Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Slugging it out

But not how you think. Yesterday I was as much of a slug as I was a machine on Sunday. I ate whatever, whenever, and didn't break a sweat until 6:30 p.m., walking up the hill to the recreation building at the prison, where I spent an hour in un-air-conditioned discomfort teaching a drawing class.

[Last night's class was great: At one point all of them were hunched over their drawing pads, intent on their work, totally removed from prison and schedules and head counts and guards. Success!]

Yesterday was a scheduled rest day, but I'd planned to do some yoga. Didn't happen. I'm a morning exerciser and the morning totally got away from me.

My plan is to make up for it today by doing a yoga session before I run. I checked the Fit TV schedule and at 8:30 a.m. Eastern there's a program called "Head to Knees." It's described as "yoga for the long-distance runner." How cool is that?

Well, I don't know how cool it is, really, but I'm going to check it out. And then I'm going to stretch the scheduled easy two-mile run into three, with half-mile walks before and after.

Jeannie suggested in a comment yesterday that I concentrate on moving my arms faster when I run. I'll try that; I've studied the way runners use their arms when I watch races, but I don't consciously make any adjustments to my form. I'm just happy to get to the end of the road and back. Heh.

The little dog who found us week before last has settled into her new home. I don't think our dogs miss her at all. I must admit it was a little strange pulling into the driveway last night and not having her run out to greet me. I think she'll be much happier being an alpha dog, though; she didn't care much for the competition here.

My daughter sent a link to a news story that ranks West Virginia University at the top of this year's party-school list. And according to CalorieLab, West Virginia [the state, not the school] is second only to Mississippi as the fattest state in the nation.

I'm just so proud to be here!


M@rla said...

Well, at least you're doing your best to change that statistic!

Have you looked into something called Chi Running? I never quite got the hang of it, but then I don't run regularly--it seems promising.

Jennifer said...

In the same vein as moving your arms faster, I recently read on the "Coach Jenny" blog at Runner's World that increasing your stride rate per minute is a good way to up your speed while keeping your movement efficient and not exhausting yourself. I myself am S-L-O-W (and seemed to be getting even slower, which was frustrating) so I got some episodes of a podcast called "Podrunner" on her recommendation and now try to run at 168-170 strides per minute in time with the music. I take little tiny steps and try to "spring" off of one foot and on to the other. I have to move my arms fast to keep up this pace. She says that runners of all speeds should maintain a high stride rate (ideally 180 strides per minute) and then as your endurance improves, you can increase your speed by maintaining the same 180 strides per minute, but increasing the length covered by the stride.

I won't say it has revolutionized my speed (and I have only done it 3 times so far), but this method has gotten me back up to the high end of the distance I can normally cover in 45 minutes, with little to no additional effort (I know some might want to "work harder" so as to burn more calories, but my heart rate still gets up way too high and it's all I can do to complete the 45 minutes, so in my case anything that makes it a little easier is a plus). So I think over time I'll be able to add speed until I am where I want to be (9-minute mile). Which may not happen in my lifetime, but I might as well try.

Anyway, you probably already knew about this, but it was interesting to me.

ws said...

I meant to comment earlier this week regarding the arm thing, but I forgot to somehow...

moving your arms can be very helpful (especially when climbing hills), but another great piece of advice I was offered was to make sure that the arm movement is always forward and backwards and not crossing in front of your body. If you arms are swinging across your body you are wasting energy with that movement, because you will constantly be realigning yourself since the arms really do pull you in the direction they swing. not sure if that makes sense... In a nutshell, I try to conserve as much energy as possible by eliminating all lateral movements that inhibit forward progress...(this last statement might not even make sense either!)