Sunday, September 16, 2018

Good to be back to the track discipline for a few more laps!

As I often say, what I like the most in running is, well, the running part, meaning the speed. Not the shuffling, walking, hiking which I got reduced to in my recent races in the Alps this Summer...

So it feels really good to get back to the track and its pacing discipline. Even when I run on concrete in my neighborhood, there is always some hoping on and from the sidewalk to cross a street, some slaloming to go around pedestrians, it's harder to keep a super even pace and keep pushing consistently.

I'm lucky enough to live in a country where high schools typically have great professional tracks which are open to the public when students are not in class. In addition to living not only in California, but right in the heart of Silicon Valley, where the weather is (still...) optimal!

And grateful to know Bob who has trained so hard to break 5 min at the mile the past 4 years, getting to 2 tenths of a second to his goal last month! He is my inspiration and lead in these track workouts to run under 6 min/mile.

By the way, running 50K on a track makes the most boring videos (click on the next two images to access the 3D fly-overs)! Well, on that one, you can at least have a peek to the new Apple Park campus a few blocks away (that's where this week's announcement occurred, in the brand new Steve Jobs auditorium, underneath the campus).
Slightly more interest in the washing-machine format we use for our speed workout with Bob (8 laps clockwise to warm-up, 12-lap worth of working out, either a series of 800s, or full miles, or pyramid (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1 laps).
This morning's 123-lap workout was special as I was trying to remain relaxed by keeping the image of Eliud Kipchoge finishing his Berlin marathon in a world record time, so amazing! In this YouTube video, look at how high up his heels are still going after running 26 miles at a 4:40 min/mile pace...!
Well, I wish visualization was enough to run fast, but not quite, for me anyway. Running 50K at the track on my own at 6:59 min/mile still requires a great deal of effort as you can see with all the salt left on my top:
With that, I covered 270 laps at the track in 3 runs over the past 8 days, phew! As a matter of fact, to avoid wearing the track too much, I do my 50K training runs in lane 2, using this great online calculator to compute the actual distance:
It has all sort of computations; for instance, here are 3 which are useful to pace yourself when running in another lane than 1 (which, again, is a must to avoid wearing the track, hence the ask for joggers and walkers to use outside lanes, 7 and 8).
The key benefit of running at the track is that you can both remain focused on steady pace (my Garmin Forerunner 310XT tells me each lap time automatically), yet get in the zone and don't worry about either the traffic if you run in urban areas, or the footing if you run on a trail. I would definitely run everything there, but that's an essential preparation for my upcoming key races.

Note that newer devices, such as my Garmin Forerunner 230, also gives useful biomechanics stats, for instance the cadence (number of steps per minute) and average stride. Two other data points which I work hard to keep high. Given my short legs, leg speed and long stride are my way to keep up with taller guys, that will be a good topic for another blog post.
Anyway, as noted above, while running hundreds of laps at the track is rather brutal, it feels so good to get back to some speed, for a change from mountain and trail running. I'm looking forward to seeing new faces at road races this Fall, while still enjoying reading trail and ultra stories from my other buddies. Running has so many ways to be enjoyed, have a great end of the Summer out there, if you are not hit by some awful weather these days (in which case, stay safe, please!).

1 comment:

Peter said...

That solid "WORK" is going to pay off....thanks for the inspriation Jean!