Monthly Archives: May 2012

Aqua Jogging? Water Running? Stationary Swimming?

Water running is: “flotation assisted running motions performed in a body of water”.  So how does Water Running (…errr….Aqua Jogging?…Wet Sprinting?…whatever) work?  Easy – strap a flotation belt to your waist, jump in the deep in and haul ass like you’re being chased by hungry beavers and you’re wearing wooden underwear.

Most pools should have flotation belts that you can use, however if they don’t the belts seem easy enough to find online.  The majority of times I’ve used this training technique the pool has been setup for adult laps (as lurid as that may sound it’s actually pretty benign), however you should be able to do this during an adult or family swim period as well.  If the pool is setup for laps, jump in the ultra slow lane and ensure you aren’t impeding anyone else’s swim (if you aren’t sure where to go, ask the lifeguards they will know where you should/could fit best).

“How fast? How long? How hard?” (raises eyebrow) excuse me?

Since grinding away a 45-60min water run is nearly as boring as doing a treadmill run, I suggest treating your session as a speed or fartlek workout.  Set timed intervals of “sprinting” with rest periods between e.g. – 60sec. hard, 60sec. recovery, 120sec. hard, 120sec. recovery, etc.  My typical workout has been a 10 minute warmup, then alternating 5min. of strides and 5min of higher cadence “peddling” motion for 30-40min total, and 10min cool down.  By alternating the strides and high cadence I reduce the risk of injuring myself further plus I work different muscle groups….plus it’s just more interesting than staring at a brick wall for an hour.

Without a surface to push off with your feet it can difficult to mimic a true running stride and since you’d probably like to make the best use of your time while you’re there it’s important to find a way to do this.  I found that my natural tendency was to pump my legs up and down in a stair-stepping motion which really doesn’t do much for your running fitness.  After some experimentation I found that using strides and cycling motions better worked the “running” muscles.  When using strides ensure you pull forward hard enough to feel it in your quads, then pull back with the hamstring and engage the glute muscles, FEEL THE BURN!  As for the higher cadence sets I focus mainly on “landing” my feet directly below my body, and moving my legs quickly.  This tends to be more of a cycling motion than the strides but as long as you are keeping the movement light and quick it gets the job done.

Hopefully a few weeks of rest will let my stress fracture heal and I can get back to hitting the trails, until then I’m there will be some water running in my future.

Have a good one kids, stay healthy!

Murphy’s Law & Stress Fractures

I have a secret…I’ve been denying yet hinting at this for a bit, hoping things would turn around but they haven’t and now I’m left with a realization: my right foot is screwed. I’m pretty sure I’ve managed to develop a stress fracture, in the top of my right foot.  It’s sore to the touch, and behaves pretty much like the one I had last year, unfortunately there’s no way to tell for sure without an X-ray.  Even if it’s not fractured the treatment is pretty much the same: Rest, Ice, Time off, Wait. To say I’m pissed off would be an understatement, but I’m trying to keep my outlook forward facing and productive instead of sad and pitiful.

So where do I go from here? As I’ve said previously, the marathon is in 2 weeks so I can start tapering now with little effect, but it’s still more aggressive than what I hoped to be doing this time of year. Tapering doesn’t simply mean “no running”, it should be a gradual decrease in effort and mileage leaving you primed for race day, so what’s a crippled runner to do? Answer: Cross train like it’s your job!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been pacing/training my neighbours in for a half marathon in the fall, and last night I had to send them on their merry way without me. I was planning on riding my bike alongside them but they left too late so I ditched them and headed to the local pool for some water running. “What’s water running?” one might ask; it’s running with a floatation belt in the deep end of the pool.  It’s ridiculously monotonous and you occasionally want to gouge your eyes out with a fork just for entertainment but in terms of maintaining a training base it works like a charm. By taking all the impact out of running, and the added resistance of the water you can still work your legs/core while rehabbing an injury. So the pool will be my home for the next two weeks.

I’m 95% sure that my foot won’t be fully healed by race day, but here’s hoping that something good comes my way… hey, if I crash and burn at the very least there will be an interesting blog post to read 😉

Stay healthy kids

Awesome – Thin Lizzy Plays With 70yr Old Grandmother

I was just cruising Jeff Wood’s Explore Music blog when I came across this great story.

In 1982 Thin Lizzy played on the BBC show Jim’ll Fix It where, after writing in a request, May Booker was granted the opportunity to play with her favourite band, and she NAILED IT.  Give it a look and see what I mean, checkout 1:41 where she rocks the keyboard solo!

Have fun kids!

How Much Gear Do You Take?

Exactly how much gear does one take to a  race?  Sure you have shoes and some sort of body covering (unless it’s a naked mile), but how much gear does one really need? Marathons and Ultras aside (where food and hydration factor in), do I really need to pack the kitchen sink when I leave the house for a few hours?  My “problem” is that I’m a bit of a boyscout, I pack a tonne of stuff that should cover any and every possibility but more often than not doesn’t get used.

Below is a pic of everything I took to Saturday’s trail race (minus my coat, a banana and a coffee), did I go overboard?  Some think so, but let me give you a little background information before you make your decision:  The weather was calling for 20-40% isolated showers, an afternoon high of 8C but an overnight low of -2C; possibly wet, possibly dry, possibly cold, possibly warm….essentially a crap shoot.

1.) Running Shorts
2.) Ruez Compression Boxer Briefs
3.) Nike Running Pants
4.) Clif Builder Bar
5.) Clif Bar – Peanut Butter
6.) MP3 Player
7.) Deodorant
8.) Nike Running Gloves
9.) Micro-Fleece Running Gloves (heavier)
10.) Long-Sleeved Tech T
11.) Short-Sleeve Tech T (MEC)
12.) Skins Calf Compression Sleeves
13.) New Balance MT101
14.) Asics Running Socks
15.) Brooks Running Hat
16.) Brooks Toque
17.) Bandana
18.) Light-Weight Running Toque
19.) Easy Reading
20.) Sun Glasses
21.) Garmin Forerunner 305
22.) Tensor Bandage
23.) Back Pack

Let’s see:

  • A set of long clothes for cold weather, a set of short clothes for warm weather, and the right combination that I could mix and match as necessary (long sleeves and shorts anyone?)
  • And what about hats & gloves?  Without them you are freezing but if they are too heavy then you have to carry around extra unnecessary gear.  I honestly didn’t think I’d need the winter hat & gloves but the lighter set definitely came in handy.
  • Calf sleeves? Since I was planning on running the next day, I put these puppies on as soon as I got back to my vehicle.
  • What about food?  A Clif Builder’s bar, for post race recovery and an extra pre-race Clif bar in case I got hungry.  I don’t see the problem.  Yes races provide post-race food, but you can’t always be guaranteed to like what they have so I (almost always) carry extra food.  Plus some people gave me dirty looks when I dove face first into the chocolate chip cookies, but that was only once …(maybe twice).
  • MP3 player and a book.  Last year’s RSP race was delayed when some douchnozzles moved course markers overnight.  You don’t have to use these to pass the time, but it’s nice to have them if you’d like to.
  • Tensor bandage and a bandana.  Stuff happens, so…you know…just in case.

In the end I went with the long pants and shirt with a t-shirt overtop, and light gloves/hat but shed these by the 3km mark (thank you pants with zip pockets!).  By the end I was pretty warm, but within minutes of finishing I was back in my hat and jumping into my heavy jacket and could have easily been in the heavier hat/gloves had it been a few degrees colder.

Sure it takes extra planning and effort to pack all that crap, but there’s nothing worse  (for me) than needing something  and knowing that I simply didn’t take the time to prepare.

Rattlensnake Point Trail Race 2012 & My 50km Weekend

What a great weekend!  The Rattlesnake Point race went off without a hitch, and the weather co-operated in spades.

The course for the race offers a little bit of everything; winding single & double track, easy & technical descents, rolling hills & steep uphill slug fests, scrambling rocky ascents, technical rock gardens, fallen logs, and even a couple crevice jump/crossings!  There had to be something for everyone on this course, and if not I’m at a loss what else they could have been looking for.

 

My race went really well, in the early going I was forcing myself to slow down and relax, this wasn’t a “race” merely a training run on my way to the Ottawa Marathon at the end of the month.  Sure, I wanted to do well, but most of all I was paranoid I wasn’t going to crash and hurt myself.  After the initial double-track section form Rattlesnake Point, down through the valley, you venture towards Crawford Lake and into the technical rock gardens and severely single-track portion of the race.   This area is difficult to pass in, and with my injury paranoia looming I simply found a groove and recouped as much energy as possible. (Photo credits to: http://ryderphoto.zoomphoto.ca/)


(stolen from – http://www.5peaks.com/maps/Map_Rattlesnake%20Course%202009.pdf)

Once through this technical section, you start heading back down into the valley and onto easier running.  Through here I was able to slowly pick people off and do my own thing with much interference from (or interfering with) others.  My quads were starting to feel the burn and I knew that I was probably running too hard but it was too late, the competitive bug was in my ear now and it was my job to hunt down those in front of me. 

The only goal (other than not creating a crater with my face/body) I had for the race was to beat my time from last year, and long story short(er), I did it!  1:05:02 this year vs 1:10:05 last year!!  All in all a great day!

(un?)Fortunately, my weekend of pain wasn’t done there.  Actually after the RSP race I felt pretty good, but I could tell my quads were fatigued and I needed to carbo load if I had any hope of surviving Sunday’s 30km sufferfest. 

5am Sunday, my bladder shot an electrical signal to my brain telling it that there was going to be an imminent evacuation if I didn’t get my ass out of bed.  As I trundled to the bathroom I realized that regardless of the 5:20 alarm I had set the night before, I was indeed awake enough to go get dressed and get out the door (grumble).  My main concern was meeting up with my speedwork partner SpeedyDan halfway through my run for some much needed motivation and companionship.  Coffee, water, peanut butter toast, banana, clothes, pack fuel belt, start watch, tie shoes… and I was off; another pre-dawn long run.  One of the reasons I wasn’t going to do another marathon this spring was the monotony of continual long runs; 2 hour runs weren’t bad, and even the occasional 3hr one isn’t that bad, but once you get into week after week of 30+km trudging the fun starts to fade, and they simply become means to an end.  As you can tell, I’m not the biggest fan.  The run itself was uneventful, but I was glad to see it done.

One thing I had forgotten to consider when planning my grand adventure was the two neighbours I have been coaching recently in preparation for a fall half-marathon.  Although they were impressed my athletic feats they seem uninterested in my excuses when it was time for our evening run. Eventually they wore down my resolve, and I ended up pacing them through another 6.7km that night.  Now, I like to consider this heroic, but I’m sure there is a line-up of people ready to tell me that I’m a complete idiot (and they are probably right)..still there’s something pretty cool about being able to say “I ran 50km this weekend, what did you do?”

Have a good one kids!