Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Learning to Climb

I have finally made it. My last training pyramid ended during the climbing phase. I was just starting to work it in then the streak ended. I'm back again and ready to get to the top this time. Tennessee is quite hilly. There are an abundant amount of hills here, even flat courses are 10x hillier than the ones in Ohio. I like it though. It creates momentum and keeps the run honest. So anyway I have ran these hills for months now and still struggle to get up them at times. I normally take hills the most efficient way possible, using as little energy as possible while maintaining speed. I do that because I want my base runs to be easy. They aren't about strength, they are about endurance. Extra effort is great, but not the end purpose. Extra pounding is not good. It means greater chance of injury, and worse chance of fatigue that means following runs will not have as much quality.

Now things have changed. I have built the base and now it's time to actually exert effort on the hills. A weird thing to teach yourself after months of the opposite. But things went well. I started off with 3 miles warmup. Then I took the HH on. I went up pretty fast, there is a middle area that I coasted because it flattens out slightly, but then returns to the nice incline the rest of the way up. I was breathing hard at the top, but I definitely was going pretty fast on the way up. I didn't want to do all the repeats in a row. I didn't think I could handle it aerobically yet. So I ran another 3 mile loop and came back. This time I could really feel the legs working and at the top I was breathing hard, but felt like I could do another one.

I had "4-6 hills" written in for today. At this point I was thinking 4 would do fine. But as I did the third one at the top I felt really good. Tired and winded, but good. I could do another one for sure. So back down and then sprinting up, passing mailboxes like they were standing still. I was again breathing good, and headed back down. At the bottom I thought it would be nice to have 5 written down, so up I go again sprinting. Same breathing hard and legs tired, but still I knew I would feel good when I got to the bottom. So up again to get my 6 in, then around the block a little ways to get some extra miles in. Those miles were great. I felt so good from running up that hill, that I just wanted to keep going. But once I saw the sun setting I finished up. That's another good thing, the sun is setting later, which makes more time for longer runs like todays.

I was very surprised at my conditioning level. Especially after putting off last weeks 2-4 hills. This was a very fun run. I was going to do it tomorrow, but I've decided to move the long run to Saturday and didn't want it to close to that. So everything seems to be working out well. I am so looking forward to the HH now. I think mostly because I know the benefits that I will get from that work, and the 10k is coming in a few weeks so I need some strength built to do well. With today's workout I'll go on a limb and say sub-40 for a gold goal, beat my PR for a silver. That's pretty fast, but I think I can do it, and I don't want to set the bar too low.

One thing to note is about energy usage. At the point where you're body is in oxygen debt (i.e. breathing hard) you start burning stored energy that has been produced. Once that runs out you're body starts burning fat as a fuel source, which causes "the wall". The reason is that fat cannot be burned efficiently like glucose which is limited supply, so a backup of lactic acid causes what I can only describe as agony. The point I am getting at is that once your body switches to glucose it is very hard to switch back to burning fat aerobically. Today I was able to do that relatively quickly, as I ran a few miles afterwards and things "went back to normal". Just a thought. And if none of that makes sense, then either I don't know what I'm talking about, or you probably don't care enough to figure it out.

11(12)miles. 39 degrees. GM 202

No comments: