Sunday morning runs from Hearthstone Fitness

     Hearthstone fitness is Easton is one of the newest and nicest gyms in Easton, Maryland. They are in the building where Blockbuster video used to be and the only thing that keeps me from joining is the lack of a swimming facility. One of the trainers there, Dan, has come up with a great concept to introduce people to the gym. Every Sunday morning at 8 am, a group, absolutely free and open to the public, meets at the gym to go for a run. The distance is based on whatever you want, as is the pace, but Dan is there to help you if you need it, or are just starting out.

     One of the guys who helps out here at the shop, Matt Dunn, has been helping Dan with the run the past couple of weekends and I finally made up my mind that I was going to go. After the long run on Friday, I was just going to do a 5 or 6 mile run but late Saturday night, Brandon, my brother, said he was going to run in the morning and wanted to know if I wanted to join him. Of course I told him about the group and we agreed to meet at 8 for the run. A short, 5 or 6 miler, remember?

     As soon as we all arrived you could see that there was not going to be a big group running together. Everyone had their own goals and own paces and the idea was “let’s leave together and then meet up for coffee after”. Some people needed an 11 mile run for a training program they were on, and some people were just starting to run so they were doing the walk-run method (aka Galloway Method). So let’s get moving!! Off we go, Brandon and I, side by side. I kind of hinted to him that it was only 2 weeks in to my training. He smiled. He’s been preparing for events for the past two years, hard! It’s the only way he knows how to do things. I mention that I’m just going to hold a 9 min pace and laugh about the fact that he is probably at a 7:30 pace. He grins and gives me a thumbs-down, indicating that he is running FASTER than that. Crap.

     Off we go and I can tell that it’s going to hurt him, running this slow. I have absolutely no idea where I am going so, once we complete the first section of the road running and get on the Rails-To-Trails in Easton, I tell him he can go ahead. Of course he does not, but in one little stretch he says, “This is the speed I normally run.” and he is off like a rabbit. Double Crap.

     How far is this run? WHY are we still running? I thought this was an easy 5 or 6. Brandon tells me that the trail itself is almost 2.5 miles in its entirety, and we have shaved a bit off, so it’s probably a little shorter. The trail takes you through some back roads and brings you out near Easton High School. “Turn around or keep going?”, Brandon asks. I hang my head and tell him lets keep going. Triple Crap.

      As we come around the neighborhood next to Easton High School I half-jokingly tell Brandon, “Ok. I’m done running now.”, and laugh. I don’t think he buys the laugh but we keep trudging on. So many times I want to stop and walk. SO many times I lie to myself. “Just run to the next intersection and you can stop.” LIE. “See that Stop Sign? You can stop and walk there.” LIE. Lie after lie, but I keep falling for it. Sometimes it’s the only way to finish.

     No stopping. A slow pace the whole way and I know that it has hurt Brandon to run that slow, but he’s stuck with me and I appreciate it. Once back at the gym, I realize that there is enough time to stretch quickly, race home, shower and open the shop by 10am. The first thing I do when I get to the shop? Open up www.mapmyrun.com and track the path we took. I know it took 1 hr and 12 mins. Tracking turn by turn on the program is easy and when it is all totaled up we have traveled 7.76 miles at a 9:16 min/mile pace. Overall I’m happy, but that is going to have to get faster. I see a lot of sprints and speedwork in my future.

Quadruple Crap!

Slow and steady swimming

     The secret to getting better at any of the three disciplines in triathlon is to break your workouts in to three different parts. One of your workouts during the week should be at your “race pace” and should be kind of the build up portion of your week. You are slowly adding distance to this workout, but you are doing it at a good intensity.
    
    The next workout that you should try to incorporate, no matter the discipline, is speedwork. If you go out and run 5 miles everyday, at the exact same pace, and don’t push yourself, you are never going to get faster. You have to shorten the distance but double the intensity every once in a while to get better. Whether this is a track workout for running, sprints on a bike, or fast 25s in a pool, they are essential to build as an athlete.
  
     The third workout is a slower, longer distance workout. The idea is to slow down and not abuse your body, but to push the distances. If you are doing  a program of some kind, and see that the program says you should run a 10 min./mile pace, and you know you run a 9 min/mile, that’s what this is simulating. Take a look at the distance. It should be one of your longest workouts for the week.

     Well today’s swim wasn’t supposed to be that third type of workout, but the next thing I knew I was getting in the Easton YMCA’s cool pool with only 45 minutes to swim. Since I was still reeling from the effect of a hard week, I decided to shorten my warmup (4×100 yard SKPS) and go right in to a long set. Today’s workout would only be 2000 yards again (about 1.15 miles) but the longer set was going to push me. The first long set was a 1 x 1000 yard set with no breaks. I finished this up with little problem after my shoulders warmed up. A quick 30 second break between sets and I started on the second set. The second set was going to be a 600 yard effort and then a cooldown but as I swam, I watched the minute hand getting closer and closer to the time that I had to leave. The second set would get cut short, to a 1 x 550 yard, so that I could do a short 50 yard cooldown.

     Overall the workout felt well and the swim is normally my weakness. If I keep doing these distances, my swim should greatly improve. The biggest thing is finding the time and gettin a stroke evaluation to make sure that I am as efficient as I can be in the swim. I don’t plan on spending LOTS of time on this because, let’s be honest, no one ever wins a triathlon from an incredible swim.

     We practice in the pool to swim because on the bike, you coast. On the run, you walk. In the water, you stop….. you drown.

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