6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

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The Goof at the Races

The Goof at the Races

There is a few races that I have neglected to report on.  I decided that being most of them were smaller and very…well…uneventful, I thought I would just give the highlights.

Escape from Ft DeSoto Sprint Triathlon

Taking part in brick workouts at the North Beach at Ft DeSoto allows for familiarity of the surroundings, so when competing in a race in the same location, it is like having home field advantage, unless the course goes off the path.

The swim was 800 meters which for me is usually pretty slow, but the current was decent and I was able to stick nextEFFD to the bouys so I felt like I improved on the swim, but it still wasn’t fast enough.  I was able to sprint out of the water and head to transition with energy to spare.

The bike was one simple loop around Ft. DeSoto with a familiar headwind on the way out and a tail wind on the way back.  I averaged over 21 mph, so I felt pretty good, but I overdid it just slightly because I felt it on the run.  The run was slightly longer than a typical sprint and the second half was on the beach, so I really felt it on my legs.  I still had enough to sprint into the finish line, but it was a lesson learned that even on a ten-mile bike leg, I still need to take it easy at the start and ride negative splits in the second half.

Afterward the finish line was filled with excitement sharing stories of the race with friends and watching a few of them at the award ceremony on the podium.  It was a fun race and while I am not huge fan of Sprint Triathlons, I will definitely be taking part in this one again.

Tampa Corporate 5k

This race was put on by my friends Ben Mena and Beth Shaw (MenaShaw Races).  It was incredibly well-organized with numerous tents for vendors and a line of food trucks preparing everything from smoothies to homemade doughnuts.  Of course a beer truck was strategically placed near the finish line to provide access to exhausted runners looking to replenish their carbohydrates.

Police Run2It always amazes me when Ben and Beth pull these races off.  I know it was basically the two of them doing all the organizing, fundraising and negotiating with vendors and sponsors, so when I walked up to the site and saw an enormous amount of people and activity, I was overwhelmed with pride and honor just to know these two personally.

I was on Nick’s team, No Limit Marketing, so he gave me my shirt and we took a couple of photos and lined up for the race. I really wanted to just take it easy during this race, but the energy got the better of me.  The course was interesting, as it led out of downtown, then off the beaten path where the terrain changed to broken pavement and then a turnaround back to the start.  I was on track for a PR, but the course turned out to be 3.4 instead of 3.1 due to a last-minute logistical changed ordered by the city.  Interesting enough, I only know this due to a conversation with Ben after the event was cleaned up.  There was no mention of it during the event which is a credit to my friends, because it was seamless and no one really cared, because everyone was having a great time.

Our team actually came in 4th but just a couple of minutes.  St. Anthony’s Triathlon was going on that weekend, so Nick decided to just coast through it, which was smart, but he kicked himself later because if he would have actually ran it we would have placed.  We still had a great time.

St. Anthony’s Olympic Triathlon

It was a crazy day for St Anthony’s this year.  The expo was as expected with numerous vendors all giving free swag, free trials, and providing goods for the race and future races.  They all kept the excitement of the race consistent.  I could not keep my heart rate down during the expo.  After a quick bike, run and swim I walked over to check-in and aMCSTA press conference was taking place.  On the panel were a number of champion triathletes and NFL superstar.  Hines Ward, former NFL player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was on the panel due to his upcoming entry into the 2013 World Championship Ironman Triathlon in Kona, October 12th.  He has never competed in triathlon before so on his road to the Ironman he is competing in the different distances and St. Anthony’s was to be his first Olympic Distance Triathlon.  My favorite triathlete, Mirinda Carefrae was sitting right next to him, because they are both sponsored by Chocolate Milk.  That was a huge treat for me, especially since I was able to talk to her and I got a hug from her afterward.  (Awww.shucks)  She was on her way to a meeting, so unfortunately I didn’t get a picture, but maybe she will recognize me at a later date and at that time I will get a pic.  But I digress.

The next day the expected wave of anxiety especially since the water looked a little choppy and being my confidence in the water is a little shaky, I was even more anxious.  I guess my feelings were correct because after the pros started Phil LeHaye, the race director, came over the loudspeaker and stated the course would be shortened for safety sake.  I really thought  that I would be happy due to my limited swimming confidence, but I was amazed at how disappointed I was.  To me it was no longer an Olympic Triathlon.  I ended up doing this exact same course two years prior when they moved the swim but I was even worse at that point.

2013-05-06Truth be told that was the most unusual part of the race.  I completed the swim without any real issues, the bike was uneventful with an average of 20.8 mph and I even was able to complete the 10k run with only one hitch; my bladder told me after mile 4 that I needed to empty it.  I told it that we only had two more miles, but I had already held it for a while and it just wasn’t going to allow me to keep going for another two miles without relieving it.  I ended up using a port-o-potty on the route which took even longer because I was wearing a one-piece tri suit that Zoot had sent me with their new technology.  I usually am not a fan of one-piece tri-suits but this one even though it was black, was cool and comfortable.

I finished in 2:43 which was 37 minutes better than two years prior with the same distance.  If it wasn’t for the stop it might have been up to 7-8 minutes faster.  Either way I was happy with my performance and I felt really strong crossing the line.

Police Appreciation Run

My friend Rich texted me a few days before this 10k race.  I had no intention of running it, but

PArun

I had not had the opportunity to hang out with Rich for a while and I wanted to catch up with him.  Of course Rich is really fast genetically, so even with all the training I had been doing I still couldn’t catch him, but I enjoyed the race.

This is a Chris Lauber directed race, whom I just have the utmost respect for, not to mention the race was dedicated
to the current and fallen Policemen and women in the area.  Great cause, and a great race, even with the 10k going off course for a bit.  We didn’t know this until we returned to the finish line, but Chris was lucky because even thought we drifted, it was still exactly 6.2 miles, start to finish.   There were plenty of vendors afterward, with food and recovery fluids.  I highly recommend it to anyone.

Miles for Moffitt

I believe I have stated this in other posts, but to make money to live I contract myself out as an IT Program/Project Manager for large firms.  What exactly do I do?  Well, companies hire me to manage projects that usually have over million dollar budgets, like re-designing an online banking site for a well-known financial company, or the development of a government website with over 50,000 pages and applications.  I identify the scope of the project, procure the resources both human and material, set the schedule, manage the budget, mitigate the risks, serve as a liaison between the business executives, IT department, internal and external vendors and worker bees, and manage the tasks in order to complete the project.

MMSBMy latest contract is with Gerdau Steel and they are a major sponsor for Miles for Moffitt, which is a very popular event in the Tampa Bay Area.  Gerdau was nice enough to allow me to run the 5 mile race for them.  They have basically three races the 5 miler, the 5k and the  1 mile run/walk.  The 5 miler and the 5k can be run either timed or untimed.  This was a well-organized event with a relatively flat course on the campus of the University of South Florida.  Surprisingly enough there was a couple of hills, but nothing that felt terrible.  I saw a few of my clients while out there and hung out with Rich again.  I averaged 7:30 miles as I did the week before during the Police Appreciation 10k, so I was content with my performance.

After the races concluded, and the thank yous are stated, they have a parade for the cancer survivors that ran the race.  It was a really awesome site to see all of these people who were diagnosed with cancer now running in a race.  it was inspiring and motivating to know they came back from as close to hell as one can get, and stronger than before.

The Dunedin Sprint Triathlon

I have completed this race for a couple of years now, and since my first triathlon is no longer around, the Morton Plant Mease Triathlon, I decided to make this one my annual “remember how it all started” race.

DTRI

This race is held on Honeymoon Island which is a great beach with usual minimal issues, but this year we were told that the bottom was a little rocky and we should bring water shoes.  I decided to wear my Vibram 5-fingers because they do not hold a lot of water and  I thought they would be easy to get out of.

The swim was pretty much a water run due to the shallowness of the  water.  I usually incorporate some water running during my swim sessions so I know the resistance that water can put on your legs, so I dolphin dived/swam most of the way.  I was going to be using my legs enough during the bike and the run, I didn’t need to be wearing them down, prior.  I came out of the water in the faster 10% of the wave, but was slowed down by two things.  The first being getting out of my shoes.  While there was no water giving me issues, the shoes had constricted around my foot so I had to fight to get them off, and then exiting transition had a very narrow trail, so there was a line of us only able to shuffle to the start mat.  Other than that the race went great I finished in 1:05 which was another PR for me by a couple of minutes.

And that brings us up to date on race reports.  My next race is the NYC Triathlon which is an Olympic distance triathlon in the heart of New York City July 14th.  I am really looking forward to this race due to the course being around my favorite city.

Carpe Viam!

Rock n’ Roll St Pete Race Recap…Lessons Re-Learned

Rock n’ Roll St Pete Race Recap…Lessons Re-Learned

The crazy thing about not running “Best Damn Race”, was I felt like I needed another race to replace it.  It wasn’t very long after I got home on Saturday, that I had typed in the URL for the Rock n’ Roll series and registered for the Rock N’ Roll St. Petersburg Half-Marathon.  I have no idea what the driving need was.  I have plenty of races on the calendar, so what was another half-marathon?  I decided to chalk it up to the hype of BDR and the fact I wanted to race.  Is that a distinctive trait in all endurance athletes?  I have no idea.  I humbly request that you take a few seconds, put yourself in my shoes and let me know if you think you would’ve done the same thing.

RnR7

Ben, Pete and I at the expo

I always get excited to go to the expos.  It isn’t the free stuff, or the vendors, it is the aura, the environment and the excitement of the race.  This expo was no different.  I wasn’t excited about any of the vendors or the new technologies, I was just excited to be there and take it all in.

Road ID did something new this year.  They were engraving on-site.  This was the first event I attended where this was an option.  What a great idea, and it was so easy.  Several kiosks were set up with their software running on it and all that had to be done, was pick the product (wrist band, dog tag, ankle band, etc), type the content of the engraving, slide your card to pay for it and they engraved it for you

Jessica Crate and I

Jessica Crate and I

right there.  That was my exciting highlight of the expo, besides seeing my friend Kat(Sneakers & Fingerpaints) volunteering with Brooks and Jessica Crate hanging out with Powerbar.

After hanging out with Pete and the gang and seeing a lot of friends at the expo, it was time to head home and chill out for the night.  Afterall, not only was I at the expo but I also did a little training ride on the bridges of Clearwater.

The next morning brought on the same excitement as always.  I didn’t wake up with the overall feeling of competing, I was more content with the positive anxiety rolling through my body at the idea of running.  Period.  I love races like this, especially since when I walk around either the start or finish I always seem to find someone I know.

RnR9

Cheryl & I at the Start

Driving to the event was not an issue.  My plan was to just find a place near Tropicana field, on the street or a cheep garage between the start and finish line, but at the last second I decided I really didn’t want to deal with it, so I ended up parking at the Trop for fifteen bucks.  This is one of the things I am not crazy about with the Rock n’ Roll race series.  Everything is an extra charge.  $15 dollars to park at the expo, $15 to park at the race, $5 for a shuttle from the finish line back to the start, $1 per runner you want to track, $5 for the runner to allow others to track and not to mention the $110 race fee.  I do enjoy the local races just for the fact they are usually all-inclusive.  Best Damn Race was the cure for all of this.  One price which even at full price was cheaper ($70), and it included parking, all the good food you can eat, and all the beer you could drink, but I digress.

My first perception was that this race was already increasingly superior to last year, at least for me, because mother nature was giving us a beautiful 57 degrees that morning vs my last experience with the race which was a very cold 33 degrees.   This for me was absolutely perfect.  The temperature would rise but by the time I finished it still would not have hit 70.  A small breeze filled the air with a clean scent, but I could not consider it wind.  Even though it was still a little chilly I decided to tough out the wait for the start in just my race attire instead of bringing anything extra for gear check.  As I turned the corner around Tropicana Field the start-line events came into my line of sight. There, looking down on the parking lot,  were three huge banks of port o’ lets, a few tents for info, volunteers, water and food, and of course the corrals.  My heart rate increased a little as the anxiety started to ramp up.

The Mini-Marathon was starting first, which was a 5k, and then the main event, the Half-Marathon, would start about 25 minutes later.  Making my way into the arena, recognizable faces started coming into

Stephanie & I at the start

Stephanie & I at the start

view.  This running community, no matter how much publicity it gets, is still relatively small, so racing seems to promote seeing the same faces at most of the events.  Even though I didn’t know a lot of the athletes by name they were recognizable, but of course it is not uncommon for someone to come up behind you and give you a big hug, or tap you on the shoulder to say hi.  I ran into Margie and her friend she was running with, as well as Cheryl, Stephanie, Mike, Wibke, and a bunch of others which calmed me down tremendously.  I decided that I would race this for fun and just let my legs decide what they were going to do.  What I decided and what happened were two totally separate ideas.

Around 7:25 the corrals were filled and as I was bib number 1062 I was to start in corral number 1.  The crowd noise was diminished to a slight whisper as this 13-year-old girl gave us a beautiful rendition of our national anthem, the gun went off and we were on our way.

My legs felt really good, my breath flowed easy and my form fell into place.  I was listening to my iPod, but the volume was low enough for it to be drowned out by the local bands that were playing on the course every couple of miles.  As I passed the first mile, I looked down at my Garmin which read 7:28 which was around 10 seconds behind the race clock, which made sense, but the pace was a little fast.  I decided to keep on going and let my legs decide.  My Garmin alerted me of my 7:30 pace at the end of the 2nd mile which turned out to be about a tenth of a mile

Feeling good

Feeling good

before I reached the race clock.   This is not uncommon with races.  The GPS signal grabs satellite data every three seconds and within a city, sometimes it does not make a connection for a few passes depending on buildings, and a variety of signals that can interfere with the accuracy.  I where a foot pod to record my cadence as well as fill the gaps when the satellite is not available, but the algorithm that fills the gaps will not do so until I have recorded the history at the end of the event.

When I crossed mile three at a time very close to my 5k PR time, I knew that I was at a pace that was way too fast for my fitness level at this time, but I was feeling really good, so against my better judgement I continued.  My pace stuck at a range in-between 7:26-7:40 until mile 8 and that is when it caught up with me.  Even though I was sticking to my nutrition, I started to feel the ache in my legs, and the tightness in my chest.  I got a hold of my breathing checked my posture, leaned in a little more and kept going, but unfortunately, my pace for the next 3 miles steadily increased.  I was pretty consistent with the people around me up to this point.  I played cat & mouse with a few of the runners, and I was passing people here and there and feeling pretty good about it, but for the last few miles, I would start to get passed.   Between, nine and ten, I saw Ben

Seeing a familiar face.  Thanks Ben Mena

Seeing a familiar face. Thanks Ben Mena

Mena on the side taking photos.  A familiar face usually helps, so I turned toward him and mucked for the shot, pretending I felt a lot better than I actually did.  My legs started getting heavier as we headed toward a small bridge, and I noticed Jessica Crate heading the opposite way toward the finish line, along with a lot of other familiar faces in that elite athlete group.  Just on the other side of the bridge my watch alerted me to mile 11 and a lap time of 8:31.  Out loud I yelled at myself, “Are you f***ing kidding me?” which gained me a few smirks and a couple of double takes from the others around me.  I assessed my form, and my efficiency and noticed I was pretty much jacked up, so I slowed my breathing, lifted my arms to put me back in the right posture, tucked my hips and leaned from my ankles.  I glided through the next mile at was alerted that I covered it in 8 minutes flat.  “Better”, I thought to myself, but I was weakening and I knew it.  I only had 1.1 miles left and while no matter what the finish line would be crossed, but it would be the longest mile of the race.

In a period that felt like two minutes went by when I saw Jessica running the opposite way, which could only be her cool down run, when I yelled and waved and before I knew it, she was in front of me.  Yelling at me to stay with her.  Her commands kept calling my ego to release anything I had left.  “Bring your

Elite Athlete Jessica Crate

Elite Athlete Jessica Crate

arms up, relax and let’s do this!”, is what I heard from her as I started leaning more and lifting my legs.  “400 meters Brad kick it into gear, c’mon let’s go!” is what sparked my kick.  I could see the finish line, it was right there all I had to do was take everything I had and just push to get there.  Jessica’s last words to me were “50 meters left, GO!!!!” and I took off with everything I had left.  Honestly, it hurt, but the pain subsided the nanosecond I crossed the timing mat.  The race clock said 1:45 on the nose when I crossed and I was disappointed in my time, but not in my effort.

My chest was tight, my back started to twinge a little as I retrieved my medal, took photos and started gathering after race treats.  Water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, bananas, strawberries, granola bars were basically shoved into my hands and I hadn’t even left the finish corral.   I didn’t know what to do with it all, but  I thought the race should really hand a plastic bag to the finishers so it could be collected without effort.  After all, we all just ran 13.1 miles, the blood isn’t exactly flowing to our brains.

Sexiest woman on the course Karen D.

Sexiest woman on the course Karen D.

I found a nice secluded spot to drop all my goodies, and start my post-run routine of lunges, stretches and squats before I started socializing.  I caught Jessica at the VIP tent and thanked her for bringing me in and then proceeded to hang with Tara Lee, Cheryl, Karen, Teresa, Holly, Mike, Brian, Stephanie and who knows how many others at the beer tent while we listened to Sean Kingston play live on the stage of North Shore Park.

I didn’t pay for shuttle ticket out of principal, and I kinda decided prior to the race I would just run back, which was probably going to be more of walk by the way I felt.  I said my goodbyes to friends at the beer tent and headed back to the VIP area to say goodbye to Jessica, when she told me that she parked at the Trop as well, so we could just run together.  “You know, I don’t run as fast as your slowest jog.”, I told her, but she just blew that statement off and we ran back.  When I say we ran, I am not kidding.  This girl runs like the wind and even though we were keeping a good pace for me, I know she had to keep looking back and slowing down.  I will say, when I reached the car, I felt

In the beer garden

In the beer garden

pretty good.  Looser and more agile.  This was a feeling I was going to have to remember.  All in all, 16 miles for the day wasn’t to shabby.

Have you ever run again after a hard race? How did you feel?

Carpe Viam!!

2 races in one day? – Continued

Previously I mentioned all that was; the Top Gun Triathlon for me.  Today I give you the run-down of my experience with the Twilight Triathlon I competed in that same evening.  Are you ready?  Are you in suspense?  If you said “yes” then I know you just are humoring me, but I’ll ramble on for a bit anyway.

After a little breakfast I went home and hoped to catch a nap but had no such luck.  I did chill out for a while and watched some of the Olympics, but before I knew it I had to head on over to Outspokin to pick up a ride to the tri.  I headed out with Nicky Z, both of us continually wondering what the heck we were doing.  I wasn’t really sore or anything, but I was a little exhausted.  After what seemed like forever, an hour, we showed up to what looked like a cluster fuss.  Cars lined up, making ‘U’ turns to find parking, a sheriff’s deputy telling drivers where to go and vendors still putting tents up less than hour before what was supposed to the start of the race.  We ended up really lucky and did find a parking space pretty close to transition.

Walking up to transition the announcer’s voice was hailing over the loud speaker something I never heard at a race before.  “Don’t buy anything from the food truck.  He has been trying to keep this triathlon from taking place!”  Excuse me what? Really?  A guy in a food truck doesn’t want an extra night of better than average income?  Seriously?  That ended the negativity and the following were the instructions for packet pick up, body marking, and warnings about lights on our bikes.   After picking up my packet and t-shirts, one for this race and one for the Sunrise/Sunset challenge.  Nick and I looked at each other a little surprised they were both cotton, but we were given the explanation that DRC Sports, the sponsors for the Twilight Tri, bought both shirts since Top Gun really didn’t need the extra advertising.  Oh well, no biggie.

After finishing up my setup in transition I went out to the beach to warm-up a bit and then I headed out to the water.  All I can say about that water was….YUCK!  It was very shallow, 86 degrees, murky brown and the gulf floor was mushy and full of oysters.  I was actually wishing I was back at Ft. Desoto.  Of course, I didn’t spend much time out there not that I had a lot of time anyway, since I was heat number 2.  The pre-race meeting gave us our instructions, there was a very nice rendition of the national anthem, we took a quick photo of all the athletes that had completed the Top Gun Tri and we were finally ready to race.

Nick’s wave went out first with mine three minutes behind.  It was completely psychological, but the buoys sure looked a lot farther than this morning, and they felt that way too.  I did not feel nearly as good as I did that morning which was obvious as I was three minutes slower.  I did end up making part of it up in T1 due to transition being staged much closer than Top Gun.  I was quickly back on my bike and headed out on the road.

My goal was the same stay above 20 mph and keep a cadence of 90-95.  Heading away from transition to the turnaround point there was a decent tail wind which helped me keep my speed up. Unfortunately, a tail wind on the way out means…yep…a head wind on the way back.  I tucked in and kept my cadence up the best I could, but I found myself falling at times to 18-19 mph which was disconcerting.  I did catch a couple of miles over 22 on the way back but it still kept my average to 19.8 mph which was ugly compared to my mornings ride.  I could make excuses as it was the wind, or the fact I had to slow down almost to a stop at the turnaround or even the fact I ran over a squirrel.  (I hear you…WHAT?)  Yeah, a squirrel darts across the street and literally runs right in front of me to where I had no other option that to run over it.  Luckily, I looked behind me and it got right up and ran just as fast to the nearest tree and climbed right up looking none the worse for wear.  Still it was no excuse, I just didn’t get the job done.

With a mile-and-a-half to go I saw the leader making the turn to the finish of the run.  All I thought was what a loser I was.  The guy only had a a minimal 3 minute head start on me and I wasn’t even finished with the bike and here he was on his way back to the finish line.  What a beast that Zach guy is. Anyway, I sped into transition changed my shoes and headed out.

It was the complete mirror image of my run earlier that day except in slow motion.  I felt like I had nothing in my legs until the turnaround and then they finally stretched out and I was able to pick up my cadence on the way back in.   I will say the sunset on the way back the finish was gorgeous as was the good amount of extra protein I ingested on the way back due to the overwhelming amount of mosquitoes.  No wonder I wasn’t that hungry after the race. Anyway, I ended up averaging around an 8:30 which was a little over a minute slower than earlier.  Oh well, in all fairness it was my second race of the day and even though I was planning on bringing my effort level down, my ego got a hold of me and that just didn’t happen.  I said it before and I will say it again…more bricks, more bricks, more bricks.

It was pretty uneventful after that.  Nick got a massage from these two women and finally understood why Scott Bragan and I have been singing Lisa Jamison’s (http://www.liftperformanceenhancement.com) praises for over a year.  in my opinion, massage should be a part of anyone’s training plan that trains hard more than 3 days a week.  We packed up, grabbed some food, Gatorade and took the long ride home.

Overall; I don’t think I would’ve wanted to spend the day any differently.  Great workouts, good friends and the feeling of accomplishment.  What could possibly be better?