Training Log – Week 1 Day 1

Today marks the first week of my training for Wings for life World Run. I started training in December as well, but as they say, if you do too much too soon, you’ll end up hurting yourself, specially in running. I did the same and ended up with a sprained ankle which lasted three weeks or so. This time, I am starting with a better base (having running around 20 kilometers a week accompanied with occasional cycling and other exercises). I am following the intermediate half-marathon training plan of Coach Jenny Hadfield which is quite a standard running program comprising of four runs and two cross/strength training sessions a week.

For day 1, I did a 45 minute steady run with occasional pick-ups or boosts during the run. That means raising your speed to a notch higher and holding it for some 30-45 seconds. It is exciting and at the same time, not uncomfortable. This is better understandable with the following pace graph of my run:

pickups

During the first 10 minutes, I felt a bit of pain in my right calf and left heel. When I stopped at a traffic signal after the first pick-up and continued thereafter, the pain subsided for the rest of the run, so probably this shouldn’t be a problem. Also, after the run, I stretched my muscles to make sure that I don’t get this kind of pain later during the week. Other than that, I just tried to be in the moment during the entire run and avoided the useless inner chatter of the mind. Overall,  I ran for 8.5k which I consider a good pace and I aim to build up on it. The entire run can be found here in case you’re curious:

https://www.strava.com/activities/889649293/embed/f2daffb72c40b793fd8891188736066806612cca

Advertisements

Running Log – 28 Feb 2017

Distance: 2.7k

Time: 0:18:47

Course: Grass

I went to the gym in the evening and found it overcrowded. This number of people really gets me, so I thought of heading out for a run once I get back home, I seek solitude. I was reading “Running with the Kenyans” on the train and it pumped me up further.

I didn’t plan this run, but I ended up doing a bit of speed work. I paced around the ground (I think the ground is around 350-400m). So I did one loop fast, half loop slow followed by a half loop fast and a half loop slow and finally with one final fast loop. My cousin was with me and she is really lazy so I challenged her to sprints. I didn’t think she would want to run so I tricked her into it. I asked her to run halfway back and forth across the ground and I’ll do all the way through back and forth, i.e. twice her distance. Well, she did beat me. Her time was 28 seconds and mine was 32. Maybe she would try another time too!

https://www.strava.com/activities/882444618/embed/f902a95c435072a7df1401f750be0b7f18ccd03d

(Read it on MultiEMOtions Android App)

Lessons I learnt from my second half marathon

I ran my first half marathon in June, 2016 in Taipei, Taiwan. I planned to ran my second HM in September in New Delhi but it got postponed (and fortunately I was having a fungal infection in my big toe so I won’t run that either) later on, I registered for a half marathon in Mussoorie, India in November. Mussoorie is one of the hottest tourist destination in India (the organiser of this race was an American, you get an idea?). It is usually cold in Mussoorie and a November morning was expected to be around 10 degrees. This HM left me crushed. It made me rethink over a lot of things. I hope you would learn from my mistakes (if you are training for any race).

1: Have a relaxed day before the run: The race was scheduled on Nov. 6th and I reached Mussoorie on the morning of Nov. 5th. After reaching this beautiful hill station, I planned to go to some places on the same day as it would be too tiring for me to do anything after the race the next day. Being on a tight budget, the only means for me to get around the town was using my feet. Before I could realise, I had already walked around 15k by the night when I got back to my hotel. My legs were tired though I got back in time, but it mattered the next day. I felt a lot tired than I expected throughout the run.

2: Train in a similar condition: I was well aware of the fact that the race would be in a cold and hilly course. I used to train in my hometown, which was a little less cold than Mussoorie, but I used to start my training at 6 AM to feel the same amount of cold (at least that’s what I thought). However, I could never mimic the hilly roads of Mussoorie. Frank Shorter said “Hill training is speed work in disguise” so I tried it the other way around but it didn’t work for me. I did work on my speed training thinking that it would help me to charge up and down hills but it really didn’t. I was huffing and puffing on the way up, I walked a LOT of terrains, my breath was shorter and my legs felt heavy. However, my downhill was good, my core was able to sustain that. But without having included any hills sessions, I really suffered in the race.

3: Do not walk (if you didn’t plan beforehand): Before the race, I didn’t plan to walk any part of the race. Some people, however, strategize walk-run kind of sessions during a race which they follow righteously and it works for them, I didn’t plan that. I was meant to run the whole course, no matter how slow, but run. And I gave up on this idea during the run. My mind was not focused enough, I lacked mental strength. I realised how much dedication you need on such terrains. I started to walk for 30 sec, which went on to become 45 and soon enough, almost 90. I felt terrible after the race. I was ashamed of my performance. I ran a 2:20 (before the race I thought I could beat my first HM time which was 1:57, and look where I stood).

Trying not to be too harsh on myself, but this race taught me a lot about how dedicated I should be in my training, how crucial it is to plan your training. Though I got some really good pictures of mine in which I could be seen smiling but that is just pain in disguise 😀

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you are reading this, and have a similar story or anything to suggest, I’d love to hear it.

Running Log – 22 Feb 2017

Distance: 3.0k

Time: 0:20:00

Course: Track

Run with sunshine @ 5:30PM. It went a little hotter than expected. Slow run followed by a 400m fast-paced lap. That last lap was on a pace of ~ 4 min/km and I was wondering if I ever have to finish a lap in under one minute, that would require an average pace of 2:30 min/km. I can not even imagine that right now, but it would be AWESOME to be able to do that.

capture

(Read it on MultiEMOtions Android App)

A new speed workout

Like I mentioned in my previous post about taking control of the breath while running no matter if its a slow or fast run. When you’re slower, you can force yourself easier to control the breath and experiment your running but when you take your running up a notch, it tends to become difficult. At higher speeds, there is more rigorous breathing (you have felt that before, right?) and that becomes a bit difficult to control. You can’t say no to a breath when you are panting, it has to come in and get out.

So, this week in my speed training, instead of going for a total of 5 sets of (2 minute fast and 3 minute slow), I changed it to 4 sets of (1 minute fast and 45 seconds slow/walk rather). So, after getting warmed up for about ten minutes, I did these 4 sets. And what I observed was. I could handle my breathing just fine while I was running and during recovery, I was gasping for breath. Just before the end of every recovery period, I thought to myself that I won’t be able to run fast now, given that I am breathing like a crazy animal here. But, once my feet started their way, that abnormal breathing pattern fades away automatically and it gets easier to run faster than to recover on a slow pace.

After I was through this, I warmed down for 5 more minutes and did these 4 sets again! God, that was a wonderful workout! I never knew I could handle speed so well and simultaneously recover in that short time. Of course there was a bit of fluctuation in the speeds during the fast pace zones but nevertheless, I didn’t skip any of the set. And I am so very happy about it.

Take a deep breath

Whatever follows in this post is extracted from this beautiful book called “The art of running faster” by Goater and Melvin. I have tried to implement a lot of things mentioned in this book and I have seen changes in my running once I implemented them. So, here in this chapter titled take a deep breath, I was reading about the relation of breathing with running. Of course we breath while we run, some even pant. It is the controlled breathing that could make your runs more efficient.

Run tall and relaxed. One needs to master the skill of effective breathing.

It was said that try to maintain an even balance of number of steps with the inhaling and exhales. So it could be two/three/four steps for every inhale as well as for every exhale. While the numbers are unmatched, you’re not at your best. And it indeed works well!

In my last workout, which was supposed to be mostly a steady run with occasional boosts/pick-ups, my focus for most of the time was on my breathing. I was breathing deeply and with more control. I was trying to impose this control because I know that my natural running could be with uncontrolled or uneven breathing. I wanted to test this theory. Most of the times, I ran with three or four steps for every inhale/exhale and for the time I was sprinting, I could not care to count it because my focus was on to cover as much as ground as possible with the cruising speeds I wanted to achieve.

To increase the lung capacity, it is important to be able to breath deeply, no matter you are running fast or slow.

I am still in the process of learning how to run, how to run faster and more efficiently. These are some of the points that I have implemented so far in my run, based on this book:

  1. Cadence is very important. For those who don’t know what it is, it is how fast you switch between your legs i.e. the speed of your legs or the number of steps per second, you can say. I try to maintain a good cadence and while uphill running, I (try to) maintain the same cadence with shorter strides (stride is the length of your single step, these two things together determine your speed). While I want to outrun someone who is at a same pace as of mine, I increase my cadence accompanied with a slightly shorter stride and when i outrun that person, I try to keep the same cadence with the original stride I was running at.
  2. Arms are your acceleration pedal. The faster you can move your arms, the faster you’ll be able to run. I have personally experienced it every single time I am on the track. To increase my cadence, I never move my legs faster, I start to move my arms faster and the legs go along by themselves.

These were some of the noticeable changes that I experienced while practicing my runs. If you have any of yours or anything else, feel free to share them here.