Monday, June 13, 2011

Running For Time

Running for time is a great way to set up your training. In most recent running literature they will advise you to run based off of feel so as to not compromise your quality days of training. Running for time naturally fits hand in glove with this sort of advice.

For example last week I was able to run an additional 7 miles for the week in the same alotted time as the previous week. This was not planned. I just felt stronger and I was able to do an extra mile each day in the alotted time. Now if I only ran for a set number of miles I probably would not have got as many miles done but maybe I would have ran them a little quicker than the previous week. I would also have ended up running for a shorter period of time. So answer this question. Is it better to run at a slighlty quicker pace for a shorter period of time or is it better to run for a quicker pace for the same amount of time? Obviously the second choice is the correct choice and this is where running for time can bring quicker improvements over time.

Not only does running for time give you the opportunity to make the most of your improved fitness it also gives you the opportunity to tone it down when needed. Let's say I was worn down from the extra miles put in from the previous week. Naturally I would like to slow down a bit so as to not break down. So I will end up running slower paces but for the same amount of time. This means I will end up running less mileage. But fret not, because the time spent is worth something. This will allow you to recover for the following week and get the same effort of work done. If I were to run the same amount of miles as the previous week but take longer doing them you can see how I could end up still being fatigued for the following week. I am fatigued but I am making myself spend longer amounts of time finishing up a set number of miles. You can see how some people can end up with long patches of stale running.

Obviously, running effectively on a set mile plan is definitely possible. But you must know when to follow the set plan or when to adjust it. In essence, if you are running a set number of miles and you want to spice it up with something different running for time can be a great way to train.

By the way training is going well and I'm making strides each month. Hopefully I can stay injury free and get a pretty long patch of training in. I plan on doing some things in the Fall. I've done 2 races recently and I'll blog about each soon when I get a chance.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fair and Balanced Piece on Barefoot Running

This is a very well written piece on barefoot running. I hear one side saying that barefoot running is the key and the answer to all running problems. It prevents injury, it makes you faster, it makes you stronger. Our ancestors ran barefoot, the Kenyans run barefoot and that's why they are so fast... And so on and so forth. After trying it out and reading numerous articles on the subject I have come to my own conclusion and this article kind of embodies the points I have come up with about barefoot running. I myself use it as only a tool to strengthen my lower legs and work on my form which in turn will make me run faster. But I have not totally embraced barefoot running in my "WHOLE" running routine. The reason for this is you may have to totally start from the beginning in order to be totally comfortable running minimalist or barefoot. This is too much to ask for someone who does 50 miles or more. Without further ado here is the link.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

2011 Impact A Hero 5k - 15:41 (1st Overall)

Loose as a goose from the previous bad race, I was ready to go. I wanted to expel the demons from the last race.This race would be a straight out and back course and completely flat. Even though it was in the warmer part of the year I felt that a fast race could be had. I arrived early and did a 3 mile warm up. During my warm up I thought about the 9 mile progressive run that I had done 2 days earlier where my run had gone down to the 5:20's. I thought to myself, I wasted my race right there! Sure enough my legs agreed as I had trouble running faster than 8:30 pace on the warm up. On my way back I ran into J.P. Machemehl. Sugar Land is his hood and so seeing him here was not a surprise. We both talked about how slow we felt and were basically having a contest about who felt the worst. He said he wasn't going to go out any faster than 5 minute pace and I said if there is nobody but me and him in contention then I won't go out any faster as I really didn't feel up to it. On my way to the starting line I saw fellow Kenyan Way Elite runner Carlos Arias. He, like myself, had a bad experience at the Astros 5k and I'm sure he also wanted to exorcise the demons.

Soon enough we lined up and the gun sounded and we were off. We started out pretty slow as no one really wanted to pick up the pace. the first quarter mile a kid, maybe 8 years old, led the charge. Then a master runner who I'll call "Indio" since that's his nickname led for another quarter mile. We must have been running about 5:17 pace at the time and for the first time in a looong time I felt like a crowd of people (20+) were directly behind us. Then J.P. picked it up a touch and we (Carlos, J.P., and I) quickly separated with the rest of the crowd. J.P. finished the mile in the first position, Carlos second, and me third, 5:08 mile.

During the initial part of the 2nd mile I felt like we were jogging, which was fine with me, because I was slightly averse to feeling pain at the moment. We hit the turn around and that is when J.P. started to pick it up pretty good. Carlos started breathing heavily so I ran ahead and placed myself in a better position behind J.P. After a while I started to feel uncomfortable myself. I started to reach that point in the race where I always ask myself "WHY DO I DO THESE RACES?!" J.P. started to pick it up even more. Then I asked myself the second question I always ask during a race, "WHAT IF I STOPPED RIGHT NOW?!". Inevitably my desire to finish always overrides my desire to quit so I kept going. During this time I also thought to myself J.P. is out in front and I know he feels more comfortable running from the front. I hoped to myself that he doesn't turn the dial up even faster. Second mile 4:59.

The third mile was tough but by now mentally I know the race is almost over and I have less than a mile left. Fortunately for me J.P. didn't turn it up even another notch and I was able to hang on during the 3rd mile. Right before the 3 mile mark is where I pull up along side J.P. and I almost expected him to slow down a little bit because I was hoping he wasn't going to make this a hard last .1 miles. Unfortunately he started pushing so I had to push too. And right at the last moment I broke for it and created some slight separation and ended up nipping him at the finish by 1 second. I jokingly chastised him for making the race so hard as I laid sprawled out on the road. The last mile was 5:03 and the last .1 was 31 secs.

It was a great race. The final time was 15:41 which is my fastest time in about a year and a half. Yes, it's been that long since I've raced this fast. The cool thing is that I did it this summer which bodes well for me hitting 15:30 or better sometime this year. I have to thank J.P. for pushing the pace so hard during the race as without him I probably would have run 16:xx.

Once again it was a great race. I was happy to run in front of true heroes who would sacrifice their lives for our country and who have sacrificed their well being for us. They are true bona fide heroes and they have my utmost respect and appreciation.