Treadmills, Leadville, and Gin.

I’ve had a week off. No working, blogging, reading, writing and no, no running. What was I doing in that time? Driving around and being driven around, seeing the far corners of Britain, eating a lot and partaking in a few beer-type-beverages when appropriate. But now I’m back and eager to get into the flow of things with a new pair of trainers dying to be worn in. Although they, apart from colour, are literally the exact same shoe as my existing pair there is always an element of nervousness transitioning from a pair of comfortable runners which have just worked, to something unproven.

A few treadmill sessions should do the trick, and I figured I would share one of those workouts here.

 First off, a 2-mile warm-up, nice and steady, moving from 8-minute mile pace to 7.30-minute (usually level out at 8mph).

Hop off, reset the treadmill.

The key to the session, the motivation if you will, is to reach 5k in under 19 minutes, which is my current long-term target.

I start with a 1.5-mile effort which has to clock in under 9.30. I gradually increase my speed as I move through the effort, but the key is to average out around 9.5mph.

With that done I pause the machine and grab my breath for one minute, then I’m straight back on to knock out 5 x 0.25 mile (400m) at just about sub-6-minute mile pace (10.3 mph), with another one-minute rest between each one.

To reach the 5k proper however, there is one final effort, a 0.35 mile, which I just try and crank out a little faster (it is the final effort and all), pushing the motor up towards 10.5 mph.  

And then, breathe, warm down a mile, stretch, shower. All good.

Here it is laid out.

  • 2 mile warm up (8mph)
  • 1.5 mile (9.5mph)
  • 1 minute rest.
  • 0.25 mile x 5 (10.3mph) (1 minute rest between each rep)
  • 0.35 mile x 1 (10.5 mph)
  • 1 mile warm down (8mph)

It’s not a workout that breaks me, but it sure feels tough in the middle of it. I like to do it fairly regularly, increasing the speed of the efforts with each repeat. It works as a little progress report, and I find it does absolute wonders for my road work later in the week.

But enough about me! What’s been going on in the running world since I’ve been off?

Leadville Marathon: Olympians and Bears.

Leadville is a historic mining town in Colorado which opens itself up to ambitious runners seeking to tackle its challenging race series every summer. The series features a marathon which this year has been tackled by an Olympic road runner in the form of Kara Goucher, who competed at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 for the USA.

Goucher also won a silver in the 10,000m at the World Championships in Osaka 2007.

Goucher at the New York Marathon. Credit: taconicrr.

The trail marathon peaks at 13,185 feet, and although she finished her unfamiliar challenge in 5th place, she told Runners World that she had “never been so low and continued on.”

Running a course like Leadville is a much slower, higher, and ultimately nauseous challenge than a road runner like Goucher would have faced before. At such height altitude sickness comes into play, and descents are not an opportunity to recover your breath and open up your stride as they may well be on the road, instead they become carefully executed manoeuvres which could easily end in injury if not approached with care.

Her new adventure was a challenge, but at least it wasn’t made any more difficult by competing wildlife.

Runners further down the trailer encountered a black bear crossing the course, adding further incentive to the legs of any flagging runners.

Race Focus // Run for Gin

I couldn’t really resist showing off this race, which has a description beginning:

‘Do you like Gin? Do you like running?’

I’m not sure how often I want to put those things together, but the answer to those questions is yes, absolutely.

If you do want combine those potent ingredients the Run for Gin is a two-mile relay for teams of 4 in Pittville Park, Cheltenham. Knock out your two miles and wait for your teammate to get back so you can properly hydrate.

If you fancy a last minute entry tickets can be found here.

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