so, the real deal of this post. a few people have asked me about my "approach" to running. well, i am definitely governed by my current coach, Dirk, but i also have my own leanings towards the "what" and "why" in my running. I was heavily influenced in my training for my first marathon by Lucho and I still take a lot of what I learned with him into my daily running. i don't really have a certain "philosophy" but i have a few rules i run by: (*disclaimer: these are not the opinions of my current or former coach. they are only the things that i feel have gotten me "this far" ("this far" being basically an amateur runner who has worked consistently to go from non-runner to 2:59 marathon & 3:10 Ironman marathon in 3 years) there is a WHOLE 'nother world above my personal "this far", and i may need to change this list to move up to that world. but again, this is just what has gotten me where i am today.
TEN RULES TO RUN BY
2) start every run VERY SLOW. something Lucho said once about turning on your fat burning system first really stuck with me. it makes total sense. if you go out and push it right out the door, your body is going to start using up the precious glycogen. if you reeeeeeaaally take care to warm it up slow, and warm it up right, your body will burn fat much more efficiently. i start every run with 2 miles usually 8:30 or 9 minute pace and with a heart rate just creeping in the 120s. of all the things i do, i think this is my one best "secret". i secretly think that this is why i haven't bonked in marathons and can feel strong until the end. because my body knows how to burn the fat and save a little glycogen.
3) after starting slow, unless your training plan says to run fast, keep running slow and easy!!! i log lots and lots and lots of miles just jogging along. i'd say that 80% of the miles I log are with my heartrate in the low 130s or below (65-70% of my max heartrate).
4) when the plan says to pick it up, PICK IT UP! Dirk gives me run workouts that are short in duration (the max I hit before Kona last year was 25 minutes at "tempo" pace or 6X1000 on the track.) BUT, when i run these, i am running pretty hard. my tempo is always at half marathon heart rate or sometimes faster, and this tempo pace is now down in the low 6's. so, i know you've heard it, but when it says go fast, go fast! if not, GO SLOW!!!
5) so by now you probably get the idea that i am running mostly slow (for me) and sometimes fast (for me). to give you a better idea, i actually spend ZERO percent of my running time AT ironman pace. My last ironman pace was 7:15 min/miles. i really never run this pace. okay, maybe 3% of the time, on a rare time i am chasing james because i don't want to run alone and he is running that pace. but i just never set out to run that pace. i hear about a lot of people running xx miles at ironman race pace or holding xx pace for their long run.. not that this is bad, it is just something i never do. i am either running slower or faster. i also believe that by keeping my pace in check on easy runs, and only running hard when called for, i am helping to prevent injury.
6) just because it is a track workout, doesn't mean you need to do it on the track. i have been to the track 1 time since january. i usually opt for using my garmin on the road or heading to the treadmill...which brings me to #7
7) embrace the treadmill! i love the treadmill because you can lock it in and make yourself hit paces that are tough on the road. i ALSO think it is highly beneficial for training because you can practice very high cadence (hello ironman shuffle!) and also good form. also, i think varying the surface you are running on, and going soft on the treadmill is always a good call. (and you can also use the potty and watch MTV videos and HGTV...woot!). i run usually at 1% incline. sometimes i "cheat" and go at .5% incline.
8) run on trails. it's pretty. it's nice on your skeleton, it builds ankle (maybe even core?) stability. i run at least 50% of my miles on trails.
9) collect data. and don't collect data. i alternate between using a Garmin + HR monitor, using a HR monitor only, and using just a watch. From November until February, i used nothing. then, I brought back the tools when the sessions got more speed specific. people who run with me know that i don't obsess about the numbers. i'm one of those people that will always choose to run without a Garmin if i can, because i'd often rather "not know". all i need to know is that i'm putting in the work on a consistent basis.
10) consistency is key. be consistent but not overeager. don't attack every workout. just do it.
lastly, someone asked, " how much do you run?/" i have no idea. luckily in January of this year, james had me start tracking my workouts, so i can actually look back. My guess (and i swear I haven't looked yet!) would be about 32 miles per week over 4 runs...hold please, while i look at my log..ok- average- 34.8 miles per week. i'd say it varies + or - 10 miles per week depending on where Dirk has me in a building cycle.
Usually the schedule looks like this:
- one tempo run (with 12 to 20 minutes at a specific pace)
- one interval run (might be hill sprints, 200s for speed, 1000s for endurance...basically whatever mood D is in)
- one long brick run (75 minutes up to two hours)
- another run (usually a run later in the day on a big bike day 60 to 75 minutes)
- then, there is sometimes an "optional" 45 minute run (that i actually only do about 50% of the time)
you'll notice that there is not always a traditional long run. some of this is because i run both days on the weekend after biking and together those runs add up to long run mileage (usually 18-20 miles over the weekend). sometimes Dirk does have me do a long run, but i have not run more than 2.5 hours since 2008. and usually, not more than 2 hours. the longest I ran before Las Vegas Marathon 2010 was 16 miles. once.
so, that's it.
oh wait, i forgot #11
GUT IT OUT!
...which is what I plan to do this weekend at Oceanside 70.3.