Thursday, August 13, 2009

Learning something new every day

For the past few weeks, I've been running in various clubs and events around the city to keep myself from getting too bored. As some of you may recall from an earlier post, I started out my group runs with the Golden Gate Tri Club on the Dipsea trail. And what a start it was. That run let me know that I had a long way to go.

A couple of weeks back I did a training run with with a group preparing for the Nike Womens Marathon
. My roommate's girlfriend had told me that a lot of men came to the runs, so I tried it out. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly depending on how you look at it, there were quite a few fellas there, and a number of strong runners, both men and women. I ended up running with John and Metha. John had won the coveted Western States buckle, and Metha runs with the Impala racing team and has a record 6:35 marathon pace. Needless to say, it was a good, fast run. It was also a lot of fun. John and Metha kept me distracted and entertained for the whole run. This was the way to do it.

I still felt a little weird showing up for training runs for the Nike Womens marathon though, so this past weekend I decided to try out the San Francisco Road Runners Club, and I think I may have found my niche. The group was great. The pace was right, and, best of all, I learned a thing or two.

See, the coolest thing about the road runners was the class after the run. After we finished, their coaches taught a class on proper long distance training. Up till then, I had just been running whatever my training schedule called for as fast as I could. Boy, you should have seen the look on the coaches faces when I said that! Hilarious. It was basically the facial equivalent of one of my mother's favorite phrases from when I was younger, "You're cruising for a bruising, mister!"

In the class, they explained to me that there are really three different types of training runs. The first are your long slow distance runs. These are the runs that everyone thinks of when they think about long distance training. 16, 18, 20 mile runs to build endurance in you muscles and joints.

But there are two other important types of runs that the uninitiated don't know about: speed workouts and pace runs. It may seem counter intuitive, but speed training is actually quite important when training for longer distances. Pushing you body close to its limits over short distances helps to increase its ability to process oxygen, which makes your muscles more efficient during both short and longer runs.

As you might guess, pace runs are runs where you training at your target pace. They're middle distance runs -- never more than half your goal distance. These runs make your body more efficient at processing lactic acid and push the point where your muscles lock, further and further out.


No comments:

Post a Comment