Saturday, 12 October 2013

Running - Aiming for improvement

As we all know and as I have blogged about previously. Running is the element of triathlon I struggle with most. Well that and transition.

I am normally in the top 10-20% after the swim based on split times. Not that I am a data geek and analyse everything.

And now that I have fixed my bike position I am averaging speeds of over 21 mph which is now putting me in the top half of the bike splits.

But as soon as I get off the bike and onto the run, my race falls apart. Yes I have always made it to the finish line but I feel slower than a slow thing one slow day as people overtake me.

I realise I am not a runner. Well I am a runner as I run but I am not a quick runner.

It has been said that there are two types of people in triathlon.

  1. People who are swim bikers (aka me)
  2. People who are bike runners
My PB's to date have improved massively so it proves that hard work is paying off.

A year ago I had only just run my first constant 5km and the time was 35 something. Now my 5km PB stands at 26:48 but I want to be quicker. In an ideal World I would like to shave 4 minutes off this. Now I know this is a huge task but I would love to go sub 23.

To do that would mean running at just over 13 km/h or just over 8mph and teaching my body how to run 7 minute miles consistently for 3.11 miles.

At Brigg Spring I was consistently running 8:45 miles which was comfortable but not over stretching myself. I think I found this so comfortable as I really nailed my nutrition at Brigg. If you asked me what I had I couldn't tell you but I just felt strong running and this hasn't happened before.

In an effort to improve my running I have started going to the track sessions run by Blizard Physio at the home of Doncaster Athletics Club.

In a word they HURT. A LOT!

The coach is an ex international runner and is really encouraging despite the fact that I am easily the slowest runner there.

In the first week we did some warm up laps of the track and some strides before the main set.

The main set was meant to be 12 lots of 400m at whatever pace you could maintain with 1 minute rest between each interval. I went off to hard and really struggled. I think my first 400 was 1:30 which is the same as a 6 minute mile. My next 400 was 1:41 which is the same as a 6:40 mile.

OMG by this point I was blowing out of my arse. Jesus I was in pain, the coach saw that I was struggling and told me to drop to 200's instead of the 400's.

He told me to run 200m then wait for the group to finish and start their next rep and then get on the end of that group. this meant I got a long rest after each alternating rep. My 200's were still hard work but were all in the region of 0:45 which again equates to 6 minutes miles.

The warm down was 3 laps of the track at a very relaxed pace.

When I got up the next morning my calves were in agony. After two days I could walk normally again.

Week 2 had me filled with dread especially when I saw the set announced on Facebook.

The set was 4 lots of 5 lots of 200 with a 30 second rest between each rep and after every full set a jog around the track.

All reps were to be run as consistently. I was literally bricking it.

The warm up was 3 relaxed laps of the track and 4 lots of strides.

This was it, time to go. I set off and deliberately was at the back of my group. My first 5 reps were 45 seconds but I was in no fit state to do the jogged lap of the track. I had gone off to hard. 6 minute miles aren't for me. YET!

I spoke to the coach and he said I had done the hard part by coming back for the second week as it is amazing how many people don't. There was no way I wasn't coming back. I enjoyed last week even though it broke me physically. There it is my determination to succeed again at the fore. 

He also said I should try and complete the next rep of 5 at 50 seconds as I was struggling again but then backed this up with the fact that he would have me running 6 minute miles within 3 months.

I managed to run the next 5 reps at 50 seconds and had completed half the workout. Again I was struggling at the end of the 5th rep and didn't complete the jogged lap.

I didn't fare so well in the 3rd set or reps and missed two. And I missed the last rep of the fourth set but my times were all nearly 50 seconds. I had completed 17 of the prescribed 20 reps which was a huge improvement on last week.

I was over the moon and the coach even said how much I had improved in a week.

We then went for a warm down jog of 2.5km. A 2.5km warm down, that was longer than some of my runs last year. This isn't going to be easy. But if it was easy everyone would be doing it.

I was in bits after we had finished. My calves and quads were screaming with every step. This was a new feeling. I decided to attempt to counteract this by having an ice bath when I got home. After the initial shock, the water made my muscles feel normal and there was no pain. Result. I then slept in my compression tights and could nearly walk normally the next morning. By Thursday I was back to normal. It appears ice baths and compression are the answer after track nights. Even if they make me scream like a girl when I first get in the water.

At this point I would like to personally thank Dave Tune and Jenny Blizard for the encouragement they have given me to date. Without there constant encouragement I don't think I would fare so well at track. To be told at the end of each rep how well you are doing gives you such a lift. This is exactly what I need as to be beasted would have the opposite effect on me. I would lose heart and withdraw into myself but having Dave and Jenny offering there wealth of knowledge, experience and encouragement has helped no end. So thank you.

That it from me for now.

Bring on the pain next week.

Thanks for reading,


1 comment:

  1. Well done for going back - so many would have given up. I'm still getting over the hurdle of even signing up to track events/run club! Maybe I'll just bite the bullet and go now...