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Entries in Minimalist (5)

Tuesday
Feb142012

Training in full tilt again (and February has become "Treadmill Month")

It has been two weeks since my last post. Sorry about that. February has turned into one BUSY month! By the time I think to post something, it is late and I am either heading for bed (or have fallen asleep on the couch trying to watch TV).

It has been a pretty chilly February. And either because of snow/ice covering the streets or the windchill factor being in the 'teens during my usual 6AM running time, I have been very unmotivated to run outside (which I much prefer). So I have been doing the lion share of my running indoors at LifeTime on the Treadmill. I have tried everything I could think of to avoid boredom: I have watched movies on my iPad; listened to music, podcasts, and audiobooks; run with my buddy Mike for good conversation; and watch the TVs on the walls of the gym. All of these things help greatly, but in the end you are still running in place.

I have run for over 62 miles so far this month, and all but 21 of those miles have been on the Treadmill. That's 41 miles -- the highest amount of TM miles/time I have put in since last summer. My longest TM run -- 10.3 miles -- was done on Feb 12th with Mike. By the end of this month, I will probably add another 12 more TM miles to that number unless the weather improves a bit. I cannot wait until I can return to my regular outdoor running routine.

I did get a few runs done outside, on the Prairie Bike Path this month. One 8.7 mile Long Run with Mike, and just this weekend I was able to run a 4.5 mile run Saturday evening, followed by an 8.5 mile Long Run this afternoon. I really enjoyed those runs, although the run Saturday night was kinda creepy (running on the Path at night with a headlamp was weird with all the noises and did I mention utter DARKNESS!!!!!). Thankfully, the run today at 2:30pm was just the opposite -- sunny and beautiful!!!

From a mileage perspective, the month has been one of my higher ones (and it isn't even over yet).

  • Total miles Week 1: 20.3
  • Total miles Week 2: 14.9
  • Total miles Week 3: 18.3
  • Total miles this week: 8.5 (24 anticipated)
  • Total miles next week: 10 (partial week)
  • Total for February (estimated): 87.5

I have not been doing a lot of Cross Training (XT) this month, and that is something I need to add back into my weekly schedule. Core work and Swimming are going to be my XT of choice for now. As a Trainer told me last week, swimming is a great aerobic activity that can increase your oxygen intake and improve your overall muscle tone, making you a faster runner. It is probably better than strength training alone. Who knows? Maybe getting my swimming form back (I used to swim a lot) might get me interested in participating in a Triathlon one of these days...

My Walk training for the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer started this month. I have been adding a walk day each week for about 4 miles. I plan on adding a Long Walk to my weekly schedule, and I am considering using my new "Instinct" shoes for the long walks. It would serve as a good way to continue my slow ramp-up towards natural running. One thought was to do my Long Run on Saturday for the full distance 'out', and then switch to walking for the 'return trip', Then my Long Run and Long Walk would be the same distance. It would make training a lot longer on that day. And, if I want to do the walk in my "Instinct" shoes, it would require me to bring my Altras in a backpack (not sure I like that idea). I might just have to make Sundays my Long Walk day so I don't have to deal with the shoe change issue.

Speaking of the Altra Running shoes, I have put 7 miles on them so far this month and the results are very promising! I decided to sign up for a 5-session Natural Running class offered by my local running store at the end of March to learn more about adjusting one's running form as a result of wearing Minimalist shoes. I get two Gait Analyses done as part of the class -- one at the beginning and one at the conclusion. It should be very informative! So far, my midfoot strike form seems to be working for me in these shoes, and I haven't experienced any pain or discomfort. So I must be doing something right.

I was talking with the Team Captain for my AVON Walk team yesterday afternoon and she mentioned to me that her husband has a Hydration Pack that he never uses, and would I be interested in using it for our Walk (39.3 miles) in June. I have never used a Camelback or anything like that before, so I said "Sure!". I am hoping to do training runs with it to see how it feels to wear one with a Litre of water. Maybe this will be a new piece of running/walking gear for me. I will let you know.

Last week, my Disney Shadow Box arrived. I was so excited! I ordered it during the Expo at the Disney Marathon Weekend. They get your race information from Disney and then create this very nice commemorative shadow box with your name, your medal (you get a second medal just for the display), your finish time, and a photo that you provide. I figured since this was my first endurance race, I would get something special. I love it! I hope I can get something similar for my first Marathon in October.

Well, I think that is about it for now. I can't allow myself a two-week delay between postings -- I forget too many things! So I promise to be more intentional in the future.

Tuesday
Feb072012

Hey! That guy's switching shoes at the Treadmill...

This morning was a training run 'with a twist'. I went to the gym to do my run because today was going to be another "minimalist' day. In order to do this, I had to run two separate runs. So I brought my Saucony shoes with me to the TM as I began Run #1 wearing the Altras. In keeping with the direction to 'ramp-up' slowly with Minimalist shoes, I chose to run for only 1.4 miles.

I walked for 1/4 mile and then sped up to a 11:00/pace for 1.14 miles. It was a pretty cool run albeit a short one. The shoes fit snugly around the middle and rear of the feet, but the larger toebox provides a lot of room for my toes. There is some cushioning provided by the pad in the shoes, and so far, it appears to be sufficient, but it is definitely a lot less than the feeling in my Sauconys.

My running form is a little different when I run in the Altras. I feel like I am standing up straighter. And I am definitely mid-striking; I can feel the extra bounce in my landings and push-offs. A few hours after the run, I could feel a little tightening in my big toes which I assume was due to them being more involved in my stride. I like the feeling of being more nimble on my feet.

When I reached a mile, I had gone as far as I had intended for this second run in the Altras. So I stopped the TM, sat down on it and started to switch to the other pair of shoes. I can only imagine what people were thinking! Hahaha! "Hey, that guy's changing his shoes on the Treadmill! Why the heck would he be changing shoes? That dude is weird!" LOL!

Then I ran in my regular Saucony shoes for another 3 miles. But for this run, I decided to make it a modified interval workout -- after each mile, I increased my pace by 20-30 seconds/mile. I started at an 10:54/mm pace. Then for the next mile, I ran at a 10:40/mm pace. For the last mile, I sped up to a 10:10/mm pace. I wanted to go another mile at 9:45/mm but I ran out of time -- I had to get showered and head into the office.

So, it wasn't the fastest set of intervals I have run (usually I run 9:30/mm intervals), but I enjoyed the run (especially the Altras), and sometimes enjoying a run is just as important as pushing yourself. Doing the whole "minimal shoe-to-standard shoe crossover" made a big change in my normal routine. I like to run outside but until I get acclimated to these new shoes, I think I will be spending Tuesdays at the gym.

Hopefully, I will be able to start running 5K and longer runs in the Altras in early March. In fact, it might be cool to run the Penguin in the Park 5K on March 24 in the Altras and see how they perform at race pace. After that, maybe a Long Run.