Friday, July 31, 2009

Could Stride Angles Be the Answer?

Dathan Ritzenheim
Sammy Wanjiru

Check out this analysis by somasports comparing stride angles of Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru and our top Americans. No way to tell if photo of Ritz is taken actually at the widest stride angle. Still, this is food for thought.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Takayuki Nishida Interview

It was mostly based on intervals and long distance. One interval workout a week and one long run, every week. Plus sometimes we'd do an interval and long run set, like today 5000 m of hard intervals, then a 40 km run the next day. We did a lot of 20 km time trials, too. In heavy training I'd be doing 1000 km a month, with at maximum 70 km in one day. -Japan Running News

Interview with 2 hr 08 min Japanese marathoner Takayuki Nishida. (note: 1000 kilometers = 621 miles so Nishida was averaging 155 miles a week with one day up to 43 miles!)

At the National Championships before the Athens Olympics I met Samuel Wanjiru. He told me, "It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I'm just going to stay home and sleep." Japanese runners would show up wearing a cap and vest and do the workout in the rain. I think that ability to let yourself take it easy sometimes is missing in the Japanese system, but some of the talented young guys we have now are learning this lesson so I think there might be another generation of great Japanese runners coming soon. (Wanjiru is a Kenyan who trains in Japan and won the Olympic marathon in Bejing)

The Magic Workout

One workout Andrews picked up from Peter Coe (Sebasitan Coe's father and coach) was what Robby would call "the magic workout." It involved a series of sprints. He would start out with a 100-meter sprint at near race pace and jog back. He would then run 110 meters, adding one second to his 100-meter time.

He would continue at 10-meter intervals, adding one second each time, until he reached 200 meters. It was a taxing workout, but magic indeed. He ran that workout before every big race this season, including his two national record runs and his 4:03.49 mile.
-News Transcript (article about Robbie Andrews, a high school runner from New Jersey who set high school indoor national records for 800 (1:49.21)and 1000 meters (2:22.68). Outdoors Andrews ran a 4:03.49 mile.

Training Update July 27-29

Mon- easy 3 miles followed by an hour bike ride

Tues- 5K in 19:31 (very very hot day) I could tell from the start this was going to be a tough run. Splits were 6:22, 6:11. 6:17- clearly I am not acclimatized for heat (skin was dry-never broke a sweat until after I finished!) so I was actuallly pleasantly surprised my last mile was not the slowest.

Wed- easy 20 min with Sumo, then 50 minutes, followed by 6x15 sec sprints (if you can call them that).

American 800 Meter Runners Look Primed for Worlds

Watch for the name Maggie Vessey at the upcoming World Championships (if she gets to run- she did not make the US team but now has the A standard)-she just ran the fastest 800 meters in the world this year-1:57.84 in Monaco (#7 all time on the US list). Vessey lives in Santa Cruz with her sister and her sister's boyfriend and works 30 hours a week at Jerry's Sports ( interview). Somebody give this girl a contract please!

On the men's side Olympian Nick Symmonds set a PR-1:43.83 finishing 3rd. Check out the story at and you can watch video of the races at

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Leg Speed Drills for Runners

Arthur Lydiard firmly believed that anaerobic workouts that produce lactic acid (i.e. interval training) during build-up of your aerobic base is counterproductive. "First thing: No. No. Never do anaerobic work in conditioning. Never. Ever." How long? "At least 12 weeks...The whole program takes 6 months." -Arthur Lydiard interview a week before his death.

A workout that Lydiard recommended, and I admit that I have never done, is short bursts of running (60 meters) with full recovery. According to Lydiard, these short speed sessions can be used safely during your aerobic build-up phase because you don't produce lactic acid. At the same time, your ability to run fast is maintained or even improved because you are recruiting fast twitch fibers, increasing power and efficiency.

Remember, the purpose is not improving anaerobic or aerobic energy systems. I'd start with 6 x 60 meters with full 1-2 minute recovery between each, then build to 10. This makes sense, especially for masters runners like myself who over time tend to lose speed with age.

A word of caution- build into this workout slowly, especially if you've been doing nothing but long slow running. Build your speed with each repetition, so your first is always slowest and your last 2-3 your quickest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Barefoot Running

"...running shoes should be considered protective
devices (from dangerous or painful objects) rather than corrective devices,

-Barefoot Running

Woman Jogging at Beach

MY COMMENT: Good article- no question that runners could benefit by "Thirty minutes of daily barefoot locomotion" as a starting point (walking, then progessing to slow jogging if you can find a surface that allows it).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Too Much Speed Kills in Distance Running

Side view of athletes sprinting on a track

"Whatever you do that is very intense has to be balanced out with a reasonable volume of easy work. The harder you go, the more volume of easier work is required, and the easier the better. Total rest won't do it. Easy aerobic activity will. That's the secret. We'll leave the physiologists and PhD theorists to tell us why." -Keith Livingstone, author of Healthy Intelligent Training

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Remember Henry Rono

In the bar later, he said his downfall had been beer and women, but as the beers flowed, it came down to just women. - post referring to the great Kenyan runner Henry Rono (source:

East Dublin, Georgia Hosts Annual Redneck Games

Lake Angeles Trail Run

I did this 2 hour workout on Tuesday.

Training Update July 23-24

Thurs- easy 90 minutes on trail.
Fri- easy 30 minutes on trail, then a 5K hard effort in 19:05. Felt ok but slow. Plenty of room to improve I hope.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

10 x 400 Interval Workout

I felt some leg soreness from what I did the day before- 1 hour up and one hour back on the Lake Angeles Trail at a very slow pace.


The Equalizer Home Workout

MY COMMENT: I really like some of the options the Lebert Equalizer bars provide. I am ordering this!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rhodiola Improves Endurance!

Herbs on a Grey Napkin

I walked into a local nutrition supplement store recently and inquired what they had for runners. They introduced me to Rhodiola, a herb that grows in the mountains in Europe and Asia.

Doing further research, I found this study out of Belgium.

Compared with P (placebo), acute R (rhodiola) intake in Phase I increased (p <.05) time to exhaustion from 16.8 +/- 0.7 min to 17.2+/- 0.8 min. Accordingly, VO2peak (p <.05) and VCO2peak (p<.05) increased during R compared to P from 50.9 +/- 1.8 ml x min(-1) x kg(- )1 to 52.9 +/- 2.7 ml x min(-10) x kg(-1) (VO2peak) and from 60.0 +/- 2.3 ml x min(-1) x kg(-1) to 63.5+/- 2.7 ml x min(-1) x kg(-1) (VCO2peak). Pulmonary ventilation (p =.07) tended to increase more during R than during P (P: 115.9+/- 7.7 L/min; R: 124.8 +/- 7.7 L/min). All other parameters remained unchanged. PHASE II: Four-week R intake did not alter any of the variables measured. CONCLUSION: Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise capacity in young healthy volunteers. This response was not altered by prior daily 4-week Rhodiola intake.

Looks like it has some stimulant properties not unlike caffeine, but long term use provides no additional benefit.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Altitude Training Presentation by Steve Magness

(Steve ran 4:01 for the mile in high school-watch it here!)

His blog is excellent!

July 19- Training Diary

90 minutes on the trail today- I've got a loop that is approx. 3.5 miles in length that I was doing in 30 minutes (who knows maybe its 4 miles!). Doesn't matter, I am just going to continue building time slowly with a goal of 2 hours.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Training Update

July 15- off
July 16- 30 minute warm-up, then 3 laps on the 800 trail loop in 8:36 (7:52 per lap).
July 17- 9 miles on trail
July 18- 30 min warm-up, then 5 x 400 (approx) on the 800 meter trail loop (had to stop because I had walkers going on both halves of the loop at once.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How Much Do You Drink?

About an hour before the workout you should have about 20 ounces of liquid.

-Leslie Bonci quoted in a NY Times article.

MY COMMENT: Unless you are preparing for a marathon or getting ready for a very long (2 hours or longer) training run, I don't know anybody who really does this.

Read the full article, then see my comments below:

First, I’d be very uncomfortable drinking 20 oz of water one hour prior to exercise, and that much certainly isn’t necessary for a 30 minute workout. Second, I’d be curious what the definition of “gulping” and what frequency is recommended. Better advice would be to weigh yourself before and after every workout and using trial and error target not losing more than 3% of your body weight. Some experts agree that blanket guidelines for hydration are not a good idea- this much water for a 100 lb female with a low sweat rate running on a cool day in fact may be very dangerous. Third, I’d be careful what type of carbohydrate you eat 1 hour prior to exercise. If I eat something high on the glycemic index prior to exercise often times my blood sugar drops so low after start my run that I experience light-headedness

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Training Update July 13-14

Put in 2 solid days of running- back to back about 80 minutes on the trails. 30 at a slow pace with Sumo, then 50 more minutes at moderate pace. Legs were getting beat near the end of both days. Tomorrow something light! Skipping the 800 repeats this week.

Watch the Tour de France Live !

Watch the Tour de France live here!

Tour de France 2009 Stage Nine

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fixing Common Nutrition Mistakes

Check out this article on by Nancy Clark who always offers accurate nutrition advice.

Plyometric Drills to Improve Your Running

If you want better balance, increased speed and more agility, try integrating these fun and challenging plyometric drills into your weekly workouts.

AVIVA UK Championships & World Trials - Day One

Monday, July 13, 2009

Alto Lab - Affordable Altitude Simulation

If you are a serious endurance athlete with some extra cash and looking for an edge, I'd take a look at a company called Pharma Pacific that makes the Alto Lab Portable Altitude Simulator. Their protocol calls for a 1 hour treatment for 2 weeks, which they claim can significantly boost EPO and red blood cell production.

I like the fact that you can actually measure a drop in blood O2 levels while using the simulator. You can purchase the starter kit for under $200, however that does not include the pulse oximeter (you can probably get a better deal on one of those elsewhere). The all-inclusive Elite package (with oximeter and 3 months of silos which need to be replaced periodically) runs $789.

Hendrick Ramaala - The Self-Coached Marathoner

Marathon training can take up to 12 weeks to complete. You need a buildup (base) training phase and then a specific marathon training phase. I go 200 kilometers (124 miles) a week or more when I get ready for a marathon. At the end of this heavy training, you will need a tapering period of two to three weeks. I do a minimum of 10 to 12 long runs in that period. Four to six of those will be around 40 kilometers (24.8 miles), the rest between 25 and 30 kilometers (15 to 18 miles).

I also include interval sessions on the track (two times a week); some hill runs (once a week); tempo runs (twice a week) and recovery runs. Four or three weeks before my marathon race, I normally race a half-marathon to test myself. When doing marathon training you need to take lots of rest, get sports massages, consume lots of liquids, eat lots of good food and focus more as the load of training is taxing on the body.

MY COMMENT: Hendrick Ramaala is a self-coached S. African that won the NYC Marathon in 2004.

Lydiard Training Methods Explained

You'll see, for example, how to use sessions of long slow distance therapeutically, to help recover form. Keith has also done a great job of providing the missing science; although Arthur has been hailed as the greatest running coach of all time, Keith reminds us that Arthur was actually a milkman; he worked things out by experimenting on himself and then with trial and error plus intuition. 30 years on, and with the benefit of the latest research, we can see why Arthur's system works so well -- and also what we need to tweak to make it even more effective. -customer review on

MY COMMENT: Looks like a good book detailing the training system used so successfully by New Zealand's Arthur Lydiard. I am ordering this one today!

Marathon Training Advice

So essentially there are two ways to get to these type 2x fibers. One is by doing interval training, and one is by doing long-distance running at a moderate, at least moderate, pace. Now, if you’re doing it like these very long distance runners who run somewhere between 8 and 9 minutes a mile pace forever, then they probably never get to those fibers because they’re able to do their exercise utilizing fat as a fuel to a large extent. When you exercise at a higher level, i.e., 7 minutes a mile and faster, then you just can’t do that on fat. Glycogen has to be used, and eventually it becomes depleted in the fibers that are being used. And when that happens, others get called in to take over. -Peter Snell

MY COMMENTS: Find a way to recruit ALL of your muscle fibers- forcing them to deplete of glycogen. This is one reason why hard interval sessions are important in preparing for marathons.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Great Training Advice By an Olympic Champion- A Must Read!

I just recently was at a conference in Las Vegas where USA Track & Field got together and said, we’re disturbed about the fact that we’re not getting any medals in middle-distance and distance running at the Olympics, and why is this? And someone concluded, when they looked at the Olympics, American runners are getting buried in the last lap. Therefore, we need to teach them how to sprint. So that’s unbelievable. [laughs] There’s not a lack of speed – they’re just running out of gas,and so everyone else is cruising because of the superior endurance, is what that boils down to. - excellent interview with Peter Snell, Olympic gold medal winner and PhD Exercise Physiologist.

MY COMMENT: This is a MUST READ for any aspiring distance runner, especially if you are over 40!

This is Not the Same Lance!

Intervals: 8 x 400

Good workout today- I felt a little quad soreness in the morning but did not notice it running. Have to be careful with those- once in a while they can become chronic. I'll have to start using the foam roller again.

More good news is I hit 2 of the reps in 76.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Are Cramps Related to Overdrinking?

Water Price Set To Rise

The pace didn’t feel bad at all and I had the energy,” said Ritzenhein, who completed his fourth marathon. “I felt like everything was going great until 20 miles. My calves and hamstrings started twitching every couple of seconds or so and I felt like they were going to cramp up. I would shift my weight back and waddle along at about 5:15 pace. If I went any faster I thought they would go again.”

Ritzenhein took three salt tablets during the last 10K to help alleviate the problem. “I didn’t think I was dehydrated,” he said. “My fitness felt great. The last 10K wasn’t even hard.”
-universal sports

I met with a nutritionist on it and I think there are definitely some things that I can change, some overhydration problems that I've done in the weeks and days leading up to the race. You wash out the sodium and things like that that are necessary. It's a matter of drinking too much straight water until a couple of days beforehand. It takes a few days for your body to catch up. If you drink only water for two weeks and then you switch to sports drinks a couple of days before the race, it still doesn't have the desired effect runnersworld.

-comments by Dathan Ritzenhein on a mistake he believes he made by drinking too much water in the days leading up to the London Marathon where he cramped and still ran 2 hr 10. (Ritz also experienced muscle cramps in the Olympic marathon)

MY COMMENT: I wonder how much water he was actually drinking in the days leading up to those races? Here is another reason not to overdrink before a big race.

Training Update- July 8,9

I did back to back identical workouts- 3 x 5K loops in Robin Hill, so 9 miles plus. Just putting in some miles all on trail. Tomorrow I hope to hit the 400s and feel good!

Fresh Air Fund

The Fresh Air Fund looks like a good cause.- Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences in the country to more than 1.7 million New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Each year, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in 13 states and Canada through the Friendly Town Program or attend one of five Fresh Air Fund camps.

The half marathon fund raiser in NYC is Aug 16.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How can you fall in a 600 and still win?

MY COMMENT: The video tells all. Heather would have absolutely crushed this field had she not fallen.

Trail Interval Workout

MY COMMENT: I run these trails almost every day- love it! This is an 800 meter loop that the high school cc team uses. A little short but who cares?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vary Your Key Workouts

"Within four weeks [the body] has probably made all the adaptations it's going to do. I never understand why people train every day the same way and expect to improve. Within a few weeks, or certainly a month or two, you're going to hit a plateau, and the only way you can break out is to change your training in some way." (

-Tim Noakes

MY COMMENT: Food for thought. I am probably guilty of spending too much time doing the same workouts.

19 Year Old Kenyan Runs 3:49 Mile

William Biwott Tanui, a 19 year old (reportedly) Kenyan, just ran 3:49 for the mile in Olso, Norway (Bislett Games). OK so maybe he's 20.

10 x 800 Interval Workout Comparison

Robin Hill 800 meter loop - no signficant difference compared to last week. I felt kind of flat today, probably still feeling the effects of a 2 hr very slow trail run on Sunday. Not used to that! Today, my legs were tired and definitely the primary limiting factor.

..June 29.........July 7
1..... 2:58..........2:57
2..... 2:56..........2:54
3.. ...2:54..........2:52
4..... 2:52..........2:53
5..... 2:55..........2:53
6..... 2:55..........2:55
7..... 2:55..........2:55
8..... 2:55..........2:56
9..... 2:56..........2:54

Training Log from Gelindo Bordin (1988 Olympic Marathon Champ)

Check out Bordin's log here. Lots of 60-80 min steady runs recorded but nothing about what pace he ran them.

12 Year Old Girl Runs 2:06 for 800

Raevyn Rogers, age 12, ran 2:06.9 at the USA Youth Outdoor National Championships held in Ypsilanti, Michigan June 30-July 5.

"Yes, I want to keep running," she said, "God gave me this talent and I am not going to waste it." Raevyn continues to get better by pushing herself in practice and being okay with having to hit faster times than her teammates. She said, "It's what makes me better." Raevyn is enjoying her first time competing at the USA Youth Championships and is ready to run hard again tomorrow.

Monday, July 6, 2009

How Fast Will Solinsky Run?

Last year, I'd say I was definitely heavier. I've lost right around 10 pounds from last year, and I can tell. I feel a lot better. But obviously I'm a little bit bigger than my competitors, but in no way does that ever affect the way I approach the race. I kind of joked when I ran 13:12 a couple of years ago "yeah, I probably have the weight class world record -Chris Solinsky who attended Stevens Point Area High School in Stevens Point, Wisconsin

MY COMMENT: I am guessing, but let's say Chris weighed 175 last season, and now he weighs 165. Running a 13:12 the prior season, his maximal oxygen consumption must have been around 80 ml/kg. Doing the math, at 175 he was able to process 6.36 liters of oxygen (80 ml x 79.5 kg). At 165 (75 kg), assuming he can process the same amount of oxygen (6360 ml), his VO2 (ml/kg) jumps to 84.8 ml/kg (6360/75). There are other factors involved such as running economy, environment, hydation, nutrition, etc. but a 6% increase in V02 is more than enough to improve a 5K by several seconds. If he has, in fact, lost 10 pounds, even if a couple of those are muscle, watch for a breakthrough.

Elger Archives- I beat a Kenyan! (in 1995)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Strands Training Log- FREE!

I have not signed up yet but met these people when I was in Eugene last weekend. Looks like it has some nice features- I like the fact that you can join a network or follow the elite runners they have signed up. Swimming, cycling, triathlon, or just fitness. All free!

Nice Ironman

Follow Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France

Get an inside look at Lance's comeback Tour at

I'm amazed that an athlete such as Lance, who has a legitimate chance to win his 8th, would be tweeting regular updates, e.t.c. as he attempts to win his 8th, but I guess he does not feel it's a distraction.

CYCLING: MAY 15 Giro dItalia - Stage 7

Saturday, July 4, 2009

10 x 400 Interval Workout

Last week I did 10 x 400 on the Olympic Discovery Trail in hopes of improving my leg speed, and hit the last 5 under 80 seconds.

Friday my times averaged about the same, although the slowest was 80 compared to 82.

The goal? 10 in 75. Since this is a workout designed to improve speed, next time I'll consider taking longer than 1 min recovery.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Competitive Cyclists Found to Have Low Bone Density

CYCLING: MAY 29 Giro dItalia - Stage 19

...the bone density of 32 male, competitive bike riders, most in their late 20s and early 30s, was compared to that of age-matched controls, men who were active but not competitive athletes. Bone scans showed that almost all of the cyclists had significantly less bone density in the spine than the control group. Some of the racers, young men in their 20s, had osteopenia in their spines, a medical condition only one step below full-blown osteoporosis. -nytimes

MY COMMENT: The studies to date point out this potential problem in serious, competitive racers, not recreational cyclists.

Can You Run After Hip Replacement?

Check out this interesting thread on I was surprised!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Workouts from Australia

I received this email from my buddy Nick that I met in Bali-he was a soccer nut back then but has since converted to a serious runner.

Ok. I have been doing long runs of 30k. 20k per day around that. with no speed. Just 5 min ks. Base work or in periodisation terms preparation phase. I have been amazed at how fast i have ran in this phase (ie, the 74 min half) The next phase is precompetition phase. So that = injecting some speed into the week via an interval session 1k repeats. and lowering the weekly mileage. (ie, 100k) Probably keep going between track and road/xc and leave the marathon for 3-4yrs time. I have a 5 yr plan and i am about 13 months into it :) My week will now look like this.

Monday 5-10k easy.

Tuesday 1k repeats 15-20k total session

Wednesday 10k easy

Thursday 30k long run or 20k threshold run

Friday easy 10k

Saturday 10k easy

Sunday 30k long run or 20k threshold run or race.

The three sessions in bold are the important ones. Recovery from these is also going to be a factor.

Any feedback.

MY COMMENT: I love the plan- Curious how long you spend on precompetition doing 2 x 30 K runs per week. When you introduce those long intervals, I'd not worry so much about running them too fast- focus on short recovery, number (how many?), and running form. What's the final goal?

(Note: I'll look into adding a forum here- I would love to get some discussions going).

USATF 5K Runners Thank Bill Dellinger!!

I absolutely love this clip! Give credit to Pat Tyson for anticipating the opportunity for Dellinger to meet these guys following a great effort. I'm sure it's a moment Bill and the athletes will not forget anytime soon.

You can watch Bill Dellinger's run for the bronze at the 1964 Olympic 5,000 meter final here. At 30 years of age, Bill still had a great kick!