Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Jack Daniels Man

I ran the St. Andrew's Father's Day 5-miler this past Sunday, Mike's annual race. In the four weeks since the marathon, I haven't run very much, and it showed in my finishing time of the race ... not quite breaking the 8 minute/mile pace. The course isn't easy at all, but that's a weak excuse for the poor time.

Cam ran a kilometer in the kids race prior to the adults, coming in at 5:24. Here's a picture of Cam giving it the final push just before he finished! He did very well!

Another picture of Cam, relieved to be done, hanging out with me before the "grown ups" raced.

Some speedy people I know have spoken to me recently about the importance of track workouts, and how it has improved their running. With this in mind, I decided I would include regular track work in my training plan for the Mount Desert Island marathon in October.

I've read a bit about Jack Daniels and his training plans, and I knew regular sessions on the track were part of his schedules (yeah... yeah... it doesn't make him particularly unique, I know). Also, since I've followed Pfitzinger for three training cycles now, I thought I would do something a bit different just to mix it up. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how it affects me compared to my past training.

I registered for a training plan from the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project, which uses training plans from Jack Daniels. I gave them my recent running history, how many days per week I would like to run, anticipated mileage, and marathon and intermediary race goals. Based on this information, I was provided with an 18-week plan.

The first thing I noticed about the plan was how slow the pace of the easy-paced runs were, with paces of 9:15 to 9:45 per mile. To me, that seems quite slow. However, I've thought for a while that my slow paces are too fast, when comparing to my race times, or when I measure my heart rate on these runs as a percentage of my maximum heart rate. My long runs in the past have always come close to my marathon pace. I hear others speak of tough "marathon pace" long runs, and I think to myself "What's the big deal about that? All my long runs are around marathon pace!"

I think I'll stick to the plan, pretty much as prescribed, and see how it goes. I'll post regular updates here. Here's what the people from the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project said when I asked them about the pace of my easy runs.

"The suggested easy paces are appropriate for your goal time. That is a sign you may normally be running too hard on your easy days. Remember, easy pace running is to strengthen your heart and increase cellular adaptation to help you build a nice base for more stressful training. Those paces are as fast as you need to go to reap 100% of those benefits so running any harder only puts you at higher risk of getting injured."

So tonight, on my first run of the plan, I ran seven miles at a 9:07 pace. The plan has a suggested pace between 9:15 and 9:49! I can't imagine running a 9:49 pace for seven miles. The route I ran was fairly hilly, and my average heartrate was 149, which is about 78% of my maximum heart rate. This tells me that I probably could slow it down even more.

Tomorrow ... speed work, with 13 miles in total, including 2 miles at tempo and 3 km repeats. It will be interesting to see how I make out with that. I'll report on it in my next post.


  1. Had a look at the plan and it's not something that I'd try for a couple of reasons. Are you ready to jump right into 48+ mile weeks? No build and no down weeks of significance either (unless you get hurt from all the miles).

    The interval times for the k repeats look hard! I don't see alot of variety from run to run (alot of 7-10 mile runs). I like changes of dist/time/pace. The long runs and time on your feet runs are not their either. My Lydiard plan has weekly long runs of 2 - 2.75hrs in length.

    My biggest worry would be getting injured from doing too much too quickly without a good build after your layoff. Lot's of running will make you a better runner but...ya gotta stay healthy!

    Good luck!

  2. Those are good points Mike. I didn't even think about the lack of cutback weeks.

    Looks like I may tweak it, keeping some of the good points (speed work, easy paced runs), including the addition of some hills and add a bit to the long runs. I was planning on making the long runs a little longer anyway.

    And you were right - those intervals are fast for me! However, I came pretty close to them tonight.

  3. Great job at speeding up. You've got the speed but won't admit it but need to be careful of doing too much, too soon (like all of us).

  4. Great pics of your son giving it his all at the race!

    I'm glad you're posting about your training plans - interesting!