What will your winter training look like?

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Disclaimer: These thoughts are mine and based on my experience and research by done by people smarter than me. There happens to be many people who would agree and disagree. Most importantly, there is no secret recipe that works for everyone. We are all different and need different things. With this in mind I will do my best to be as general about things as I can except for when it is simply based on using myself as a lab rat. Listen to your coach, buy into the system and train smart and be consistent. If you think changes should be made I would suggest bringing the ideas to your coach and please avoid using, “well David Adams said!” :)

Many of you may have competed in the recent Footlocker Regional meets held across the country over the Thanksgiving holiday. What are you plans going forward and onto the outdoor track season? Some of you may be competing in an indoor meet along the way. This time of year, for those of us in the south can be great for logging milage to support the training and racing we have planned for the spring. In some areas the winter can be as turbulent for running as our humid summers are. Take advantage of this opportunity to set yourself up for a great track season.

Start working on your speed immediately! A few times per week you need to be doing strides after your easy runs, preferably before a workout or faster effort. These strides don’t need to be incredibly taxing or quick, especially at first. Start out by running them slightly faster than your 5k pace, somewhere around your 3200 meter pace. 60-100 meters is sufficient. Used the first and last 10-15 meters to build up to speed and to slow back down. Gradually work your way down to 800 meter speed over the course of this block of training. In between the strides give yourself time to recover. I suggest jogging back to where you started or standing rest for about 1 minute.

When thinking about a base phase of training we often think about slow easy running. While this should make up the bulk of your training during any phase, you should be working on building your aerobic (metabolism) system. The quickest and best way to do this is by challenging yourself regularly at a solid pace. The weekly long run is the other major piece and we will talk about that further in the next edition. Workouts that should take place over the next few months are Fartlek runs, progression runs and pushing the last mile or two of a long run.

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Fartlek (speed play in Swedish - Random mix of interval pace and length scatter across a training run. This type or workout is best with a group. Each runner takes turns leading the repetitions and choosing the pace and duration. This causes the other runners to simply react and deal with the pace without knowing the length. If you are running alone you may also create a custom workout on your Garmin Connect profile (if you use a Garmin of course). This would allow you to experience the workout with some randomness.

Progression - Steady increase in the pace over the course of the run. For example, 5 miles: 8:00, 7:30, 7:00, 6:30, 6:00. More challenging versions could be extended over a longer run or with full minute drops over a shorter run. If I remember correctly, I ran one of these about once per week during my senior year of high-school. This was done in the morning before school and time was limited. It was completely based on feel but the general structure was in the neighborhood of: 7:00, 6:00, 5:30, 5:00. An easy 6 mile run or workout with the team in the afternoon.

Make sure you are taking your easy days easy, and your hard days hard. This can be challenging during the cooler months as long as you aren’t dealing with sloppy footing and snow. I know for me, I want to roll every run at 6:30 pace or faster because it feels so much easier than it did all summer. Impromptu progressions happen regularly if I don’t make the conscious effort to plan out my week and month. If you know a hard workout awaits the following day, you will be more likely to settle down today. Running by feel is the best way to go but choosing an even slower effort on purpose can really help your recovery and effort for the more challenging days. 

***If I had a superpower in my high school days of running it was the ability to recover. I usually took Sundays off but two-a-days became standard. Throughout my senior year I was running quality workouts on Thursday or Friday before Saturday races under 15:30. 

Incorporating these workouts into your winter training will help you get the most out of your limited buildup to your track season. In the next edition I will dive into this a little further and talk about: the weekly long run, rest and sleep, strength training and some other little but necessary things!

It's all falling into place

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October was a busier than usual month. My wife and her business partner had a ton of LuLaRoe events, from in-home parties to Bluffton, Savannah and Beaufort events, they were everywhere! For me this meant lots of hours logged at Daddy Day Care. As crazy as it can be with the kids at this age, I try to remember that this is such a short phase of life and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Its easy to forget however, when you are in the thick of it!

Besides being a stay-at-home-dad for most of the month, I managed to log my normal shifts at the fire department and work on some training plans that I am offering for the first-ever Palmetto Bluff Marathon. The Marathon will go along with the Annual PB Half and 10k. Rob, at Palmetto Running Company, was gracious enough to post my Adams Running ad on his site, which has generated a lot of interest for me!

The standard video log I’ve been producing each week may die down for a bit as I focus my efforts on a monthly video series for SCRunners.com that I was asked to do. I am very excited about this project, as it gives me access to all of the high school runners in the state and beyond as an audience. I’m honored to be in this position and to have the ability to offer these young people a few tools and tips for running and life in general at that stage.

As for November… since this is November’s blog entry, I’m still uncertain. My new business partner and I will be working on some pitches and ironing out some details as we prepare for our official “soft” launch in the Lowcountry. This has been a work in progress since early summer and we’re almost ready to let the cat out of the bag! Stay tuned…

Summer Running 2017

It's been quite some time since my last entry. In fact, it was from December of 2016 and was a recap of Hurricane Matthew. Here we are again, at the fire station, but this time it's Irma. Both Matthew and Irma we massive storms and both reached Catergory 5 status. Irma however, has been breaking all sorts of records. She has devastated everything she has touched, dropped down to a 3 over Cuba but is expected to regain strength and crush the whole state of Florida. The most recent twist seems like a sick joke as the speed of travel has slowed to a measly 9 mph. This should increase the rainfall which was a major issue with Matthew and 2017s Harvey. 

 

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Over the past 36 hours Irmas track changed a good bit removing us from the cone of possibility of a direct hit. Our place this time around will likely be that of dealing with Tropical Storm conditions in real time. My crew, along with 6 others from other shifts are packed into a temporary station in Colleton River Plantation. The neighborhood, made up of mostly 2nd/ vacation homes, usually doesn't have much action; short of infrastructure workers. During hurricane coverage it is eerily quite. 

 

Yesterday was supposed to be the 4th consecutive Tunnel to Towers team title in as many years for our Fire Department running team. Unfortunately, the  Savannah Tunnel to Towers 5k was canceled due to evacuations in Georgia. We still have T2T South Carolina next Friday in Columbia, which we complete in fire gear. We are back to back winners there. 

 

I have a busy spring racing season following the birth of baby number 3 and Clemson's National Championship football win. In fact, those two events occurred on the same day. Luckily for me, not at the same time; my wife would have likely killed me had I been following along during that process!

 

The summer has been brutal. More than any that I can remember even after last summers record breaking stretch. I didn't quite stick to my guns and get my weekly mileage over 60 consistently. I averaged closer to 40 miles per week. I did however, avoid any structured workouts and just took it as easy as I need to. I am hoping that this sets me up nicely to start working hard this fall. 

 

I've been working on a few new projects this summer that have been consuming most of my thoughts. I started a weekly email newsletter, "Move Weekly, HHI". For all who have subscribed, I send out all of the activities that I can find, related to a healthy active lifestyle. The hope is that people traveling to the area will arrive already knowing about activities to participate in. The newsletter is highlighted by a video log (VLOG) that I started putting together. This has forced me into the spotlight in a way I'm not used to but something that will help me grow. I am using it to get out of my comfort zone and to help others in the process. I'm starting to have some fun with it, and as long as others are interested, I'll keep pumping them out!

 

The other project is a business venture with a partner, also running related. I am super excited about this, but as of now it's hush-hush. More to come very soon though.. perhaps in the next blog post. I look forward to sharing my life again with y'all!

Tunnel 2 Towers 2016

I'm currently sitting at the fire station in Palmetto Bluff during a mandatory evacuation for Hurricane Matthew. At the moment the future of the Lowcountry is uncertain. Our team of 9 Firemen will likely move locations to USCB before conditions start to deteriorate, since the station out here is a temporary structure. I will likely talk about the next week in my November entry.
I have been mostly out of commission for the past two months. I talked about my achilles tendon issues in my last entry; even though there is some improvement, it's not a ton. A few things have been contributing to the recovery period being longer than i would like.
I competed in two Tunnel 2 Towers races in the month of September. The two races, T2T Savannah and T2T South Carolina (Columbia) are my two favorite races of the year and a team of coworkers count on me to bring home the team title.  I took 2 to 4 weeks off leading up to the first race. My achilles seemed to be improving until the day of the race. I was in pain during the warmup and I was starting to worry I might have to bail mid-race. I was able to finish the race but my drop in fitness and confidence definitely showed. 
On a positive note I only lost to one person, and it was to my good friend and training partner Dan Comite. We also defended our team title for the 4th consecutive year. Our team consisted of 6 employees from Bluffton Fire District (Brian Brock, Brett Phillips, David Romine, Giovanni Scianna, Tim Smith and Myself).
The following Friday afternoon we made the trip to Columbia where we were the reining team champions. Teams competing for the title have to run in full fire gear minus the air pack and boots in Columbia's T2T Race. It was a little cooler than last year but temperatures were still in the upper 80s, plus the high humidity. We dominated the team competition again, this time with a few veterans returning (Steve Arnold, Enrique Baez, David Romine, Giovanni Scianna and Myself). I will not hesitate doing this race again but running in gear is a totally different animal. Some of the issues are due to having extra weight and restriction but mostly because the heat cannot escape. 
I almost missed the start of the Columbia race. I left the Clemson football tickets a friend from work and myself purchased for the game the day after. He asked me if i remembered the tickets when we were around exit 40 on I95 (1 hour away from home). I immediately made the decision to turn around to get the tickets. I got dressed in my gear as we were pulling up in Columbia with about 15 minutes to spare.
Running these two races, even though I wouldn't change a thing, set me back in my recovery. I took about 2 weeks off after T2T SC and have been running very short slow a few times per week. The discomfort is not gone but better. I am hoping to continue to improve over the next few weeks so I can get back to business. My favorite time of year to run is October- March and I feel like I'm missing it!

Drink The Cool Aid

For more than 70 consecutive days it has been over 90 degrees in the low country of South Carolina. For anyone out there who thinks that 90 degrees feels like 90 degrees in this part of the country, you are wrong. Just walking outside resembles a health club sauna, minus the naked members of course. I am so ready for winter, even if its only 1 month long like the last. All of this focus on sticking to my training plan, dodging the heat as much as possible and strength training more has caused me to miss one of the most important parts of training. The ability to stay healthy by doing necessary maintenance exercises. I talk a big game to my clients about a specific warmup before runs and a core and hip strengthening routine for after. All the while I know how important it is but it is so easy to feel bomb proof while the going is good.

It's so easy when time is tight due to responsibilities like work and family to use the whole one-hour workout time chunk on my run. In my head I'm thinking, “1 hour, ok.. 7 min miles.. should be able to get 8 in.” I should be content with running 7 miles instead and using the remaining 10 minutes or so to do auxiliary exercises, core and stretch. This change in thought would only take away about 5-6 miles from my weekly total. In the past, with a less hectic schedule, I would just lallygag around after my run and get the necessary stuff in. With time being scarce and more precious as I moved deeper into the life of an “adult,” the extra stuff needs a front row seat. 

As I am typing away there is an icepack strapped to the back of my left leg and under it is kinesis-tape stabilizing my achilles tendon. In a few minutes I will graduate to a boot that I wear in my downtime and through the night. I cannot isolate it for every hour of the day the way I should because of work and life, but completely resting would speed up the process.

Alright, I'm making it sound worse than it is on purpose. All of the above are true but after about 2 weeks of no running and supplementing with cycling I have been able to complete a few short runs with little to no pain. I am not in the clear yet and I have had a history of achilles issues dating back to college. I have been able to string together almost 3 consecutive years injury free which is the longest stretch in my running career. I have been doing all of the little things that contribute, especially for all of you that are over 30, to consistent healthy running. Despite knowing how important these little things are, it was the first to go by the wayside when my available time per day started to shrink. This is something you cannot afford to do!

We are all human and these things happen. They are something we all must go through time and time again in order to hunker down and make the necessary changes. My primary concern at the moment is to be healthy for the two Tunnel to Towers races that I compete in with other members from the Bluffton Fire District. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created in honor of Stephen Siller. They raise money and honor first responders and military that are in need. Our team has won the last 3 Savannah races and the first and only Columbia race (in full gear). I need to be injury free, even if it means in less shape than I was two weeks ago. After that, it's up in the air whether I will go back to building a big aerobic base for a winter race or try to salvage the fall season.

The message here is to stay focused on your goals. Whether the goal is to walk, run or scale the Empire State Building… keep doing the little things. Most fairly motivated people will do the obvious things. Runners will run, painters will paint, but neither will be successful without the behind-the-scenes extras that keep you moving forward.

"It's Hot"

I think it's a little unreasonable to have to wring your shorts off after and easy paced run. This has become an everyday thing lately as it's been 90+ degrees with 612% humidity. I try my best to get my run in before 8 am, but because of other obligations it's not always possible. I struggled through 6 miles (8 scheduled) the other day. I did, after all, run at 1 pm out of necessity but I was unaware that it might have been the hottest hour of the summer thus far. My weather app read a "real feel" of 119•F.

There are studies out there have compared the benefits of heat training to that of altitude training. While altitude training has been found to increase the body's red blood cell count, training in extreme heat while slightly dehydrated can stimulate the body to produce more plasma. 
I truly hope that all of us are gaining a little more plasma and not just a layer of mental toughness. Either way, if you are out at anytime in the South Carolina summer I applaud your effort, because at a minimum that is very impressive.

I have yet to do many structured workouts as the summer is typically base-ville for everyone's fall racing; a little speed here and  there just to keep the legs active. But I am personally going to extend my base until September in hopes of staying motivated through November.  I'm keeping my hopes of a fast 5k alive for at least one more fall season, and there will be plenty of updates along the way!
 

One month, one mile.

So as I am patiently waiting for the start of my race I look down and notice that the soles of my shoes are melting off. The same happened with the backup pair! Granted it is in the upper 90s in South Carolina which usually means that it feels closer to 200 degrees and I have been standing on the track for over an hour. I traveled 4 hours from Bluffton to Greenville to race in the South Carolina Open and Masters Track Classic. I was already working with a handicap after that drive but a one hour delay didn't help either. Needless to say I did not finish this race season the way I would have liked but it did however start with some promise.

In early May I travelled to Columbia to compete in the Governors Cup Main Street Mile. I figured this would be a good opportunity to have some solid competition which would help push me to a good time. A Kenyan runner and a few post collegiate Americans were in the race who I had no business hanging with and therefor I did not try. My finishing time was 4 mins and 30 seconds. I was more than pleased considering there was a U-Turn around a cone at 800 meters and a slightly uphill finish. Mentally I gave myself credit for at least 5 seconds faster.

A little over a week later I traveled to Atlanta with my family so my wife could take part in a conference for her new business venture. I won my heat in 4 minutes and 31 seconds but was extremely satisfied because of the way the race unfolded. I sat back in the pack for the first two laps and then negative split the last 800 (2:20/ 2:10). I enjoyed a more tactical race for a change. Again this performance pointed towards promising fitness levels.

Just four days later I put on all of my firefighter bunker gear and air pack and raced past Forsyth Park in downtown Savannah in the Hero's Heat of the 11th Savannah Mile. The race was made almost entirely of Army Rangers. I was the only firefighter that was treating it as a race. I came in 2nd to an Army Ranger. We went one and two last year as well but we both dropped our times significantly. I finished in 5 mins and 30 seconds. Every second of the race felt like I was carrying a car and it was terrible and I hated it and as usual I will run it again next year!

Overall I am happy with this short season of faster races. I truly didn't know what to expect of myself and still feel I'm better than or more capable than the stopwatch read but I'm trying to remember that it's all a process. One day or one full training cycle is building for the next. My journey in running has evolved and is no longer just about being the best. Im learning to enjoy the process and focus on becoming the best that I'm capable of being given all the obstacles and accumulation of life. Don't get me wrong I still want to win... But I'm finally in a place with myself that I understand it's not the only thing that matters.

A little life and the Half Marathon

When I look back at the last six months of my life all I see is chaos. I’m sure its standard for anyone with small kids, especially two or more under the age of four, to feel they are being pulled in every direction. Since November of last year I decided to start my own business as my wife began her own endeavors. We both of course kept our day jobs, if you can call them that. She is a night shift neonatal nurse and I am a full time firefighter/ EMT. This of course goes with our two young children who go to a part time day care only some week days and my running which takes up a portion of everyday. Very little time remains for anything extracurricular.

Despite all of this mess I decided to move up from the world of racing 5ks- kind of fast, to running half marathons- not quite as fast. Despite improving my overall fitness and progressing in workouts, my 5k times hadn't changed much from 2014 to 2015. My goal race was the Palmetto Bluff half in early March, only 12 weeks away. 

This may not have been the most logical time in life to add roughly three more hours of running per week to my life but why not keep piling it on, right? The transition from 45 to 70 miles per week was smoother than I expected and I found myself enjoying these extra miles. Running is no doubt therapy once you get past the complete suck feeling of the first few months. So why wouldn’t a few more hours of “healthy me time” make me a happier person?

Slower racing brings with it slower training paces. I definitely liked the sound of that! However, that can be slightly misleading. During these twelve weeks of cooler weather a lot of my time would be spent at my goal half marathon pace. This pace is often referred to as threshold pace and is described as the pace one can sustain for one hour or comfortable hard. I like to describe it to others in a way that I feel is slightly clearer… “This is the pace you would choose if someone was chasing you with a machete and you had to keep moving for exactly one hour, no more and no less; in order to stay alive.” This comfortably hard pace also drags with it uncomfortably short rest periods that separate uncomfortably long reps. 

I would be lying if I said there were many mornings that I couldn’t wait to jump up at 5 am for a 10 miler but I only succumbed to the snooze button a time or two. I gained so much confidence and fitness from this short training block and it has provided a great base for me to build on.

I guess what message I’m loitering around here is that you can do it. Maybe your goal is to walk for 30 mins 3 times per week, run a 5k or play a sport in college. Despite your circumstances, and by no means does my crazy life even come close to the conflicts and disasters that take place in the lives of some, you can make it happen. It takes a plan and a lot of help along the way but in the end, if you stick to it, you can look back and truly appreciate what you accomplished. As for me and the plan that I set in motion for my running back in November, I am satisfied. I went 2 for 2 winning the Hilton Head Island Half Marathon (1:12:58) and the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon (1:12:07). Along the way I even ran my fastest 5k since my college days.

 

Over the past month I have begun racing some much shorter distances and I look forward to sharing the experiences with you in the coming months. Stay tuned.

 

"the race that got away"

When my comeback began four years ago the idea of creating a new personal record for myself was constantly on my mind and kept me, literally, moving forward each day. As I struggled through the humid summer days, barely able to run each of my 2 or 3 miles at a pace 2 minutes slower than what I would've considered acceptable in the past, I daydreamed about the possibility of setting a personal record at this stage of life. Deep down I knew there was a possibility it was unrealistic and maybe even unattainable given how high I had set the bar for myself over a decade earlier. However, I'd always thrived on challenges; both those others set for me, and especially those I set for myself (as my own biggest critic). I was challenging myself again. This time around, it was going to be more difficult to reach the same shock value I enjoyed in my younger days, but the challenge was set just the same.

I plan to attempt to run the 1 mile race distance a few times this spring and summer. I've been consistent in my training for some time now, and I've started to see some results in my level of fitness hinting at good things to come. Even though success in the 1 mile race is historically enjoyed by younger runners, it was always my least impressive personal record. Of the standard middle distance events I raced in high school, the mile was the one for which I was never fully trained or rested. It's "the race that got away".

Most people who hear "one mile in four minutes" hear just that; no distinction is made between 4 minutes and 14 seconds, and 4 minutes and 57 seconds. But the distinction in my mind is monumental: the former is my high school PR in the mile; the latter is the pace my now 34-year-old body can sustain for a 5k. Most runners in their mid-30’s (except those running professionally) tend to focus on longer- distance races, like half and full marathons. Although I know my greatest potential now lies in those longer, grinding-type runs, I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to the breathlessness and lactic-acid nightmare of shorter distances.

Will I be able to tame "the race that got away" those years ago in the peak of my running career? Today, I have a chance to be both well-rested and well-trained for the mile, and I'm looking forward to seeing how fast I can go! In my next entry I will dive back into my training over the last few months as it lead up to this shift in pace.

 

Adams Running Introduction

My name is David Adams and I was born and raised in the Bluffton/ Hilton Head Island area in South Carolina's Low Country. I am a husband, father of two, full time firefighter and personal trainer/ running coach. I am grateful to be offered a blog spot on Palmetto Running Company and the Palmetto Running Clubs’ website. First I'd like to give a little background about me and my running career. In the future, I'll talk about my current training and racing experiences, and wherever my mind travels

I started competing at the age of 9 while also playing other sports. I qualified for USATF Nationals three times (1991, 1993 and 1994) with no structured training. I started running for Hilton Head High School in seventh grade and won my first of 9 State Championships as a 9th grader. I ran a US#1 time in the 3200 meters (8:57) as a high school senior. I’m the current 5k Cross Country State Record Holder in SC (14:37 in 1999). I was named SC Gatorade Athlete of the year and "Mr. Track" in 2000. I received a scholarship to run at Clemson University where I was a member of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams.  During my sophomore year I battled achilles injuries and basically didn't run for over 9 months. I returned to running as a junior but the passion just wasn't there anymore and I eventually walked away from the sport. This hiatus from running extended for almost 10 years.

In 2012, 4 years after becoming a Full-Time Firefighter and after being recruited by a fellow firefighter, I slowly began running again. My wife was also pregnant with our first child, and I decided I didn't want get too busy with kids and life to get in better shape. I had also started biking, thinking that would be a good supplement to getting my cardio back up to speed. About 5 months before our son was born, I had a biking accident that severely broke my collarbone, requiring surgery to put in a metal support plate. Once that injury had healed well enough, running took precedence, and soon I was running more consistently than I had in many years.  In a short period of time my passion for the sport grew to heights that I could have never imagined. The growing interest in running and fitness in our area sparked my interest in competing again. This time around it would be much harder than it was when I was younger but I gained valuable experience in training a non runner to become competitive runner. Fast forward to now, I have 4 years of consistent training under my belt again, and I’m competing at a level I thought was no longer attainable.

To date I have returned to the form of my junior year in high school, a feat I am proud of after so many years away from running. Its been closer to 20 years since those fresh high school legs bounced around the track at the paces I’m capable of but I see no reason to be completely satisfied yet. I feel so fortunate to be a part such a close-knit running community that's so unique to this area. Palmetto Running has been instrumental in my re-entry into this sport that I've had such a passion for for so many years, and I'm very grateful to Rob for the opportunity to contribute to this blog and everything he's done for all of us.