Monday, April 16, 2012

VAM bang thank you Ma'am

I felt a bit of a pang of regret yesterday, as I thought of the ICAN Marbella Triathlon that I could have been taking part in. Lot's of people went from work and have all come back saying that, in spite of it being very tough, it was a great experience. Still, I think I did the right thing: apart from having saved quite a lot of cash, I've also saved quite a lot of energy which I need these days for more important things, like family and work. I'll put my thinking cap on as to which triathlon to do next year: I'm torn between doing a 70,3 event run by the WTC (official Ironman organizers) and just doing Lisbon again, which is fast and logistically relatively easy.

In the meantime, as you may remember, I just have this little business of a 10K race to do next Sunday, one that runs in parallel with the start of the Madrid Marathon. I'm aiming to break 38 minutes - which shouldn't be a problem seeing as I already did this halfway through the Half Marathon I ran in January - because this is the qualifying time for the International San Silvestre that is run on New Year's Eve. For that race I will try to go for a best ever time, especially is I will be in good (fast) company and the course is slightly downhill for the most part.

In order to try to convert these months of triathlon training into running speed, I have been doing some workouts at "VAM". I'm not even sure what it stands for - something like "Velocidad Anaeróbica Máxima" (Maximum Anaerobic Velocity) - but, for all intents and purposes, it means as fast as I bloody well can. The first VAM workout was in Asturias: 12 one minute sprints uphill. I remember thinking "Oh, this should be pretty easy". After about 40 seconds my legs would start to feel empty and I would have to make a concerted effort to maintain any semblance of speed; after stopping, I felt like I was drowning, wheezing and gasping for air more quickly than my lungs could deliver. It reminded me a little of that time when I was learning to dive and took my mask off underwater, the freezing cold water making me inhale water through my nose and panic: I simultaneously felt like I was drowning while intellectually I knew that I was not swallowing water and I could go without breathing for longer than this. Hopefully the training has taught my organism that I can run at those speeds without getting so short of breath that I keel over.

The second VAM session I did was on Saturday, on the running machine. This time 8 lots of 500m. I put the running machine on max speed (18kph, which is actually 17.5kph according to my measurements). It was too easy or, at least, I didn't feel that awful wheezing desperation for oxygen that I did in Asturias. I thought it might get harder after having run several series, especially as the day before I had felt very tired indeed after another tough workout. For the last 500m, I put the incline up from the usual 1% to 3% and now it started to feel like a struggle. Clearly, this is what I will have to do next time... One thing, I don't recommend drinking Coke in between series. (This was Diet Coke, so I didn't even get a benefit from carbohydrates.) While it didn't seem to a problem at the time, it gave me some evil farts the rest of the evening...

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