Saturday, May 29, 2010

Workout Update- May 29

am: 3 mile easy jog with Sumo, then 2 mile loop in 12:15, 1 mile cool-down.

Dick Beardsley is in the Guiness Book of World Records for running 13 consecutive marathons, each faster than the next. Last year I attempted to run 10 x 800 meter repeats, each faster than the next, and no, I wasn't jogging on the first one (I came very close!).

I guess this is about the 5th time in a row I've bettered my previous time on this loop, but to do it 10 x in a row would not be realistic. The goal is still to get down under 12 minutes, but I expect it will take more long runs, tempo miles, and maybe even some 2 x 1 mile repeats under pace.

Today I felt strong, and the only times breathing became a factor was on the inclines.

At 0530 or 6 am, the local Koreans, already out tending to their gardens, must think I'm nuts.

Friday, May 28, 2010

King Corn

This week I showed King Corn at the USO on Camp Humphreys. King Corn is about 2 college graduates that set out to discover why a hair analysis revealed significant quantities of corn.

They move to Iowa and raise an acre of corn from start to finish, then try to find out what happens next - corn fed livestock and chickens, not to mention the production of high fructose corn syrup. You get the idea.

Workout Update-May 28

am- 3 mile jog with the dogs, then another 3 miles on tired legs

pm- the old stand-by 10 x 100 meter swim workout on 2:20, ave 1:56. Short and out. 2 mile jog with the dogs gives me 8 slow miles for the day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Workout Update-May 27

am- 2.5 mile jog with the dogs, then 2 miles hard in 12:18, 1.5 mile cool-down. I started doing this 2 mile loop about a month ago in 14 minutes. It's got a couple of small inclines and today I counted fourteen 90 degree turns. Estimating that I lose about 2 seconds on each I think I'm good for sub 12 minutes on a straight, flat course. I'm sticking to this workout rather than intervals, at least for a while. Maybe till I break 12 minutes or get stuck trying.

Have you ever tuned in to what limits your ability to run faster when you do a hard sustained run or interval workout? It's either going to be oxygen debt or your legs simply won't go any faster. Up until this workout, my wind has been good and my legs have been the problem. Today I finally felt that my breathing was not able to keep up.

I've always subscribed to the theory that when the legs can't go fast enough, it's time for speed or interval work, and likewise if you can't get enough air, more distance seems to be in order. Long run tomorrow, which is always a good idea anyway before vacation, then it's off to China for the long weekend. Who knows what running I'll get in there.

I biked the 2 miles to the track and back in the afternoon for the kids workout but was too beat to run. I had them do a 1 mile time trail and today was the largest turn out yet- 24 kids! By the way, officially it's now the Humphreys Roadrunners Youth Running Club.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Workout Update- May 26

My heel is much, much better! I am heading back into serious training, so why not post the workouts?

This morning I ran the dogs for 2 miles in 20 minutes plus, then ran another 20 minutes at a steady pace. I hit some kind of wall and just jogged home in another 20 minutes. Total 60 min run, but my GPS is broke so not sure on the distance- best guess is between 6 and 7. My legs are shot, still not recovered from the long Sunday run followed by another hour on Monday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Comrades Marathon

'I know why this is all necessary,' he says 'what common bond unites all Comrades runners. It is the need to look for the mountains in life. Skill, you see, is not our requirement, nor has your race got anything to do with winning or losing. These are the spoils of other lesser games, unable to transport you to the places we have been.' -Tim Noakes on the Comrades Marathon

The Comrades Marathon is not a marathon- it's an ultra- but not just any ultra. Comrades is the oldest and the largest. The first one was run in 1921, and according the website, 16,657 are entered (that is amazing for a 56 mile race!).

Among those running this year is American Power Bar model Josh Cox, holder of the American record for 50 kilometers. Watch this impressive 15 mile workout he did at 7.000 feet- averaging 5:07 per mile!

Josh is clearly fit, but as we all know, 15 miles may not a very good indicator for how he might be able to hold up for 56 miles.

The race is run in opposite directions every year (imagine Boston doing THAT!), and this year happens to be downhill.

The race starts Sunday at 0530, and S. Africa appears to be 13 hours ahead, so you can watch a streaming video of the race here starting at 6:30 pm EST. Might be interesting!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Joe Newton and the Long Green Line

I just finished watching The Long Green Line, a documentary featuring Joe Newton, the most successful high school cross country coach ever. In 50 years of coaching at York High School in Elmhurst IL, Newton's teams have won an unprecidented 26 state titles.

I recommend Long Green Line to every high school coach in the country- you can see immediately that Newton figured it out a long time ago- from having his runners do the recruiting to the way he treats his athletes from number 1 to number 100- what an amazing tradition!

Back in the 70's when I was running for UW-Stevens Point, we knew all about York high school- Gil Halverson, one of my teammates, was a Vietnam vet, and also ran for Newton (I never did ask Gil which was harder). The reputation was "York runs so hard they burn out by the time college rolls around". There have been plenty of York kids that have gone on to respectable college careers, but I am a little surprised they haven't produced more athletes that have gone on to professional running careers.

Checking out the York High School website, I am also somewhat surprised that a boys cross country team with 26 state titles and a documentary does not have a link to their own page (maybe Joe hasn't figured out that darn internet yet- or better yet doesn't care!)

In Long Green Line, Newton reminded me of Joe Paterno, head football coach for Penn State for what seems like the last 117 years (ok- it's only 41). Watching Newton lead warm-ups reminded me of some vintage 50's Jack LaLanne exercises, and I couldn't help but wonder what those capable assistant coaches must be thinking.

None of that matters- especially when you are a coaching legend such as Joe Newton. All he does is produce winners, guys that will run through a brick wall for their coach, year after year, for the last 50 years.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Zions Bank Ogden Marathon

"It's like Prozac," he said. "I mean it's so beautiful. You have a net downhill for the entire course." -Marc Collman who has run all 10 Ogden Marathons (Salt Lake Tribune)

This is marathoning at it's best (don't take my word for it-read the reviews at (looks like they had some foul tasting water last year!).

I spent a year in Ogden area and this race is first class. Scenic course, net drop in elevation of 1,079 feet, usually good race conditions, and not too large (the race is limited to 2,500). Ogden Marathon

In nearby Layton, you'll find a quality running store with a knowledgable staff at Striders. John and Kristen Wojciechowski(Kristen is the marathon race director) put in countless hours hosting races for the local running community.

Ultra Marathon Running Resource

If you are into ultra marathons, check out this link that was sent my way by Keith Godden of the UK. UltraMarathonRunning.

Looks like a great resource for planning your next ultra. My legs are beat up from just 8.5 miles today so I won't be needing it for a while.

Change the Way You Eat For Ever!

Next time you have a spare hour, watch The Effects of Animal Fats on the Human Body, a lecture by Dr. Michael Klaper.

A customer looks at pieces of meat in a butcher's display counter in Caracas May 4, 2010. Sporadic food shortages are caused in Venezuela by a rapid increase in demand as consumers spent their share of the biggest oil bonanza along with supply chain distortions caused by strict price controls. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)

My diet is reasonably healthy, but after watching this I am going to reconsider some of my food choices. Very powerful! Maybe there is something to Scott Jurek's vegan diet after all. I am not going to stop eating fish though.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Should You Run Every Day?

I was asked this one today. The answer depends on a number of factors including age, history of injuries, distance, intensity, fitness level, cross training, and how interested you are in "streak running". I could be wrong, but I believe Ron Hill has the longest recorded running streak in history, one that began in December, 1964, some 46 years ago.

So my answer is "You don't have to." Some runners are very tuned in to weekly miles and seem to respond very well to higher totals that require running 7 days a week. My opinion is most runners would be better off supplementing their running with biking or another activity one or two days every week rather than forcing themselves out the door for a sluggish 30 minute recovery jog.

There are exceptions. Throughout the year, every runner goes through different phases in their training. During a build-up when I am not concerned about speed, I like to get out every day and run approximately the same length of time or distance just to build a solid endurance. There may be days that my legs feel dead, but over a 2-3 week period I'll run every day. Once I start adding in long runs however, especially at my age I have to take off the next day to allow a better recovery. I'll still bike or swim though.

Here is a decent article by Amby Burfoot from 2004 that describes a 3 day a week marathon training program. If you try it, I do recommend cycling or some other aerobic activity on most of those other 4 days.

Chris Solinsky- Biggest Ever Under 27 Minutes

Chart showing body mass of all runners who have broken 27 minutes for 10,000 meters from The Science of Sport

Interesting article comparing Solinsky to the size of others in the exclusive sub 27 minute club. Chris is the 32nd member. The average weight of the other members is 55.6 kg (122.3 lbs). Solinsky weighs in nearly 40 pounds heavier at around 160. Remove body weight from the calculation for V02 max (ml of oxygen/kg), and imagine the total liters of oxygen at maximal running speed he must be able to process! The Science of Sport

Scott Jurek- American Record for 24 Hour Run

Scott Jurek set the American record for the 24 hour run by completing 165.284 miles. seattlepi (that's 6.88 mph or 8:43 per mile average- for 24 straight hours!)

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Jurek is a vegan eats no meat or dairy products while training 140 miles a week.

He eats 5,000 to 8,000 calories a day, “and I get that all from plant sources. It’s not hard, either. I like to eat, and I don’t have to worry about weight management. All I need is a high-carbohydrate diet with enough protein and fat.”

MY COMMENT: Most of us could afford to eat a little less junk. Looks like Scott is back!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dick Beardsley Update

The bad news is that former world class marathoner Dick Beardsley went under the knife once again last fall, this time on his back (the procedure is called XLIF). The good news is that Dick reports that he back to 50 miles a week following his total knee replacement from a year ago.

Against the Wind, a movie about Dick's life, is now in production. I wouldn't be surprised if they have to rewrite the ending- Dick just never knows when to quit!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5 Decades of Sub 3 Hour Marathons

Boy would I like to join this elite group! All I need is just one more sub 3 hour marathon- much easier said than done and Father Time is not on my side. You can connect with the group at facebook. An updated membership list can be found here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

11 Year Old Girl Runs 5:09 for 1,600 Meters!

Remember the name Madison Boreman, who just ran 5:09 for 1600 meters. She is 11 years old, currently in 6th grade! Watch her incredible race at flotrack.

Go here to see more results from Madison Boreman.

German Completes Marathon-Running Backwards!

"Just my calves are a bit burning" -46 year old Ralf Klug, who finished the Prague Marathon running backwards in 6:50. What's even more amazing is that according to the article, the world record for running a marathon backwards is 3:43:39 by Xu Zhenjun of China.

I checked out backward running on google, and was somewhat surprised to see the number of websites dedicated to backward, or retro running. Here is one example from a paper called FORWARD AND BACKWARD LOCOMOTION: UNDERSTANDING THE BENEFITS by Barry Bates, PhD and Janet Dufek, PhD from the University of Oregon and the University of Nevada. According to their research, retro running can:

- Provide sport-specific activity training;
- Improve cardiovascular function;
- Provide stronger musculo-skeletal foundation;
- Improve muscle balance;
- Help prevent injuries;
- Facilitate neuro-muscular function;
- Facilitate balance and proprioception.

There are other benefits related to injury rehabilitation:
"Some conditions that have been observed to respond positively to retro locomotion include the following":
- Muscle strains including low back, hip, groin and hamstrings;
- Ankle sprains;
- Post-surgical knee joint rehabilitation;
- Shin splint syndrome;
- Achilles tendon strains.

For obvious reasons, BE CAREFUL!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

More than One Million Now Running Half Marathons in the U.S.

In the past decade (2000-09), U.S. half-marathon finishers have grown from 482,000 to 1,113,000, a 131% increase. From 2008 to 2009, the number of half marathon finishers increased by 24%. Another interesting statistic- 57% of all half marathon finishers were women!

I'm not surprised that the median time is slowly increasing, from 1:57:45 in 2002 to 2:00:21 in 2009 for men. The median finish time for women in 2009 was just under 2:20, or 10:40 per mile. I suspect a growing number of walkers entering races skew that time down considerably.

The half marathon distance makes perfect sense- challenging but still an achievable goal for most former couch potatoes.

In case you are wondering, the largest half marathon in the US is the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis, with 30,281 finishers in 2009.

Interested in training for a half marathon? Check out Hal Higdon's Twelve Weeks to a 13.1 Mile Race.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

High School Freshman Runs Amazing Triple!

How about these times turned in by West Virginia freshman Jacob Burcham-
1,600 meter- 4:14.51
3,200 meter- 9:20.34
800 meter- 1:56.95

Last year as an 8th grader Burcham set at national record running 4:38.10

He is one of several outstanding high school runners to keep an eye on.

Indoor Trail Marathon!

How about running a trail marathon- indoors? Check out the Sandbox Indoor Marathon!

The race will be held in February, 2011 inside a 100,000 square foot motocross facility in New Richmond, Wisconsin on approximately a 400 meter loop "surfaced with specialized dirt which can be shaped into hills and jumps."

Hey why not?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chris Solinsky- AMERICAN RECORD SUB 27:00 FOR 10,000!

Chris Solinsky of Stevens Point Wisconsin and former U of Wisconsin Badger became the first American in history to break 27 minutes for 10,000 meters, smashing the American record by 14 seconds at the Peyton Jordan Invitational Track meet at Stanford University (results).

Solinsky, normally a 5K runner that missed our 2008 Olympic Team (5th in the trials), said after the race he's been training with guys preparing for the New York Marathon- putting in plenty of hard, long distance threshold runs. After averaging 4:40 per mile on one particular 8 mile effort, Schumacher decided to enter him in the 10K instead of the 5. I believe this is Solinsky's first attempt at 10K on the track, and to set the American record is phenomenal.

Also in the race and receiving most of the pre race hype was Galen Rupp, a Nike teammate of Solinsky who is coached by Alberto Salazar (Solinksy is coached by Jerry Schumacher). Rupp finished 4th in 27:10 after hold the lead for several laps.

I don't know Galen, and I met Chris once (his high school cross country coach, Donn Behnke, was a teammate of mine at UW-Stevens Point).

I'll go out on a limb and say there is a bit of a rivalry between the two, and Chris has no trouble getting psyched to run hard against Galen Rupp.