Monday, May 30, 2005

Sharpen the saw

I like the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. I was fortunate to hear Dr. Covey speak at a conference many years ago. I keep a small sticker with the seven habits on my daily notebook as a handy reminder.

At the end of this full weekend, sharpen the saw comes readily to mind. I need my rest. A short but full week remains.
  • Hill workout Tuesday night, track workout Thursday night.
  • Fly to the Baltimore area Friday.
  • Find somewhere to run in the morning Saturday.
  • Drive to Shepardstown, WV and stay overnight there.
  • Find somewhere to run in the morning Sunday before returning home.
Almost anything is possible when one is prepared for it, and rest (i.e. sleep) is a key component of preparation.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The weekly view of recent years

Originally uploaded by shersteve.

This shows the same period of recent years but with the miles by week.

The vacations stick out. The injury periods more so.

The long road back to this fitness level has been gradual and successful.

The way to the next level of fitness will be as gradual and hopefully as successful.

May the wind be at your back and the roads/trail kind to you!

Running Chart YTD May 2005

Running Chart YTD May 2005
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Milestone day today. Ran 10 miles for the first time in over 20 years. So time to celebrate, maybe take a nap this afternoon. Certainly keep moving just enough to keep the liquids at hand; water, juice, some coffee for now. A good cold one later.

This chart reflects the steady progress that I have made recently with a yearly view of the numbers.

Thanks to the Pacers for the help/inspiration to do it today. I wish all a good family weekend!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Speak easy - the talk test

Another article from the March Runner's World is worth highlighting here. I have used this for most of my 30 plus years running and it works. When advising someone who is just starting to run, or when keeping tabs on a group running together, the talk test is a quick and easy way to find out if you are going too fast or just fast enough.

If you can carry an almost normal conversation, you are doing okay.
If you can not, then you are going too fast.

The article by John Hanc goes into more details including references to a study at the Univ. of Wisconsin-LaCrosse using the Pledge of Allegiance. A good read.

So when doing a speed workout, don't expect to carry on a conversation.
When running real easy, you should be able to converse normally.
And on a good paced run, the conversation may be continued but in a stop and pause manner.

Enjoy the run!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Rules to guide your running success

I was catching up to the March issue of Runner's World. Yes, I got behind and actually out of sequence as I found both the March and June issues in my bag today. I have been traveling by car to work more frequently (rather than taking the train) and I miss the training reading time. So heading home for this long weekend, there was no better reason than trying to catch up.

March was a good issue. I like this article by Dagny Scott Barrios in particular as it lists the 10 Laws to follow when coming back from injury, but really I think these rules of running should apply all the time.

The rules are listed here with my comments in italics. For additional details follow the link to Runner's World.

1 - Increase mileage gradually
no more than 10% per week

2 - Increase intensity gradually
I had not worked out a percent, Dagny calls for no more than 2-3%

3 - Increase mileage before speed
yes, always put the mileage in before switching to work on speed

4 - Alternate hard efforts with rest
hard/easy is something to live by, especially as you get older, the body needs its recovery time

5 - Pay attention to early warning signs
listen to your body with more than your ears, it will tell you whatever you need to know, it may takes some time to understand what it is telling you, but listen so you can eventually put two and two together

6 - Wear the right running shoes
yes, good fit, good support is imperative. I also go back to something once attributed to John Wooden (great basketball coach for UCLA), I tie my shoes with the right shoelace over the left. It is a little thing but it is part of the mindset, do right always.

7 - Mix it up
variety is the spice of life but by having a routine, you can adjust it or break it. With no routine, there is no adjustment needed but there also won't be the benchmarks needed to determine progress

8 - Increase your flexibility and strength
just because you run doesn't mean you are fit. Pay attention to your upper body. Arm strength actually helps maintain your speed and rhythm.

9 - Vary your workouts and terrain
if you run a loop course is especially important to alternate sides of the road, or run the course the opposite way the next time to avoid an imbalance by running on the same side of the crown in the road. Remember that concrete is harder than asphalt, asphalt is harder than dirt, dirt is harder than grass...

10 - Fuel properly
in addition to fuel (read diet) I would also add to obtain proper sleep

These should help to avoid injury and ensure a good run whenever you lace up those shoes!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

NC Pacer workout for Thursday 5/26/05

I won't make the track workout (rain or otherwise) as I have a school event conflict. I will try to get my own run in some how, worse case with the long weekend, I'll go Friday instead of tomorrow.

Anyway, for those who do the track workout, here is the assignment:

minimum half mile warm up
minimum half mile warm down

Remember to remain consistent at your pace. You should know what it is at least having run some of the workouts previously. If not, run the 400 see how it goes and then maintain the pace for the other intervals.

Pace requires practice.
Pace requires discipline.

You can do it.

Weather woes

I benefit from a scheduled off day today. New England is in the middle of a slow moving nor'easter that is blowing heavy winds and driving rain. It is rather depressing.

One benefit is that for those who thought that they might like to live in the Pacific Northwest, they get to try it out here without having to move.

The Pacers got together for the normal hill work last night. It was breezy and misty but not bad overall. Once into the mile warm up, most of us were warm enough and the hill work was good.

Scheduled for some track pace work on Thursday but more rain is in the forecast so we'll see what happens.

Track or no track workout, running is on the schedule, rain or no rain. Just do it!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Race day reflections

Yes, the race day came and went quickly. The weather held. It was overcast, threatening but the rain stayed away. It was cool and raw, high 40's low 50's, so I wore my good long sleeve weather and team t-shirt over it.

The Norfolk County Pacers team had a real good turnout, members running, members volunteering and family members volunteering.

Cool Running has the official results here. The Pacer web site will get into team specifics soon.

The course was good, the first half mile basically up hill, then it flattened out through the turnaround point and stayed flat until the 2 mile marker when it sloped down hill until about a half mile from the finish when it flattened out again.

Recall my previous post on maintaining discipline at the start, I did. I ran negative splits finishing in my second best 5K time. A good workout. A good race to build on.

I also ended up getting 3rd in my age group. I need to do some more analysis but I think the age group winners should be more variable than 3 per category per sex. Come on, with all due respect, two runners in the 70-79 category walked away with awards (and on the one hand, they should just for coming out at that age), yet there was really healthy competition in the 40-49 category (including the overall winner) which "deprived" someone else of getting an award. I would make it a rule that you don't get two awards. If you won the race overall, you don't need to pick up the male age group. My two cents.

What do you think?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Race day approaches

It is early in the season and a race is coming up this weekend. I have had good workouts recently but I am concerned that I may not be able to consider this race as more of a workout than a race. I need to keep my head straight, stay focused and not get caught up in the race hype.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Milestone Day

Yes, a milestone reached today. According to the log book, 366 miles in 70 days so far this year. Which importantly is 2 more miles than all of last year which also took 55 more days to accomplish.

Averaging 5.2 miles per day now versus 2.9 miles last year is a significant factor.

Staying healthy certainly is a major factor. Only two days missed due to a bad cold/flu and nothing missed due to an injury.

Joining the Norfolk County Pacers is the third major factor. Having a good bunch of folks to run with is always a good thing.

If you are not already part of a local running club where you are, you might consider it.

It is a good feeling to know your buddies are running with you!

Monday, May 02, 2005

How do you improve your running?

Stuck in a rut. Need to improve. Need to go farther and faster but not sure how?

Listen up, you're in the right place.

Improvement takes time, so be patient. Work out your plan.

You can increase your mileage gradually or increase your intensity.
Yes, there is a choice. I would not recommend doing both at once.
If you attempt to do both, your body will ultimately have a problem.

I recommend increasing your mileage gradually. No more than 10% per week.
Keeping the pace the same, you can increase your mileage.
If you ran 20 miles last week, then this week you can go 22.
How? Add one mile to two of your longer runs.
Or add both miles to your long run.
But keep the pace the same (or slower if you need to).

Do the same 22 the next week, and the week after.
Get comfortable with the distance at this pace.

Then work to increase the intensity.
You should be stronger now and it should be easier to increase the pace.
Again, go for small increases.

Listen to your body.
It will let you know what you can do.
And if you are listening to it: when to back off, or go forward with the next increment.

By this progression of increasing mileage gradually,
then increasing intensity,
you will find your self running better,
running stronger and improving your race times.

This will work for you.
If it does not, let me know and I will help you.

Pace - What is yours?

I think this is a big question that runners should not avoid.

What is your race pace?
What is your normal workout pace?
I think you need to know.

Where are you today? Where do you want to be?
These are also important questions that knowing your pace will help you answer.

The old adage proclaims: any road will get you there if you do not know where you are going.

I prefer to know where I am as well as where I am going.
Much of the fun is encountered getting there, not just when you have arrived there.

I am currently running about an 8 minute mile for my road work.
(My best recent race was at an average of 7:40 per mile.)

My goal is to get back closer to the 6:00/6:15 mile pace I ran when I was younger for the 5K and 10K races.

I also have a goal to break 60 seconds for 400 meters. (I got down to 65 during last summer of 2003.)

Yes, that is quite a way to go. I think I can do it.

Tuesday is hill work: 1.5 miles hard up hill, 1.5 miles easy recovery with a mile warm up and another mile warm down for a total 5 mile work out. The up hill sections are broken out into six parts. We go up the long side hard (approx. .3 mile), down the short side (approx. .2 mile) easy. Up the short side hard, down the long side easy. Repeat three times.

Thursday has been a good steady distance run of 4-6 miles. The Norfolk County Pacers will start some track workouts this week to start to answer the pace question.

I'll be assisting the runners in finding their pace on the quarter mile track and work on my own pacing as well.

Saturday will be a good distance day and so will Sunday. If I have a race on the weekend, Saturday will be less effort/distance to prepare for the race. With no race, I should be able to gradually cover 14-18 miles over the two days. I am currently at 6 and 8, and working towards 6 and 12.

Four days of good steady effort and three days of rest and recovery in the week.
Currently about 20 miles per week and I want to move that closer to 30.
Staying healthy, with good weather and a cooperative schedule, I think this is doable.

I'll keep you posted.