Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Running, Biking and Warmer Temps

It was above 30* again this morning when I woke up for my run. Living in New England is definitely an exercise in relativity. Two months ago I wouldn't have even considered getting out of bed when I rolled over to see my window thermometer pointing to the blue zone. These days as long as it is somewhere above zero I can't wait to get out on the road because it's 'so warm out!' There as also been very little wind the past week or so which also helps keep temps up. After spending the recent winters in the Caribbean my stock of cold weather/warm running clothes has been seriously depleted. Thankfully Jules and I took a winter hiking trip to the Grand Canyon over New Years so I had two very good excuses to go shopping for some technical cold weather kit. Marshalls came through, as usual, and I found an awesome Saucony running hat, some Nike gloves with booger thumbs and some fleece lined tights and tops, all on clearance! Buying new gear is very close to the top of my ways to get motivated list.  Right under keeping a training journal blog!

With my new clothes and the spiking temperatures I have been celebrating the weather (or the fact that I've finally acclimatized to it) by running in the mornings and biking to and from work. The morning runs are ~3 miles with some hill work thrown in and the bike to work is 8.5 miles on pretty flat roads. Luckily my job doesn't require me to wear a business suit or to look (or smell) presentable at all so I can get away with arriving a little sweaty.
Doubling up with running and biking landed me in a conversation about running vs biking muscle groups, PRE (perceived rate of exertion) and AT (anaerobic threshold).  I have always maintained that biking is harder and therefore must use different muscles groups than the ones I have from running. I can run a marathon but I struggle on a bike for even a couple miles. I don't think anyone could say I have weak legs. My calves don't fit into boots or skinny jeans and my quads and butt dictate my jeans size more than my waist does! Don't get me wrong, I have always been proud of my runner's legs but what is the deal with biking? I was convinced that there must be some other muscle group that bikers develop. Apparently, I was wrong. A friend of mine tried to convince me that there was no secret biking muscle group, that you use your legs, just like running, to push a bike forward. So we both went home and did what anyone else would do to prove we were each right, GTS. According to this article on livestrong.com the same muscles are used, just in slightly different ways. Push vs pull and four stages in running to only two in cycling. This abstract points out that the PRE is higher and the VO2 max and AT happen earlier in biking, however, and that's why I feel so out of shape on a bike. Any cyclists feel the opposite is true when they hit the road running?

Either way, it's been a pretty great start to the week. Hopefully the weather holds through the week. Here's to lots of miles, get out there!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Running Naked

I have been running naked since October.
It has been ages since my last blog. After 30 for 30 summer was in full swing and between getting up to speed running my new boat and logging lots of miles, blogging got pushed to the back burner.

I have been running consistently and ran the Newport marathon in October. I was training for Newport pretty hard and may have even 'over trained' as the race didn't go as well as I had hoped. I felt stiff and tired for a lot of the second half. Thankfully, I had a great running buddy for the whole race and her goal of finishing sub 4 helped us both get through and across before the dreaded 4 hour mark.
After Newport I felt a little burned out from training.  I think of training and running as two different entities. Training is great by having set workouts and times to strive towards I can focus what I'm doing and it makes it easier to get out the door. Running between races can be refreshing and enjoyable, getting back to the root of why we're all out there in the first place; because running is awesome.

So after Newport I took my headphones out of my hears, turned off my pace watch and headed out the door. They call it running naked in the magazines. No set workouts, no pacing or time goals. I would go out when I wanted for as long as I wanted. I threw in a few races here and there, the Pie Run on Thanksgiving and a NYE 10k in Vegas but it was all just to see how I could do, and I ended up doing alright!
Now it's time to get back in the game. May is just around the corner. I know it doesn't feel like it as we pull on our third layer and gloves and head out for a jog, but it is just about 18 weeks until my birthday, May marathon weekend and summer racing season. I would like to run Sugarbush Marathon again on May 17 but the Volvo stop over in Newport might get in the way. Either way I'll be racing 26.2 again soon.
This time I am trying to train with the Hal Higdon marathon guide and use the pace times from the Runner's World training. Hal Higdon has you running 6 days a week which is more my style than the 3 day guide. I'm traveling a bit this winter but not nearly as much as the past few years so I should be able to work more daily runs into my calendar.
The first run this morning was a 3 miler that I turned into 4 because turning around on the Cliff walk before the 40 steps just feels wrong! It's pretty warm out, somewhere over 30 anyways. The roads and sidewalks were a little slick this morning with a film of ice but it was a beautiful morning for a run. I'm going to take it as a good omen towards a successful training season and a sign that it will warm up eventually!