Strava has been known for some time as a popular site for cyclists, but runners have often seemed a second thought in the sites design. This year the popular competative workout tracking site shifted gears pushing runners as a major focus, first by signing some major named runners such as Kilian Jornet (a beast of a runner in ultramarathon distance races) and Lauren Fleshmen and adding a workout of the week blog post hosted by a professional runner. I think this move is smart by Strava and I feel they smartly are pushing their running offerings more towards the trail and ultra runner.
This can be seen in their first workout of the week segment, The Powerstation workout. The idea behind this workout is to perform a six mile run and in the middle of the run find a hill or incline. From the bottom of the incline the runner then needs to run as fast as possible up the incline for thirty seconds and then stop and walk back down again. The runner then repeats this seven more times, each time trying to push past the initial thirty second point. After running eight thirty second sprints uphill the runner then cools down for three more miles of running.
I had a ten mile run with mixed speed work scheduled for Thursday night so I figured I would give this powerstation workout a try in the middle of my ten mile run. I figured ten miles versus six miles would not make too much of a difference and might help more with preparing for future ultra runs. I ran my first five miles pushing a bit and managed to average close to lower seventeen to upper sixteen mile per minute pace.
Up til the end of last year I was using a run/walk strategy for all my races and training runs. Using this strategy I was running a fourteen to fifteen minute per mile pace but after a year and some I found my performance was flat and unimproving. I looked at my training and realized by not running continuously in my training I was negating the benefits of running distances and reducing the muscular adaptations from running continuous for long periods ot time. So from that point on, my training runs have focused on continuous running which has resulted in upper seventeen minute per mile pace to upper sixteen minute per mile pace over the last three weeks of running. So for now, upper sixteen minute per mile pace to very low seventeen minute per mile pace is fast.
Then at mile five I came to the incline had wanted to use for my speed work. This eleveation would provide a ten foot elevation gain based on how fast and far I went for each thirty second push. As recommended in the workout description I left my water bottle at the end of my first segment and tried to push past it on all remaining segments. I switched from my audiobook to some music and finished all eight segments.
After the last segment I began to push forward slowly, I still had five more miles to cover, including quite a bit of slow and steady climbs ( a few of those were over 50 feet of elevation change). I wobbled a bit and tried to just push forward, the uphill speed segments had done their work and now I just had to finish five more miles. I wobbled on at an 18 minute per mile pace. By the time I got to my last mile and was heading down the home stretch to my house my legs were so tired, my mind shouted to walk. Instead I pushed my dead limbs on knowing I only had a mile to go, fighting the urge to walk the entire way. At the end of the mile I came to my drive way. I stopped my watch and started the quarter mile to my house, using the walk as a cool down. I had pushed myself and had continued my slow run for the entire last mile. The speed workout and mileage had done their work, my legs were more tired than they had been for a long time. I loved this workout and I loved adding the extra mileage to the suggested workout. I am eager to see what the next Strava workout of the week has in store for me. Til next time.