Friday, May 30, 2008

Will women someday be faster than men in the marathon?

Click on the headline for this story and read Amy Burfoots story on Women and long distance. When you think how long into the running boom we got before women were allowed into marathons, the latest scientific speculation about their endurance power becomes even more ironic: Women might have been better equipped all along than the men who were keeping up the barriers against them. At least that may be true as far as fuel is concerned, when you compare female endurance reserves to those of the stronger men who were protecting the "weaker sex" as too delicate for such a grueling distance.
More accurately, whatever advantage women do possess probably doesn't kick in until an event gets at least as long as the marathon – anything 26.2 miles or over, or its equivalent in another sport, that qualifies it as "ultra distance." And if our theories are correct, the longer the event, the greater the possible advantage. Tracy Sundlun is a former Olympic track coach who has trained over 30 Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers, and in his view, "The differences as you probe farther into the ultra distances seem to indicate men and women are competing more on an even plane."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

El' Danimal Set's Sights On Schroff

Dan Johnson sets his sight to be faster than Schroff on Saturday, May 24. He is competing in the Chillicothe River Run held by the Optimist Club. It's a pancake flat fast 5k along 2nd street through Shore Acres park and back into town. I am guessing Schroffy will need to run 16:50 or better to take on the Danimal. Both are capable of such times. I ALMOST wish I wasn't running just so I could get a video of the fun. This picture was from my bud Matt Stevenson. We all ran a race in Morton a few weeks ago. Winner was featured in this traditional sombrero! I haven't been able to catch him in a 5k.......yet. Thanks Matt. Just a suggestion Dan, I'd lose the hat before the start unless you get a really strong tail wind.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Nike Free Ad

These shoes are great. I need a new pair of Free 3.0's but they seem to be no longer available. Bummer! I can still get 5.0's. I like em....sort of. But the Free 3's were the Bomb! I raced myself to a PR at Delavan in them. I also had a personal first by beating Chris Alexander. Granted he had the flu and was overdressed. But hey, the guy is Faster Than Schroff!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hanson Coaching Does Things A Little Different

I received a packet from Hanson’s Coaching Services. I thought you’d find it interesting. It is the training packet from their Advanced Marathon clinic. I don’t know how familiar you are with their training philosophy. I was taken aback by the fact they don’t have a planned run longer than 16 miles for most runners?!? Obviously, they have a good reputation, but this is very different from say Pfitzinger’s plan. It does however encompase many of the ideas Daniels advocates. Here is what the Hanson booklet has to say:

“Many programs focus mainly on completing runs of up to 20-22 miles 3-5 times throughout the training segment. However, the weekly mileage is maybe 40-50 miles for the peak week. This means that as much as 50% of the mileage comes from 1 day, leaving 6 days to get the other half of the distance. According to Daniels, a long run should be no more than 25% (or less than 150 minutes) of a person’s weekly mileages. This is because physiologically you deplete energy stores enough to trigger responses to store more energy, cellular adaptations occur at optimal level, and longer than this may cause structural breakdown and over stress the body.”

Now, I am a bit confused by this because, I don’t know of any advanced marathon plan that peaks with only 50 miles. The workouts are pretty much standard fare:

Easy days
Long Runs
Lactate Threshold
Tempo Runs
Running Economy

Like Daniels, they don’t advocate 400’s for VO2max workouts. They reason if you run faster than a 27 minute 5k you won't spend enough quality minutes in your targe training zone. It takes 2 minutes to reach VO2max and ideally the interval should be 3-6 minutes in length. They reserve 400 intervals for beginner runners with lower mileage and advocate 800’s as being more suited with 1600’s being the final goal.

Hanson Coaching offers a detailed table for paces that help the runner pace correctly. But for these examples, lets use a 2:30 marathoner that runs a 15:30 5k. During the first 9 weeks, Tuesdays are all about these speed workouts. Then Tuesday’s switch and become strength workouts. A strength workout consists of something like 6x1 mile at 5:30 pace w/ ¼ mile jog in between. Conversely, the 1600 Speed Workout would have been 4-6x1600 at 5:03 pace with 2:35 recovery jog.

Thursday’s are all about tempo runs at MGP. Sundays get more substance for long runs when they are training advanced athletes. For they can benefit from incorporating tempo (threshold) efforts in the long runs. They build pace runs up to 5-10 miles. They build slowly spacing the difficult effort long runs only every 3rd run.

Here is a link to their schedule:
I've been told that our own IVS runner, Charlie Hansen (sp) used this plan and went from say a PB of 3:15 to something in the neighborhood of a 2:56 marathon at Greenbay. Help me out if I got that one wrong. Now it's not faster than Schroff but I certainly would be happy with it.
I doubt this translates into anything meaningful for the elite guys who are trying to get under 2:20 but it might have merit for the 3:15 marathoner wanting to get down under 3 hours.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

GPS Fun!

My garmin recorded my flight to Chicago (the faa would no doubt frown on this). We ended up doing 460 mph at 13,000 feet! WHOOO WHOOO! Now THATS WAY FASTER than schroff!

Monday, May 5, 2008

To Avoid the Wall Joe Friel Says Hit the Gym

It's that time of year again when the debate on whether or not endurance athletes should lift weights begins. Both sides will toss out research and personal experience as evidence that it does or doesn't do the endurance athlete any good. I tend to come down on the side that it is beneficial, but with limitations.Most of the research indicates that weight lifting does improve aerobic endurance performance, primarily by boosting economy rather than aerobic capacity/VO2max [1-5]. Not all research finds benefits, however [6,7]. I should point that while my 20-year research archive only includes two studies that found no benefit from strength training for endurance athletes, journals are less likely to publish research that reports no positive change in the conclusion. So while the research appears to be tilted toward lifting weights as a way of racing faster we may not be seeing the whole picture.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Garmin Locks Up After Charge?

New Edge or Forerunner Locking Up?
Garmin has identified a bug in some Forerunner and Edge units (205 and 305) that cause them to lock up after a full charge. Here's a temporary fix until the next software update:
"To power the unit back on, press the "Mode" and "Reset" buttons at the same time. Let go of those two buttons, press the power button, and the unit will turn back on."