Sunday, December 07, 2008

A barefoot 1500m race

Thanks all for your comments about my unlikely victory in the 5k last week. Robert Song's rang true — I'd rather have a memorable race against other runners that results in a PB, than win by "doing a Bradbury". On Thursday I raced over 1500 metres on the velvety grass of the Woden track. I was rightfully flung back to my usual mid-field position — placing 9th in 5:46.8 — 8.4 seconds shy of an M50 PB.

I warmed up in the Frees on legs that were again uncooperative. My confidence was less than effusive. I decided to run barefoot — I did much of my training and racing sans-shoes in the old days — I remember it feeling good and fast. The race went fairly well. I didn't quite have enough zip in the legs to go out with the small group of Gary, Dale and Heath (5:32, 5:34, 5:41). I concentrated on keeping the third lap from sagging too much, and was partially successful. My splits were 90, 92, 95 and 70 (300m). I'm sure I didn't look as good as Zola, but it was fun emulating her famous method of racing.

This week has been similar to the last — what I'd call "a good training week". There have been three hard days — two interval sessions and a race. The second interval session yesterday morning was run with the Speedygeese on the delightful grass of the "international standard" cross country course at Stromlo. We ran 3 x 1k with 1k jog recoveries. My times for the fast kilometres were 4:16, 4:08 and 4:02. I must say I haven't felt on top of my game for all three of the hard days this week. One day of easy running between hard days doesn't seem enough.

Go Zola!Doing my best Zola Budd impersonation on the grass track at Woden [Speedygeoff photo]


Anonymous Em said...

How nice to run on that beautiful lush green grass, all ours down here is brown and cruchy

7:30 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

I never liked cruchy grass.

It's all a matter of adaptation, and being consistent. For a year or so I had to have two easy days after a hard one but made sure I did run hard every third day. Then after "a while" I could alternate hard/easy. Later I added a second daily run; and eventually run one could be easy, run two hard each day. Of course, all that was in a previous life...

What is cruchy grass? Something that makes cruchiate ligaments excruchiatingly painful?

7:59 pm  
Blogger Tesso said...

That's a great pic, love the look on all the faces. Just trying to work out exactly where that track is. I worked at Woden for a while in the Sir Keith Campbell building so I kinda know the area - especially the stretch from said building to the Greekies :) I did run around the area a bit too.

8:03 pm  
Blogger Superflake said...

Where is Mary Decker when you need her? You probably ran slow so as not to get spiked!

9:49 pm  
Blogger Stu said...

As Em said, "wow, green grass...."

10:28 pm  
Blogger iliketoast said...

Is grass legal in Canberra? It isn't here.

10:43 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

I don't think I've ever seen a grass track with lanes like that before. It looks inviting for a run though.

Two speed workouts and a race ina week will bring you either to a peak in short time or burn you out in short time, or both. Be careful.

2:18 am  
Blogger Chad in the AZ Desert said...

I still can't get over how cool it is to be able to run and race on a grass track. Nice job in the race.

2:23 am  
Blogger Mike said...

I switched to two easy days between tough interval/rep sessions and it makes a WORLD of difference!! (although I still just take one day between threshold/tempo workouts)

Grass track looks like fun!

3:00 am  
Blogger Dusty said...

The track looks awesome! I love the lanes too! Our grass is turning brown here, so that picture gets my spring track juices flowing!

I do two hard workouts per week (Tue & Thurs). I usually have a very hard workout on only one of the days and the other is not as hard, or maybe a different type (intervals, then hills). Then I put my focus on one and the other is important, but not "key".

6:49 am  
OpenID canute1 said...

What a wonderful picture.

As for training schedule, you are still a youngster compared with some of us, but nonetheless once you are over 50, the recovery that is crucial to optimise the benefits of training, takes longer and the training schedule requires more careful planning. As you know from the discussions we have been having on my blog, I am experimenting with two moderately intense back-to-back days, followed by a sequence of rest, easy, intense, easy, and easy days before repeating the two back-to-back sessions. Of course at my age and condition, I am building up much more cautiously than you would need to. I am also experimenting with cross training because I think that for real old-timers, only the most hardy of individuals can do two worthwhile running sessions a day for an extended period. However, maybe a running session and cross-training on the same day might be feasible.

7:15 am  
Blogger Love2Run said...

Well done Ewen in bare feet and all. I propose 1 hard day of running per month, the rest is easy running but then again having partners in crime does help push you along. Thanks for the Bradbury link.

8:18 am  
Blogger Grellan said...

Great pic and race Ewen. Must be great to run barefoot on grass. The only grass races here are cross country where you'd need spikes just to stay upright.

9:59 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

I'd love to see the heel strikers of this world run a 1500 m race on there heels!
Last summer I was running two interval sessions and a race each week, I burned out, remember it can take up to 3 days to recover from an intense anaerobic EFFORT, that means you need a 9 day week to recover!
Try replacing a interval session with a ARTHUR LYDIARD type leg speed session, I think you will feel fresher and race better!

1:47 am  
Blogger Runner Susan said...

But what if you stepped on a scorpion or something? Nice run though, our grass is turning brown now.

12:58 am  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Green grass has been rare in Canberra too, that's why the photo is of note. We were very surprised to see how good a condition the Woden track was in.
As for the location of the Woden track, it's a running joke - to one side of the track is Canberra Hospital, to the other side, Woden cemetery.
So, Runner Susan, there would be no problem if one of those scary scorpions you mention (imported deliberately no doubt from a country that has such hazardous creatures by someone jealous of Ewen's 11.07 3k time) bit us as we padded by in our bare feet, as we could be quickly transported in one direction or the other, depending on how dead we looked.
However, I am confident that Ewen's heel strike would squish any creature silly enough to be underfoot and disable it for forty days and forty nights.
Woden will be very green now, we have had tonnes (or if you are from the U.S., tons) of rain since the photo was taken.

3:52 pm  
Blogger bill carter said...

HI Ewen

Great performances, but I have to admit that I am a little concerned about those pasty, white feet. As an Optometrist, I think I am qualified to say that you could blind someone with those things and they should come with some sort of disclaimer.

Zola would be proud.

6:09 am  
Blogger jojo said...

nice :)

6:25 pm  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

I miss running on grass! In Singapore, we don't have a lot of grass fields.

Congrats on last week's 5k.

11:24 am  
Blogger Eric said...

Nice win in the 5K...that's always a good time! The grass track looks awesome. I'm extra impressed because I'm pining for the green grass to come back right about now. It's been nearly -20F here the last few days, with lots of snow and wind. Every day on the treadmill, however, is a treat!

Great running, and thanks for all of the comments during my hiatus.

12:54 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lacey said...

"I concentrated on keeping the third lap from sagging too much, and was partially successful."

Hey Ewen, what is that all about? Did your third leg partially sag too much? What is too much when it comes to sagging of the third leg? Sadly, as we get older, I find it increasingly difficult to prevent the third leg from sagging, and what constitutes too much is largely of academic interest. But be that as it may, I wish you a very happy new year from the depths of wild Tokyo, a speedy new year, and more races on grass without a partially sagging third leg.


2:45 pm  
Blogger IHateToast said...

did you all pick flowers and stick them between your toes? sing folk songs. wail about Nam?

you could never do a Bradbury. you are much better looking. SB looks like a scary elf.

9:12 am  

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