Friday, September 28, 2007

Carb Loader

This is an amazing story from the blog labeled Carb Loader. It the story of a sub 3 marathon from the open corral in Chicago in 2006!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Advice from Coach Greg -- IVS

As I get VERY close indeed to the Chicago Marathon I am in the final phases of my training. Tonight (Thurs) I plan on 5-6 mile of running with 20 minutes of it at GMP. Friday is an easy recovery day. Saturday, I plan on conservatively racing the Zoo Run Run, Glen Oak Park in Peoria IL. It's a 5k. Sunday will be an 11 miler with 3 at pace.

And Coach Greg's advice for the 5k and the big day:

"... the 5K of Saturday should be as even as possible with a conservative 1st mile and pickup last mile look at 6:10's for 2 mile than push for whateveryou can get. In the marathon, remember to work off of 4 mile average splits. It’s best to pace off a sizeable chunk than to try to pace off each mile. The most important split is the 12-16 one. It is critical for you to be running your goal pace during this segment (or a bit faster). Don't wait till mile 22 to find your inner strength. At 22 you may feel too strong an urge to back off then it will be tough to get back on pace and to stay on pace. Remember to focus on the 12-16 mile split. I believe with what you ran at the IVS half you will be able to accomplish your objective. Your best chance will come if you average your splits each 4 miles. You will get there. Don't change thursdays workout that I sent. Run well on Sat."

The coach has spoken......

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mayfly Update

Tuesday I ran for the first time in my Nike Mayfly's. The shoe seems to provide ample cushion but I noticed my sole was slipping a bit on the shoes inner padding. This could be a because the upper has very little mass. I was afraid to really tighten my laces. The upper is made from the same material that parachutes are made. It's probably stronger than I think. I ran about 8 miles on a trail that used to be a railroad route. The path is covered with a fine crushed rock. I didn't feel all that spry as I wasn't fully recovered from my long run on Sunday. I've been having some shin irritation on the inside of my right shin and suspect it is related to the intense week I had last week and especially the 10k race I did on Saturday followed by a 23 mile long run at 7:30 pace on Sunday.

I had my stride analyzed before the Boston Marathon last year at the expo and was told that I was a neutral gated runner but had a slight very late stage pronation. I am flat footed. I am going to hold off on my judgment of the shoe until after my next long run on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nike Mayfly First Impressions

Ok. I admit it. I've been spending more time at tracking my new shoes coming in than I have been working. Finally, my Nike Mayfly's arrived! I put them on while I was getting dinner ready. First impressions are good. They are certainly light. Aesthetically, they have to be just about the ugliest shoe on the planet and to be honest, I kind of like that part. My concern is will they hold up to the rigors of the marathon? Only time will tell. I am running my first run in them tonight. My fallback shoe is my Adidas Addistar Mana.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Race Day Advice (Humor)

Race Day Advice:
1. Eat a HUGE breakfast before your race so you will have plenty of fuel for the day!

2. Don’t drink too much the day before the race. It will only make you have to pee.

3. Wear a bikini or better yet, a Speedo even if it is 20 degrees outside.

4. Get to the race corral early! It’s good to be the first one in. That way you can be assured of being right up front. One hour before the corrals open is a good rule of thumb. Do a 1 or 2 mile all out sprint 20 minutes before the race begins. In this way your muscles will get used to the idea of rapid movement and you will be more likely to place high in the race.

5. To avoid getting too cold before the start. Do some jumping jacks and push ups. It really psyches out the competition to see a middle age man crank out 50 push ups right before the start! I usually get a couple of "Whoa...Take is Easy Big Guy!" comments when I am cranking out the j-jacks in a crowded corral!

6. Wear track spikes (The sound you make on the pavement….intimidating). -OR-

7. Buy a new pair of shoes for race day (forget the above comment)! Regardless of what you train in, visit the booth of the major footwear sponsor and buy THEIR shoe! After all, they spent a ton of money to sponsor this race. The least you can do is wear their shoes. If you place high enough you will be ensured a sponsorship. Here’s another (sub tip): save weight and shave seconds by not wearing socks.

8. Body glide is for wimps.

9. At mile 2, stop in the in the middle of the road and stretch. Stretching is important and staying in the middle makes it more difficult for others to get around you. Never forget it's a race. Everyone else is the enemy. They are bad people.

10. Sing the songs on your ipod out loud! This way others can find motivation from your music too.

11. If someone tries to pass you, try to float back and forth on the road to block his/her way (tip: don’t look too obvious). Imagine you are a squirrel in traffic! Act like you didn’t mean to.

12. If you can’t block them, subtly trip any runner that makes it around you. You're not going fast, so why should they?

13. No matter how your muscles feel, keep running fast. Pick it up early so you can bank some minutes. You’ll need em’ later when you begin to fade.

14. Shave time by racing through the water stops. This is an excellent opportunity to pass those you didn't trip as they slow down to drink.

15. Always run with the largest crowd. (forget the tripping stuff above) This way you will never be alone and you can talk with more people. People WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING even if they don't really seem friendly. Try just STOPPING UNEXPECTEDLY (hilarious).

16. Constantly change speeds to keep from getting too bored. Surging ahead (don't forget to zig-zag) every so often helps to keep people out of your way and keeps you alert and fresh. Try doing an all out 10-20 second burst (you can even do this with your eyes closed) every 5 minutes or so, then walk until you catch your breath.

17. When the going gets tough, just quit going -- no one will care. You have trained and worked hard for this day but so what. Marathons are not supposed to hurt they are supposed to be fun!

Getting Read for The Big Day! (Pre-Race Advice Humor)

Pre-Marathon Advice:

1. First, register late, without a clear picture of what you are doing or why. Just know deep down inside that you've done this before, and it will work out ok - somehow! Don't make reservations at the race site in advance, and leave your travel plans to chance - and to the last minute. It will all work out in the end.

2. The week before your run, see if you can find a nice "tune-up" race, the longer the better (15k to half marathon). It is a great confidence builder to feel the wind blow through your (thinning) hair as you gallop madly down the road in that somewhat shorter but much faster, final tune up run!

3. Test your preparedness through the final week by doing some semi-long tempo sessions. Again, these are great affirmations of your superb conditioning. And you need to know that! I like distances of 10-12 miles.

4. Since a good portion of the marathon training that we have been doing is supposed to condition our bodies to burn fat during the marathon, "fuel up" for the big race by eating every meal the week before at either McDonald's, Burger King, or Culver's. I've even heard that Burger King has a 2 for $3 special going on their Whoppers right now. I can't think of a better pre race meal...

5. (On the other hand) there are many experts who encourage fasting for 2 or 3 days before the race. You don't want to be hauling around a bunch of unnecessary weight for 26 miles. Thinner is better, just look at the elites. And since fasting depresses appetite after a few days, you won't get hungry during the race, or even afterward. Consuming nothing but water and thin broth also will ensure you are fully hydrated. Combining the "runner's high" with the "faster's high" ensures peak performance and out-of-body experience.

6. At the expo, plan on spending the whole day! It’s a big show with LOT’s to see and do. The more stuff you buy and carry (treasures in beach combing parlance) the better. Walking around will help to keep the legs limber and work out some of that soreness from those tempo runs!

7. At the end of the day - now two days from your big event - eat hot dogs and sauerkraut for your carbo-loading dinner.

8. After the expo, go see the sites! Go to a museum and walk around. Most marathons are held in big cities. It’s a great opportunity to get some culture.

9. Sleep in your car with your family the night before the race (I told you it would all work out).

10. If you can run one mile you can run 2. If you can run 2 you can 4, and if you can run 4 you can run 6. And so on . . . if you can run 20 you can run 26.2. So, as long as you can run a mile you are set. Time to taper.

11. If you can run a 10-minute mile you can run 9:00. If you can run 9 you can run 8:30, etc. Thus, if you can run 6:45 you can run 6:30. And since we all know training pace is magically 2 minutes per mile slower than race pace, you can run 4:30 pace for the marathon and set a world record. All through the power of logic and positive thinking.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Training for Marathons Yasso 800's

You can predict your marathon time based on how long it takes you to run 800 meters. Don't believe it? The secret lies in Yasso 800's

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pre-Marathon Preparations

Pfitzinger recommends eating something right after you wake up to replenish the glycogen stores in the liver and pancreas. They are normally depleted while sleeping. I’d avoid anything real fibrous like fruit if you are worried about GI problems. My favorite race food is a bowl of sweet cereal like captain crunch with skim milk and an orange juice. The simple sugars break down and there’s not much fiber. It seems to wake me up. The skim milk has a bit of protein and carbs as well but some people are grossed out by the thought of milk before a long run. Eat a fairly small portion and then maybe a little something right before you run like a power bar and perhaps a gel pack right before you start. Make sure you try it out before hand so you know how your body will react. As far as socks, yeah, I avoid cotton and buy the tech socks like these:

I also load up on the body glide around the shorts, thighs and feet and nipples (yeah I know it sounds weird). Trust me on the body glide; it makes it so much more pleasant recovering if you don’t also have all these abrasions. Take some old sweats you won’t mind ditching at the starting line to keep you warm until you start and have one of those $2 disposable ponchos to keep the rain off. Also have a head band and/or hat and gloves that you don’t mind ditching. If you get hot while your running you can always shed these these items as you get going. Definitely ditch the sweat bottoms before the start.

Here is another tip, take about a quarter of a medium sized Gatorade that you bring right to the starting line. You can down it and piss in it right before the start. Cap it and roll it to the side of the street. I know it’s gross but these are the things people do. Your bladder semi will shut down and you won’t have to pee after you get going so the fluid will stay in you and you will sweat it out.

I have a pair of Nike mayfly’s coming in to try out on my next long run. They are billed as 100k disposable shoes for marathon racing. If they are comfy I’ll try them out. Here is a link to a review:

I’ll let you know about the shoes!

Plateau Don't Peak

I want to clear up a term I hear often but used incorrectly among my marathon training buds: Peaking. IMO the term gets used too often in error as a caution to others against doing too much base work too soon. I hear things like: “Wow, you are did a 20 miler already!?! You’re gonna peak too soon dude!” The discussion inevitably revolves around how many miles should be run in a given week and whether or not it’s too many miles too soon or not enough. I ascribe to the principle that, for the marathon, it’s more important to use a period of training. A period is a timeframe such as a month where a range of mileage is combined with a consistent level of rest/recovery. Its a way to reach a fitness plateau. I break my lengthy transformation from a big pile of beer and pizza goo to a hulking mass of twisted steel into smaller periods. During all periods I want to follow the hard/easy principle (that is to say hard workouts are followed with easy ones). I try to listen to my body as I don’t want to over train. When I do occasionally over do it, I want to be smart enough to back off. Training for the marathon is not to throw oneself downrange like a cannonball. You don’t have a trajectory with a peak whereby you try to hit the target at the top of its flight path. It’s also not a simple linear mileage building process. It’s more akin to climbing flights of stairs or climbing up the side of a mountain. You will encounter periods where the climb is steep and difficult and then you reach a place where you can become accustomed to the height before you attempt your next ascent. Don’t attempt the next fitness plateau until your body has had a chance to adjust to your newly obtained fitness level. It has been my experience that I need to stay at the new level for at least a few weeks before going up again. As long as I continue with a sound plan of period based training, cautiously increasing mileage to obtain a new plateau, and stay at that plateau long enough to adjust for the next ascent, I will continue to improve (until god says "hold right there bud or your coming home with me!"). I am coming to the realization that it’s less about the weekly mileage than about understanding periodization. Break the fitness objective down into smaller parts and obtain your goals piece by piece. A peak (or peaking), conversely, is the optimum or apex (highest level) of performance possible for you at your current fitness level. It’s important for running your absolute fastest race but don’t confuse it with a plateau. When you start getting close to race day, say several weeks out, start concerning yourself with peaking, not until then. Peaking is what you want to have happen at the end of all your training on race day. Plateaus are the shelves you sit upon while climbing up the mountain. Peaking is less critical than fitness based on smart periodization. Finally, DO NOT confuse missing a peak with being over trained. Over training can and will definitely hurt your performance! But overtraining is much less likely if you ascribe a plan that includes periodization and that allows for plenty of rest and evaluation.