Yesterday, I completed the second week of marathon training with my Luke’s Fit group. 

Overall, I’m feeling great about it. Our Luke’s Locker is new, and so this is its inaugural marathon training program. So far, my group has 4 participants and about the same number of available coaches. While I wish the group was a little larger, it is pretty great to have near individualized coaching. I am so happy that I signed up for this group. 

It was an immediate up in mileage for me, which was an initial concern. But I figured that since I have been running steadily for nearly 5 years now that it would be OK to dive in even after a 4 month break. I found out that I could do more than I thought I could, and so far I am keeping up. 

What was really difficult for me starting back up into running again was the struggle of trying to be my own accountability and training in isolation. With this program, for 1/2 of my training runs, I have teammates waiting on me. That motivation moves me. In addition to that, I’ve been able to have some individualized attention. On the long run this week, one of the coaches stayed with me every step of the way, watching the clock, reminding me of what I needed to remember and encouraging me. That made a huge difference in the run. 

This week, we start adding some fitness moves into a couple of the runs and we start more speed work – this week in the form of tempo runs. I’m looking forward to that challenge. 

We have many weeks and many miles to go, but things are looking up. I am enjoying being more passionate about a running lifestyle. I’ll keep you updated.

This week here is the schedule:

Sunday 4 miles easy (done)
Monday & Thursday prep work plus 4 miles including 10 minutes tempo
Tuesday 3 miles
Wednesday 6 miles
Friday off
Saturday 7 miles with 2 or 3 @ marathon pace

 

Training Time

May 26, 2014 — 1 Comment

I was a little afraid to dive into marathon training after having an extended break during which I focused on not moving that much. I’m over regretting that…lesson learned…keep moving somehow some way. 

I’m just started week 2. This week (that started yesterday), there are 34 miles on the plan. As of today, I’ve completed 8 of those. So far, I’m feeling fine. A little tired at certain points during the day as a result of getting up early, but I’m good overall. Trying to focus on what is important…progress over time. It really isn’t about any one particular day or even a particular run. It is the steady consistency over time that will get me where I want to go. 

The last three days, I’ve run in Nacogdoches, TX. It’s beautiful here. It is also more hilly that is is at home. That’s good for me. This is the first time I have come here and run each morning. That is a good feeling. 

I’m making no promises about keeping this blog up through marathon training. I will try, however. 

Last Saturday, I began training for the 2014 Chicago Marathon, the only full marathon I plan to run this year. I stopped running consistently after the New York City Marathon last fall. It was hard to get back into it. I found I was really struggling as my own accountability. 

I was happy to join a Luke’s Locker marathon training group this year. The first week has been successful. I was nervous diving back in, but so far I have been able to keep up and keep motivated to keep up. Having people counting on me to show up has been a good thing so far. 

So this week (weeks are now Sunday to Saturday), I ran 25 miles. That is a pretty big jump from the 10 or so the week before, but I think I got through OK. I found my performance improving with each run. I’m excited about the training. 

Glad to be back. 

It’s Happened Again…

October 20, 2013 — 1 Comment

I’ve totally fallen off the blogging wagon. 

No excuses. I’m just lame. 

But here is what has been going on. 

For one, I got married this summer, right in the middle of marathon training. 

I moved. 

I ran my 9th marathon, and 4th Chicago Marathon. 

Training was really hard this summer. Adjusting from single life to married and blended family life and moving took a little more energy than I had perhaps budgeted. Every bit of it was a joy, though. One thing I stopped doing for a while was updating this blog. It isn’t very well read, so I don’t think this really impacted anyone’s world too severely. 

However, for the few of you who follow this, I apologize. I’ll make an effort to do better. 

What’s left this year? Well, the New York City Marathon is two weeks from today. I NEED FUNDRAISING HELP!  PLEASE!

Then the first week of December is the California International Marathon. That’s it for this year! 

PLEASE HELP! http://teamworldvision.org/goto/gregallen

 

Hard to believe it is week 6 already. Here is a recap of this week’s workouts:

Monday 7/15/13 – 3 Miles
Amazing that I did this run at lunch time. It is 72 degrees in Dallas, and that is probably a sign of the Apocalypse. Counting my blessings. Free to run in cool daytime temperatures. Amazing. Moved my office this morning to where I’ll be living in less than 2 weeks! Ran from there. It was nice. Love my new office. Love my new life. 

The Music Connection

July 9, 2013 — 1 Comment

Run with music or without music?

Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. There is plenty of debate on this. Here is how it has gone for me.

First, some background. I’m relatively new to running. I ran a little bit as a kid and a little bit as an adult, but really started running in 2009. But I’m not new to music at all. Music has been an integral part of my life for a long time. I started playing piano at age 10, graduated with a degree in music years later, and worked with music in church for 25 years. All that is to say that I would usually prefer to be experiencing music at all times and during just about all activities.

In fact, when I took my first running steps in 2009, my goal was to “run the length of one song on my iPod.” I couldn’t, by the way. So it comes as no surprise that I incorporated music into running early on. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine going out for a run without tunes in my ears.

I know only use my yurbuds on about half of my runs – but only while training, rarely during a race. However, I still sense an extremely strong connection between music and running. When I’m not listening to music, I’m imagining that I am. I hear the songs I’ve trained with in my mind.

By playlists for running are titled: “RUN,” (all purpose), “Last 10K,” (used to use for the last 10K of a marathon), “160+ Run,” (songs with at least 160 BPM – or 80 – however you see that), “170+ Run,” (songs with at least 170 BPM), and “Jesus,” (my Sunday / Long Run playlist).

The Jesus playlist is my favorite. I use it when I do those Sunday morning long runs. It is my running worship time. I’ve had some wonderful moments running along with this playlist. I think my favorite connection on that list so far is the song “Forever Reign,” which happens to stride perfectly with an adequate running pace. Here’s the hook:

And oh, I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love will always be enough
Nothing compares to your embrace
Light of the World forever reign

For moments, then, I’m running into the arms of Jesus. All is right with the world. I’m filled with hope. Sometimes I’m tired and hurting, but this one always picks me up. And it makes worshiping with this song in church that much better.

There are many other songs that create strong connections such as these. This song and others like it make me look forward to those long mileage days. Another one that pumps me up and is a blast to stride to is “So Beautiful” by the band Sevenglory.

All of that being said, I think it is very important to be super careful when using music. We’ve got to pay attention to what is going on around us. We have to pay a lot more attention than drivers do, than cyclists do, and even than dog walkers do. In a big race, it is important to be able to hear. By the way, yurbuds are designed to enable you to listen to music AND hear noise around you. I think they are the best. And they won’t fall out.

Training without music enables me to pay more attention to my breathing, my stride and the  my foot strike. I think it is best to mix it up. Sometimes the music really helps to minimize distractions. At other times, it can get in the way.

So, no rule from me. I love it with music, and I love it without. Now get out there.

Here is the recap for my training for the Fall Marathons:

Sunday 7/14/13 – 14 Miles
Interesting morning. I wanted to start early, so I woke up around 4 and got ready to head out just after 5 AM. The moment I walked out the door, I saw lightning. Dang. I’m not comfortable running in that. Rain I don’t mind. Lightning is a no for me. So I went back in and got on the treadmill in the workout room. Somehow, doing 14 treadmill miles bummed me out. I did 4 miles and then noticed that the storms had started moving west of us, and there looked to be a pretty good gap. So I decided to try for 10 outside.

Got rained on lightly for a bit, which felt nice. Certainly couldn’t complain about the heat today. What a break! I think it only got up into the mid 70’s today with plenty of cloud cover and a some pretty good rain. What an awesome thing to have in the middle of July. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same way.

So a rough count of miles this week is around 31. Not too bad. Note – I did skip one running workout.

Next week, I have to adjust because I am going out of town. Therefore, I’m moving my rest day to Sunday, and I’ll do my long (10 miles) on Saturday before I head out of town. And the week after that…wow…that my friends is the weekend I’m getting married. More on that later.

Saturday 7/13/13 – 7 Miles
Pretty routine. Sweaty. Took a 2-minute walk break a little over halfway through. Only pushed at the end. Worked on form and breathing, as usual. With music. Heard some tunes today I haven’t heard in a while, including Gungor’s We Will Run, one of my favorites. 14 tomorrow morning…may be dodging storms.

Friday 7/12/13 – 3 Miles @ Pace
Honestly, I really wanted another day off today. But I talked myself through it and got up and ran. Marathon pace is 9:09. Did this in 9:07 average. But I had to fight for it just a bit as the first mile was a little slow. But I got there. I’ve got to execute my weekend runs perfectly. I am going to hit both of them very early in the day. Tomorrow 7 miles and Sunday 14 miles.

Thursday 7/11/13 – Rest Day
Switched my rest day from Friday to today.

Wednesday 7/10/13Boot Camp
Went to boot camp this morning. It was good. We did speed work, and I got just about 2 miles in that process. I was sore and hurting through all of it, so I elected to not do my 3 mile run this morning. I will do the pace run tomorrow.

Tuesday 7/9/13 – 35 Minute Tempo Run
Went to boot camp in the morning, and needed to get my day started early, so I didn’t have time for this run as well. So I went to the gym in the late afternoon. It was way too hot outside for this workout. Treadmill isn’t the same, but I did my best simulation. Lots of sweat. Pretty good effort.

Monday 7/8/13 – 3 Miles
Pretty routine run, except my legs were still a bit tired from yesterday’s 13 miler. Specifically, my right hamstring. Transportation issues this morning meant no boot camp for me. Slept the extra hour and went to run about 6:30. This is a 30+ week. Looking forward to running through it.

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Hair sweat annoyed me this morning, so I decided to cut even shorter for the hotter weather. Really need and extra mirror…as you can see. Got Lyla to clean it all up in the back for me. Thankful for a daughter who won’t let me leave the house looking like that.