Sunday, February 16, 2014

Falling into a new routine

Of course I fell this winter, but not on these icy downtown Toronto streets. I've run outside every day in 2014 and yet I couldn't survive a simple 10 mile morning run in "balmy" Vancouver. I was so surprised by that fall that I fell twice in one morning. Might as well.

The second time I tripped a few weeks ago, my bright orange gloves prevented me from eating curb, my right hip absorbing the blow, my palms luckily unscathed. The plus side was I was wearing my full winter gear because this is the winter when -5C follows me all the way to the West Coast. Four minutes before, I tripped on a dark path on the way to Stanley Park, rolling my ankle as I wound my way around Vancouver's waterfront, Granville Island across the water. 6 a.m. in Vancouver is probably not the best time for me to explore new paths in dark light.

It was one of the faster 10 milers I've done though, as I was treated to the most amazing views.

Stanley Park at 6:20 am is a spooky place

That afternoon, I had my ankle wrapped and elevated. The next evening, after making it home to Toronto, I ran a snowy 10K route. Yup, that run streak is intact and going strong at 82 days.

Tripping on a dark path on the West Coast was probably appropriate, given I'd found a way to escape the slips on black ice and slippery roads as we have been hit with a winter to remember. I learned about Polar Vortexes, frost quakes and the value of balaclavas. I also learned to duct tape my shoes, brave the temperatures and just run and barely register when I got out for a -20C run.

This year, I found myself falling in a different routine, and it's been shaking up my running, for the better.

Sigh. Snow.

Running, there's been a lot of it -- more than I've done in any given winter over the past decade. So much that I haven't had a lot of time to blog. But it's been all good. I'm in one of the best cycles in recent memory, I say as I knock on dining table wood.

Yes, that's ice on the road.

I've run versions of the Pfitzinger Douglas program the past seven years. In my big running years (2007-2009), I compared running to work, when I'd have so many miles and quality work packed into each week. LT/tempo runs, striders, medium longs, pace runs and track work. It was tough going.

This time, something feels totally different, and it's apparent what it is. 

Tempo running.

This dark winter, I'm running with Black Toe's program, headed by Rejean Chiasson. The past few months, it's transformed my running. The most apparent is that I've found a group of like minded runners (fast and hard workers) and it's helped each one of our hard runs a little easier. 

Sunday running.

Second is the program. It's smart, having me run every day but with four days of recovery or easy running. I'm loving the tempo/intensity, but we're working at it at a purposeful increasingly harder rate. When I was doing Pfitz, he'd have a 4 mile (6.4K) tempo run on day 2 of the program, run at half marathon pace. It's kind of a ridiculous assumption someone ramping up can nail that. My first week with Rejean, we did a 8x1000 with recoveries. By last week's tempo day, we did a 4K, 3K, 2K, 1K, so we're ramping up to a longer tempo. Difference is now we're starting to nail some fast paces.

Coach is hard core, before one of our Friday fartleks.

I'm sure there's some smart approach that we can discuss here, but whatever we're doing, it's helping me get the gains I need. And I'm loving it. 

My mileage is already hitting 100K and my legs are recovering. I'm continuing to do core, strength and found one of my favourite contraptions.

Meet The Grid foam roller

Running toward the Lakeshore on a random Sunday. Snow, of course.

The race schedule is coming up fast -- I have the following races to look foward to
  • Chilly Half (potential PB race)
  • Around the Bay (B race)
  • Harry's Spring Runoff 8K (tempo)
  • Yonge St. 10K (fun run)
  • Goodlife Marathon (A race - Goal)
  • Ottawa Marathon (fun race or backup to Goodlife)
Can you tell I'm tired of winter?


pyrad said...

I'm surprised you're still running so well on your ankle after you rolled it.

I'm getting pretty tired of winter too...

Robin said...

Your training cycle is going great. I'm enjoying watching it evolve and can't wait to see your results. Happy running Kenny.