Strides And Drills
The other day, Adam alerted me to a video on Diagonals. I asked him what was so special about them, it looked like strides to me and he replied “It’s strides, basically, but with continual running.” To which I responded, “Isn’t that how you’re supposed to do strides?” Um…no.
Apparently, I’ve been doing strides wrong from the get-go. What I understood as “full recovery between” I always thought meant easy running till your heart settles down so I’d start them a couple miles from the end of my run, doing them in a string as I made my way home, with normal easy pace between. But in reality, you’re supposed to walk or shuffle between them, as in FULL full recovery. I’d been making them somewhat aerobic and they shouldn’t be. Not a major loss, since the Diagonals workout is good enough for Kenyans, it’s good enough for me, but I’m going to do them properly from this point on.
Aside from that, today was pretty interesting as I did something I’ve avoided for 3 years…drills. It’s another thing Coach Adam/A Muse has been trying to get me to do but I’d been resisting. I knew full well I could benefit from them but the things that kept me from doing them were:
1. Back in 2008 I tried some when I had a bad ankle and stupid me didn’t realize all that bouncing (they’re pretty much all ankle-centric) would make it worse so I ended up with a long-term ankle hurty thing. Kinda scared me about doing them again.
2. Being a late-starter with nobody ever showing me what “real” runners do, I didn’t trust myself to do them correctly
3. I was not thrilled with looking like a crazy idiot in the park
#1 is not a useable excuse anymore and for #2, I watched a few videos several times and practiced in my apartment to get the idea of them and for #3, I finally figured out an excellent place to do them, not in the midst of the park and only .5mi from home (and once I move, it’ll be only a block away) on a flat patch of grass. No more excuses.
So as today’s 17-miler came to a close, I reached the place I’d chosen, paused the Garmin and did 2 skipping, 2 high knees and 2 butt kicks plus 3 strides. I felt quite accomplished afterwards and plan on doing them a couple times a week, eventually expanding my repertoire, as well. Here are a few videos if you’re interested: Lauren Fleshman, Pete Magill, Jabari Pride and there are tons more on YouTube besides these.
A Strange Speed Workout
I almost published an entire post on yesterday’s workout, complete with dark, depressing thoughts of how much I suck. But I’m totally over it. I’m great. Life is good.
It was my first real speed session in many, many months, so I wasn’t expecting a lot and it probably didn’t help that the previous day was a miserably-humid 15-miler that ended with me counting down the final miles home. I was nervous about the session (6x½ miles w/2min rec’s) but still, I figured I’d come close to a 5k pace target. But no. Much to my chagrin, I was stuck around 10k pace and could not go faster! After 4 reps, I switched over to 4 x ¼mi with 1min rec’s in hopes the shorter distance would help me speed up but alas, it did not.
It was 76 degrees, so that would have been a slowdown factor, and maybe the previous day’s 15-miler didn’t help, but excuses aside, it was supremely disappointing. Only a few weeks previously, before the achilles/knee interruption, my speed had dropped on those on/offs to where I was hitting 5k pace and faster, and now once again I seemed to be missing the 5K gear.
But here’s the good news: Yesterday afternoon, while feeling loserish and weirded out about it, I went back in my logs and realized that even if “fast” is eluding me right now, my heart rate improvement is kind of astounding…but weird.
In all the 800s I used to do, (including 2 sessions I did a year ago in similar conditions at the same pace as yesterday) I always averaged a heart rate around 181 and maxed around 191 – that’s my usual interval HR range. Yesterday? I averaged 169 and maxed at 177. We’re talking a 12-14bpm difference. In fact, the highest I’ve been able to get my HR this whole season is 181 and that was once. So I’m simultaneously appreciative and weirded out, because it’s just plain strange.
So while it’s hugely aggravating that I’m unable to break through to that higher HR zone (I mean really, isn’t it weird?) instead of worrying about it as I did yesterday and wondering if I somehow ruined the way my heart works because of all that easy running, today I’m sane again and think that all I need are a couple more weeks of intervals and tempos and that missing 5k gear will be mine. If nothing else, this is certainly an interesting situation.