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Ten thousand meters later
Sunday, October 16, 2005

When I grabbed the last cup with water in the watering station, my stop watch read 00:30:23. I realized I was at the 5K mark. I thought to myself that if I kept the same pace, I could finish the race under 1 hour.

I didn't break the 1 hour mark. Today though, was my best time so far in a 10K race.

My official time: 01:01:00 (1 hour 1 minute - Look for number 480 in the "Overall Placement" column).

I averaged around 6 minutes per kilometer. Although, I did the last two kilometers in 11 minutes. I.e. At the 8K mark I was at around 50 minutes - I pushed for that under one hour 10K run with the help of a personal trainer I befriended about 6 kilometers into the race - Thanks Roberta from Personal Edge Training. Roberta, aside from being great with people, is also the co-founder of the company.

In past runs, I've had to slow down due to a nagging shin splint problem. This time around, I felt well throughout the race. I had good rhythm, no pain anywhere, and the weather was cool enough to avoid extreme perspiration.

Overall, I think I can actually push harder and make up a few seconds per kilometer in order to finish under 1 hour. However, I'm not experienced enough to properly ration my energy consumption, yet. Either I run too fast, burning all my oxygen quickly, or I run too slow, ending up with left over energy.

How have I been training this summer? I've done a few 10Ks races before: a couple of Terry Fox runs (I still question if the Waterloo course is 10 kilometers - I measured it unofficially and it was 8.5K - I could be wrong, though), and the RunTO in 2003, which I finished in 1:10:00 (1 hour and ten minutes). My training was a bit erratic. I.e. I'd run a couple of times a week for 25 minutes at my fastest pace (Which was very slow).

This summer I wanted to train for time, rather than distance. I mean, I know I can run 10 kilometers non stop, but the question is now, if can I run 10K under one hour.

I did some research on the subject of running and proper training and I found out that in order to run faster I needed to get some speed work in my training. My typical training week went as follows:
    Sunday: LSD (Long Slow Distance) - I maxed out at 1 hour and 20 minutes - That's around 9 to 10 kilometers at a very slow pace.

    Monday: 20 minutes slow recovery run - I average around 3 kilometers each time.

    Tuesday: weight training - I do 30 to 45 minutes of weight lifting. I do something called HIT (High Intensity Training) - It involves 1 set of major muscle building exercises with the heaviest weight you can handle.

    My typical work out:
      Squats: 1 x 230 lb for 12 reps (That's 4 x 45 lb disks + 2 x 25 lb disks + 45 bar)

      Pull Over: 1 x 100 lb for 12 reps (One 100 lb dumbbell - I could go heavier, but my gym only has 100 lb dumbbells). In case the benches are busy, I do 175 lb with a Nautilus machine

      Wide grip chin up: 1 x body weight for 10 reps

      Dips: 1 x body weight + 45 lb disk for 10 reps

      Barbell curl: 1 x 50 lb for 10 reps (2 x 25 lb disk + 45 lb bar)

      Shrugs: 1 x 230 lb for 20 reps - Depending on the mood, I do 6 x 45 lb plates. I.e. 3 on each side for 10 reps

      Straight leg dead lift: 1 x 90 lb for 10 reps (Go easy on the back with this one)

    Wednesday: speed work - I switch between fartleks and interval training every other week.
      - Start with 10 minutes easy run
      - Run fastest speed I can maintain for 4 minutes (Usually 85% of my max heart rate)
      - Run recovery run for 1 minute
      - Repeat 4 to 5 times
      - End workout with 10 minutes easy run

      Interval training (On a track):
      - Start with 10 minutes easy run
      - Stretch for 5 minutes
      - Repeat four times: 200 meters at max speed, then walk for 200 meters
      - After the 4 x 200 m at max speed, repeat 6 times: 300 meters at max speed, then walk 300 meters
      - After the 6 x 300 m at max speed, repeat 4 times: 200 meters at max speed, then walk 200 meters
      - End with 10 minutes easy run

    Thursday: Rest

    Friday: 4 to 5 kilometers of moderately fast running. I.e. 5K in 30 minutes or 4 km in 30 minutes - It depends how I feel

    Saturday: Rest

    I then repeat the cycle, starting again with Sunday...
I've been able to avoid injury with this training schedule. It isn't as intense as I've seen around, but it has worked for me.

If you like to try my 10K training schedule, I wouldn't recommend it you try it cold turkey, if you are just starting. I'd say, you build up a bit of running (a few weeks at least) before trying the speed work - Those workouts are pretty intense (At least for me).

Note, that you can adjust things here and there: Add more running days; Or add some cross training either by swimming or biking on rest days; etc. Be careful not to over train: The best training advice you can get (and I can give) is to listen to your body. If it hurts, stop; if you feel too tired to go out running, chances are you are too tired. And of course, consult with your Dr. before starting any strenuous type of activity.

You can also add some hill work in your training week. I didn't do any hill work this summer, as I was trying to avoid overtraining and I've also been recovering from a nasty ankle injury. I tore the tendons of my left ankle (the inside part - A very rare injury) playing soccer. Running actually hurt a bit, but nothing too serious to have stopped me from the running sessions. I'm a bit stubborn (and perhaps a bit idiotic) by believing in the old mantra: "no pain, no gain."

Is running worth it? Running is a useless endeavor - We have cars and public transportation, now a days. I.e. No need to run anywhere. I do it only because I'm hooked on it. After a very long run (or hard work out), you get this endorphin high that you can't get doing anything else.

Whatever everyone else says about keeping active for a healthier life, may not even be true. But don't listen to me, I'm not a trained physician nor a running shoe maker (Which are the ones most interested in the general population to be running around) nor a governamental health department trying to save money in the future.

What's next for me? I'd like to build up my endurance to run a full marathon next year (more realistically, two years from now).

I'll try to keep running during the Winter season in order to be ready for a half marathon next year (That's 22 kilometers). I've ran in the Winter before, but I don't like it too much: my lungs contract and I find it hard to breathe; I also, don't have the nifty and sexy long legged spandex pants; And the slush from all that melting snow, doesn't help either.

Why do I keep running, if I think it's such a useless activity? Simply, because I can. You should try it, too.

11:52 AM | 0 comment(s) |


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