Treadmill repeats, a little faster and a little better

Check this box  if you are tired of seeing my HR charts 

Today’s run (treadmill repeats): 2.5 miles – 6 x 400 plus 1 mile warm up / cool down

My Runsketeer buddy TPP has been focusing on cutting back on her sugar and carbs. Reducing your sugar intake is a good idea (provided there are no underlying issues related to hypoglycemia). Moderating simple carbs is always smart. Most of the time we don’t need that sugar, but our cave-person genetics force us to crave it. The one exception is when you are 40 minutes into a 10K and you need energy right now.

I used to use GU gels frequently on my runs, even when I ran relatively short distances. Now I rarely use energy boosters, or anything like it. I’ve now reached the point in my half marathon training program where I’m approaching double digit base runs. That means I’m running for 80 minutes or more at a time, long enough to (supposedly) deplete my glycogen stores. So far I’ve avoided using supplements during this training. I took a GU gel along on Sunday, but never felt like I needed it. Then again, despite all the hills, I really didn’t push myself that hard.

I’m not Brooklyn race ready yet, but I’ve definitely moved the needle in terms of endurance. Running seven easy miles, as I did over the weekend, would have been a struggle four weeks ago. But I felt great on Sunday. This morning I ran another set of 6 x 400 repeats, this time on the treadmill. I prefer to do this workout on the track or at least on pavement, but it was raining fairly hard outside this morning.

Considering the challenge I had running 220’s a couple of weeks ago on the treadmill (at a slightly slower pace), I can see progress. Today’s quarters were run at 7.2 MPH, book-ended with half mile warm up and and cool down runs. I was very pleased to see my HR reaching 85% of max by the final seconds of each interval. I plan to take the speed up to 7.3 MPH next time I do treadmill repeats.

Tomorrow is my mid-week base run, which by my formula (80% of Sunday’s long run) should total 5.6 miles. I’ll try to run at least two of those miles at Half Marathon target pace, per the advice of SIOR. This will be the first “bridge” workout where I partially combine a speed and distance run. I’ll be interested to see if I’ve restored my fitness well enough by now to manage through it.

Cow-themed glycogen fueling station

One cow out front. 1,000 more inside

Today’s run (street): 3.4 miles

I spent yesterday in the city, on a day that started early and ended late. It was was hot, humid and generally uncomfortable, but I was fortunate to see a lot of business friends throughout the day. I switched my usual routine and ran on Monday and took Tuesday as my rest day.

Today, I worked out of my home office and that gave me the flexibility to join my wife and kids at Maureen’s Kitchen, a local breakfast place that is famous for its cow theme, large portions and cash-only policy. I usually eat a small breakfast (less than 400 calories) but today I indulged and ordered Maureen’s French Toast. I even paid the extra $1.75 for genuine maple syrup. My brother would have been appalled. He lives in VT where good stuff practically flows from the tap. The meals they served us were almost laughably huge, but I managed to get through most of mine.

Due to my schedule, I had calls that prevented me from getting out for a run until 1:30 PM, when the temperature and humidity were at their peak. The heat notwithstanding, it was probably good that I had a chance to digest all those carbs from my morning meal.

I had good energy, probably due to an over abundance of glycogen, and I got through the first mile fairly quickly. I might have turned this into a performance run, but I’m still dealing with chest congestion that caused me to cough whenever I increased speed past a certain point. My cough has improved, but it’s still present, even after three full weeks.

Between pushing my speed as far as I dared, the baking sun and the moist air, I finished feeling like I’d just raced. It didn’t take long to get my heart rate down, but it was a tough workout. I’m aiming for an early Independence Day run tomorrow that may end with a dive into the pool. Unlike last summer, I will be sure to put aside my phone before I take the plunge.

A couple of products I wish I could buy

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles

After yesterday’s difficult run that capped a week of tough workouts, I decided to give myself a couple of days rest in the upcoming week. Since today is Sunday, I couldn’t resist the chance to go out for a run without the time constraints that I face on workday mornings. You’d think that I’d take it easy today and ease into my upcoming rest period, but that’s not the way it went.

I’ve had some tweaking around my left knee and I felt some soreness when I got up today. I noticed that the pain came from lateral, not straight-ahead, movements. That meant I could run, so I put on my running gear and headed outside.

I thought about my current stamina issues and popped a couple of Sports Beans before I left. I’m not sure if they helped, but I did feel more energy at the start than I did before yesterday’s run. It made me think about two products I’d like to see: a time released carb/electrolyte supplement and an electrolyte drink that is neutral-tasting like water.

Right product, wrong geography

I used to buy electrolyte-enhanced water at Whole Foods after runs in the city, but it only solved part of the problem. I looked online and found a product called CNP Pro-Energy bars that supposedly release energy over time. The website is from the UK and I don’t know if the bars are available in the US. I think both of these ideas would find a market here.

Today’s run went very well. I didn’t plan to cover a long distance, so I ran harder than I did Saturday. My speed improved 2 minutes per mile over yesterday’s pace. That was good enough for me, and when I finished I was breathing hard but happy to take a break over the next couple of days.

I need to get in at least one 6+ mile run next weekend as I continue to build my base for May’s half marathon. In the meantime, I’m hoping to recover my fitness with a little R&R.