Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hearing Loss Epidemic May be on the Way

Do you run with an iPod?

Your music is too loud if:
• You can't hear conversations around you.
• People near you can hear the music.
• You shout instead of talk when you respond to people

Experts are concerned about children who own portable music players and future hearing loss. At least 12 out of every 100 children are estimated to be at risk.

article by Kelly Tyko,

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fitness Important for Longevity

"The researchers grouped the participants into 5 categories based on their fitness levels. The least-fit group had a death rate 4 times higher than the fittest"

Fitness Predicts Longevity in Older Adults - National Institute of Health
study findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Assoc., Dec 5,2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dave's Training Log Dec 23-29

Sun Dec 23
am: 1 mile with dogs, then 17 in 2 hr 18 min- felt pretty good compared to last week
total miles = 18

Mon Dec 24
am: 4 miles with dogs

Tues Dec 25
am: 6 miles with dogs, then 5 miles
total miles= 11

Wed Dec 26
am: 4 miles with dogs, then 12 x 400
total miles= 7

Thurs Dec 27
am: 6 miles with dogs, 1.5 miles on trail, 1.5 miles on treadmill
total miles= 9

pm: 20 min bike workout

Fri Dec 28
am: 4 miles with dogs, then 12 x 400
total miles = 7

pm: 15 min bike workout

Sat Dec 29
am: 2 miles with dogs, 10 miles in town with Striders group
total miles = 12

Total for week= 68 miles

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Information on Supplements

Basic Health Publications is a great resource if you are looking for information on diet, exercise, and use of supplements.

Well-written, easy to read User Guides on how supplements may help. Here is a sampling of topics: retail price $5.95

Healthy Digestion
Inflammation, Arthritis, and Aging
Natural Allergy Relief
Natural Hormone Replacement
Thyroid disorders
Women's health

Monday, December 24, 2007

Marathon Build-up

I've never been a big fan of conventional marathon build-up programs. First of all, most of those programs are designed for beginners- and I am of the opinion that if you are starting from scratch you should be looking at a 1 year plan rather than one that lasts only 3 or 4 months.

If you are an experienced runner preparing for a marathon-here are my 2 cents on how to do it right.

6 months out- you should be already be working on doing long enough runs that you feel confident that you can FINISH a marathon. Weekly 15-17 mile runs. They can be slow.

3 months out- your weekly miles and long runs should be peaking. That's right- 3 months out. Maintain that workload for the next 4 weeks. Never run longer than 3 hours or 20 miles in training.

2 months out- you should be focus on improving your long run tempo, not your distance. You have to do some race specific workouts on a weekly basis - at least an hour, which can be part of your weekly long run or a separate trainng session. Another option is to attempt to run a long run at tempo every other week, alternating with an easier long distance run.
I believe the 4 week period between 6 and 2 weeks out from your scheduled marathon should be the most intense part of your training.

4 weeks out- the perfect time for a half marathon or race simulated time trial to test your fitness. Allow yourself 2 good rest days, simulating what you will be doing those last couple of days before your marathon. You should be able to complete your half marathon at or below your goal marathon pace. With more recovery you'll be surprised how easy that pace feels on race day.

2 weeks out- you can start cutting your miles while maintaining intensity. No more runs longer than 90 minutes.

1 week out- nothing longer than an hour- 40-45 minutes of race pace running.

3 days out- your last race pace run for no more than 40 min.

2 days out- light jogging.

Race day-the optimal race plan is one that is run at an even pace- by now you should have a good feel for what that is.

Marathon training is hard work if you expect to run to your potential- the formula includes long runs of 2 hours or more, weekly miles, intervals or tempo work, and recovery days. The trick is putting the components together in a way that works best or you.

(c) Dave Elger 2007 All rights reserved

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dave's Training Log Dec 16-22

Sun Dec 16
am: 2 with dogs, then 17 mile Stoddard loop in 2 hr 27 min- last 7 pretty tough.
total miles = 19

Mon Dec 17
am: 5 miles with dogs

Tues Dec 18
am: 4 miles with dogs, then 6 x 800 about 2 min recovery.
total = 7 miles
pm: 20 min spin bike

Wed Dec 19
am: 2 with dogs, then 10 miles
Total = 12 miles
pm: 20 min spin bike workout

Thurs Dec 20
am: 4 with dogs, then 5
total = 9 miles

Fri Dec 21
am: 6 with dogs, then 8 x 400 on snow covered road, 1 mile cool-down
total = 10 miles

Sat Dec 22
am: 4 miles on trail

Total for the week= 67 miles

What?- No Established Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease?

"Suppose you were forced to live on a diet of red meat and whole milk. A diet that, all told, was at least 60 percent fat — about half of it saturated. If your first thoughts are of statins and stents, you may want to consider the curious case of the Masai, a nomadic tribe in Kenya and Tanzania.

In the 1960s, a Vanderbilt University scientist named George Mann, M.D., found that Masai men consumed this very diet (supplemented with blood from the cattle they herded). Yet these nomads, who were also very lean, had some of the lowest levels of cholesterol ever measured and were virtually free of
heart disease. "

Facinating article by Nina Teicholz that suggests saturated fat may not be the culprit causing all of that heart disease.

"We've spent billions of our tax dollars trying to prove the diet-heart hypothesis. Yet study after study has failed to provide definitive evidence that saturated-fat intake leads to heart disease."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Training Log for Dave Dec 9-15

Sun Dec 9:
am: 10 miles

Mon Dec 10:
am: 4 with dogs, then 9
total miles = 13

Tues Dec 11
am: 3 with dogs, then 6 x 800, 2 mile cool down
total miles = 8 miles

Wed Dec 12
am: 4 with dogs, then 5
total miles = 9

Thurs Dec 13
am: 5 with dogs, then 8 x 400, 1 cool down
total miles = 8

Fri Dec 14
am: 4 with dogs

Sat Dec 15
am: 5 with dogs, then 3
total miles = 8

Weekly total= 60 miles

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation May Enhance Recovery

Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation and Neuromuscular Recovery after a Running Race.


Purpose: This double-blind study investigated the effects of vitamin and mineral complex supplementation on the neuromuscular function of the knee-extensor muscles after a prolonged trail running race.

Methods: Twenty-two well-trained endurance runners took either placebo (Pl group) or vitamins and minerals (Vm group) for 21 d before the race and for 2 d after the race. Maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) and surface EMG activity of the vastus lateralis (VL) muscle were recorded before (pre) and 1 h (post), 24 h (post 24) and 48 h (post 48) after the race.
Central activation ratio (CAR), neural (M-wave), and contractile (muscular twitch) properties of the quadriceps muscles were analyzed using electrical stimulation techniques.

Results: The knee-extensor MVC was significantly (P < 0.01) reduced after exercise for both groups (Vm: 36.5 +/- 3.0 %; Pl: 36.9 +/- 2.1%), but MVC recovery was greater for Vm than Pl after 48 h (11%, P < 0.05). The reduced MVC after exercise was associated with a significant reduction in maximal EMG normalized to the M-wave in VL muscle and in CAR for both groups. Characteristics of the muscular twitch were not significantly altered for either groups, whereas M-wave duration increased significantly (P < 0.05) after exercise.

Conclusions: The reduction of MVC immediately after the race appeared to result from peripheral mechanisms such as a failure in muscle membrane excitation and, to a lesser extent, from reduced central activation. The cause of the depressed MVC 24 h after the race seemed to be located within the muscle itself. A dietary supplementation of a vitamin and mineral complex does not attenuate the loss of contractile function immediately after the running exercise, and it may accelerate the recovery of maximal force capacity.

(C)2006The American College of Sports Medicine

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Antioxidant Supplements May Prevent Cognitive Decline

Antioxidants and Prevention of Cognitive DeclineDoes Duration of Use Matter? Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(20):2167-2168. The growing interest in primary prevention of cognitive impairment and dementia has been sparked by several promising interventions, most of which have not been confirmed by recently conducted randomized clinical trials. Many observational studies, but not all, have suggested that antioxidant supplements, including beta carotene, or a diet with high intake of antioxidants reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer disease (AD) or other forms of cognitive impairment. These results, along with those from an Alzheimer Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) trial published in 1997,1 which showed a benefit of vitamin E treatment (2000 IU/d) for 2 years in reducing progression of AD,have sparked interest in antioxidants for treatment or prevention of cognitive disorders. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(20):2167-2168 Kristine Jaffe, M.D.

Beta-Carotene Supplementation- What are the potential benefits?

Check out this site for references pertaining to the potential benefits of beta-carotene- prostate cancer, asthma, and leukemia.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ted Corbitt 1919-2007

Running pioneer Ted Corbitt passed away Wednesday of respiratory complications. According to the New York Times, Corbitt suffered from prostate and colon cancer in recent years.

For those who have never heard of Corbitt, his accomplishments in distance running are truly amazing:

By his own count, Corbitt ran 199 marathons and ultramarathons, which are typically races of 50 or 100 miles or 24 hours. (Marathons are 26 miles 385 yards.) He won 30 of those races and never dropped out of one until he was 75, he said. He trained by running as many as 200 miles a week. In his heyday, Corbitt — shy and slight at 5 feet 7 inches and 130 pounds — was a United States marathon champion and a member of the United States team at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, where he finished a disappointing 44th in the marathon.

At various times, Corbitt held American records in the marathon, the 100-mile run and the 25-, 40- and 50-kilometer events. He also won national American Athletic Union championships in several distance running events. His fastest time in a marathon was 2 hours 26 minutes 44 seconds.
-NY Times

"Weight training was discouraged and people thought I was crazy," says Corbitt, "but I used a lot of the resistance exercises that were a part of physical therapy treatment to build up my legs." He used Zatopek’s method of alternating fast 440’s with slow 220’s to increase his speed and mixed such workouts with long, slow road runs. He ran in heavy army boots to add difficulty to his routine. He suffered through blisters and bruises and was forced to lay off and recover time and again. Slowly, through the brutally hot and humid New York summer, his legs hardened and he extended his distance. By fall, he felt ready to take the next step: the overdistance run.

"I always felt that if I couldn’t get through 30 miles in training, I’d never be able to race a marathon, so running 30 became a goal. But I always fell apart at about 18 miles and couldn’t get past 22 for several months. I never knew why."

The epiphany came in January 1951. Corbitt was bundled up against the winter chill, once again attempting to reach 30 miles. It was snowing, and he found himself catching snowflakes in his mouth as he ran. "A light went on in my head. I was always thirsty, but never drank anything during a run. I realized I was dehydrated almost all of the time." From then on, he put water out whenever he ran more than 15 miles. He smashed through the 30-mile barrier on the next attempt and the distance never seemed that difficult again.

The workouts that followed are legendary. Two, sometimes three runs a day, or twice around the island of Manhattan (64 miles) for long distance work. Weekly mileage was often between 200 and 300 and there were times when he put in more than 1,000 miles over the course of a month. All this while working full time as a physical therapist at the International Center for the Disabled, raising a son, and carrying on running-related administrative duties at night

His 100-mile record (13:33:06, beating the old standard by two and a half hours) came at the age of 50. He ran 134.7 miles in a 24-hour race when he was 54.

-exerpts from 2002 Running Times interview

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Training Log for Dave Dec 2-8

Sun Dec 2

no run- 10K race in Moab yesterday. Hiked about 2 hours

Mon Dec 3

am: 3 with dogs, then 7 easy
total= 10 miles

Tues Dec 4

am: 4 with dogs, then 4 x 800 all one way- 2:51, 2:49, 2:47, 2:42. long recovery jog back
2 mile cool-down
total = 8 miles

Wed Dec 5

am: 4 with dogs, then 9 miles
total= 13 miles

Thurs Dec 6

am: 4 with dogs, then 12x400 with 30-40 sec rest
total= 7 miles

Fri Dec 7

am: 4 with dogs, then 5 miles
total= 9 miles

Sat Dec 8

no run

Total for week= 47 miles

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hydroxy-Methylbutyrate (HMB) Supplementation Improves Aerobic Performance and Body Composition

Several studies have suggested that Hydroxy-Methylbutyrate (HMB) may improve lean body mass, strength, and lipid oxidation when combined with a resistance training program. Additionally, HMB has been demonstrated to reduce proteolysis (protein degradation) and acute damage to muscle structures as a result of eccentric running. As a whole, very few studies have looked at the effects of HMB supplementation on aerobic training adaptations. Recently, researchers from the University of Sherbrooke examined the effects of five weeks of HMB supplementation coupled with a three times a week interval training regime. The interval training program consisted of five intervals performed at the individual’s maximal velocity for 50% of the time to exhaustion for that velocity. Recovery between each interval was performed at 60% of maximal. Each interval and its corresponding recovery summed to 100% of the time to exhaustion. Each session contained a five minute warm-up and recovery performed at 50% of the individual’s maximal running velocity. Supplementation consisted of the consumption of three grams per day over the five weeks. Results of this investigation revealed that the combination of interval training and HMB supplementation resulted in significantly greater increases in maximal oxygen consumption. There were no differences in body composition changes between groups. Based upon these results it was concluded that the addition of an HMB supplement to an interval training program results in significant improvements to selected components of aerobic performance.

Lamboley CR, Royer D, Dionne IJ. (2007). Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate on aerobic-performance components and body composition in college students. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 17:56 — 69.

Protein Update

To date, the best guide is still the joint position statement from the ACSM and the Dietitians of Canada. This position statement suggests 12% to 15% of energy from protein or 1.2 to 1.4g/kg for endurance athletes and 1.4 - 1.8 g/kg for strength athletes (1) as illustrated in various research studies (4).

- Protein Update: How Much Protein is Enough? Debra Wein, MS, RD, LDN, National Strength & Conditioning Association Performance Training Journal,

That's .54 gm - .63 gm per pound of body wt (dividing kg by 2.2 converts to pounds). I weigh 125 so should be getting 67-79 grams of protein per day. It might not be such a bad idea to write down your intake just to make sure you are getting enough.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Iron Deficiency

Feeling more tired than usual? Not running up to your potential? More frequent agging aches and pains from running?

Check out this article by Jason Brumitt in the National Strength and Conditioning Association Training Journal titled Iron Deficiency in the Endurance Athlete: Tips for Prevention and Recognition.

The list of food sources for iron includes:

Red Meats
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Fortified Breakfast Cereals
Legumes Dried Beans
Soy Foods

If you think you may be iron deficient, go to a doctor for blood work and evaluation.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Training Log for Dave Nov 25-Dec 1

Sun Nov 25
am: 6 with dogs, then 10 easy
total = 16 miles

Mon Nov 26
am: 6 easy
pm: short bike workout, weights
total = 6 miles

Tues Nov 27
am: 4 with dogs, then 3 x 1 mile on trail- ave 6:20- I went beyond anaerobic threshold but obviously this course is very slow going, 2 mile jog
total = 9 miles

Wed Nov 28
am: 4.5 with dogs, then 10 x 400 with 30-40 sec rest, 3 easy
snow on road and pretty cold so times a couple seconds slow
total = 10 miles

Thurs Nov 29
am: 4 with dogs, then 5 easy, tired
total = 9 miles

Fri Nov 30
am: 4 with dogs slow drove to Moab for 10K

Sat Dec 1
am: Moab 10K 1.5 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down - 5th overall in 36:33- disappointed with the time, felt some tightness in my back.
Total= 9 miles

Weekly Total: 63 miles

Is Your Warm-up Long Enough?

The Navy Physial Fitness Test requires sit and reach, situps and pushups, and a 1.5 mile run. I used to laugh every time because NOBODY ever warmed up before the run. Just try maxing out on pushups and feel how pumped your arms are, and then run an all out 1.5 mile. It takes a little extra time to divert the blood down to the legs, no doubt contributing to accelerated oxygen debt. I used to try and explain how a few strides down the road prior to the run portion would benefit them in the run, but nobody ever took me up on it that I can remember.

A couple of weeks ago I ran very well in a 5K- the best I have felt in a long time. Besides stepping up my long runs, another difference was that a small group of us did 2.4 miles prior to the 5k in memory of Ryan Shay, taking us to 5.5 miles. This was about double my normal warm-up jog.

Was that the difference? Who knows, but I think it's worth repeating to find out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More on CordyMax rates CordyMax as an "excellent value".

"A few animal studies have shown cordyceps feeding to increase adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels in the liver and an enhanced ability to take up and use oxygen – both of which are effects that support the “energy” benefits that are traditionally attributed to the mushroom. A number of Chinese studies, elderly subjects receiving cordyceps reported significant improvements in their level of fatigue, mental capacity and sex drive. In 1999, a small study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine showed that CordyMax significantly increased maximal oxygen uptake and anaerobic threshold – both of which may lead to improved exercise capacity and resistance to fatigue."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Supplement May Boost VO2

Remember when the Chinese women distance runners smashed several records in the 1993 Chinese National Games? Speculation ranged from illegal drugs to caterpillar fungus.

CordyMax, a supplement derived from a rare Chinese mushroom, has been found in at least 1 study to boost VO2 max by an average of 5.5% (The American Physiological Society).

Here is another independent study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that indicates CordyMax can help reduce fatigue and improve endurance, especially in elderly patients.

In the same journal, researchers also published findings that found improved glucose metabolism in subjects taking CordyMax.

CordyMax is a natural supplement developed by Pharmanex. Contact me at if you are interested in trying this amazing supplement.

Training Log for Dave Nov 18-24

Sun Nov 18
am: 1 mile with dogs, then 17.5 mile Stoddard loop in 2 hr 30- tired from yesterday's race.
total = 18 miles

Mon Nov 19
am: 3 miles with dogs, 3 miles easy
total= 6 miles recovery

Tues Nov 20
am: 3 miles with dogs
20 x 400 with 30 sec recovery- 82-83 one way, 87-89 back. felt good
total= 8 miles

Wed Nov 21
am: 4 miles with dogs, then 5 miles easy
total = 9 miles

Thurs Nov 22 (Thanksgiving)
am: 3 miles with dogs, then 5 mile fun run
total=8 miles

Fri Nov 23
am: 4 miles with dogs (I have a cold- resting)

Sat Nov 24
am: 9 miles easy

Total for Week- 62 miles

High School Runner Finishes with a Broken Leg

Need some inspiration? Check out this video of Claire Markwardt crawling the last 45 feet of the Ohio state cross country meet with a broken fibula and tibia. -from

397 Break 70 Minutes in Ageo City, Japan Half Marathon

10th place: 1:03:36
25th place: 1:04:08
50th place: 1:04:41
100th place: 1:05:23
200th place: 1:06:37
300th place: 1:08:13
400th place: 1:10:06
500th place: 1:14:49

Is there another half-marathon anywhere in the world with this depth? (maybe not but send over five or six hundred Kenyans and let's see who has the most depth)

- from Japan Running News

Kenyan Runners

"In Kenya there are probably a million schoolboys 10 to 17 years old who run 10 to 12 miles a day. " - from quoting Alberto Salazar

No wonder!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Protect Your Hearing!

The last thing I need while running or cycling is music. For me, part of the enjoyment of physical activity is the opportunity it provides to daydream. Running has always been that time to generate new ideas or solve old problems.

Occasionally I focus on my workout, monitoring intensity of effort, breathing, speed, foot strike, arm carriage, or pedal rotation on a bike. I like listening to music behind the wheel of a car, but I find it very distracting during a normal workout.

Unfortunately, I may be in the minority. Not long ago, a popular running website published an article featuring the benefits of listening to music while running. It took me a while to realize that this particular piece was actually a paid advertisement sponsored by a well-known company that makes portable music devices.

By coincidence or not, this cleverly disguised ad just happened to appear shortly following a highly publicized study linking hearing impairment to use of portable music devices.

According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, the prevalence of hearing loss in the U.S. has doubled in the last 30 years, affecting more than 28 million Americans. Clinical audiology professor Robert Novak of Purdue University believes a big reason for the increase in Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is the use of portable music devices, which were introduced in 1979. Recently he has been randomly examining college students and finding a level of hearing loss normally seen in middle-age adults.

The extent of NIHL depends on loudness, pitch, and length of exposure to sound. Lawnmowers, motorcycles, jet skis, snowmobiles, power tools, guns, many toys, and loud music pumped through headphones can all affect hearing. The problem is, once you damage your hearing, the impairment becomes permanent.

Sound that is projected through speakers is required to travel through distance and has a chance to dissipate. MP3 players, on the other hand, are made to blast music directly into the ear canal with very little leakage of sound.

Listening to music on MP3s or other portable devices for hours each day has become a trend amoung teens. If and when hearing problems develop, they just turn up the volume to compensate.

This practice worries hearing experts such as Professor Novak, who claims to be seeing more and more patients with older ears on younger bodies.

To protect your hearing, wear earplugs anytime you are exposed to loud noises, and by all means tone it down when you listen to music through headphones. Cut back on the time you spend listening and give your ears an occasional break.

Hearing experts from Boston Childrens Hospital say it is safe to listen to your MP3 player or iPod at 60% volume for 1 hour a day.

Take my advice. Learn to run without music, and let your mind work on something else to avoid boredom. If you must listen to music while you run or workout, keep the volume as low as possible. And do me a favor- please stay off the trails!

Hearing is something you want to preserve for a lifetime.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Japan's Olympic Gold Medalist Tries Billy's Boot Camp

Good article here translated by Brett Larner on Japan's Naoka Takahashi, the Olympic Marathon gold medalist in Sydney, who recently finished up 6 months of training in Boulder, including "heavy emphasis on cross-training exercises and weight training." Apparently she used Billy's Boot Camp video tapes.

Stretching Exercises to Improve Your Running

(illustrations from,

Unless you are a professional runner, chances are good that you don't spend much time on the other aspects of training such as stretching, drills, strength training and so on.

If you are looking for a few basic exercises that don't take much time, here is what I would recommend for flexibility- hamstrings, hip flexors, quads, and calf.

hamstrings- most effectively stretched by laying on your back and using a rope or strap to assist

hip flexors- if you google hip flexor stretch, you'll find several versions

quads (see picture)

calf- i like the Pro-stretch (pictured here), but you can do without by using a board or the more traditional wall push

Spend a few minutes a day on these 4 groups- preferrably after running or in the evening when you aren't rushed for time. You'll need to stretch other groups if you have specific problems that are related, i.e. iliotibial band, piriformis, low back pain.

Training Log for Dave Nov 11-17

Sun Nov 11: am: 1.5 mile with dogs, then 17.5 mile loop in 2 hr 27.
19 miles

Mon Nov 12: am: 2 miles with dogs, then 30 min easy spinning, 3 min jump rope, and light weights
2 miles

Tues, Nov 13 am: 3 miles with dogs, then 2 x 3 miles, with 3 min rest. 19:20, 19:45
9 miles

Wed, Nov 14 am: 3 miles with dogs, 8 x 400, 3 miles easy
8 miles

Thurs, Nov 15 am: 3 miles with dogs, then 10 miles in 80 min 13 miles

Fri, Nov 16 am: 2 mile jog
2 miles

Sat, Nov 17
am: 2.5 mile warm-up 5K race 1.5 mile cooldown
7 miles

Total for the week: 60 miles

Notes: ran 17:10 on Sat in Syracuse. Felt very strong but could not finish the last 800 with the leader. My best altitude time.

Marathon Build-up

Like most runners, I like to select fall and spring races to prepare for. The rest of the year, I enjoy 5Ks and since I have moved to Utah, trail races. This fall I tried to peak for 2 races a few weeks apart- the XTERRA 10K Trail National Championships at Incline Village, Nevada, and the Other Half (half marathon) in Moab, Utah.

Last April I did the Boston Marathon, but this spring I've decided to try a new one- the Bank of Montreal Vancouver Marathon on May 4.

While my fast marathon days are long gone, I still believe that I can break 3 hours, and that will be my goal for this spring, the year that I am turning 55.

I did 3 hr 02 at Boston, falling off sub-3 pace on the hills between 18-21 miles. At Moab last month I ran 1 hr 25 very comfortably, with only a handful of 13-15 mile runs behind me. Moab sits at around 4,100-4,200 feet.

With 6 months to go, I am already thinking about what I need to do. Long runs, tempo workouts, speed work, cross training, and recovery. I plan to keep a training log which I'll post at the end of each week. Yesterday, did my first real long run on the road- a 17.5 mile loop in 2 hr 27 minutes. Over the next several weeks I will be working not on going farther, but knocking some time off that loop.

I'll also be adding more cross training than I have ever done before- yesterday during that last 5K I noticed a couple of things that I need to work on- some back fatigue and weak hip flexors. I also have one lower leg weaker than the other- a problem that I have been ignoring for a long time- I'll have to spend more time in the gym than years past working on overall strength and correcting muscle weaknesses.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Chondromalacia- A Pain in the Knee

Unfortunately, knee pain is not that uncommon among serious runners and cyclists. If the pain is one that comes and goes, seems to be located on or under the knee cap, and is aggravated by squatting, bending, kneeling, or going down stairs, more than likely you have what is referred to as chondromalacia. offers some exercises to help improve the condition. Pronation, hill running, tight, fatigued or weak quadriceps, running on the same side of the road, and overuse are common causes. offers tips for cyclists here. Incorrect seat position, cranking too much against high resistance, and incorrect cleat alignment are all possible causes.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Improve Your Running With Explosive Training

Great new research from Finland reveals that adding simple, explosive routines to running workouts can produce major gains in performance for endurance runners....

According to the article, a group or runners that replaced 1.8 hours per week of running with 3 explosive routines of sprinting, jumping (bounds, hurdle jumps, squat jumps, calf jumps), and strength training exercises (half squats, calf raises, ab curls, low back extensions, knee extension and flexion) improved their 150 meter run time by 3%. Speculating that maximal running velocity is a strong predictor of running performance, researchers are convinced that runners should be spending a little less time running and more time on these drills.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Congratulations Olympians!

Here is the top 10 finishers in the men's marathon Olympic Trials from New York along with my predictions.

Pl Bib Name Age Hometown Affiliation Finish
1 2 Ryan Hall 25 Mammoth Lakes, CA 2:09:02
2 9 Dathan Ritzenhein 24 Eugene, OR 2:11:07
3 5 Brian Sell 29 Rochester Hills, MI Hansons-Brooks Distance Project 2:11:40
4 1 Khalid Khannouchi 36 Ossining, NY 2:12:34
5 47 Jason Lehmkuhle 30 Minneapolis, MN Team USA Minnesota 2:12:54
6 127 Daniel Browne 32 Beaverton, OR Nike 2:13:23
7 20 Nathaniel Jenkins 27 Lowell, MA 2:14:56
8 4 Meb Keflezighi 32 San Diego, CA 2:15:09
9 126 Josh Rohatinsky 25 Portland, OR Nike 2:15:22
10 24 Jason Hartmann 26 Boulder, CO 2:15:27

my prediction- 6 in the top 10 but none in the correct order. I wonder if anybody got all 10!

1. Abdirahman
2. Hall
3. Khannouchi
4. Keflezighi
5. Ritzenhein
6. Hussein
7. Sell
8. Gilmore
9. Hartman
10. Torres

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ritz Still Doesn't Get It!

Dathan Ritzenhein is a very talented distance runner. His resume includes 2 Footlocker National cross country titles in high school, an NCAA cross country title, and some very impressive PRs at distances ranging from 2 miles to the marathon.

Despite this success and his enormous talent, Dathan appears to be on a somewhat misguided course, at least that is what it looks like from the outside.

Claiming that he read how he might improve by dropping a few pounds, Dathan admitted to dieting prior to the U.S. National Track and Field Championships, and was forced to stumble weakly across the finish. He bonked at the New York Marathon last year and now this quote in the Eugene Register-Guard, "In the marathon,” Ritzenhein said, “you have to build up your tank as much as you can, and take in as much fuel as you can during the race, because the human body really can’t store the optimal amount of energy for that distance at that effort."

Anybody foolish enough to "take in as much fuel as you can" during a marathon is indeed headed to disaster- in the form of some nasty gastric distress. Too bad he didn't heed his own advice at the Track and Field Championships and go into that race fully loaded 1-2 pounds heavy.

Approximately 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour is about all your body can use Moderate Carbohydrate Intake Best During Exercise?

Ritz, you are as tough as they come and I hope you have a good race but for Pete's sake get some professional advice on sports nutrition. At your level you can't afford not to.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Win 100K! is sponsoring a Prediction contest to see if anybody can correctly guess the top ten finishers in order at the Men's Olympic Marathon Trials to be held this weekend in New York. Go here for details!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Information on Preventing Dehydration

How many runners think its a good idea to chug extra water in the days leading up to a marathon?

According to an article in the December issue of Running Times Magazine by Calista Harbaugh and Mark Knepper, M.D., Ph.D., drinking too much water supresses the production of the hormone vasopressin. Vasopression, which acts as an antidiuretic by helping the body to preserve water, is typically produced when the body is dehydrated. When the body is in a constant state of overhydration, vasopressin does not get produced, resulting in a depletion of aquaporin-2, a "water channel" involved in the transport of water back to the blood.

In layman terms, when you drink too much water over time, your kidneys may not able to conserve water as efficiently when you begin to dehydrate.

Obviously more research needs to be conducted on this subject, but the authors suggest routine sweat-producing workouts and avoiding over-hydration between races.

Moose Sighting!

Last weekend on a 5 mile out and back trail run (South Skyline Trail) with Wendy Tong we came across not one, but 2 moose like this ( I took this photo in February of a moose in Breckenridge).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Running to the Limit by Paul Tergat

Who is Paul Tergat? If you aren't a fan of distance running, you might not have a clue.

Paul Tergat was born in 1969 in Riwo, Kenya, and here is a partial list of what he has accomplished in the world of distance running:

5,000 meters- 12:49 (1997)
10,000 meters- 26:27 (1997- world record)
Half Marathon- 59:17 (1998- world record)
Marathon- 2 hr 04 min:55 (2003-world record)
World Cross Country Champion (1995-1999)

If you want to know what it takes to be the best, pick up a copy of Tergat's book Running to the Limit, written with Jurg Wirz, Meyer & Meyer Sport, 2005. Here are a few exerpts:

sample week leading up to Tergat's world record marathon run

AM 30 min then 10 x 1,000 meters in 2:45 90 sec rest
PM 1 hr

AM 1 hr 10 min
PM 1 hr

AM 1 hr 15 min
PM 1 hr

AM 35 kilometers
PM recover

AM 1 hr 10 min
PM 1 hr

AM 1 hr 10 min
PM 1 hr

AM 30 min, 20 x 1 min fast, 1 min slow
PM 1 hr

He follows a standard marathon training program that includes one long run, one long interval, and one short interval session per week. He mentions that his typical morning runs are always between medium and fast paced, with the afternoon run at slow to medium. The long runs "are not slow at all." Prior to the Atlanta Olympics, Tergat claims to have been running up to 300 kilometers per week-that's 187 miles.

Tergat's long time coach, Dr. Gabriel Rosa, suggests that training at higher elevations is valuable, as is training on hills. "Somebody who always runs on the flat will after some time lose his strength."

Rosa also thinks quality is more important than quantity- Tergat's 300 kilometer weeks being an exception to that rule. Rosa likes what he calls, "progressive running", or starting slow and ending fast. Runners converting from the track to the marathon must be patient- it's a different biochemistry and running technique.

Tergat thinks it's important for any runner to follow a long term plan. "It is easier to follow a certain training program when you know exactly what you are training for."

What does Tergat do other than running? He illustrates a few simple drills to improve running form, joint range of motion, speed, and strength. He mentions stretching in his sample training logs but does not go into any specifics.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Other Half in Moab

They call it "The Other Half". I guess the Canyonlands Half was first, but from what I've seen The Other Half does not take a back seat to any race.

Runners must take about a 30 mile bus ride out of Moab to Dewey Bridge, then run back on Hwy 128 to Sorrel Ranch- subjected to some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever find in a race anywhere.

I was surprised at how good I felt- just a good steady 6:30 pace with a little something left at the end- finishing in 1 hr 25 min 16 sec- 14th overall. results.

Plenty of support on the course and great refreshments. This is an outstanding event- congratulations to the race organizers and sponsors!

TOP 15
1. Ewen North Boulder CO 29 M 1:12:19 5:31
2. Nathan Hornok Salt Lake City 29 M 1:16:06 5:49
3. Bernie Boettcher Silt CO 45 M 1:17:38 5:56
4. Chad Derum Salt Lake City 35 M 1:18:37 6:00
5. Brad Anderson Salt Lake City 42 M 1:19:05 6:02
6. Kevin Koch Grand Junction 32 M 1:21:04 6:11
7. Richard Paradis Denver 42 M 1:21:13 6:12
8. Steven Sellars Superior 47 M 1:21:35 6:14
9. Keith Lederhaus Salt Lake City 23 M 1:21:49 6:15
10. Dakota Jones Durango 16 M 1:23:07 6:21
11. Nathan Drake Wheat Ridge 36 M 1:23:22 6:22
12. Ben Kadlec Boulder 25 M 1:23:35 6:23
13. Wade McFarland Logan UT 51 M 1:24:06 6:25
14. Dave Elger Mountain Green UT 54 M 1:25:16 6:31
15. Marisa Asplund-Owens Durango 30 F 1:25:25 6:31

Friday, October 19, 2007

Top American Marathon Coaches Give Their Views on Altitude Training


Altitude is a topic we’ve been talking about for decades. What is your current thinking? Coach (Joe) Vigil says something near 7000 feet is ideal. Could you outline your philosophy of where altitude fits into the training of a marathoner?

Brad Hudson: I have two athletes at altitude and two athletes at sea level. I just want to emphasize that we believe strongly in altitude training. Some athletes do a little bit better at altitude than our others. The real reason that we’re using Eugene (Oregon) at sea level right now is because of the soft surfaces, and the last month of training, all my athletes are at sea level doing more specific work for the marathon. We believe strongly and altitude and we think Boulder is a great place for training…. It’s 5200 feet or 5300, and we actually think the stress and the time are a little bit slower than that. So I don’t necessarily believe in any sort of magic altitude…. It’s just how you use it in training and how you prepare specifically for a race. At the end of the day, the races are at sea l level, and so I think using sea level in our training takes a little bit of the mystery out of how we’re going to do in the race. We know where we’re going, especially close to the race.

Terrance Mahon: The mystery with altitude is that people get a little too complicated with it. I consider altitude as a stressor on an athlete’s typical training regimen, and I don’t see it actually as that much different than the stressor or, let’s say, weigh training or running up a hill or doing sprints. If you look at it like that, you’re obviously going to see that different athletes are going to adapt differently to different stresses on their body. For example, there are certain athletes who get quicker gains in the weight room than another athlete, and the same applies to altitude. So what we look at is altitude as a stressor component within our system, so it’s going to be different for different types of athletes. One, it’s going to vary from year to year, depending on how long an athlete has been at altitude …. I don’t think there’s a magic in terms if saying "hey, there’s an altitude of 7000 feet, and that’s the best altitude," because for a new athlete, maybe 4000 feet or 5000 feet is the stress that their body can handle at that time given all the other stresses that are going on in the training work load, be it volume, speed, intensity, density…. If we take someone like a Ryan Hall, who’s pretty much been at altitude, 6000 feet or higher, since he was a young boy, his adaptation to that stress as such isn’t as hard as the next person. What we’ve actually looked at this year Ryan is we’ve brought him up to 9000 feet because we found we weren’t getting as much of a stress at 8000 feet and we’re looking to add that tiny bit of stimulus to the system to improve his running economy.

Keith Hanson: Obviously, our group trains in the suburbs of Detroit and we like the training area because it is very soft surfaces. Eighty percent of our mileage is probably done on dirt, between trails and dirt roads. Certainly I agree with Terrence; it’s obvious that running at altitude is a stressor…. A Brian Sell, for example, counters that will running very high volume. Brian is a consistent 150-plus milers per week athlete when he’s training for a marathon. That’s the sort of thing that gives Brian confidence. Brian would be a good example, in my opinion, of somebody who would have difficulty at altitude because it would be somewhat suicidal of him to run his 150 to 160 miles per week at altitude …. It would actually be, in my opinion, a disadvantage with the mentality that Brian has and the strength that he gains from that mentality to put him at altitude.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kenyan Training Secrets

Check out this great article on training with the Kenyans posted on

Key points to Kenyan living

*Start runs very slowly but accelerate until at the end you are running very, very hard.

*Run sessions very, very hard.

*Follow runs with a full range of stretching, drills, sit ups and medicine ball work.

*Watch TV at all times between training except when eating or reading.

*Take a nap if there is nothing on TV.

*Eat ugali as much as possible. Does your sweat carry the feint smell of maize? If not eat more ugali.

*When you walk, walk slowly. Very slowly.

*Run only on grass or tracks. Walk to the park rather than running there. Remember to walk slowly.

*Make your tea using milk instead of water and add sugar in the kind of quantity you would normally add milk.

*Do not train in the rain unless absolutely necessary.

"Rest. That is the secret no-one knows. No-one realises how much rest they get. It is why Kenyans train so hard."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

High Blood Pressure and Exercise

According to the CDC, between the years of 1999-2002, 30.6% of all women and 28.8% of men in the U.S. were taking medication to lower blood pressure.

More statistics from The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute :

*More than 72 million American adults — 1 in 3 — have high blood pressure

*Nearly 60 million Americans are over age 55 which means they have a 90 percent likelihood of developing high blood pressure in their lifetimes.

*20 million Americans have diabetes which increases their chances of developing high blood pressure.

*142 million American adults are overweight or obese which increases their chances of developing high blood pressure.

NHLBI also lists the reasons why those with high blood pressure (140/90 or greater)
should be concerned:

*High blood pressure is a factor in 67 percent of heart attacks in the United States.

*High blood pressure is a factor in 77 percent of strokes—the #3 cause of death in the United States.

*High blood pressure precedes 74 percent of cases of heart failure in the United States.

*High blood pressure is the second leading cause of chronic kidney failure in the United States—responsible for 26 percent of all cases.

*High blood pressure causes more visits to doctors than any other condition—just a 10 percent decline in the number of visits would save $450 million each year.

*High blood pressure affects circulation—creating a higher risk for mental deterioration and Alzheimer's.

Besides diet, physical activity plays an extremely important role in the management of this damaging condition. ANYBODY TAKING PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE THAT IS NOT GETTING 30 MINUTES OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ON MOST DAYS OF THE WEEK (unless under the direction of a physician) should re-evaluate their priorities (like how important is it to stay alive!). It's that important, and it's not that difficult.

According to, regular activity can lower systolic blood pressure by an average of 10 mm of mercury, the same as some blood pressure medications. A stonger, more efficient heart, improved circulation (less resistance to blood flow), better management of stress, and weight loss are some of the obvious ways that regular exercise can impact high blood pressure.

Always seek the advice of a physician prior to starting exercise, especially if you have any existing medical conditions or cardiovascular risk factors and you are unaccustomed to working out. offers the following advice before getting started. See a doctor first if...

1. you are a male over 40 or female over 50
2. you smoke
3. you are overweight or obese
4. you have another chronic condition such as high cholesterol
5. you have a family history of heart-related problems before age 55 (parent or
6. you feel pain in your chest or become dizzy with effort
7. you are not sure of your health status

Regardless, you should always start easy- for some that may be as little as 1-2 minutes at a time with rest intervals sandwiched in between, not letting yourself get winded. As you get stronger, the length of your exercise intervals (walk, stationary bike, swim, or any other activity of an aerobic nature that you enjoy) can gradually increase until you can keep moving for 30 minutes continuously. Those who are able to continue will notice significant changes in the way they feel after just a few short months. And a lower blood pressure (keep in mind that what and how much you are eating is also very important). Later, for additional benefits you can add weight training, using relatively light weights and a high number of repetitions (20 or more).

One final note- if you don't know your blood pressure, have it checked! High blood pressure usually has no symptoms until it is too late!

(c) Dave Elger, 2007. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

How Running & Exercise Can Impact the Behavior of ADHD Children

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)is one of the most common mental disorders in children. Neurologist Dr. Fred Bauman reports on that in 1985, 500,000 children were diagnosed with ADHD. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates 3-5% of American children today have ADHD- approximately 2 million.

While the medical community studies possible causes and solutions to this growing problem, Dr. Michael S. Wendt, Ed.D. thinks he has found a primary cause.

"The first indication that I was onto something surfaced when I compared the decrease in fitness and activity levels of children with the rising incidence of psychosomatic disorders over the past ten years. There was a direct inverse relationship."

This great article on summaries some of the work done by Dr. Wendt, including a 6-week study that linked significant improvements in the behavior of ADHD children when enrolled in a supervised exercise program.

No kidding.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Does Altitude Training Help- or Not?

Many coaches and athletes are convinced that altitude training gives them an edge over their sea-level trained competitors. According to legendary distance Joe Vigil, "Since 1968, 95% of all Olympic and World Championship medals from the 800 through the Marathon were won by athletes who lived or trained at altitude...It can therefore be concluded that altitude training is necessary for success in endurance events." Renowned Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar has his athletes (including Kara Goucher who recently set the American record for the half marathon) sleeping at altitude using simulation equipment and tents.

At altitude, the body adapts by increasing red blood cells and hemoglobin, stimulated by higher levels of EPO. Logically this should give endurance athletes an edge.

Not everyone agrees. Athletes training in Madison, Wisconsin such as 2-mile American record holder Matt Tegenkamp and Chris Solinsky (5 time NCAA champ) train and sleep exclusively at sea level.

Owen Anderson, PhD, a leading expert on endurance training and performance, does not think altitude training helps. Anderson writes in this article published at, "Overall, VO2max dropped by around 6.3 percent for each 1000-foot increase in altitude (above the baseline of 1000 feet). As VO2max declines, workouts at high-quality paces become much-more difficult to handle."

You would think that science would have this figured out by now. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Runner's Account of Learning to Swim

Running and swimming are as different as night and day- one is weight bearing, one is not. One uses the upper body significantly more than the other. Muscle recruitment is different. And so on.

Amy Burfoot, a one-time winner of the Boston Marathon, gives this colorful account in of how he mastered swimming a mile non-stop.

Amby went to Total Immersion creator Terry Laughlin for guidance.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Aerobic Exercise PLUS Strength Training Best Approach for Diabetes Control

"After roughly five months, all three exercise groups showed an overall improvement in their hemoglobin A1c, a blood test that measures blood-sugar control. However, the group that combined aerobic and strength conditioning had the greatest improvement.

If there were a pill that showed such an effect, it would be readily prescribed, write the authors of an editorial published with the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine"


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Olympic Marathon Trials Preview

Read all about the upcoming men's Olympic marathon trials in New York City November 3. Profiles of top runners, course information, complete list of qualifiers, prize money breakdown, and much more! Chasing Glory,

The women will run in Boston on April 20, the day prior to the Boston Marathon. The website,posted by the Boston Athletic Association, is One more reason to run Boston in 2008!

More is Not Always Better!

I found this great journal entry by Brandon O'Keefe on the New York Road Runners website. Brandon relates how injuries forced him to repace running days with cycling, with astounding results!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Nutrition for Ultra Endurance Events

How much should you drink during a marathon or ultra? Debra Wein, MS, RD, LDN summarizes the latest findings in this article published in National Strength and Conditioning Association Journal. Wein contends that the current American College of Sports Medicine position statement on fluid intake during exercise exceeding an hour (600-1200 ml per hour) may actually be too high for ultra athletes performing at a low intensity or smaller athletes with lower metabolic and sweat rates.

Recommendations for the Ironman distance:

500-800 ml per hour during the bike portion (500 ml is slighly more than 16 ounces)
300-500 ml per hour during the run portion (300 ml is about 10 ounces)
(lightweight athletes even less)

.3-.7 grams of sodium per liter (.5 grams equals .017 ounces)

The obvious problem with this article is failure to take into account the environmental factors that influence sweat rates, namely heat, humidity, wind, and direct sunlight.

It's a good practice for runners to always weigh themselves before and after long runs, and keep track of how much fluid is consumed- the goal is to always try to keep weight loss less than 2% of total body weight.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

XTERRA 10K National Championship Trail Run- Sept 29, Incline Village, NV

As you can see, the course had a few twists, including these 2 logs that we had to run across twice. I am happy with the way I ran, finishing 9th overall in 39:11-5th in the National Championships but 2nd in the 50-59 age group to Kevin Tuck from Salt Lake City, a guy that I have yet to even come close to. I definitely felt the altitude difference- Tahoe is 6,200 feet. RESULTS

I have a few more pictures posted here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Goucher Shatters American Record in Half Marathon

American Kara Goucher upset marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe in a stunning 66 min 57 sec at the Great North Run Half Marathon in Tynside, England on Sunday. Goucher, who won the bronze medal at 10,000 in this year's World Championships in Osaka, was running her first half marathon.

"....her times at 15km (47:36), 10 miles (50:59) and 20km (63:33) were also quicker than any US athlete has run before."

Kara is coached by former Oregon great Alberto Salazar. Go here for the full story.

Two other Salazar coached athletes, 2006 NCAA X country champ Josh Rohatinsky and Kara's husband Adam place 5th and 6th. results

Salazar is a firm believer in using a stint of altitude training prior to big races (see this great article published last Aug in the Oregonian).

Geb Finally Does it- 2 hr 04 min 26 sec!

BERLIN, Sept 30 (Reuters) Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie shattered a marathon world record on Sunday in Berlin...

Hallie believes 2 hours will be broken.

Berlin Marathon Top 10 Results:


1. Haile Gebrselassie ETH 2:04:26
2. Abel Kirui KEN 2:06:51
3. Salim Kipsang KEN 2:07:29
4. Philip Manyim KEN 2:08:01
5. Mesfin Adimasu ETH 2:09:49
6. Lee Troop AUS 2:10:31
7. Arkadiusz Sowa POL 2:12:00
8. Joseph Kahugu KEN 2:12:08
9. Tomohiro Seto JPN 2:12:21
10. Ignacio Caceres ESP 2:12:46


1. Gete Wami ETH 2:24:26
2. Irina Mikitenko GER 2:24:51
3. Helena Kirop KEN 2:26:27
4. Irina Timofeyeva RUS 2:26:54
5. Naoko Sakamoto JPN 2:28:33
6. Hayley Haining GBR 2:30:43
7. Rose Nyangacha KEN 2:31:33
8. Leonor Carneiro POR 2:31:41
9. Angeline Flueckiger-Joly SUI 2:35:57
10. Eva-Maria Gradwohl AUS 2:36:21

Don't Be a Race Bandit- Even if Your Last Name is Galloway

The following is an exerpt from The Sailfish Striders is a running club that I founded back in the mid 1980s. Located on Florida's Treasure Coast, they take pride in putting on races with accurate courses, organized finish lines, and quick results. See what happens when runners decide to run but don't bother to register-

The Beach To Beach 5K Race had a confluence of unusual factors that led to errors in processing the results the night of the race, and every effort was made to find and correct any and all errors before disseminating them to the media. If you believe that an error is still displayed in the results, then please send an e-mail to Race Director Mike Melton and explain why you think an error exists. Mike has all the documentation from the event and will diligently determine if your inquiry has any validity, and if it does, then the error will be corrected immediately.

A record crowd of runners, the vacation season, a record number of race bandits (including former Olympian Jeff Galloway), pull tag failures, runners exiting the chute before being recorded, and timer printer problems all contributed to the situation.

In conducting more than 400 events in our Club's history, this is the first time we have had this experience, and we will do everything within reason to ensure that it does not occur again! Thank you for your understanding!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jenny Crain Update-Sept 29

There is a new website up for Jenny called-
Track Jenny's recovery, send well wishes, and receive e-mails of Jenny Crain updates.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Don't Diet Before Racing!

You would think that the best runners in the United States should know better than to fool around with diet in the days leading up to an important race. When an athlete is good enough to make a living at runing fast, it's important that they take advantage of all available resources to do so, i.e. massage, chiropractic, coaching, and DIETARY ADVICE!

Thinking he could run faster if he was lighter, it looks like Dathan Ritzenhein was trying to diet the week prior to the US National Track and Field Championships this summer. Check out this candid interview with Dathan as he descibes the last 1K. interview .

One athlete who did use all resources avalible when preparing for major competitions was Lance Armstrong. Cyclists more so than runners pay particular attention to the importance of weight, yet have figured out how to balance caloric intake and expenditure without loss of endurance and strength.

Check out this article about Lance's dietary planning posted on

"To make positive adaptations to training, your body needs a slight surplus of energy. To lose weight, you need a slight energy deficit. Trying to lose significant amounts of weight while training hard can do more harm than good because it robs the body of its ability to recover, which in turn reduces the positive impact of workouts."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Best Running Shoes- Fall Review

Here is the Fall Shoe Guide from

Jenny Crain Update- Sept 25

September 25, 2007


"While Jenny’s condition remains basically the same, her care team is preparing for her transfer to a rehabilitation facility in Milwaukee.

Jenny continues to minimally respond to stimuli: she is blinking her eyes and giving finger/hand gestures. It is anticipated that Jenny will be moved in the next few days.

As Jenny acclimates to her new environment, we are not sure what the visitation schedule will be. Jenny’s family wants a good mix of visitors and focused therapy. Please stay tuned to this page for information on supporting Jenny’s rehabilitation.

Thanks you for your devoted support for Jenny."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Racing and Training Update

Last Saturday I raced a 5K in the Standard Examiner Classic (17:49)- I did not feel particularly strong and my time was a little slower than I had hoped. I think I just need to sharpen a little with a few more races and or quality interval workouts.

This weekend is the XTERRA 10K National Trail Running 10K
at Incline Village, Nevada.

I've made some changes in my workouts the last month- more sustained tempo (20-30 minutes)runs and some better weekend long runs- a couple of 15 milers. The rest of this week I will do a short interval workout- today was 8 x400s and I will do something similar tomorrow and hope to feel strong on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Does Intermittent Exposure to Altitude Simulation Work?

According to AltO2Lab, a company that makes portable altitude simulators, an effective protocol with their device calls for an hour a day of 6 minutes on, 4 minutes off. Unfortunately, I was unable to access the link to their supporting research, but the website claims significant improvement in athletic performance following 15 days compared to a matched placebo group.

Colorado Altitude Training, a company that sells altitude simulator systems, cites this study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology that concludes just the opposite: "Four weeks of a 5:5-min normobaric hypoxia exposure at rest for 70 min, 5 days/wk, is not a sufficient stimulus to elicit improved performance or change the normal level of erythropoiesis in highly trained runners."

I'll keep looking!

Jenny Crain Update

September 16, 2007 - from


Tonight Jenny was moved from ICU to 5NW Room 18 at Froedtert Hospital. This is an important milestone reached by Jenny. Jenny will been taken off all of her antibiotics by Wednesday indicating that her infection has been successfully addressed.

For the third straight day Jenny’s eyes are open and moving. She seems to be showing increased eye movement and is occasionally following objects around the room. Jenny is also beginning to exhibit some muscle resistance in her arms when her family is helping her with range of motion therapy.

Jenny’s family is deeply appreciative of the entire care team in the ICU. Please join in thanking the medical team for their outstanding treatment of Jenny.

Yesterday Briggs and Al’s Run occurred on the streets of Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on the event reported it this way:

“Jenny Crain wasn't there Saturday to defend the title she has won the past two years at the Briggs and Al's Run and Walk for Children's Hospital.

But her spirit was certainly in attendance.

Crain, the well-known Milwaukee marathoner, remains in critical condition at Froedtert Hospital, where she has been since Aug. 21. On that day, Crain was hit by an automobile in Milwaukee while on a training run.

Crain, 39, who had been given a strong chance of making the 2008 United States Olympic team, is suffering from head, jaw and neck injuries. The three-time winner of the 8-kilometer Al's Run's was in the hearts and minds of many of the competitors and spectators at the event, which is in its 30th year.

"I have never run in this event before, but I wanted to be here today for Jenny," said women's winner Bethany Brewster, 27, a six-time All-American runner at the University of Wisconsin from Madison. "It felt good to come out here and race for her."
Many of the runners and spectators wore "Make it happen" T-shirts supporting Crain.

Al's Run organizers gave space to the Crain supporters to sell the T-shirts, the proceeds of which will be used to help defray her medical costs.”

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sleep is Part of the Running Performance Equation

Besides genetics, what are the factors that can impact your running? Long runs, speed work, recovery, nutrition, and who knows what else. What about sleep?

According to this article published in New York Times artcle by Gina Kolata, nobody seems to know for sure the impact of sleep deprivation on endurance. Or for that matter, the impact hard training has on the ability to sleep.

"Deena Kastor, who won the London Marathon last year and set an American record, said she sleeps 10 hours at night and takes a two-hour nap every afternoon. Steven Spence, a marathoner who won a bronze medal at the 1991 world championships in Tokyo, had the same sleep habits when he was training."

“I would be sleeping about half of my life,” Mr. Spence said.

The bottom line for advice for anybody, regardless of how much you run, would be to obstain from alcohol, caffeine, or energy drinks. Let's assume you don't use nicotine!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Stretching Study Underway

USA Track and Field is looking for runners interested in participating in a large scale study on pre-run stretching and injury prevention.

In order to join this study, you must:

be 13 years or older
be injury-free for at least 6 weeks prior to enrolling
be running at least 10 miles per week
be able to run for at least 3 months (the duration of the study)
be willing to commit (after being randomly assigned) to either pre-run stretching or no stretching for your running routine

Interested? Go to the USATF website to sign-up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Great Prices on Running Gear!

If you are in the market for some new running gear, check out the prices of Bill Rodgers Sportsgear here!
At least 50% off all items.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Going Back to What Works

This summer has been fantastic for training. For several weeks I did most of my running on the Snowbasin trails training preparing for the XTERRA trail race series. Trail running in the mountains has a place in the ideal training routine, but I have learned not to overdo it.

After 2 bad races in a row, I decided to head back down to the flat roads at 5,000 feet and focus more on tempo. One of my favorites turned out to be a 3 mile out and back, which I got down to 21 minutes out and 19 minutes back. I did a few of those and sure enough ran 17:25 at the Rosholt Labor Day Run, a good time for me (I turned 54 the week prior).

With the uphills, altitude, and poor footing, most trail runs on Snowbasin were run at 10 min mile pace. Even though my heart rate and breathing told me that I was working at a high enough percentage of V02 Max to get very fit, the leg turnover was just too slow.

The lesson? I'll continue to enjoy the trails, but only once a week as a serious uphill workout unless I go up for a planned easy day or just need a break from the faster training down on the flats.

Learn the Course!

Since I ran my first cross country race back in 1967, I've entered and run well over 1,000 races. Of those, I have gotten lost at least 2 dozen times, maybe more.

Well it happened again at the annual University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Alumni Cross Country race. Sometime after the 3-mile mark (which I hit in 17:55) with the main pack out of sight, I followed the guy in front of me, who for some reason veered off down the wrong loop (I think perhaps he followed a runner who was already cooling down).

Knowing that I would be well back of the leaders, I didn't bother studying the course map thoroughly enough. You would think I would know better.

Back in 1971, I attempted my first marathon in Whitewater, Wisconsin, which turned into complete chaos. I was in 18th or so after 10 miles but by 20 I was suddenly running in 4th. A pack of 15 or so went the wrong way. Hitting mile 25 in 2 hrs 51 minutes, I was on pace to easily break 3 hours until I followed an arrow sign the wrong direction. After several minutes, I figured everything out and finally got in at 3 hr 05 min. That was a painful mistake for me, but not nearly as painful as the 15 guys who got lost and ended up running an extra 4 or 5 miles.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Exercise Duration More Important than Intensity for Weight Control least according to this study
Exercise duration and intensity in a weight-loss program"When participants were divided by their reported average weekly duration of exercise at months 6 and 12, the group which averaged > or =200 min/week at both time points lost more weight than the groups which averaged <150 min/week of physical activity or whose activity duration was inconsistent (difference among groups, P = 0.01). They also had a greater percent increase in cardiorespiratory fitness than those who averaged <150 min/week of physical activity (P = 0.007) and those whose activity was inconsistent (P = 0.003)."

Chambliss, HO, Clin J Sport Med. 2005 Mar;15(2):113-5

Is Walking 30 Minutes on 3 Days a Week Enough?

According to this study out of Ireland, subjects who walked 30 minutes on 3 times per week for 12 weeks averaged a 5 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure, a 2.6 cm drop in waist circumference, and a 2.4 cm drop in hip circumference. The numbers on subjects who walked 5 days a week were similar.

Here is another study that found no significant change in blood pressure, blood lipids, or girth measurements in previously sedentary adults who walked 20 minutes 3 days a week.

Obviously diet plays an important role in all of these parameters, however there seems to be evidence that you need to walk more than 60 minutes a week to experience some of these important health benefits.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Olympic Hopeful Jenny Crain Struck by Car

Olympic hopeful Jenny Crain, a 39 year old Wisconsin native, was struck by a car last Tuesday during a training run. Crain, described by friends and teammates as a giant in Wisconsin's tight-knit competitive running community, was jogging west on E. Brady St. when she was struck by a vehicle traveling south on N. Farwell Ave., police said

You can support Jenny and follow her status by logging into and enter supportjennycrain as the carepage name.

The running community is all praying and pulling for Jenny's recovery.

August 25, 2007

THE MESSAGE IS FROM JENNY’S FAMILY ( supportjennycrain carepage

Since the last update there has been some good news and a little mixed news. The good news is that it appears that the brain swelling seems to be decreasing and that her pupils are on the way to returning to normal. The mixed news is that the pressure on her brain was slightly elevated, which the doctors are addressing with various techniques. Overall the brain healing is moving in the right direction.

Aside from the specifics noted above, her condition remains very similar to the previous updates.

Overnight some of the bandages on Jenny’s head were removed revealing that a good portion of her hair has been shaved. Imagine what Jenny would think of her hair?

As we all know Jenny’s recovery will be very much like a marathon, with some miles better than others. Up hills and down hills. The wind at times in her face and at other points at her back. Most importantly with her fans and supporters by her side cheering her on throughout. We all know that team Jenny will “make it happen.”

Goucher 3rd at World Championships!

Alberto Salazar's use of altitude training appears to have worked it's magic on at least one of his athletes as Kara Goucher finished a surprising 3rd at the World Championships in the Women's 10,000.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The 10 Minute Run

Are you interested in staying fit just for the health of it? Maybe you do not really have a weight problem or care to be competitive. Perhaps walking takes too long or there is just no spare time to squeeze in regular trips to the gym. Consider trying the 10 minute run.

Before you jump to the conclusion that 10 minutes cannot possibly make any difference, take a look at the joint American College of Sports Medicine-American Heart Association recommendations for physical activity for healthy adults under the age of 65:

Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week
Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, twice a week

Since jogging and running qualify as vigorous, you will need to do a 10 minute run at least 6 days a week in order to meet the aerobic recommendation. At 10-minute mile pace, 6 runs add up to 1 hour of running, or 6 miles a week.

Is this enough? Previous recommendations for exercise stated that you had to spend at least 30 minutes at a sustained heart rate in order to be benefical. Not true. We now know that physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day and still be beneficial, and an hour a week of vigerous exercise would undoubtedly reduce the risk of suffering any number of chronic conditions and diseases even further.

The key to your results will be consistency. If you have been sedentary you will notice some improved fitness quickly with just 10 minutes a day. Make the 10 minute run a habit on 6 days a week and you will theoretically burn the equivlant of 10 or 11 pounds of fat at the end of a year. You will also rev up your metabolic rate, and gradually stimulate the development of fat-burning enzymes, both capable of enhancing fat loss.

If you want to improve even more, cheat a little by adding one longer run on the weekend. You can also set aside 1 or 2 of your mid-week sessions for a little tempo. After a 5 minute warm-up, pick up the pace for the next 5 minutes or alternate 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy.

The 10 minute run has many advantages.

1. You can usually spare a short block of time for changing and your actual workout. Fitting your run in before work will not take any noticable extra time for changing and showering since those are things you have to do anyway.

2. You will be less inclined to skip a 10 minute workout than one lasting 30 minutes or longer.

3. A 10 minute run can be squeezed in at any time during the day. Even at noon in the middle of summer just about everybody can tolerate 10 minutes of activity.

4. Once you get out the door for an intended 10 minute run, you may find it easy to talk yourself into adding a few extra minutes or distance.

For some time now health and fitness professionals have been preaching the importance of adding physical activity to your daily life by using stairs instead of elevators, parking farther away and taking frequent walking breaks. For many, those things simply may not be enough to make a noticeable difference. If that is the case, it may be time to add a daily 10 minute run.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Proper Breathing for Runners

There seems to be a great deal of confusion these days over the proper way to breathe while running or jogging.

According to the text Physiology of Sport and Exercise by Wilmore and Costill the need to breathe increases in direct proportion to the intensity of work. A mild workload such as brisk walking prompts expansion of the lungs and deeper breathing. As the work becomes more difficult, the rate of breathing also increases.

With the exception of conditions such as asthma, breathing should not limit your ability to run or perform exercise, even at hard efforts. The volume of air entering the lungs is not the problem; it is the body’s inability to extract and use enough oxygen to meet the increased demand that causes you to be out of breath (inspired air contains roughly 20% oxygen while expired air has about 16%).

Many beginning runners have been misled to believe that the proper way to breathe is to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. While it is true that air is dryer and cooler when inhaled through the mouth, this should not pose a problem unless you are prone to exercise induced asthma.

I call this nose breathing technique self-induced asthma, since inhaling through the nose severely limits the volume of air that can be delivered to the lungs. I suspect this technique has a negative impact on running performance similar to asthma, particularly as speed increases.

Runners should be inhaling and exhaling through both nose AND mouth to a set pattern or rhythm. According to Jack Daniels, a well-respected coach and author of Daniels Running Formula, most elite runners breathe to a 2-2 rhythm. They breathe in while taking 2 steps and out while taking 2 steps. At an easy pace they may switch to a 3-3 rhythm.

2-2 breathing rhythm

Left foot- begin exhale
Right foot- continue exhale
Left foot- begin inhale
Right foot- continue inhale

One problem with this approach is the habit of always inhaling or exhaling on the same footfall, which some experts and coaches believe could be one explanation for side stitches. If you are one of those unfortunate runners prone to side aches, consider periodically switching which footfall you exhale on, or even change your breathing rhythm to exhale on alternating right and left footfalls. That gets a little tricky since you’ll have to adapt an uneven 3-2 or 4-3 breathing pattern (breathing out for more counts than breathing in).

3-2 breathing rhythm

Left foot- begin inhale
Right foot- continue inhale
Left foot- begin exhale
Right foot- continue exhale
Left foot - continue exhale
Right foot- begin inhale

According to DePaul University Track Coach Bill Leach, uneven breathing cycles are effective because pressure in the lung is lower than the atmosphere, causing air to rush in quickly. You’ll want to take a little longer to exhale, since leaving residual carbon dioxide in the lungs can impede the delivery of oxygen on the next inhale.

It will help if you practice your breathing pattern while walking before you start running. Carry the technique over to easy jogging and finally during hard race pace running.

Before long your new breathing pattern will become second nature during races and hard training sessions

(c) Dave Elger 2007 All rights reserved

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Conditioning for Runners: The Javorek Dumbell Complex

Looking for a new way to improve your running or overall fitness but can’t spend the money or time to go to the gym? Here is a routine that you can do at home recommended to me by Al Sapa, a successful high school coach in Wisconsin who uses these exercises with his athletes. Al recommends Javorek Dumbell Complex Conditioning as a great weight-room alternative for distance runners in particular who may feel intimidated but desperately need some form of muscular conditoning.

According to Istvan Jarvorek, a Romanian born strength coach who developed Dumbell and Barbell Complex Conditioning, “the main purposes for these exercises were to figure out an easier way to do an exercise complex which would change the monotomy of a workout and at the same time have a greater influence on the neuro-muscluar and osteo-muscular system.”

In a nutshell, the Jarvorek Dumbell Complex requires non-stop lifting of very light weights , cycling through a series of exercises that recruit major muscle groups. The routines may look easy, but even 2# and 3# dumbells will be difficult for most beginners.

Javorek stresses the following: perfect body posture, full range of motion, perfect technique of execution, and stable rhythm of execution. Al recommends starting with 2 or 3 pound dumbells. Here are the exercises used in Dumbell Complex I:

Dumbbell Upright Row X 6 reps

Dumbbell High Pull Snatch X 6 reps

Dumbbell Squat Push Press X 6 reps

Dumbbell Bent Over Row X 6 reps

Dumbbell High Pull Snatch X 6 reps

The idea is to perform these exercises in non-stop, continuous order. Start with 1 set, increasing to 2-3 sets as you get stronger. For even greater stimulation increase the number of repetitions up to 12 each set or increase the weight. Finally you can use more advanced routines developed by Jarvorek.

Here are pictures and a videoclip of how to perform each exercise correctly. For further information, you can visit Jarvorek’s website. As with all forms of training, consistency and progression are important keys for optimal results.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

You Don't Have to Be Thin to Be Fit- at least on a bike!

If your fitness activity is non-weight bearing such as in cycling or rowing, you can improve your fitness tremendously without accompanying weight loss. Read this great article called the Bicycling Paradox: Fit Doesn't Have to Mean Thin, by Gina Kolata and published in the New York Times.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ethiopian Training Secrets

Do you want to run faster? I've always believed that you have to see what the winners are doing and how they are training. has done just that.

A summary of their findings on Ethiopian distance training:

1. Training for speed- sprint drills, 50 meter strides at most or all training

2. Hills, hills, and more hills. Steep, short hills, performed without losing proper form or stride frequency.

3. Plyometric training. Bounding, skipping, bouncing, and other drills to improve the ability to absorb each foot landing and generate greater force upon take-off.

Check out ScienceOfSport for this and other great articles.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Children and Strength Training

"If children or adolescents undertake a strength training program, they should begin with low-resistance exercises until proper technique is learned. When 8 to 15 repetitions can be performed, it is reasonable to add weight in small increments. Exercises should include all muscle groups and be performed through the full range of motion at each joint. To achieve gains in strength, workouts need to be at least 20 to 30 minutes long, take place a minimum of 2 to 3 times per week, and continue to add weight or repetitions as strength improves. There is no additional benefit to strength training more than 4 times per week."

- Strength Training by Children and Adolescents, American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, 2001

For years we've been told that children should avoid lifting weights at a young age because of potential damage to joints or growth plates. While this type of injury is extremely rare, it's a good idea to hold off on serious weight training until high school. Pre adolescent children should be encouraged to perfom body weight exercises such as push-ups and crunches, along with calisthenics and light dumbell work.

Once they've reached high school, teens can begin a supervised, progressive weight training program if they desire to do so.

If you think it's dangerous for your children to work their muscles, consider the consequences of spending their entire childhood in front of a televison or computer monitor.

(c) Dave Elger 2007 All rights reserved.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Core Strength Training for Runners - Does it really help?

Core strength training has been one of the new additions to distance running training programs. Advocates believe that a strong core translates to better running and resistance to injury.

Here is the first study I've seen on the subject. Thomas Nesser, an assistant professor of Physical Education at Indiana State University, found only a slight correlation between torso stability and performance (sprinting and strength).

My personal opinion on the subject of core strength training is this- let's test core strength of the top Kenyan and Ethiopian distance runners. Until they are found to be significantly stronger than their slower counterparts, I am not buying into the hype.

Alan Webb is the king of core strength training and is now running great, but I suspect his performance can be attributed to his running workouts more than his core workouts.

Fundamental abdominal and back extension strength exercises are probably all most of us have the time for or need. Distance, intervals and proper running form still make up the foundation for better times.

(c) Dave Elger 2007 All rights required.

Post-Run Ice Immersion Perhaps Not a Great Idea

CONCLUSIONS: "The protocol of ice-water immersion used in this study was ineffectual in minimising markers of DOMS in untrained individuals."

Go here to read a summary of the article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine

Barefoot Science Insoles

“Barefoot Science presents a unique approach to the maintenance of proper foot biomechanics. As a user with an injured foot and ankle, I am now able to generate ground reaction forces and a functional push off. "

-Peter J. Fowler, MD FRCS(C), Past president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine 2002-2003 Medical Director of the Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of Western Ontario

“As you know, I have been using your product on my patients for two years now, in approximately 1600 cases, with nothing less than spectacular results."

-Bruce Comstock, DC, Author, Weight Training Safely - The F.I.T.S. Way

“Barefoot Science philosophies are based on sound medical and scientific principles, common sense, and provide a vastly superior understanding of foot function when compared to conventional views."

-Thomas D. McClain, MD ABOS AAOS, American Board of Orthopedic Surgery

I've been suffering from left foot pain for several months now- on the inside of the foot between the arch and the heel bone. Always on the lookout for new products, I came across the Barefoot Science Foot Strengthening System.

The System is actually a soft insert that "works inside the shoe like a rehabilitative exercise program to safely and naturally stimulate, strengthen, and restore healthy foot function, optimizing comfort and performance. The stabilized foot and improved muscle function facilitate optimal bone alignment, not only in the foot, but up through the body."

They come with 5 plugs that fit into the bottom, so you start at 1 and work your way up.

Currently I am going on my second full week, and I have to admit they do feel better than any over the counter insoles I've tried.

I'll post updates on how I am doing, but like most other overuse pains cross-training is probably the ideal recipe.