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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Road-Trip Runs in Europe

It may not be easy to run when you're on your vacation with your family. There is usually a pressure to cram as many points of interest and tourist attractions as possible into every available moment. Already on a first day, your family fills your time with trips, plans, schedules; continental breakfast served until ... the pool opens at ... the bus leaves at ... And suddenly you realize that your day is filled with all activities except the one you really care for: a daily run. My solution to this problem is simple. I get up very early and go for my run. Over the last three years this task has become easier and my morning runs longer as I have been traveling mostly with my son. Not unlike most teenagers, Robert is not going to complain when I come back to our hotel room from my morning run shortly after 9:30 AM waking him up just in time to make it downstairs for the complimentary continental breakfast. On this trip, my morning runs will be slow, senza GPS, without pace expectations, and with many walk breaks to enjoy cities we visit and most of all to enjoy running again! It´s time for a brunch (Oops, we missed the breakfast) and a trip to Blue Lagoon. As you see my time is filled with plans and trips, but I have done my morning run and can really enjoy the rest of the day.

Run strong ... end enjoy it :)
RPB

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dress to Impress

Red shirt, black shorts, black hat ... no, white hat, white shirt and white/red shoes, wait ... maybe black shoes? Do you often agonize making up your mind what to wear on a race day?  What if you're planning to race in New York Marathon in front of over 2 million spectators? Or if you're a guy and you're planning to race in Boston, will  the thought of running through "screaming tunnel" at Wesley College somehow motivate you to pick the "new" shirt and not the one that was washed over 50 times. Do we try not only to run fast but also look good?

A while ago I was buying another pair of Saucony Kinvara at Forerunners. Right size, great fit, the only problem ... my size was available only in luminescent light green. I hesitated for a moment thinking about this silly looking color, but Peter who owns the store and is a well-respected member of our local running community quickly dismissed my doubts saying that runners don't care about it. Well, he got the sale. I came home with a new pair of very, very bright-green Kinvaras and had to admit the color grew on me. Love these shoes. Did my PB in May in Eugene wearing this pair. But from time to time I still catch myself pondering this question: do runners care about color matching? Well, we will know soon enough, but I will need your help!

I posted three questions for you to answer on RunnersPB Facebook page that I setup for us to provide a more interactive online platform for our virtual discussion. Results will be aggregated and posted on my blog when I come back from Europe. 

Run Strong!  ... looking good :-)

See you in August
RPB

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Law 10: Prevent Overtraining

A regular training schedule for most of us at Alma RR involves intensive tempo runs on Tuesdays, intervals on Thursdays or long runs on Sundays.  Many of us also do trails on Saturdays and/or Tuesdays evening. And from time to time, between marathons we can’t resist signing up for another race: the Sun Run, Scotiabank Half, First Half, or Half Classic to name only a few; that’s a lot of running. How do we know when to slow down and take a day off?

I met Andy on a seawall and exchanged text messages with Paul earlier this week. They both looked and sounded tired. Running trails on Saturday was challenging followed by a faster than expected pace on a long run on Sunday. Two hard-days in a row! Do you remember the Law 5: Alternate easy and hard training? My advice to them was to skip tempo runs and rest. 

A couple of years ago my advice to other runners in training including myself would have been slightly different: toughen up, stop complaining, and get on with the program. Am I getting mellow? Taking a day-off has been the most challenging aspect of my marathon training. For a long time “Rest” in my training log meant a session at Bikram Yoga or a spinning class at UBC Gold's Gym.  As expected, a day came when even a simple activity seemed like doing a Grouse Grind.

So how can we recognize the first symptoms and prevent over training?

Monitoring Early Signs
It is not easy for a runner to be objective about his or her own symptoms. The Nike sponsored Athletics West Track Club in Eugene, OR developed a checklist to look for the following early indicators of overtraining:
  • A progressive loss of weight
  • An increased fluid intake (particularly in the evening)
  •  A progressively later bedtime each evening
  •  A decreased number of hours of sleep
  •  A persistent increase of 5 to 10 beats per minutes in early morning pulse rate
Runners World published an article back in 2007 referencing a questionnaire developed bye Jack Raglin, Ph.D. I turned this questionnaire into a simple online form to make it more convenient for you to take the test


Run Strong!  ... and rest :-)
RPB


Monday, July 11, 2011

A letter from the Rebel




An anonymous reader sent me this lovely letter that was so sincere and uplifting that it deserved to be shared with our small community of runners. A community that welcomes with open arms all running rebels. 

Vancouver, July 12, 2011 

Dear PB,

Although the Rebel appears to be resistant and not so interested in all the running tidbits that the Guru and his disciples espouses, somehow their voices echo in her head as she is in the grocery store and ..... slowly a few cans of sardines and coconut water somehow ends up in her shopping cart. 

The journey begins ....  the voices continue so the Rebel finally checks out the website and with trepidation her fingers hit the submit button for a personalized running log.  Oh no, what is happening to the Rebel as the blender whirls in the wee hours of the morning making a concoction of  banana, strawberry, blueberry and blackberry smoothie with vanilla Soya milk.  Hopefully it is only a phase ... or maybe not.

Running Rebel 






Saturday, July 9, 2011

Easier than Grouse Grind!


There is something therapeutic in grinding and I'm not referring to Grouse Grind. Hiking up the trail must be addictive for many as the trail gets as busy in the Summer as Robson Street during the boxing day shopping frenzy. For over a month, every day and sometimes twice a day, I've been grinding flax seeds!


There must be "something" attractive in this process, otherwise why do it? It takes additional time and effort from already busy schedule. Is this "something" the Omega-3 fats that can be found in flax seeds and have anti-inflammatory benefits? Or the fact that flax seeds make bones stronger? Or the noisy sound of the electric grinder? Or maybe it's the realization that our predecessors were also grinding various grains hundreds and thousands years ago, using less sophisticated tools of course, but following the same principle nevertheless: you take something in a simplest form and invest time and effort to turn them into something edible. Back to the basics! A chance to be part of food production chain! Back to the simplest foods, that often turn out to have the biggest nutritional benefits. 

My confidence seems to benefit from this flax grinding process as well.  The Peruvian Dynamite++ Chili usually is well received by my teenage son and his group of friends who don't mind the Dynamite++ aspect, but I cook it only twice a year and for special occasions. Even though cooking is not necessarily my forte, grinding flax seeds clearly demonstrates, at least in my mind, that I do posses some serious skills in the kitchen. All I need to do is to add the ground flax seeds  to a yogurt. Vuala! My breakfast is ready!

BTW. As far as I'm concerned, flax seeds come from Choices, Whole Foods or Capers, but for those of you who really need to dive deeper, that's a link to an article in Wikipedia 


Run Strong!
RPB

Monday, July 4, 2011

Are you a runner?

A good friend of mine told me recently during a long run on Sunday morning that my life was one-dimensional, mostly focused on running. It can't be right!! There is so much more to life than running. For example, another dimension in my life is work. But wait ... I turned down a well paying job last year because the required 50% travel wouldn't allow me to train for Boston.  Don't get me wrong. I like to travel. Got it! Travel must be the other dimension my friend did not see. But wait ... I usually travel by plane where majority of passengers are wearing running shoes and have ridiculously low body fat ratios going to places like Boston in April or Chicago in October. And when I travel I usually read. Yes, Reading! I love to read. That's the missing dimension in my life, right? Even though Runner's World is mailed to my residence every month I do read books, usually cover to cover. But wait .... some of the books I bought on Amazon recently: Born to Run, Chi Running, Natural Running, or Advanced Marathoning. Hmm!? Besides reading I also like to watch movies. Another dimension, right? But wait ... my personal collection includes not one, but two movies about Steve Prefontaine. Maybe my friend was right. Has my life become one dimensional with a single purpose of turning my body into a Ferrari? Is it an obsession or quite normal behavior for any runner? How can I tell if I'm a runner? How do you know whether you're a runner?

Reading a book Long May You Run by Chris Cooper I finally found an answer to this question in one of the chapters.


You're a runner when:
  • You consider pasta a food group
  • Your calf muscles are bigger than your biceps
  • You correct others that a marathon is really 26 point two miles
  • You get a massage, but it's not for pleasure
  • You use "easy run" and "five miles" in the same sentence
  • You have more shoes than your wife, and they're all for running
  • You're envious when you see runners on the road and you're driving
  • You spend more on running clothes than on school or work clothes
  • Many of your toenails are not pink anymore
  • There is a "running" playlist on your iPod
  • You view drinking beer as carbo-loading
  • You arrive sooner using the steps than the people taking the elevator
  • You run for fun :-)
Do this criteria apply to your? Hopefully they will soon. Have a good week!

Run Strong!
RPB

Saturday, July 2, 2011

200 miles in 20 days

It's Day 2 of my plan to run 200 miles in 20 days as part of my training for New York Marathon in November. My objective is to do this challenging for me mileage and stay injury free.


Why do you want to do it?
To make a progress from being able to run 13.1 miles at 6:27 min today to 26.2 miles at 6:20 min in November I need to increase mileage of my training before my trip to Europe on July 21. After coming back home from my vacation I will decrease mileage and focus solely on speed work.

Date
Training Type
2.5 weeks: July 1 – July 20
Foundation – to improve aerobic fitness
2.5 weeks: July 21 – August 10
Vacation in Europe – to enjoy time-off
9 weeks: August 11 – October 9
Sharpening –to  improve speed
3 weeks: October 10 – October 30
Tapering – to get ready for a race
1 week: Race on November 6
New York Marathon – to run at 6:20 min/mile pace


How can you do it?
Well, I will apply several rules that should keep me safe:

Rule 1: Increase mileage or speed, but not both at the same time. Yes, I learned that lesson the hard way. This time I'm increasing the mileage only. Speed training will be done after my return from Europe.

Rule 2:  Run every other day. A day of running will be followed by a day off or cross training to speed up muscle recovery process. In case or scheduling conflict, the afternoon run will be done the next day in the morning.

Rule 3: Do "doubles". Daily mileage will be broken up into two running sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. So called “double “ allows runners to safely increase mileage by following this formula: Let’s say you plan to run 10 miles on a given day. Instead of one running session, you could run 70% in the morning and 50% in the afternoon. So you would run 7 miles in the morning and 5 miles in the afternoon, giving you 12 miles instead of planned 10 miles.  In my case, daily 20-mile runs will be broken up into 12 miles in the morning and 8 miles in the afternoon.

Rule 4: Run and walk. Take a break every 30 minutes and walk for one minute. This short break allows the muscle to rest and will delay muscle fatigue that can lead to injury.

Rule 5: Warm-up. Run the first 10 minutes very slowly to warm-up. After 10 to 15 minutes, our body knows that we’re serious about the exercise and would switch from burning glycogen (in short supply) to burning fat (plenty :-) thus reducing the feeling of tiredness and lack of energy after the run.

Rule 6: Mix Fast and Easy pace. My morning run will be at Fast Pace followed by an afternoon run at Easy Pace (see definitions below the table).

Rule 7: Stretch. Stretch for at least 15 minutes after each run.

Training Plan

By following these rules, my training schedule can be compiled and looks like this:

July
Day
AM
PM
Total Miles
1.        
Friday
10@EZ
OFF
10
2.        
Saturday
10@FT
OFF
10
3.        
Sunday
10@EZ (Alma RR)
10@FT
20
4.        
Monday
OFF
OFF
0
5.        
Tuesday
12@FT
8@EZ (Trails)
20
6.        
Wednesday
OFF
XT
0
7.        
Thursday
12@FT
OFF (Appt)
12
8.        
Friday
8@EZ
OFF
8
9.        
Saturday
XT
OFF
0
10.    
Sunday
10@EZ (Alma RR)
10@FT
20
11.    
Monday
OFF
OFF
0
12.    
Tuesday
12@FT
8@EZ
20
13.    
Wednesday
OFF
XT
0
14.    
Thursday
12@FT
8@EZ
20
15.    
Friday
OFF
5@EZ
5
16.    
Saturday
XT
5@FT
5
17.    
Sunday
10@EZ (Alma RR)
10@FT
20
18.    
Monday
OFF
OFF
0
19.    
Tuesday
12@FT
8@EZ
20
20.    
Wednesday
10@FT
OFF
10


TRAVEL
Total Miles
200

Legend
MP – Marathon Pace, 6:20 min/mile (3:35 min/km)
EZ – Easy Pace is a MP + 2 minutes, 8:20 min/ mile (4:33 min/km)
FT – Fast Pace is MP + 1 minute, 7:20 min/mile (5:10 min/km)
XT – Cross Training
10 @ FT means:  10 miles at 7:20 min/mile pace
15 @ EZ means:  15 miles at 8:20 min/mile pace

Conclusion

By following these rules I hope to to safely increase my mileage and stay injury free. Maybe you can try "doubles" as well as part of your training?

You may check my progress by viewing my training log which I will be updating daily http://www.runnerspb.com/p/training-logs.html  (click on Jacek)


Run Strong!
RPB
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