Thursday, November 12, 2015

Slow down to run faster?

I Have you heard of the 80/20 Principle in running?  I'm currently reading 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald, and in intrigued by the idea of running slower in order to race faster.  

It's not all easy running, the idea is to run 80% of your runs super slow (like reallllllly slow - I figured out my pace based on this idea and it's well over a minute per mile slower than in used to running) and make the other 20% of your runs high intensity. He claims, and my training in the past has mimicked this, that most people run a high percentage of their runs at a moderate intensity, this sabotaging their training.  There is a ton of research behind this, but you'll have to read the book yourself, because it's too sciencey for me to try to explain.  

Fitzgerald suggests beginning with a "week of slow" to pull back and let your body adapt to what running slow should feel like.  I figured the run streak was a perfect time for this - my hope is that, as Fitzgerald claims, it will help me avoid burnout.  I used his fancy math to determine that I should be around a 143 heart rate for these slow runs, and after experimenting this week, I've discovered that it puts me right around a 9:30 pace. 

It feels so slow and awkward, but I feel amazing after my run and going into the next.  I'm excited to try this out for a while, especially to see where the high intensity runs take me.  

While the slow running seems easier, I do feel like I'm running forever and that if I just sped up, I'd be done already.  It takes discipline to continue at snail's pace, but I'm determined to at least give this a whirl.  The research supports it, and it sure sounds nice!  For now at least, I'll be keeping my runs slow with the exception of my weekly tempo run, which I will continue to do at the same intensity as before.  Wish me luck!

Monday, November 9, 2015

November challenges

Last November I had just completed a half marathon (with a PR!) and had nothing up on my race calendar.  I didn't really lose motivation, but after training for two consecutive races, I felt a bit misdirected as to where I wanted my running to go next.  November and December were slow months for my running.

This year, I'm fresh off of two consecutive marathons, and while I do have another one planned, it's not until next summer, so I am finding myself again feeling a bit lost.  I decided I needed a good challenge or two to get me through the end of the year, so I'm linking up with Monica at Run, Eat, Repeat for a Pile on the Miles challenge and Amanda at Run to the Finish for the Holiday Sweat.  My hope was to have some fresh new challenges to keep me going. 

My goal for Pile on the Miles is to pile some on each day.  I want to run every day in November.  Certainly some of these will be slow, short runs, but the goal is to keep moving.

For the Holiday Sweat, we have daily prompts to think about to challenge our fitness and way of thinking.  Today's prompt is What’s your baseline # of minutes, and how are you going to accomplish it?  This is a funny one for me, because I don't think in terms of minutes, I think in terms of mileage.  But for the purpose of this challenge, I'll change my thinking for a bit and go with minutes.  To keep my run streak going, I need to run at least a mile a day (the one mile days will replace my usual 2 rest days a week).  But on those days, as well as every other day, I will do 30 minutes of something active.  I'm hoping to incorporate some yoga on those days and possibly some other type of strength training.  It's all about challenging myself, and stepping outside of my running comfort zone is a good place to start.  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Let's talk about running in the cold

It got stinkin' cold this week!  It was 10 degrees this morning when Axe and I headed out for our morning run.  Although we have run in colder weather - and likely will again this winter - I froze.  I am like a little Popsicle.  When it hasn't been this cold in months, you kind of forget how bone chillingly cold it is.  So how do I manage?

1.  Wear alllllllll the clothes.  When it's this cold, that means two pairs of pants (today I only wore one pair and a long pair of socks - I regretted it because my thighs were really cold), a long sleeve shirt under a jacket, a neck warmer thing (what are those called?), gloves, and a hat. No love this hat because it keeps my face warm too.  

2.  Warm up slowly - if at all.  On these cold days I definitely don't push the pace.  It takes me a long time to get warmed up, and sometimes I don't really get warmed up at all.  I don't want to risk injury by running too hard on cold muscles, so I take it nice and easy.

3.  Get out of your running clothes as soon as you finish your run...for me this meant putting on a pair of leggings under some fleece pajama pants, a hoodie, and crawling under a blanket with a cup of coffee. It took me a good half hour to thaw out.  Putting on warm fresh clothes helps me warm up a bit more quickly before I head into my scalding hot shower.

Colorado winters can be pretty cold, but I definitely don't want my running to suffer because of the weather.  Most mornings I get my runs done on the treadmill, but I still love to do my longer weekend runs outside, no matter how cold it is.  Plus it's a fun challenge.