Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dean Karnazes has a new book

Ultra marathon runner Dean Karnazes has another book out that chronicles his 50 marathon in 50 states experience. 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days -- and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!

Read Dean's blog on

Fat and Protein Both Provide Energy

"Both lipids (fat) and amino acids (protein)have been shown to serve as significant energy sources during long runs. Estimates of protein use during exercise suggest that as much as 9% of the total energy expended during a marathon race may be derived from amino acids. Some of the amino acids like alanine may be used by the liver to form glucose- (muscle) does not have the capacity to burn amino acids directly." -Inside Running: Basics of Sports Physiology, David Costill, PhD

MY COMMENTS: I am digging through Costill's old book for some golden running "tidbits"

Friday, August 29, 2008

8 x 400s

Back to the for a quick 8 x 400- I went with just 30 seconds recovery and it was tough! Only averaged around 84 sec per rep. No races on the agenda thank goodness.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Don't stray too far from intervals

During the final 10 weeks of the investigation, the runners, whose average 10k times ranged from about 34 to 42 minutes, were divided into two groups. Members of one group carried out two Jack-Daniels-style 'tempo' workouts per week, which involved running for 29 continuous minutes at roughly lactate-threshold pace (the velocity above which blood lactate levels begin to skyrocket). For most runners, this pace is about 12 to 15 seconds per mile slower than 10k race pace

Members of the other group avoided lactate-threshold training and instead completed two interval workouts per week. These workouts consisted of either 200- or 400-metre intervals, which were conducted at about 10k to 5-K race pace or faster. About three total miles of interval running (24 200s or 12 400s) were covered per workout. Aside from this difference (intervals vs. tempo runs), the training schedules of the two groups were identical and consisted of medium to long, moderately paced runs

At the end of the study, the runners were tested during 800-metre and 10k competitions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to reckon who fared better in the 800: interval-trained runners improved their 800-metre times by an average of 11.2 seconds, while threshold-trained athletes inched upward by just 6.6 seconds. The interval trainees had trained at faster paces than the threshold individuals. The interval runners' training paces had been much closer to 800-metre speed. After several weeks of training, the interval trainees were simply faster than the threshold people and therefore could sustain higher velocities during an 800-metre effort

What about the 10K?
Since the threshold run is considered a hallmark of 10k training, didn't the threshold-trained runners do better than the interval people during the 10k competitions? Well, no. The thresholders boosted their 10k clockings by 1.1 minute, but interval runners improved their times by a full 2.1 minutes! That spelled about a 10-second per mile advantage for the interval runners!
Why was interval training superior? Well, setting a new PB in the 10K is in one sense not that much different from reaching a new record in the 800: to do either, you have to be able to run more quickly. The interval trainees trained faster than the threshold people and thereby developed better economy, coordination, and comfort while running fast. All of that translated into higher-speed 10k running

- pponline, Owen Anderson

MY COMMENTS: After a couple of weeks off from intervals, I went back to the the track today for 6 x 800- 2:54, 2:52, and the rest 2:48. I am right about where I left off. It might be time to look for another race!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Clarence DeMar (1888-1958)

The 1910 Boston marathon was DeMar's first; he finished 2nd. Later in 1910 he was advised by a doctor that he had a heart murmur and should stop running within a year or two. The next year at the Boston marathon the doctors on the starting line advised him of his heart murmur and told him that he should drop out if he was fatigued, and that he should not run any more races. Nevertheless, he won in 2:21:39, a course record. DeMar was one of the twelve members of the U.S. marathon team in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, where he ran poorly, finishing 12th, complaining that the coaching staff's dictatorial control over the athletes' training had harmed the team's performance

Clarence DeMar ended up as a 7x winner of the Boston Marathon-

Genetics or training?
"his heart upon examination weighed 340 grams, (normal is 300 grams)"
"left ventricular wall was 18 mm thick (normal is 10-12 mm)"
"right wall was 8 mm thick (normal is 3-4 mm)
"coronary arteries were estimated to be 2-3 x normal size"

Inside Running: Basics of Sports Phyiology, Costill, DL, 1986.

Monday, August 18, 2008

RESULTS! USA Masters Track & Field Outdoor Championships

What can I say- conditions in Spokane took me by surprise- low 90s. I ran better in the 10K only because I dumped a cup of water over my head on just about every lap. That is not supposed to be enough to cool down the body core temperature but it sure felt better. I definitely overheated in the 5K- 11:23 through 2 miles and totally fell apart in a painful last mile.

M50 5000 Meter Run Aug 7, 2008
Name Age Team Finals
1 David Cannon M52 Seattle, WA 17:16.67
2 Kyle Hubbart M52 Broomfield, CO 17:41.56
3 Robert Garcia M53 LaVista, NE 17:44.03
4 Mac Allen M51 Austin, TX 17:53.18
5 David Elger M54 Coupeville, WA 18:02.77
6 Frank Tai M53 Playa del Rey, CA 18:16.14
7 Tim Minor M50 Reno, NV 18:19.16
8 Angelo DeCollibus M51 Orange, CA 19:19.14
9 Lynn Walker M51 Scotts Valley, CA 19:22.40
-- *Ed Bickley M50 Canada DNF
-- Emil Magallanes M52 Boise, ID DNF
-- Michael Cassella-Blackbu M50 Port Townsend, WA DNF
-- Michael Houar M52 Forest Ranch, CA DNF

M50 10000 Meter Run Aug 9, 2008
Name Age Team Finals
1 Richard Becker M53 Selah, WA 34:22.94
2 Emil Magallanes M52 Boise, ID 36:30.43
3 Robert Garcia M53 LaVista, NE 36:53.96
4 David Elger M54 Coupeville, WA 37:47.90
5 Frank Tai M53 Playa del Rey, CA 38:00.05
6 Michael Cassella-Blackbu M50 Port Townsend, WA 38:37.39
7 David Cook M51 Oak Hills, CA 39:52.62
8 Lynn Walker M51 Scotts Valley, CA 40:22.17
-- Bob Prather M53 Oak Harbor, WA DNF
-- David Cannon M52 Seattle, WA DNF

Friday, August 15, 2008

Running Prolongs Life

A study published on Monday shows middle-aged members of a runner's club were half as likely to die over a 20-year period as people who did not run.

Running reduced the risk not only of heart disease, but of cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, researchers at Stanford University in California found.

"At 19 years, 15 percent of runners had died compared with 34 percent of controls," Dr. Eliza Chakravarty and colleagues wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Of course! Interesting that the runners were also found to have fewer knee problems.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hamstring Exercises for Runners

Runners with longer strides at the end of the run had stronger hamstrings. This suggests that strength in the hamstrings helps to maintain a full stride even when an athlete is tiring, supporting the idea that strength can help delay fatigue. -

I've already covered a couple of different ways to eccentrically strengthen your hamstrings here- this article offers a couple of more ideas.

1. Lie on your back with your feet hip width apart and the soles of your feet on an 18” bench or step.

2. Push down into the bench with your feet lifting your hips up high. You will feel your hamstrings working. Do not lift your shoulders or neck off the floor and keep your upper back flat down.

3. Lower the hips back down until your bottom is just off the floor, then push down into the bench again.

4. Continue for 15 repetitions, rest for 45 seconds, then complete two more sets.

Progression 1

Once you can do 3 x 20, progress to one-legged hamstring hip lifts on the bench. Start with 3 x 10 and build up to 3 x 20.

Progression 2

Once you can do the one-leg lifts on the bench, progress to using the Swiss ball.

Place two feet on the Swiss ball, as you did on the bench, and complete the exercise using the same technique. The instability of the ball automatically makes it harder.

Progression 3

Build up to completing 3 sets of 20 reps of one-leg hamstring hip lifts on the Swiss ball. I recommend that all good runners should be strong enough to do this.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Aug 6- Easy Run

I am in Leavenworth, Washington on the way to Spokane. Easy 25 min jog this morning. The bad news is I underestimated how warm it is going to be in Spokane- any thoughts of running a decent time tomorrow are probably out the window. Whidbey Island is much cooler than the temperatures here.

Frank Shorter Has Osteoarthritis

X-rays showed that the cartilage in both Shorter's knees had worn down. In his right knee, the cartilage was almost completely gone -- not because of all the miles he'd logged, Shorter's doctors told him, but because osteoarthritis runs in the Shorter gene pool. (People with arthritis are actually encouraged to exercise to keep their joints mobile).

What got Shorter back on the roads of Boulder -- he moved there in 1974 because it was the only U.S. city above 5,000 feet with an indoor track -- were injections of Hyalgan, the brand name of a compound that comes from rooster combs and restores the cartilage in the knee. (Shorter has since become a spokesman for Hyalgan.)

"My right knee still makes all sorts of noise," Shorter says. "It's ugly, but I don't have any pain."

MY COMMENTS: If you suffer from osteoarthritis, go to the Hyalgan website for additional information on this procedure.

Aug 4 and 5 Workouts

Aug 4- Took 1 hr 15 min trail jog with the dog, then my 2 mile or whatever it is tempo loop- not great- 11:55 compared to 12 min last week.

Aug 5- 1 mile warm up, then 6 x 400 in 82-84 with a 200 jog. Felt harder than it should.

Tomorrow an easy jog and my 5K on Thurs at 9:05 am.

Monday, August 4, 2008

No Time to Run? Consider Short Bike Intervals

"Short bouts of very intense exercise improved muscle health and performance comparable to several weeks of traditional endurance training," says Martin Gibala, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology of McMaster.

The training program consisted of between four and seven 30-second bursts of "all out" cycling followed by four minutes of recovery three times a week for two weeks. Researchers found that endurance capacity in the sprint group increased on average from 26 minutes to 51 minutes, whereas the control group showed no change. The muscles of the trained group also showed a significant increase in citrate synthase, an enzyme that is indicative of the tissue's ability to utilize oxygen.


MY COMMENTS: This was published in 2005- pointing out a potential alternative to long slow miles- I would worry about injuries if you run the high intensity intervals. Remember the subjects here carried out their high intensity training on a bike- not a bad idea for runners runners to add 60 sec. uphill repeats on the bike regularly as a second workout. I've done that but not on a consistent basis. Something to consider for a runner as an alternative to a planned 30 minute easy run. The results shown here were demonstrated in just 2 weeks!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Is Salazar Going Too Far?

Inside a Soviet-style training camp, corporate scientists are reengineering neuro-mechanics, blood chemistry, and brain waves. Welcome to the Oregon Project, where Nike is rebuilding the US marathon team one high tech step at a time., 2002

MY COMMENTS: This is an insightful look at the Nike sponsored Oregon Project. Let the results speak for themselves. He has 3 athletes reaching their potential and competing in the Olympic Games.

Good Workout

Yesterday my plan to do a tempo run got derailed- my neighbor stopped by with a couple of beers as I was stepping out the door. A least I managed 30 minutes easy with the dogs in the morning.

I took advantage of the extra rest by planning a track workout today. Last week prior to the SeaFair 8K I did that horrible 1 x 1000 meter repeat workout, starting with a 3:32 and quitting after 4 at 3:36. I decided to use that to my advantage and repeat the same workout with 2 minute recovery.

1- 3:30
2- 3:28
3- 3:27
4- 3:30
5- 3:29

This was a very tough workout for me but obviously I performed much better. I was hitting 2:47 through 800 on each. I seriously considered stopping after 4, but I've cut my last 2 track workouts short, and I wanted bad to break that habit.

Interval workouts like this are very hard mentally and best done with a partner or group.

Kastor May be Over Hydrating

Marathon runner Deena Kastor, looking to add to her bronze medal from Athens, said it's no problem getting ready for the kind of heat and humidity she expects in Beijing, where it's typically about 5 degrees warmer than in Dalian, which reached 82 degrees Saturday.

Kastor figures she'll drink up to 20 16-ounce bottles of water every day she's in China.

MY COMMENTS: I hope this is a misprint- up to 320 oz of water a day?

I wrote an article on this very subject not long ago Are Athletes Drinking Too Much Between Workouts?

By drinking an excessive amount of water, athletes may be in danger of shutting down production of the anti-diuretic hormone called vasopressin. Not exactly what you want going into a hot weather marathon.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Meridian Stretching

With the upcoming Olympic Games, I can't help but be in awe of Dana Torres, who at 41 years of age is again in the hunt for medals. Read her amazing testimonial about meridian stretching, a technique developed by Bob Cooley.

After 3 Olympics Games (winning 2 Golds, a Sliver and a Bronze), retiring from the sport after the 92 Olympics, and not swimming for seven years after that, I got the itch to give swimming another shot. I was 32 years old (which is ancient in swimming terms), but my heart was telling me to give it another try.

All I wanted to do was to be an alternate on the 2000 Olympic team so I could say I made a 4th Olympic Team. No American had ever swum in 4 Olympics so I knew outsider's looking in would think I was a long shot and absolutely nuts to try this. But it was my dream and I wasn't going to let anyone tell me I couldn't follow my dream, or at least attempt to.

So, I began intensive weight training, bicycle and running aerobic training, and massive pool workouts. I had a lot of catching up to do after having been out of the pool for 7 years. But, I was really having a problem with my body being extremely tight, especially my shoulders from the added 20lbs I had gained in the first 5 months of training. I had a lot of specialists helping me in my Olympic Quest, and I tried Pilates and stretched on my own, but nothing seemed to help until I met Bob Cooley. Without the flexibility training that Bob developed for me, I could have never accomplished the 5 Olympic medals I won in Sydney. This program literally transformed my body into an elite bio-mechanical swimming machine. His Resistance Stretching technique and The Meridian Flexibility System were my secret weapon to changing my first goal of making my 4th Olympic Team as an alternate, to being so successful at the Summer Games. Other swimmers would see me being stretched by Bob at meets and they all wanted a part of it. In fact, every athlete that I asked Bob to help with their flexibility also won Olympic Gold Medals. On a more personal note, though I have a hard time trying to express what I’m about to say, I know that Bob’s program single handedly developed me psychologically in very specific ways. With this mental edge, I felt personally unbelievable. There was no part of me that wasn’t improved. The wild thing about all this, is that Bob knew exactly what he was doing. Everyday he did different things to me. No matter what training I was doing, the stretching always made me feel like a million bucks. The joke on the deck’ was that the last person that was cared for and educated this way was the Last Emperor of China. I have never felt so good and laughed so much in my whole life. He has helped me set the stage for the rest of my life. What he has figured out about stretching no one knows yet. The world will give Bob the Gold.
-Dana Torres

I wonder how many of our distance runners are aware of this technique?

Easy Run- July31

Ran the dogs for 90 minutes on the trails today- nice and easy. The name of the game is flexibility, and I don't mean stretching. I found out today that I may have a scheduling conflict and will miss the 5K next week at the US Masters.

Nothing definite yet- if I knew for sure I would race this weekend and take a short run tomorrow, otherwise I plan to run hard.

Hopefully I will find something out early tomorrow.