Running has been the most challenging discipline of the three triathlon sports. I do it, I’m not fast, nor have I developed efficient form, but I’m determined. I will work on each of the pieces until they come together and I become an efficient fluid-like runner.
My training plan had a 3.5 hr zone 1 run today. The overall intent is to run (keep moving) the entire time. This is an endurance session.
Cadence and Pace
The pieces of the puzzle that I worked on today are:
- Keeping my cadence at 170 steps per minute (spm) or better
- Maintaining a pace of 11:37 / mile or slower
- Drinking 1 bottle/hr and taking salt regularly.
Starting before dawn is necessary so that I’m not finishing after 11 am and feeling the blazing heat of the day. Fortunately for me, being outside as the sun comes up is absolutely inspiring.
Running alone is peaceful and allows me to remain focused on how my body is feeling.
Prior to leaving the house, I do a few exercises and wake up some leg muscles. My calves and Achilles are typically very tight, so they are of primary importance. Secondarily, waking up my glutes and hamstrings serves to make the longer efforts more comfortable. As I begin to run I do very easy warm-up jogging for at least 10 minutes before moving into my goal pace. In the past, warming up seemed like a waste of time. Now, it’s an essential part of my process. I can feel when my body has gotten “warm” and the muscles are loose enough to be pushed. It’s actually a good feeling.
I didn’t want a heavy stomach, but running fasted was not my desire. So, to fuel this run I began with a bottle of Ucan Superstarch and a protein bar. To replace electrolytes, I drank a bottle of cold water with a NUUN hydration tablet every hour and a few licks of BASE Salts throughout the run.
To increase my cadence I practice a drill call dribbles. This drill, as I was taught, causes my legs to turn over faster without me running more rapidly. I’ve struggled, unsuccessfully, to accomplish this all year. But since I’ve learned this drill, it comes much easier. A side benefit is improved upper body form too. I am running with a more upright posture rather than being curled forward like a croissant.
About 2-hrs into the run I drank another bottle of UCANN Superstarch.
3.5 hrs Complete!
At the end of the run, I felt fine which was a great indication of a successful fueling and hydration strategy. My legs were still strong, and my heart rate was nice and low. The average pace was close to 12 min/mile and I felt as if I could keep running at that pace for quite a while longer. The UCAN leveled out my energy and I felt strong the entire time.
My favorite part about this run was being able to keep my cadence higher without running faster and jacking up my heart rate. I felt like 8 months of effort came together today. Holding the cadence for more than a few minutes required concentration, so I set an alert on my watch. Anything under 168 spm notifies me and I pick it up.
I didn’t realize how difficult becoming an effective runner would be. My progress is exciting.