Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Archive for February, 2013

Who else eat hills at lunch?

Late in bed, late up today. Took it easy to really wake up as my shoulder felt REALLY stiff after yesterday’s training (I guess!). For the rest of the body, also a bit stiff, nothing that a hot shower cannot solve! Light breakfast with cereals, dried blueberries and Gojji, oat-milk and so glad I was when opening the window and feeling the air. Despite showing -3ºC on my phone, it felt much nicer. So decided to skip the second layer. Long tights, long sleeves + tshirt on the top, wind-breaker and 2 pairs of gloves. Plan for today : low pulse with hills…

Started easy with after a few 100ms the first slope. No need to tell that my Garmin went crazy! I set it to 154bpm for max HR… which should be something I could fix. But skip thinking of the first 3km as these were warmup before the bridge! Took it back and forth 3 times, singing on the way up (well, did my best to keep on singing. on the second up this song, or this one on the way back, on the third up, though to sing slow and then high for this song. and the finish with this one… Those are the ones I can actually sing the lyrics… not mentioning all the others which must have scared the few runners or walkers on the other side of the bridge!).
Anyhow, after finishing the 3 times back& forth was ready for a 4th one, but remember the long run tomorrow… so kept down on the fun! Instead I took 3 times up&down a 300m steep slope and once again singing on the way up! Enough energy for a 4th one but once again, the brain was there to say stop! So ran easy back home…Until almost home I saw a very steep 50m slope which I took 3 times up&down. The way up was clearly on the front-toe of my feet. And NO, this time neither my body nor my brain wanted to do a 4th one!!!

Really satisfied as I got 15.6km in a decent 1:24:15 for an average pulse of 148 (max pulse for the workout 186). Kept as well quite a steady pace throughout the run and despite the ups and downs.

So right after that, home, stretching, toe exercises, 2min prone hover (with “frog legs” during the first minutes: i.e. prone hover position, lift one foot and bring it forward – the leg position looks like a frog leg 😉 ) THEN protein drink and hot shower. Nice to chill out afterwards (especially when I saw all the cleaning to do at home!!!)

Now all done, quite tired, but will get out for a while to have some fresh air. Will probably have an early night if feeling tired like that! Great day for running again! Hope the weather remain this way now!

Paris: 14 days to go…

What a GREAT day to run!

How often do you wake up and the first thought is this one: “What a GREAT day to run!”. This happened to me this morning. After an unplanned rest day yesterday (got to go to the opera instead or running the planned 10/12km…), and falling asleep quite late, when the clock rang at 5:00am (I know, I have to fix this!), actually the first move was NOT to snooze it but to smile as feeling really great! Took probably 10minutes for leaving the bed, starting to prepare my gear (half was prepared). Had to charge my watch again (what is it lately with this loosy charging planification!!!) and after taking a nice oat-porridge (+ fresh blueberries – love them!, gojji and oat-milk), I recalled that today was the day of  joint workout with work @6:45am. So I skipped hurrying (not that I was!) and just chilled a bit before leaving to the training arena.

Easy warmup of 3km before arriving at the indoor arena, changed from my winter gear to ASICS Vesta + Dubai 2013 tshirt (way too large for me AND warm!) and off I went for one more km indoor warmup with my colleagues. LIttle pause for explaining today’s workout and a couple of lap more for warmup.

Running drills were just following the warmup:

> (1) Kick-butts
> (2) Skip March run (high knees)
> (3) Kickouts (“Ravellis”)

> (1) only – back to start “side crab run” each side => twice
> (1) & (2) – back to start “pick up grass” every three steps => twice
> (1), (2) & (3) – back to start easy run => twice
> (1), (2), (3) & fast run  – back to start easy => twice

Then stretching easy and time intervals. The plan was to do a pyramid: 1/1.5/2/2.5/3/2.5/2/1.5/1 min with 1min rest between each intervals. Tough indeed. A bit unsure how fast it was as started to count the lap at the beginning but lost tracks… So estimation on 10K pace:

Sträcka Distans Tid Snitt
Repetition 1 220 m 01:00 4:33 min/km
Repetition 2 330 m 01:29 4:30 min/km
Repetition 3 450 m 02:00 4:27 min/km
Repetition 4 580 m 02:34 4:26 min/km
Repetition 5 680 m 03:03 4:29 min/km
Repetition 6 450 m 02:07 4:42 min/km
(missed the start due to pit stop) + 30sec rest!
Repetition 7 450 m 02:02 4:31 min/km
Repetition 8 350 m 01:30 4:17 min/km
Repetition 9 250 m 01:00 4:00 min/km

Pretty tired after that but it was NOT finished! Strength circuit was planned with different stations:

> jump on box
> fast step on low box
> fast run “high knees” on “jumping matress”
> jump both sides of bench (second time: frog down/up)
> fast run “high knees” on “jumping matress”

Each station: 20sec
rest in-between to change station

1min (?) rest between two series

Really tough especially the jumping parts, but pretty fun and done to the fullest! So much smiling all around despite the difficulty!

After that got some tips for stretching my bum/thigh muscle and then just had to jump back in my long tight and run back home. Quite cool to meet colleagues from different organizations in such an arrangement. Got to run a short distance with one of them before heading home, shower, food and getting ready for work.

Oh, my! I was so right when I woke up… Today WAS a great day to run! Now it is evening, dark outside, a pizza in my tummy and ready to watch a movie. Have been asked today how I felt regarding my training and it is a bit tricky. After the interval workout, I definitely feel great and ready but when running TO the indoor arena, I would have said the contrary. 1:36 is to beat and should not be a problem (apart if sick like last year…), but how much is the improvement since last year (compared to both the Semi de Paris and GV,,,)? Will see in 15 days!

Do you like my curves?

Yesterday was a big day as I finally change the batteries for the three Garmin HR sensors. So today was the first test: will my curves look good? 😉 So after work I change into my two layers of clothes and went out. Fortunately the weather was kind (just under zero) and the roads fine (well I would eat that one around km7 when I met an little slope with ice AAAAALLLLL the way up!).

Started with 3km warmup, all fine, pulse looked good and body was ok. Stopped a couple of minutes then and waited for the first bike to pass by for starting my first interval. Felt a bit heavy for the first 500m but afterwards fine. A quick check at the watch as it was not pipping (i.e. indicating that I was outside the pace range I set: 4:10-4:30) and noticed I was at a steady 4:27/km. All good so continued. Arrived at the rest part, I decided to jog (correct, Staffan?) for 3min and then started again for the second interval. this one: WOW! What a top form! Really great feeling until I noticed I calculated incorrectly and would have to run up/down a little slope close to a bridge. BEST PART OF THE INTERVAL! It gave such a punch to the run, incredible. Finished in 4:20, which was 4sec/km faster than the first one. Little and light jog for resting aaaaaaaaaand off I went again the other way around. So much fun to meet again the same guy with his dog, pass by the runner I met while running the other way around, scaring the old lady with her white dog (again!)… It was slightly tougher than the previous one and definitely not as fun as the second one, even though faster. Then rest but this time with walking easy. Wanted to finish strong. The final interval was way more difficult than expected, had to fight a few times with my brain telling my legs to stop moving (yes, I talk to myself from time to time! probably or mainly when it start to feel painful!). Anyway, when I checked my watch knowing there was approx. 1km left and saw that my pace was at 4:20 I tried to push to the max I could and ended really tired but so happy! And then 3min rest on place and light run back home.

Today’s workout ended as follow: 18.77km – 1:31:56 (4:53/km)

3km warmup
interval 1  13:14 (4:25)
interval 2 13:03 (4:21)
interval 3 12:59 (4:19)
interval 4 12:55 (4:18)
2.1km cool down

each interval 3K
rest between each interval 3min

Followed by thorough stretching and toe exercises. Skipped the prone hover (!!!) as I did it this morning. Now I feel really happy and soooo tired that I will get some well-deserved rest. And btw my bum/thigh feels quite well…

Below you can see my “curves”… Looking like the battery change was working for this one… Keeping my finger crossed! According to Garmin: training effect = 5!

Pace curve

Pace curve

HR curve

HR curve

Morning core strikes again!

This morning body&mind felt fine (great night sleep despite waking up twice, unsure why!), although not found of going out for an interval workout in the freshly fallen snow!!! So snoozing the clock until late and then easy core workout.

Choose to change the routine and took the Pfitzinger advanced core strength exercises

Abdo crunches (adv) *20
Leg pushaway (adv) *20
Staff 6*5sec
Standing knee hold *12
Back extension *12
Side hover 3/10sec each side

2 sets done as a circuit / 1min rest between each set / 5-10sec between each exercise

No real difficulty in this workout apart from the staff (this is pushup position, going down, holding for 5 seconds and then going up…). This was pretty tough to do especially the three last of first set and then the 5 last (!) of the second set. The whole circuit (i.e. 2 sets of all exercises) was followed by a 2min prone hover, tough second minute really! But so glad when it is over. Now feel really awaken and ready to take on the day. Hopefully by this afternoon/evening the roads will have cleared out and I can do my intervals in peace 😉

But all this after breakfast… Ciao!

NOTE: I have updated yesterday’s post with the weight of the different pairs of shoes 🙂 for reference only… Any suggestion is highly appreciated!

All about shoes

At lunch break I went to the shoe store for checking new running shoes.
My purple ASICS GT-2160 [296gr] are fine. Bought in December 2011 – ran 743km with them (give or take!). Mainly used for distance, rarely for intervals and never for long runs. Surprisingly they always have felt heavier than my other pairs of GT-2160, but while at the shop, my personal helper M 🙂 took their weight… and… they are actually a few grams lighter than my pink ASICS GT-2160… IT IS ALL IN MY HEAD, THEN??? He explained that sometimes (and studies have been done apparently on this topic) the colour feels more heavy… well well well, what will the small ones say on this after having heard me complaining over a year on those shoes!!!

ASICS GT-2160 Purple-heavy

ASICS GT-2160 Purple-heavy

My pink ASICS GT-2160 [294gr] are my back-up shoes for races. Bought in December 2011 as well – ran 963km with them… Used for any run from distance to intervals or long runs. Unfortunately while in Barcelona some holes popped up in the net on the front and on the side. I can (and will!) continue to train with them, but it is bothering as this is my back-up shoes… Not much fun if they just decide to break during a race…

ASICS GT-2160 Pink lightgear

ASICS GT-2160 Pink lightgear

My ASICS Gel DS Sky Speed 2 [233gr] are great. Although I have had them for a short time period (bought end May 2012 – ran 622km), I have run 4 marathons, 2 10K and a bunch of long runs and intervals workouts with them. So would be good to have a backup solution just in case…

ASICS GEL DS-Sky Speed 2 - superfast

ASICS GEL DS-Sky Speed 2 – superfast

So the question is: running 5-6 days a week, approx. 60-90km, three pairs of shoes are way enough. WHY are they starting to die on me all at the same time?!?!?

Looked at new models as the ones I have are no longer existing as being from previous years. In order of preference, here are the ones I tried:

1) ASICS GT-2000 tight (T2L5N (2A)): [265gr] great fit, perfect around the feet. Like the first pair of GT-2160 I had. ASIC have some models which are in tighter form and this is suiting great. Good feeling while running. Nice color (white!). Unfortunately my size was not available so tried in slightly bigger size. Might be my next shoes…

ASICS GT2000 (T2L5N (2A)) - nice for the eyes and the feet

ASICS GT2000 (T2L5N (2A)) – nice for the eyes and the feet

2) ASIC GT-2000 regular (T2K7Q): [265gr?] great fit, although slightly less perfect than the tighter model. Good to run in, nothing else to complain about! Nice color (fushia?). Can be considered as my next shoes!

ASICS GT-2000 regular: nice right? Cannot miss me on the road (all black with pink shoes!)

ASICS GT-2000 (T2K7Q) regular: nice right? Cannot miss me on the road (all black with pink shoes!)

3) Saucony Kinvara 3: [190gr] nice and light. Good fit for my feet 🙂 running fine and kind-of stable despite being lighter than GT-2160. Nice color (white, again!). Although they look a bit funny on the side, not going up like the ASICS. As long as I can run fast and stable, who cares???

Saucony Kinvara 3 - the ones I tried had no "stripes" on the toes part... but nice, right?

Saucony Kinvara 3 – nice, right?

4) ASICS Gel Noosa Tri-8 (T356N): [230gr] Nja… a bit unsure right from the start because of… the color (or rightly said colorS!). They are however better than the Kinvara 3 when it comes to stability for my feet.. but really, the mix of colors made me almost sick… Nice sneakers though!

ASICS GEL NOOSA Tri 8 (T356N) - nice for the feet... but seriously what about the eyes???

ASICS GEL NOOSA Tri 8 (T356N) – nice for the feet… but seriously what about the eyes???

New models will come end of February so will see then what to get. No need as said for new shoes right now, but in case one of my racing shoes fall apart, I need a backup!!!


Shoe trying session…

This evening I took my little-tired body for an evening run. I decided to (finally!) go for changing the battery of all my Garmin pulse band. Why not running to the store then? Gears on and off I went. body felt quite tired (Daaaa!) but surprisingly the thigh/bum was kind-of fine. I have had my compression socks all day, can this help? Ran 2.6km to the shop and back home, for a total of 5.57km in 29:40 (avg pulse 146, which seems normal). Will see tomorrow how the pulse curves are looking like… Interval session planned (hopefully the body will have a  good rest and the weather will not be too cold…)

Rest needed now. Eyes are closing themselves!

UPDATE (13/02/13): have added the weight of each shoe. For the shoes I have, it is weighted on my kitchen weight and for the models I tried i took the reference weight from ASICS or Saucony website for female models.

Who’s that (crazy) girl?

Today started early. Once again, clock ringing at 5:00am and body&mind saying stop until 6:00am. Tough night in a way, but let’s start from yesterday…

Went to get a massage as to solve the mystery of my thigh/bum muscle on left side. As he got the pain disappeared in the thigh right before Dubai marathon (thanks again, M!), this was the right place to go for this new problem. As written earlier, the naprapath confirmed (?) this was muscle-related. So since then, extra stretching and massage have been done. But still, after Dubai marathon, I took a full week off running (Yes, I can!) and then a week of easy running. Well, the thigh/bum problem still there. So back to yesterday. 1 hour was booked and seriously it must have been spent 45minutes (!) on my bum/top thigh muscles left side. And NO, this was NOT pleasant at all! I thought I would have bruises but today nothing. And it feels fine. But not normal. This is really annoying as when stretching the right side, it feels it stretching, but on the left side it feels it is “painful-kind-of”. Massage definitely helped, but today’s run reminded me that it is not gone…

Was so tired yesterday evening, after being up early and long work day that 7.00pm was in bed and slept. To wake up 2 hours later and unfortunately unable to fall asleep again due to noises outside. So disturbing night, least said! 6:00am – Ate breakfast “à la Staffan” (i.e. oat-porridge, fresh blueberries, gojji berries and oat-milk). 30minutes later (had to wait while charging my Garmin… How well prepared can you be really?!?!?) and off I went in the morning roads. Weather fine, still snow on the pavement when it is now icy… Skipped the low-pulse thing as it appeared pretty quick that my new solution for pulse band was not working. I put it on my back instead of the front. Seemed to work fine until km4 or so when it showed 97… Not THAT well trained I am! So off and in the pocket and continued, able to sing and talk while running (which was the test for not having too high effort level). Indeed many must have wondered who was that (crazy?) woman running as I generally shout loud when I reach a certain level of running (e.g. after 10k, or after climbing a stiff slope…). So this easy morning run was quite gratifying after 14.2km in 1h12 (5:06/km). Good to be back home, thorough stretch and toe exercises and super hot shower (I know, it might not be good for the recovery of the muscles, but seriously WHO wants to shower ice cold in winter??? even for guaranteeing better recovery it is not my cup of tea!). Forgot as well that I am starting a bit of new challenge as well: hover 2min after each workout. Done it on Sunday and now today. No need to say that after a long run, despite feeling fine while “hovering”, today was waaaaaaaay easier. Will hold 2min until the end of February (as said earlier, after every workout) and will see after Paris half-marathon whether to increase slightly or not. It might as well stop being fun…

Now time to work a bit! Great energy flow after a running workout…


And some still SHOULD like it slow!

After one day travelling back home yesterday, body & mind were pretty tired. Nice talk with an American lady pilot on the way to Frankfurt and long nap on the way back home. Empty suitcase and nap again… So ready for nice and long laundry time in the evening!

So this morning when my eyes opened and noticed it was over 10am, I was not surprised. Breakfast of oat-porridge+gojjiberries+cranberries+oatmilk, water and gear on. Snow it is AGAIN here. So put on my anti-slip and started my long run. Took ca. 1km before I took the anti-slip off as the bike roads were well enough to run normally.

Today was again a new try to run with low pulse. Set the alerts for 154 (once again, I have no clue about what value I should follow!). Biiiiip biiiiiiiiiiiip biiiiiiippp, this is what I was NOT hearing as I had the brilliant “Killing the snow” mix of DJ Eclipse in my ears (how appropriate!). I however received this little electro-chock from my Garmin for each Biiiip! Difficult to keep a steady pace which ensure a pulse less than 154. Run and run and run and run – feeling on the top, body feeling great. The aim was as said, low pulse and 2hours out. Not pressure on pace nor distance (although I still receive the Biiip for each km!).

Lonely road with snow

Lonely road with snow

Sun hiding behind the clouds

Sun hiding behind the clouds

Nice run really, calm and steady (not for the pulse), turned left, then right and straight forward… added a few acceleration (otherwise it would not be me!) but really more to follow the rythm of the music. Had a few slopes as well, which were quite welcome for not making the run too boring. All-in-all, it ended with 24.22km in 2:22:51 (avg pulse rate: 156/ max pulse: 183). Pace was 5:54min/km (!) which is one of the SLOWEST workouts I have EVER done. Unsure it is good for my running steps though. Will continue to give this “low pulse” a try during this week and see whether I enjoy it. If not, I’ll continue the way I used to train, with adding a bit of km in the week training though.

Now time to rest for the day! Tomorrow is a tough day at work and a nice morning run should make miracle in creating energy for the day! Let’s just hope that the snow remains and no ice is coming!

Nice countryside under the snow

Nice countryside under the snow

Me and apparently a sniper aiming at me...(joke: this is the reflection of the sun!)

Me and apparently a sniper aiming at me…(joke: this is the reflection of the sun!)

Treadmil in Barca?

What better than a run in the fresh air after a long day at conference (and a full day rest yesterday… YES I CAN DO A FULL DAY REST!)? Well, here in Barcelona it is windy and not that warm. So treadmil it was this evening. Started with 10min on cross-trainer as all treadmils were occupied (typical! The ladies just started a couple of minutes before I got there!). But shorlty atfer the treadmil was MINE!

After ready a post from Eva F, I got some inspiration. So instead of a boring 12km on treadmil it turned to be an interval serie:

Warmup: 5min @8km/h (7:30/min)
> 10min @11km/h (5:27/min)
> 10min @12km/h (5:00/min)
> 10min @13km/h (4:36/min)
> 10min @14km/h (4:17/min)
> 5min @15km/h (4:00/min)

> 3min @8km/h (rest between each interval)
> 10min @8km/h after last interval (cool down)

No need to say that the rests were more than welcome! The first interval was a bit slow for my taste, but tried to keep a steady low pulse. Was working fine during interval 1&2 and then it started to raise. Although I am not trusting the pulse curves any longer! Have to do something about this! Anyhow, the interval @14km/h was pretty tough, but completed it. The last one was a bit tricky as the treadmil stopped (>1hour!) and I had to restart it. Decided to make a 5min so that the body would not suffer afterwards!

Really sweaty and salty on the whole body! Drank lots of water afterwards and stretched thoroughly. Then relax, eaten boring food, walked probably 2,5km (one way) to get food. So pretty tired now! Flying early tomorrow so time to close all and sleep.


Nice run under the Spanish sun!

After early morning started a full day trip to reach Barcelona where I will be attending a conference for two days. Forgot breakfast in the morning rush so apart from my banana early, I got a croissant and another banana while waiting for the first plane. Must have been the only one in the queue to do toe exercises while waiting!

On the plane, light breakfast is an understatement! They only had yoghurt with müsli, which I kindly declined to avoid upsetting my stomach. Instead: tomato juice + tea… In Frankfurt, sorry to say but must be the most boring airport I’ve ever been to… Not finding anything to eat but sandwiches (i.e. butter aso) and wished to skip the sweet stuff like muffins… So nothing but another banana for lunch! The plane offered a little tiny pasta salad (multiply it by 26 & you would get the size of ether portion I would usually have…so you understand this was very little!). Finally arrived, aimed for the hotel, few emails and changed to my running gear.

Wow, so nice to bee in shorts again. Had my winbreaker but took it of after the first km! Nice sun, not that warn (+13°C??) And little windy throughout the run. Ended with a good 11 km @4:50/min… So much for the low pulse training! Actually skipped the HR Alert on my Garmin add it drive me crazy! Still got an avg pulse of 150. Unsure of the trustworthiness of this so! Light stretching and shower afterwards.

Met colleagues for a drink I orange juice for me), to realize it was already soon 7pm and no real food had been taken during the day.. NOT GOOD! Ended up in a tapas restaurant and took a grilled entrecote with vegetables and a coke. Plus a chocolate coulant with oil and salt… YUMMI! Energy felt coming back in the whole body. Nice walk afterwards in the night Barcelona. Took a waffle with nutella on the way 🙂 and definitely felt MUCH better! Then end of evening and sleeping time.

Lesson learned: always take some snacks for a plane travel! Tomorrow is full day conference and mighty not have time for training, well, it is after all a rest day (from training!). Adios!









Ultimate core workout in the (early) morning blend

Early morning routines have the disadvantage to make one a bit tired at mid day (ok, from midday to after mid-afternoon sometimes!). Yesterday was started with a load of energy, which unfortunately dropped radically around 3pm. Therefore needed help from fast-unhealthy-so-what!-sugar (1 coke+ 1 twix). Helped directly! Still have to figure out how to keep up the energy throughout the day in days like that.

Today‘s started after a short night (Transformers II cannot be stopped half-way really! Had to finish the movie…) and early morning (T’s birthday + leaving for a conference in 1.5 hour…). So core workout it was. Slightly changes the order. S’s program went really fine, surprisingly well for the “V’s” (10*10sec) which generally feel quite heavy to do in the morning (… and in the afternoon…or in the evening…!). The ball pikes were also pretty fine and added 2reps to each serie (why shorten the fun?!). Had this morning 2 series: S’s program and then a long second serie. No real stop between the serie reps but between the S’s program and the rest, did some little stretch.

2* [S’s program incl “full V” 10*10sec – excl. hover
+ Ball bridge 10]
2* [single leg push press *10 each side
+ “walk on the mat” *10 each side
+ regular hover w/ bottom lift *10 each side
+ side hover w/ arm+leg raise *10 each side
+ Triceps press sitting *15 rep
+ back extension*15
+ “table abs – 2 legs” 15
+ bench dips on low table *15]
+ “walk with ball” *20
+ Swiss ball superman *12
+ Ball pike *12]

5-10sec between each exercises or rep
1 min or so between each serie

Now the core workout did not include Jörgen’s transverse. Do not abuse of too much fun, right? Felt like I could do them tomorrow morning if I have the chance of swimming while away. Made a short break to chew (!) a banana and drink some water during the second rep of the second serie. Maybe I should look at the energy level before core workout in the morning. Does not feel it is a problem when running, but could be when working out core and stability… don’t know.

Still the same routine for the core&stability for this week. Kind of like it. And make slight changes from time to time. But now it is decided: I will look for a new routine to have from next week. Have read somewhere that it is good to change every 5 weeks or so to have the body not getting into a “yes-I-know-this-and-won’t-make-much-effort-any-longer” state (or was it that the muscles are getting used to a certain routine and therefore the benefits of the routine itself can be reduced if always the same).

Anyhow, now it is time to get the whole circus ready! Leaving to Barcelona for a 2 days conference. Hopefully the weather is better than here (cannot be really much worse! snow today…AGAIN!). As S noticed well, between Dubai and Barcelona, my D-vitamin levels should be filled up! Training as usual also still keeping it easy for the week. Next week start the ramp-up (!) for Paris.

Any suggestion for great core exercise or complete workout for core & stability, feel free to drop a note! Now, let the show begins!