Running, I’m working on speed…

Happy Monday! I trust y’all had a great weekend. We held our neighborhood garage sales on Friday and Saturday and by Sunday, Mom and I were completely exhausted but the weather here was so nice that I was determined to run as much as possible.

I did manage a few early miles on Friday, a little over six miles on Saturday and then on Sunday I got up prepared to run ten but after four I felt burnt. I was on my way home when I ran into my friend and neighbor, Lori. She was just heading out and I was sort of shocked myself when I heard myself say, ‘Want some company?’

So Lori and I ran another 3 miles and I finished with a total of 7 for the day. I had a great time and while it isn’t anywhere near the amount of miles I’d like to be running, I was grateful that Lori agreed to some company because otherwise I would have ended at 4 miles and beat myself up the rest of the day.

And that is something I’ve been working on because this year I’m more focused on being a better runner, getting faster, and remaining injury free rather than just running all the miles.

Genetically speaking, my muscle makeup is probably a bit different than Shalane Flanagan’s or Desi Linden’s and that’s okay. Some people are just speedier than others but that doesn’t mean I can’t get faster. I used to always say that I was a much better endurance athlete because what I lack in speed I make up for in distance and while that may be true it doesn’t mean I can’t boost my genetics a bit.

Your body includes 3 main muscle fibers, slow twitch, intermediate fast twitch, and fast twitch. Slow twitch muscles contract slower and it takes a long time to exhaust them. Adversely, fast twitch muscles contract quickly and fatigue much quicker. Generally speaking most people have an equal amount but there have been some reports that suggest some of the best sprinters have up to 85% of fast twitch muscles and some of the best marathoners have up to 85% of slow twitch. I used to think that I had a lot more slow twitch, but I’m not so sure that’s really the case.

While you may not be able to alter the balance some scientific studies have shown that with the proper training you may be able to convert slow twitch to fast twitch just by incorporating the following training.

Agility Dot Drills
I have to admit, I had no idea what these were but this video shows you exactly how to do them and now I love them.

Sprints
Sprints are an awesome way to develop speed. I like 400 repeats or fartleks and that’s how I do sprints but if you’ve never run sprints before, here is a good tutorial on how to start.

Squats
Y’all know I love my squats. Not only do they help with speed but the benefits for your butt are worth it alone!  Seriously, they are.

Isometric Hamstring Bridge
This one is great for speed but also if you suffer from weak hips like I do, this exercise is invaluable. I do this at least 5 days a week. Here’s a great video that shows you the proper form.

Hill Sprints
Now these are my Achilles heel or hill, haha. I hate hills. I really do. I think it’s because I seriously hurt my Achilles tendon running up a hill a few years back and ever since then, I’ve hated them.

I do my best to avoid all the hills in my neighborhood and when I’m running someplace new I look at the elevation before I choose my route. Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid hills and if you want to get really fast hill sprints are one of the best exercises you can do. Hill sprints can also help you to avoid injury so you really need to incorporate them.

I read this article and it helped me to get over my fear and face those hills. I still don’t feel 100% comfortable with hill sprints but I’m working on it.

So, now I’d like to hear from you.
Do you think you’re better at speed or endurance?  (My jury is still out, I used to think endurance but I can run fast and I know it..)
Do you prefer running 5K’s or marathons?  (My heart has always leaned toward marathons but lately I’ve been looking forward to some 5K’s.)

Cold Fronts, Speedwork and Lucy

I turned on the news first thing this morning and immediately heard the weather anchor say “With the cold front that blew in overnight, temperatures in the bay area are much cooler and a lot more comfortable.”

cold front?

Bitch please!

Seriously?

It didn’t feel all that cool to me but I had to get in a quick run because I had to take the Kid in for a minor medical procedure at 8:30AM and since it was only 5:30AM and pitch black dark outside, I decided my only option was a 3 miler on the treadmill.

And since time was limited, I thought I would try a little speed. I finished in 25:56. My splits were:

mile 1   9:01
mile 2   8:44
mile 3   8:11

Note to self: Speed work is best on days when I have little time to spare.

Unfortunately I don’t have much time to update here either because I’ve got to hit up the apple store. Don’t ask!  Just don’t.

But, before I go, one more thing, today is National I love Lucy Day!

lucy quotes

Lucille Ball

Well said Lucy!

Be good to yourself and have a fantastic day, I’ll be back tomorrow morning….

How often do you do speedwork?
Do you make speedwork a priority? Why or why not?
Have you ever watched “I love Lucy”? It was one of my favorite shows when I was younger.

That time I outran the power

On Friday morning MacGyver and I had a ton of things to do, but then I found out our first appointment was scheduled for an hour later than I thought.  I had planned on taking the day off from running but since I had an extra hour I figured why not jump on the treadmill for a quick 3.

extra time, activities
I felt pretty good and at a 1% incline I started my run. I quickly increased the pace and finished the first mile in 9:09. In the second mile, I increased the speed a few times and ended up running the second mile in 8:38 and it didn’t even feel like a hard effort. I was on fire!

On. Fire!

running on fire
So I decided to speed up even more. I upped the pace a few times and then realized I was running at a 7:53 pace. I knew this would put me right around an 8:05 mile and that’s exactly what happened. But I thought to myself if this pace feels so comfortable, why not go an extra mile? Why not try to run the fourth mile in 7:40? Could I do it?

Realizing that I was already at 3 miles in under 26 minutes, I decided that I had the time to run another mile and I was amped up. I knew I was going to run it in 7:40, I could feel it.

And then….

Scream, crack, boom. (I cannot even accurately describe the sound except to say that it was close to what a clap of thunder and lightning sounds like.)

running not falling
I managed to not fall when the treadmill came to a sudden stop. It took me a second to realize that it had shut off and to regain my balance. MacGyver came running outside and when he saw that I was okay he was shocked that I hadn’t fallen off.

I asked what happened.

MacGyver:     You shorted out the treadmill.
Me:                 You mean I ran so fast that I killed it?
MacGyver:     Well, you tripped the breaker.

I was so proud of myself y’all. I basically ran so fast the treadmill couldn’t keep up with me. I outran the electricity.

I’m shooting for a 7 minute mile this week. I hope the treadmill and the power company are up for it!

Tell me about your fastest run this week.