Sunday, December 27, 2009

What's Your Racing Weight?

As a follow-up to Weber-Gale's AthleticFoodie company, I stumble onto a new book by Matt Fitzgerald called Racing Weight: How to Get Lean For Peak Performance.

From what I read on amazon's "look inside" feature, this is a worthwhile read even if you aren't battling those last couple of pounds.

I also checked out Fitzgerald's website, and found it loaded with great information.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Recipes by Garrett Weber-Gale

Garrett Weber-Gale is a Wisconsin born swimmer that won 2 gold medals in the Bejing Olympics in the 4x100 meter relay and the 4x100 medley. He is the first American to break 48 seconds in the 100 meter free style and the American record holder in the 50 meter.

Olympics Day 3 - Swimming

It turns out that he has another passion- cooking and nutrition. Weber-
Gale has founded a company called AthleticFoodie .

Great idea!- nutrition may be the most underrated and ignored component of any athlete's pursuit of excellence, whether it be running, swimming, or other sport (see this post on mile American record holder Alan Webb's diet, a runner who went into slump and did not even make the US Olympic team). If you are a runner having trouble coming up with ideas for dinner, check it out!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Spontaneous Pacing during Overground Hill Running

Abstract (Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise)

Purpose: To investigate speed regulation during overground running on undulating terrain

This study analyzed runners as they traversed over a course that included uphill, downhill, and level sections.

Results: Participants ran 23% slower on uphills and 13.8% faster on downhills compared with level sections. Speeds on level sections were significantly different for 78.4 ± 7.0 s following an uphill and 23.6 ± 2.2 s following a downhill. Speed changes were primarily regulated by stride length, which was 20.5% shorter uphill and 16.2% longer downhill, whereas stride frequency was relatively stable. Oxygen consumption averaged 100.4% of runner's individual ventilatory thresholds on uphills, 78.9% on downhills, and 89.3% on level sections. Approximately 89% of group-level speed was predicted using a modified gradient factor. Individuals adopted distinct pacing strategies, both across laps and as a function of gradient.

Conclusions: Speed was best predicted using a weighted factor to account for prior and current gradients. Oxygen consumption (V˙O2) limited runner's speeds only on uphill sections and was maintained in line with individual ventilatory thresholds. Running speed showed larger individual variation on downhill sections, whereas speed on the level was systematically influenced by the preceding gradient. Runners who varied their pace more as a function of gradient showed a more consistent level of oxygen consumption. These results suggest that optimizing time on the level sections after hills offers the greatest potential to minimize overall time when running over undulating terrain.

MY COMMENT: I can't imagine why or how they even came up with this design. I guess the conclusion is this: run your hardest on the flat portion AFTER the hills.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Heavy Squats May Help Your Run

What would you say to a training technique that resulted in a 5% improvement in running economy and an eye popping 21.3% improvement in time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic speed in as little as 8 weeks?

That's the results reported in a study published in the June 2008 issue of the Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise (Maximal Strength Training Improves Running Economy in Distance Runners)

Subjects in the study (well trained distance runners) were asked to perform half squats, lifting 4 sets of 4 repetitions maximum. In other words, the weight they were using was so heavy they could only do 4 at a time.

While I still favor lighter resistance and more reps for distance runners, the results here are indeed intriguing.

Jenny Crain Update

"Jenny," says Anne Marie Letko, who ran against Crain in the Olympic Trials and finished 10th in the marathon in the 1996 Games, "emanates a sense of being alive in the moment."

I'm still deeply moved when I read something about Jenny since her terrible accident in 2007. With a marathon PR of 2:37:04, Crain had her sights set on the 2008 Olympic trials when she was struk by a car on a routine training run near her home on the east side of Milwaukee.

Suffering serious brain damage, she now struggles to walk 50 feet. Read the article linked above that was recently published in Runners World, and next time you go for a run, think of Jenny Crain.

You can make a contribution to the Jenny Crain- Make It Happen Fund , with proceeds going toward Jenny's care.

Friday, December 18, 2009

How do You Convert Minutes per Mile to Miles per Hour?

7 minutes per mile divided into 60 = 8.57

.57 x 60= 34 seconds, so 7 minute miles is 8:34 per mile

min/mile............miles per hour


There is a handy chart at FunFitnessSolutions that also gives you an equivelent pace by incline on a treadmill.

Remember, you have no wind resistance on a treadmill so the energy cost is less than running outside. According to this chart, you need to elevate the treadmill to about 1% at running speeds in order to equal the same speed outside.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chris Chataway was a Smoker!

"What didn’t help was the fact I smoked. During the season, when I was competing, I cut down to seven cigarettes a day — but I spent a large part of the day thinking about nicotine and how long it was until the next one. Harold Abrahams, “Mr Athletics”, wrote me a letter saying: “Once you have given up [running] you have the rest of your life in which you can smoke.” -Chris Chataway (


Chataway set a world record for 5,000 meters in 1955 with a 13:51, but he is perhaps better known as one of Roger Bannister's pacers on May 6, 1954 when Bannister became the first to break the 4 minute barrier for one mile.

MY COMMENT: Unbelievable! I am very curious if he smoked at all on race day, and also how good he may have been had he not smoked.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The One Mile Run

The mile is unique in that it requires a combination of 50 percent speed and 50 percent stamina. In other words, in order to be a good miler you need to be able to run a respectable 400 meter as well as a good 5K.

The one mile run has always held facination in the world of track and field. According to wikipedia, the first recorded world record was 4:28 by Charles Westhall back in 1852.

"With the exception of the mile run, races based on imperial distances are rarely run on the track anymore since most tracks have been converted from a quarter mile (402.3 m) to 400 m; almost all record keeping for imperial distances has been discontinued. However, the IAAF record book still includes the mile world record because of its worldwide historic significance" -wikepedia

note: When I graduated from U of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1976 we were still running track races measured in yards and miles.

It's been several years since we've seen a world record in the mile-
Hicham El Guerrouj
from Morocco last set the men's recored in 1999 running 3:43.13. On the women's side, Russian Svetlana Masterkova ran 4:12.56 in 1996.

The last time an American male held the world record was way back in 1966 when 20 year old Jim Ryun ran 3:51.3. Before Ryun, American Glenn Cunningham set the record in 1934 with a 4:06.7. American Mary Slaney ran 4:16.71 in 1985, and is still the only American woman to ever hold the mile world record (women didn't begin running that far competitively until 1967!)

More facts about the mile:

Roger Bannister was the first to break 4 minutes, running 3:59.4 on May 6, 1954. Watch this remarkable footage of the historic race!

One Mile Run Trivia

17- the age of Jim Ryun when he broke 4 minutes the first time

Polly Plumer holds the U.S. high school girls mile record- 4:35.24 set in 1984
Alan Webb holds the boys record - 3:53.53 set in 2001

1:50- an estimated 800 meter time that gives a runner an indication he has the tools to break 4 minutes, however according to the McMillan Running Calculator, a 3:59 mile is equivelant to a 1:47 800 meter and a 13:48 5,000.

3:48.45- current world indoor record set by Hicham El Guerrouj in 1974

4- the number of Americans that broke 4 minutes in high school- Ryun (1964), Tim Danielson (1966), Marty Liquori (1967), and Alan Webb (2001).

Father/son combo to both run under 4 minutes: Barry and Darren Brown, Matt Centrowitz and Matt Jr., Kip and Martin Keino (Kenyans)

Don Bowden- first American to break 4 minutes, 1957

136- The number of sub 4 minute miles by Steve Scott

3:49.4- Time run by Kiwi John Walker in 1975, first to break 3:50.

3:49.78- Time run by Irishman Eamonn Coughlan in 1983, first to break 3:50 indoors.

3:58.15- Time run by Eamonn Coughlin in 1994 at 41 years of age, the only runner to ever break 4 after turning 40.

327 -number of members in the U.S. Sub- 4 Minute Mile Club (as of July 17, 2009

1,609 is the number of meters in a mile, so the high school 1,600 meter run falls about 9 meters short.

The mile record for running backward is 6:02.35 set by D. Joseph James (runningtimes)

The official Beer Mile Record is 5:09 by Jim Finlayson (Kingston Rules - 4 beers in 4 laps)

4:42.36- The Joggling World Record for 1 mile (running while juggling) set by Will Howard in 2003)

From beginners to elites to sideshows, and whether your goal is 4, 5,6, or 7 minutes, the one mile distance remains a favorite measuring stick for all middle and long distance runners.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Josh Cox 2nd in California!

Who is Josh Cox? If you follow running, you know Josh is best pals and running partners with American superstar Ryan Hall. He also is the guy you see at the Power Bar display in those convenience stores. Maybe you've seen him on the cover of a running magazine, or perhaps you recall his appearance on the TV show Bachelorette. He also set the American Record for 50K (2:47:17)in Phoenix last year.

U.S. Olympic Marathon Trails
Cox placed 2nd at the California International Marathon last weekend in a respectable 2:13:51 on a cold (high 20s) windy day (sarcramento bee).

Some might say running 120-160 miles a week is unusual. I enjoy jumping rope, usually I do it for 30 minutes a couple times a week. I did it once for 3 hours.- Josh Cox

Kenyan Luke Kebet Runs 2:11:24 in Singapore Heat!

I ran the Singapore Marathon a few years ago- they said it was 86 degrees when the gun went off at 6:30 am, no doubt not much different than this year, with conditions reportedly 31 degree C (87 F) and 77% humidity
Looking at the website, I see they wisely moved the start to 5:30 am, but the Singapore heat and humidity is still brutal even at that early hour.

Ten of the top 11 finishers were from Kenya, with Luke Kebet leading the way in a stunning 2:11:24, outsprinting 2nd place finisher Johnstone Chepkwony (2:11:33).

Not taking anything away from these guys, but the year I ran this course there was a wide sweeping left curve sometime after 20 miles, followed by a simple 180 degree turnaround and run back into the finish. At the turn we were instructed to run around a cone left to right and head back to the finish on the right hand side of the road, so imagine my surprise on the way out to see the 4 leaders coming back towards me actually off the road and running the sidewalk on my left! Clearly they cut several hundred yards, but who was I to turn them in with $15,000 at stake for the winner? I assumed they needed the money a lot more than I did.

This year, Kibet took home 35K, not to mention a probable course record bonus. I just hope he ran the full 26.2.

Sidenote: When I reached the cone at the turnaround and tried to follow the path of those Kenyans, I was instructed to "stay right!" I still somehow managed to run 2:59 and place 6th overall in the masters claiming 500 Sinapore dollars!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bill Rodgers 1975 Training Log: Don't Try It!

Check out this amazing summary of Bill Rodgers training log at his peak ( posted by Bob Hodge

Bill Rodgers is one of the best distance runners the U.S. has ever produced- winning New York and Boston 4 times each!

A typical Bill Rodgers week:

Mon- 15 miles @ 10:30am - slow, flat Warm out. legs tight so no 2nd workout

Tue- 12 miles @ 9 am - slow to OK pace, flat 18+ miles @ 3pm - flat - 30+ miles

Wed -10.5 miles @ 11:15 am - OK pace, flat 10+ miles @ 5 pm - OK pace, 20 miles

Thurs -10.5 miles in am - slow pace, flat 9.5 miles(?) - Track - 2m(9:49), 1m(4:36), 1.5m, 3/4m(3:22), 1m(4:47), 7 min. jogs - 20 miles

Fri- 10 miles @ noon - 12 miles @ 4 pm - 22 miles

-23+ miles @ noon - flat 3 miles(?) @ 8 pm - slow - 26 miles

Bill Rodgers ran 2:09:55 at Boston in 1975. Check out his race calendar for the year- 23 competitions. Quite a contrast to some of America's top marathoners today. This is how it was the days before major shoe company sponsorship- Rodgers had to race often just to make ends meet.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Weight DOES Matter!

According to British middle/long distance coach Frank Horwill, Most coaches use the Stillman height/weight ratio table for distance runners. The average man is allocated 110 lbs (50kg) for the first 5 feet (1.524m) in height. Thereafter, he is allocated 5½ lbs (2.495 kg) for every additional inch (O.025m) in height.

Females are allocated 100 lbs (45kg) for the first 5 feet (1.524m) and 5lbs (2.268kg) for every inch thereafter.

According to Stillman, top middle distance runners should weigh in 12% lighter, while long distance runners should measure in at 15% less. (Peak Performance Online)

Clearly not everybody who runs can fit into Stillman's criteria, then again not many of us are good enough to challenge world records either. But if you are over and not following the best diet, losing a few pounds probably won't do anything but help your running.

Height Doesn't Matter

Think you can't run fast because you are too short? Check out the stats on 5K and 10K world record holder Kenensia Bekele-

Norwich Union London Grand Prix

In addition to his 2 Olympic gold medals from Bejing, he also owns a gold (10K) and silver (5K) from Athens. Bekele won three consecutive World Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 (2003-07) and the 3000 meters at the 2006 World Indoor Championships. He owns world records in both the 5000 (12:37.35) and the 10,000 (26:17.53). Bekele has an astounding total of 11 world cross country gold medals- 6 at 12K and 5 at 4K. On the track, Bekele has never lost at 10,000 meters.

The stats:
•Height: 5-3
•Weight: 119
•Age: 26
•Birth date: June 13, 1982
•Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
•World Championships: Six

By the way, Haile Gebrselassie, who holds the world record for the marathon, stands 5'5" tall.

Taking a Break From Long Runs?- Try This!

The present study showed that speed endurance training reduces energy expenditure during submaximal exercise, which is not mediated by lowered mitochondrial UCP3 expression. Furthermore, speed endurance training can maintain muscle oxidative capacity, capillarization, and endurance performance in already trained individuals despite significant reduction in the amount of training. -journal of applied physiology

MY COMMENT: For a 4-wk intervention period, SET (speed endurance training) replaced the ordinary training (45 km/wk) with frequent high-intensity sessions each consisting of 8–12 30-s sprint runs separated by 3 min of rest (5.7 ± 0.1 km/wk) with additional 9.9 ± 0.3 km/wk at low running speed,

So when you take time off, instead of a total layoff, do an easy warm up and 10 x 30 seconds hard, followed by a cool-down. As long as you don't gain any extra weight, you should maintain a high level of fitness and have a much easier time of it once you begin logging miles again. In this study, runners averaging 45 km per week (28 miles per week) dropped to 5.7 km per week of hard short runs (3.5 miles) and about 10 km (6.2 miles) of slow running, or about 10 miles a week total.

More On Breathing and Running

Long term analysis conducted by Jack Daniels has found that elite athletes in races up to and including the 10K use the 2-2 (breath in 2 steps and out 2 steps) breathing rhythm at the start of the race and after completing about two-thirds of the race they switch to a 2-1 breathing rhythm. For races longer than 10k the 2-2 breathing rhythm is used for the whole distance, perhaps shifting to a 2-1 breathing rhythm in the last minute or two for the sprint finish.

MY COMMENT: I've always started my exhale every other time my left foot strikes.

How Bad is Your Diet?

What you eat undoubtedly plays a role in how well you can run- never take that for granted. A typical American diet too high in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium eventually takes it's toll even on the most highly trained athlete (Is Alan Webb's Diet the Problem?)

Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler explores the reason behind our facination with "bad for you" foods. Watch this short video promotion of his book The End of Overeating.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Two Ways to Reduce Tibial Stress Fracture Risk

1. “It does seem as if strengthening the calf muscles may be a very easy way to reduce fracture risk ” .

2. The researchers determined that reducing stride length by about 10 percent seemed to reduce the stress on the tibia enough to lower the risk of a stress fracture.

source: -nytimes

2008 New York City Marathon

MY COMMENT: Common sense might suggest strengthening the anterior leg muscles to reduce stress fracture risk, however this finding suggests weak calf muscles may be the culprit. Add simiple toe raises into your daily routine!

Reducing stride length is a no brainer for those who strike heel first out in front of their hips. (see my earlier post here).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Heart Muscle Fatigue

Man with heart-rate graph over chest (Digital Composite)

Since it's a muscle, have you ever wondered if your heart needs recovery during hard workouts just like skeletal muscle? I immediately think of triathletes who can train at high intensities on subsequent days by rotating cycling, running, and swimming workouts.

Don't worry- cardiac muscle has the advantage of being supplied with plenty of oxygenated blood, in addition to a greater ability to produce ATP (the compound used to create energy in muscle), giving it the ability the handle and recover quickly from high intensity workouts. In other words, your heart is VERY resistant to fatigue.

Check out the explanation here (Why does cardiac muscle not fatigue).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beardsley Update

London Marathon Press Conference and Photo Call

Dick Beardsley, knee replacement and all, ran 34:59 at the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving (4.748 miles). 7:22 per mile

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baking Soda May Improve Short, Anaerobic Performance...and More

The International Journal of Sports Medicine published a study in June from researchers at Loughborough University in England that timed nine swimmers under three different race conditions: without taking any sort of supplement; 60 to 90 minutes after ingesting a sodium bicarbonate capsule; and 60 to 90 minutes after taking a placebo. Eight of the nine swimmers were fastest after ingesting the baking soda capsule.

In another study, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in May by Ronald Deitrick, PhD, FACSM, Program Director of the Department of Exercise Science and Sport at the University of Scranton, 800-meter runners who took sodium bicarbonate 90 minutes before a race performed better than their counterparts who ingested a placebo. Both studies reported some side effects, however--mostly gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea.
-Training & Conditioning

MY COMMENT: According to Peak Performance, "The cumulative evidence suggests that bicarbonate loading may be of benefit in events conducted at near-maximum intensity for a duration of 1-7 minutes."

How much? "The generally accepted protocol for bicarbonate loading is to divide the calculated total dose into five relatively even amounts and, starting three hours before competition, to stagger the intake at 30-minute intervals so that loading is complete an hour before the start.

The scientific evidence suggests that a dose of less than 0.1g of sodium bicarbonate per kg of body mass is unlikely to be effective while, at the other end of the scale, a dosage greater than 0.3g/kg BM is unlikely to further improve the potential performance benefit. This upper limit may be slightly lower for females (0.25g/kg BM) since they commonly have a lower level of muscle mass.

By my crude estimate, .3 gm /kg would be about 3/4 of an ounce for a 150 lb runner, mixed with water and drank over a 2 hour period.

Here is another good reference (

You can also throw some leftover baking soda in your washer to freshen up your running clothes, splash some under your arms as a deodorant, sprinkle in your running shoes to mask smell and absorb moisture, and brush to whiten your teeth! (75 Extraordinary Uses for Baking Soda)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Revenge for Allie Mclaughlin- 5th at NCAA

The first and only time I've seen 4'10" Allie run was this amazing footage of the high school Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in 2008. I recall thinking, if she ran a little smarter and had a more efficient arm carriage, she could have won this race (be sure to watch all 3 parts)

Fast forward to this year's NCAA meet, where Allie place 5th overall, beating Footlocker Champ Jordan Hasay convincingly by 22 seconds.

She's at a good program at Colorado, and it will be interesting to see how she develops- I have yet to see a clip of her in college and wonder if her form has improved any.

No Place To Run?

Services Of Remembrance Are Held For The Fallen On Armistice Day

As you probably know I train in a cemetery. I have found this location to be the best for me to deal with winter for a number of reasons.
1. It is only 100 yards from my house.
2. It is cleared as well or better than the roads and certainly much better than sidewalks.
3. Running the 1/3 mile loop repeatedly, if there are any icey patches they can be anticipated.
4. Running the small loops means that you don't face the wind for any extended time, thus evening out the wind chill
5. As the temperature goes down I just put on extra layers, generally just cotton, not a particular fan of tech materials.
6. Going out the door is no big deal if it is cold or snowing. I don't like going out into heavy rain although if it starts during the run that's sort of OK. A coating of freezing rain makes running impossible. This seems to happen less than once a year though.
7. To a minor extent I time my runs to avoid a particularly bad weather event.

-written by Ed Whitlock, who ran 2:54:48 at age 73! He routinely does 2-3 hours on his 1/3 mile loop. If that sounds boring, how do you think Michael Phelps feels swimming 70 miles a week or whatever he does in a 25 or 50 meter pool?

Something tells me Ed does not own an iPod either.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Where Are Your Hands During Running?

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Nine

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Five

Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle, with your elbows at your sides

I disagree- I got this quote from a popular on-line running site. If you can bend your elbows at 90 degrees and KEEP your hands at waist level at the same time, I'd like to see it.

Many (but not all) top runners actually carry their arms with a greater than 90 bend at the elbow, keeping hands up high. A shorter lever arm requires less energy expenditure, so it makes sense to keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less.

Check out your elbows and hands in the reflection next time you run by a window- if your hands are down by your waist, bend your elbows to bring them up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dick Beardsley Back Racing After Knee Replacement

Beardsley survived a farm equipment accident in which he broke his back and mangled one of his legs, three car accidents and an addiction to painkillers, which he overcame 13 years ago. He had a knee replacement in January and back surgery in August -Hartford Courant

Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen

MY COMMENT: And I thought I had injuries! I guess you can never count out Dick Beardsley, but if it were me I'd have taking up swimming and cycling a long time ago. He's running the historic 4.7 mile Manchester Road Race this weekend. This race got it's start in 1927!

That's Beardsley tying with Inge Simenson of Norway at the 1981 London Marathon. When's the last time you saw somebody do that at a major race?

Barringer Tries To Explain

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack


MY COMMENT: "It's not going to matter in the long run." A quote from the middle of this interview. Sounds to me that Barringer blames this on a build up of psychological pressure as opposed to a specific physical problem.

Not the same, but certainly brings back memories of Suzy Favor Hamilton's dive with 200 to go when she got passed in the 1500 meter Olympic final at Sydney. Years later she finally admitted the pressure of losing got to her and she fell on purpose: Then comes what she calls the toughest admission of her life: "I was thinking about everyone, how happy they would be. And at that moment I had let them all down, so falling was the option. And I fell."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Happened to Jenny Barringer?

Jenny Barringer, in case you don't know, has been on a roll for a long time- she ran in the Olympic Games in 2008, had a great track season at U of Colorado,and shattered the American record in the 3000 meter steeple chase last summer, running a very quick 9:12.

I had the chance to see Barringer run a couple of times last year and she was head and shoulders above her competition. She is an awesome talent.

This week, in her final collegiate race, the NCAA cross country meet, the unbelievable happened -

"When Barringer was passed by Kuijken as the runners neared 4,000 meters, the Colorado standout slowed and fell back to the pack. Barringer, who said she suddenly got "light-headed", stumbled to the ground almost a minute after runners began passing her by.

"There were points I didn't know if I was on a long run or if I was in a race," Barringer said. "I'm human. There was a lot mounting up to this. It was important to me (to win), maybe I just made it a little too important."

Barringer, who finished in 163rd place in 21, minutes 47 seconds, said she "had some nerves" in the days leading up to the race, even losing her appetite.

MY COMMENT: That's why you have to run the race. You never know for sure what's going to happen.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Heel Drop Achilles and Calf Stretch

I've been doing this one recently 4 x a day- each time that I take Sumo out morning and night, plus on the way back. The first few times I could tell immediately that I had neglected this key group for way too long- I felt extreme tightness back there that is now finally starting to show some improvement.

The only difference for me is that I have found a curb with a wall directly in front for balance suppport, enabling me to stretch both legs at once. Does it ever feel good!

If you are like most runners that neglects stretching, if nothing else get in the habit of stretching your calves and achilles.

You can also purchase a single or double Pro Stretch device (pictured above) to keep handy at work or home so you use it regularly.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tegla Loroupe

When she turned 15, Tegla had already run about 23,000 miles in her short lifetime just going back and forth to school (on a hilly dirt road at 7,500 feet elevation!) -peak performance online

Great article on Loroupe including her training prior to her New York Marathon victory in 1994, when reportedly she often ran up to 190 Kilometers per week (118 miles). Tegala is a former marathon world record holder and still holds records over 20, 25, and 30 kilometers.

Wikipedia is also worth reading. For example, I didn't know she ran both the marathon and 10K at the Sydney Olympics without shoes, a feat she later stated she achieved out of a sense of duty to all the people taking her as a bearer of hope in her home country

Shorter Ran 3:12 at New York

No not Frank- his son Alex. According to Frank, "he had the talent to go far." Now age 30, Alex ran 3:12- not bad for a "recreational" runner. I might be dreaming, but I seem to recall he did break 2hr 20min years ago.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stay Cheap at Your Next Race With airbnb

Traveling out of town or a different country for your next race? Check out for a place to stay.

World class runner Chris Lukezic (3:33 for 1500 meters)has retired from competitive running at age 25 to work as Director of Marketing for airbnb.

I love the concept- travel anywhere in the world for a race and stay cheap!

Where Does Your Lead Foot Strike While Running?

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Three

Aussie 10,000 meter runner David Mcneill.

It appears that his front foot lands behind his knee and he's going to plant forefoot first. Then look at me running the Napa Valley Marathon- foot out in front heel striking! Certainly not the most efficient way to run.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nose Breathing

I've been bantering back and forth with folks at on the pros and cons of nose breathing- breathing in through your nose and exhaling out your mouth while running. While I believe the general consensus is you can't sustain nose breathing while racing or exercising at high intensity, there seems to be several who practice this technique while running a sub max levels and believe in it's virtues.
Woman's Lips
To be honest, I have never tried nose breathing and have no desire to do so. I'm happy with the way I breath now, exhaling every other time my left foot strikes while running at high intensity. During slow, easy paced recovery runs,who cares?

I thought about it while swimming today- now there is an endurance sport that simply would not allow breathing in through your nose. Same as running, at least in my humble opinion. This is one that can easily be proved or disproved in a laboratory setting. To my knowledge, that's never been done.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Is Chicken Noodle Soup Better Than Sports Drink?

SOUP (about 12 ounces of chicken noodle soup) ingested before exercise improves fluid balance because of increased ad libitum water intake and reduced proportional urinary water loss -Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

In a related study, soup was also found more benefcial than water or a carbohydrate elctrolyte replacement drink following exercise.

"..greater plasma volume recovery and lower urine volumes were observed in subjects ingesting CB (chicken broth) and Soup, containing high concentrations of sodium, than in those consuming H2O and CE (carb. electolyte drink). These differences were seen, despite the ingestion of only 350 ml of each beverage at the onset of rehydration -J of Applied Physiology

MY COMMENT: I am definitely giving this one a try! Are you wondering who funded this study? If you check out the authors, I see Rick Sharp, who was an old classmate from my days in the Human Performance Lab at Ball State. Check out his impressive credentials (and the number of grants from Campbell's) ! Rick also co-designed Speedo's LZR high tech swimsuit used by US swimmers at the Beijing Olympics (see article). A former All American swimmer for Chico State, Rick earned some of his graduate assistant money at Ball State by coaching the DIVERS!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rehydrate With Food!

...five male and three female cyclists cycled in a steamy environment (34 degrees Centigrade, 55 per cent humidity) until they had dehydrated them-selves by about 2 per cent of body weight. After the exercise, the athletes ingested either a carbo-hydrate-electrolyte sports drink or else a standard meal comprised of 53 per cent carbohydrate, 28 percent fat, and 19 percent protein, along with water (at a volume 1.5-times greater than the amount actually lost during exercise).

Total urine output was significantly lower after the meal, compared with the sports drink, probably because of all the electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) naturally found in the food, which helped hold water in the body. When only the sports drink was ingested, the subjects' body-water levels were still down by about 10 to 11 ounces six hours after the exercise had concluded, while the meal-and-water combination restored fluid balance to normal ('Restoration of Fluid Balance after Exercise-Induced Dehydration: Effects of Food and Fluid Intake,' European Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 73, pp. 317-325, 1996). Obviously, combining good water intakes with consumption of electrolyte-rich foods can be a great way to rehydrate.

MY COMMENT: Eating after a long workout does much more than restock muscle glycogen!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Joan Samuelson Runs 2:49 Marathon at Age 52!

-Joan Samuelson running 5:02(about a 5:20 mile) or in an exhibition 1500 meter race last summer.

Joan Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic marathon champion, now 52, finshed the New York Marathon last weekend in 2 hr 49:09- an amazing time considering her age plus the fact that New York is not known as a fast course. She also ran 2 hr 49:08 at the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Looking at the age graded calculator, Samuelson's time projects to 2:19:34, faster than her 2:21:21 set on a fast Chicago course in 1985. She also ran 2:22:43 at the 1983 Boston Marathon and won the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Marathon under hot, humid conditions, in 2:24:52, 17 days after arthroscopic knee surgery (wikipedia)

Amazing high level of consistency over so many years!

Friday, October 30, 2009

One Extra Pound of Flab Costs 2.5 Seconds a Mile

"Any extra flab is dead weight that isn't going to help you generate accelerating force," says Tom Osler, author of The Serious Runner's Handbook. To make his case, Osler analyzed 40 years of data from 1,800 races, ranging from 5Ks to marathons, and found that, on average, every extra pound of body fat costs 2.5 seconds per mile. Drop ten pounds and, over the course of a marathon, you'll shave close to 11 minutes off your time.

MY COMMENT: If you've got the extra weight to lose and can get rid of it gradually (and I believe that also includes upper body muscle), you should see a corresponding drop in your racing times.

How ironic- I met Tom Osler (a math professor in New Jersey) when I was an exercise physiology graduate student at Ball State in the late 70s- he "volunteered" to do a 72 hour ultra while we took periodic measurements and generally kept an eye on him throughout the ordeal. He came into town looking anything but fit, admittedly several pounds heavier than peak shape. Surprisingly, at least to me, as I recall he made it to 200 miles in 72 hours. Impressive.

Osler's bio is a facinating read, and his 2 books, including The Conditioning of Distance Runners Part I , Part II, are cult classics.

Humans Are Built for Distance- Believe it or Not!

On a hot day, the two scientists wrote, a human could even outrun a horse in a 26.2-mile marathon.

MY COMMENT: Sounds good to me.

Trackwork At Sandown Racecourse

How High Do You Run?

Sammy Wanjiru, Olympic Marathon Champion

As runners compete in the marathon, they bounce up and down about 3” with each stride. Since the average runner takes about 1,000 strides per mile, a marathon consists of 26,200 strides. When you multiply 3” by 26,200, you get 6,550 feet, or 1.24 miles. This means a typical marathoner runs more than a vertical mile during the course of the marathon.

MY COMMENT: Practice running with a shorter stride to decrease vertical bounce.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New York Marathon This Weekend!

It's Sunday, Nov 1. Wave start: The first wave starts at 9:40 am, followed by another at 10 am and a third at 10:20 am. Approx. 14,000 in each wave.

broadcast schedule- coverage begins at 9 am, but when does the elite race actually start? That's not on the website anywhere I could find!

men top contenders

women top contenders

prize money breakdown (more than $800,000!)

course description

merchandise - they have some great deals on running gear and products from previous years!

weather forecast calls for partly cloudy with a high of 57 and winds from the west at 10 mph.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alex Hetherington and the Marine Corps Marathon

I met Alex Hetheringtion several years ago in Okinawa, Japan. He was a good runner back then, running under 2 hr 30 min on a tough Okinawa Marathon course. Now 42 and a Lieutenant Colonel, he's a Cobra pilot in the US Marine Corps, and is still a pretty good runner.

I'd guess Alex is around 6'5", and according to the Marine Corps Marathon website, his weight is listed at 190. Big for a marathoner.

This year, his 15th Marine Corps Marathon, he finished 3rd in the 40-44 age group running 2:41:49. His long history in this race, including a 10th place finish in 1995 and several in the top 20, has earned him the honor of being the first active duty inductee into the Marine Corps Marathon Hall of Fame (Navy Times).

I almost forgot to mention- Alex, who has been deployed to the middle east at least twice, is the father of 4 including triplets! (see article here about his wife and family).

Alternate pairs of running shoes, preferably different models/types. Having the right shoes for the workout or surface you are running on will allow you to achieve the best possible fitness and footing. Additionally, since each model/type of running shoe fits your foot and engages your muscles in different ways, if you are experiencing a persistent localized ache or pain, the first step should be to run in a different pair of shoes. The results may be surprising.

source: Training Tips from Lt. Col. Alex Hetherington

Monday, October 26, 2009

How Do You Get a Marathon Named After You?

My guess would be win a gold medal, or maybe 2 or 3. How then, did Dean Karnazes, get his name attached to this marathon in San Jose?

Karnazes is the ultra marathon guy who ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days in 2006. I was surprised that, according to his website, Dean ranked 27th in a Time Magazine poll listing the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World. I checked, and sure enough there he is right behind George Clooney but ahead of Warren Buffet, Al Gore, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Oprah, Tiger Woods, and the list goes on. Shocking!

I guess we should be happy that a runner placed so high on such a prestigious list, but to be honest, I don't think I'll be running this marathon unless they change the name.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Are Toe Nails Really "Dead Weight?"

“You know any sport has gone off the rails when you have to remove body parts to do it,” said Christopher McDougall, the author of a recent book about ultrarunning called “Born to Run.”

Woman sitting barefoot on sofa, trainers on floor, low section

MY COMMENT: -nytimes article about a number of ultramarathoners that have had their toenails removed. I'd call it a last resort.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Marathon Tips from Ryan Hall

Ryan's golden rules for successful marathon training

"For a long time, I lacked the confidence to back off on easy days. As a result, my body couldn't absorb all the great training. Now I have the confidence to run easy on recovery days, so I can bring the fire for hard workouts and race days."

"I never have a problem consuming enough calories, one reason why I think I am a good marathoner. But I make sure each meal or snack has protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Here's my favorite breakfast: Cytomax pancakes made with one scoop Muscle Milk, a half-cup Trader Joe's pancake mix, and topped with Smart Balance butter." (Hall and his wife, Sara, demonstrate the meal, below left.)

"Running for a charity—in my case, World Vision—has revolutionized my running. Nothing compares to the feeling of going out on a training run knowing that I'm part of an effort that's touching thousands of lives. I hope to build this into a legacy that outlives my records. I think everyone should run for a cause."

"I'm not the best at sitting down for long prayer sessions, but I do short prayers as often as I can. I pray when I do the dishes in the morning before I run. Whether I win a race or not, I always find that prayer gives me perspective and opens up a world of possibilities."

Everyone else seems to call their afternoon shuteye 'naps.' I call them 'business meetings.' On my easy days, I schedule two hours for these meetings. When you're sleeping, your body absorbs all the hard work. It's ironic: one of the best ways to get better is to do nothing."

Friday, October 23, 2009

A High School Cross Country Team with a Rich Tradition

Recently I've been following the progess of the Stevens Point Area High School (SPASH) boys cross country team ( Coached by one of my former college teammates Donn Behnke, SPASH has been one of the most consistently ranked teams of any sport in Wisconsin state history.

Since he began coaching in 1977, Behnke's teams have won 9 Wisconsin state titles and finished runner up 6 times. Only twice have they not gone to state. They've also won the conference meet 32 times in 33 years.

I like the way Donn maintains his team website, providing a nice weekly summary of how his kids ran (his program includes 100 boys including varsity and jv, give or take), and how he keeps track of average team and individual times.

Donn has produced some outstanding runners over the years including 21 individual conference champions, at least 3 state champions that I can remember including Pete Skorseth, Keith Hanson, and Chris Solinsky (Solinsky and Hanson both went on to become NCAA champions). I still remember the controversy surrounding Hanson snubbing the University of Wisconsin's partial scholarship offer despite running a 8:54 two mile reportedly because Dan McClimon, the Badger coach at the time, thought Hansen had been running too many miles under Donn. Hansen chose Marquette instead, a school not exactly known for distance running, and went on to become an NCAA champion in the 10,000 meters and a 3-time All American in cross country. Ironic, because one thing I learned from Donn was the value of running slow. His kids may run some miles, but I guarantee not too many of them are run hard.

One of the reasons behind Donn's success is his ability to start them young. His junior varsity hasn't lost a conference championship meet in 33 years, and routinely his JV kids can run varsity for any other school. The depth of his program is amazing.

Finally, I like the fact that I'm seeing familiar names popping up from the old days-kids of Donn's former runners. I see Wayne Solinsky, Chris's dad, took 3rd in the 1978 conference meet, finishing right behind Ray Przybelski (I assume with a name like Przybelski, Ray is related to this year's Valley Conference champ Paul Przybelski). I also spotted the name of an up and coming freshman in northern Wisconsin by the name of Page Skorseth (any relation to Pete?).

Finally, there is also Megan Duwell, an All-American and 10,000 Big Ten Champ who runs for Minnesota and happens to be Donn's neice (John Duwell, Megan's father, is married to Lynn, Donn's sister- and John was also a teammate of mine at UW-Stevens Point).

Stay tuned for the remainder of the year. Donn's teams have a history of running well when it counts, and even though they've been beaten this year, currently they are again ranked number 1 and poised for a run at another state title(Wisconsin cross country rankings)

Good Runners Generally Don't Make Good Fighters

Three white males in a black four-door vehicle swerved at the runners and at least one of the males yelled racial slurs. The vehicle stopped and a fight ensued, Adlam said.

While the 18-year-old African-American student was being attacked, one of his classmates, 17, intervened.

The 17-year-old was punched by one of the males from the vehicle and told police he was knocked out. He later received stitches at Froedtert Hospital for lacerations to his upper lip.

MY COMMENT: I can just imagine the anger they felt towards these idiots, but too bad they didn't just run away. This incident could easily have escalted into something much worse.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is Wearing Less Better?

"I believe that in the next five years, there will be a shift in shoe design to shoes like Vibram FiveFingers and that the current shoe designs are old-school," he says. "By running barefoot, I have strengthened the supporting muscles in my feet and ankles and my running has improved out of sight." -adventure racer Josh Stevenson

MY COMMENT: Go very easy at first! Check out more reviews at example:

a.) 11 years of plantar fasciitis (on and off again)
b.) one article in Men's Health on the Tarahumara Indians
c.) one book called Born to Run
d.) 2 months of barefoot exercises to build up the foot muscles and calluses
e.) 1 pair of vibram KSOs
f.) 2 weeks of burning calf muscles
g.) no more foot pain

I think the shoe companies and podiatrists might have a lot to learn.

Seriously, I think these may have cured me. Time will tell, but the results have been far more impressive than anything else I've tried. It takes a while to get the stride ride, but it makes running more fun - particularly in the grass.

Here is a quote from a different reviewer who presents both sides:
On the flip side, What I don't like:
These shoes take longer than a normal shoe to put on. There is improvement with practice, but still, I don't think that you can just "throw them on," and bolt out of the locker room, or your front door. Particularly, because I recommend training in them with the toed socks which seem to prevent hot spots, and these socks really take about a minute to put on. The shoes, after some practice, can be done in about 30-40seconds.
Also, when running on rocks (on a trail for example), you do feel them. Finally, unlike the Nike 3.0's, you really don't have the option of a heel strike, and they are brutal when running on concrete.

They are not cheap but might be something to consider, at least for a few miles a week on soft surfaces. Order here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wisconsin Divison III Runner Molly Seidel

This season, Seidel beat the reigning Division 1 state champion by more than 17 seconds at the Arrowhead Invitational.

She also had a 17-second cushion in beating the defending Division 2 state champion at the Angel Invitational, but was disqualified after the race for shorts that were rolled up at her waist.

MY COMMENT: Molly Seidel of University Lake High School ran 5:02 and 10:49 to win Wisconsin division III state titles last season- as a 9th grader. What a talent!

Shorts rolled up at the waist? Somebody explain?

Three Runners Die in Detroit Free Press Marathon

In the span of just 16 minutes, three men collapsed and died while running the 32nd Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon --

MY COMMENT: What are the odds of this terrible tragedy? Temperatures were cool so I assume all were heart related.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

World Half Endurance Seminar

Good information provided by Adrian Marriott on discussions from the World Half Endudrance Seminar. Mariott is a 2:18 marathoner.

One of the key exercises for George's athletes is the full squat and the goal is to build up to 2 sets of 6 reps with 1.5 times body weight.

from Part 4- George Gandy pioneered a strength routine for middle distance runners later adapted by Sebastian Coe.

Interesting reading!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Marathon Pace Wristbands

Running a marathon soon? has a neat idea- you can print out your own marathon pace wristband that gives you the splits you need to achieve your goal time. Available in miles or kilometers. Just cut it out and waterproof with scotch tape. Great idea!

26.2 Miles
PACE 3:00

1 - 0:06:52
2 - 0:13:44
3 - 0:20:36
4 - 0:27:28
5 - 0:34:21
6 - 0:41:13
7 - 0:48:05
8 - 0:54:57
9 - 1:01:49
10 - 1:08:42
11 - 1:15:34
12 - 1:22:26
13 - 1:29:18
14 - 1:36:10
15 - 1:43:03
16 - 1:49:55
17 - 1:56:47
18 - 2:03:39
19 - 2:10:32
20 - 2:17:24
21 - 2:24:16
22 - 2:31:08
23 - 2:38:00
24 - 2:44:53
25 - 2:51:45
26 - 2:58:37

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Protester Wins Briggs and Al's Run in Milwaukee

"To kick them out of a race - are you kidding me? - for drinking water in a marathon? That's so bizarre."

-Nate Weiland, who defended his title in Milwaukee over the weekend at Briggs & Al's 8K Run Walk but purposely avoided breaking the tape and refused his 1st place award. jsonline

He's upset with the Badgerland Striders for DQing the top 2 females at the Lakefront Marathon (one for wearing an iPod and one for taking water outside of a designated aid station).

His time for the 8K race was 24:35.

Liliya Shobukhova Wins Chicago- Remember the Name

19th European Athletics Championships - Day 6

Russian distance runner Liliya Shobukhova, known for her speed (world record for the indoor 3,000 in 2006) with a 14:23 PR in the 5K, has moved up to the marathon with impressive results- she won in Chicago over the weekend in her second attempt at the marathon distance, running 2:25:56 despite a slow 1:15 split at the halfway mark. According to one report, she ran 6:36 for the last 2.2 kilometers, or 4:48 pace for 1,600 meters!

(Shobukhova ran 2:24:24 for 3rd at London in her first marathon).

Does Coffee and Alcohol Decrease Bone Density?

Meanwhile, she'll be staying away from her formerly favorite beverages, coffee and red wine, as she did this summer. "It doesn't have anything to do with performance," she said. "It's entirely a health issue. My doctors say that caffeine and alcohol can interfere with calcium absorption into the bones -Deena Kastor who has suffered 2 foot injuries over the last couple of years. -runnersworld

It's true that caffeine intake is associated with a decrease in bone density. The good news is that scientists believe you may be able to prevent the loss by increasing calcium to 1,200 mg per day.

There is also some evidence that tea drinkers actually have better bone density than non tea drinkers.

What about alcohol? According to this study from the American J of Clinical Nutrition noted by Reuters,

Men who had a glass or two of wine or beer daily had denser bones than non-drinkers, the researchers found, but those who downed two or more servings of hard liquor a day had significantly lower BMD than the men who drank up to two glasses of liquor daily

So Kastor is apparently going overboard- she should be switching to tea with milk and continue with her daily glass of wine. Enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dathan Ritzenhein Runs a 60:00 Half Marathon

"He's got the ability in terms of strength," Salazar said. "It's a matter of teaching him to relax physically and mentally so he's running easier."

IAAF World 1/2 Marathon

"He's fighting too hard from the beginning with his upper body. He's got an unbelievable engine, but he's never learned how to relax. Dathan is never just flowing. Dathan is always pressing, pressing, pressing. That's pretty easy to fix."
-Alberto Salazar on Dathan Ritzenhein following his 3rd place finish at the World Half Marathon Championships where he ran 60:00 even. -usatoday

MY COMMENT: Great run by Ritz but not unexpected the way he has been running lately. Should put a fire on the other Americans! Note: 60 minutes for 13.1 miles is 4:34.8 minutes per mile.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jason Hartman Wins Twin Cities

Jason Hartman, a high school teammate of Dathan Ritzenhein in Michigan, won Twin Cities last weekend in a very respectable 2:12:09. Like Ritz, Webb, Solinsky, Tegenkamp, etc, Hartman is training in Oregon. His coach is none other than Brad Hudson, who used to coach Ritz prior to his move to the Salazar group.

Hartman may be under the radar compared to these other guys, but he is a good runner. He finished 10th at the 2008 Olympic Trials marathon and was a 6-time All American at Oregon.

You can follow Jason and other runners at

Thursday, October 8, 2009

World Record at Chicago?

Obama campaign plans to hold election night rally in Grant Park in Chicago

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is up this weekend- a very fast course and site of more than one world record. The field is deep and fast, including Sammy Wanjiru, winner in London and the Bejing Olympic marathon. (Chicago Marathon website)

Watch the race live this Sunday starting at 8 am EST at

As a prelude to Chicago, you can also tune in and watch Dathan Ritzenhein run the World Half Marathon Championships at 4am EST.

Should be a great day for running. FYI- the weather forcast for Chicago on Sunday calls for mostly cloudy with a high of 48 degrees F. WNW wind at 8 mph. Other than that wind, perfect!

Words of Wisdom from Terence Mahon

We needed a logical reason on why we shouldn‘t have gone harder, how to space out those efforts, and what we are getting as a response to that training as opposed to “train harder, train more, and just be tougher.” -Terence Mahon, coach of Deena Kastor and Ryan Hall. -roadsmillslap

MY COMMENT: Mahon is referring to guys like Todd Williams, himself, Brad Hudson, and Alberto Salazar, suggesting a more structured approach with recovery was missing. I was part of that era and recall reading everything I could get my hands on about guys like Shorter, Rodgers, and Beardsley. He's probably correct- runners don't appreciate the benefits of proper recovery and some need to be restrained.

That being said, missing a few easy days is NOT the primary reason why American distance running faltered in the 90s. Mahon goes on-

In the U.S., we have no system. We have a collegiate system which does very well and everyone knows that around the world, but it is a terrible, terrible system once the kid graduates. And it’s all because we have college coaches who are paid to coach college and the professional demands are different and that’s where I think we’ve gotten lost.

Bingo. Fortunately we have turned the corner now and are beginning to see some very positive results on an international level.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Know the Rules in Your Next Marathon

Corina Canitz might find herself moving from third to first in the Lakefront Marathon, if race officials decide to disqualify a second woman who beat her to the finish line Sunday.

The fastest woman in the race, Cassie Peller, was disqualified for receiving a water bottle from a friend between official aid stations, around the 19-mile mark of the race on Milwaukee's lakefront.

That's about the same point where Jennifer Goebel decided to turn on her iPod for a musical boost that could knock her out of the top spot, as well. Goebel finished second behind Peller but was elevated to first after the initial disqualification.

Goebel's use of the electronic device violates USA Track & Field rule 144.3, and the potential infraction has been referred to a USATF official, according to Lakefront Marathon race director Kristine Hinrichs.
Milwaukee Journal

MY COMMENT: I wouldn't be surprised if they DQ'd Goebel for using an iPod- she deserves it. iPods are dangerous and have no place in road racing period. On the other hand, the rule Peller broke is ridiculous- what if the heat index were high? A few years ago at Chicago runners were dropping like flies in a fluke heat wave- are you going to DQ runners for taking liquid outside of designated stations that have run out of liquids? I remember a similar rule when I ran the marathon at the NAIA national championships in 1975-6. In those races, water was offered every 5 miles, and we were told not to drink other than at the official aid stations (this was in Arkansas in May with temperatures and humidity in the mid to high 70s). We know better today.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Japanese Running Secrets

Are there any big differences in training methods of Japanese runners compared to North American runners?

JRN: Higher mileage would be the easy answer, and from an early age. University-aged guys are focusing on the half-marathon distance rather than 5000 m or 10000 m,

-Bristol Running Resource

Insightful interview with Brett Larner who covers the running scene in Japan (Japan Running News)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Injured Runner- A Balanced Solution

The Injured Runner – A Balanced Solution is based on leading edge medical research conducted at Stanford University, the Joyner Sports Medicine Center in Lexington, Kentucky, the University of Wisconsin, the Umea University in Sweden, and Queensland University in Australia. These institutions have done extensive research on iliotibial band friction syndrome, knee pain, hamstring strains, Achilles tendonitis, and lower back pain.

MY COMMENT: I'm always on the lookout for ideas on exercises to complement a well-rounded running program. This reasonably priced DVD looks to me like a well-researched approach to treatment and prevention of running injuries.

Note: The Injured Runner- A Balanced Solution website has some good information.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

100 Day Marathon Training Plan

A 2-hour easy run is simply not enough if you have to be out there for 3:30 on race day. So the walk/runs is an easy way around this. So these runners would break for mechanical reasons and not for endurance reasons.

-Marius Bakken describing his marathon training program. He advocates walking during the long training runs but not during the race.

It looks to me like he's got some pretty good ideas that make sense for the average runner- you can order his 100 Day Marathon Training Plan for $47.

Friday, October 2, 2009

American Record Broken- In a Workout!

Dathan Ritzenhein exceeded the U.S. record for 10 miles on Monday in a workout.

The U.S. record holder in the 5,000 meters is gearing up for the World Half-Marathon Championships in Birmingham, England on Oct. 11.

Ritzenhein covered the 10 miles in 45 minutes, 3 seconds -- running 4:30.3 per mile. He did half the workout on the track and half of it on the road. Alberto Salazar administered the workout.

MY COMMENT: Oregon is so running crazy now workouts are making headlines! That being said, I guess a 45 minute 10 mile run is deserving. Ritz has to be physically and mentally prepared to run with anybody at the World Half. Watch it live at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Happens When You Take Time Off From Running?

Physiological effects of 2-4 weeks of detraining

VO2 max: down 4-10%
Blood volume: down 5-10%
Heart rate: up 5-10%
Stroke volume: down 6-12%
Flexibility: Decreases
Lactate threshold: Decreases
Muscle glycogen levels: down 20-30%
Aerobic enzyme activity: Decreases
Running economy: Unchanged

-Pete Pfitzinger

MY COMMENT: According to Pfitzinger, "most elements of your fitness go down at about the same rate at which they go up."

My theory, based on personal experience, is that after 3 or so days off, you need 3 days of training for every additional day you miss before regaining your original level of fitness. In other words, miss 10 days and you'll be back to normal in about 3 weeks.

A Long Lost Training Partner is Found!

I recently reconnected with Sean Dunlap, an old training partner from my days in Okinawa. In those days, Sean was an enlisted airman with a beautiful running style and decent speed that made me jealous. Looks like nowadays he has changed gears by moving up to some very serious long stuff.

Not only is Sean a good runner, as you'll see by reading incleanair he is also a very talented, entertaining writer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Moving to South Korea!

Tomorrow I head off to S. Korea to do health promotion for the US Army. I've been there once before- I raced the DMZ half marathon in 2005 or so. I have to say of every place I've lived, Sequim Washington has been my favorite place to train- the combination of moderate climate and soft wooded trails has me completely spoiled. I will miss it dearly.

I jogged 3 miles in the woods today one last time- and my hamstring seemed to hold up. Maybe this time off for travel is just what I need to get healthy. I'll keep you posted!

Check out the running club at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Racing and Ibuprofen

Those runners who’d popped over-the-counter ibuprofen pills before and during the race displayed significantly more inflammation and other markers of high immune system response afterward than the runners who hadn’t taken anti-inflammatories. The ibuprofen users also showed signs of mild kidney impairment and, both before and after the race, of low-level endotoxemia, a condition in which bacteria leak from the colon into the bloodstream. -nytimes

MY COMMENT: Clearly ibuprofen intake prior to and during marathons and ultras poses some serious health risks and no benefit in terms of reducing inflammation or pain (this study looked at Western States 100 competitors).

Some general rules on taking ibuprofen are:

1. Do not take ibuprofen before, during, or shortly after lengthy endurance exercise, especially when there is potential for dehydration.

2. Take ibuprofen with a full glass of water or milk, ideally with meals to avoid stomach irritation.

3. Do not combine ibuprofen with alcohol.

4. Do not take in combination with other medicines, supplements, or herbal products without first consulting with your physician or pharmacist.

5. Avoid if you have a history of any reaction or allergy from another anti-inflammatory medication.

6. Discontinue use immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms: urine that is cloudy or bloody, pain or burning in the stomach, diarrhea or black tarry stools, severe nausea, indigestion or heartburn, vomiting blood.

7. Do not use if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

8. Talk to your doctor first if you have high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease, heart failure, ulcers or other stomach problems.

-Iburpofen- Friend of Foe (article I wrote a few years ago)

Running Without Shoes-Comparison

Watch the dramatic change in running style with and without shoes in the same runner! Some believe this is just one of many factors contributing to the dominance of African distance runners, many of whom reportedly do lots of barefoot running as youngsters.

Before you go off and try to convert to a mid or forefoot strker, read what The Science of Sport has to say.

Why would you want to change your foot landing to begin with? Science has little to offer you in support of this. And so my advice, having read this far (well done!), is to forget about the possibility that you're landing "wrongly", and just let your feet land where, and how they land, and worry about all the other things you can when you run!

If there is one thing you change in your running, don't focus on your footstrike, but rather on WHERE your feet land relative to your body

Frank Shorter Interview- 1980s

Entertaining 1980s interview with Olympic gold medal winner Frank Shorter as biomechanics expert Gideon Ariel analyzes Frank's running form. I like the point he made about the disadvantage of excessive head movement. Frank also points out the knowledge gap that existed in those days between research and runners.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Training Update

The news is not good. I've been trying to jog with this hamstring problem and realized that I am probably doing more harm than good. It's not getting any better and admittedly feels worse afterward. Against my better judgement, I jogged the 5K fun run last night but am paying for that now. I am shutting down the running until I feel it's completely healed.

The Myrtl Strength Routine for Runners

This is a nice exercise routine for runners by Jay Johnson. The focus is on improving general core strength in addition to hip range of motion, something that could benefit all runners, especially those who are over 40.

Running Times: Part 1 from CoachJayJohnson on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ryan Hall Runs "slightly uphill" Mile 13 in 4:27 For The Win

Ryan Hall's final race prior to the 2009 ING New York City marathon was a successful won as hammered the final 1.1 miles to break away from three Kenyan competitors and win the ING Philadelphia Distance run in 61:52.

1. Ryan Hall 1:01:52
2. Samuel Ndereba 1:01:57
3. Benjamin Limo 1:02:02
4. Valentine Orare 1:02:22
5. Mike Sayenko 1:05:05
6. Josh Cox 1:05:10
7. Andrew Dumm 1:05:42
8. Lee Troop 1:05:43
9. Joel Mwaura 1:05:48

Geb Hits "The Wall" But Still Wins Berlin

Great analysis of Geb's world record attempt at The Science of Sport. 15:57 for the last 5K (his 5K splits between 25K and 35K were 4:35 each!) 2:06:08 was the winning time.