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Posts Tagged ‘training’

Days That End In “y”

May 1st, 2012 No comments

I’ve been feeling pretty encouraged lately by my activity level. Back in March I was out of shape and I knew it, now I feel like I’m getting back into a groove. For me that’s the hardest part about staying active. If I miss one day, then the next day follows, and pretty soon I’m not doing anything at all. But if I work to make sure I’m doing something every day, then missing a day just seems wrong. Lately I have been much better about getting out for a run or riding my bike to work every day, but there’s still the weekends where I am not consistent at all.

I can’t say that I’m not doing anything on the weekend, at least I am up and on my feet most of the day, but finding the time to get a workout in when I have family plans and chores to do is tough. After all, my kids only really get me to themselves those two days, for me to wave goodbye and then head out the door for a 4 hour bike ride seems irresponsible. Maybe when they are older and don’t really care if their dad is there I can get away with that, but at this age I can’t justify it.

I know I’m making excuses. There are some chores that don’t have to be done right away, I’m sure I could slip out for an hour to run. I could be getting out of bed at 5am to run long before everyone gets up. I could be making an effort to eat healthier meals on the weekend so that I don’t put such a big dent in my “fitness reserve.”

So I have some work to do, but I’m a lot further along than I was at the beginning of the year. And when the goal is maintaining daily activity for the rest of my life, slow progress is to be expected.

Scott Jurek

March 30th, 2012 No comments

I was invited by Brooks to see Scott Jurek speak last night at REI in Denver. In addition to his training philosophy, Scott spoke about his ultrarunning adventures, Western States, Badwater, Hardrock, Spartathalon, and Copper Canyon. His love for the latter was evident as he showed many slides of the people and culture of that region. He disclosed that his thoughts were with his friend and guide in the Copper Canyon, Caballo Blanco, who had just been reported missing in New Mexico.

Apart from the amazing pictures from his journey, Scott had a lot of advice to offer about training. His advice in pursuing goals, while maintaining balance between training and life, was inspiring. He encouraged runners to run with and learn from other runners, volunteer with the community through races and trail work, and train with purpose and drive. My favorite quote from the event was Scott referencing the Zen saying, “When you chop wood, chop wood.” His point was to focus your attention on the task at hand, whether that is running, recovering, or living your life.

Scott also discussed some of his design efforts with Brooks, and touched on his nutritional regime. Scott is vegan, but his nutritional tips were not targeted at specific protein sources so are widely applicable. He has a book coming out this summer called “Eat and Run,” which he will be touring for, giving talks across the country. Keep an eye out for him!

Locally, the team from Brooks will be in the Denver metro area REI stores this weekend, REI Denver on Saturday and REI Boulder on Sunday, from 10-3 offering fittings and gait analysis.

Unique Approach to Training

May 17th, 2011 2 comments

My current training plan due to my ongoing issues with plantar faciitis is less a plan than it is a lack of any plan. To update the PF issue: I seem to be able to minimize the pain through most of the day by stretching and using shoes with some arch support, it still hurts in the morning though but I think that will eventually go away. I am back to running full time, however, with the limitations that I not do any speedwork and I don’t do any long runs. This satisfies my need to run and workout, but doesn’t help me get any faster.

Since I do still want to make a semi-reasonable showing at the Bolder Boulder this year I decided that more time on the bike was the solution. My bike rides are usually not training rides, but commute rides. I am fortunate (unfortunate), that I live 14 miles from my work, and 600 feet higher in altitude, so the usual bike commute involves a fairly long uphill ride home at night. With the winds we have been having in Colorado lately this has become even more of a challenge.

I have decided to refer to my training plan as the “War of Attrition” plan. Most days my training looks like this: easy 50 minute ride to work, 6-8 mile run at lunchtime, pushups, all followed up by a 50-60 minute ride home uphill into a headwind. Usually my rides to work are quite pleasant, with just enough effort to have me feeling kind of spent by the time the run rolls around. The run is then performed on dead legs, my speed limited purely by the fact that I can’t go any faster. Then the ride home is a pain/slog fest in which I try to extract every last bit of energy that I have left. Most days I make it home. On some days I can actually climb the stairs to bed without feeling like I’m going to pass out. Those are the good days.

My feeling is that anything I do to totally deplete my muscles (as long as I throw in some rest/recovery days) is going to benefit me somehow in the long run. I am also benefitting by learning the limitations of my own body. Frequently I find myself at what I perceive to be the end of my reserves, and then I find I can continue despite the fatigue! The challenge is that I am finding it difficult getting enough to eat during the day. I try to have some form of protein/carbs after every workout, eating several small meals throughout the day.

I never know what will happen with my training experiments, but it’s fun to see how my body adapts to the different things I throw at it. The unique experience with this scheme is that while my muscles are constantly tired, they are almost never sore. I feel like this means I am working on their endurance rather than adding mass. The one and only test will come at the Bolder Boulder. As I don’t run with a watch anymore I have no idea how fast my training paces actually are, only their effort level. If I can hold it together enough to go under 40 in Boulder I will be happy, beating last year’s 38:43 will have to wait until next year.

The Naked Runner

February 23rd, 2011 2 comments

Running naked generally means that you run without a watch, allowing yourself to adapt to the ebb and flow of a workout without the stress of meeting time goals. For me it has come to mean more than that as I come to learn more about how my body trains.

I am a “Type-A” personality, yet I have learned that I need outlets from that to allow myself to let go. Running was once that outlet for me. I would run as far as I felt I could and then walk whatever I couldn’t, that was as complicated as it got. Then, after a few successful races, I suddenly had speed goals, and target times in workouts. A heart rate monitor came soon after, and I was obsessed with numbers.

Recently I came to the realization that running wasn’t as much fun anymore. When I wanted to have fun I found myself turning to my bike. What did my bike have that running didn’t? The answer is numbers! I wasn’t trying to hit certain times or paces, I just went out to ride and enjoyed whatever came my way. For me with running the thrill was gone.

My injury changed all that, and now every time I get to run I appreciate it for what it is: a chance to enjoy running for running’s sake. I have had training goals scaled back, yet still am able to run fast times while still having fun. I believe that there is an opportunity to learn here that I will embrace as I start building back up to training.

The first lesson is to leave the watch at home. As they say “looking at them doesn’t change them” and that is especially true of a running workout. Knowing exactly how long it took to run a certain distance doesn’t tell you as much as what the effort level was for that workout. Time goals of “run for an hour” can be accomplished by choosing a course that is the approximate distance that could be run in that timeframe.

Lesson 2: ditch the GPS/heart rate monitor. If you are struggling to keep up a certain pace, knowing that you are falling off your target doesn’t help you at all. Instead of worrying about falling off the pace you could be rewarding yourself for maintaining a hard effort even when it’s difficult. Circumstances don’t always allow for the fastest paces and you shouldn’t have to punish yourself for running through these situations. That’s not to say that you should just run easy all the time, some workouts require a lot of focus to maintain a hard effort, but you don’t need a heart rate monitor to know what that effort is.

The third lesson is not to worry about how conditions will affect your workout. If you need to do speedwork you shouldn’t have to find a track. Hills or rolling terrain can only serve to increase the effectiveness of a workout and simulate race conditions. How many of us really do any track racing, so why would we seek to train on one? If your route is hilly run your intervals up the hills and recover on the way down. If your route is flat, run to landmarks, or even run to exertion. I have a good idea of how my body feels at the end of a good mile repeat, and I can run to that point before I start my recovery.

There are so many things in life that I can be guilty of overthinking, running shouldn’t be one of them. Interrupting the flow of a workout because we aren’t hitting time goals is frustrating and ineffective. I believe if I am training properly each workout should serve to improve my being in tune with my body, and ultimately prepare me exactly for the race effort that is ahead. Above all, every single day should be fun!

Categories: running, Training Tags: ,

Breaking Equilibrium

February 15th, 2011 No comments

Yesterday I attempted a new workout on the bike trainer. Most of my workouts arise from some desire to keep things interesting for the hour that I’m on the bike. My goal for this workout was to ride a tempo style pace (hard but sustainable) but keep breaking up the equilibrium. I find that when I start out in a higher gear at first I don’t think I can keep up the pace for very long, but then my body settles in to the new effort and I can continue. I wanted to see how much of this was possible during the course of a ride.

I started out with a long warmup and then dropped it into a more challenging gear to start the workout. I would ride each gear for about 10 minutes, and then when I was starting to get used to the effort, drop to the next gear.  By the time I was done with the workout I was in the highest gear, and I was able to sustain it, although it was tough.

I think this was a great workout. First of all, I would not have been able to ride the whole workout in top gear, but it was harder than I would have attempted without the gradual build up. Second, the workout finished with the most difficult effort, another important quality. The big success was the fact that each portion of the workout was easily broken into manageable 10 minute segments.  For me that is mentally easier to achieve than thinking about riding for an hour.

I’m always looking for new ideas, so if you have any workouts you like using post them here. Feel free to try this one out too, you could even do it on a stationary bike at the gym!

Categories: bike, Training Tags: , , ,