Weekly Update 2-22-14, or How Nicky got his groove back

I watch the weather reports from around the nation lately, and I can’t help myself from feeling just the slightest bit smug – Houston has been enjoying a spell of “normal” conditions, with highs in the 70’s and sunny skies – and I can certainly fell the difference in my mood. My running has also improved a great deal over the last couple of weeks, as I am back in the routine of a training plan: I started following the Hansons Marathon Method beginner plan, even though I do not have a marathon scheduled anytime this year. (My next goal race is a trail 50K at the end of April, which is far too soon for any serious focus; I am going into that race with a “whatever  happens, as long as I finish” approach and I am OK with that!) I am using this training to improve my overall running fitness, trying to reach a consistent 50 miles per week, while avoiding injury and getting faster and stronger at the same time. I am two weeks in, and so far, so good…let’s take a look at how it’s going:

Sunday 2-16:  Easy run– 4  miles, 40:33 (9:57/mi)  The plan calls for the weekly long run on Sunday, which I have found to be a good fit for my schedule; the first 6 weeks are all about building a solid base and getting accustomed to regular running, which is good for me as well, since I basically took a whole month off after (barely) finishing the marathon. I am still trying to zero in in my target finish time, which determines training paces, and so far it appears that a marathon finish of 4:00-4:15 is a good fit for me; this calls for long runs at 10:00 – 10:30 per mile…right in my zone! We shall see how well this fits as the weeks progress and the harder workouts get added in, but I am liking this plan so much right now 🙂

Monday 2-17:  Rest/cross-training   This base-building segment gives me two off days a week; I struggle to fill that time with core and strength workouts, because I don’t feel like I’m doing enough…I will get more consistent here, but it’s a learning process (sigh)

Tuesday 2-18:  Easy run– 3.1  miles, 31:45 (10:06/mi)   Nice easy run, nothing remarkable. I have a regular route for this distance which I know so well I can almost run  on autopilot…frees my mind to deal with the issues of the day, and let’s me return home in peace…thank you, running!

Wednesday 2-19:  Rest/cross-training   Burpees suck; so do dips and pushups – at least on days where I spend 8-10 hours at work loading and unloading a few thousand pounds of sheetmetal from the ground to my pickup to the freight elevator! But exercising when already fatigued is nothing new to me, so onward! I still need to set up a pull-up station and a rope climb, otherwise the Spartan race is gonna get me!

Thursday 2-20:  Easy run– 3  miles, 32:26 (10:36/mi)   I was feeling tired and stiff today, and didn’t even get out the door until nearly full dark…but I got out here nonetheless! My pace was a little slower because the monthly heavy trash pickup is coming soon, and the homeowners along my route have some pretty big piles of tree limbs, as everyone begins cleaning up their yards in preparation for early lawnmower season.

Friday 2-21:  Easy run– 3  miles, 29:31 (9:39/mi)   Feeling more energetic tonight, so I push for negative splits; by the last mile I was moving right along…I also wanted to get a taste of running faster as a preview of tomorrow’s race…and I liked what I saw!

Saturday 2-22:  Easy run– 1.5  miles, 25:27 (16:26/mi)  First run of two today; I was supposed to meet up with my trail running friends, but I was running late and missed them at the start, so I did a short solo loop as a warm-up. It was pretty muddy, and I did some exploring (read: got lost) which explains the pokey pace.

Saturday 2-22:  Race– 3.42  miles, 28:10 (8:15/mi)   Today was the first race of the HARRA Spring series, the Buffalo Wallow XC 6K. This course is all on grass, and winds up, down, and around Spotts Park, which sits at the bottom of a bowl, allowing for multiple hill climbs and descents. It makes me grateful for the overpass repeats I do as a regular part of my training runs, as well as the inov-8 Mudclaw trail shoes I wore – every person I passed, I picked them off going uphill! I really love hearing them gasp as I blow by; sprinting up short hills is not a strategy for everyone, but it works well for me 🙂 The course was announced to be short of a true 6K, but even so my pace is within steps of the sub-25 5K target I have been pursuing for nearly a year; maybe I can get it this spring!

Total for this week: 6 runs, 18 miles

Total for February: 11 runs, 35.5 miles; #runthisyear goal 8.6% (175/2014 km)

Living Water fundraising to date: $102.00

More important than even my successful race was the fact that I am still running pain-free; mere words cannot describe how this makes me feel! The Brooks Ghost 5’s came in the mail late Saturday, so I will be adding them into the rotation this week…shoe review to follow once I get a little mileage on them! (My wife gets so much joy out of the fact that I now own three times as many pairs of shoes as she does 🙂 ) I have 3 road races and 2 virtuals scheduled for March, with more to come I am sure – lots of opportunities to put the new training to the test…and I am so excited!

How many races are you currently signed up for?

Do you feel that short races help or hinder training for longer distances?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!



  1. Amber @ Fit, Foodie Runs

    I have 6 races until summer time. Four 5ks and 2 10ks. I’m hoping to have a half under my belt by the end of the year. Fingers crossed! Even with our 28 degree days, I’m still going out and getting it done. It’s hard but making it!!!!

    Good luck on your AMAZING 50k!

  2. Eric

    I am signed up for the Rodeo Run this week and I plan on doing the second HARRA race in three weeks. I’m still having trouble getting all the way back into my running after the Marathon last month. I think short races help training for a longer race. I think it’s good to race fast every now and then.

    • Nick

      Yes I think short races that you push yourself for are useful and fun! Which HARRA race are you doing… BCC10K is the second of the series, and it’s next weekend!

  3. grabyourkicks

    Nice job with the runs! Glad to hear you’re running pain free. It’s a wonderful thing! I am getting desperate here for some warmer weather and sunshine. Luckily, we’re headed to Florida at the end of March. Can’t wait to run in the warmth again!

    • Nick

      If it had been this cold and wet last year, I may have chickened out, and quit couch to 5k before I ever got truly committed – I am so grateful that it went the other way, and now I can’t imagine NOT running! I still don’t know how y’all do it up north, snow brings out an allergic reaction in this Southern boy 🙂

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