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

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?”

Race Report: DTR Full Moon Night Trail Run

I would be remiss if I didn’t write a race report following my first-ever Down to Run trail race! Last Saturday I “competed” (I use that term loosely) in this event, known as the Full Moon Night Trail Run. The whole experience was magical! As you can see from the photos, everyone wore a headlamp, as well as various other types of luminescent devices, and headed out from Kitching Creek, at Jonathan Dickinson State Park around 8 PM for two hours of soggy, wet madness!

DTR Full Moon Race Directors
Race Directors, Andre & Ludi Chaves

Our race directors, Andre and Ludi Chaves, were as gracious and supportive as ever, as was DTR co-founder Diego Mey. They all put on one heck of an event! Special thanks to all of the people who volunteered at the registration/packet pickup station, aid stations, as well as the photographers and medal hander-outers! And a special shout-out to Jenny Q for manning the microphone and welcoming in all of the finishers with charm and grace!

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One of the most memorable aspects of this race, in particular, was the amount of water runners had to traverse throughout the dark and somewhat treacherous terrain. This photo shows what a typical water crossing looked like, and I estimate that approximately 20-25% of the course had some kind of deep water over it, which made it difficult to keep your footing and maintain a quick running pace. Somehow the winners managed to do it, however, as they crossed the finish line with miles averaging in the 8-min pace! Unbelievable!

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Me, two miles in, after only having to make a few water crossings…there would be many more to come before my two hours of running were over!

All in all it was a terrific experience. I can now say I have an official DTR trail race under my belt and I didn’t twist an ankle or break a leg in the process! I came in under my goal time of two hours and couldn’t be happier!

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Crossing the finish line in under two hours!

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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”

My Three “First 50K” Goals

Tomorrow I will be running my first 50K ultra trail race. It won’t be much of a “race” for me as I am not planning on running fast. However, I do have some goals. Here they are:

  1. Do not DNF. Or, said another way, finish the race! Run the entire 32-ish miles.
  2. Do it in less than 8 hours.
  3. Ensure I can still walk afterwards. I am not joking with this one. I want to make sure I race smart and still have a little something left to at least be able to strut around the park proudly!

I will post again soon to let everyone know how I did. Wish me luck!

Riverbend Park
The gorgeous Riverbend Park!