Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Whole Training Program

As it stands now.  Here Is the outline:

1. Sessions of walk/run, each session comprising 6 walk/run intervals of 5 to 10 minutes, with the run portion increasing by one half minute every three or four sessions.  I'm at 2 minutes of running per interval now.  Sessions are separated by a rest day, and by two rest days after  every three sessions. Start each session with stretches and walking.

2. Regular core exercises and stretches, three or four times per week.  So far, my therapist Katie has prescribed these exercises:
a. Single leg bridge, 30 - 50 reps, each leg.
b. Double leg bridge, 30 - 50 reps.
c. Hip abduction (clam shell) 30 - 50 reps, each side.
d. Stand on one foot for 60 seconds, other foot not touching, 2 reps, each foot.
e. Calf stretch for 60 seconds, 2 reps, each calf.

3. Regular upper-body exercises:
a. Bicep curls.
b. Tricep extension.
c. Low rows.
d. Lateral pulldown.

4. Weight loss.  I'm a 14-year Weight Watchers lifetime member, so that is the system that I will use.  It works if I stick to it.  In addition, I'm temporarily skipping my daily bottle of beer at dinner.  Started at 170.8 pounds on Monday.

The walk/run sessions are easiest for me - I love to walk and run, and have been doing those regularly since December 31.  Core exercises are not so much fun - I've done them a few times, but I'm still looking for a way to fit them comfortably into my life.

I don't think that Katie cares as much about the upper-body exercises - she may have listed those because I raised the subject, and I haven't started them yet.  I have purchased materials for a chinning bar, yet to be installed.

Katie hasn't said one word about weight loss, nor have I, but I was 20 pounds lighter when I did my best running, and that much loss might help my speed considerably and reduce the chance of injury.  Furthermore, running is only one of several excellent reasons to remove my front bumper.

Off and running!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Meet of the Miles

Monday, January 9, 2017:

This is a delightful 1-mile race on the 200-meter indoor track at the University of Minnesota Field House.  It attracts lots of college-age young people and quite a few oldsters as well.  It's also the first of the 13 races of the season-long Minnesota Grand Prix running competition.  I have done this race many times, and enjoy the atmosphere in the Field House, with runners who can do a mile in 4:20 or faster, and others of us who need almost three times as much time.  All are welcome.

Personally, I find the mile distance to be the most intense of any of the races I have ever run.  Nothing makes me (and others) breathe harder than running almost all-out for 8 minutes or so.  For that reason, in fact, and because the air is very dry in the Field House in January, the organizer of this race brings big bags of Halls cough drops.

This time, though, I didn't race.  I incorporated the 1-mile distance into my training program, and ran the first of the 8 laps, walked about three, ran another, walked again, and finished with a third running lap.  It's a poor way to win a race, but it fit the training schedule pretty well.  Time 10:58.  No pains, no problems.

Before the race I did my training regimen for a while, including three of the running portions, so the total was six, just as prescribed by the program.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Third Training Run

On the new training program.

I was at Mayo clinic for a day this week, then felt sick for a couple of days, so this is the first run since Monday.  No connection implied between the Mayo and the illness - doubtless just a coincidence.  In fact, the news at Mayo was good - the myeloma is still stable at a level that doesn't seem to be hurting me.

I still wasn't entirely up to par today, though, so I couldn't walk quite as fast as I had in some recent runs.  Nevertheless it was a good session.  For five intervals I walked 9 minutes, then ran 1, and for the final interval walked 3.5 minutes and ran 1.5, with a couple more walking laps to reach 4.5 miles.  No problems.  The next three or four sessions will employ runs of 1.5 minutes.

The very next session is a 1-mile race, which will be incorporated into the training regimen.  This will be fun.

Mile splits: 12:54, 12:49, 13:02, 12:51, 6:16 (½ mi), total 57:53 for 4.5 mi, overall pace 12:53.

Monday, January 02, 2017

First Two Training Runs

Monday, January 2, 2017:

As if I haven’t already run thousands of mile in training!  But this is a new deal.  I’ve accepted my therapist’s advice on training for more speed, and I’m doing it by the book.  So far so good.

Today I walked fast for 9 minutes and ran 1 minute, repeating that for five intervals, then ran 4 minutes and walked 1 for the sixth interval.  With a couple of extra walking laps at the end, that took me to 4 ½ miles in about 57 minutes.  The pace works out to 12:44, but I think the advertised 13 laps per mile for the YMCA track is at least a half lap short of a real mile, so I wasn't going quite 12:44.

Whatever, this was a more-energetic training run than usual, though I think that my breathing and heart rate stayed below the aerobic threshold (burning mostly fat, not much glucose) for the time.

No pains, no strains.  Now according to the therapist's rules I can't do another training run for two days.  That's OK - maybe tomorrow is my day to figure out the resistance part of the new regimen.

When I do run again, I'll do this same sequence of intervals.  After that third sequence, I'll increase the running portion of the intervals to 1.5 minutes, reducing the walking portion accordingly.

Splits: 12:54, 12:50, 12:50, 12:29, 6:14 (½ mi), total 57:17 for 4.5 mi, pace 12:44.

Saturday, December 31, 2016:

First Real Training Run.   The plan today was to walk at least 4 minutes, then run one minute, repeating that sequence six times.  I chose to walk 9 minutes and run 1, finishing the last interval with 4 minutes and 1 minute.  Total 4 ½ miles in 57:44, for a pace of 12:50.

No pains.

Splits: 12:47, 12:58, 12:59, 12:34, 6:26 (½ mi)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Running Plan

The idea is to get back to running more and walking less.  Three weeks ago I saw a very good therapist who specializes in running - in fact she is also a runner, and a fine one.  She gave me a schedule for ramping up that was appropriate for an injured runner, probably someone younger than me and not taking cancer meds.  I protested that it ramped up pretty fast, and she suggested that I use the same schedule but a third as fast.

Today we talked about it more and I understand it better.  This is the plan:

  • Each session begins with stretches and then 2-5 minutes of brisk walking. 
  • After that, each session (walk/run) is 30 minutes, including six repetitions of walking & running, 5 minutes apiece, comprised of 4 minutes of walking and 1 of running.
  • After three sessions at this pattern, the running portion increases by ½ minute for the next three, the increases continuing until the total running time reaches 30 minutes per session. 
  • Sessions must always be separated by at least one day off, i.e. never walk/run two days in a row. 
  • Once a week or so, sessions should be separated by two days off. 
  • Additional walking during a session is allowed. 
  • After the running time reaches 30 minutes, it may be increased by 10% per week.
The 30-minute goal should take seven or eight weeks.  I'm in no hurry.  Running speed is not important yet; I'll be happy to do 10- or 11-minute miles.

Since I last saw the therapist, I've been walking about 40 minutes per session and, most recently, finishing with a run of about 2 minutes, including a short sprint.  I have clear instructions now to avoid sprinting until the running time reaches 30 minutes, to avoid injury. I do love to sprint, but don't want to get hurt, so I'll probably follow that advice too.  Mostly.

We also discussed and tried some of the stretches and and resistance exercises that she had recommended three weeks ago.  More about those in the next post.

Friday, December 16, 2016

New Training Plan

Thursday, Nov 15, 2016:

Not complete yet, but working on it.  I saw the physical therapist last Friday and got a lot of information.  I agree with a lot of it, but not with all.  In particular, the therapist gave me a sort of one size fits all rehab sheet, meant for an injured runner, titled "Return-to-Running Program."  It features a walk/run schedule of 30 minutes three times per week, and escalates from mostly walking to a full 30-minute run in four weeks.  After that, one would increase the running time by 10% per week.

It doesn't fit me, though, because I haven't run for 30 minutes straight in a very long time, years actually. I would get injured ramping up so quickly.  I've tried it before, and did get injured.  Hamstrings, Achilles', hip flexors, knees, all have happened and will happen again if I push too hard.

The therapist did give me the option of going slower, so I will do that and try to ramp up slowly enough to avoid injury.  I do believe in the time-honored 10% per week rule, but how does that apply to a 30- or 45-minute walk/run when I am now almost exclusively walking?  Start at 10% running / 90% walking, as the rehab sheet suggests?  Then 20% / 80% the next week?  No, that's way too fast.  11% / 89% the second week?  That's a 10% increase from the first week, more or less, but way too slow - I'd never get to 100% running.  So I have to figure that out and make some decisions, but I don't have to do it right now because I can go at least a week at the 10% level.  In fact, this week I've been doing the 0% level, just walking, no running.

That feels good, but won't get me anywhere.  I'm reading a book about this - more in the next post.

Today we went to the YMCA, where I walked pretty fast for three miles and wore my heart rate monitor.  The highest rate I saw  during the walk was 108.  During the walk I could always talk (e.g. recite the Pledge of Allegiance) without difficulty, a measure of aerobic performance, and was always walking at least five footfalls per full breath, another measure.  Why might that matter?  More in the next post.

Splits: 13:43, 13:39, 13:20, total 40:42

Tuesday, Dec 13:

YMCA Walking.  Maximum observed HR 122.  A mile is 13 laps on the YMCA track.  I did run the last lap of the third mile.

Splits: 14:14, 14:45, 14:23, total 43:22

Friday, dec 8, 2016:

Mall walking.  Just a nice walk with my gals, a little less than two miles.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Trying Something Different Today

I put on my ancient heart rate monitor and tried to keep my heart rate between 100 & 105 for a four-mile walk. Because of time constraints I couldn't quite go four, but I noticed that I had to slow down a bit from the first mile through the third to keep the heart rate in that bracket.

I saw my sports doctor today about several topics.  One of those was the best approach to regaining my speed.  For several years  I have really only been able to train for the next marathon a few weeks away, being very careful not to get injured.  I have lost a lot of speed, and I want to get it back.  He referred me to a therapist who, hopefully, can set me on a path toward that objective.  Now I have an appointment with that therapist, and I know that she is a runner herself and good at what she does.  I expect to work.

Splits: 13:51, 14:07, 14:37, 6:58, total 49:33.