Monday, December 24, 2007

Rest... or the lack thereof

One thing my efforts in distance running thus far have taught me is that, outside of the runs themselves, nothing may be more important than rest. In recent months I have periodically had trouble sleeping and each occurrence of sleeplessness has had great impact on my training. Take today for example, I went for what should be a simple 5 mile run on my treadmill. However, the poor sleep of the night before - currently I will get to sleep without issue, however, will awake at about 2:30 am and not be able to return to sleep for a minimum of an hour - made what should have been a relatively easy run into something quite different. I found myself fighting the effort and feeling spent. Anyway, I did manage to get the five miles in... so mission accomplished. I just need to figure out a way to get all of the sleep I need.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Great Outdoors

A great day to run. The weather has changed and when I set out this morning it was about -1 Celsius as opposed to the -10 it has been as of late. Making the turn at the halfway point of a 12.5 mile run and suddenly facing the sun hammered home why I do this.... it simply felt great to be alive with the sun shining down on my face. The bonus today, in the second half of the run, was coming upon a pair of deer crossing my path about 10 miles in. Nothing like these chance meetings to lift ones spirits even further.

Today's run was at about a 8:56 / mile pace. Right about where I want to be in my base training. I was completely comfortable the entire time and found myself having to consciously slow down on occasion. There will be plenty of time for speed and tempo come February. Right now is all about the base. The other hope is that the slower, fat burning pace will be of profound benefit over the gorge-fest that is the Christmas Season. We actually hosted a party at our house last night and I managed to go completely alcohol free and ate sensibly. I am trying to be sensible in how I approach food and drink this year, as I don't want to dampen the progress I have made thus far.

One of the further pleasures of the long run is the opportunity it provides me, as the father of two, to have uninterrupted time to listen to podcasts and albums - something that doesn't always occur in the non-running hours of my day. This morning was especially fruitful in terms of music pleasure, the length of my run allowed me to listen to the following albums in their entirety:

  1. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
  2. Richard Hawley - Lady's Bridge
Having the opportunity to listen to them without interruption hammered home to me that they are two of the better albums of 2007 and that I will be putting them in heavier rotation on my runs. If you haven't heard them, give 'em a whirl... you won't be disappointed.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Base Training

After months of training with long runs, tempo runs, hill, intervals, etc. I have entered a phase of "dialing it in" to get a good solid base of running until the end of January when I begin to train for the Blue Nose Marathon. Running slower, 2 min per mile slower than my goal marathon pace, is much harder than I would have thought. I was expecting these runs to be a "walk a park", however, running at a slower, consistent pace is proving to be an unexpected challenge.

I have also transitioned running primarily on a treadmill, much to my chagrin. The roads and sidewalks of Halifax, NS are currently encased in ice and just present too much of a danger presently to risk running outside. That said, the forecast for the next few days is looking for a warming trend.... so perhaps my confinement is going to end soon.

Today's run was "OK". I did 5.5 miles at a 9:20 / mile pace. These base runs are extremely boring, no change in scenery and the pace I am running is so slow it takes a long time to even do a relatively short run. I am also one of those people that likes to push themselves when it comes to physical activity. That said, I had reached a point in which my body was telling me it needed a break. So the hope is that working through this low intensity period will provide dividends when I rev things up starting in the end of January. My lack of experience provides me with nothing to base this assumption on, however, everything is an experiment at this point and if this doesn't work I will just have to try a new approach if I enter a Fall marathon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Have you seen this man

Have you seen this man???? If you have, he is the one largely responsible for the existence of this blog. About five months ago, I was leading a normal life... my middle-aged spread comfortably expanding and my former levels of fitness quietly fading away. Anyway, the owner of the face to the left, a man who has run several marathons and whom I have known since childhood, challenged me to train for a marathon and said he would travel to my backyard to pace me for the race. With that, and only 8 weeks to go until the race, I began a crash training regimine to get me to the "Valley Harvest Marathon" in Kentville, Nova Scotia. As luck should have it, I managed to get through my training without injuring myself and true to his word Keith arrived to pace me. Anyway, after running the race, and being humbled by the effort involved, I am now hooked. The goal now is to build up my fitness to a level that our next race together will be just that.... a race rather than a casual jog for my "pacer". So I am using this space to share my thoughts as I begin my training to become a "Marathoner". The hope is that having this little blog will help me stay committed over the months to come, so feel free to come back and see how I am doing as I pile up the miles.

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