Tag Archives: endurance

Quick Update

26 Sep

A lot has happened in the last few weeks but honestly I haven’t felt like writing. I’ve been keeping to myself these days; focusing on my training and work.

My personal training sessions have been hard.  I’m not sure if it’s my frame of mind or if deWolf is pushing me harder? The track and the hill sprints combined with yoga once a week are definitely proving to be worthwhile.

A) Yoga:  Everyone has been telling me since day one to stretch more. I’ve been going to Infrared Yoga once a week for about two months now and I can definitely see a difference in my flexibility.

B) Hills: I’ve been squeezing them in once a week.

C) Speed work: I’ve hit the track with deWolf and its been brutal each time. He makes me run six 800 meter sprints. (my speed ranges from 3:23 – 3:58) If whine or complain I don’t want to go again deWolf reminds me “The only way get faster is to run fast!”

My last few long runs have been amazing; not only am I getting faster, it seems almost effortless.   I remember reading about this phenomenon in Born to Run by Christopher McDougall “Think, Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast.” On yesterday run I managed three new personal records:

  • Fastest 10 km 51:50
  • Fastest 21.1 km 1:54:50
  • Longest run 29 km 2:42:10

Swimming on the other hand has been a huge obstacle, holding me back from contemplating triathlons in the past. I thought best to face this fear head on; so I signed up for an adult swimming class a few weeks ago. With much apprehension I attempted a few laps in the pool sans water wings before my first lesson.

After only two classes and one visit to the pool on my own and I’m wondering where my apprehension ever came from?  I know I have a long way to go before I build up the endurance I’ll need to complete the 3.8 km swim at IronMan Canada but I feel confident in the water and more importantly I’m enjoying it; that’s half the battle right?

I’ve been warned against putting off riding, so last weekend I went shopping with my friend Mike. As we entered the first bike shop Mike said to the sales guy “She’s looking for a bike for IronMan.” In a condescending tone he replied “You don’t have a bike? How are you training? You know the ride is 180km?” Instantly irritated I snapped back “The only bike I own has a basket! As for training I’m here and I have a year don’t I?!” The sale guy seems taken aback “Fair enough.” he said as he started his pitch on the neon green Quintana Roo tri bike, which was on sale for $3600. I’m a sucker or he was a good sales person because I was actually contemplating purchasing it on the spot. Luckily Mike talked some sense into me “If it was me, I’d looked a bit more; it will be here later if you still want it.” We went to three other bike shops and I searched relentlessly for a my bike to jump out at me. I was sure that shopping for a bike was like shopping for anything else, I would just know it’s the one when I see it,  won’t  I? Unfortunately, I returned home emptied handed and feeling disappointed. There was a pink tri bike online I really liked but the quality of the component package wasn’t as good as other options that were available to me in the same price range.  I could buy so many things for the price of a bike. I could revamp my wardrobe or better yet, I could finally get that gorgeous Gucci purse I’ve been wanting to buy for years… sigh…

I know I would love and cherish the Gucci purse for years to come. Black, leather and classic looking it would fabulously compliment many of my outfits. Yet, justifying the purchase of tri bike I have no way of knowing if I’ll even enjoy seemed to come easier.

PT Girl xo

IRON MAN 2010

3 Sep

My personal trainer deWolf has been preparing for the Subaru Ironman for the last twelve months. This test of endurance has to be one of the most challenging events known to men. For the second year now, Alicia and I packed up my truck and drove out to Penticton. The hotels sell out for this epic athletic event so I was forced to make unconventional arrangements. I’d found an accommodation online. When we arrived at the address my contact Shannon had gave me; Alicia and I both sensed something eerie. We stood at the front door with much apprehension; I rang the doorbell. The door swung open and an unusual blond man stood in front of us barefoot.  “Come on in. I’m Charles.” He motioned to us to follow him down a hallway and opened the second door to the left. “Here’s your room girls.” he leered. “Make yourself at home” he mumbled and walked away.

Alicia and I sat on the bed both staring at the dreadful painting on the wall. “Where’s the TV?” Alicia asked. I shrugged, opening a bottled of wine attempting to stay positive. “Where’s the heck Shannon?” I said throwing down the local tourist magazine. As fate may have it, the magazine fell open on page 7 and there looking back at me was an ad for the Summerland Lakeside Resort and Spa. “I’m calling, I’ll pay anything!  Alicia looked at me with a glimmer of hope. “Oh, ok… no lake view…yup, ok, great. We’ll take it! See you tomorrow!” I hung up. We just have to make it through one night. “This bedroom is probably rigged with spy cams.” Alicia laughed. “Let go drink!  she said grabbing her purse and walking out.

 We over indulging in great food and wine at Theo’s Greek restaurant. Afterwards we ventured down towards the IM festivities.  We saw Charles eating poutine and dancing by himself a good ten feet away from the rest of the crowd. Alicia went up to him “Hey Charles, can we get a key?” “Nah! You don’t need a key, I leave the place open all the time!” he laughed sinisterly. Stunned, we forced a smile and walked away. “We’re going to end up on Dateline!” Alicia said in all seriousness as we walked into the first pub we saw. We cozied up at the bar and ordered two more glasses of wine. All the bartenders were wearing IronMan 2010 t-shirts “I’m want one of those shirts and before the night is over one of these guys will give me a shirt! I said.  “Hahaha! You’re funny!!!! … and we aren’t going to have pay for any drinks either!!” Alicia laughed.  The place was hopping and the bartenders’ decided to mix us some flame shooters. As the liquid courage started to run through my veins I began spouting off to whoever would listen “I’m going to sign up for IronMan!!!” No one seemed to take me seriously as I sipped from the trough. (The Bartenders specialty; a bucket of all mixed alcohols)

We sat at the bar for hours chatting and laughing with many great, interesting people and as predicted we stumbled out at three a.m. with no bar tab and an IronMan t-shirt on my back! “Oh what a night!!!”

 

 

The next morning, sleep deprived we showered, packed up and got the hell out of Charles’s house.

We were ecstatic with our room at the Summerland Resort & Spa

 

We took a quick ride back into Penticton to wish deWolf good luck.  He was oddly relaxed; not showing any signs of anxiety what’s so ever. “It’s just another day of exercise” he smiled.

The morning of the IronMan race came fast and we rushed back into town to see the 3.8 km swim.

As returning IronMan supporters we were pretty familiar with the bike route and well equipped with road pops, air conditioning, tunes and snacks. We managed to meet up with my trainer about 6 or 7 times along the 180 kilometers ride.

We veered off at Keremos to grab a bite to eat. Once we returned to the highway we weren’t able to find him again so decided to catch him at the start of the run.  Standing at the seven kilometers marker the wind picked up and it started to rain. Alicia spotted him up the road and I waved my big homemade sign YOU ROCK!! He ran by us “Shoot me!” he said smiling.

We had a few hours to kill so we went back to the hotel to shower and rest. By the time we retuned it was dusk which makes it hard to see the runners clearly but I know deWolf’s stride and saw him from afar “Here he comes!” I pointed and dashed to the side of the street. “Run with me.” he said.   He mentioned his foot hurt but he didn’t even look tired. “You’re doing great! You’re almost done! I said as I handed back his water bottle. “See you at the finish line” I yelled as he took off.

As we waited for him across the finish line I watched the many other Ironman finishers rejoice with friends and family. Congratulation, after all IronMan was the very FIRST triathlon he’d even signed up for and completed!

 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike and 42.2 km run!  Crazy, impressive and extremely inspiring!

PT Girl xo

My Speed Theories

18 Mar

Last year I ran my first half marathon falling short of my goal finish time by less than 90 seconds. Determined to run  the BMO Half Marathon under two hours I started a new training program in January with a positive attitude and lots of determination.  I knew I was physically stronger because of all the work I’d been doing with my trainer but my running pace remained unchanged the first few weeks back in training. (I’ve always ran an average pace at 6:19 per km)  Rather than get discouraged I laced up again and thought of my friend Mike (3time Penticton Iron Man Finisher) who always said “The way to become a faster runner is by running!!” Then mid February something changed; one day after work I set out on a short run… and with complete ease I ran 9.1 km in 51 minutes (5:35 per km). I was in shock and honestly thought there was something wrong with my Garmin.  “Where the heck did that come from?” I decided to test myself and my Garmin that weekend and even though I was hung over I managed to run 13 km in 1:14 (5:46 per km). The following week I ran a flat 17 km in 1:38 (5:45 per km) and this past weekend I ran the hilliest 18 km route I could map out and sustained my pace finishing in 1:43 (5:43 per km).  Ok, I know these times aren’t world class by any means but 5:44 per km was my race pace at the half marathon last year and I nearly lost a lung; now I am running this pace without difficulty. So what has changed? How am I gaining momentum? In no particular order here are my theories:

HILL THEORY:

Without fail I’ve been running  my hill intervals once a week mixing it up between doing ten 200 meters up hill & down hill runs in 30 minutes, incorporating five fast 50 meters sprint up a very steep hill at the end of my short runs, as well as mapping out more challenging “hilly” routes on my longer runs.

Compared to running on flat surfaces, hills force the muscles to contract quicker as a result making them more powerful.  While hill training the muscles can develop two to three times as many muscle fibers as running on flat surfaces.

The benefits of hill training:

  • Helps stride frequency & length
  • Aids develop power & muscle elasticity
  • Encourages the proper use of arm action during the driving phase
  • Improves strength endurance
  • Short hills – develops maximum speed & strength
  • Mixed hills – improves lactate tolerance
  • Downhill – develops control & stabilization as well as improved speed

PERSONAL TRAINER THEORY:

I’ve been seeing my current personal trainer twice a week for about six months now. We spend a lot of time focusing on strengthening my core. A strong core will improve your posture, making it easier to stay upright and thus run more efficiently. Implementing a weekly core workout to your training is certain to improve your running performance.  Try using the Medicine Balls, Kettlebells, Stability Ball, Bosu Ball or a stability board to keep the workouts interesting and varied.

Strong leg muscles are another key component to running efficiently. One method of achieving stronger legs is by incorporating Plyometric Exercises: a form of exercise that requires your muscles to reach peak force in a very short amount of time.  My training session always involve exercise such as squat jumps,  jump to box, split squat jumps and lateral hurdle jumps to name a few. I’ve been told these kinds of exercises will improve my speed and power. The third component of my training sessions is intervals: sprint intervals on the treadmill (flat and hills) and sprint drills with Resistance Bands (flat and hills).

ACID ZAPPER THEORY:

This natural supplement was introduced to me last year by an associate. I started taking it religiously in January when I started my training.  Acid Zapper® is a mineral based composition that boosts body alkalinity to systemically neutralize metabolic acids created during exercise, helping athletes train harder and achieve peak performance.” * This product is 100% natural certified drug free. It is said to reduce recovery times, increase endurance and help with minimizing muscle cramping.  I can tell you first hand that Acid Zapper has definitely reduced my recovery time and has completely eliminated the muscle cramps I used to get in my legs.  Although difficult to prove, I believe Acid Zapper has had a huge impact on my over all endurance and performance.

PT Girl xo

* http://www.acidzapper.com/

Staying Injury Free

27 Feb

Surfaces

Where do you typically run; concrete, treadmill, trails, the running track? All these surfaces have pros and cons. Your best bet is to try and mix it up whenever you can.

Walk breaks

I personally dislike breaks and try to avoid them. But when I first started to run I took walk breaks a lot.  Professionals say walk breaks are key and should be taken before feeling gassed. This type of training is designed to increases your endurance and help avoid injuries. (Especially for newer runners)

Chat

Keep a comfortable pace while training. You should be able to maintain a light conversation or recite a poem (slightly winded). If you are signing along to Lady Gaga or Britney on your iPod you are not pushing hard enough but if you can barely get a word out, you’re definitely pushing too hard – slow down!!

Mileage

Running 101: only increase your mileage 10% every week.  Add an extra run day to your schedule or add extra minutes to your existing runs. Always listen to your body and if necessary only increase your mileage every second week.

Rest

Take a day off every week, recovery is very important. Get eight hours of sleep and make sure your diet includes plenty of carbs and protein to help recovery.

Mix it up

Trade in one of your runs for a spin class, do some laps in the pool or modify one of your runs to include some sprints, hills and speed work.

Shoes

Your running shoes should be worn outside and on the treadmill.   A good pair of sneakers should last you 300-500 miles.  Check the bottoms every 5-6 months and invest in a new pair when the bottoms are worn to avoid injuries.

Soft Landing

Your heels or mid foot should hit the ground first then transferring your weight into your toes; always landing softly without expending extra energy. If you tend to run on your toes for long periods of time, don’t be surprised if you encounter shin splints.

Aches & pains

When slight aches and pains start affecting your stride take a break until you heal. Running through it or ignoring the issues can cause serious problem which will inhibit you from running for an extended period of time. Trust me… when your knee locks up 15 km away from home you’ll wish you’d taken the time off to heal. I know I did! Read standard RICE.

We all have an injury story and we all have our bad habits. Recognizing our bad behaviors is the first step to correcting them. I never carry water or electrolytes and I rarely stretch. What’s your bad habit?

PT Girl xo