Thursday, February 13, 2014

Too Many Trails + an Experiment with the Galloway Method

It's been a crazy week-and-a half...

Four trails in 8 days, to start.

There were 2 hilly 12 milers- one at Forest Park, and another midweek 12 miler at Ridgeline. These runs were, each in their own way, special and rewarding- a run with a friend, (a treat to be able to visit with someone else on a run) and a solo challenge (taking a new {to me} trail spoke).


Lots of hills.

It caught up with me a little. I thought my legs would feel fresh on Sunday for a nice, long run on a warm, sunny day... but three miles into it I turned for home.


Calves.. tired... so tired...

It might have had something to do with running at the Big K ranch a little too close to sunset on Saturday. A favorite loop at the top, (with some amazing views), got me a little distracted... I thought to myself, "That sure is a pretty sunset. Wait. That can't be the sunset? It's not that late yet.."

It was.

The second lap was a rush to beat the coming darkness.
It was foolish to leave the headlamp in the car. But, I have to admit that it is a rush to feel the urgent need to run, QUICKLY. I was grateful for that one cow that was in the road that escorted me for about 50 yards through the forest road.


I crossed a gate in the twilight, and thought of a legendary runner friend who has no gates to contend with, just countless styles to amble over. (Darn I wish we had styles here! Everything is barbed wire, though.).

A rest day was needed, and gave me the recovery necessary to make up that long run on Tuesday.

****

After dropping my kids off at school (and the youngest for a playdate), I took a paved trail I had only ran a small section of before. It turned out to be a great choice, because it kept me from running trails in the Eugene area- which I later learned were still covered in downed trees from a recent storm.

The Row River trail in Cottage Grove is a rails-to-trails trail. I kind of regret not bringing my camera, because the upper part of the path was gorgeous! But I had little time for picture snapping. I was all about business. I had an experiment to conduct!

I have sometimes wondered whether my marathon PR would actually improve if I tried using something like the Galloway method. (If you are unfamiliar with it, Galloway coaches athletes to break up their running with walking breaks. The goal is to provide a pacing strategy and for breaks that keep the runner from getting injured.)

A girlfriend had tried it- was coached to do it- with great success, beating her marathon goal of 3:30 by 5 minutes. What the heck. Why not? So I tried it on an 18 miler.

I gave myself a 3 mile easy pace warm-up and then went for it. My goal? To run as many 1 mile repeats at a guestimated marathon pace as I could, taking a one minute walk break after each --keeping the watch running, of course.

For someone who has ran two speed workouts (both posted about) recently, and who hasn't ran 18 miles solid in a year, I think it went pretty well.

It was hard to maintain a consistent pace, but I was also running uphill (gently) for 9 miles, and then downhill again. But, mostly, I think my pace inconsistencies were more "in my head" . Also, I went to the bathroom during one of my walk-breaks so I didn't go anywhere during that minute, (If you were wondering about those kind of details).

The overall pace for the run was not too impressive, but probably 1 min/mile faster than if I had set out to run 18 miles easy that day. (But man, I was walking funny today. I need to do more strengthening...)

So now I am thinking about marathons again...  I still have a score to settle with that distance.

I wish I was training for Boston right now, not just because I love the orange jackets.
But, I am not. Some other race is going to get all this hard work. :)


***
Run any good trails - or treadmills - lately? 
Have you ever been caught by the sun setting while out running 
What's the craziest thing you have ever tried while running?


59 comments:

  1. That trail is so beautiful! I've had the sun set on me unexpectedly a few times on me while running, and it always results in a nice sprint to the finish home!! :)

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    1. Yup! Gotta plan better next time. :) Thanks for your comment, Amy!

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  2. Your trails are so lovely! I've been toying with trying the Galloway method as well, but I am really nervous to do it.

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    1. That's exactly why I did it in a workout.. no pressure! It was actually really hard since I did the "on" sessions at ~ Marathon pace. Good to hear from you!

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  3. Those trails look amazing, while I am not a big trail runner I would love to run on those someday.

    I've mainly been treadmilling it lately. I try and suit up and get my butt out there at least once or twice a week but it isn't worth sanity or safety sometimes!

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    1. It would be hard if you live where it's icy all winter.. My TM would see a lot more action. No shame in staying safe!

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  4. Thank you for your comment on my blog. Great blog you have here... Always looking for new blogs to read.

    No trail running here. Not during winter anyways. Will have to wait for warmer weather.

    Hope to see you running Boston soon!

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    1. Best of luck with your Boston training, Jose. Summer is coming and you can have plenty of trail fun then!

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  5. Looks like you are having a good time! Beautiful trails!

    I love your snippet about the marathon, and I'm exciting to see what you decide.

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  6. Great job on the long runs! I have a friend that did a half using the Galloway method and I always wondered if it would work for me. I am afraid mostly if I stop running I may not start up again lol I have done a run/ walk a few times on my fav trails when I feel too tired to run but not in a disciplined way at all. I usually run enough to keep my pace around a 13:00 min. mi There's a trail half marathon near me in March and it's rough trail...maybe I should I try it.

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    1. It's worth a shot! If you make it as a plan, and follow it from the beginning, I don't think it's slacker-ish at all... it's a planned part of the run, rather than a last nail in the coffin. Maybe you won't like it, maybe you will! Good to hear from you :) can't wait to see what's on your blog today!

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  7. Marathon ... Marathon ... Marathon!!! Do it.

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    1. pain, pain, pain... Maybe I am that crazy again.

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  8. This isn't quite the same, but I've been caught by a possible tornado once when I was out on a run. My husband called me to let me know. No tornado that time, but it was windy!

    I've read about ultrarunners who regularly walk the hills. Experimenting is fun!

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    1. A tornado would scare me out of my compression socks!
      Thanks for dropping by, Tina :)

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  9. You do have great trails out there and you laid down some miles for sure. I think you had a great week and a half!!
    If I may.. I am "experienced" with the Galloway method. I decided to try it for my fall marathon in 2011 after having bonked the Nashville Marathon in 2010. The main reason for me trying it was due injury recovery with my knees. I read about the method, talked to several people about it and then joined a group here in Atlanta. I picked the Oct Atlanta Marathon as my "comeback" race. Granted it seemed weird at first -- the running and walking but I kept at it -- ran the suggested miles and paces during the week and ran all my long runs with the group on Saturdays. (awesome people) The only long run I didn't do was the 26 mile run. My opinion is -- if I am going to run 26 then it's going to be on race day. I did complete the 23 miler though. We trained at 2:30 run and 1:00 walk in the sweltering Atlanta heat. The one thing I noticed right away was the recovery time after the long runs was a snap. On race day we decided to run 3:00 / walk 1:00. I felt great and my goal was a 4:48. When I crossed the half it was 2:24 and I am thinking crap, not going to make my goal. Cause in all previous marathons -- I lost 3-5 minutes in the last 4 miles. But I kept my cool and kept my intervals. And this is where the method pays off. I stayed strong committed to my run / walk and by gosh crossed the finish line at 4:46. I had a 2 minute negative split!! And again was able to walk upright after finishing :) I used galloway for Big Sur in 2012 (3:30 and 1:00) and that was a monster tough course finished in 4:40 on cold windy day. 1 minute negative split. I have also run several half marathons with the method. With the run / walk often you catch and pass people that blew out fast in the beginning -- you catch them in the end. Any way it does work!! Happy running..

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    1. Oh and Jeff Galloway lives here and often times comes out to talk, answer questions and then runs with local groups. He is a super neat guy!!

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    2. Thanks so much for your comment, Victor!
      What a great story! It's fantastic to negative split such a long race!! I really appreciate all the details you gave too. We are fortunate to have nearly perfect running weather all year - if you don't mind rain.:)
      Since my first marathon I have not met my goals. I definitely went out too fast for the other two, but maybe I was being optimistic.. More than likely I just paced poorly and fizzled.
      The run was hard on Tuesday, but I didn't expect otherwise since I have not been running that far or that long in training. It really was an experiment in many ways! Based on how it went, I will try again. I couldn't do it that way for every run though! It's pretty exciting to be trying something new!!
      It must be awesome to have Mr. Galloway local! He is such a humble and inspiring guy.
      Thanks again for sharing your insight!

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  10. I'm leaning towards using Galloway for my first marathon. Hopefully it will allow me to stay healthy and build my fitness. I love the pics. How do you like Ridgeline? It used to be my favorite for long runs in high school. The craziest I'm not sure but a few loops went through major intersections and I occasionally made a game of not stopping for the lights...guess it was a fartlek session, haha! Oh to be young, semi-healthy, and decently fit!

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    1. Knowing your background, Kyle, I bet it would be a great strategy for you! I am excited you are taking on the Marathon :)
      I love ridgeline, but my loops are almost all on the trail - :D No cars, all trees and ferns- one or two minor road crossings..
      Sounds like you might have taken your run from down closer to Amazon trail?

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    2. Amazon or my dad's house. It really depended on what I wanted from a particular run. A long run was usually strictly Ridgeline and occasionally Pisgah. The car dodging was usually a combination road/Ridgeline and featured hill work.

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    3. You can be sure to find some hills there! :)

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  11. Your welcome Raina. And Jeff recommends an inexpensive little device for setting your interval run / walks -- it's 19.95 at http://www.gymboss.com. Do you have a marathon in mind? I really want to do one out west this year..

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    1. Thanks for that other tip :)
      I am considering either the Vernonia marathon in Portland, or possibly Seattle R'N'R.. Or Newport, OR The problem is that there are also other races (and in one case, a relay I signed up for), that are the weekend before or after each! Too many great races- quite a problem, isn't it?!

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    2. Oh goodness yes lot's of choices. One I have considered in RNR in Seattle. I like that they are Saturday races. Happy Vday!

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  12. Trails are looking amazeballs....too much snow and ice here. oh my. i am LOVING your photos...hope that spring may come. Or I shall run away!!

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    1. It WILL Come, Tina! It will!! :D
      Hang in there, friend♥

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  13. You have such gorgeous trails to run on! I hear there are some good trails around here, too... I'm looking forward to the snow melting so I can discover some!

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    1. I hope you get some spring soon! You will love the trails, especially right now, since they are kind on the body. Thanks for commenting, Laura ♥!

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  14. Vivid colors and wonderful weather.

    I do not know about crazy, but I do math problems in my head when running or plan out a lecture for one of my courses.

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    1. In case you ever get bored -- I have reestablished my connection to the outside world. That required a new blog -- helicaljourneys.wordpress.com

      C2Iowa

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    2. Yay! Glad you are blogging again! I used to do math problems in my head while I was running, but when I got a Garmin, that put an end to all the thinking ;D ..Well, most of it anyway.

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  15. Your trails look amazing! I love trail running, and am fortunate to have miles and miles of them right behind my house. I feel blessed, but I have to say, I miss the green trees and critters that I used find on the trails in Virginia (we used to live there and now live in SoCal)

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    1. VA is beautiful.. Only been there once as an adult, but I hope to get back to the Blue Ridge Parkway where my grandparents were born some day. Good to hear from you, Lisa!

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  16. You run in the most beautiful places! So blessed!

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    1. Thanks Karien!! Counting my blessings :)

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  17. Marathon, the best race, the classic. Do it!
    Beautiful trails. I run through the country only on sunday with the sunlight.

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    1. I can only imagine running through Italy on a Sunday... I would want it to be daylight too, so I could take in the view!

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  18. Those trails look very inviting - lucky you having them on your doorstep!
    I hope your marathon dream comes true!

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    1. Thanks, Sherry! ♥ Hope you have a great week.

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  19. Those are some beautiful trails! I wish I was training for Boston right now, too. But I'm not. Do you have a race in mind for your hard work?

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    1. I have a couple of ideas! I need to narrow things down a bit; the problem is that there are too many good races too close together.. I am not one of those who can do them two weekends in a row.
      Good to hear from you!

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  20. Beautiful pics again Raina. Interested to see how you go with the Galloway method. I reckon there are good fitness gains to be had. Breaking up runs with walks allows you to go further while giving the muscles/tendons a rest - HR stays elevated for a long time. I used to do that on my 16k runs back in '07 and had some great races in the Spring.

    Have been caught in fading light on trails a few times, had a few stumbles - one which required stitches. I'm more careful to get out earlier after that!

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    1. Thanks Ewen! It's good to hear your experience with the run/walk method.
      I don't care to get stitches!! Next time I'll bring a headlamp :)

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  21. Wow! Beautiful trails! And what a great way to gauge marathon preparation. I just really enjoy my long, uninterrupted, easy runs and would be afraid that doing something like that would cause me to think too much about running! Or maybe I am just scared....

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    1. I enjoy the long, uninterrupted runs too.. just exploring some different approaches! Thanks so much for your comment, Amy.

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  22. Great pics! I have heard about this technique but I have never tried it, I just don't run long enough! We are already done with our Arizona winter, it was a great few weeks. Temps are back to 89... so hot already! Carri~A Running bee

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    1. Whew!! That's hot!! Guess you have to make the most of your early mornings, or get tough. ha! Good to hear from you, Carri :)

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  23. Those pictures are seriously incredible. Like if you asked me to describe an ideal trail, it would look like these pictures. I'm jealous. Well done!

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    1. Thanks, Cory! Your trails are pretty sweet... so many red rocks and blue skies! We kind of have the opposite extremes, but both are beautiful.

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  24. Racking up some awesome distances. I can imagine running trails in the dark without a lamp would really focus the senses. Especially if the forest comes to life after dark. Good luck with the training for the ultra. Look forward to hearing how it goes.

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    1. The forest is not where I want to be at night! Haha.. Except with a lamp , a friend, and a good reason! Your training is looking solid too, Andy. :)

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  25. Great post with beautiful pics Raina, It's good to know about your progress and the challenges you have in mind. And regarding the Galloway Method, can you recommend me which of his books i can use to know and practice the method? Thank you :)

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    1. Hey friend! Thanks for the question.
      http://www.jeffgalloway.com/ has some really good info on the technique . I've read only one of galloway's books, written in the 80's, but his site is kept very current and that's where I would start. Let me know if you try it!

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    2. Thank you Raina!, once I overcome my injuries from running I would like to try a new method, and yes Galloway seems to be a pretty good one, and sure.I will let you know about my efforts

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  26. oh the Oregon trails are lovely Raina!!! I hope that we get some spring soon....i need a sunny ice free fun!!

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    1. Sending a thaw your way, Tina!! ♥

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  27. Oh wow - it looks gorgeous where you are! And you ran with Kristin? Lucky you. Keep enjoying the running - you seem to be loving it!

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