Racing TODAY! (But Not "Racing.")

>> Saturday, March 25, 2017

So on Tuesday, I registered for a race TODAY. (In an hour, actually!) My running team (the YWCA of Minneapolis Endurance Sports Team) lost a few members this year, and it didn't look like we'd have a full team of 5 guys for today's race. Once we got 4 guys confirmed, I signed up so we'd have a full team and be able to score points for the year-long USATF series.

I'm still hesitant to run HARD on my sore knee/quad being that even a hilly bike workout at the end of February caused it to flare up a bit. I need to "test" it soon because it's coming up upon duathlon season, and I'm hoping to race hard. So we'll see how hard I race today.

So here are my 2 goals:

• ONE: Don't get injured. I don't need to be dumb here.

[And to do #1, I need to do this:]

• TWO: Set a PW ("personal worst"). I've ran this race 3 times. The first time was in 2008 when I was just starting to do speedwork, and I ran it in 30:30 (6:06 pace). I wore athletic shorts and cotton boxers for that race:




That 30:30 performance was my slowest (29:15 in 2012 and 29:20 in 2016), and I WILL race slower than that today. I'm thinking I should probably be able to run 6:15s - 6:30s to still feel how I want to, but we'll see (that'd be around 31:15 - 32:30 for a finishing time). I'm NOT going hard. In fact, I might not even be going "tempo" pace. Like I said above, I'd like to "test" it, so if I'm feeling good, I may up the pace a bit as I go. But I NEED to keep my ego in check and not try to "race" anyone. The fastest I should go if my leg is feeling great should be around 31:00. I'm only testing my quad/knee and putting up points for my team.

Back soon with a race report and pictures!

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Friday Funny 1250: Idiots on Facebook

>> Friday, March 24, 2017

How does that saying go? Something like "the internet hasn't made people stupid, it's just made their stupidity easier to share." These 8 people show off that point nicely: (via)


Nice try, Rob.


"It IS NOT bird poop." Sure.








Dear God. Get this kid into a school ASAP.




Take THAT Democrats!

Lots more funny stuff on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.

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Friday Funny 1249: Un-Inspirational Quotes for People Who Hate Inspirational Quotes

These really REALLY speak to me:



To my lovely wife: thanks for lowering your standards a LOT more than I had to.

More funny things posted 10x every day on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.

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Friday Funny 1248: Children's Books You Should Never Write




My boys have been reading #18.

And I sometimes want to hand out #32 to some of my students.

More funny things posted all day long on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.

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Interview in "RunMinnesota"

>> Wednesday, March 22, 2017

We just got our March/April issue of "RunMinnesota" - the magazine published by the Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA). The cover shows some MDRA members taking a polar plunge:



And inside is a "Member Spotlight" interview about me!



Here are 2 closer up version that you can actually read. I SWEAR I'M NOT THIS SASSY IN REAL LIFE!! I must have been in "a mood" when I answered these questions...





This week is my spring break, but I'm home with a kindergartener with some bumps on his back (the Doc's not sure what it is, but he said to say home from school for a few days). But now that my Chipotle order has been published, I'm expecting one of you to deliver today...

p.s. I JUST signed up for O'Gara's 8K this weekend! My team scrounged up 4 other male runners, so with me as the 5th, we have a full team and can score points towards the year-long series. I'm NOT going to "race" it - I'll maybe go around 80-90%. I'm nervous running fast with my knee/quad issue. But I suppose I NEED to test it shortly, being it's nearly duathlon season. We'll see how I decide to run it. Back on Monday with a race report!

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Bike, Bike, Bike, and Bike Some More

>> Monday, March 20, 2017

This mild late-winter has been AMAZING for my biking. After last week, I hit 225 miles outdoors on my tri bike for the year. (And another 7 hours and 22 minutes on the trainer.) I've had more trainer miles by mid-March in the past (4 out of the last 7 years), but NEVER so many outdoor miles! Here's how the last 8 years look for trainer time and outdoor bike miles through March (there's still 11 days left in March this year, so 2017 numbers WILL grow):

2017:
7:22 trainer time
225.51 miles outside

2016:
12:04
124.42 miles

2015:
7:51
71.38 miles

2014:
9:21
8 miles

2013:
3:18
0 miles

2012:
1:16
102.26

2011:
9:47
0 miles

2010:
4:42
35 miles

So in the 7 years from 2010-2016, I biked a total of 341.06 miles outside from Jan-March. If I get in a few more rides this month, I hope to be around 300 miles outside in the same stretch from 2017 alone! WHAT A NICE WINTER! :)

Also, I looked at what month I hit 225 miles of outdoor miles for the year over the last 8 years. It was May 4x, June 2x, and July 1x (when I was injured last year in April and May). And this year, it was mid-March. Double nice.

Anyway, here's what the last 2 weeks of training looked like:



I was taking it easy the 2nd through the 7th because of a sore knee, but then I was back at it pretty solidly this past week. On the 12th, I had a quick, easy trainer ride while my wife did a longer ride:


She likes me, I swear. She was just really into a movie she was watching.
And the light glimmering off my nipple was a bit too much for her.

On Thursday the 16th between classes, I got out for a quick 4x3 mile interval ride down the greenway. (I usually like to do 3x5 mile intervals, but I didn't have time for that - being it's an odd number, I end up a long way from home when I'm done and have a long cool down.) Here's what my pace chart looked like (with the intervals highlighted in red):



When I finished my ride, I saw that most of my interval was a "segment" on GarminConnect, and I ended up on top of 3,500+ by nearly a minute:


(And just a few weeks ago, I ended up at the top of a shorter segment here in St. Paul.)

My intervals were good. I didn't think there was much of a breeze, and I thought I was going out INTO it. I was at 24.0 mph for my first interval for a bit before it dropped to 23.6 mph. I thought I was a stud. But then when I turned around for #2, I realized I was NOW going into the wind. Dang. Here were my average speeds for my 4x3 mile intervals:

- 23.6 mph
- 20.6 mph
- 22.8 mph
- 20.5 mph

- 21.875 mph average

Not great, but not bad for mid-March in Minnesota.

That night, I had a check-in with Robert at Element Wellness Group for some acupuncture. He said it wasn't a "pretty" treatment, but he worked on my tight calves:




... and stuck an EXTRA big needle in my hip. He said half of that gold-ish needle was inside me!
(And it took him a few "pushes" to get it deep enough in my fatty/delicious hips.)

Friday I ran with Charlie. I mentioned my Wed and Fri runs in my weekend post. Some "nice" numbers to those runs. :)

Saturday was an swim of 3x500. I really tried to go hard, and post-workout, I tweeted this:


Last month, I did this swim at Hamline between classes in 7:33, 7:33, 7:36.

And then Sunday (yesterday) I did a St. Paul loop twice (River Road to Shepard Road up Ramsey Hill and down Summit Ave). After 2 Ramsey Hill climbs and lots of stoplights/stop signs, I still ended a 34 mile ride with a 19.8 mph average. Nice end to the weekend!

Let's keep these numbers going in the right direction. Happy training!

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Two Solid (Not Necessarily "Fast") Runs

>> Saturday, March 18, 2017

My last 2 runs this week had some good splits. They weren't FAST, but the splits looked nice.

First: on Wednesday, I was out for an early morning run, and my knee was feeling OK. So I just kept slowly upping the pace. It wasn't nearly as hard as a tempo run, but it built a little bit of nice speed. CHECK OUT THESE PERFECTLY DESCENDING HALF-MILE SPLITS:


A cool down started after split 9, obviously.


Getting faster before an easier cool down.
(Those dips in speed were going through bigger bridges / smaller tunnels.)

Second: I took Charlie out for a stroller run again on Friday morning (like I did last Friday with him, which was a lot chillier). I was just going to run easy, but my splits stayed consistent and a little faster than I expected. CHECK OUT THESE EVEN SPLITS:


After a 1/2 mile warm-up to get to the trail, the next 8 half-mile splits (4 miles)
were within 5 secs, and my mile splits (starting at a 1/2 mile) were within 6 secs.
I think I've mentioned before that the stroller generally makes me more consistent.


A pretty even pace chart (with 4 slow-downs where I had to give Charlie something).

I didn't take any pics on these 2 runs down the Greenway. I was actually on the Greenway 3 mornings in a row: Wednesday for that descending run, Thursday for an interval ride between my classes, and Friday with Charlie. More on a week of training and my interval ride in a post next week. Happy weekend!

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Friday Funny 1247: Products You Never Asked For

>> Friday, March 17, 2017




Lots more funny things posted all day long on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com. HAPPY WEEKEND!

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Friday Funny 1246: Where Should I Eat

This... is actually quite helpful:



Lots more funny things posted 10x every day on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.

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Friday Funny 1245: Snowmobile Ad

Here's a sweet ad for a snowmobile:



More funny things posted all week long on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.

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Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Five Endurance Links

>> Thursday, March 16, 2017

Here are 5 short articles I found interesting:

6 "pro tips" on how to make treadmill running more bearable. I know winter is almost over, but here are some treadmill tips if your still running indoors.

A core routine for runners that doesn't require a gym. Here are a handful of good core exercises. Start with 30 sec each, and work up to 2 mins each.

• [VIDEO] Coach Troy (of Spinervals fame) talks about how to do a proper hill workout on the bike. Oh Coach Troy. I love you. I hate you.

Managing race-day stress. I mean, I just take a giant dump in a porta-potty, but everyone's different. Here might be some better tips than just "take a big sh*t."

Five kinds of sugars in your endurance gels (and what they do and what to avoid). This breaks down how your body uses these sugars differently, and I found it interesting.

Oh, and it's also "science" that fruit is good for you, so their calories don't count:



For more "Thirsty Thursday" posts that highlight workouts, body science, and all kinds of interesting information, CLICK HERE. Back with some "Friday Funnies" tomorrow. :)

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How to Keep Getting Faster in the Pool

>> Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My swimming is still going OK, but I'm not getting much faster. When I started swimming last fall after a year off, I got faster quicker using the CSS swim method. (I've talked about that a lot, and here's a post from last November that describes it more in depth - it's basically the idea that you train just under your threshold pace with short breaks to gain the most swim fitness.)

I first started training with some CSS swim workouts (not for EVERY workout) a few years ago, and a common workout of 200 repeats with short rest would average 3:10. Well, I got that down under 3:00 after a few months, and I think down near 2:50 a bit later. In recent months, when I started swimming again, here was my progression in a shorter version of that workout: 6x200 with 20 sec rest:

- Dec: 3:02.78
- Jan: 2:59.83
- Feb: 2:59.10
- Mar: 2:58.39

I felt like I KILLED that workout last week to only gain a 0.70 sec advantage over 200 yards (0.35 sec/100). I also did a ladder workout last week that was actually 15 seconds slower than the same workout 2 months ago. The workout is 100, 200, 300, 400, 300, 200, 100 with 20 sec rest:

LAST WEEK:

1:27.23
1:28, 1:31 = 3:00.72
1:28, 1:30, 1:29 = 4:28.94
1:30, 1:32, 1:30, 1:29 = 6:02.32
1:28, 1:33, 1:29 = 4:32.25
1:30, 1:31 = 3:02.06
1:26.42

23:59.94 for hard effort, or JUST under 1:30 pace. (1:29.996/100)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

JANUARY:

1:25.57
1:29, 1:31 = 3:01.04
1:28, 1:30, 1:31 = 4:30.28
1:28, 1:31, 1:31, 1:27 = 5:59.26
1:26, 1:30, 1:29 = 4:26.46
1:27, 1:29 = 2:57.07
1:24.58

23:44.22 for 1600 of effort, or 1:29.01/100 ave!


[Notice especially that the longer intervals have gotten slower. Dang.]

Obviously, I'll make the most gains when I START swimming again after a big break, but I'd still like to see my progress KEEP get better. Here's what has happened the 2 times I've implemented the CSS swim method:


I make big gains right away, and then it starts to level off.

THE THEORY....


If I mix up the training methods after I see their biggest gain (dotted lines),
then I may be able to keep improving more over a shorter period of time.

I'm 100% sure that this is a thing that every coach (or even half-way decent athlete) knows about. Totally positive. But I'm not sure what to do with it. I don't know of other swim "methods" to incorporate. I might start doing more hard swims with longer rests (which is what CSS swimming says NOT to do). I might also try longer straight-through swims (but my shoulder might not allow that). We'll see what I do with this theory.

Thoughts from you? I'm open!

Bottom line: I just need to keep swimming!

(Again, click here for more about CSS swimming, and follow some links on that link for even more.)

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