"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."








Sunday, April 19, 2015

New Mile Training Plan

I posted plans for training to race 1 mile on this blog before, but it was poorly done and has been found in searches by a ton of people, so I want to do it again. The "Murderous Mile" plan by Fishpool and Smythe from 2000 (http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/racing/the-murderous-mile/63.html)
 is brilliant - the more I look at it, the more I like - but it assumes that one's in top 5K shape and wants to move down to the mile for once race, in four weeks, not that one's starting from scratch.


Starting

Monday 0
Tuesday 55 minutes, with 8x400m @ 1 Mile pace - 400m recovery.
Wednesday 55 min.
Thursday 55
Friday 0
Saturday (same as Tuesday)
Sunday 55

The plan is to continue that every week until improvement plateaus. Then the Tuesday repeats get longer and slower (5x800 @ 2Mile -400, later 4x1200 @5K -400) and the Saturday repeats get faster, with longer recovery (800m time trial, 800, 4x400-800; and eventually 1600m time trial, 1200m, 3x400m - 1200m) A moderate workout of 8x400m hills is added Thursday (starting at 4% incline, progressing to 8%)

Final plan

Monday         0
Tuesday       30min AM with sprints
                    55 min. PM w/ 4x1200m@5K -400m.
Wednesday  55 min. w/ 16x100m@1Mile-100m
Thursday     55 min. w/ 8x400m hill (8% incline) at 1 Mile pace equivalent effort.
Friday            0
Saturday      30 min AM with strides and form drills
                    55 min. PM w/ 1 mile time trial, 2-3x400m @800m pace - 5-10 minutes recovery.
Sunday        80 minutes, with last 3 miles at "threshold" pace (15K to 1/2 marathon pace).

This gives two hard workouts on Tuesday and Saturday and two moderate workouts on Thursday and Sunday.

For the record - three years and 5 minutes

Age-grading my best mile (age 23), the best I could hope for this year is 5:16 and at age 55 only 5:24. Using my best races at any distance, I get 5:09 this year and 5:17 at 55. The Minnesota records on the road are 4:48 (aided) and 5:16 at age 52 and 4:52 (aided) and 5:51 at age 55 and the track records are 4:45.42 (age 50-54) and 4:55.3 (age 55-59). That last one was once the WORLD age-class record! If I could get under 6 this year, that'd be okay and 5:30 would be great. Five minutes is looking close to impossible.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In Search of Pastime (apologies to Proust)

One of the great lost art forms is the eccentric hobby, which is a shame, as what a person does in leisure is far more telling than what they do for a profession. I have yet to learn anything about someone by being informed that they are a "systems analyst," but "the guy who makes dollhouse furniture from beer cans" is a subject worthy of investigation. We seem to have a fall-back position of passive consumption, whether products or media, and originality has been left to others; I think it is time to start afresh, to look at the possibilities and perhaps find more perfect ways to spend spare time.

Collecting has long been a favored hobby, but it has become usurped by profiteering. Rule one of pastimes should be: neither you nor anyone else should benefit in any real way. People are more likely to browse flea markets today in search of resale value than to search for things they merely enjoy. Finding something completely bereft of value to collect is a challenge, but the eclectic genius William Sidis nearly cracked it with his collection of streetcar transfer stubs. Transfers were given for free and had no value, but because they came in many varieties, could be collected. He wrote a book about the subject, called "the most boring book ever written" by one critic and that was his undoing, because he caused others to collect them and, because of their increasing rarity, ephemerality and age, they became valuable... to the four or five other collectors.

Crafts, too, have been a mainstay of the hobbyist. Unfortunately, folk art has become trendy and there is a market for intentionally naïve attempts, for example Etsy crafters making increasingly ugly Christmas sweaters. Again, once money becomes the focus, the point of the activity is lost. When Francis Johnson of Darwin, MN made the biggest ball of twine, he didn't do it for money or notoriety, though it is now the town's center attraction; he was not a visionary, just a man with a lot of twine. The second rule of pastime should be: impress no one. Ideally, you want to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on something just this side of futile, something that causes others to think they could do it and probably do it better, but couldn't be bothered to try. This brings us to the third rule: do not inspire competition (there are now bigger twine balls). This non-competitiveness can be tricky; while you may while away an hour completing a cross-word or jigsaw puzzle, there are others who do it in less time and do it competitively - there is even money involved, breaking all the rules.

Years ago, hearing of "high-pointers," who climb to the highest point in each state, I did some research and found that many states have county high-pointers, who frequently ask themselves why they drive all day to stand on yet another mound in yet another corn field in yet another county. These sounded like my people. I thought about climbing all the "peaks" in Minnesota (which are defined in a complicated manner involving 300 feet of rise from the saddle with the nearest taller neighbor) and discovered that there were a couple one could not do - corporate legal teams citing insurance liability - and I scared a true climber into doing most of them before I could. No one's done Wisconsin's peaks, which are easier, but the logistics bothered me. Then I noticed that if you drop the 300 foot rule, Wisconsin has more than 700 prominences, 74 of which are in Vernon County, which has zero 300 foot peaks. Vernon, in the glacial driftless area, is corrugated with tiny ridges and has no island peaks or chimney-like rocks requiring climbing skills and it's a mere two hour drive from my home.



Climbing the hills in Vernon County has several things I seek. It is a physical challenge, but a completely undemanding one. It is a logistical quagmire, which allows me to fill idle moments with thoughts of whether any one method of doing them is preferable to another. It's so infuriatingly vague that it is hard to know when one is done; the county high point is in one of ten possible areas, one a half-mile in diameter, all of which would have to be painstakingly covered to be certain one did not miss the true high point by a step or two. If I accomplished climbing all 74, not one person would be impressed and certainly no one would be inspired to duplicate the feat, even if I should follow Sidis and write the "Guide to Mountain Climbing in Vernon County, Wisconsin," available to download for free, of course.

What other pursuits should I consider? I ask myself as I crumble a madeleine into tea, ruining both. What tales shall I tell?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Starting from scratch

I keep getting asked if I'm running at all and then getting asked to join someone to run 30-40 miles of trails at 6 AM, as if those go together somehow. Here's what starting from zero - real zero, not "I took six weeks off after running 80 miles per week for 9 months" - looks like:

February

1  0 miles
2  0
3  0
4  0
5  0
6  0
7  3 in 27
8  3 in 29
9  0
10 0
11 0
12 0
13 0
14 0
15 0
16 0
17 0
18 0
19 0
20 0
21 0
22 0
23 0
24 2 in 18
25 0
26 0
27 0
28 0

March

1  0
2  2 in 18
3  0
4  0
5  0
6  0
7  6 in 55
8  0
9  0
10 3 in 26
11 5 in 46
12 6 in 59
13 0
14 6 in 55
15 6 in 57
16 0
17 3 in 27
18 2 in 19
19 1 in 10
20 0
21 6 in 56
22 6 in 62
23 0
24 6 in 54
25 6 in 60
26 6 in 60
27 0
28 6 in 54
29 6 in 57
30 0
31 6 in 53

It's taken a lot of work, but I've found a way to run (relatively) pain-free with only ten minutes per day of rehab exercises. It's a start.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Steve Does a Pull-up

I'm holding off on posting anything important for a while, as there's a lot of flux in my life right now.

Last December, I fell on the ice and messed up my back and one leg and it took forever to recover. I thought I'd taken care of everything, though, until one day I awoke and couldn't move my arm. I had "frozen shoulder," a fairly common problem, but one that's still surprising when it happens. It took about a month of rehab before the arm was about 95% functional.

So, doing a pull-up is a small victory of sorts.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Death on the Hill

About 200 yards from where I do my hill repeats, a man froze to death. There's a ton I'd like to say about it, but I'll put up some links and you can piece together your own story.

First report

Funeral

Homelessness

Stats

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

90000 Miles and 1 Mile

Though I'm not running much, I should hit the 90,000 mile lifetime mark this summer. If you want to join me for that (literal) milestone, let me know. Should be about June 20.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My favorite film discoveries of 2014

ICYMI [Yes, I've stooped to that]:

http://www.rupertpupkinspeaks.com/2015/02/favorite-film-discoveries-of-2014-steve.html

Among the 500 or so films I saw last year, I picked 10 that I thought were a lot of fun to watch. I doubt you've heard of any of them. Check it out.