Sunday, August 28, 2016

Return to Space

This week I've started a new exercise adventure. I'm attempting to do 30 days worth of the SPACE lab workout routine that I did last year and earlier this year. I'm keeping the basic six day pattern the same, but this time, rather than do them on a stationary bike, I've modified them to do as running workouts.

Here's what that looks like:

3.4 mile loop day 1, 3 and 5. (this is close enough distance-wise to a 30 minute continuous workout) at 165 BPM, which is just shy of my lactate threshold heart rate.

Intervals the other days, with the following pattern:

Day 2: 10 minute warmup, then 8 x 30 seconds at V02 max, :20 Recovery Interval. 10 min cooldown
Day 4: 5min warmup, 6 x 1/4 mile interval ladder: 140, 150, 160, 170, 160, 150 BPM. 2:00 RI, 5 CD
Day 6: 5min warmup, 4 x 1/2 mile intervals at 170 BPM, walk 1/4, jog 1/4 in between, 5 min CD

Two minute interval pacing.
And on the seventh day, we rest. Here's a graph from yesterday's (Day 4) two-minute intervals.

"Why?" you ask...

I'm doing this for several reasons, I guess.
  1. To try and learn about run pacing the way I was able to learn about pacing on the bike doing these workouts. I thought I knew a fair amount already, but I really got to pay close attention to the way it pays to pace carefully. Going too fast, too soon is never good. I was able to put that into stark and repeated empirical terms during the SPACE study. I've never paid that close attention to running workouts, so it seems like it could be useful.
  2. I'd like to see if I can improve my ability to recover in the same way I can/did on the bike. I notice that it is a lot harder for me to recover from a hard effort while running than it is for me to scale back a bit and recover on the bike. I've mentioned that this is one of the only arrows in my quiver when it comes to riding: when I'm fit, I can put in a hard effort and recover and do another one without slipping too much during the recovery period. My top end is not great, but I can persist. I am not nearly as able to do this on the run unless I slow wayyyyy down. I'm hoping I can change that. 
  3. I want to see if I can stay healthy and unhurt while running 6 days a week for 5 weeks straight. We'll see. 
So, how's it going so far? 
Well, today is day five of thirty. I've done three continuous workouts and two interval workouts so far. I have a little bit of predictable muscle soreness after 2.5 hours worth of running this week. That's more than I've done in a single week in years. But it doesn't appear that this "dose" is too extreme. At least, not yet.

Qualitatively, it's already hard. Today as I kitted up I was already thinking "it's only day 5?!" It has been hot and very humid for Michigan here lately. So that is making these perhaps more suffery than they would otherwise be. I felt a bit tired at first today, but otherwise good. I seem to be getting a bit better at keeping each mile the same pace throughout. The first day was uneven with a faster first mile split and a slower second mile. I'm keeping the data on my Strava profile. Today, though, Strava measured the course .3 miles shorter than it usually does (it was the same route) so the numbers for today are likely a bit off. But comparing total time is not my main goal day-to-day. I will be interested to see, however, if I can improve my time while staying close to my target 30 min HR of 165bpm.

What is keeping me going though is a major takeaway from the SPACE study: intensity matters. A lot. More than volume. So I'm summoning that every time I'm out there. It's supposed to be hard. That's what makes it work.