Friday, September 30, 2005

Haptic Garment

From David Pescovitz at BoingBoing comes word about this new haptic garment to help athletic performance being developed in the Netherlands:
Eventually, sensors in the garments will measure the speed at which the rower moves and how they coordinate their leg and body movements. If the rower deviates from the optimum speed or rhythm, pads worn at the ankle and waist start vibrating at the correct stroke intervals to help the rower recapture the
winning action.
I don't know abut you but this is starting to go too far for me.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Rested today

Yes, keeping with what I decided to do. My leg felt mostly better but...

Stopped by to see the Pacers off for their workout tonight. One other who was having a probem with her foot when she pushed off on it the other night is resting as well. Better to do that now.

So no excuse not to write here now with more time (less running to do).

I am working on a series for beginning running or the stages of running. Still in draft/dream mode, if you will.

Stage one - walking for fitness
Stage two - jogging for fitness
Stage three - jogging/running for companionship
Stage four - the competitive urge kicks into gear
Stage five - running in cycles (building to a peak, then recovery)

Who knows where it will go?
Actually, stick around and you will be amongst the first to know.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rest days coming

Not from blogging but from running. As well as I ran last night, I was feeling some strangeness in my left leg during the workout. A couple of times, the leg wanted to just collapse under me.

As I was running well, the night was great for running, I kept going.

This morning the leg was providing some more strangeness. Not pain but true discomfort. Especially going down stairs. In hind sight (isn't that always 20-20) I should have stopped last night. Oh well, now I need to take a few days off to let it recover.

I had been planning on running the Ollie 5 Mile race this Sunday as a good workout. That is very likely in jeopardy. My big race this month is the Mayor's Cup at Franklin Park in Boston, I do not want to miss that one.

So I will rest now and run later, when the body is ready.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Good things from field hockey

Field hockey? Yes, really. The Franklin High School team apparently is choosing to practice on Tuesday nights on the high school field. The football team has left the field for the day. The lights are on. The track is well lighted! How convenient!

It was also good weather. Clear blue skies, 70's and breezy. As the sun set, the temp started dropping but that helped us on the track.

We're continuing to run the FIRST program. Our run today was on the track. We were able to run 800-1200-1200-800 staying very close to pace (3:20 - 5:01 - 5:02 - 3:21).

These were really ideal conditions to run. Forget about the field hockey players, imagine the stands are full, under the lights, the big race is underway... Okay, we'll go there some other day.

It was a good run tonight. Nice work Pacers!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sub 40 morning

Yes, it was below 40 degrees (F) this morning here in Franklin. What gives? This is still September. It's bad enough that the darkness is rapidly upon us. Now the decision on how to dress for the cold is here too!

I opted for a long sleeve cotton top and a short sleeve t-shirt as well with my normal nylon shorts (really briefs as my wife would say!).

It was cold starting but by 1 1/2 miles we were warmed up. My hands felt normal. A little colder and I would have pulled out my glittens and considered tights. But it is too early for that!

There were four of us this morning tackling the Pacer 10 mile course. We started slow to help warm up and after reaching the half way point started picking up the pace. For clarification, slow was about 9 minute miles, and the pick-up went to about 8:30's.

The dew hanging over Beaver Pond was awesome.

The sun peaking above the trees on Washington St was almost blinding for the minute or so we headed into it before turning into the shade on Jefferson St.

It felt good to run without dripping sweat.

I felt good overall finishing the 10 miles in a minute better time than last week.

It was a nice run.

Thanks for the conversation and inspiration buddies!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Crackerbarrel 5K

Average Mile Progress YTD 2005
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Ran the Crackerbarrel 5K yesterday and ran well, recording a personal record (PR) for the distance. I had previously done 22:24 at the Hollis 5K (if you recall that was advertised as the fast 5K as it had an elevation drop of 200 Feet over the length of the course). I ran 22:13 yesterday with mile splits of 7:00, 7:15, and 7:20. Not bad for consistency.

So what was the difference yesterday?
(1) The three day FIRST program; I ran Tuesday and rested until the race.

(2) The weather cooperated, it was a cool 60's and overcast.

(3) I wore my racing flats for the first time. I normally only wear them for the track work. I figured I'd try them for a real race on the roads to help me think about staying on my toes (rather than dropping back to run heal-toe). My calves were more sore than usual today but I did feel the need to stay on my toes and it seemed to have helped.

Certainly, the race time speaks well for the total progress I have made. Much of the year was spent in an average mile range of 7:20-7:30. Getting down to 7:10 is real good. Especially because I feel I have more to do. As I continue to "peak" for some key races in October, I want this pace to finally drop below 7:00 per mile.

Then next year we can work on taking it down further from 7:00 minutes per mile.

New Milestone Reached

New Mile Stone Reached
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

With the miles this week, I am now over 700 for the year. I am still on pace to record about 1000 for the year.

I am feeling good about this. Some soreness after the 10 miles today but nothing unusual. The 10 today was one of the better runs.

The weather cooperated and my Pacer buddy kept a good talking pace until the 6 Mile group caught us about a mile from the end. I stayed with them for about 1/2 mile but they were cooking about an 8 minute pace and I let them go. I was confortable having gotten that far at the 9 minute pace I was running.

The distance today was more important than the pace at the finish.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ready for darkness, not

I almost ran tonight. I say almost because it was just that. Actually had my shoes on and was heading out the door. The knee tweaked oddly as I went down the steps inside the garage and then a rush of thoughts came and reversed the decision to run.

Why push it two days before a race?
If you want to run Sunday, then that would be four days this week, not three!
If the knee is bothersome, take care.

But it really came down to the fact that it was dark out.
Yes, and I frankly am just not ready for it.

I was okay running Tuesday and all the other nights recently as I had already started and it got darker as the sun set and the work out continued. But tonight, I would have started to run in the dark. I wimped out. Okay, that's one way of putting it.

The other way is that it would be four days this week... yes, that's better... the three day plan rules...

If you need a refresher on the rules for running in the dark, you can follow this link.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Running with the FIRST Plan

Yes, a small group came out tonight for our track workout. We start at 7:00 PM Eastern but it is getting dark so early now, we may have to start earlier next week and then decide what to do beyond that. So we'll leave that topic for another time.

As mentioned here, the FIRST plan has three days of running; one day running intervals on the track, one with a tempo run, and one distance run. They also recommend two days of cross training (but emphasize not to run on those days).

We did a ladder today; running 400, 800, 1200, 800, and 400 meters with a half lap walk and half lap easy jog recovery between intervals. The idea is to be consistent with the pace on the intervals and for the most part we were. It got difficult in that without a light on my watch I had trouble reading it in the dark but otherwise we had a fairly tight range for our pace on each lap of the intervals.

A mile warm up, another mile warm down and we called it a day, logging 4 miles for the book and getting some good pace work in.

Nice work Pacers!

Monday, September 12, 2005

CVS Results

Race day came with good weather. Sunny, clear skies, cool (50's) in the morning with a forecasted high in the 80's. The race was scheduled to start at 11:15 so I was hoping it would not heat up too much.

Drove down to Providence and found a parking spot in one of the state office lots near the Capitol building. The Capitol is always impressive up close. It's white marble dome weathered and towering with the Minute Man on top.

Found the big white tent well organized for a quick in and out with number, chip and goody bag courtesy of CVS.

Back to the car to pin the number on, drop the goody bag, and find a spot to rest for a bit. Two hours to the race. Time to meditate and watch the crowd start gathering. Maybe stretch a little before warming up with about 30 minutes before the race.

Found a spot on the Capitol lawn and settled in. No camera with me to take any pictures so they are all mental snapshots.

Sun rising higher now, the tree shadows shrinking slowly. I'll need to move to stay in the shade eventually.

A band is doing its sound check in the tent beyond the row of trees where I am. I hear them but can't see them. Testing, drums, saxaphone...

Small groups of runners all around on the lawn. This one some sort of exercise group. A few of them are running their first race and full of questions. The experts share willingly. A couple get up and go for a jog to warm up.

This group to the left is active. Two or three there. Others stop by coming down from the Capitol heading for the registration tent. Chat a bit, move on. Some return to the tree and the group gradually grows.

This group to the right is similar. Definitely a company team. More t-shirts all the same. Ah, a banner has arrived and is now being hung from a couple of the branches to tell the world who they are. I am behind and can't read it until later.

Party tables are being set up for the post chute refreshments. You'd recognize them. There standard folding tables. No fancy cloth covering here though. A fork lift brings over pallets of Poland Spring water. The volunteers are busy taking the water and spreading it out for an easy grab when the runners come through. The tables also had some fruit (apples and bananas), and fruit juice. Some white bags with the CVS logo were also ready, these had a couple of fruit, an energy bar, and a bottle of water.

Over on the starting line, the kids races are being held. Each age group has two races with the boys and girls running separately. The top five names are announced for each race. Nice touch for the young ones. I hope they enjoy the run.

A high school team comes in and overwhelms some folks sitting to my left. They get up and move. The team stays, gathers around the coach, listens to their instructions and begins to settle in. There are two racers specifically for high school teams after the major 5K race is run today. This will be a full day of running for those willing to watch.

Getting on 30 mintues to race time so I get up and start my warm up. A good run around the Capitol follwed by some strides along the grassy edge of the sidewalk. Almost ready to sweat but not quite. That will be good enough for today.

I stop for more stretching as I make my way closer to the starting line. The parade lead by a bag piper band is finishing. The National Anthem is song. And then the welcome speeches, not too many today just the mayor, short and to the point.

It is good to see so many people doing so much healthy activity today. The announcer says about 7000 folks are running today. When I checked the results later there were 2800 in the open 5K so the remainder must have been all the kids races? Possible I guess.

The elite runners are being introduced. I hear Adam Goucher is here. Adam played a lead role in the book "Running with the Buffalos" by Chris Lear.

The wheel chair competitors are sent off, soon it will be our turn. Last minute stretching. Small talk with the runners around about the weather, the course, the crowd. We make room for the Worcester Fire Dept Bag Piper Band to go by. They had lead the parade. Go Worcester!

And the race is underway. The first mile felt good in 7:10, the second felt the same but I'd slipped off to 7:30. I need to hold the pace now, can't slip any more. Why do they put the finish on top of this hill? Oh well, it is less than at TriCounty. Up and over we go to the finish. The third mile mark (on the hill) was 22:40, so I had slipped further to 8:00 for that mile. Oh well, I finished in 22:58 chip time, 23:04 elapsed time. Not bad, but I should have done better.

Through the chute, take off the chip, grab some refreshments (added some fruit and water to the CVS bag), stood for a bit checking out the crowd, drinking some water. Another Pacer was supposed to run today but try as I might could not find her anywhere. When I checked the results later, she did run and ran well finishing well ahead of me. Good running!

Another race coming up this Saturday, at the Crackerbarrel Classic.

Hapy running!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Race day today

Heading to Providence for the CVS 5K.
Will be back later to let you know how it went.
Should be a glorious day to run!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Warm down

With the absolutely gorgeous running weather we have been experiencing here in New England this week, cool nights (50's) and nice days (70's), this is the time of year to run.

But no matter what time of year, the first mile is always the toughest. If you have been active duing the day before running, you at least have gotten the body moving. If you have the typical office job, much of the time is spent sitting so you do need to go slower in that first mile to allow the body to start shifting gears.

With the humidity we had this summer, the warm down was more of a cool down. Moving directly to cool refreshing drinks, pool, lawn sprinkler or shower, whatever was available. Now that the weather is perfect for running, you should not neglect the warm down. Neglecting this part of the workout will make the first mile the next time even harder than it should be,

So what should you do during a warm down?

Run slowly - or jog a 1/2 mile to mile at a slower pace. This should be an easy "talk pace". You can run with your partners and talk comfortably. Review the workout, how it went, what is coming up over the next day or week.

Walk - yes, runners can and should walk. If in the warm down you only jogged 1/2 mile, do the other 1/2 mile walking. During the workout, your heart rate was elevated. The warm down will allow the heart to recover, to return to its normal rate, for oxygen to continue to flow throughout your body replenishing the supply in your muscles.
Stretch - lightly stretch to ensure that you have your full range of motion. You body should be at its most flexible now having completed your workout. It may also have started tightening up again depending upon the type and effort of your workout. Hence, the need for a light stretch to ensure that the muscles are limber and loose.

Fluids - take a drink. Water is best but any of the sport drinks will work to help replenish your body fluids.

Dry clothes - Your body compensated for the heat of the workout by generating sweat. This will feel cooler now that you have stopped. As much as this is a "nice" feeling, get out of your wet clothes and put some dry clothes on. Depending upon how much you do sweat, the second set may not stay dry too long but it will be better for you, and your partners, as you hang around for the post run chatter.

Did I forget something? Is there something you do for you warm down that you would like to share? Let me know.

A good warm down is crucial to having a good run the next time!

FIRST Plan Underway

A group of the Pacers have started training according to the FIRST Plan as mentioned here previously.

This is an easy conversion for me, I just drop one day of running. I now join my wife for a walk on Saturday mornings. I also add a set of weight bar exercises two days a week to help tone the upper body.

Time will tell what our results will be with this plan. I expect we will see better running and less injuries.