Sunday, December 25, 2011

Run With The Kenyans!

Facinating account of running with the Kenyans by Irishman Ian O'Riordan.

You must always add to what you have. Now, I don’t start with base, with mileage. I start with speed, then add the volume, which means you are extending the ability to sustain speed. You must also subject the body to every type of stimulus. If you repeat any one session more than three times it’s no longer a stimulus. So if something works, it’s time to change it. That’s why most of the traditional running methodology is bullshit.”

-legendary distance Italian distance coach Renato Canova , who occasionally contributes on the world famous message board.

-IrishTimes .com

High School Talent in Japan Runs Deep!

There are easily 40 high schools in Japan that can field boys teams with at least five athletes who have run sub-15 minutes for 5,000 meters. Some of them won’t race on Dec. 25 because they are the second-or third-best teams in their prefecture. By the middle of fall, the national list included 350 sub-15 minute boys and rising. By year’s end the number typically nears 600. -espn trackHS track & xc

MY COMMENT: Amazing! I am curious why we aren't seeing more depth from the Japanese at the world class level.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Do We Run to Eat?

“The diminished effect of dietary composition on the BMI of higher mileage runners could be due to improved fat oxidation with exercise,” Williams said.

Second to an enhanced internal combustion system that burns more calories, Williams also ponders whether distance runners are inherently good at adjusting their food volume to match their training volume, which relates to the earlier statement that runners understand the need to train more when they eat more.

MY COMMENT: This is exactly what I've been saying! Fat burning ability o the muscle trumps total calories expended for weight loss. Or maybe we really do run so we can eat more.

Read more here:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

European Cross Country!

World Champ Paul Tergat could only manage 3rd in this race- if you watch the entire video the finishing straight is absolutely brutal!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chuck Engle- Marathon Junkie

Marathon Wins: 134
Average Time: 2:42
2011 Total Marathons: 44
2011 Wins: 33
Sub 3 Hour Marathons: >235

2006 Sarasota Marathon -Chuck Engle

Chuck (#473) has now not only run a marathon in all 50 states, he's WON a marathon in every state. Truly an amazing runner.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Anatabloc- New Anti-Inflammatory Made from Tobacco!

The active ingredient in RP006 is anatabine, a compound found in tobacco that seems to have dramatic anti-inflammatory properties (The left axis of the graph represents an inflammatory molecule). source: Roskamp Institute

I know of no research on anatabine related to endurance, but it's plausible to believe that it may enhance recovery.

Anatobloc is expensive- $89 for a one month supply, however that could be cheap if it provides relief for many who suffer from chronic conditions related to inflammation (of which there are countless, including Alzheimer's- see the link here about clinical trials).

Parent company Star Scientific (CIGX) also markets a dissolvable tobacco product called Stonewall that is sold by AAFES. Recently I recommended it to a soldier attempting to quit dipping, and low and behold he stopped by on Friday to report he's been dip free for a week while using it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Runners Sick at Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Soon, the 50-year-old Las Vegan was doubled over from stomach cramps "worse than childbirth." Violent vomiting and explosive diarrhea almost kept her from crossing the finish line.

As Ragsdale reached another water station, she saw water being pumped from a nearby fire hydrant with white hoses into a plastic lined garbage can. Event volunteers wearing plastic gloves would dip cups into the cans and pass them off to runners.
-account in Las Vegas Review Journal

Lots of runner feedback on the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon facebook page.

Also troubling is the claim by many that the course was between .3 and .5 miles long (

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kara Goucher Interview

We're going to go in really tired. We have a really hard long run today (Monday, two days ago), and we're asked to keep our mileage up at an all-time high through the week this week. So we're going in with really tired legs. We don't have great flights. We get in pretty late, like 11:30 at night Friday. So for us, it's really just a dress rehearsal of what it feels like to run the second half of a marathon tired. Certainly, none of us are going to run PRs, but it's more just practicing being tired, what that feels like. We're going to have our fluids set up. It's very different than I've ever approached a half-marathon before, because I've always gained a lot of confidence from running a good fast half, whereas that's really not the goal this time. The goal is to run a decent one extremely tired and know that when I'm rested, I can go twice the distance.

MY COMMENT: Goucher will be running a half in Miami this weekend along with Shalane Flanagan.

I'm not sure it's a good idea to go into a half marathon less than 100% just a few weeks away from the Olympic Trials- If she runs great, no problem, but a poor showing will do nothing for her confidence level, not to mention what it will do to her recovery. A hard 13 mile run while tired is easy to implement in training- for me a race is the place to evaluate whether or not your training is working- so you should be rested.

I'm a bit surprised with what she had to say about the difference in training programs between Salazar and Schumacher. Hopefully it works out.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gerry Lindgren Facebook Quotes

When you are in REALLY GOOD shape, do things nobody else would dare to try, like a 10-mile run with the first mile at 4-minutes. Sprint an ALL-OUT quarter mile midway through a workout. Challenge the limits!!!!!!

I did that THREE times in my running life. THREE different times I changed to a different reality and it was amazing. Only once in a race; Mt. Sac XC 4-mile race in 16:08. That one is still on the wall of records at Mt. Sac.

I averaged 25-35 miles a day for over 7-years to reach the top of the distance running world. Now people say doing such a thing is impossible. They say you will be hurt if you run that much. People BELIEVE them and so when they attempt to just run, they get hurt. KNOWING you will get hurt allows injury to happen. If you didn't know or instead if you KNEW you would not be hurt, you would not suffer injury running extreme miles.

When you keep track of milage you build a box around your running; You create a REALITY of how many miles you CAN run. You assume those miles will equate to something special. They won't! Think of miles as the "Wax on Wax off" of running. They are the price you have to pay for running well in the spring. Pay your dues; OVERPAY your dues; But don't count them. It defeats the purpose.

You can buy the book, ($90!) but why not just look him up on Facebook? Gerry is of very few Americans to take down Steve Prefontaine and remains one of the most incredible American distance runners ever!

As for Lindgren's potential: Following his '65 freshman year he ran
27:11.6 for 6M, finishing one-tenth behind Billy Mills; both shared the
World Record, when it was faster than the existing 10K WR based on
conversions. It was his only Collegiate Record at the distance. At 10K,
he twice set CRs, getting down to 28:40.2 in '67. At 3M, he set a pair of
CRs, with a best of 12:53.0 in '66. This mark was only 0.6 seconds short
of Ron Clarke's 3M WR, and at a time when both were faster than Kip Keino's
WR 13:24.2 for 5K, and inferior performance on conversion. The 12:53.0 was
faster than Prefontaine ever ran as a collegian, even considering
conversions. In the 5K, he set a pair of CRs, with a best of 13:33.8 in
'68. And throw a 3000 CR of 7:58.0 in '65 on top of that.
-Some notes on Gerry Lindgren John Molvar

Jim Ryun Talks About Altitude Training and Jack Daniels

Adjust Your Intervals!

Coming off a marathon 4 weeks ago, I am starting to get back into my normal training routine that includes 800 meter intervals on artificial turf. Prior to the marathon I could rip off 10 and keep them all under 3 min.

Yesterday, after 4 in 3:06, I realized that I am simply not ready to pick up where I left off. Rather than quitting, I took a long 4 min break, then ran another in a more comfortable 3:16, finishing off with 2 x 1 mile in 6:37 and 6:27.

In retrospect, if I'd started out with 3:15 I would have been fine, but as it is I salvaged a pretty decent workout. Friday I'll see if I can fit in some 400s at 90.

Sidenote: I am still focused on accumulating and tracking sub 7 min miles per week.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pre Races Nutrition- Buddy Edelen

"After a lunch of cheese sandwich, ice cream and chocolate, Buddy had steak for dinner on Friday evening, June 14, 1963. He washed dinner down with three pints of stout and slept easily for 8 1/2 hours. Awake at 7:30, his pulse was 42 beats per minute. He had four soft boiled eggs, four pieces of toast, a large cup of coffee with milk and finished breakfast with two bars of chocolate."

-A Cold Clear Day account of Buddy's eating routine prior to setting the marathon world best time of 2:14:28 on June 15, 1963.

For the Tokyo Olympics, Buddy had a couple of cases of stout shipped over so he didn't have to break from his normal routine. USA officials were not amused.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Buddy Edelen- One of America's Best Distance Runners You Never Heard Of

OK so maybe you have heard of Buddy Edelen, and if so, then you can appreciate what a special talent this guy was.

How can it be that an American who set the world best time in the marathon (In 1963 he ran 2:14:38) does not get mentioned among the greats? Edelen was also the first American under 30 minutes in the 10K and 2hr 20min in the marathon- two very significant distance running milestones.

Edelen won the 1960 US Olympic Marthon Trials in 90 plus degree heat by THREE MILES! Perhaps as a result of that race or not allowing a proper recovery, a bad case of sciatica prevented him from competing for a medal in Tokyo, yet he still managed to capture 6th.

Check out his training diary prior to his marathon world best- amazing! (from South Dakota Runner)

June 1: 3 sets of 10 x 110-120 yard sprints (30 in all), followed by a swim
June 2: 10-11 miles steady, followed by a swim
June 3: 22-23 miles in 2:03-2:04, followed by a swim
June 4: 3.5 miles; 7 x sprint series of 55-110-150-220; 3.5 miles
June 5: 10.5-11 miles in 54-55 minutes.
June 6: A.M.-6 miles hard; P.M.-4 sets of 5 x 440 in 64.8, with 220 to 440 jog recovery between: "Tremendous workout."
June 7: 20 x 440 in 70-71, with a 45-second jog recovery between
June 8: Club track meet: mile in 4:23; 880 in 2:07; 110 leg on sprint relay
June 9: 22-23 miles in 2:01, followed by swim: "I am less stiff after today's run than I have been in ages."
June 10: 4.5 miles from school, then swim
June 11: A.M.-4.5 miles to school fast; P.M.-25 x 440 in 67.4, with 60-second jog recovery
June 12: A.M.-4.5 miles to school fast; P.M.-11 miles in 55-56 minutes, then swim
June 13: No running
June 14: No running
June 15: Marathon

Note: June 6,7,8 is an incredible string of workouts. No hard easy program for Buddy.

Edelen's autobiography, A Cold Clear Day by Frank Murphy, is a captivating account of this great American runner.

Sadly, Edelen succumed to cancer in 1997 at age 59.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Top 10 Running Blogs

Mine did not make the list published by I admit that I've been lazy latey- I'll try to post more in the future! The Top 10 Running Blogs.

While you are there, the Top 10 Fitness Blogs are also worth a look.

2012 Olympic Marathon Trials Jan 14

Time is running (no pun) short on Olympic marathon hopefuls. Houston is hosting both men and women competing for the coveted top 3 spots on January 14 ( offers a complete list of qualifiers topped by Ryan Hall as the top male and Desiree Davila on the women's side.

More are expected to sneak in this weekend at the Las Vegas Half.

How do the Pros Warm-up? Lots of Drills and Dynamic Flexibility!

Elites know that a warm-up pre-race sends the message to the body that something's coming and it had better be ready. That's why their warm-ups are timed down to the minute for the start of the race. Here four top Americans share their warm-up strategies for their respective distances.


MY COMMENT: I should pay more attention but to be honest I rarely do any of this before running- maybe after if I have time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Is Your Warm-up Too Long?

I think most individuals warm-up because everyone else does and believe that it improves performance. It is likely impossible to find a competitive athlete that does not warm-up today. The shocking thing is – despite how common warm-up is prior to competition, there is very little scientific evidence to support its use. -Is Your Pre-Race Warm-Up More Harm Than Good?

MY COMMENT: I remember years ago in college jogging for 30 minutes followed by a series of strides before a 6 mile race! Clearly I wasn't doing myself much good and in fact probably raced slower as a result.

This particular study uses a 30 second cycling sprint as a performance test- not very similar to a distance race, however as coauthor Elias Tomaris explains "our study has demonstrated that it is possible to do too much warm-up for a sprint event. The connection between our study and longer distance events is unclear."

My suggestion is to experiment with varying length and intensity of warm-up prior to hard interval workouts and less important races and try getting a feel for how your body reacts. My gut tells me you don't need to be doing more than 800 meters of jogging followed by a few short 50 meter strides at race pace until you feel comfortable.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Can Skechers Help You Run Faster?

Meb indicates that running in Skechers has altered his foot strike, and that the shoes have allowed him to ditch his orthotics for the first time in many years.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

American Wins World Cross Country!

MY COMMENT: What a fantastic race by Craig Virgin, one of the best American runners ever, who remains the only American to win a world cross country title (Virgin won 2x- 1980 and 1981!).

Heat Exahusion!

Not the first time I've seen something like this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Greg McMillan Suggests Running "Tall" to Improve Form

The first lesson that our coach taught us was to "run tall." It's the easiest cue to use for runners and will clear up about 90 percent of form issues. It's a simple idea that when consistently implemented results in significant improvements in running form


MY COMMENT: He is right- many of us develop bad habits like hunching over (we get hours of that daily!) Check your form in the reflection next time you run by a window.

Greg McMillan is a distance coach and contributor to Running Times magazine. Check out his site for more great articles on running.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Race Ryan Hall!

This is great! Get a real appreciation of how fast Ryan's sub 5 marathon pace actually is!

Run Sprint Interval Training Improves Aerobic Performance but Not Maximal Cardiac Output

Abstract: Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise

Repeated maximal-intensity short-duration exercise (sprint interval training, SIT) can produce muscle adaptations similar to endurance training (ET) despite a much reduced training volume. However, most SIT data use cycling, and little is known about its effects on body composition or maximal cardiac output (Q˙max).

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess body composition, 2000-m run time trial, V˙O2max, and Q˙max effects of run SIT versus ET.

Methods: Men and women (n = 10 per group; mean ± SD: age = 24 ± 3 yr) trained three times per week for 6 wk with SIT, 30-s all-out run sprints (manually driven treadmill), four to six bouts per session, 4-min recovery per bout, versus ET, 65% V˙O2max for 30 to 60 min·d−1.

Results: Training improved (P < 0.05) body composition, 2000-m run time trial performance, and V˙O2max in both groups. Fat mass decreased 12.4% with SIT (mean ± SEM; 13.7 ± 1.6 to 12.0 ± 1.6 kg) and 5.8% with ET (13.9 ± 1.7 to 13.1 ± 1.6 kg). Lean mass increased 1% in both groups. Time trial performance improved 4.6% with SIT (−25.6 ± 8.1 s) and 5.9% with ET (−31.9 ± 6.3 s). V˙O2max increased 11.5% with SIT (46.8 ± 1.6 to 52.2 ± 2.0 mL·kg·−1·min−1) and 12.5% with ET (44.0 ± 2.0 to 49.5 ± 2.6 mL·kg−1·min−1). None of these improvements differed between groups. In contrast, Q˙max increased by 9.5% with ET only (22.2 ± 2.0 to 24.3 ± 1.6 L·min−1).

Conclusions: Despite a fraction of the time commitment, run SIT induces similar body composition, V˙O2max, and performance adaptations as ET, but with no effect on Q˙max. These data suggest that adaptations with ET are of central origin primarily, whereas those with SIT are more peripheral.

MY COMMENT: More evidence of the benefits attributed to high intensity low volume training. This particular study suggests the benefits of sprint interval training (SIT) are "more peripheral", meaning neuruomuscular, biomechanics or leg muscle adaptation was enhanced rather than improvement in oxygen delivery.

These subjects trained 3 x week, 4-6 repetitions of 30 sec sprints with 4 min rest. I think there may be a place for this in the training program of any runner looking outside the box for an edge to improve run time.

Marathon Consistency

Check out my split comparison betweeen March and November Seoul marathons, both run in the rain:

........ Mar.....Nov

10K: 40:57...42:57

20k: 41:34...42:05

30K: 42:09...42:38

40K: 44:32...43:33

42K: 2:59:27...3:01:20

While it appears that I went out too slow in November, clearly I did a much better avoiding that slowdown the last 10K. I still think the course was long, probably in the first 10K.

Friday, November 11, 2011

65 Men Age 50-59 Sub 3 Hours in Korea!

Check out my official place in the recent JoongAng Marathon (race number 11051 in the second box).

Overall: 272
Age Group: 75


10K: 42:57

20K: 1:25:28 (42:31)

30K: 2:08:06 (42:38)

40K: 2:51:39 (43:33)

42K: 3:01:20

Sixty five men in the 50-59 age group were under 3 hours, along with 137 in the 40-49 group. That's 202- not leaving too many more under 40 finishing in front.

My hunch is there are more than a handful of these guys that have run sub 3 hours in 5 decades.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Unconventional Marathon Taper

I knew early on last Sunday's marathon that I was feeling very good, and fortunately I was strong enough to maintain a (relatively) strong pace through the entire 26 miles.

Many factors go into a good marathon- long runs, tempo runs, intervals, diet, weather, hydration, etc. One often over-looked piece of the puzzle is a proper taper.

First of all, besides the obvious identify what are you trying to accomplish with your taper. You want to go into your marathon fully glycogen loaded, hydrated, and rested. You want an abundance of healthy, oxygen-rich red blood cells. You also do not want to taper down so much that your blood volume begins to drop or you begin to lose fitness.

I have no idea if what I did in the week prior to this marathon was optimal; all I know is it certainly did not hurt me and I felt great on race day.

Sun: 9.5 miles easy

Mon: 5 miles in 35 min (7 min pace)

Tues: 6 x 800s in 2:55, 2:53, 2:51, 2:54, 2:51, 2:49 with 2 min recovery

Wed: 5 miles at 7:20 pace feeling a little tired

Thurs: 3 miles in 18:44 pushing it pretty hard

Fri: 2 miles in 12:30 again pushing it

Sat: easy warm-up then 1 x 800 in 2:57 followed by 2 x 30 sec of hard running

Sun: race

See this post for some of the research behind this protocol.

The Measurement of Road Race Courses

Ever wonder how marathon courses are measured? Here is how they do it!

Measurement procedures outlined in this booklet are those prescribed by IAAF/AIMS for the measurement of IAAF and AIMS races. The IAAF will only recognise times on courses measured by this system for world records, qualifying times for Championships, etc. All races wishing to apply for an IAAF Road Race Label must have been measured by an approved A or B Measurer.
- The Measurement of Road Race Courses

Monday, November 7, 2011

3:01:20 at JoongAng Marathon in Seoul

I honestly had no idea going in how this marathon was going to turn out- I've had the worst hacking cough ever for 2 months now, making just about every training run an ordeal. It's only the last couple of weeks have I been able to ramp up any kind of intensity on 800 meter repeats, and as usual I don't have much in the training log over 13 miles.

On the positive side, I've done some solid work- the Pyeongtaek half marathon under 1:30 coughing all the way, a 1:30 half by myself in a workout, a sub 70 ten mile run, multiple sub 7 pace shorter runs of 5 miles or so, including one week with 40 total sub-7 min miles, and recently a 6 x 800 meter workout starting at 2:55 ending at 2:49 on turf.

JoongAng is a big race- 13,500 plus in the marathon, and according to my race number, I was assigned to section "D"- 4:40 or slower. I was told by American friends that they were starting each section seperately, and if I moved up I would be disqualified. There goes any shot at a sub-3, or so I thought. As soon as I saw the guys with the ropes clear out and the masses converging to the front, I realized that would not the case today.

I was able to move up as far as the 4:20 pacer when I heard the gun, and fortunately by the time I crossed the start I was free to run unimpeded. That's where the controversy begins.

International races, as everybody knows, use kilometers, and I prefer miles on my Garmin. I had a feeling that things weren't quite right with the kilometer splits, but I kept my focus primarily on ave pace with the GPS. Early on, I felt very, very comfortable and gained confidence as the miles clicked away. Why did those kilo splits seem so slow? I recall my 10K split at 43 min (that's 6:55), yet I definitely remember seeing 68 min at 10 miles on my GPS (6:48).

Back in my prime, the third 5 mile split was always the fastest in my best marathons, and that was what I had in mind today. I missed the 15 mile split, but do recall seeing 1:25 or 6 at 20K and even 2:08 at 30K, so at least I was not slowing down (now I realize that is only 6:53 pace).

My GPS told me I was still running a stong 6:47 mile pace at 20 miles, prompting me to believe that I was in good shape for a sub 3, despite mile after mile straight into an annnoying wind. As I pushed though those last few miles, I felt confused because on one hand my GPS was telling me I was on pace yet the kilometer splits were not adding up.

Sure enough, as I reached the stadium I had a hard time believing that the Garmin registered 26.2 miles and I was just approaching the Olympic Stadium entrance.

As good as I felt today, I'm pretty sure that I broke 3 hours, that my GPS was accurate, and this course is long. I stopped the GPS at 26.21 miles outside the stadium, while another American friend of mine stopped hers at the finish on 26.37 miles. Even THAT seemed short to me since my 3:01:20 would only translate to 6:54 pace.

The bottom line is that I am very happy to have run as well as I did, I can't run any better in the shape I am in now, but I am even more happy that I've already run a sub-3 this decade. The lesson here is while the GPS is a valuable tool and in fact may be more precise than the actual marathon kilometer marks, it does not determine your final pace or distance- unfortunately.

Sidenote: James Kwambai of Kenya won the race in 2:08:50. His personal best is 2:04:27. David Kemboi Kiyeng of Kenya finished second in 2:09:21. He won this race last year in 2:08:15 and has a PR of 2:06:30.

James Kwambai

Saturday, November 5, 2011

High School Cross Country-Inside Look at a Great Program: Stevens Point Area High School

We can celebrate the fact that we ran a good solid race and only 6 teams in our state finished ahead of us. All of our guys ran times close to their season average and our 16:50 team average was close to our season average of 16:47. In the 22 times we have run the state meet on this course we have only finished with a faster average 8 times. The state meet has been run here for the past 24 years and during that time 7 teams have won the meet with a slower average than the one we ran today.

I've been following progress of the Stevens Point Area Cross Country team all season at SPASH CC- coach Donn Behnke, a teammate of mine at UW-Stevens Point, has established somewhat of a dynasty with 9 Wisconsin state titles and 6 runner-up finishes. Check out the JV results, and you'll see how Donn is able to reload and stay competive year in and year out. The depth is amazing! The JV team has won every Wisconsin Valley Conference (WVC) meet since 1977! The varsity lost once- in 1987, and I think that is the year Donn did not coach.

This year SPASH finished 7th at the state meet- almost a disppointment by SPASH standards, but the future looks bright.

Only Madison West and LaCrosse Logan had better 6th runners than Hatton.

Only Madison West, Logan, and Marquette had better 7th runners than Hansen.

Arrowhead’s average time of 16:09 is the best average ever on this course. The previous record was set in 2008 when we averaged 16:23 for 1st, and Madison West 16:21 for 2nd.

Despite running an average time of 21 seconds faster Arrowhead scored only 11 fewer points than last year, an indication of the quality of the field and the fact that 8 of the top 10 runners were members of qualifying teams.

We are one of only 5 teams to return 6 runners for next season.

Of the 9 teams that return at least 5 runners we have the lowest point total (after removing seniors) with 103, Logan is next with 110, and then Waukesha South with 154.

Of the teams with 4 returners Logan has the best total with 64, we have 66.

Of the teams with 3 returners Arrowhead has the best total with 33, we have 36, Craig 39, and Logan 40.

Any high school coaches out there looking to see how it's done can start by surfing through SPASH CC

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Newton MV2 Zero Drop Shoes- 5.5 oz!

Check out the Newton MV2 here, and a review by runblogger. The MV2 is a "zero-drop" shoe, meaning the heel and forefoot are level.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Training Update- 40 Miles Run at 7 Min Pace or Under!

Sun: 3 miles x 5 in 20:47 ave with 3 min recovery, all on turf. 16 miles total

Mon: 7 miles easy

Tues: 8 x 800 on the track- felt good the last 4 but not really sure how fast other because the last 2 according to the GPS were 2:45 but seemed short. I think all were at 3 or under. 6 miles total

easy 5 miles

Thurs: 5 miles in 35 min pm 2 miles jogging with the kids

Fri: 3.5 miles in 24 min

13.1 miles in 90 min

MY COMMENT: This was an amazing week- Despite coughing fits even while running (especially when I stop) I feel decent running. Although I cheated by including 2 long fast days in one week, my total of 7 min miles or under was 40! Can't wait to get healthy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sick for 6 Weeks

This is definitely the longest stretch of sickness I've ever experienced. One week of apparent food poisoning, followed shortly by chronic coughing that shows no sign of improving. I got checked out and was told it was viral- most days I feel pretty good, but every once in a while kind of run down. The one constant has been the coughing- to the point where I sort of tweeked my back, rib or some combination last week. I cough on every run, sometimes to the point of initiating a gag reflex, and I've had to stop for minutes at a time almost every time out.

This has got to end, hopefully soon. I am in decent shape, but periodically question my sanity during long or hard workouts when I am forced to stop.

This is no fun.

Marathon Training- The Final 4 Weeks

It's also clear that the basic foundation of the last month should be intensity, not volume. Running lots of miles and fitting in last-second long runs would further stress already wounded muscles. It's better to let muscle fibres recover by gradually reducing their weekly dose of impact forces. Although at first glance the principle of running intensely during a recovery period seems peculiar (why wouldn't rapid running also stress the muscles?), it works well for several reasons. First, research has demonstrated that intensity is a much more potent producer of fitness than mileage. Since you are trying to boost your fitness dramatically in the last month, intensity is the more attractive option
-Marathon training: planning a 30-day running programme

MY COMMENT: Interesting!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What Should Runners Eat?

One analysis of the diet of seven elite male Kenyan runners found that they consumed extremely high amounts of carbohydrate—76.5 percent of calories—and very low amounts of fat (13.4 percent of calories) and protein (10.1 percent of calories).

MY COMMENT: William Sherman referenced in this article was a classmate of mine at Ball State so this must be true!

Many other intersting articles that I need to read at, including this one on a topic that has intrigued me forever- The Straight Dope on Salt

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Patrick Makau- New Marathon World Record!

“This has been the greatest day of my running life,” Makau said. “When I woke up, my body didn’t feel very good. As the race went on, I felt better.” At 15.5 miles, he said: “I felt I could break the world record. It’s a great thing to beat Haile, one of my heroes.” -NY Times

Wikipedia has a nice summary of Makau's running career, which includes a 2:04:48 at Rotterdam in 2010, a sub 59 min half marathon and 3rd at London last year.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Training Update Sept 18-24

Sun: 19 miles in more than 2.5 hours with stops- sick and coughing
Mon: 5 miles easy recovery
Tues: 3 miles in 18:54 on turf
Wed: 12 miles in 92 min easy
Thurs: 7 miles with 5 in 34:34: 8 miles on the bike
Fri: 7 miles with 5 in 32:12
Sat: 2 mile jog

55 miles total for the week

Can't believe that I got this many in while sick the entire week. Chronic cough still with me. Some good tempo work but I am just not up for intervals.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Long Run: 18 Miles in 2 hr 32

No intention of running hard on this one- saw some interesting new terrain. Maybe 75% of this run off road.

Counting the 1.5 miles with the dog before, just under a 20 mile day.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Air Force Marathon Winner Wears Minimalist Shoes

Dr. Mark Cucuzzella normally runs barefooted when he trains and raced in the Air Force Marathon wearing slipper-like Newton MV2 Zero Drop shoes, which have flat heels and provide just a very thin layer of support.

MY COMMENT: Don't try it without lots of training in those!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Workout Summary Sept 11-17

Sun: 2 mile warm-up, then 3 x 3 miles in 20:15, 20:05, and 19:24 (barefoot). 3 min rest. All run on turf, last one barefoot. 2 mile cool-down. 13 miles total- good workout

Mon: 6 mile jog, 7 mile bike with some good effort uphill repeats

Tues: 12 x 400 meters on the turf in 90-91. last 6 barefoot. < 60 sec recovery. Not trying for speed here- not feeling well and did that bike workout last night. 5 miles total with warmup and cooldown. PM bike 5 miles total and jog 2 miles with the kids. 7 miles total run for the day.

Wed: 7 miles in 50 minutes

Thurs: 12 miles in just under 8 min pace

Fri: 5 miles, all but .25 under 7 min pace

Sat: no run- sick with a hacking cough

50 miles run for the week. Ok I had some food poisoning going on for nearly a week, followed by a hacking cough that I still can't shake. Enough already.

I did squeeze in a short triathlon last Sat- still not feeling well but did ok considering my lack of swim bike training. I did the 400 meter swim in approx. 8:20s and was through transition and on the bike in 10 flat. I have not pushed the bike in a while but averaged slightly over 19 mph, then ran the 3 mile in 18:48 for 8th place, finishing in 1 hr 10:56. Last year I had a much better bike (1 hr 08 min finish) and wasn't sick.

Galen Rupp- 26:48!


25-year-old Galen Rupp shattered the American record for 10,000 meters by running 26:48.00 on Friday night in Brussels, eclipsing the 26:59.60 that Chris Solinsky set last year on May 1st. In getting the AR, Rupp finished third in the race, which was won by Kenenisa Bekele in a 2011 world-leading time of 26:43.16.

Training partner and 5K world champ Mo Farah has been saying all along Rupp is in this kind of shape (Farah ran 26:46 in June at the Prefontaine classic). Video highlight here, although I can't watch it in Korea- bummer!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Morton's Toe and What To Do About It

Is your second toe longer than your big one?

I haven't thought about Morton's Toe for years until I stumbled onto this. According to Dr. Burton Schuler in his book titled Why You Really Hurt: It All Starts in the Foot, Mortons Toe can cause the following problems; back pain, hip pain, knee pain, leg pain, plantar fasciitis, calf pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, corns and calluses, bunions, fallen arches, ankle pain, heel pain, arch pain, weak ankles, hammer toes, tired feet (all over), neuromas, burning feet, shooting pains in the toes, stress and march fractures, night cramps (restless leg syndrome), temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ), diabetic foot ulcers."

The good news is Schuler claims he helps patients treat these conditions by simply taping a pad under the bone just under your big toe. Check out his website for additional information on common foot ailments.

It's worth a try, but I am also very intrigued by what other gems of information you might discover in this book.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Frank Shorter's Favorite Interval Workouts

Frank Shorter leads and wins 3 mile race, June 26, 1970, Steve Prefontaine far left places 5th, national AAU championships, Bakersfield, CA, Sports Illustrated photo, Jul 6 1970.

According to Olympic Gold, A Runner's Life and Times by Frank Shorter, speedwork or interval training was one secret to his success.

His two favorites sessions seem to be 4 x 3/4 mile with a relatively long 660 yard recovery jog (at sea level he shortened the recovery to 1/4 mile) on Tuesdays, and 10 x 400 on Thursdays with a 220-yard jog for recovery.

You would think a marathoner would include more longer, grinding intervals like the Yasso 800s, but apparently he thrived on the high intensity work. Remember, Shorter was fast enough to place 5th in the 10,000 meters just days prior to winning the marathon in 1972 in Munich and more than once gave Prefontaine all he could handle at shorter distances.

Shorter ran his intervals hard from the first repeat; there was no easing into a hard session, or saving himself for the last 400. His recovery between each repeat was short and quick. Shorter would finish his interval sessions exhausted, feeling like he could not do another repeat. -from an earlier post on Shorter and intervals here

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crazy Long Interval Workouts

I'm staying at Camp Carroll , a small Army post near Daegu. It's hot, humid, and I don't know the area. How do I get in some quality workouts, including a desparately needed long run?

Carroll happens to have a narrow track circling the athletic field, that according to my Garmin, measures 20 meters or so longer than 400 meters.

Last week I went a little crazy and did 20 x 400 in 90-91 sec with 30 sec rest (3 min break after 10). I ran the last 6 barefoot on the turf. The very next day I warmed up and strangely felt very good. Back at the track I did 5 x 1 mile in 6:13, 6:08, 6:07, 6:07, with number 5 barefoot in 6:03 on the turf, each followed by 2 min rest.

I topped both workouts yesterday, running 9 x 2 miles in a total running time of 2:10(I stopped the watch during the rest periods), or 7:13 per mile, all on turf with the last one barefoot. After a very slow first 2, I knocked off the next 5-6 under 7 min pace, but unfortunatly was not looking at anything but overall average pace. While all long runs are hard, this 18 miles felt relatively easy- probably due to a combination of the 2 min breaks I took between each, plenty of water taken each time, and the softer surface. Even more amazing is this morning 6 miles at 7:30 pace felt very easy!

I've been struggling with long runs up to 15 miles, so am intrigued by building on this workout, either by running 3 mile reps, shortening the break to 1 minute, or keeping everything the same to work on a faster average pace.

While running in circles for 2 hours may seem mentally challenging, I found it easy knowing I had a break coming every 14-15 minutes. I'll admit, in all my years of running, I've never done anything like it.

Weekly Training Update Aug 28

Sun: 14 miles, 1:33 run time
Mon: 7 miles bike, pm 12 x 50 meter swim
Tues: 20 x 400 m in 90-91 with 30 sec rest on turf, 3 min break in the middle. Last 6 reps barefoot 7 miles total. Felt good. pm 5 mile spin bike
Wed: 5 x 1 mile in 6:13, 6:08, 6:07, 6:07, last one 6:03 on turf. 2 min recovery. Rarely do I consider back to back interval workouts like this. Felt great though. 700 meter swimming and 9 miles on the spin bike
Thurs: 5 mile easy run, pm 6 mile bike
Fri: 9.5 mile run, pm 1.5 mile run
Sat: 4 mile run

48 miles total run, one good medium long run, and 2 great long interval workouts

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Diet of an Olympic Marathon Champion

" ..I don't eat a lot, I don't drink a lot, and I don't eat much junk food. I'm conservative when it comes to nutrition. I don't subscribe to any exotic theories; I don't even eat that much when it comes to carbohydrates. I try to maintain a well-balanced diet I enjoy an occasional snack and a beer. That's it. "

Pre passes Frank Shorter 1st lap of 3 mi race June 8, 1974. Both best Gerry Lindgren's 1966 US Record. Pre wins 12min 51.4sec, Shorter 12min 51.9sec

-quote from Olympic Gold- A Runner's Life and Times by Frank Shorter with Marc Bloom.

I've finally got my hands on a copy of this book I've been wanting to read for years. Published in 1984, Frank Shorter provides insight into his entire running career, leaving us with a final attempt to qualify in the 10,000 in Los Angeles. I'm somewhat disappointed that he did not go into more detail on workouts, tapering, and more juicy stories (I've heard rumors or read somewhere that Shorter drank a liter of beer the night before his Olympic victory- no confirmation in this book).

I saw Shorter a few years ago in Boulder when I competed in the US Nationals Cross Country championships in the masters race. Sadly, he looked very stiff, but according to this article he still gets in an hour a day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Initial Thoughts on Deagu

First off- that 16 oz beer cost me only 2500 won- not much over $2! The problem was, they were selling out so fast you had to look hard for one that was even cool. Eventually they just started storing them in freezers with the ice cream.

Second- thinking I was going to eat something at the track, I put off dinner, and I won't be making that mistake again. I ended up with some kind of dried fish and a bag of chips for dinner. What I would have given for some Miller Park food!

Third- getting there was simple- they had shuttle busses ready at Dongdaegu station that took us right to the track. Getting home was another story- after waiting in a non-moving bus line I took off decided to join a crowd of spectators leaving on foot- presumably to the nearest subway station. I presumed correct and got back to Dongdaegu with about 30 min to spare prior the last train departing to Waegwan. I finally got back to my hotel right around midnight.

Tonite the meet goes even later, so I am thinking I might get a head start and skip the women's 100 meter, check the bus line, or just jog the 1.5 miles or so to the subway. Hope I make it.

Finally, I am undecided if Usain Bolt is good for the sport or not. No question he was the reason many were there last night (I spoke to one Korean guy in line that took the KTX fast train down from Seoul and was heading back right after) but his antics were starting to get a little over the top for me. I admit seeing him false start and get dq'd was something that I thought was just what the doctor ordered to tone down his act. We'll see if he takes it out on the 200 meter guys.

The 10K went about as expected in a world championship- nobody wants to take it out resulting in a slow early pace with a mad dash at the end. Poor Galen Rupp never had a chance.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Off to Daegu and the Cycling Debate

I am heading down to Daegu to watch some of the track and field world championships shortly. Started the day with a hard 13.1 mile run in 1 hr 33 min.

I am still debating the benefits of cycling during hard training. I don't do long rides, but over the last 2 days I have covered 20 miles, some of it pretty high intensity. I'm pretty sure those miles made today's run more difficult, but is that good or bad? What's more effective, running 1:33 on tired legs or 1:28 on fresh ones?

Almost half of today's run was on dirt and stones, not very fast, so I am optimistic that I can knock this time down further (last week I did 1 hr 36).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Start Young! Youth Triathlon Camp on Humphreys

Day I- swimming and Transition 1. This will be fun to see the kids put it all together on race day this Saturday.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

AFX Ankle Foot Maximizer

Check out this AFX Ankle Foot maXimizer designed to strengthen muscles below the knee-something every runner could possibly benefit from. I've watched the videos and agree the traditional approaches to strengthening those tissues (bands, curling a towel with your toes, etc.) are inferior to this device) for preventing or treating common running injuries such as shin splints or plantar fascitis.

Should You Spend More on Running Shoes?

I stumbled onto this video, of all places, on the yahoo finance page Should You Save or Splurge on Running Shoes?

Bottom line is they recommend that you splurge, and I could not disagree more. For the most part, I've been able to stick to the $50 or less for running shoes rule for as long as I can remember, with few exceptions. I routinely look for shoes marked clearance, discount, discountinued, 20% or more off, sale, you name it.

My guess is it's more important for you to run more off-road if you want to reduce injury.

Check out one of my posts from 2009 Why Expensive Running Shoes May Be a Waste of Money.

sub 7 min miles

Sun: 15 miles in 2 hours
Mon: 10 mile bike, pm 500 meter swim in 10:12
Tues: 2 x 2 mile repeats on the turf with 5 min rest. 11:53 and 11:29. Always run faster on "the magic carpet" pm: 6 miles on the bike
Wed: 9.5 mile run- got soaked in the rain. pm 500 swim in 10:03
Thurs: 8 mile run pm 6 mile bike
Fri: 4 mile tempo in 27 min felt comfortable. pm swim 500 meters in 10:12. slow
Sat: 13.1 miles in 1 hr 39. last 2 miles under 7 per mile. Negative split ave about 7:15 per mile coming back.
Sun: 18.5 mile bike, 500 swim in 10:03.

Miles run = 54 miles
Miles run under 7 per mile= 10

I am feeling pretty good about where I am at right now- I felt a little discomfort in my achilles on that Sat long run so cut it short and will be careful - heel lifts in my walking around shoes, eccentric calf work, and stretching before running. Next race is the Pyeongtaek Half Marathon Oct 2. Can't wait!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Day After Long Runs

Yes, I probably could have run today after a 15 miler yesterday. My question is, will it help me race faster 2 months from now?

I am banking on the answer being no, but I guess that depends on how much damage my leg muscle fibers have endured and the length of time needed to recover. There is a time and place for overstepping the boundaries of fatigue, but the day following your longest run of the week is probably the best time to lay low or do something else. Intuitively, I like to use 2 hours as a threshold for not running the next day, but that doesn't mean I don't cross train. I feel surprisingly good on the bike the day after a long run!

It's a constant dilema among serious runners- what's more important- a higher weekly mileage total or sacrficing some easy miles in hopes of turning in an extra quality workout? Normally, if I can bounce back with a good session on Tuesday following a Sunday long run, I think I've made the correct decision.

Check out Rethinking Junk Miles- A Fresh Look at Recovery Runs by Matt Fitzgerald

Weekly Update- Miles or Quality?

Sun: 15 miles slow- just working on completing the distance.
Mon: Bike 10 miles, swim 10 x 100 meters
Tues: 7 x 800 meters on turf, 60 sec recovery. All 2:56 or faster. Great workout!
Wed: 9 miles easy, pm 10 mile bike
Thurs: 5 miles easy, 400 meter swim
Fri: 3 miles in 19 flat- really struggled to maintain 6:20 pace
Sat: 4 miles in 25:12- better than Fri but still found it hard the last mile (6:18/mile)

Total= only 42 miles. 9.5 miles under 7 min pace.

My weekly total is too low, and I'm thinking it may be a better approach to just target one week a month to really nail a high number of sub 7 min miles. Increasing weekly distance while trying to run more quality runs at the same time isn't going to work. I'm encouraged by the Tuesday workout, but Fri and Sat felt way too hard.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ten Tips to Revitalize Your Long Runs

Like it or not, long runs are a crucial piece of any marathon training program. Guilty of neglecting the long one (my definition of long is anything over 2 hours or 14 miles)for some time now, it's time to see if I can get back into it. Here are some of the principles I am putting to work.

1. Run a new route. I find tackling the same route week after week mentally draining, so I've decided to seek out some new places to run. What a difference when you don't really know where you are going to run or maybe for how long! The danger is getting caught running considerably longer than you plan, which may actually be a good thing.

2. If you can, try to put together 4-5 different long run options, but keep one as sort of a time trial course that you periodically can go back to and test your fitness.

3. Find some off-road. If you are running your long ones on roads, see if you can include some off-road miles. I think it helps recovery.

4. Slow down and forget pace, especially in the dead of summer and winter. If it's been a while since your last 2 hour run, keep the pace slow enough so you still feel ok by the time you hit 10 miles. Today I even went so far as to plan one minute walks every 10 minutes of running (yes-Galloway!). There is something to be said for time rather than distance when quantifying the value of your workouts.

5. Take breaks. It's foolish to think that you diminish the effects of a long run by taking a 5 minute break. I routinely take breaks this long, especially to cool down in hot weather.

6. Leave early. In the summer heat, get out the door early.

7. Extra water. Staying hydrated is crucial. Weigh yourself before and after to make sure you are not losing more than 2% of your body weight. Carry water and/or money.

8. Put in some miles the day before. I'm not ready for 20 miles in one day, but I can do that much on consecutive days. Yesterday I put in a comfortable 11 miles, followed by 15 today. Once my fitness level improves I'll drop the miles on that first day and try to make that second day count.

9. If you are training for a marathon, allow yourself at least 3 months to prepare if you currently have a decent base and can run up to 10 miles. If not, then give yourself 6 months to build up.

10. Run with somebody. I run alone 99% of the time, mainly because I like the convenience of running from home, running my own pace, and not being committed to being someplace at a specific time. However, if you are having trouble psyching yourself to get out the door, it's an option to consider.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Training Update: Dave's Workout Log

After a long spell struggling with a hamstring issue, I am finally able to begin the road back to racing. I'm taking a page out of my Seoul Marathon build-up and starting to count sub 7 min miles.

Sun: 10 miles with 4 at 7 min pace coming back
Mon: rest day- legs are trashed
Tues: 2 x 2 miles in 13:16 and 13:11..8 miles for the day
Wed: 6 x 800 in 3:10, 50 sec recovery..5 miles for the day
Thurs: 8 miles total with 3 at 6:53 pace..
Fri: rest day- legs are trashed- 2 mile jog
Sat: 3 miles in 18:02.. 4 miles total
Sun: 14 miles in 2 hours

Total miles run= 51 with a few light bike workouts and some swimming
17 miles at 7 min pace or under

I'm tracking everything on
but I'll try to post a weekly summary.

Minimalist Training Shoe Alternatives

Call me old school, but I don't see why you can't run "minimalist" by removing the insole of an already lightweight racing flat. Back in my day the popular shoe of choice was the Onitzuka Tiger, shoe that offered no protection other than a thin rubber sole. We had to run light on our feet!

Take a look at some of the lastest 2011 racing flats at

If you want to really go outside the box, , I done some occasional slow jogging in an old pair of $15 Kodomo Aquarius sandals I picked up at a Big 5 store (I added a thin innersole from another pair of running shoes). Unfortunately, from what I gather Croc's filed a patent infringement claim and they may have been discontinued.

I love these sandals and wish I could get another pair.

Other options- go to
and check out their Huarache Sandal kit or Luna Sandals designed by Barefoot Ted. is another company I am not familiar with but looks interesting.

For more minimalist options, check out

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Adding Salt Before May Improve Running in the Heat

Currently in the testing phase at Sherbrooke, Goulet says, sodium-induced hyperhydration--essentially, drinking lightly salted water in the several hours preceding hot weather exercise--is clearly showing that it produces as good if not better results than glycerol-induced hyperhydration. The biggest trick, Goulet concedes, is making the substance palatable. For his trials, Goulet had the salt water ( just over ¼ teaspoon of table salt per cup) blended with Crystal Light and served at roughly 35 degrees, but adds, "You have to find what works best for you."

In case you missed it, check out
Is Chicken Noodle Soup Better Than Sports Drink? that I posted back in Nov 2009.

Three Korean Seasoning Pastes - Doenjang, Gochujang, Ssamjang

Occasionally I mix up some vegetables, seaweed, kidney beans, and chicken with miso paste and hot water in the morning before running.

Can Ed Whitlock Break 3 Hours at 80?

Last April 80 year old Ed Whitlock ran 3:25:43 in the Rotterdam Marathon. In July he ran 5K in 21:32 and 10K in 42:39 at the World Championships for Masters Track and Field in Sacramento. In October he'll be gunning for another age group world record in the Toronto Marathon.

Using the the McMillan Running Calculator, Ed's 10k time predicts a 3:20 marathon finish. My guess is a sub-3 is probably out of reach, but Ed will run somewhere in the 3:15 range.

Ed Whitlock's Five Rules for Marathon Running

5. Personalize your training.

4. Take each run in stride.

3. Run alone.

2. Don't overthink stuff.

1. Enjoy your finish lines.

For more go to Ed Whitlock's still going at 80

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What's Your Average Training Pace?

I'm re-reading some of my old running books, including The Silence of Great Distance, a classic historical account of women's running in the 1980s featuring former University of Wisconsin athlete Stephanie Herbst.

In the book Murphy covers the career of Mary Decker, who may have been the most talented American-born middle-long distance runner ever.

-1972 Set an age-group world record in the 800-meter race
-1972 Won an international race in the 800-meters
-1973 Set three world records: the outdoor 800-meter, the indoor 880 yards, and the indoor 1,000 yards
-1973 Ranked first in the United States and fourth in the world in the 800-meter race
-1974 Set a U.S. high school record of 2:02.29 in the 800-meter run
-1979 Gold medal in the 1500-meter race at the Pan American Games
-1980 Set a world record in the mile, with a time of 4:17.55, becoming the first woman to break the 4:20 barrier
-1982 Set seven world records
-1982 Won Sullivan Award for best amateur athlete
-1982 Became first woman to win the Jesse Owens award, presented annually to the best American track and field athlete
-1982 Named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year
-1983 Becomes first woman to run 880 yards in less than two minutes
-1983 Gold medals in 1,500 meter and 3,000 meter races at the inaugural World Track and Field Championships
-1983 Named Sports Illustrated's 1983 Sportsman of the Year
-1984 Held American record at every distance between 800 and 10,000 meters
-1985 Set a world record in the mile
-1985 Set a world record in the indoor 2,000-meter race
-1985 Named Sportswoman of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee
-1997 Set a new record in the 1,500-meter event in masters competition


Nobody had more trouble staying healthy than Decker, who reportedly went under the knife on more than 30 different occasions! In 1981, running under coach Dick Brown, to avoid injury Decker did very little interval training for a world class 800/1500/3000 meter runner, but according to Murphy, she averaged as low as 5:34 per mile in one weekly training cycle!

am 3 miles
pm 5.25 miles in 31:55

am 4.25 miles in 24:24
pm 5:25 miles in 37:19

am 3 miles in 18:26
pm 6 miles in 36:40

am 3 miles in 19:11
pm 10 miles in 59:40

pm 5 miles in 31:00

am 4 miles in 26:11
pm 3 x 200 in 35,34,34, then 2 x 400 in 69,68, then 1 x600 in 1:48, then back down with 2 x 400s and 3 x 200s. 7.25 miles total

pm 6 miles in 40:47

MY COMMENT: Amazing detail, long before runners were strapping on their GPS and downloading workouts. Initially I didn't like this idea, thinking it may discourage the use of slow recovery days. But in reality, what it does, if you want to lower your average, is force you to keep your recovery runs very short!

Soft Tissue Injury and Scar Tissue


Since scar tissue heals three dimensionally, it does not fall into place like a brick. Instead, scar tissue reaches in the direction of the fascia and the neighbouring muscle sheaths, binding these tissues together. For example, when a runner strains a hamstring, the sheath tear heals and binds to neighbouring muscle sheath. The hamstring muscle group still functions to flex the knee, yet the athlete complains of dull ache or pain in the posterior thigh. The reason may be that independent movement has been lost and the area of scar tissue has limited the extensibility of the myotendinal unit. Muscles do function and limbs do move, but the normal gliding that occurs between neighbouring tissues is lost. As a result, there is a constant low-grade inflammatory process at the site of the decreased mobility. Scar tissue has a poor blood supply and is not as strong or resilient as the primary tissue it replaces. This area will likely be a site of re-injury secondary to the transition zone of normal tissue to scar tissue.

MY COMMENT: One of my former neighbors when I lived in Florida was former U. of Oregon runner Bob Hensley, a physical therapist by trade who happens to be one of a handful of runners who have qualified for the Olympic Trials Marathon FIVE times. I'll never forget how he always stressed the use of deep, painful cross friction massage on soft tissue strains and tendinitis.

I've been battling what seemed like a minor hamstring issue for months now! I've been symptom free than had it flare up at least 6 times. Now I've got the pain localized with finger tip palpitation and have started self-cross friction massage as deep as I can go to prevent this. I'm also using electrical stimulation and yes, trying not to run.

Get Ready to Rumble- Roll!

I'm ordering a Rumble Roller today! If you are not familiar with foam roller therapy, this looks like it's going to be painful at first, so I recommend some initial work with a conventional roller.

Another option is the hollow Grid , that is more expensive than the regular foam but is more portable and should be more durable.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mo Farah's Breakthrough Secrets Revealed!

Mo Farah Running

Salazar cites three reasons for Farah’s improvement: greater body strength from weights sessions, a better structure to his workouts and, above all, a step-change in the pace of his training runs.

“He used to run all his mileage very slowly,” Salazar said. “His average pace was probably 6min 45sec per mile. Now the average pace that he and Galen run is about 5-45, and that’s 17 to 20 miles a day. They sometimes do 20 miles and go 5-30 pace, and that isn’t a particularly hard day.”
-The Telegraph

MY COMMENTS: Mo Farah is a British athlete that moved to Portland to train under Alberto Salazar- since the move he won the New York City Half Marathon in 60:23 and the Prefontaine Classic 10,000 in 26:46. Tomorrow he races a 5,000
in Birmingham. (Check out for live coverage- I don't think it's available for viewing in Korea- bummer!)

How Long Before The Benefits of a Workout Are Felt?

"...most athletes will see a benefit from an individual workout 10-14 days after it is completed." -Joe Rubio, a two-time U.S. Olympic trials marathon qualifier and head coach of the ASICS Aggies

Good article in Running Times How Long Does it Take to Benefit From a Hard Workout? that discusses some of the other factors that may be involved.

The experts agree that your last VO2 max workout (something like 5 x 1000 meters at 5K pace)should be eight to 10 days prior to an important race.

Don't Ignore the Long Run!

The biggest difference for me was the long run. That was probably the biggest deal. Maybe I'm a great elevation trainer and it didn't translate to sea level (at Oregon) for me. There are some coaches that are interval-based coaches and you're on the track and you're working out three or four times a week. I don't consider our (Colorado's) program much like that. But for me, it was really focusing on a significant long run for me. For me, that's a huge factor. We had long runs with (OTC) but there wasn't a lot of emphasis put on it. That was definitely one big difference. I'm sure there are a lot of little differences in the programs that added up to one big thing, but that was the most significant thing for me.

-Billy Nelson, who will represent the US at the World Championships in the steeplechase, commenting on two different types of training. After moving to Oregon and not seeing any progress in my racing or fitness, he packed up and moved back to Boulder. Looks like he made the right decision.

Read the complete interview at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Alternative to Yasso 800s

Anybody that has run with me in the last 10 years knows that I am a firm believer in 800 meter repeats for any distance 5K and beyond. Yasso 800s, in case you did not know, are named after Bart Yasso, who discovered that if he could run 10 x 800 in 3 minutes, with 3 minutes recovery, he was in 3 hour marathon shape. If he could do them in 2:30, with 2:30 rest, then he was in 2:30 marathon shape (Yasso 800s in Runners World).

My only beef with Mr. Yasso is the length of recovery. When I'm fit, I can do the 10 x 800s with 60-75 seconds recovery. Three minutes to recover from a 3 minute 800 is too long, even when you are doing 10.

In preparing for the Seoul Marathon last March, I remember waking up the week before the race thinking I needed a good quality workout, but didn't even feel like running!

Knowing I had to do something, I headed over to the 5 lap per mile track on post and decided to measure off 400 meters on the artificial turf with the GPS. Running just inside the track, I started at turn 4 and found the finish line right where it should be, about 100 meters in front of the start.

With the tight turns, I was managing only 92-93 seconds per 400. Certainly nothing to brag about, but remember I didn't even feel like running in the first place. For recovery, I jogged the 100 meters back to the start, and after 10 I noticed on the GPS that my average time was right at 7 minutes per mile. That sounded better than 92-93.

Instead of running the 400s faster, what I tried to do was bring down the average pace by increasing the speed of the 100 meter recovery jogs. For some reason that idea really clicked, and I was able to finish off the next 10 with a final average time of 6:45 per mile, totalling 6.5 miles.

I'm still a fan of Yasso 800s, but I will definitely revisit this workout when preparing for my next big race.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Exercise Your Breathing Muscles to Run Faster?

According to Matt Fitzgerald, "Your respiratory muscles may also become tired. And to the degree that these muscles fatigue first, it is their fatigue—not that of your legs—that limits your performance. In fact, as your respiratory muscles begin to fatigue, your nervous system will redirect oxygen from the muscles of your limbs to those of your diaphragm to keep them going. Thus, during running your legs may fatigue because your respiratory muscles have begun to fatigue first—and to prevent these muscles from fatiguing to a dangerous extent."   -How Fit Are Your Breathing Muscles

is probably the industry leader, although I did find a few less expensive options.  I believe there may be something to this- purely subjective but I believe swim intervals helped my breathing- of course those also involve high heart rate, anaerobic metabolism, exhausted muscles, and the rest. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cooling Collars Help in the Heat!

Cooling the surface of the neck improves time-trial performance in a hot environment without altering physiological or neuroendocrinological responsesThe maintenance of a lower neck temperature via the replacement of a CC has no additional benefit to an acute cooling intervention.

-Neck Cooling And Running Performance In The Heat: Single Versus Repeated Application.

MY COMMENT:  I'm not familiar with neck cooling devices but check out  Note that cooling the neck has no effect on core temperature or other variables. 

Dot McMahan- 2:31:48

McMahan ran the second half of Grandma's more than a minute faster than the first half, and finished in 2:31:48, a 5:48 pace over the 26.2 miles.

A conference champion in the 800 meters at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, McMahan is now looking to build the speed she needs to compete with the best in the world.  -Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

MY COMMENT:  McMahan, a converted middle distance athlete, runs for Hansens Brooks Distance Project. Another example of a young American female to keep an eye on for the next Olympic Trials (8th in 2008)

Runners World Interview here.

Extra Sleep May Be a Good Idea Before Race Day

Speed during 282-foot sprints improved significantly from 16.2 seconds at baseline to 15.5 seconds after sleep extension, and shooting accuracy increased significantly by nine percent on both free throws and three-point field goals. Subjects also reported improved overall ratings of physical and mental well-being during practices and games   -Athletic performance improves with extended sleep: Stanford study’s new evidence

Big girl bed

MY COMMENT:  How many times have you gone into a race with less than optimal sleep?  This basketball study suggests improved athletic performance when players averaged 8.5 hours of sleep compared to <7 hours at baseline. 

Authors suggest:

Prioritize sleep as a part of your regular training regimen.

* Extend nightly sleep for several weeks to reduce your sleep debt before competition.

* Maintain a low sleep debt by obtaining a sufficient amount of nightly sleep (seven to nine hours for adults, nine or more hours for teens and young adults).

* Keep a regular sleep-wake schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same times every day.

* Take brief 20-30 minute naps to obtain additional sleep during the day, especially if drowsy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brain Rhythm Associated With Learning Also Linked to Running Speed

my brains - let me show you them

Rhythms in the brain that are associated with learning become stronger as the body moves faster, UCLA neurophysicists report in a new study.

The experiment was performed by measuring electrical signals from hundreds of neurons using microwires 20 times thinner than a human hair, Mehta said. Nearly a hundred gigabytes of data was collected every day, enough to fill the Library of Congress every two months.

Analysis of this vast and complex data yielded an unexpected result: The gamma rhythm, a fast signal that occurs while concentrating or learning, gradually grew stronger as the mice moved faster.

MY COMMENT: OK let me try to get this one straight. "This research provides an interesting link between the world of learning and the world of speed".

Does this mean we learn faster during a hard interval sessions? I just wonder if those mice could learn any faster while listening to an iPod when they run.

Should Protein Be Included in Carb-Based Sports Supplements- or Not?

Interesting debate on the need for protein during exercise in this month's Medicine & Science in Sport and Exercise.

There is presently no convincing scientific support for the contention that protein be included in CHO-based sports supplements -James Betts


Several studies have investigated the effect of consuming protein with CHO compared with CHO only during prolonged exercise. Ivy et al. (13) reported a 36% improvement in time to fatigue after 3 h of variable-intensity cycling when cyclists ingested a mixture of CHO and protein compared with a matched quantity of CHO. -Emma Stevenson

Who is right? Read the entire debate here. I think we can safely say that a protein/carb mix is an effective recovery drink, however there isn't much to support that protein taken during activity will enhance performance. That does not mean it won't help speed up recovery and ultimately allow the athlete to perform at a higher level-

"although the benefits of consuming a CHO-protein mixture during exercise on immediate performance are still uncertain, this nutritional strategy can have a positive effect on the recovery process and therefore may improve exercise performance on subsequent days."

Foods That Reduce Belly Fat!

The study found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years

MY COMMENT: Belly fat seems to increase as we get older, even some of us who continue to train hard as masters. Foods high in soluble fiber include

Cooked Kidney Beans
Cooked Lentils
Raw Oat Bran
Medium Pear (with the skin)
Citrus Fruits
Chick Peas
Soy Beans
Lima Beans
Dried Peas
Flax Seed
Red Currants
Concord grapes
Sour plums
Sesame seeds

Monday, June 27, 2011

Alana Hadley!

Alana Hadley is a 14 year old girl that loves to run and race! She's been in Running Times and has her own website so you can see what's she's up to.

At just 14, Alana has a list of impressive PRs including a 36:13 10k, 17:06 5k, and 5:06 for 1600 meters. Too bad she's only in middle school, still too young to race the high school girls!

Alana's father happens to coach distance running and has some detailed training plans for fictional runners at maximumperformancerunning. I'm always on the lookout for new information.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

seoul marathon

Now, when I look at a week I don’t see the necessity for mileage, I see the necessity for hard, quality workouts followed by adequate recovery and even making sure to over-recovering (if there is such a thing). -Ryan Hall

MY COMMENT: Hard to argue with a guy that recently ran sub 2hr 05 min. I understand Hall is even taking days off now following hard or long workouts.

I took the quality approach in preparing to run the Seoul Marathon in March, setting a goal of running 26 sub 7 min miles in a week. I was only able to hit 25 twice using a mix of tempo and long intervals in the dead of winter, but it definitely paid off. But prior to getting into that I did a stretch of just miles (6-8 weeks) to prepare.

It was former Olympic champ and PhD Exercise Physiologist Peter Snell who perhaps summed it up best when he said "The ideal training is the maximum amount of race related pace running you can do without overtraining".

Monday, June 13, 2011

Knock a Minute off Your 5K!

According to a recently published study "runners who did these moves four times a week shaved a minute off their 5K times in six weeks."

MY COMMENT: Good stuff but the author provides no reference. Where is this published?

Non-Alcholic Beer Good for Runners!

Furthermore it was shown that non-alcoholic wheat beer containing polyphenols has a positive, health promoting effect on the human body: inflammation parameters in the blood were significantly reduced, and there was a lower frequency of infection with milder symptoms.
-Non-Alcoholic Wheat Beer Boosts Athletes' Health


MY COMMENT: What about real beer?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lukas Verzbicas - 3:59.72!

Lukas Verzbicas became the 5th American high school runner to break the magical 4 min mile (Verzbicas makes history at adidas Grand Prix). Other members of this exclusive club include:

Jim Ryun- 1964
Tim Danielson-1966
Marty Liquori-1967
Alan Webb-2001


Verzbicas will run for Oregon this fall.

NCAA 800 Meter Finals

Great race!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of walking and running: a placebo-controlled study

These results indicate that the positive effects of 6 days of BR supplementation on the physiological responses to exercise can be ascribed to the high NO3− content per se. -J of Applied Physiology, May, 2011

MY COMMENT: These UK researchers were testing the theory that nitrate is indeed the component in beetroot juice responsible for enhancing performance (see Beetroot Juice Improves Performance). It does appear that beetroot juice does increase nitrate levels - Relative to PL (placebo), BR elevated plasma NO2− concentration (183 ± 119 vs. 373 ± 211 nM, P < 0.05) and reduced systolic blood pressure (129 ± 9 vs. 124 ± 10 mmHg, P < 0.01).

Need more evidence?

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study, nine healthy young well trained men performed sub-maximal and maximal work tests on a cycle ergometer after two separate three-day periods of dietary supplementation. For one of these three-day periods, they received sodium nitrate at a dose of 0.1 millimoles per kilo of bodyweight per day (equating to about 500mgs of actual nitrate – an amount that can be consumed when consuming a high-vegetable diet). For the other period, they received an equal amount of sodium chloride (table salt – placebo).

What the scientists found amazed them. The oxygen cost at sub-maximal levels of exercise was significantly reduced after nitrate supplementation compared with placebo – in other words, they became more efficient at using oxygen. Over the four lowest work rates, their oxygen efficiency jumped from 19.7 to 21.1%. Or to put it another way, the same work output required less oxygen after nitrate supplementation compared to when nitrate wasn’t taken. Moreover, this oxygen-saving effect occurred without any increase in lactate production, indicating that energy production had become more efficient -Sports nutrition: is dietary nitrate the key to enhanced endurance performance?