Wednesday, September 1, 2010

5k Tempo, Stretching, A Coach

TEMPO: Like last week, I added a whopping 1k to my tempo run today and then got disappointed but was actually running well.

Today's tempo was a 6:55 pace (11:05 per mile):  A one second improvement over a week ago having added 1 k to the run this week.  (I also counted this time as a re-run of BerryFine's virtual 5k race I ran on Friday.)

week ago
2 weeks ago
3 weeks ago
4 weeks ago
5 weeks ago
0.5 k
1.0 k
1.5 k
2.0 k
2.5 k
3.0 k
3.5 k
4.0 k
4.5 k
5.0 k

I've been tracking my workouts on a spreadsheet and here's the data in graph form (you can find the spreadsheet on my progress tab):

Basically it shows a lot of things [like I know how to use excel] but the blue line is my pace line with the axis on the left.  While the red line is the distance run per day with the axis on the right.  To confirm what a common wisdom says [Adam R @ The Boring Runner] the more miles you put on in the endurance runs the better your tempo times will be.  Basically in the last two weeks (8 days of running), my pace for the long runs has marched down, and the pace for my 5k distance has been stable (even though I have added at least 2 km to it in that period).  I'm tempted to run more awesome distances on Friday's and Monday's but I have time constraints.  In terms of my pace and running a San Diego Master Athlete [Chris K @ BQ or Die] has given me a lot of info on running the right pace for the Tempo, Endurance and EZ runs based on your target race speed.  I've actually only been running since June 15, 2010 so I have found the right people to ask!


STRETCHING: I've been asking about stretching because all the runners I talk to have a slightly different opinion about stretching.  So in the last few days, I've received a number of great emails and posts about stretching and would like to include this very good piece written by a B.S. in Exercise Science and an A.S. in Physical Therapy [Kiesha @ Fitness Junky].  I quote at length [but leave out the "I'm a huge fan, I've been following your blog for years, You are simply awesome" - because she didn't write it]:

  • As for stretching, there are HUGE benefits that come from keeping your muscles from getting short as long as it's done correctly. The biggest mistake people can make is stretching a cold muscle. This does much more damage than good and can cause or make an injury worse. You'de be better off NOT stretching than to stretch a cold muscle.
  • Before stretching go for a run (not a sprint), take a warm bath, use a hot pad, ride a get the idea. THEN move ahead with your stretching routine. (FYI - I never stretch before a run) By keeping your muscles lengthened you can prevent tearing or pulling a muscle, you can increase your stride length by keeping your hamstring, groin, and calve muscle groups stretched, and if you do stumble awkwardly during a run (stupid pot holes) you'll be less likely to pull some wierd muscle you never knew about. Plus, later in years when your muscles start to atrophy due to the "circle of life" you'll be glad you've had a head start by keeping your muscles lengthened. Most of the elderly I've worked with who have given up on walking have tight heel chords (attachment from calves) or balance problems associated with a muscle imbalance from tightness.

Here's a few things that I find is in tune FOR ME.  Other runners may differ.  I like the idea [like is a bad word ... maybe I have observed] of things shrinking when you get older.  And stretching them to keep them well, stretched!  She actually had this post on her blog, but I did not see it [I had my head in the fridge looking for pudding]


COACH: Thanks for that great response on my last post on Monday about a Coach.  I am like many of you and don't like someone telling me what to do.  I also want to experiment and learn about my abilities and the natural way I tackle running.  So to many of your points I don't need a Coach right now.  In terms of motivation to run - people! I need to be held back!  I have not missed one run day, hot, rainy, thundering, full of food, hungry - it doesn't matter.  I can't believe I have become so addicted to this movement "through space".  So the Coach for me would be a source of wisdom and knowledge about developing me into the runner I want to be.

So the last thing is what do I want to accomplish with running?  I want to run faster and I want to run in races - say 6 5k races a year.  I say 5k because I don't believe I have the time to train more for longer distances.  How much faster?  Well faster than the world record!  But first I need to follow the plan and be patient and run my first race.


Kruns2 said...

Hey Andrew. Great post! You're mileage is growing and your pace is ticking "away". I think your self-coaching is doing just fine. Thanks for the shout-out!

Quinton J said...

Great improvements...keep it up. Tempo runs are tough increasing the distance even a bit is a sign of progress. Also great work with excel.

Kandi said...

I bet you could find time to train for a 10k once you get a few 5ks under your belt. ;)

Caratunk Girl said...

Self coaching is working great for you it seems!! You are ready for the 10K. Get some 5K's under your belt for confidence, but you can do it.

You are the Excel MAN!

Colin Hayes said...

It sounds like you have the right approach and right attitude.

I agree w/the stretching ideas you posted. I'm terribly tight & inflexible, so it's a must for me (I never stretch before running, either).

BTW, I'm also an Excel junkie. You should see my running spreadsheet(s). Talk about excess!

The Boring Runner said...


The Boring Runner said...

hehe, just wanted to be able to say I've left a "." comment as per your blurb. :)

You're REALLY clicking away! Your speed is getting faster and your mileage is exploding. Nice work.

Unknown said...

Seems like things are working out for you pretty well right now. Just keep doing what you're doing!

Doug said...

Andrew, you are doing great! You keep going and going. Isn't it great to see the work paying off? I can't wait to see how you do on your 5k in a few weeks.

Teamarcia said...

I am beyond impressed with your charts and graphs! You are progressing nicely.

Christina said...

I DO read your blog. And you are a genius with the charts and graphs! I'm very impressed.

Girls put photos of little stuff here and there, boys plaster graphs and charts and Excel documents. :)

I find that my monthly mileage is pretty consisent, +/- 5 miles or so. The months when I "slacked" was when my knee was not cooperating. Hopefully, those days are long gone. We'll see.

SO the modem at the house isn't working and the A/C at the boyfriend's office isn't working. Sweating it out here trying to get work done and trying to read blogs. Not too pleasant.

The Green Girl said...

I'm also one of those people who has to stretch before they run. I just make sure I've been up and walking before I stretch so I'm not stretching cold muscles.

Chris K said...

Andrew, when you say "Master" certainly you are speaking to age, not skill. Right? You are rocking and rolling, keep it up. The only reason I recommended a Coach is because it seemed alot of people were giving you advice, including yours truly. I didn't think you'd be able to process it all, but now I realize that you are walking super computer.

Neil Zee said...

I like looking for, and eating pudding too. Probably too much. And I never stretch near the fridge. Never.

Johann said...

Impressive graphs, well done with the great progress!

I never really stretch but when I do it’s only after a run. At least I’ve got that part right. I also never warm up. I’m so slow I just start my run and warm up during the first few kms.

Keep up the great motivation and not missing runs. This will be very beneficial when you have to miss a run some day. It won’t matter to miss it then.

Irene said...

Yep. Never stretch cold muscles! Nice graphs, but most of all it's the progress! Woohoo!

Lucas R. Tucker said...

great job on the improvements.

wendy said...

Running is SO addictive! You are going to rock your first race and honestly it doesn't matter if you are in the front, back or middle of the pack. As long as you run your own race, you are going to love it! And, you never, ever forget your first time : )

BTW, the swim part of the race is brutal! My legs are all bruised up from being kicked and hit! At one point I wanted to yell at them: "DO NOT TOUCH ME ANYMORE!!!!! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!" Seriously, I will never hit anyone while I am running, lol!

gmontalvo13 said...

like the stretching ideas. foam rolling is also a good one! love it!

check out my blog, you've received an award! :)

Zaneta @ Runner's Luck said...

thanks for the well wishes for my twin! I do not know how her coworker is doing... i think she's still at the hospital getting treatment...

Emz said...

You charts/graphs make my brain hurt.

Am I the only one who sees horses in that graph??

5 Miles Past Empty said...

Well, you didn't say you wanted to set a world record! Of course you need a coach then...Duh!

Lucas R. Tucker said...

Tagged you in a game on my blog.

Jill said...

Nothing wrong with a coach :).
(hope you got my email)

Wow, in only a few months since you've been running, you are making vast improvements - excellent! Oh the places you can go!!!

Adrienne said...

Your graphs make you look really smart. Now I want to put some on my blog and see if that helps me get smarter. Once upon a time I used excel but that was pre-kids in my other life. You have only been running since June? And yet you are totally solid. NICE. Great job!