Monday, May 16, 2011

HR test run

Today I did my Hadd-like HR test run. This consists of 2400 m at heart rates of 140/150/160/170/180 bpm, with 90 secs rest in between. I took myself to a path I *thought* was flat, and it wasn't really, but close enough. Anyway, the results (um, click on it to actually see those numbers. Too lazy to format right now):
 The initial analysis:
* Well, I was awesome at keeping my HR where it was supposed to be!
* Running a 10:50 pace at 140 was almost not running.
* I'm not sure what to make of the entire minute between 160 and 170. I know from recent runs that that 160 pace might be a bit on the slow side from where it normally is.
* I'm still not 100% recovered from the marathon - my MP for Boston was 7:30, with an AHR of 173, so all these paces are a bit shifted.
* It felt really good to run those 170 and 180 paces, after not having done so since Boston!
* I'll do this test in another 6 weeks, after spending those weeks doing solely HR-based training. We'll see what happens!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Focus on Form

Now that I'm back in base-building phase and running so slowly, I really want to be focusing on my form in all my runs. There are little triggers I can use while I'm actually running - the best one for me is to think of someone pulling on a string attached to the top of my head. That really gets me to keep my pelvis and core from tipping too much, and automatically gets my feet more under me, encouraging a mid-foot strike.

I've also been thinking back to my track days, when we started every practice with a warm-up and a good 15 minutes of form drills. You know, high knees, butt kicks, etc. It's been a while since college, so to refresh my memory, I found this cheesy yet helpful video on the Running Times website:

Never mind the bad jokes and the fact that this was targeted towards Master's runners. It demonstrates some of the easiest and more effective form drills that runners can do. The whole thing took me about 20 minutes in the middle of a 5 mile run. I'm an idiot and accidentally stopped my Garmin, but I did basically 2.5 miles, then the drills, then another 2.5 miles; all said, taking about an hour. After each drill, I would jog back, then do a sprint, then walk back. Honestly, each sprint felt easier and more effortless as I kept doing the drills. I'm going to try to add these in to a recovery run once a week. I look super silly doing them, especially in the middle of crowded Central Park, but they're actually kind of fun!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let's hear it for New York

I can't believe I've been in NYC since Thursday and I haven't made it here to wax poetic about how much I adore running in this city. I've put over 30 amazing slow, easy miles on the flower-lined streets of Central Park. Running with the other people in the park, being in this beautiful place juxtaposed between nature and city, in what's been perfect spring weather to bring the trees and flowers into full bloom puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

Since Boston, my running has been pretty unstructured, purposefully so. I ran zip-zilch-nada from Boston Monday to Easter Sunday, when I got out for just over 2 miles before the Easter eating commenced. My legs were confused, sore, and sluggish. Monday's 5 went slightly better, but it definitely took a few days of easy running for my legs to feel any semblance of normal again. I didn't have a mileage goal in mind in the first week back running, so I was pleasantly surprised to hit 31.5 fairly easily, ending with a 10-miler on Saturday. I think the key was taking every run nice and easy, paying close attention to my pulse to make sure it didn't get much above 150.

With Grandma's fast approaching, and NYC on the horizon in November, I've decided to take this spring/summer to do some heart rate-based, Hadd-like base building before entering into a 12-ish week training plan for NYC. I've devised a "plan" to do so, based on some Hadd stuff, a typical week of 60-ish miles looking like this (mins @ HR):

60 @ 145 75 @ 160 60 @ 145 inc 30 @ 145 90 @ 145-150 85 @ 160 75 @ 140-150 120 @ 155

Hadd suggests doing a test of sorts as a way to monitor if all the sub-aerobic training is working. It basically involves running a series of 2400 meter intervals at increasing HRs: 140, 150, 160, 170, 180 with 90 seconds of rest in between. I think I'll plan on doing this sometime next week. This week my mileage should be at least 40, if not 45, and as long as I still feel rested and raring to go, this should be good timing.

I think it's going to be a challenge keeping myself in those zones, but I think it's a good way for my body to happily accept building up some mileage in order to hopefully get into a training plan next fall that peaks at 75-80 mpw. That being said, my legs are feeling absolutely awesome as I've been keeping my AHR below 155 on my recent runs. I'm at higher mileage post-marathon than I have been in the past, even though I took an entire week off. I can feel myself chomping at the bit sometimes, especially on gorgeous days like today when I'm being passed by people in the park and have to keep my competitive side at bay, but I think it will be good for me. It will also be a perfect way for me to have a plan that's flexible enough for me to do the "whenever, wherever" runs I don't get during a marathon training plans - at such low heart rates, adding miles when I feel good isn't such a disaster! I'm excited about this little experiment and to see how I feel during it!