Monday, December 10, 2018

Twitter questions

Lars asks- "Do you do any aerobic basework (z2/z3) now to maintain aerobic fitness? Or mainly z5 and up work?"

  Nope. My only focus right now is strength and speed. The development of both are hindered by easy aerobic work. I think eventually I will need (want) to include this into my base training as my years of base erode, but for now I still retain a certain level of aerobic base. I spent decades building that base. During my Ironman days 30 hour weeks weren't uncommon. When I focused on the marathon 100-120 mile weeks weren't uncommon. So for now I don't miss it nor do I feel I need it yet.
  I program my workout intensity based off a percentage off my 200 meter PR of 24.7" (I round it to 25") so my workouts are intervals at 75% up to 100% of 25"depending on the goal for that day. My workouts involve interval durations that are too short to elicit an accurate heart rate that can be used for guidance or measurement. 

Ellie asks- "I am struggling with warming up enough to do speedwork outside. During my last two sessions, my legs just aren’t turning over. You live in an icebox, how do you get your muscles warmed up in single digits? Should I just treadmill it?"

  This one is a bit tricky and I'm not sure that how I go about warming up in freezing weather will work for everyone. I'm adapted to cold for starters. Living at 8000+ft altitude even in the summer I run in temps that edge down into the 40s at times. Here's a list of things that I do:
 First I overdress in multiple layers. Thermal tights under running pants. Base layer t-shirt, then heavy long sleeve, then a heavy thermal running jacket. Good gloves and hat.
On the drive to the track I crank the heater and overheat a bit. I raise my core temps enough that I want to get out in the cold. A large part of performance is heat. Heat dilates vessels and capillaries and increases blood flow. Every degree of increased heat improves the muscle's performance by 5%. That's of course a roughed out idea. You also want the muscles supple and cold will inhibit this. So stay overdressed and hot right up to the interval session.
 Coffee and good music.
 Grow a big beard.
 And another factor that speaks to me as an individual is that I easily get super motivated for workouts. I don't dread hard sessions. Ever. If I feel like I am dreading a workout then I don't do it because that's a sign for me personally that I need to rest. It shows a dysfunction in my recovery and neurotransmitters (hormones) that must be addressed. I'm a dopamine and adrenaline driven athlete so I need very little actual warm-up. When I'm relatively rested I'm in a constant state of readiness (which is why I'm an insomniac). If I'm dreading a session then that's a red flag. If I am very slow to warm-up and struggle to achieve readiness then more often than not I'll bag the workout. I tend to ignore muscular fatigue but I won't ignore brain/ neurotransmitter dysfunction.
 Again, my routine probably won't work for most but this is what I did to warm-up for yesterday's track workout:
  Jog 400.
  Stretch for ~10:00. I focus on my hips and hamstring. 7 Way Hips has become a must do for my warm-ups. Static stretching + dynamic. Static stretching gets a bad rap and I feel its perfectly fine and good. There are no links to static stretching and increased injury risk. I also don't think there's a link to increased performance. I do it because it makes me feel better.
Plyometrics. High knee skipping focused on not only the high knee drive but also on increasing jump height as I loosen and my foot plant/ rebound. Ankle stiffness and strength are two of the major factors in performance and I make sure my achilles is ready for some abuse. Butt kicks. Walking lunges with a 3" pause. Dynamic squat jumps. These are all to increase motor unit activation. If you feel sluggish then this is possible a critical part of getting things firing and "waking up" the nervous system.
  My take on plyometrics is that athletes shouldn't launch into a program because someone said to or you see someone else doing them. They're fairly violent and abusive to be honest, which is why they're so effective. Athletes should start with very gentle, short, and less dynamic movements and slowly increase as they adapt. I'm a pretty durable guy but there are some plyos that I will never attempt, like single leg bounding or single leg jumps. The reward will never outweigh the risk and when it comes down to it, injury prevention is perhaps the single most important aspect of all that we do. I think hill bounding is excellent. Jump rope is excellent in preparing the lower leg for the loading of ground forces and rebound (ankle stiffness), just watch your achilles for signs of tissue damage. Dynamic squat jumps not only focusing on how high you jump but also landing in a braced or locked position with your knee bent at ~45 degrees. In terms of motor unit activation that static landing will fire your muscles more than anything.
 I'm not really a fan of drills. I prefer strides for that using internal cueing to drive intent. Or external cueing if you have someone to watch you or if you can video yourself.

Change into spikes and then do ~20 meter to 50 meter strides on the turf until I feel ready to go.   Yesterday it took me 2 X 30 meters.
 Then I'll typically do at least 1 timed 100 meter just to dial in pacing and effort. This is more warm-up but I also use this to determine how I'm feeling/ performing on the day. Yesterday I didn't feel I needed it because I was going to be running more by perceived exertion (PE) rather than strict splits.   Then I strip off the running pants and possibly the jacket and go.

  One final thought on training in the cold. There is of course a physiological need to stay warm, but that's fairly easy to achieve. In my opinion the overriding thing needed is attitude and motivation. If you aren't motivated to run in freezing temps then don't. The reason for doing quality is to achieve a quality workout. If it's too cold for you to achieve that then run on the treadmill. That's what its there for.
  With that said I believe there is a certain level of toughness or grit that adds to the overall qualities of an athlete. You can embrace the cold and change your attitude to one of challenge acceptance. Rather than dread the cold treat it like you would a tough workout and go into it enjoying the challenge.

No comments: