Fixing a strength deficiency

5.77 mi | 8:45 avg pace | 198 avg power | Zone 1C

It’s been on my mind for months since making a full recovery from whatever right knee issue I had over the summer.

I couldn’t quite pinpoint it but something was off. Initially it was pretty obvious my right leg wasn’t quite as strong as the left. Makes sense since that was the problem leg I had to deal with.

Over time, it got better. But not all the way.

I just couldn’t quite figure out if it was my hip, glute, knee or what.

And then I implemented core work on a daily basis and things improved to a certain point. Especially when I hit the treadmill and as we were easing into training. I felt no soreness or pain or anything like that, I just felt the occasional imbalance during a run.

All along I’ve wondered, where is my raw speed? It seems like I’ve had to work harder to hit the speeds I want to, like I’m compensating on one side or something. Either way, my lungs haven’t held me back. It’s always felt like my legs.

Well, to make a long story a bit shorter, today I had a moment where I think I finally figured out why I’m not pumping out speed like I expect to.

It was an “oh shit” moment. I was going up a small undulation in the terrain and I realized how choppy my stride got and in particular how I was having to make up for a weaker right leg/hip/glute/whatever and my left side felt completely unrestricted.

Then as the run went on, any time I went uphill (maybe a bit of a stretch to say hill with the route I hit up on lunch but you get the drift) it was the same story. My right knee was not driving with the same intensity as the left.

Even toward the end of the run as I was on flat terrain I noticed I couldn’t drive my right knee/leg with the same force as my left. In other words, I felt no restrictions on the left side but plenty restricted on the right.

As I finished up and walked toward my destination to get cleaned up, I realized that I sometimes hear the sound of my foot scrape the ground and it’s always my right foot.

The conclusion: a definitive strength deficiency on the right side.

The mystery: is it my hip? is my glute? is it my lack of flexibility on that side?

The solution moving forward: Hip strengthening exercises. In addition to my core work, I will add in hip strengthening work (which will replace most of my night trainer cycling for a bit). I started a routine tonight that I really liked. I’m terrible with exercise names so I won’t attempt to list my routine of moves but rest assured, it worked my hips more than Shakira’s “Hips don’t lie” ever could.

I’m excited to correct this. It was definitely more pronounced on my recent outdoor runs. I thought to myself today “imagine how good my stride would feel if both legs had no restrictions like my left?” Maybe that’s where my raw speed went. It’s hiding for a bit but I’m about to find it.

Up next: I’m about to step in the BOD POD. You’ll find out what that means soon.

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Glad that worked out

Photo Nov 25, 2 16 21 PM

Before today’s long run, I couldn’t decide what the heck to do.

I took my son with me to the grocery store and decided to get the usual Sunday errand done a day ahead of time (we were low on stuff anyways). As we drove back, it was raining and seemed windy out.

I had a short window to put the groceries away before my mother-in-law would be over to watch my son while I went on my long run. In a sense, this was a good thing because it didn’t give me time to overthink the situation.

My options were to either deal with the conditions or hit up Crunch Fitness (like last week) and do my long run on the treadmill again.

I could tell my mother-in-law didn’t have all morning to stay at my house. I know how to read her well enough to know that it was in my best interest to do whatever would get me back quickest – and that was running right from my house (as opposed to driving, changing gear, etc).

I checked my app and was DELIGHTED to see the rain was going to hold off until the afternoon (so the app said). Also, wind was around 15MPH. Manageable. Anything over 20+mph is where I draw the line.

This excited me. I didn’t want to be on the treadmill again. I really don’t mind the treadmill most days. But if yesterday’s race taught me anything, I came out of it with the resounding feeling that I need to get outdoors a bit more, or as much as I can when the weather isn’t completely awful. Don’t ask me why but that’s how I felt. And it’s not because the treadmill can’t be as effective. But there are some intangibles that outdoor running provides that you’ll never get from being indoors.

Plus, I’ll have ample opportunity to hit the treadmill up in the coming months when the weather really gets tough to run in around here.

Off I went. I had to hit a higher power target range of 205-210W as opposed to the usual 195-200W. Again, this may not sound like a big difference but it is! I had to work a little harder than I’m used to during the easier portion of this run.

After 10 miles I would roll right into 220-225W for 4 miles.

So let me talk about the hills I hit. They weren’t massive, but they were certainly bigger than anything I’ve done on the treadmill lately. They left a bit of a mark on me today but I was thrilled to get some hill work underneath me. My god, I needed it.

In fact, they left me wondering how hard would I have to work to hit my target range of 220W?

I happen to be in pretty good shape at the moment. My average heart rate for this run was 137. It was my fastest long run in a bit. It was weird to me that cardio wise I felt completely fine but I just couldn’t muster up the leg turnover or enough kick to hit my power goals like I wanted to. I wanted it to feel easier in the sense that once I let loose, I should have to hold back and fear overshooting my range as opposed to just barely hitting my mark. It’s something I hope to experience in future long runs.

I should mention that I probably layered up too much. I wore my RUHN jacket and the damn thing is like an oven. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I just have to remember that I don’t need much underneath it.

The ending to this run was pretty cool. So as the last mile approached, I ran into a Christmas themed parade. I saw a mother fucking llama! As I was going down the street, the crowds on the sidewalks were getting larger and I was running out of room to run. Thankfully my turn was approaching.

But they were turning too! The marching band was leading the way so I knew I just had to get ahead of them and that I did. Then, in a neat moment, I realized I had the roads all to myself while there were crowds of people lined up. Kids were shooting words of encouragement to me as I opened up my stride nearing the end of my tempo portion. I thought to myself, fuck yeah. For a moment, I might have looked the part (as a runner who takes this whole running thing way too seriously considering I can’t even qualify for Boston without training like a freakin’ mad man).

It started to rain during the last mile and I was quite happy it was the last mile because it was starting to pick up.

I added a mile onto the planned 14 mile run and planned out my first few things I’d eat because I was HUNGRY!

First thought was a banana because it was easily accessible as I snuck into the house (my son was being rocked for his nap). Quick and easy carbs (plus potassium). Carbs are super important after a long or hard run. Then I had my protein shake. Then a piece of whole grain wheat toast with peanut butter. Mmmmm. It was glorious. Next up was a breakfast burrito with eggs, bacon, veggies on a tortilla. And a coffee!! I can’t tell you how much I fucking love breakfast.

Coach told me my FTP went up by 1, from 250 to 251 and that we would “test some dips in my PDC” by hitting the track this week. This could potentially raise my FTP, he noted. He also liked the looks of my run today. My RE was 1.00 during the tempo segment. I can dig that.

Tomorrow I rest. Well, I may hop on my trainer for a few minutes because I love to do that. I just came from the basement after riding for 22 minutes and my core work.

I’m eagerly anticipating a book that could change my night routine. It’s by Jay Dicharry and it’s called Running Rewired: Reinvent Your Run for Stability, Strength, and Speed. I’m thankful to be in the position where his publisher is sending me the book to review and hopefully have a conversation with Jay at some point. Jay built his international reputation as an expert in biomechanical analysis as Director of the SPEED Clinic at the University of Virginia. He’s very respected and is constantly quoted in many other books. America’s leading endurance sports physical therapist and running coach lays out a program for runners to become stronger, faster, and more durable. “By adding just three, 20-minute rewire workouts a week to your regular training, you will unlock performance you’ve never tapped before.”

And in case you care to see how the run unfolded numbers wise..

2017-11-25 21_29_14-Final Surge - Workout Details

Turkey Trot recap: Finding my inner tiger

 

Year Time Pace Place Age Group
2014 35:27 7:08 428 52/694
2015 37:32 7:33 577 61/735
2016 34:21 6:55 347 49/755
2017 33:40 6:46 286 25/670

Yesterday was an interesting race for me. I was struggling to find the normal competitive drive I have for this one. Keepin’ it 100 (as the kids say), it was a stressful week and my mind was not exactly in race mode until the night before the race.

As you can see, it was my best performance at the Turkey Trot. For brevity’s sake, I did not include every year I’ve done the race. Did I “crush” last year’s performance? Not necessarily but I did improve in every category mentioned above.

My watch also recorded a faster pace of 6:39 per mile. Coach had me at 33:28 for 4.98 miles. I did run a few extra meters after the finish line so I would get credit for 5 miles as this race tends to always end at 4.98ish on my watch. Not sure why I did that, to be honest.

Let’s talk about the beginning: I had to piss! It was so weird. I did my normal duty a half hour before the race which was great news! I didn’t think I’d have to pee again so soon but I did down a coffee in the early AM and a Powerade (for the carbs/electrolytes) on the ride to the race.

But as I lined up near the front (a must-do in a race so large, 14,000+ runners), the sensation hit me 9 minutes before the gun went off. I could have hopped the fence and tried to get my spot back but I said screw it, just deal with it. I was also fully willing to piss myself. But I couldn’t squeeze it out. It occurred to me that maybe it was the belt I was wearing around my waist (to hold my phone) that was really causing this sensation. Oh well.

That messed with me the first mile or so. Thankfully, that feeling went away in a few miles.

I just wasn’t into it mentally at first. Disappointing. I only race so much so it’s not like I’ll get another crack at it soon. I saw my father-in-law ahead of me by just a little bit. But to be completely honest with you – my only concern was to hit my power goal of 250 watts unlike previous years when I was desperate to hunt him down.

I was coming up short of my power goal in the first mile. Really short. It was partially downhill at points which means I had to push even harder just to hit my goal. I eventually got above 240 and closer to 245. No big deal, I’d crush it in the next mile, I thought.

No so fast, Lee Corso. I, once again, struggled to get close to 250.

There is some gradual climbing in miles 2 and 3, my slowest miles of the race. Let’s look at the Final Surge laps.

2017-11-24 20_17_11-Final Surge - Workout Details

After seeing a 7:00 split on my watch, it pissed me off. I had 2 choices – feel sorry for myself or go make these last 2 miles count. Show my Coach what the hell I’m capable of. I can’t stand settling for any less.

It also helped that the last 2 miles have some nice downhill portions. I rode those bad boys for all they were worth. I was coming closer to my power goal but still not hitting it until the last mile.

I finally passed my father-in-law as we approached the last mile. It was on a downhill portion. He was right there with me but I was making my move, passing many others at the same time. I felt strong in that moment. I felt mentally committed to the race.. finally.

Wind and weather was not a factor at all. It was quite nice racing weather at 32 degrees.

The last mile ticked by fairly quickly. I kept pushing and pushing. I heard every single breath of mine loud and clear. I only slowed up a touch on the 2nd to last turn before we could see the finish line. Then as we made the final turn I knew it was time to kick it into a higher gear.

But guess who shows up on my left shoulder? The Melo Man, my freakin’ father-in-law trying to steal one from me.

I couldn’t let it happen. I uttered the words “son of a…” and dug deep. I surged ahead and gave it my all in the last 200-300 meters. It was a rare moment of me digging deeper than I wanted to. I found my inner tiger. It hurt oh so good.

I thanked my father-in-law afterwards for pushing me. I was honestly cool with cruising in but as soon as he did that, I had to respond. It made me think afterwards – I’m still learning how to race the shorter distances. And maybe I had more to give.

My brother has always insisted that I haven’t pushed myself all the way during races. And that I have a lot more to give. Well, I agree with the first part. I wouldn’t say I have a LOT more to give, but I probably have a little more to give. I’ve had moments where I have dug deep, like in this race, just not for long periods of time.

So in the end, it was a PR at this race and distance. I couldn’t get the 2 slower miles out of my head. I was happy with the last mile and that was about it.

I do not know if this changes my zones at all – not yet at least. I’m sure Coach will give me that update after this week is complete.

He informed me my average power was 247 which surprised me a bit. My HPR was 76% and the most important metric, my RE was 1.00. He told me these were solid numbers, congratulated me and said if we can get the RE up to 1.01, then we’re really cookin’.

I was disappointed to see my RE was 1.00. In previous workouts, I was hitting 1.01. You may be thinking to yourself, well, it’s only a small difference. Unfortunately it’s not. It’s a huge difference with regards to RE. Not that I’m an expert, but I didn’t necessarily feel like I was at that 1.01 mark. I just wasn’t as sharp as I hoped to be.

I have a few theories why. 1) I slacked on my core work this week. As I mentioned, it was a week filled with some stress. Time was more limited. 2) I needed to get outdoors more. Truth be told, it was not a very nice week weather wise leading up to the race. It’s either been windy or rainy, it seems. But still, I should have made it more of a point to get out and tough it out.

I went to bed last night in a fired up state of mind. I went to a party where most knew the actual winner of the Trot, who ran an amazing time and won for the 2nd year in a row. I felt so inferior. I put so much time into this. I love it. I live it. I breathe it. But I’m not gifted. I have to work hard for every second, it seems. It’s discouraging on one hand but motivating on another.

I always feel like there’s room for improvement and if I just find the right blend, I will soar to new levels. Always looking for more. I’m not sure if it’s blind faith, too much hope or just straight up delusional.

Either way, I will continue to press on and do whatever I can to be the best me that I can be. Racing is a necessary evil. We need to push ourselves to new limits and explore the uncomfortable misery that is the last few hundred meters of a race.

What’s next? No races are on the calendar until the Buffalo Marathon. But I like to do the Shamrock run in early March. Maybe Coach will have me do some sort of time trial before then. I also like to run the Grand Island Half 3 weeks before Buffalo. It’s been a tradition of mine.

Besides races, we will move forward with the training program. We haven’t started marathon specific work just yet. Still too early.

I ran 5 easy miles today and my legs felt completely fine. Tomorrow I run 14 with some spice thrown in the later miles.

Correcting a common training flaw of mine

My biggest flaw in previous training cycles was never about staying consistent or lacking in mileage (2 common flaws for most) but rather the idea of fitting in 2 workouts (usually what you’d describe as your Tempo and VO2Max sessions) every single week.

A bigger priority (at the time) was staying consistent with raising my mileage and executing my long run. So if that meant skipping one of those sessions, it seemed reasonable to me.

Why do I bring this up?

I thought about last week in general. I think it was a very good week of training; perhaps my best since working with Coach.

It led me to the question – what’s been more meaningful up until the point: training by the power metric or the structure the Coach has given me?

Both have proved to be invaluable for me. I think the coaching part has been as important because let me break it down like this – training by power is no different than training by heart rate in terms of you have zones you train in and you hit your prescribed ranges during workouts and easy runs. There’s still a huge difference between the 2 metrics but that’s another blogersation (terrible attempt at converting conversation).

It’s not like I’m counting on Coach to give me motivation or anything like that on a daily basis. I’m a self motivated person and that’s not what I signed up for. I signed up because I trust he will steer us the way to a BQ. The accountability factor is important to me. I know the workouts are important to him and his methods. Each workout, in theory, has a positive impact on my power curve.

I’ve always felt like I nailed the mileage part and the long run part in previous training cycles but I’ve failed at the workouts part. Not just the doing them consistently part but doing them at the right intensity. This is a notch in the “training by power” belt. We know, based off my last 5K, what my current abilities are and what ranges I should be training in.

The past few weeks have been an interesting transition for me. I wondered how long I could sustain the faster paces at all zones without feeling a bit overwhelmed. Well, it hasn’t happened yet and it made me realize I need to embrace the uncomfortable moments during tough workouts.

Last week, for example, provided a big confidence boost for me.

I went into my Tuesday workout in a bad mindset. I can’t explain it but I was just off. I questioned whether I could get through the 8:00 intervals. I not only got through them, I finished strong. Yes, the first few felt tough but I finally woke up on the last one.

And then the next day (and rest of the week) my mindset was back to normal and I rocked the easy miles which made my Coach think, hmm, maybe we need to add a little more intensity. That last part could be because I told him how good my legs felt. I hope I didn’t make a mistake 🙂

Onto Thursday, my 2nd workout of the week. It was a VO2 Max session. This is probably my least favorite workout of the week because I know I have to push myself into uncomfortable territory. I don’t dread it but I know it’s going to hurt. But the 5 x 3:00 plan worked out really well. Each rep went by fast and only in the last 20 seconds or so did I feel like “oh shit.”

And then I ran 17 miles on my long run – the longest since Erie Marathon in early September. It went about as well as you could hope for. Coach threw in some faster stuff after Mile 10 and it made the entire run go by like a breeze. And my heart rate was brilliant (even though I never look at it during a run, I will look at it afterwards).

Not all weeks will go that swimmingly but I am happy to be taking the next step forward in this journey. Things could get even harder because…

Tomorrow I have a race. And with each race, there’s an opportunity for my zones to change. It’s the oldest Turkey Trot in the country – in Buffalo, NY. It’s an 8K.

Weather looks to be around 32 degrees (real feel says 23 degrees) with 12mph wind at 9AM (the lowest they’ll be all day).

We’ll see how it shakes out. I feel like I’m in the best shape since the Buffalo Marathon this past May.

Coach thinks I can hit 250W for the race, perhaps a few watts higher. That’s what I’ll shoot for and if all goes well, maybe I can have a killer finish. My PR at this race, which I set last year (I do believe), is 34:21 (6:55 pace). I fully expect to smash that.

Up next: 8K results and race recap, a switch to Final Surge and how much I LOVE it.

 

Catching up

Tuesday:

Workout: 4 x 5:00 @ 250-255W (FTP is 250), 3:00 recovery.

 

2017-11-07 15_02_52-Lunch Run _ Run _ Strava

This was a workout I won’t soon forget. It felt like the right amount of intensity and intervals. Any more and I might have struggled mightily. This appropriately kicked my ass and served as an intro to the workouts I’ll be getting moving forward.

Wednesday

5.6 mi | 8:41 avg pace | 198.5 avg power | Zone 1C

40 degrees out and aside from some wind on the way back, this was a wonderful day to be outdoors. I felt good.

Thursday

13.0 mi | 8:15 avg pace | 205.7 avg power | Long Run | Last 25 minutes @ 220-225W.

I woke up early to get this in. And I watched Stranger Things Season 2. It is amazing.

2017-11-10 08_42_04-Last 25 minutes at 220-225W _ Run _ Strava

Friday

5.7 mi | 8:39 avg pace | 198.5 avg power | Zone 1C

Nice and easy. Well, easy isn’t as easy as it used to be but this felt fine and I wish I had more time.

Thoughts

Man, few things match that feeling of accomplishment when you get your long run done before work, on a Thursday. About that long run, we had a goal to run closer to 200-202W for the first 10 miles or so (as compared to previous efforts where I ran between 188-200) so I knew going in it would be a touch faster and then to finish the last 25 minutes at the usual 220-225. I had to do some math. How many miles do I run in 25 minutes? It wasn’t too hard to figure out thankfully (my buddy Flash Gonzalez actually did it for me pretty quickly)

The biggest challenge in that was running faster in the early AM. I had to wake up early to make it work with my schedule but it all went well and NO stomach problems! On top of that, it was a little cooler in the gym that morning due to the weather turning here in Western New York so it felt pretty good.

I thought Tuesday’s workout was extremely productive. I went into it under less than ideal circumstances; coming right from a long meeting where I was not exactly in the mood to run fast but sometimes you don’t get to choose when you run fast. You just have to make it happen – no excuses. We extended the length of these intervals from last week when they were 3:00 (but with a wider range in power). It was essentially in the ballpark of 5K pace-ish. Having just run a 5K I thought I could just get through them with ease but they’re never easy. I should know better. But at the end of it, I was proud of the effort. It’s only going to get harder from here.

Coach asked me something I figured was coming sooner than later:

When we get to marathon specific work, I’ll want to progress the LR up to 20+ miles. For now, I am OK not progressing much on volume. Where are you comfortable leveling off the LR over the next couple of months?

LR meaning long run, of course. About my volume, I’ve been finishing most weeks around 44-45 miles. I figured that would rise soon enough. We’ve been building patiently.

I told Coach as long as I know my babysitter plans ahead of time, I could do up to 20 miles even before we begin the marathon specific work. For now, even ripping off a 17 miler shouldn’t be a problem. With the faster paces in place, I better get myself mentally ready for the challenges ahead.

Not too long ago, I did my own little experiment. I called it the 20 miler experiment and ran as many 20 milers as I could leading up to this year’s Buffalo Marathon. It was the most I did in a single training cycle. It worked as I PR’d that race and felt strong throughout. We’ll see what Coach has in mind as we approach a true marathon specific training cycle.

HPR, what the hell is HPR?

Monday: 5.6 mi | 8:28 avg pace | 198.1 avg power

Horizontal Power Ratio.

Could this have a larger effect on RE (Running Effectiveness, a surrogate of running economy) than LSS (Leg Spring Stiffness)?

OK, lots of acronyms. Lets dumb this down (for my own sake).

Horizontal power is the component of gross external power (the power reported by a Stryd running powermeter) that is directed horizontally. What does that mean? 

Let’s go with an example!

If two runners run a 5K at an average of 300W, and one had an HPR of 77% and the other at 80%, all other things being equal, the runner with the HPR of 80% goes faster, since more of that athlete’s 300W are directed horizontally.

Think about it like this: Are you covering more ground if you are using more power vertically or horizontally? Horizontally, of course.

The higher the HPR, the more effective the athlete is at directing gross external power (Stryd power) horizontally.

 

What is considered a good HPR?

From Coach Palladino’s article on RE:

  • HPR = 76-78% is near average
  • HPR = <76% is below average
  • HPR = >78% is good
  • HPR = >80% is likely the realm of elite world class runners

These are averages at FTP intensity (note: my FTP is 250 right now).

Next thing we need to know:

How does one calculate HPR?

If you have Stryd, log into your Stryd Power Center to find the values for this equation:

(Power – Form Power) / Power

Let’s look at today’s Zone 1C (Easy pace) run and plug in my values:

198.1 – 56.8 / 198.1 = 0.71

As you can see, 71% is well below average! But.. from Coach’s article:

Also, within a given athlete, HPR typically increases with speed.  It is best to compare athletes (and for that matter, a given athlete over time) by noting their HPR at a fixed intensity.  For example, HPR @ FTP, or HPR in 5k races, or HPR in 10k races, etc).

Based off that, I shouldn’t judge my HPR on an easy run too much. One trend I’ve noticed is I shouldn’t put a ton of stock into any metric within an easy run. But I did ask Coach if it’s fair to compare easy runs HPR value from the past vs. moving forward and he said yes. Of course I should only compare runs with the same zones (going back to my old zones and comparing to now wouldn’t work to fairly monitor progress).

It’s probably best to monitor HPR for my faster stuff.

Edit & note from Coach: As noted above, the averages for those ranges are considered at FTP intensity, so for me, finding workouts where I’m close to 250 is the idea.

So lets look at my HPR during the last 3 miles of my long run where I had to hit a wattage of 220-225 (7:30-7:40 pace):

I can highlight the 3 mile range in Stryd Power Center and get the numbers I need.

2017-11-06 15_12_19-Stryd PowerCenter_longrun

I graded out at 73% for those miles. A slight improvement but still below average! (Edit & note from the Coach: RE likely drops as fatigue kicks in so some forgiveness is allowed in this scenario)

Time to look at my VO2 Max intervals (prescribed range of 250-260 watts):

2017-11-06 15_10_49-Stryd PowerCenter

All reps: 77%. Just around the average  line (76%) and below good (78%), so we’ll call ’em average!

As you can see, at my best, my HPR is only average and that’s when I’m running at or near 5K pace! I see tremendous room for growth here on my end.

How does one improve HPR is what you’re thinking next.. (right?)

  • Drills.   The wall drill (or fence drill) would be an example.
  • Increasing SI and hip extension (resulting in increased swept angle and shin angle).  Examples might include anterior hip flexibility work and extension strengthening like hip thrusts.
  • Dynamic stride work.  Working with dynamic data, one could work on reducing vertical oscillation while maintaining cadence and speed/power.
  • Coach also mentioned Hip Range of Motion as mentioned by Jonathan Beverly in Your Best Stride.

Alright that’s it for today on HPR. I was inspired to learn about this after asking Coach about LSS (with the thought of improving my RE). He thinks HPR might have a greater effect than LSS.

This will now become a bigger focus for me along with my daily core work. My hips have never been a strength of mine. Never!

I’ll keep you updated on this and (hopefully) my progress….

Note: HPR information was taken from Coach’s article on Understanding Running Effectiveness and its uses.

Speed day

Workout: 4 x 3:00 @ 250-260 watts with 4 minute recovery

Man, it was 35 degrees out and I gorged on pizza and wings yesterday. But I knew I had to finish the week off right and get this workout in.

I was thinking about this workout after doing my normal Tuesday workout. Why? Because I wondered how much faster these reps would feel (with the new zones in place).

Plus, I was hoping the weather would be decent since I don’t have access to the super duper treadmills that I normally do on Monday-Friday. NO chance I would try this workout on my home treadmill.

The weather was actually fine (which seems like a minor miracle if you consider the amount of rain and wind around here lately). By the time I got out, it had to be close to 40 degrees and not much wind. My son went down for his nap at his normal time and off I went. My wife and I alternate who rocks him to sleep and sometimes it’s his call (lately he requests his DaDa more than his Momma likes!). My wife rocked him today which gave me extra time do the run. So I took advantage and did the 2 mile warm up and 2 mile cool down which is normally prescribed with my workouts.

I didn’t feel like my normal self because of the poor eating the night before. I’ve been eating so well for weeks now that it’s amazing how you notice and feel what 1 lousy meal does to your system. That’s okay – it was totally worth it.

I made sure to pop some run gum to get an extra boost. It usually helps.

I ended up doing a 5th rep by accident. I realized it halfway through the rep and just went with it. My legs felt really good today. Here are the results:

Avg Power Per Interval (target 250-260W)

257 / 258 / 256 / 258 / 254

Avg Pace Per Interval (according to Strava, keep in mind it will skew faster on a track)

6:08 / 6:06 / 6:02 / 6:01 / 6:17

These felt like the right kind of hard. This is what I love about training by power. I had no idea what pace I was going or what my HR looked like. It didn’t matter. I just cared if I was in the prescribed range for this workout. And the interval length was perfect for this effort. Any longer would’ve felt too hard, possibly. It just felt like the right amount of suffering.

Coach commented that my RE (Running Effectiveness) was 1.02 to 1.03 for all intervals, which is good. I’m still learning and reading about RE Check out an article about RE by Coach: Running Effectiveness versus Speed Using WKO4. Something I do know about RE (that I was told early on) is that anything above 1 is good.

Another interesting comment about today’s workout from Coach:

For today’s workout, you were at or above 100% of VO2max for 7:16 of the 15 minutes of intervals. That is good. 11:26 at/above 95%. That a good duration of stimulus.

I’m all about that stimulus!!

Feels good to deposit another workout in the bank. The weather was decent enough. I don’t think I had another quality rep in me today so it was the right amount of work. I felt pretty strong throughout most of the reps which was a confidence booster. One thought that helped get me through was the fact that I ran an entire 5K at a wattage of around 257-258 so surely I could handle 3 minutes at a time.

That wraps up this week. I’ve been meaning to write about my core work which has become a staple in my routine. Hopefully tomorrow I can touch on that. I think most runners can benefit from a consistent core routine!

My fastest long run with Coach

Thursday: 13.0 mi | 8:25 avg pace | 200.4 avg power

2017-11-02 10_38_50-Morning Run _ Run _ Strava

Due to a small medical procedure occurring in my family today (Friday), I switched around my long run and did it Thursday morning. Very early.

It went very well.

I wanted to make sure I was fueled up properly for this one. One thing I’ve slowly emphasized in my diet is carb intake. I don’t think I was taking enough carbs in throughout the day.

So last night I had a banana and slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter before bed anticipating an early wake up. I woke up, weighed in to a kind of surprising result (light) and had a banana and whole grains Kind Bar (said to be a good carb source when in a bind) for the additional carb-age.

Off I went on my 30 minute commute to the ARENA (giving myself about 50 minutes to process the food which is kind of risky given my stomach history) and NO coffee this time.

Why no coffee? I’m fine with after a run but if I have it RIGHT before a run, it seems to wreak havoc on my system. I had my favorite green tea instead.

I brought 3 Powerbar gels with me. I only needed 2 of them as it turned out (mile 5 and 9.5).

When I got to the Arena, I tried to use the bathroom. Ya know, drop that deuce. But no freakin’ luck! I couldn’t believe it. In my mind, this surely meant I was going to have to interrupt my run at some point. Never have I gone that long without having to take care of business.

The first 10 miles went by so fast and felt so good. I can’t credit the extra carbs because it could have been a coincidence but damn I felt good. Mind you, this was my first time running longer with these new zones. Sure, I’ve run this pace many times in the past but it felt different today. Easier.

Then it was time to kick it up in a higher gear. The last 3 miles were to be run between 220-225 watts. I’m not much of a morning runner so I knew this would test me.

They went pretty well. As noted in the screen capture above, they were run mostly in the low 7:30s. The urge to crap hit me on the last mile. I knew I could hold it off but it did ruin the spirit of the last few miles as I was on a roll. I definitely wanted to get this run over with! But I was also thankful my stomach held out that long. Thank you buddddddddd.

Overall, another good run in the books and I’m stoked about the progress. If things keep trending in this direction, good things are ahead.

Side note: I watched a good chunk of Season 2 of Stranger Things and it’s getting really, really good. Maybe some of the reason this run flew by.

Up next: Update on data spikes, a fast workout coming