Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Speed Interval Work Out + Running Song #3 - "Engineering Masterpiece"

I am bucking the order that I wrote the songs in order to bring you "Engineering Masterpiece" as song #3. Last week I posted a Youtube video that featured it so now I am eager to get this song out.

Basically, the first two songs were working up to the benchmark pace of 180 beats per minute (b.p.m.) This is the typical steps per minute of most experienced runners regardless of size, gender or pace. I write about stride rate at more length in this blog.

"Engineering Masterpiece" is about speed. It is about summoning up that last ounce of strength in order to get across the finish line. It is about how the body is designed to run and if you can tap into that efficiently you can find your second (or third or forth... ) wind.

My Exercise Recommendation:

When testing these songs out I always had "Engineering Masterpiece" as song #6 because it is the last one in the sequence. Usually by the time I got to the song I had already run a few hills and had several more miles to go so I wasn't really inspired to start sprinting. This made the song lose some of the impact it had when I first wrote it. I found that if I reserved it only for speed interval training it not only helped mark out my effort but it also trained me mentally to think fast when I thought of the song. Once you've run fast with a song enough times it can help you get into that mindset when you hear it any time or even when you are just thinking about it. For example at the end of a race when the finish line is in sight you just need to think of the song and your body will re-enact the feeling of the speed interval. In order for it to work you need to make sure you had multiple successful work outs with your speed interval song.

Speed Interval Work Out* using "Engineering Masterpiece":

10 min Warm-up. Easy Pace listening to whatever gets you into the mood to run.

3 min 18 sec - the length of Engineering Masterpiece - Speed Interval. Try to maintain the 180 steps per minute pace through out the entire interval. Start the song running at a moderately hard to hard intensity (6 or 7 out of 10 of your rate of perceived exertion.) Then every time the chorus starts "Blood and Muscle, Flesh and Sweat..." crank up your intensity a little bit while maintaining your stride rate until the next chorus. When you get to "Wheels spin, Wheels spin" you should be running your hardest until the end.

3 min - Recovery Interval - I usually listen to the song "Why I Run" which hasn't been debuted on this blog yet. You want something that will keep the beat consistent so you don't lose the energy you just generated but will lower the intensity dramatically so you can regain your breath and rest while running much slower (or walking if necessary.)

Repeat this sequence of speed and recovery intervals at least 3 or 4 times. Ideally you want to be able to be as strong in the last interval as the first so you may need to conserve a little the first couple of times.

10 min Cool Down

Using the song lengths to measure intervals is useful when you don't have access to a track to measure distances. If you prefer to run distance intervals the song can still help measure your time by noting which point you cut the song off at. You can race to finish at an earlier point in the song every time. When I tested this song using distances I ran the entire length of the song on the last interval only to have an extra challenge at the end.

* I recommend this work out only for tread mills or paths (like tracks) that are intended for runners. It is not recommended to do speed intervals with head phones when there is other traffic competing for your attention. Go somewhere you can focus. Safety first!

One last thing to listen for:

This is the song that I incorporate the Baglama. It is a small Greek folk instrument that troubadours would play and then hide in their cloaks when they saw police coming. Hurray for renegade art, I love it. Chris brought it back as a present after a recent trip to Greece. He knew I would appreciate it way more than jewelry or a plastic parthenon.

The song "Engineering Masterpiece" is not live on iTunes or other online sites yet. If you would like the mp3 please write to:


1 comment:

Chris said...

engineering masterpiece is a personal favorite of mine, and not just because it has the baglama!