Archives for December 2007

HH10K Training - Week 4

Posted on 12/30/2007 to Health and Fitness

Earlier this afternoon I wrapped up Day 7 of Week 4 of Hal Higdon's 10K Training Program for Novices. As always, here's the link to my workout log on The first thing you'll notice when looking at my workout log for week 4 is that there was only one strength workout, and that came on a cross-training day. That in and of itself is no big deal, but typically, my strength training days are Mondays and Thursdays. Traveling away from home for the holidays caused the schedule to be changed, but I never missed a run, and I still exercised on all training days (just barely, if you count playing the Wii and Dance Dance Revolution on the XBox 360).

On Day 1 of Week 4, Julie and I went out for an easy 3.3 mile run/walk.

On Day 2, my run distance was increased for the first time from 2.5 miles to 3 miles. I did this run in the early afternoon of Christmas day. I have to admit, I was pretty pleased with the run, as it was the first time that I ran 3 miles outside in under 30 minutes (28:46 is the official time).

Day 3 was a travel day for us, and it turned into an easy cross-training day, consisting of playing the Wii (Wii Sports) and Dance Dance Revolution for the XBox 360. I probably burned about 200-300 calories playing DDR over the course of an hour.

Day 4 called for a 2 mile run and strength training. I got the run in, though it was hard! I guess 3 days of running on flat terrain sucked the life out of my legs when it was time to go back to running around the neighborhood. I did the 2 miles in 20:48, but never really felt comfortable. I didn't get the strength workout in, but I did get in another couple of hours of Wii Sports and Dance Dance Revolution (mostly DDR).

Day 5 is the day of rest in Hal's program, and rest I did. (I did put in another couple of hours of DDR and some time on the Wii).

Day 6 is a cross-training day on the schedule, but since I'd missed my last two strength training days, I decided to do that for my cross-training. I should mention that I've been battling a cold for the last week, and I started my workout in the morning, prior to having anything to eat. I completed my chest exercises, which were hard, and was nearly finished with my back exercises, when I had to stop. I was nauseous and just didn't feel right. Later in the night, I finished my workout, doing the rest of my back exercises, shoulders, and arms. Not a good day, physically.

As I've already mentioned, today was Day 7 of Week 4, which means that I went out for my 2nd of two 4 mile long runs (the first was last Sunday). Today's run felt good--really good, whereas last Sunday's run felt really hard, with Julie practically pulling me around for the first 2 miles. I was very glad that today was a good running day. Throughout the run, I actually felt like I was going too slow. Except for a couple of moments towards the top of some hills, I was able to maintain a breathing rate of every 3-4 steps. Here are my mile splits, though they are really estimates as the maps are a bit out of date for my neighborhood and I didn't have specific houses to zoom in on at the mile markers (total time should be pretty  accurate: 44:07):

  1. 10:34
  2. 11:01
  3. 11:20
  4. 11:10

As always, my runs include 5 minutes of walking to warm-up and at least 5 minutes of walking to cool-down.

All in all, I think week 4 was a good week, considering the travel for the holidays, the food for the holidays, and the general holiday excesses. On to week 5!

HH10K Training - Week 3

Posted on 12/30/2007 to Health and Fitness

Again, it's been awhile since my last update, but that doesn't mean that I've stopped training. In fact, today is Day 7 of Week 4 for me, which means that it is time for my long run. This week, my long run is 4 miles, as it was in Week 3. But since I haven't posted at all about Week3, you wouldn't have known that. So let me update you on Week 3...

In case you missed it in the last post, you can view my workout log from, with Week 3 starting on Monday, December 17th, and ending on Sunday, December 23rd. The highlights from the week include the Day 2 run (12/18). This was the first time I did a sub-25 minute 2.5 mile run outdoors, clocking it in 24:40. Another highlight was my Day 4 run of 2 miles which was my first sub-20 minute 2 mile run (not counting the first 2 miles of my previous 2.5 mile run), with a time of 19:29. During Week 3, we traveled to Houston to be with Julie's family for Christmas, so I rearranged my schedule slightly in order to better accommodate the travel. Instead of resting on Day 5 (Friday), I ran with Julie on her Couch-to-5K 25 minute run, and then we ran/walked another 25 minutes to get me to 50 minutes of "cross-training." With this change, Day 6 became my rest day, and our travel day. On Day 7 (12/23), I completed my scheduled 4 mile run. This is the longest distance I have ever run non-stop. I've probably done longer distances (by a little), but they were always of the run/walk variety. My time for the run was 44:45. Julie went with me on this run as part of her 25 minute run, and she probably kept the pace a little higher than what I should've been doing, or perhaps I just wasn't having a good day through the first half. By the time I hit the 3 mile mark, I was feeling good, and mile 4 ended up being the fastest of the day. Here are the mile splits:

  1. 11:35
  2. 11:05
  3. 11:24
  4. 10:41

One thing to note is that this was done in Friendswood, Tx, on a pretty flat route.

So there you have it, Week 3 of Hal Higdon's 10K Training Program: Novice. I'll post again after my 4-mile run today, with the details of week 4, or you can just check out my workout log.

HH10K Training - Week 2

Posted on 12/19/2007 to Health and Fitness

I know, I know...I am a little late with my updates--I actually completed Day 3 of Week 3 today! But this post is about Week 2 of Hal Higdon's Novice 10K Training Program. Week 2 was the same as Week 1, except that the long run on Day 7 was upped from 3 to 3.5 miles. Otherwise, aside from putting in an extra 40 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine after having a 3 margarita/Tex-Mex lunch, it all went as scheduled. Check out my workout log at

One quick note: I think that the 3.5 mile run on Sunday (Week 2, Day 7) was my longest non-stop run ever, both in time and distance.

Pardon The Mess

Posted on 12/15/2007 to Site Information

Hey folks, as you've surely noticed by now, I am rearranging things here. I've been itching for a new look for quite some time, and I've been wanting to implement some new features of this sites blog engine, metaBlog, so I figured that there was no better time to work on it, than on my end of year vacation. So please pardon the mess for the next few days.

HH10K Training: Week 1, Days 4-7

Posted on 12/9/2007 to Health and Fitness

Looks like I've got a little catching up to do again. I finished Week 1 of Hal Higdon's Novice 10K Training Program this morning, but before I get into that, let me cover days 4 through 7:

Week 1, Day 4

Week 1, day 4 called for a 2 mile run and strength training, so I knew that this would be a really good workout. I started off with my two mile run, using the treadmill. Here are some stats:

  • Warm up: 5:04 (walking)
  • Mile 2: 10:18
  • Mile 3: 10:32
  • Cool down: 3:01 (walking)

Total distance covered was 2.51 miles.

The strength portion of the workout was an upper body circuit workout. The workout is based on a strength workout from Body for Life, where you work chest, back, shoulders, triceps, and biceps, doing 4 sets of each with increasing effort and diminishing repetitions. What this means is that for each body part, you do 12, 10, 8, and 6 rep sets, with the effort level required for each set increasing from 5, 6, 7, and finally to 8, on a scale of 1-10. In the original program, you follow the 6 rep set with two back-to-back sets of 12 with an effort level of 9 and 10. Also, you are supposed to rest 1 minute after each of the first 4 sets, and then 2 minutes after the back-to-back sets. The modification I made to this is dropping the back-to-back sets, and instead of doing all of one body part at a time before moving on to the next body part, I went through 1 set for each body part, without resting any longer than it took to move to the next station, for a complete circuit. I did 4 circuits, starting with 12 reps for each set, and working down to 10, 8, and 6 reps with each additional circuit, while increasing the effort level (in this case, increasing the weight). Between each circuit, I rested for 1 minute.

Week 1, Day 5

Rest day! I did clean the house, which took some effort and is definitely work, but we can hardly count that, right? I'll be honest, taking a day off was a little tough, but it was nice, and needed.

Week 1, Day 6

Week 1, day 6 called for 40 minutes of cross-training. The plan was to do 40 minutes of cardio, and to get a good choice of equipment, I did this workout at the gym. Here's the breakdown of the workout:

  • 10 minutes on the bike at various resistance levels, always trying to spin at about 100 RPMs.
  • 10 minutes on the elliptical cross-trainer, doing 2 minute intervals, changing the resistance and crossramp levels to increase or decrease the effort required.
  • 20 minutes on the treadmill, doing a combination of walking at increased elevation, and slow jogging at increased elevation (basically 1 minute hill repeats, with 1 minute walking recovery).

Week 1, Day 7

Here we are, the last day of week 1. Today was my "long" run. I say "long," because it was a relatively short 3 miles, though it is still about the furthest I've run at one time. Hal says to run the long runs nice and slow, so that's what I did:

  • Warm up: 5:04 (walking)
  • Mile 1: 11:29.46
  • Mile 2: 11:16.45
  • Mile 3: 11:45.79
  • Cool down: 2:32.80 (walking)
  • 10 minutes of stretching

I did this run outside. Did I mention that a cold front came through last night and that the temperature was 38 degrees during my run, with a stiff wind out of the north? Overall, it was a good run.

So now you know the rest of the story of week 1. (Oh, I also dropped 3 lbs. this week.) On to week 2!

HH10K Training - Week 1, Days 1 - 3

Posted on 12/5/2007 to Health and Fitness

As you know, I've decided to use Hal Higdon's novice 10K Training Program as my next running program. This evening, I finished up Week 1, Day 3, so I've got a little catching up to do.

Week 1, Day 1

Day 1 calls for stretching and strengthening, so I went to the gym. I warmed up for 10 minutes on the elliptical cross-trainer, and then proceed to do a lower body strength workout--the first since before starting the Couch-to-5K Running Program.  Needless to say, I am sore now.

Week 1, Day 2

Day 2 calls for a 2.5 mile run. According to Hal, this run should be done at a fairly easy pace. Julie decided to run this with me, at least as much as she could, with the dog. We just did a half mile loop around the block 5 times, with an additional half mile warm-up and a half mile cool-down. Here are my running splits:

  1. 5:46.41
  2. 5:52.61
  3. 5:39.41
  4. 5:43.60
  5. 4:28.61

As you can see, I stayed fairly steady for the first two miles (I did feel like I went out a little fast in lap 1, and probably overcompensated in lap 2). In lap 5, I was determined to pick up the pace, and went around in a faster, but still comfortable pace, for the first 4/5 of the lap. However, in the final turn and straightaway, I went about as fast as my legs and lungs would take me. All in all, considering the soreness that I felt in my legs from Day 1's strength workout, I felt good about this run.

Week 1, Day 3

Tonight was Day 3, which meant 30 minutes of cross-training. Hal allows just about anything for cross-training, as long as it isn't too intense. I chose to hop on the elliptical cross-trainer for 30 minutes. Got a nice sweat and burned about 440 calories. Not too bad.

What's Next?

Posted on 12/4/2007 to Health and Fitness

Now that I've finished the Couch-to-5K Running Plan, and have competed in my first timed 5K, what's next? In previous posts, I've talked about how I've run off and on over the last few years for fitness, but I've never really enjoyed it. Since starting the Couch-to-5K Running Plan, I've found myself enjoying running more and more--to the point of counting down the hours to my run on training days (and not because it also meant leaving work!). Over the last couple of weeks, I began to research other running programs. In the back of my mind, I started to get the notion that maybe I could do a 10K, so I focused in on 10K training programs, of which there are many.

After all of my research, I seemed to keep coming back to the same 3 plans-- Hal Higdon's 10K Training Program, both the Novice and Intermediate program, and the FIRST to the Finish 10K Training Program, from the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST). I also briefly entertained Hal Higdon's intermediate 5K Training Program. I liked that Hal's intermediate programs, along with the FIRST program, introduced different types of training runs, such as intervals, and tempo runs, and I liked the amount of miles that they would have me putting in. Initially, I was concerned that Hal's novice 10K wouldn't have me putting in enough miles. But at the end of the day, I think that I still need to continue building my endurance base, and I'm only now approaching 10 miles per week (the intermediate programs and the FIRST program call for a lot more miles right off the bat). I also like that Hal's novice program won't leave me so wiped out that I would start skipping strength training. In fact, the novice plan includes two strength training days per week. So Hal Higdon's Novice 10K Training Program is the answer to "What's Next?"

The training program part of "what's next?" has been answered, but what about racing? While the Cowtown 10K is what got me researching 10K training programs, I've pretty much decided that I will run the Cowtown 5K, and not the Cowtown 10K (both are put on as part of the Cowtown Marathon), so that is the next race currently on the schedule. The Cowtown 5K is at the end of February, so that gives me plenty of time to train. After that, I'll do the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in late April. Along the way, I expect to do some smaller 5K races around town, but have no specific plans as of yet.

Jingle Bell Run 5K Results

Posted on 12/1/2007 to Health and Fitness

Whew...that was tough, but fun! First of all, our team, The Frosties, ended up raising $1225 for the Arthritis Foundation, which is $225 over our goal. My personal total was $415, which was $75 under my goal, but that's okay, as I am thrilled with our group total. Now on to the race...

The clock at the finish said 31:15, but I haven't seen the official results yet. The time on my watch was right at 31:00, so hopefully my chip time will be close to that. Like most new runners, I made the mistake of going out too fast. I finished the first mile in 9:30, but I ran most of it at a faster pace--I looked down at my watch a few blocks from the 1 mile mark and noticed my time was between 8-8:30 minutes. Needless to say, I slowed down some, but probably not enough, or perhaps it was already too late. At any rate, my time in mile 2 was a little over 10:00. I got to where the route on Map My Run said mile 2 should be, so I hit the lap button on my watch. About a block later, I saw the official sign. I have no idea what mile 3 was, as I never saw the sign, and was much too focused on finishing as strong as I could. Speaking of finishing strong, I tried to pick up the pace at various points in the final mile, but just couldn't maintain anything. However, in the final stretch (last several blocks), I was finally able to pick up the pace. Then I saw the boys and my Dad, and from then on, I went as hard as I could--I even passed several people in the final block (that felt really good!).

Now it's time to figure out the next training plan. I think that I will start working towards 10K, so that goal will provide some direction.

Thanks to all my fellow Frosties, and to everyone that supported us in the Jingle Bell Run 5K for the Arthritis Foundation (it's not too late to donate).

Stopwatch Times (plus 10 - 12 seconds as I hit the wrong button on my watch:

  • Mile 1: 9:15
  • Mile 2: 19:15
  • 5K: 30:44