Drills and Strides

Running Strides – Marathon Training Journal: Day 23

I prefer strides to fartlek workouts. I need the structure for speed work because if I can just sprint as far as I want, I will do as little as possible!  I'm lazy like that.

Strides are very short distances run at a hard effort. I use my heart rate monitor and go for 90 to 95 percent of my maximum heart rate. I don't think Garmin knows me as well as it thinks and I think my maximum heart rate is a bit higher than it calculates, but it's a gauge and I can listen for beeps instead of trying to focus on a moving wrist while I'm about to explode from lack of oxygen.

Waking Up The Neighbors

My warm-up round was much louder than usual. It wasn't me!

First there was a guy taking out a trashcan who is always very friendly, but yelled to me in a joking tone: “Watch out! There goes Crazy!” He's a nice guy.

Not a minute later I was running uphill and another guy was outside with coffee and a cigarette yelling loudly, “Work it! Run Faster. Make it hurt!”

The villain in me wanted to challenge him to a few repeats up the hill, but I just smiled and waved. It was 5 o' clock in the morning. Most normal people are sleeping at that time and every sound feels magnified.

Well, at least my warm-up ensured that nobody in the neighborhood would be late for work or school today.

Waking up the neghbors

Rolling with the Crunches

I came back to the house to get something to drink and finish my warm-up stretches and all the other good stuff that gets the muscles ready for a run. My calves are still carrying too much tension for my liking. They seem to be fine after a couple of miles, but it's a sign I need to devote more time to working out the kinks in my lower legs. Even more so before speed work.

I had to take my smooth foam roller today. I thought the trigger point would be a bit harsh on them, especially before a run.  It worked wonders. What a difference a bit of rolling can make.

Putting Some Energy Into It

Somehow I just knew today if I wanted to put strides into my run and do them properly, I'd need to put a bit more effort into the start of my run. Strides work well for me, but a tempo or progression run is easier to work with, because it's either a steady progression or a stable pace for a fair amount of time.  I  guess it comes back to having to think and run at the same time. Multi-tasking like this so early in the morning is not my greatest strength.

I did my first mile at a steady pace and then picked it up a bit. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good with a bit of speed added in. Usually the earlier miles of a run are pretty tough for me.  I repeated this until I had done about three miles.  My plan was to hit the new section of the paved trail for the strides. The area I started running is great, but I get bored and more importantly, there are some hills.

It's not so much that I mind the hills, but have you ever heard your watch or app beep to signal the start of the next speed and realized you're going to begin your maximum effort segment at the base of a hill? I say things to my watch when that happens! Gentle ups and downs are manageable though.

Time for Strides

I made sure I slowed down a bit so that I was recovered enough to put in a good effort. Of course the first one started at the base of the only noticeable climb on the route. Tough. Suck it up and run!

I think I did five of them. I don't know if I programmed the repeat instructions correctly into my watch, but it was supposed to be four to six of them at 60 seconds each. The minimum number is usually my preference for speed workouts because it's so hard on my body.

Whatever the number was today, the last one was difficult and I couldn't hold onto the pace of the previous strides.  Overall I was still pleased with how it went. I was also incredibly thirsty and keen to get home.  As I rounded the corner I thought about the last stride that felt so tough.

Maybe it was just hard. Perhaps I'm tired. Or what if I didn't really put everything I had into it?

Just a Quick One

I didn't dwell on it or plan it but decided to push an all-out sprint like there was no tomorrow and see what I could do at the end of the run. It was less than 30 seconds, but when I hit Stop on my watch the pace reading was sitting at 4:25. No way could I do a mile or even 400 m at that pace. Nor do I need to, but it was a nice finish and something I am certain I have never managed before.

Sometimes you just find something within you when you don't plan it. It was the cherry on top of a nice run.

Then I had to try get my key out and into the door. I was quite literally pouring with sweat and had the hardest time trying to grip my key!

Sweaty Finish after Strides

Yes, that was sweat pouring off of me, not rain.

Stretch after Strides

Lots of stretches for my hips and glutes today. I'm not in the mood to be sore on my run tomorrow.

Silly Accident and Annoying Injury

It's nothing dramatic. I didn't clear the edge of my toes from the garage door when it closed and it just got the end of one of them. This really irritates me because it's going to hurt when I run and there's nothing I can do about it. No, I won't be posting any photos.

I guess you know you have a good training plan when your training injuries are totally unrelated to running.  Last year I tripped over the big clumsy dog. This year it's a toe. It could have been worse.

One Down, One To Go

After this morning, followed by an insanely busy day, there was nothing the least bit spectacular about my evening run. Pace didn't matter, effort level didn't matter as long as it was easy and it was all about logging a few miles and freshening up my legs. I think it was a little under four miles and I took the shortest possible route because I'd already done just over seven this morning and I don't want to put any extra stress on my body.

The run felt fine, aside from the pain in my injured toe. That kept me tuned into the fact that I was actually running.  My mind was preoccupied with all the things I still needed to do today. It seemed to make the miles go by really quickly. There was no sprint finish at the end of this one. I just wanted to get home and not add any unnecessary delays to bed time.

Not willing to make the same mistake as yesterday, I had left much later today. I needed a shower when I got home, but I also hadn't made dinner yet and had a long to-do list that I have no hope of knocking out before midnight.  There is also a zero chance of me getting to bed before midnight.

More Salt Loving Dogs

I wanted to get a photo, but the puppies were outside and they were not nearly as co-operative as they were the other day. Why don't they just sit still and act cute like dogs in other people's photos?

They were very happy to see me back though and showed their appreciation of my willingness to share some more salt with them. The best I got was a short video clip which went out on Instagram.

I have no plans for my run tomorrow. It's a free run and cross training day. I have also decided that unless I'm feeling incredibly energetic and have got all my other tasks up to date, I'm not running tomorrow evening.

Too little sleep is proving to be my biggest downfall in this training season and I'm still not doing very well at addressing it.  It's never perfect, but it can be better. So I'm removing a training run to make the next one better.

Carefree Runner

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  • Padam kunwor August 17, 2017   Reply →

    I am going to share this in my Facebook page with friends who hate running but love reading. I am opposite. I wouldn’t run if I had to write anything at all 🙁 that just me ! However I read all of it because it’s about running ????

    • Lee Beem August 17, 2017   Reply →

      Thank you for sharing, Padam. I really appreciate your support.

      I actually love writing. I like to keep a journal of my training. It helps me track patterns in my behavior and performance and it’s been interesting to compare this training cycle to the same stage of the previous one. My mindset has changed quite a lot and the way I train is quite different, even although my training program is the same. I’m glad you like reading though 🙂

  • Richard Brown August 17, 2017   Reply →

    Thanks for detailing your Strides. That’s basically how I run Fartlek’s. After a mile or so warm up, I run hard for 3 minutes or so then about 1 minute off. The “offs” are at an easy pace and the “ones” vary, usually slightly above my 5k pace.

    Sleep is critical to a successful training program. I tell my runners all the time they need at least 7 hours a night during training. Glad you’re making sure that happens.

    • Lee Beem August 17, 2017   Reply →

      Richard, that’s interesting. So you actually do put structure into your fartleks? It’s the lack of structure that makes me lazy. I am very much in love with coasting along a run at a pace that suits me for that particular day and if I don’t get an alert, like a beep from my watch, to signal that I need to shift the effort level, I’ll just carry on cruising and get lost in my run.

      You’ll enjoy my next post. It’s all about my hypocrisy when it comes to preaching sleep and getting none. I have too many pots on the burners at once and something has to give. So I ditched my cross training and my second run yesterday. It was the only way to free up time to take care of the family and still get to bed early.

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