Tag Archives: training

it’s just running, isn’t it?

It’s here, 2016! In terms of running, 2015 finished up with some promise, less pain and momentum to take into the new year.

My total running distance was 1256 km’s spread out over 146 runs and 135 hours. All those numbers were down from 2014, but that year was injury free, unlike the year just past. I feel I’ve recovered significantly and am looking at trying to put together a plan of action for this year.


before the snow

I see myself just getting my fitness level back up, putting some mileage and, staying injury free and possibly an easy run in a half in the spring with thoughts of a fall marathon.

I have started to use a new tracking program, SportTracks to log my data. It imports the stats from Garmin Connect but shows much more detailed analysis than GC does. I did pay a fee for this program, whereas GC is free but I was looking to get a bit more detail from my run stats. Whether I can learn from it is another thing!

I am currently trying to calculate my lactate threshold heart rate. This is the upper limit of the moderate intensity range (1), or about 85% of your maximum HR.Today I did a 30 minute treadmill run that shows my LTHR is 157 bpm. I will probably do the test again next week just to confirm the numbers. From this result I will then formulate my pace zones for training. That will be another treadmill test but I’ll wait a day or two to recover from today’s LTHR test. I have lots of data and formulas to work with and to be quite honest, it can be very confusing. The hardest part is trying to figure out whose plan suits you best based on your goals and determining at what level you are at. At my age I may be overthinking a lot of this, especially since my real marathon goal is to break 4 hours! Certainly not world class it it is my goal.


(1) Matt Fitzgerald, 80/20 Running, 2014

one down, five to go…

Week one of my “Quick Start” program is in the books. Overall, getting started was not as painful as I thought it would be. And by painful I mean the recording and entering of all the food data, not the physical part.

I purchased a FitBit Flex to assist with tracking of no running calorie usage. I have linked that to my MyFitnessPal where I enter my food intake (either on my ipad or iphone app) and then all of it feeds into my Garmin Connect account.

My routine is to use my Garmin for all running and cycling (spin) activity to get my data on distance and calories burned from those activities. I do not use my FitBit when doing these exercises but do have it on for all other activities including strength training as well as sleeping.

At the beginning of the week I started at 224 lbs and 22.6% body fat. The week ended with me at 23.4% body fat and 224.8 lb. So despite the number being up slightly, I’m not discouraged. I’m not sure how accurate my scales are when it come to the measurements, but all I ask is for consistency. I did have my weight down to 221 for a couple of days. Also, the time of year isn’t helping. Lots of “bad” food at work and around the house, parties and all the associated eating and drinking that comes with it.

I was worried about keeping track of my food intake but that seems to be okay. I have realized that portion size is very important; I don’t really need that plateful, just half of it. My big problem is that time after dinner, sitting around watching tv and more so out of habit and boredom, the need arises to put some food into my body. Do I need it? No. I am trying to meet this challenge by ignoring the urge or being very selective on what I ingest. And I try to find something to do to to take away the “eating due to boredom” syndrome.

So on to week two. I have a better understanding of what I need to do and as we move closer to Christmas, my birthday, and all of the related shenanigans, I will try and keep focused and do the best I can.

carbs, diabetes, training and adjustments…

Well, this wasn’t news I wanted to hear. After the usual blood work and testing for my yearly physical I get called back to the doc’s office. Guess what? I’m just over the baseline for being diabetic (7.1). This isn’t something new to me, I’ve always been close to the line and now I’ve gone over, but it’s not something that kept me awake at night worrying about it.

The blame, well it all rests with me. My penchant for sweets and other not good for you foods like cookies, potato chips and ice cream has finally caught up to me. It’s especially hard to grasp as I was just about ready to get started with some serious training. Of course you’re asking; well how serious could he be eating all that crap? I agree. I have been my own worst enemy.

When I asked my doctor what the best way to reduce the blood sugar number was he told me to reduce my carb intake. Since the training system I want to follow is based on carbohydrate intake to not only fuel your body for a marathon, it also works to keep your energy levels up to meet the demands of training, I’m now going to have to reassess my food consumption, dietary habits and make some hard decisions followed by defining actions. Ideally, my first decision is to immediately begin making smarter choices and to improve the quality of food I ingest. I really don’t see myself as being a calorie counter so I think just being aware of quality is a good start and seems that it would make the whole process easier to follow and maintain.

But on a good note, everything else was great with the doc!

another week, more mileage…

The week ended this morning with a 16km long slow run on a very cold, but sunny day. The temperature when we started was -26 with wind chills at -34. There didn’t seem to be much wind but it was cold enough that when you faced north you could feel the bite on your face. This was the coldest temperatures that we have faced so far this year. And actually it’s the start of a new week, not the end of one, as Sunday runs start off the new week.

Our Sunday runs start at 0830 and like most of the country I was up at 5am to watch the gold medal mens hockey game which saw us beat Sweden 3-0, I would normally have gotten up at 6am so the extra hour wasn’t any problem. It actually gave me time to have breakfast early enough to let me digest it. The run itself was very good with no issues whatsoever. My pace was 6:47 and I was able to keep my heart rate average at 125. The run time was 1:50:47. There weren’t really any walk breaks but we hit a few traffic lights that we had to stop at. When we finished, other than being pretty frosty, I had no discomfort at all. There weren’t as many people out for the group run this morning because there was a half marathon, “The Hypothermic Half” taking place in the river valley so a lot of people would have been running in it.

I don’t know if you saw this or not, but this is certainly how not to run in the winter. She was okay afterwards but boy it sure looks like she smacks her head pretty good;


Tomorrow, Monday is a rest day. It is also the day I am going to really start to try and be more aware of what I fuel my body with. I’m realizing the importance now how much proper nutrition, pre and post race, is to keeping your body going. I hope I can find the discipline to stay with this…I like my chips and cookies. Ideally I’d like to drop about 15 lbs from where I am now. It’s tough to drag 230 lbs around for a couple of hours at my age!!

So the past week saw me put in 43.5 km’s with runs of 13, 6, 10, 8 and 6 km’s. Sunday long runs will start to get longer now, Usually 2 runs of the same distance then an increase of 3 or 4 km’s for the next couple of runs and so on through the calendar.

My cardio is getting much better now that I don’t start out so fast, calves are good and I  really have nothing to complain about. Nutrition is my nemesis now!!

winters back…

After a few days of reasonably good weather, just below zero, a freeze is coming back with anticipated wind chills of -30. Not nice.

My “heart attacks” in my calves seem to be under control. Lots of ice, a bit of heat and plenty of rolling with my foam and stick.

I just picked up “The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition: A Cutting Edge Plan to Fuel Your Body Beyond “the Wall” by Matt Fitzgerald. I’m trying to focus more on the nutritional side of training and how it can assist in my actual runs. Not that I haven’t been aware of the role proper nutrition plays in fitness, I just really haven’t put a focus on it. I’m 54, 6’2″ and weigh 23o. That’s a lot of heavy to carry around for hours at a time on a consistent basis. According to the standard BMI chart…I’m obese. I wouldn’t say that. I would like to get down to 220. I just like my beer and potato chips. Carbs right?? Whats wrong with that? In all honesty, I have cut out a lot of the bad stuff, it’s just that a lot of the good stuff doesn’t taste as good as the bad. I had mentioned in an earlier post that I noticed my belt needed to be snugged up a bit more. That’s good! I usually weigh myself at the beginning of the month.

Things I’ve picked up on so far; long slow runs are meant to be just that, and I’ve backed my training down from 5 days a week to 4 just to allow my body some extra time to recover.

Here’s a photo of me (in red) just beyond the finish line of the 2008 Vancouver Marathon…Vancouver 071

My time was 4:17:29 which was a 6:07 pace. Not what I had hoped for but I had stomach issues and you don’t gain much time sitting in a port-o-pottie. One other thing I found during this race is after a hour and a half of running and sweating a lot,especially in certain crevices of the body, toilet paper doesn’t really function well where and when it should!!



still at it…

Week 2 of marathon training came to a close. In all I did 42km’s. The week had its ups and downs as it was cold and we got some snow which I’m sure affected some performance. Temperatures ranged  -12c to -19c with wind chills hitting -26c at the coldest.

I got my distances in, but I did not run on Saturday which should have been a 6km steady run. I was just to achy and tired. I think the previous two days of running, a 10k and an 8km in uneven snow put a lot of stress on my lower legs so I didn’t want to push it. Besides, Sunday, the start of week 3 was going to be a 13km long slow run.

Thursday’s run, an 8km was really tough. It seemed like I had 20 lbs. of potatoes strapped to each leg. It was hard but I got the mileage in but at a so lower pace than I wanted. I think this run, together with Friday’s 10k just wore me out

I have noticed that some of my pants are already starting to feel a bit looser around the waist. The belly; well its still there!!

Another thing I’ve noticed is that if I start out a run with a fast pace, I have a harder time getting my lungs under control. I’ll reach for air for a while until my pace and heart rate settle then I’ll try and pick up the pace a bit.

I added some new tunes to my iPod. I heard this band after seeing a crazy video of a pond hockey game that was accessible only by helicopter in the Canadian Rockies. Here’s the link to the video:

The band is called “Whoa She’s a Babe” and are out of Vancouver. I downloaded their EP from iTunes and now its part of my running tunes. I like their sound, it’s good running music!

As for the calf issues, I seem to be able to control any problems. Lots of ice, rolling and a little less stretching of that area. The ache is still noticeable and there but it certainly is not the debilitating pain I’ve experienced in the past.

So week 3 begins with no issues to really bring forward. The weather is supposed to warm up a bit for a week to just below freezing which also brings with it it’s own own set of related problems.

See you down the road.

my running history…

I have been running for several years. I got serious in January 2002 when I decided to run the Vancouver Marathon that coming May. It would be my first race. I completed it in 4:01:04…a number that haunts me to this day.

A funny thing happened after this marathon, I never wanted to ever run again. It took so much out of me. The training leading up to it was difficult and I was able to finish the marathon but it knocked the crap out of me! I think I probably didn’t run for a year or so, I don’t really recall, but eventually I did get back into it.

I probably ran off and on for the next few years but never had a desire to runs another marathon. Part of that is I am a much better cold weather runner than a warm or hot weather runner. Our marathon here in Edmonton usually is a summer run which means training thru the spring and early summer. Running Vancouver, the training starts in January into the spring.

So eventually I decided to try and run Vancouver again, in 2008. Off I went and trained and completed the race in 4:17:29. Not what I was hoping for. I had some stomach issues that I couldn’t overcome but I did finish.

3:59:59!! Thats my goal. I never realized how close I was in my first marathon. It’s bothered me to this day that I never broke the 4 hour mark. It’s my nemesis.

After 2008 I continued running, as much as I could but without any real direction. Then the injury bug hit. Lots of calf problems which limited my running. I tried acupuncture, chiropractic, Scotch and massage. I never really seemed to get over it.

Then in 2010 I started to run better, pain free to a degree and the year was going good. I decided to try and 1/2 marathon here in Edmonton. I ran it and finished in 1:54:57 which surprised me and gave me hope of a sub 4 hour full marathon. About two months after the half was when I really got hit by the injury bug. And it stayed around for a long time. If you look at my running summary you’ll see lots of gaps after June of 2010, and what runs are there are not very long or frequent.

Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis!! Some days I could barely get out of bed, get down the stairs or walk. I tried hot yoga, but I found it just made the problem worse, stretching everything beyond its capabilities. I tried heel cups. They wanted me to try orthotics. I saw specialists. Surgery was discussed. Then an off chance discussion with a fitness instructor where I work led me to relief after a long period of pain and not running (I’ll save this for another post).

I started slowly getting back into it after doing some exercises and continued on for a while. Then I had a relapse of the AT and PF because I stopped doing the simple exercises that had made me able to run again. Once I got back on the ball (literally!), I was able to run on a consistent basis around August of 2012.

2013 was a good year although the end of that period was a bit tough. 2014 has started out very good and as I have mentioned I am in training to run another marathon in early June. So far I have been able to maintain the training pace (knock on wood, tapping my head). The training distances are more prescribed compared to what I had been running prior to the training but everything is going well. I have a couple of little aches and pains but I think that is due to the longer distances I’m running and the higher frequency of 6 days a week.

Below is my running summary since 2010. You can see that there are some large gaps and even some of the recorded times and distances don’t amount to much during certain periods.

Hope you enjoyed this post and watch for more.