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.