Friday, December 31, 2010

Workout Log Dec 26-Jan 1: Running with a Cold!

Sun: 3 miles with dogs (I am watching the neighbor's), then 8 miles. Legs are beat.
Mon: 1.5 miles with the dogs, then 6.5 miles. pm: 3 miles with the dogs.
Tues: 8 miles (coming down with a cold)
Wed: 8 miles
Thurs: 1.5 miles with Sumo, then 6.5 miles. Snow and slippery!
Fri: 14.5 miles on snow covered trail- 2 hr 8 min. Last mile was tough. The good news is other than a little congestion cold symptoms are nearly gone.

Sat: 2 miles with Sumo,then 8.5 miles. All slow. PM: 500 meters swimming, some jump rope.

I was lucky to survive a cold without missing any days- the miles were slow but I got them in. I do have some sort of strange leg discomfort going on- feels like a hamstring, adduction problem that improves once warmed up. Need to be careful because I want to start hitting some tempo stuff soon. Back to cross training workouts!

Total for the week = 71 miles ALL SLOW!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Is Running on a Treamill Harder Than Outside?

dog on treadmill

Logic says that hopping on a treadmill is easier than running outside- no wind, the belt is moving, and so on. The other day I hopped on for a short workout and was suffering at 8 mph, 1% grade. On the other hand, I had no trouble averaging that pace on a tight 10 lap track despite jogging the turns.

Others have reported the same opinion that treadmill running feels more difficult.

I like one comment at

Running on a treadmill is easier since you don't have the wind resistance when you are running on road. Your muscles have to adjust though to the differences of the treadmill vs road running. A person running road for years and then jumping on a treadmill and finding it harder is a no brainer. The opposite could be said also. A person running only on a treadmill and then jumping on the road would find that harder.

Great discussion on the physics behind the question on the message board.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Workout Log Dec 19-25

Sun Dec 19: 2 miles with Sumo, then 9 miles. Felt good.
Mon Dec 20: am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 7 miles in some of the thickest fog I've ever seen. Before sunrise I could not see more than 10-15'. pm: 10 x 100 swim
Tues Dec 21: am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 3 miles in 25 min on the treadmill. pm: 3.5 miles with Sumo
Wed Dec 22: am: 2.5 miles with Sumo, then 7 miles
Thurs Dec 23: am: 1 mile with Sumo, then 15 miles in 2 hrs. Felt good until the last mile.
Fri Dec 24: am: 3 miles on the treadmill, then 2 miles on the track, 7:30 and 7:00 (this is with a jog around the tight turns)
Sat Dec 25: am: 1 mile warm up, then 5K in 19:16 (6:15 pace), 1 mile cool-down. I felt ok but with a minus 2 F windchill and no sub 7 min miles in about a month what can I expect?

Total for the week= 64 miles

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day 5K in 19:16

Not a great time, but everybody seemed about a minute slow today- about 10 degrees with a little wind. A little disppointed the time but 6:15 per mile isn't bad without any intervals in nearly a month and a pretty hard 15 miles on Thursday. At least the course was accurate for once!

Map Your Workouts!

Name: 2010/12/22
Type: Regular Run
Date: 12/22/2010
Start: 17:59:36
End: 19:56:12
Time Taken: 01:56:36
Workout Route: 2010/12/22 Import
Total Distance: 15.00 mi.
Burned: 1,774 (kcal)

Go to and sign up! Of course you'll need to upload data from a Garmin.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Best Running Movie Ever

According to a poll by top running website , Fire on the Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story comes in at #1. Only 58 minutes long, so I am curious about the 3.5 hours of bonus interviews included with this Collectors Edition.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Improve Your Marathon Without Extra Training!

: OK you have me convinced. I don't have access to Somax but I can stretch!

30 Second Sprint Runs Improve 10K Time

In a recent scientific study just published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Bangsbo and co-workers demonstrate that by reducing the volume of training by 25% and introducing the so-called speed endurance training (6-12 30-s sprint runs 3-4 times a week), endurance trained runners can improve not only short-term but also long-term performance. -Runners: Train Less and Be Faster (Nov 2009)

MY COMMENT: I'm not doing this! "the runners improved their 10-km time by 1 min from 37.3 to 36.3 min after just 6-9 weeks of changed training. Six of the participating 12 runners obtained a new personal record on the 10-km"

Logic tells me this will help all the way up to the marathon distance!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Drink According to Thirst During a Marathon

The three groups, by time, and their weight loss:

Those who finished under three hours averaged a 3.1% body weight loss.
Those who finished between three and four hours lost 2.5%.
Those who took more than four hours to finish lost 1.8%.
-Weight Loss During Marathon Improves Running Time

MY COMMENT: Ok, this is exactly the opposite of you would expect, but Tim Noakes, an expert on hydration and heat related problems, has been on the trail of optimal hydration during marathon and ultra events for several years and knows his data.

What I'm wondering about is what the runners weighed just prior to the start of this marathon compared to their normal weight (I assume when you are optimally hydrated and carb. loaded you are a 2-3 pounds heavy, which makes this finding even more amazing! I'd also like to know the average body weight of runners in each group- my guess is the faster runners were lighter, yet they lost the highest percentage of total weight. (note: I'm too cheap to pay for access to the orginal article published in the British J of Sports Med)

Noakes is clear on this: "Drinking either more or less than to thirst impairs exercise performance".

Marathon Training- Don't Try This!

On a typical school day, Westover is awake by 4:45 a.m. and setting her treadmill to 9 miles per hour (a 6:40 per-mile clip); she does 15 to 20 miles at that pace before work. She's showered and out the door by 7:10 to start the 20-minute commute to the public school in Charlestown, N.H., where she teaches from 8 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. After the school day -- and any requisite faculty meetings -- she heads to Fall Mountain Regional High School at around 4:40 in the afternoon to do a 10- to 15-mile run at 6:30-6:45 pace with her coach, Larry Sayers.
-Heidi Westover High-mileage teacher

Are you kidding? Westover has run a 2:35 and 1:11 for the half, but 200 miles a week, much of it run at a quick tempo pace and half of her workouts on a treadmill? There are not many American runners, male or female, that could handle this workload.

I'll be tracking her results in the future. Good luck Heidi!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hanson's Marathon Training Program

Unlike some other elite running programs, the Brooks Hansons Distance Project has no qualms about sharing their training secrets.

In the January, 2011 issue of Runners World, Adam Buckley Cohen shares his Chicago Marathon experience after following the Hansens training program (New Year New You: Way of the Renegades ) that included no long runs beyond 16 miles!

According to Kevin Hansen, "’s not like running the first 16 miles of a marathon, it’s more like the last,".

The Hansens (Kevin and brother Keith) designate 3 key workouts a week- the long run, the marathon tempo, and the speed/strength workout. In preparing for the last several marathons I've done, I've made it a point to rest the day prior and after the hard long run. Hansens, on the other hand, insert an off day prior to a mid week marathon tempo run up to 10 miles, but sandwich the longest runs between workouts up to 8 miles. Tough!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weekly Workout Summary

Sun Dec 12 am: 3 miles with Sumo, then 8 miles. First run after a week off.

Mon Dec 13 am: 3 miles with Sumo, then 5 miles. pm: 2 miles with Sumo

Tues Dec 14 am: 3 miles with Sumo, then 10 x 100 meters swim. pm: 2 miles with Sumo

Wed Dec 15 am: 3 miles with Sumo, then 7 miles. pm: 20 min bike

Thurs Dec 16 am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 7 miles.

Fri Dec 17 pm: 2 miles indoors- one mile in 7:30 and 2 x 800 under 3:20. This was on the 10 lap indoor Super Gym track- just wanted to ease back into some quicker runs. Jogged around the corners. 8 x 100 meter swim.

Sat Dec 18
: am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 14 miles in 2 hours. Some ice so had to run slow. I didn't feel bad until the last mile, then was only able to shuffle home.

Total for the week= 63 miles.

Why Kids Should Run

Boys’ skill windows reside between the ages of 9 and 12 and for girls between 8 and 11.

It’s argued that if this is not done during the appropriate skill windows, then whether it be speed or another skill, the adult will never be able to achieve their true physical potential. This is something to ponder on -Coaching Young Athletes to Produce Future Stars

Kids need to run!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cold Hands May Help in the Heat

The available research suggests that immersion of the hands for 10 minutes in cold water at a temperature of 15°C can lower core temperature and aid recovery/performance -Physiology in sport: keeping your hands cool can help your performance

Upward Gloved Hands

Interesting concept- I wonder if somebody is working on glove/sleeve technology designed to keep your hands and forearms cool!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Angkor Wat Half Marathon Results

How about that? I was 15th (14th male). Angkor Wat Half Marathon Results

No doubt I was in shape to contend for top ten, but lack of heat training and a hard race the week before didn't help.

I have not run a step since the race, traveling Vietnam where running is no easy task. Can't wait to get started again!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ankor Wat Half Marathon Summary

The last few hot weather races in Korea I wore the loose Sleeveless Under Armour T-shirt and experienced no problems (I don't like the feel of their tight version). Today for some reason I went with the sleeveless Nike Dri-fit. Big mistake.

Looking at the 2 shirts now, I realize the Underarmour is thinner and much lighter, crucial when running in warm, humid temperatures. This morning once my Dri Fit got wet, it felt uncomfortably heavy and never lived up to it's name.

Hoping to stay cool and feeling strong, I went out at around 6:15 per mile, but I could tell early that this was going to be a tough day. I began pouring water over my head at every water station, but all that seemed to do was weigh down my shirt, and I noticed the skin on my face and arms was soon bone dry- and that's a problem. Was pouring water somehow inhibiting my sweat response (to be honest, I am going to have to do some reaearch on that one)? A more likely explanation was my failure to acclimatize sufficiently.

Thinking I might begin to sweat, I abandoned that strategy and slowed the pace to avoid a major blow-up. While I did take water early on, after half I didn't drink much since my gut felt full. I began feeling better and while I wasn't going to get back down to 6:15s, I did hold a steady pace sub 7 to finish in 1:26 something, or a 6:30 per mile ave according to my GPS-and my Dri-fit was still soaking wet (I am not positive but pretty sure I finished 18th or 19th).

This one could have ended up much, much worse. Right now, about 11 hours after we started, the temperature in Siem Reap sits at 29 C or 84 F with 66% humidity and the sun is down.

I wasn't ready for these conditions.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Angkor Wat Half Marathon

Got into Cambodia around 11 pm- 1 am Korea time I so was beat. I did 6 x 800 yesterday around 3 min (under with the tailwind, over against the wind), so the combination of that plus 8 hours of sitting (bus and plane), my legs felt pretty rough this morning.

Obviously it's hot, but I got out around 7 am for 5 miles and it didn't feel too bad. The 0630 race starting time, plus, at least according to one source, water every 2.5 kilometers on the course should be enough to keep dehydration at bay.

This race is bigger than I thought- more than 4,000 in all the races. Angkor Wat Half Marthon They also offer a 100K bike tour on Sat!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Gift Idea

I love my Garmin Forerunner 205- use it to track distance and speed or find yourself out of a confusing trail.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weekly Training Update Nov 22-28

Sun: jog 3 with Sumo, then 10 easy (not bad the day following a 5K)

Mon: jog 1 with Sumo, then 7 easy PM: jog 3

Tues: jog 3 with Sumo, then 3 on the treadmill at 6mph, 8 x 8% incline for 2 minutes each. PM: swim

Wed: jog 2 with Sumo, then 5 x 800, cool down 8 total

Thur: jog 3 with Sumo PM: 2 miles with the kids

Fri: am 3 miles, then 2 mile tempo in 12:42. Felt ok expected at least a sub 12:30
pm: swim

Sat: jog 3 with Sumo and felt very sluggish

Total for the week= 53 miles

Sun: race in Seoul- I ran the first leg on a marathon relay, which was supposed to be 11.5 kilometers. I felt surprisgly good warming up and ran well. Splits were 5K in 19 min (not too crazy), 8K in 30:35, and 10K in 38:12. Finished up in 44:25. More good news is there was no soreness or fatigue on Sunday, a good sign that I am gettting stronger. Just not faster.

Our team placed 10th out of 55, so we accomplished out goal. My 6:10 per mile average got me 11th on the first leg.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Distance Running Tip- Never Underestimate Wind

The workout today was supposed to be 6 x 800 with 90 seconds recovery.


You guessed it - coming back was straight into a 13 mph headwind, and I felt horrible. I gave thought to stopping at 4, but ran one more with the wind just
to verify that the slow ones were indeed wind related, because I really could not tell.

You could not have paid me to run another into the wind. If I encounter conditions like this in the future, I may shorten the interval to 400s and just run them one way. And when you are racing in wind, make sure to tuck behind, because the energy you conserve will be significant.

Rupp and Webb to Race This Weekend!

An experiment that could change the destiny of American distance running will begin Thursday morning in downtown San Jose.

And I thought they were going to mention the fact that Rupp and Webb were actually planning to race more frequently, but that's not it. Rupp has increased his weekly mileage- as if that's never been tried before.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekly Update Nov 14-20

Sun: 3 easy with Sumo, then 15 miles in 1hr 54
Mon: 3 plus short bike on rollers pm: 3 easy
Tues: 3 easy with Sumo, 3 miles. pm 2 easy plus 2 with kids
Wed: 3 easy with Sumo,then 7 miles
Thurs: 3 easy with Sumo pm: 1 mile warm-up, then 5:48 mile on artificial turf.
Fri: 3 easy with Sumo
Sat: 1 mile jog with Sumo, then 5K in 18:20

Total = 56 miles

Summary: Not much intensity this week. Recovery after the long run on Sunday was surprisingly good. The mystery of quick times on the artifical turf continues. This summer I ran a sub 18 running barefoot back and forth around goal posts. On Thursday I decided to run a tempo one mile on the turf with lightweight shoes . No way do I run 5:48 on a flat road in training, yet how can I do it on grass with multiple 180 degree turns following a 10 mile day? I have no idea.

I felt pretty strong in the 5K- we ran this race on the flightline, so a good half of the distance was a straight shot with a nice tail wind. For as hard as I train, I am disappointed with 18:20, but going to the age graded caclulator, that converts to 15:08, comparable to what I ran in college.

I've got 2 more races the next 2 weekends. Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Ideas to Enhance Your Running Performance- or Not!

The main goals of long runs are to improve our carbohydrate storage capacity and to become more efficient at using our fuel. The long run works by sending our bodies into crisis during those last few miles when our fuel supply is running low, which signals our bodies to adapt so that the next time we run long, our bodies are prepared to cope with that stress. When we take in a carbohydrate drink or supplement during training, it prevents us from reaching the decreases in fuel stores that lead to adaptation. Essentially, since the stress is reduced, the adaptation is reduced. -When Damage is a Good Thing

MY COMMENT: This well written article by Steve Magness poses some interesting questions about recovery, and optimal running performance. I'm always intrigued by "out of the box" training ideas.

Is it possible that long runs are more beneficial when you don't take carbohydrates? Yes! (see related post here)

The problem is every time you do this, expect a significant drop in performance during the latter stages of your run and perhaps a longer recovery. In addition, it's imperative that you practice fuel intake you'll be doing in a marathon. For this reason Magness suggests you alternate no calorie long runs and runs with fuel.

My training back in the 70s consisted of a heavy dose of 90 minute tempo runs (or longer), with a 2 hour plus jaunt on the weekends, and I don't remember drinking or eating anything, especially in winter! Did it help? The scientific evidence isn't clear on this one.

Although there are undoubtedly favourable metabolic changes after low-glycogen training, the results are rather mixed as to whether these changes translate into performance gains.

Here is another thought- let's say you encounter severe depletion on your every other week no carbohydrate runs, and that delays your recovery by one extra day. Over a period of a 16 week marathon build-up, you'll lose 7 valuble days of training.

Magness also suggests that antioxidant supplements reduce adaptation to training and therefore may limit the benefits. There are a couple of problems I have with this theory. First, isn't it true that immune system is suppessed for a period of time following a hard workout or race? I'm pretty sure antioxidants have never been found to enhance performance, but I'm also not aware of any studies reporting their use inhibits performance. I am not an expert, but doesn't antioxidant supplementation take some time to optimize free radical protection? I for one, am sticking with my two doses per day of Cooper Elite Athlete multi-vitamin and mineral supplement (see my previous post on the benefits here). I find it hard to believe that elevated C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation following hard exercise, is a good thing.

The article also suggests delaying ice baths (if you use them) until the day following a hard workout giving your body's natural recovery process time to work. I find it funny that NIKE is touting their latest training toy, the cryosauna, a device that uses liquid nitrogen to cool down runners after workouts. They even flew one out to New York for Dathan Ritzenhein prior to the marathon, which to me makes absolutely no sense (by that time, his hard workouts were a thing of the past- it might have made more sense for Ritz to heat train those last few days!).

I don't know if Magness is right on with this or not, but my gut feeling is telling me this idea is also a bit of a stretch. If you tear down during a workout, your body repairs itself to become stronger. I believe the level of stress is probably the key to improvement, not the length of recovery.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Salazar is Good for the Sport

Alberto Salazar - 1981 World Record
Alberto Salazar, coach of the Nike Oregon Project, has raised a few eyebrows lately with his much publicized tweeking of Dathan Ritzenhein's running form. Now, even National Public Radio is getting into the act- airing this facinating discussion on the subject featuring viewpoints from Jennifer Kahn (who wrote New Yorker piece The Perfect Stride), Scott Douglas, and Bill Rodgers. Hey, the more national exposure for runners, the better. Maybe one day when an American track and field athlete or distance runner sets a record or wins a major race they will make ESPNs Sports Center!

Listen to the discussion:

Treatment for Plantar Fascitis

Grasp the toes of your painful foot and bring your ankle up and your toes up. Place your thumb along the plantar fascia and rub it to stretch it. The fascia should feel like a tight band along the bottom of your foot when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat it 10-20 times for each foot. Dr. Furia and Dr. Judy Baumhauer, orthopaedic surgeon and president-elect of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) recommend that this exercise be performed initially in the morning, before getting out of bed and after any long periods of sitting. If there is a sharp pain in your heel when getting up, a stretch should have been done before standing or walking

MY COMMENT: At 2 and 4 month follow-ups, 65 percent of patients who performed the plantar fascia-specific stretch reported total satisfaction with treatment or satisfaction with treatment with minor reservations. Even though 35% continue to suffer, stretching is a must in treating plantar fascitis. I suffered from heel pain for a year, and seemed to have finally gotten over it, I think, through regular calf and foot stretching (note in the study subjects were instructed to stretch 3x day) and wearing Sketchers.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Training in Heat May Improve Performance- In ALL TEMERATURES!

Heat acclimation improved time-trial performance by 6% in cool and by 8% in hot conditions. Heat acclimation increased power output at lactate threshold by 5% in cool and by 5% in hot conditions -Heat acclimation improves exercise performance

If you are as old as I am, the name Benji Durden may ring a bell. Durden put up an impressive string of 25 sub 2 hr 20 marathons, including a sub 2:10. He even made the Olympic Marathon team by finishing 2nd in the U.S. trials- unfortunately he never got to run because that was in 1980- year of the boycott.

I clearly recall one aspect of Durden's training that stood out more than the rest- "Always looking for a better approach, Durden began running in several layers of sweatsuits even in the Georgia heat" Now, after all these years, science has finally valided his theory that heat training made you a better runner in all temperatures.

Back to the study. According to Peak Performance at, subjects exposed to heat acclimatization exercised for 90 minutes per day at 50% VO2 in 100 degrees F- a slow run in very hot conditions for 10 days.

How ironic that I stumbled on this information now- less than 4 weeks away from a sure to be warm weather half marathon in Cambodia. It's cold here now, so I've been doing a few short workouts long enough to make me sweat(indoor treadmill and cycling). I've even been in the sauna twice in the last few days.

After reading this, I'll continue some, but not all, of my workouts indoors- and I'll add an extra layer or two to make sure I work up a good sweat.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Distance Running Tip: Intervals at Less Than 100%

When you think intervals, the first thing that comes to mind is 100% effort and total exhausion. That shouldn't always be the case, especially when you are not rested or haven't done any recent hard interval sessions.

On Wed this week instead of my usual sizzling 800s, I did 4 x 1 mile in 6:24, 6:19, 6:20, and 6:12 with 2 min recovery. A very good workout that came close to simulating 10K pace, but not all out ( recall that I recently turned in 2 x 2 miles under 6:10/mile pace). That's also a good sign when the last one is the quickest. I had something left.

I'll do a hard interval workout again soon, but not without a real easy day beforehand.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Simon Bairu-..Not Enough Carbs=DNF!

He had trained for two years to arrive at this moment, stacking 120-mile week atop 120-mile week. And yet Bairu’s race was ending in a crushing disappointment, he would conclude later, because he hadn’t gulped down enough carbohydrate-laden sports gel. While he observed some of his competitors eating a packet of energy-laden gel every two miles, he said he took one packet all day. Still, Mile 21 passed, and then Mile 22, and he convinced himself that if he pushed on to the next water station, where he could swallow some more carbs, he’d be fine.

Bairu, in case you never heard of him, is a very good runner. As a Wisconsin Badger, Simon won 2 NCAA cross country national titles- no easy task, so we know he has ability. But for him, it's back to the marathon drawing board.

Are you kidding? How can a world class runner BE SO DUMB! Marthoning 101 calls for carbohydrate intake during the race. This is either a major coaching blunder or just plain ignorance.

To give their muscles a decent boost during the final, carbo-depleted miles of the race, marathoners need to take in more than 30 grams of carbs per hour DURING the race - peak performance online

I don't know if Simon was taking in a carbohydrate drink, but there are no excuses. This kind of crash should not happen to a runner with world class ability.

My rule? 200 calories per hour- 2 gels or one every 30 minutes.

Even Lance Armstrong knows better.
Nutrition, of course, is important. Armstrong says friends found it amusing that he gobbled something like 13 gels during his first marathon. It’s a lot, true, but I don’t scoff at anyone who turns in a sub-3-hour marathon. Now he says he’s backed off to eating roughly a gel every half hour during a marathon

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Workout Update Nov 7-13

Sun: jog 3 miles with Sumo, bike to the pool, 1,000 meters total, bike home. Easy day follow hard run on Sat.

Mon: Due to lightening, Sumo kept me up half the night so I sort of slept in. Still got in a total of 6 easy, then 3 more with the dog when I got home late.

Tues: 2 mile jog with Sumo at 5 am, then after an early morning class I went back to the treadmill for 3 miles- including 4 x 3 min at 9 mph. After work did some short sprint work with the kids running program- another 2 miles total.

Wed: 3 miles with Sumo, then 4 x 1 mile in 6:24, 6:19, 6:20, and 6:12 with 2 min recovery. 1 mile cool down.

Thurs: 3 miles with Sumo, then LSD run of 13 miles. PM: 1000 meter swim

Fri: easy 3 mile jog- tired

Sat: 3 mile jog with Sumo, then 8 x 800 in 2:57 with 90 sec recovery
In Sept and Oct I averaged 2:53 and 2:52 for 6 x 800. My two fastest today
were only 2:55.

Total for the week= 54 miles. This was a good week with the extra long run on Thurs and actually 3 interval workouts.

Al Roker- 7hr:09:44!

Roker's time computes to 16:24 per mile.

Come on Al did you just walk the whole thing? Subway Jared finished in a more respectable 5hr 13 min. -sbnation

Monday, November 8, 2010

Edison Pena- 5 hr 40:51!

Definitely the feel good story of the year!

Edison Pena crossed the Central Park finish line at 3:24 p.m., with a time of 5 hours, 40 minutes, 51 seconds. He was draped in a Chilean flag as Elvis music played over the speakers. -Chilean Miner Completes N.Y.C. Marathon

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dave Elger's Workout Log- Oct 31- Nov 6

I can access this trail about 5K from where I live- portions are made with a soft composite material. Out to the very end and back from home is 15 miles.

Sun: 8 miles on the bike, 1,000 meters in the pool (recovery after yesterday's long run

Mon: 2 miles with Sumo, then 8 miles easy. pm: 25 minutes on the bike rollers and 2 another mile jog with Sumo

3 miles with Sumo, then later 3 miles on the treadmill at 6 mph with 8 x 2 min at 8% incline. pm: 2 mile jog with Sumo

Wed: 2 miles with Sumo, then 10 x 800 with 60 seconds recovery. Started out slow but got the ave. down to 3:09. 20 minutes swim.

Thurs: 2 miles with Sumo, then 7 miles easy. pm: 2 miles with the kids

Fri: Relaxing 6 miles. 3 with Sumo, but I just felt like running more.

Sat: 2 miles with Sumo, then 16 miles in 2 hours flat. After the first 2 miles the Garmin 205 indicated an average of 8 minutes per mile. I spent the rest of the workout trying to get that down to 7:30. Overall I felt very strong. Took a couple of short breaks- the longest was around 10 miles I stopped for 5 min to pick up some Coke. The longer I ran, the harder it was to get going again after stopping, but I can't complain- 18 mile day.

Total for the week= 63 miles

Haile Gebrselassie- Marathon World Record Holder

Haile Gebrselassie
Originally uploaded by G4SSport

Normally, I am training for about three hours, and when it's two months before a competition, I will be doing about 35k in that morning slot.

"In the early evening, I spend most of my time in the gym doing strength work. "But even if I am in the gym, I will still do 10k on the treadmill and another 10k on the bike.

"Then I will do some strength training. That is seven days a week, except for Sunday, when I only do the morning session.

"In total, I will normally run 160 miles or 220k in a week. That is the average."

-Ethiopian Review

Good luck! He doesn't even get into intervals, etc. but interesting that he devotes several hours a week to strength training, and even biking.

Distance Running Tip- Workouts Faster than Race Pace

I always say, it's very simple, if you want to run this pace in the marathon or the 10k or the 5k, you can't just come from the top down where you just try to do stronger stuff. It's like trying to say, I want to run 26 miles at 5-minute pace, so I'm just going to keep running 30 miles a day at 6-minute pace, then 5:50, then 5:40, 5:30, you know, from the top down. I'm just going to get so strong doing all these pace runs closer and closer to marathon pace, or maybe a little faster than marathon pace or 5k pace. The key is sometimes you've got to attack from the bottom, and do stuff so much frickin' faster that that pace is a jog, and so it costs you less energy. interview with Alberto Salazar

MY COMMENT: The key of course, how often, how fast, and how long. Just my opinion, but once you've got the endurance, one workout a week should be dedicated to running intervals or tempo faster than your planned race pace. For the marathon, this probably means 800 meter repeats or longer. And for me, the upper limit is 5 miles.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Are Runners Athletes?

Out of the 37,000 duffers that will pollute the streets of our fair city this Sunday - November 7th - maybe 500 are athletes. The elite runners are something to watch. They are so lean they look almost alien. Them I admire. They are in an actual race. It is the 36,500 other fools that annoy me every year. -C.J. Sullivan quoted in a Huffington Post article by Dave Hollendar Are New York Marathoners Athletes?

Turns out Sullivan was just getting warmed up. He goes on to say this: "Marathons are the last refuge for those that couldn't cut it in other sports. Any knucklehead in decent shape can train and then run 26 miles in under 4 or 5 hours. It means you are in shape. It does not make you an athlete."

" And then you hear that if you finish - no matter what - you are a winner. Well that is just plain wrong. You lost by hours, sluggard. No one cares that you finished two hours behind the lead pack. You are not a winner. Just a real slow runner."

For the record, in 2009 at New York Joshua Hunsberger took 500th place in 2:53:05. The rest, according to Sullivan's definition, are not athletes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to Run Fast

This article is a MUST READ! The Perfect Stride, published in the New Yorker, has me thinking.

The fastest finishers had a higher thigh drive, for one thing; at its apex, their femur bone was almost parallel to the ground, like the front legs of a bounding deer. They also slapped the ground so quickly with their forefoot that the contact seemed almost incidental

Salazar believes that a runner striking even slightly in front of his body will experience a momentary hesitation while the hamstring labors to pull his torso forward over the grounded foot. “It’s like having a square wheel on your car,” Salazar said. “Each time it comes around, there’s a moment where the car will lurch.”

I stumbled on yesterday, a great resource for race results. I plugged in my name and found 20 race results going as far back as 2003, many that I had totally forgotten about. It's a great place to keep a permanent record of all your races!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Training Update

As those of you who work full time are aware, sometimes you have to adjust your training in order to fit everything in. After a 6:30 am class on Tuesday, I have a window of opportunity to get in a short workout before starting the rest of the day. Last week I got in a swim, and before that I did 5 mile loop around base.

Tuesday I did something new. Realizing that I train excusively on flat roads, I decided to hit the treadmill for some uphill running. The primary risk to any runner attempting hill repeats is calf/achilless strain, so for this reason I kept the speed at a constant 6 mph (only 10 min per mile!). After a five minute warm-up, I did 8 x 2 minutes at 8% elevation, then finished up with a quick cool-down. 3 miles total in 30 min.

I definitely enjoyed this short but somewhat challenging workout, and look forward to building on it. The treadmill even gave me total feet climbed- I think it was 785. Just another measuring stick!

Wednesday I felt it was time to ease back into flat intervals, so after a couple of miles with the dog went back out for some 800 meter repeats. Since it's been 2 weeks since my last interval session, the goal today was not to run blazing times, but get in a good quality workout with short rest.

The first 800 was a slow 3:14, however after the first 4 or so I was running them in 3:07-3:08 consistently. This turned into a very good workout for me- in full sweats (it's getting cold here!), I did 10 x 800 meters averaging 3:09, with just 60 seconds recovery. This was a much better workout than I could have done with a continuous tempo run.

I am done with the hard stuff until Sat, when I hope to attempt another 17-19 miles. I'm feeling good about my progress and praying that I don't get sick anytime soon.

Running Form

Coach Alberto Salazar has been tinkering with Ritz's running form. It all makes sense, but let's see how he does in New York next week!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Confessions of a Drug Cheat

Wow! The Confessions of Eddy Hellebuyck is an amazing inside look at doping by world class marathoners.

"His room was like a pharmacy full of banned drugs. Besides the EPO and clenbuterol, I also saw Winstrol [the brand name for the anabolic steroid stanozolol] and Anavar [the brand name for the steroid oxandrolone]."-

-Canadian Bruce Raymer referring not to Hellebuyck but Russian Leonid Shvetsov who trained in Albequerque with Helleybuyck and set the course record at the 56 mile Comrades Challenge in Sough Africa by averaging a startling 5:48 per mile!

Fantastic article by Shawn Barber of Runners World. If I were Hellebuyck, I'd be signing a book deal and looking to make a movie. Shvetsov denies ever using performance enhancing drugs.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Longest Span Between Sub 3 Hour Marathons

36y 4d...Doug Kurtis (12 Mar 1952, USA)
35y175d...Kerry Green (05 Apr 1954, USA)
34y279d...Dave Elger (1953, USA)
34y133d...Don Ritchie (06 Jul 1944, SCO)
34y119d...Mark Lohman (18 Apr 1958, USA)
33y184d...Steve Smythe (18 Mar 1958, GBR)
33y162d...Reno Stirrat (19 Apr 1954, USA)
33y161d...Antonio Arreola (24 Aug 1959,USA)
33y135d...Doug Jacobson (08 Apr 1956, USA)
32y373d...Laurence Olsen (14 Nov 1946, USA)

I finally got around to contacting Ken Young at the Association of Road Racing Statisticians (arrs)

Now if I can only find results from the Whitewater Marathon in 1972 or 73(I recall 2hr 51 min but not which year), I could move up.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dave's Training Log Update Oct 24-30

Sun: 10 mile race
Mon: 3 mile jog
Tues: 3 mile jog, 2 mile jog in the afternoon
Wed: 3 miles with Sumo, then 8 miles. Felt ok
Thurs: 3 miles with Sumo, then 7 miles. PM: 2 miles with the kids. Felt good.
Fri: 2 miles easy with Sumo.
Sat: 2 miles with Sumo, then 17 miles in 2 hr 18 min.

The last 3 weekends I've run a half marathon, 10 mile tempo, and 10 mile race. To break out of that rut today I got in a total of 19 miles. Can't wait to see how I feel tomorrow! Even though I only averaged 8:10 per mile on the GPS, I feel this was a good workout. My first 2 miles were around 9 min pace, the next 1-2 were around 8 min pace, followed by several miles in the 7:30 range. My last mile was 10 min.

Total miles for the week = 62

I don't advise any kind of tempo or interval workouts the week following a long race like that. Normally I just take it as I feel with an objective to keep my weekly total miles from dropping, especially if I have more races on the calendar. The extra miles today put me over 60. If I can keep this going and add an interval workout, watch out!

Dr. Mark Cucuzzella: Marathoner

His marathon best is 2:24 and has run under 2:35 for a marathon 22 of the last 24 years including a 2:34 in the 2010 Boston Marathon at age 43

MY COMMENT: Dr. Cucuzzella is tough! I wonder if he is a candidate for the 5 sub 3 in 5 decades club? Perhaps not yet.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ritz Sounds Ready for New York

“Before I was a 13:16, 27:35, and 1:01:26 guy,” Ritzenhein said. “And I felt like I was a 12:56, 60-minute guy, but until I did them I really wasn’t. Saying it is easy, doing it is another story. My times before probably meant that I should be a 2:09 guy if I could figure it out. But now my times tell me that if I can get it right I can run 2:05. The numbers don’t lie. It is easy to say you can do it, but until I do I am still a 2:10 guy. I hope to change that soon.” -
MY COMMENT: I love his attitude! He's not going to run a 2:05 at NY, but he's up for the challenge of running against the best and sounds ready for another PR (personal record).

Subway's Jared Running New York Marathon

In June he ran a half marathon in Minneapolis. He’s been running 20 miles in a single day. He’s training very, very hard.

The guy has lost 245 pounds eating subs. I think he'll make it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Marathons and Heart Damage

The results showed that during a marathon, over half of the segments of the heart lose function, Larose said. The reason turns out to be an increase in inflammation and a decrease in blood flow through the muscle.

MY COMMENT: They also noted the fitter you are, the less the damage. Dehydration was associated with greater damage. Deaths during marathons are extremely rare, especially in the absence of atherosclerosis, however as the author notes "People should not enter a marathon lightly. Training needs to be well done… You can't cheat the marathon."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Race Update: Camp Humphreys 10.6 Mile Race

Last night I did race on Camp Humphreys that started at 9 pm- coinciding with the Army 10 Mile start in Washington D.C.

How did I do? Perfect weather, and like my half marathon two weeks ago, I took it out at a pace that was probably beyond my fitness- 30:40 though 5 miles (boy would I love to get into an 8K and try and break 6 min per mile!)

I managed to hang on and finished up averaging 6:20 per mile (67 min for 10.6 miles), matching the exact pace I averaged in the half.

This was a very low key event and for me nothing more than a good hard workout. A few days ago I thought that I was lacking speed, but I am also very aware that I have not run farther than 14 miles. In other words, I have lots of work to do!

What else did I learn? I have to find a better combination of inserts and long distance racing shoes. I am no longer comfortable with these discontinued Brooks Burn and broken down PolySorb inserts (I have some new ones on order!).

My cardiovasular fitness is great, however my legs were definitely fatigued on that second lap around Camp Humphreys- something that can be improved with a weekly longer run. I also am going to spend a few minutes a week in the gym for some leg press work.

One more point: The day after my half marathon two weeks ago, my legs were very sore. Today, the soreness is minimal, a sign that I am indeed getting stronger.

Dave Elger's Workout Log Update

Sunday:...4 miles easy, 8 miles bike, swim 1,000
Monday:...2 x 2 miles in 12:18 and 12:15 total 8 miles
Tues:.....3 miles, then 5 miles in 35, 2 w kids total 10
Wed:......8 miles
Thurs:....6 x 800, 8 total
Fri-......easy 6 miles
Sat-......easy 4 miles

Summary: 48 miles with two quality interval workouts. Pretty good week.

What Goes Into Marathon Course Measurement?

The device, a contraption that a 9-year-old boy helped to develop in the early 1970s, allowed Katz and Jones to measure 26 miles 385 yards along the most direct path that America's best distance runners will follow at the United States Olympic men's marathon trials in New York on Nov. 3. Most of the course -- all but about 1.3 miles -- will be run on the roads of Central Park.

I hate inaccurate courses! This is not rocket science- you measure a stretch of road and accurately calibrate a bicycle, and off you go.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ryan Hall is Looking for a New Coach!

Hall and his wife, Sara, who also trained with Mahon at the Mammoth Track Club in Mammoth, Calif., for nearly five years, have not yet announced a new coach, but they will be moving from Mammoth, said Ray Flynn, Hall’s agent. -nytimes

Will Hall follow the path of Dathan Ritzenhein and Alan Webb to Oregon and the land of Nike? Hall is paid a substantial sum of cash to run in Asics, so to make it happen Nike would have to step up and buy out that contract.

For as good as he is, I've never seen a top American distance runner get criticized as much as Ryan Hall (myself included) for his infrequent racing.

He's a great, relatively young talent, so hopefully we'll see a rejuvinated career in a new environment.

For the latest news, keep an eye on

Distance Running Tip: Check Your Progress

Yesterday I did 6 x 800 with 90 seconds recovery, a workout I last did exactly 4 weeks ago on Sept 21. Here is the comparison.

Sept 21......Oct 22


2:53.8......2:52.8 ave

It doesn't look like much, especially for the amount of work I've put in the last 4 weeks. It's a bit unusual that again I fell off pace on #6- most runners, including myself, always have something left for the last one, but I was exhausted!

Let's take a look at Monday's workout-

2 x 2 miles in 12:16 and 12:18 with 5 minutes rest.

Two months ago I did this one in 13:10 and 12:55.
Last month I improved to 12:29 and 12:27.

I'm coming to the conclusion that my strength is now ok at 10K pace and beyond, but 5K speed is just not there. Looking back, it's a nobrainer that I just haven't done any training at 5:45 pace, so how can I expect a breakthrough? Perhaps in my 20s I could get away with it, but not anymore.

I have a 10 mile race this weekend, so working on speed will have to wait a week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weights and Flexibility Training Provides Boost for Top Kenyan

“Between 2006 and 2008, I was running OK, but I decided that something was wrong with my training. I decided to go back to Eldoret, and I adapted to new training. I started working in the gym, doing weights and flexibility training. It made a big difference. In April (this year), I went to Barcelona, where I’d run 27.32 (10k) in 2009. I ran 27.04, and it felt a lot faster”.

-Kenyan distance runner Josphat Menjo who basically came out of nowhere to run sub 13:00 for 5,000 meters and 26:56 for 10,000 meters (the year's fastest time) by himself (no pace setters or close competition).

I'd love to see his workout regime!

Boston Marathon- CLOSED in One Day!

Time to tighten up on those qualifying standards. Plenty of very disappointed runners out there- wow.

Boston Athletic Association"... is concerned about maintaining quality not quantity"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Distance Running Tip- Check the Weather!

If all goes well on December 5th I'll be running the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon in Cambodia.

A quick check at the average weather for early December revealed no surprises- humid and probably warm. Based on the winning time in 2009 of 1hr 13:26, my guess is the course is relatively flat (the guy won by 5 minutes), so I'm not too concerned about hill training. I am also inclined to believe this race has an early start time (can't find it on the website).

I'll overdress with extra layers for a couple of weeks prior to this one and hope to acclimatize, although it won't be easy to overheat running in November.

Weekly Training Summary for Oct 10-16:

Sun- 14 miles (half marathon race)
Mon- 3 mile jog, swim 800 meters, mix of 100s, and kickboard
Tues- 5 mile jog total, 4 miles bike
Wed- 10 miles easy
Thur- 8 miles easy, travel to Daegu
Fri- travel home from Daegu, swim 900 meters including mix of 150s and kickboard
Sat- 10 miles, middle 5-6 run at sub 7 min miles.

49 total miles run. Not bad coming off a half-marathon and some sore quads. Except for the last 1-2 miles, that Saturday tempo workout felt good. Interesting that I sort of crashed and burned close to 9 miles, close to the same point I began to struggle in last Sunday's half.

I also noted my pre run weight at 130.2 lbs, slightly heavy after a day and a half of inactivity and a sign that my muscles were loaded with glycogen and water. Despite the fact that it wasn't that warm out, I was mildly surprised my post run weight fell to 126.2- a 3% drop.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Run For the Money- Chicago was Amazing!

Watch the exciting finish of the Chicago Marathon between Olympic Champ Sammy Wanjiru and London winner Tsegaye Kebede as they fight to win the $500K prize for winning the World Marathon Majors along with another 75K for winning the race. Think money was not a motivating factor- just watch!

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack


"Truly emptied, Kebede would cross the line in 2:06:43, 19 seconds behind Wanjiru's 2:06:24. Wanjiru collapsed to the ground, propped up and fed water by waiting race volunteers, showing an unusual amount of fatigue after what can only be described as a once-in-a-career effort. The Kebede/Wanjiru duel has to be considered one of the greatest and most dramatic late-race marathon battles when one considers the caliber of the two runners and the career and earnings-defining nature of the race. Wanjiru faced the toughest the world had to offer (namely, Kebede) and overcame deficit, doubt and fatigue to claw his way to an amazing victory. What a classic race."

Read more:
Buy your shoes from LetsRun and save 15% everday

Distance Running Tip- Dealing with Post Run Muscle Soreness

My legs were surprisingly sore the day after my half marathon, a sure sign that I ran beyond (distance and pace) my preparation.

The best explanation on muscle soreness I've located can be found at Time-to-Run. As the article states, the muscle and connective tissue are damaged, and you should not attempt to run again until that soreness subsides.

That doesn't mean you should sit on the sidelines until the pain is gone. To the contrary, I recommend daily non-running related physical activity such as swimming or cycling to maintain cardiovascular fitness. Although you won't elevate heart rate, I think even walking is a lot better option than doing nothing (not in terms of speeding recovery but to prevent deconditioning).

Do anti-inflammatories help? According to one study using eccentric weight lifting to induce soreness, the level of pain and even Creatine Kinase (the marker for tissue damage) is reduced, however the ability of the muscle to perform did not recover any faster (the fact that ibuprofen appears to reduce CK levels quicker makes me think ibuprofen is not a bad option).

You can try some gentle work using The Stick, or Foam Roller, but the best advice may be to reduce the level of damage you suffer in the first place through training. Stuff like eccentric leg presses or downhill runnning may help some, but the bottom line is you probably need to do hard, long runs. In other words, races.

Think about those Marathon Manics who able to run back to back marathons every weekend and even two on a weekend. There is definitely something different about those folks. It's not that they are able to recover faster, but I believe they've been able to train themselves to the point that they experience minimal tissue damage. Running a marathon every week will eventually do that, at least compared to runners who race a marathon twice a year. But outside of that amazing group of folks, who is willing and able to do it?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

1:24:13 for 10th Place and 10 Kg of Rice!

I FORGOT MY GPS! Splits as I remember were 19 min at 5K (6:07 pace), around 39 min at 10K, and 59 min at 15K (6:20 pace). The wheels came off the last 2-3 K (finish ave was 6:24).

What did I learn today? Clearly I went out too fast for my current condition, but with no real long runs behind me I know I have room for improvement. Early on I got caught up running nearly the first 8K with another American who ran 1:18 in Sept and eventually finished 5th today- It wasn't until after 5K that I knew I was in over my head- I should have let him go earlier but sometimes you hold out hope for a miracle, and those rarely occur without putting in the work.

This race had the longest straight away finish I've ever seen! Check the link- the finish was clearly visible after the last turn which looks to be nearly 1.5 kilometers away.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Great Website For Coaches of Young Runners!

Check out this New York Road Runners instructional website for coaches of young runners. Congrats to NYYR- this is outstanding, and not only for kids!

Distance Running Tip- No Changes for Races

Over the years I've had a bad habit of occasionally trying something new for races without testing it in training.

I've been racing for a very long time now in an old pair of Brooks Burn (now discontinued) and beat up old Spenco Poly Sorb Inserts , however I suddenly realized (too late as usual) that I'm due for an upgrade.

Earlier in the week I was giving serious thought to racing in my new Brooks Ghost in tomorrow's half marathon, so wore them for a two mile time trial on Wednesday. They felt fast, but before long I began noticing some friction like discomfort on the bottom of both heels, not something I want to take a chance on in a 13 mile race (or maybe it was the new socks I bought at the local market- they feel great but at under $10 for 10 you have to wonder about quality).

I'm resisting the the temptation to go with those Brooks, so tomorrow I'll be running in the old Brooks Burn and beat up insoles. Don't be surprised if I haven't upgraded my shoes and insoles by the next race.

Weekly Update for Oct 2-9

I got in a slow 14 miles on Sunday, my longest run in over a year, and actually bounced back with a little 3 mile tempo Monday. I felt very strong on Wednesday's 2 mile, but messed up when I missed a turn and had to double back. I still ran under 12 minutes (since I was wearing the GPS, I stopped when it hit 2 miles).

I can now tell my cardio fitness has surpassed that of my legs- a sign that it's time for some 400s at a quicker pace. Friday I did my 2 x 800 in 2:53 and 2:51, much quicker than the 2:57s I did on Friday two weeks ago prior to my 10K race. A good sign I hope.

Total for the week = 47 miles run and just 8 on the bike.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Distance Running Tip- The Taper!

Less than 2 weeks ago I raced a distance slightly less than 10K and felt great! I'd like to reproduce that feeling this weekend in a half marathon, so will try to duplicate that taper. Prior to that race, I did a long run the weekend before with a quality interval session on Wed. This week, I did 14 miles on Sunday and today (Wed) I did a 2 mile hard effort. I felt very strong- under 12 min despite the misfortune of missing a turn thus having to do an abrupt 180 to get back on course. I could definitely tell that my leg speed and not breathing was the limiting factor. Maybe it's time for 400s? I felt leg fatigue the rest of the day so didn't do anything else.

I'll run an easy hour tomorrow and do the 2 x 800s on Friday, then hope for the best. On Sunday I plan to go out at 6:15 per mile and see how long I can hold it. Pray for good weather!

Al Roker Running New York Marathon!

"I don't enjoy running. Somebody told me that running is 20 percent physically and 80 percent mental. I feel that if I'm running six miles, that sixth mile is the hardest,"

MY COMMENT: Hope he makes it- the guy had stomach surgery and dropped 115 pounds! I'll be watching!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Huarache Running Sandals:

Check out this less expensive option for minimalist running.

Distance Running Tip- Intervals with Progression!

Which of the following workouts is more difficult?

6 x 800 in an ave of high 2:53s with 90 seconds recovery (last Tuesday)

8 x 800 in 2:57.5 with 60 seconds recovery (today)

Believe it or not, for me the 6 in high 2:53s felt harder. The point I'm trying to make is don't get stuck on the same interval routine week after week. Remember you have 4 different variables to play with- number of intervals, length of each interval, length of each rest interval, and time. The shorter rest today was tough, but I was able to maintain the slightly slower pace.

For the most part, I stick with 800 intervals, however once in a while I feel the need to drop it down to faster 400s if my progression with the 8s has slowed. (more of my thoughts on intervals here)

Weekly Summary:

Sun- 10K race, 7 miles total
Mon- 7 miles easy, 10x 100 swim
Tue- 5 miles easy, 4 miles bike
Wed- 10 miles easy
Thurs-am 6 miles including 6 x 200 meters at tempo pm: 2 miles with kids, 4 miles bike
Fri- 3 miles easy, 3 miles with some tempo
Sat- 8 x800, total 8 miles

Weekly total: 51 miles run
1,000 meters swim
8 miles bike

Note: Following the 10K race, I ran everything easy until Thursday when I started to gradually reintroduce some faster pace strides followed by Friday's little tempo run.

It must have worked because I felt strong (but not fast) today. I'm also pleased because my legs did not feel very beat up the day after that race- a positive sign that my conditioning is coming along.

I also tried a little experiment following the 8 x 800s this morning. I wanted to see if I could follow those up with 2 more 800s at 6:15 per mile pace. After a minute rest, I took off on what almost felt like a jog. Judging pace wasn't easy, but I was right on with a 3:07. I only took about 15 seconds before heading off for number 2, and actually caught myself daydreaming! As a result I slipped to 3:12 on the second one.

I'm going to keep this in mind for future workouts-I'm thinking 8 x 800s followed by 2 miles at 6:15 pace. Ouch!

Ryan Hall Withdraws From Chicago

Week after week I felt my overall energy and strength to be able to run the long tempo runs and long runs, which are so important to marathon training, gradually deteriorate. In an effort to restore my body I tried everything from nutritional supplements to acupuncture, yet nothing seemed to help. I tried resting from training for three days and I tried cutting all my afternoon runs until a couple of days ago, at which time it was clear that I was out of time and the only solution would be complete rest, which is why I am not going to race again until 2011. I am going to take a good break and then begin a much more gradual training cycle as I begin preparations for a spring marathon -Ryan Hall (Why I Decided To Not Run Chicago)

Besides the obvious (blood test to check for anemia other abnormalities) what should Hall do?

I found this interesting article Overtraining Effects On Performance: If you want to prevent staleness and overtraining, keep a record of your quality of sleep and levels of fatigue! that identifies poor sleep as a leading indicator.

From a personal perspective, I was running well a couple of years ago with a 2:55 at the 2008 Seattle Marathon and again in March 2009 at Napa Valley (see splits here). At the time I was only doing 17 mile long runs, and felt that I might improve if I got that up to 19 or 20. The problem was the longer run led to a longer recovery, and I ended up in a state similar to what Hall is describing. Looking back, I also underestimated the importance of sleep (I had my share of bad nights living upstairs in an adult family home).

Unless Hall is absolutely zapped, my recipe for recovery would be to come down from altitude for a month and just run comfortably as he feels and add some cross training until he snaps out of it. I'm not a believer in extended lay-offs because to do so requires a build-up, and those are never fun. Just my opinion, but I think that's the hard way to do it.

Here is more good insight on overtraining from Owen Anderson (I wondered whatever happend to him!) at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Masters Legend Doug Kurtis Running Marathon Number 200

Lots of people (i.e. Marathon Manics) have run 200 marathons, but if you calculated his average finish time, I doubt anybody who has run 200 comes close to Doug Kurtis. Headsweats ambassador and marathon running legend, Doug Kurtis, is getting ready to run his 200th marathon on October 17th at the Detroit Free Press Marathon. Kurtis, 58, was a former director of the marathon

I have a couple of Doug Kurtis stories. Years ago I was on a 17 mile run in Stuart Florida and spotted a runner up ahead as I ran the Hutchinson Island stretch between Stuart Beach and Jensen Beach. I caught the guy and recognized him immediately- turns out his parents had a condo. We had a nice chat about training, etc. Cranking out a sub 2:20 marathon a month as he was doing back in those days, his long workouts were easy 7 min miles. As I recall he normally did one interval session a week but that was a long time ago.

At the 1994 Boston Marathon, I was 40 and looking for a masters PR. We had a tailwind, and I had an exceptional race finishing 2 hr 34, which I felt put me in the hunt for a top 10 finish. I went to the awards ceremony and 10th Masters Men was announced- 2 hr 25! Kurtis won that year in a masters course record of 2:15. I was 19th.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Distance Running Tip- Races Sometimes Exceed Expecations

Sunday was one of those days I realized why I do all the training. Running a 9.something kilometer race in Seoul, I knew right away that it was going to be a good day. The only bad news was that as I crossed the start mat and punched the start button on my Garmin 205, I heard 2 beeps, meaning it was probably stopped.

Staying out of trouble in a crowded start while screwing around with your GPS is not a good idea, but it took me a good 20-30 seconds to confirm that yes the thing was on. So much for measuring the course, but at least I could get my ave. pace.

Running in cool, overcast conditions I felt great the entire way- hitting the 5k with 6:03 showing on the ave. min per mile pace, finishing strong with a 6:08 average- that's 38 flat for 10K and trust me when I say that I was not slowing down. This course dipped down from the main road to follow a bike path along a river going out, which meant of course we had a hill to negociate on the return trip, hence the slow down. We also had a very slight headwind coming back, adding a few but not a lot of precious seconds to the final time of 36:03.

I finished 8th overall on a course that a friend of mine clocked at 9.47 kilometers with his Garmin (I guess the Koreans are just as concerned about course accuracy as Americans over here). Rounding off slightly, this was 500 meters short of 10K, so running 6:08 per mile (92 seconds per 400 meters), you could add 1:55 and come up with a tick under 38 for 10K.

That's a very good race for me, but the way I felt I am almost surprised that it wasn't a bit faster.

Another factoid about Korean races-other than the big races, they don't bother with age groups! Fine by me, unless they are giving out something worthwhile. The last thing I need is another certificate I can't read. I have enough of those from my years of racing on Okinawa.

(certificate above is from the DMZ 10K last month for finishing in the top 10)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Distance Running Tip- Be Ready on Race Day

Summary for Sept 19- 25

run: 47 miles
bike: 12 miles
swim: 1000 meters

My tri season has ended (2 races- spring and fall!) and I'm taking a breather from swimming and the bike to focus more on running. The temperatures and cooling and the weather has been fabulous the last few days!

I had a decent week with a long run of 12 miles on Sunday and quality intervals on Wed. I'm feeling better on hour runs but I still haven't done anything over 13 miles. I also haven't been on a sustained tempo run for a while, but at least that changes with tomorrow's 10K in Seoul.

Last month I did something a little unusual prior to racing - 2 x fast 800s on Friday, and another on Saturday (I even did a 4 mile bike!).

Why would I run fast like that the last 2 days before a 10K? Call it an experiment based on a version of this post I did a couple of years ago on how to taper.

I'm taking a more conservative approach this time, running 2 x 800s on Friday in 2:57 (9 seconds slower) and an easy 3 miles on Saturday followed by a comfortable 6 x 200 at race pace. I felt flat on the 800s (10 mile day on Thurs was too long), but better on the 200s. The real taper comes before a half marathon on October 10.

As everybody knows, better to error on the easy side.

Last month at the DMZ 10K I averaged 6:20 per mile- the goal tomorrow is 6:15 (the race is a short 9.28K)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Distance Running Tip- Intervals and When to Shut it Down

The benefits of interval training are anything but secret, so I'm wondering why so few runners take advantage?

More on that later, but today I wanted to share a piece of advice that I think is important when it comes to running intervals- how do you know you've done enough?

This morning I did 6 x 800 meters in 2:54, 2:55, 2:52, 2:54, 2:51, 2:57 with 90 seconds recovery. Intervals 2,4, and 6 were run into a slight headwind, so no surprise they were slower.

Why only 6? My general rule of thumb on intervals is when times drop off by more than 3 seconds, it's time to shut it down. While I was pretty confident I could squeeze out another low 2:50s on number 7 with the tailwind, I certainly was NOT keen on finding out what I had left for number 8 (I don't know why this is but I NEVER run an uneven number of intervals- it's always 4,6,8, 10, or more).

I like to compare each workout with a recent similar effort. Last week I did an interrupted 9 x 800 and averaged 3:04 (I know I said I never do an uneven number but this was one screwed up workout!). Today I ran 10 seconds faster (2:53.8 ave)! That's a huge improvement for 800s, and in terms of progression, a good reason in my mind NOT to incease volume. If I'd done those 9 all under 3 min last week, then perhaps I'd reconsider.

Another key indicator for me is this- if I can't jog the cool-down, that's a sign that I overextended in the workout. Today I was close- walking back to the apartment sure felt a lot better than slow jogging, so I split it and did a little of both. Clearly any more than 6 would have put me over the edge.

Other thoughts floating around in my head include an upcoming 10K race in just 4 days and the idea that I'd like to go out for an evening jog to pad my weekly miles. Another 2 intervals run to exhausion may affect both.

One other note- stopping at 6 leaves me 2 good options for my next interval workout- adding 2 more or cutting the rest to 60 seconds. If I was gearing up for a 5K, I'd probably cut the rest and keep it at 6, but with a half marathon as my primary goal, next time out I'll go for 8 and leave the recovery at 90 sec.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Distance Running Tip- Extend Your Rest!

Take the extra 8 hours in a day to recover following a longer workout by running in the evening! Sunday I ran 12 miles in the morning, and at this stage of fitness and age I normally find it difficult to do anything substantial the following morning (I ended up doing 8 miles on the bike rollers and 10 x 1000 meters swimming!). Then Monday after work I cranked out a respectable 8 mile run and felt halfway decent.

This works! You get 2 extra meals in addition to several hours of rest, making back to back running workouts much easier to handle. Now, the question remains what do I have left for Tuesday? Fortunately, this is a planned easy day so I can bounce back and be ready for intervals tomorrow!

(I'm searching for some scientific evidence to support this but so far have come up with nothing- not giving up though)

Brooks Ghost 2

Just ordered a pair of Brooks Ghost 2 for $56.87.

The reviews are mixed, so stay tuned!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekly Update Sept 12-18

Run- 41 miles
Bike- 41 miles
Swim- 3,400 meters

Summary: My long run was 11 miles on Sunday,the day following a 9 x800 meter workout. On Monday evening (with the extra 8 hours recovery), I felt good enough to run tempo the last 3 of a 6 miler. Wednesday was a good effort on 2 x 2 mile repeats, and Saturday's triathlon kept my weekly total miles from being higher.

10K in Seoul next Sunday!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Triathlon- If you want to run faster- bike more!

This morning I did a short triathlon on Camp Humphreys- 400 meter swim, 20 K bike, and 5K run.

SWIM: On Thursday I did 400 meters in 7:50 in the indoor 25 meter pool. Today, with a diving start I checked the watch at 8:13 when I emerged from the 50 meter outdoor pool. I guess that means the more wall push offs there are, the faster I can go.

T1: Run to the bike, on with the bike shoes, sleeveless top, helmet, sunglasses, and off I go. Probably a minute or more but I didn't bother to look.

: 2 x out and back on a relatively flat course. Coming back on the first leg I unexpectantly hit a bump and nearly lost it- unfortunately my water bottle flew out of it's cage meaning there wouldn't be any water until the run (fortunately, I had the foresight to plant another bottle in the transition area). I finished up with the bike computer reading 38:55 for 12.96 miles- call it 39 min for 13 miles. Ave speed read 19.9 mph. That's good for me.

T2- Off with the helmet and bike shoes, on with the running shoes. No fancy stretch laces so I spent the extra time lacing up. Chugged some water and dumped the rest over my head. No cloud cover today with a 9:15 am start- and no water on the bike I was getting warm.

RUN: Legs felt like crap- normal for right off the bike in a triathlon. I passed 2 guys who were doing what I call "the triathlon shuffle". They were running about as good as I can swim. Finished in 1:08:? 6th overall (the winner finished under 59 min- very strong bike leg!)

COMMENT: My lack of bike training really cost me on the run, as my legs never really came around so I could get rolling (or maybe it was the heat). I only bike 25-35 miles per week, 4 miles back and forth to work a few times a week, and 2 miles back to do the kids running program. I know that putting in an occasional longer bike would pay huge dividends on the run, but whoever said I was training for a tri? Post race weight was 124.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How to Run Faster: Lose Weight if You Need To!

Basically, you gain 1% in running speed for every 1% reduction in body fat. To put this in perspective, if you currently run a 10 K at a pace of eight minutes (8:00) per mile, losing 5% of your excess body fat will improve your time to 7:36 per mile (8:00 x 0.05 = 24 seconds faster; 8:00 - 0:24 = 7:36). Consequently, you will run the 10K about 2.5 minutes faster, and your marathon about 11 minutes faster. - Training to Improve Your Running Ability by Mel Williams, PhD

MY COMMENT: So lets say you weigh 150 pounds and are 15% fat (22.5 lbs of blubber). If you lost 5% as in Williams example, that would take you to 10%,(so now you carry 15 lbs of the stuff). You've dropped 7.5 pounds.

Another theory on body weight and running performance was offered up by Tom Osler, who believes every extra pound of flab cost you 2.5 seconds per mile .

Back to the example by Williams, a 7.5 pound drop in fat weight means you'll run 24 seconds per mile faster. Using Osler's theory, you will run just under 19 seconds per mile faster.

The formula mentioned by Williams is based on "oxygen consumption dynamics" measured in a lab, while Osler reviewed data from actual runners and their performances.

Remember- you can also go too low with your body fat percentage! Skinny world class male distance runners can be as low as 4-5%, but most of us carry more fat cells than they do and find it near impossible to get below 15%. You won't run well on a starvation diet either.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Workout Update Sept 15

Rather than bore you with the daily workouts, I've decide to only post the key workouts, along with a weekly summary. Today (Sept 15) I jogged a slow stop and go mile with Sumo,then ran at least 2 more.

2 x 2 miles with 5 min recovery. 12:29 and 12:27. I made it a point to keep the pace below anaerobic threshold and felt pretty good. I think I could have done another but then I would have been late for work. Considerably faster than the last time I did this workout (13:10 and 12:55)Aug 20. 8 miles total.

pm: 30 minutes of easy cycling on the rollers. Call it 8 miles

NOTE: Did a decent swim workout yesterday- 6 x 150 meters and I hit 2:51 on a couple in the middle-pretty quick for me (these are very similar effort and time wise to running 800s, at least for me). I'll get in the pool tomorrow and be ready for my tri on Sat!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What To Do With Your Old Running Shoes

If you have old shoes laying around, check out soles4soles, a charity that distributes dontated running shoes to the needy. Watch the video- wow!

Founded by Wayne Elsey, who also has an interesting blog titled Get off The Couch. I'll say this- Wayne is certainly passioniate about making a difference. What a great idea!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week Summary Sept 5- Sept 11

Run- 42 miles
Bike- 24 miles
Swim- 2,000 meters

A light week, but one day off brought down the totals. If I use Monday through Sunday as my week, it looks like this:

Run- 53 miles
Bike- 24 miles
Swim- 3,000 meters

That's why I don't get too hung up on weekly totals. One day off doesn't make a difference, and in fact the rest may be needed.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Workout Update Sat Sept 11

am: Steady rain this morning so I hopped on the rollers for 30 minutes of cycling- call it 8 miles. I left a puddle of sweat on the floor, and weighed in at 123.2! Perhaps the scale was a bit off- I wish I'd done a pre-workout weight and double checked the post workout.

pm: How to salvage a screwed up workout! Jogged the half mile down to the start of an 800 I measured on the rice paddy roads. Wearing an old, tight-fitting pair of Adidas Boston's, I decided to go without socks, something I rarely if ever do. I happened to have run a couple of sockless interval workouts in these shoes before without blisters, however this time I added the HTP Heel Seats for extra protection. That changed everything.

This is a workout I wanted to go well, and it's been 3 weeks since my last intervals so I started comfortable finishing in 3:04. I decided on 90 seconds for recovery and came back in 3:03. Number 3 was going well until half way through I suddenly felt a hot spot on the back of my heel. I hate stopping in the middle of an interval so pushed it to the end in 3:06- a little tentative.

I removed my shoe which revealed torn skin, so there was no way to continue without some repairs. I limped it back home (one mile), taped up, changed to my favorite long distance racing flat (the discontinued Brooks Burn), and jogged the half mile back to the start.

The next interval went in 3:04, again a little slow. Coming back, with less than 30 seconds to go I spot a dog. As I got closer, I realized he was tied to the motorcycle of a Korean checking on his rice or something. Do I charge through and hope the dog can't catch me with bike in tow? Screw it- I had to stop,then slowly get by him and finish in 3:12.

The rest of the way went without incident- 3:01, 3:04, 3:00,3:00.

All in all, a total of 9 x 800 ave with 7 at 3:04 or faster. Total miles in this workout added up to 7. Hopefully one I can build on leading up to a 10K at the end of Sept and half marathon Oct 10.

Finally, while I'll probably feel it later, I had absolutely no sign of heel discomfort! And i just weighed in again at 123.2. No doubt I am a little dehydrated and need to monitor my weight more often. Light is good, but not if I'm low on fluid and glycogen.

Resistance Flexibility Training

I'm a fan of Bob Cooley who came up with this concept. I just wish I could figure out a good way to stretch my hamstrings without partner assistance!

Workout Update Fri Sept 10

pm: 7 miles in 60 min- wind and some pelting rain. I've had better runs. Spent the day on the train- to Daegu and back, about 3 hours each way. Deugu is hosting the track and field world championships in 2011- can't wait!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Workout Update for Thurs Sept 9

am: just a short jog with Sumo- he didn't want to do anything this morning.
pm: 2 miles with the kids including a few 300 meter races. Too tired to try intervals, but did 6 miles and a reasonable pace followed by 4 miles biking. I ran from home to work the long way to pick up my bike.

Workout Update for Wed Sept 8

am: easy 2 mile jog with Sumo,then easy 4 miles. 4 mile bike to work

pm: 1,000 meter swim

Weather permitting, I am planning some 800 repeats tomorrow so consider this a rest day. I haven't done intervals in about 3 weeks and now is the time to get back in.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

World Mountain Running Championships

The men's race was held over a 12 kilometer course with more than 4,200 feet of vertical gain. The route started in a wide, grassy meadow and quickly merged into a paved and level roadway for the next kilometer. The terrain changed to a gravel road and started to climb. For the next 10.5 kilometers, the course varied from steep, rocky terrain through both forest and wide open spaces. There was one descent of 300' on this mostly uphill course.

"This (course) makes road running look like a walk in the park" -16th place finisher Max King (from runningusa) who has an 8:31 PR for the 3000 meter steeple and has also run for the US at the World Cross Country championships.

In this interview, King describes a 100 x 200 meter workout! Are you kidding? Sounds like something Jim Ryun would have relished back in his day.

King has some other interesting entries on his blog, but too bad he hasn't been able to keep it updated.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Workout Update Sept 7

am: 1 mile with Sumo then 8 miles easy.
pm: 1 mile with the kids
8 miles of biking.

Nothing special- my heel was pain free running in the morning but I feel it slightly this evening. I am planning on a hard long interval session later this week. Thursday or Friday.

Nice pic and story in runnersworld about Rachel Booth who I did some long runs and interval workouts with in Okinawa- another Wisconsinite running well!