Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Strides - Wedensday November 6 2013

Today's workout was 7 miles with 8 x 100M strides:

  • I did 2 miles slowly speeding up to 8 min pace 
  • At about 2 miles (well, at 17:00 to be exact) I pushed the "12 mph" button and ran for 20 seconds.  At 20 seconds I pushed the 7 mph button and then would gradually speed back up to 8 min pace (7.5 mph)
  • I did that every four minutes.  That is, I'd do the stride, slow down to an 8:34/min pace, then speed back up to a 8:00 min pace and do that until the next four minute mark.  That meant: 17/21/25/29/33/37/41/45 were the times.  It dispersed the strides "fartlek like" through my 7 mile run at 8 min pace
  •  I figured that I'm supposed to accelerate through 100 meters or so, and Usain Bolt runs 100 meters in 10 seconds, so 20 is probably correct
    • of course I also calculated that if 80 meters were at the top end of the pace, that would take 15 seconds at a 5:00/mile pace, and the machine takes 3-4 seconds to go from 7.5 MPH to 12 MPH, so I'm probably doing them right
Boy does that 12 mph (5 min/mile) pace seem fast when you've been jogging at an 8 min/mile pace.  I could really feel my tendon and joints, etc., all being stressed.  Funny but after 10 seconds it seems normal again.  I'm not sure how long I could run that fast, but it's probably an 80% effort in terms of "being chased by a dog" speed.

STRIDES Explained

That's a common workout in most marathon programs so I've read up on it and this is a short summary on this element of training.  The more I read about them, the more I realized that I'd been doing them for years.  When I ran cross country at TPHS back in the 70s we'd finish all our runs by doing these.  We'd do eight of them..the classic "run the straights, jog the ends" on an oval or whatever circuit you run laps of.  (We had no track as the school was new, so we ran around something the size of a soccer field.)  We did them easily at the beginning of the run, and we always ended with them.

From Runner's world:

Q What are strides? This term frequently pops up in training schedules, does it mean what I think it means – long steps – or am I missing the point?
A Strides are the steps you take when you run easy sprints. They are usually done at about 70-80 per cent of your maximum effort. The idea is that you match the mechanical action of a flat-out sprint, with the smooth action of a relaxed run – retaining enough energy to turn around for a few more repetitions.
You’ve probably seen people doing strides before the start of a race. As part of a warm up, or during training, strides encourage you to run with an economical style, because they allow you to run at a faster pace while using up the same amount of energy as before. Striding also develops quick feet, which increases your stride frequency. Research has shown that these benefits, which are associated with fast running, can also potentially improve performances in longer distances from 5K to the marathon.
Strides and other fast-paced running are part of elite runners’ daily training, but many runners fail to practise strides, tending instead to run at a steady pace – in effect, training themselves to run “steady”.
You can integrate strides into your training, by including them in up to three of your weekly sessions. Start by running easy for five to 10 minutes to warm up, then do four to eight sets of strides, each of 50-80m in distance. Treat them like a sprint, putting in 70-80 per cent of your maximum effort. You should feel relaxed and quick. As you run, scan your body for areas of tension: ensure that your head is held high, your shoulders are relaxed, your hands are lightly cupped, your hips are level and you are running lightly on your toes, with your feet recoiling very quickly each time they touch the ground. After the strides, start your regular session, retaining some of the speed and fluency from the strides. Regular transfer of running technique from strides to your standard runs should boost your steady running pace.

From Ed Eyestone (the famous coach)
 ...the volume and intensity of German's hard training days were just what I expected of a runner of his caliber. But the way he finished every easy run came as a total surprise to me: He'd always finish with 8 to 10 fast strides.
Strides Understood
Strides are those 60- to 100-meter "pickups" that runners typically do just before speedwork or races. In these instances, they generally warm up well, stretch, and then use strides as a finishing touch to ease into fast-running mode. The reasons for doing strides before a bout of fast running are multiple: muscles need to be flooded with blood, fast-twitch muscle fibers need to be recruited, and race pace must be briefly simulated to get the body and mind ready to run fast.
But why do strides at the end of an easy run? One answer can be found at the finish line of almost any race: People like to run fast at the end of races. We all do it, both the first-place runner turning on his kick in the Olympic 10,000-meter final, or the 450th-place runner sprinting to out-lean the 451st at a local Haul Around the Mall 5-K. Easy-day strides will improve that finishing kick.
Strides also improve your neuromuscular coordination, as the bursts of speed stimulate neural pathways. Just as a pianist's fingers fly over scales that have been practiced repeatedly, your coordination and form become more fluid from these short but frequent doses of speed tacked onto the ends of easy runs. Result: You become faster.