(Edited by Brad Minus) The Decision My 3 years of running experience started with multiple injuries including a couple of ankle fractures. However, I still managed to complete a marathon, a 50K and...
I can hear it now….”Know wonder they call you a Goof…you are crazy.”, “So, if I run slower I will get faster? You are out of your mind.” It was not to long ago I used to think the same thing, but as with everything I post, there are reasons and science to back it up.
Let’s face it, logic would dictate that pushing the pace of your easy days, as close to race pace as possible, would help you get fit faster and help you speed up, right? A lot of coaches, including myself, will tell you to run slow on your easy days, and easy days should be making up anywhere from 50-75% of your weekly mileage.
I have clients continuously asking me, “why are my easy days so slow?” The latest is my famous sit downs with my runners telling them to slow down after examining their data and finding them running tempo speeds during an easy day.
The answer to the question is what Arthur Lydiard and most other coaches would call the aerobic system. The aerobic system, or aerobic development, is the one of the most important fundamentals into unlocking your true potential.
Let us first check the stats on the energy contribution the aerobic system provides for races. As you can in the chart below, even the shorter events like the mile, over 80% of the energy required to run the race is produced via the aerobic system.
Aerobic System? What is it?
Aerobic training is the scientific fact that to move your body at higher intensities, the body needs to break down sugar and convert it to glycogen so it can be used as energy.
The aerobic system plus oxygen starts a chemical reaction known as Aerobic Glycolysis which continuously powers continuous endurance activities. In the aerobic system energy ATP is produced through Pyruvic Acid and Lipid/Protein fragments entering the Kreb Cycle and the Electron Transport Cycle.
During aerobic respiration (yeah, that’s breathing) the body uses all the oxygen it needs to power the muscles. When you are running in your “aerobic zones” (easy runs), your muscles have enough oxygen to produce all the energy they need to perform.
See? Improving your capacity to transport and efficiently use all the available oxygen to produce energy will enable you to race faster since this makes up 85-99% of the energy needed to race.
Since running easy is aerobic development, what better way is there to train the aerobic system? There is none.
What goes on in the body during aerobic development?
Capillary development – capillaries are the smallest of the body’s blood vessels and they help deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscle tissues while exporting waste products out. The larger the number of capillaries you have surrounding each muscle fiber, the faster you can transport oxygen and carbohydrates to your muscles.
Aerobic training (easy running) increases the number of capillaries per muscle fiber, thus improving how efficiently you can deliver oxygen and fuel to your working muscles and how quickly they can clear waste products.
Myoglobin is a protein in the muscles that binds the oxygen that enters the muscle fiber. When oxygen becomes limited during intense exercise, myoglobin releases oxygen to the mitochondria to produce more energy.
The more myoglobin you have in the fibers of your muscles, the more oxygen is transported under aerobic stress. Like, uh, during a race. Aerobic training increases the amount of myoglobin you have in your muscle fibers.
Mitochondria are microscopic organelle found in your muscles cells that contribute to the production of ATP (energy). In the presence of oxygen, mitochondria breakdown carbohydrate, fat, and protein into usable energy.
Therefore, the more mitochondria you have, and the greater their density, the more energy you can generate during exercise, which will enable you to run faster and longer.
Aerobic training increases both the number and the size of the mitochondria in your muscle fibers.
Suffice it to say that aerobic development is the single most important factor to long-term development.
Of course, track workouts, VO2 max sessions, tempo runs and cross training will increase your fitness and are still incredibly important to racing faster. However, nothing will help improve continuously like developing the aerobic system.
Aerobic development is dependent upon running in your aerobic zones (for my runners Zones 1-3). This is why running faster on your easy days develop the aerobic system. Once you step out of those aerobic zones, on easy runs you diminish development of your aerobic system, but you also increase the chance for injury. Nope, two negatives do not make a positive in running.
This is one of the single biggest mistakes runners of all experiences make in their training.
As a coach and trainer I have always distinguished myself because I am always able to give my clients and readers the “why”. (Sometimes my clients end up telling me to just shut my mouth. when I am training with them because I am continuously telling them why they are doing each movement of an exercise or workout. I guess it may not be an advantage all the time. Go figure.)
Optimal Aerobic Development
Scientific research has been able to identify how the aerobic system adapts and responds to certain training paces. Physiologically we know:
- Capillary development appears to peak at between 60 and 75 percent of 5k pace.
- Maximum stimulation of myoglobin in Type I muscle fiber (Endurance Muscles) occurs at about 63-77 percent of VO2max. 63-77 percent of VO2max is about 55-75 percent of 5k pace.
- Two researchers, Holloszy (1967) and Dudley (1982) published some of the defining research on optimal distance and pace for mitochondrial development. In short, Holloszy found that maximum mitochondrial development when running at 50-75 percent of V02 max. Likewise, Dudley found that the best strategy for slow-twitch, mitochondria enhancement was running for 90 minutes per outing at 70 to 75 per cent V02 max.
It is pretty clear now right? Your optimal easy run pace for aerobic development is between 55 and 75 percent of your 5k pace, with the average pace being about 65 percent.
It’s also evident that running faster than 75% of your 5k pace on your long run has very little additional physiological benefit.
In fact, the research indicates that it would be just as advantageous to run slower as it would be to run faster. Running around half of your 5k pace is pretty easy right? Wouldn’t you know it, the evidence is clear that it still provides near optimal aerobic development.
Feel free to let me hear your feedback. I welcome any other case studies, personal experiences and other research as I am always learning. I provide you with the best content I can, but I have an open-mind and know that there may be other research out there that may negate information I post.
The Tampa Bay Bloggers had an opportunity to see Elf the Musical on opening night and as a new member I was thrilled at the chance to take part. Now as I am a new member I am not sure of the background of my fellow bloggers, but I do have a modest amount of training and experience in theater (www.bradminus.com), so I may be just a tad more specific especially on the acting, but nevertheless I hope my review will be informative enough to help you decide whether to see it or not. Just a little foreshadowing….go see it.
Elf the Musical is based on the 2003 holiday movie Elf starring Will Farrell about a human baby who found his way into Santa’s bag during his Christmas visit to a local orphanage. Since the boy was already an orphan, Santa and his elves decided to raise the child at the north pole just as they would any elf child. The problem was Buddy, the human boy, grew to be over six feet tall. After a small slip of the tongue by one of the other elves, Buddy learns that he is indeed human and asks Santa about his parents. It is then that Buddy decides to go and find his father in the big city of New York.
NETwork Presentations LLC’s production of this family Christmas musical was alive with high energy musical numbers, colorful set pieces and smooth transitions from scene to scene. In the past decade or two, Broadway and national tours have started to move toward high tech sets and stage work which include hgh intensive set changes, creative light and sound effects, and even some pyrotechnics. Very recently I have noticed a small shift back to a more classical route where the set pieces are simple but painted well, the lighting is simple and the music and sound are achieved by a live orchestra instead of musical tracks. This musical is a perfect example. This simpler style has shifted the responsibility of the quality of productions back to the performers and less to the designers of sets, sound and lighting. In my opinion it makes for a better show, but I may be a little biased.
The play opens up with Santa (Gordon Gray) sitting in his living room fighting with his television set. He opens the fourth wall and greets the audience as if we were sitting on the floor right in his living room. After subtly turning off his cell phone, he opens a book and prepares to tell us the story of Buddy the Elf. At the point the living room is whisked away to Santa’s workshop where the elves are preparing for Christmas. Gordon’s depiction of Santa throughout the play is wonderful. His energy and boastfulness helped me to get lost in the show and actually believe I was at the north pole.
Matt Kopec’s characterization of Buddy is spot on as his high energy, child like characterization makes the audience believe this six-foot boy really does believe he is an elf and is horrified when he finds out he is actually human. Matt’s singing voice is pure musical theater and was a joy to hear every time he opened his mouth. I found myself waiting impatiently for his next number.
The real treat came from the character of Jovie (Kae Hennies), who captures Buddy’s heart the moment he sees her in the office of his biological father, Walter Hobbs (Drew Culver). Jovie has to be coaxed in to singing during the number “A Christmas Song”, but when she finally decides to sing out, her voice beautifully resonates throughout the theatre and when paired with Buddy’s the duo create pure musical brilliance for any ear.
Other notable performances were by Michael, Buddy’s half brother played by Connor Barth who even as a young actor, had a mature voice for his age. He tended to get a little pitchy in the upper registers, but because of his characterization was easily missed and forgivable. Julia Louise Hosack played Emily Hobbs, Buddy’s step mother, also had a fantastic musical voice and she was able to lead Michael into musical duets that gave me the “warm fuzzies”. The connection and chemistry between these two well trained actors allowed me to believe they were really mother and son.
The only drawback of this production that tugged me out of my holiday nirvana, was the voice of Drew Pulver whom played Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s father. His performance was not inferior, it just did not mix well the rest of the ensemble in my humble opinion. It was obvious to the audience that most of the ensemble were trained in contemporary music or musical theater When Walter sang it was clearly operatic, to a point where the words were garbled and I couldn’t make out the lyrics. Unfortunately, every time he sang it was distracting and his voice did not meld with the rest of the ensemble.
This show is classical musical theatre with simply painted sets, wonderful acting, and is sure to bring a smile to you and your family should you decide to see it. It is a true Holiday treat.
Fri. 2 and 8 p.m.
Sat. 2 and 8 p.m.
Sun. 1 and 6:30 p.m.
There is a secret getaway we have here in Tampa, and it is very famous among Tampa runners and triathletes. Especially if you are a regular runner of the Four Green Fields Tuesday run, the McDinton’s Pub Tuesday Run, and the Yard of Ale Thursday run. As a result, if you want the finest coffee and espresso drinks, the wildest and most nutritious smoothies and unbelievably delicious homemade scones and baked goods, you need to visit Jet City Espresso.
The Heart of Jet City Espresso
Jet City is owned and operated by Jessica Glover who brings a world of restaurant experience and tastes to her establishment. She is committed to producing good coffee and freshly baked goods. She converted the sunroom of her house into the shop. Do you want homemade baked goods? Well, Jet City is the place to go. Her scones are as delicious as they are fresh and natural. Jessica is a fan of the most organic, natural and fresh ingredients possible. Are you on a gluten-free diet? No worries. She has gluten-free scones, rice crispy treats, and muffins. Do you practice a Paleo lifestyle? No problem there either. She provides Paleo Brownies and scones too. Your mouth is watering now. Isn’t it?
Speaking of Paleo, what about her espresso drinks? Do you require Coconut or Almond milk to make your latte or cappuccino? Not only will she make it with your favorite milk, but if you ask her nicely she might even sweeten it with coconut sugar or organic honey.
I can continue to go on and on about Jessica’s delicious goods and coffee, but what makes this little secret so special is her rare positive energy that will not allow you to feel anything but happy during your visit. Because of the aura of positivity that the patrons of this magical coffee house also help to continue to create an atmosphere of, well, “home.” Walk into this place once, and you are on your way to becoming one of the family and before you know it Jessica and the other patrons are calling you by name and you are receiving hugs and kisses on the cheek whenever you enter or leave. Well, at least that what happens to me.
Most noteworthy, the walls are covered in with paintings of local musicians that were created by Jessica herself. There are stands with guitars, mandolins, and banjos each of which can be picked up at any time and played with perfection by Jessica Glover herself. When the conversation is not taken over by stories of races, or upcoming athletic events you might be lucky to find a couple of musicians jamming out. Maybe you will hear, original tunes, contemporary covers, classic hits, or Jessica’s favorite, Irish Folk music.
You Won’t be Disappointed
In a society where almost all of the coffee shops are commercial, the coffee is burnt, the baked goods and food are shipped frozen and microwaved, Jet City brings you back when coffee was made to perfection, the baked goods were fresh and the environment was positive and friendly. Beware, walking into Jet City one time guarantees you will constantly be aching to return.
|You might remember this woman from Tribute Tuesday #1|
|Susan and Maya|
I started, as always with a warm-up of Dave Scott drills, ballistic stretches, high knees, hamstring leg-ups, booty kickers and bounders. My main set consisted of a 1 mile run at an 8:15 minute mile, Four 3 minute sprints with 45 seconds rest in between, and another 1 mile run at 7:45. I cooled down with my usual routine of 50 walking lunges, 50 monkey lunges, 50 squats, 50 crab walks and static stretches. Does that sounds like taper week to you? At the time I didn’t, but afterward I understood. I was fatigued to a point where I was recovering fast, but I felt like I could do more. I am not sure if it will actually do anything for me as far as strength or speed, but it did boost my confidence, which was just fine with me.
|Bayshore Tuesday Morning|
This morning (Wednesday), I looked at my plan and an expletive was about to come through my mouth for two reasons; a) I didn’t sleep well the night before, and b) I really thought this was taper week. As I perused the scheduled butt kicking I was about to give myself, I realized I might have been wrong. Here was my bike trainer workout this morning:
Warm-Up – 50 single leg drills on each leg, 100 single leg drills on each leg, 10 minute spin in the small chain ring
Main Set – (and get this) Pyramid Intervals: 1 min sprint, 1 min spin, 2 min sprint, 1 min spin all the way to 6 min sprint, 1 min spin and back down to 1.
Cool Down – 15 min spin and 1 mile transition run
I didn’t expect a workout of this intensity this morning, but at the conclusion, dripping with sweat, I realized how ready I was for this weekend. I might not do as well as I did in Augusta, but I am sure going to give it one hell of a try.
Speaking of workouts, the off-season is coming up and my goals are to develop some leg strength that will allow me to average 24 mph on the bike comfortably, arm, core and back strength to allow me to propel in the water, run faster, and stay in the aerobars longer on the bike. I also would like to increase my flexibility to keep relieving pressure on the injury in my lower back.
Here is one of the first workouts I ever did to comeback from my back injury which helped me attain the base cardio, core and strength I have today and which has allowed me to enjoy the success I have been having. (Well, at least I think it’s success.)
Warm-up: (1 set x 10 reps)
- Walking Knee Hug
- Lateral Jumps
- Fwd Lunge w/ Overhead Reach
- Jumping Jacks
- Reverse Lunge w/ Twist
Core (3 sets x 10 reps)
- YTLI Raises
- Swiss Ball Plank
- Single Leg Glute Bridge
Strength – Supersets (3 supersets x 10 reps)
- Prisoner Squat/T- Push up
- Dumbell(DMB) Reverse Lunge/Inverted Row
- DMB Single Leg Romanian DeadLift/DMB Push Press
- DMB Lateral Lunge/Pull up
Cardio Ciruit (20 reps of each exercise x 3 rounds)
- Kettlebell Swing
- Squat Jump
- Shuttle Run
The mailbox provided a gift when I got home today. It will seem pretty cheesy to most people, and by most people I mean almost everyone. Vistaprint offered me a free sample prototype while I was trying to negotiate customized t-shirts for the A-Train. Of course I didn’t need to give them our final design, since I didn’t have one yet, so I gave them something quick, but I thought it was kinda cool. Ready for a laugh? Here ya go.