Matt’s December 2013 Training


Closed out the year with a bang with a strong track workout.  As with most days when an interval session is planned, I didn’t want to do this workout upon waking up this morning.  I wasn’t sure which specific workout I was even going to do until the car ride to the track.  I only knew it was time for another interval session, maybe even my last before the RR100.

I decided to go with an interval/repeat mix.  I did 5×1000 @ 3:16, 3:18, 3:18, 3:18, 3:17 with a 400m jog rest in between each (target was 3:20).  These stressed me pretty well and I was really focused on staying strong and keeping my breathing and legs under control throughout.

After an 800m easy jog rest, I then did 4x400m @ 74, 74, 74, 73 with a full 400m jog rest.  I was really happy with how I was able to move up a gear quickly and effortlessly as I got my wheels spinning faster as I focused on efficiency and form throughout each repeat.

10 minute warm up and 10 minute cool down and I’m calling it a year.


Ran with Julie over at Cougar Mountain for 2:04.  We started up at the Sky Country parking lot, ran down the mountain towards 900 and then up Squawk for nearly 30 minutes before turning around and heading back.  It was a comfortable run for me with some good climbing.  I had one brief moment when I thought I felt my left knee grinding again but thankfully nothing ever came of it.


Felt way better today.  It was probably 15 degrees warmer too and I made sure not to eat waffles before the workout too.

Was aiming for 5xmile tempo with 200m jog rest and ended up doing 6.  The pace was easy to hit after Thursday’s tough effort.  I suspected that it may not take too long to get the tempo feeling back after nearly a week away to recover from the 56 and I’m glad it’s worked out.  Two weeks until the Bridle Trail 50k.

Today, I’m still at VDOT 61, 5:50 tempo pace, but I’ve been cool with hitting 5:48’s.  Too fast today though, couldn’t do much about it.  5:46, 5:45, 5:46, 5:44, 5:46, 5:46.  Was able to talk as I was running, cheering on runners that were on the track for a portion of their race (I think there was a marathon and half marathon at Woodland Park/Green Lake today??).

Going to keep up the workouts and stay off the roads for the next couple weeks.  No knee pain at all today.


Back on the track today at Green Lake.  38 degrees, cloudy, no rain, and no wind.  Cautious with the knee but made it through a 10 minute warm up without any pain.  So I went with the planned 20 minute tempo run.  This is a tough mental workout but it’s the shortest of the tempo runs I typically do so it seemed like the best option for getting back at it.

While I feel like I don’t lose any fitness from three or even four days between hard runs, 7 days seems to make a big difference.  That, and eating a waffle an hour before the workout.

I was able to do the workout but not without a bit more suffering than normal.  I went 5:48, 5:48, 5:49, with another 2:35 on pace to finish up the time.  However, I was not always steady with a 41 and a 46 marking the degree to which I got off pace.  In the second mile my waffle felt like it was holding my diaphragm from fully expanding and in general, the run was largely unpleasant.  However, it’s the first one back and my knee didn’t hurt at all.  I think I should be able to get in a steady next couple weeks before my next race and therefore be feeling fit and strong at the right time.


Tried to finally get back out because I couldn’t take another day off.  My left knee was aching within minutes and after 2 or 3 minutes I stopped to walk, letting Julie run off by herself on the trails at Discovery Park.

It has been quite disheartening with my knee issues after long runs on hard surfaces.  I recovered fairly quickly after the marathon on 12/1 but my MP workout on 12/11 got the knee issues going and the 56 miles kept it going.  I am set on staying off the roads until the RR100 with only one more big scheduled long run, the Bridal Trail 50k on 1/11.

That said, I walked a few minutes and then gradually began jogging.  I tried some different strides and gradually the pain went away.  I was able to run slowly or I could run powerfully but not much in between.  I ended up running 40 minutes around the park and felt better by the end about the entire situation figuring I’d only need another couple days off to hopefully be getting back to regular training.


I’ve been getting in lots of nice speed work the past few months and with the exception of a 50k race in November and the Seattle Marathon on 12/1, I haven’t been doing much of any distance.  In order to make sure I’m ready for the RR100 it was time to test it out and what better place to prepare for a relatively flat loop course than Green Lake’s 2.8mile path around the Lake, 20 times.  I thought of doing this all the way back in August when we were hiking the CDT and in Idaho and it was time to make it happen.

Good thing the run was planned because had it been a haphazard sort of thing, it may not have happened.  We wanted to start at 6am because that is when RR100 kicks off.  However, there was snow on the ground and it was still coming down for the start of the run.  But we said we were going to do it and we’d told others about it so we cautiously headed to GL and got to running.

Julie was doing her own long run, around 20 miles, but we decided to run opposite directions so we could each run our own paces.  I went out in the mid-7 minute mile range, trying to stay to the side of the path that is gravel rather than paved, and trying to not trip, fall, or roll the ankles too much.  Except for a bathroom stop on lap three, the first 6 miles went very smoothly in 2:07 for 16.8 miles.  I had my first real aid station at this point stopping at the car to drink some Heed and resupply on Gu.  I had gone through 4 already and loaded up with 4 more.

Lap 7, which was still relatively early, was when things started getting interesting as my left knee began getting achy and concerning.  I finished the lap and was back to the car after only one lap in order to pop some ibuprofen in order to at least hopefully prolong the run. That stuff is magical and by the end of lap 8 I was feeling significantly better and even picking up my speed a bit.

From this point on it was a constant mental game of monitoring my body, my form, my fueling, and my effort as I trucked through the latter half of the run.  My knees (right one eventually got sore too) weren’t great, but I could still run.  Otherwise, my muscles and breathing were great, not really tired at all relative to my knee pains.  I took Gu consistently, stopped at the water fountain near the car here and there, and enjoyed the run as best I could.

It was dark for the first 20% of the run and cold.  But when it became light out the snow seemed to stop coming down and it gradually warmed up.  The snow on the path turned to slush and eventually puddles of cold water.  My feet were wet for a large part of this run but thankfully I had no toe or blister issues.

I went through the marathon in 3:22.18, the 50 mile in 6:43, and finished the 56 miles in 7:35.  I took Ibuprofen two more times, once after 11 laps because the pain was back, and once more after 16 laps as preventative medicine.  I gradually slowed as I the run progressed, but without really noticing it.  I didn’t make a conscious decision to slow down, it just gradually happened.  Phil from Seven Hills Running Shop came out and joined me for my last 3 laps which was great, and our friend Scott came out by surprise to take pictures.  Check out his photos on Flickr to get a good idea of the conditions; it was a unique weather day for Seattle as we don’t see snow all that often.

I’m now really sore though with both knees aching and not very bendable.  I’m going to go for a swim and will likely be popping a few more anti-inflammatories to get healed up.  I have confidence I have the mental strength for the RR100 coming up in 6 weeks and now it’s time to get my knees strong and healed up so I can beat the crap out of them again on 2/1.


Green Lake track yet again.  It was raining on the way over so we considered switching our tempo to the Green Lake loop but after 30 seconds of running on the pavement I opted for trying the dirt track instead.  While there were some small puddles, it wasn’t sloppy and it was more forgiving than the pavement.

Today was cruise intervals, 6xmile tempo @ 5:50 with a 200m jog rest (~1 minute).  Not mentally sharp at first but thankfully this tempo pace is feeling really comfortable right now.  Plus, it is quite a bit slower than Wednesday’s interval pace.

Was consistently where I wanted to be:  5:48, 5:48, 5:48, 5:47, 5:48, 5:48.  Felt under control and that I could switch gears at any time.  My left foot is still a little sore from Monday’s workout but moreso after the workout today than during.

Ran in the Scott shoes again.  They’re totally fine for working out and I like them.  They fit a bit better for me than the Pearl Izumi’s thus far but I’ve only tried the PI’s once and with a hard effort.

Plan right now is for a major long run in a couple days around Green Lake.  Hoping the foot and knee are feeling ready because it fits perfectly into my training plan with the Bridal Trail 50k three weeks from now and RR100 three weeks later.



Back on the track today for a dreaded interval session.  These always seem like the hardest workouts for me, the pain from pushing the anaerobic threshold one of the most acute and will power required efforts I ever undertake in running. Plus, last week’s effort out in the cold was tough; I only ended up doing 4×1000 instead of the 5 I had intended.

But I got out there and got it done.  I felt fresh and strong during the warmup and the weather was perfect with temps in the mid 40’s and no wind or rain out at the Green Lake dirt track.

I was aiming for 5×1200 in 4:00 (5:20 mile pace) with a 600m (~3 minute) jog rest.  I was quick from the getgo and was constantly trying to settle into the 40 second/2oom pace.  I would be between 39 and 40 on most but was fast on each interval.  I hit 3:56, 3:55, 3:55, 3:56, 3:56.

Today was much better than last week in that my breathing was much more under control and I kept my legs under me much better.  I didn’t have so much of the jelly feeling late in the workout and stayed strong throughout.

The improvement from one week to the next is very encouraging and though I don’t have many more of these planned over the next 6.5 weeks before RR100, I may try to squeeze one or two more in because I feel so strong and fit after completing them.

Lastly, I tried out another pair of shoes from the Seven Hills Running Shop.  This time it was the Pearl Izumi N2 Road shoe.  They seemed like they’d be light and fast and easier to get up on my toes than the Scott shoes I tried a couple days ago.  This proved to be true and I had no problem running with good form on the dirt track.  However, and this may just be due to the pace and effort I was running, but my feet did take a little bit of a beating.  My toes felt like they were rubbing more than usual and more blister prone.  The tongue of the shoe kept sliding down to the side rather than staying on top of my foot.  Also, the outside of my right foot was a little achy after the run and dying to get out of the shoe.  Again, this may just be from doing a hard workout, and I will certainly test the shoes under different conditions, but the conclusion after the first hard run is a moderate review.  They were light and quick for what I was doing but my feet didn’t feel as good as they could after the effort.


Good workout today and most importantly, my left knee didn’t hurt at all.  I was concerned after Thursday morning’s achiness during the morning social shuffle but after taking another day off and staying off the pavement, everything went smoothly.

And I’m feeling really fresh and recovered from the marathon.  So much so that I had a hard time regulating pace today.  I was aiming for 20 minutes of tempo pace (5:50).  I am usually cool with being a couple seconds fast but today I was consistently too fast.  I could feel myself occasionally going over the aerobic threshold line and would back it off for a little and then I’d find myself again pushing the pace.  My legs feel really strong and I’m glad I’m holding back rather than struggling to hit my paces.

The workout was 10 minutes warm up with drills followed by 20 minutes at tempo on the Green Lake track.  I hit 5:45, 5:44, 5:44, 2:52 (20:08 total) for 3.5 miles.  I was pretty excited to go through the 5k in 17:57 with my breathing calm and knowing I could go quite a bit faster.  While I’m not training for a 5k, I still like knowing I could change gears and train for those distances.  I finished up with a 14 minute cool down.  Short day overall but good to be out there.  I’m going to shoot for doing another interval workout in a couple days and focus on shorter workouts with increased frequency for the next week before doing a major long run to prep for the RR100.

On another note, I tested out some new shoes from the Seven Hills Running Shop.  They gave me a pair of trail shoes, the Scott Kinabalu.  I’ve been a steady Nike runner for many years now but feel like I can work well with different shoes and today went off without a hitch.  The shoes look like they may be heavy and bulky but are actually light and cushiony.  They have good lateral stability which was actually necessary on the rutted out dirt track at Green Lake.  One difference I noticed from my Nike Zoom Elites is they feel like they run a little flat in the sense that I don’t find myself being pushed to run more on my midfoot/forefoot with these shoes but instead have more of a heel strike.  I’m not sure how well they’d work for interval or repeat paced workouts but for tempo on up, they seem like they’ll be pretty good.  I’ll keep working with them to gather more info.  Thank you Seven Hills for the tester shoes; so far so good!


Social run with the girls, Julie and Kristin around Green Lake.  I stayed on the gravel part of the inner loop this morning and was super-conscious regarding my left knee.  I iced a couple times last night and took some vitamin I as precautions.  Felt fine at first but cut out of the run after one 2.8 mile loop because I could feel a bit of grinding in the knee.  Nothing serious, but just a bit of overuse most likely with the hard road miles of the marathon followed by the pounding from yesterday for the MP/Tempo workout.  Hopefully a little rest will fix it all up.


I am feeling awesome right now.  My aerobic system is quickly improving and my legs are keeping right up.  Today I did a modified MP/Tempo run at Green Lake.  After a 2 mile warm up I did a 12 mile focused pace run to target my current fitness level marathon pace (6:09) with some tempo accelerator miles (5:50) mixed in.  The result was 1:12.35 of running with the following splits:  6:05, 6:05, 6:04, 6:08, 6:05, 5:48, 6:04, 6:06, 6:03, 6:07, 5:48, 6:06.

I was a bit fast on all of my miles but I was smooth and under control the entire time.  I was pleasantly surprised with how I was able to adjust between paces mid-run.  I think this will help with mid-race recovery, whether it be due to hills or surges, and it will also help with my ability to change gears as needed throughout races.  Plus, these types of runs are a major confidence boost.  Cruising through 12 miles at an average of 6:03 pace with plenty of gas in the tank left to keep going is encouraging.  I am beginning to think my 2:35 marathon pr isn’t too far out of reach anymore.

Only downside is that during the last few miles, my left knee got a little achy.  Felt like a bit of a grinding feeling in the joint, top/inside part of the knee.  I could keep running but I did cut my cool down short and even walked a little of the cool down to avoid causing any further pain.  I think it’ll be fine with rest but I’ll be extra cautious with it.  I also plan on staying off the pavement for a good week or two and will likely stick to the track for my next few workouts.

On a positive note, I am now part of the Seven Hills Running Shop racing team here in Seattle.  They are providing me with free shoes which I will test out and review for them.  They have also hooked me up with some awesome swag including a racing singlet and hoodie.  They’re also helping cover race costs so I will likely be taking part in some awesome races over the next 12 months.  Thanks Phil and the crew at Seven Hills; I’m really glad to be part of the team.


Hit the track this sunny, cold morning at Green Lake for my first interval paced workout in nearly 3 years.  The purpose of the workout is to improve my anaerobic threshold by running at or near my VO2 max for a few minutes, recovering briefly but not fully, and then jumping back up to my VO2 max level for the next interval.  I’m doing this because even though I’m training for longer races, I think a few of these workouts mixed into my training will really help juice my overall physical fitness and may prove to be beneficial during race surges and sustained climbs that may lead to increased breathing and lactic acid build up.

The goal for the day was 5×1000 at 3:20 with a 400m (~2 minute) jog rest.  I wasn’t in the mood to do the run this morning but knew I wouldn’t be able to run on Monday or Tuesday and I hadn’t run since Wednesday so it had to happen today or else I’d be taking an entire week off.  (Score one for the new training philosophy!)

I ended up getting in four intervals, was a bit fast, but am totally satisfied.  As expected, I went out hot and settled into the pace eventually.  I haven’t run this pace/effort for so long that I’m not at all surprised I was sucking wind and having a hard time staying on.  I went:  3:16, 3:19, 3:17, 3:18.

My left calf was sore early on in the workout, the soreness still lingering from last week’s marathon.  It was bearable though.  However, it did factor into my decision to do 4 instead of 5.

I think my next round of intervals, sometime in the next couple weeks, will be much improved.  I also like that this makes it more reasonable for me should I decide to jump in a 10k or a half marathon.  I should be able to hang much better, even with just a few of these workouts under my belt.


First workout since the marathon this past Sunday (12/1/13).  On the warm up my legs seemed to be fully recovered.  Then I did some warm up drills and accelerations and that’s when I realized my quads and calves were not fully back.  However, I was there and they seemed able to bear it so I gave it a shot.  Plus, I was excited to get back to work after such a fulfilling race on Sunday.  I also confirmed by my race that it was time to bump it up another VDOT level (to 61 for those that are into this system of pacing).

I went out way too hot as I’ve had the tendency to do lately but I settled in quickly.  While my muscles were achy I was springy and I felt strong.  The pace was right on for tempo effort and I knew on number 4 that getting in 5xmile was in the cards today.  I was targeting 5:50 and my miles were 5:47, 5:48, 5:48, 5:47, 5:47 and I took a 200m jog rest (~55-60 seconds) in between each interval.

Feeling good at how quickly I was able to bounce back from Sunday’s marathon effort. I’ll likely keep my running somewhat sparse over the next few days as I’ve got a lot of life stuff on my plate. Plus, I want to be sure to recover fully from the race.

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