Late 30s husband, father, programmer, and runner.
I don't always run marathons, but when I do, I prefer the Hansons marathon plan.

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Today should have been a 7-mile tempo run. However, I decided to run at the all-ages track meet tonight, so I needed to take it easy. 5 simple miles to keep the legs loose for later.

The meet is definitely kid-oriented, so there’s not the standard slate of events. There may not be much competition either, but I’m gonna blast the 1600 like it’s the Olympics. In terms of my training, one really hard mile isn’t a fair trade for 7 comfortably hard tempo miles, but I’m doing fine and it’s still relatively early. Just need to not strain anything in the process.

My kids have been with my parents all week, so I’m trying to get them to bring the kids to the meet too so they can do a few events. The one that looks the most fun is the family 4x100. If I can convince my dad to run a leg, we would have enough. I think it would be a lot of fun for the boys to run a real relay with a baton and everything. Stay tuned.

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Today’s Hansons speed workout is a ladder. You go 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400 with 400 jog recovery. All the other speed workouts in the plan add up to 3 miles, but they trick you with this and sneak an extra mile in there. It’s actually kinda nice to mix it up, but you do have to be on your game to keep track of what’s next. And those recoveries are not long enough on the way down the ladder. I think the second 1200 is the worst one of them all.

I was shooting for 1:25 per lap, regardless of distance. I got under target on all of those except missing by a hair on the second 800. All of them were really close though. I was doing just enough to maintain pace.

Official times (& targets):

400 - 1:24.22 (1:25)
800 - 2:47.31 (2:50)
1200 - 4:14.37 (4:15)
1600 - 5:38.39 (5:40)
1200 - 4:14.49 (4:15)
800 - 2:50.49 (2:50)
400 - 1:24.73 (1:25)

Two years ago, there was no Hansons book published, but I did have a ladder in there of my own design. Back then the average mile pace was 6:14.5. Today’s average was 5:38.5. Quite an improvement, and I did an extra mile!

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I found one open to all ages on Thursday night. I already took the day off (for other reasons). Could I pull off a 5-minute mile in the middle of marathon training?? I haven’t raced on a track since high school. That’s over 20 years for anyone counting.

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Temperature’s heating up, and outdoor crossfit produced a lot of sweat today. Our trainer was out, but he sent us a workout to do anyway:

None of us thought this looked overwhelming, but by the time we finished 3 rounds, the hour was up. I estimate running the perimeter of the parking lot was about a half-mile based on how long it took me.

I was supposed to run 8 miles after the workout today, but I’ll admit I’m looking for any excuse to cut that down. Since I already did 1.5 miles during the WOD, I rationalized running just an extra 6 instead:

I managed to stay in the shade most of the time, so it wasn’t too bad. Tomorrow looks like it will be a doozy. Definitely need to get up early and make sure I’ve got all my chafing protection and sunscreen ready to go.

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I did end up at Salt Creek this morning, and the gate was open at Bemis Woods when I got there around 6:15. If I start at Bemis and run east, I can almost make it the 6+ miles to Brookfield Zoo before the trail ends, so it’s a great place for a 12-13 mile run.

I’m not sure what’s up with that first mile. The little 0.4 mile stretch before you join the main trail is really heavily wooded and twisty, so maybe the GPS struggles in there. I knew right away something was off because there are yellow mile markers sprayed on the path from training groups that start in the same place I did. I crossed the first one and my watch said I still had 0.08 to go.

So I spent a lot of my run mildly tiffed about the distance and wondering if I was actually running slower than I thought. It’s all rubbish of course as you can see from the actual splits. Everything after that was at a good clip. I could tell at the turnaround that I was running plenty fast, so I focused on a nice strong pace on the way back. “Let it goooo. Let it gooooooooo.”

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As hard as it is to get up early before work to run, sacrificing those lazy weekends as well just seems like a crime. Alas, our last swim meet of the summer was this morning, and we had to be there at 8am. That meant 10 miles had to start by 5:30 so I could shower and go.

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The time crunch tends to make me run faster. I should be taking it easy to help my legs recover, but I can’t seem to shake the impending deadline. In reality, those 2-3 minutes I cut off my normal pace don’t really matter. Such an insignificant savings for the additional effort it takes.

I’ve got another 12 to do tomorrow morning. Should have a little more time to get it done before church. Not sure where I want to go to do it though. I haven’t run the Salt Creek trail in a while. Blacktop path that’s nice and flat and very few road crossings. Just need to figure out when I can get in the gate at the trailhead to park.

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6 miles on the schedule. This is the bare minimum in the Hansons advanced plan, and I was glad for the break. I snoozed my 5am alarm a few times and gave myself just enough leeway to run, shower, and leave to catch my train. I got up, put on my shoes, and started running. No bathroom break, nothing to eat, no stretching. Just go. Gotta scratch as many minutes of sleep together as possible.

So I’m jogging along on a route I don’t run often. I went this way for variety and because it sucks when it’s all wet from rain (which we haven’t had for a couple days). At one point I look at my watch and notice there are a few more tenths than I think there should be. Crap, is my new watch wonking out already? What happened?

When I run a similar route starting from my gym, I do a loop around the lake in one of the parks. When I run this route from my house, no loop around the lake. Oops, there’s my extra 0.4 miles. Can you tell where I figured this out?

So my relaxed running took on some urgency. I was able to shortcut some of the route to make up time, but I was almost ready to do some Ferris Bueller cut-through-the-neighbor’s-backyard acrobatics. Thankfully not needed today, and I made it to work on time. Never a dull moment.

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I’m now up to 7 tempo (marathon pace) miles plus warmup and cooldown. Today I wanted to focus on keeping my pace closer to the 6:29/mi target. That meant trying to relax and letting the cadence of my body take over once I settled into the right speed. I’m pretty good at moving in a consistent manner on flat ground. The ups, downs, and turns of the road make it a little harder, but I think I did a good job finishing the 7 miles in 45:05 (6:26/mi) with no splits obscenely fast or slow:

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Besides the cooler temperatures, another benefit of running really early in the morning is that there are very few cars out there. I can breeze through intersections without too much concern about getting run over, which really makes a difference when you’re trying to maintain a consistent pace.

Two year comparison

Running at 5am

Why bother with pajamas?

Running at 5am

Why bother with pajamas?

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What’s going on with this weather? Low 50s on July 15th? I’m not gonna complain because it was really nice for my workout. Just weird.

Today’s Hansons speed workout was 4x1200m with 400m jog recovery. According to the pace chart, my 2:50 marathon training goal equates to about 4:15 per 1200.

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These worked out well all things considered. I was definitely feeling the accumulation of the previous days. The interval workout comes at the end of each six-day stretch of the plan, so the legs are pretty worn out by then. I told myself a few times “just X more laps” until I could jog home and get my rest day tomorrow.

Official splits:

4:15.05 
4:17.50
4:11.62
4:13.81