worse when climbing stairs and gone at rest. And I’m running a 10K on Saturday.
What to do?
I decided to rest on Monday in the hopes that it would feel better. It’s not excruciating but a bit nagging. I didn’t want to take the whole week off so I tried a very slow 2+ miles today. The pain wasn’t worse while running so I figure I’m not hurting myself more with low run/walk.
I’ll try an easy run Thursday as long as I’m not worse.
I’m annoyed that I have another – albeit minor – injury. Galloway says that his method should prevent injuries. And yet I’ve has a few. Nothing major – thank goodness. But enough to require a few weeks off of running here and there. And it seems to happen right when I finally get in a groove. My 5 miler was slower but my two 3 mile runs were at a decent pace. Which may have been a mistake when I’m coming back from being sick. I must have pushed too fast too soon. But how do you know?
My number one training goal is to be able to finish my races feeling strong and with a smile on my face. But I wouldn’t complain if I got my pace down a bit. Where’s the balance point between speed and health? When I start my actual Goofy training should I just slow my training pace down enough to minimize injury? Or will that take some variety and fun out of it?