Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stride, Pace, Speed

Running for another 10K today I was vexed by my stride. I was running well, but my stride needed adjustment throughout the course of the run. Eric from The Balanced Athlete told me that to run as a way of life requires that I re-learn how to run. I'm slowly altering my pace to incorporate his tips:
  • Increase your rate (faster steps)
  • don't reach with your foot, place it underneath you
  • Pull yourself - don't strike the front foot down hard
  • Stand up straight - ears over shoulders
  • Move elbows back
Eric showed me from the treadmill that following these steps decreases the impact to joints and keeps your neck and back from tightening from bad posture. I saw him run, I heard the treadmill hum a constant tone. My time on the treadmill punctuated each stride with a change in the machine's pitch quite notably. When I first attempted to put this lessen into practice I didn't do so well - I followed his directions and shot to 8mph with my heart rate flirting with the top side of VO2max.

The past few days I've been slowly attempting to include the techniques to my workouts. I haven't got it completely down yet, but when I notice I am either slowing or my heart rate is climbing I switch to this mode I pick up speed and my heart rate slows - but my legs get tired quickly as it's not a "natural" gait. I'm thinking that I should be able to move over to this new mode over time.

The 10K race is fast approaching, ( December 12th!) and although today's 10K run was not as fast as I would like, I do have some hope to putting in a better time, today's run was after a couple of hours of working in the yard. I'm hoping that with diet and a couple of days down-time before the race I'll do much better than a 1:08 10K run.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cardio and you!

I've been hearing a lot of buzz words dealing with heart rate and exercise terms like VO2max, Target rate, aerobic, anaerobic, etc. The terms are vague and ominous sounding, but without a decoder I was not understanding them beyond knowing that target rate is best for fat burning. In this post I hope to remedy that. Click on the chart below, find your age across the top and directly below will be your heart rates associated with the various "buzzword" zones

Lets take it from the top down VO2Max this is where your body can no longer provide the muscles with the required oxygen to metabolize nutrients that provide energy. You can keep this rate for a while, but you will be feeling it in a day or two!

Next up is the almost as hardcore, but infinitely more sustainable Anaerobic zone - you still are running an oxygen deficit but you can keep this up for quite some time. While in the anaerobic range don't plan on holding long drawn out conversations or singing - your lungs have better things to do - you will also be feeling this the next day, but it's not too bad, once you get used to it.

I will combine aerobic and weight control zones into the same description - this is where your body burns fat most efficiently. it is also where you can actually hold conversations and concentration on running is not as essential.

The last zone Moderate I can only think that you can get here via walking to the fridge for pumpkin pie - to increase the burn of that workout pile the whipped cream high!

I spend most of my workouts in the anaerobic range. I rarely hit VO2max except when doing stairs or running while listening to Pantera. All this information and more can be found on wikipedia, I just thought I'd save the reader (and myself) additional hassle by posting it here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Into the wind

"In the main Puget Sound area and lower Chehalis Valley, a Wind Advisory is up again with potential gusts to 40-45 mph, maybe a few to 50 mph this evening."

- Snipped from KOMONEWS.COM's forecast

I run a 2.6 mile north/south course in the Auburn/Kent valley. Todays run came as a low pressure system was moving across Washington. Correspondingly the wind was out of the south and strong there was no rain besides a spritz at the end but the wind really affected my time!

Note the drop off in speed around the half way mark - yet my heart rate actually went up. Wind resistance made for a great return leg workout and although many times I sunk below 5mph I was working it!

The Storms Just Keep Coming!

4 "storms" in 5 days is quite unusual for Washington. Now northwest storms are not usually thought of as especially impressive in terms of wide spread physical destruction. Our mountain ranges help to break up systems for the most part and systems tend to move through quickly. That said we do have lots of power outages, fallen trees and chaos. usually the morning after you'll notice debris strewn about in the streets - mostly leaves, branches, pine needles.

Previously, I would spend my time inside during the storms and play video games or watch movies, which I still do, but now I also grab my gear, head out into it and go running. Running in storms is a mixed bag - wind can be a friend or foe, rain is the same story. Running with the wind to your back can impart a feeling of being pushed along, but I have found that cooling suffers. I'm sure this is not scientific, but I feel running into the wind is better at cooling. Running into the wind does feel like more work, but mix some rain up with it and it's very refreshing.

That's my plan for today, I'm hoping to hit interurban around 3:15-3:30 and do either 5.2 or 6.3 miles - not sure which, all depends on how the legs feel. I do know that the choice of music will help dictate how long of a run. I'm thinking I'll be listening to the World of Warcraft soundtrack as the music is made to accompany long journeys. I have my gear in the truck - I'll change before I leave work to save daylight.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Saw the Domain, had to grab it!

10k in the rear-view!

Besides the new domain, much has been happening in my life of running. The rain continues to fall although last Saturday was cold and partly cloudy when I started the run the temps were just above freezing - luckily I have long "Tech" pants and a long "Tech" shirt - which I layered a "tech" T-shirt over the top.

I'm not quite sure why folks call them "Tech gear" but I guess there is still a stigma attached to the word "Polyester". Polyester does a great job of wicking away moisture where cotton soaks it up and stays wet

Running in the rain is easy, running in the cold take a little getting used to. I convinced my nose about two miles into my run that it really did not need to run as well. Around the same time my hands started warming up as well. the run felt great and I set a personal best distance of 6.47 miles - over a 10K (6.24m) which was one of my goals now achieved! Since I was all puffed up about reaching 10 Km I registered for the "Kent Christmas Rush 10K" my goal is to finish, not sure if it will be last or not, but finishing will be a win in my book!

No run Monday, Metal Tuesday

Business kept me from running Monday, I really look forward to rain-running now and Monday would have been perfect - warm temperatures in front of a system blowing through and pretty good rainfall. Yesterday the temps dropped to 45 degrees and the precipitation waited until about half-way through the run. I recently found that my Blackberry 8310's headfone jack is not meant for a typical celphone headphone but for media player ear buds. Yesterday I packed my 1G microSD card with all the music it could fit. and decided to listen to different music. I chose Pantera for the workout. Normally I'm one for jazz/blues but in my past have been known to head-bang on occasion (Actually attended a Pantera concert in the mid 90's) Upon reflection I should not have been suprised at the affect it had on my workout my heart rate and speed were both up and I completed the 5.2 miles at a best average speed of 6mph . When I was about a quarter mile from finishing the run the skies broke loose. the rain was coming down - a squall line was passing overhead and it was dumping. Even with the temps in the mid 40s I was not cold at all.