Archive for August, 2012

Today’s run was a 3 miler. 1 mile easy, 1 mile of fartleks, 1 mile easy.

 

Fartleks are a great way to work a little speed work into your training without the significant stress and fatigue that a threshold run or intervals might create.

There are many variations on the fartlek theme, some calling for random bursts of faster running throughout your entire run, while others are slightly more structured calling for specific increases in pace followed by specific recovery periods.

Regardless of which method you choose, fartleks are a fantastic tool.  The relatively short duration of faster pace will help improve neuromuscular coordination as well as improve aerobic fitness.  Instead of locking your legs and lungs into another stale, easy run, consider adding fartleks to your arsenal for increased fitness, strength and endurance without substantial risk.

After completing my post run cool down routine it was time to refuel and I did so in grand style. Whole wheat pasta, omega -3 scrambled eggs, black olives, avocado and bacon.

For those of you who know I follow a Paleo or Primal diet guideline, I have no problem admitting that my motto regarding my food choices is, “I’m 90 paleo, 90% of the time.”

90% paleo, 90% of the time

 

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A detailed training log for the week is here.

This weekend was host to three major events, the Leadville Trail 100 Run, the Pikes Peak Ascent and the Pikes Peak Marathon.

The Leadville 100 is based in the Colorado mountains, and is a 100 mile out and back course with elevations ranging from 9200 feet to 12,600 feet.  This year’s male winner was Thomas Lorblanchet who posted a finishing time of 16 hours, 29 minutes.  My personal favorite, Anton Krupicka lead the majority of the race but ultimately finished in fourth place crossing the line in 17 hours, 21 minutes.

Pikes Peak Ascent, Simon Gutierrez

Take a look at this excerpt from the Pikes Peak home page, describing their events:

The Pikes Peak Ascent® and Pikes Peak Marathon® will redefine what you call running. Sure, they start out like a lot of races on Any Street, USA. But your first left turn will have you turning in the direction of up! During the next 10 miles, as you gain almost 6,000 vertical feet, your legs, lungs, heart and mind will be worn to a ragged nothingness. But it won’t be until the next three miles, with still over 2,000′ of vertical to go, that you will realize where the Marathon got its moniker—America’s Ultimate Challenge.

There’s a reason trees don’t bother growing above 12,000′ on Pikes Peak. They can’t! Makes one wonder if trees are smarter than runners. Above treeline most runners take 30 minutes or more, some much more, just to cover a mile. What little air remains can’t satisfy the endless stream of zombies hoping only to survive their next step. It’s a death march right out of a scene from Dawn of the Dead. Adding insult to injury it might start to snow!

It’s at this point if you are on the deluxe tour you must turn around and run back down the mountain for the second half of the Marathon. Along the way protruding rocks and roots are waiting to send you crashing to the ground mangling flesh and only temporarily masking the pain of blood filled blisters. Meanwhile, the temperature has often risen by more than 30 degrees since the start of the race. After all, it’s always best to cook raw meat.

The Pikes Peak Ascent is 13.32 miles in distance with a vertical climb of 7,815 feet. The 2012 overall winner was Jason Delaney with a chip time of 2:13:18, while Sage Canaday, a former member of the Hanson-Brooks training team continues to impress as a recent convert to trail and ultra races. Canaday took fourth overall, clocking a chip time of 2:21:16.

Killian Journet, ultra, trail and mountain marathon legend, took first place in the Pikes Peak marathon.  Killian is a member of the Salomon Trail Running team and you can follow a series of video production documenting his training and races here.

Reading List

These are three books in my Kindle library that I highly recommend.  Instead of doing the author’s an injustice by trying to review each book here, I’ll provide links to the books and author’s pages instead.

101 Simple Ways to be a Better Runner: A Short Guide to Running Faster, Preventing Injuries and Feeling Great 

Jason Fitzgerald

Daniels’ Running Formula: Second Edition

Jack Daniels

Run Faster from the 5k to the Marathon: How to be Your Own Best Coach

Matt Fitzgerald and Brad Hudson

 

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I had an ultrasound performed on my ankles and feet this week.  The results were normal in all aspects and I was given the clear to run, as long as I used any discomfort as an immediate warning sign to stop and take at least the next day off.

I really took some time during my rehab to examine my training plan and realized that as far as running was concerned it didn’t consist of anything more than following a popular half marathon program by a respected coach.  The cookie cutter approach just wasn’t going to cut it and I looked high and low for a few additional resources that resonated with my outlook, personality and fitness level.

Paleo diet satire

The simplest things can sometimes make a world of difference.  One of the resources I discovered was Jason Fitzgerald of Strength Running, and he has a few links to a variety of pre and post run routines that emphasize dynamic mobility and core strength.  Two routines that are helping me tremendously are the Standard Warm Up and the Cannonball.  Performing these routines has significantly decreased post run soreness and stiffness, and also prepare me much better for a workout than my previous grab bag of leg swings and knee bends.

4.79 miles in 1 hour

Tonight’s run was supposed to be a test to see how my legs would respond to running on consecutive days instead of after the normal one day of rest between runs.  I expected things to be over fairly quickly because I was very flat at the start, a combination of yesterday’s run and recovering from the Mother’s Day party we hosted last night that included entirely way too much red wine.

Instead, after about the first mile I discovered that my intervals were getting longer and I was not tiring, not muscularly nor aerobically.  What a pleasant surprise!  I continued to run until I had no water left to quench my thirst and called it a night.

While I am very happy with this week’s progress I know better than to push my luck too far or too fast.  Tomorrow will be an active recovery day with maybe a 30 minute stationary bike ride and the same amount of time for some free play in the pool.  Saturday is a strength training day: dead lifts and military press.  I’ll wrap up the week on Sunday with a fairly easy 30 to 40 minute run.

Nice to report good news for a change.

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Photo Credit

Detailed training log for the week is here.  I knocked out a 4+ mile run today and feel that I am slowly, but finally getting back into training instead of injury rehab.

The Olympic Games are coming to a close, I’m sad to say.  The luxury I have of working from home extended me the opportunity to leave the television tuned into the action practically from start to finish.  This morning I woke at 4am local time in order to watch the men’s marathon live and in its entirety.

Congratulations go out to the winner Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, who held off two powerful Kenyans, Abel Kirui and Wilson Kiprotich, crossing the finish in 2:08:01 and averaging a blistering 4:53 per mile.

I had high hopes for the U.S. marathon squad, and Meb Keflezighi did not fail to deliver, finishing fourth with a time of 2:11:06, only three minutes and five seconds off the winning pace.  Unfortunately both Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman succumbed to injury and were unable to finish the race.

Cesar Lizano, the local representative from my adopted nation of Costa Rica made the country proud by finishing strong in 2:24:16.  Lizano was trained by Mario Fraioli, the senior producer at Competitor.com.  Fraioli wrote a series of articles chronicling the coaching process with Lizano as they prepared for the Olympic games, the latest of which you can read here.

Kenyan runners in action

photo credit: john burnett/npr

John Burnett with NPR has an interesting article about the dietary habits of the elite Kenyan runners.

“It is a paleolithic diet,” says Dr. Vincent Onywera, senior lecturer at Kenyatta University’s Department of Exercise Science. “It borrows heavily from our forefathers who lived on fruits, vegetables, roots and lean meat.”

That should be good news to those who follow the Paleo diet, Primal Blueprint, as well as vegetarians and vegans.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to two people who are proving invaluable in my injury recovery and half marathon training.  Jeff Galloway was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team and is also a monthly columnist for Runner’s World Magazine.  He is the founder of the Galloway Marathon Training Program, and emphasizes a run/walk interval method for both training and race day.  I highly recommend that you take a look through his website and give the run/walk intervals a try, especially on your long, slow run day where you will most likely be able to run farther and recover faster with this technique.

Jeff Galloway at Disney Tinkerbell Half Marathon

Jason Fitzgerald is a competitive runner, published author and personal coach.  His website, Strength Running, is full of no nonsense, detailed information designed to make you the best runner you can be.  The links, articles and resources on the website will give you an entirely different understanding into the mind of a professional running coach and how to design programs that are appropriate for your goals and adaptive enough to change as you do, both mentally and physically.  A+ plus information organized and delivered in a clear and concise manner!

Here’s a quick excerpt from a recent article:

Elite distance races prove that you can’t be “just a distance runner” anymore. The ability to kick is mandatory in today’s racing world.

But just because it’s necessary for elite runners doesn’t mean that you can avoid sprinting during your training. Besides being able to negative split your race, sprinting also helps your running in many ways: it recruits more muscle fibers, makes you stronger, improves your running economy, and lessens the chance of injury.

Training suggestions:

  • Run 4-8 strides after your easy distance runs. Strides are about 100m long and have you start at a jog, build to about 95% of max effort, and slow to a stop. Run them barefoot on a grass field for increased foot and lower leg strength.
  • If you can run hill sprints, you can do them 1-2 times weekly on a moderate effort day (these are a bit more advanced!)

I hope everyone enjoyed the Olympic games and that at least a few of your favorite athletes were able to bring home the gold.

Make the coming week your best week of training ever!

Running is cheaper than therapy

photo: onemoremilerunning.com

Today was supposed to be a cross training day. I knocked out a 30 minute stationary bike ride and 200 pushups in the early morning with my wife. But by mid afternoon I was furious after getting sucked into a pointless political “discussion” with someone, and also getting a sharp smack in the face on a bad trading decision in the currency market.

Headed back out in search of my best friend, the treadmill, and decided to try out some Jeff Galloway style run/walk intervals. Today was an extra and unscheduled run so I wasn’t interested in pace and I ran the entire session at my recovery pace.

Started with 5/1 minute intervals until my heart rate would not drop below 130 on the 1 minute recovery. Then switched to 5/2, and when the heart rate would not recover from those I finished off the day with a few 3/2 intervals.

Mentally I feel much better after getting that bad energy out of my system. But I can also feel a dull throbbing deep in my heel where the bone spurs are lurking.

Tomorrow will be a rest day. I promise.

2.77 miles in 43 minutes @ 15:30 pace

2.77 miles of mental detox