So it’s been about 4 weeks since I began to train with Quarke Saudé e Performance (health & performance). It’s a great training group and I’m wondering why we don’t have more of these in the U.S. If you go to Parque do Ibirapuera you’ll see many training groups set up their stands at various points and people training with them. They run/stretch/exercise in groups or individually in the park. Importantly, there are several trainers that provide individualized attention to the trainees. This beats the 40-something marathon training group at Rogue any day!
So I have 2 coaches, Rodrigo and Jõao alternate on various days of the week. Rodrigo designs my training plan based on the info they collect after every workout.
I work out with them three times a week, which is quite a challenge on weekends. I am always conflicted by the desire to go out and drink on Friday nights, something which Bharath and I regularly argued about in Austin (he would gripe about me ruining his Fridays). But I’ve somehow figured out I need to do both and can’t lose out on night outs in Brazil but neither can I stop running. As a result I’ve had some really painful runs. Eh!
Here’s a sample training plan:
- Quarke’s Weekly Individualized Training Plan
Some of the sample workouts include a time trial where I ran 2400 meters as hard as I could. My time for 2400 meters was 14.43, which translates to about 10.30 minutes a mile. That’s the best time trial I’ve done, assuming I ran the correct course, which brings me to the issue about running with no language barriers.
Training with the group here is a minor challenge because very few people speak English and I don’t speak much Portuguese except the nominal stuff. So it’s always an exercise for the coaches to figure out how to explain my workout to me. Fortunately I understand numbers. So this morning I ran 8 iterations of 4 minutes at 175 bpm and 1 minute walk at 140 bpm. My (cute and bashful) coach João strapped the heart rate belt onto me and embarassedly indicated I should wear it under the “err….”, which I took to mean sports bra. He strapped on the heart rate monitor onto my wrist (yes, that is the level of individualized attention everyone gets) and off I went. I’ve done this workout before but today it felt harder (probably because a meal of shrimp coxina, a deep fried breaded cutlet of cheesy/creamy shrimp salad with smattering of vegetables) drove me to run 5k after dinner right before bed: bad idea if you plan to run hard again at 7 AM the next day.
Things sometimes get lost in translation when the coaches need to explain my workout to me., but are somehow quickly found. João is absolutely adorable when he tries to speak English. He wants to say everything correctly and so painstakingly formulates his sentences and asks me if he’s correct. I on the other hand am impatient and just speak poor English with him just so I can get going- almost phraselike – “I go run now?””, “all ok?” , “what time tomorrow?” etc. When I have to explain my workout I just wildly gesticulate to various body parts which ache and try to figure out how to explain cramps versus soreness versus joint pain. I don’t want them modifying the training based on misunderstood pain! Sometimes I theatrically act out how I felt – hard or easy, tired or fine. But the conversations are unhindered by language – we discuss running technique, latest research on running styles (to stretch or not to stretch pre-run/post-run; heel vs forefoot strik etc.) and never has translation been an issue.
Overall, it’s been absolutely fantastic. I’ve never received so much individualized training before – it’s like having a personal coach for running! Sometimes they run with me, and after I’m done they stretch my legs (which is acutely painful if Rodrigo does it). There are no super long runs yet so most of them are like doing speed workouts – the interval training on the heart rate followed by shorter, faster runs. I noticed that by the end of the month I’d be running 10k. I’m really hoping this translates into some serious PR on race times eventually.
They’ve also sent me a list of 5ks and 10ks that I can do while I’m here. Signing up for the race also takes a while because registration is in Portuguese. But what else do I have to do here? Eat, drink and run!
With Coach João
Runners on the course in the beautiful Parque Ibirapuera