Running quote of the week

“I love track running. There’s something about that red 400-meter circle that lets my brain switch off—no roads to cross, no bikes to watch out for.” – Kate Carter

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Graupel and snow, the track and the treadmill

Waiting for the skies to clear
Today's run (track & treadmill): 1.5 miles - track, 2.5 miles progressive speed run

My goal was clear this morning. Go out before the rain and do speed work at the high school track. Before I did that, I decided to finish up a small business project so I wouldn't have to think about it over the weekend. While I was pleased with the progress I'd made, the time had slipped and I was scrambling to get out of the house.

I noticed a few scattered drops on my windshield during my short drive to the track. I'd left under sunny skies, but five minutes later conditions had changed to cloudy and gray. Even so, I felt that the slight drizzle would pass and I set out on my first warm-up lap. There were a few walkers on the track and a guy I recognized running in the opposite direction. He seemed to recognize me as well and we exchanged hellos the first time he came around. I felt really good and ready for the intervals I had planned for later in the workout.

During the New Year's Hangover run, Runsketeer teammate TPP had showed me a technique for lengthening my stride while keeping a proper center. She demonstrated that form with an impressive burst of speed and I've tried to duplicate it for short periods during every outdoor run since then. I used the technique today and marveled at the effect. It is a far more potent method for rapid acceleration than what I've previously relied upon. I looked forward to using that on my repeats.

I'd planned to run six laps at around a 9:00 pace and then run a series of 100's and 200's followed by some cool down laps.  Once I was into my fifth lap, I started hearing what sounded like BB's hitting the ground. Later I heard on News 12 that this is called graupel, or small hail. I figured that if this was happening, I didn't need to worry much about rain. Wrong.

By my sixth lap the graupel had given way to wetter stuff and, when I ended the lap, I headed to my car to wait out the rain. My late start had put some time pressure on me and I knew I couldn't wait too long. Once I could see that this rain was not letting up, I decided to cut my losses and head home.

I changed out of my wet shoes and put on short sleeves to continue my workout on the treadmill. My new speed plan was to start fast and go faster. Since the treadmill's idea of speed is different than mine, I focused on perceived effort (PE). I'd just run my track warm up at a low 9:00 pace, so I was familiar with how that felt. The initial setting of 6.5 MPH felt much more challenging than the 6.6 MPH that I'd just run at the track.

I incremented my speed every quarter mile until I was running an 8:20 pace that felt like sub-8:00. I really should calibrate my foot pod and measure my true speed on the treadmill. Once my heart rate went over 90% Max, I held that speed for a quarter mile. I then began incrementally backing down my speed until I completed my run.

Second workout: view from the treadmill
The second workout of the day was pretty intense and I was pleased that I could maintain a high PE over a couple of miles. That was my goal today, as I prepare for February's trail relay. My wife had walked into the room during my treadmill run and opened up the shade to reveal heavy snowfall. I guess I made the right decision to come home. Tomorrow might be a good day to try some speed on the trails, though with this rain and snow it could get muddy. It was nice to be outside today but, surprisingly, my best running happened indoors.

3 comments:

  1. What a great effort! Especially since you continued at home. I probably would have found something else to distract me. All that weather was certainly a surprise today. And now I know what graupel is! (although the spell checker does not recognize the word)

    We shall crush it at Bethpage.

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  2. Nice speed work! Wow, you guys got a lot of snow! Nothing on the ground here.

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  3. Thank you guys! I'm doing what I can to keep up with The Petite Porsche and El Diablo.

    I took that picture of the snow after I'd finished my workout. During the run, it was a whiteout of huge fluffy flakes.

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