Danny is careful when he explains speed workouts to me: “Don’t think speed, just think length and looseness and being relaxed…”
I went down to Carrier Park because it’s flat and today’s run is supposed to be accelerations on flats on pavement. Since the run I am doing is on pavement, I need to think about starting to train on that surface.
Started off nice and easy in 1st gear after doing my Body Looseners. I have found that I start doing a body scan at the beginning of every run just to make sure that I am in the right place with my form and adjust if anything is off. Some days it’s easier said than done, but overall, it’s becoming much easier to identify my own body.
After my body was warmed up, I moved into 2nd gear and stayed there for 15 minutes. I noticed, because the sun was going down, that my shadow showed a pretty darn good heel lift. I imagine the shadow somewhat exaggerated my actual foot height and lift, but it felt good, so I was happy with that.
For the accelerations, I have two tips if you are going to try to do this workout series:
1) Make sure your watch or heart rate monitor has a minute countdown that you are familiar with and USE IT 2) and if you have an open flat place that’s paved where you don’t have to make a million loops, go there instead.
Carrier Park is great for loops, but 1/2 of it is wood chips for the covering and I wanted to stay off it, so I looked like a crazy hampster running back and forth, but that’s okay. I don’t think I’ll be able to do that forever, though.
So anyway, the accelearations started off pretty well. I was to do 4 accelerations in 3 min increments with 1 min jog breaks. The first two sets of accelerations were okay, and I was focusing on the first two minutes being of a nice, good form gear 2. I was working a lot with my arm swing today to make sure my cadence was up… No metronome today. With my arm swing, I was working with my heel lift and always keeping my lean so that my feet are always landing behind my center of body. So: arm swing, heel lift and nice lean.
During the last minute of each acceleration, I gently moved into gear 3. The idea with these for my training is that I can increase speed without effort. What that means for me is to watch my heart rate a little bit and check in: once I engage gear 3, does my heart rate peak or does it hover around where it started? This process of maintaining a faster speed for a longer distance sort of freaks me out, I have to admit. Gear 3 feels a little scary to me, and at the end of the third and fourth accelerations, I was VERY glad to do a nice jog.
I don’t think, looking back now, that I was really loose and relaxed. The dichotomy in ChiRunning of getting faster but relaxing more is still a hard one for my body to embrace. In the yoga class last weekend, the lady talked a lot about effort and surrender. It’s an interesting pair of words to consider in ChiRunning, too.
If I were able to get my hip swing a little better, I might have felt a little more relaxed. There were moments of relaxation, but going into gear 3 still manifests in a faster heart rate (about 10 bpm increase) and increased PRE right now.
After the last acceleration, I did the 1 minute jog, and then attempted to run 10 more minutes at a pretty quick pace: I bumped back up to gear 2 pretty quickly, and I think instead of easing gradually (or in Danny’s words, “Settling in”) into gear 3, I shot my heart up too quickly, and it was (or my brain was afraid of doing that for very long) not good for the duration of a sustained speed.
I ran in gear three for about 6.5 minutes, and then I backed off to a jog for a little bit, and then went to gear 2 for a couple more minutes. I didn’t run a full mile (or about 10 minutes) in gear three, but I ran for quite awhile in 3rd gear.
Here are my observations:
- Should have increased into gear 3 more gradually
- By increasing too quickly, my brain got a little flustered, and then I think my body tightened
- I didn’t feel as fluid as I had during the accelerations (even though those weren’t easy!)
- I DID notice a few times, where I really felt like the road was just pulling me along
- I need to not focus on my breath right now. Sounds crazy, but if I just breathe the way that my body regulates, I do better. Sometimes I try to breathe out longer to try to slow my breathing down, but then I get a little hysterical.
- I still felt I had a good arm swing and heel lift, but the problem was my hips and keeping my spine loose. I think I was very stiff which made for a difficult form.
- I don’t have the brain to push myself into or beyond physical pain. Good or bad, my first inclination is to give up. I don’t like that about myself, but it’s something to note and consider as I progress in ChiRunning. ChiRunning, blessedly, gives me the opportunity to apply skills that I didn’t know I had to change a potentially ‘rough’ situation for me, into a pleasant and manageable one.
I didn’t feel bad at the end of my run, or beat myself up for not ‘totally finishing’. I am actually really excited that I will have the long runs on Sundays still, but that my weekly runs are sticking around the same time. It’s amazing that I can now consider a 45 minute run a short one. That’s incredible!
Scale: 6/7… I apparently have allergies. For any of you who suffer from them, you have a compassionate ear. GOSH how annoying. My lips/nose were so dry on the run I thought I would crack, and then towards the end, I got that slobbery-dog feeling I get when I run at faster speeds. The slobbering dog syndrome is something I would like to banish from my repertoire, and all the more reason to get my cardio ability Up Up Up.