March 16, 2021 – Teammates (2)

Hi Everyone! 

 

What I’ve been thinking about this week is teammates. Many people in this group I would consider direct teammates of mine, and are teammates with each other.  I see, communicate with and rely on many of you in some form or another. I think of many of you as teammates in life as well as in running. We know we’re here for each other and there is a huge confidence that comes from that. I’m grateful for it. 

 

I was listening to an interview with Quilen Blackwell, a social activist and changemaker. His view is that life is a team sport. Oftentimes when you’re on a path or undertaking something new, you might find you’re on a team, but you don’t necessarily know who your teammates are yet. But here is the thing: there will always be teammates who show up. I love this idea that we have people just waiting quietly for us to appear so they can join us and help us to move forward. Many of us are lucky to have already experienced this. In the same way, we often encounter others who we didn’t see coming, and recognize a teammate in the path they’re on, and so think nothing of doing whatever we can to help them achieve their goals.  

 

I think this is called having faith in humanity. Not everyone is on the same team, but we do all have our own invisible teammates out there who want the best for us and will help us get there. You’ll know them when you see them. And you’ll be one when you can. Here’s to teammates. 

 

Ok, onto workouts for this week!  

 

  1. I think we’re up for hills again. Wow, three week cycles seem to be passing fast! For those not doing an Achilles 5K or 10K virtual, do hills! And mix it up. If you normally go long, throw some half hills in. They are so good for power and fast twitch strength and form. We endurance junkies can forget about that sometimes. 

 

  1. If you don’t want to do hills, here’s a fun/different one to try. 8-10 x 200/200 run like: 200 Fast (3K pace – basically hard), 200 Medium (keep this at 10K or Half Marathon race pace). No breaks – keep going. This is a great workout for teaching your body to clear lactate. Equals higher lactate threshold. Equals can run at a higher pace for a more sustained period of time! So handy.  

 

  1. If doing the Achilles this weekend, let’s do workout 2 but maybe cut the qty in half so we can go in fresh. 
  2. Tempo: ATB peeps have 30-32 mins straight up. Start 5-7 sec slower than normal tempo. This one is a big confidence builder – you’re just callousing yourself. (callouses are ugly but so useful for protection and armour) Do what you need to to mentally stay with it. If you have a few slower km’s that’s fine. Learn to regroup and find a way through. You got this! 

 

That is all. Go Team! 

xo 

 

Seanna 

March 9, 2021 – Make it feel easy

Hi Everyone!

 

Yay warmer temps! Don’t get too comfy with them, but enjoy them while they’re here. Ahh the love/hate relationship with March.

 

I recently read or saw something with Ryan Hall coaching his wife, 2:20 Marathoner Sara Hall, from the bike. One of the things he said as he was riding beside her and she was straining through a race pace interval was “Make it feel easy!” I love this. He didn’t say “make it easier”, he said “make it feel easy.” This is so fascinating to me. He was telling her to be in control of her internal settings. I love the idea that without external circumstances changing, we can control something internal that will make our tasks feel easier.

 

I tried this in my tempo the other weekend. Often in the last third I start to strain and reach and tighten up in order to maintain my paces. This time I didn’t look at my watch but just said to myself “just run tempo effort”. Tempo can mean many things to different people, but to me I’ve always thought of tempo as being “comfortably hard”. Tempo is not racing. Tempo is not straining. So I just thought “cruise at tempo” and I relaxed and then found that I had maintained my paces regardless.

 

So is “making it feel easy” mental or physical? Both, I guess. A mental state relaxes your physical state and the whole thing flows better. A tough command to follow on demand in the middle of doing something hard though. I know it will take practice, but it’s a mantra I’m going to try to work on.

 

I think it applies to other areas of life as well. There are so many external factors in life that we just can’t change. But if you were tasked with “making something feel easy, without actually making it easier”, could you? I think you could. You’d have to practice shifting things around to see what worked. You would change your mental dialogue. You might stop straining and reaching and just relax into the effort of whatever you’re doing. You would stop fighting the pace or the barriers or the inconveniences or the other people, but without compromising your results. You would settle in and keep going as fast or as hard you could, but you would find a way to make it feel easier. I think some people might call that doing it with grace. Or getting out of your own way. There are a lot of fights in this world that are worthwhile, but fighting yourself is not one of them. So while you’re out there kicking ass and doing something hard, it’s worth remembering to try to make it feel easier. That will be your superpower.

 

Onto workouts for this week: (some ppl are doing Achilles 5K ot 10K this weekend and some next weekend – I have moved mine to next weekend – at least one benefit of virtual races!)

 

  1. 2 x 1200 w 2 min rest (5K pace), 3 min rec, 2 x 800 w 1:30 rec (slightly faster) 4 min rec, 4 x 400 w 1 min rec (slightly faster again – so leave room!)
  2. If fartlek style: 2 x 5 min Hard w 2 min Easy, 3 min easy, 2 x 3 min Hard w 1:30 Easy, 4 min easy, 4 x 1:30 Hard, 1 min Easy
  3. Taper wrkt if doing Achilles this weekend! 1200, 3 min easy, 800, 4 min easy,  2 x 400 w 1 min, strides

 

Have fun!

 

xo

 

Seanna

March 2, 2021 – Train like a cat

Hi Everyone!

 

I was about to say I think I can smell Spring, but then it just started snowing with a cold wind blowing in, so I think we’re in for some back and forth for the next little while.

 

Last week was a tough one weather-wise for training for many of us. At least three days were either deep snow, slick, invisible ice, or a combination of both. I think almost everyone changed and adapted their runs and workouts based on what was in front of us.

 

As I opened the door to let my cat out after her breakfast on one of those freezing icy days, she took one look and said “no thanks”, turned around and contentedly curled up on a chair instead.

 

It occurred to me that there is a lot we can learn from cats (full disclosure – I was also inspired after reading a review of Feline Philosophy by John Gray). 

 

Cats are masters of contentedness. They basically exist to please themselves, and they are very good at making the most out of any situation in order to do just that. If it’s cold, wet and windy out, they are just as happy to not go outside, and they feel zero guilt or shame or longing. Then when it’s nice out, they might disappear for a whole day with no excuses. When my cat wants to be patted, she’ll follow us around and makes sure she gets attention. Once she’s had enough, she turns around, throws her bum in our face and walks away. Unlike dogs (and humans), cats don’t have anxiety about what is to come or what other people think. They are completely self-reliant and know they have the ability to make the best of whatever comes their way. Just picture a cat. Whether it is sitting in a sunbeam or prowling in the garden, you can’t picture a cat wishing it were doing something else and not being fully content in whatever it is doing.

 

What can we take from this? For starters, don’t beat yourself up if it’s gross out and you don’t want to go out. Who is your master anyway? If it’s not going to bring you joy, you don’t have to do it. Or at least not for as long as when it’s nice out. It IS inherently less enjoyable when it’s freezing and slippery. There is no shame in admitting that.

 

And on the flip side, when it is nice out, take advantage and enjoy it! (and trust that you will) When we take our cat to the cottage she just goes and goes and goes until she collapses – when we get home she’ll sleep for two days! Similarly, sometimes we’re just gifted a beautiful day, a scenic setting and energy in our legs. On those days, we should go out for as long as we like and enjoy ourselves! Make yourself happy – you can rest up later.

 

Another lesson: don’t let the judgements of others dictate what you do. Our cat will take our love, but she doesn’t beg for it or live for it. You can tell by the state of our couch that she’s not trying to win our approval. This is how we should approach our relationships with our training and race results on social media. Likes and accolades are nice, but we can live without them. It’s our own respect that we need.

 

So try pleasing yourself with your running. Practice being content with whatever training decision you make on any given day, and trust yourself enough to know that you’ll go out and work hard when the time is right. Also, go sit down in the next sunbeam you see and close your eyes for a bit – it feels pretty good.

 

On to workouts for this week:

 

  1. 3-4×1000 with 1:45 rest at 5K pace (if doing these on our path, do them as 800/200 then combinations of 600/400), 4 min rest, 4-5×400 with 1:15 rest at 3K pace (or just a bit faster)
  2. If doing fartlek style: 3-4 x 4 min Hard w 1:45 Easy, 4 min easy, 4-5 x 1:15 Hard, 1:15 Easy
  3. Hills if you missed last week bc of ice and feel like doing them
  4. Tempo: 3 x 15 min w 3 min rec (this is if you’ve been building them and are training for ATB – Option of 3 x 10 mins if you’re not there yet)

 

Have fun and hope to see some of you on the roads at some point!

 

xo

 

Seanna

 

 

Feb 23, 2021 – Dreams

Hi Everyone!

 

This week I’ve been reflecting on this time of year in general. February usually brings some of the coldest days of the year, and by now the snow and slush and freezing winds might no longer a novel challenge that we might enjoy leaning into a little, but more of a steady chipping away at our good humour.

 

This happens around this time every year. But we know we’re just a few weeks away from that first unseasonably warm day which gets us all out and  … what? That is my problem this year. Sure, I’m looking forward to warmer temps, but I don’t have glorious visions of big goals or fun vacations. I’m not being pulled along through February by dreams and plans. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy my ‘process’ and I’m generally fine with taking one day at a time, but man … dreams are pretty fun.

 

One of the things that makes humans unique is our ability to project into the future and visualize and plan. (Of course this is a double-edged sword as it also sometimes comes with the side-effect of anxiety and dread.) We are constant story tellers. Our brains tell us a story about what is likely to happen, and then we are stuck with that version of events until reality proves us either right or wrong. As a side note, humans are phenomenally bad at predicting the actual future. So we are constantly living in a made-up world that we assume is going to happen. Very few of us live in the actual present unless you’re very good at mindfulness (a topic for another post!)

 

So back to February. I realize I’ve allowed my projected future reality to go gray. I’m not tethered to a dream. I’ve found myself not really excited about anything right now. But why can’t I make something up? Who cares how realistic these dreams are? It doesn’t matter whether they come true or not. At least my dreams can pull me through February and maybe even March. I think I just have to get a little more creative with my dreams. True, most races are not happening this spring (there are still always virtual options of course but I find those have a bit of a dimmer switch on compared to the real things). And “April Break” will not involve ski slopes or beaches. But I’m sure I can come up with something that makes me happy and excited to look forward to. And maybe it’s not even running related. Maybe it’s a multi-day staged cycling or hiking trip or paddling adventure. Or maybe it’s a long-term dream that I can really get behind – like a 2 year race goal project. Really, it can be anything, but I do believe it should be something.

 

I find when I’m buoyed and excited by one thing, it translates into other areas of my life. And maybe most importantly, a dream necessitates hope. The future you’re living in in your head regains colour and is no longer so gray.

 

So that’s my challenge to myself and all of you too. If you’ve found yourself with the “blahs”, come up with a dream that you can picture, and allow it to pull you along – and I am open to suggestions!!!

On that note, if your dream involves running some fast times this summer or learning to race different distances, the Achilles 5K or 10K could be a good stepping stone!

If you’d like to join us, please let Monica know.

 

Workouts for this week:

  1. Hills! We’re back on this week. Pottery, Balsam or Glen Manor seem to be the hills of choice these days. Any hill, any combo of long/short
  2. Workout/tempo option: (tempo a little shorter this week as many are on a recovery week for ATB unless otherwise prescribed) – 6 min, 4 min, 3 min, 3 min, 4 x 1 min (2 min bw everything except 90 sec between 4 x 1)

 

That is all – have a great one everyone!

 

xo

 

Seanna

 

 

 

Feb 16, 2021 – Pacing

Hi Gang!

 

What I’ve been thinking about this week is pacing. Just the art of pacing in general. It’s a tough thing to nail. And your best pacing strategy really depends on the length of the thing you’re undertaking. When you don’t know the length, finding the right pace can be very difficult. Here are a few different pacing strategies:

 

Positive Split. This means starting faster than you finish. (some of us also call it the “fly and die”, but I find that a little less positive). Positive splits can actually be the best strategy in some events. In the 800m, most races are won and the world records are held with positive splits. In a shorter-type event like that, it is advantageous to start hard and hold on as long as you can because there is not a lot of room to pick up the pace when you’re running at these effort levels and the price if you get it wrong isn’t too great.

 

Negative Split. This means finishing the second half faster than the first. This pacing strategy is advantageous in longer events. When you are not completely certain of your energy reserves, it is not smart to expend a huge amount at the start because the fallout if you get it wrong is way bigger (witness: the bonk in the marathon). Finishing faster also gives you a psychological boost and knowing the finish line is close allows you to go right to the end of your reserves as you finish – so finishing faster is how most longer races and hard efforts play out.

 

Even Split. This pacing strategy is what many people aim for, but is very hard to achieve – especially if you are aiming for your best effort. It’s easy to nail if you’re going easy, but if you’re really trying your hardest, pacing anything perfectly is almost impossible. It does however tend to lead to the best results in “fabricated or artificial” scenarios. On the track world records are now being broken by athletes using pace light technology. They follow the flashing lights on the track which are set perfectly and evenly to world record pace (world records which were not set using this strategy).

 

Variable Pacing. This pacing strategy is what most people use when trying their hardest and achieving their best results in real life scenarios. In the 5K, most world records are set with the first and last kilometer being the fastest, and the middle three being a little slower. In the marathon or ultra-endurance events, there are dips and surges in pace as athletes settle into a rhythm or feel good and push a bit. It is a pacing strategy that adapts to the environment and competitors around you.

 

I thought this was interesting when looking at how we’ve paced ourselves through this pandemic – now that we’re almost a year in. Some of us started at a furious pace that was hard to maintain – with things like colour coded daily schedules for our kids detailed down to 15 minute increments, or starting running streaks or mileage challenges. This was a good idea when we thought we might be running an 800m race. I think we’ve realized we’re beyond that. But it doesn’t have to be a total “fly and die”. We can vary up the pace as we see fit. This doesn’t mean we’re stopping – we’re still racing – it just means that sometimes we can settle in, catch our breath, find an easier rhythm, and then pick it up again when we’re feeling good. Maybe a day (or a week!) where everyone stays in pajamas and you eat more takeout and watch more Netflix than you’d planned is ok. Are you safe and healthy and doing your part? Yes. Then you’re still running the race. And maybe the next week you’ll nail all your workouts, bake bread and teach Italian to the kids. Good for you – you’re winning! But let’s hope you didn’t start your kick too far out. Rigging in the last 100m is a very painful way to go 😉

 

On that note! Everyone who is interested in doing the Achilles 5K or 10K Challenge – please let Monica know so that she can create teams. Chris, Monica and I have come up with a challenge for this.

 

  1. Estimate your goal finish time.
  2. Make your first kilometer and last kilometer as similar as possible.

 

The winning teams will be comprised of people who have the lowest spread between first and last kilometer within range of their goal time (so you can’t just dog it to make them perfect – thank Chris for that little addition!) – exact algorithm TBD.

 

Register Here: https://achillesstpatricksday5k.ca/  and then let Monica know.

From the website: “Registration fees go toward providing much needed support to athletes with various disabilities so that they have the opportunity to enjoy the physical, psychological, and communal benefits of running. Visit the Achilles web site to learn more about how we support these deserving athletes.”

 

Race day is March 14th – 4 weeks away! (the team challenge is just for us – it’s not an official Achilles thing)

 

Workouts for this week: (and if the footing is bad, just go by effort and/or take a week off and save it for a tempo on the weekend – it won’t kill you!)

 

  1. 7-9 x 600 with 1:30 rest at about 20 sec per K faster than tempo
  2. If doing it fartlek style (or on the bike or other x-training): 7-9 x 2 min Hard, 1:30 Easy
  3. Tempo: 2 x 20 min w 3 min easy (this is getting longer for ATB peeps – temper the pace here – go around 5 sec per km slower than usual – it’s calousing you for being able to focus for that length of time and you’ve been building to it – you can do it!)

 

Have fun all – and pace yourselves accordingly!

 

xo

 

Seanna

Feb 9, 2021 – Your Body

Hi Everyone! 

 

What I’ve been thinking about this week is about our bodies. And how amazing and incredible they are. I am reading a book called The Body, by Bill Bryson, so yes, this has influenced my thinking. But it is worth pausing to reflect on how amazing and awe inspiring our bodies are in all that they do for us. 

 

I know it’s easy to get disappointed with our bodies when we feel they’re letting us down. They may not run as fast as we’d like, they get fatigued, they break down and get injured, they get sick. This is true. But don’t get down on your body – it is on your side and doing an incredible job and fighting for your well-being every single second.  

 

Millions of years of evolution have led to some of the most complex processes some of which still aren’t fully understood by modern science. Here is an example of a wonderous design that we might take for granted: the circulatory system. Every single second of every single day for your entire life, your heart is hard at work moving blood around to every organ and muscle in your body. It moves over 6,500 litres of blood a day (!) and makes sure that every part of your body gets the required amount – whether you are sitting down or running hard intervals. One of the many things your heart pushes around is red blood cells. These are perfectly evolved cells which work tirelessly in service for you, transporting oxygen from your lungs to your working cells. Science has not been able to make artificial blood because no other system has been found with the precision of a red blood cell to pick up oxygen, and not drop any until it reaches its intended destination. Your red blood cells zoom around your body every second of every day (about 150, 000 round trips, or a life of 4 months) at which point they have served their purpose for you, become too battered to go on, and are scavenged up by other cells.  

 

Another example of your awe inspiring body is your immune system. You come complete with a full army of different types of cells which are ready to jump into action and sacrifice themselves all in the name of keeping pathogens out and you healthy. They are often referred to as security guards and an attack force, and that is in fact how they function when they sense you are being invaded. They are also incredibly smart. This is why vaccines work. They learn from one encounter to the next, and can rally and mount an immediate defense against something they’ve seen before. These little guys are working for you all day and every day. There are thousands of microbes and pathogens constantly trying to attack our bodies.  It is said that the wonder isn’t that we get sick, but that we don’t get sick more often. 

 

This is not even to mention the structure of your body, and how you evolved a skeletal system and muscular system that allows you to do so many things that you take for granted. Every upright footstep is actually a wonder of balance, coordination, free-falling and landing, all formed to help support our brains and occupied hands. Not to mention, even though we don’t generally think of the human species as great athletes compared to other animals, we actually are the best equipped endurance land mammal around with highly perfected systems of movement, cooling and energy delivery.  

 

Just reflect on a few of these amazing things about your body. It is such an ally and is constantly working to help you out. It was designed to keep you alive and it will do everything it can to that end. So if it’s a bit tired or sore or injured, and you start to feel yourself getting down on it, just remember that it is a remarkable intricate system and it’s doing a lot of hard work behind the scenes that you take for granted and should probably thank it for.  

 

On that note, onto workouts for this week! 

 

  1. 2×1600 at 10K pace with 2 rest, 2 x 800 at 5K pace w 1:30 rest, 2 x 400 faster w 1 rest (3 min bw sets) (I warned you this one might resurface) 
  2. Fartlek style: 2 x 6 min w 2 min easy, 2 x 3 min w 1:30 easy, 2 x 1:30  w 1 min easy, 3 min bw sets 
  3. If you did the above last week, Hills for you! 
  4. Tempo 1: (longer option) – 2 x 18 min, 1 x 4 min w 3 min rec 
  5. Tempo 2: (shorter option) – 2 x 10 min, 1 x 5 min w 3 min rec 

 

Have a good one everyone! 

 

xo 

 

Seanna

Feb 2, 2021 – Running Generously

Hi Everyone!

 

What I’ve been thinking about this week is in finding meaning in our running, and then sharing it and running generously. I was prompted to think of this by Melanie’s video where she shared her involvement with the Achilles Track Club as a running guide. How meaningful and inspiring!

 

We often hear that running is a selfish sport. It can be, but only if you run selfishly. What inspires me about many people in this group is that you do the opposite of that. If a friend or neighbour asks you about running, you slow down to their pace and invite them along. When you see that your kids could use a little boost, you swap your workout for theirs and let them lead and set the pace. When someone in our group needs a little extra encouragement to get out the door, you notice, and don’t leave them behind, but gently encourage them along. You open all the doors and run with generosity.

 

I know that a number of people in this group have found running buddies that work well for easy runs, long runs or workouts. This is because you are sharing your energy with each other generously – not competing. You don’t run with someone because they’re fast enough and will be good for you. You run with someone because you have something to offer them. That is the vibe I sense in this group and I am truly loving it right now. (And sorry to call you out Kerry, but also included in this is Kerry’s completely selfless efforts to make us all stronger and benefit from her energy and knowledge with her monthly challenges and free weekly early morning workouts which she never misses!)

 

We love running for many different reasons. We like setting goals, we like striving, we enjoy the feeling of moving our bodies with effort – especially outside in nature, we like the meditative time, we like zoning out, we like focusing in, we like the chemical rush, we like the calming after-effects, we like being mindful and at one with ourselves, we like being competitive and testing ourselves, we like the rhythm of moving quickly through space under our own power. None of this is revolutionary or saving the world, but we find meaning in it. And if it’s worth doing, it’s worth sharing. This is running with love and generosity. And I love you all for that. Thank-you.

 

“All you have is what you are, and what you give.” – Ursula Le Guin

 

On that note, I would like to follow Chris’ suggestion and set the Achilles 5K/10K as a goal option if you’re interested:

 

https://achillesstpatricksday5k.ca/?fbclid=IwAR06_U0giAErke7IFkfG0_SZnuR9wn3Z9VYDXWRc6nUlFOHgwdfXoWSiXdw

 

I know a number of you are doing virtual Around The Bay. A nice little 5K or 10K a month before could fit quite nicely. No pressure! Please let me know if anyone’s interested and I’m happy to write a lil’ program or fit it in.

 

Workout options for this week:

 

  1. Hills! Back at ‘em. I discovered Balmy Beach Hill last time which I loved for the change. Similar to Pottery in length but different undulations. Mix and match but get them in – builds strength you will be grateful for!
  2. 2×1600 at 10K pace with 2 rest, 2 x 800 at 5K pace w 1:30 rest, 2 x 400 faster w 1 rest (3 min bw sets) – (I like this one, so may repeat next week as an option if doing hills this week)
  3. Fartlek style: 2 x 6 min w 2 min easy, 2 x 3 min w 1:30 easy, 2 x 1:30 w 1 min easy, 3 min bw sets
  4. Tempo: 3 x 12 min w 3 min easy

 

Enjoy!

 

xo

 

Seanna

Jan 26, 2021 – Antifragility

Hi Everyone!  

 

I have to say, I am loving passing or bumping into many of you out walking or running when I am out. It’s just so reassuring to have these passing reminders that we really are all doing our things together even though we’re apart. Of course I know you’re all getting out, and I think of you out there, but it’s nice to have it reinforced with a passing smile or quick chat. It’s enough to keep me lacing up and running out the door in the hopes of a random encounter!  

 

What I’ve been thinking of this week is antifragility. This is a term which I believe was invented by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile – which I haven’t read. So what I’m about to tell you is my interpretation and feel free to correct me if you’ve read the book! What I understand is that antifragile is a word that the author made up because there was no current word for the opposite of fragile. Resilient means withstanding pressure. Antifragile means getting stronger with pressure. I like this. We always talk about the importance of resilience. This implies that you have to build yourself up before encountering a stressor. You have to already have resilience in order to thrive and come out unscathed. If your system is antifragile however, it is the actual act of the stress which makes you stronger.  

 

Antifragility in systems is ruined when too much control is imposed. Control can work to manage outcomes, but it does not make a system stronger. Antifragile systems thrive in randomness, volatility and disorder, and actually come out stronger. Examples of this are, evolution, political systems, ideas, technological innovations. Anything that when challenged, becomes stronger. When we impose too much structure, control and rules, we can inadvertently make things more fragile.  

 

I was thinking about this concept as it applies to how many of us have been approaching our running and training and virtual races over this pandemic. In most cases that I’ve seen, when we’ve set out to do a hard effort, we’ve let go of the impulse to control all the variables – even though we’ve had the opportunity. If we set out for a hard effort and it’s -12C, that’s what we do. If there is gale force winds, we accept that randomness. If our path is icy or muddy or lights change and we have to zig and zag, we accept that. We don’t wait for the best possible day and give ourselves a downhill route. We don’t run on the treadmill so we can be sure of controlling every variable. This does not necessarily mean we started out with a ton of resilience, but it DOES mean that we will be less likely to crack the next time we have a hard effort or race and we’re thrown a windstorm or muddy course or tough conditions. We are making ourselves stronger by accepting the randomness and stressors.  

 

So let’s think of this next little chunk of winter/pandemic/isolation time that way. We are not just enduring and being resilient and holding strong. We are growing and thriving and building ourselves stronger because we are antifragile. And next time there’s a downhill race on a warm day with no wind and a crowd to run with and lots of spectators to cheer us on, I guarantee you we will absolutely crush that shit!  

 

On that note, please see below for a note from Monica (and big Thank-You to Monica for organizing!)  

 

Congrats to everyone who participated in the LES Power Hour! Lots of quick paces out there, especially with the cold temps and strong winds over the past week. See below for top three Teams and top 3 male and female competitors.  

   

Seems like everyone enjoyed the friendly competition so we’ll look to do another LES challenge/race in a couple months’ time, stay tuned.       

   

Top 3 Teams:  

  1. Team #7 – 15.25km (Amy, Kerry, Cullen, Xavier)  
  2. Team #3 – 15.10km (Miguel Eleanor, Carolyn, Sam R)  
  3. Team #5 – 14.86km (Seanna, Chris, Lara, Kevin)  

   

Top 3 Men (KMs)  

  1. Cullen (4.17)  
  2. Dave K (4.07)  
  3. Xavier (4.02)  

   

Top 3 Women (KMs)  

  1. Seanna (4.09)  
  2. Brianna (4.06)  
  3. Roz (3.93)  

 

Onto workouts for this week:  

 

  1. 5-7 x 1K w 1:45 rest (most ppl should not do 7 but aim for 5 – especially if this is a recovery week) – pace ~ 15-20 secs faster than tempo (these can be done on our path as 600/400 loops or on any route by km’s on your watch)  
  2. 3 x 1K w 1:45 (as above); 4 min rest, 4 x 400 m a bit faster w 1 min rest  
  3. Tempo: 2 x 10 min w 3 min easy, 1 x 5 min  
  4. If your body is sore and you need a recovery week, do an easy jog, mobility and strides, and more easy jogging. This helps a lot more than it feels like it is.  

 

Have fun everyone!  

 

xo  

 

Seanna  

Jan 19, 2021 – Modifications

Hi Everyone!

 

What I’ve been thinking about this week is knowing when your process is not getting you towards your goal. I think many of us, as gritty, A-type personalities, can sometimes become attached to certain processes, and become unable to move away from them, even when they aren’t working. A system that once worked may not always work, and sometimes some smart modifications can actually help us get to where we want to go. Harder isn’t always better or more productive.

 

Let me give you an example as it pertains to running.  You’ve been prescribed an interval workout of 5-6 x 800 at 5K race pace with 90 seconds recovery. The purpose of the workout is to get you running a certain volume at that race pace for those specific physiological and neurological adaptations. Now in execution, let’s say you come in a little tired, or under-recovered from your last hard effort. Your first 800 is on pace but it feels harder than usual. In your second 800 you start falling off pace. Now is the time to make a decision. Do you A) grind through the max number of reps even as you’re falling off pace because you’ve set in your mind that you always ‘complete the workout’ or B) shorten the reps to 600’s or even 400’s and extend the rest so that you can stay on pace? The answer as a coach (and I have done this and seen this done many times with athletes) is B. If the purpose of the workout was to simulate race pace running, doing more volume at a slower pace is wasted energy and working counter to your goal. We modify the process so that we can get to a similar result.

 

Similarly, certain training and programs that worked once, may not always work the same way again. You can’t just replicate what you once did to bring you success – you are a different person now. Every new goal requires a new process. I was listening about Saif Saheen, the world record holder in the steeple-chase who was coached by the famous Renato Canova. His yearly mileage steadily increased over many years until his last and best years when it came down again. When asked why, Canova replied “because he didn’t need that anymore”. The process that had worked for him and gotten him there was no longer what he needed to excel.

 

Coaches know the purposes of the workouts and know when you have to make a modification so that we can get the best training effect given the circumstances. Because there is never a program where every run and every workout is executed exactly as written over a season, and because humans and life are unpredictable, the best coaches are often the best modifiers. They know how to get the best results given the person and the circumstances.

 

This is coaching 101. What I was thinking about was how this applies to the rest of our lives in areas where we don’t have someone to tell us when we’re barking up the wrong tree. Many of us are very good at putting our heads down and following our plans and we can easily forget to re-evaluate what our purpose is and whether we are putting our energy in the right places. Remember: it’s ok and actually better to modify. The hardest path isn’t always the most productive path. If something feels hard or isn’t working, take some time to zoom out and evaluate what your purpose or goal is. Then, find a different way to get there. You’re not giving up – you’re modifying in a smart way!

 

Workouts for this week:

  1. 2 sets of 5-6 x 200 w 45 sec recovery (3 min bw sets) – run these quickly with good form and good turnover. This workout shouldn’t feel too aerobically taxing. It is a great one to work on neuromuscular connections, range of motion and good form. We all need a dose of these every now and then and I’ve been remiss in not including them often enough!
  2. 15 mins Hard. If you’re doing this as part of the team Power Hour. My plan is to do the 200’s on Weds and the 15 mins on Sat. Option for Sat is to do the 15 mins and then follow it up with 5-6 x 1 min on, 1 min off for a great fitness builder wrkt/tempo.(NOTE: if doing 15 min Hard, make sure you get in a good warm-up including good mobility and strides. You need to open up those pathways before launching right into it – I promise it will feel better!) Also, in terms of pacing, I would start out as if racing a 5K. Re-evaluate after the first 5 mins and if you can lean in a bit, go for it. Remember, this will be like a 5K without that brutal 3-4K point – instead that will be your finishing kick!
  3. If not doing the 15 min Hard, tempo option is 15 mins, 8 mins, 4 mins with 3 min easy (ha! Got you with the 15 mins anyway 😉 )

 

Ok, have fun everyone!

 

Seanna

 

 

Jan 12, 2021 – Endurance and Self-Reliance

Hi Gang!

Hope everyone’s hanging in ok. One thing I’ve been thinking about this week is grit and endurance. Timely, eh? Basically, what gives us the strength and energy to persevere when things are hard?

There are many theories about this, as well as what causes some people to “quit” when things get hard while others seem to have some undefinable thing that keeps them going. In Navy Seals training, nobody is kicked out – the people who don’t make it through are the ones who self-select out by quitting. And it is impossible to know from the start who those people will be. The best ultra-endurance runners are not the strongest or fastest or better by any measurable quality in a gym. These people have just figured something out that allows them to keep going.

I was listening to a very interesting podcast which offered some insight as to what this thing might be. Back to neuroscience. When we do hard things that require effort and focus, our brains release noradrenaline. This is a chemical which builds up over time. Eventually, enough noradrenaline builds up that our brain shuts down cognitive control and we quit. This can be the result of anything from enduring being in cold water, running mile upon mile with little sleep, practicing a tricky musical passage, … really anything that’s hard.

But there is a way to tramp down this noradrenaline to give ourselves more gas and mileage – the ability to endure and not quit. That is with dopamine. Dopamine is our brain’s reward mechanism. It makes us feel good. It is our brain’s way of telling us we’re on the right track. Keep going. So how do we get a hit of dopamine in the middle of enduring something hard? That is the brain hack trick that the grittiest people have figured out.

Basically, we have to self-reward with our own internally generated sense of accomplishment. It’s growth mindset in action. This is not just positive self-talk though. If I am bonking and slowing down in a race, I’ll know I’m lying to myself if I say “you’re doing great!” It’s not delusion. It’s really acknowledging and making a meaningful connection with your milestones. Remember, it’s just chemistry – your brain is a generalist and is designed this way to keep you going when you’re on the right track. YOU decide what that track is. If it’s running a marathon it might be making it to halfway, then 30K, then looking forward to racing the last 5K. If it’s staying in cold water it might be making it until sunrise, and then to lunchtime. Every time you hit a milestone your brain surges with dopamine and pushes back that quit response. The milestone could even be “I’ve fallen down this ladder, but my god I’m still holding on!” Dopamine surge. You can keep going.

On that note, I think we’re all doing awesome and look! … we’ve made it to almost mid-January in a pandemic! Once we make it through February we’ll be able to see spring and things will get much easier. We got this.

Onto workouts for this week:

  1. Hills! Lest we forget these. I think it’s been a while. Any combo – long, short, a mix of both. So good for our strength and power.
  2. Tempo: 3 x 10 min w 3 min easy – keep the tempo pace in check. We’re still mid-winter base building. No need to go red line.
  3. Fartlek: 3 sets of 5 x 1 min w 45 sec rest; 4 mins bw sets

And here is an update from Monica on our Power Hour!: (hint: this might be next Wednesday’s workout)  

LES Power Hour: Next steps

  • We’re looking for ONE MORE runner to fill out Team #8.  Please connect with Monica if you’d like to be added
  • Step 1: Find your team below
  • Step 2: Run as hard as you can for 15 minutes…like, 15 minutes exactly.
    • All legs to be completed between January 18-24
  • Step 3: Once you’ve run, submit your distance
    • Submit your distance in KM’s
  • Step 4: The distances of all your team members will be added together to get your team’s total distance  
  • Step 5: The winning team will be the team that covers the most distance

Thanks all and chat soon!

xo

Seanna