Training and Life Update 2/21/14


    Since I plan to have this as a physical therapy, running, training, shoe review and more type of blog, I'm going to branch out from only doing shoe reviews (as I have been doing the last few weeks).

    Life has been going pretty well the last few weeks.  I am very deep into my 2nd semester of physical therapy school and have been trudging through the first few midterms.  This week I successfully made it through our equally difficult Kinesiology exam and practical.  I am extremely inspired by my professor, Dr. Fairly, in that class.  He's basically a god to me as he is the expert manual therapy, gait, foot and footwear guy.  So it was a little intimidating having him critique me on the practical.  Luckily I was paired up with my awesome friend Noelle, with whom I had practiced a great deal with the day before.  Because we suspected we would be partners, despite everyone telling us otherwise.  So that worked out well!  Got my highest practical grade yet!  Now I have to just make it through the next several weeks until spring break.  By make it I am referring to the fact that I have at least one major exam every week until then.  No rest for the weary.

   Training has been pretty awesome.  At my first physical therapy conference at the 2014 CSM (combined sections meeting) a few weeks ago, I made contact with a fellow UPS alumni and awesome runner for the Asics Aggies Kota Reichert.  It was inspiring to go for a run with him during the conference (a fairly quick 9 miles after a tired but fast 4 mile uphill tempo early that morning around 5am).  We talked a great deal and he mentioned In/Out workouts, which I'd never really considered before but have been integrating into my training.  Mostly in the form of hill workouts.  IE 1:00 min hard uphill with 1:10 to get back down the hill and start again.  Doing about 8 of those.  The first session I ended up averaging 5:33 pace for a little over 5K (3.2 miles).  It hurt, but in a good way.  Since my favorite workout is the Fartlek, I've tried to integrate this type of training into that by trying to keep the off session at a fairly decent pace.  I still have not done set distance intervals for a while.  I find it so much easier to get Fartleks in multiple times a week by having the workout during a normal run rather than a set loop.  I've still been running very quick during the workouts, doing things like 15-18x1min ON 1min OFF or doing informal fartleks to forget about specific time and focus on form.

    My form work has continued as well.  I know there is still a long road ahead, but I've made some good strides (no pun intended) working on hip extension and controlling my crazy arm swing.  I learned some new things about the best exercises for the glute medius and max recruitment and have been modifying those working on my glute max strength especially (the main hip extensor).  These exercises include high step ups, single leg squat touches and more.  This combined with some tweaks in my nutrition (adding in more healthy fats for a more balanced diet) seems to have contributed to me feeling much better during runs.  Enough that I have not had a run average over 6:35 pace for about 2 weeks.  Almost every normal run is in the 6:10-6:15 pace range and that is fairly comfortable.  I pushed a 9.52 mile run at 5:55 pace and even that felt pretty good!  This has been really awesome because I've been able to get more miles in without more time infringing on my studies! Also I've been integrating a little bit of POSE form back in.  Not in a major way but just some of the things I used to work on my form back during the summer before my sophomore year of college.

An example of my horrible arm swing an mechanics at the 2014 Run For Russ 5k.  Which I still won in 15:23.  This is before I started working on my form again.  

   I added 3 mile night runs back into my training just to shake my brain out after long school days.  Also to get some more fast mileage in.  I wear my Brooks T7s on these runs and I push them pretty hard.  My fastest one so far has been 3.1 miles in 16:54 (5:27 pace average) and all of them have been under 5:50 pace.  That's with a 6:00-6:30ish first mile and then moving.  It takes less than 20 minutes for a nice run break and then I'm back to studying.

   Racing has also been going decently.  Three weeks ago I won the 2014 Run for Russ in 15:23 which is awesome considering I trained through it.  My training buddy John Barker PR'd and then we did a hard Fartlek right after just to get some extra work in.  I've done a second workout after every race except my half marathon this year and plan to continue doing that to try to get better.  A week ago I won the 2014 Anaheim Semper 5k in 15:48 on a very hilly course that I measured at +3.2 miles.  I was pretty excited to run that there as I had been working on my form and my pace had really increased early that week.  Also they gave out a pretty awesome first prize.
Picture from the 2014 Anaheim Semper 5k that I won in 15:48 on a long (3.2 mile) and hilly course.  Lower extremity form is better, but that arm swing still needs work.  Granted my left arm is like that because I'm pointing to the way I think I'm supposed to go for confirmation from a race official.  That part wasn't marked well.....

   Coming up on Sunday 2/23/14 I'm racing the Brea 8k.  Since I'm doing 3 races in three weeks (also doing the Dairy Aire 5k next weekend.  If I win that I'll have won all three of the Chino Triple Crown races.  The 2013 Reindeer Romp 5k and the 2014 Run for Russ 5k were the first two), I'm only doing a few workouts per week.  I'll probably be wearing a Cal Coast jersey and am hoping that if I win this I'll get some recognition from footwear companies.  Also it'll be a nice longer effort compared to the 5ks I've been doing. Even if I don't win it'll be nice to have some really good competition as that race has been very quick in the past.  Next week I'll be racing the 2014 Dairy Aire 5k going for a Triple Crown win (as I mentioned early).  If they have an accurate course I may have a shot at a PR since Chino, CA is completely flat.  And it should be relatively accurate since it's USATF certified.  However I've learned that certification is relative after the 2014 Ontario Mills 5k that I won in a slow time that I later learned was due to the course being much longer than a 5k.  Certification?  Yeah right.

    Speaking of footwear companies, I haven't heard anything from the Saucony Hurricane program.  I'm not totally discouraged (even though this last week was the time that athletes have heard from them in the past) because I haven't seen anyone else post anything on the internet about being accepted.  So maybe they're just taking a bit longer.  However I also submitted my application to the Skechers Performance Elite team just as another option.  I figure I'll wait it out for a bit and see who gets to me first.  If nothing happens I'll review my options from there.  If Cal Coast does not have an elite team with sponsorship I may have to head over to check out the Snail's Pace Racing Team to see what kind of benefits they get from New Balance.

Yep.  I got one of these for free.  I cannot thank Brian Brown and the wonderful people at Elliptigo enough for this wonderful opportunity.  

    So that is what's going on in my life.  I'll keep this blog up and we'll see where my future takes me.  Also..... I won an Elliptigo 8C at that 2014 CSM conference I mentioned (as you can see above).  I know this is completely random to throw in at the end here.  But it's awesome.  I'll have a review up soon.  I've made fun of people who ride these things for years and I take it all back.  If you haven't tried an Elliptigo yet, find one.  They are sooooooo awesome.  Seriously.  You feel like a badass riding one.  At least I do.  It has become a great tool that also gives me a huge piece of mind just in case I get injured.  Having this tool is insurance that I will be able to maintain my running fitness, my mechanics and still get outside in that event.

   So things are going to get pretty interesting!!  I'm hoping for some big things in the next few weeks and I hope you'll check back in!

Thanks for reading!

As always, my opinions are my own.

Tack On!!!

-Matthew Klein, SPT