Posts Tagged ‘improvement’

Workout: Warm [1.5 mi.], 4x400m @ 1:09-1:19 w/ 400 jog, Cool [1.5 mi.] Weather: 57 degrees, sunny.

Recap: Back at it.

Missed a run on Tuesday traveling back home and well….was just too lazy to go out on Wednesday. Really didn’t do anything. Had a choice today. Make up the Tuesday workout or do the Thursday workout, which was a repeat of last week’s action. Choice: Tuesday. Reason: Sprints.

Going to really make an effort to spend some time under 5k race pace for the next 5 weeks. Can’t do it all though. I only want to take on three hard(er) workouts a week. Something has to go. Tempo runs are out. And sprints are in. After last week’s speedwork session, I feel like running has been a lot easier, especially on easy days and long run days. The little touch of speed has made it all more pleasant. 

So…today is taking speed to the next level. Just 4x400m, but at something akin to my 800m or 1-mile race pace. A little more recovery in between with the 400m jog (as opposed to just 200m on speedwork days) but at grind-it-out pace.

Fun…stuff. No sarcasm.

And it hurt so much. The first rep was pretty awesome. Legs up and legs down in a hurry. Didn’t really think about breathing or form just getting the pace down. After hitting the fast end of the range at 1:09, I figured it was all going to be easy. Wrong. Turns out that the sprint muscles don’t really recover that fast – even with an extended rest time. Held on for a 1:11 and 1:11 on the next two reps before dropping down to 1:17 at the end. I did notice that my form “auto-corrected” as I fatigued. Lots of arm pumping and straight ahead motion as I was slowing down. Loved it. The important thing was not to get discouraged even though I knew that I was getting weaker. Hard stuff. Hard stuff. And to think my 400m sprints are some dude’s marathon pace. Hum-bling.

Really excited about the near future. There’s a lot of room to improve my speed-endurance. So much room to improve. And I have a lot of faith that it’s (the fast stuff) going to make the rest of the runs better. I do have a question as to whether I can sustain sprints, speedwork and a long run in the same week. I’ll find that out soon enough (that is, next week). Have also recently discovered that my body runs well off of a higher percentage of fats in my diet than I had thought. Looking forward to getting  into some peanut butter for the next few days.

Booyah! I’m out. Have a good one.

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Workout: Warm [0.75 mi.], 6×800 @ 2:44 w/ 400 jog, Cool [0.75 mi.], Drills  Weather: 72 degrees, dark.

Recap: Rolling…along…smoothly.

Getting darker out there, folks. Run started under moonlight high in the sky and ended with the sunrise just over the trees. Life at 6:30 a.m. Not really afraid of it getting colder either. Probably will regret saying that in late November. So…same workout as last week. 6x800m. Same goal times, except a slightly faster warmup – hardly perceptible. What do you do when you plan two of the same workouts in back-to-back weeks? You messed with yourself. You play games. You make sure that this is a workout that you own, and aren’t just completing it by luck, happenstance, etc…

I did three things to make this workout a little tougher than last week:

1. No sugar drinks to help. That’s right. No carb intake before or during the workout. See if the body handles this without the super juice.

2. In fact, hold up on the water altogether. Last week, I was drinking something after every 800m repetition. Stomach didn’t like it either. This week? Only at the beginning, after the 3rd rep, and after the workout. You don’t get to drink during a 5K race. Why practice it?

3. Play some of the slowest, saddest, most depressing music in the arsenal. None of that hip-hop, 80’s go-go (sorry, Wham! and Rick Astley get it going for me), upbeat stuff. Just reflective stuff designed to put me to sleep.  Jim Croce, Bill Withers and this right here….

 

Got to the park, saw the stain on on the ground in the parking lot where the dog poop was. The poop I stepped in last week. But alas, no poop this week. A good sign. Had a tougher time warming up this morning, no doubt thanks in part to the bedtime music flowing in my ears. Got through the 0.75-mile warmup and picked up where I left off last week. My cues for this workout were to get off to a faster start than last week, that is stay at 2:44 pace for each 800m repetition, and relax. Yes, relax. You own this workout now. Don’t go straining like you need a miracle. Supposed to be comfortable enough to run this pace for a 5K in December. So chill.

I always talk about the point where I know I’m going to finish a faster, tougher workout. Today, that came after the 3rd repetition, but I should have known from the start. Remembered to kick back smoothly, breath at the start of the reps and coast to the finish. Most of the starts were too fast for the first 400m, and I had to back down to finish.  Everything was smooth, and I had a lot left in the tank at the end of the 5th rep.

Rep 1: 2:44

Rep 2: 2:44

Rep 3: 2:43

Rep 4: 2:44

Rep 5: 2:44

One more to go. Crank it. Yeah. Forget about control for just a moment. Yeah, I know what I wrote last time. Let’s see what’s under the hood. When you have one of those fast starts, just keep pushing it to the end.

Rep 6: 2:31

Awesome! Improvement. Fastest 800m repetition I’ve ever done. Averaged just under 2:42 for the whole thing. You know, for a moment there in the summer, running was pretty tough. But right now, these workouts are the best thing going. Need to keep putting in the long slow mileage on those off days. Gonna hit the slow stuff again tomorrow and see where this all ends.

Thanks for reading!

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Workout: 9 miles @ 7:53 pace.  Weather: 79 degrees, sunny.

Recap: Improving. Good.

After last week’s long run, I wrote that I would shoot for 9 miles this week. I’m happy to have completed today’s run exactly as planned. In fact, it really wasn’t difficult. This takes me to another point I made last week as well. For whatever reason, my endurance (ability to complete long runs) suffered over the last month, and I’ve been slowly trying to regain confidence. So far, I’ve been able to move from 6 to 8 to 9 miles this month, and I’m really happy about that. The goal is to be able to pull an 18-miler some time in late November. Building the house, one brick at a time. A couple notes:

Form

Learned a cool trick today: use the butt and hamstrings. Long story short my form started breaking down about mile 3 or 4, and I tired a bit. Then I started using my legs better, pushing off backwards as in the butt kick motion. After that, the run didn’t feel so hard at all. I wondered if this was the “tireless state” that some of the coaches are talking about when running. Was really able to enjoy the run for the most part.

Tension

I did notice that with about a mile to go, I got a little excited. A run that was otherwise pretty easy got a lot harder. I guess I could see the end and really started pushing for the 9 mile mark instead of relaxing and striding as I had been doing. My pace increased, my stride shortened and the breathing became a little more frantic. The important thing was to go back to striding as I had done before. I also wonder how much tension makes me tired during the way when I’m not running as well. Have to remember to relax and breathe.

Good luck to everyone in their training plans. Hopefully, September becomes a Fall month soon.

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Workout: 7.75 miles Weather: n/a

Recap: Not bad.

Worst thing ever happened before the run…the Garmin read “Battery Low”. Then the thing absolutely died about a mile into a planned 12. It’s OK. I just didn’t charge it the last few days. So, something happened that hasn’t happened during a run in a long, long time. I ran without knowing time or pace. I just ran by feel, asking myself if I could survive 12 at this pace. It was a good thing I was at a park where I know the distance markers pretty well. That said, I still didn’t make it as far as I wanted to. Quit at just under 8 miles. Not sure how fast I was going.

Again, there’s good news from runs like this. While my speedwork appears to be on-point, my stamina and endurance pretty much suck. Why is that good news? Because when you are that bad at something, any effort towards improvement should generate exponential results. I didn’t do long runs all summer, and I’m just starting now. By December, I want to be able to run a marathon at a decent pace, even though I’m not training for one. I just want to put in the time on my feet. That will require some humility right now because I can’t work at the speeds that pump up my ego. Just have to get the time out there and plan to slowly improve. Next week, I’ll shoot for 9 miles.

Workout: 9.35 miles [6 miles @ 6:58 / 3.35 miles at 150 bpm]  Weather: 81 degrees, sunny.

Recap: Found some weakness. And that’s a good thing. Now to go after it.

Sometimes, training can be frustrating because I think I’m doing everything right (or at least enough to improve) and then I don’t see any results. The fun part about this week is that I see lots of opportunity to get better. I didn’t finish any of the workouts that I had planned this week and the long run was the run that I came up short the most. I planned 12 at a certain pace, but only made it through 6 at that pace. After tiring at 6, I decided to stay out there on my feet for as long as the run would have lasted if I’d have gone 12.  Just want to improve a little every week from now on.

I’ll be doing the same workouts for the next two weeks, so here are my goals for the upcoming week:

1. Tempo Run – Make it to at least 2.5 miles of the planned 3.

(Only 2 miles last week).

2. Speedwork – Complete the 6 x 800 workout with even splits.

(Had to stop after the last rep because of cramps last week).

3. Long Run – Make it to at least 8 miles of the planned 12.

(Only 6 miles on pace last week).

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Workout: 3 miles @ 6:10 pace; core work. Weather: 68 degrees, cloudy, wet.

Recap: Good run. Lots of room for improvement all the way around really – at pace and speed-wise. That’s a good thing. Lots of hard breathing at this pace though. I’m thinking it’s the humidity. HR isn’t that high though. Really weird. On to tomorrow. Turned in a great core work session as well. Probably the best of the season.

Took some motivation to get out of bed this morning. Here’s what was rolling through the skull. Hope someone can find this useful.

  • I watched a fighter, Gennady Golovkin, pummel another man in three rounds on Saturday. Golovkin hits really hard, but in the process, he exposes himself to being hit as well. Golovkin’s response to the problem of being hit: “Courage is the responsibility of every fighter.”
  • Got me thinking about courage in general. Since the tough run last week, I have been a little afraid to get up every morning and run because I might fail again. It seems no matter how many times I run well, the fear of having to stop mid-run is still with me.
  • I don’t know how many times, I’ve heard this in movies, but the idea goes “There is no courage without fear.” I feel a crap-ton of fear everyday. About everything. Scared to put forth the effort brush my teeth a lot of times. (Not to gross anyone out…I usually win on this one…at least lately….ok I lose a lot…sorry).
  • As I was walking the cool down, I still had questions. What does courage have to do with anything? Why not avoid these problems? Stop running, for instance. The quickest answer I could muster was that courage, like fitness and knowledge, is usually its own reward. The best projects are the ones I take up on my own. If something tangible becomes of it – that’s fine. But doing things just to improve the spirit and body is good enough for me.

I’ll try to take advantage of all this wonderful (heh) fear today to show some courage. Maybe some nice surprises will lie ahead too.

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

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