Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lesson Learned, Many More To Come, and Hitting 2000km

I have been running slow and steady for just over a year now, and things have gone well all things considered. I have not missed many training runs due to injury, but I haven't exactly gone very fast when it came to the two races that I did enter in 2010 (not including the one I ran with Owen, which was the most fun, but not exactly a goal race).My goal was to stay healthy, and this mission has been accomplished. But a secondary purpose behind all that slow plodding was to go into 2011 strong enough to pick up the pace in training and, hopefully, see a nice big fat BQ at the end of it all.

With all that being said I did not exactly know how to do it. I was basically just going to start running at a faster pace. Easier said than done...

So it came as a surprise, and not without a sense of irony, that a painful ankle revealed to me the wonders of stride rate. This week that is what I focused on and the results have been amazing. My short runs averaged 5:07/km, 5:09/km, and 5:09/km for pace (5km, 5.5km, and 6km respectively, done on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday).

Then the magnificent "Tah-Dah!" moment came yesterday when I ventured out for what turned out to be my long run for the week. The weather forecast called for rain on Sunday and so I decided that I would do my longest run of the week a day early. I went out in the early afternoon and the weather was perfect: Sunny, not too cold, not windy at all. As in the first three runs of the week I just focused on my stride rate and tried to hit 90 steps with each foot per minute (for the optimum rate of 180 steps per minute total). Although I am still not hitting that number I am able to average 85 steps per minute. I have much to learn, mind you, and a long way to go to improve my form and breathing to match the new faster turnover, but I can't argue with the results.

The long run ended up being 15km and my average pace was 4:55/km! For me that's pretty much my half-marathon race pace, and it certainly did NOT feel like I was racing. Until I hit the hills coming out of the Don Valley I was averaging 4:51/km and holding it quite comfortably despite a slightly elevated heart rate. To be able to run that fast on a training run of that distance felt very rewarding indeed.

Also, with that long run my annual mileage passed the 2000km mark!

Today I went out for a short 5km jog in the rain, though it was quite dry while I was running. It was much slower than the other runs this week, on purpose. It was still faster than what has been my "normal", but I was able to hold back a bit by slowing down my stride rate to about 80 steps per minute.

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Blogger Ace said...

Amazingness! Congrats on the mileage number (do they call it kilometerage up North? :)) and the pacing success. You inspired me to get to work on the stride numbers.

word verification of the day: angst -- lol

November 15, 2010 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Vava said...

Awesome word verification! I have a family member telling me my knees are shot (or will soon be) as a result of my mileage (which we both know is modest at best), and angst is exactly what I feel when I hear the naysayers...


November 15, 2010 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Nitmos said...

Wow, 2000km! You will beat me for the year even if you don't run another mile. Well done.

November 16, 2010 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Nelly said...

I saw that Geb is not going to retire after all! So excited to hopefully see him run in London in 2012, he is the man!

November 17, 2010 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Andrew is getting fit said...

That's a fantastic achievement! Well done.

How are you counting your stride rate?

November 18, 2010 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Vava said...

Thanks for the comment and the question! I count how many times one foot hits the ground for one minute and aim for 90 steps.

November 18, 2010 at 3:21 PM  

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