Monday, April 25, 2011

Powerful Hill Workouts by Owen Anderson

This article by Owen Anderson should serve as a reminder not to forgot about hills-
"a collection of great hill workouts is like a key chapter in your overall training book, the volume which ends on the last page with a nice PR."

MY COMMENT: I've always been impressed with Owen Anderson's insight into training for endurance athletes, and this is just another example. Great article!

Slow Motion Video of Boston Marathon Winners

Note the foot plant of Boston Marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai and second place finisher Moses Mosop. No heel first striking for these guys!

Next, take a look at the women, in particular 2nd place finisher Desiree Devila. When I was watching the race live, I couldn't believe all the wasted upper body movement by the Kenyan women. Looking at this clip, it's clear that Devila, who I thought had beautiful upper body running form, is a very prominent heel striker. It makes me wonder if this isn't something she could work on changing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tony Reavis Perspective on Marathoning and Boston

This is a great interview with commentator Tony Reavis- who knows exactly what's going on in the world of marathonng (as opposed to Larry Rawson and Al Trautwig, the guys I had to listen to). He's fired up!

Watch more video of 2011 Boston Marathon on

Greta Waitz Dead at 57

Grete Waitz

Nine time winner of the New York City Marathon and 5-time a world cross country champion, Grete Waitz lost a 6 year battle with cancer on April 19. Grete also won silver at the 1984 Olympics behind Joan Benoit.

Some great photos here to remember Grete, who was a true ambassador to the sport of distance running. She will be missed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I didn't plan it, but woke up right at 11 pm and flipped on the TV- surprised to find coverage of the Boston Marathon just starting.

AMAZING! I'll admit right here- I've been critical of Ryan Hall in the past for not racing more frequently, but this was simply unbelievable! Could he have run faster had he not jumped into the lead so early and run a more tactical race? I'll say probably, but how can you knock a guy that just ran the fastest time ever by an American (2:04:58)?

Kenyan Geoffrey Matai won the race in 2:03:02, the fastest marathon ever (this will not count as a WR since Boston is a downhill course)

And believe it or not, the women's race was even better. Underappreciated Desiree Davila , who was never even #1 on her team at Arizona State, showed the world what hard work can do. During the last 5 kilometers, it was clear that Davila held her form much better than her Kenyan rivals-to me it looked like they were all over the place with their arm swing. I thought all the way that Davila looked like she had a real shot at winning- just a gutsy performance. If you saw winner Caroline Kilel sprawled on the pavement after the finish, it was clear that Desiree did what she could to make her earn the victory.

Do not overlook the effort by Kara Goucher, who finished 5th in 2:24:52 less than 7 months after the birh of her son!

Tailwind or not, this was an amazing marathon. Results

Monday, April 18, 2011

Strong Tailwind Predicted at Boston

Just like 1994! I was 40 at the time and remember seeing the cups blowing by me at aid stations! Everybody ran fast that year, including me! I finished in 2:34, a time occasionally fast enough to sneak into the top 10 in the masters division. Turns out 10th was something like 2:25, with Doug Kurtis's 2:15 leading the way.

Up front, Cosmas Ndeti set the course record in 2:07:15 and Uta Pippig did the same as top female in 2:21:45. Heinz Frei set a world record in the wheelchair division in 1:21:23 as did Jean Driscoll in 1:34:22 (Boston Marathon winners)

If this weather holds, we could be in store for another record-breaking day. Good luck everyone!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Look at Ed Whitlock's Marathon World Record

In case you haven't heard, Canadian Ed Whitlock made history again by smashing yet another age-group world record in the marathon. Whitlock, who turned 80 on March 6, finished the Rotterdam Marathon in 3:25:40, an incredible 7:50 per mile average pace! Ed's splits can be found here.

10K- 46:39

Using the Runners World Age Graded Calculator, Whitlock's time converts to 2:08:15.

Shortly after turning 80, on March 21 Whitlock turned in a 3000 meter time of 12:00.88. Using the McMillian Running Calculator, that effort is comparable to a 12:53 two mile, 20:56 5K, 1:36:44 half, and a 3:24 marathon.

According to this Runner's World interview, Ed was recovering from a recent cold and had some time off due to a knee problem. WATCH OUT! "I'll probably run a fall marathon, too, and that will be the one where I'll go for broke."

If he stays healthy, I would not be surprised to see Ed dip under 3:20.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Caffeine Does NOT Dehydrate!

To test dehydration, 59 physically fit males were given 246 mg of caffeine per day for six days. After the six-day equilibrium period, the men were split into three groups and embarked upon a five-day test period. The first group was given double the amount (492 mg) of caffeine per day, the second group acted as the control group and kept receiving the same 246 mg per day, while the third group's caffeine intake was dropped to zero.

RESULTS: Results showed no sign of a negative fluid-electrolyte imbalance in any of the test groups

MY COMMENT: As the article states, "the key to caffeine consumption is moderation"

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Post Marathon Training

I'm 3 weeks post marathon, and if I were to guess my muscle recovery is nearing 100%. They say a day of recovery for every mile raced, and that may not be far off.

I've been feeling good doing consecutive, short (3-5 miles) faster than normal workouts that are progressively getting longer and faster. I start out each morning by taking Sumo for a stop and go slow 2 mile jog.

After a week off and a couple of shake out runs, here is what my progression looks like over the last 2 weeks (the marathon was on Mar 21)

28th...3 miles at 7:51 pace
29th...3 miles at 7:07 pace
30th...4 miles at 7:35 pace
31th...4 miles at 7:20 pace

1st...4 miles at 7:24 pace
2nd....5 miles at 7:11 pace
3nd....8 miles at 7:30 pace
recovery day
5th....3 miles at 6:27 pace
6th....5 miles at 7:28 pace
7th....5 miles at 7:27 pace
8th....5 miles at 6:43 pace
9th....6 miles at 7:01 pace

So much for the hard easy principle, but following a marathon I don't want to go too hard anyway. This is consistent, middle of the road training short enough to allow recovery yet hard enough to provide a good stimulus.

My hope is that when longer runs and sub 6 min pace intervals resume, workouts will be slightly faster with no increased effort. The only glitch to that theory is warm weather- All bets will then be off for maintaining a faster pace for long runs.

Note: I wear light weight trainers or racing flats on the days I try to average sub 7 min miles- it makes a significant difference.

Bill Squires is One of a Kind

If there was a Squires specialty, it's what he calls "pickups"--surges of anywhere from 1 minute to 5 miles, done especially during long runs (and on the Newton Hills when preparing for Boston). Rea says that Squires wanted her to incorporate pick-ups into every run, even on recovery days. Says Beardsley, "On my Sunday runs, in those 22 or 24 miles, I'd do everything I'd done in the previous six days on that one run--surges, hill repeats, tempos. I'd get done that and if I'd nailed it, that gave me so much confidence and strength."

Running Times article about legendary marathon coach Bill Squires (Squires, Boston and the Zoopy Zoopy)

MY COMMENT: Based on how well his runners performed, the out-spoken Squires may have been the best marathon coach the U.S. has ever seen. It sure makes me wonder what he could do with the talent we have in America today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Don't Run After Marathons- Consider Yourself Injured

I had some blood work done 48 hours after the Seoul Marathon 2 weeks ago to evaluate the follow enzymes levels, which when elevated indicate muscle tissue damage.






According to the lab report, "the MB function is relatively specific to cardiac muscle. CK-MB progressively rises to peak values approximately 18 hours after myocardial infarct."

The lab performing the test must have been spooked since they repeated the test before calling the doctor!

These values are normal following a marathon. I found one old study that measured CK in several runners before and after running the Boston Marathon in 1979. They found CK values averaged 4,433 in runners who ran under 3:30, and 1,432 in runners who ran over 3:30 (these were taken 24 hours after the race, my blood was drawn 48 hours post). Creatine kinase elevations in marathon runners: relationship to training and competition.

So unless you are one of those who have a running streak going, what would be the point? Take some time off to heal up! I took about a week.

I would like to see these values in some of those Marathon Manics who run up to a marathon a week, and sometimes 2. They have amazing recuperative powers!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Age-Graded Marathon Results

I took a look at the Age Graded Calculator at runnersworld to see how my marathons compare over 5 decades.






I have to run 2:53:30 in order to get back down to the 85% range.

Lost 1972 Marathon Result Found!

I have Runner's World's Booklet of the month titled "1973 Marathon Handbook". It lists times run by U.S. Marathon runners in 1972. Page 74 lists David Elger with a 2:51:17 marathon poster Orville Atkins

How do you lose a marathon? By lose, I don't mean get beat. Back in July of 1972, I ran the Whitewater Marathon, but until now had no verification. Before the days of big city races other than Boston, there existed a handful of small town marathons like this one that went by the wayside years ago, and unfortunately many of the performances have been forgotten.

I never forgot that I ran 2:51, but had no finisher certificate, race result, or even a medal to prove it. I wasn't even 100% sure of the year until now.

According to keeper of the data Ken Young, my span between sub 3 hour marathon now stands at 38 years, 271 days.