Sunday, December 6, 2020

Spectacular!

I still have no doubt about it: the Nike Streak 6 are great shoes, ideal for interval training, races (even if I have never taken part to a competitive event so far) and speed work. But they're not durable: if you run more than 150 km a month, after 100 days or even less time they will start showing evident signs of deterioration. As it's getting harder to find them on eBay and on e-shops at a reasonable price (not to mention the difficulties in finding the right size), I decided to change strategy and to apply the "rotation system". First,  I needed a reliable pair of shoes for long runs at a medium pace. And I found them: the Nike Pegasus 34! It wasn't easy to get them: it's an old model distributed in 2017 and now discontinued. Right now it is easier to find the following models (35, turbo, 36 and 37), which do not appeal me at all. The 34s are much more "traditional" in their shape, and I prefer the classic version. After failing my first attemp to order a pair from eBay (the seller didn't accept the procedure...so why on Earth do this people sell items on the web?!) I found a quite good offer by a more reliable vendor: never worn, brand new, electric blue, with box, 65 € + delivery costs. A bargain, considered that the price on the shelf in 2017 was 121 €. I bid, I won (well, I was the only bidder...) and the postman delivered them yesterday, 5 December (on Volunteer Day, by the way). In spite of an annoying pain at the Achilles tendon which has been affecting my daily running since October, I tested them this morning. The results? Absolutely spectacular! I can feel the two zoom units (one under the heel, one in the front), which make the sole softer but at the same time also very responsive. Compared to the essential Streak, the Pegs are cosier (thanks to the plush interiors) and of course heaviers (as soon as I get well, I will test them in faster sessions). A big difference with the Streaks 6 and LT 3 is the first approach: even if it was the first session, today I felt as I ran 100 km with them. No need to break in, no adjustement, no pain (with the 3 pairs of Streak that I had, it took at least a couple of weeks to adjust them to the shape of my feet). 


Sunday, October 4, 2020

5 pink records

Good news and bad news. Today I've set a new record in the 10K distance: 44'32" at an average pace of 4'27" m/km, even if I kept a 4'30" pace for around 8 km and sprinted in the 1st and last km (I ran the first km at 4'20" and the last 500m in 2'00"). I enjoyed my run in a sunny day, even if the strong wind blowing from SSW (30 km/h) was pretty annoying and the usual insolent driver caused me to lose at least 3 seconds. The bad news is that my glorious pink Nike Zoom Streak 6 are about to kick the bucket, after only 4 months, even if it must be said that in the last 120 days I covered 566 km, running almost every day at a fast pace. As you can see in the picture, the side is almost completely shredded, due to the thin mesh. It was predictable, and this is the reason why I bought two other pairs. Nevertheless, I hope to use the pink one at least for a couple of months more. 

An attempt to keep the side together with stitches...how long will it last?

I will always keep a special memory of these pink Streak, as with them I set my last 5 records (which I hope to break with another pair of Streak soon!). Here is the recap of the greatest "pink" performances:

1 km - 3'27", 29 July 2020

3 km - 12'04", 5 August 2020

5 km - 20'54", 23 August 2020

7 km - 30'47", 28 August 2020

10 km - 44'32", 4 October 2020 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Running classes

 I've been running for 5 years now and, based on my experience, I can say that when I lace up my shoes and go out I usually run setting 4 different paces, according to my purposes or the external conditions. Here is a table that recap them:












When I simply intend to enjoy the landscape or contemplate a particularly beautiful horizon, I choose the Koala mode. This is also the pace I prefer when I need to warm up, when I am not fit, when I have to recover after an injury or a long stop, or when the weather conditions are not favourable (either too cold or too hot/humid).

Class B is the most effective if I want to improve my stamina and my endurance. Some athletes consider 5'00" a jogging pace, but for my standards it falls into the category of training speed. Furthermore, running at this pace qualifies my performance as "anti-LDL cholesterol" measure (and pro HDL cholesterol run). 

When I feel as fit as a young gazelle (unfortunately it doesn't happen every day...) and when I feel that I can improve a PB, I choose the class C pace. Here the weather conditions play an important role, and this is the reason why I love to run in September, when wind is not that strong and cold and the temperature is around 20° (I am talking about Mediterranean environment).  Usually I run at this speed in a track or in an even, measurable path (3, 5, 10 or 21 km). 

The Lizard pace is for interval training and sprinting sessions (400, 500, 800, 1000, 2000 meters). It is functional to improve class C medium-distance performances. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

New 5K PB with a new method

 Traditionally, September is the month of Personal Bests. Today I've set a new PB on the 5K distance, improving the last record by 15 seconds. I broke the 21 minutes wall, and my new PB is now 20'54" (around 4:10 min/km). Now, some reflections:

- Although I am not a teen anymore, I've been recently improving my PBs costantly in the last 6 months. They say: after you turn 40, your performances will start declining. Why am I improving, then? I think that in my 30's I didn't use my full potential, so now there is still room for improvement. To explain it better: let's assume you are 25, an age that allows you to cover 5K in 15 minutes, but your PB is 19 minutes; at 40, you decide to start training again and you set a PB of 18 minutes. Even if you're 15 older, you've improved your PB, but this is due to the fact that when you where younger you did not train properly and you ran far below your potential. Of course, when you're 40 you cannot expect to cover 5K in 15 minutes (unless you're a pro), yet you can still place yourself between, let's say, 17 and 19 minutes. I guess this is my case. 

- This time the PB is not to be ascribed to the interval training method, but to the Murakami's approach, the Japanese writer and marathon runner. In his book about running, he claims that he trains 6 days a week, covering 10 km at a "decent pace" (he doesn't specify the speed, but I guess that he means 5 min/km or below). Even if I was not particularly fit during the last 10 days due to digestion problems (namely, reflux), I decided to hit the bullet and cover the 10K distance as long as I could (4 days in a row). The following week, feeling better, I slightly reduced the mileage, covering 7 km every day, part of which I focused on running below 4'30". The results was today's PB. 

- My next goal is to set a new PB in the 10K distance (I think I can achieve that) and maybe, perhaps, probably, breaking the 20 minutes barrier in the 5K. But to achieve this goal, I think I will have to resort to the boring but effective interval training. We'll see.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

New 5K PB exactly 4 years after!

 Who said that growing old is a drag? Not me! Today, 4 years after setting my PB in the 5K distance (23 August 2016, 21'21" in Alghero "Maria Pia" track), I covered the same distance in 21 minutes and 9 seconds, improving my last record by 12 seconds. This time I didn't train using the interval training approach, but I focused on improving my speed and stamina on the 1km and 3km distance (see table). It was a lenghty process, but more diverse and entertaining. The weather conditions helped me reach my goals: after three days of intense heat, today a fresh breeze from NW and a temperature of 26° pushed me towards my new PB (I admit that when I went out today I didn't feel like running fast...).

1 KM Distance

3 KM Distance

Date

Time

Date

Time

29 July

3’27”

5 August

12’04”

28 July

3’43”

29 June

12’26”

24 July

3’43”

11 June

12’36”

23 July

3’36”

2 June

12’50”

19 July

3’36”

31 May

13’02”

17 July

3’35”

27 May

13’13”

14 July

3’40”

20 May

13’25”

11 July

3’47”

17 May

13’26”

10 July

3’59”

15 May

13’37”

27 June

4’06”

13 May

13’51”

 4 June

3’53”

11 May

14’26”


Saturday, June 13, 2020

40-day quarantine programme

Every cloud has a silver lining, they say. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I had to lock myself down at home for several days from the beginning of March until the beginning of May 2020. While the world outside seemed quite crossed and complained about the strict measures (at least this is the perception I had watching TV and reading hate speech in the internet), I have to admit that I really enjoyed those two months. I kept on working online, I learned some new digital tools and I didn't miss the chance to exercise. For this particular purpose, I designed my own programme, aimed at three tasks:
1) to improve my flexibility (I set the target to touch my toes with my hands, as I was able to do 20 years ago or so);
2) to strengthen the abdominals;
3) to tone up my body, in order to be ready to wear my running shoes again at the end of the lockdown.

I found plenty of tutorials and programmes on YouTube, and those which suited me best were the ones made by "Lumowell", an Italian channel specialised on fitness and healthy lifestyles. I chose the one called "intensive abdominals" (16 minutes) and "total body without weights" (30 minutes, which I later integrated with weights). The first two weeks I met some difficulties, but I was aware that with no pain you get no gain. The Rocky soundtrack helped me overcome the initial obstacles and after 4 weeks I was able to complete the whole tutorials with no breaks. Before beginning the exercises, I started with a short warm up and a 10-minute stretching session, which allowed me to achieve my goal after 1 month: finally I was able to touch my toes on standing position and sitting on the floor! (But I really went through hell). When the quarantine was over, I intended to make up for the lost time and started running again, but alas, I realised that it would have taken time to restore stamina, resistance and strength. Two months inactivity had a stronger impact on my shape than I expected and it took me one and a half month to catch up and reach the standards of January. 
Here below is the 6-week (or 40-day) workout programme I followed during the quarantine:

Day
Body
Abdominals
18 March
Exercises, 18 min

19 March

150 abd, 8 min
20 March
Exercises, 30 min

21 March

150 abd, 8 min
22 March
Exercises, 30 min

23 March

105 abd, 8 min
24 March
Exercises, 30 min

25 March

150 abd, 8 min
26 March
Exercises, 30 min

27 March

150 abd, 8 min
28 March
Exercises, 30 min

29 March

150 abd, 8 min
30 March
Exercises, 30 min

31 March

300 abd, 30 min
1 April
Rest

2 April

300 abd, 30 min
3 April
Exercises with 1 kg weight, 30 min

4 April

300 abd, 30 min
5 April
Exercises with 1 kg weight, 30 min

6 April

300 abd, 30 min
7 April
Exercises with 1 kg weight, 30 min

8 April

300 abd, 30 min
9 April
Exercises with 3 kg weight, 30 min

10 April

300 abd, 30 min
11 April
Exercises with 3 kg weight, 40 min

12 April

400 abd, 30 min
13 April
Exercises with 3 kg weight, 50 min

14 April

300 abd, 30 min
15 April
Exercises with 3 kg weight, 50 min

16 April
Rest

17 April

300 abd, 30 min
18 April
Exercises with 3 kg weight, 50 min

19 April

150 abd, 8 min
20 April
Exercises with 3 kg weight, 50 min

21 April

300 abd, 30 min
22 April
Exercises with 3 kg weight, 50 min

23 April

300 abd, 30 min
24 April
Exercises with 3 kg weight, 50 min

25 April

300 abd, 30 min
26 April
Exercises with 3 kg weight, 50 min

27 April

300 abd, 30 min
28 April
Exercises with 3 kg weight, 50 min