27 June 2013

could less be more?

long have i heard and even promoted the concept that some of the world's best runners don't always run at top speed.  my friend trevor has often reminded me that one of the finest triathletes anywhere craig alexander has noted that he will often have low intensity training runs, and that when people pass him on the road he's not bothered by the fact that they can say that they outran an ironman world champion.  and it's well noted that most recreational runners spend too much time training for races at a moderate-level effort, ignoring high-intensity workouts and dismissing easy runs.

can you out-hustle this guy?

since i've started working with my coach, i've been walking more during my workouts than i have in about three years.  i've also been logging long runs at a much slower and more labourious pace.

my weekly mileage during this training cycle has also dropped by about 50% compared to where i was four months ago.  my friend stan had even wondered if i'd stopped logging all of my training on dailymile because of the lack of total training distance.  again, coach's orders.

so where do i stand now?

at this point in my training for the erie marathon, i'm running four days a week (down from six this past winter/spring).  my long runs are slower than previous long runs, but heading toward longer distances.  speed intervals are faster than i've run before (now just south of 4:00/km).  as of today, my tempo runs are now just around my desired marathon pace of 4:30/km, which is faster than what i'd been able to put together in advance of mississauga.

am i happy?

you bet.

is my coach right?

i think that i have to reserve judgment on that until after race day - but for now everything that he's been telling me is coming to pass, so i've no reason to relinquish my trust in him.

"remember, you're a machine" he tells me.

i feel like the right gears are starting to turn.

14 June 2013

pick up the pace!

what do you listen to when you run?



james earl jones reading the Bible?

i began by running on a treadmill and watching music videos as my 'countdown timer', so it was a natural transition for me to start roadrunning with my ipod.  however, i had one of those ipods that you could anchor down a body in a river with, so it wasn't long before i decided to ditch the extra weight and run without music.
for the past two years i've run without music or entertainment of any kind - choosing to listen instead to the rhythm of my shoes on the pavement, the rustling of tree leaves, and the occasional honk from an annoyed driver who can't seem to figure out how to drive around me.

but on yesterday's tempo run with my coach, he told me that he's a big believer in running faster paced training workouts with music - as both a motivational/adrenalin aid but also a cue for stride turnover.  since i've managed to wrangle a less stone-age ipod from a friend, i could probably work something out to once again tote some tuneage along with me.

i know that playlists are a very personal thing - and to each his/her own when it comes to musical selections ... but here's what i've put together for my next tempo run session (in order by artist):
  • Beastie Boys - Sabotage
  • Blur - Song 2
  • Collective Soul - Gel
  • The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary
  • Eminem - Lose Yourself
  • Herbie Hancock - Rockit
  • House of Pain - Jump Around, Shamrocks and Shenanigans, Top o' the Morning to Ya
  • Kid Rock - Bawitdaba, American Bad Ass
  • Kiss - Deuce
  • Lady Gaga - Poker Face
  • Limp Bizkit - Rollin'
  • Metallica - Enter Sandman
  • Ministry - Stigmata
  • Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • Quiet Riot - Cum on Feel the Noize
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give It Away
  • Rob Zombie - Dragula
  • Run DMC - Its Tricky, Raising Hell
  • Rush - Red Sector A
  • Slade - Run Runaway
  • Survivor - Eye of the Tiger
  • Van Halen - Panama
  • WWF Entrance Music - The Ultimate Warrior
do you prefer music when you run?  what's your block-rockin' playlist like?

07 June 2013

road review: skora phase

hotly anticipated, my first pair of skora shoes - the skora phase - arrived this past weekend.  there are so many things that i'm excited about in terms of these shoes that i can't begin to describe them all.

ok, well maybe i can.

and this is probably the place to do it. 

you can read up about the essential stats on the skora phase in numerous other online reviews (although i will highly recommend my friend stan's breakdown of his pair of the same), but let me tell you what appeals to me most about these kicks:
  • zero-drop - this is characteristic of all of skora's shoes, since as a company they promote natural running biomechanics.  basically, the height of the heel relative to the ground is exactly the same as the height of the forefoot.
  • lightweight - just over 7 oz. by my wife's kitchen scale.  this is in almost the perfect wheelhouse for me.
  • low stack height - with 8mm in outsole (slash midsole - Skora's "injection blown rubber" composition means a single unit combining outsole and midsole) and 3mm of removable insole, there's a good amount of ground feel.
  • wide forefoot - accommodating foot splay on impact for forefoot strikers like me.  no  crunched pinky toes here!
  • flexibility - twist and turn these babies to your feet's delight!  they're nicely designed to move with your foot.
  • asymmetrical lacing - no, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.  the lacing runs diagonally down your foot toward the outside edge - this is intended to alleviate pressure on the top of the foot while still creating a snug fit.
  • wrap/burrito tongue - another fit element to eliminate unnecessary pressure and edges against your foot.
  • groovy colours - i'm not going to lie to you ... the red/black/yellow and reflective silver aesthetics got me excited.
so how have they worked out so far?  well, besides bonus points for a very cool accompanying shoebox design and distinctive new shoe smell (i swear that one of my coworkers had almost become addicted to it when she held them in her hands), i've only managed to long one workout in them - speed intervals on the track.  i was really happy with how they performed - nice and light as anticipated, and facilitated my foot strike pattern no problemo.  

i did experience one issue though - and whether or not it will turn out to be a major one is still to be determined.  what was it?  watch and find out!

my overall score for the skora phase is 4 out of 5 stars (or footprints) - with the potential to be amended for a higher rating if this minor problem works itself out.

disclaimer:  these shoes were provided at a special discount from skora - the opinions expressed however are totally mine.
JUNE 13-2013 UPDATE:  i've run another set of 1km track intervals in the skora phase, after taking kyle's advice of rubbing some vaseline into the heel collar.  it may have been that, or a second wear, or the fact that it was a post-rain morning with various puddles to splash through, but i had no irritation or blistering problems this time around.  woo hoo!