Workouts of the Week (WoWs)
(From Alistair) This week's run workout is an off-the-track speed-building workout that I have led in the past. The intent is to get faster, but I also just like it because it varies, which makes the workout go by quickly. It's the Oxygen Delivery Intervals again (ODIs) but I call them Grass ODIs because my team in high school did them on grass when the track wasn't available.
You can do this anywhere. It's best to avoid city streets where you have to wait for stoplights because of the timed nature of the workout, so I usually use my warmup to get into a more residential neighborhood.
- Warm up (1 mile, or 5-10 minutes)
- ODI sets. Each set contains something repeated 4 times and takes 13 minutes:
- 42 seconds stride (ending at 0:42, 3:27, 6:12, 8:57
- 33 seconds burn (ending at 1:15, 4:00, 6:45, 9:30
- 90 seconds jog recovery (ending at 2:45, 5:30, 8:15, 11:00)
- repeat a-c 4x (ending at 11:00)
- continue into an additional 2:00 jog at the end of each set (ending at 13:00)
- 42 seconds stride (ending at 0:42, 3:27, 6:12, 8:57
- Repeat #2 as many times as you want (beginner can do 1, intermediate is 2-3, and advanced is 4-5 but I usually get bored after 3-4).
- Cool down (1 mile, or 5-10 minutes)
Hopefully that makes sense, I've never explained this in an email before! Basically the idea is do 1:15 of fast running and 1:30 of slow running 4 times in one set. I gave the end times to help you keep track -- each fast one ends at 15, then 00, then 45, then 30, and the slow bits end at 45 then 30 then 15 then 00.
The inevitable question is how fast and how slow to go. The main goal is to never stop running (even if your jog is the same speed as a walk, doesn't matter, the jog is better!) so run whatever speed you can do that at. The "stride" indicates you mostly speed up by lengthening your stride and the "burn" means you move something like a sprint, maybe it's good to imagine chasing someone down at the end of a race (but perhaps a bit slower so that you can repeat, maybe mile pace is a good goal).
(From Mike Brown) I am going to do a workout that, when repeated weekly, is intended to slowly boost your power output ability. It will be a 10 minute warm up followed by 20 minutes at intensity [defined below], 5 minutes recovery, 20 more minutes intensity, 10 minutes cool down.
Intensity of the 20 minute intervals is defined in any of the following ways:
1) ~90% of functional threshold power (if you don't know your FTP or even know what it is fear not...)
2) About a 5-6 on an exertion scale between 1-10. On this scale, 1-2 is hardly noticeable effort, 2-3 is what you would do for your longest continuous rides, 4-5 would be perhaps a fast ride with a group, 6-7 is tough to maintain for an extended time; talking not possible. 7-8 is tiring AF and you can't do it for more than a minute or 2, 8 is just short of an all out spring, 10 is when you're being chased by a jaguar
3) The intensity really is whatever you can maintain consistently for 20 minutes and then do again 5 minutes later for 20 minutes, though that's a little self referential, huh?
(Alistair's Trail Run) This week's suggested trail workout is my favorite, the Arroyo Seco Trail. It's relatively flat for running in the San Gabriels, but gets you right into nature. Right now the streams are all high due to the rains, so you won't get more than 2.5-3 miles in before you'll probably end up with wet feet, but the crossings are safe and the water is relatively warm so it doesn't super matter. You'll be rewarded at the end of 4 miles in (all uphill, but that means it's all downhill back!) with a dam built in 1942 during the Era of Channelization, when LA built all the concrete containers for all its water and the US was building dams all over the place.
One of the reasons why I like this trail is it has lots of relics from a bygone era of LA, when there were lots of buildings up in the hills, mostly used as resort getaways I believe. All along this trail you will see pieces of old roads, foundations, and retaining walls built for who knows what. It's fun to imagine.
The other reason is that as a river scientist, it's actually quite interesting. The river has changed significantly during my ~4 years running that trail, and as a result the trail has changed a lot too (though it's still just running up a canyon so there's not that much room to move). The point of the dams (the one at the end of the trail, and the Devil's Gate Dam, which forms the Hahamonga Park) are actually more sediment control than water control. The San Gabriels are among the fastest eroding mountains on Earth and so there is huge amounts of sediment coming off. When it rains a lot, that sediment can get washed into Altadena/Pasadena/etc. and cause A LOT of damage. As you run in the arroyo you will see giant boulders that have been transported by catastrophic flows (they're the same large "riverstone" that many old Craftsman houses use for pillars).
There's an interesting ongoing dispute where people like to use Hahamonga Park for recreation, but there is all sediment that has filled behind the dam in the last few decades and the dam is now full. The city is trying to remove the sediment (that's what all the giant trucks are for) so that when the next devastating sediment flows happen (when sediment moves it MOVES and can fill up in a season) the dam doesn't overtop because then the homes downstream are in trouble. But people don't want the dump trucks or something. I could write a lot more about this, but if you are curious then I recommend the award-winning writing of John McPhee -- everything in this article feels like it could have been written yesterday, including mentions of certain Caltech professors.
Enjoy the article, enjoy the run.