Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Boston Build Up - Week 8

This week Ive been plagued with a Cold. Its not really been bad enough to stop me from running, but i decided fairly early on in the week to keep my volume down a little so that i didnt put too much stress on my immune system.

I had intended to run another 160km week but instead it turned out to be 116km. I also didnt do a long run as on sunday morning when i had  it scheduled I woke up feeling a little bit worse for wear, I still got out and started the run but we started off by heading straight into the wind, which had me feeling pretty sorry for myself, so i cut it short at 19k.

My legs however really seemed to have enjoyed this cutback week, The tightness in my left leg has subsided, and the niggle in my right hip is now a thing of the past. This encouraged me to run both of my steady paced runs at a pretty good clip. It was really nice to see my pace heading down close to 4:30/k at an effort level that i felt like i could sustain for a good length of time.

We now have 12 full weeks till Boston, thats just 10 weeks more of training time before the need to Taper. This coming week I start to prepare for the next major phase of training, focused on speed development by introducing a fartlek run into my training. I also have the first of my tune-up and assesment races at the end of the week.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Boston Build Up - Week 7

This was a much better week in terms of running conditions. This allowed me to increase the intensity a little on my mid week runs, I was quite surprised how hard i was feeling like i was pushing myself to have to maintain the target HR's id set myself for these runs. But I was able to run them for close too two hours before feeling the effects of Glykogen depletion.

The second semi-long run i used as a field test for my Boston Shoes, the Brooks Green Silence. They worked pretty well, i did start to feel my right achilles at the end, so i think i should repeat a run at that distance before extending to use them on a LSR. I will also be including my other flat shoes more often in my weekly routine.

As the week went on and the volume of running continued to grow I started to feel it in my legs, and the niggle in my right hip started to come back. Then I spent sunday morning in a cold sports hall watching my youngests indoor soccer tournament, they won, but i just couldnt get warm, and decided to skip my planned run and spend the afternoon wrapped up on the couch and indulge in a bit of comfort food.

I dont feel guilty about this rest day, It was the wise choice in my books, it had been two weeks since my last full day off, and Im feeling much better today. Looking foward to this weeks training. The plan is to continue on the same as the past week with the main goal the continued building of my base Aerobic condition.

I would also like to perform a fitness test this week. either a Hadd test or a Mafetone style 10k at AT... I havent done either in the past, but i think it will be good for my running to start to do something like this regularly, once per month or so.

Total running this week was 6 training runs, 3 recovery runs and a total of 161km.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Boston Build Up - Week 6

Cant really Believe im writing the 6th week allready, the time seems to be really flying. Still this week felt like ive finally got into the meat and potatoes of my Boston training. I did all of the planned workouts and ran all of the planned recovery runs as well.

MarathonTalks Jantastic Challenge played no small part in motivating me to get out there and do all the runs id planned. The idea is a honesty bassed challenge where listeners provide a goal number of weekly runs and then record the actual number completed. Without the Challenge im sure the two winter storms that passed through this week would have convinced me to cull perhapes a few of the runs.

Instead i was out there running in gale force winds, storm warnings, through thunder and lightening, torrential rain, and even hail, and on thursday morning all of them at the sametime.

Im also really pleased with my weekend, the first proper long run, 34km around a nice hilly route with plenty of long downhills that will do wonders to hill toughen me for Boston. I followed that up with another 27km on sunday, mixing in a little bit of Ultra style Back-to-Back running. Legs really felt it, which sort of shows that it is needed, if not for boston then for my plans for what comes after.

All this means that i clocked up a pretty big week, over 179km spread over 10 runs. Ill be looking to maintain this sort of resolve, next week, and throughout the whole of January. In particular the introduction of proper long runs.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Comparison: Brooks Ghost 4 vs Brooks Glycerin 9

Ive been lucky enough to get the opportunity to run in both the Brooks Ghost 4 and the Brooks Glycerin 9. Both very popular neutral shoes from the brooks lineup. Ive reviewed both in the past Brooks Ghost - An Allrounder & Brooks Glycerin - How far is too far. This time I wanted to compare them and give my thoughts on each in comparison for the benefit of those who havent had the chance to run in both.

Welcome ladies and Gentlemen to this Neutral Shoe Championship bout. In the Blue corner we have the Brooks Ghost 4, a favorite of many, and a real good all-rounder. In the red corner we have the Brooks Glycerin 9, a long standing staple, and built to go the distance. I’ve seen both of these shoes in action, they are both outstanding, we should be in for a real good match up. I don’t expect an early knockout, this one will go the full 12 rounds.

Let’s get ready to Ruuuuuumble!

Round 1 - Weight
The Ghost plays to one of its traditional strengths and leads off with its weight, 320g in the Men’s size 9. I’m not so sure that was a good call, the ghost has put on a few grams in the last few years from its early lightweight days at 303g- The Glycerin counters with its 343g a 14g drop on last year. In my mind the difference between the weights of these shoes is now too close to really make any effect, but I’m not sure how the judges will see it.

Round 2 - Cushioning
The Glycerin brings out its big guns, the full length DNA, a great move. This non-Newtonian liquid helps provide custom cushioning, softening when you apply less force i.e. when you’re going slow and firming up as you speed up. But the Ghost has some DNA of its own located in the two primary strike zones the heel and the forefoot. Both shoes have more than enough cushioning to take you comfortably to the end of a long run, But high volume runners might appreciate the extra cushioning of the glycerin especially for those back to back weekends.

Round 3 - Flexibility
The ghost impresses with its flexibility, this has become a hallmark of the ghost series and the Ghost 4 is no exception, It has great forefoot flexibility. Unfortunately lack of flexibility is something the glycerin 9 has been criticized for by some. And it’s true the Glycerin doesn’t have the same flexibility of the ghost. I’m a big guy and have no problems flexing the Glycerin, I don’t see this as an issue but others might.

Round 4 - Styling
Both of these shoes have somewhat reserved styling, you don’t have the loud colors of some of their lightweight cousins. However the Ghost 4 does appear to be ever so slightly more aggressive with some marking that if you really use your imagination could resemble flames on the toe box and an upswept overlay that extends from the midfoot to the heel cup. The Glycerin eschews such frivolities for a very stable looking midfoot wrap.

Round 5 - Fit
This is a hard one to call as Fit is so subjective. Personally I found the toe box of the Glycerin 9 to be a little more open and unrestricted than in the Ghost, The overlays on the ghost come up higher and are a little more restrictive for the toes. The glycerin also feels a little plusher around the ankle collar, and in the tongue, although the Ghost 4 has made significant inroads in this area. For fit I have to give it to the glycerin.

Round 6 – Outsole and Heel
Turn these shoes over and both are very similar in the layout of the outsole, both shoes segment the forefoot area into 4 main bands with omega flex groves between them, These are slightly more pronounced on the Glycerin. In the heel area both have the caterpillar crash pads. The Glycerin sports a slight bevel to the back of the heel, while the ghost’s heel is flat throughout. 

Round 7 - Durability
This one is a hard one to call for me, I’ve not seen either of these particular shoes run to exhaustion. I do have an earlier version of the Ghosts in my current rotation that has seen 1200km’s and is still in good shape, although that’s much longer than most runners would want to wear them. I expect the glycerins will easily be the match of the Ghost for Durability. Perhaps with its slightly less flexible midsole it might even last a little longer for the average runner.

Round 8 - Price
Here the Ghost 4 has the initial advantage, although if the Durability does come out in favor of the Glycerin you would do well to consider the price per km, rather than just be swayed by what’s on the sticker on the box.

Round 9 - Areas of use
The ghost impresses as a bit of an all-rounder. It’s equally at home knocking out intervals, or accompanying you on a long run. The Glycerin’s slightly heavy weight and its reduced flexibility mean that its less suited to those faster workouts, but what it does well it does really well, long runs will float by in the glycerin.

Round 10 - Construction
Both of these shoes are well made, if the ghost has a fault here its that the blue element of the midsole in the forefoot area is just painted on rather than being made up of actually blue colored foam that is only in the heel of the ghost whereas the coloured foam is used throughout in the Glycerin. Neither of my examples has any manufacturing flaws that I can discover, but I expect no less from Brooks.

Round 11 - Schlupfgefuhle
Another subjective round, Perhaps I’m a little bit clouded in this by the timing of when I first tried on of the ghosts, but for me the Glycerin’s plush feel and there nonrestrictive toe box gave it the clear advantage here. I should point out that once my feet recovered from their Ultra ordeal I was able to run a first run of over 20km in both shoes… both have run straight from the box credentials

Round 12 – Rotation
For the runner with a number of different types of shoes in their current rotation the Glycerin offers a very capable long run expert with ample cushioning to ensure that your legs are not getting beaten up too much making for a faster recovery, For the runner with a smaller or even non-existent shoe rotation the Ghost 4 offers an excellent all-rounder, It is more than capable of handling all but the craziest long runs, but also can be used in speed work and tempo runs. Naturally the glycerin can manage that too but not with quite the same class as the Ghost.

Well what a match up, It’s going to be a close call, For me the Glycerin has the slight advantage. The slightly better Fit and the souvarain cushioning for those really long runs, more than make up for the minimal increase in weight, The ghosts advantages for faster work are eliminated by the fast run specialists in my current shoe Rotation. But I’m not sure how the Judges have scored it.

Let’s take a look, so, how do you score it? If you’ve tried both which one is your favorite? If not which do you tend towards and why?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Boston Build Up - Week 5

Another week cramed in between christmas and New Years, but i still managed to get most of the running done that id planned. It was also a race week so i rearranged my runs a little, moving my mid week longer runs foward a day, to give me two easy days before the race.

And although i had planned to go running on the 1st. I think i can forgive myself that i decided to take it as a recovery day. I wasnt sore after saturdays race no DOMS and no injuries, but one day off is ok.

I did manage to get 9h30 of training done, with no extra recovery paced runs. I also spent a fair bit of time looking at what adjustments i need to make to my trainign plan heading going foward.

For the rest of January i will continue to focus on Aerobic base building, In Febuary i will introduce a little bit of Anaerobic Speed work, before introducing some more race specific workouts in March.

The Race went really well, a new PB, but more importantly the VDOT value was 51.2 which puts it almost inline with the VDOT value from the Münster marathon. I think it sets me up nicely for the next 3 months training. I was worried when i first came back that it would take me longer to return to form after my training break in November.

Next week, Id like to get considerably closer to the full training volume laid out in my plan, That shouldnt really be a problem if i dont skip the long run.

Werl - Soest Silvesterlauf 15km

Its been quite a while since my last race on the street, And Ive only been training for a month since my 4 week training break, so I was a little unsure just how aggressive i should pace this race. I did have hopes that id be able to run a more or less equivalent performance to Münster. And then the weather report was predicting some decent tail winds, so i though maybe 61:30 was possible.

On the day the promised tailwinds didnt show up, in the morning there was no wind, but by the race start they were more or less 90° to the course, so no real wind advantage. I decided to run the race by feel, rather than try and stick to the splits required for 61:30

Prior to the race I did a bit of warmup and then handed of my jacket and bag, then it was a final stop at the toilet before lining up in the start corals.... There were 4 blocks at the front for those who had supplied fast times, and then one big block at the back for the rest.... but as allways in the first km i passed dozens of runners who were obviously likely to run a 1:20-1.30 times... i dont see the point in a chip race... your actually setting yourself up to go out too fast.

I didnt go out too fast this time, managing to hold the first Km to 4:15 before settling into a more appropriate 4:10 Id ridden the course from finish to start in the summer on my bike, I had it pretty flat in my memory, but it actually had a number of rolling hills. I clocked my slowest km on one at km7 a 4:24 a 12-13s slowdown, something to remember for the hills at boston.

After that however it was gently downhill and i managed to string two km's at 4:08 and then another at 4:06 together... holding the pace better on the albeit smaller rises towards the end of the course.

This wasnt really much of a race for me as i was surronded the whole time by other runners, although i was doing considerably more overtaking as i was being overtaken. What was good was to see the km's ticking off at gMP for boston (or better) and me feeling reasonably comfortable doing it. I ran in my Brooks Green Silence, the shoes that im seriously considering for Boston. They were pretty comfortable through out.

I passed the 14km sign expecting it to be the 13km... so i picked up the pace a little and pulled back the last guy to overtake me, and then continued to wind up the pace through the last km, to give a final sprint finish to the line.... actually if id known where the finish line was id have probably been able to start my wind up a bit sooner. I crossed the line, put my head down for a few deep breaths then remembered to stop my garmin.

Later on checking the results My time was 1:02:16 not quite the ambitious wind assisted time id original targeted, but i was more than happy with it... its a good 3:30 faster than my previous PB, and the VDOT score of 51.2 is pretty much inline with the 51.24 from Münster. Its given me a good bit of confidence going into the next stage of my training for Boston.

here the tail from lady Garmins perspective.