Sunday, April 30, 2006

Marathon Mistakes

The latest Active newsletter has a good article by Owen Anderson on Eleven Major Marathon Mistakes.
  1. Most marathoners don't have the right time goal
  2. Most marathon runners fail to fold goal-pace running into their long runs
  3. Too many marathon runners try to carry out a long run every weekend
  4. Most marathoners fail to use sports drinks properly during the race
  5. Most marathon runners mix sports drinks with other things during the race
  6. Many marathoners fail to standardize their pre-race meal
  7. Too many marathoners try something new on race weekend
  8. Marathon runners don't taper properly before the race
  9. Too many marathoners emphasize volume of training over quality
  10. Too many marathoners forget that fitness is the ultimate predictor of marathon success
  11. Some marathoners actually think that walking during the race will improve their times
Read the full article here.
The listing is longer than I think it needs to be but it is a good start. The goal pace is key, if you do not realistically choose one that you can run for 26 miles, nothing else you do will matter. If you chose the appropriate one, that is what should drive all your training. Especially for first time marathoners, choose one that is slightly slower than realistic. Why? Trust me, you will be glad you did. For example, if you think your goal pace is 8:00, chose 8:15 (or 8:30 if you like easy to calculate round numbers).
To be successful, your training should be a mix of running to your max and recovery to remain fresh. There are many ways to do this. You can find any number of training programs on Runner's World, Cool Running, Jeff Galloway, etc. I like the concepts driving the FIRST Plan from the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training and would recommend that plan to start with. You are unique and should not blindly follow any standardized plan just because it works (or worked) for someone else. There are too many differences in type of runner, normal lifestyle, marathon prep stress to assume that what works for one will work for another. Don't be afraid to modify the plan to make it work for you. If you want a personalized plan, let me know. I'll help craft one for you.
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Cool start

What a difference the season makes!
A few weeks ago, 38 degrees F meant putting on the running tights, hat, gloves, nice long sleeve weather top and t-shirt to go out into the run and depending upon the wind maybe a light wind breaker jacket. Today, 38 degrees F, I dared to venture forth just in running shorts, long sleeve t-shirt and short sleeve t-shirt combo. No need for hat and gloves. The sky was clear and blue. The sun shinning. As we were finishing our 8 and 10 mile runs, the temp had already moved into the mid-40's with a forecast of climbing into the 60's by mid-afternoon.
Yes, it will be a glorious day here in New England today!
A group of five NCPacers did the long run splitting into two groups, three that did about 10 miles and two that cut back to cover 8 miles. Two other Pacers started their 4 mile run early so they missed two more NCPacers who started at the regular time to do their 3 mile loop.
We staggered the start times on our Sunday runs to accommodate the various distances people want to run but generally all finish about the same time so we can finish with conversation over coffee and whatever at the local Dunkin Donuts.
If you are in the Franklin, MA area and want some company for a run on Sunday, check out the schedule at the NCPacers home page. Nothing like a little company to make the miles go by quicker.
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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Feed the Need 5K - May 13th, Franklin, MA

I recently received an email to post this on the Pacer's calendar and thought I share it here as well.
For runners in the Franklin (MA) area, this would be a good run/walk for a good cause!
Saturday, May 13th
Feed The Need 5k Walk/Run

Feed the Need, Inc. is hosting another family 5k Walk/Run food drive for the Franklin Food Pantry. Besides the main run, we will have races for children, as well as, door prizes for all participants. Last year we collected around 1900 non-perishables for the pantry, please help us continue this tradition. The race location will be at the LDS church at 91 Jordan Road. On-site registration will be from 7-8:00 am. Or to save time, please pre-register at The entry fee is 25 non-perishable food items and we will be giving race T-shirts to the first 100 people to drop-off goods.


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Latest on Carbo Loading

The bowl of spaghetti before the race is commonplace but how did it get that way? An article from has a brief recap of the original study and brings you up to date with the latest thinking on this topic.
I recommend reading the whole article but for those who just want the "last word", I would summarize it as follows:
  • In preparation for the race/event, do your normal training, then taper appropriately
  • During your taper period, ensure that you switch to a high carb diet. Don't add calories, just switch to higher carbs, reducing fats and proteins proportionately
  • During the morning on the day before the race/event perform
    • a short-duration, high-intensity workout consisting of two and a half minutes at 130 percent of VO2max (about one-mile race pace) followed by a 30-second sprint.
  • During the next 24 hours consume
    • 12 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of lean muscle mass.
They reinforce the hard/easy training concept:
When you exercise vigorously almost every day, your body never gets a chance to fully replenish its glycogen stores before the next workout reduces them again. Only after 48 hours of very light training or complete rest are your glycogen levels fully compensated.
They also add a disclaimer that
carbo-loading in general has been shown to enhance race performance only when athletes consume little or no carbohydrate during the race itself. If you do use a sports drink or sports gels to fuel your race effort -- as you should -- prior carbo-loading probably will have no effect.
So if you don't do carbs during the race, carbo loading is the way to go. You can use the original (Ahlborg), modified (No Depletion), or latest method (Western Australia) summarized here.
Have a good run!
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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mountain biking in "Vietnam", MA

Running with the Pacers the other night we were having a post run discussion about the bike trails that can be observed along Route 495 Northbound near the Milford/Route 85 exit (Exit 20). There was an article in the Travel section of the Sunday Globe but I could not find any reference to it in the online Globe edition.
I could find a reference point on the New England Mountain Bike Assoc web site to what they call "Vietnam". The web site talks about how the land was purchased, is maintained, etc.
The calendar on the Blackstone Valley Chapter web site shows trail work is being scheduled for
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Vietnam, Milford, MA—Merlin Trail Care Series

Even if you don't normally ride the trails at these locations, its a great opportunity to meet those that do, lend a hand and maybe get out for a ride.

Contact John Goeller for more information.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dean College 10K Challenge

A good contingent of Pacers ran the first Dean College 10K Challenge today. Four of the Pacers finished with age group awards, an impressive showing for the local club. The complete results of the race can found on Cool Running.
I ran it as a workout and even then could have done better. Going out in the first mile at 7:00 felt good but I knew I was going to pay for it later. So it was a good workout...
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Stretching the limit

I ran into a bad spell here a couple of weeks ago. The running was terrible. It was not fun. It finally occurred to me that I had been too lackadaisical about my stretching and I was gradually tightening up. It occurred to me when I did try to stretch and my hands just about made it below my knees.
Well, I have been a bit more regular about stretching since then and the running has improved along with this. I can now almost touch my toes.
Running the hill workout tonight I was able to hold steady at 2:18, 2:18 and 2:20 on the long side with 1:20, 1:20, 1:21 on the short side. Much better!
So Steve, gonna forget to stretch now?
Remind me please!
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Monday, April 17, 2006

Boston's Great Day

The weather cooperated.
Early word on the Pacers is that those who started finished.
To all those who ran (and those who supported the runners)
Rest and recover now... you have earned the rest and accomplished much!
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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Getting fit as one gets older

It was good to see the article in the Globe Magazine today about the numbers of older folks getting to the gym and in general attempting to get or stay fit.
One good reason:
THERE'S SOLID SCIENCE BEHIND WHY STRENGTH TRAINING works such rapid magic on midlife and older adults. After age 45, adults start losing about one-third to a half-pound of muscle and gain that much body fat every year, says Miriam Nelson of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. "Eventually you become so weak you can't walk up stairs or get out of a chair without assistance."
In the late 1980s, Dr. Irwin Rosenberg, former dean of the Friedman School, coined the term "sarcopenia" to describe this loss of muscle mass. At the time, Tufts researchers were conducting landmark strength-training studies on older sedentary men and women, including frail 90-year-olds in nursing homes using walkers and canes. Participants trained the same way younger people do -- with progressively heavier weights. (Earlier studies on older adults had shown little improvement in strength, probably because lighter weights were used to avoid injury.) This time, volunteers worked at 80 percent of their capacity, using weights heavy enough to lift eight times with good form. After weight training three times a week for eight weeks, the volunteers increased their strength an average of 175 percent. Two women dumped their canes.
If you have not already started an exercise program, don't wait. There is no time like today!
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What is love?

What is love?
  1. Waking up when you are ready 
  2. Shoes that fit
  3. Weather that cooperates
  4. A course that challenges
  5. Companionship on the same course
  6. Satisfaction at the end
  7. Feeling refreshed
What would your list look like?
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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Final Marathon Preparations

I sent a series of emails to the Boston bound Pacers with the following stories to help them in their final preparations for marathon Monday.

Boston Bound (Sometimes in order to measure up, you need to step back) RW Article

Enduring Questions - How Much Should You Drink During A Marathon? (You used to worry about not hydrating enough. But new studies say that too much could be even worse) RW Article

The Science Behind Bonking (When your body stalls mid-run, it's called bonking. When scientists debate the causes, it's called a food fight. Here's everything you need to know) RW Article

These three were from Runner's World.

The final was my own concoction of experience and wild idea from Elton John's Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting).

Good luck to all those doing Boston on Monday!

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Runners' bar codes help health, safety officials at big events

Caught this write up in yesterday's Boston Globe via the AP on how the bar code runner's tag will be used to track any runner who leaves the course to be treated for any medical problem. Previous years, if you left the course, you were effectively lost to the tracking of the system on the course itself.

This year, the organizers have distributed bar code scanners to the emergency personnel who will scan any one they treat and enable tracking of the runners when they are off the course.

Family and friends will appreciate knowing where their runners are.

Using the system will help prepare for a large emergency.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

Read the article here.

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Saturday Night's alright (for sleeping and eating)

The Boston Marathon is Monday, otherwise known as Patriot's Day here in Massachusetts. It is a Boston holiday but sadly not one celebrated by my workplace. We stick to the major holidays and the days the stock market is closed (like Good Friday).
Even though Elton John sang:
"Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)"

It's getting late have you seen my mates
Ma tell me when the boys get here
It's seven o'clock and I want to rock
Want to get a belly full of beer
Marathoners would be better off getting a spaghetti dinner and a good nights sleep.
The spaghetti dinner provides the carbo load the body will require.
A good full night of sleep will pay big dividends on race day. The night before the night before the race is more important than the night before the race. Your nerves can control the night before. It is human nature to feel this. You have trained for so long, it all comes down to this day. What will the weather be like? Will I be ready?
Yes, you will be. You are.
You have done what you could to get here. Rest the night before the night before (yes, that's Saturday night) after your good pasta dinner.
Relax with the family and friends on Sunday. And then Monday, turn those butterfly nerves into the tiny winged feet you have seen and use them to power your race.
It is your day!
Make it a good one!
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Monday, April 10, 2006

1st Annual Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Walk - 4/30/06

1st Annual Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Walk

3-Mile Trail or Paved Road Walk & Family Fun Day!

Sunday, April 30th ~ 9:00 AM

Hopkinton State Park - Split Rock Site, Route 85, Hopkinton, MA

Presented by: The Hopkinton Running Club and Friends of Andy Welzel

All Proceeds Benefit PanCAN (Pancreatic Cancer Action Network – Tax ID 33-0841281)

A Non-profit Organization Focusing on Advocacy, Awareness & Support for Pancreatic Cancer

For additional details and entry forms, visit the Hopkinton Running Club website.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hollis Apple Country Fast 5K - June 8th

This year's edition of the Hollis Fast 5K is coming up June 8th.
The course drops 224 feet in elevation from start to finish, hence it's "Fast" moniker.
Read more here.
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Falmouth Road Race Alert

This year's Falmouth Road Race is looking for a new sponsor and will be run on August 13th. The race application can be downloaded from the web site between May 1 and May 8, sent to their PO Box, and then a raffle will be held to determine the entries later in May.
So mark your calendar for May 1 to get an application and send it to them!
May Day!
A great party race!
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The Loco Shoe Story



The running shoe market is full of established competitors: Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Saucony, Mizuno, Asics to list the top ones reviewed in a recent Runner’s World shoe issue.


So how does one try and break into this market?


Identify a niche

Most shoe models are changed every year so if a running likes a particular shoe, they can't keep buying it every year. It keeps changing. Some runners really serious about their shoes will go and buy several to keep them around for awhile. So what if a company comes along and guarantees to keep a model active, available and unchanged for 5 years. See the Loco promise.


Put together a team

Recruit some running shoe design experience. Get some marketing experience. Checkout the bios of the founders.


Put together a different approach

Co-sponsor of local road races. Instead of providing t-shirts to runners for the entry fee and souvenir, give them one model of the new shoe in their size.


Big risk.

If the runners don't like the shoe, some may not even enter the race.

If they try it out and don't like it, the word will spread.

Of course, they are hoping that by trying it out and liking it, that this good word will spread.


This is the Loco Shoe story.


If you are running in New England, consider a Loco race!



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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Boston Marathon Tip

Consider the course and how everyone talks about the hills, especially Heartbreak Hill...

Consider the fact that the high point of the course is actually at the starting line in Hopkinton...

Consider the fact that overall 18 of the 26 miles are run "down hill"... (down defined as the ending elevation for the mile is lower than where it started)

If the course were laid out as an up or down map (PDF), it would look like this:

1 down
2 down
3 down
4 down
5 up
6 down
7 down
8 up
9 down
10 up
11 down
12 down
13 down
14 up
15 up/down
16 down
17 up
18 up
19 up
20 up
21 up/down
22 down
23 down
24 down
25 down
26 down

You drop 300 feet in elevation in the first 4 miles.

A controlled pace at the start is so crucial to running a good Boston.

Control yourself.
Take your time.
Enjoy the crowd.

Your body will thank you when you reach 21 miles and you have some strength left to finish the course.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Red sunset

Direct to red sky
When alone again tonight
Ran three quick miles
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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Run Track Mind

I had my mind set on running on the track today.
The clocks changed over the weekend to give us additional daylight.
It's April, should be getting warmer.
But the temp is 40 with a wind chill of 30, neither of which is good for speed work.
So maybe this is why TS Eliot said:
APRIL is the cruellest month
April is a big tease.
I did run.
No Pacers for company
I did not do much but it was a workout.
I left still feeling fresh which was the goal after such a week as last week was.
The field lights were on as there were about 60 school age girls with a few coaches out to do some lacrosse.
There were a half dozen or so walkers out doing their thing. Bundled up against the cold but walking and talking away.
The track was not a waste land tonight.
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Sunday, April 02, 2006


No long run today. As mentioned here this week, I have felt out of sorts. With the time change last night, and the NE Revolution playing their opening on the west coast, I got up to meet with the Pacers but did not hit the road.
I drew upon William Shakespeare who had Falstaff proclaim:
Oh yes, the Revs won at LA, 1-0. Go Revs!
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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Sign of Spring

Sign of Spring
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

If the flowers are blooming, then it must be time for spring or outdoor track?

Yes, it is. The first high school outdoor meet takes place today at Stoughton High School. The Franklin team will travel there to compete in the Hockomock Relays.

I'll be there with watch in hand and ready for the first event.

Ahh, spring! It is good to run outdoors when it is warm.

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