Showing posts with label Speedwork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Speedwork. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Running around in circles

My running routes are almost always circular.  Or rectangular loops if you want to be accurate tehnically.  As I tell Sally, I always end up back where I started.

But there is an oval I enjoy running around and that's the 400 metre track at the local high school, Etobicoke Collegiate Institute.  It's red clay and has seen better days but for speed workouts, it works well.  I'm usually there very early in the morning and generally have the place to myself.  With a number of highrise apartment buildings overlooking the track, I'm sure I put on a show for some early risers.

So...if I run 4 laps, 1,600 meters in 8 and 1/2 minutes, what's my mile time?  Help!  I used to be good at converting that but my head hurts now when I think about it.  I guess I could use my MapMyRun app...Duh!

After that warmup mile-ish, I like to focus on my speed.  I run the straights as fast as I can and job/walk the curves.  Generally I go for a mile with these multiple sprint repeats for a total of 8 sprints.  It takes it out of me for sure but it feels great to think I'm flying down the straight like the great Usain Bolt.  OK, fantasy for sure...must be the Jamaican blood.

It's about another mile back home so all-in-all it's a 4 mile workout when I head to the track.  

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Want to run faster? Drive a Ferrari

I drove a Ferrari on a race track recently and I'm still grinning ear-to-ear.  And I now have the secret to running faster. Seriously!

Nothing prepares you for strapping into the drivers seat of a 480 hp, $200,000+ Ferrari 430.  Before getting in you stare at the V8 Engine on display through the back glass. Yep...the engine is on full and resplendent display 'under glass'.  And a beast it is with the two Ferrari Red valve covers on display.

Once inside the car, the fit is...perfect.  The only adjustment is the seat adjustment: forward and back to get the right position for your hands on the wheel at 9 and 3...the only position you will need. This is the most comfortable car I've ever been in!

Press start!  The Big Red Button on the Steering Wheel.  The engine jumps to life with a lovely rumbling sound.  You will not need to turn the radio on!  Set vehicle dynamic selector to Sport or Race. These positions speed up the gear changes, tighten up the suspension to basically Go Kart...basically kidney rattling.  But the track is as smooth as a billiard table. It really is the best place to drive a car like a Ferrari.  Watch out for the curbs...those are seriously bone rattling!

Pull back on the right paddle to select 1st gear then roll onto the gas as you release the brakes.  Then you're off and running...

So what does this have to do with running?  Focus.  Driving a fast car designed to go really, really fast requires 100% concentration.  It doesn't mean you have tunnel vision...quite the contrary, you focus on where you want the car to go but periphal vision keeps you alert to things going on around you.  

By focus, what I mean is the total focus on the task at hand...getting down the straight as fast as possible, negotiating the corners as smoothly as possible all while working to keep all four wheels on the track.

That's what racing of any type is all about isn't it.  The anticipation before a long race is great.  Then once the race starts and you settle in the mind has a tendancy to wonder.  You loose focus on the task at hand: running as fast and as smoothly as you can adjusting all the time to the conditions around you.  

So 3 hot laps in a fast car is what it took to turn me into a faster runner.  I always knew one day I'd link my love of Ferraris with my love of racing.

I would be remiss if I didn't thank my three sons for allowing me the opportunity to drive this Ferrari 430 on a race track.  They know I love cars...especially Ferrari's.  Years and years ago while on a trip to Australia of all places, while walking through a Model car store, they bought me a Ferrari Formula One car...with their own money!  I still have that car!  Last Christmas their present was a voucer for 3 laps around a race track in a Ferrari 430.  Thanks Court, Andrew, Holden.

And if you want a blast from the past, here is the post I wrote way back in 2008 about my first time sitting inside a Ferrari:  I have died and gone to heaven.

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

190 lbs!

190 lbs...ish

190 lbs.  And that only took a couple of weeks!  I'll hit my 175 lb. weight target for sure by Reggae Marathon this December.  Piece of cake!

OK, so it's mostly water loss from sweating that's responsible for this weight loss so-far but I'll take it!  I'm using every trick I can think of:  I run first thing in the morning before eating then weigh myself right after coming back before drinking any water...hey, every ounce counts!

I have 175 lbs marked on the bathroom scale and now it's only 15 lbs. to go.  I'm not sure I'll be able to eliminate the beer or salty snacks but I've started to drink more water throughout the day and make sure I have a glass with every meal.  I've also included higher-intensity workouts each week but take a lot of care with those.  I don't want any recurrence of foot injuries (Broken foot).

The higher intensity workouts include hill repeats, negative split out and back runs and speed work and strides on the nearby highschool track.  I'm even using a Navin trick: Telling myself to run 'just a little faster'.

And while they don't burn a lot of calories, I Plank every morning before and after my run.

So 5 lbs down from 195 lbs feels pretty good.  Now if only I could cut out the salty snacks and beer...

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Scatterbrained Running

Some mornings I'm not sure how I make it through my run.

It's dark outsode.  Pre-dawn with only the occasional passing bus to brighten up my route through Central Etobicoke.  I put on my 'dark' running gear, walk down the 4 flights of stairs into the cool morning air.  I do love fall!

After a minute or so of brisk version of warming up...I break into a slow jog.  That lasts for a few minutes until my brain and legs begin to talk to each other:  "Crap...he really is serious about running again this morning".

Most days I get to the sweet spot quickly:  legs turning over rapidly (160 times a minute is the goal), breathing deep and regular, mind blank.  But some days no matter how hard I try, not so much.  On those days I go scatterbrained:
  • Why did that raccoon cross the road?  Dam...that's a big raccoon!!  Hope he's more scared of me than I am of him.
  • Will I be  delayed on the TTC this morning?
  • My son is getting married!!  Yikes...when did he grow up?
  • Gotta loose some weight...carrying this extra Muffin Top around sucks.  Running with it sucks even more.
  • I should walk for a few minutes.  Nope, keep running!
  • I've been running for 30 years...why doesn't it get any easier.
  • Will my client make my candidate an offer today?  Will my candidate accept it?
  • "Stop thinking about work!"
  • Why are my lungs screaming for air?
  • Oh, comes that hill again.  Why did I pick this route?
On those mornings running isn't fun...thankfully though it's over relatively quickly.  What keeps me running is knowing that tomorrow is another day...

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.