Friday, June 15, 2007

The Nitty Gritty of Training

Now down to the nitty gritty: training. After all, this is my journey to endurance, and how could it be a journey without showing how I am preparing myself to accomplish my goals? I started the year out with one basic tenement to my training: to run an average of 13.1 miles every single week. Granted this may not seem much in order to get myself ready for a Marathon or 50k, but it will at least get my endurance up enough to where I can pace myself at a decent pace and not blow all my energy when I need it most. I see some people running 13 miles a day, or doing two hour runs. Eventually I will get there, and eventually is some time in the coming months because I know that it is these longer runs that are going to help my body sustain itself over the long haul. That being said, the foundation to my training is 13.1 miles a week. Recently I have added to my training a few extra activities. One is I started doing trail running. This can do some amazing things to your legs and lungs, both of which make your endurance running much easier. Second is to cross train more in all sports. Currently I cross train in tennis, swimming, biking, weightlifting and occasionally rock climbing, basketball and softball. Running is so focused that a lot of times the muscles you could use or strain in longer distances can be buoyed by the stamina and strength of muscles used by cross training. Finally, I've started trying to increase my speed, most notably my mile pace. When I run a fast mile I notice considerable difference with my lungs and know that I am training my lungs for the pressure and tension that would come with endurance runs.

That puts me to this week, which has definitely been a full week of training. Perhaps not in the amount of running, although I did do a decent amount (26.41 miles), but I was able to get some good cross training in that really completed my workout. First off I started the week with Muddy Muddy, which is a combination of biking and running. I coupled this by going swimming later in the day to try and simulate the tension that I would feel in the triathlons I am racing. As I have said in the past, I am a horrible long distance swimmer. No training + Not swimming for a long time = The slowest swimmer in the world. But I think I finally figured out a stroke, the breast stroke, that will drastically increase the 53 minutes per mile pace I did during the swim portion of the Uvas Triathlon. Anything to not feel like such a fool as wave after wave passes me up. This is decidedly my worst leg of the triathlon and where I lose most of my time. Anyway, the breast stroke helps my breathing, my speed, my stamina... everything. And with the Mountain Bike Triathlon coming up I am on even ground with everyone else on the bike leg (those damn 10-speeds just kept blowing past me at Uvas). That leaves the swim.

Monday I tried to run a fast mile but it was too soon after the 10k and Muddy Buddy of the weekend to feel up to speed. A half mile in at 3:02 I stopped as my legs were too tired to continue. Seeing my time I wish I hadn't of stopped, would have been a PR! Oh well, my legs were thanking me for it. The next day I went trail running with my brother for 3 miles in South San Jose and was blown away. Didn't even know those trails existed. We were overlooking all of San Jose. We got back to his house and he surprised the hell out of me. He wanted to keep running!

I say surprised because before Muddy Buddy he hadn't done much running at all, now he wants to run more. I am glad he did though 'cause I had some of my best running that night. I had never done night running and I am amazed at the difference that it makes. I was doing 7:15 miles after running 3 in the hills! In fact the sixth and last mile I ran in 7 minutes. I have got to do more night running. The next day I took it easy on the legs and played some mixed doubles with the family. Although easier than running, tennis is still great for the legs and lungs, especially when there is a lot of pivoting and quick sprints.

My biggest day, though, was Thursday. I really am a glutton for punishment. We were sitting on low to mid 90s at about 5 PM. I wanted to get a run in and didn't think anything of it. I mean, most of the trail I was going to run is in the shade, how bad can it be? Anyway, I got a call from my friends and they wanted to go bike riding. So we set a time for later in the evening. I head out and do my run. Strong first two miles, then I melted on the last two, turning in 7:41, 7:39, 8:20 and 9:10 splits. The heat was too much without bringing water. So that was a 33 minute 4 mile run. A half hour drive later I met my friends for a nice afternoon bike ride. Sure, like I would let myself have a nice ride. The scenery is great, it is the elevation climb that isn't nice.

About 9 miles to the summit above Lexington Reservoir. The last 2 miles or so is an 850 foot ascent to the summit that overlooks all of the Bay Area. Amazing view, overall fun ride, a bitch of a climb. I've done this before when I hadn't run and it was tough, but doing the run first exhausted me. 2 hours and 12 minutes and 18 miles later and we are back to our cars. I hadn't eaten since 12:30 so we run over and get a quick bite to eat. I was supposed to go to the gym with my brother but it was too late now at 9:45 so he wanted to run and, you guessed it, this glutton jumped at the opportunity to log in more running. So a quick 20 minute drive later (leaving me a total of 50 minute rest since bike and 1hr20 minute rest since 5) I get to his house. We are off and running after a quick visit with mom, niece, nephew and sister-in-law. He originally told me he wanted to do about a 3 mile run, but it ended up being a 6.14 mile loop around his neighborhood. I got back to the house at 11:47 and I was exhausted. My brother went for another mile, and I was tempted to join him but listened to my body instead. A day of running, biking and then running again resulted in 10.15 miles ran and an 18 mile bike ride over a 7 hour time period. I burned 2,300 calories.

That leaves today, Friday, for the week. A day of rest for my legs to be ready for tomorrow when I play in a doubles and singles tennis tournament in Santa Clara. Then another 10k event in Palo Alto Sunday morning.

Here's to a week of cross training from one glutton to another.

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