6 Days Until the ING Miami Half Marathon

Wait a second. Did I really just type that? Six days? What have I gotten myself into?

Taper madness is in full effect, and even more so since the previous week was also of reduced volume and intensity due to an untimely appearance of shin splints.

Strength, mobility and skill training has continued as usual.

The lack of running hasn’t concerned me much from a strength perspective too much, but I’ve been a bit concerned regarding the cardiovascular aspect. And just in the interests of full disclosure I have some mental block or weakness that prevents me from sitting on a stationary bike long enough to illicit a decent training response.

I tested out the legs with three runs this week, totaling a paltry 8.4 miles.  I completed 2 run-walk intervals on the treadmill, hoping to take advantage of the more forgiving impact forces, and took the final run of the week back out to my usual route on the road.

To make up for the lack of cardio intensity recently I wore the Elevation Training Mask during two of the three runs. The mask’s designers and marketers make quite a large number of claims regarding the physiological benefits and changes you can expect from training in the mask. While I’m definitely not convinced or swayed by many of these claims, the one thing I can attest to is this: the mask allows me to run at an easy, relaxed pace thus sparing my shins, joints and feet from harder impact forces while still challenging my heart, lungs and core to work overtime in order to keep me running.

Plus, an additional bonus not discussed but maybe implied and assumed is that by wearing the mask you will discover that stray dogs stay away and there is always a clear lane ahead as oncoming walkers and runners suddenly shuffle in another direction.






13 Days Until the ING Miami Half Marathon

I accomplished my goal of backing off the mileage this week.  Not too hard to do, after all, just run less.  But I still couldn’t avoid running into trouble.  During yesterday and today’s run a few undeniable symptoms of shin splints made themselves known.

I ran 4 days this week for a total of 16 miles, a significant break from last week’s 26 mile total. But it seems that the overall stress of three consecutive weeks of increasing mileage wreaked a little havoc: medial tibial stress syndrome.

My treatment will include taking an anti inflammatory and not running on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Strength training was solid with three gym sessions, focusing on my shoulders, back and core.

They say that running is cheaper than therapy.  I can definitely add that any day I run, I find I am in a better mood than on days I do not.  The shin pain is not ideal but it doesn’t have me bummed out.  I’ll treat it as best I can and move forward, the only direction that matters.

7.4 mile run on 1/1/2013 on Puntarenas, Costa Rica

7.4 mile run on 1/1/2013 on Puntarenas, Costa Rica




20 Days Until the ING Miami Half Marathon

A solid, strong training week to wrap up my final hard efforts prior to the half marathon.  Three runs totaling 25 miles, including efforts of 7.4, 5.3, and 12.7 miles.

I was particularly pleased that I managed to work in these miles during the week of New Years, and didn’t let the celebrations and holiday create an easy excuse to slack off.

I felt a few complaints from my body during the long run, including a little arch pain and some fairly serious discomfort in my right glute.  I walked and stretched a few times during the run and found it manageable, but nonetheless it may be something I need to keep an eye on during the half marathon.

I have approximately 8 to 10 runs left before the race, and they will consist mostly of easy efforts to maintain mileage volume. Some will include random surges or strides after the run. While others may be run as intervals that build to slightly faster than my half marathon goal pace.






27 Days Until the ING Miami Half Marathon


Another three run week, knocking out two 4 milers, and 9.75 for my long run.

The long run was a non-stop effort with no intervals or breaks. My goal was 10 miles and around mile 9 I was starting to feel a little wobbly, as if I was shuffling and no longer running. I had previously decided to try and run the final push faster though, and when I dialed in for the last three quarters of a mile I actually ended up running my fastest split of the day.

I’m still a bit confused regarding my sub 150 bpm efforts and their potential benefits.  I can definitely attest to the fact that those runs are keeping my legs fresh and preventing me from over-running my easy days.  However an undesired side effect is that, now, any runs that are paced at even 30 seconds per minute faster feel like sprints and I find myself struggling to maintain what previously was a ‘normal’ pace.

There are only a few weeks remaining before the half marathon so I won’t risk making any (more) drastic changes at this point.

My strength training has been completely shut down now for roughly 3 weeks due to a pulled muscle and/or pinched nerve in my back, directly between my shoulder blades.  It wasn’t excessively painful in and of itself, however, it caused a great deal of muscle spasms and also apparently ‘turned off’ my left triceps and shoulder.  I wasn’t able to do a single push-up or any other exercise requiring strength and stability.

In a strange way this break from the gym may have boosted my recovery slightly as far as the runs are concerned.

I’d like to start with a clean slate and re-assess my entire training plan for 2013, but due to the ING half marathon date of January 27, my new year will start more or less on February 01.


Training 12/17 to 12/23

Posted: 23rd December 2012 by Chris @ 10N84W in Uncategorized


34 Days Until the ING Miami Half Marathon

‘Tis the season, and with all of it’s joy and wonder there are also plenty of distractions and temptations lurking in every corner, conspiring to throw a runner’s training plan under the bus.

I’ve continued to run the majority of my miles with an average heart rate under 150 bpm.  If nothing else, these miles provide a great warm-up, and also help me recover from the harder efforts by drawing a line in the sand that represents an allowable max effort.

This week I wanted to back off from last week’s 20 miles, while still simulating a longer, harder effort on at least one run.

On Friday I logged another 8 miler but approached it as a mixed distance interval, consisting of a 5k, 1 mile, 1 mile, and 5k legs.  The 1 mile intervals were run at 9:28 pace, which falls in-between my 10k pace of 9:05 and my half marathon goal pace of 9:54.


weekly totals



534841 Days Until the ING Miami Half Marathon

Nothing I’ve done this week is worthy of wasting space or time on in light of the tragedy that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Four runs, totaling 20 miles, with a long run of 7.7 miles.

I’ll drop off to three runs next week in order to recover a little, but still plan to include a six or seven miler.

Hugging my kids a lot this weekend.






Training 12/3 to 12/9

Posted: 16th December 2012 by Chris @ 10N84W in ING Miami Half Marathon Training, running


39449 Days Until the ING Miami Half Marathon

Short and sweet this week. Knocked out three runs, totaling 15.8 miles with a long run of 8.7 miles.

I hope everyone had great workouts and are closer to your goals than you were yesterday!





56 Days Until the ING Miami Half Marathon

This week I managed three runs for a total of 12 miles. My schedule called for 4 runs, however I participated with my wife and her company in building a home from the ground up that was donated to the Central American charity Techo por Mi Pais. (A roof for my country)

I transitioned this week to a new training method for the majority of my runs, based on Phil Maffetone’s heart rate training. I made decent progress during my quest for an improvement in my 10k time, however due to amount of time I lost due to PF, bone spurs, and Achilles tendonitis I feel like I never properly developed the base level required to properly pursue my half marathon goal.

Maffetone’s method limits my runs to a maximum heart rate of 150 bpm. On some days I will walk for 25 or 50 meters if my actual HR reading reaches or exceeds 150 bpm. On other days I will allow the actual HR to exceed 150 bpm as long as my average HR stays below that upper limit. This flexibility allows me continue to run a few hills without worrying about violating the rules.

Currently, to keep my HR below 150 bpm I am averaging roughly 12 minute miles. Running this slowly is slightly awkward and it greatly increases the time on my feet at distance. For this reason, I limit the Maffetone method to 3 miles or 1 hour maximum. On runs greater than 3 miles I will complete the first 3 Maffetone style and run the remainder at perceived effort.

I usually alternate how many times I run each week between 3 and 4 days. Each week I can choose a single run that will be entirely based on perceived effort, negative splits, progression or tempo run, or some other pace based training method. I feel it’s important to include these runs in order to keep my legs fresh and prevent my body from ‘locking’ in to a sluggish, slow pace. In addition, the perceived effort runs are very important in teaching me how to internalize pace and interpreting my body’s feedback on race day.






63 Days Until the ING Miami Half Marathon

To all of whom celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope that you had a wonderful holiday. I treated my family to a very non-traditional feast of St. Louis style bbq ribs, corn on the cob, roasted new potatoes, with salt, vinegar, garlic and parsley. And of course there were pecan and apple pies, with vanilla ice cream.

It’s possible I suppose, that the excitement of the holiday provided a little motivation. But regardless of the reason I bumped up the mileage slightly this week, mostly due to running 8 miles on Saturday. I will actually back off a bit next week, aiming for runs of 3, 4, and 6 miles. I am discovering that the combination of my age, experience and fitness level require a bit more recovery, and when I ignore that rule of thumb I find myself sidelined due to injury fairly quickly. After the recovery week, the goal will be to run a 4, 4, 9.

November 19 to November 25

Monday: bench press, pullups

Tuesday: 5 miles

Wednesday: bbr, core

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: bench press, dips

Saturday: 8 miles

Sunday: rest




70 Days Until the ING Miami Half Marathon

After running for a new PR last week in the City Tour Race I wanted to approach week 18 as conservatively as possible. My expectation was to continue my strength training as usual but limit myself to two runs only. Oddly enough, the week ended with having completed an abbreviated strength routine and squeezing in three runs.

With a running schedule of approximately every other day I’m down to 35 actual training days. I haven’t run any distance longer than 10k in over a month, so it’s time to focus on getting the long runs where they need to be. The long run progression from here on out is loosely based on this weekly outline: 6, 7, 8, 6, 9, 7, 11, (8, 7 – taper,) 13.1.

November 12 to November 18

Monday: rest

Tuesday: bench press, dips

Wednesday: 2.7 miles

Thursday: bbr, core

Friday: 4 miles

Saturday: rest (missed strength training)

Sunday: 4.84 miles