I was looking for some running motivation at the start of the year. I enjoy races but I don’t need to do them very often. So when I was invited to run 46 miles in the Grand Canyon I said heck yeah! That was end of February. With just over two months to train for a long self supported run with 11k feet of elevation, I decided I should hire a coach. So I’m working with Tim Long who is putting together a training schedule that has me running nearly every day, and pushing myself harder than I have ever done. The workouts can be exhausting but it feels good after.
Last week I had a 4 hour run with hills on the schedule for Friday. I drove up to Pantoll Station on Mt Tam and ran four very strong hours down to Stinson Beach and back up Steep Ravine. Then down the super fast and fun Ben Johnson trail before climbing out the Lost Trail and finally, ending with a nice climb on the Dipsea. I felt really strong throughout the run even though I was trying to set a vigorous pace. I drank a lot of water and took a Gu every 30 minutes. This is new for me as I’ve always done every 45 minutes. The 30 minutes makes a *huge* difference for me. I didn’t feel very sluggish and felt alert and awake the whole drive home, and stayed out late that night. I felt great!
I like this chart because it clearly shows I’m spending most of my time in zone 2 which is where I want to be during a long run.
Today’s training called for 6 x 4 minute hill repeats. Luckily I live close to Divisadero and Lombard which is at the bottom of a steep six hill climb. I ran hard the whole 4 minutes and pushed it the hardest on the 4th interval. You’ll see this at the 40 minute mark. I was pretty spent after that as you see my hr didn’t get back to 160 in the last two repeats.
I like the charts. The first is the hill elevation profile. It’s like a dragon’s mouth. The second is my hr overlayed with the elevation. Cool stuff!
I’ve always used plain hemp powder as my protein source in my morning smoothies, but when I ran out I decided to try out Plant Fusion. I’ve read that you ideally need a blend of protein sources to create a complete protein (getting all the essential amino acids) and Plant Fusion has that, whereas hemp on its own does not.
And I just ran out of spirulina and decided to try a new brand Pure Hawaiian. The first review on Amazon is very longwinded helpful. It seems like Hawaiian spirulina is more nutritious and flavorful. Who knew? The protein concentration is much higher ~3x in this brand than the previous one I had.
I added the protein and spirulina to my staple other smoothie ingredients including one banana, fresh oj, coconut water, chia seeds, maca powder, pineapples and strawberries (frozen), cacao powder and agave nectar and Udo’s oil and gave it all a whirl for about a minute.
Wow! The taste was amazing but what stood out even more was the grittiness I had gotten accustomed to from the hemp powder was completely gone. The smoothie went down very smoothly (like it’s name suggests it should) and made for a refreshing morning post workout drink.
I wish I had recorded some vitals like body fat percentage and resting heart rate etc when I started so I could see what effect 31 days of running consecutively has. I definitely saw fat just melting away from my midsection which is always a challenge for me to lose it. Overall I felt more energy and clear headed as running is a great stress reducer for me.
In case you’re wondering, no, I did not run on February 1. I was too worried I’d convince myself to go the whole year running every day, which was my original idea.
There are a few ‘training zones’ when talking about heart rate training. This article does a great job in spelling out what your body is doing and what you are achieving in each zone. Zones 2 and 4 are the ones I need to be focusing on now, particularly zone 2 as I’m building up my base. Translation: I need to build up my body’s ability to use fat for fuel.