A Running Update on Running #4

Now that my legs are more-or-less cooperating with me, I’ve decided to start up my Garmin Coach training plan for my July 10k. Yes, it’s time for me and my buddy Jeff Galloway to reconnect.

“Hey Josh, it’s me, Jeff Galloway! You’re my favorite runner, did you know that? I love you.”

How could you not trust this guy? (He did go to the Olympics, so I guess you really should trust him.)

This week is focused on cadence drills. The plan updates as you go along, so I’m presuming that Mr. Galloway thinks that I’m not taking enough steps per minute, as he (it, whatever) scheduled two of the exact same cadence drills for my weekday runs.

The plan is this: 10 min warm up, followed by 3x :30 running at 150-200spm with :30 recovery in between, then 3x :30 “acceleration glider” drills, which are basically just helping you transition from walking to running. Lastly, a 10 min cool down.

I (of course) had never thought about cadence in my running. In fact, my only thought about my feet touching the ground was practically the opposite–that I should take fewer steps and that each step should sort of bound me forward. I should note that, as a slow ass runner, my concept of running forward as opposed to running upward (i.e. bouncing up and down too much) was very nonexistent. It’s hard to have a good run form when running slower. Think about walking. You walk heel-toe, right? That’s a perfectly acceptable form when walking, but it would destroy your knees if you did it when running. In fact, any sort of “feet in front of body” landing when running is a big no-no. But if you push forward with each step, you will run faster, and if you run faster and you’re not used to running faster, you won’t run as much.

Now that I think about it, this is kind of the whole point of gradual progression. It’s about your form as much as it is about your breathing and your leg strength. (And really, these are all basically the same thing.)

Currently, if I am running at a steady pace that feels alright, my cadence is about 150spm. The ideal is around 170-180 for a recreational runner, and when I push my pace up to a level that I can’t keep for very long, I hit that. So my goal (and I guess Jeff’s goal) is to do some interval training that helps me feel that 170-180 step pace without wearing me down. This is Jeff’s whole deal, folks; his training plan is called Run Walk RunĀ® and YES he did trademark the phrase “Run Walk Run.” His idea is that walking is crucial for runners and that walking actually improves overall time for longer distances. I’ve already seen this in action with parkrun, where I take more walk breaks (though shorter) and end up finishing faster. And, moreover, I think these short walk breaks coupled with the cadence drills will improve my pace when I’m running, which is key. If I have to walk every so often, but my pace when I run is around 9-10:00/mi, then I will finish faster. Because, math.

On Sunday is my first Run Walk RunĀ® run. The app said nothing about what this run entails until today, when it was finally revealed to me: it’s running, and then walking. This whole time I’ve been thinking, don’t I already do that? The answer is yes, but not like this:

I did not expect the program to include so many intervals! I have to run 2.5 miles like this on Sunday. It’s going to be so weird to be walking and running so much. I’m aiming for that 10:45-12:15 pace, but we’ll see how that works out. This really is just an extension of the Couch to 5k program, except Jeff just trademarked the first couple of weeks. Kind of awesome, really. I also appreciate how you can start this even if you’re a newbie with those 5-10 second intervals.

I added another 5k race(ish) to my calendar. This one is the Five Fifty Fifty and is in honor of mental health, which is right up my alley. It is also taking place at Laurelhurst Park, which is very close to me! This will be one of the few times I can just jog over to my race. It’s a run/walk and I don’t think it’s timed, which makes sense if it’s in Laurelhurst, but it’s for a good cause an I get a t-shirt. You know how much I love t-shirts.

This means that my next three weekends have a 5k race in them. I would’ve signed up for one on the 29th but I missed the cutoff for t-shirts and medals, and you know I gotta get those t-shirts and/or medals!

My real hope for April is to approach the 35 minute 5k time. That’s an 11:16/mi pace, which is within my reach.

Lastly, my family are heading to Shady Cove, OR in June for a little trip and that will coincide with my last full week of non-tapered training before my 10k at the Foot Traffic Flat. It’ll be very interesting to try and get some much needed runs in while on vacation. I’ve done it once before, back in Idaho, and the elevation difference was a hell of an upgrade.

No parkrun this weekend because I’ll be at the Lacamas Hop Hop, and boy do I hate that name. See you then.