Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is there a pill for speed?

I love the mountains and especially love the mountain 100M races. The one thing I don't like about them is the training can rob me of what little leg speed I have. On my last long run as I was making my way down Lief Ericson at a decent clip wondering if maybe one of the reasons I love the tough terrain of a mountain race is because it plays to my strength. I am good climber and always have been. Even as a kid dragging my ski's up the hill in marked off territory wasn't too much trouble. I am sure my low center of gravity helps. :) While I was thinking about how much I love the hill climbing I wondered if I loved it more because it was easier. Of course that didn't set well but I think it might be true. We humans are smart and gravitate to what comes easy. Running fast absolutely does not come easy to me. In order for me to gain one ounce of leg speed I have to work very hard consistently. When I get some I have to nurture it, continue to practice it and most of all I have to constantly force myself to go faster. I think I might be a bit on the lazy side when it comes to the speed side of running. I can easily justify walking. I can easily talk myself into moderation when it comes to the breathing hard piece. Hell, I hate gasping for air. I feel like my legs are screaming at me, "Slow down you fool this is not comfortable". However much I enjoy a good steady hill climb I love the idea of becoming faster.

Javelina is a flat course. I am going to have run there. I am going to have to run most of the race so all my training consists of running. Imagine that? An ultra runner who is going to be running. Of course I am running while training for the mountain 100M but the slow steady threshold hill climb is my favorite workout. In fact, when I had a threshold test done on hill and flat I had a higher threshold on the hill! That was a total reflection of my training. Though I am proud to have these large glutes I really really want to run fast! I am running fast right now and it is hard but I love conquering the weakness. I love the fact that I can't do it. It pisses me off! Currently I am consumed with speed. I am in constant contact with my fast twitch muscles...all 6 of them. I certainly don't want to give the impression that I am fast because it's all relative. What I am doing to chasing everyone I can find around forest park. I've got routes, paces, loops and numbers assigned to all of them. I am going to be faster. I am going to become one with the awful loud hard breathing that comes from running fast. All 6 of my fast twitch muscles are going to need to "man up" and carry the load. There will be no talking on any of my fast runs. I refuse to allow myself to be social during this time. I will be smiling and I will be happy watching my legs spin like crazy but I won't be discussing it. I will be listening if I can hear anything over the loud obnoxious breathing. Don't be alarmed just pretend it's exercise induced asthma. I need to get fast quickly. :)


  1. If you find the pill for speed, let me know. Wait, that sounds so wrong.... Anyways, I totally know what you mean. I feel like focusing on the trail 100m this year has robbed me of a lot of speed and made me, errr, very strong (let's just say that). I too am currently consumed with speed and trying to get it back. I hope you find your's as you are a total rockstar and one of the hardest working people i know!

  2. And twas the reason I figured I need to focus on 50's...because I need speed! I came into ultras from running some 12 road marathons and 50k's, and that was my fastest year. And then I fell into "easy" mountain 100's with a bunch of climbs and downs! Ronday, come over, teach me run fast and suffer again! I need you!

  3. The Sept 2010 Running Times has an interesting article on developing all the different muscle fibers. Plenty of time before Javelina!

  4. I'm just the opposite - about 75% fast twitch fibers - so I nail the first 10 miles of a 100 and suffer for the last 90 (not the best way to do it!) One of the things I've found that helps me with my speed when I try to move back to shorter races is to do short sprints on a downhill slope where the footing is good, using a Garmin that records fastest speed attained and then trying to "race myself" and hit a faster top speed. It's very hard on the legs, but it works for me.

  5. I suggest you look at Pete Magill's 5K training plan. He's got technique drills, short hill repeats, etc to improve muscle fiber recruitment and work on strength and form etc. He notes that the training is also good for the 10K and marathon distance. Bet he didn't imagine anyone wanting to run that fast for 100 miles!

    I kind of like the slower running. It's pleasant and not stressful. I think I was getting adrenal fatigue or something from trying to run fast (and not succeeding).

    Good luck!