Monday, October 20, 2008

October colors

This is one of my favorite times of year in New England. The weather is very good for running - temperate and often dry. The trees are at their peak. It's been over a decade since I've seen the fall colors, and they're even better then I remember. I've made a concerted effort to get outdoors on the weekend to see the sights.

The last two weeks have seen encouraging progress on the running front. I'm doing walk/runs three morning a week, twice on roads and once on trails. I start with a walking warmup for ten minutes, then run a short distance several times with an equal walking recovery. I'm actually running for time, not distance, e.g. 1 min run, 1 min walk, repeat, or run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds, run 90 seconds, etc. I conclude with a walk of ten minutes or more depending on how much time I have. In the morning before work, not much. My lungs are not where they were this spring, and I really feel the hills, though I'm doing minimal running on them to ease my Achilles back into running shape. One exception is that I am doing a little bit of downhill running to maintain, and improve, my ability to make use of gravity on the downhills. In retrospect I see that long running layoffs in Florida, and running mostly on flats, left me unable to cope with running down big or steep hills - my shins would get overwhelmed. I want to work towards preventing that. There are two sides to hills and you really need to train on both I think - uphills to strengthen legs and lungs, downhills to strengthen shins and allow one to use gravity instead of braking.

My weekly trail "run" is generally on fairly firm surfaces - I want to avoid the loose sands that may have contributed to my Achilles injury in Florida this past spring. Most of the trails in Connecticut are much firmer and can be quite rocky depending on the trail.

The trails at Bluff Point State Park are hardly a state secret - they seem to get a fair amount of use. They are wide and relatively smooth and can accommodate bikes, walkers and runners. I tried to get a few pictures of the fall colors but it was early in the morning and still shady.


Andrew is getting fit said...

I want to start trail running as it always seems so beautiful.

Jeff said...

It is, Andrew, it is. I can't recommend it enough. Just don't run on loose sand all the time is one lesson I've learned.

Anne said...

First, thanks for the nod in the other post. The WW movement is gaining momentum!

There is nothing better than falls in New England. I can just smell the fresh scent of decay in the air and the colorful landscapes. And you're so right about moving to hills after running on flat terrain. The shins scream, don't they?!

Jeff said...

They sure do! My shins were a bit sore this week from increased downhill running. I took it easier this morning.