Working On My Speed

>> Monday, August 10, 2009

I have 2 more “A” races on the books for this year: the St. Croix Valley Olympic Triathlon in Hudson WI, and the Twin Cities 10 Miler from Minneapolis to St. Paul. (I’ll probably be racing in a few 5Ks and duathlons, but I’ll just stumble into those...)

I was recently thinking about how to hit the CRAZY goal of 60 minutes in the 10 miler. And the answer?.... Train HARD. I really need to suck it up and push hard on tempo and long runs over the next 2 months. Running the 10 mile in 60 IS possible, but it will require some training that will HURT! We’ll see what I can do.

So, I’ve started ramping up the speed and intensity of my workouts. During my training runs, I’ve decided I need to pick up the pace in the middle part of the run. Why? I realized that I (and my body) do NOT like to slow down over the course of a run. I’ve learned that if I pick up the pace part way into the run, I’ll only KEEP picking up the pace throughout. I’ll end running hard for the last few miles, on the verge of death. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to this past week:

• Monday: off. Just lifted weights and did some core work.

• Tuesday: 11 mile time trial. My first time trial! I averaged 22.5 mph over a course with decent rolling hills. Click here if you missed the photos and write-up.

• Wednesday: swim 1650 yards in 27:50 (1:41.2 / 100). Solid swim. I NEED to get faster, but that was OK. And Wednesday was also the day that my car wouldn’t start, so I had to bike to work and bike to the Y. So I logged another 22 miles on my commuter bike. Yuck.

• Thursday: 7 mile tempo. This was a hard run. I ran out in 21:43, and I ran back in 20:31 for a total of 42:14. That was a HARD effort. The run was just shy of 7 miles, so my average pace was around 6:12 / mile.

• Friday: off. Lifted weights and did some core exercises.

• Saturday: 30 mile ride with hills. I had been reading the April 2009 issue of Triathlete magazine which had an article called “Secrets of the Über Bikers.” They interviewed 8 of the best bikers in the sport of triathlon, and they wrote about their training secrets, what makes them so good, and their tips for the rest of us. (BTW, no big surprise here: their biggest “training secret” is that most of them log 350-550 miles per week! Yeah... no thanks. They are CRAZY!)

Chrissie Wellington (LOVE HER!) had this tip for us:

“I recommend pushing a big gear,” says Wellington. “Everyone has a natural cadence, but if they work at it, most people can learn to push a bigger gear at their natural cadence. So I think it’s a good idea to experiment with bigger gears in training and see where it takes you.”

It made sense to me, so I figured I’d try it on my ride on Saturday - anytime I hit a cadence of 100, I shifted to a harder gear. I pushed hard on 2 loops of the “River Road / Shepard Road / Summit Ave” loop. It had stormed the night before, so the air was cool but sticky. So I was dodging puddles and downed branches for the entire ride. Here was my overall mph at some major landmarks over the 2 loops:

- 21.0 mph @ 35E (mostly downhill)
- 20.3 mph @ the end of the Shepard trail
- 19.5 mph @ the top of Ramsey Hill

- 20.5 mph @ 35E
- 20.5 mph @ the end of the Shepard trail
- 19.8 mph @ the top of Ramsey Hill

- 20.0 mph @ home

I think that’s my fastest average doing that for 2 loops. I need to work on my bike (and my swim) over the next few weeks, and this is a decent start.

• Sunday: 3 x 1600 on the track. I put out the call to any friends interested. I threw on my racing flats for the first time in a training run:

Leg stubble appearing...

On a Sunday morning, the only one’s interested in intervals were Jen and I:

Me, my chest hair, and Jen

I wanted to run 4 1600s, but I could only muster out 3. But that was OK because they were my fastest 3x1600s EVER!

5:27 (2:38 + 2:49)
5:23 (2:40 + 2:43)
5:24 (2:41 + 2:43)

That’s an average of 5:24.6 / 1600. And that’s about 8-10 seconds faster / 1600 than my previous best! (Must be the shoes... And Jen ran some speedy 400s out there: I think one was 90 seconds, and the rest were well under that!) When I got home, Steph was making breakfast - Steph and Annie (Pharmie’s sisters) both spent the night. Here’s my blueberry pancakes (with whipped topping) and sausages:

I wanted to swim intervals yesterday as well, but that will just have to wait. Damn.

Tomorrow night is the last “Splash and Dash” for the year, and I think I have quite a few people convinced to come do it! It should be fun!! Check back for photos and to see if I can take 2 in a row!


Brian 7:15 AM, August 10, 2009  

dang. you come home from a workout and have that made. nice. please have pharmy call my wife and talk to her.

I have a friend that's a hard core biker. He never looks at his speed. He uses his heart rate monitor and cadence only. He changes gears based on the 2.

Ryan 7:21 AM, August 10, 2009  

It looks like your nipple is trying to stab her in the neck.

Watch out Jen! A giant nipple is trying to get you.

B.o.B. 7:26 AM, August 10, 2009  

I have no doubts that the goal you have set for your 10 miler will be met. You have kicked it up a notch! Chrissie makes a great point. Gotta get the cadence up.

Xenia 7:59 AM, August 10, 2009  

I kinda agree with Ryan. Except I think your nipple just wants to touch Jen's clavicle. It's needy, huh?

And I am now drooling over the pancake photo. I'm so jealous.

Carolina John 8:50 AM, August 10, 2009  

seems like Jen was digging your chest hair. very funny!

X-Country2 8:54 AM, August 10, 2009  

Geez, it is cold in MN or are you nipples just happy to see Jen? Get that girl some eye protectioN!

Jen Rife 9:42 AM, August 10, 2009  

LMAO!!! I love all the comments!

Congrats again on the speedy miles! I have no doubt you'll get that 60 minute 10 miler!

Borsch 2:10 PM, August 10, 2009  

Good luck with the 60..I know you can get it!

Also, that breakfast was amazing!

CoachLiz 4:18 PM, August 10, 2009  

You should have no problem cracking out that 10 miles in 60 minutes just as long as you don't eat a breakfast like the one pictured BEFORE the race.

Casey 7:11 PM, August 10, 2009  

That looks like an awesome breakfast. And awesome racing flats. Lots of awesome in this post.

Adam 9:00 PM, August 10, 2009  

I've been going back and forth on flats / trainers. If I could run as fast as you on 1600s, I'd be at a store tomorrow!

jvanis 8:51 AM, August 11, 2009  

Steve, first time responder but have been reading your site a while and love it. I just got into triathlons this year and enjoy reading others progress especially in the twin cities area since I live in apple valley. Best of luck training and on the 10 mile my wife will be doing her first 10 that day and I will be doing the marathon... If only I could run your pace even on my sprints!

AdamS 9:36 PM, August 11, 2009  

My wife just sent me a link to the St. Croix Valley tri in Hudson. She loves that area, so maybe I'll see you up there.

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