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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How do you get faster?

I have no idea. Well, maybe I have an idea but I'm not sure. My running is ok but not great. I don't feel fast at the moment and it seems to take way more effort to hold a decent pace.

My point of reference is how I felt back in Feb/Mar of this year. Running fast felt easy back then. For whatever reason I was running very well, running a half marathon at a pace that I can barely hold in a 5k today.

So what's different? Good question, but I hope I can figure it out.

My theory: tempo runs.
Back in January, February and a bit of March I was doing a fair amount of snowshoe running. Anybody who has run in snowshoes knows that even an easy run in snowshoes is taxing on the body. In fact, I'd say it closely resembles the effort of a tempo run...comfortably hard. As I recall, I was doing nearly 30% of my mileage on snowshoes which would equate to a heck of a lot of tempo running. So if you want to run faster I guess at some point you need to train faster.

Which brings me to my training today. Except for track once a week, all my runs are generally easy runs. I really think my problem is a lack of tempo running and I aim to change that. I even ran a 5m trail race on Monday as a tempo run (oh the horrors!). Well I ran most of it as a tempo run. Chris B. decided to pick up the pace over the last 1 1/2 miles and I foolishly tried to stay with him, running a bit harder than planned near the end.

So a steady diet of tempo running is on the training menu from now on.

9 comments:

CHRIS J. DUNN said...

As you know very well, the equation is rather simple...train fast, race fast. All "slow" training does is prepare you for racing slowly. As long as you measure out equal amounts of recovery and dial in a nutritional plan aimed at reducing inflammation and increasing post-workout protein synthesis you should be good to go.

DoubleJ said...

I run super slow every day w/ dd and I've been able to hold fitness, but I do have about 10 years in the bank on ya... however, I too am not really getting any faster at the shorter stuff right now either... Good to see you back running regardless of speed... You got plenty of time before the Granite State series starts back up again ;). I still have Redhooks in my fridge for god sakes :)...

David Quintal said...

then start drinking them!
Steve - good to see your running again. I hope to join you soon!

Steve Wolfe said...

Chris, although I sort of agree, not all training can be fast. I need those easy days for recovery and endurance. Basically what I think I need is another 'hard' day. I liked running fast. I'm not ready to give up yet.
JJ, it's more like 13yrs but who's counting :-) oh, and I have some Redhooks in the closet. Mine can't even make it to the fridge!
DQ, thanks, go easy on me when we meet up again. I mean, all you fast masters are killing me!

Jim Hansen said...

Steve,
Not that I am fast these days, but here is what I think.

1) lose weight- don't know if it is necessary for you-but it will make you faster - also check your diet (note what Chris said about a nutritional plan and eating foods that reduce inflamation. When I eat better (fruits, veggies, nuts, ect.) I feel so much better- I am just learning about the effects of foods on our bodies- I think this is what he is getting at with reduciing imflamation with food. I am reducing the eating of processed foods as much as I can. Don't know if it will make you fast, but you may feel better and be lighter!

2)Think fast- a lot of running well is mental- if you are doubting your fitness it won't be there- when you are secure in your fitness it shows!

3)Get younger! -sorry it is not going to be any easier as you age! This is why you will need to go beyond running to find out what missing ingredients may be impacting your running: form drills, mobility drills, strides after runs, strength work, barefoot running, high intesity short intervals, hill work, ect. Heck, if snowshoe running helped you that much, take them out to a beach and run in the sand or on a field.

4)Run fast. I think as you age, you lose a bit of your stride length as your muscles and connective tissues tighten. Running fast will help keep you looser longer.

Jim

michael said...

I'm sure that your previous posters have forgotten more about running then I'll ever learn, but here are my two cents...

1. Don't forget that at the same time you were doing those tempo/snowshoe runs you were also doing indoor track intervals every week. So, not only were you raising your lactate threshold, you were also increasing your aerobic capacity. That's a very good combination!

2. You are smart to throw in easy days during your training week for recovery, but you need to look long term and do the same for your training year. It's nearly impossible to maintain the high fitness level you had early in the year when you were racing well and "running fast felt easy". Even the elites build recovery weeks/months into their training plans. Look at it this way: If you are training hard and racing all year long, at some point your body is going to say "Enough! Time to Rest." Wouldn't it feel better if those rest periods we're actually planned instead of forced upon you via injury?

Steve Wolfe said...

I tend to go with the 'run yourself into the ground and recover while your injury heals' training plan.
Can't say I've ever heard of foods that reduce inflammation. I'll have to look into that one. I tend to be inflamed often.
Thanks for the feedback guys, although 3/5 of you are in my division :-)

Jim Hansen said...

Steve,
I am just a beginner ar learning about inflammatary foods or foods that reduce inflammation. I think that paleo or primaltype diets get into that type of thinking. I have this book on order to learn more: http://primalblueprint.com/index.html
Here are some suggestions of interesting foods:
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/10-perfectly-primal-foods-you-probably-havent-eaten/
On a more serious note these foods supposedly reduce inflammation.
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/reduce-inflammation/
Jim

DoubleJ said...

Honestly, everyone is different... There are certainly plans that can work for a lot of people, but not any one training plan or method is across the board successful for everyone. If there was, everyone would be doing the same thing. It depends on how much you race, how much you train, how you run, what types of races you do, your body type and how it reacts to the work, and what your goals are, etc. Even the elite runners all do things differently. College programs differ from school to school and even from coach to coach (using UML's coaching change as a perfect example...it's night and day with the training that has gone on there in recent years, and the results are there to prove it)... Long story short, you have to figure out what works for you, and a lot of times that includes finding out what doesn't work. I went through that process already.