Posts Tagged ‘Training’

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NF Endurance and the Philly Marathon

November 14, 2012

On November 18, I will be running the Philadelphia Marathon, roughly eight months after my last marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll USA. I am excited. I am nervous. I am also proud. Proud because I will be running as part of the NF Endurance team and helping to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF). Read the rest of this entry ?

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Running Is A Gift

October 22, 2012
“On a run, you can find yourself.
In a run, you can lose yourself.
Either way, running is bliss.”
-P. Mark Taylor

There are shelves of books available about running. You can find autobiographies by elite runners detailing their quests for greatness. Then there are instructional books written by seasoned coaches on the best ways to train for certain distances. Still, there are others penned by writers who are also runners and have their own story to tell. Each category has a plethora of inspiration and sound advice. What is harder to find amidst this corpus of literature are books by the everyman or everywoman runner. Enter Dr. P. Mark Taylor and The Gift of Running: a book for runners & future runners.
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Glide On, Pain Off

August 20, 2012

My nipple danger zone is around five miles. It is like sitting in the splash area at a Sea World show. There is a slim chance you won’t get wet, but that is very unlikely. For me, as I approach that five mile mark, or the 35-40 minute range, the chances of a certain repetitive motion ailment increase drastically. Not including musculo-skeletal injuries, chafing is one of the most painful things that can happen during a run. More so than a twisted ankle or pulled hamstring, chafus maximus is very much avoidable. But what is the magical cure to such ails? This runner unequivocally says the answer is Body Glide.

Body Glide: anti-chafe (miracle) balm

Now if this were a serious science experiment, I would also test and evaluate at least one competing alternative. It is always important to experiment in running to see what works best—sneakers, shorts, socks, etc. On the other hand, we runners also tend to stick to one thing once we find a product, workout, or route that works well. Body Glide has been immensely effective, and I do not intend to take my chances elsewhere. The biggest other option for the chafing problem is Vaseline. I keep ChapStick on hand for my lips, and Body Glide for any other potentially chafed areas. With apologies to its supporters, I just find Vaseline unappealing.

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Just Wing It

July 17, 2012

Running should be fun. It is not always. Like anything in life, if you do something over and over again, it can tend to feel like a chore. Even when running a route for the twentieth time, I always try to find something new about the terrain or just think about something different that makes the road feel fresh.

This past weekend I decided it was time to just wing it. Many runners in training have serious plans with prescribed mileage for each day. Having that is great, smart, and it works. Despite that, sometimes you just need to go out and run. It helps to not think about how far you are supposed to go, or how fast. Listen to your body, get lost on unfamiliar streets or just pick a favorite loop that makes you happy.

Here is how my “wing it” run weekend turned out. Friday evening I set out to my favorite local trail. There was one point when I decided to go a different direction than I normally do, and it ended up being a great 7.27 mile run. Seeing a new piece of this paved trail kept my mind active, but the familiarity with the general surroundings allowed me the freedom to push my pace a bit. Saturday I went out on one of my most frequent routes intending to change it up by taking a street that would stretch out the run to five miles, as opposed to the normal 4.3. When I headed up that new street, I quickly lost the sidewalk and then realized that there were no cross streets to take me back to where I had wanted to be. After finding my way back, I ended up doing my normal route, but backwards. This was not some intense, life-altering journey. It was just five miles and an easy way to break from routine and have an enjoyable run.

Then came Sunday. Since Saturday was a shorter day, this was going to be my long run. The most distance I had hit in recent weeks was ten miles, given recent temperatures soaring into triple-digits. Today felt different though. Right before I left home, I decided to run to a nearby monument that was almost exactly 6.5 miles away… and back. It was unclear if I would make it all the way, but that was what this weekend was all about for my running. Lace up and see what happens next. Heavy heat and the lack of a proper breakfast contributed to a challenging run, but I made it there and back—13.28 miles total—successfully. Midway through I let myself stop to rest, enjoy the scenery around the monument, and grab a quick water break. Even though it was considerably slower than even my long runs, it still felt great to appreciate the day, the location, and my total distance.

Regardless of how you define winging it, runners can always benefit from changing it up sporadically. It is the same reason why fitness trainers should encourage different exercises to target similar muscle groups at the gym. The mind and body can both benefit from this type of workout modification. Again, this could be doing something completely out of the norm like attempting a trail run if you are used to the streets. Or it could be something simple like changing a few turns on a common route. After going on a run or two for the sole purpose of enjoying the outdoors and your own company, then you can return to the structured training plan feeling refreshed.

Do you like to wing it? What are some of your best memories from unplanned running?

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Get “Up”!

June 23, 2012

Anyone can be a runner. Lace up some sneakers (or not) and put some bounce in your step. It is that easy, right? We agonize over everything from footwear to underwear to nipple-wear. Hydration, nutrition, and compression are meticulously prepared. The problem is that we rarely stop to think about how we are running. It is easy to focus on tangible things- objects that can be acquired and then strapped on, taped up, or rubbed over various body parts. When injuries still occur, it is easy to blame a faulty or worn out product. Not to worry, we all do it. I do it plenty.

This is not to suggest that those things are not important. They are all crucial in their own ways. What we need to realize is that once we start calling ourselves runners and logging increased mileage, we also have to pay attention to the mechanics of that motion. Even a novice runner should be able to notice differences in posture between the start of a run and its end. Form can change throughout a run, and throughout a lifetime. Runners should try to focus more on their movements than on what their GPS watch is displaying. Paying attention to form has the potential to reduce injury, maximize efficiency, and increase speed.

Doing the 100 Up exercise on grass after a speed workout (should have ditched the sneakers, I know)

The importance of form in running is why I recently started doing the 100-Up exercise. There was a challenge that began in mid-April 2012, hosted by a Richmond store that specializes in minimalist sneakers and natural running. Folks from all over joined the aptly-named Natural Running Store to find out whether performing one drill for 30 days could change the way they ran. For me, this repetitive motion exercise would focus on better posture and leg motion. It would also help teach my legs a better technique for how to land on my feet. With plenty of recent knee and Achilles pains, I had my share of skepticism. But having read the New York times article by Born to Run author Christopher McDougall that supported the exercise, I was optimistic about the potential to help my form.
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The Running Rain Man

March 8, 2012

You look outside and see the rain. No chance at going for a run today. Just imagining the drenched socks and rain-heavy shirt makes you cringe. Even the treadmill sounds like a poor option. Everyone needs a little extra motivation for those kinds of days. We all need something to kick us out the door and keep our spirits up as we push through a run. Music can often play that part. Some may have the gear to take music outside with them in inclement weather. Others will listen to their tunes on a treadmill staring at the downpour through a window. Either way, everyone needs an appropriate song selection. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Running Math

December 18, 2011

Running does crazy things to your mind. Or is it just that every runner is generally a little messed up in the head from the beginning? Let us assume the former and shelve the latter for another discussion. When runs get long, painful, or just plain boring, it is easy to convince yourself out of finishing a pre-planned distance. I will often try some simple “running math” to easily transform a bonk into a successful run. It probably will not work for everyone every time (it does not for me either), but maybe it will pop into your head during a run and inspire you.

Running Math

Running math up on the chalk board

Since I do a good amount of out and back runs—head out to a point, turn around and come back—there is one thing I keep in mind to help push myself further. My golden rule of running math: If you take one extra step, you are doubling your total distance.

Stop to think and it is quite obvious. If you run one mile out you have to run another to get back, pretty simple. Though who actually thinks like that during a run? But remembering this weird little mental trick may help you go farther. Running is often about figuring out how to will your body to greater lengths. Whether you are training for a marathon or brand new to the sport, being able to engage your internal psychological firepower will always help you achieve those personal goals. Read the rest of this entry ?

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