June 27, 2014

Summer and Fall Plans

My last training / racing update was the lackluster end to the spring campaign. After a few weeks of mainly just run-commuting to/from work, I'm not quite ready to dive into training, but I'm starting to lay a mileage foundation and think about it again. I'll take a couple more easier weeks and then begin incorporating the early phase workouts in mid-July. I'm not going to try and jump the gun and rush my fitness - I think it's important to time a marathon buildup so you are hitting the race while still on an upward trajectory, instead of being in great shape but feeling like you are just hanging on.

If I feel like I'm starting to get in shape by the beginning of August and have confidence that I'm headed in the right direction, I'll stick with my original plan to run the Chicago Marathon. It's the most competitive (deepest) fall marathon at my level, and the course is ideal.

If for some reason I can't get myself going in time, the TOU / CIM double I did last Fall would be the backup plan. I love the TOU Marathon, but I don't see how I could squeeze it into "Plan A" with Chicago only 22 days later.

I'm not really planning on any target half-marathons for this summer and fall. I'll probably do a couple local races on the USATF-Utah road racing circuit (TOU 1/2 is always a favorite and this would be my 4th summer in a row running that race).

Saucony has me stocked up for logging some big summer miles...

June 12, 2014

Kinvara 5 - Best Kinvara Yet?

Isn't this a thing of beauty? It feels even better than it looks.
Sometimes it's hard to me to start the process of writing shoe reviews because I worry that people are just going to think - "well, of course he likes Saucony shoes, he runs for their team!" But I don't think I'm in the minority when I propose that the Kinvara 5 is the best iteration of this shoe yet.

Last year I had the opportunity to work with Saucony's lab as they "field tested" their prototypes of the Kinvara 5. We had lots and lots of runners wear the new models, provide feedback... then new prototypes came out, and the cycle was repeated. I can say with first-hand knowledge that Saucony really listened to what runners wanted in this Kinvara update.

The final result is something very special - I was impressed the minute I finally got to put a pair on in my size. The first word that came to mind was "luxurious." That is largely a function of the RunDry collar and PRO-LOCK fit system. The shoe fits like a racing flat, but is a little more plush - a shoe that feels fast but is suitable for everyday training. One thing I really love is that the forefoot feels just a tad bit wider - that provides a bit more room for the toes, and also a more stable platform for push-off.

I've been wearing the Kinvara since the shoe first came out. To be honest, up until this point, the original 1/2s were my favorite. I definitely really liked the 3/4s (and ran a lot in them!), but didn't necessarily love them.

Now, with the introduction of the Kinvara 5 - it's not even a contest. This new version of the Kinvara is my favorite running shoe of all-time... which is quite a statement to make after wearing them for 5 weeks, but I feel confident that assessment will hold true! Andrea agrees - she not only has worn previous versions of the Kinvara, but she also got to wear a lot of the Kinvara 5 prototype versions over the past year, and she says this is her favorite running shoe of all-time as well. We both don't even want to wear anything else on a day to day basis.

I still have Kinvara 2, 3, and 4 in my (extensive) rotation - the shoes just don't quit. But I might retire some of the older pairs now that the 5s are becoming the most desired shoe in the massive pile by our front door.

For tech specs, check the Saucony Blog: The 5th Generation of Fast

June 9, 2014

Spring Training #5 - An attempt to regroup - then the turtle icon appears!

Three straight turtle icons is bad news. Unless they are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Below are my key runs/workouts for the block of time between the Indy 500 half-marathon and the (early) termination of the Spring racing season. As I said here, it became obvious that the best-case scenario for Duluth was probably ~1:07 again, and I just didn't want to race there when I know I'm not anywhere near my best.

Week of May 5: 8K AT Tempo; 20 mile long run at Jeremy Ranch.

Week of May 12: AM 6 mile AT Tempo + PM 8 x 300m (1500); 10 x 600m (5K); 20 mile long run at Jeremy Ranch.

Week of May 19: LT Reps: 2 x 2.5 miles + 2 x 1 mile; 6 x 1000m + 6 mile AT Tempo.

Week of May 26: 20 mile LR at Jeremy Ranch; 12 x 400m; Bombed 3 x 2 mile (3 x 1); 20 mile LR at Jeremy Ranch.

Week of June 2: Bombed 15 x 1 minute fartlek; The End.

After running 1:07:00 at Indianapolis, I panicked - jacked up my mileage for no reason, lost confidence in myself, and generally fell apart. What started off as a mental hiccup turned into a physical one - my workouts got progressively slower throughout the month of May (hence the appearance of the turtle icon!). The fartlek on June 2nd was the (poison) icing on the cake - I jogged home from that one finally realizing I need to shut down my training for the spring. Compared to the rest of the training I did during the first four months of the year (post: #1 - #2 - #3 - #4) this was a very poor block of training, both in planning (ie. stupidly deviating from the plan) and execution. I got bloodwork done the day after my last bombed workout, and my Hematocrit and Ferritin were at all-time low levels.

So, a disappointing end to the spring... but I'll get back up from this. I'm going to take some downtime to re-charge mentally, then keep things very light/easy throughout June. When I feel ready to get back after it, I'll start building in July towards a fall marathon... hopefully Chicago if I can get my act back together... and run some of the local races in Utah during the summer.