25 Miles in the Saddle, Sled Pulls, and Lamb — It’s What’s for Dinner

Began the day with 18+ miles of mixed-intensity, fixie riding, culminating at the Rocky Mount High School football field for some serious sled dragging.   A single-man tackling sled is a little too heavy to use for glute-dominant, goose-step pulls — which I would prefer, as this exercise more closely hits/resembles the at-speed sprinting (pawing) motion — but still, some very effective drive phase work can be done with a heavier implement.

Here’s what a single-man tackling sled looks like, courtesy of George at Coaching for Pizza.  Heh, not very Paleo, but a very cool site none the less.  Coaching football in Europe — what a trip that must be.

I used my gymnastic rings and straps for leads.  I have no way of quantifying how much or how many pulls I did, other than to say I did a friggin bunch — alternating between both forward and backward pulls — in approximately 30 yard bursts.

I followed the pull-fest up with a another 6+ miles in the saddle.  Got a nice workout, along with a little more sun on my pale self than I’d bargained for; ramping-up the ol’ vitamin D generator, I suppose.

Refueled from the day’s activities with some grilled lamb and a simple salad.

I also had another round of the leftover concoction from yesterday.   Notice that my carb intake, even during periods of extended exercise volume, is still pretty damn minimal.

Tomorrow will be a planned day off.  Maybe some light fixie riding out to the coffee shop to keep the legs loose, but noting more than that.

11 responses to “25 Miles in the Saddle, Sled Pulls, and Lamb — It’s What’s for Dinner

  1. Keith,

    Let’s talk stride length. Last year I tweaked my right hamstring (feels like my semitendinosus). It healed up and, with the first sprint session of the season, it has been re-injured. Hurts if I contract it but I can deadlift and GHR just fine without discomfort. I feel that years of basketball has me very good at accelerating but opening up my stride too much at top speed, thus this injury.

    How do I teach myself to shorten the stride? Hill runs? I’d like to keep this in my training bag of tricks; it would seem more “natural” to run suicides on the basketball court, but I like the max power flying over the ground component of 40+ yard sprints.


    • Couple of things to consider: first, let’s not confuse the start/drive/acceleration phase of the sprint with the at-speed (fly) “paw-back” phase, and the difference in their motions and relative contributions from the quads vs. the PC. I’m glad you brought up the fact that you can perform a painless DL and GHR, as this will help in the explanation of the two (three, actually) motions. Roughly speaking, I think to think of these as the “push” (think start and/or redirection and initial acceleration — large relative quad contribution), “pull” (leg recovery), and “drag” (i.e., the at-speed, or “fly”, pawing motion).

      If I had to guess from what you’ve said, I’d have to say that you’re relatively weak in this pawing motion. Add to this, the fact that the pawback is both (1) single-leg in nature, and (2) places the ham under a tremendous isokinetic load. The thing is, it’s very easy to create (in the gym, and with a preference to the short sprints and starts — and with hill work, too) strength imbalances relative to the pawing motion. This is why it is so very important, imo, to perform a good deal of “prime times” and goose-step (straight-leg) sled dragging.

      So, that said, I wouldn’t say that stride length is not the problem (it’s actually a huge boon — to whit: Usain Bolt), but it’s the underlying muscular imbalance that needs to be addressed. The prescription? Plenty of prime times and sled dragging (goose-step motion) and single leg gym work — especially single leg DLs and DL variants. Work up, once you feel ready, with plenty of longer (100 – 200 meter) strides (tempo work) to slowly build your strength-endurance in this motion.

      A side note: while performing tempo work, begin to take notice of where your center of gravity is relative to your ground contact, and be mindful of “breaking” with each stride (ground contact ahead of center of gravity). The goal ought to be to increase strength in the pawback and toe-off motion to match stride length and turn-over frequency, not to shorten stride length to compensate for relative weakness.

      This only scratches the surface of a tremendously deep and complex subject.

        • Heh…Sprint phone links…

          Let me see what I can find. In the meantime, remember the old “Neon” Deon Sanders run to the end zone? The exaggerated, straight-legged, torso leaned back, “drum major” prance? It looks something like that.

        • Here’s a good example. Jay Johnson calls them “straight leg bounds” — I prefer the more “flashy” name 🙂 By the way, the B skips demonstrated here are another good “paw-back” exercise.

              • Yep, that would work as well. Really emphasis the paw-back motion for max distance of these and the B skips. Both are, imho, excellent glute/ham, sprint-specific, exercises.

  2. Nice. I put in 25 today also + a barefoot half marathon after being sick all week. I’m a little smoked right now.

    Still looking for a fixie. I might end up buying a new Felt Dispatch. They want too much for anything used around here.

    • Hipsters driving the market up, eh? Where do you live, Groc? Just a head’s up on the Felt: product review.

      That said, let me give a plug for the Bianchi Pista. I’ve had mine for going on 10 years now, at it’s proven to be friggin bomb proof. I’m 200+ lbs, and not at all easy on my steeds. When it does come time for a new ride (hmmm, maybe this year??), I’ll mos’ def get another Bianchi. Solid brand & they stand behind their rides.

      • Thanks for the heads up. No fixie for me now though. Government’s hands cut so deep into my pockets this year, I’m not even sure I can afford to eat for a few months 😦

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