Fartleks and strides and guess what, I love em!

I love running, obviously.  I also love training and running races.  Unfortunately, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that, at least without pain or the risk of injuring myself further.

Grunpy

I’m finally at a place where I can start to train again and I have been doing so for a few weeks but it’s been awhile and I’m not going to lie to you, you lose conditioning.  When you take a lot of time off, (I’m talking weeks here) you have to slowly build your endurance back up.   You can’t just go out and run all the miles, as in the same distance you ran 3 or 4 months ago, or you will risk injury.

Just to give you an idea of what this looks like for me, I average 3 to 4 miles most days and my long run is currently only 6 miles, which I ran on Sunday.  Six months ago I would run 10-12 miles every Saturday and another 20-25 during the week, so it’s a little disheartening but I found  a way to get over it.

doctors and runners

 

I am doing something a bit different this time.  First, I’m not stressing out because really, what would be the point in that.  Second, I’m slowly building my endurance by only ramping up my long run by 1 mile a week and staying mostly with 3 to 4 mile runs for three or four days during the week.

However, I’m a perfectionist and I need to see improvement and so this time, I’m working on speed while I slowly build my endurance by doing two interval workouts each week and I’ve already started to see an improvement.

The first thing is that old standard, the fartlek.  I do this when I don’t feel like being too structured and I don’t want to concentrate on any set distance.  I just look at say, a mailbox down the street and speed up until I get to it and then I jog in between until I find something else to speed up for, like the ice cream truck.  I kid, but you get the point.

Last Wednesday, this was a screen shot of the pace I was at while doing fartleks.

fartlek

The second thing I do is practicing strides. I start off running easy for 45 seconds and speeding up for 15 seconds.  As the run progresses I run longer strides and take longer recoveries.  When I first started doing this my farlek pace and stride pace was about the same but now I’m seeing improvement with every speed session.  This is what todays stride pace looked like on average,

Strides

I got a little faster toward the end and in the beginning I was a bit slower but do you see the improvement?  Interval training is also very good for your heart health.  I’m learning to love speed work and seeing improvement in my speed after running so many years is a big motivator too.

I’m shooting for an average 5K pace of 7:30 and I think I can get there this winter.  🙂

Do you work more towards endurance or speed? 

Do you enjoy training for races or are you content with your current speed and  endurance level?

Most importantly, do you believe runners can get better at any age?  I think it depends on the level they started at.

WTF Wednesday, Cults, Dogs, Eagle Cams and 7 minute miles.

I am addicted to Leah Remini’s new series on A & E about Scientology.  When I first moved to Clearwater several years ago I thought that there was a Navy base nearby because of all the people walking around downtown in white or blue uniforms except they seemed brainwashed.  It was about a year or so before I figured out they belonged to the Church of Scientology, and what the church actually was, or what I thought it was.  Who really knows anything about it unless you’ve actually been a scientologist?

It's a cult right?

Anyway, one of the company’s that I used to work for was owned by practicing Scientologist’s and they used to try to impart some of the Church’s teachings on us in some of our meetings and sometimes they would offer to take us over to the church and let us take a course or two.  It wasn’t met with great enthusiasm on my part or anyone elses from what I remember.

cult!

Actually, I don’t think it was met with any enthusiasm at all from anyone and from what I remember they pretty much gave up on it eventually but I did learn quite a bit about scientology and what I learned was enough to know that it did not appeal to me at all and it was weird as shit.  If you haven’t seen the show, watch it, it’s riveting.

After we got home from Nokomis last week MacGyver and I were watching the local news and we saw a story about a dog that attacked the entire family because they tried to put him in an ugly Christmas Sweater.

Scarface the dog attacks family

Click on the image to read the story

Y’all that really happened.   And I was hoping it would be a funny story and we’d be able to get a laugh out of it.  You know like, hey, if you thought that ugly Christmas sweater was ugly, Fido really thought so and that’s why you should have thought twice before you made him wear it, but no, it wasn’t a funny story.  No, that dog really went nuts and seriously attacked the family.  And even worse, we heard later that they had to euthanize the dog.  It was very sad.

I wouldn’t leave you with a sad animal story though because you know that’s not me, check out this awesome eagle cam from Fort Myers.  It is so cute.  I literally have this in the corner of my computer screen all day long and I watched the first eaglet hatch. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

I had some training to do yesterday and as luck would have it my 4 month project came to head and everything that could go wrong did, and it did not launch.  It was not my fault, of course, the client doesn’t care about that, but I spent the entire day and night on the damn computer so that meant I got less than 3,000 steps yesterday.

I looked at my fitbit last night expecting to see at least 5 or 6,000 steps and when I saw the actual amount I almost died.

Holy Mother of God

I still have to get this project sorted out but I refuse to give up my morning run and sit at a desk for another 20 hours because of someone else’s ignorance so I got up this morning and blew out 6 miles.  And I guess I really needed to run because I was fast.

Basically around this pace once I got going…

813

 

But I was faster

759

 

 

And a little faster still….

724

Because sometimes you just really need to feel like you can fly.

Wtf it’s Wednesday and I sort of feel like a badass.

Tell me about your badass moment today!

Lasso that Yasso, 800’s that is.

Good Morning!  I hope your weather is as nice as ours is today because I am in heaven.  It was 71 degrees this morning when I left to run at 6:30 but the humidity and the dew point were in the low 60’s so it actually felt like 71 instead of 90, crazy isn’t it?  I would give up chocolate if we could have weather like this every day.

chocolate, yes please

Okay maybe not chocolate but broccoli, I’d give up broccoli.

Anyway, my point is it was really nice this morning and so I decided to practice some 800’s.  I’m not training for anything right now but when I am, I love incorporating Yasso 800’s into my routine.  This morning I ran them while listening to Lewis Del Mar’s Loud(y).

The weather coupled with that song make anything seem easy.

In honor of track Tuesday let’s talk about Yasso 800’s for a minute and what they are exactly.  For newbie’s or those of you who don’t run, an 800 is roughly a half mile or two laps around the track.

The premise behind the yasso 800’s is that if you want to run a 3:30 marathon then you would need to train by running 800’s in 3:30 each and jogging the same amount of time in between.  If you want to run a 4:20 marathon then you run your 800’s in 4:20 and so on.  You get the point.

You should start doing Yasso 800’s when you begin marathon training.  You start by running four 800’s and then increasing each week until you reach ten of them.

Yep, we are

Now, in my experience Yasso 800’s have not been 100% accurate for me, but that’s my experience.  I’m not a running coach or a scientist but I do like numbers and analytics and I like the theory behind the 800’s but I use them mainly for speed work because they do help me with speed.  I personally feel like for the theory to work for me I’d have to run a lot more of them for a much longer distance.

Adversely, I think it’s also really important that you don’t forget your weekly long run as well as some tempo training and a few easy runs.  With all of those things in your arsenal you should be able to nail your next race.  With that being said, I’m interested in knowing about your own experiences.

Have you run Yasso 800’s in your training and if so were they accurate for you?

What’s your weather like today?

Do you have a favorite speed work song?  What is it?