Saturday, March 14, 2015

This Year's Running Calendar

This morning I am sitting in my hotel room in Washington, D.C. waiting until 9am so I can begin my weekly long run. By coincidence, today just happens to be the annual running of the Rock 'n' Roll half and full marathon in Washington and I completely missed it. I didn't find out about the event until Monday and by then it was too late to register online. There's 26,000 runners currently massing down on the national mall for a 7:30am start. A good portion my long run this week takes me around the mall and down to Arlington National Cemetery. I'll have to wait them out for a few hours, which is fine because it just happens to be pouring down rain. It's also cold and I forgot to bring my gloves on this trip.

My long run today will take me on a 12.1 mile path around our nation's capital. I'll be starting a couple blocks north of Dupont Circle at my hotel, and then down to the north side of the White House. Then, I'll continue down 15th street to the Washington monument and then east on the mall to the United States Congress. There's some nice hills around Congress, so I'll go up the north side and then run south in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to the other side of the Capital building and then turn west over the hills and head back down the mall. From there, it's all the way down the mall to the Lincoln Memorial and then across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery. From there, I'll turn around and head back to the Lincoln Memorial and then back to the Washington Monument. Then, I'll head north up 17th street back to the White House and then up to DuPont Circle to my starting point. Todays plan is to run this in zone 2 at a pace of about 11 minutes/mile. Once I'm finished I'll post a link to the run below.

So far Gail and I have three races on our calendar for the year. We're currently training for the annual Chick-fil-a Half Marathon that will run in Athens, Georgia on April 18th. After that, we'll do the Athens Half Marathon that will run on October 25th. Then our finale for the year will be the Rock 'n' Roll Half and Full Marathon in Savannah, Georgia on November 7th. While Gail will stick to the half marathon in Savannah, I'll be attempting my first full marathon on what will be just a couple of days shy of my 47th birthday.

My training regime each week includes four miles of hill work on Mondays, an easy four mile run on a track on Tuesdays, speed work on a track (either a zone 4 tempo run or intervals in zone 5) on Wednesdays, an endurance run (zone 2) on Thursdays, and a long run (zone 2) on Saturdays. Friday and Sunday are my days off. Distance for the long run follows a formula that comes from Rodale's The Runner's World Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training. I'm currently training based on heart rate zone and not pace (that's a subject for a later blog). As I think about these three events this year, I would like to finish both half marathons under 2 hours (PR is currently 1:58:26) and the full marathon under 4:30. My training plans are designed with those goals in mind.

For the next few weeks, leading up to the Chick-fil-a Half Marathon, Gail and I will run 8 miles (March 21st), 10 miles (March 28th), 8 miles (April 4th), and 6 miles (April 11th). Post-race, we'll take it easy for three weeks and then start a 16 week plan that will focus on building the necessary endurance to finish a full marathon (more on that training plan will also come in a later blog).

It's amazing, but what they say is true. That once you start long-distance running it becomes highly addictive and you can't turn off the desire to hit the road and log some miles. In fact, you begin planning your entire life around your training schedule, especially when traveling. On the road, I'm having to pack an extra bag in order to carry all my gear with me.

Here's the bag of running gear that I now travel with
So, what's the goal of all of this? Simply put, it's just to get better. To move the needle. To make progress. To set stretch goals and meet them. But doing so in a way that recognizes that real, lasting, sustained progress happens in regular increments not in quick bursts. Moving forward and maintaining momentum takes work because you can't ever, ever rest. The second you pause, atrophy sets in and momentum shifts the wrong way. Cycles are hard to break out of, both good ones and bad ones. That's why I go to bed early every night and get up hours before daybreak to go running.

This blog has always served as the forum for writing about things that I currently have as passion for. Right now, that's running. In the past it's been topics like technology, IT leadership, changes in higher education, and so on. Those topics will still pop-up from time to time, but for now you will see more about the activities I tend to plan my life around these days - and that's running. Life is a marathon, it's not a sprint.