Archive for February, 2012

Follow up on Feb. 12th Half Marathon: Lessons Learned and Next Steps

Posted in Lessons Learned, Nutrition, Paleo Athlete, Training with tags on February 13, 2012 by Living Against the Grain

Today’s race was amazing. My finishing time wasn’t fantastic but the atmosphere was great, and the course was beautiful. It was rainy, but not too cold and the other competitors out there brought a great energy to the event.

I came across the finishing line in 1:26:08, a new PR in the half marathon by over 3 minutes, but admittedly, slower than I had set the cruise control for.

The goal time of 1:22 was a stretch but I really wanted to experiment with it.

Race strategy was two pronged:
1. Set a pace equivalent to 95% of my 10k PR and hammer it out for as long as I could until I couldn’t hold any longer.
– Reason: Test early season fitness identify weaknesses: Strength, speed,
mechanics, etc.
– Key take aways: Monitor when and where the pace became unsustainable and why.

2. – Drink only water and eat nothing
– Reason: Test body’s ability to metabolize fat during the race once glycogen stores had been depleted.
– Key take aways: Monitor when and where the shift from glycogen to fat occurred and test the efficiency of metabolizing
fat for energy.

Obviously you shouldn’t run two pronged experiment like this if its your A race of the season. By then, you should have everything figured out and dialled in. But today was a perfect opportunity.

I believe that self experimentation is a very important element to an athlete’s training plan. If you stay in your comfort zone, or always take down the same gels or sports drink its hard to see where your limiting factor is. Pushing out of your comfort zone allows you to see where your mechanics, strength, endurance or nutrition plan fails so sometimes, your best strategy is to just go for it and see what happens.

So I set my pace at roughly 3:50/km, fired up my POSE running technique, drank a little water at each aid station and stuck to my race plan.

Things were going well and I felt great for the first 15 km. I was right on pace, cruising along the Stanley Park sea wall and feeling fine. But the last 5-6 Km were a little slower than I had hoped.

Deciding to race without any high Glycemic Index gels or sports drinks may seem foolish to some, but my goal was to clearly indicate the point in the race in which my glycogen started to run out. I then wanted to gauge my body’s ability to efficiently metabolize fat for energy.

Why just read about this stuff in text books? I believe there’s some inherent value in going out and experimenting yourself!

To summarize my findings from today’s race: Things were cool and smooth until 15km.

– I average 3:49/km for this portion of the race and my energy levels were stable.

From Km 15-21 I was struggling to keep pace and my energy level dropped.

– I averaged only 4:05/km from KM 15 on.

The data I gathered today will now allow me to go back to the drawing board for my next 4-6 week training block.

– More stamina work, more strength work, and most importantly, GETTING THIS PALEO RACE DAY NUTRITION FIGURED OUT!

I think I’ll be experimenting with some of the stuff on this interesting blog post I just read:

If you have any insight for race day nutrition, please post in comments. Thanks!

Advertisements

2012 Race Season Begins with 21km around Vancouver’s Stanley Park

Posted in Rest and Relaxation, Training with tags , , , on February 12, 2012 by Living Against the Grain

After a short hiatus from the blogosphere I return with a short but pointed blog entry. To begin, I just want to say I hope you have all had a great start to 2012.

My 2012 race season begins tomorrow with a half marathon in Vancouver. BC. As a triathlete, my weakness is running so I have told myself I would focus this early part of the season on improving my run so that I am a more well rounded athlete for my main event: Ironman Coure D’Alene, on June 24th

Tomorrow’s race is the ‘My First Half Marathon‘ in Vancouver, BC. The course runs from the Yaletown community centre, around Stanley park and back. This course is flat, fast, and fun, and should be a great early season event.

A half marathon is 21km, so in preparation for such an event one could only assume my training plan has incorporated multiple long runs of 15+ km to get my body prepared for the demands placed upon it by running 21km.

This assumption however, is wrong. I have run only one long run in 2012 and it was a 10k two weeks ago that I ran in the rain on a cold afternoon weighing in at 196lbs. I started off at a slow tempo, found my grove around 2-3km in, and low and behold, ended up setting a new PR at 37:53. Needless to say, I was shocked.

My training over the past 6 weeks has been based first and foremost on the development of efficient movement patterns and technique, and then the development of strength, speed, power, and stamina.

I have been following the Crossfit Endurance protocol quite closely, involving 4-6 crossfit workouts, 3-4 strength and conditioning workouts (incorporating the conjugate strength method popularized by Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell) and 2-3 run workouts cycling through short intervals, long intervals, and one tempo or time trial each week. The programming on the crossfitendurance site is brilliant, I just tweak it ever so slightly to fit athletic goals and fitness level.

So all this talk and no action means very little. The intent is not to look at my run splits and say ‘wow this guy is fast.’ On the contrary. Any competitive runner would look at my times and say they are quite slow, and that person would be right. The point is, at almost 200lbs I have learned how to run fast, run efficiently, and train in a way that avoids repetitive stress injuries and keeps me looking forward to the next workout.

I am on to something new, something exciting, and something that we can all tap into. It’s the development of holistic strength and endurance through crossfit inspired exercises, that when done correctly, and with properly executed rest and recovery periods, can create new frontiers for athletic performance.

I’ll write an update tomorrow after the race.

Goal time for the 21k: 1:22:00