Thursday, April 23, 2015

Turning up the Crazy

In my last posts, I talked about how I never had the physical fitness to do an oly, let alone race one. That is, until I started working with Coach Liz. It has been an amazing process and incredible transformation.


If you want to get faster, you have to run fast. NOT faster. FAST.

(When I say "you", I mean ME. Everyone is different and has different needs in training, BUT if you are beyond newbie and are at the point you're striving for OA Podiums, ITU Worlds, etc. you might benefit from this).

What I mean by that is if you race 10Ks or Olympic distance races, it doesn't do you any good to run :20 or :30 seconds faster than 10K pace.

Think about it this way, if your average pace is a 9:00 pace, and you run intervals at :20 faster. This approach doesn't make you faster; it makes your existing speed sustainable because of accumulated fatigue.  Most people, and there is research to document this, SLOW down during a race. Running :20 faster for intervals simply means that you won't slow down as much. That means, they don't have the physical fitness or strength to hold the pace they were holding. The only thing you are doing is keeping your body at your current average pace. You start out faster.....and's not just you. It's everyone, and it's because of your training. It's not because you're mentally weak or can't handle pain. (Again, that approach isn't completely wrong. It's good for people who are newer to the sport or to people who primarily do longer distances and aren't used to lot's of high intensity workouts, but it doesn't engage those fast twitch muscles.)

Remember this: That type of workout is comfortable. You don't push out of your comfort zone. You get incrementally faster....maybe....or maybe you slow down over time....that's what happened to me.

In order to breakthrough that.....

YOU NEED TO RUN FAST. It's the only way to build the strength in order to race hard.

I did a bike threshold test. Immediately after that, I ran ALL OUT. THAT's how you get faster. Running at 10K, only ingrains 'running at 10K pace'. It does nothing to help me get faster.

We need to experience running outside our comfort zone. We need to hear our bodies when we are suffering (ie: no wearing an ipod). We need to learn how to handle the stress of true suffering, so on race day, we are able and willing to do what we need to, to be successful.

Run fast, do strength work, do plyo's. The goal is to get as strong as possible. Strong, to be able to hold good run form which in turn makes you a faster runner. Power to push off on your run.

Several weeks back, Liz gave me an interval workout to run faster than 10k pace.

"Ok", I thought. My 10K pace is in the upper 9 minute range, so she means 9:30 or so. After all, that's what I've always done. We all know the saying, "Do what you've done. Get what you always got." Or something like that.

I did the intervals. Within SECONDS, she responded with, "You should be doing these intervals in the 7:00 pace range not 9:30. The way to get faster is to go fast."


For the coming weeks, Liz has put a little bug in my ear, "We have some good challenges coming your way. Embrace them."

I'm completely up for them. I've never had anyone push me like this. When she does it, I know that she really cares. She really wants me to be successful. She is personally vested in each and every single one of her athletes.

I don't need warm fuzzy. I don't need someone telling me "Good job" on a daily basis.

But it's really nice to have someone believe in me AND my matter how crazy or "out there" they seem to other people.

It's time for me to step up and take down the new challenges that she's throwing my way.

One more thing, this is her current blog post and a must read. Why? Because no matter what life throws at her, you'll never see a "poor me" post.  She's the toughest and most down to earth person I know. Welcome to Life. Welcome to the grind.