Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Something Different

I took a big fat zero yesterday. I intentionally didn't set the alarm, and by some glorious coincidence the kids slept until 6:30. When I finally woke and heard the sound of the rain beating down on the roof I thought I might get a run in after it stopped, but when it was still going strong as Kiera left for an afternoon of scrapbooking I realized that it just wasn't going to happen. Instead I took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch and laid low while our son napped and our daughter colored afterwards. At one point in the early evening the guilt of the zero hit me while I was talking to my wife. I paused and looked at her, and as soon as I mentioned feeling bad about not running she said she knew those would be the next words out of my mouth.

If running ever feels like a job, I know something is wrong. I needed a day to get myself right after owning up to the residual fatigue from my road trip and suffering through the resulting disappointing long run. When I woke today at 4:30 it was game on, and I was definitely motivated to get out the door.

This was originally scheduled as the first week of a short hill phase in Arthur Lydiard's mold, but an audible called by the coach after seeing me stall a bit put the ball in my court as far as how much or how intense my running should be for a few days. Still, I had the go-ahead to run hills if I felt like it or to do some strides if I was up to it, so I ended up doing a combination of both along with some sight-seeing.

Sabino Canyon was officially closed due to heavy rains and flooding, but I snuck in my side entrance by the shooting range and ran down to the first flooded and blocked bridge to see the damage. So much for my first choice for hill repeats with scenery. From there I hit the track and ran a mile of 100 sprints and 300 jogs, just to loosen up the legs. I could definitely feel the hamstrings working to snap the legs up behind me, and I felt altogether rusty from the day off. Next I ran down Sabino Canyon Road and did six more strides/accelerations of 100 or so meters en route to my old nemesis, Sabino Mountain Road. This winding climb up to a gated and exclusive subdivision has been the terrain for my last few hill phases, and with Sabino Canyon in ruins again it looks like I'll be on it again for the next few weeks.

Thomas is up to the same sort of thing now that I'm moving into, which includes steep hill running and eventually some bounding. In my case I'm sticking with the former until the legs get into the swing, and today that meant 3 x 3 minute efforts of slow, forward momentum while driving the knees as high as I could. After three minutes I ease off and run the last section to the top of the hill at a relaxed pace but with good form. From there I try not to kill myself by running down slowly to the bottom. In most cases I do 3x100 slightly downhill strides on the road that meets up with Sabino Mountain, but since the legs were already in the hole a bit from the earlier sprinting I stuck with a bit of easy jogging before heading up again.

The Arthur Lydiard Foundation, headed by Nobby Hashizume, has this video online, which illustrates some of Lydiard's hill training methods. That's Nobby in the flesh doing the first exercise of steep hill running. Later on I'll probably move into some shorter, more explosive hill running as I get closer to the marathon.

All in all it was a good day, and the legs are buzzing from the new stimulus. As I mentioned before, the hamstrings definitely noticed the sprints, and the upper calf muscles and the lower quadriceps took the brunt of the hills.

Training: Today, 12 miles, 1:30:15, 7:30 pace
Yesterday, Big Fat Zero


Phil said...

Good luck with the hill training. I hope it drys out in Tucson at some point and you can get back in Sabino.

ian said...

I'm continually amazed by how frequently you end up at Chuck E. Cheese.
May the motivation continue!

Mike said...

Thanks Phil, we could both use a drop in the humidity.

Ian, we're pretty miserly with our entertainment budget, so I let Haiden go through the circulars in the paper on Sundays to look for the Chuck E. Cheese coupon that appears every two or three weeks. For $10 I can feed Finn, Haiden and myself with a large pizza, and we can stay out of the heat and out of Kiera's hair for a few hours. We're still working on spending a bag full of tokens a manager gave us after they mysteriously lost our order during one visit.

2-year-old Finn even knows the corner the restaurant is on now and shouts "Dee-Dee-Deee" (Chuck E. Cheese loosely translated) when we pass, so perhaps some more variety is needed.

While we're guilty of mass cheese consumption, I can proudly say that neither my wife nor I have ever taken them to a fast food restaurant (with the exception of an emergency drive-thru frozen yogurt cone at McDonald's once).