Longest Run of 2020 so far

Sometimes a long run doesn’t go as planned. I thought twelve miles would be good then dropped back to ten. One wrong turn and I ran almost 14 miles! 19 degrees turned out to be the least of my worries!

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Sunday was the Melrose Running Club’s 6th long run of 2020.

I’ve missed the last two runs due to conflicts with races. On February 2nd we ran the Super Sunday race and on January 26th, we ran The Great Stew Chase 15K.

My weekly miles have been pretty low so far and my longest run this year was The Great Stew Chase at 15K or 9.53 miles for me.

The full long run this Sunday was 16.2 and I decided that 12 miles would be enough for me. You really don’t want your weekly long run to by twice as long as any of your previous week’s runs.

I’ve read that the long run should be no more than six miles longer than your longest week day training run. I find that a tough rule to follow.

At shorter distances you can get away with increasing your long run to 150% of your longest weekly run.

So you could go from running 6 mile training runs to a 9 mile long run. You can definitely go from running fours to a 6 mile long run.

The key is to take the long run easier than your shorter week day runs.  Most of us would not run a half marathon at our 5K pace. The same thing applies to your weekly long run.

Longest Run of 2020

When I reviewed the 16.2 mile route I figured that I could cut it back to twelve miles easily.

At about 5.5 miles I took a right and the long run people turned left. My plan was working.

I made my way back to the water stop and had two cups of Gatorade/water and headed out. One of the long runners left the water stop just ahead of me and I followed him. I knew there was a turn coming up that I always miss.

I made the turn and Mike Sikkema caught up and passed me. I managed to keep Mike in sight long enough to see him take the right turn onto Main Street/ Rt. 28 in Stoneham.

Sunday Long Run 6, longest run of 2020This took us along the back side of Spot Pond. I didn’t think of it at the time, but I wanted to go straight and run the front side of the pond.

That was my crucial error.

I was now running by my self but knew where I was and all of the turns.

Soon after the wrong turn my watch chimed in for mile eight.

After I left the long run group I decided that ten miles was a better idea than twelve.

This route is very hilly and my quads were beginning to feel it.

When my watch hit eight miles on the back side of Spot Pond, I knew I was in trouble. There was no way to turn this run into 10 miles from this point in the run.

I had left my phone in my car and only had $5 in my pocket. There was no way to bail on this one.

A Bridge Too Far

As my watch hit nine miles I went under a Rt. 93 bridge. It was definitely a bridge too far.

My pace was still pretty good at 9:24 but I was fading fast.

The next turn was a left onto Elm Street in Medford and another hill. I then took a right onto Highland Ave at the rotary by Flynn Ice Rink. I thought there was a water stop there, but I didn’t recognize the car.

I avoid trying to open trunks of unknown cars.

It was a cold day, so it was okay.

As I continued down Highland I knew the next turn would put me on East Border Road. This is another hilly section which would dump me onto the freakin Fellsway East.

When I got to the second rise in the hill on East Border Road I decided to walk. I hit mile 11 just after cresting that hill and began to run down to the intersection.

Mile eleven came in at 10:34. At this point I wasn’t too concerned with my pace. I was more concerned with surviving to run another day.

I wasn’t cold or depleted but my left knee was beginning to act up. My body just wasn’t prepared for this many miles.

I took the left onto The Fellsway and cursed my self for not turning left at the rotary instead of right. With that turn I would have run about twelve miles and avoided these bloody hills!

I walked some of these hills and ran the down hills as best I could. While running down the last Fells hill I hit mile twelve. That was my stretch goal for the day and I knew I had at least another mile and half to go!

I ran to the intersection with West Wyoming Street and was able to cross the street quickly. Traffic was light and people let me go.

I was now on the home stretch and my knee was telling me to stop.

After mile thirteen I decided to walk. I was beyond anything I had planned and who cared anyway?

As a runner approached I waved and they didn’t even acknowledge me. I guess you don’t look like a fellow runner when you are walking.

As I neared the rail road tracks I started running and kept on until I turned the corner onto Main Street. My ankle and knee were both killing me. Than I “ran” in the last bit to the finish but didn’t have the juice to round it out to 13.75.

13.72 miles was quite enough, thank you!

Hydration and recovery

I went into Brueggers, got an ice coffee and sat with friends for about ten minutes before heading home. As I sat there I could feel both calves getting ready to cramp.

On the way I drank a BodyArmor sport drink which has electrolytes and a variety of vitamins.

After a nice hot shower I applied some arnica gel to both knees and slipped my Body Helix knee compression sleeve onto my left knee.

I recently reviewed the Body Helix compression wraps. I’ve been using the knee wrap for a few weeks as needed and it seems to help.

I don’t get a commission, but you can get 10% off any Body Helix Compression Wraps you buy with code BH10RUN.

I hope you had a good long run this weekend and one that went according to plan.

Run well my Friends!

Andy

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Fitness Level Calculator

What is your fitness level?

Physical fitness is key to a long life and good health.

Many of us judge our fitness level by what we see in the mirror, how fast we can run or what we can do in the gym.

These are all good indicators of physical fitness, but there are other factors that we cannot see in the mirror or on the stop watch.

One of these factors is cardiovascular fitness.

Cardiovascular fitness is a key health factor and indicator of fitness.

Your body’s capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise (VO2 Max) is the most precise measure of overall cardiovascular fitness.

There are two ways to measure your VO2 Max.

Based on extensive research, The K. G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, developed a survey that you can take to easily estimate your fitness level (VO2 Max).

The survey takes about five minutes to complete and requires information most of us know about ourselves.

The survey is anonymous and free. The data you provide is added to their database for research purposes.

The results of my October 2014 worldfitnesslevel.org questionnaire are below. Click my 2014 results and go to the Worldfitnesslevel.org website to calculate your fitness level.

Vo2max, age, fitness level calculator

I knew I was in the best shape of my life in 2014, but these results were surprising.

The survey asks questions about your weight, height, exercise routine and your diet. They also ask for your resting heart rate.

That’s probably the most difficult question for most of us to answer.

In 2014, I used a resting heart rate of 50 in my calculations. At that time my resting rate was usually below 50.

The best way to find your resting heart rate is to check your pulse before you get out of bed in the morning. Count your pulse for 15 seconds and multiply by 4. At a doctor’s office it’s not unusual for your heart rate to be slightly elevated!

Either method is fine as you are getting an estimate and not a diagnosis from this survey.

I took the survey again in March of 2019. This time I estimated my resting heart rate to be 56. It may be lower than that, but I’m certainly not in the same shape I was in 2014.

I weigh a little more in 2019, but my exercise and diet are similar if not a bit better. A question that I do not recall seeing five years ago was “How many hours a day do I spend sitting?”

Between work, commuting and sitting around the house, I estimated 12 hours per day. It’s probably more than that!

VoMAX, fitness

I am now five years older and weigh about 5lbs more than I did in 2014.

My results show that I have the fitness level of a 34 year old. That’s not bad for a 55 year-old. But five years ago I was as fit as a 24 year-old.

I didn’t dig into how the calculations are made, but the details are on their web site.

I’m pretty sure my pulse, weight and sitting time were the biggest factors to my loosing 10 years of fitness over five years!

I have read that it is important to know your VO2 Max for training. I never knew how to make these calculations and my doctor would not do it or refer me to a specialist to get the calculations.

Having a calculator designed by scientists is a good way to get a good approximation of your VO2 Max and fitness level. These calculations may not be 100% accurate, but it’s a good place to start.

Age can be measured by more than years

An October, 2014 New York Times article by Gretchen Reynolds discusses the research study conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) that helped develop this calculator. The NTNU have conducted studies on fitness and how it relates to wellness for more than 30 years.

This study, begun in the 1980’s, collected data from 55,000 Norwegian adults. They used the data to calculate the subject’s VO2max and  fitness age. The higher your VO2max in relation to others your age, the lower your fitness age. Then they checked the death records for the study participants and discovered a relationship between VO2max and mortality.

It turned out that people whose calculated VO2max was 15 percent or more below average for their age— meaning that their fitness age was significantly above their chronological years — had an 82 percent higher risk of dying prematurely than those whose fitness age was the same as or more youthful than their actual age. According to the study’s authors, the results suggest that fitness age may predict a person’s risk of early death better than some traditional risk factors like being overweight, having high cholesterol levels or blood pressure, and smoking.
Source: NY Times

The NTNU study collected data from Norwegians and the researchers understand that their results may not be accurate world wide. They plan to expand their study group and update the questionnaire to help make the calculator more accurate  for people around the world.

Precisely Measuring Your Fitness Level

The most accurate way to measure your fitness level is a direct measurement using calibrated equipment.

In the Boston area Cenegenics Medical Institute in Boston  and Outback PT in Somerville offer the VO2 Max test. The test is conducted on a treadmill or exercise bike while you wear a heart rate monitor and a mask. The mask collects all exhaled breath in order to make the VO2 Max calculations.

For a VO2 Max test at Outback PT the cost is $199. At Cenegenics the VO2 Max test will run you $150.00, or combine it with a DEXA Body Composition Scan for $300.

Check out this video from Outback PT to see how the VO2 Max test is conducted at their office.

While nothing can replace a direct measurement of your fitness level, the on-line questionnaire is an affordable place to start.

Have you checked your fitness level?

Run well my friends,

Andy

What distance can my child run?

Here are some guidelines and resources for parents to help decide what distance your child can run safely.

Many parents wonder what distance can my child run safely?

It’s an important question to ask before running a race or starting a training program with your child.

I put together these guidelines based on expert recommendations. 

You should consult with your pediatrician before beginning a training program or running a race with your child.

What distance can your child run safely?

The two main factors you should keep in mind are your child’s health and overall fitness level, and their age.

Your child’s health and fitness level

Pediatricians disagree on how much running is too much for children and little research has been done. Some question if rigorous training may  damage the growing areas of children’s bones. 

Young runner’s bodies are still figuring out the mechanics of motion. Why wouldn’t young, growing, un-matured bodies be more susceptible to injury?

With increasing numbers of children leading sedentary lives, it’s difficult to argue against allowing children to run if they want to.

As a parent you know your child better than anyone else.

Before deciding to run a race or start a training program, think about your child’s health and level of physical activity.

While some children may be highly motivated and need you to keep them in check, most kids are just like adults.

They will get tired while running and eventually some of the excitement will wear off.

In most cases your child will come to appreciate the effort that it takes to run. This realization is enough to keep most children from over doing it.

At your child’s annual physical let the pediatrician know that your child is interested in running or starting a training program. 

This is a good way to start a conversation with the pediatrician and your child. Your pediatrician will be able to tell you about your child’s overall health and any concerns you should be aware of. 

Based on your child’s age and fitness level they may have some training or distance recommendations.  

If your child wants to run a 5K, but their doctor recommends a shorter distance, the doctor’s orders are more likely to be followed than yours.

Your child may be excited to run because you do. Maybe they like the colorful shirts or race medals you bring home. They probably do not understand how much training you do or how hard it is to finish a 5K.

If you do not have a pediatrician’s appointment coming up, you can do a basic assessment of your child’s fitness level.  

Does your child participate in sports already or do they spend most of their spare time watching TV or playing video games? Are they generally active and full of energy? 

While you may not know what your child’s heart sounds like, you do have a pretty good idea of their activity level.

The best advise for any new runner is to ease into it. Start with short runs and don’t worry about speed. The first few runs will give you a better understanding of your child’s fitness level.

Remember, if you push too hard early on, your child may decide that running isn’t for them.

It’s a good idea to keep running fun and not to focus on goals. That will all come eventually.

If your generally healthy 5-year old wants to run a 100-yard dash, you  probably don’t need to train. If your 10-year old wants to run a 5K with you then you should run with them a few times before the big day.

Your Child’s Age

In addition to your child’s health, your child’s age is the other important factor to consider.

children running. kids races, what distance can my child runThe Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is the largest running organization in the US and provides educational materials for clubs interested in hosting youth running programs.

These same guidelines can be used by you.

The RRCA guidelines recommend that children under 5 participate in kid’s fun runs. 

These “Fun Run” races are often free and part of other race day activities. This is a great way for your child to try running in a fun and encouraging environment.

A Fun Run allows your child to participate in a running event with you, but have a race of their own. 

RRCA Youth Running Guidelines

As your child gets older it is generally agreed that it is safe for them to run longer distances. Here are the RRCA’s guidelines:

  • Children 5 and under should focus on “dash” events that range from a few yards to 400 meters.
  • Children 5 and over, kids fun runs that are a ½ to 1 mile long may be considered, but allow for a combination of running and walking.
  • Children ages 12 and over may want to participate in a 5K run.
  • Children ages 15 and older may want to participate in a 10K to half marathon event.
  • Children 18 and older may want to participate in a marathon or further distance.

These are general guidelines. You should take into consideration your child’s health, fitness level and motivation. 

I believe that the RRCA’s Guidelines address the issue of young children putting too much stress on their bodies. Younger children should stick to shorter distances while teens can move to longer distances that require training.

Running should be fun. Children should not be pressured into running longer distances than they want to. As any parent knows, it’s not unusual for a child to change their mind in the middle of something.

As adults we know about challenging our limitations and pushing through to the next level. Children often do not have these motivations and just know that “this isn’t fun anymore.”

If your child wants to stop or walk while training or racing you have the difficult task of knowing when to let them have their way. 

For pre-teens, the emphasis should be on fun, participation and enjoying the event. The emphasis should not be on competition and attaining goals.

If a young child has a genuine enthusiasm for running, let it grow naturally. They will move up to longer distances as they mature and grow stronger.

As the parent your role should be to guide your young runner and help them make wise choices about running.

As a rule, young children should not be training to run a “fun run.”

Additional Guidelines

child running distances, What distance can my child runHere are the distances that the Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) uses for their youth events.

The HMF organizes dozens of races each year that include youth running events. They have a lot of experience in this area.

Most Fun Runs award a ribbon and sometimes provide a drink and a snack. They usually do not provide a medal or shirt as they are free events.

Some races allow you to register your child ahead of time for the Fun Run, but some only have “day of” registration. 

suggested distances for kids, youth runningThe Healthy Kids Running Series was created by Jeff Long, Founder and President of Pattison Sports Group, to provide kids with a positive, educational, and fun experience in the world of running.

They help parents set up youth running programs in their own towns and provide these youth running distance recommendations.

The program emphasizes fun and encourages weekly organized runs for children. You can find out if there is a program in your town at their website. You can also find out how to set up a program in your town.

Angela Bekkala wrote an article for Active.com: How to Get Kids Ready for Their First 5K It’s a quick read and offers additional advice.

Your child wants to run a 5K with you. What should you do? 

  • Do not put any pressure on them to achieve a certain goal
  • Forget about your own time. You need to run their pace
  • Be prepared to walk and always be positive and encouraging
  • You are mom or dad, not their coach, so always be supportive

If your child has a positive experience with you at their first 5K, you may have a new running buddy. What could be better than that?

Make sure to emphasize the fun race environment. Make them feel like one of the other runners by introducing them to your friends and including them in conversations. Everyone loves a new runner, and your child will thrive on the positive energy at a race.

Some 5K races are adult events with loud music and drinking. If you run one of these 5Ks with your child it may be a good idea to only stay for a while after the race.

Competitive Running for your Child

Around the age of 12, the RRCA says children may participate in 5K races. Moving from fun runs to a 5K race should be your child’s decision. The emphasis should still be on fun and participation.

When a child starts running 5K races on a regular basis, they may become competition. A child may compete with themselves, friends or you.

Competition is good and running competitively teaches many life lessons. As the parent it is up to you to guide expectations and be supportive.

It is important for children to understand that few of us ever come in first place. Most of us have friends who finish ahead of us. As adults we understand this and our self worth and image are not dependent on how we do at a race.

For a pre-teen or teenager, winning and loosing can become the focus of running. As a parent, it is your role to focus more on the fun and participation in the event and running community, and focus less on competition.

As your child runs more races and improves their running, competition can become more important.

Setting goals and training to achieve them are important life lessons. If a child sticks with running and maintains a healthy enthusiasm for the sport, your guidance can help them set healthy goals and expectations of themselves.

When your child moves from the 1-mile fun run to the 5K, let them guide you. You can see when they may be pushing too hard and you can see when they should push for the next goal. As the more experienced runner, you can guide them.

Moving to longer distances

As always, the age and the health of your child are your main considerations. Around age 15 it should be okay for your child to run a 10K or half-marathon.

Many marathons will not allow anyone under age 18 to run. Some will allow teens to run with a parent’s permission.

If your child has run a few 5Ks and enjoyed themselves, then it should be okay to try a 10K. While a child may not need to train for a fun run or a 5K, they should do training for a 10K and definitely for a half-marathon.

In your child’s mid-teens, running 5Ks and 10Ks should be sufficient. In the later teens an occasional half-marathon and perhaps a marathon should be okay.

As your child moves up to longer distances, you child should train with you or a coach at school. Fitness and conditioning become more important at longer distances in order to avoid injury and to run successfully.

If your child does not get an annual athletic physical as a requirement to participate in school sports, make sure you are making those appointments.

I hope this information is helpful. I want to emphasis again that this information should be used as a guide only.

If your child has a medical condition, please consult with your pediatrician first. If your child has no known conditions, at their next check up mention to their pediatrician that your child is interested in running.

races with medals, 5k medals, my first 5k medalIf your child is running their first 5K race and you would like to get them a medal to remember the race, check out the My First 5K medal. Most 5K races do not give finisher’s medals. Usually only the top male and female finisher and top age group finishers.

Run well my friends and happy running with your child!

Andy

Running and Chewing Gum

Running and Chewing Gum is an easy way to make a long run enjoyable by avoiding a dry mouth. It’s really quite easy to do.

These days, most of us are multi-taskers. But can you run and chew gum at the same time?

It seems the only way to keep up with the never-ending demands on our time is to multi task. It may be as simple as putting in a wash and then cooking supper. While cleaning the kitchen as I wait for the food to cook. With the BBC News playing in the background, getting me up to date with the world.

These tasks are more of process and time management. Chewing gum and walking is the proverbial physical coordination test.

Running and Chewing Gum

Doing two physical tasks at the same time can be challenging.

Try rubbing your belly while patting the top of your head. Now do it faster. Now rub you belly in the opposite direction! Now switch hands!

Chewing gum and doing most anything else is much less taxing than this exercise. Chewing gum is done pretty much unconsciously.

Because it is so effortless is why people joke that you can’t do anything else and chew gum. It’s a very low bar!

Often while I run, my mouth will get dry. Sometimes my throat gets horse and it’s difficult to get words out. Even drinking water doesn’t relieve these issues for me.

This Sunday I had a pack of gum in my car. I decided to have a piece before the Sunday Long Run to knock back my coffee breath. Then I forgot I had it in my mouth and started running.

During the entire eight mile run I barely noticed that I had gum in my mouth except at water stops. Then I had to avoid swallowing it with a cup of water.

As I drove home I realized I had run the entire eight miles, about 70 minutes chewing gum. “I guess I can walk or run while chewing gum” I said to myself with a chuckle.

It’s really not that big of a deal.

Most runners don’t run with gum. Many worry they will swallow it or inhale it. It can also get in the way when you take a gel or other food and beverage.

I’ve run a few races with gum and one of my running buddies does it often.

Because I had gum in my mouth, my mouth never dried out and my throat felt fine for the entire run. I was even able to carry on a conversation with the two people I was running with.

Without the gum my mouth and throat would have been too dry to talk after a few miles.

Sunday Long Run Week Ten

This week the Sunday Long Run was sixteen miles. The long run ran out Main Street from Brueggers in Melrose, looped Lake Q and headed down Nahant Street to Breakheart Reservation for a hilly loop of the park.

I didn’t run last Sunday because of an odd hip pain. I only ran a 2.5 mile test run up to the bank and back on Thursday to see what was going on. Oddly enough, my left knee acted up on that run but my hip was fine. After a mile I could have done 10K.

I’m beginning the 10-week road to Philadelphia right now, so I decided to play it safe and run eight miles.

This early on I don’t need big miles and I need to make sure I’m okay. It’s better to deal with an injury early in the plan than later, but you do have to deal with it.

I ran with Aine and David Lunney this week. Two relatively new club members. David is training for his first half marathon, the Newburyport Half Marathon on October 20th.

Since I could talk this week, we were able to have a good conversation about running. I’ve been running since 2003 so I can answer most questions and have plenty of advice. I also tried to keep quiet and let them talk!

Running and chewing gum worked well for me this week. Hopefully I didn’t talk Aine and David’s ears off!

Do you run with gum? Besides water, do you have other ways to keep your mouth and throat from drying out?

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Sunday Long Run 2019 03

Sunday Long Run season is in full swing. It may be brutally hot but it is time to get ready for our fall marathons.

Sunday Long Run number three is in the books!

I missed Sunday Long Run two because I was away visiting relatives in Maine. I’m told that it was hot, humid and miserable last week. This week didn’t feel great either!

The Sunday Long Run

Because it has been so hot the past three weeks, a group of runners has been going out early. The club run begins at 8:00 AM, but these early birds leave sometime after 7:00 AM. That hour can make a big difference in the temperature when you finish.

When I arrived this week only a few people were going out early so I waited for the 8AM crew.

We had about 20 runners with an additional dozen or so early runners.

The course was pretty strait forward and flat. We ran from Bruegger’s on Main Street in Melrose out to Lake Quannapowitt, loop around the lake and head back. The official distance was 10.7 miles for the long run.

A lot of people ran shorter distances for various reasons including the heat.

Within the first mile I started running with Bobby Taylor. He’s fairly new to the club and is a solid runner.

Bobby made a good call early on and moved to the right side of the road to get into as much shade as possible.

The first mile clicked off in no time. I was surprised how quickly it seemed to go by. Our pace was 9:02, so no land speed records were being set!

We settled into a comfortable pace around 9 minutes and it seemed to work.

Sunday Long Run Crew at water stopSoon enough we got to our water stop at Nick’s pizza in Wakefield. The shade was nice and so was the cold water!

Jim Carson is away so Gail Severt and Courtney Koschei managed our water stop. Angels!

It ain’t Death Valley

We were sweating pretty good by this point, which is a good thing. I took two cups of cold water and nothing else.

I’m trying to teach my body to burn fatty acids for fuel instead of carbohydrates. I’ve been doing this for a while on long runs but I’m not sure it is doing anything. I probably need to dial this in a bit more to make it work.

Running through Wakefield Center the heat seemed to build. We also had less shade. We popped across the street to be on the lake side of the road.

I had hoped for a breeze off of the lake, but it was fairly minimal. Any breeze felt good though.

As we ran around the lake we encountered a lot of people out for their Sunday morning walk. It’s great to see people being active, but it does make for a crowded side walk.

I had hoped for a water stop in the Comverse parking lot, but not this week.

Instead of looping the parking lot behind their building we stayed on the side walk. I wasn’t sure how much the loop would add but by this point neither Bobby or I felt like pushing it.

There is some shade on the North Avenue side of the lake, but not much.

Andy Nagelin and Bobby Taylor Main Street in WakefieldThe heat was beginning to take it’s toll on us. North Ave has a small hill after the hotel and I told Bobby we should slow down a bit. Our average pace was 9:01 and I hoped to drop it down to 9:05 by the time we  hit the top of the hill. We hit 9:03 when the hill leveled off.

As we turned onto Church Street I mentioned to Bobby that there was a water fountain. We stopped for a rest and Bobby used the fountain. I still had plenty of water in my bottles so I just enjoyed the break.

I love it that Wakefield has a water fountain at both ends of the lake. I’ve used them several times.

As we turned onto Common Street we hit mile 7 at a 9:34 pace. It felt like we were working a lot harder than that.

At the intersection in Wakefield Center I was ready to cross the street even without a walk light. I was roasting and the sun was killing my sunburn from Saturday. But, there was a cop at the light so I pushed the walk light button which I am always loath to do.

The water stop was now only about half a mile away. I couldn’t wait to get there!

Sunday Long Run SuppliesThe ladies had cold water and bags of ice! Courtney filled my water bottle with ice and it was awesome.

Bobby said he was going to slow down for the last few miles. We started out together but I pulled ahead a bit.

I ended up reaching Bruegger’s shortly before he did. I ran around the building to get 10.8 miles.

Inside the gang was hanging out, enjoying the AC, cold drinks and some food. I got a large iced tea and hung out for 20 minutes or so.

I’m off to Orlando on Monday so  I had to get home and pack. Nothing worse than forgetting your shoes or hot weather casual shirts.

After Kayaking for five and a half hours on Saturday and running almost eleven miles on Sunday, I’m spent.

My bags are packed and this blog post is written. It’s time to veg-out in front of the TV!

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Sunday Long Run 13 2019

March is over with Sunday Long Run 13 in the books!

Last weekend I ran the On The Run Half in Old Orchard Beach, Maine on Saturday. Then the next day I ran 16 miles in from Hopkinton. I would have run further but my left knee started bothering me and I had more than enough miles for the weekend, thank you very much!

Tapering with Sunday Long Run 13

The peak has been reached and taper time is on. Last weekend I ran 29.34 miles over two days which is an all-time high mileage weekend for me.

I felt it through the middle of the week. I ran 4.34 Tuesday night with the club, but not another step until the Sunday Long Run. I’ve never felt that wiped from a weekend of running. Even a marathon. I don’t think it was so much the distance but that I had no recovery time between events.

Sunday Long Run 13 2019, Boston Marathon TrainingI’m not sure that running three or four halfs a month is a good idea anymore. The run in Old Orchard Beach was basically flat, but I had a slower time than Malden. Malden had more “hills” and a large crowd of 5K runners to deal with on the last lap.

So now it is taper time, but not vacation time.

Taper time has to be managed just like training and a race plan. It’s only two weeks, but they are important weeks.

I’m as fit as I’m going to get for Boston. Now it’s about maintenance, recovery and injury avoidance.

My overall pace for the week thirteen run was 9:14 for 15 miles. If I was really paying attention and dialing things in this would have been closer to 9:30.

We ran plenty of hills and I felt good. I even practiced running down hill. This is something new for me but something that I think is important. You can’t use a down hill to your advantage if your legs aren’t prepared to run it.

Running down hill is about conditioning and control. If you’re not conditioned you will blow out your quads. If you loose control you could get hurt.

Taper Time in Boston

With the marathon now two weeks from Monday, it is time to be careful. Shoes or slippers in the house. All the time. I will also run in the street and not dark sidewalks at night. I’d rather take my chance with a car than heaved pavement.

It is time to recover. All of us have picked up an ache or pain somewhere over the past three months. I usually have something wrong that busts my confidence.

This year I don’t have any major issues. My cardio isn’t great, but I can manage that.

My knees are as good as they’ve been in five years, maybe ten. No muscle strains or cramps either.

Everything is just coming together.

I even hit my goal weight of 180 lbs on Sunday! Totally unexpected. I just haven’t been able to get rid of the last few pounds gathered over the holidays.

Besides my last Sunday Long Run, I plan to run three times a week but less than six miles each time. Maybe 10K just so I can feel like I hit the mark.

For March I ran 130.93 miles. So close to 131. But that would have been so close to 135 and on and on. You gotta call it good sometimes.

March 2019 was my second highest monthly mileage month. In September 2014 I ran 141.2 miles. So pretty close.

I’ll take 130.93 and no injuries any day!

April will be a lower mileage month. I’m tapering for the first two weeks and after Boston I’ll take most of a week off. So, maybe 50 miles including the Marathon.

Taper well my Friends and be careful out there!

Andy