Author, coach, triathlete and Active Expert Matt Fitzgerald presents a revolutionary approach to running in his  book, Brain Training for Runners. Fitzgerald compiled evidence from the latest research in exercise physiology that challenges conventional runner's wisdom by shifting focus to a "brain-centered" model.For someone like me who loves running, but whose fascination with the workings of the brain are endless, this approach is uber appealing.
The two-part book begins with a well thought out presentation of the brain-training system applicable to runners of all experience levels. Fitzgerald's motto, "train the brain and the rest will follow," explains how the main goal of brain-training is to develop a heightened awareness for feedback from the running experience to increase maximal capacity, efficiency of stride and injury-prevention.
Week 2 of 20-week training program:
June 6 (Day 8 :: 4 mi run + stretch)
Oakridge 1.72 mi 00:35 20:09 pace - Slow + steamy morning walk w/my husband over to a neighbor's house to harvest some fresh asparagus. Made asparagus soup (topped w/chilled shrimp, parmesan croutons + fresh basil from my garden...yum).
Long Prairie Trail 4.01 mi 00:43 10:38 pace - Afternoon run (temp 89F, 49% hum, 13mph winds). My trng plan called for this run yesterday; but, I was having trouble sleeping for some reason all last week, and it just caught up with me yesterday. Had planned to get up early today to run before it got like a furnace out there; but, was sleeping well when the alarm went off...so, I just turned the alarm off + slept in some more. Second plan was to just run on the TM since it was so hot out when I was ready to go...but, then determined to get outdoors + use it as an 'acclimation' run.
Ran on a trail w/about 50% shade. Took it easy, drank lots of water + doused my head a number of times. Wind helped a lot to keep me cool. I also stopped to walk a few times on mile 4 -- felt I was tough enough running outside in the heat, that I didn't need to prove anything by mile four. ;-) Wild roses + honeysuckle blooming. And saw my first dragonflies of the season! Love them...
On a sad note: Sure was horrible to hear about the death of a young runner at this weekend's Chicago Half. My thoughts + condolences go out to his family + friends.
Splits: 10:18, 10:15, 10:24, 11:39.
June 7 (Day 9 :: 3.5 mi run + drills)
RVC 3.52 mi 00:37 10:33 pace - Morning run (temp 77F, 78% hum, 8mph winds). This one felt harder than yesterday's 89F run by leaps + bounds. After running one sun-beating-down-strong campus loop, returned to a 1/3 mi long tree-shaded strip. Doused my head w/water (but it didn't do much to refresh today) + just ran back + forth there to stay as cool as possible.
Did today's assigned drills (High Knees 2 X 20 secs, Bounding 2 X 20 secs) on mile 3 w/a few short recovery walks. Slow, cool-down pace ('cool' being a totally nutty word for just about anything outside today ;-) for the final .5. I could feel the greater impact on my feet during both of these drills, esp on my right foot (which was injured in a fall down the stairs in April). Other than that, it felt fine...until about 30 mins after returning home + taking my shoes off + walking around the house. Lower + upper ball of foot hurts now w/every step in the area of the injury. Not thrilled about this; but, will get shoes on for support + hopefully that will help. [It did.]
This week's proprioceptive cue is Navel to Spine, where my focus is supposed to be on pulling my belly button in toward my spine to activate my deep ab muscles (which act as stabilizers of the pelvis + lower spine). Have to admit this was *very* hard to do today since sucking in that humid + thick air today was a challenge in + of itself.
With heat index to be near 102F today, stay cool + safe out there, guys!
Splits: 10:15, 9:55, 11:18, 10:55.
Yardwork 01:30 - Some afternoon weeding -- very light + stayed in shady areas of yard. Looking fwd to Friday's forecasted high of 67F when I can make some more progress on the buggers (+ enjoy the fresher air. ;-)
June 8 (Day 10 :: stretch + strengthen)
Stretch 00:25 - Short evening yoga set.
June 9 (Day 11 :: cross)
Old Orchard 2 mi 00:40 20:00 pace - Lunch w/friends + windy, chilly window shopping walking.
June 10 (Day 12 :: 3.5 mi fartleks)
RVC (double loop) 3.53 mi 00:33 09:16 pace - Evening run (temp 65F, 77% hum, 8mph winds). Oh, yeah! Perfect out there tonight: Comfy temps, cool breeze + cloud cover = a smile a mile wide slapped on my face + a quicker pace than my past few sultry + sweaty jogs. 4 X 30 sec fartlek sprints after mile + 1/2 warm-up. Splits: 9:59, 8:47, 8:57, 9:26.
June 12 (Day 14 :: 5 mi run)
Long Prairie Trail 5 mi 00:47 09:25 pace - Late afternoon run (temp 66F, 47% hum, 8mph winds) was amazing! The weather today was/is absolutely wonderful. My trng plan called for today's run to be at base pace (for me, that's supposed to be around 13:11-11:51), but there was *no way* my body was going to listen to that nonsense w/this stellar weather. Tried to kick each mile up just a notch (except for the cool-down final mile). Enjoyed every step of this outing! Heart, body, mind + spirit were + are still singing the praises of the day + feeling very blessed to have the health + ability to run today.
Splits: 9:48, 9:31, 9:24, 8:50, 9:37