Monday, January 26, 2015

The most exciting thing I've read about running in a long time

A very long time! I've been following the running career of American 2:14 marathoner Nate Jenkins for many years. He has kept 'training diary' style blogs on various websites (including Running Times online) and has recently resurrected his own blog. He tweeted two weeks ago about one of his blog posts titled 'Strides' — immediately I followed the link and my eyes widened; brain ticked over (slowly) as I read words that made so much sense, thinking to myself: Yes! Yes! Yes!

I expect you'll click the above link to read all about strides and return to this post later. That's okay. Do it!

Strides are very short runs. You jog into them, accelerate over a distance of 75 metres or so to 'near top speed' then ease off to a stop. You then walk until fully recovered (this depends on how fit you are) and repeat. Nate mentions the numerous benefits that come from running strides regularly and often —"every single day if you can." In the 'old days' I used to run strides prior to every track workout and race, which would be roughly three times per week. I've done six 'sessions' of strides (mainly following runs or races) over the past two weeks and am starting to feel some fluidity returning to my running movement.

Strides also fit in perfectly with my mostly steady MAF heart-rate zone training. Being so short (and untimed) they're not stressful in the least. Lactic acid isn't produced and my heart-rate during a stride (if recovery is sufficient) only just reaches the top end of MAF heart-rate (around 130 for me (about 80% of my 162 maximum). After 100 metres of walking between strides my heart-rate has recovered to around 94. My intention is to run strides following every run (and before races) if I can. I'll let you know how it goes.

Strangely alone during the last k (4:36 split) of the Tuggeranong Australia Day Parkrun 5k on a very warm and muggy morning.

16 Comments:

Blogger Grellan said...

Ewen in deference to you I read your post first before clicking on Nathan's link -

"Yes, Yes, Yes" indeed. The marathon programme I am on calls for strides, which I have ignored up until now. Thanks for the link.

10:00 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

That was very kind of you Grellan :)
Yes, don't ignore strides!

4:50 pm  
Blogger Janene said...

I saw that tweet! I don't recall it indicating how long it would take to have an effect. I'll await your update on how its going! :-)

7:51 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Good! I imagine a month or so although the strides themselves are feeling easier already :-) In combo with the 'brain training' trail running, should be some good race results coming up.

9:20 pm  
OpenID canute1 said...

Thanks for the reminder about the value of strides. I do relaxed strides beween each of the Magill drills,but I do not do them often enough.

10:54 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Canute, that's a good point about being relaxed when running strides and not straining to reach top speed. No need for a Garmin (although I use mine afterwards to count how many I ran by looking at the HR graph).

4:42 pm  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

I meant to comment earlier but I got so engrossed in Nate's blog I completely lost track of time! A very useful post Ewen, thanks. I used to do Yasso 800's a year or so ago. Hated them even though they helped a lot. How are strides different? Just the distance?

6:59 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Mark. Strides are totally different to Yasso 800s. In Yassos you produce lactic acid in the muscles. Strides are very short and you hold close to top speed for only 5 to 10 seconds. They use the alactic energy system, which although anaerobic (without oxygen), doesn't produce lactic acid. You have a decent recovery between the strides - walking is perfect, waiting until the heart-rate comes down to as low as it's going to get. Strides are a muscular, speed and coordination workout. I promise you won't hate strides!

9:17 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

When I did a training course online with Pat Carroll he had me doing them before every run. Will start doing them again. Thanks for the info. I always liked Nate's style too. Seems like a great fella.

11:41 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

No worries Scott. You can also do them after a run (if you aren't sore and haven't run yourself into the ground). Yes, down to earth and very generous with the training info he shares.

4:55 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

I know that this system works. Some friends of mine do it regularly both on the road and in the gym.
Of course I have a different situation and different goals.
I will follow your improvements.
Anyway my parkrun is on the corner: feb 28th in Edinburgh.......

7:33 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Not long to go Stefano. I had a look at their site - looks like a good course with many runners for company - you'll enjoy it!

9:04 pm  
Blogger Cecilia said...

I never really understood the purpose of strides, but that's been cleared up now that I've read the link you shared. :) I'll definitely add them to any regular runs I do now!

8:49 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

No worries Cecilia. Doing them after or near the finish of runs is working well for me - legs are well and truly warmed up by then.

4:23 pm  
Blogger Shane said...

Interesting blog and post. Yeah I have just paid strides off to be one of those things you use for warming up. Never thought about the benefits apart from reducing the risk of injury during the session you are about to undertake.

4:21 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Same here Shane - and usually warming up for a race or fast session. I'm liking post-run strides more than ever now that I'm becoming used to them :)

4:11 pm  

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