Friday, November 21, 2008

Why I am starting a running blog

Although I am an experienced runner, I have not kept a regular running log in a long time and have been told that perhaps a blog may motivate me to do so. As a disclaimer, I will devote this blog entirely to running but it is certainly not the only thing that I care about. God always comes first followed by my relationships with others. I am a big believer in alternative medicine and more information on that subject can be found on my main website: ( Some of the readers of my site have expressed curiosity about my training, including what I do when my medical condition does flare up, and have encouraged me to post a training log. You got it!

Background info:

-competitive middle distance runner in high school, recruited by Division II schools.

-ran off and on through college and graduate school, limited by injury and illness

-returned to serious running in October 2006 with more focus on longer distances.

My days of running sub 60 second quarter miles are probably behind me but there is still plenty of room for improvement especially at the half marathon and marathon distances.

My training philosophy: quality over quantity, improve at every distance 5K and over.

Some people have told me that my workout times are too fast for my goal marathon pace. Indeed that is true if you look at suggested paces for my times at the longer distances but my times do not "line up" based on the McMillian calculator. Based on my mile time, I should run a 3 hour marathon but my current PR is almost 4 hours. For those who are familiar with VDOT, I am a 53 for the mile and a 39 for the marathon right now. That difference would have been even greater when I was a competitive 800 man. Why the disparity? My medical issues hurt my endurance more than my speed. A long run at 53 VDOT pace would be suicide while a speed workout at 39 VDOT pace would feel pedestrian so I forget the "Smart Coach" tables and run by feel. Normally, I split the difference between the 53 and the 39 for my long runs and push my speed work pretty hard. FYI: Since I started my comeback, I have had no running injuries.

Although I do tailor my training to the distance I plan on racing in the near-future, I do faster tempo runs and occasionally throw in a speed workout during marathon training. Conversely, I do a 16-18 mile run during a more speed-oriented 5K training cycle. This allows me to set PRs at longer distances even when I am not specifically training for the event. Some runners are "mileage freaks" and do very little running other than LSD (long slow distance) and brag about their high mileage. I disagree with that approach. If I ran everything at 10:00 mile pace or slower, sure I could run 70 miles per week but my 5K would get worse, not better. I certainly will not improve if I do my training at post-bonk marathon pace.
My log terminology:
Grade: just like school, A=excellent, B=good, C=fair, D=poor, F=failure, (range from A+ to F-).
Credit: 1=easy recovery day, 2=quality workout (long run, tempo, interval) 3= all out time trial, often a PR attempt at an odd distance (rare) 4=actual race (less than 1 per month)
GPA determined just like school by dividing quality points by credits.
Obsessive? They call me Crazy Justin for a reason.
Best times of '08:
800 -2:30
Half- 1:42:38
Full- 3:56:03
One more disclaimer: I am striving for consistency in '09. Yes, I did meet or exceed all of my target times coming into '08 but there were periods in which my good workouts were few and far between. I would rather be stuck running at this level in '09 than break all my PRs while averaging 1 excellent workout per week with the rest being rated as fair or poor. A weekly GPA consistently over 3.00 indicates that my health is at least "good" every week. That is more important to me than my best times of the year.

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