Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Week In Running

It's been a while since I've had enough running worthy of a wrap-up post. This was my first semi-normal week running since screwing up my Achilles. The long time off has been frustrating, to say the least. It hasn't all been off, but I haven't felt like a runner since late October. I'm heavier and slower, but that's OK. The Achilles still aches sometimes, but it's slowly improving. I'm not overdoing it. More than all that, I feel like a runner again. On Monday I ran in the snow, just five miles. What this meant, though, was working harder than I have in some time, enough to feel sore the next couple of days. I missed that. When I finished my "long" run of 7 miles on Saturday, I stopped in my local deli for a chocolate milk. That's the same routine I'd do when I'd run 14 miles before work this summer and fall. I'm not back yet by any stretch. I'll feel that way after stringing together a bunch of 25-mile weeks.

Weekly mileage: 27

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Recovery Update

There is so much denial tied up in injuries. It took me too long to accept my Achilles problem. Even after realizing I'd miss Philly, I held out hope of running a winter marathon and then Boston. I came around to the seriousness of the Achilles problem only gradually. Right now, I'm at the point where I just want to get better, while getting back into a regular running pattern. Bit by bit, I'm getting there. This week, I'm on pace to run 26 miles, including my first hourlong run in three months. The downside: I run very slowly. How slow? Today's pace was 8:39. Still, I'm happy to run five times a week and start to again have a "long" run. Today's seven miles will become eight next week, and I'll go from there. I won't run a winter or spring marathon with an eye toward getting healthy to train hard again for the fall.

7 miles, 1:00:35

Sunday, January 18, 2009


It hit me the other day. I last went for a long run 2.5 months ago. I miss them. Don't get me wrong, I should be thankful I can run at all. I'm up to doing 25 miles a week, five miles at a shot. The pace is slow, the Achilles still gets a bit sore afterward, and I still gobble Advil to take care of any inflammation. Overall, I should be happy with what I can do. Still, I don't want to run like that. It's something I can't shake. Maybe that's selfish or delusional. I miss setting out for a couple hours, passing through neighborhood after neighborhood on the West Side or grinding out loops in Central Park. I miss passing through into that zone where my body goes on autopilot and I lose myself into my thoughts. I do miss feeling spent and achy after 20 miles. Right now, though, as much as I want to continue the long runs, I can't. That's pretty frustrating. Deep down, I'm convinced it'll work out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Running and Reading

Brad Feld, a VC whose blog I read, had a great post today. Brad funds tech companies and runs marathons on the side. I envy him for living in Boulder and doing the trails out there in altitude. I only spent four days in Boulder but fell in love with the running options it has. Brad also thinks about what running means for his life, how he thinks and where it fits with who he is. I love that stuff. Today he posted an oddly affecting video from Will Smith back in his Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff days. He's speaking at a Nickelodeon awards show about the keys to life. "Running and reading," he tells the crowd. He pretty much puts his finger on the Pigdog, talking about how in running you get so tired a little person inside (the Pigdog) tells you to quite. "If you learn to defeat that person when you're running, you'll learn to not quit when things get tough in your life," he says. Reading gives you perspective because others have dealt with the same stuff you're confronting. Wise.

The HRM Chronicles

I've been about as good at updating the Pigdog as I have running. This is a strange period for me. I'm not completely healed from the Achilles injury, yet I can comfortably run up to 20 miles a week or so. After the tongue-lashing from Anonymous, I've tried to enter "21st century training." That's meant wearing a heart monitor three of the last four runs. (One was an Eagles victory celebration run that didn't need my heart rate recorded. I'm sure it was off the charts.) So far, so OK. I don't really like wearing the thing or the overly complicated system. My runs have been in the 8:00 per mile range with my heart rate around 128-130. Is this right? I have no idea. The usual formula for finding training pace is to find the maximum heart rate. I'm 36. That gives me a max heart rate of 184. That would put my effort during these runs at about 70 percent. As far as I can tell, that's about right for an easy, normal run. Right now, I'm not sure what I do with the heart rate info. It's nice to know, but I haven't figured out what zones to keep my runs in just yet. Besides, I'm not really doing radically different workouts. I go for easy 4.5-5 mile runs.

The more interesting thing for me is healing the Achilles. That's when I can get back to training for real. The data stuff is interesting, yet I don't quite see how it would be anything more than a guide. I don't want to just follow numbers on a watch all the time. My guess is I'd use it to set a baseline for training, with particular emphasis on using the HRM to keep recovery runs as true recovery.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Pigdog commenter Anonymous had some serious advice for me after my wrapup post. For a while, Anonymous has pointed out the flaws in my training. Of course, he's probably onto something. I've tended to do runs too hard too often. My injury recovery plan, if you can call it that, was to mostly hope it went away. So maybe it is time to make changes. The first one: a heart-rate monitor. I used to think these were for old people so they don't drop dead jogging around the park. I realize I need help figuring out my training pace. For the most part, I don't think I trained too fast in the leadup to Philly. But I let myself slip in October, and I paid the price. A HRM should help keep me in check. Right now, I need to get my Achilles healthy. I stopped myself from running yesterday because it was sore. I'll go out today for a couple easy miles. I'm running at about 8-8:15 pace, nothing too strenuous. It will be interesting to see what the HRM has to say about what's an easy pace for me. I have a feeling it will be very slow. We'll see.