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.

Thursday things

This morning I slept in a little bit but then I got really motivated and decided to do a progression run because, progress!

This was the overall result,

five mile runBut these were my splits,

running splits

And that my friends, is what a typical progression run looks like for me.  And it felt pretty good.

I came home and checked my email and while I was reading through the news I came across this picture and of course it caught my eye…

dog in yearbookNow, who can say they have ever had a yearbook photo that looked that good, ever?

Y’all, if you read anything today, click on this link to read the story about the heartwarming reason that the school decided to put this dog’s picture in the yearbook.  It’s a beautiful story.

How often do you run progression runs?

Eleven miles, monkeys, meerkats, and more!

Friday came and went and the project I’ve worked so hard on remained in limbo due to the domain name transfer that is still in process.  Frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt about it but I couldn’t dwell over it.  The weekend was here.

MacGyver and I have a new obsession and we are half way through it.

The OA

So, that’s what we did on Friday night.

We decided to sleep in on Saturday because it stormed for most of the night and when we did finally get up on Saturday it was still pouring and it didn’t stop until much later in the day.  I walked a few miles on the treadmill but that was about it.  I ran a few errands later in the day and then MacGyver and I went to dinner and I did a little shopping but mostly just because I wanted to wear my duck boots, not because we needed anything.

The rain also brought with it some very cold weather and when we woke up on Sunday it was 30 degrees.  THIRTY DEGREES!   In Florida!  So I looked at MacGyver and said, ‘I’m gonna go out and get in a long run’.  And his reaction was something like this….

Have you lost your mind

I’m pretty sure we know the answer to that.  Mind or no mind I had a mission, and by around 8:15 or so I headed out the door with some hot hands in my gloves and some miles on my agenda.  The plan was to stick with my ten mile long run and if I felt good near the end to tack on an additional mile.

This is what I ended up with.

all the miles

I’d call that a pretty good day.   Right?

When I got home, I managed to wrangle MacGyver and Hank out from under the electric blanket and then Boomer and I dragged them out the door for a walk.

Have I ever showed you the smoothies that I refuel with every day after I run?

My smoothie

That’s the nectar of the God’s right there.

After walking the dogs I jumped in the shower and then I told MacGyver to get dressed and we hopped in the car and headed over to Tampa.  I forgot about a little game that’s going on here this week between Auburn and Alabama but somehow on the way to Tampa I got sandwiched between 5 of these buses.

Bama Bus

I have to say that all of the football fans MacGyver and I encountered were so sweet and so nice, it was a pleasure meeting each and every one of them.

In case you’re wondering where we were going, we went to the zoo.

zoo

I don’t want to bombard you with a gazillion photos from the trip but I do have to show you some of my favorites so here are a few.

chimp

giraffe

me at the zoo

This is the Runner species. This runner almost fell in the splash fountain while trying to pose as she was freezing!

Meerkat

Florida Panther

My spirit animal!

Rhinos

Penguins

Elephants

Eagle

Black bear

You really wanna go to the zoo right now don’t you?

All right, let’s recap, shall we?

Last week I ran 33 miles, walked 2 miles, did 2 strength workouts, 2 weight workouts, and 1 yoga workout.  Not bad.  My diet was totally on point.  All Gluten free and extremely low sugar all of which was completely natural, (mostly from fruit).

How did you do last week?  Strong areas?  Weak areas?  Anything you want to talk about?

How is your weather right now?

When is the last time you went to the zoo and what’s your most favorite animal?