Last training run and last-minute worrying

Today, I did my last training run before the Sporting Life 10K. I planned on doing an easy 5K, which is just as well, as I felt somewhat sluggish today.

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So now I’m all set, except for my last-minute worrying – what if something goes wrong? My current major worry is that my left heel is a little sore – I think it’s complaining a bit because I have to tie my shoe tightly so that my ankle doesn’t rub against the heel of my shoe. (As I think I mentioned earlier, I have wide feet and narrow ankles, so it’s tough for me to buy shoes that fit.) I don’t think this is going to turn into a major problem, but I suppose that it might.

And there’s always the possibility that I might catch a cold or other bug, or that I might pull a muscle or something, thus making it impossible to run in the race for which I have trained for several weeks.

I’ve promised my wife that I would try not to worry too much between now and the race, or at least not worry too much out loud. I’ll be sure to let you know, dear reader, whether I was actually able to run next Sunday!

Final training runs

I’m in the middle of doing my final training runs for the Sporting Life 10K on Sunday. Last Saturday, I did my last 10K training run:

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My time of 1:11:06 is my fastest 10K so far – the others have been 1:12:30 and 1:13:28. This puts me in the time range for the corral that I am in on Sunday – the Orange Corral ranges from 1:05 to 1:14.

(Large races divide runners into corrals based on approximate times. This means that fast runners get to run with other fast runners, slightly slower runners get to run with people who go as fast as them, and so on. The Orange Corral is the second-slowest corral. The Pink Corral is the slowest, and includes walkers; that’s where I have been the last two years.)

My wife thinks that I will do closer to 1:05 on Sunday, thanks to race adrenalin and because the course is downhill. She suggested I line up near the front of the corral. I think I might go near the front of the corral but not at the front, as I don’t want to head out with the people who are likely to start too quickly.

That was my last training 10K before the race – this week, I am planning on tapering a bit by doing two 5K runs and then resting up. My first 5K run for this week was today:

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This is about what I wanted, given that I was still a bit sore from running on Saturday and doing some gardening on Sunday. It was faster than my 10K training pace, but significantly slower than my 5K race pace. I’m hoping to do a 6:30 pace on Sunday (which would put me at 1:05!) but my real goal is to finish.

Strength training.

A while back, my wife talked me into doing regular strength training. The basic principle is that aging muscles follow the “use it or lose it” principle: older adults need to work out regularly to ensure that our muscles do not atrophy.

I’ve been reasonably good about working out about once a week – it should be more often, of course, but I’ve been able to maintain strength with a weekly workout. It fits into my running schedule: I run on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, I work out on Thursday, and I rest and/or ache on the other days of the week. (If I get more comfortable running longer distances, I can add cycling and/or hiking into the mix, but I’m not there yet.)

Here’s my current workout routine, which takes a little under an hour:

  • A five-minute warmup on the elliptical (low setting)
  • Step ups: 3×10 stepping on and off a raised step
  • Glute raises: 3×10
  • Hamstring stretch on machine at gym: 3×10
  • Bench press: 3×6 (I’m currently at 95 pounds; I did 100 once!)
  • Lat pulldowns: 3×10
  • Shoulder raises: 3×10 (20 pounds)
  • Captain’s chair leg: 2×20 (strengthens stomach muscles)
  • Plank: 100 seconds (I’m very glad when this is over)
  • A bit of stretching to end it

I sometimes hate doing this, but it’s been very beneficial: I have about the same energy level that I did when I was in my early 30s (except for wanting to nap a bit more, and wanting to go to bed earlier!).

 

Warmer weather!

After a seemingly endless winter, good weather broke out this week. In fact, it was 15C early this morning, so I could do my run in shorts and a T-shirt for the first time since about last October. The good weather helped my time – I was feeling exuberant or something, so I started faster than usual:

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It’s not going to stay this warm, but it’s not going to be cold enough to snow again. (A week and a half ago, we had ice pellets, and I was forced to run on the treadmill.) So the days of bundling up to go running in the morning are hopefully over.