Fast twitch recruiting failure

Today’s run (street): 4.6 miles

No problem with that, bud

The leg weights were doing their job as I made my way around the hilly loop in a nearby business park this morning. I tried for speed but my legs wouldn’t — or couldn’t — respond. I reached the apex of the hill and tried to let loose. My speed improved but not measurably. The weights just overwhelmed me. But here’s the thing: I wasn’t wearing weights.

All week I’ve experienced a lack of responsiveness in my running. I’ve thrown in some fartlek’s along the way but the result, at best, has been fast lumbering. I planned to start off at a brisk pace this morning to see how my legs felt but I struggled to recruit anything resembling a fast-twitch fiber. I managed through the first mile until I found my rhythm but a glance at the Garmin showed me that I was not moving very quickly.

I’d had an extra hour’s sleep last night and even took a GU gel 30 minutes before my 7:00 AM start.  Even with that, the fluidity and power that I counted on never showed up. After I completed the business park loop I turned into the adjacent neighborhood and ran those streets. A glimpse of my shadow revealed my static motion and it showed that I was hardly lifting my legs as I ran.

When I turned left to exit that neighborhood I passed one of those safety signs that parents put at the end of their driveways to alert drivers that kids are playing nearby. The big letters on the sign said SLOW and it made me laugh. I don’t think I could have moved any slower. Yet, through it all I didn’t find the run taxing in the least and I’d wished I’d worn my heart monitor so I would know how hard I was actually working.

I’ll blame 25% of my performance issues on the high humidity and 50% on my failure to push myself harder. The remaining 25% is mystery. I wish I had actually been wearing weights so as to provide a reasonable explanation for my glacial pacing. I’m thinking of doing a bike ride later today and I definitely plan to do some speed work tomorrow. I’ll recruit those fast-twitch fibers even if I have to bring back the draft to do it.

4 thoughts on “Fast twitch recruiting failure

  1. I find that if I did not eat enough carbohydrates the night before I feel flat running the next day. The 100 calorie gel packs are ok as a supplement. They will not help if you don't have the proper energy reserves stored to begin with. In my experience proper fueling the day before makes all the difference. Clearly weather conditions and amount of sleep also come into play. Try eating some pasta and/or potatoes the night before a longer run to see if it helps your energy level.


  2. Hi Paul, that makes sense. To your point, I've had some great long runs the morning after a pizza dinner. I'll pay closer attention to that now.As a frequent competitor I'm wondering — do you have a standard meal the night before a race?


  3. Depends on the distance. The longer the race the more important the pre race meal and the quantity you eat becomes. In general you want something easy to digest such as pasta and bread. The trick is to try different meals to see what works best for you. I like to eat about 12 hours before a race/run and I never eat the morning of the event. If the race/run is in the evening it is impossible to hold to this rule but I try to eat about 5 hours before but a smaller meal.During marathon training you actually on ocassion want to run out of gas during a long run (>18 miles) to teach your body about hitting the wall. This should never happen on short runs since it is not productive in making you a better runner.


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