Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Random Thought After a Weekend of Racing

Afternoon Races.

Afternoon and evening races can be harder and more mentally taxing than morning races.

From a physical perspective, you don’t want to do too much which will leave the body too tired to race. On the other hand, not doing anything can leave you lethargic. Sometime I get it right and then there are times that I feel like I am running in mud. You just never know.

Then there is eating. How much should I eat? When should I eat it? After so many races you would think that I have a system, but honestly, I change it from year to year.

Mentally, we all feel a little tired at the end of the day. Gathering together the energy to drive to a race, run the race, and drive home late after the race sometime makes it feel like it is more than it is worth. But I love racing so end up doing it.

Masters Awards vs. Open Award

This is a topic that I never gave much thought until I moved into the Master’s ranks a few years ago. But each time it happens to me, it is one of the most frustrating. Let me explain.

I guess when Race Directors set up the awards for their race, they do not expect any Masters Runners to finish well enough to win an open award.

So they give a nice award to the winner lesser awards for 2nd and 3rd and then a nice award to the top Master. This is not the part that I have a problem with. My issue is when you have a Masters Runner finish in open and the award given in the open awards are far less than the Masters award. In every case that I have been involved I have never been kicked down to the Masters award. Maybe it is being petty of me to make an issue of this but I work just as hard as the next guy. Why should I get the Masters award?

But give me some credit; I always take the high road. Creating an ugly incident during the award ceremony doesn’t do anyone any good and certainly doesn’t promote change that I want. Usually, I contact the Race Director after the race. By and large, they are open to the comments and suggestions to improve their races. The problem with this approach is that it is on a case by case basis. I can never win the war – just the individual battles.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Skyline 5K 17:16 4.25.09

I was up Saturday morning at 5:30AM and making final preparations before heading down to the Skyline 5k.

I was not feeling that chipper. Maybe the heat from the Waxhaw race took more from me than I thought.

The prerace stuff went as usual – packet pick up, bathroom break, and some chatting with runners that I had not seen in a while.

Then, it was off for a pre course run.

In comparing the Waxhaw and Skyline courses definitely the Skyline course is tougher to the two courses. The first mile is mostly uphill along with about ¾ of the 2nd mile. The only saving grace for the course is that the 3rd mile is lights out fast if you have anything left which usually I don’t.

As I was prerunning the course, I looked for a few good spots to make a push during the race. Usually, this a place where I like to throw in some surges. I did pick out these spots but forgive me if I don’t share them here. Steve might be reading this blog. :)

My legs were feeling a tried but nothing too terribly bad. Usually, when I run back to back races, my 2nd race is faster.

The start was another tight one between the Stadium and the CPCC campus. Even with the crowd of runners, Steve and I were running almost side by side by the ¼ mile mark.

I think I pushed the pace up the hill - probably a bad idea on my part. We hit the first mile in 5:42. Coming over the top, Steve must have been feeling good because he was really pushing it for the next half mile. We were pretty much stride for stride through 2 miles. I had 5:27 on my Garmin.

Once on the downhill section, either Steve was throwing in some small surges or I was just struggling to keep up. Either way, I was barely hanging on.

As we were started to round the stadium, Steve got a couple of strides on me. I could have given up and let him go but that wasn’t the thought that entered my mind. The only thought was “close it back up” but easier thought than done. :)

We hit the 3 mile mark side by side (My Garmin said - 5:12) and I might have gotten a step on him by the time we made the right turn in to the CPCC campus. However, this is the point where I needed that extra gear and didn’t have it at this point in my training. Steve put on down a sprint and gapped me by 2 seconds.

My congrads go out to Steve on his race. I pushed him almost to the finish line and gave everything that I had.

Honestly, I was disappointed at losing by a few seconds, but there was a bright side. I had one of my best races with Steve yet. I improved my time over last year when Steve beat me by some 25 seconds. And, when I could have faded and let Steve go in the last mile, I didn’t. I dug deep and hung on.

After the race, Mike and I did a nice little cool down over the course. It was perfect way to recovery after a hard race.

On the TrySports Team front, Mike, Stan, Kylee, and I picked up the mix team award which was a party at Jillians. I have to work on getting it scheduled

For now, Twilight is just 2 weeks away and should be fun.

Waxhaw 5K 4.24.09

Friday arrived and I was still debating about running the Waxhaw 5k. Even the morning of I was not sure that I would go, but then around lunch time I decided to make the trip. It was a TrySports sponsored event and I felt I need to go out and put in a good showing for our team.

Because of the Friday traffic, I left shortly after 4pm. It took me about an hour and half to make the trip down from Huntersville. The traffic actually was not bad until I hit 485. It was pretty much a crawl between the entrance to 485 and Johnston road.

Three years had passed since I last did the Waxhaw race and I was surprised at how things had changed. Driving down Providence Rd. there were a ton of new strip malls between 485 and Waxhaw. The entire area appears to be growing like crazy.

I arrived about 5:30 which is a little early for me to get to a race. But I needed the extra time to sign up for the race.

Getting out of my car, the heat hit me a like the ton of bricks. This was the first really hot day that we have had in Charlotte this year. I don’t check the exact temperature other than knowing that it was somewhere in the upper 80s.

I saw a few people that I knew and spent a few minutes chatting. Also Cody and Rob arrived to setup our TrySports booth. I helped out for a few minutes before heading back to the car.

Changing over to my running stuff, I headed out for a prerun of the course. The Waxhaw is a touch little course with a steep hill in the last mile.

The course has a very tight start on Main Street. It is one of those situations that leaves you asking “What were they thinking”.

My first mile was fast 5:12 and slowed a little in the 2nd mile - 5:28. I had blended in with a pack of runners from Wingate. Just after the 1st mile I started to catch the 2nd place runner from Wingate. He was the same runner that battled me at the Shamrock 4 miler. But today, he let me go. :)

At each of the water stops I dumped H20 over my head. I could really feel the heat and this seemed to help.

I was slowing in the last mile. The heat monkey had jumped on my back and seemed to be gaining weight with every step that I took.

It felt good crossing the finish line. I ran 17:22. It was slower than my last Waxhaw 5k but then the heat was not this bad.

After race Cody and I did a cool down over the course. I was tired but felt pretty good. Cody was bouncing along like a kid in a candy store. He looked ready for his big duathlon race Sunday.

After the race, I hung out for the awards and talked to a few runners. Then, it was time to head home and rest because I had another race the next morning.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quarterbacking the Boston Marathon

Hope you got a chance to watch the Boston Marathon online this morning. Wow! Wasn’t it some race?

The women’s race was tactical race while the men's race led by Ryan Hall were off and running from the gun.

Sitting here now thinking about the race, I am sure there were be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking about it. In hind sight, it is pretty easy to 2nd guess the decisions by Hall to push the pace from the start instead of laying back and Goucher for pushing the pace from 20 to 25 miles.

So give me some credit for not going down that path.

No, I would like to take about Monday morning quarterbacking of road racing.

Road racing is different from any other sports. There are no breaks between plays. There are no caution flags or pits for help if things are not working. There is no way to replay something if there is a penalty for falling.

No, in running it is a single inning game played without any breaks. Runners go as hard as they can from the start with the hope of running as fast possible.

The decisions they make along the along the way are based on how they feel and how they think it will affect the runners that they are racing. Runners hope their decisions they make will be ones that lead them to beating their rivals. Sometimes those decisions work out and sometimes they don’t.

But criticizing one decision or another made during the heat of an event is really just doesn’t make any sense to me.

When you are in the middle of that situation, you make best decision based on the best available information. And you keep making those decisions based on this principle until the race is over.

This is what makes us live and die for our heroes. We hope they win but know they can lose.

Congrads to Hall and Goucher for taking up the challenge and showing us how to run fast.

Zero-G Treadmills

Universal Sports is going to web cast the Boston Marathon so I was getting my machine configured this weekend so I could watch it live online.

One of the promo that they were running while I was doing this configuration was of Kara Goucher running on a Zero Gravity Treadmill. This has to be one of the cools things that I have ever seen.

According to the online documentation a zero gravity treadmill can reduce the weight of a runner by as much as 80%. This of course would reduce the pounding on the joints and ligaments which we all know take a huge pounding from running. But the pros and cons of zero gravity running is another topic for another time.

From watching the videos about the Zero-G Treadmills there would have to be some adjust to your running style and form. When I run on a treadmill, I never run in just one spot. Sometimes I run at the front or right at the end. With the zero gravity treadmill, the treadmill keeps you in one spot for the entire run. Maybe this is good thing. It would keep me from falling off the treadmill. The other thing that I noticed is the arm carriage. I tend to carry my arms lower. I wonder if this would force me to hold my arms higher.

I love to try one just to see how it feels.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Changing a tire

Since my injury in January I have spent considerable time riding my bike. As with any vehicle at some point you have to change the tires.

Well, yesterday was that day. Mind you, I have been putting this off for a while because rear tired is the one that needed changing. In my opinion it is a lot more work changing a rear tire than changing the front tire.

Before I describe the tire change, let me say this was my first experience at changing a rear tire on my mt. bike. Pretty much it was on the job training project.

First, I loosen the rear derail cogs and slipped out the chain. I then loosen the wheel nuts so I could slide out the wheel. Only then did I realize that I needed to remove the brake calipers. I hate removing the brake calipers because I never get them back the same way.

With the brake calipers off and the rim out, I let the air out of the inner tube and pulled off the tire and tube.

Next, I put on the new tire and tube and pressurized it. Crossing my fingers, I hoped that I didn’t make any holes while putting it back on the rim. And, definitely I wanted to do this before putting tire and rim back on the bike. What pain that would be to have to take it off again.

So with the tire in place and rear derailers back on, I tried putting back the brakes calipers. Yep, 15 minutes to change the tire and 30 minutes trying to adjust the brakes so they didn’t drag on the rim.

In the end, they work but I probably need to adjust them again. They don’t stop me as quickly as they did before I screwed them up.

Long story short, I rode 26 miles yesterday evening on my new tire and didn’t have any issues. Bike mechanics of the world look out. 

Fartlek Workout - Getting Faster

Another day and another workout were just completed. I headed over to the North Meck Trail this morning for a fartlek workout. This is the same workout that I did a couple of weeks ago.

In that workout I ran 24:59 for the first loop and then ran 26:10ish on the 2nd loop. Reasonable or not this set the standard for any of my future fartleks workouts.
This morning I had another fartlek workout scheduled so I headed off down the trail.

I felt like I was running faster, but when I hit the split for the first lap, I was at 25:41. Needless to say, I was disappointed, but I didn’t fret too long because I had another lap to do.

On the 2nd lap I pushed but I didn’t feel as if I was running faster. Crossing the finish line, I clicked my watch and saw the time was 25:01. Nice. Although, both times were slower than my PR. The overall time was faster and the 2nd lap was faster. Again both were very positive signs for my conditionings. I am looking forward to getting back on the race circuit next week.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day Dreaming

As I set here at work today, I allowed myself to day dream for a moment. Realizing that for the first time in a while, I don’t having anything that motivates me enough to put pen to paper. Or in today’s terms fingers to key board. So I thought I just share some rambling thoughts.

My knee has continues to heal from an early season case of ITB. Proof enough is the fact that my long runs have grown increasingly longer and the intensity of my workout has picked up. This combined with my addition time on the bike shows things are close to returning to normal.

In two weeks, the 2nd Run for Your Life race kicks off at CPCC. This is event is called Skyline 5k and it should give me a good reality check to see if I am continuing to improve. I suspect that I will need every ounce of speed possible. Through the running grapevine, I heard Steve S. was running interval workouts with Jerry C. Running with Jerry can only make you better and I am sure he is expecting to have a great run at Skyline. He definitely has history on his side. He went past me at the mile last year and never looked back.

Then just two weeks later is the Friday night Twilight run uptown. Last year, I remember going out the first mile in about 5:30. Just past the mile point, I took a peek out of the corner of my eye to see the pony tails of Megan H right behind me. I don’t know if Megan will be running in the Twilight run this year. She has been focusing her time on running a marathon in Vermont.

After Twilight, there is a lull in the series racing action until we move to the University 5k a.k.a King Tiger 5k. This is an event that I struggled in last year. The course is great. It was little up hill going out and a little down hill coming back. I remember being well ahead of Steve at the turnaround only to see him come flying by me in the last tenth of mile. A sure sign was that we were moving in opposite direction – me getting slower and him getting faster. Then, I have never been a great hot weather runner. And if history is any indication, it takes me a month or more to get acclimated.

Well, this is enough rambling for today. Maybe a new an enlightening topic will fall out the sky and hit me by tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Powered by Sports Beans

After my terrible run last week, I reverted back to my old strategy by taking in some calories during my long runs. This morning I was out for 22 miles and a pleasant tour of Davidson. Albeit the first hour was dark and it was a beautiful sun rise. But I digress.

Every two miles, I popped a sports bean.
I was a little slower going out the 10 miles but I was a lot faster during the last 12 mile. This is how I want the runs to go easy going out, hard in the middle miles, and feel strong heading to the finish.

This is the first time that I have used the sports bean during a run. Previously, I had tried them during my bike rides, but riding doesn’t create the same type of stomach issues that running does.

But there were no surprises and the stomach remained calm during the entire run.

I chose the lemon lime flavor sports beans because I tend to favor the gels with very strong or tart flavors. And, I could not imagine myself taking a blue berry bean.

One other important note, I choose the Sports beans because I could get them in a caffeine free version. Taking caffeine can have a positive effect on the body during endurance performance, but I try to shy away from taking them because I am extremely caffeine sensitive. Even the smallest amount can leave me with a head ache the next day. I rather avoid the caffeine than have those headaches.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

10x800 with 2 minute recovery

With the rain coming down last night, it washed out my plans to do an internval workout on the dirt section of the Mallard Creek Greenway. Alternately, I could have gone to the track at the middle school but then I was feeling too lazy to get in my car and drive to it early this morning.

Instead I opted to use my Garmin and run my workout on a flat stretch of road in a near by neighborhood.

I always struggle in these workouts. I never get warmed up properly so I end up using the first 3 or 4 intervals getting my body primed.

So as expected, my first 4x800s were my slowest. The next 2 were considerablely faster and the last 4 were the fastest.

I did a 2 minute recovery after each one and felt like it was probably too much. At about 90 seconds I was ready to go again.

On a side note, I was using my Garmin to mark the 800 meter point. But it seems that even thou I started each interval at the same spot, the end points were always different. Now, I know that I wasn’t exactly running in a straight line, but some times there was a much as 20 yards between one interval finish point and the next. It left me scratching my head.

For the rest of the week, I have long planned for tomorrow. Friday, I will do a fartlek workout on the North Meck Trail – barring any more rain this weekend. Saturday will be a nother long run. Maybe something close to 18 miles. I am not sure yet. It all depends on how the rest of the week goes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt for Adults

Many of you know that I have three daughters and yes, they all like to hunt Easter eggs. Well, at least two of them get to hunt Easter eggs. My oldest daughter turned 12 last year so it has pushed her out of the Easter egg hunting business.

During the last few weeks there were a lot of Easter egg hunts across Charlotte. To my knowledge every one of them limited the hunting of Easter eggs to children 10 or 11 and under.

We continued our conversation about Easter egg hunting and I received a much anticipated question from her.

She asked “Why don’t they have Easter Egg hunts for people 12 and older?”. Honestly, I told her that I don’t know. I mean I could make a few guesses, but really I have no idea why they do not.

So our conversation continued and after some time we arrived at the conclusion that maybe there should hold an Easter egg hunt for adults. I mean why not. I still enjoy hunting Easter eggs. My daughters love hiding them and then watching while I try to find them. And let me tell you they do a good job because sometimes I cannot find them all.

So why can’t adults hunt Easter eggs. Our idea went something like the following. We would suggestion having a little 5k race with Easter eggs along the course and each runner must find an egg to carry to the finish. If you arrive at the finish line without an egg, then you must go back and find one. We would then tell everyone that we front loaded the course with eggs so pick one up before you get to far into the race or risk have to go back along the course to find one.

I told her that we would pitch the idea to Huntersville Park and Rec guys and even volunteer to help them with it. Who really knows? May be next year, we will be able to have an adult Easter egg hunt on the North Meck. Trail.

100 miles for the week on my bike

I am not sure why the century mark seems to hold so much significance for me. Many years ago, I regular ran many 70, 80, and 90 miles in a week, but I had never run 100miles in one week.

Then, without any prep I just went out and did it. I remember thinking afterwards; all that I did for that week was run, run and run some more.

When last week started, I was planning a normal week of bike riding. Monday, I did just over 20+. Tuesday, I did a little less than 30.

Then after running 20 miles on Wednesday, I was back on the bike Thursday for 30+ miles.

Usually this wraps up a week of riding for me but suddenly Saturday morning got opened up and I was free to ride.

I jumped at the chance.

I started the morning off with 16 miles of running with Jeff from the Lake Norman Y. Came home for some refueling before heading out on the bike.

I guess I was excited by the fact that I was going to break a hundred for the week. Riding up the hills, I was churning along in a bigger gear and my rhythm seemed to be smoother than ever.

I finished the ride with 21 miles and topped out the week at 103.

Now, I thinking about two other items on my bucket list: riding 100 miles in day on the bike and running 100 miles in 24 hours. If I get the chance, I will do a 100 mile bike ride this summer. But running 100 miles in 24 hours will have to wait a few more years. There are a few more marathon goals that I want to achieve first. . And after running 100 miles, I might just be ready to walk away from running and racing.

Thursday night free time runs

I heard back from Brian over the weekend and we are trying to workout the details to get these free Thursday night runs started again.

I guess nothing is ever simple in life. Even a series free runs take time to organize and setup.

I am hoping to have another update to post later this week and maybe we can get the runs started again in the coming weeks.

more to follow....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Checking on Free Thursday night runs

Last year we had these Thursday night free timed runs behind the Charlotte Running Company on East Blvd.

In my opinion, these runs were a big hit and had lots of people coming out regularly to do them. I have not seen anything about them occurring this year.

Being curious, I emailed Brian earlier to day about them. I am hoping that he says we are doing them again.

I even volunteered to do the timing and scoring this year if he needed help.

We have to wait and see what his says. I will post something if he says we are going to have them.

Racefest 10k off the schedule

Looks like I am going to be crossing Racefest 10k off my list of spring races. This is a race that I really wanted to do. Heck, I even thoughts a few weeks ago of jumping in the ½ marathon race.

But when I set down and started looking at the races that I really wanted to do heading into the summer, the Racefest 10k just didn’t fit with that schedule.

Definitely, Skyline and Twilight will be on my schedule. Also the Beach Blast 5k will be on my list. Rob emailed us about another race that he would like us to run as team. As the list of potential races starts to grow, I have to pick and choose. Over racing is tough on the body and the mind. At 44, my racing starts to really drop off when I start race every weekend. Some times I just need the down time to recover.


On Wednesday evening I bonked during a long run.

This spring I moved my long runs to either Wednesday or Saturday mornings depending on what I had going during the week.

Initially I was only doing 14 mile runs. Then, I moved to 16 miles.

Two weeks ago, I ran 18 miles.

This week I decided to do a 20 miler.

Before describing the run, I should also share that I have been doing these runs without water and gels. This is a change from all of my previous training. In the past, I thought it best to train my body to use these items because it would better prepare me for race day. For each run, I prepared water and gels so I could have them every five miles.

But after talking with some other runers, I found that they didn't use these extras preferring instead to focus on getting their bodies to burn fat. Therefore, I thought an experiment was in order. I wanted to see how my body handled fat burning only runs.

Back to my Wednesday run, I headed up to the Lake Norman Y because traffic is not as bad as in Charlotte. I made the loop around Davidson and picked up the Davidson College X-country course. By the time that I came off the x-country course; I had covered about 10 miles in 75 minutes. I was feeling pretty good. Usually, in my runs after about 13 miles I tend to feel better. Today something different happen.

At 13 miles, I felt like I was struggling. By 15 miles, it felt like I was running in wet sand. At 18 miles, I was just hanging on.

Around 19 miles, I was ready to get back to my car and head home. I completed the run by doing loops in the parking lot at the Y.

Standing by side my car I was completely drained. I felt like I couldn’t take another step. After some light stretching, I headed home for dinner a little TV and fell into bed. I never remember feeling so bad after a run.

My conclusion from this effort is teaching your body to bun fat is probably important in marathon training. At some point, you are going to be burning fat and you need to understand how it feels. On the flip side, I am not sure that this is totally realistic. Most races today offer gels, water, and Gatorade (or some similar product) during the race. Acclimating, your body to these substances should help you train better and race better.

As for me, I think I am going back to refueling during the training runs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is a 2:09 marathon time average?

During my lunch break, I was browsing on the Lets Run website and clicked on the link for the Rotterdam Marathon.

Looking down the list of finishers the country of Kenya was well represented.

Nine out of the first ten runners were all from Kenya. The other runner was from Ethiopia.

The first runner from a country not in Africa was from Spain and ran a 2:12.

Considering if you ran 2:09 and were from America then you would be considered fast. But if you are from Kenya and run 2:09 while still very much an elite runner you are over 5 minutes behind the best times being posted by your country man.

I wonder if Kenya runners view their fellow country man as average because they are only able to run times in the 2:09 range. I hope not. They have an entire country of men and women capable of making great running achievements. And when they can take 9 of 10 places at a major marathon, it says something about the running culture of that country. It is GOOD!!!

Sponsorship and Brand Loyalty

thoughts from a far........

Continuing with the theme from yesterday, I wanted to share my thoughts by taking a slightly different tack on the question of race sponsorship.

One of the points that NASCAR taunts to potential sponsors is brand loyalty. Based on their research fans are loyal to the sponsors of their drivers whether that is the car make, car sponsor, or driver sponsor etc. People tend to buy the products with which they have some type of connection.

Growing up my dad was an avid NASCAR fan and he drove a particular make of car. He was probably loyal in the other products that he bought as well. I cannot be sure. Being young I didn’t pay as much attention as potentially I should have.

My question here is do runners have that same type of loyalty.

Mizuno sponsors our Trysports Racing team so I have to say that the majority of my running shoes are Mizuno. Sugoi sponsors our team clothing so I wear their shirts, shorts, socks, arm arms, hats, gloves, and jackets. Most of which I have bought.

When I am looking for quick snacks, I usually have a Power Bar handy. When I am running long runs, I use the Power Gels. To be clear here, I am not sponsored by Power Bar, but I like their products and their products work well in fueling my body during my workouts.

But these brands are easy to support. They have a direct involvement in our sport so using them only makes sense.

What about sponsors that don’t have a direction connection to our sport. By direct connection I mean they don’t have a product that is utilized directly in our sport.

I can think of four examples. Run for Your Life Grand Prix series is sponsored by Lowes Home Improvement Store, Moes, PowerAde and that “Bread Company”. I sorry I cannot remember their name at the moment.

Because of Lowes’ involvement I frequently pick up stuff at their stores over Home Depot. Moes, I cannot ever remember going into one of their restaurants. PowerAde, I always pick a PowerAde over Gatorade when prepping for a long run or race. As for the “Bread Company” to my knowledge, this is a local company which is located on the south side of Charlotte. Their samples are great but I have never been in their store. It is just not convenient to drive across Charlotte.

So if I am a typical example of a runner, am I loyal to the brands that sponsor running. The short answer is sometimes. Much like fans in NASCAR if I have a direction connection or I need that particular product then I would more likely buy their products.

Here lies the problem. Until there is a definitive way to prove runners have brand loyalty and runners show much more brand loyalty, few if any sponsors would consider becoming involved in our sport. I cite myself as an example.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Race Sponsorship

Sitting in front of the TV last night, I took notice of something that I don’t see in road racing as much.

In every direction that you turn, there appears to be a sponsor of something. There is a sponsor for the pregame show, half time show, and post game show. There are sponsors of game summaries and breaks during the game. Practically everything that can be sponsored is being sponsored.

But when I looked at road racing, I don’t see the same type of sponsor involvement. Maybe it has something to do with how our sport works or maybe with organizing such efforts. I am not really sure.

However, if we want our sport to continue to grow, we know we cannot do it without sponsorship involvement. Putting on road races cost money and unless we want entry fees to go up like the price of gasoline, we need to have more sponsors to come into our sport and to show them how being involved in running and road racing pays for it self. (This last part I want to save for a future article)

For now, let’s focus on where we could have existing and new sponsors show their brand names during a race weekend:

o “Sponsor Name” warm up run and stretching before the race
o “Sponsor Name” warm down run and stretching after the race
o “Sponsor Name” post race refueling station.
o “Sponsor Name” in race mile 1, 2, 3, etc water stops.

The list above took me maybe 10 minutes to gather. Given more time there are probably numerous other areas at the races that could be sponsored.

Hammer Intervals

As runner and avid road racer, I am always looking for ways to train and ultimately race better. Since I have gone down the path of being self coached, it is up to me to find challenging workouts. Mainly, I look for articles on the internet or in running magazines such as the Running Times magazine.

Recently I stumbled across an article about Hammer Intervals.

The concept behind hammer intervals is during the middle of an interval workout run a selected interval much harder than the rest. To pick which interval to run harder all depends on you. Perhaps during a road race you have a let down in the 2nd or 3rd mile so you could do a hammer interval during those miles. By doing this hammer interval in the middle, then, the remainder of the intervals should seem easier to run.

So this morning, I tried this idea.

My workout today was 5 x 1 mile with a 3 minute i.e. 400 meter recovery. The 3rd mile would be my hammer interval. My warm up and cool down were around a mile.

I started out with a 5:46, then a 5:43 for the 2nd mile. My hammer interval for the 3rd mile was 5:37. I then returned to my original pace with a 5:46 for the 4th mile. My 5th mile was 5:43. I was tying up a little during the 5th mile and was probably struggling a little from the head wind and cold temps.

Going back to the description about hammer intervals above, the 4th and 5th miles did seem easier and I certainly felt more relaxed. Maybe I could have run the 4th and 5th interval faster, but without trying to make excuses which I am about to do, it was cold this morning and I did have a head wind. (LOL)

Overall, I give the hammer intervals “a thumbs up” and plan to use the hammer interval concept during some of my future workouts. Look for me to try it again in two weeks.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cruise Hills

As I continue to work my self back into racing shape, I look for workouts which are challenging and hopefully will make me faster.

Today’s workout is the first in a series of workouts designed to do just that.

Today’s workout is what I call cruise hills. They are similar to cruise intervals but are run on dirt trails 400 to 800 meters long. The purpose of the workout is stress the body while focusing on running form. Things like keeping the head up(looking up the hill) instead of down at the hill (i.e. just a few feet in front of your feet), working the arms to help drive the legs forward, and lifting the knees high while keeping the stride short. The idea here is to increase my leg turn over.

Overall, these hills help strengthen the legs and improve the running economy.

The other facet of cruise hills that is most important to discuss is pace. Like the adjective “cruise” suggest, the pace for these hills is not all out. I typically run these hills at about 75%. Here’s a test to determine if you are running them too fast. Listen to your breathing. If it is extremely labored, then you are running them too fast and probably your form is starting to fall off. Form should be the most important because it is the running motion that you will most likely want to replicate during a race.

So remember, this is not all out workout. There are other workouts to address this shear speed. Cruise hills help strengthen the body and improve the running economy. Then, when you are in that up coming race and hit that hill, your body will run it exactly like you practiced just faster because you are in a race.