Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ironman Training, Month 1 (and other odds and ends)

First, a bragging revelation. I told someone today that I’m training for another Ironman. Not “I’m training for an Ironman.” But “another Ironman”. As in I’ve already done one. Ok, its bragging. But that’s also pretty cool.

I’ve been working with Coach Michelle for a month now (already, a month?) and incorporating some new running moves, as recommended by my PT.

MAF Running

AKA running as slow as humanly possible and then run even slower. Kinda. This actually has been really enjoyable, once I got past the first few weeks of frustration. Honestly, I kind-of felt like I was in the movie Speed, only the opposite concept. Go too fast and your Garmin won’t quit beeping. And something may blow up. Any minor distraction or loss in focus and my HR would creep (or zoom) up. It takes an incredible amount of focus to run so slowly.

Strangely enough, I really like running this way now. For starters, my sore spots aren’t sore anymore. NO TIGHT CALVES. Crazy. Also, its not boring. Before, I needed (no required) music for most runs. Now, my brain is so busy focusing on going slow (or moving more efficiently) that I don’t miss music and time flies by. I’ve been doing hour long runs in silence (except the occasional beep from my Garmin) and I’ve really enjoyed it.

I think this fully cements my status as a runner. From “only runs when being chased” to “enjoys long runs in silence.” Who am I?!?!

Glute Strength

My glutes don’t like to work. My PT did a whole bunch of exercises to try and get them to fire, and my left (injured) side would just stutter. The damn thing wouldn’t even contract, it would just stutter along. So I have a bunch of very subtle exercises to try and trick that muscle into firing, with the idea that once it gets used to working, it will decide to work when I run. Thereby saving other muscles (my lower calf) from doing all the work in compensation. I think its working as I’ve actually felt it engage a few times (speed work or hills) and it has been sore.

Video Gait Analysis

I got the results back of my video gait and a bunch of recommended drills. Things like “kitty paw”, “kick butt”, and “a skips”. All are to be done with very light footing. I try to incorporate these drills as part of my 5 min walking warmup for each runs.


The PT who did my gait analysis strongly suggested I get this book and try to incorporate this style into my current running practice. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the book and have read about the theory and background, areas of focus, drills, and technique. Enough to be dangerous. The whole idea behind this technique is to let gravity do the work for you, to have a tight core and a relaxed rest of your body. Oh, and breathe. I practiced some of these techniques (breathing, peeling my feet up – heel first, keeping my ankles relaxed) during my MAF run last Sunday and it helped. I should have had a terrible run (I went skiing the day before and was sore… and I stuffed myself full of Thankgiving food the night prior). Anytime my HR would creep up I would take deep breaths and my HR would go down. If I felt a little tight, I relaxed my ankles. I practiced good /efficient feet and worked on peeling my foot up from the heel. I was almost 1 min/mile faster than the same route and distance a week earlier. Wow.

Swimming and Biking

Michelle had me to a 1,000 for time and it was sad. About 5 seconds per 100 yd slower than I should be. I’ve got a ways to go.

Biking is just fine. I’ve got trainer interval days (which aren’t as bad as you’d think) and easy cruise days. Fortunately, the easy days and coincided with nice weather, so I’ve used the bike time to explore trails around my house that I haven’t been on. Its been fun.


And I went skiing the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The snow is terrible. Scary, actually. The open trails, where the snow was manmade and probably bulldozed into place, were ok, considering the snow was manmade. But directly adjacent to the trail was mostly dirt. It was scary. We need snow. My new rock skis (Ramp Frenzy’s) did the trick though. Easy grabbing onto crusty stuff and stable at speed, as advertised. You really have to get on it to get them to engage. Messing around means you will smear your skis all over. And your knee will be sore. Will did great, though!