Sunday, March 16, 2014

Day 64: The amazing world of intervals

My alarm went off for the first time at the lovely hour of 5am. I stumbled to the kitchen and opened my little mason jar of overnight oatmeal (used hazelnut milk instead of regular, left out the lemon, added a pinch or two of salt, cinnamon & some dried cranberries) and scarfed that down along side a big glass of water and was back in bed by 5:06.

By the time I fell back asleep my alarm went off again at 6:30. Practice was at 7 a 5-10 minute drive away so I had opted for more sleep, less time to putter around. I thought about snoozing but that would take 9 of my precious 20 minutes to get ready so talked myself out of bed. Contacts in. More water. Clothes on. Find matching socks. Where are my shoes? Retrieve water bottles from the fridge. Where's my watch? Drink more water. Get in car and try to pay attention to the road.

We met at the Santa Monica Civic center and had both a nutrition clinic (short version: you need to hydrate, eat, and make sure you have enough salt in your body) and an injury prevention clinic (short version: follow the schedule, rest when you're supposed to rest, stretch and use a torture device on the regular) before we ran.

I may have mentioned but when I had my alumni one-on-one with one of the coaches this week he explained that the team out here is an interval based team. I had heard of / seen some marathoners doing this method, and had read a bit about one of the more famous interval programs - Jeff Galloway's - in the past. Essentially you run for a certain number of minutes, then walk one minute, during the duration of your runs.  Many people advocate for this method although from my initial research there's a lot of mixed opinions about this methodology.

Everyone on the team runs in intervals like this, and the difference between the groups is how many minutes "on" i.e. running you are going. Oh also, when you are in your "walk" minute, it is not supposed to be a time to stroll. You're supposed to be fast-walking granny-mall-walker style, arms pumping and the whole bit. Group 1 - the most advanced - was doing 6 minutes on, 1 minute off today. My group was running 4:1.

Because I missed last week, I was off schedule. The rest of the group was doing 10, so I was to run with my peeps until the water stop which was at the 4-mile mark and then turn around and head back.

Because of the clinics we probably didn't get going until about 8. Groups 2 and 3 ended up combining since everyone was running 4:1s. I really need to do my pacing run at some point to validate what tempo I should be running at. I decided to try the intervals for the day and see how it went - since the last really long run was 6 miles about oh, 3 weeks ago, I wasn't feeling to bad about not running the whole 8 miles.

We set out and at first I thought I was running way to fast for my pace - it was hard to tell. I could talk, but it wasn't easy talking. There was also a giant hill semi-early in the run and I feel like that set our pace to something more reasonable. We had a good little posse and by the time we got to the turn around spot, I could barely believe we had been running for 4 miles already, where I was going to turn around.

At the water stop I had my first sports gel of the season. For those new to the world of sports gels, as your time run goes over an hour you need to start thinking about fueling as you run. Some people like real food - pretzles, trail mix, oranges, a banana.  I tend to go for the synthetic stuff because I don't like chewing things when I'm running and that stuff goes right to your bloodstream because there is less to breakdown. I don't know that its better for you, but I do know I do not want to be eating pretzels my whole marathon.

Anyway, I got a few from the running store near my house and the first one was Gu's Espresso Love. I usually am a Power Gel person and love the "triple latte" so tried this one. It was okay. At first my stomach was all "Oh, this stuff? Not sure about this stuff!" but it settled down and then I was supercharged! I was zipping along happily by myself, keeping an eye on my watch to maintain the intervals. Since they were five minutes total (4 on, 1 off) it was easy to keep track of where I was.

And I have to say - I might be a convert. I think the intervals allowed me to push harder during the minutes on. And I totally channeled those little old lady mall walkers during my walk minutes. I felt really great at the end of the run, and I ran just below an 11 minute mile, which is pretty speedy for me for that distance.

The run ended near the pier and I took a cool-down walk to the end and back. It is a pretty nice spot to end a run.

So, I'm thinking I will rotate between intervals and not intervals in my training in some way and just see how it goes. If I can get over my own ego i.e. that I need to run every step of the way, this might be a good way to approach the race, especially considering the old injuries.

today's mileage: 8 miles
season mileage to date: 129.5 miles

No comments: