Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Neuromuscular Conditioning

I feel like I'm really back into the swing of things now... feeling physically recovered, holidays are over, we're back into a regular routine, and the races are coming up on us. I'm envisioning a triathlon season that hopefully bears some resemblance to last year's very successful season.

I am confident that I've got a pretty solid understanding of what I need to do in training to get to where I want to be in racing this year. Yet at the same time, I feel like I am an "Experiment Of One" as I study myself, my training, and my heart rates as I execute my training. I guess we are all Experiments Of One... because if there was one plan that worked for everyone, every year, we would all just follow that and there would be no art to it.

Blah blah blah... essentially I am designing my training this year (as well as that of my athletes) around the principals in Brad Hudson's book, Run Faster. Those, with a little sprinkling of concepts from Matt Fitzgerald's Brain Training book mixed in. Hudson talks about developing your aerobic fitness and neuromuscular fitness in the foundation period, and then incorporating more and more race specific endurance as your races approach.

The 'aerobic fitness' thing I think we all get, but I've never previously considered neuromuscular conditioning the way Brad Hudson describes it. Read his book if you want all the details, but essentially we're talking about short fast interval repeats. Up hills. Steep hills. And on the track or road in the form of short very fast intervals faster than 5K pace. Once you establish this neuromuscular fitness you can then blend it in with the aerobic conditioning you've been working on and bring it all together to establish your race pace as the season progresses.

With that in mind, Nalani and I headed to the track this morning. Establishing neuromuscular fitness. That's what we were gonna do! Yippee! I picked some goal times for shorter repeats that I thought were reasonable... certainly not as fast as we were doing last spring, but then again, we haven't been to the track since probably, um, September, so I didn't think we should kill ourselves first time out. But of course since the interval times didn't seem unreasonably fast, I assumed (you know what they say about people who assume, right?) that we wouldn't have to kill ourselves to hit our goal times.

Well, let me just say that 5K pace is wicked hard when you haven't been running 5Ks in a while.

The short of it is that we pretty much nailed the goals throughout the workout, but we had to work much harder than I'd anticipated to do it.

Neuromuscular conditioning is not pretty. But I'm hoping it'll be effective.

The good news is that we knocked that workout out before 8:00AM so I still had the rest of the morning to play with Moana at the beach. The camera lens on my phone must have been coated with a salt water film or something- not sure why this photo is so blurry? BUT, it was just perfect down there today. We had just about the whole gorgeous beach to ourselves and we played in the sand and the water until we looked like sand monsters. That didn't take long. ;) Really, this is the best recovery.

14 comments:

Running and living said...

My plan is also a combo of Hudson and Fitgerald, with a dose of FIRST. Those hill sprints really work, I tell you! And they get easier! It's great that you have a running partners for these workouts!

The Salty One said...

This idea of neuromuscular conditioning is very intriguing. Once the semester is over I'll have to dive into that!

Also, I am so glad you are feeling like your old badass self!

Staci Dombroski said...

I am newer to running so I will have to check those out :-) Have a great night!

Jennifer Harrison said...

YES! You know I am a huge believer in power hills/short on bike and run year round....none of this LONG AND SLOW stuff all the time!!!! GOOD thoughts! :)

Angela said...

Sounds like it was a good day!

H said...

You truly live in paradise! England is gripped with snow and ice, forcing schools to close, buses to stop running and folk panic buying in the supermarkets!! It's crazy and only a little bit of white cold stuff... do a few reps for me Michelle :0) Great to hear you're back out there giving it what for!!

x

brain exercise pro said...

As an amateur (very amateur) athlete, this is a fascinating concept. I've found that it's easy to get into a workout rut and fool yourself into thinking that you're keeping a good pace. But going back to the clock and sprints tells a different story!

Lisa T said...

I love the Matt Fitzgerald book too. He must live near here because I've seen him a few times at races. He seems to actually walk his own talk which is always a good thing!

Mary IronMatron said...

The hill sprints... I've been having all my athletes do them--and I have been too. That's Hudson's gift to us with that book. Fitzgerald and Hudson---good stuff.

Charisa said...

Your daughter is so cute.

Katie A. said...

I'm gonna have to check that out - thanks for the book recomendation. 5K pace is hard, I don't care what anyone says - great job!

Regina said...

Uh, yeah, they hurt....a lot! Thank you very much!

man I want to be at the beach...and have it all to myself.

N.D. said...

oh I love that picture :)

Jennifer said...

5K is hard. Give me a 1/2 marathon any day.

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