Archive for the ‘speed work’ Category

Quality speed work run

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

This was the first time in several months that I didn’t just run past the track. It felt good to go do some speed work, not a lot, but a good amount: six laps and 12 total straights and curves. Usually I have been doing 2 or more miles (16+ S&Cs) but I think a mile and a half of them to start is good. Seems like I have done that in the past when I have been starting a speed work regimen. It was really cold and I was pretty bundled, not quite Christmas Story bundled, but it sort of felt like it. On the way over to the track I took a gel mixed with water, apple cinnamon. There were a bunch of people at the track, but few were running. The biggest group was playing short field soccer, the other football. Just me running.

After my six laps I added some extra miles to my route through the canyon and up through reed. My pace was pretty slow, almost 10:30 sec miles. The intervals really worked me, so I didn’t mind one bit. I think tomorrow I will try a recovery run.

On a sort of weird non-run note but at the same time I was out running a guy was involved in two hit and runs in my neighborhood ending up crashing into the local high school up the street. Glad I didn’t see them until the news.

440 intervals

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Before I went to bed last night I thought about what I would be doing on my run today. I have a meeting this afternoon so I had time to run in the morning. I managed to pump myself up for a quality run at the track. Of course that was before I went to sleep. When the morning light woke me up I didn’t quite feel as enthusiastic as I had the night before. The light looked gray outside beyond my curtains, but I didn’t hear any rain drops. A cup of coffee and half a Clif bar later I was at the precipice of procrastination. But my desire to run was just enough to get me going and I took off out the door radio in ear, gel in flask. Unfortunately I forgot my water. When I realized it I was two blocks away and it was just too far to go back. So I continued on.

I was going to track but I didn’t have any concrete plan as to what I would do there. I could run my usual straights and curves, but I sort of wanted to mix it up a bit. Plus I think it is time to push myself a bit at the track and do a harder workout (not that S&Cs are easy mind you.) It was between running 440 or 220 intervals. The 440s sounded appealing from a challenge standpoint, but the 220s also sounded good as they would be a little easier. Additionally I wanted to make sure I got at least eight miles in to keep me on my road to 40 for the week, though I am skeptical about that. I missed running Mon and Tues so I would need to do eight today, then again Sat and Sun. It will make for five days of running in a row, and six if I consider next week (if I missed another Monday then I’d be facing the same situation and I’d rather have a rest day toward the end of the week like Fri or Sat. So with all that to consider I decided on the 440s with a 220 recovery. I could do six intervals in nine laps if I pushed it and then make up the rest on a longer cool down run.

The first one saw my HR get up really high as I rounded the track at the end of the lap: 180+. I backed off a little on the second and kept it under that mark. But the third and fourth were all over 180. My recoveries brought my HR back down to 145 or so, so I felt really good about that. The fifth one was rough, I was starting to feel really beat and considered heading back home. But somehow I managed to convince myself that I could go one more time and I did. Phew, great day at the track! But I still had another 3-4 miles to go to get my miles in.

Just outside the track is Powell Blvd. a pretty busy road. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed when I didn’t make the light, a little reprieve was very welcome especially considering the two block hill that was waiting beyond. Slowly I reached the top and headed towards reed. I decided to skirt the campus and backtrack my usual route, the last part of which is once again up hill for several blocks. I broke off from campus and headed towards Berkley Park to make sure I got my eight in. Before I hit the park I realized that I would be going too far, so I veered east and was faced with once again another huge hill. It is one of the killers in my hill workout (which I haven’t done for a long time, but soon…) Once look at the last steep portion made me turn around and continue toward the park which would also have a hill though not as steep. I ended up compromising and once again turning east a block before the park. The hill was still tough, but not the monster from several blocks back. Off I went.

The rest of the run was pretty flat once I managed to get above the ridge separating Woodstock from East Moreland. I slowly trudged the last mile and was very happy to see my puppy’s expecting look at the window. She helped me stretch out by licking the sweat off of me. Great run! Next up an eight mile recovery. Or maybe less and then longer Sunday. 40 is still in the cards!

Natural running and speedwork at the track

Friday, February 18th, 2011

At risk of being ostracized by the popular running community I’d like to add my two cents about the barefoot running/natural running phenomena. I have been an advocate of Chi Running for many years. I think the principals behind it are solid and I have run relatively injury free for years, much of which I attribute to adopting a Ch Running style. Since the barefoot running fad broke out with the publishing of Born To Run, its theories have been adopted by Danny Dreyer, author of Chi Running. While I really enjoyed Born to Run, I wasn’t swayed to try it until Dreyer embraced it. With his endorsement I have thought more and more about it. I have figured I wouldn’t be able to do it because of the heal lift I wear to offset my shorter right leg. The barefoot folks says we should base out stance on our natural stance by not wearing any sort of orthotics whether they be in the base of running shoes or additional devices. I believe my leg correcting lift is necessary to make sure my spine is properly aligned. Doctors convinced me at an early age that I needed to keep my spine properly aligned in order to avoid back issues both in my youth and especially into old age. So barefoot running seemed like it wouldn’t be for me, Vibram Five-Fingers also seemed interesting but I had my doubts about whether they would work with my lift (they are really low on the ankle and my lift made this an even larger potential issue). So I was really interested to hear about the concept of Natural Running and this book.

So I got the book from the library and have been reading it. The author feels that barefoot running is best, but that there are pitfalls to running without protection on the feet: rocks, hot or cold pavement, glass etc. He thinks that shoes are ok to wear as long as you do a mid or forefoot strike rather than a heal strike. He says most running shoes build up the heal to such an extent that it is hard to do the fore or mid strike. He says the elevated heal causes most runners to hit the heal first (which brakes you) before rolling to the ball of your foot. My heal lift in the one side makes this even more of an issue. But despite that I have been striving for a mid-strike for years since reading about Chi Running and I think I do a pretty good job of it.

When I first started to run on the dirt roads on Pendleton, OR I was told that I should rock my foot on each step. Land on the heal and roll my step through to the lift off on the toes. At first it took so getting used to landing on the mid portion of the foot. It was good to read scientific basis for what I have been doing for years.

The book had a number of exercises to help the reader develop this mid-strike. Most of them were based on balance (so far anyway) and this is an area I could use a lot of work on. Between the shorter (and smaller) right leg and the ms, I have my issues with balance. I have been working on this and probably overdoing it as my ankles have been sore as well as my knees. I think I will back off on doing the balance stuff a bit and try to more slowly incorporate the work into my workouts. I do think better balance will have large benefits for strengthening my core and therefor bettering my running. Not sure what is happening with my knees, I rarely have issues in that area. It could also have something to do with the new shoes.

Today, I went to the track to do some more straights and curves. The track was mostly empty so that was good for my multi-paced workout. My knees and ankle soreness didn’t seem to bother me, but I did slow down my sprinting in order to respect the potential injury. Seems to have done the trick. I also added on some miles to boost my weekly totals. Ended up doing a 2 mile warm up, 2 miles at the track and 4.5 mile cool down. Good run.

Running malaise done? Two quality runs in a row

Monday, October 4th, 2010

After contemplating my recent slump with my training in recent days I have managed to break out of it in a big way with two quality runs in a row. Now I know that is not the best idea, I should instead be alternating quality runs with recovery runs. While I still fully ascribe to this thinking there were several things in my favor for doing both these runs back to back. The main reason being that they were both very different types of runs; yesterday’s long slow distance run and today’s speed work at the track. The long slow run was actually a sort of blend of recovery and quality. My avg HR was 127 for the 10 miles, so we did it pretty slowly which was exactly how we should have done it. My running partner’s HR was about 15 beats higher than mine throughout, so perhaps she could have benefited even more by us going even slower. We were pushed forward throughout by the promise of sushi afterward which I inhaled! I was tired towards the end, but the pace kept my fatigue at a reasonable level and despite my feet giving me grief I could have gone further though I am not sure how much further…

I was a little concerned about how the previous LSD run would effect me the next day, but I made a commitment to myself to go to the track and do some speed work. I figured I had better just jump on my run soon after getting out of bed, with of course some time to read online, drink coffee and gobble half a Clif bar. So fueled with information, caffeine and oats I headed out. Right away I noticed how energized I felt. My warm up run to the track went smoothly and I arrived feeling ready to go. The first couple of straights and curves felt pretty good, but the third straight was awesome. I actually managed to get up to a 5:07 pace on that one, the fastest time I have ever recorded doing speed work. The rest of the laps went well mostly hovering under 6 with a couple of slower ones. I was really happy with that, not only had I set a PR but also managed to remain relatively consistently fast on the others. After my eight laps I considered doing another mile but decided that with yesterday’s run I would be pushing it so I headed home. After a slow cool down to reed I picked up my pace through the canyon and once out did my final flat mile between 7:30 and 8.

As I mentioned I think the slow pace and low HR on the SD run was the main reason I was so successful at the speed work today. I also was very well hydrated for the LSD run as well as today’s run despite having 2 and half beers yesterday afternoon. The beer could have had a good aspect as well, I didn’t over do it, but got the carbs for recovery. Also a slice of pizza (on top of the sushi) helped. I swear over eating is one of the greatest benefits of running! My HR on the speed work was not that high for what I did. I would have expected it to be at least 10 beats higher. I wonder if the LSD run’s low HR had something to do with stabilizing the HR for the intervals? My average HR was 141 (obviously this includes long warm up and cool down portions, but still low). Past track speed work runs had avg HRs of 153, 150, 151. So I must have done something right today.

Speedwork and then taper

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Today I find myself in the midst of a short two day taper, actually all I am doing is a break for the two days. No reason to really taper for this race as I am not planning on attempting any sort of PR and I haven’t really been training other than my usual. My goal is a finish under an hour, should be doable. Weather should be nice and cool for the race and I am looking forward to the beer and pasta!

The last run I did was a speed workout at the track, my usual straights and curves. I felt really strong throughout the workout. I didn’t really push my sprints that much except to pass a slower runner as I approached a curve. I was coming in just over 6 min miles on the straights. I also added a loop and a half through the canyon to cool down. Overall a really solid quality run for the day.

I wanted to do a recovery run last night, but ended up blowing it off with the help of my running partner! Neither of us really felt like doing anything last night, so we didn’t.

Six runs in a row in the NW

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

I say six, but it is really seven in a row as one of the days I ran twice. Since getting back to the NW I have really been enjoying the lower altitude. Breathing has been easier in general and my times seem to have benefited from the 10 days at a mile high altitude.

I have been doing a good job of alternating the quality runs with recovery runs. I think this has had a huge impact on how successful these six runs have been. I don’t feel exhausted at all despite doing a quality run this morning. The other positive aspect has been the cool weather, but I don’t think that has too much to do with things as I ran a couple of days in the heat.

I have been pretty happy with myself and pushing the pace at several times during these runs. The tempo run that I did as part of my two-a-day workout felt really good at the speed I did the first two miles (sub 8 min miles). I also got in a 440 workout that went pretty well. I didn’t really push the speed for that run, but I felt like it went well. I was tired, but not deathly so. Today’s run to Mt. Tabor also had some good fast pace elements. I pushed the first two miles a bit and did solid 8:45 min miles. The two miles of climbing were quite a bit slower, but I was able to pick up the pace for the final portions.

One of the weird things about this string of good runs is that I am doing it with a slight strain to my left upper hamstring. It could also be a gluteus strain, but hamstring specific stretches that I have been doing really seem to pull at the affected area. The strain seems to really only be an issue at the start of my runs, say the first two miles. Then the pain seems to fade away. I could feel myself holding back on a smooth flow, sort of a choppy pace. I think at one point I even was ding some injury to my other side. I have been working on the area with stretching and Arnica gel. It seems to have been working as today I had no pain at all.

Track work

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

After a recovery run on Tuesday (and a day off on Monday) I went to the track to forceĀ  myself to do some speed work. I think that is what has been missing from my running these last several weeks, actually I know it. My speed really slowed down after the time off I took going up to Seattle and then the week following being sick. It has been somewhat of a struggle getting back into things. The running itself hasn’t been too bad, but my pace has been really slow and basically feels like I have reverted to where I was a couple months ago before I started including quality runs into my workout. Everything has felt plodding.

Yesterday’s speed workout went ok. After six laps of straights and curves I decided to head back. I was tired and the track was crowded. I kept having to dodge soccer balls, apparently you need like 50 of them to have a practice and they have to be kicked all over the place. The sprints were at a good sold pace and I felt strong doing them. I think it was a good start back to going faster. Now I just need to keep it up. I think a tempo run is in my near future!

Today I am going to do a short recovery run. Hopefully I will be doing it with my running partner, she has been sick and still working with her new dog who will also probably be joining us this morning. No text yet saying she can’t make it, and we are supposed to leave in ten minutes.

Update: I ended up doing the run on my own this morning which wasn’t all bad as I did the miles I wanted to do. I also really focused on doing a recovery run. My goal was to keep my heart rate under my recovery ceiling of 70% or 143 bpm for the entire run. There were a few times it got up to 146, but I did pretty well even on hills. I was surprised to notice that I was able to keep up a decent pace and even keep the HR below 140. Towards the end of the run the final two miles were harder to keep the HR low but I was able to without going agonizingly slow.

Longish Sunday run and Monday speed work

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Sunday was a really nice run up Lief Erickson trail with my running partner and my newest partner, her new dog Declan. Declan is 2 year old Irish Setter who was rescued from a show breeder who couldn’t show him due to some teeth issues. Well his teeth didn’t keep him from running with us and he did a great job. He has been having some nervousness issues with the new home especially when it comes to new people. He did really well, only getting spooked a couple of times by bikes. It was great having him with us!

Our run was nine miles, the first half was all up hill. It always a great relief to hit the halfway point in this run when you can turn around and go back down the same way. We didn’t really target any sort of heart rate mostly just wanting to get Declan out to see how he would do. So it was a nice leisurely pace and run than ended with a bunch of sushi for your recovery meal which I found to be surprisingly agreeable in those terms. I felt really good after and didn’t eat again until later that evening.

Today I headed out to the track for a little speed work. I ran a couple miles of straights and curves, I suspect I did more than eight sets as I think I lost count of the laps. I haven’t dived into my report yet. One frustrating thing with the Garmin is I am having a hard time getting the laps to reset. Sometimes it is not a problem and all I need to do is press the button, other times it doesn’t seem to work. Not sure what is going on, but it is quite frustrating. The laps I did get all found me running under six minute miles on the straights which makes me pretty happy.

Speed workout that should have been a recovery

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This week I have gotten off schedule mostly do to a high workload in the ole non-running life. How dare it interfere! Tuesday I did a tempo run that really should have been a recovery run, but I felt it was ok as I took Monday off. Same thing happened today. I did a speed workout that should of been a recovery day but I took Wednesday off so it wasn’t too crazy of a run. Tomorrow I definitely plan on a recovery run and I mean it!

I ran to the track which gave me a good 2.25 mile warm up. I pushed it towards the end of that, but not too hard. At the track I took off my jacket and water bottle and made the mistake of not turning my watch timer back on. I did six laps of straights and curves before I realized it. I was so mad as I really wanted to look at the numbers. The heart rate monitor was going during it so I got to at least watch the numbers, but I have pretty much forgotten most of it. I was getting up to 180 on the straights and then back down to 150 before I set off again. I felt pretty good about that, but I think I pushed it a bit too hard at the start. I was sprinting more than just running fast. Felt good to sprint, would have liked to ogle the pace number if I had them, grrrr.

I added another mile before I headed home. I was pretty beat by the time I got halfway home but kept plodding along although slowly. Good workout!