Training Update (the 2 mile marker!)

This training update is presented in SOAP format, inspired by Art Clarke (see his blog  Running Naked in the blogroll for more info).


I feel like training is on a sign wave, The peaks are great, and the valleys not so good. After Monday’s bummer of a workout (I identified 2 broken machines at the gym, including the treadmill that was available) I came back in full force on Wednesday with a triple play of elliptical, treadmill, and swimming. My running distance was up. It seems that once I get past 1.3 miles, I can go for quite a while

On Thursday I had planned the usual elliptical/running workout but I happened upon a volleyball game in the gymnasium. For those not in the know, I played on my high school team and still love to play. I was watching for a moment trying to figure out what was going on when I was called into the game. Not one to decline the chance to play (I haven’t played indoor in years) onto the court I went.

The upside is that I had a great workout playing volleyball. The downside is that it wasn’t the intensive cardio running workout that I needed. I followed up volleyball with a 1 mile quicky on the treadmill.

Volleyball uses completely different muscles than running, cycling, or swimming. Certain parts of my body ache. I feel strong. I’m much hungrier than normal.


I’ve passed the 2-mile marker!

Wednesday’s workout was a 15 minute warm-up on the elliptical trainer, 2.15 miles on the treadmill, and a 1/2 mile swim. I would have preferred to do the swim first, but the availability of the pool dictated the order of operations.

Pain is still relatively low. The running on sidewalks did hurt a little bit. The treadmill is currently the friendliest surface to practice running on, but I suspect it’s not as good a workout as actual running.


Half of the time my training program is working great. The other half I feel fatigued incredibly early on the treadmill. I’m at the point where swimming and cycling at reasonable paces don’t tire me out much. My cardio fitness is improving though at a potentially slower than planned rate.


Continue with 4 sessions per week. Ice knee after running even though it will be a bit annoyin. Swimming and cycling both once per week seems to be working fine, so continue that. (Swimming and running workouts happen on the same day.)

Make sure at least one workout per week involves running a significant distance. This week, break 2.5 miles. Cardio endurance remains the biggest risk.

Find a way to incorporate volleyball into workouts somehow. This will make training for the triathlon harder, but ultimately more rewarding.  Possibly make Thursdays a light run day followed by volleyball.

Set a date to practice swimming in open water (harder and colder than a pool).

If anyone has any advice as to what a proper running speed is, I’m interested. A coworker whose done a number of triathlons suggested that i slow down (I was running at 6.7 mph). This last workout I ran at 5.8, or at least I tried. After a 1.5 miles I couldn’t take it any more and went up to 6.4 mph.

One thought on “Training Update (the 2 mile marker!)”

  1. Do you have a heart rate monitor? If so, you can use that to determine the best rate to run at. For your “distance” (i.e. endurance-building) runs, I’d recommend keeping your heart rate (HR) between 70% and 80% of your max-heart-rate (MHR). For your “intense” (i.e. strength-building) runs I’d recommend 80%-90% of your MHR.

    There are many ways to calculate MHR, but a reasonable rule of thumb is 220-(Your Age), so if you’re a 30 year old male:
    100% MHR: 190BPM
    90% MHR: 171BPM
    80% MHR: 152BPM
    70% MHR: 133BPM
    60% MHR: 114BPM

    For some people the 220-Age formula doesn’t work (I’m one of those — my resting and max heart rate are lower and higher than normal respectively). Another rule of thumb (and works great if you don’t have a heart-rate-monitor) is try to do your long runs so that you can BARELY maintain a conversation with a running partner.

    What does this have to do with running speed? Well, you set the speed that lets you maintain 75% of your MHR. For a short-distance that speed will be a lot higher than for long-distances 🙂

    This is much harder than it sounds, and you may find yourself having to stop and walk in order to maintain a 75% MHR. Go ahead and walk — learning how to pace yourself and your heart will make you a much better distance runner.

    If you do this you’ll probably find yourself slowing down (like your tri-friend suggested) at first. But keep at it, and you’ll start blowing old times out of the water.

    If you want to try it, pick a reference run (I like a 3 or 4 mile run, but you probably want to pick a mile for now) and run it as fast as you currently can (don’t worry about heart-rate for the test — just finish as fast as you can). Then every 4 weeks, re-do the test. Record your times and be amazed. I got my 4-mile run best from 10-minute miles (Aug ’06) to 7.5 minute miles (Aug ’07) this way.

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