Wednesday, September 24, 2008

8 x 1200m Hill Repeat

Yesterday, I did yet another tough workout - 8 x 1200m hill repeats.

I have been searching for a nice long hill to run. I was out riding my bike over by the new 485 section last week when I noticed that the the highway construction crew had constructed this road parallel to the US-21.

The road runs for about 3/4 mile in length. The grade starts at about 3% and works up to 11% by the end. Best of all, the road is all dirt.

I drove over and parked about a mile from the hill. I used this mile to the hill to warm up.

I ran each of the repeats between 4:40 and 4:27. Which I think, is very good for me.

By the time that I finished this workout, I was exhausted. The hill was tough enough but something that I hadn't figured into the workout was the wind. I am not sure how this worked out but the wind was blowing into my face with each repeat. Rather than getting frustrated by it, I focused on using it to push harder.

Sometimes you have to turn negative aspects of training into a positive aspects.

10 x 1 mile

As I prepare for the OBX marathon, I am always looking for workouts that help push me toward my goal.

One of the workouts that I think really helps is running mile repeats.

A couple of weeks ago, I did a 10 x 1 mile on the track. Going into this workout, I was shooting to run 5:50 miles for each mile. I was a little concerned that I might not be able maintain 5:50 miles the entire way. I suspected that I might slip over 6 minutes.

I warmed up with a mile on the track.

The 1st 3 repeats were rather tough but then I started to settle down. I ran those 3 repeats around 5:49 to 5:51. The next 3 repeats were in the 5:49 to 5:45 range. This really helped boost my confidence. Then for the last 4 repeats, I did in 5:42 to 5:31. My confidence was getting better with each of the last 4 repeats.

When you start running fast and still feel good, your confidence just explodes. In turn, I think this help push me to run even better.

This was tough workout. But I think, it was great stepping stone as I prepare for my fall marathon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Historic Mooresville 5k Recap 9.14.08

On Saturday 9/14/08 the Historic Mooresville 5k was held at 8:00 AM in Mooresville, NC. project.

200+ runners turned out to enjoy a warm and humid morning. The course is for the most part a loop course with some section overlapping. There are several major hills on the course and the finish (last tenth of a mile) is extremely steep as it finish behind the Mooresville Library.

I have run this course for the last 3 years and have been fortunate in that I have won the race for all 3 years.

Each year as I look around at the start there is a always a large group from the Mooresville XC team. And each year, I feel a little older.

My first mile was 5:18 but I didn't really feel it until the around 1 3/4. That is when I started pushing over the top of a long hill.

The race director and team put on a fantastic race. There are plenty of venders selling their wears, and lots of food and drink. After the awards, they give a ton of give aways.

Before I forget, I want to get a shout out for them putting on the book run. If you come to the race and run with a book, you have a chance at getting the book award. This is for the top 3 finishers carring a book during the race - Bobby Aswell picked up this award.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Running at Sun Rise

Marathon training usually comes with a lot of long runs. Like my individuals, I have to schedule my long runs around family which means I usually try to run before they rise in the morning.

Some people may not find this enjoyable but from some reason I do.

There is something about the quiet time just before dawn that bring clarity of thought and peace of mind.

While most people are still snug in the beds, I find great satisfaction in running 6:15 miles during a 28 mile run in these early morning hours. As these people are just rising to start their day, I have already returned home, showered, and started my day with a huge task accomplished. Maybe, I do more than the Army does before dawn, I am not sure. :)

But there one addition thing that makes long run great for me. I have watched sun set over the Pacific ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, raise over the Atlantic Ocean, but nothing seems to compare with running along on a nice Sept morning and watching the sun rise to the east of Charlotte. It transforms an oridinary run into an experience of a life time.

You should try it sometime.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


All to often, I believe most people who workout don't take their recovery seriously enough. Whether that recovery is time or nutrients.

It is my belief that both are important and there is a lot of research that supports my belief.

First, let me talk about my post workout recovery from a nutrient perspective.

After each workout, I focus on consuming two things: water and nutrients. First and foremost, I take in ample amounts of water. To the point, where my body is telling me no more. Water is important because you need to rehydrate after sweating during the workout. Also it helps with removing waste products from the body. Next comes the neutrients. I focus on foods that have protein and carbs. I try to avoid fatty or fried foods. Although, I do admit my body craves them from time to time.

Primarily, I take in foods that are a good source of protein (beans or meats (chicken and fish)) because it helps repair the damage to the muscles that occurred during my workout. I take in the carbs because it rebuilds the energy levels that were burned during my workout. Between the water, proteins and carbs, my body feels better sooner and has the nutrients needed to rebuild the muscles stronger than before.

Next, let talk about recovery time. I know I am guilty of staking too many workouts to close together. Ultimately, if I don't allow my body to recover, I don't get in the quality workout because of my fatigue levels or I push my body to the point where I break something. Thus I end up injuring my self. And nothing is worst that coming up injured just before your big race.

This is exactly why recovery time is so important. Depending on the phase of my training plan, I try to limit my hard efforts to no more than 2 hard workouts per week. One workout is a high intensity workout. It could be a hill workout or tempo run or progressive run. It could be anything that pushes the body to work harder. The other workout is typically a long run. Now long runs are relative to the individual. In my case I am training for a marathon this fall so my long runs are typically 20+ miles. That is why I say the 2nd hardout out is a long run. For me running 20+ miles is a hard effort. On the other days, I generally run as I feel but I do focus on keeping a slower pace. To these days are active recovery days where I don't push my body hard but I do work it so that the blood gets pushed through the muscle used on the previous day.

So what does all of this mean. It means that each and every person should be concerned about their recovery. Whether that means getting the right foods before, during, and after a workout. Or it means giving your body time to recovery after any hard workout.

Believe me when I say "Provide your body with the right fuel and recover properly and you will be on your way to having a great race"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sleep for Speed

This past week, I received my latest issue of the Running Times Magazine. As I was reading through it, I came across an article on the effects of sleep and running.

I read the article several times to make sure I had a good understanding of what they were telling me. With each reading I found myself more and more identifying with many of the pitfalls and perks of sleep outlined in the article.

Being a runner for a long time, I have come to realize that the more sleep I have in my schedule the better I am able to run.

This is doubley true when you am training for a big race. You are forced to manage your time and energy needs between running and the rest of your life. For example, if I have to raise early the next day for either work or to get in a run, I try to hit the bed early. Under normal conditions, I usually try to hit the bed by 10 pm and raise by 6 am. This gives me about 8 hours of sleep time. But if I have to be up by 5 am, I will try to adjust my bed time so that I continue to get the same amount of sleep. I believe consistancy is as important as the amount.

Like in the article I often know when I have enough sleep. I will usually wake before the alarm rings. It doesn't always happen, but most of time I am able to raise and turn off the alarm beforehand. This is definitely one of the best signs that I have found that bare out this fact.

However, I don't totally agree with their comments about when you need to start sleeping more. In the article they allude to the fact that you should get more sleep during your taper period before the big event. I agree everyone should do this but this should be in addition to and not the only part of.

To me sleep deprivation is much like over training. You don't recover from over training by just taking a couple of easy days. The body needs time to bounce back. I believe the same can be said for sleep. Therefore, I would suggest as early as possible that anyone training for a big event should focus on getting extra sleep time. Being better rested through out your heavy training period will allow you to train harder and better and as well I believe to be more focused.

So in summary, sleep time should be factored into your training plan to have a successful race day. Try sleeping longer if your schedule permits because in the end it may be the one part of your training plan in which you can do literally nothing and potentially improve your finish times.