Friday, December 2, 2011

Winter Speed Work

Sometimes we need to take the path of most resistance.

Today was day #9 of my 100-day planned running streak.  I was supposed to meet another runner for a mellow 5-mile trail run...he didn't show, so I did speed work on the trail.  I went to the closest section of the trail that had a small loop that I could keep repeating.  It was a .35 mile loop near the parking lot. Originally, I thought I would run one loop hard, the next loop easy.  On the second loop I realized there was a good hill on the loop (about .1 mile long). I decided to run repeated loops, but sprint up the hill each time (while jogging the remaining part of the loop for recovery).  It ended up being a great workout!  My heart rate would peak around 170 after cresting the hill, then slowly fall to about 125-130 on the recovery jog (~.25 mile). Repeat...over...and over.  Ended up with over 4 miles total (11+ loops). Nice workout for early in the winter season.  I suppose it's really late in the fall.  We haven't had snow yet in central Illinois.  The ground is frozen, but it's fairly smooth and conducive to fast running. My (fairly) new Altra Instincts worked well (still too heavy, but nice on the hard ground). I hope to continue hill repeats in the future.  My local 5-mile trail affords many opportunities for hill workouts.  I can warm-up on the trail and stop at whatever hill strikes my fancy, do repeats, and cool-down by finishing the full trail loop.  Or I can run the whole 5-mile course at an easy to moderate pace then charge up each hill. Lots of variety!

The one lesson I learned from past winters is to STAY OFF THE TREADMILL for speed sessions.  Too easy to go too fast (too soon) and get injured.  Plus, it's a lot more fun doing speed work on the dark trails with deer watching you.

As an ultrarunner, I often take the path of least resistance. That usually means walking the hills.  Sometimes you need to show those hills who is in charge!  That day was today.

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