Thursday, April 29, 2010

Paul McMullen- "How Good Can I Be"

Paul McMullen followed his dream- from high school football player to Olympian and world championship finalist in the 1500 meters. If that wasn't enough, Paul also cut off a couple of toes in a lawnmower accident and came back to run even faster.

For a brief synopsis of Paul's story, watch "I Dare You to Run". This is one guy that can say he got the most out of his potential.

Part II

Part III

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Use Speed Work to Run a Faster Marathon

“When I broke the world record in Berlin, I had trained for the 10,000m on the track too and I did a lot of speedwork,” Gebrselassie said. “I did not win a gold medal in Beijing but the speedwork I put in during training helped me break the marathon world record - and I know I will break it again, soon - 2:02 is very possible.” -Daily Nation

-quote from marathon world record holder Hallie Gebrselassie. Gebrselassie finished 6th in the 10K in Beijing

MY COMMENT: I've experienced this before. Several years ago I competed in the World Masters Track & Field Championships in Brisbane, Australia, entering the 8K cross country, 5,000 meter, and marathon. I really wanted to run a fast 5K, so most of my focus going in was on that, running a couple of very hard track workouts a week. At 48 years of age at the time, I was hoping to break 16:30, however my typical workouts were 10 x 400 in 80, or 1.5 mile time trials in 8:00. I seemed to be able to hold 80 second 400s, but not much better. Sure enough, in the 5000 I went through the 400 in dead list (out of 23 in my heat) in 80, but proceeded to clip off 80s just about every lap thereafter to finish 8th in 16:40, averaging exactly 80 seconds per lap.

I guess I ran close to my potential in that race, and a week later ran a very good (for me at 48) 2:45 marathon, feeling very, very good.

I am not suggesting that you will run a good marathon on track work alone, but once you have a good base of aerobic distance, a dose of short quality workouts can pay dividends in the marathon.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Furniture Glide Program at!

I love this guy! For more creative ideas for cheap ways to exercise, check out

If you check out the link (, you'll find some facinating clips of the Ramimuri ultra runners of northern Mexico, the Yemen Jumpers, and Eddie Izzard, a British comedian that ran 41 marathons in 51 days!

Great site!

Spirulina Found to Enhance Endurance

Subjects that took a daily 6 g dose of spirulina for 4 weeks were found to perform better than runners who took a placebo. The test involved running for 2 hours at 70%-75% intensity, followed by a run to exhausion at 95% max. The runners taking the spirulina supplement were able to run longer during the 95% trial(2.05 min vs 2.7 min). Fat oxidation was 10.9% higher on the spirulina trial. Ergogenic and antioxidant effects of spirulina supplementation in humans.

MY COMMENT: I need to burn all the fat I can- worth a try! Spirulina is a blue green algae containing "an unusually high amount of protein, between 55% and 77% by dry weight". It also is a significant source of other nutrients linked to good health including DHA and EPA, those healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Great information on spirulina at

Note: According to wikipedia, "Spirulina contains phenylalanine, which should be avoided by people who have the metabolic disorder phenylketonuria, where the body cannot metabolize this amino acid and it builds up in the brain causing damage."

Your local health food store or GNC will carry spirulina, or order right here!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No Carbohydrates on Long Runs?

Meb Keflezighi, Olympic medalist, 2009 NYC marathon winner, and 5th place finisher in this year’s Boston marathon often completes long runs relying only water. And he’s probably a better runner because of it -The new rules of long run fueling

MY COMMENT: This is a concept first introduced by Greg McMillan, or at least that was the first time I had seen it, except we NEVER took carbs back in the 70s on long runs! I'll never forget running 2 hr 28 min in the heat and humidity on a hilly course in Arkadelphia, Arkansas (70 something degrees and 70 something humidity). We got plain water every 5 miles, and risked disqualification for taking anything else. Unbelievable!

Could a Brit Win the London Marathon?

The cloud of volcanic ash that has turned Britain into a no-fly zone has forced athletes from as far afield as Kenya, Ethiopia, Japan and the United States into a race against the clock just to make it to the start-line.
INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 20: A tourist reads while waiting for the resumption of flights at Incheon International Airport on April 20, 2010 in Incheon, South Korea. Although flights from Scottish airports resumed a limited service this morning, uncertainty surrounds the National Air Traffic Services' plans to reopen airspace across the rest of the UK today following further eruptions and a fresh ash cloud from the icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Imagine a race that has booked the Olympic Champion, World Champion, and the 4th fastest all time? London has them all, if they can get there. Volcanic eruption threatens disruption for elite London Marathon field

MY COMMENT: Enough with these natural disasters! Fortunately, this one hasn't cost any lives.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yasso 800s- In the Pool!

OK I admit it- I'm a hack in the pool. I don't warm-up, and never cool-down. I like to use the props- webbed gloves, pull-buoy, zoomer fins, etc, just to break it up, but in reality I do it to make swimming EASIER!

The classic workout for me has always been 10 x 100 meter repeats with short rest. The goal always the same- break 2 minutes. I mix in other stuff like 200s, continuous swim, etc, but always go back to the 100s. Not anymore.

In running, I'm a huge fan of 800 meter repeats, a.k.a. Yasso 800s- for me the most recently the goal was to run them under 3 minutes with one minute recovery. If I could do 10, I knew I was in pretty darn good shape.

One day in the pool it dawned on me- why not swim 150s instead of 100s- those are closer to running 800s in time and effort. Sure enough, I have been able to hit 8 x 150 m under 3 minutes, and for me that is a great workout. Last Sunday, I took the courageous step and increased in to 9, averaging about 2:56 with 45 seconds recovery, but simply did not have it in me to do just one more. I quit at 9, totally exhausted, mentally and physically.

Effort wise, the 150 m swim repeats feel about the same as running those Yasso 800s, and I think, tell me that my respiratory system is in decent shape. Now I need to finish it off and do 10. If I just had the leg work from running to go with it!

The Boston Marathon ATT Athlete Alert Program

Nice feature- go to, look up a runner's bib number, then text runner to 31901 for instructions- you can get splits at 10K, half marathon, 30K and finish. ATT Athlete Alert Program.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Are Skechers Shape-Ups a Cure for Heel Pain?

I've had problems with plantar fasciitis for a while, so these shoes are a godsend! It is now hard to wear any other pair of shoes. Well worth the money. -review of Skechers Shape-ups on

Recently I've been increasing my running, and while the majority of time I don't feel any heel pain running, I do usually have discomfort walking around the rest of the day.

Today I think I've found the answer. I tried on a pair of Skechers Shape-ups at the Camp Humphreys PX, and knew immediately I had to have a pair. All I can say is they are nothing I've ever worn before, and I can now forget about deciding which inserts to wear. They feel amazing!

You need to order 1/2 size big.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Looking to Give Your Running a Boost- Try Hop Scotch!

What struck me as an adult version of hop-scotch kicked my butt, and hamstrings, and quads. -Milwaukee Journal reported Tom Held, who is undergoing a high intensity sports performance program at Froedert & Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Center.

It looks like this program, with heavy emphasis on plyometrics and core strength, is a killer if you are not used to it.

In more technical terms: “As for all of the ‘hop-scotch,’ this is a proven method that helps to activate your muscles’ stretching (and) shortening cycle, and thus resulting in your being able to run faster -Off the Couch by Tom Held

Volcano Erupts Boston Marathon Plans for up to 600 Runners

Smoke billows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokull April 16, 2010. A huge ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano spread out across Europe on Friday causing air travel chaos on a scale not seen since the Sept. 11 attacks and costing airlines hundreds of millions of dollars. REUTERS/Ingolfur Juliusson (ICELAND - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

"Just when you thought you've dealt with everything, now you can throw volcanoes into the mix," Guy Morse, Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association, said. "we are preparing the best that we can to accommodate those athletes when they arrive, be it Sunday night or whenever it is. The situation will play out over the coming days. It's too early yet to tell exactly how many athletes will be impacted by this travel situation."

"It took me nine tries and 13 years to qualify for Boston, which I finally did. When I got the news yesterday about the volcano, I just laughed. Qualifying for Boston is a lot like finally marrying the girl you dreamed about all of your life only to learn that you make yourself miserable. Oh well. If I can't make it in I'll just hope for better luck next year."
-American runner stranded in London

-Volcano making travel a pain in the ash

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nicotine Patch Found to Boost Endurance

Ten out of 12 subjects cycled for longer with NIC administration, and this resulted in a significant 17 ± 7% improvement in performance (P < 0.05). No differences were observed for perceived exertion, heart rate or ventilation. There were no differences in concentrations of plasma glucose, lactate or circulating fatty acids. In the absence of any effect on peripheral markers, we conclude that nicotine prolongs endurance by a central mechanism. -Experimental Physiology

MY COMMENT: I wish I'd taken a look at nicotine and exercise as a grad student masters thesis. I just spent a couple of hours researching the negative effects of smoking on running when I stumbled onto this study. Apparently nicotine increases sweat response at the same time it increases production of vasopressin, an anti-diuretic hormone. In other words, you produce less urine. That could be beneficial to marathon runners.

Nicotine was found to increase vasopressin secretion by all three routes of administration -J of Physiology

Slapping on a 7 mg patch sounds easy, but may not be for everyone.

"All subjects commented on the ‘side-effects’ they experienced overnight after applying the nicotine patch; these included increased heart rate and reduced appetite, headaches and nausea, restless sleep and vivid/bizarre dreams and feelings of having a hangover when they arrived for testing; most subjects reported that these symptoms disappeared once they started exercising"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

17 High School Boys Break 9:00 at Arcadia 3200

One got DQd so only 16 officially. results This race was incredibly deep- possibly the best high school distance race ever! Six more guys dipped under 9:10.

The race was won by Jake Huryszof North Carolina in 8:49.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Aikman Runs 1:49 Half Marathon

Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, donning bib No. 8, finished Sunday's America's Run half marathon in 1:49:47, amid cheers throughout the stadium. - Dallas Morning News

MY COMMENT: How many NFL quarterbacks can run 13 miles? Nice job Troy. I am betting that he is thinking marathon someday.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Running Shoe Deal

adidas Men's Supernova Cushion Size 7 Running Shoe

$49.99 List Price $89.95

Running Shoe Deal

adidas Women's Kanadia Trail Running Shoe -$49.99 list price $64.95 (limited sizes)

No More Marathons for Van Gundy

“I ran and retired all in the same day,” - Jeff Van Gundy, comment following the Houston Marathon. See a video clip of Van Gundy finishing in 4:14:29

MY COMMENT: Ask any first timer immediately after finishing a marathon about running another, and more than likely you'll get the exact same response.

Troy Aikman To Run Half Marathon

After he retired from the NFL following the 2000 season, Aikman ran to stay in shape. He is a frequent user of the Katy Trail, the greenbelt along which the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT or Katy) Railroad traveled through Dallas. The 3.5-mile running, biking and hiking trail is a public park maintained by The Friends of Katy Trail, a non-profit organization with 1,200 members.

MY COMMENT: Aikman is hoping to break 2 hours. I love the fact that a 3.5 mile trail can garner such tremendous community support! Check out Friends of the Katy Trail blog.

Six Kenyans Under 2:07:07 Entered in Rotterdam

I don't know why Americans never run this race, home of 3 of the top 10 fastest marathons including 2 of the top 4. Perhaps it's a money issue, but what a missed opportunity for a 2:12 guy trying to dip under 2:10.

Check out the list of elite runners entered in Rotterdam, scheduled for Sunday, 12 pm EST. You can watch coverage of this race at

Thursday, April 8, 2010

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT) As Effective As Moderate Long Term Endurance Exercise, Study

"Doing 10 one-minute sprints on a standard stationary bike with about one minute of rest in between, three times a week, works as well in improving muscle as many hours of conventional long-term biking less strenuously," -Medical News Today

MY COMMENT: I've been dabbling a little with a short 10 minute high intensity bike ride on rollers following my morning jog. I like the idea, especially for masters runners that can no longer handle high mileage. I also do some high intensity intervals in the pool a couple times a week, which does a fabulous job of keeping the heart and lungs in shape, but not much for legs, at least the way I swim.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cartilage Transplant Surgery Shows Promise for Bad Knees

We're taking cartilage cells, and instead of sending them off to a lab, we're simply mincing them at the time of the procedure,” Dr. Guettler explained. “They're sprinkled on a biological scaffold and implanted into the knee, all in one setting."

This procedure is used to repair "holes" in cartilage. Researchers are still working on ways to replace worn out or otherwise damaged cartilage (

Here is another good article on cartilage replacement using your own cells in Medical News Today

Bernard Legat

I’m going to be focusing on endurance, working on long, nice runs—nothing less than 10 miles. We will be doing long tempo runs. We will be doing a lot of long hill work. We will be doing soft-surface repetitions as well, like on a golf course. We will be doing things this time around that will really get me ready for the 5,000m.

interview with 35 year old Bernard Legat, who wants to run 12:50 this year. Legat also expressed interest in running a marathon "after one more try at the Olympics."

Legat has 2 Olympic medals in the 1500 meters- a bronze from Sydney in 2000 and a silver from Athens in 2004, winning both while representing Kenya.