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