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. -pponline.com

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: onpointradio.org

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 -stonehearthnewsletters.com

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 runnersworld.com, 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. -thestar.com

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. -sportsillustrated.com 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 athlinks.com 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.