Saturday, June 24, 2017

My Strava Mile

There's a Strava challenge this month to run your best mile. Not shorter, not longer. Go for the mile! Post it on Strava with the #MyMile tag and you'll have a chance for a free pair of shoes. That was incentive enough for me to try a fast mile. Today was my first attempt and I ran a 5:56 mile on the track. Went out way too fast and slowed quite a bit, but it was still a GPS/Strava personal record for me. I think I can run faster. Need to hold back on the first 800m to allow a strong finish. I was breathing extremely hard and my lungs, and legs, were burning. As an old ultra-runner, I'm proud of this mile achievement. One hundred miles is still harder than 1 mile, but there is a distinct and intense suffering that goes with the 4 laps on the track. I wanted to stop several times. 400m is enough, right? 800m is certainly more than enough! 1200m seemed like a valiant effort. OK, I'll finish the full mile. Glad I did. The next one will be easier...and faster.

Still a few days left in June for you to run your mile. Get out there! It's "only" a mile. You can do it. Tracks are easy-no elevation gain.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

1 Mile Fast, Every Run

My new running plan is to run 1-mile fast during each of my runs. Just one mile. And it can be split up. 1-mile steady? Cool. Two x 800m? Fine. Four x 400m? Yep. Even 10 x .1 mile (our local bike path is marked very 1/10th mile). The rest of the run is easy. Or whatever. Basically I walk, jog, run, then run hard, then back to easy. Each and every run. If I'm not feeling up to it, then the "fast run" portion can be just a bit faster than easy. Today, after warming up, I ran a steady mile in 6:45. Not bad! Felt great to go fast, but still under control. Sneaky way to get in more speed work. If I run 5 days per week, that will be 5 miles of fast running for the week. I normally run 4-6 days every week so I'll be getting in a substantial, but not burdensome, amount of faster running. Sometimes on the road, occasionally on the track, but mostly on trails. Speed is fun.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Fluids Before, During, and After my Runs

Now that summer is here and the runs are getting longer (and hotter) I've devised a hydration and fuel plan. My stomach doesn't do well with solid foods when it's hot and humid, so this is a liquid diet. Something pre & post run as well as fluids and calories during the run.

Pre-run drink: Generation UCAN superstarch drink powder. Gets you hydrated and provides slow-burning calories that don't screw-up your ability to burn fat (no insulin spikes). Easy to digest. Drink a 8-10 oz glassful with one large scoop of powder about 30 minutes before running. Steady energy to begin your run.

During run drink: Tailwind Sports drink. I've been using Tailwind ever since my sub-24 hour finish at Umstead 100 miler (in 2013). It helped me train and race successfully. The product provides easily digestible calories plus electrolytes. No artificial colors or flavors. Just basic goodness. In really long and hot races (6+ hours) I'll throw in a salt pill every 2 hours. Just extra insurance. They have flavors with caffeine too--I often rotate caffeinated varieties with regular no-buzz versions. Usually 2 scoops per 20-oz water bottle.

Post-run drink: Vega protein and greens. Vega is a high quality vegan protein powder that supplies the protein and micro-nutrients my body needs for recovery. I normally mix it with almond milk for a few extras calories. I often drink this for breakfast too--mixed in a smoothie.

We'll see how this plan works at the "Last Man Standing" in mid-July and Howl at the Moon 8-Hour run in August.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Finding My Ultra

I just re-read Rich Roll's book Finding Ultra. The book is a great read and a very motivating story. It certainly motivated me to set some auspicious goals. Doable, but dream-like. In August, at the Howl at the Moon 8-Hour ultra, I'd like to reach 48 miles. That would be a personal record. In November, I'd like to break 1:32 for the half-marathon. Again, a personal record. One is about endurance and heat acclimatization. The other about speed and stamina. I can do both. If you don't dream and strive for excellence, why exist? Life is not for mediocrity.

Between now and Howl at the Moon, I have two ultra-like events. On June 24, there is the local Kennekuk Road Runner's 5-Hour Cats & Dogs club run on the tough Clear Pond trail. How many miles is that? Don't know, but I should easily get in a 20+ mile run. That would be perfect in the late June heat and humidity (and biting flies) of central Illinois.

On July 15, there is the "Last Man Standing" trail run at Lake of the Woods park. 5-mile loop (or 4-mile) every hour. Keep going until you cannot go anymore. Everyone starts a new loop on the hour. Run fast and you can rest before heading out again. Run slow, but not too slow, and you'll pace yourself to a steady 5 mph run-walk. Even in mid-July, with the heat and humidity, that seems doable for many hours. Right? Good preparation for the August Howl at the Moon ultra race.

Over the next few weeks, my goal is to do my runs at 10:00 pace. That would translate to 48 miles over 8 hours at Howl. I should be able to EASILY do 10:00 pace in all training runs if I plan on doing it for one 8-hour run in a race. If I can manage 12:00 pace for 8 hours, I'll hit 40 miles. OK for Howl, but not what I want. 11:00 pace would get me 43.6 miles in 8 hours. Not too shabby, but again, less than I would like. Me like 48 miles. I am finding my ultra groove.