Thursday, October 31, 2013

Progress, Socks, & Songs

Meb agrees!  Slow progress is the way to go.  SOURCE: Running Times, Oct. 13
I’m settling into the new schedule of running, which includes speed work, recovery runs, and long (slow) runs.  Heart rate is a factor in all of them, and I continue to see improvement.  Here’s an update on the different types of runs and my experience with them so far.

Tempo Tuesdays

As I last reported, I started out way too aggressive with my attempt at tempo runs.  My structure is to run one mile at aerobic pace as a warmup, then a distance at anaerobic pace, and then a mile cool down back at aerobic.  I scaled the anaerobic interval back to 1.25 miles, and I’m adding a quarter mile per week to build up more slowly.  This is still very challenging to me, but doable.  I can definitely see the benefit to these runs.

Interval Thursdays (alternate)

Intervals are another area where I plan to progress slowly.  Right now, it is a warmup, four repeats of 1 minute redline heart rate, then two minutes aerobic (cool down) heart rate, then a final cool down.  I’ll increase this to five, then six intervals.  After that, I’ll increase the redline portion to two minutes (maybe three down the road).  I’ve found that redline just means to run as fast as I can while maintaining decent form.  My best pace on my latest was 6:47 per mile; something I definitely can’t keep up for long.  These runs so far have only been two miles, but they kick my butt! 

The fall is such a great time of year to run!  Seen on my run...

Hill Repeat Thursdays (alternate)

These aren’t new to me.  Hills tend to eat me alive, so I see these as an absolute necessity.  Jeff Galloway (pretty reliable source) has Tweeted out before that hills are like strength training for the legs (@jeffgalloway).  I actually look forward to the challenge of a good hill workout.  This is simply running up the best hill I can find under the circumstances, and cruising back down.  I push my heart rate into the anaerobic (above the lactate threshold) zone on the uphills…progressively higher as the workout goes along.  Feels good!  (easy to say that now, from the comfort of my chair)

Long Run Saturdays

I’ve started to “tinker” with the long runs a bit, allowing myself to run above the aerobic zone.  I figure that I’m not likely to stay in that zone during races, so I need to get my body used to pushing higher.  Plus I’m at the point where any increases in long runs will be gradual, as I have no plans to run anything longer than a 10k until April (plenty of time). 

I’ve learned that the lactate threshold is a real thing.  Staying under it on previous long runs, I always felt fresh and in good shape at the end.  When I pushed even slightly higher than the aerobic heart rate zone last Saturday, the pain was evident at the end.  It wasn’t disabling pain, but very noticeable.  Just that dull, lactic acid pain in your legs.  Really interesting to see the correlation between heart rate and lactic acid production in the muscles. 

Recovery Runs (Sunday, Wednesday)

This is a vital component of any heart-rate based plan.  In my view, this is the one component a lot of people neglect.  They simply run hard, all the time, for various reasons.  Easy miles are important to help build the capacity for distance, while still taking it easy on the body.  They’re better in many ways than a day off, but they still allow for a recovery by not pushing a hard workout. 

See?  From the Runner's World daily calendar, 2013.

Need for Cross Training

I’ve got to figure out how to get some cross training in.  I’m really struggling with this.  The two days I don’t run, Mondays and Fridays, would be good for me to wake up and hit the gym, but I’m having a hard time prying myself out of bed those days.

I’m going to try a couple of core workouts out of the P90X family (Ab Ripper X) to see what that does.  My core is not good, and it tends to hurt me when I get up to the half marathon distance.  I’m going to make this a priority for now, and try to figure out a way to increase upper-body workouts at the gym down the road.

Weight Loss

I’ve hit a milestone: 20 lbs down since early August.  I still have a ways to go, but I’m at a weight that I actually ran a half marathon at (my slowest, but still!).  I had my first stumble on Tuesday night, when I couldn’t sleep due to ravenous hunger.  I got up and devoured a few things I shouldn’t have.  I’m not dwelling on it, though.  One slip over about three months ain’t half bad. 

I’m not sure that there is much to socks; they aren't going to necessarily change your form or anything.  However, I do think it is important that they wick well and stay put.  Running socks can be expensive! 

I’ve bought quite a bit of “stuff” from Roadrunner, and these socks have been great for me.  They’re at least reasonably priced.  These have a bit of compression around the arch, which I like having experienced plantar fasciitis in the past.  Whether they prevent PF, I’m doubtful, but that bit of compression seems supportive to me.  They’ve never moved around on me, but aren’t so tight that they’re bothersome.  They wick quite well.  I buy the low variety, as I’ve experience rear ankle rubbing problems with the no-shows and some shoes.  These are my go-to socks unless it is cold outside; that’s when I go with merino wool. 

Song to Run To

In the spirit of “Two Gomers Run…”, I offer a suggestion for a song to run to.

“This is Gospel” by Panic at the Disco.  Might sounds a little weird at the beginning, but it has a rousing chorus, so give it some time.  A good, spirited song to pick you up a bit if you’re lagging.

Enjoy your progress!


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