Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer training

Although training in the heat has its advantages (the only one I can think of being that you get better at training in the heat), as my next objective is New York City Marathon in November, it makes more sense for me not to suffer too much just yet. So I have been avoiding training outside for the most part, as well as avoiding training in the gym at lunchtime which becomes equally unbearable due to the heat generated by all those other people seeking refuge from outside temperatures.

As a result I've been training every evening after work on my home treadmill with a large fan on full blast, which is also an opportunity for me to work my way through a TV series like the one I am currently watching: NY-LON. It is difficult, however, to do workouts much longer than 45 minutes partly due to boredom and partly because the belt becomes slippery with all the sweat. Again, I don't know whether the treadmill is getting slower with its old age, or whether I am getting faster in my old age but the fact is that I am able to run comfortably at what is my Marathon Pace of 15 kph (=15.5 on my treadmill last time I measured it). I could callibrate the treadmill again but I almost don't want to know as it doesn't really make any difference other than a psychological one. I've been doing almost all my workouts at 15 kph or faster this last week:

Monday: 40' @ 13.5 kph on work treadmill
Tuesday: 8 x 1 km @ 17.5 kph (=18 kph, 1%) on home treadmill
Wednesday: 40' @ 15 kph (=15.5 kph, 1%)
Thursday: 15' @ 15 kph, 15' @ 16 kph, 10' @ 16.5 kph
Friday: 40' @ 15 kph
Saturday: a couple of short runs of about 20' with the family on their bikes
Sunday: 40' @ 15 kph in the morning, 40' @ 15 kph in the evening

Training is always a tradeoff between speed, endurance, strength and technique. What I have been doing is clearly not focussed on strength or endurance but I think it will help maintain my speed and improve my technique. Almost independently of your ability and physiology, running at different speeds have quite different mechanics. The basic technique is the same - sure - but factors like the "springiness" of the Achilles tendons, the extension of the hips and the swing of the arms seem only to come into play at speeds of 14 kph and higher. Since I aspire to running Marathons at this speed or faster, it makes sense to me that I should be training these aspects specifically; anything less is a pure recovery run. As I start to build the volume back up, these "recovery runs" will be more important but I also hope to be able to maintain my Marathon Pace comfortably for even longer (ideally implying that my real Marathon Pace was in fact faster). This way of thinking is in line with the post I recently wrote on the idea of "inverse periodization".

Whatever the case, I am enjoying the training I am doing because it is both time efficient and quite satisfying. I just have to be extra vigilant in case I injure myself. My left Achilles is slightly sore if I pinch it hard but (TOUCH WOOD) I think it is safe for the time being.

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