Friday, January 30, 2009

I HeArTE Running

I went on a fun bike ride today with coach BAM. Yes, it is a weekday - unplanned coastal bike rides along PCH are exactly what I've been saving my vacation days for. We rode about 50 miles, a lot of it at a conversational pace, which meant I got to pick his brain about a lot of training stuff. He came to the same conclusion today that he had in November when we first met, and that I had come to 15 months ago: I can't run, and I need to focus on it. So here's my embarrassing running situation.
  • I am insanely bow legged. See photo for evidence.
  • I ran my first half marathon in August of 2007, AFC which I completed in 2:25:46
  • I decided running was my limiter, so during the off season I focused on the run. It worked, by January I had PR'd at the Carlsbad half with at 1:53:52. That's more than 30 minutes!
  • I completed the La Jolla half in 2:01:24, which I was very happy with - it was extremely hot.
  • I returned to AFC in 2008 and did a 2:04:10. I was relatively happy with that, IM training had worn me down, and this was just another training day.
I made marked improvement in 2008 in my half marathons - however my runs during triathlons continued to be a problem. For example at Ironman 70.3 California there were 234 people in my age group. I placed 155th in the swim, 117th on the bike, and 202nd on the run. That translates to the top 66% swimming, top 50% cycling, and top 86% running. Ouch. At San Diego International things were worse, the number were 40% swim, 20% cycling, 70% run. If I could get to mediocre (top 50%) on the run I would have moved up more than 20 places in my age group!
I know what I need to concentrate on, now I need to find the willpower to follow through with it. Coach threw out a number for what he'd like to see me run at Oceanside, which is 60 days away. I don't want to publish it here (yet) but it would mean running my half marathon PR as part of a 70.3 race! The crazy thing is... I think I can do it. I'm at rock bottom right now in terms of my running having done a 5:18 marathon at IMAZ - I've got nothing but upside.
There's not much time before IM CA 70.3, so the plan is simple:
1. Eat better. I'd like to lose some weight before this race, especially since running gets WAAYY easier the lighter I get.
2. Work on my running cadence. My good friend (and fellow IMAZ '08 finisher) JC is a hell of a marathoner, and he told me once to focus on cadence. He said that fixing that would also solve most of the other problems with my stride. BAM reiterated that same idea to me recently. These guys know their shit - so that's what I'll do.

On JC's advice I bought a small metronome. I set it for 180bpm and try to match my footsteps to it, resulting in a cadence of 90. My past experience with this device is that I hate it - it's like water torture listening to the tick, especially if it's clipped to my hat. My "natural" cadence is about 65. When I try to run at 90 I feel like I'm just running in place - my steps have to be so short in order to get that kind of turnover that I'm dancing more than running. I stopped using the metronome because I just couldn't do it properly.
I'm going to make an honest effort to make use of it again. I know I won't be able to hit 90rpm for very long, but that's OK. I'm going to do some short runs correctly - instead of my current plan of long runs incorrectly. We'll see if it works in 60 days.

1 comment:

rocketpants said... will heart running soon...i know it.

Bizarrely my news aggregator doesn't like your blog and hasn't been picking it up for awhile! I need to catch up!