Saturday, November 26, 2011

Workout Friday #2: Mile Repeats

Back again with another butt-busting workout that runners both fear and love: Mile Repeats.
Mile repeats are a longer interval designed to push you just out of your comfort zone. The purpose of doing a mile repeat is to help build up speed, it's essentially like a weight workout for your legs because of the effort put forth.
Depending on the type of race you are training for, your number of reps will vary greatly. Since the workout I'm describing here has an 800m active recovery, or float, the number of reps is going to be lower than your typical mile repeat workout with a static recovery. Refer to the table below to find out how many reps you should do.
Workout Breakdown:
As with any sort of speed workout, start off with about a mile warmup.
Main Set
  • 1600m at a pace that is just uncomfortable for the distance you're training for
  • 800m float (pace that is just barely comfortable) for recovery
When you finish the 800m float, go straight into the next 1600. There is no stopping and resting in this workout. After all the repeats, take a minute or so to get your heart rate down and then go for about a mile cooldown.
Depending on how many reps you're doing, the total mileage will range from 6.5 miles all the way to 12.5, including the warmup and cooldown miles. If you have any doubts as to what pace you should be doing for this workout, I have included a pace calculator specifically designed for mile repeats to tell you your splits.
*To make this workout a little easier, replace the 800m float with a static rest (stand and wait) of about 3 minutes. Add on two repeats to get your mileage up, and you're good!
Now get out there, get fast, and enjoy The Life of a Runner!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shoe Review Tuesday #9 (Pearl Izumi Streak II)

Pearl Izumi Streak II
Support Category: Neutral/Lightweight
Weight: 7.6 oz (size 9)
Cost: $110
Available in Widths: No
Multiple Colors Available: Yes
Durability: 250 - 300 miles
Updates from Previous Model: Lower heel collar, Energy Foam forefoot cushion, Ortholite sockliner
Upper: Lightweight, supportive, mesh, seamless
Arch Height: Low
Heel-Toe Drop: 9 mm (20mm heel, 11mm forefoot)

Shoe Specs
The Pearl Izumi Streak II is one of Pearl Izumi's few performance running shoes. Designed to be a racer for any distance from 5k to marathon, the Streak is a lightweight but sturdy shoe. Pearl Izumi prides themselves in making a 360 degree lacing system with internal eyelets to really cinch up the midfoot wrap around the instep. In addition, a new feature in the Streak II is that the lacing and lace webbing is made from 100% recycled materials.
  • Heel- This show has a very low heel collar, meaning it does not come very high on the Achilles. This can be a good and bad thing. It is a good thing because it won't rub at all when you are training/racing. However it can be a bad thing if you are prone to your heels slipping in a shoe because you are sitting much higher with this one than in others. In terms of fit, it is a snug, grippy heel, good for people with narrow heels.
  • Instep- With their top-notch lacing system, this shoe can really be as tight or loose on your instep as you want. This is definitely the best shoe brand for keeping the shoe fitting well on your instep. The upper hugs the entire midfoot by wrapping from the top almost to underneath the arch for maximum support and security.
  • Toebox- The Streak II offers a narrow toebox with low vertical height. This means the shoe almost comes down to a point at the toes with the upper being barely above the toes and hugging lightly on the sides of the feet. If you have wide feet at all, this would not be a comfortable shoe.
  • Flexibiliy- As a general rule, racing/lightweight shoes are going to be flexible. The same holds true with the Streak II. Rated on a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being most flexible), this shoe stands at about a 7, which is where you would want to be with a structured neutral shoe. It bends with the foot in every way possible while still holding true to the racing last it sits on.
  • A look at the lacing system
  • Cushion- A bit more padded than you would expect in a shoe from this category. Lots of cushion in the heel tapering down to a little bit under the forefoot, lead to an approximate 6 out of 10 on the cush scale. I will say that because of the extra cushion, it makes it a great shoe for longer speedwork days or even racing a long distance.
Personal Experience
I have only used this as a speedwork shoe. I've gone about 50 miles or so on it so far and it is holding up great. For the days where I'm running 8 to 10 miles of speedwork, there isn't really another shoe in my closet I would rather go to because of the durable cushion that protects my feet from the extended intense pounding. The only real negative I have to say about the Streak II is that the heel collar is really low and gives a slipping feeling if you don't tie a runners knot. Other than that, it's a great shoe. Reasons I like the Streak II:
  • Lightweight and Durable
  • Ties really well and holds my foot in place
  • Not any more expensive than other shoes on the market
  • I feel this is Pearl Izumi's first shoe they have done really well
So if you're in the market for a new racing shoe or lightweight trainer, go try on the Streak II. This is not a shoe I would go out to buy solely because it is the most comfortable shoe ever and that lasts longer than my other shoes. I would get it if I was in the market for a new pair and looking for something a little lighter weight than my other shoes. Or if I was having problems with shoes slipping, I might try this shoe with a runners knot. Overall this shoe gets a 6 out of 10 for me, it's a good shoe, but not my favorite.
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Workout Friday #1: Advanced Speedplay

I'm back! At long last I have come back to help make everybody enjoy living the Life of a Runner! This time I'm back with a new weekly recurring article called "Workout Friday" where I break down a track/speed workout. This week we are going to talk about a workout I don't really have a great name for, so I call it "Advanced Speedplay".

This is a workout designed for people who are training for anything 10k or longer. A long 2500m set is repeated anywhere from 3-5 times depending on your skill level and distance you are training for. Follow this table to determine how many reps you should do.
 Workout Breakdown:
Start off with a 1 mile warmup at an easy relaxed pace, just to get your muscles loosened up.

Main Set
2500m without rest
  • 200m at 800m pace
  • 400m at 5k pace
  • 1600m at 10k pace
  • 300m at All Out Sprint pace
After the sprint take a 3 minute static rest (just stand around for 3 minutes), and hop right into the next one.

When you're done with all your reps, take about 3 minutes before going and doing a 1 mile cooldown.
Depending on how many reps you do, your total mileage can range anywhere from 6.7 to 9.5 miles (including the warmup and cooldown).

If you don't know what speed you should be going, I have included this pace program specifically designed for this workout to tell you your speed (a feature I plan on having for all Workout Fridays).

Good luck with this workout, and don't push yourself too hard. If you have any suggestions for a workout for next Friday, leave a comment below, or tell me how you like the workout either here or on Facebook! Thanks for reading and enjoying The Life of a Runner.