A nice step up

6.0 mi | 8:11 avg pace | 207 avg power

2017-10-31 10_51_18-Morning Run _ Strava_8minx2with3minrecov.png

The workout: 8:00 x 2 @ 235-250 watts.

Typically Coach has me running 3 reps at this time length interval but since I’m coming off a race and I’m training with new zones, I assume we are easing into these workouts.

What a workout! It felt so productive. It felt, to me, like a BQ-quality workout. And the paces reflect that.

I was in no way overwhelmed by the pace but it was definitely a step up. I probably could have done another rep but I’m all about following the plan because I knew my warm up and cool down would be faster than usual.

When comparing this workout to the same workout (but with 3 reps) from 3 weeks ago and 2 weeks ago, a few things stood out:

  • I ran today at an equivalent, if not lower heart rate than those efforts despite the faster paces. That’s a good sign. I don’t ever monitor HR inside of a run but I’ll take a look at it afterwards for giggles (as long as it’s a clean HR profile and no erroneous spikes).
  • Today’s paces were faster by at least 10-15 seconds than the previous 2 workouts.

My form felt sharp. Like I said above, this felt productive.

Unfortunately the weather around here has been really poor. Lots of rain, wind and cooler temperatures. Under those circumstances, I will run indoors on the high quality treadmills I have access to. I will not torture myself for the sake of proving some phony toughness. Eventually the weather will improve.

Really curious how my faster workout this week will feel where I have to hit the Zone range between 250-260 watts. If today’s workout is any indication, this next one should be an ass kicker. Those reps are 3:00 long (thankfully) and only 4 of them this week, it appears.

I imagine both rep counts will go back up to normal counts next week. This is a great intro to them.

It got me thinking about the Turkey Trot, my next race, and how much improvement I can show there. I really consider this past 5K a rust buster. I think I’ll be sharper in late November and ready to let it fly because folks, I have no shot at winning that one!

 

 

 

Definitely felt faster

5.1 mi  Distance / 45:03 Moving Time / 8:40/mi  Pace

2017-10-30 14_02_54-New Zones. Def faster! Felt good. _ Run _ Strava

Prior 3 Monday’s average pace for the same run in Zone 1C: 9:17, 9:14, 9:34.

Today’s run reflects my updated Zones and it felt damn good. I liked how open my stride felt. And the miles did tick by that much faster (my only complaint of the previous Zone 1 runs was how long it took, or at least my perception of how long it took).

My previous Zone 1 runs felt really easy and maybe that’s exactly what I needed during that time.

I’m really happy with how the first month worked out with Coach Palladino. I feel like it was a conservative approach but the right approach considering I was coming off Erie Marathon. My body needed that approach and now I feel fully recovered and recharged.

I feel like we are in a good spot to get things rolling moving forward. Tomorrow’s workout will be a fun and challenging one.

I’m pretty excited about putting the work in for the next month or so until the next race (turkey trot) and we’ll see what happens on that day. The ever optimistic side of me feels like I can improve upon this past weekend’s race performance and set the bar even higher.

New training zones set

old_vs_new_training_zones

Notes:

FTP (Functional Threshold Power) Changes:

9/12/2017:  233W / 3.53W/kg                         10/28/2017:  250w / 3.93W/kg

Average Power for yesterday’s race was 258, so just a bit shy of my goal of being above 260. RE turned out to be 1.02.

As you can see, the zones have all gone up. The zone I’ve run the most in is Zone 1C, often times around 183ish watts. Now I’ll be running anywhere from 188 to 205 watts most days. Big difference. Coach quipped:

Your work just got a bit tougher

And he threw in one of those smiley faces with a wink. I think he likes to torture me already. He did seem pretty excited that my mFTP (This is the estimated / modeled FTP supplied by the Power Duration Model in WKO4 – the software he uses) went up to 250 watts. When Coach uses multiple exclamation marks, I know he’s pumped up.

Here’s my schedule for the week. A bit nervous to see how these workouts will feel. Heck, even my easy runs are going to be a step up. Whatever it takes to get to Boston, baby.

2017-10-29 19_32_11-Bill Zdon Training and Racing Plan - Google Docs

The only concern we have at this point is some data spikes we’ve seen with my Stryd pod. I have contacted Stryd about the issue. Interestingly enough, it’s only occurred on my outdoors runs; not on my treadmill stuff.

Next race: Turkey Trot 8K (11/23/2017)

Up next on the bloggy blog: Core work!

The Bulldog Dash 5K Recap

What to freakin’ say about this one.

Lets start with the good stuff. I took 1st place overall. Mind you, it was a smaller race and last year’s time gave me a hint that I’d have a shot at winning if a similar crop of runners showed up. That never happens though, right? So in my mind, a top 3 spot seemed more likely.

I’ll share the story of the race in just a bit but let me say this – yes, it wasn’t a fast race nor was it a large one but this was a bucket list goal of mine: to win a 5K. My son saw me twice (thanks to his awesome Papa for watching him and bringing him out to see me) and gave me the biggest smile ever.

Years ago, I recall looking up my grandpa’s times for the local turkey trots he’s done. He’s no longer with us but that was such a cool thing when I found his name on the old race results on a local site that keeps track of that stuff.

One day my son can see that his Dad won a race. That’s pretty cool (because there’s a good chance I may never win another one!).

Before the race, as we bunched up by the starting line I was checking out the competition. Lots of younger kids (not the ones you’d be worried about) were at the front. Then came another younger dude, with a XC hoodie on (the one you’d be worried about).

I thought, “uh oh.” His name was Connor. I only know this because the kids were raving about him and asking him all sorts of questions and even chanting his name! I thought, “fuck you Connor.” (just kidding, I love you man). He was the only one who looked like he was on one of the running teams so I figured he’d be a 16 minute racer.

I was unusually anxious and nervous before the gun went off. My expectations were super high. Even on my best day, could I live up to them was the question?

I knew the course fairly well after warming up on the first half of it. We shot out and I felt pretty good. I took the lead after running the tangents like a pro (a first for me!).

I wondered who would shoot ahead of me. Nobody responded. I didn’t bother looking back – it was way too early.

Mile 1 ticks off. I see something like 6:23. Hmm. Not bad but I honestly felt like I just ran a 6:15 mile. I can live with 6:23 though.

Photo Oct 28, 10 34 40 AM

At this point I was running by feel and making sure I was above 260 watts and that I was. I guess that’s why I expected a better split there.

The coolest part of being in the lead? Having the cop car in front of you lead the way. It just felt cool. More on this son of a buck in a bit.

This was the point my main competition emerged. A guy who was in the 20-24 age group was appearing in my peripheral.

This was also the point where I saw my father in law and son. Pretty neat for them to see me in the lead, especially my FIL. I knew this had to provoke many thoughts, like “hold on dude!” But he’s been in many, many races and he knew there was a lot of race left.

Photo Oct 28, 10 34 47 AM

We head down Charlotte Avenue and I know exactly where we are going and what to expect with the little undulations.

He’s literally on my right shoulder now. We turn down a street that has a little decline. I’ve done half mile repeats on this street many a time. I push going down these declines because I know that was the time to do it. He’s definitely not as close.

So here’s the real interesting part of the story.

I had to email the race director for a course map since they didn’t have one online.

Check this out:

2017-10-28 17_35_47-Bulldog Race route [Protected View] - PowerPoint

That little segment inside the red circle is what changed this year. The person noted in the email that instead of doing that rectangle , just make a right on Hunt Ave (highlighted part).

Well guess what the cop car did? It went the old way. The wrong way.

I had to make a decision at this point. I was told the new way was to go down Hunt Avenue. I had the 2nd place guy right on my tail. If I go rogue here and go right, will he? Or would he have followed the cop car and assumed I was either wrong or trying to take a shortcut? And had I done that, would it have created confusion among the other races behind us? The best case for all of us was to accept that the course would go longer and avoid all of that mess and just follow the cop car.

This is the problem with an uncertified course. I tried finding a certified one to fit in my schedule but it just didn’t happen. Lesson learned.

I told race officials afterwards what the cop car did and they chuckled. One person said as long as everyone ran that way, it doesn’t matter. Here I am thinking, yes it does matter! I want to run really hard for 3.1 miles, not any longer. At the end of the day, that’s just what you may have to deal with on an uncertified course.

So where was I? Alright. we are approaching Mile 2 and my watch goes off with a 6:3X split. Argh, how did I slow down? I didn’t obsessively monitor my power. I occasionally checked if I was above my personal power goal of 260 watts and I was close to that line most of the mile. Oh well – time to kick it up for the last mile.

Shortly after this point, I saw my father-in-law and son again and this time I was definitely ahead of my main competition by a few feet. I couldn’t hear a lot of what he was saying but my FIL definitely shouted “Finish it, Bill!!” He was screaming other words of encouragement as I passed and I have to admit – it gave me a hell of a boost. I just had to hang on for a little bit longer.

My big goal was get to 2.5 miles and lay the hammer down. Bury him.

Before I knew it, 2.5 miles arrived and I said, OK it’s go time. I tried picking it up just a bit more and this is where I put some distance between me and my main competitor.

2.75 was the next time I checked my watch. I told myself, run a fast 400 meters, dude! Once I get to 3 miles, I can sprint home. Well, the strategy worked except for one thing – I had a little more to run than .1. Instead the final distance was 3.23.

I admit – I kept peaking behind my right shoulder to see if he closed the gap any. I was worried. I didn’t have a ton of juice left in my legs. I really didn’t want to have to dig even more than I did. Thankfully, he was just far enough behind for me to realize that I was going to win this thing. It felt really incredible for a few moments.

And the clock didn’t work at the finish line so I had no idea what I ran in that time frame initially. Shortly after someone said 20:54.

That’s nowhere near my goal or prediction. But the extra distance does count for something. According to Strava, I hit the 3.1 mark around 20:09 so I was still well off the mark from my goal.

Here are the splits:

strava_splits

So here I was, totally conflicted after I crossed the line. On one hand, I just won the race. I think that definitely impacted how I ran. I was so focused on that as opposed to a time goal but… I was running as fast as I could so it’s not like I was being strategic and costing either of us time. I think I was mostly disappointed by the extra distance. And if I’m being real – I was pissed I didn’t run faster splits. I need to be faster dammit!

I cooled down for a few miles and the awards began. Found out I won a signed game-ball by LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills. Check it out.

Photo Oct 28, 1 32 14 PM

I feel like I have a lot more to write about this one but I’m going to leave it here for now. I really feel like I have a lot more to give and the best has yet to come. I’m never satisfied after a race. I need to run a hell of a lot faster to even think I’m ready for a BQ.

I’m really curious about what power I averaged for the race, and my RE and how this changes my power zones. Let’s just say Coach sent me an interesting message that I will share tomorrow. Hopefully I will have the answers to all of this and how close am I to a BQ.

My expectations for my first race with Coach Palladino

3.0 mi  Distance / 27:37 Moving Time / 9:06/mi  Pace

Tomorrow is my first race under the tutelage of Coach Palladino.

This is not an A-caliber race as a 5K (for me) never ranks that high. The marathon will always be my peak race, until I can’t race them.

But it IS a race and I rarely do them for a few reasons. I find that with space, it gives each one more meaning and a better reason to give every inch of effort (wait, we don’t measure effort by inches…or do we?) for that PR. Plus, racing all the time is one of the least effective ways to improve. I’ve seen it time and time again with local age groupers to sub-elites to the professionals. Most of the time it’s obvious who’s reaching their potential and who isn’t.

So even though it isn’t at the level of what Buffalo Marathon will be, it is still pretty important for me to show up and put in a hell of a performance.

Here are my thoughts, expectations and goals for this 5K and I’ll mention a few things Coach has said to me about it.

First, it should be noted that my 5K PR is 19:50 from last year (around May). I never thought I’d break 20 minutes at the time. It was one of my very early bucket list goals as a runner. Of course the standard has to be higher now for me and I know what I’ll have to run to be in Boston shape and in my estimation, the day I run in the 18’s for a 5K is the day I’ll be close.

I was in really good shape and I had some fierce (but friendly) competition at the time. I won’t have that same competition tomorrow (I’m sure others much faster will be there but I’m talking about a different kind of competition). What I lack in that tomorrow will be made up for by the pressure I feel to do well.

For one, I really want to see what I’m capable of at this point. Anything less than a PR will be a disappointment. The course is flat enough. The weather, well, hopefully it’ll cooperate. The only thing I see is some wind but just as long it’s not strong enough to slow me down, I’m fine with it. The temps look great (high 40s, low 50s).

I’m also curious how this will affect my training zones. Will they change if I crush expectations? Will they stay the same? Will they lower if I don’t live up to my expectations? Time will tell.

For the most part my training zones have felt about right. But a race really helps determine your appropriate fitness level. I really love running in Zone 1C as it feels pretty easy but at the same time I need to see progress if I’m ever going to get that BQ goal and if that is not 100% accurate, I’m fine with whatever it has to be to see that progress. (Although I do believe there is no such thing as running too easy. Matt Fitzgerald agreed with this thought as well.)

Another radically different approach for me is going by power tomorrow. I used to race and obsessively monitor my lap pace or HR. I haven’t looked at HR (on my run) in months. It’s too unreliable (future post on this subject upcoming).

So let me share a few cool things from Coach.

2017-10-23 08_32_58-Facebook

Feels good to be mentioned with his other athletes! Not sure I belong there but I love it. And yes, I feel the need to impress Coach with a solid performance. This is one of the intangible benefits of having a coach – the extra motivation to make them proud of the work you’ve done.

Here is a screenshot of this week which included the power goal for the race.

2017-10-23 09_05_38-Bill Zdon Training and Racing Plan - Google Docs

As you can see, the goal on Saturday is set to average over 253 watts. For perspective, most of my workouts are below that so this will be nothing short of an ass kicker. Heck, even hitting that workout on Tuesday (235ish watts per rep) was not easy. This will be quite interesting. I hope race day adrenaline allows me to hit that power goal without much issue. I know it’s going to hurt and I’ve already accepted that.

Before giving me the schedule, Coach added:

I have loaded next week’s training. A bit of a taper to set up a solid 5K effort to allow us to see if there are new training zones.

A mini taper! I’m so used to running higher mileage that this almost cracked me up but I will follow the orders and come into this race with fresh legs. Good to know he’s anticipating the potential for new training zones as well.

Also, here’s some insight from Coach about what it will take to PR:

BTW, Depending on wind and hills on race day, I have you pegged for RE of 1.02 on a flat, low wind course. 260W and RE of 1.02 gives you a new PR, ~19:48.

Accuweather shows the wind at 12-14mph. The course is basically a rectangle. so I’ll have some of that wind against my back at some point.

When I first saw this from him, I can’t lie – I was thrown aback. Why? PR’ing at any distance is a nice accomplishment – what was I expecting? Was I thinking in the back of my head that Coach was going to call for a :30 PR? I’m not sure. Days later, I appreciate the realistic nature of this “prediction.” Maybe I hoped 260 watts would lead to a better time. Maybe it could? There’s only one way to find out.

I was a little fired up for today’s run thinking about the race. Coach told me 2-3 miles with four 50m accelerations and 1 minute at 235 watts (which seems like a really random pairing but I trust the process). Of course I chose 3 miles. And for once, I felt like a gazelle on those accelerations. My legs felt strong, my stride felt open and I felt light. I just felt good.

Check out the accelerations:

2017-10-27 13_05_03-Little fired up for tomorrow. 4 accelerations + 1_00 @ 235 watts _ Run _ Strava

As you can see, even on the 1 minute @ 235 watts (I think I averaged 239 watts), I’m not hitting 6:40 pace. Makes me wonder where 260 watts will put me at!

Speaking of light, I am about as lean as I’ve ever been. Muscle mass is in good order as well. I doubt I’ve ever raced a 5K in this type of shape. It can only help so much though. It comes down to leg turnover, lung capacity, grit, mental toughness among other things.

My hope is I can give it my all and leave it all on the table leaving no doubt this was the best I could give. Oh, you wanted a prediction too? Alright, fine. 19:39.

Up next: Bulldog Dash 5K results.

 

Practicing patience with a water filter

5.9 mi  Distance / 54:43 Moving Time / 9:15/mi  Pace

Picture this. You drink a lot of water. You prefer to drink it through your relatively new water filter that you installed on your faucet a few months back (saving the world 1 less water bottle at a time).

There’s only 1 catch. It is agonizingly slow. Like filling a kid’s pool with a hose. Like waiting for a toilet to finish its flushing cycle so you can flush it again (oh quit pretending like this isn’t a thing).

I could just use regular tap water but then why the hell did I buy this filter? (Plus, you can’t go back to tap water after drinking filtered water). The only solution is to practice patience.

So I sit there; thinking of the many things I could be doing (prepping tomorrow’s run bag, switching laundry, writing a blog, prepping tomorrow’s lunch etc). But then it hit me the other day… make that noise that yogis make. OM!

Did you know Om is also considered to be the sound of silence, the silence within yourself that allows you to tune out your thoughts and listen to the world within and around you?

Maybe we need more of that as runners. Ok, maybe I need more of that. Oh I definitely do. Too often I’m listening to a podcast, chatting on Voxer or fiddling with my phone looking over Twitter and Instagram or our Facebook Group.

Rarely do I just stop in my tracks and appreciate the moment that is. Sometimes it’s because of anxiety and sometimes it’s because of the world we live in.

So from here on out, I will not dread the moment I have to fill a glass of water with my water filter. I will patiently wait. I will tune out my anxious thoughts and listen to the world within me. Aight?

Today’s run is my first attempt to just appreciate the moment. One thing about easy paced runs for me lately is I tend to just want to get them over with. I’m not sure why. I love running easy. I always have. But lately, I’ve been digging the workouts. They seem to fly by. Thankfully, today I really enjoyed my easy run.

Coach wanted me to do a little mini-taper this week so I could go into the 5K with fresh legs so this week feels extra easy. Tomorrow is another easy 5 miles with some accelerations thrown in. I can’t wait to write more about this race…

Up next: My questions, expectations and thoughts about my first race under Coach Palladino!

Technical Difficulties

5.4 mi  Distance / 47:56 Moving Time / 8:49/mi  Pace (Tuesday)

Workout: 5 x 4:00 @ 232-237 watts, 3:00 recovery

It’s inevitable. Technical issues are going to happen. I’ve been fearing the day my Stryd power meter acts up. Most other gadgets would’ve failed in some way by now but to Stryd’s credit, up until today it’s been flawless.

Up until today, I said.

I noticed at the beginning of my run that it was not recording power. It was showing a big fat 0 in my average power data field. I immediately stopped and discarded the run and started it back up (because without power, I couldn’t do this workout with much accuracy). It then showed power like I expected so off I went.

I had to do my only workout of the week (race week!). It was much windier than I expected. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the freakin’ wind!

The session went reasonably well. 234ish watts felt harder than I thought. Much harder. Maybe it was the wind.

But then my watch got a little goofy in combination with Stryd. On the 3rd and 4th reps, my power spiked really high and skewed the average for the lap. So then I had to guestimate my power for the rest of the lap. I was off though because when the meter worked like normal on the 5th rep, it felt much faster and harder than my previous 2 reps.

Disappointing. Coach confirmed it was all over the place for a few reps. No big deal as long as it’s a 1 time rare occurrence. He asked if I could send the Garmin fit file over so we’ll see if that helps.

Why does it matter? If you remember, all of my runs are entered into Coach’s software he uses to analyze my data and shape my power curve (which helps shape my training).

I really hope it isn’t windy on Saturday for the 5K! (And I really hope I don’t have any technical difficulties)

Paid the price

5.5 mi  Distance / 51:08 Moving Time / 9:17/mi  Pace (Monday)

I paid the price for my sins of eating like a fool over the weekend. It started with an enormous amount of pizza/wings/ice cream/cake/apple pie on Saturday (but damn, it was all amazing!) and I followed it up with an equally impressive performance on Sunday with far too many cookies topping off a huge dinner. Literally almost a full carton of cheap cookies. I lost control, I admit.

Not only had my weight shot up on race week but more important…my stomach. My freakin’ stomach. I just can’t eat like that without repercussions.

By the end of this easy run, my stomach had enough. It was ready to blow.

I haven’t had this feeling in quite some time. I’ll spare you the details but I was able to finish the run (barely). There’s kind of a funny story about it but I’ll share that another time (maybe). It was a reminder that I have to avoid back-to-back days of eating like a pig. I really like running without that feeling because it almost ruined an otherwise good run.

Finishing off the week with my son

5.7 mi  Distance / 53:55  Moving Time / 9:25/mi  Pace

As I mentioned yesterday the heavy lifting for the week was done. All checks deposited. My last run of the week would be an easy Zone 1C run and likely with my son in a jogging stroller.

The only other options were to wake up super early before my wife has to get ready for work and do the running in the dark thing or I could hit up my crappier home treadmill while my son naps. Neither idea had much sex appeal, to be honest. I wanted to sleep in, dammit!

So after a morning of plotting how I’d use the rest of my time since we had a birthday party to host later in the afternoon, I took my son Big O out around 9AM when it was warm enough to head out.

When we first woke up it was still in the 40s. I figured I’d wait until it hit the 50s before heading out the door.

It was nice. He enjoyed every mile before falling asleep during the last mile, well before his usual nap time. I didn’t bother trying to rush home. In fact, I should have just extended the run because he was out cold and the odds of transferring him from the stroller to his bed without him waking up were low (all parents can relate to this).

I really got into the run with about a mile to go, zig zagging throughout the neighborhood side streets that were pretty quiet for a Saturday morning. I had debated many different routes but ultimately just played it as safe as I could without crossing any major streets.

Hitting my power goal of at least 180 watts was actually harder than I thought during that first mile but every mile after got easier. Running with a jogging stroller isn’t my favorite thing in the world but it sure as hell beats the alternative(s).

Sure enough, when we got home, I tried to transfer my son to my arms and in the rocking chair where I would give him just a little more bottle to get him back to sleep. But no luck, he awoke during the process of taking him out of the stroller. I basically wasted an hour after that rocking him! Oh well.

That wraps up my running week. Another good week in the books. Had to mix things around a bit but it all worked out, I felt.

I will likely be doing my long run during the week again as I will be racing in a 5K next Saturday. I’m stoked to see what I can do there. I really have no idea what time I’ll run.

Hope Coach doesn’t mind

It’s one of those weeks where things just have to get juggled around.

For example, I did my long run on Thursday morning because my father-in-law (and normal “sitter”) is running in a local race on Saturday so he can’t watch my son for a few hours. Plus we have a birthday party in the afternoon so it’s not like I can wait until he was done. The best option was just to get the long run over with during the week. (Sidenote: Whenever my FIL can watch his grandson, I never take it for granted! If he’s got a race or big training run going on, I’d rather him not worry about me but he will always try to figure out a way to make it happen for the both us. Much love!)

I was still left with one more dilemma. When would I do my fastest (V02Max+) workout (that would normally happen on Thursday)? I’ve been self-coached since I started running. I’ve always believed in putting an easy day between your hard days and your long runs. It’s training 101. You need time to recover.

Well, I went against my thinking, and I’m sure, Coach’s thinking as well.

I could not attempt that workout while watching my son. Trying to do that with a jogging stroller would be counter productive and potentially dangerous. And trying it on my crappier home treadmill when he’s napping sounds awful. Easy running is the only running I can do while with my son.

I only had 1 choice and that was do the workout today, a day after my long run.

But I was totally cool with that because my legs felt fine after Thursday. They weren’t sore in the least bit. Plus I would do the workout at my lunch hour, extra time to recover if I needed it.

I just hate going rogue on Coach. It’s not my style. Hopefully he doesn’t mind. I fill out notes on the notepad app and tell Coach of any worthy details. I tried to explain my line of thinking for today just so he understands why I did it this way.

The workout went well. The weather was perfect. Just barely 60 and sunny with hardly any wind.

Sometimes I go into these workouts thinking they’re cake. Then I’m quickly reminded how I do have to work a bit to hit my power range target of 245-250 watts. They’re certainly not easy. My first rep was an eye opener. I started way too slow and had to pick it up on the back end. After that, I was pretty consistently hitting my range without issue.

Here are the lap details:

Photo Oct 20, 12 53 26 PM

Just one easy run left for the week! The heavy lifting has been done and I can deposit another week in the bank. Looking forward to a pretty chill weekend. Next weekend is the 5K so I’m sure things will be moved around again.

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