mid year progress report

It’s been 6 months since I started taking training seriously, here’s a rundown of where I’m at and what I hope to achieve by the end of the year.

MAF test 5 – still on track

maf test 5 chart
orange lines are the previous tests, green line is the latest test, red lines are the goals ahead

MAF training: 
My last test was in hotter weather than I was hoping for, so the slight improvement is encouraging considering the conditions. I’ve gone from a 9:18 min/mile average for this test to a 8:38 min/mile average in the last 5+ months. So a 40 second per mile improvement, not bad. I’m sure I’ll hit some performance walls along the way in the future, but I have no idea when and where. Looks like I’m on course to reach 8 min/mile average by the end of the year. The 7 min/mile red line in the chart above is something to shoot for by the end of 2014. (Yes I know, long term planning and patience)

How this transfers to race times is hard to tell. My latest road marathon was slightly over 8 min/miles while my MAF at the time was at just around 9 min/miles. So I guess an 8 min/mile MAF by the end of the year will put me closer to a 7 min/mile race pace for a road marathon. I have a marathon scheduled for November, hopefully a sub 3hr15min is in order by that time.

Consistent mileage

weekly mileage chart
green shows the current year

The previous years I’ve run, there’s been large gaps of weeks and months where there was no running at all due to injury. This year has finally brought some consistency, with 30-50 mile weeks in the norm. The large dips this year are tapering weeks before races or low mile recovery weeks after races. I’m not interested in pushing beyond 50 mile weeks, at least not this year. I don’t see much added benefit at this point. Not much else to say here other than keep things going.

Weight distribution – body composition

I’ve not lost much weight, but have shifted some body fat over to muscle. Fat weighs less than muscle, so there won’t be a 1:1 shift. The goal is to get down to around 10 percent body fat by the end of the year. Should be doable, but it might be the hardest part of my “training.” It’s a little easier to lose fat in the heat of the summer months, so I’m trying to take advantage of that. I know when winter comes around I’ll be tempted to eat some comfort foods. The body’s metabolism also slows down in colder weather.

That this should effect performance is obvious, but how much I have no idea. I know that a decrease in weight can improve marathon performance, but I’ not interested in being rail thin, just want a little more muscle and a little less fat.

Injury freedom

No chart needed!
I’ve been without much pain even with the increase in volume. This I chalk up to running at aerobic slow speeds. I’m taxing my system less, which means faster recovery times. Also my running form improvements have made it so there’s less stress on the body. I kind of glide along the ground as apposed to many people out there (especially younger folks) who are bouncing up and down and over striding. A lot of wasted energy and more stress on the body.

The heat has been exacting a larger tole I’ve noticed. I have some tightness in my calves, and I’m sweating a lot in this humidity, recovery time is also slower than in the cooler months. But these discomforts seem manageable and have not come close to becoming injuries.

The rest of the year

Stay on track with what I’m doing. Somehow I doubt I’ll hit much of a snag for the rest of the year. I still feel like there’s plenty to go on with the slow base building I’ve been doing. My aerobic system needs more work. Speed work I think will wait until next year.

I have a few races lined up for the fall, one road marathon, two 50k races, one 50 mile race, and a few local shorter races.

So, patience and more patience, and relentless forward progress.