Sunday, July 3, 2022

Carbon Plate Shoes I Have Known: Saucony Endorphin Pro

Hidey ho, friends, today we are continuing our discussion of carbon plate running shoes.

If you've been missing out, allow me to catch you up:

  • Some background on why the heck carbon plate running shoes & where did they come from
  • A little editorial about my experience running in the New Balance RC Elite carbon plate shoe

Today, another little editorial on the Saucony Endorphin Pro, Saucony's first foray into the carbon plate world. You can still get this version of the shoe at a few places at a significant discount though the available sizes are limited. The version 2 (extremely similar to version 1) is widely available and the version 3 (HELLA different) is coming soon. (A few shoe blogs and running stores have released their preliminary reviews.)

Why did I buy these shoes when I already had a pair of New Balance RC Elites? Three reasons, friends:

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Road Warrior is Back + 9 weeks to Giant Race 10K!

 ...And weekly training journals are back!

I returned from vacation in the middle of the week so in addition to Week 1 of Giant Race training, I'm also including a **bonus** Week 0 training journal AT NO ADDITIONAL COST so that you know you're not missing A SINGLE MOMENT of my 9 (& a half) week journey to The Giant 10K. See how mama takes care of you.

Now friends, I'm sure you all know the struggle of returning to Regular Life after a long-ish vacation. I'm not gonna lie; those first few days were a bit rough. It's not that we were completely sedentary on our trip; we actually did quite a lot of walking, and even some pretty vertical hiking. That said, it was a specifically wine-and-food focused trip, and there was still a good deal of sitting on various planes, trains, and automobiles, and unlike on November's Portugal trip, I did not go running even once.

The day after we got home, I put on running clothes & went out for a nice, slow, easy, four-mile amble, just to flush out the legs and gently reintroduce to them the idea of moving at a pace faster than a brisk walk. We made it through okay but I'm not joking when I tell you I was actually sore the next day!

Not too sore to get in another four easy miles, though. I thought Coach would ease me back into training pretty gently, and, wellll sort of??? But not that gently! 🤣🤣

~*~*~ The Giant Race 10K Week 0 of 9 ~*~*~

Grand Total: 25 miles

    * 22 easy
    * 3.5 speed
    * 5 tempo/threshold

Wednesday 6/15: 4 easy. Just easing back into things with a little jet lagged jog!

Thursday 6/16: 4 more easy.

Friday 6/17: Coach said "Alright enough of this, 7 easy, get after it!"

Saturday 6/18: Rest. OMG you guys. I had the option of three easy miles this day but I was legit sore from *all that running* after three weeks of vacay. So rest. I regret nothing.

Sunday 6/19: Coach said "Alright enough resting, 10-12 miles including 5 x 3 min baby tempo intervals with 2 min jog recoveries." I did 10 and that was PLENTY. It was hot AF and not gonna lie, I was still kind of sore. BUT BUT BUT! I can still run mid-to-low 7:xx's without too much trouble, which, after vacation, feels like a win.

~*~*~ The Giant Race 10K Week 1 of 9 ~*~*~

Grand Total: 38 miles

    * 17.6 easy
    * 3.4 speed
    * 5 tempo/threshold
    * 12 long

Monday 6/20: Rest

Tuesday 6/21: 1 hour strength + 6 easy in the shockingly hot sun 🥵. Friends I am not used to it being ninety-frickin-three in San Francisco at 11:00am. Just rude.

Wednesday 6/22: 3 warm up, 3 x (4 x 200m/200m)/2:00 min jog, 3 cool down 8 mile progression run. The track was closed for a soccer game (it's that time of year again!) so I improvised by switching today's workout with Friday's. I have to say I was pretty shocked at how comfortable low 8:xx/high 7:xx was feeling, which is not always the case! I finished miles 6 & 7 in the 7:30s and when I think back to how devastatingly impossible that pace felt in late 2020/early 2021, it makes me so grateful for how good I am feeling these days when I try to run fast (y'know, for me).

Thursday 6/23: Massage + 3 easy Post-vacation my right hip/lower back definitely needed some attention!

Friday 6/24: Chiro session + 3 warm up, 3 x (4 x 200m/200m)/2:00 min jog, 2.6 cool down = 9 total. Definitely not feeling the lightness pop in my legs that one likes to feel on track day, but Og didn't give a shit. My left hamstring was feeling a bit tight so Og was like, "Just not hammer so hard, focus on leg speed & turnover, interval times not matter so much." As usual, Og, you are completely correct. (For the record, the times were completely respectable, especially for not hammering them particularly hard and coming off of three weeks of no running.)

Saturday 6/25: Rest

Sunday 6/26: 12 long. The Road Warrior is officially #roadwarrioring again -- I had to catch a flight to Palm Springs in the early afternoon, which meant getting up a bit early Sunday to get my long run in before finishing up my packing and heading to the airport. The last time I ran 12 miles was May 8, and I could definitely feel it in my legs! Also my body is just really not a fan of hopping right out of bed and out the door and I started off feeling like I'd already run 15 miles. 😱 I honestly was not sure how I was going to get through twelve entire miles but just kept grinding away at one more mile until the thing was done.

~ * ~ * ~

I'm going to attempt to train through all my various upcoming work travel to the extent that I can, but we'll see how it goes. I have three runs to do over the next four days of work travel, so fingers crossed that I'll be able to balance it all with the work stuff. 🤞🤞🤞

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Run Like A Pro (Even If You're Slow): Elite Tools & Tips for Runners at Every Level

Here's the thing: I'll probably buy and devour anything Matt Fitzgerald decides to write.

To me, reading my favorite running authors can feel a little bit like religious people reading their sacred text. Like, it's not that you don't already know what's in it. You don't read it expecting shocking new revelations, and you read it in part because you're already on board with the big ideas.

That said, coming back to those same ideas in different situations or at different points in your life can hit you in different ways. Sometimes something is phrased or explained in a way you hadn't considered and it's somehow just what you needed in that moment. Sometimes you read something you absolutely 100% already know and it just convicts you in your heart a little bit and inspires you to make a new commitment to walking the walk (or like...running the run, or whatever. Sorry not sorry.)

Earlier this year I grabbed Matt's newest title, which he co-wrote with Ben Rosario, then-head coach of the famous NAZ Elite running club. Interestingly, the original project was something different, another book called Running The Dream, in which Matt convinces Ben to basically let him come join NAZ Elite for a season and chronicles his summer training with and like the pros for the Chicago marathon.

Out of that relationship with Rosario was born this second book, which attempts to answer two fascinating questions:

(1)  Why, when decades of science and practical knowledge are so exceedingly clear about what works for distance runners, do adult recreational runners by and large continue to do things almost completely differently?

(2)  What should they be doing instead?

As he puts it in the opening chapter:

"Any athlete seeking to get better should take their cues from the champions....Having been taught early on that athletes at all levels should emulate the pros, I hadn't realized [until he started coaching normies] that most athletes...know little about the methods they use to prepare for races.

"In observing such discrepancies, the sociologist in me couldn't help but wonder why amateur runners do just about everything differently from professional runners."

I know what you're going to say. "Uhhh hi, hello, the pros are different than Joe and Jane Hobby Jogger. That's why they're pros. If most of us tried to run 100+ mile weeks and double most days and lift three times a week and also shoe-horn in multiple massage and PT and chiro sessions for more than a week or two, our souls would probably literally leave our bodies, which is probably for the best considering we'd probably already have been fired from our jobs and abandoned by our families. On what planet is a normal person 'training like a pro' remotely feasible, let alone advisable?"

Well the joke's on you, it's a trick question.

Should most of us normies be running triple digit mileage and squeezing in 10-12 runs a week and quitting our jobs to make recovery our full time job? Definitely not. Fortunately, that's not what Matt and Ben are talking about when they say "run more like a pro."

Each chapter covers a particular element of running:

  • Plan like a pro
  • Manage mileage like a pro
  • Balance intensities like a pro
  • Pace like a pro
  • Stride like a pro
  • Recover like a pro
  • Eat like a pro
  • Think like
  • Sleep like a pro

As you might imagine, the chapter called "Manage Mileage Like A Pro" doesn't say, "Go out and run 100 miles a week." Instead it says something like, "Carefully experiment to find your mileage sweet spot where you run well and don't get injured, and here's a hint, it's probably more than you're running right now." 

Though, there are other caveats. Like, maybe you could run 20 more miles a week than you are currently and you'd get faster without getting injured, but you just don't want to, or you literally don't have the time. (Both totally valid!) 

And if you're not doing a bunch of other things on the list "like a pro" (like prioritizing sleep, eating to support training and recovery, etc.), your current sweet spot is probably lower than it could be.

Like I said, I've read enough books by Fitzgerald and his ilk that I already know the big ideas they're probably going to cover and the implications for runners who want to get faster. I'm like the good [pick a religion] dutifully reading their [pick a sacred text] murmuring a self-righteous "Yes, lord!" here and a self-congratulatory "You tell 'em!" there.

But, also like any good [pick a religion], I am woefully imperfect, and some days staying on the Path tests my soul. There are temptations. Distractions. Little white lies I can tell myself to justify doing not-quite-the-right-thing, even though I know better.

And, as any good [pick a religion] will tell you, this is part of why it's good to regularly revisit your sacred text. Sometimes being directly confronted with it, perhaps in a way you haven't heard before or haven't heard in a while leaves you no choice but to go "Ahhh, shit. Welp." And then you recommit to doing just a little better.

What, in particular, did I find myself convicted by this time around? Find out next time!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Summer Planzzzzzz....

 Hello friends!

I'm back from an amazing Iberian vacation (photos coming soon) and ready to run-ble (see what I did there? Sorry not sorry). Also please enjoy this photo I got from Stow Lake Stampede:

I have some I don't want to say *big* plans in the works, but let's just say, big-ger plans than I've been willing to entertain in a while. Why?

Friday, May 27, 2022

Carbon Plate Shoes I Have Known: New Balance RC Elites

Hello, if you missed Part 1 about carbon plate running shoes (ie "super shoes"), you might want to check it out before reading on. Or don't! It's your world!

If you've chosen chaos, allow me to catch you up slightly:

  • Carbon-plate shoes have been around since the 90s, they just weren't good enough for the heinous price tag to make the shoes economically feasible as a product.
  • They caused a massive dust-up in the mid-2010s when Nike pros started running in VaporFlys & normies started sometimes paying like $800 a pair on the secondary market
  • Yes, they really do work, science says so.
  • The magic is a combination of a super-stiff, super-light carbon plate usually sandwiched between next-gen foam with crazy high energy return. The plate works like a teeter-totter and the foam is what provides the spring-like action.
  • In addition to letting you run faster with less effort, they may also mitigate the damage on your calves from training, possibly allowing you to train more and harder.

As I said in the previous post, I got my first pair of carbon plate racing shoes as a Christmas present at the end of 2020--the New Balance FuelCell RC Elites. At the time I was planning to train hard in spring 2021 and run 5K, 10K, and half marathon time trials and it's always fun to have a new toy to motivate you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Race Report: Stow Lake Stampede 5K 2022

Why did I sign up for this race?

This race was another on the PA short-course circuit where I thought we might end up having a team, and it seemed like a nice follow-up to the (40)8K in April. It didn't hurt that it's super close to home (just three miles away in Golden Gate Park) on extremely familiar ground.

I was also just excited to try my hand at a 5K again, especially in a situation where I'd have a big chunk of weeks to train for it consistently in a way that really targeted 5K speed. So often when I've run 5Ks it's been in the middle of training for a longer distance, or the beginning of a season as a kind of fitness gauge, or a convenient way to get in a workout; I was really curious what I might be able to do at this point with some for-real 5K-specific training. 

I really do believe that variety in what you train for plays a big role in everything from keeping running and training mentally fresh to making you fitter and less injury-prone by switching up the physical stimuli, so it was nice to do a couple of months training for the half and 10-miler and then switch gears to shorter, more speed-focused stuff.

And then what happened?

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Stow Lake Race Week + Spring Racing Comes to An End!

(Posting this for the sake of completion -- alas I didn't manage to get it up before leaving for vacation. :) )

Hello from the end of spring racing season 2022! Apparently I finished up my spring races just in time for it to get hella hot out. No 12-mile workouts in 90F for me, ha! (Er, at least for now.)

 *~*~Stow Lake Stampede 5K Race Week!~*~*~

Grand Total: 29.5 miles

    * 24 easy
    * 2.4 speed
    * 3.1 race

Monday 5/16: Rest

Tuesday 5/17: a.m. 3 easy to/from gym + 1 hour strength; p.m. 2 warm up, 2 miles of 2:00 fast / 1:00 easy, 2 cool down = 9 total

Wednesday 5/18: 5 easy

Thursday 5/19: 3 easy to/from gym + 1 hour strength

Friday 5/20: 30-35 minutes easy Rest. I just had this hunch that my body needed to take an extra rest day this week before the race, so I went with it. No regrets!

Saturday 5/21: 3 easy + 4 strides = 3.4 total

Sunday 5/22: Race! 3 warm up, 3.1 race, 3 cool down = 9.1 total

(Race report here!)