Monday, November 15, 2010

Run Less, Run Faster

I love reading and usually have at least 2 books going at a time. Since I started my new job (almost a year ago) I haven't done a good job of documenting what I've read and I want to change that. I just finished Run Less, Run Faster by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss and wanted to share my thoughts.

The premise behind the book is that by running less miles at a higher intensity and cross-training, you can improve your running performances. Most of the book focuses on marathon training because the program was originally developed for marathoners. However, it also includes training plans for 5K, 10K, and half-marathon and a chapter on starting running. The topics of cross-training, nutrition, strength-training, and stretching are covered as well.

This is an easy book to read, but probably not that useful for runners that are looking to improve on very slow times (like me). The slowest runs are based on a 30 minute 5K which is a far off dream for me. That said, it did validate my belief that I can run 3 days per week and cross-train while continue to improve my pace. I will probably incorporate some aspects of the plan as I develop my training schedule for next year.

Good information, lacks practicality if you can't run a mile in 10 minutes or less.

I'm a member of One Book One Month Challenge and post reviews there also. It's a great site to check out if you're looking for your next book to read.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Better 13.1

Yesterday was the Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon. My two goals for this half-marathon were to feel good throughout the race and to finish under 3 hours. I mostly met these goals. Here's the recap.

It was cold. The temperature according to The Weather Channel was 34 degrees at 6:30am, but I think it was colder at the start. Our hotel was about 1 block from the start, so we hung out there until 7:55am and then jogged to the start. My lungs felt a little tight, so I decided to break the rule of not doing anything new on race day and used the albuterol inhaler I got for running in cold weather. I'm very glad I used it. I didn't have any bad effects and was able to breathe easily during the whole race.

The start was packed (of course) and it took us about 6 minutes to get across the starting line. I started my Garmin at that point and discovered the satellites hadn't loaded, so I had time, but no pace or distance. I decided not to worry about it and just run since Richard was with me and he would keep me on pace. I felt great starting out. We ran the first mile and passed Lucas Oil Stadium. I decided not to stay with my plan of running 9 minutes, walking 1 minute and instead thought I would just walk the water tables. I wanted to make sure and stay hydrated since that was one of the problems I had with my last half.

This worked well until about mile 5, when Richard asked if I wanted to walk a little. We walked 2 minutes and then started running again. I was still feeling pretty good, but thought my pace was slowing. At mile 8, I had to stop and use a port-a-pot. I guess I didn't really need to drink a whole cup of water at each water station. After mile 8, I ran slowly while Richard ran a little faster, then would walk until I caught up to him. His knee was starting to hurt. By this point, it was getting hard to keep going, but I still wanted to make my time goal. We had a great start and I thought I might even be able to beat 3 hours in clock time.

Somewhere between mile 10 and 11, Richard asked if I would mind if he went ahead and ran because he just wanted it to be over. I told him I'd be fine and he should go. At that point, I was getting really tired and realized I hadn't had any Clif Shot Bloks since before mile 8. I ate one of those and talked myself into alternating running and walking every 2 minutes. During my walk breaks I ate a pack of dried fruit bites that came in our bag. I'm so glad I put them in my pocket, because they saved me. I started feeling good again as I got to mile 12 and ran 5 minutes with a 1 minute walk break. As I got close to the finish, it got really cold, but then I saw my parents and that perked me up. I pasted mile 13 and tried to speed up, but didn't really get into a "sprint" until I made the final turn and saw the finish line. I passed under the finish with 3:00:something on the clock. Bummer.

The post race food was great. They had little Panera bagels, cookies, chocolate milk, and more of the dried fruit things. I told a few bags of them. I'm planning on trying them again and then writing a review if they're as awesome as they seemed. After picking up my medal, hat, and snacks, I remembered to stop my Garmin. The time on it said 2:57:something.

I mention the times because apparently my chip didn't register as I crossed the starting line. According to the results website, my net time was 3:00:13. I know I finished under 3 hours, but don't feel like I can officially claim it without the site showing it. I'm a little disappointed about this, but I'm trying to focus on the improvements I made. I felt good for most of the race. There were a few miles where it was difficult to run, but I never wanted to quit (and I seriously considered quitting in my first half-marathon). I lowered my time by 20 minutes. I also learned that I probably need a longer training period and longer training runs.
I maxed out at 10 miles this time and would like to try a 14 mile run before my next half. Overall, this was a better 13.1, but I still have a lot of room for improvement.