Early June Weekend Interval Run Block
Today was one of the most fun runs I’ve had in a long time.
Let’s set this run up first, then I’ll get into some thoughts from the trail and the excitement that ensued. Since the beginning of May I’ve been running the Great Virtual Run Across Tennessee. It’s 1000k between May 1 and September 31 which averages out to be about five miles a day. I’ll probably write about that once GVRAT1000k is behind me.
Two weeks ago, I went on a trip the boundary waters in Northern Minnesota with my Dad. We made a pretty good push back to a favorite spot of ours about seven miles deep, paddling and portaging all the way. We came out a few days later to Minneapolis on fire and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.
These trips take more out of me now as I age and look to stay injury free in rhythm with training and life so I gave myself a week to just let my body heal and recover.
That brings us to today, well almost. Yesterday I got back in the saddle and started making my way (virtually) across Tennessee again. I felt pretty good and pretty much just shook the rust off for 5.8 miles. Today I was looking forward to adding to the mileage and I was hoping for my daily five a maybe a couple more. As I pulled up to the parking lot, the park was a very busy place. I skipped over a few lots until I found one tucked right into the center of the park and got a spot in the shade.
As I was leaving my vehicle with a bottle full of Nuun I grabbed an s cap and popped it as the air was pretty heavy and I figured I’d be sweating quite a bit.
In running there is a balance that is important to strike between being hydrated and having enough electrolytes to help prevent cramping during running. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum having too much water and not enough electrolytes and also having too much electrolytes and not much water.
When you have too much water, in my experience, it’s not good. Our bodies need electrolytes to keep all the muscles working. The electrolytes help send signals through nerves. If we don’t have those electrical connections or if they’re insufficient to cope with the demand placed on the system, muscles cramp and movement becomes quite labored.
I’ve also been on the end of the spectrum where I’ve got too much electrolyte in relation to water. When this happens, I feel nauseous and fatigued. It’s almost as though the body is overloaded as the s cap capsule breaks open and all of the electrolyte spreads to the body.
From experience, one experience in particular, I know this is temporary and a really good place to be. I can’t remember if it was 2018 or 2019 as I was coming into County Road 6. The sun was getting low in the sky and I was traversing the bluff about to drop down to the aid station. It was a mystical setting at dusk 42 miles into a 100-mile effort and night was approaching.
Hours prior I had gotten behind on electrolytes and started cramping so I probably overdid the s caps in hopes I would be able to keep moving. I felt lethargic and tired. All of a sudden everything changed and I crushed the night!
Back to today. I thought I recognized the feeling I was dealing with and looked forward to the next hour or so, even though I was feeling like crap and barely moving at the time. As I got back to the south side of the park things started firing. The combination of rest from running, shaking things out the day before and overshooting the electrolyte balance all contributed to some REALLY fun speed intervals.
The moral of this story is, listen to your body. It will tell you everything you need to know if you listen with intention and the willingness to learn. Today was one of the most fun runs I’ve had in a long time.
Today was another really fun day on the trail. It started much the same as yesterday and turned into more of yesterday. The intervals started off approaching anaerobic threshold and by the last of 5 or 6, were crossing nearly into zone 5. I wasn’t going faster than yesterday but I was reaching a higher heart rate than yesterday. How could that be? Cardiac drift is what some call it.
Usually the term cardiac drift is used to describe heart rate over the course of one effort. In this case I’m using it to describe over three efforts. Friday was nearly 6 miles, Saturday a clean 10 and Sunday 6 again. I would be able to complete these efforts without much drift if I was cruising at steady state intensity. As I added intervals, my heart (a muscle) is having to work harder. If I were to add many more days in a row of interval intensity it could be detrimental to my health. Recovery is an activity and that’s what I’ll focus on Monday, maybe even Tuesday. The intervals sure are fun though!
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