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.