Monday, March 28, 2011

When in doubt...

i could write a post about how my weekend of workouts (well, bike workouts) was terrible. i mean reeeeaaallly bad. just slow and in a total slump. my HR never wanted to creep out of the 120s and my legs were just done i think. but, anyway, this post is not going to be about that! i hope that i can shake whatever fatigue, or whatever, and come out the other end fresh and ready to race Oceanside 70.3 on Saturday. OPERATION TAPER in FULL EFFECT. i must admit, it's hard riding the balance between wanting to train for that Ironman that is in less than 8 weeks, and wanting to taper properly for the half next weekend. SURE, the IM is my "A" race, but Oceanside 70.3 is my hometown race and i'd be lying if i said that even though it's a "B" race on the calendar, it is a total "A" race in my head. despite feeling like crap, i'm REALLY excited. this race was magical for me last year and i can't wait for the "cocktail party" on the run!

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
1) run with other people. run with people faster than you. run with people SLOWER than you. running with good friends is better than any therapy session. even if your friend has a different workout- warm up together, do your own speed part, and then cool down together. time flies!

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

11) on race day...when in doubt....GUT IT OUT!
...which is what I plan to do this weekend at Oceanside 70.3.

37 comments:

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

Great blog and best of luck to you this weekend. Thanks for sharing your secrets.

Jill Costantino said...

Nice fist pump! You both are going to ROCK this weekend. Love the running blog post. I totally would've thought you put in more mileage than 34 miles avg per week. I think you are SUPER Beth and have SUPER running powers - that should be #12.
Lay it down out there Lady:)))

mtanner said...

You rock!

Beth said...

Great advice!!! Best of luck this weekend. I hope the legs come around by Saturday but either way I know you will be awesome at Oceanside!! I'm cheering for you guys! :)

Ray said...

Great post, Love the list. It's true, go EASY or go HARD works well, but it's hard for a lot of athletes to follow. Too many find themselves somewhere in the middle all the time.

Christi said...

Thanks for all the great tips!

Dave Jewell said...

Exceptionally well written. I think and I don't fully understand that running scares people. You put running into something easy to understand. Well said.

Morgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Running Bums said...

Haha a lot of this sounds very familiar (not saying I'm an expert:)' but there are many ways to improve your running and they are not usually in the long run/marathon pace box people think. Great to read about you being you. Listening to your body is the way! Good luck this weekend:) I know you will rock!

Teresa said...

I love how you just summed it all up and told it how it is! We can all benefit from this superb post!

Thanks Beth and we will be cheering loud for you at Oceanside!

tn

Matt said...

great post! A lot of great advice, I think alot of peeps have a hard time running slow. See ya on the course this weekend, your gonna kill it!

Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

great post! So glad you linked to your race report for last year. I'm doing Oceanside on Sat, and don't know much about the course except the bike is hard so it was great reading your view of it!

Good luck to you this weekend!

busy mama said...

Great post! Good luck for Oceanside

MissFancyPants said...

This is such a great post. I have been trying to make myself go slower in the beginning of long runs and constantly burn myself out at the end. I also like the fact of not doing a long run once versus doing two over the weekend. breaking it up is great advice. Thx! Good luck next week!

havetotri said...

Thanks for posting your "secrets". I'm always looking for advice from seasoned athletes like yourself! They're very helpful for those just starting out!

RR said...

Really good advice! Good luck this weekend!!

Ryan Denner said...

Good stuff... Thanks for sharing beth!

Yasi said...

Beth- that was perfect. You always seem to have the greatest posts just when I need them! Thank you!

Running and living said...

I love this! I am working on doing my easy runs easier, and so I don;t bring the Garmin anymore. Thanks, Beth and good luck at Oceanside!

Alicia said...

I've been watching your blog for a while just never commented....until now. Awesome post. Great advice from a stellar runner. Thanks for sharing. Good luck this weekend.

rr said...

You are going to kill it at Oceanside - you got all the shitty out on the bike this weekend.

I would like to request a 1:25 run, please. Wish I was there to cheer you on in my pink luluvest. Nab your slot so I can make my season focus running with you at Kona.

I am a HUGE believer in the slow warm up! The slower the warm up, it seems the better the workout/race goes for me.

Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! This gives me hope that I will continue to get speedier b/c I'm following all these tips this year.

I have so many friends that run "fast" every single time they run, and they are always injured, and when it comes to race day, I end up running faster than them. They don't understand how I can do that when the majority of my runs are "slow."

Thanks for working hard and always being an inspiration!!

Laura said...

Love following your blog. I've been known to laugh aloud on several occasions. Great advice - somethings I've been attempting to follow for some time now and think it's time I just do!

Good luck at Oceanside!

bex said...

that was AWESOME, beth!! I follow several of those already and think I am going to embrace a few more :D

kristinschleicher said...

Thanks for sharing! Running 2:59 with a 16 mile long run is phenomenal. I'm almost a little sad though... because as much as I want to get better at triathlon, I don't think I would be very happy cutting back the running. I'm more curious what your biking schedule looks like (and how you built up to it), if you're allowed to say.

Julie said...

Great post and good luck this weekend!!

idropboys said...

Thansk for sharing your wisdom! Totally look forward to seeing you out there this weekend at O'side.

kerrie said...

you need to move here or i may have to move there just so we can run together...i couldn't have said it better myself!! i rarely run over two hours and i'm a big fan of running slow, especially when warming up...and i probably average around 30 mpw too(something i'm always embarrassed to admit cause it's not that impressive). you are going to crush it this weekend - i want better than 1:25 or else you're sandbagging!!!

Shawn and Tracy said...

Love this post...have a great race this weekend and enjoy! I'll be screaming for you 2 :-)
Tracy

SHERRY said...

This is a fantastic post. Thank you for being so candid with your training. Lots of good luck wishes coming your way this weekend!

ali said...

Great read and glad to hear you run that much, no need for more. Have a great race:))!!

SSB said...

great post. I have a couple friends I train with and we make fun of other people we train with by saying "congratulations, you just won the warmup!" And then we beat them in the workout and races.

Good luck this weekend.

Libby said...

you are going to kick butt this weekend and your legs will recover just in time! mine felt horrible the week before my half- I could barely walk up the stairs- and I had a GREAT race. can't wait to see you kick ass!
I LOVE the rules too. I'm learning to run by similar rules and you know what? you are totally right!! I'm so excited that I can run at lower heart rates now and I do enjoy running slow now. totally 100% agreed!!!

Brett said...

...I think we have a future coach in the making...

A trait of someone successful is being able to internalize things they learn, accept constructive criticism, be willing to listen and try things differently, and always try to do better. I can see all of those in this post. What a great read.

Bria said...

I love this post. I am trying to incorporate a lot of those suggestions into my training, especially since coming back off an injury -- HR is highhh, and this post reminded me of the patience I need now to get the dividend later. Thnx.

Wassdoc said...

Thanks for the tips! Congrats on 1st female at Oceanside!

R. said...

Nice job at Oceanside this weekend!! I'll be signing up next year for it as my first half IM. While you're in my age group, you're about twice as fast as I am in each sport. Hah! It's nice to have a healthy role model to inspire me to work harder! I'm determined to work my way up to that podium. Thanks for the inspiration and excellent advice!