Archive for September, 2012

Good Kitty Kat

Posted: September 13, 2012 in misc, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I’ll take all the support I can get

Sometimes an unexpected event can provide you with a beat down, or in this case, a fortuitous boost in motivation and focus.  I was under strict orders from one of my unofficial running coaches, Camille Herron, to lower my average heart rate.  As a beginning runner, my fitness level doesn’t allow a tremendous range in paces or heart rate zones compared with a much fitter person.  And as a result, I’ve been running almost all of my training runs at close to my actual race pace.

My longest run prior to yesterday was 7.35 miles.  When I headed out the door I made the decision to run as slowly as necessary to keep my heart rate from reaching previous levels.  If it did, I would make a single attempt to slow may pace, or alter my cadence or breathing in order to lower it.  If that wasn’t successful then I would just walk until my heart rate had recovered sufficiently.

To my surprise, focusing on running much slower and maintaining a more relaxed heart rate gave me a tremendous boost in energy and enjoyment. I didn’t feel like I was running myself into the ground.  I decided to take it one step further, and after each mile I walked for 2 minutes in order to get my heart rate back to approximately 100 – 115 beats per minute.

2 hours and 55 minutes later I had covered 13.16 miles.  What the hell?  How did that happen?  The consequences of this revelation are not insignificant for me.  I now have 4.5 months to become a smarter, stronger and fitter runner without having to stress over the uncertainty of my capacity to cover the half marathon distance before my race in January.

If I can maintain that pace until I am 90 years old, I will take over the title as world record holder for the half marathon!  😉

Lower HR equals higher mileage

Small Changes Keep You Healthy

A detailed training log for the week is here.

Running seems so simple, and I guess it can be. Just lace up your shoes, or not, if you’re the barefoot type, and head out the door.

One danger we face, however, is running the same mileage and pace over the same surfaces while wearing the same shoes. Just so we can cross the workout off of the ‘must-do’ list.

Pretty. But not what I want to face everyday.

I live in suburban San Jose, Costa Rica and there isn’t a single road in my immediate neighborhood that stretches more than about three quarters of a mile before turning into a giant hill or series of hills, that don’t necessarily lend themselves to fulfilling every day’s training plan.

While I appreciate the benefits of running rolling hills, it’s not something I want to do on every run. So I run only the (relatively) flat sections of my local neighborhood, basically making a turn anytime I come to the foot of a hill that’s large enough to represent a significant change in the training stimulus.

The risk I run (no pun intended) with this technique is traveling over the exact same portion of road and running surface on every run, every week.  The body needs different stimulus in order to adapt, recover and grow stronger. Running over different surfaces and in different shoes causes slight changes in which muscles, tendons and ligaments are stressed and by how much. All of these tiny variables contribute to fitness.  Never change the input variables and your body will likely respond via fatigue at one end of the spectrum and overuse injuries at the other end.

To keep my legs fresh and confused I like to mix things up ever so slightly.  I rotate among three to four different pairs of shoes, ranging from a fairly neutral trainer to an extreme minimalist flat. Each day that I run I alternate the direction from which I leave my home, allowing me to cover the same local loop but covering the crests, ridges, potholes and crowns from a different angle. During any single run I will also move to the center of the road, whenever safe to do so, so I have a flatter surface beneath my feet, and I also move off into the grass for about 1/8 of a mile each time I pass a local park.

As far as pace and strength are concerned, once a week I run a series of hill sprints after an easy paced run, and on other days I add fartleks into the mix. Each fartlek I run is on a different section of the road or grass: some on flat stretches, and others may be either ascending or descending ever so slightly.

While seemingly insignificant during the actual run, over time these small variables can make a big difference in our fitness, performance and injury prevention.  Not to mention, if you’re limited by your local geography in regards to running terrain these small changes can keep you feeling mentally fresh as well.

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photo credit

From our friends over at Distant Runners.  Well said!

My wife rocking her Inov-8 F-Lite 195s

A detailed training log for the week is here.

What can I say?  Running is proving to be quite the motivating and contagious activity.  About 4 months ago my wife started walking on the treadmill 5 days per week after watching me catch the running bug.  She claimed outright, “I don’t like running, but walking is ok.”  So fast forward to last weekend and my wife decides to steal a bit of my daughter’s well earned thunder by running a 5k after my little girl took 2nd place in her 75 meter sprint event.

This weekend we celebrated my wife’s birthday and I purchased a weekend trip for two to the Marriott, Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort, in Playa Herradura, Costa Rica.  I decided to up the ante however, by timing the trip with the resort’s annual 10k event, the ECO RUN.  My plan is to run this event like any other training day, maybe even a little slower, to enjoy the scenery and atmosphere.  I also wanted to give my wife a new goal to shoot for.  It doesn’t matter to me if she walk/runs the event or whatever other method she might choose, as I don’t want her to feel pressured to run farther than she is prepared to.  But I did want to dangle a new carrot out in front to see how she responded.

Game on!

My training is progressing nicely thus far, knock on wood.  I am four weeks on my feet post injury and seem to be gaining a little clearer insight into my body’s likes and dislikes after each run.  It’s becoming easier to know when I can go for it, when I need to back off, and when following the schedule exactly is what’s called for.

I got off of the treadmill and ran a 10k on the road last week.  It was slow, but the pace proved to me that finishing was never in question as I long as I was honest about my fitness level.  I’ve been running many of my runs too quickly, and eventually burning the speed and distance candles at both ends will catch up with me.  Finally getting a grasp on reality (and my ego) my road runs are ultra slow, and I’m feeling much more confident in my ability to extend them in distance, towards my goal of 13.1 miles.

Tracie over at Run Inspired has a timely post on running at the proper pace and within a specific percentage of your heart rate max on longer runs.

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