Showing posts with label Fartleks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fartleks. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Anatomy of a Run

4:30 am comes early in my house.

That's the time I get up most week-day mornings to go running.  For some crazy reason, I love running in the dark (Sally says I'm 'in the dark' most days but I digress).  I like the quite and almost total lack of traffic early morning. I should clarify though:  I get up at 4:30 am...I don't go running until nearly 6 am.  That's one of the things about growing older:  it takes me nearly an hour to 'go running':
  • I don't like to run on a full stomach.  Unless I'm going for a long run, I don't eat anything before heading out.  I drink water though...I sweat a lot even in the winter so having to stop for a 'bio break' isn't a problem for me.
  • The first thing after I get up is to check the weather.  Unless there's been an ice storm overnight, I'm going running.  I am sensitive to temperature though so I check that via my handy Smartphone App (The Weather Network).
  • Once geared up:  In the summer, short tights and a technical T shirt;  in colder conditions long tights and layered tops, I walk down the four flights of stairs from our apartment.  That's it for pre-run limbering up.  I have never liked stretching before a run:  something about straining cold muscles.  
  • With a nod to my age, I walk the first 100 metres before breaking into a jog.  Most mornings it's only a few minutes before my breathing normalizes and I pick up the pace.  That's a good running day...some days it's 20 minutes in before things settle down.  On those mornings I ask myself, "This is fun?"
  • I run about 40 minutes 5 days a week now with a couple of days off.  My 'long run' is usually a Saturday or Sunday up around 75 minutes.  After running and racing and training for events most of the past 30 years, I really only have one 'race' that matters:  the annual pilgramage to Negril each December for Reggae Marathon
  • I don't run with music.  I like my 'alone time' while running and when all goes well just enjoy an easy pace.  I do solve all the problems of the world while running though...unfortunately I never seem to remember the solutions after.  I know my head is clear though...that's all that matters.
  • I sprint for the final 500 metres.  OK, an exaggeration but I do pick up the pace as I near the finish.  Old habit...I like to finish in a flat-out sprint. I'll never be Usain Bolt but it feels good trying.
  • Post-race I walk for about 10 minutes to cool down.  I don't stretch after running either...the walk seems to be enough.
  • Since I run early in the morning and don't eat before I run I come back famished. Lots of water plus hot cereal does the trick.  That's the plan anyway...I usually end up with a cereal bar.
That's the anatomy of my typical daily running routine.  Well, it's exciting to me!

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Speedwork and Hills!

I used to just go for a run.  Then one day I decided to race.  It's been a battle against time ever since.

That wasn't necessarily a bad thing when I was young and foolish.  But now that I'm on my second half century it's become a bit more of a challenge.  On two fronts actually.  First, the work it takes to run faster and second the challenge to stay healthy and un-injured.  So speedwork and hills.

On the speedwork front, I use the local high school dirt track.  Prior to the recent hurricane level rain it was a lovely oval of hard-packed red clay.  It's suffered some damage recently that I hope will be addressed before the new school season starts in September because it's really messed up my weekly speedwork sessions.  Normally I head out from home at a faster-than-usual pace for the 1 mile distance to the track.  Then I do a series of 'Repeats to Failure':  sprinting the straights then walking/slowly jogging the curves to catch my breath.  So far I'm up to about 6 laps of this torture (about 1 1/2 miles) before I'm spent.  The really hard part is the slow 1 mile jog back home.


Then there are the hill workouts! 

Where we live there aren't too many real hills.  We do have the descent/ascent down to the Humber River however and it's become my nemesis! It's a steep, narrow, uneven dirt path up the side of the ravine.  It starts steep then gets really stupid for the last 5 metres.  I know 5 metres doesn't sound like a lot but after my 3rd repeat my thighs are burning and my lungs are trying to do an 'Alien'!  Again, I try to do these hill repeats only once every other week.  These photos are of the trail but they really don't do justice to the steepness of the incline.  You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that after my 5th repeat I've invented some new swear words to go along with the burning in my quads and searing in my lungs.  The beauty here though is that it's a quick walk back home and the relief of a cold compress on my knee.  Yeah, there's some pain but I've been looking after it carefully.

The big benefit of all this pain is that my regular runs have become fun again.  While it may only be in my mind, I feel as if I'm running faster.  For sure I'm running more comfortably with the mid-foot running style. We'll see how fast I really am this fall in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon where I'm running the 1/2 Marathon and again in Negril in Decemeber at Reggae Marathon where I'm running the 10K.

Until next time...


I'm raising funds for the Heart & Stroke Foundation in 2013.  My goal is to raise $2,000 by December 31.  My planned races in 2013 include:
Please join me on Facebook at Run for Heart.