Monday, June 6, 2011

Train: Brain training for runners-week 1

Brain Training for RunnersHappy to begin a new 20-week half marathon trng plan today for two fall races: the Whiste Stop Half and the Rock Cut HOBO 25K Trail Run. Last year I used Hal Higdon's half trng plan + felt it was easy to stick with + do.

This time I'm incorporating elements of that plan with one found in the book Brain Training for Runners that I got from my sister. In addition, this weekend my girlfriend gave me Kara Goucher's Running for Women I'm rarin' to go + brimmin' w/info. Follow my training at dailymile, where I share my exercise adventures in real time.
Brain training for runners, wk1

Week 1 of 20-week training plan:

May 30 (Day 1 :: stretch + strengthen)
Stretch/Breathe 00:35 - Morning yoga/qigong *that's* more like it! The brain trng plan marks Mondays as rest days; but, I'm used to having the day set aside for yoga + weights, so that's how I'll jump-start each week. It's been a couple of weeks since I've done a good stretch session, so this felt completely wonderful. Too hot already outside to do it on the back deck; but, enjoyable start to the day.


Long Prairie Trail 5.01 mi 01:17 15:22 pace - Afternoon speed walk (temp 88F, 50% hum, 19mph winds) to zap the zero + get out into the heat. You guys who ran today deserve a big gold star for your efforts because the Heat Miser was sure cranking it up today. The path was perfect for conditions: plenty of shade trees along the way to cool me down (but enough open tracts to give the sun a chance to remind me that summer's here); a strong breeze that cooled me off + kept the mosquitoes at bay a bit; and wide swaths of fragrant and wild white + purple phlox flowers. Didn't come across anyone walking or running -- but there were loads of ppl biking out there today. Great way to wrap up a super wknd.

Training notes: I practiced this week's assigned proprioceptive cue* [Falling Forward]. During tomorrow's run -- and all the rest of this week -- I'll try to keep returning my focus to tilting my body forward from the ankles as much as possible. This cue is supposed to correct overstriding.

*Proprioceptive cues are meant to improve running technique by having you focus on particular thoughts + sensations during exercise to control physical movement in a desired way.

May 31 (Day 2 :: 3 mi base pace + drills)
RVC (double loop) 3.01 mi 00:31 10:14 pace - Morning run (temp 78F, 17mph winds, 70% hum) to try + beat the heat + some storms heading our way. Today my trng plan called for an easy base-building run in the 11:50-10:50 pace range. Ended up running a little faster than that; but, *did* try to keep it as relaxed as possible (the wind kicked that notion out the window). Continued to set my attention on this week's 'falling forward' proprioceptive cue throughout the workout. After the run, I did a cool down walk + today's drills. I'll post that separately. Getting acclimated to the heat + humidity still in its early stages; I could feel the effects on my body for sure.

Need to get myself to bed earlier -- always the weakest link in my trng -- so I feel more rested for my early morning runs now that summer is here. As much as I enjoy sleeping in, it was nice to be up + at 'em early, getting my exercise with everyone else walking or jogging the path at Rock Valley College. Splits: 10:33, 10:00, 10:11


RVC 0.68 mi 00:12:34 18:22 pace - Cool-down walk + drills: 2 X 100 Running No Arms (activates deep ab muscles to maintain upright posture + eliminates rotational asymmetries by limiting shoulder movement) + 2 X 20secs One-Leg Hop (increases push-off power; enhances stability of hips, pelvis, lower spine and knees by challenging muscles to stabilize these joints w/extreme impact forces for short period of time).
Since I'm just starting this trng plan, this was an easy set of drills.

The base-building phase lasts for 6 wks, followed by two 4-wk building phases + a 6-wk peak phase. The drills will progressively get harder. That said, I did feel a little tenderness in my right foot (at the top and base of the ball of the foot, where I hurt it when I fell down the stairs in April). Nothing serious; but, definitely noticed that doing the one-leg hops on that side.

Great feeling to have this out of the way so early in the day. Happy trng everyone!

June 1 (Day 3 :: stretch + 3 mi hill repeats)
Stretch/Breathe 00:38 - Outdoor sunrise yoga/qigong set...pure bliss + perfection. Heat + humidity of the past few days replaced by fresher, cooler air. Aaaaaaah.


To Aberdeen Park 1.1 mi 00:05:27 04:58 pace - Rode rather than drove to my work(out) spot tonight, pedaling to represent DM + help raise money for my chosen charity: Safe Routes to School (Red Team). Details. Before heading out, I did 10 mins. of dynamic stretches (tilt walks, zombies, trunk rotations, lunge walks, lateral lunges, forward leg swings, lateral leg swings + heel bounces).


Aberdeen Park 3.06 mi 00:32 10:31 pace - Late evening run (temp 71F, 41% hum, 9mph winds). According to my Brain Trng for Runners plan, today I was supposed to warm-up 1.5 mi at what they call 'recovery pace', then do 1 X 30-sec hill repetition @ relaxed sprint speed + finish w/another 1.5 mi @ recovery pace.

According to the book (which derives these figures according to my race results), my target for recovery pace is supposed to be 13:11 - 11:51. Even though I'm not quick as lightning, it's hard to run that slow. I did take it as easy as my body let me. Curiously, this week's proprioceptive cue (that I'm supposed to focus on while running) is 'falling forward' from the ankle up. I think this makes it even harder to run as slow as I'm supposed to for this trng run.

Breakin' rules left, right + center already. ;-)

Because I wanted to ride today to log some miles on the Clif Bar 2 Mile Commute Challenge, I didn't head out to Rock Cut to find a perfect hill to do my repeat; wanted to stick closer to home. Since I'm only in my 1st base-building week, the plan starts off easy-going enough (I mean, only 1 repeat, for cryin' out loud); so, while I didn't get to a nice steep hill today, there were a few rolling hills on this route. Nothing super big or anything; but, I did get to run on Galloway Lane.

OK, it's not *that* Galloway...but, it was inspiring anyway! [wink] Splits: 10:36, 10:19, 10:36. Elevation gain: 75 ft baby!


From Aberdeen Park 1.46 mi 00:06:33 04:29 pace - Return cycle home after my run.

June 2 (Day 4 :: cross + resistance)
Pony Ln-Orth Cemetery 1.93 mi 00:34 17:49 pace - Short evening walk (temp 66F, 55% hum, 10mph winds) to stretch the legs after an afternoon on the computer (editing my interview with Nicole Z., tomorrow's Dailymiler of the Week). Today's a semi-rest day. My plan calls for an optional 20-30 mins. of nonimpact cardio cross-training. This little jaunt outdoors fit the bill.

I checked out an old little country cemetery down the road that I must have passed hundreds of times by car, but -- since it's along a busy 2-lane highway -- never took the time to enter on foot. Some 50 or so old tombstones. I saw one dating back to 1845 (many markers were impossible to read, they were so eroded). Many from the 1850's-1860's. Cannot imagine how difficult those early settlers had it here back then, esp. in the wintertime. Lots of graves reflect that w/markers showing many deaths aged 1-24. If you're interested, someone posted photos of this little cemetery.


Resistance 00:10:00 - 1 easy-peasy set of core fitness + plyo exercises: Lying Hip Abduction; Cook Hip Lift; Kneeling Overhead Draw-In; Knee Fall-Out + Squat Jumps.

June 3 (Day 5 :: 3 mi fartleks)
Aberdeen Knoll 3.01 mi 00:30 10:00 pace - Morning run (temp 66F, 78% hum, 7mph winds) before a super busy day. 10 mins. dynamic stretching pre-run. 3 miles at base pace (ran a little faster than the target, if you can believe it) w/ 3 X 30-sec intervals @ 1-mile pace (target: 8:27). Felt hotter out there than the temp suggests!


Sycamore 3.12 mi 00:58 18:28 pace - Hot but fun + easygoing walk with Beth (ty for the delish lunch, too -- you really know how to treat your guests right ;-) this afternoon. So enjoyable!

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