Archive for the ‘Training’ Category
Just posted my race calendar for 2012 on the right hand side of the site —>
6/15 2.4mi Friday Night Swim Race : This race is just a tune-up and a motivating force to get me in the pool during the spring. I’d like to swim 1:10 or so for 2.4 miles, which will be faster than my time last year.
6/23 Pacific Crest Half-Ironman : I’ll be racing at a pace above my Ironman race pace, and testing out all the planned nutrition and gear I plan to use during Ironman Canada. My goal is to beat my time (5 hrs 9 mins) from 2002 when I did this race (and IM Canada) in the same year. I was a much faster runner and swimmer then but I am a faster cyclist now (and generally more experienced racer) so I have a shot at achieving the goal.
7/26: RAMROD (152mi Bike) : OK, this isn’t a race, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and after volunteering last year I’ve guaranteed myself a spot. The 152 mile bike route circles Mt. Rainer and features 10,000 feet of climbing and some of the most beautiful scenery the world has to offer. My goal for this is to finish, and eat a TON of pizza afterwards.
8/17 2.4mi Friday Night Swim Race : My only goal for this race is to swim faster than my time in June and do a great job drafting off others. Targeting a sub 1:10 swim.
8/26 Ironman Canada : This is my “A” race for the year, my big goal. 10 years I raced here in 12 hours 09 minutes, and my goal is to beat that time and go under 12 hours. Back then…I was a much faster swimmer/runner…but poor fueling strategy left me crippled during the last half of the run. This time around, with proper pacing and fueling I have a good shot at going sub 12.
In the fall I will do at least one more triathlon and then transition to running races. Depending on how healthy I feel, I’d like to do a 50K in October/November and give The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler a go.
I really had to dig deep this time. The swim went well and I didn’t push too hard given the length of the day ahead. With almost 2,500 athletes in the water it was VERY aggressive and I was getting punched, kicked and dunked every few minutes. I came out of the water 5-10 minutes slower than expected.
The bike ride was OK, and again had to keep the pace slow to keep my knee from flaring up. I was really concerned about even being able to finish the race. After 50 miles on the bike I really didn’t think I would finish, as my knee was really hurting and I just focused on pedaling with my right (pain-free) leg.
Since there was nothing I could do about in the moment, I just stopped thinking about it and after another 20 miles it sorta became numb and the pain was just a dull ache instead of a short-stabbing pain that usually happens, totally bearable.
The run was humbling. Normally my strong suit, after having not put in many miles running or biking in the past 10 weeks on account of injury, I was only able to slowly jog the first 13 miles (around 9:30 min/mile pace) before walking/shuffling the last 13 miles. My knee didn’t cause me too much trouble during the run, my legs were just totally dead overall.
Finishing, however, made me happy and accomplished my goal!
I can’t believe that not even 6 weeks ago I wrote this, essentially giving up all hope of being able to race. At the time it was painful to walk and the thought of doing an Ironman was laughable. My lesson in all this is that sometimes listening to your body’s aches and pains and giving yourself a total rest is the right thing, and other times it’s about getting the FULL STORY on what is actually going on.
In my case, some amazing doctors, a great coach and knowledgeable friends helped me pin-point the issue, treat it and come up with a plan that had a good chance of working…and it did work!
More detailed race report to come later.
I’m dropping out of Ironman Coeur D Alene.
It’s a really tough thing to say and harder to write out. Many months of training are already in the bank. However, after attempting to ride and run over the past few days, my knee pain has returned in full force.
Walking is painful, biking is uncomfortable and running is impossible right now.
I am going to work with my coach to sort out the right racing plan for later in the summer and fall. For now, my number one priority is to get healthy and build strength and appropriate flexibility to keep my body that way.
The right thing to do is to allow 4-6wks for my knee to heal. I’ll be swimming up a storm in the meantime.
Below is a pic from the ferry as I type this post on the way to Whidbey Island.
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Suited up for a 30 mile bike ride on the rocket ship.
Little did I know that over the course of my ~2 hour bike ride the weather would do this crazy dance:
1. Partly Sunny
2. Violent Hailstorm
3. Torrential Rain
4. Cloudy and Dry
5. Violent Hailstorm
7. Light Sprinkles
10 miles into the ride, when #2 started – I considered catching a bus and bailing on the ride. It was super painful with the hail and I wasn’t wearing sunglasses and had to ride with my head down and one hand shielding my eyes. Instead I saw a little espresso stand and waited it out for 10 minutes.
When #3 began, I headed out again, riding more slowly since the ground was full of hail ball bearings. My Gore-Tex running jacket totally saved me as it kept my core completely dry, even though my fingers and toes were quite cold. Keeping the intensity up helped to keep me warm. Had the weather started with #2 I wouldn’t have gone riding at all, but in the end I’m glad I did.
Weather doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you love, though it helps to be prepared with the right gear. My next gear purchases will be Gore-Tex cycling shoe covers and clear rain glasses.
The third principle I adhere to is that bio-mechanical efficiency is absolutely key. You can fake it for shorter distances, but the longer you run (both in terms of distance and number of years) – your mechanics will either wear you out or build you up. Hopefully it is the later and not the former that happens! Small inefficiencies in form are greatly magnified over long distances.
Research shows that 2 out of 3 runners are injured at any given time. This is ridiculous. The injury may be a nagging thing like knee pain or a severe thing like a tibial stress fracture (I’ve had one!) that sidelines an athlete for months. I truly believe that we were born to run. Each and every one of us. Doesn’t matter if you are 7 feet tall or 4 feet tall. 300 pounds or 90 pounds. Humans were made to move long distances. It has been necessary for our survival and we’re finally tuned endurance machines. Somehow in the modern time we’ve forgotten this birthright and been duped into thinking we can’t run far and need all kinds of fancy shoes and supports to be health. It isn’t true.
With the assertion that we were born to run, one would then assume that we should not see the majority of runners suffering from injuries. I know ultra marathoners that run 100+ mile weeks and seem to never get injured, they just get stronger with more training! I also know weekend warriors that are constantly injured and running with all kinds of knee braces, orthotic shoes and other sorts of crutches. Personally…I’ve suffered tons of injuries in my past 15+ years of running and racing (2 stress fractures, shin splints, hip pain, knee pain, etc.) despite not doing super high mileage and spending lots of time on soft running surfaces like trails. Why is this the case? It’s almost like some people are naturally gifted to run and others are not. This is a myth, as we are all gifted as runners.
There are some great articles written about biomechanical efficiency, and for any runner (weekend warrior to competitive athlete) they are worth the time to study. I’ve spend the past couple years re-learning how to run. It’s been a long road and taken effort, but I now enjoy running more than I ever have, and my nagging injuries are starting to heal and I’m feeling stronger than ever. In fact, after coming back to running after a year-long hiatus, I ran a marathon and two 50K trail ultra-marathons…with just a month gap between each event. Most people would think I am crazy to run distance events that close together….but I recovered pretty quickly and never got injured, in fact I felt stronger with each race.
How did I start learning how to run? A few years ago I started running in Vibram FiveFingers a few times a week (just a mile or two) and walking around at work in Nike Free’s to strengthen my feet. I focused on landing more towards the middle of my foot and less on my heel. That was pretty much all the running I did, with most of my other exercise coming in the form of yoga and hiking. Just wearing more minimal shoes helped a lot.
After re-starting run training late last summer, I ditched my old training shoes that I used for most of my mileage in favor of Brook’s Green Silence shoes – that are ultra-light with a fairly low “drop” from heel to forefoot. I rotated using them with a pair of more built-up cushioned running shoes (Mizuno Waverider’s). I built up to the point where running 20+ miles on pavement in my Green Silence is no big deal! The low heel drop helped my feet to naturally land more towards my mid-foot and forefoot. From there…I progressed to track workouts and consistent awareness on landing light and keeping a higher stride cadence (as Barefoot Ted teaches!).
My advice for improving your biomechanics is to:
- Study: Read voraciously….spend time on youtube….read blogs…educate yourself. So many people have “seen the light” and rediscovered the joy of running over the past few years. A lot of the learning is posted online…spend some time on Bing and learn what works and what doesn’t…then do try for yourself! If you haven’t read the book “Born to Run“…do it and a lot of what I am talking about will make sense :)
- Diagnose: I had my form video-taped and analyzed by a sports doctor (as per the image above). This was incredibly useful! I learned that my hips were “swaying” from side to side, causing all sorts of issues with my knees and hips and feet, even through my foot strike itself was OK. The cause? A weak butt! The solution? Building a super strong ass with one-legged squats and kettlebell swings.
- Transition: Take your time to transition. It may be a year-long process. Start by alternating new shoes (if you decide to go the minimal route) with your regular running shoes until your feet get strong. Changing things too radically can cause injury. If you don’t practice yoga, I recommend 2-3 power yoga classes per week, it will greatly improve flexibility in your achilles tendon, hips and hamstrings. This will help you run more effectively.
Here are a two other resources that I’ve found super helpful:
How to Run: Running with Proper Biomechanics by Runblogger: Steve is one of the all-time fastest high school milers and takes a scientific approach to analyzing running mechanics. This post is a great read and you can continue reading his other posts to learn more tips about how to run well.
Pose TV: POSE is a method or learning functional movement. I’ve watched all these videos and they are incredibly helpful. In fact, the way Dr. Romanov teaches running technique is so simple, that within minutes of watching the videos I went out for a run and felt instantly faster. One of the best tips was not to focus too much on landing on your mid or fore-foot but instead focus on pulling your heel quickly up to your butt once it passes under your hips, while keeping your stride cadence high. I’m doing a POSE running clinic next week and will write up my experience then.
Light week of training. Felt pretty drained during the week, mostly due to work and a variety of other things going on (including getting LASIK eye surgery!). Good news is my legs feel pretty fresh and besides the bottom of my feet feeling pretty sore after runs, I am in great shape and injury free.
Monday, Jan 31. Kettlebells (:6:00) followed by short easy run (:12:00)
4 sets kettlebell swings total. 12 swings @ 16kg. 3 x 12 swings @ 24 kg. 90 seconds to complete each set.
Put on shoes and then went directly for a run around a park to test out my new Inov-8 Roclite 295 shoes. The shoes feel really good. I’m planning to use these during the Copper Canyon Ultra run next month.
Tuesday, Feb 1. Day off.
No good reason for a day off. Just got busy, woke up late, tons of work and then got to go downtown to hear Jean-Michelle Cousteau talk about the oceans, how in danger they are and his family adventures over the years (Jacque is his dad!).
Wednesday, Feb 2. Track workout (:50:00)
Ran with Eastside Runners “Group #6.” 800 warm up then 1600, 1200, 1000, 800 with an 800 jog in between each. Finished with 800 easy. I hit the pre-determined pace times for group 6 pretty much dead-on. What is funny is that I almost bailed on the run, I felt so tired at the start. After the first 1600 I was then going to stop running, but decided to keep at it. I then felt awesome and finished the workout super strong. Goes to show that a few fast laps around the track can cure a lot of problems! My splits roughly:
1600 = 6:08
1200 = 4:31
1000 = Can’t remember…pretty much the same pace as my 1200 though
800 = 2:55 roughly
Thursday, Feb 3. Kettlebells (:8:00)
5 sets of 20 swings with 53lb bell. Took roughly 90 seconds between sets.
Friday, Feb 4. Easy run (:22:00)
Easy run around Medina.
Saturday, Feb 5. Easy run and running clinic with Barefoot Ted (:25:00)
Ran in Vibram Bikila‘s. A few laps around a soft dirt track.
Sunday, Feb 6. Easy trail run (:80:00) in the afternoon and Yoga (:60:00) in the evening.
Nice and easy (wet and muddy!) fun run at Bridle Trails park with Alison. Practiced using my Amphipod waist pack and bottles with Hammergel flask. The Amphipod is so much better than a Fueltbelt. Also ran in my Inov-8 Roclite 295′s and they did incredibly well on the soft, wet and super muddy trails. Yoga was a solid hour of power vinyasa with Dora, with lots of handstands and other fun stuff.
Total training time = 4:26:00
Excited for Copper Canyon. Also starting to realize that Ironman CDA is coming up faster than ever. I gotta get on the bike! For now…it’s time to eat.
Using Training Peaks to track my workouts and log results. It doesn’t have the slickest UI, but it has ton of features and analysis tools baked in. Recommend anyone serious about running or triathlons to check it out. This week I wrapped up my Crossfit introduction classes. Felt progressively more tired as the week went on. Need to focus more on getting enough sleep at night. The high intensity training (albeit with very low total hourly workload/mileage) over the past couple weeks also is catching up with me.
Mon, Jan 24. Short tempo run (17:25)
Didn’t have much time between work and yoga teaching duties, so I did a super short run, with a 5 minute warm up and a 10 minute all-out effort on a fairly flat road loop near my home. I covered about 1.5 miles in the 10 minutes (6:40 pace).
Tues, Jan 25. Easy run (24:30) + Crossfit (15:00)
Easy run around Greenlake and then Crossfit class. Learned new skills: knee to elbows while hanging from a pull-up bar, rowing, front squat. The workout was a warm up then: 500m row, 4 x (5 burpees, 7 knee to elbows, 9 front squats with 45lbs), 400 meter run. My time for this workout was 8:45, which was the top time in the class by like 20-30 seconds. I was pretty far behind a bunch of strong dudes after the first rounds, but by the third round when others slowed, I just kept going at my same pace. Endurance training has some benefits!
Wed Jan 26. Track workout (57:08)
800 warm up, 6 x (400-200, jog equal distance recovery), 1200 warm down. Ran with Eastside Runners “group #6″ today. I’ve been running in group #7 for all my other track workouts so far (one notch slower than 6). My times for the intervals were right on given the target times for group 6 (1:23 for 400′s and :40 for 200′s)
- 400 1:25
- 200 :36
- 400 1:21
- 200 :39
- 400 1:23
- 200 :41
- 400 1:23
- 200 :40
- 400 1:23
- 200 :40
- 400 1:20
- 200 :36
Thurs, Jan 27. Easy run (27:00) + Crossfit (15:00)
Easy run around Greenlake followed immediately by Crossfit where we did a 15 minute timed workout = AMRAP (as many reps as possible) of the following in 15 minutes. I did 4 sets of the entire thing. I was pretty slow, simple due to the challenge of “double unders“! My coordination sucks right now!
Fri, Jan 28th. Drank a bunch of beers to celebrate a Microsoft team member moving on to a new adventure.
Sat, Jan 29th. Long run on roads (2:49:30, 19.5 miles)
Super rainy and cold (45-48 degrees). Ran from Bellevue to Kirkland and back (with some other detours). 19.5 total miles. A few decent climbs. Last long run before Copper Canyon! I will do a couple 90-120 minute runs on trails, but this is the last run I really consider “long” before the big dance on March 6th.
Sun, Jan 30th. AM: Hilly bike ride outside (2:09) PM: Yoga (1:00)
Bike ride through Bellevue, to Kirkland and around Finn Hill and Juanita and back. First day outdoors on the bike in many months. Took it really easy on the flats but there were plenty of climbs and those were a challenge! Went to yoga in the evening. Feel pretty tight since my yoga practice has been slacking of late.
Total training time = 8:49:34
Reading a book called Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. Lots of good stuff in here about what an idea weight is for endurance athletes and how to determine your own, and tweak your training/diet to get you there.
The second principle I mentioned in my first post is that aerobic fitness is rarely the limiter of speed. Again, I’m not a scientist but just stating what I learn through my own experience. If you happen to know of scientific evidence for anything I’m talking about (refuting or confirming) make note in the comments. Aerobic fitness does matter, it is just isn’t the be all end all.
In the past few months I’ve run the Portland Marathon (flat and on paved roads) and two 50K ultra-marathons (hilly and mostly off road). In these three outings, despite running them after just a few months of training after a long hiatus from running, I was never out of breath. There were a few times during the 50K’s when I was breathing super hard during steep climbs, but those were just a few isolated incidents. The majority of the time my lungs were not the limiter in any way. I was breathing fine, but still my perceived exertion was very high.
In the case of my Portland Marathon experience, after about 16 miles my legs just stopped working normally. I wasn’t aerobically fatigued in any way, but it felt like I just finished a billion reps of squats and my leg muscles just wouldn’t fire. During my 50K’s, I had a similar experience. My muscles were just exhausted, as if I finished a really demanding weight workout, but my cardiovascular system and lungs seemed fine. During The North Face 50K, there were plenty of long climbs on single-track trails. They took a lot of power to muscle up.
I wish I had worn a heart rate monitor during my races to prove this point. I bet my heart rate was right around 140 or so. Not super high. What also happened later in the races was that my form went to hell. I would slouch over and everything would just sag. My core and low back would tire. This would affect my stride and breathing.
My take away from these events is that muscular strength (across the whole body, not just legs) plays a massive part in endurance events. When I say strength I really mean power/weight ratio. Strength with a fairly lean overall mass. Strong core and strong back to support proper form over long distances. Strong posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, glutes, low-back) to support overall running form and power. Once a reasonable aerobic base is developed, it makes intuitive sense that working the other energetic and power-building pathways in the body is a smart thing to do.
This week my training featured more high intensity and cross-training work than I originally planned. I also didn’t get in any long-ish runs. Not a huge deal. Next week I’ll get in my last big long run before Copper Canyon. My legs feel great and a little nagging hip and knee issue on my left side is being kept at bay right now. Taking a couple weeks totally off running during the holiday was just what I needed.
Monday, Jan 17. Running intervals :36.55 (4.6 miles) + 20 KB swings a few hours later.
Warm up, then 6 x 2 minute hard efforts with 2 minutes easy recovery between each followed by warm down. Ran around Medina neighborhood on flat/rolling paved roads.
A few hours later did 20 kettlebell swings with a 53 pounder.
Tuesday, Jan 18. Running intervals :25:00 (3 miles) + Crossfit workout 30 min later.
Ran around Greenlake at a good clip, with 4 x 100 meter all out sprints. About 30 minutes later did first class in intro series for Crossfit! Did drills and warm up, then did workout for time: 4 sets of 5 burpees, 7 air squats, 9 sit ups, 200 meter run. My total time = 7:33 ….came in first out of the group! Including warm up and warm down the class took only 30 minutes.
Wednesday, Jan 19. Track workout tempo run :31:00 (4.25 miles).
1/2 mile warm up, 3 mile tempo run, 3/4 mile warm down with Eastside Runners. Ran with group #7. Goal time was 20:33 and we finished in 20:13. First 2 miles were right on pace in 6:51 and sped up the last 800 meters. Felt very strong today.
Thursday, Jan 20th. Running easy intervals :25:00 (3 miles) + Crossfit workout 30 min later.
Ran around Greenlake at an easy pace with 4 x 50 meter all out sprints throughout. Crossfit included warm up and then timed 12 minute workout for max rounds of: 3 ring dips (using bands if needed), 5 high box jumps, 7 push press overhead with 45lbs. I did 10 sets….highest were a couple who did 11…I could have done that many but took my time moving between exercises :) .
Friday, Jan 21st. Kettlebell swings :9:00.
3 sets of 20 swings with 53lb. 2-3 minutes rest between each.
Saturday, Jan 22nd. Crossfit + Easy Running :11:00 (1.25 miles) later in the day.
Warm ups then main set = 21/15/9 of wall ball, kettlebell swings with 53lbs, 50 feet lunge walk. My time = 5:54. Fist finishers were just over 5 minutes. Rest of 5-6 minutes then “Tabata” sit-ups (4 mins). “Tabata” means 20 seconds of all out movement followed by 10 seconds rest, done 8 times. You score tabatas based on the minimum number of reps you complete across all the 20 second intervals. My score = 8 for the tabata situps given then I completed only 8 reps during a few of the 20 second all-out efforts. The highest score in the class was 12. We finished with 5-6 minutes stretching.
Easy 11 minute run to test out a new pair of shoes…the Inov-8 Roclite 295′s. They were too small :( .
Sunday, Jan 23rd.Easy Run :42:26 (4.75 miles). 5 pull ups.
Easy loop around Medina. Tested out some new gear, the Amphipod hydration belt. I love this thing! Took a while to get used to releasing the bottles from the holders, but it’s very well designed and usable with just one hand, whereas my FuelBelt requires two hands to return bottles to the holders.
Total weekly training time = 4:26:41.(~21 miles running)
Now that the training season has begun, I’m going to share my weekly logs with you. If you care less about what kind of training I do, just skip these posts :). I know some of you are also training for running, cycling, triathlons or other events…and might be interested in knowing what I am up to. Here’s this week in review.
Monday Jan 10. Rest day.
Taught 2 yoga classes. Some light stretching was about all I did, in addition to tons of hands-on assists during class (as usual). Felt like crap so didn’t push it.
Tuesday Jan 11. Kettlebells. Time = :17:08.
10 sets of 20 swings (16Kg bell) with 1 minute rest between sets. Still felt like crap, was wiped out after the swings.
Wednesday Jan 12. Eastside Runner’s Track workout, 4×1200′s! Time = :45:00
800 warm up. 4 x 1200′s in ~4:42 each w/ 400 jog between each, 800 warm down. Hit each interval right on time. Felt great. Ran with “group 7″ which is people running a 19-20 minute 5K pace right now. Almost didn’t go to the run since I felt pretty sick and my head hurt like crazy. Stuck it out and felt better after the first few 1200′s. Amazing what a few hard turns around a track will do!
Thursday Jan 13. Rowing Tabata. :15:00.
Concept 2 Indoor Rower “Tabata” style. 6 minute warm up, 8 x 20 all out sprints with 10 seconds rest between each, 5 minute warm down.
Friday Jan 14. Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga, Level 2-3, 1:30:00.
First yoga practice in several weeks. Plenty of inversions and arm balances. Starting to feel close to normal again and shaking off this cold.
Saturday Jan 15. Cougar Mt. Trail Running and Hill Repeats. 1:04:00.
Went running with Alison. She’s quick for having not run very much! Did 1 pretty quick lap of my usual 4.3 mile loop (lots of hills), followed by 4 hill repeats up the main hill at Red Town Trailhead. Each repeat was ~85 seconds and all out, followed by a slow jog back down the hill. Felt pretty good but my shoes were definitely not suited to the wet and muddy trail.
I love the Brooks Green Silence for road runs (super light!) but they have zero traction on wet rocks and trails and my heels slides around too much for tight trail cornering. I just bought a pair of Inov-8 F-Lite 195′s from the new Born to Run store in Bellevue. Super minimal shoes with more aggressive tread and far more snug in the heel. Will give them a shot for my next trail run. They felt awesome walking around town in them today.
Sunday Jan 16. AM: Heavy Deadlifts and Bench Press (:30:00). PM: Kettlebells and Easy Run (:40:00).
AM: Deadlift 3 sets x 3 reps with 135, 135, 185lbs. 3 mins rest between sets. Bench Press 3 sets x 3 reps with 135 lbs. 3 mins rest between sets. When I lift heavy I take a TON of rest between sets. The idea is to fully let the muscles recharge. I have zero desire to get cardiovascular benefit from strength training. It is all about raw strength/power.
PM: Kettlebells = 3 x 12 swings with my brand new 53-pound bell! 1 minute between sets (time = <4 minutes). Immediately headed out for easy run (:21:20).
Total Training Time = 4:46:29. (Running = :2:10:12)
This week was pretty undisciplined in terms of training. My total training volume was low, and while I had some good intensity in the workouts, I was sick from my recent trips to Ecuador and Vegas. Decided to lay low a few days and get back to 100%. I have less than 7 weeks until the Copper Canyon 50 Mile Ultramarathon….which means 1-2 more long runs (over 20 miles / 3 hours). As long as I nail those, I’ll be a happy camper.