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