Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A week with my body not accepting conventional wisdom

Conventional wisdom would say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," and that's exactly where I'm at with my running. I've been injury free for years and other than running in Luna's this past summer, I've been running fast and injury free in Nike Zoom Streak XC's so shouldn't I be happy and satisfied? I thought so until last week when I decided to wear my Evo's to walk around all day and the next morning my body and soul refused to run in the Nike's. I woke up and my spirit and body said it wanted to really feel the power of the earth and so I laced up my Evo's and went for a short run but it turned into a long run.

The next day I had a sore right hip and I've never had a sore hip (not to mention I could feel the weight difference of the Evo vs. Nike's), so I switched back to the Nike XC's and the hip pain immediately disappeared so conventional wisdom would say keep running in your Nike's. Well, I woke up the next morning and my soul demanded again to be closer to the earth with a better feeling of the ground, even with all the snow and ice outside, so I went back to the Evo's and had a very enjoyable run and my hip pain was all but gone.

So, obviously, I was intrigued by the source of my hip pain and I had a friend count my stride rate while barefoot vs. Luna's and Evo's vs. Nike XC's and as expected there was what I consider a material deviation in my stride rate when comparing the Nike's vs. Luna's and Evo's. In the Luna's and Evo's my stride rate (per minute at a 8:30 pace) was 184 while it was 176 in Nike's. Then my friend said I ran taller (straight) while in Luna's/Evo's vs. Nike's where I had more of a forward lean. Lastly, we measured my stride and it was longer in the Nike's. So much of this is as expected but it does cause one to ponder.

First, it further validates the impact of different footwear and each deviation from barefoot has consequences. Now, for me the consequences don't translate to injury but nevertheless there are differences. Second, I started to think about potential longer term impacts. If I engage my hips when I'm closer to a barefoot state then I'm not engaging them as much in traditional racing shoes like the Nike XC's and that requires a deeper evaluation than just the injury issue (as people get older you often hear about hip problems and as such, am I weakening my hips by not engaging them enough thus leading to possible future problems . . . in other words, perhaps the focus should be on keeping the body as engaged as possible as we get older which may result in a stronger overall body . . . this is about health not racing). Third, and I personally believe this has something to do with the Blackfoot Indian blood running through my veins as the feeling was spiritual and powerful, why did my body demand to be closer to barefoot when I was already running fast and injury free in the Nike's? It was a powerful desire by my body and such that I couldn't ignore it which drove me back to the Evo's and Luna's.

I find myself in a very interesting situation. I run without issue in my Nike's (and it's fun running) but obviously something powerful is missing if at this point in my running life my body yearns to be closer to the ground (this has happened before and each time the feeling comes back more powerful, then goes away, but eventually comes back even more powerful than before). And, after all is said and done, my 5k PR of 17:42 was set in Evo's :) and my 4th fastest time was set in Luna's, not traditional running shoes.

As always, I'd appreciate everyone's thoughts. All my recent struggles have been on spiritual (I'm blessed to not be dealing with injury concerns).

Harry

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Discovering a new running cycle . .

I'm not sure how I discovered this but I've fallen into a 5 day running cycle that has been just awesome. I look at every 5 day period as a new and separate running period.

During this 5 day period, I do the following:

* 1 hard run whether that's tempo, interval, or long run with race pace
surges

* 3 easy runs and 1 of those runs are 100% barefoot (usually treadmill
during the winter)

* 1 rest day (completely off)

*Note: at the end of practically every run, I do 5-10 min. of
barefoot running as a cool down.

The results so far have been awesome. Shrinking it down to such a small period of time (5 days) has also been great mentally and works well with business travel also. I don't know which days I do which runs or which day I use as a rest day as I let me body decide it but this also accomplishes a few other things. The vast majority of my running is easy aerobic running; hard days are at a minimum (but I go "hard" on hard days) and there's a lot of easy days/rest days between hard workouts; and most importantly, I'm embracing "true rest days" . . . not recovery runs but true rest days.

Lastly, this has allowed me to incorporate core and upper body strengthening. As a result, I'm adding weight and muscle but I feel great. I've decided I much prefer to look like a 400-800 meter runner vs. a marathon runner . . . my wife agrees :)

As always, the journey continues . . .

Harry

Monday, December 12, 2011

So what's been going on . . .

Well, I've been working on running slower as weird as that may sound but I'm working on running easier on my easy days so I can run harder on my hard days. I've discovered that I've pretty much been running in a pre-fatigued state for years and never really ran easy, even on easy days where I was still running a sub 8:00 pace. This is likely why I've been fatigued for my hard workouts.

I'm feeling great after a week or so of testing this out. I rarely run sub 9:00 on easy days and I just float along and often feel like I didn't even get a workout even after a 7-8 mile easy run. The great part is I feel really strong when I push into hard workouts. On this front, I've reduced the number of hard workouts on a monthly basis. I run by feel so I looked at my log to try to find trends and I think I may have discovered a framework for me which is based on a 10 day running cycle with 2x mini 5 day sections. Basically, over 10 days, I will run 8 and rest 2 and within that it's basically a 4:1 ratio of run days to rest days every 5 days and during each 5 day cycle I will do 3 easy runs, 1 rest day, and either a long run or speed/interval work. That means, over a 10 day cycle I will do 1 hard speed session, 1 long run, 2 rest days and 6 easy days.

So far my body is loving it. We'll see how it goes.

Harry

Friday, December 2, 2011

I've been really bad with my posting lately . . .

but I've been running strong so all is good. I'm in the midst of figuring out the best mix of easy and hard running as well as incorporating recovery and rest days. This is a tricky mix as every runner knows. Here's an interesting article on recovery runs:

A Fresh Perspective on Recovery Runs

Recovery runs increase your fitness by having you run in a pre-fatigued state.
It is widely assumed that the purpose of recovery runs--which we may define as relatively short, slow runs undertaken within 24 hours after a harder run--is to facilitate recovery from preceding hard training. You hear coaches talk about how recovery runs increase blood flow to the legs, clearing away lactic acid and so forth. The truth is that lactic acid levels return to normal within an hour after even the most brutal workouts. Nor does lactic acid cause muscle fatigue in the first place. Nor is there any evidence that the sort of light activity that a recovery run entails promotes muscle tissue repair, glycogen replenishment or any other physiological response that is actually relevant to muscle recovery.

What is the Real Benefit of Recovery Runs?

In short, recovery runs do not enhance recovery. Nevertheless, recovery runs are almost universally practiced by top runners. That wouldn't be the case if this type of workout weren't beneficial. So what is the real benefit of recovery runs? The real benefit of recovery runs is that they increase your fitness--perhaps almost as much as longer, faster runs do--by challenging you to run in a pre-fatigued state (i.e. a state of lingering fatigue from previous training.)

There is evidence that fitness adaptations occur not so much in proportion to how much time you spend exercising but rather in proportion to how much time you spend exercising beyond the point of initial fatigue in workouts. So-called key workouts (runs that are challenging in their pace or duration) boost fitness by taking your body well beyond the point of initial fatigue.

Click here to find out more!
Recovery workouts, on the other hand, are performedentirely in a fatigued state, and therefore also boost fitness despite being shorter and/or slower than key workouts.

Evidence of the special benefit of pre-fatigued exercise comes from an interesting study out of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. In this study, subjects exercised one leg once daily and the other leg twice every other day. The total amount of training was equal for both legs, but the leg that was trained twice every other day was forced to train in a pre-fatigued state in the afternoon (recovery) workouts, which occurred just hours after the morning workouts.

After several weeks of training in this split manner, the subjects engaged in an endurance test with both legs. The researchers found that the leg trained twice every other day increased its endurance 90 percent more than the other leg.

Creating a Setback to Get Ahead

Additional research has shown that when athletes begin a workout with energy-depleted muscle fibers and lingering muscle damage from previous training, the brain alters the muscle recruitment patterns used to produce movement. Essentially, the brain tries to avoid using the worn-out muscle fibers and instead involves fresher muscle fibers that are less worn out precisely because they are less preferred under normal conditions.

When your brain is forced out of its normal muscle recruitment patterns in this manner, it finds neuromuscular "shortcuts" that enable you to run more efficiently (using less energy at any given speed) in the future. Pre-fatigued running is sort of like a flash flood that forces you to alter your normal morning commute route. The detour seems a setback at first, but in searching for an alternative way to reach the office, you might find a faster way--or at least a way that's faster under conditions that negatively affect your normal route.

Tips for Effective Use of Recovery Runs

  • Whenever you run again within 24 hours of completing a key workout (or any run that has left you severely fatigued or exhausted), the follow-up run should usually be a recovery run.

  • Recovery runs are only necessary if you run four times a week or more.

    • If you run just three times per week, each run should be a "key workout" followed by a day off.

    • If you run four times a week, your first three runs should be key workouts and your fourth run only needs to be a recovery run if it is done the day after a key workout instead of the day after a rest day.

    • If you run five times a week, at least one run should be a recovery run.

    • If you run six or more times a week, at least two runs should be recovery runs.

  • There's seldom a need to insert two easy runs between hard runs, and it's seldom advisable to do two consecutive hard runs within 24 hours.

  • Recovery runs are largely unnecessary during base training, when most of your workouts are moderate in both intensity and duration. When you begin doing formal high-intensity workouts and exhaustive long runs, it's time to begin doing recovery runs in roughly a 1:1 ratio with these key workouts.

  • There are no absolute rules governing the appropriate duration and pace of recovery runs.

    • A recovery run can be as long and fast as you want, provided it does not affect your performance in your next scheduled key workout.

    • In most cases, however, recovery runs cannot be particularly long or fast without sabotaging recovery from the previous key workout or sabotaging performance in your next one.

    • A little experimentation is needed to find the recovery run formula that works best for each individual runner.

  • Don't be too proud to run very slowly in your recovery runs, as Kenya's runners are famous for doing. Even very slow running counts as pre-fatigued running practice that will yield improvements in your running economy, and running very slowly allows you to run longer without sabotaging your next key workout.

Active Expert Matt Fitzgerald is the author of several books on triathlon and running, including Runner's World Performance Nutrition for Runners (Rodale, 2005).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

not keeping up . . .

I haven't been keeping up with my posting but all is well. I've run something like 16 consecutive days with several race pace workout (6:00 min. pace range). My body is tired and it's time for a day off so I'll likely take tomorrow off. Running has been so enjoyable and has become so effortless . . . I'm blessed.

Harry

Thursday, November 17, 2011

stayin' with it thursday

The workout: This is my "floater" workout where I run hard for 800-1200 meters (half marathon pace), then recovery for the same time . . . total workout: 35 min. @ 6:45 pace. It's a fun workout and a great way to wake up the body. I have no idea why I've been feeling so good but I guess I've reached another level in my running. I keep waiting to take a rest day but my body wasn't given me any messages that it wants a rest day so I'll keep going until my body wants to rest.

The cool down: Barefoot cool down on the treadmill for 15 min @ 9:30 pace. I recently switched from barefoot warm-ups to barefoot cool downs and I'm lovin' it. I suspect because my body is already lose and warm, it's like a massage for my feet.

Harry


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

cold wednesday running . . .

40 min. of roads, trails and hills in 19F weather . . .


thought of the day: since I started running 4 yrs. ago, I've had a few major breakthroughs and I believe I'm in the midst of another major breakthrough. About 12 months ago my running started to become effortless and know it's becoming even more effortless and I'm getting stronger which I attribute to finding my optimal weight zone for the type of life I live and the way I eat. I could lose more weight but it would require an even more stringent focus on what I eat to make sure I get enough protein but all things considered I've found my optimal weight zone and my running is even more effortless even at faster paces which I didn't think was possible.

Harry

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

where'd the past week go . . .

I don't know but I had a lot of traveling and a lot of running . . . all is good.

Harry

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

on the trails again tuesday

I skipped the treadmill warm-up as I wanted to get outside on the trails immediately. It was 30F but not bad at all and, in fact, it was good running weather. That was just a fun 50 min. run. A few days ago my gait was "off" but everything was back "on" today.

Harry


Monday, November 7, 2011

inconsistently posting but running consistently

So I've been a bit lazy with my posts (actually very busy). But I've been running around my daughter's tennis schedule so my body is a bit off so I've decided to take today off after the past 3 days of running without adequate sleep or recovery time. That little birdie in my head is telling me to back off day and get back to it tomorrow.

This past week was a lower mileage week for me, about 35 miles (I'm usually in the 50 mile range) and this week is also likely to be a lower mileage week as I have a very busy week ahead.

Harry

Thursday, November 3, 2011

too cold thursday . . . stay indoors

I was planning to split this into a half shod/unshod run but after warming up, I decided to stay barefoot and run a nice easy 5k on the treadmill. I hope it warms up soon so I can tackle some road/trails (it was 16F + icy this morning = no outdoors for me).

Harry

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

wednesday tempo on the treadmill

Part I: The snow forced me inside to the treadmill (8 in. of snow + 27F), so I started with a barefoot warm-up (25 minutes) then moved into a tempo run (Part II). I use to run in this stuff but not anymore . . . I just refuse to battle mother nature anymore . . . I'm fine with the warm indoors and the treadmill . . .

Part II: After the barefoot treadmill warm-up, I decided to knock off a 15 min. tempo run at 10k pace (6:15 pace). It felt great and I decided to check my heart rate at this pace (it was 156).

Harry

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

time to rest . . .

19 consecutive days of running = day off!!! It just feels like it's time to take a day off so that's what I'm doing. I could run but a little birdie is telling me to take a rest day . . . ok, tweety bird, I'm listening :)

Harry


Monday, October 31, 2011

barefoot monday

Just one of those days where I woke up mentally and physically tired so I looked at my running log and sure enough I've run 18 consecutive days, so I knew it was either a day off or a recovery day. I opted for the latter and did a nice easy 30 min. barefoot run on the treadmill. I'll monitor things closely this week.

Harry

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday long run . . . kinda'

80 minute total run time starting with 20 minutes barefoot on the treadmill and then 60 minutes outside on a combo of road and trails. Perceived effort ranged from easy to medium. I feel great overall.

Harry

Saturday, October 29, 2011

from unshod treadmill to shod trails . . .

After a 1 mile barefoot warm-up on the treadmill, I laced up the shoes and continued my running outdoors on the trails . . . total run time of 55 minutes . . . 30% unshod, 70% shod. There's no doubt the additional barefoot running is helping me maintain a more barefoot like gait while shod which is always the goal.

Harry

Friday, October 28, 2011

lots of work and travel . . .

So I haven't posted in a while but I've been working and traveling but I was out there running each day (New York City and San Francisco). I can't complain as running through NYC one day then under the bay bridge the next is all good.

All is well and I've ramped up my barefoot running. Knocked out a couple sub 6:00 pace workouts over the past 7 days and got reacquainted with the treadmill a few times due to some cold weather.

Harry

Friday, October 21, 2011

treadmill friday . . . what's happening to me?

I'm just not feeling the outside run which is a first for me (this has never happened). I have no idea what's going on with me. I love the outdoors and trails but I've been content with the treadmill this week. Very weird and I have no idea what's going on.

Anyway, I ran 40 min., with the first 20 min. barefoot and the last 20 min. shod. Fun run, nice and easy. Hit the iPod for the last 20 min. Maybe since it's a back off week, my body is in shock . . . who knows.

Harry


Thursday, October 20, 2011

treadmill, trails, back to treadmill workout

Since I've acquired a real distaste for cold weather, I've decided to alter my running approach this winter and use this back off week to make the adjustments. This morning I did 10 min. barefoot on the treadmill, then 25 min. outside on the trails, ending with a 5 min. barefoot cool down. I'm going to split my runs up so I can get a dose of outside running to keep my body adjusted to road/trail impacts but I'll be doing 50-70% of my running on the treadmill this winter (around 32F and I'm indoors . .. toasty warm :). It's also a chance for me to ramp up my barefoot running.

Harry


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

a little HR testing time this Wednesday . . .

Several folks have asked about my heart rate and since I don't run with gadgets like HRMs, I decided to strap one on for a short easy run today. I averaged a 6:50 pace during a 30 min. run and my average heart rate was 118. I know that's low as I'm 42 yrs. old, however, I've always had a low heart rate which is likely genetic as it runs in my family. My resting heart rate will drop around 50.

I'm continuing to treat this week as a recovery run week limiting my running to around 30 minutes per day.

Harry


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

30 min. back off tuesday

I'm continuing my back off week which I do periodically through the year where I cut my mileage by 50% and limit most of my runs to around 30 minutes. I so wanted to keep going but I need to do this as it's a spiritual exercise and a mental challenge but mostly importantly, it's an opportunity for my body to fully repair.

Harry


Monday, October 17, 2011

monday time to begin backing off for a few days . . .

I think it's time for a full back off week so I just ran a total of 30 minutes, including warmdown. Every 2-3 months based on how my body feels I'll cut back my running by nearly 50% to let my body (and mind) recover. I reduce my average weekly run from 45-50 min. to 20-30 min. and reduce my long run to 60 min.

I also try really hard to not run any sub 6:00 race pace during this time; I really try to get everything in the 8-9:00 range. Essentially it's a mental and physical vacation. I run by feel all signs are this is this time to back off. I also need to adjust for the winter as I have a slightly different running approach for the winter vs. spring/summer/fall.

Harry


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday recovery time . . .

The perfect recovery run after yesterday's hard run . . . nice easy 35 min. run. The first 10 minutes was slow as my muscles were pretty sore; no doubt I did a good amount of muscle tearing from yesterday's run. I only wanted to run to clear the waste from my body (it's working).

This was a classic mind vs. body battle and fortunately I was disciplined enough to follow my body. The mind wanted me to keep running but I knew my body was in healing mode and not recovered from yesterday so I made sure to not run more than 30 minutes. The danger is after a hard workout, your muscle memory the next day remembers running fast and will revert to that mode so you need to make sure to do what's right from your body.

Harry


Saturday, October 15, 2011

went too far . . . 2 part story

[PART I]

I had no idea what I was going to do but this turned into a longer run (60 mi.) followed by a race pace finish (25 min.) which is part II that I'll post separately. Beautiful morning, about 50F but too many people on the trails for my liking :)

[PART II]

Ok, I admit I over did it and I will pay in about 48 hrs. when DOMS sets in. I usually don't run race pace for this amount of time at the end of a long run (part I) . . . 25 min. at 5:57 pace . . . I really didn't realize it.

I knew I was running 5k race pace but with the iPod I lost track of how far/long I was maintaining this pace. I will pay for this unless I'm very conservative over the next few days so I will do a very short 30 min. run tomorrow to help the healing process and then likely take Monday off to recover. All in all, it felt good to get back to 5k race pace.

Harry

Friday, October 14, 2011

so goes it Friday . . .

Started out a bit sluggish but knocked off 45 min. and was able to throw in 6, 600 meter 5k pace surges at the end which felt great as I needed to get some fast turnover. After travel and being regulated to a treadmill, it usually takes me a few days to get back on track. It was a bit chilly (37F) and I had to wear my running jacket for the first time since I can remember + mittens (too cold for regular gloves but I'm a wimp when it comes to cold weather).

Harry


Thursday, October 13, 2011

back to my normal routine . . . thursday thursday

45 min. run . . .this represents about 90% of my daily running . . . 5-6 miles; 40-50 minutes. Then I sprinkle in some race pace running 3-4 times each month, and a couple monthly long runs and I'm good to go. After missing Monday due to travel, Tuesday on the hotel treadmill, and missing Wednesday while traveling, I was dying to get back outside on the trails . . . I think I smiled the entire time :) . . . this is what feeds my soul.

Harry


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

tuesday/wednesday travel

Tuesday treadmill running in New York City; sitting on a United plane today; back to running in the Mile High City tomorrow . . .

Harry

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

the "110" weekend

110 min. of running this weekend. No traditional long run. A mix of fartlex, interval and recovery running, just listening to my body. I was also listening to a new song I like as I did 5k intervals:

http://youtu.be/Sjaq34zocTA

Harry

Friday, October 7, 2011

easy Friday, on the trails . . .

just a nice easy 45 min. trail run

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday, nice and easy

A nice easy and relaxed 40 min. run. I'm cutting my runs a few minutes short so I can return home before my daughter boards the bus for school. Just saying "bye and have a good day at school," are precious moments not to be underscored :) . . . while I absolutely love my running, that's more important.

Harry

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday, the day some of my speed returned . . .

After several days of slower running, I was waiting for my body to allow me to do some faster running. After 20 minutes of warming up, the signals were clear that this was the day as my muscles were tight and I had spring in the legs, so I moved to 5k race pace (sub 6:00 pace for 3 miles).

The body is amazing . . . I have a 2 1/2 to 3 min. variation in pace per mile between my 5k race pace and easy pace. I spent about 15 minutes cooling down just trotting along to bring my heart beat down. Total run time around 50 minutes.

Harry


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday on tired legs . . .

Pretty tired legs this morning after late night tennis last night. I didn't warm up until the last 5 minutes. I'm surprised I made it 50 min.

Harry


Monday, October 3, 2011

cautious Monday, Oct. 3rd . . . wish it was Sunday

Decided to be cautious today. Looking at my log, I've done 3, 5k pace workouts, and 2 long runs in the past 10 days so I took today off. I'll be back at it tomorrow.

Harry


Sunday long run, Oct. 2nd

Felt much better after yesterday. It was very smart to take it easy yesterday as I recovered for the run this morning, which turned into a long run around 80 minutes. One of those just awesome runs. I had no idea a long run was going to happen.

Harry


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday, struggling along, Oct. 1st

I had absolutely NOTHING today. Legs were dead; no pop and no drive, and faster than normal heart beat. The messages were clear as that feeling continued even after warming up so I made sure to do a short run (40 min.) and headed back home. I call this the "red zone" and this is where runners have 2 choices: listen to your body or push beyond and significantly increase the chances for injury; I've learned to choose the former :). There's always tomorrow and nothing beats injury free running.

Harry



Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday hills, Sept. 30th

I woke up with weary legs thinking my body was telling me it wanted a short easy run but after warming up, I hit a hill and my body responded with a clear message that it wanted all hills this morning so I switched my run to all hills . . . total run: 45 min. If you give the body what it wants, it will respond big time.

Harry


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday, Sept. 29th . . . tempo time

Great 50 min. run with last 1.75 miles at 6:25 pace. I started with pretty weary legs after playing 2 hrs. of tennis late last night but things picked up the last 15 min. of the run so I decided to end with a 10 min. 10k tempo run.

Harry

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday, Sept. 28th . . . easy goes it . . .

Nice easy 45 min. trail run after taking a rest day yesterday. Floated along to some Fleetwood Mac music.

Harry


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday, Sept. 27th . . . rest day

It was time to rest according to my body so I continue to listen. Took the day off after 7 consecutive days of running.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday, Sept. 26th . . . recovery run . . .

35 min. recovery run. Mixed messages from my body this morning. When that's the case, I commit to an easy run and see how I feel after 30 min. It was clear this was a recovery run as I was a bit sore with very loose muscles. This was a recovery run from this weekend's effort.


Harry


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday, Sept. 25th . . .

55 min. easy trail run.

Harry

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday, Sept. 24th . . . tempo again

A bit surprised that I had some pop left in my legs given what I've done this week. Muscle tuning is very interesting and I had some tight muscles this morning which is exactly what's needed for speed. While I run by feel, I pay very close attention to muscle tightness . . . tight = fast; loose = slower run.

total run time: 45 min. @ 6:56 pace.

Harry


Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday, Sept. 23rd . . . 45 min. run and book cover notification

RW selected my pics from the June article for the cover of a new e-book on minimalist running.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday, Sept. 22nd . . . very easy on easy days . . .

As I expected. After yesterday's 6:10 pace, my body took it nice and easy for this morning's 50 min. trail run. I didn't think I'd break a 9:00 pace today but it felt nice and easy. I strive for a 3:00 min. per mile difference between my race pace and easy pace. It's a bit conservative but it keeps me injury free and allows me to push hard on the hard days and run really easy on the easy days.

Harry


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday, Sept. 21th . . . tempo day and why Garmin's block your true potential . . .

I run technology free meaning no watch, Garmin or other gadgets as I run completely "by feel." It has taught me to feel the various paces and control my breathing, as 95% of my running is aerobic running which means different things on different days but it means I run within my breath (even when racing other than the last 200-300 meters). As my friend Tuck has pointed out to me, this is similar to the Maffetone method although I admit I've never researched much about it.

Well, today I decided to wear a Garmin for the first time in months just to see if my "running by feel" approach matches reality in terms of how fast I think I'm running. This morning I ran slightly more than 6 miles in 39 minutes for a 6:10 ish' pace. Before I took off, I guessed that I would run in my 10k pace zone which is around 6:15 - 6:20. For the entire run, I was running comfortably hard but in completely control and it was fairly easy running and I was breathing easily. It was a good solid tempo run. I ended up running about :05 - :10 sec. per mile faster than I thought (or perceived) but very close to what I perceived and how the paces felt. To put this in perspective, 12 months ago this would have been a more difficult workout but having spent so much time just running by feel and focusing on aerobic running, this wasn't difficult at all. I could have easily kept this pace for 1 hr.

The other interesting thing is I use to do about 2-3 race pace workouts "per week" but since I started running by feel, I average only 3 race pace workout "per month." That's pretty close to a 75% reduction in my monthly race pace running yet I'm running faster than I was and it's much easier to do. Other than for elite runners, I think the vast majority of folks fail to realize their potential because they over-complicate running. It's so clear why Kenyan children become great runners. They don't have gadgets, but they run every day to school in their aerobic zone and over time, their aerobic pace increases and over time they become great runners. And, again, other than for elite runners, we put way too much focus on speed work and then often focus on the wrong type of speed work.

Well, the Garmin goes back into the basement closet as I don't need it . . . I will just continue to listen to my body. I don't deny data is often critical to solving problems but in this case, the body is the data and I don't need outside data as the data inside my body. The body tells me when, how far, and how fast to run each day and all the pressure created by outside data is removed. I get a thrill when someone asks me, "how fast did you run today," and I can say, "I'm not exactly sure but it felt like . . . "

Harry

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday, Sept. 20th . . . a day not to push it . . .

My body never completely warmed up during this entire 40 min. run. I know this feel well so I just relaxed and let it flow. I never pushed it b/c my body just wasn't in the mood today as it just wanted to move along with quick short easy strides. It's just amazing when you listen to your body and how each day is different and unique in its own right. It's why I can run with a watch.

Harry

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, Sept. 19th . . . day off

After back to back longer runs over the weekend, my body let me know that today was a rest day so I took the day off. In looking at my log, I'm averaging about 8.5 days of consecutive running to each rest day. For me there's a very specific feeling in my quads that tell me when to take a rest day. Can't describe the feeling but I know it well. It's different than soreness as it's a early sign of problems down the road if you don't listen.

Harry

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The weekend

70 min. run on Saturday, followed by 60 min. run today. Both were great trail runs.

Harry

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why I can't do barefoot on my trails . . .

This is the nasty stuff I pick out of my shoes from the trails I run and why I have to limit my barefoot running to safer surfaces.

Harry

Friday, Sept. 16th . . . 800+ miles and recovery time . . .

[CLICK TO ENLARGE]

So this is what racing shoes look like after 800 miles. In this case, it's the Nike Zoom Streak XC's. It goes to show the shoe stores lie when they tell you racing shoes are only good for 200-300 miles. These shoes continue to perform even better as they get older and look how flexible they become.

I used these today on my 40 min. recovery run and I race often in these bad boys.

Harry

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday, Sept. 15th . . . easy goes it . . .

A light rain last night provided nice soft dirt trails for my 50 min. run this morning. Perfect conditions . . . about 50F with a light cool breeze. Can't ask for more.

Harry

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday, Sept. 14th . . . easy going on the trails . . .

A nice easy 50 min. trail run. A beautiful morning with fog lifting from the lake as I circled it. It's definitely fall as it was about 50F when I headed out. I'm a wimp and at this point, I'll have to start wearing light running gloves. When it drops another 10F, I'll be in running pants.

Harry

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday, Sept. 13th . . . some pace today

I could feel my muscles tuning over the past few days for a faster run and today was the day. A solid 10k pace road run . . .

5 miles in 32 minuues (6:20 pace).

Running in a pair of racing shoes with about 800 miles on them and they feel better than when they were new.

Harry

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday, Sept. 12th . . . back on the trails . . .

Quick 40 min. recovery run. Wanted to take it easy after 3 days of treadmill running. It felt great to be back on the trails. I feel another fast run coming in the next 2-3 days. I know that because I can feel my muscles tightening (also referred to as "muscle tuning") which means a race pace running is on the horizon but I'll let my body tell me which day.


Harry


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday, Sept. 11th . . . treadmill days coming to an end . . .

55 min. treadmill run . . . last day on the treadmill. Can't wait to the back to the trails.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday, Sept. 9th . . . ah, the treadmill

Regulated to the treadmill. Did a fartlex to my iPod music including 5k @ 6:45 pace and 5x1 min. at 5:35 pace. Good overall workout. Just one more day on the treadmill, then back to the trails I love.

Harry

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thursday, Sept. 8th . . . easy run

Just running by feel. 45 min. easy run. I'm sensing a pretty fast sub 6:00 pace workout around the corner. I can feel my leg muscles starting to tune for a race pace effort in the next 2-3 days.

Harry

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday, Sept. 7th . . . just a good run . . .

One of those perfect easy runs. Just floated along for 50 min. and everything was working right.

Harry

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday, Sept. 6th . . . back at it . . .

I dropped off my daughter for morning tennis and was about to head out the door for my run while she plays as I regularly due when someone asked me to play tennis. I don't play often anymore but I grew up playing competitively so I said what the heck, I'll treat it as a cross training day and I played 1 hr. of tennis.

When I got home I still couldn't resist running, so I knocked off a 50 min. run with about 2k at 10k pace. I feel great.

Taking yesterday off was a great decision. Well, an easy decision since I listened to my body. If you "truly" listen to your body, injuries will be few and far between.

Harry

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday, Sept. 5th . . . the body says, "not today"

Per messages from my body, today is a rest day. I'm feeling the impact from Saturday's 70 min. of continuous mountain hills and Sunday's 1 hr run. I could have run today but it's not worth it . . . risk outweighs the gains today. I'll hit it tomorrow.

Harry

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday, Sept. 3rd . . . hills with no mercy . . .

One of my favorite and most challenging runs. 8 miles of continuous hills and even the flat parts (2-4% grade) are uphill from 5,200-6,000 ft. (several 10% grades). Hills provide the perfect opportunity to work on form and technique. It's mentally challenging to look ahead and all you see is hills as far the eyes can see :) but I love this run.

Harry

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday, Sept. 2nd . . . didn't even feel like a workout

Cut this run short because I like to end some runs feeling very strong. I had a lot left but I'll save it for another day. Very satisfying to get to the point where a 40 min. easy run doesn't even feel like I worked out.

Harry

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday, Sept. 1st . . . nice and easy

45 min. nice easy trail run. Just simplicity but that's the beauty in it :)

Harry

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday, Aug. 31st . . . hard workout with barefoot warm-up

6 min. barefoot warm-up, then laced up the shoes and alternated between 5k and 10k pace running for 1 hr., finishing the last mile in 5:41 (also threw in 6x300 meter surges). I've significantly cut back on the amount of pace work I do and I've maintained my speed. Goes to show you don't need that much pace work as high level aerobic running is the most valuable (95% of my running). I use to do 3 race pace workouts per week but now I only do 1 race pace workout every 6-8 days.

Harry

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday, Aug. 30th . . . put the shoes down

After 11 straight days of running my body called a meeting this morning, told me to not even think about putting on running shoes, and take the day off and of course I listened. It's the main reason I'm going on 3 yrs. of injury free running. I'm trending at about 10-14 days of consecutive running then a rest day.

Harry

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday, Aug. 29th . . . pure recovery

Pure 30 min. recovery run. I call it the "blood flow" run to repair torn muscles. Only purpose is to focus on form with short crisp strides and to get the blood flowing after hard running with race pace intervals the past few days. My goal is to never run faster than a 9:00 pace on a pure recovery day . . . it's essentially a rest day.

Harry

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday, Aug. 28th . . . on tired legs . . .

1 hr. run. Not much left in my legs after yesterday's run but I pleased that I could keep good form and everything felt good. Picked it up the last 2 miles increasing pace every 800 meters down to a 5:30 pace. A bit faster pace than I would like on tired legs but I "run by feel" so my body must have been fine with it.

Harry

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday, Aug. 27th . . . blow off steam run . . .

I so needed this 85 min. run (a bit over 10 miles) to blow off steam after dealing with obnoxious tennis parents yesterday. It took all I had to hold back from letting one of them have it. Kids are wonderful but parents are a problem.

Harry

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday, Aug. 26th . . . crusin' mach 13 style

I tried the new Brooks Mach 13 XC's this morning for the first time and did a nice 50 min. trail run and they felt great. I did acquire a few blisters which I generally expect in new shoes since I run sock-less. The Mach 13's feel really good and lock in the foot. I ordered a half size larger (11.5) than my true size and I thought they might still be too tight but not after running in them as they are designed to lock the foot for cross country running and they do just that.

It's early so we'll see how I feel about them after putting some real mileage on them.

Harry

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday, Aug. 25th . . . and yesterday . . .

45 min. run yesterday; 35 min. short run today as I had some muscle soreness so I took it nice and easy.

Harry

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday, Aug. 23rd . . . fartlek with does of pace . . .

I felt like a good run to get the legs turning. Varied the paces from 5k to half marathon pace during this 45 min. run. Hit the hills hard and relaxed downhill.

Harry

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday, Aug. 22nd . . . getting back into it . . .

My daughter's tennis dominated the weekend so my running schedule was off a bit and I had to take yesterday off so I decided to be very conservative 45 min. short easy run today, a bit longer tomorrow, then resume my normal stuff . . .

Harry

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Daughter and Tennis trumps running :)

Had to take the day off as my daughter's tennis schedule is crazy today with her playing singles in multiple divisions resulting in 3-4 matches today. No running for me today but I get to do something even better which is be a supportive dad :)

Harry

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday, August 20th . . .long XC run

85 min . fun run on grass, dirt fields and trails. Finished the final 1 mile at 6:00 pace.

Harry

Friday, August 19, 2011

Why I don't run with a watch (garmin) or any technology

http://mzungofire.blogspot.com/2010/01/are-kenyans-wearing-heart-rate-monitors.html

Friday, Aug. 19th . . . trail tempo run . . . but it wasn't planned . . .

Headed out for a very easy run but after the first 600 meters my body said "go," and since I "run by feel," I listened to my body and it turned into a controlled 10k tempo type run (6:30 pace). I made sure to stay in my aerobic zone.

I ended with a good 15 minute warm down and some stretching. I never know what the day holds for me since I never predetermine my run . . . I just do what my body wants to do.

Harry

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday, Aug. 18th . . . nice easy run . . .

55 min. easy run and what I thought about while running . . .

I know I'm likely stating the obvious but I've been thinking a lot while running (nothing new there) about injuries and what causes it and specifically as it relates to speed and fast running and I think one of the major reasons speed increases the changes of injury is due to an insufficient warm-up and I mean a complete warm-up.

I've been taking note of myself and it can take me 40-60 minutes to warm-up before I can move into 10k or 5k paces. That's a long time which is why I only run race pace about 10% of the time because like many, I don't have enough time each day to properly warm-up then start a race pace workout. However, this is exactly what elite and professional runners get to do and we often overlook it, or a minimum we underscore it. I mean, you read that a 1-2 mile or 10-15 minute warm-up is sufficient and I call bull on that . . . it's crap. That's not enough time in my opinion especially for master's running like many of us.

This is one reason I often tack on race pace running at the end of my long run because I've spent up to 1 hr. of running nice and easy and my body is fully warmed-up and I often even stop and do 5 minutes of dynamic stretching then start to increase my pace.

This is one major reason I'm running so effortlessly because I'm completely given in to my body and I let my body dictate everything. I have no idea what type of run, how far or how fast I will run on a given day. I just head out and start running slowly and let my body decide the rest. At this point, all I know is easy, medium and hard running and that's all I need to know. Easy is obviously, medium is tempo; hard is race pace . . . I love the simplicity I've found.

I just thought I'd share it with others. I hear about the challenges many of you are going through and it's many of the same issues and challenges I faced for years and I really want to share all I can so that others can reach the point I'm at because it's heavenly. Running unconsciously, without serious pain or injury, then moving throughout the day without any issues. Honestly, I feel guilty because I want everyone to experience this . . . but the point is anyone can reach this point and each person's journey will be different but perhaps little tid bits from others that have gone through it will help along the way.

Harry

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day off and a quote

When my children were young, I ran for my sanity, I ran for myself, I ran to set a good example because they watched me move. Today they move alongside me. We run because we can.

Kristin Armstrong, Author and runner


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday, Aug. 16th . . . interval time

A great 60 minute run with 2 miles at 5:35 ish' pace including 6x400 surges alternating between 5k and 10k pace. Most of last week was good hard aerobic running so it was nice to turn it up a notch.

Harry

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday, Aug. 15th . . . recovery time . . .

A pure recovery run. Short and sweet . . . 35 minutes. I forced myself to stop. True recovery runs are so important.

Harry

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday, Aug. 14th . . . easy long run . . .

Nice easy and relaxed 80 minute run, with the last 3 minutes at 5k pace just to end with some leg turnover. The entire run was so relaxed and effortless. I'm not pushing over 700 miles on my pair of racing flats so who says they don't last :)

Harry

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday, Aug. 13th . . . adjustment back to high elevation . . .

After taking Friday off as I had to fly back home, I took out for a nice easy 45 minute run to re-acclimate with high elevation running. After 7 days at sea level, I'm back to the mile high city so I took it very easy.

Harry

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday, Aug. 11th . . . running with a smile through Stanford . . .

Awesome 1 hr. recovery run through Stanford Univ. I had tired legs but my form and stride felt great. Perfect weather. Couldn't ask for more.

Harry

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday, Aug. 10th . . . page mill road loopin'

55 min. run up and down and around page mill road to stanford road and a bit of this and that, all of which equaled an awesome run!!!!!!!!!!!! just diggin' Stanford Univ.

Harry

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday, Aug. 9th . . . a stroll through Stanford . . .

A nice 45 minute recovery run all through Stanford University. I ended by running the stadium stairs at the famous Taube tennis stadium then threw in 3 100 meter strides. Overall, a beautiful and fun run.

Harry

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday, Aug. 8th . . . The "famous" Stanford Dish Loop . . .

After all these years traveling to Silicon Valley I finally had the opportunity to run the famous Stanford dish loop. I've been told you haven't really run at Stanford until you complete the dish loop and it's true. Extremely hilly route but you get rewarded with spectacular views of the bay area. The basic loop is about 3.5 miles but I added some of the off trails (not sure if they have rattlesnakes but I was looking :) to get a longer run in (40 minutes and just over 5 miles).

Lucky for me I come from the mile high city and run in the mountains a lot so the hills were no big deal and I get a big benefit in terms of breathing when running at sea level vs. elevation. Just a breath taking run. When I reached the top of the mountain I was reminded why I run.

Harry

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday, Aug. 7th . . . a river runs through Stanford Univ.

Awesome 1 hr. run through the beautiful Stanford Univ. campus. Plenty of dirt areas and trails. Loved it!!! Also visited the best shoe store in the U.S. (ZombieRunner) . . . what an awesome running store. Had breakfast at the farmer's market . . .it really doesn't get better than this . . .

Harry

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday, Aug. 6th . . .

65 minutes of running including 5.5 miles at sub 6:30 pace. Felt great and finished right before the heat. Ran in a old pair of Asics Hyperspeed 3's. I think I can run in just about any shoe now.

Harry

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday, Aug. 5th . . . back to speed . . .

Yesterday's slow run was exactly what I needed as I felt refreshed today and hit a nice medium effort tempo run . . . 5 miles at 6:45 pace.

Harry

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 4th . . . the beauty in slowing down . . .

There's just nothing like nature. I decided this morning to slow the hell down. I found some nice trails and forced myself to run slow. I spent most of my 65 min. run looking at the snow capped mountains in the background, the trees, flowers, and waved to a few coyotes (they looked at me like I was crazy :).

Speed is nice and I enjoy running fast but it was a reminder that sometimes you can run so fast that you run right past the reasons you love running in the first place. I loved this run and I literally felt the inspiration and love for running returning with each stride. It was another reminder about balance. I've learned to "run by feel," and with all my road racing my body adjusted to running pretty hard and fast on a daily basis and it took a concentrated effort to slow down and smell the flowers. Although I wasn't in the mountains, I did pick the most uneven terrain I could which helped me slow down.

There's absolute beauty in running slower.

Harry

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday, Aug. 3rd . . . nice and easy goes it . . .

Nice and easy 40 min. run. Focused on my breathing. This is exactly what my body wanted to do today. This is the perfect easy/recovery type run. I hit my stride in the last 10 min. and before I allowed my body to start to head toward race pace, I shut it down.

Harry

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