Thursday, October 4, 2012

10/2/2012 Speed, with a non-speed-related breakthrough.

So, so much to think/write about such tiny amounts of running...

Ealasor asked if I wanted to come do a speed workout with her.  That means that we both go to the track at the same time, and the she busts ass on some insanely intense and awesome FAST regimen, and I softly amble about in circles trying to look busy...

She wanted to run a 20 minute warm up on the trails first.  I followed her on my bike in order to keep up.  I barely did.  She is so damn badass.  Awesome.  I wish everyone could have a housemate who also happens to function as a mentor.  Also, I am growing to enjoy the bike.  <-- Not a typo.  For real!

On the track, she did 10x 400s with 30 second recoveries.  I don't know her splits but she was, of course, flying.  She carries little handfuls of pebbles in order to keep count.  This is one of my favorite things I have learned from her.  I can never keep count otherwise.

As for me, I did 200s, with 200 of recovery, alternating, effort-based, unspecified number, 20 minutes worth.    Very wimpysauce, but I am still dutifully protecting the silly-Achilles.

Since my speed workout wasn't going to have awesome speed, I tried to give it awesome technique.  My obsession over arc and form and stride energy and balance and spring and flow, and all that, was free to go nuts all over the expanse of the track.

I focused hardest on technique during the recoveries.  During the "speed", I focused on it only every 10 or 20 strides, trying to reset often.  But also I wanted to start just coasting, without the intense focus and constant adjusting.  Aiming for an "effortless mastery" thing, where you train your body to just know, seems like a safe way to reach a way more sustainable way to run.  I'd drown in self-absorption, otherwise.

As Ealasor blurred by, I visualized the pic of Crux, taken at the end of his recent 2:56 marathon, and tried to shape my stride just like that.

I learned that bringing the core forward to that extent  makes your legs rush to keep up.  Automatic speed.  The balance is in the motion.  I had about two strides out of the whole workout where I felt it, really felt it, it clicked.  THIS is what it is supposed to feel like...  this is it.

And then, of course, things started to fall apart again and I went back to adjusting stuff every stride.

But I felt it.  I felt it!

~20min bike on trails, warm up
~20min speed, running
~1.86 miles speed/recoveries
~15min bike home, warm down
~Warmish, sunny.  Shorts, tee, Brooks Cas 6.


  1. Just fantastic Xar! I'm so excited you're trying new things, experimenting and feeling differences. It will pay off.

    I've been messing around with my form for a few years now, but over the last six months or so have been really dialing in and working on it. It does take some time and the way you described your first few steps at it is exactly how I started out. It felt good for a bit, then I lost it. After a while though it comes in to focus and you're able to maintain longer and longer.

    I definitely didn't run the marathon like that pic the whole way. I had to keep reminding myself of the form and concentrating on it. I hope some day it'll all be natural and without thought.

    Congrats on your breakthrough. Let me know if I can help sometime if you want.

    1. Thanks, Jeremy. I almost feel like I should pay you just for your having posted that pic. Having the right image in mind when visualizing can make a big difference. I think it's similar to beginning meditating, when focusing on "nothing" is too difficult. But if you start out with focusing on a blank white wall, suddenly it all seems more attainable.

      Would definitely love to have move of your insight sometime.

  2. So funny/cool...I did the same "can I make my legs go in that full on stride-y position Jeremy did at the end of the marathon?" on my run the other day. Turns out I can't. But it was fun to try!


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