Hey Guys! Press play and tune in as Diz and I chat about recent journey in running and the changes that are taking place with my running journey.
When I started running in 2011 I already had a dream in mind, a destination to reach, goal to achieve, a mountain to climb. For the better part of 4 years, the goal of Boston captured me, kept me focused pressing onward. I always had something to look forward to in each run because I had not reached it yet, which brought a certain excitement because I was in the present chasing after, the ending still left yet to be written. After qualifying for Boston I asked myself what next? I dared to qualify for the NYC Marathon in the same year, with a time requirement 12 minutes faster than Boston. Just 8 months after qualifying for Boston with a time of 3:02:21, I ran a 2:49:15 and qualified for NYC.
I asked myself again, "now what?" I decided my next goal would be to qualify for the NYC Half Marathon, with a time requirement of 1:21:00. After completing the Boston marathon this year, I took time to recover then get back into training for the San Jose Rock'n'Roll Half. The closer I got to the race, the more certain I felt that I would achieve it. Perhaps it was because I had achieved the Boston and NYC Full Marathons that I had confidence that I could do this. It was so uplifting to have my girlfriend by my side, cheering me on at each mile marker. Her love and support was more than enough to power me through what would be one of the toughest races of my life.
In the midst of the pain I felt as I pushed myself each mile, I could hear my mother's voice in the miles asking me "What does the Bible say you are?" Without hesitation I replied, "I am the head, not the tail, above only, not beneath. God has not given me the spirit of fear, but the power of love and a sound me." Suddenly I was a child again, believing ahead of evidence, despite the evidence. I remembered my brother Raffy, as I looked down and saw the shoes he had gifted me. "Be present," he beseeched me. "Remember why you are doing this. Remember what really matters." I remembered my father's riddles, his perplexing questions that stretched my mind and expanded my understanding. I was drifting through time, going back into the broken places to make them strong.
I could feel it in the very first stride, I could see the future before I crossed the finish. In a way it was like deja vu. That didn't make it less painful and challenging. Still, crossing that line at 1:20:32, 28 seconds under the cut off, I was joyful that I had achieved another challenging goal. As the joy settled into a peaceful calm, I began reflecting on it all. I had now capped off the last Elite goal, qualifying for the Elite NYC Half Marathon. I now understood years and years ago what my mother said to me when she quoted scriptures saying, "Perseverance must finish it's work in you so that you are mature and complete, not lacking anything...labor into rest."
What has always brought the most fulfillment and joy has always been the journey, the present moment of running. Each time we run, we are the ones who determine the quality of our experience. There is a joy when I am fully present and in movement. I savor the moments I wake up and run on an open road, an empty track, a mountain trail, even a treadmill. I love the moment of being in the zone, running through my thoughts and connecting with my inner most being. I love the runs that are easy as much as the ones that are arduous and burn my lungs. I love to run, and that is what keeps me running. I will raise the bar, set higher goals, but always keep in mind that running itself, is the reward. It is love, in motion. Run for my life, you better believe it.
I have ran long enough to understand that it's the journey and process that defines us. Being entity/outcome-oriented shifts the locus of control from our internal to the external, whereby we surrender ourselves to what is beyond our control. We live and do out of duty and obligation, substituting business for meaning, crippling the ability to live a fulfilled life, because we are convinced that an imagined, ideal future is better than the present moment. We live not knowing how to play the cards we are dealt, waiting or better yet, paying to have the "perfect hand" but find ourselves continuously trading up for it, always feeling that it is just within reach yet we never obtain it. We end up paying for a life, not learning how to make one. Why then, attempt to qualify for the 2017 NYC Half Marathon?
Qualifying for the Boston Marathon had been a milestone that took over 4 years to accomplish. When I qualified, I had felt a tremendous mental barrier lift off of me. I realized I could do so much more than what I thought, and I aimed to find out. Just 8 months after qualifying for Boston I qualified for the Elite NYC Full Marathon. Great. Now what? I took a step back and reflected. The question why kept echoing in my head. For a while I didn't have an answer. I kept running with that question in the forefront of my mind. Eventually I came to the realization that the goals I set in running are external markers I aim for, but they are not the essence of my running. I run because I love it. In an age where so much of life is bombarded with all sorts of modifiers and status-enhancing products, I want to know who I am and what I am truly capable of. I want to know what I am made of.
Running brings me to my edge, a place where I come face to face with my fears. In each stride I live spartan-like, putting to rout all that is not life. I come to the end of each run knowing I fully lived, giving my heart and my all. I don't run to fit into a pair of pants. I don't run because my doctor said so. I run for my life. You had better believe it.
It started in 2011. I had signed up for San Jose Rock 'n' Roll half marathon on a whim with 2 weeks to go. After that race, I was hooked on endurance running. I had heard the buzz about Boston among runners I had met. They talked with a dreamlike gaze. It got me curious. Then it got me excited. Then it got me running.
I had come from a road cycling background. Intense training, speed training, endurance training, all those things weren't news to me. What was new, was the art and science of running. My natural endurance ability and grit was able to get me a 1hr 29min finish at the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll half, and a 4th place age group/3hr 23min finish at the Morgan Hill Marathon just 2 weeks later. That was as far as it would take me. The rest would require becoming a student of a new sport, a new found passion I should say, for running.
I had no idea how long this would take. I just knew it would be worth it. I had hoped that in the process of striving for Boston, I would become a better person as well. I believe that arduous challenges such as this one, not only reveal character, they also provide the opportunity to build character, as well as redeem oneself. It took over 4 years and 12,000 miles to qualify for Boston Marathon. There were countless times I felt the going was too tough to keep going. Times where I felt like I had bit off more than I could chew. I am thankful that I had the incredible love and support of my girlfriend Nicole. She inspired me and lifted me up when I needed it.
I got chills as I walked into the convention center in downtown Boston. I was like a kid at a candy store, and I was about to have my candy!
I don't know if I have ever been happier picking up a race packet. All the years, the hard work and perseverance had paid off. It was a touching moment. To know that I had proven myself true, that I had set a goal, and achieved it. All this made me realize that success is the realization you have become yourself, the person you were meant to be all this time. It is the utmost reward. Running redeems and keeps our souls alive. At some point the miles can no longer be ran with ego or mind. They must be ran with our heart, the part of us that is often tucked away or buried beneath supposed maturity. We realize the heart, is central, and should be guarded diligently.
The best part of the running expo was having the opportunity to meet one of my longtime running inspirations, 7-time Western States 100 miler champion, Scott Jurek.
I strongly recommend you read his book "Eat and Run." His story is truly inspirational. It gave me much needed motivation and insight into myself, helping me to conquer things that had been conquering me. Scott was very down to earth and encouraging. This is what I love about running. You become part of a community, a family that welcomes you and celebrates you and your achievements. The longer you run, you realize you're not running against others, but with others.
Breaking down the Marathon
I had done research on the course and spoken with runners who previously ran it. This course was tough without the problems the weather brought on. Last year, the marathon was rainy and cold. This year was said to be a sunny scorcher.
I was tempted to set a new personal record, but when I got to my coral and felt the heat, my gut told me to make a new goal. You run long enough, you learn to heed that voice, and I did. Rather than set a new personal record, I aimed at a sub 3 time. While the first handful of miles were downhill, I knew the Newton hills coupled with heart break hill would wear out the legs big time. The course varied too much to target a steady pace, so I set a target heart rate zone for this race instead. Many runners would pass me, but I had a good feeling I would see them before the finish line.
As the miles went on, I would pass runners and see the sodium deposits dried up on their faces like white cake icing. Everyone was sweating out their nutrition, and yet they were trying to push a hard pace still.
I began to see runners pull to the side, having just succumb to an injury. Some runners would come to a dead stop right in front of me. They had ran themselves to the bone, and couldn't go any further. I was thankful I listened to my gut and stayed within my targeted heart rate zone. By the time I reached the top of the infamous "Heart Break Hill", my body and legs were feeling the weight of it all. I could still run within my targeted zone. By the time I had reached mile 25, I was still in contention of a sub 3 time. The only thing I had to do was run the last mile in 6:25 on tired, jello-like legs.
I remember what Scott Jurek had said in his book Eat and Run, "we don't know how strong we are, until it's the only choice we've got." I found myself having no choice but to be strong and run as fast and hard as I can. I didn't look at my watch. I didn't check my heart rate. I just looked ahead and ran. I kept hearing a voice inside me say, "Run. Run for your life!" There is nothing like being in that "all or nothing moment." You are fully present, fully alive. There is pain. There is excitement. There is a story in the making, the ending left up to you.
I hooked a left turn onto Boylston street and heard the roar of the crowd. Up ahead was the Boston Marathon banner and the famed finish line. I kicked as hard as I could. I could feel my heart pounding like hammers within my chest. All the years, all the hard work, was not for nothing. I was going to write the ending of my story the way I intended. I sprinted passed the finish line, clicked the stop button on my watch and took a glance. "02:59:39" it read. I double checked with the official results and found that I had finished just one second earlier.
I had finally made the dream a reality. I had reached the peak of the mountain. It was time to celebrate and think about my next mountain.
"It's important to know
that at the end of the day,
It's not the medals you remember.
What you remember is the process,
what you learn about yourself by
challenging yourself, the experiences
you share with other people, the honesty
the training demands. Those are things
nobody can take away from you whether
you finish twelfth or your'e an Olympic Champion."
-Silken Laumann, Canadian Olympian
Running in the winter, a harsh necessity for those wanting to keep their fitness they gained from the previously pleasant and warmer months. When the temperatures drop, the cold air becomes an abrasive element. Why does it hurt so much to breathe in cold air? Why do you lose feeling in your fingers, even if you have gloves on?
Frozen fingers and toes
Your fingers and toes become numb because of vasoconstriction. Blood flow to your extremities is reduced and focused on vital organs such as your heart. This is also why the most common areas of frostbite are your toes, fingers and ears.
A nose that runs when you run
Cold air contains no humidity or moisture. When inhaled, it dries out your internal passages, especially your nasal passages. Your nose drips to try to relieve the dryness, but overcompensates in the process, leading to an endless annoying drip.
Increased difficulty to run
Have you felt that your runs in the cold seem more challenging to accomplish than in warmer temperatures? In cold temperatures, your body has to work extra hard to keep your core temperature up. The shivering you do to warm up, uses up energy, leaving you with less energy for your run. Don't be surprised if the routes you normally run fast and easy on, become harder to do so. There is a blessing in disguise. Your metabolic rate and calorie burning abilities are enhanced by the harsh, cold weather.
Lungs on fire
Does it feel like your lungs burn with every breath you take? Surprisingly, it's not your lungs. Your body has an amazing ability to warm up cold air as it travels through you. By the time air has reached your lungs, it has been reformed to match your internal temperature. The fiery sensation is associated with your trachea. It too dries out considerably from the dry, cold air. When your trachea is dry, your breathing creates a burning sensation, making it feel as though your lungs are on fire.
Regardless of what you do, your muscles feel tight running in the wintery cold. The colder the temperature, the more difficult it becomes for them to contract. as they can in warmer ones. Less oxygen is able to release from your body's hemoglobin, which less oxygen for your muscles, leaving them feeling stiff. Be cautious of making matters worse. There is a tendency for runners to make matters worse by doing warming up or stretching inside, failing to realizing that their will muscles tighten again when they step out into the cold. Be sure to warm-up in the same cold temperatures you'll be running in.
Happy happy holidays and happy new year to all you runners. Be well and run on!
As 2015 comes to a close, I congratulate all you runners out there who have ran your heart out in your marathons. You've pushed yourself beyond your limits, achieved goals you thought were out of reach. You've done quite awesome. After logging all of those miles in your most recent marathon , there's no doubt you have a good aerobic base, so what happens now? Do you start your next marathon training asap, dial down the distance and race shorter distances such as a 5k, or perhaps shut things down, take a lengthy period of time and let your body recover?
Much of the Elite marathoners take about a day off of running for every mile in the marathon, which comes to 21 to 28 days of rest or minimal running. It's a conservative approach that helps to prevent injuries associated with over training, as well as give the mind time to rest and avoid burning out. However, applying this approach may lead you to lose your fitness, leaving to start all over again to build your running body back up.
Much of it is dependent upon how your body feels after the marathon. It's quite common to feel a perpetual soreness, jello-like legs, and lethargy. Until symptoms such as these, have dissolved, it's wise not to do another marathon so soon.
What did I do?
After the Morgan Hill Marathon on October 25, 2015, I had the Revel City Marathon just 13 days later. No coach or experienced marathoner I talked with, recommended I attempt such a thing. They said it was likely I'd get injured, and that it was crazy to even conceive of the idea. I didn't have any data to support my case. I simply had the belief that I could do it it. Not only did I believe I would do it, but I would run my fastest marathon to date and qualify not for one, but two of the Elite marathons (Boston & New York City), within a single year.
I listened to my body closely. The next three days I did 1 to 2 hour recovery rides on my cycling trainer indoors. My reasoning was that I wanted to keep up my cardio while allowing my connective tissue (bones, ligaments, tendons, etc.) to heal. I still had my fitness from the Morgan Hill Marathon, there was no need to do any hard training to gain more. In my opinion, if I recovered right, I'd gain more for the Revel City Marathon. After the 3 days of recovery rides, I began implementing recovery runs of 6 to 8 miles. If I felt like it wasn't good to run, I hopped on my cycling trainer for an indoor recovery session. After 13 days, I lined up at the starting line of the Revel City Marathon, feeling fresh, and ran a 02:49:15, setting a new PR and qualifying for the Elite NYC Marathon over 3 minutes faster than required (02:53:00).
What should you do?
The first thing you have to consider is that there is no absolute formula for recovery. Each of us are unique in how our bodies recover. The most important thing you can do is listen to your body, and listen closely. Remember that running provides the workload, but it's rest and recovery that allows your muscles to repair and be enhanced by the workload. There's no point in training hard if it's not going to benefit your running. Perhaps start by taking a day of rest. Heck, you gave your best, you've earned it. Try cross training such as swimming or cycling, doing so with light exertion. These activities will utilize the same aerobic system you use for running, without impact. If you feel that your body is ready for running, start out with a low mileage and build from there. Here's an example of a 4 wk recovery training plan from renowned running coach Hal Higdon (www.halhigdon.com). The "race" on Sun of Week 4 to help you with motivation. After the "race", feel free to pick your next training or racing goal
You know yourself better than anyone. As long as you listen to your body, you'll be able to know how to recover and be ready for your next marathon.
Be well and run on!
I lined up at the start of the CIM Marathon in Sacramento, CA, clinging to an emergency blanket and marching in place to keep warm. The weather report the day before showed there would be a strong chance for heavy winds and rain, it did not prove false. Tiny drops drizzled and gusts of wind shook the banners hovering over the starting line. My mind ran through a gauntlet of thoughts. I was trying to find out what I was here for. Why was I running this marathon?
A month prior to this race I had wanted to set another PR. I had set a gusty time of 2hrs 45min. When I learned of the weather on race day, I did a reality check. I had accomplished two of the biggest goals for a marathoner, qualifying for both the Elite Boston Marathon and the Elite NYC Marathon, and I had done this within a single year. My new goal for this marathon would be to finish strong and in good health, ready for 2016. My new time goal would be a sub 3 hour marathon.
The gun went off and no sooner did the rain really begin to rain. My shoes quickly turned into sponges that squished with every footfall. I couldn't help but smile at the ordeal I had found myself in. In these situations, you get the opportunity to enhance your ability to adapt, and that's what I did. I shortened my stride and dialed my pace down a bit to avoid slipping. I stayed within a pack of runners to shield myself from the wind, moving out only if the pack was slowing down. Eventually I ran out of packs of runners and found myself spread out among a few runners treading the soaked streets, the wind finally getting its chance to howl at me. I felt cold the entire race, having no luck to dry up due to the continuous rain. All this was good mental training as far as I was concerned. The more discomfort and pain, the better. You don't ask life for the perfect hand, you play the hand you're dealt to your best, and become stronger and better as a result.
I did a systems check at mile 20 and it was clear that my legs were hurting and tired. I wouldn't be able to hold the 6:37 pace. The only thing left to do was to fade into a sub 3 time. It's amazing that when you have no other choice, you find out how strong you are. There was a lot of valuable lessons I learned this year. Among these lessons, was knowing when to push it, and knowing when to pull it. In the remaining miles I passed over a handful of marathoners who had passed me earlier in the race, now limping or pulled over to the side. They had pushed themselves too much, and now were unable to finish. I had never seen so many marathoners injured in a race before.
In the midst of the pain and fatigue, the desire to finish strong lingered in my veins. The final mile I gave one last push. Each runner ahead was motivation, they were goals to conquer, bringing me ever closer to the finish. As I came around a left turn, I saw two more runners ahead, and just beyond them, the finish. Whatever juice I had left went into my muscles. With one final kick I passed up one runner, beating him by 9 seconds, missing the second runner by a mere 2 seconds. Regardless, I had given my best and left everything out there. I had accomplished my goal, running a 02:56:24 marathon, closing 2015 on a high note.
"It's important to know
that at the end of the day
it's not the medals you remember.
What you remember is the process,
What you learn about yourself by
challenging yourself, the experiences
you share with other people, the honesty
the training demands -- those are things
nobody can take away from you whether
you finish twelfth or you're an Olympic Champion."
-Silken Laumann, Canadian Olympian
Be well and run on!
After qualifying for the elite Boston Marathon this past march, I set my sights higher for the elite New York City Marathon. There is much buzz surrounding Boston and the difficulty to qualify for it. It's something less than 10% of marathoners accomplish, but New York's qualifying standards are even more challenging. For myself, my time requirement for Boston was 03:05:00. For New York, my time requirement would be cut down by 12 minutes, requiring a time of 02:53:00.
I was told I was crazy to attempt qualifying for Boston and New York in the same year. What made it more crazy was that I had less than 9 months to get 12 minutes faster. I was told, "you're not super human. You're mortal. You need to be realistic. How can you expect to cut your time by 12 minutes in such a short amount of time?!!!" Yes, I am crazy. I wouldn't have it any other way. Dreams are meant to be big, big enough that they are beyond your rationale. They start a fire inside of you, bringing you to a higher sense of life. They require you to believe in yourself, with all your heart, not your head. They are hard, and the hard is what makes them great because if they were easy, everyone would do it.
Just two weeks after completing and placing 3rd overall in the Morgan Hill Marathon, I lined up at the starting line for the Revel City Canyon Marathon in Azusa, CA. Amid the nerves and adrenaline was a peace that surpassed understanding. I knew this race would push me to my limits, and then I would have to push further beyond them to succeed.
The gun went off and I took off with a small group of runners. We could hear the stampede of the pack behind us faintly, until at mile 3 when they disappeared, and it was only the few of us pushing a pace that was fast and furious. Three runners decided to up the ante even more after mile 5. I responded and ran with them for a few miles, but made a judgment call and dialed my pace down. I didn't want to be overzealous and ruin my chances by biting off more than I could chew. While the podium was very tempting, my focus was on qualifying for New York. A few runners would pass me, some I would catch, some I wouldn't, nonetheless I stayed to my goal. I was running my race, not theirs.
The downhill sections of the race were steep and grueling. Yes they were fast, but they also put great a amount of wear and tear on my legs. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Downhills give you speed, but they cost you a lot of your legs. I managed a good pace and was ahead of my time requirement for New York. But at mile 15, fatigue and pain sank their teeth in deep. I knew it was going to be one of those races that would take every ounce of strength and energy from me to conquer.
Then came a section of rolling hills that brought on further "ouch!" to my taxed legs. At mile 18 I did a systems check. I was near my limit. I wouldn't be able to hold my current pace but there wasn't any need to fear. I could do this. I could still qualify for New York. So long as I faded subtly I would succeed. I dug deep for motivation, for inspiration, for strength. I welcomed the pain as a close friend. The stronger it became, so did I.
At mile 23 I began running through the remains of half marathoners. One full marathoner passed me at mile 24. I gave chase but they were too fast for me. Moments later another full marathoner passed me. I hesitated at first, but then a voice inside said, "you can do it. You can take this one." I mustered up the remaining energy left and gave chase. At first it seemed to make no difference, but then gradually, I saw myself getting closer and closer. At mile 25 the runner grabbed a drink from the aid station. As he tossed his cup to the side he caught me in his peripheral. He gave a surprised look and I returned with a stone cold expression. I surged ahead, not even thinking about looking back. I just set my sights ahead and ran as hard as I could. I crossed the finish ahead of that runner, taking 9th place overall, with a time of 02:49:15.
I picked up post race nutrition and sat down under the shade of a nearby tree. Exhaustion settled over me in a blissful manner. The battle was over. I had won. I had achieved what I was said to be out of my reach. I finished up my post race meal and hopped in my car. I had a long drive back up to San Francisco, giving me plenty of time to let the reality sink in.
Find your limits, then exceed them.
Be well and run on!
I had set out on this race with the goal of setting a new personal best on this course, first place in my age group, and a top 5 overall finish. I started off with a 6:37 split and planned on holding it till the beginning of the rolling hills and climbs. This course is packed with over 3,000 ft of climbing. It can deceive runners into setting a fast pace the first half only to kill their legs, struggle up the climbs, and having very little for the last half. I had done this course enough to respect it's ferocity and would approach it conservatively.
I was enjoying the the solitude and scenic beauty when a runner came up on my left and said, "hey man, remember me?" It was my runner friend Jose whom I ran the Morgan Hill marathon last year with. Smiles broke out and we chatted, catching each other up on life. This is one thing I really appreciate about running. Despite running being a sport practiced individually, it breeds sincere friendships among runners. I asked him if he had any specific goals for this marathon, he said he wanted to break the 3 hour mark. I responded, "let's make it happen."
We teamed up and ran in synchronized strides. You may not get the physical benefit of drafting as you would in cycling, but you get a mental draft benefit, something that links you with the runner(s) you are running with that provides a mental boost and a sense of comradery. Running together makes you run better. From mile 3 we stayed side by side swallowing up riders as we traversed the hilly course. Runners we passed gave us crazy looks as they saw us talking, thinking it was rather awkward that two runners could hold a conversation running sub 6:40 splits in a full marathon. Randomly we howled and screamed in excitement, making sure we stayed positive and didn't drop in morale.
We approached a left turn around mile 19 where a course marshal said, "great job guys, you are the top 3rd and 4th runners in the full marathon. I turned to Jose, "I think I heard him wrong. Did he say we are 3rd and 4th overall?" "Yeah man!" Jose said with an excited smile. There I was, finding myself on the brink of yet another big goal, making the podium with an overall top finish.
As much as I wanted it, I wanted Jose to also achieve his goal. We ran together, encouraging one another when one of us would start to lag. We knew that this race meant something to both of us, and the miles we ran together reminded me that you don't run against others in a race, you run with them. We reached mile 24 and that's when Jose started to fade. I was feeling strong and able to push. I turned to Jose and said, "You did it Jose. You're going to break the 3 hour mark. I'm going to push ahead. You're welcome to join if you think you've got enough juice." Jose waved me on and gave me his blessing. I pushed forward and ran the last 2 miles with all my heart, breaking the 3 hour mark (total time 02:55:49).
I stood up on the podium with the other top finishers. There in first place was a Kenyan by the name of Bihama Vedaste, who ran the marathon in a very impressive 2 hours 34 minutes. He turned to me and with his thick Kenyan accent said, "good job." I got chills from that, and congratulated him as well.
Challenges make life exciting. Overcoming them, makes life meaningful.
Be well and run on!
Interval training enhances stroke volume. You increase heart rate and blood flow during your workout interval, but your rest interval is the most crucial aspect. Your heart rate drops fast, which forces your ventricles to fill more fully. Stroke volume is one of the greater determining factors of successful running.
Unfit runners reach max stroke volume while jogging. In contrast, fit/trained runners reach max stroke volume up to 5K pace or faster.
Train your heart and it will do what human tissue does best, adapts. Cardiac muscle fibers get bigger. Your heart's connective tissue gets stronger. Your ventricle chambers grow larger. Your stroke volume goes up and resting heart rate goes down.
Train your heart
30 to 90 seconds at 1500m to 3k pace is good heart training. Hill repeats, tempo and cruise intervals are also great options.
Capillaries transport blood and nutrients to your muscles. The more capillaries you have serving each muscle fiber, the more oxygen you can transport to that muscle fiber, and the more carbon dioxide and waste products you can get rid of.
New capillaries begin development in the first week of training (only for muscle fibers that are being recruited). While riding a bike may be good exercise, it won't develop capillaries around non biking muscle fibers. In the same manner, if you run slow distance only, you'll develop capillaries around slow-twitch muscle fibers, not fast -twitch fibers.
5 Ways to stimulate capillary growth:
1) Increase muscle fiber contractions by volume (number of contractions) or rate of contraction (speed at which your fibers contract)
Long runs are a workout that stimulates capillary growth by volume. A tempo run simulates growth by both volume and rate of contraction.
2) Increase blood flow
Fast blood flow puts great stress on capillaries. When stress reaches a critical point, your capillaries either divide or sprout new ones. Interval workouts (5k pace or faster) are a great workout for increasing blood flow.
3) Increase pressure on capillary walls
Constant pressure against capillary walls can increase capillary diameter. Sustained distance runs (slow or fast) are good workouts.
4) Increase pace beyond aerobic threshold
Running at pace just above oxygen-fueled running can stimulate capillary growth. 5k pace intervals are a good workout for this.
5) Increase lactate
When you stop training, you lose all your new hard-earned capillaries in as little as seven days. When you reduce training, you reduce blood flow, you reduce capillaries. Exercising too hard also damages capillary growth. By training capillaries, your mitochondria also benefit (powerhouse inside muscle cells that convert glycogen into fuel).
Train Your Lungs
Stronger respiratory muscles lower psychological stress from sucking wind and lower energy use. At rest, breathing accounts for 1% of energy use. During running, energy usage can increase to 9%. Cutting that down by a few percent leaves more energy for the rest of your body to use.
Training respiratory muscles requires fast running (moderate to high intensity intervals):
-5k effort road and trail repetitions
-Fast tempo runs
-Slow tempo runs
Train hard, but not too hard. Above all, remember that rest is also a crucial part of training.
Be well and run on!