Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chris Solinsky Looks Ready for a Big Year in 2009- One Year AFTER the Olympics

Good interview with Chris Solinsky, one of the bright new American distance stars (13:12 pr in the 5K). Chris plans a trip to Australia in Feb. to experiment with the steeplechase. It just might be his race- and the US hasn't had much on the international scene in this event in many years.

If you follow track, then you know that Chris finished 5th in the 5000 meters at the US Olympic Trials. He reflects on what went wrong, and what he is now doing different (I still am dumbfounded that he went just about a full year without running a 5K, and then expected to be race ready at the Trials- what were they thinking?).

In the video, he does look thinner, and claims to have lost 10 pounds through high mileage and a cleaner diet (why wasn't this done in preparation for the Olympics?)

I've been saying for some time that competing in cross country is a key strength building component for a great track season. For some reason Chris took a low key approach to training throughout the fall. Another key oversight.

Hindsight is 20-20. Look for Chris to have an outstanding track season. We'll find out soon enough if the steeplchase will be his best race- at least he is giving it a shot to find out. (c) Dave Elger 2008 All rights reserved

Training Update Tues, Dec 30

pm: 1 mile with Sumo, then 13.5 miles in 2 hrs. Decided on another long slow run. Did sort of a fartlek workout on the way back - able to pick it up on the dry the patches. Nothing really hard but I am pleased with the way I was able to finish up. This is a slow reintroduction to race pace running. Another recovery day tomorrow- I feel beat.

Total miles = 14.5
Total miles for the week= 30.5

Training Update-Mon Dec 29

2 miles with Sumo- basically no run today.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Training Update Sunday Dec 28

pm: 1 mile with Sumo, then 13 miles in 1 hr 50. All but 3 miles on clear roads.
Total miles = 14.
Felt much better than any recent runs. Able to finish much stronger, back discomfort not as noticeable. I've been doing extensions on the exercise ball almost daily.

Training Update- Sat Dec 27

am: 2 miles with Sumo
pm: 4 miles
very little sleep last night

total for the week = 67 miles
Not bad- the 2 hour runs on these snow covered roads and trails are very tough but getting slightly easier.

Training Update-Fri Dec 26

am: 3 miles easy with Sumo
Total for the week - 61 miles

Friday, December 26, 2008

Training Update- Thurs Dec 25

am: 1 mile with Sumo, then 14 miles in 2hrs plus. Did not feel too bad until the last 2.

Total miles= 15
Total for the week= 58

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Compression Running Socks

Dave's Running and Fitness Store

I have not heard of this until recently, but apparently more runners are racing and training in tight fitting compression socks, theoretically to enhance circulation in the lower extremities. According to this Running Times article, a study presented at the 2007 American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in New Orleans suggested there were no statistically significant differences in maximal oxygen consumption, heart rate or minute ventilation between treadmill runners who wore compression socks and those who did not. According to the study, conducted at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, subjects did, however, show a faster lactate recovery rate after exercise when wearing the compression socks, suggesting that compression socks might speed recovery after a strenuous workout or a race.

Once Upon A Time by William Fink

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, sometime
after Harvey discovered the circulation of blood, or
maybe it was after Lavoisier discovered oxygen
(I'm not sure), Leroy "Bud" Getchell returned to Ball
State after obtaining his doctorate from the
University of Illinois, having sat at the feet of one T.
K. Cureton. "We need to start an exercise
physiology lab," he said, with stethoscope and
Heartometer in hand. And so he did. That was
1965. He bought a Monarck ergometer, much to
the dismay of the University, who thought that $500
was quite a lot of money for a bicycle without

MY COMMENT: Boy does this ever bring back memories! I was a graduate student at Ball State from 1977-1979 and spent many long hours in the Human Performance Lab there with Dr. Getchell and Dr. Costill.

Training Update-Wed Dec 24 Christmas Eve!

1 mile with Sumo, then 9 miles, mostly trail.
total = 10 miles
total for the week = 43 miles

Training Update Tues, Dec 23

Check out some of the stuff I've been running on.

am: 3 miles with Sumo on trail. Not much sleep last night and feeling tired from 2 previous days. I could have gone more but decided to save it for a quality run tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Training Update-Mon Dec 22

am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 13 miles in the snow- 2 hours. Very similar to Sunday.
Total= 15 miles
Total for the week= 30 miles

Monday, December 22, 2008

Books Added to Running and Fitness Store

I've added several books to the store. I am interested in Out of Nowhere, Geoff Hollister's inside look at the early days of Nike and John Parker's sequel to Once A Runner titled Again to Carthage. I even found a book on Hashing!

Training Update-Sunday Dec 21

am: 2 miles with Sumo, then about 2 hours later ran 13 miles in 2 hours. These runs are very hard for me for a couple of reasons. I have not been carrying any nutrition or water, did not get much of anything for breakfast, and running on snow may be more difficult than I realize.

Total miles = 15

My upper back discomfort does not help. I've been carefully doing some back extensions on the exercise ball daily.

Training Update- Sat Dec 20

am- easy 4 miles with Sumo. I was tempted to go another 10 miles to pad my weekly total, but decided to rest up for Sunday.

Total miles for the week was 71, all slow runs on snow. No doubt my highest weekly total in several years.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Upper Back Pain Update

I've decided my upper back pain is not related to anything I am doing running. More than likely it's from spending more time at the computer in a slumped position. I am continuing the extension exercise but concentrating more on correct sitting posture. I am also ordering a back brace for $11.95

Training Update-Fri Dec 19

Not much sleep last night so getting out the door was a challenge.
am: 4 miles easy with Sumo, then 6 miles. I ran trail with Sumo which
was very tough and very slow, so kept on snow covered road for the 6.

Tried run a decent tempo since it's been over a week since I've done so but ran out of gas the last 2 miles. My legs felt dead!

Total = 10 miles
Total for the week= 67 miles

Friday, December 19, 2008

Upper Back Pain

I've noticed some discomfort in my upper back during long runs, I suspect due to muscle weakness. I think I've just gotten weak over time and developed a forward lean- I'll focus on back extensions and lay on the foam roller (placed along the spine) a few minutes a day and see what happens. The older you get, the more these problems begin to pop up- Good Posture!

Training Update- Thurs Dec 18

am- 1 mile with Sumo, then 9 miles all run on snow at 9 min per mile. Schools closed today- did a couple of miles in the woods on trail- beautiful.

Total= 10 miles
Total for the week= 57 miles in 5 days

Running on snow cleared pavement now feels odd.

Flexibility and Running Economy

The significant relationship demonstrates that the less flexible distance runners tended to be more economical, possibly as a result of the energy-efficient function of the elastic components in the muscles and tendons during the stretch-shortening cycle. -ncbi

MY COMMENT: They used a sit and reach test on 20 year old subjects. I suspect that the result might be different if hip range of motion or even hamstring flexiblilty were measured in masters runners. There are much better tests than sit and reach for assessing flexibility.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Training Update- Wed Dec 17

am- 1 mile with Sumo
pm- 8 miles. slow- mostly snow covered trail. This is hard psychologically as well as physically.

Total miles= 9
Total for the week= 47

Got Lance?

Check out the Lance Armstrong items- a great idea for last minute Christmas gift!

New Running Shoes for Under $40!

I picked up a pair of Saucony Grid Formula TR at Big Five Sports for $39.99- they feel great! Replace the removable insole with something a little more stable. I am using Spenco's Polysorb Total Support Premium Insole.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, Dec 16

am: 4 easy miles with Sumo
pm: 8 miles easy= felt great! we have snow so footing is slippery on the trail.

Total for the day= 12 miles
Total for the week= 38 miles (Sun-Tues)

Footlocker Championships- Hasay Outsmarts the Rest

Watch the video- in my opinion 5th place finisher Allie McLaughlin, despite some terrible upper body running form, should have won this race. She tried the same tactic that Samuel Chelenga employed against Galen Rupp in the NCAA meet- unsuccessfully. Pay attention high school runners!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Running Tips from Paula Radcliffe

• You don't need to run every day. Take proper time off after a marathon to allow your body to recover. Radcliffe takes two weeks.

• The building blocks of Radcliffe's basic training are short runs - either five 2km runs or six runs of a mile. Then she adds in a long run, which she progressively extends throughout her training.

• If you suffer from stiff calves (as I do), wear knee-high compression socks.

• Training can be mentally harder than the actual race. When you hit a wall in a marathon, recall these "rough spots" from training as evidence you can get through it.

• If you are struggling, use disassociation techniques to take your mind off the pain. Slowly count to 100 three times, which covers a mile (for Radcliffe).

By the time she has finished, she usually feels fine again.

Monday, Dec 15

am- 2 miles with Sumo
pm- 8 miles slow- felt better the longer I ran.

total miles = 10

"Run long, run daily, drink little and don't eat like a pig" Dr. Ernst Van Aaken

Ernst Van Aaken (1910-1984)

Van Aaken's key rules for running:
(As found on page 56 of The Van Aaken Method)

* "Run daily, run slowly, with creative walking breaks"

* "Run many miles, many times your racing distance if you are a track runner; up to and often beyond if you are a long distance runner. Do tempo running only at fractions of your racing distance."

* "Run no faster during tempo runs than you would in a race."

* "Bring your weight down 10-20% under the so-called norm and live athletically- i.e., don't smoke, drink little or no alcohol, and eat moderately."

* "Consider that breathing is more important than eating, and that continous breathlessness in training exhausts you and destroys your reserves."

Here is an interesting discussion of Van Aaken's methods on

Dec 14

am- easy 2 miles with Sumo
3 hours later, 14 miles easy, but my legs were very fatigued in the last 3 miles. I ran farther than I wanted to. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Total for the day= 16 miles

Saturday, December 13, 2008

High Mileage Experiment

How many miles do you run on a weekly basis? Somebody asked me that the other day, and to be honest I don't really count.

How many miles CAN I run in a week at 55 years of age? Other than still feeling the effects of a cold, running is getting back to normal. Last night I did 50 minutes at a reasonable pace, and this morning I did 13 miles.

I was out enjoying my first long run since Seattle, and about 6 miles from home my phone rang- I was supposed to be at school teaching, a job I signed up for last week that I forgot about. I ran back as fast as I could, hitching a ride the last 2 miles. Hard workout!

I'll take an easy one tomorrow, then starting Sunday I am going to see how many miles I can do in 7 days, with a 70 mile target. I plan to keep the pace sensible with nothing longer than 14 miles at a time.

The other day I tweaked something in my left foot- I feel a sharp pain if I move it wrong but doesn't seem to bother me running in my heaviest, sturdiest pair of old Adidas. I've been using my new electrical stim unit on it- who knows?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Training Update

I am slowing getting back into a training regiment. After a couple days of very slow jogging up to 45-50 minutes, I did the standard 4 mile loop in 25:40 or so last night. Still nothing on the calender other than thoughts of a spring marathon.

Upper Body Work for Runners-Keep it Simple

While I am not sure that upper body strength has anything to do with your ability to run a marathon or 5K, unless you bulk up it certainly can't hurt. I do know that everybody, non runners included, should be doing some sort of resistance exercise on a regular basis.

As a runner, in order for me to stick to a regular strength program it has to be simple, quick, and convenient. My equipment includes dumbbells, tubing, ankle weights, and an exercise ball. About the only piece I would like that I am missing is a pull-up bar.

My exercises include:

overhead press
upward rows
bicycle routine (ab work on the floor)
back extension
hindu squats
side leg raises

Get into the habit of spending a few minutes doing 2-3 of these on a daily basis, with something different each time.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Alkaline Water- Does it Do Anything?

There are those who believe and those who don't. Ionized or alkaline water has been called "snake oil" by skeptics, while others believe that drinking high pH water can improve health. I personally own a Jupiter Water Ionizer, and while I have no evidence that it's doing anything for me, I've heard enough testimonials to make me think there is something to this.

It also makes sense to me that the benefits of drinking alkaline water for endurance athletes would be significant in terms of recovery and maintenance of optimal health.

Check out this Japanese youtube clip on studies with chickens and mice fed alkaline water. If nothing else it will make you think about it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Electrical Stimulation for Running Injuries

I recently purchased this Digital Therapy Machine after a free demo. at the Seattle Marathon Runner's Expo. Let me tell you- this thing is powerful!

Electrical stimulation has been used for healing different types of injury including fractures, and injury to the neck and back area. Trigger points and muscle spasm are also commonly treated with electrical stimulation. There is some evidence that tendon injuries may also respond favorably.

Stimulation with electricity causes muscles to contract, so logically it should help prevent atrophy if a limb needs to be immobilized. In theory, it should also increase circulation to soft tissue injuries. Trans cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units are commonly used for pain management

(External electrical stimulation also appears to work on nerves that transmit pain signals. For his part, Rizzo has not found TENS effective for most soft-tissue injuries, though he has used it successfully to treat pain associated with fractures, surgery, and acute nerve injuries. For chronic knee, shoulder, ankle, or back pain, a deeper form of electrical stimulation—interferential current—can sometimes yield good results. Rizzo says he usually shows patients how to use the stimulator at his office, then prescribes units they can use at home as needed. "When you can give an athlete a sense of being in control of the pain," says Rizzo, "it hurts a lot less." ) -Physician and Sports Medicine

I have a chronic tight hamstring that I am starting to self-treat. The muscle is tight and weak, so I believe this may have some potential. I'm also working with a friend who suffers from chronic pain in the neck and shoulder area the result of an accident years ago. I'll keep you posted and I'll also keep digging for more information on favorable outcomes. I see no harm in trying this for an assortment of running related problems such as plantar fascitis, tendinitis, and knee pain.

Natural Remedies for the Common Cold

by Dave Elger

Natural cold remedies have been around for centuries. According to the The Berkley Wellness Newsletter, plants that have not been used at some time in hope of combating the common cold are indeed rare. The Chinese have been treating illnesses with an assortment of herbal remedy concoctions for centuries.

Does anything work? While there is still no proven cure for the common cold, several natural remedies have now been studied and show some promise for reducing the severity of symptoms and shortening the length of your illness.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is the popular water soluble vitamin that is though to help boost the immune system and possibly speed recovery from a cold. The most famous Vitamin C advocate was Linus Pauling, who in late 1960s began recommended 500 – 1,000 mg per hour for several hours at the first sign of cold symptoms. Since that time, Vitamin C and the prevention of colds and reduction of symptoms has been thoroughly investigated. Other than a hint that colds are slightly less severe, the research on supplementation with varying amounts of Vitamin C does not support original claims. Once and for all, there is no overwhelming evidence that Vitamin C can prevent or cure colds as was once widely believed.

Andrographis: From plants grown in India and China, some studies have confirmed that 60 mg per day of andrographis can stimulate the production of infection fighting white blood cells and reduce the severity of cold symptoms.

Garlic: Garlic has been used for thousands of years and is well known for its immune system boosting ability and antiviral properties. There is some evidence that garlic supplementation with allicin offers some level of protection and reduction in the severity of colds. Allicin is a bacteria and fungus fighting compound produced when garlic is crushed or chopped. It is not very stable so degrades quickly when cooked.

Zinc Lozenges: Some studies have shown that zinc glutonate or zinc acetate lozenges can reduce the average duration of cold symptoms by as much as 50%, while others found no benefit. Zinc is an essential mineral found naturally in foods such as oysters, liver, meat, eggs, and whole grains. It is thought that zinc may interfere with reproduction of the cold virus or keeps it from entering cells. The effectiveness of zinc supplementation may be determined by the potential for zinc absorption, or ZIA, and bioavailability. Certain high fiber foods can interfere with the absorption of zinc.

Echinacea: Echinacea was first used by Native Americans for things like insect and snake bites. Today, this herb is a popular remedy for fighting colds and flu symptoms, especially in Germany. So far, the studies on this herb offer mixed results at best, and most clinical researchers remain unconvinced that it works.

Propolis: Propolis is a substance used by bees to construct their hives that help block out bacteria and viruses. It contains amino acids, vitamins, and minerals with antioxidant properties. A small number of studies have found that propolis extract can reduce severity of cold symptoms in humans.

Hydrogen peroxide: Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of Total Health Program, recommends a few drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide in each ear within 12-14 hours of the onset of cold or flu symptoms. This one was introduced in Germany in the 1930s, and while the internet is full of testimonials, I could not find any supporting clinical studies.

One problem associated with using natural remedies may be related to purity. ConsumerLab, an independent company that routinely tests over the counter products not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, has reported significant variance from the labels in many of these products including echinacea, zinc, and garlic. Natural remedies derived from plants also have the potential to be contaminated.

Remember, antibiotics don’t work against a virus. If you decide on a natural remedy, the sooner you start taking it after the onset of symptoms, the more likely it’s going to work.

(c) Dave Elger, 2008 All rights reserved

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Update- 6 Days Post Marathon

Still fighting this cold. Have not run a step since the marathon but am getting the itch to hit a trail for a few easy miles. easy 45 jog. It's hard to believe I could run under 3 hours for a marathon feeling the way I do today. Wow!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dane Rauschenberg-Extreme Runner with 52 Marathons in 52 Weeks

Very nice account of the Seattle Marathon here by Extreme Runner Dane Rauschenberg, a guy that "raced" 52 marathons in 52 weeks and is now a motivational speaker.

See Dane Run is the book he wrote about his experience.

For additional information on Dane, go here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Marathon Recovery - Tired of Carbohydrates

My typical marathon recovery is simple- wait out the leg soreness until I can gradually resume jogging. That usually takes until Wednesday or Thursday after a weekend race, with the first couple of runs not much faster than walking. It takes another week for my legs to feel normal, and I usually feel very good after about 2 weeks, fogetting about the real long runs and intense intervals. Just easy miles.

This was my 6th and final marathon of 2008; and the first one of the year that I actually focused on. More long runs, and more tempo runs. I ran my best time of the year, but for some reason leg soreness was more severe after this one than any of the others, when I had far fewer long runs behind me. Not sure that I have the answer. Maybe lack of hill training.

Another unusual problem is now I have a cold. I know the immune system is suppressed following a hard long race, but I do not recall ever getting sick like this right away after a marathon. Related to the soreness?

I hate being sick, but the good news is that I have nothing pressing on the race calendar that I need to worry about. I am even looking forward to some extra days off.

Finally, every running expert under the sun recommends electrolyte replacement drink and high carbohydrate foods immediately following the race. Baloney. I've run close to 50 marathons, and I have to admit to having NEVER followed that advice. By this time I am tired of carbohydrates, and my post-race routine is ALWAYS to find a bar (likely place to pick up a cold virus), have a couple of beers, and eat whatever I crave. Later, the evening meal on race day is ALWAYS STEAK washed down with more beer! Carbohydrate foods are the last thing on my mind.

Let's face it, I'm in no hurry to restock carbohydrates and get back on the roads in the hours after a marathon. Reward for hard work is in order.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Weather for the Seattle Marathon was almost perfect- overcast and 50s, light wind. I went into this race with some confidence that I could break 3-but you never know what you'll feel like on race day.

Frank Shorter once said that he knew in the first mile if he was going to have a good race, and I've always believed in that if I've done the work and the right taper.

Back in the 70's when I was running marathons under 2:30, I noticed that in my best races,the fastest 5 mile split fell between 10-15 miles, and that has always been my race plan.

My splits in Seattle:

5 mile: .....................33:00...... 6:36 per mile
10 mile: 1:05:51........ 32:51....... 6:34 per mile
15 mile: 1:38:28....... 32:36...... 6:32 per mile
20 mile: 2:12:06........ 33:38.... 6:44 per mile
25 mile: 2:47:14........ 35:07.... 7:01 per mile

I always anticipate a slowdown between 20-25, and this course included a significant climb right after 20- not unlike Boston's famous Heartbreak Hill. Overall, I held together well the last 5. According to the marathon website unofficial results, I finished 20th- passing 24 runners from halfway to the finish, with 2 passing me.

The race was very well supported- I took small sips of Gatorade, water, or both every 2 miles. I took a GU 5 minutes before the start and approximately every 30 minutes during the race. Might be my imagination, but I felt better a few minutes after every one.

marathon website individual result