How to train with Strava segments

How do you know if you are improving as a runner?

When I was growing up, the best way to do this was to get a fancy running watch, like a Timex Indiglo (I had two!) with a lap feature, and use it to track your time running laps around the block in your neighborhood. Of course, after your run, you had to write down your lap times in a notebook or type them into a spreadsheet if you wanted to be able to compare your performance over time!

Timex IndigloNowadays, we have a huge variety of running apps we can use on our smart phones, as well as some sophisticated pieces of hardware we can wear on our wrists. But believe it or not, many of these do not have a simple “lap” feature.

Enter “Strava Segments”.

If you’re not already a Strava user, I suggest you download the free app and log in with your Facebook account, if you have one. Then check out the segments feature. This handy tool makes tracking your performance over time a piece of cake, without having to use a lap feature of any kind. Once a segment is created, you can literally “set it and forget it!” This is because every time you happen to run the same segment, the app will track you speed, pace, etc. without you having to do anything. Then, you can review your performance over time.

Here’s an example of a segment I have run a few times at the North Jupiter Flatwoods Natural Area and how the app displays my performance. You can also change the view to show how your results compare to other men and women who have run the same route. And watch out, you may just be crowned “King of the Mountain” if you get the course record on that particular segment!

Strava Segment 1Strava Segments 2

And creating a new segment couldn’t be simpler.

Here’s how it works. Simply go for a run in one of your favorite locations and track it using the app. Then, log in to strava.com on a computer and click on the activity (from Training/My Activities). Once you are viewing the activity, click on the small wrench icon on the left and select “Create Segment”. This will bring up a map of your activity. Once you do this the instructions on the page will tell you exactly what to do but here are some tips.

  1. Change to Satellite view and zoom in.
  2. Click on the green and red start and end points on the slider at the top, and you will be able to pinpoint exactly where you want your segment to start and end.
  3. Click next, and give your segment a name that makes sense not only to you, but to other Strava users who may also run along that same route. (Uncheck “make the segment private” box.)
  4. Click Create.

And that’s it! From this point on, every time you run over that segment during any of your runs while using the app, it will record your performance. Oh, and your past performances will show up too, as long as you recorded them with the app. And viewing your performance over a segment is really easy to do using the smartphone app too.

So give it a try..what do you have to lose, except maybe a course record if someone faster than you tries it too!

Keep running to the beat!

Jeanette

How to do a Speed Workout

On Thursdays, I try to do a speed workout, to achieve two main objectives, to learn to move my feet very quickly and use efficient running technique.

And the best way I know to do a fun, motivating speed session is to do a 30-minute Cadence Burst workout. So today I headed out to the closest park near my house to unwind after a long day at work.

Nature Trail
The nature trail at North Jupiter Flatwoods.

The best place to do a Cadence Burst session is a sidewalk or non-technical trail that doesn’t usually have a lot of people on it. I like to go to North Jupiter Flatwoods Natural Area, where there is a nice ¼-mile paved nature trail loop that is perfect for this type of workout.

Each Cadence Burst session starts with 4-5 minutes of warm-up walking, plus an additional 2-minute walk that starts off the intervals. I usually start my watch when the first sprinting interval begins, and hit the “lap” button every time I change speed.

Cadence Burst intervals consist of alternating two-minute walks and one-minute sprints, for a total of ten intervals. Today I ran four of my one-minute sprints at a sub-7 minute/mile pace! The fastest was 6:46. Now, if I could only maintain that pace for a whole mile! Someday…

Today I ran to the fastest track on the album, Run Like the Wind (up to 194 BPM).

Special Offer for my Readers

Right now, I am offering my entire Cadence Burst album for free, to anyone who requests it. I don’t know how much longer I will have this promotion active so take advantage while you still can! And if you do decide to try one, please leave a comment so others can benefit from your experience. And if you have any feedback about how I can make them even better, just let me know!

Keep running to the beat!

Jeanette

Speed Work, without a Track?

At least once a week for the past few months, I’ve been running speedwork sessions, without going to a track. I’ve been using my Cadence Burst workouts, (that are now available on iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Spotify, and many other music distribution services). These workouts are great, and they are really helping me run faster! All you need is a somewhat flat and firm surface, like a sidewalk, road, or non-technical trail, and you’re all set! Continue reading “Speed Work, without a Track?”

How to Remove Sand Spurs Easily: My Experiment

Today I ran at Jonathan Dickinson State Park and decided to try a little experiment as I knew the sand spurs would be epic on the Dunes of Hell. I took commercial grade paper towels and attached them to my laces and most of the spurs stuck to them. Then I removed the paper towels and hence, most of the Spurs, and removed the rest with a micro fiber cloth. Then I removed the spurs from the cloth with my teeth. Yes, I said “my teeth”. This may sound gross but it works! Voila-no spurs anywhere!


Th cloth, one minute after the video was taken:


Hope these tips work for you!

Race Report: Riverbend 50K Ultra

First and foremost, yes, I met all three of my goals yesterday, at my first 50K ultra race! I finished, which was a feat in and of itself; I did it in less than 8 hours (I believe my official time is somewhere around 7 hours and 15 minutes), and not only did I sprint in for the last few hundred yards, I WAS able to walk around for several hours following the race. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Race Report

Now for the official race report!

I arrived at the park around 6:30 for a 7 AM start. It was still dark when I got there and I spent the first 15-20 minutes getting prepared-applying bug spray, organizing my food, water, water bottles, extra shoes, socks, etc. I then spent the next ten minutes carrying everything to the pavilion so I could ensure my aid station transition times were as short as possible (Thanks, Malika, for that suggestion!). Continue reading “Race Report: Riverbend 50K Ultra”