Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sometimes Life Happens

As many of you know, I have spent the better part of the last 8 months in training for next weekend's race. The 2010 Columbus Marathon.

I have had an incredible spring, summer, and early early fall of training. My mileage peaked in mid September at 80 miles per week with my longest runs nearing 23/24 miles. I have spent countless hours training and hundreds of miles running in preparation for what I have intended to be my fastest marathon to date.

Along with the overall accomplishment of having simply put in the mileage that I have, I am also walking away from this season of training with some new personal bests. Most notably, a new 10-mile time of 51:30, averaging a 5:09 pace.

As race day approaches and with nearly all of my training behind me, I have set my goal time as 2:28. This requires a pace of 5 minutes and 40 seconds per mile.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to compete in the Columbus Marathon. On Thursday, September 30 I went out for a routine 10 mile run during recovery from a long-distance interval workout from the day before. After about 400 yards into the run, I noticed some discomfort on the medial (inside) side of my left knee. I am accustomed to the aches and pains that come with distance running and so I did not think much more of the irritation for the remainder of the run. The next day I went out for another workout and made it all of two blocks before the once-mild pain now became sheer agony. I ended the run and walked home. After taking a couple days off, I went out to see if some R&R was what my body needed. It wasn't. After 2 miles, I walked home.

I saw my sports medicine doctor the next day (Monday) where she then ordered an MRI. The scan came back fine and I was therefore prescribed some anti inflammatory medication and took a few more days off. I resumed running after 7 days of rest. I began with a shorter run, then a mid-distance run, and today attempted a longer workout. After 12 miles, my body had enough.

While the medications have eliminated the pain, the problem is still there. My body's natural compensation has caused an alteration of weight distribution to the knee. My Ileotibial bands (IT bands) and posterior (back of the knee) muscles and ligaments were tightening up severely. So, with my future running career in mind, I have decided that running Columbus next weekend would be a very unwise decision.

So, yes, this is a major disappointment. At the same time, however, I have 10 years of distance running experience and know that life happens. This is just part of the sport. I will run again and I have learned a lot from this training. I am walking away from this season with new knowledge and wisdom to incorporate into the training for my next marathon.

Therefore, in conclusion, even though I will not be crossing the finish line next weekend I still know who I am. I have trained like a champion and have no regret for giving my best effort every day I laced up my shoes. I put in the miles, I endured the distance, I will run again. It's the journey, not always the destination that determines a runner. It is the former that has made me the distance athlete that I am. One race can't take that away from me.

I appreciate everyone's support and understanding through my training and now through my altered plans. Thank You.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Running; It's Not A Gentleman's Sport.

First off, my sincere apology for entirely neglecting my blog this summer. While I had originally planned on this summer to be some what of a drag and very boring, it has been anything other than. I hope this post is the beginning of many more in the near future.

I am currently running between 70 and 80 miles per week and am running 6 of those 7 days. This brings me to an average workout distance of 12-13 miles. I'm reaching a level of fitness that I have never experienced before. Yesterday was my day off and so I decided to go with my dad on a longer bike ride. We rode over 30 miles. It was in the later part of the ride that something clicked in me. Something that I had never really taken the time to define. That is, what makes a competitive distance runner different from most people and yet very similar to athletes of many sports. As my father and I reached mile 25 it was becoming apparent that I, in no way, am a cyclist. My butt had spent enough time with the saddle (apparently that's what cyclists call the 'seat'??) and my legs were requesting the rest of the day off. It was at this moment that I realized that there's a part of competitive runners that shares the same tenacity as that of an NFL lineman.

My body was beginning to fatigue, but my heart and soul forcefully responded, "Alright big boy, it's time to go to work. Let's do this!" This began the final push. So far during the ride we had averaged around a 18 mph pace. I was now pushing 23-24.

I find myself in this same mentality after mile 15 or so of my longer runs. My glycogen stores begin to disappear and I'm no longer running on easily-tapped sugar reserves. I'm running on guts. I'm no longer the 'warming up, maintain perfect form' machine of the earlier miles of the workout, I'm now your worst enemy. The hype and emotions of the earlier miles are gone and it's time to separate the men from the boys. It's no longer a game. This is serious.

Embrace the fatigue. Embrace the pain. Learn to let these very 'obstacles' be your fuel. They either rule you, or you rule them. In the words of Ryan Hall, "Distance running is a sport of pain tolerance."

He is right.

Let's do this!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

more is coming

Hi folks, I know I haven't updated in a while. As some of my closer friends know, since I've returned home for the summer, I've had some issues come up which have been taking up most of my time. I'm maintaining my training, just haven't had the time to maintain my updates on here. You'll hear from me soon.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Setting the tone for summer training. Running ahead of the sun.

After returning home for the summer, I've had a number of... well... miserable runs. My second time out I, thinking that sleep was more important than getting up and running early, found myself on what was probably more of a self slow-roast on the side of the road than an effective workout. I started that run at 9 in the morning. Since I'm someone who likes to stay up late, 9 o'clock counts as practically not having slept at all. By about 5 miles in to a 7 mile run, the name of the game was survival, far from the original goal of increasing my VO2 max.
I decided my run the next morning would start at 8 instead.
Still a bad idea.
How early DO I have to get up?

Since then, I've been getting up at 6:30 to hit the road. There is something to be said about getting up this early. It is nice to get up and out before most people are awake (of course for the elderly couples who seem to have an overwhelming presence in my neighborhood.) These runs are cooler and have allowed for better workouts. However, there is also something to be said about AFTER the run. While I enjoy the early start, I usually stretch down, shower, drink some water, and head back to bed for a few more hours before my actual day begins. Oh the things that are done to make for a cooler workout.

A post regarding my upcoming plans for the remainder of the summer and time leading up to race day will ensue shortly.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Then and Now

This past Wednesday, the 23rd, I moved back to my home town in Cape May for the summer. It has been nearly 3 years since I've been back here for anything more than a week at Christmas or Thanksgiving. Needless to say, it is a big transition. It is nice to come back to your roots, to pull into town and see the familiar places, faces, and to smell the long-missed aroma of the salty sea air. It is times such as now that give me a view of how I have changed, how I have grown, how I matured in my time away from home.

Early Thursday morning I got up to go for a run. While I start and finish nearly all of my runs from my parents' house, I decided to make this run's start/finish line at the western end of the boardwalk. I pulled up to the beach, stepped out, grabbed my running shoes from the back seat, climbed the sea wall, took a seat on one of countless benches that border the sea shore, and laced up for the first run of my summer at home.

It has been nearly 5 years since the last time I ran this route. woah.

The last time I ran this route was during my senior year of high school's cross country season. At that time, I had planned on going to school on a running scholarship. I already had offers from a number of schools but had yet to decide which one I would accept. By the end of the school year, with my not-knowing what I wanted to do with my life I decided not to begin college right away. I took a year off.

Spending that year away from the classroom was both foundational and life-shaping for my years to come. It was at this time that I took a year to run strictly for myself. I had no particular rivals that I had to compete against. I lived in the midwest and worked at a running store. It was fantastic. I ran about 70 miles per week and worked a full-time job that was entirely devoted to the sport which I love(d). I began to see running as not only a hobby or a sport that I was successful at in high school. Running was, and is, a lifestyle; part of who I am.

As that year came to a close, I decided to go into medicine and have spent the past four years at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. During these years, as has been mentioned in previous posts, running has been some what of an anecdote to the stresses of my undergraduate career. With only 2 classes to take this coming fall fall and graduation fast approaching in December, I count myself as practically graduated from undergrad.

So here I am, half a decade later, back at the starting line of the high point of my competitive running career in high school. But this time my run didn't start with the butter flies of toeing the line, the shouts of spectators, the nervous shaking of hands with your opponents, the occasional 'good luck", or that godforsaken sound of a starter gun (I always hated those). Instead, the intensity of then has been replaced with vacationers leisurely pedaling by on their beach cruisers and couples sitting on benches with the morning paper and cups of coffee.

That was then, this is now.

As my own imaginary gun went off in my head, I took my first steps of what would be maybe one of the more nostalgic runs of the past 5 years. My legs took me passed the lifeguard headquarters (which has a drinking fountain that has saved me on many occasions) and then to the smell of the local pancake house, and soon onto the boards in front of convention hall. These are all landmarks of the town I'm from, of the area where the runner inside me was born.

It began to hit me how much I and my running have changed since my earlier years. I am much more relaxed now. The harder parts of running: the setbacks, injuries and defeats used to truly rock me. I now understand, from experience, that they are merely part of the runner's cycle. This is all the more true in life. Life, like running, does not always (if ever) go according to plan.

In contrast to the disappointment mentioned in past paragraphs and posts, my post-high school running career has also included some of my greatest accomplishments in running thus far. I've run the prestigious Boston Marathon, I've taken 5th place in the Columbus Marathon, and have set personal records (PR) in both 10-miler events and the marathon.

Another aspect of running which has become so apparent to me is that, honestly, running is one of my best friends. Friends come and go, relationships are built and shattered, seasons begin and end, loved ones live and pass on.

But running; no matter how long I've had to put it aside at times, is always waiting for me when I get back. It's always ready to teach me about life; the value of persistence, setting goals, and taking time out of the day to enjoy the day for what it is, your life. Of which you only get one.

During my life as a runner, I have often questioned if I'd ever run again. But it's runs like these, runs that place you on a mountain top allowing you to look back and see how far you've come, that make me realize I will always run again. You can take many things away from a person, but you can't take away who they are. That is only given away. Given up. It's a choice. I am a runner. I will always be a runner.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The infamous mile repeat.

Distance: 7 miles

miles 1,3,5,7: 6:30 pace
miles 2,4,6: 4:55 pace

Total workout time: 40:40


I've been exceptionally busy with a roommate's wedding and with packing up and moving out of my apartment the past few days. Hence the lack of posts.


This workout is from a few days ago. It originally was going to be an easy 7-miler with no special agenda. However, after the first mile I was feeling so good that I decided to turn it into one of most intense workouts of my training regime. While some running models call for mile repeats to be a mile on the track following by about a minute of recovery time before starting the next mile. My mile repeats are a bit of my own rendition. But they do the trick for me.

As the first mile came to a close, it was time to increase my pace to an intensity of 8/9 for the next mile, giving me a mile split of 4:50. Mile 3 was a recovery mile. That is, it's used as a chance to slow your pace, catch your breath, and get ready for the next mile; where you then repeat your previous mile's intensity.

Hence the term 'mile repeat.'

As explanation for the 'infamous' part of this entry's title, a mile repeat workout can be summed up in a few words. Pushing the limits. Intense. Painful.

After mile 3 was behind me, it was time to kick in the afterburners again. Another 4:50 split.

But even during mile intervals, it is crucial to remember that a mile is not just a quick 100 yards, but 5280 feet. It's not a quick sprint, you need to pace yourself during what is still a relatively short distance in comparison to the 26.2 miles awaiting you on race day. If you start your mile too strong, you won't finish it with the intensity you planned.

What's fun (or maybe more 'entertaining' than anything) about the mile repeat is the look on people's faces when you pass by them. As I come down to the final quarter mile of miles 2,4 and 6, my legs are burning, my lungs are ready to give out and my face emanates sheer agony. While I consider this to be 'a good time', most people wonder "why do you do this to yourself?" This was definitely the case at the end of mile 4. I crossed my transitional finish line from hard to easy running and gave out a loud gasp for air... only to realize there's a 50-something year old woman coming around the corner of the trail. She's giving me a horrified look while hoping she isn't witnessing someone having a heart attack. But after a forced smile and slight raising of my right hand, I trot onward and leave her with a mixed sense of relief and "what the heck just happened?"

So after another cycle of this, I'm back home and cooling down after an intense workout. What a better way to start the day's activities. Which involved my best friend's wedding. An epic workout for an epic day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Tempo. Mental prep for race day.

Distance: 6 miles

Time: 33 minutes

pace: 5:30

Today consisted of a relatively short run but was what's called a tempo run. It's a workout where you run at an intensity between 7-8 the entire way (except for the first mile warm up). It doesn't put you into immediate oxygen debt, but you're consciously pushing it during the last few miles. These are the shorter runs that begin to prepare you both mentally and physically for the longer runs to come in the months ahead. Since the tempo is a definite workout, it requires more mental energy than an easier fun run. You're more aware of your pace and its maintenance.

For me, the mental aspect of distance racing draws me to the sport as much as the feeling you get after a solid workout or a first place finish. U.S. marathoner Ryan Hall says it best, "distance running is all about pain tolerance." In a race, you're going to feel pain, and fatigue is a long-time acquaintance. It's a matter of how you handle it in your mind. Not only is it the physiological conditioning during the hundreds, if not thousands of miles you've run leading up to race day; it's also the psychological preparation. When the going gets tough, there's no coach to urge you on, there's no climactic, emotional music that emanates from some unknown source. You're left with the sound of your feet striking the pavement, your breathing, and the seemingly increased weight of your legs.

A race is a truly unique experience for serious runners. In ways it requires strategical thinking like in a game of chess. It's also a lot like poker; patience, reading your opponent(s), and determining what level of shape they're actually in. Are they going to hold this pace? Do they have more in the tank at mile 23? It all comes down to one reality.

It's a silent war.

There's something very personal about a race. The person running only a few feet at your side is not a friend or comrade, he's the enemy. The goal is to have him behind you when you cross the finish. It's time to put up or shut up. No excuses.

These thoughts fill my mind as I begin to push it hard during the last miles of workouts like today's. Your level of fitness increases. You get stronger.

You can run the distance, but can your mind?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lose the tunes.

Distance: 6 miles.

Time: 36:30

Pace: 6:05

While most days I thoroughly enjoy my runs, today was not the case. It was cloudy, hot and muggy. Basically, it was gross. So while I did not enjoy my run, I still had plenty to think about. Most of them regarding something that is always missing from my workouts.


There's a few reasons that I don't run with music and why I don't think most people should either.

1) Safety. Especially when you're running in the city or the suburbs, your ability to hear what's going on around you can keep you out of a lot of bad situations. The first and most obvious thing that is important to keep out an ear for is cars. Duh. But another thing that is far less obvious is what I've encountered numerous times. Dogs.
While out for runs in the past I've been approached by friendly and some not-so-friendly pooches. Usually, the only hint you have that a dog is coming is either their paws on the pavement or else the jingle of their collar. Neither of which are exactly 'loud.' If you're jamming to your latest tunes while you're out and about, you'll miss what are possibly your only chances of dodging an ignorant driver or evading a hungry hound. So turn pull out the ear buds and pay attention to what's going on around you.

2) Preparation. If you're planning on legitimately competing a race, most races do not permit listening to music during the race. If you're used to training with an endless list of tunes for your workouts, the sounds of running without the iPod (your foot strikes and breathing) is going to be a harsh contrast to your everyday routine.

3) Unwind. From the moment we wake up to when we go to bed, our lives are full of noise. It begins with an alarm clock, proceeds to the radio, on to phone calls and co workers, and then finish out the day with some sort of television show. So why should we fill our run with even more noise, sound, music, or whatever you want to call it. So on your next run, lose the tunes and give your ears a break.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Would you RELAX and go for a run!?

I first want to say "sorry" for not updating the blog during this past week. I'm still in college and it was finals week. While I may not have had time to provide something to read, my thoughts on the sport I love haven't ceased. I'll share a bit of my feelings on mixing running and an extremely busy schedule which for most of us, is more commonly called, "life."

My life consists of a few things: during this time in my life it has primarily been class. I'm finishing up my undergrad career as a pre-medicine student and am aspiring to become a physician. A majority of my life these past four years has consisted of chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, biology, physics, and a mezclado of various other intense science courses which require a majority of my time. It's been these years, classes, and resultant schedule which as taught me about the many facets of running.

While I enjoy working towards particular goals/races in my running career, running has served a far greater therapeutic purpose in my college career than anything else. More often than not, my runs throughout college have not involved watches, pace calculators and mile split sheets. My runs have often served as my 'off switch' for an hour a day.

It's during times like this past week and significant deadlines that a relaxing run is what 'hits the spot' for me. When I spend most the day thinking about rotational kinetics, electronegativity, thermodynamics and enzymatic rates, there is almost nothing more relaxing to me than to lace up my Asics and go for a foot-tour of the city.

While many people consider running to be a form of cruel and unusual punishment, it's my ultimate form of stress release.

Running; you've been a great friend through the years. I'm looking forward to a lifetime together.

Your friend,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Intervals. Sunday, June 7, 2010

Distance: 6.2 miles
Time: 36 minutes
Pace: 5:48

While I did not have a chance to write a post yesterday, I have a few minutes now to hopefully recall the keys to what was an excellent workout.

As I set out for a run towards downtown through two of my favorite neighborhoods, Victorian Village and the Short North, I started easy for the first mile. This first mile was, as I have mentioned in previous posts, my time to get my muscles loosened and warmed up. With the next 1/2 mile I picked up the pace to something a little more comfortable.

For a side note: let me explain the mental scale I apply to my workouts. This will help explain what I mean when I say a 'comfortable pace' or a 'race pace.' I gauge my runs on a scale of 1-10.


1 - practically a walk. I'm hardly breathing.
2 - "
3 - I'd be willing to call this a 'jog.'
5 - The heart rate is starting to increase and I'm feeling what resembles actual aerobic exercise.
6 - Now it starts to get a bit more intense.
7 -
8 - At this point, talking is limited.
9 - A controlled, sustainable, sprint. I'm in a serious workout. After a mile or two, I'm ready to puke.
10 - Sprint for the finish. There's nothing left after a few minutes of running at this pace.


So for the next 1/2 mile after my 1-mile warm up, I brought the pace to a 5.

I maintained this till I reached 12th avenue on campus. As I turned onto Neil Avenue (my favorite street to run in the city), I began my first interval. But first, what are intervals?

Also referred to as 'fartleks', intervals are periods of high intensity running integrated into an otherwise moderate-intensity run. My intervals usually consist of 1 miles of intense (8 or 9) running followed by a 1/4-1/2 mile recovery period of running at a 4 or 5. I then begin the next 1-mile segment of intense running. I'll repeat this pattern for the remainder of the workout. Today's entire workout was devoted to this pattern.

I began my interval and continued at this level (roughly a 5:15-5:20 min/mile pace) for one mile till I was nearly downtown. I then made the quarter mile transition over to high street and headed back north. If you happen to see me during these workouts, don't expect much more than a 'hi' or simple nod. I passed my friend, Carol, on the street and didn't offer more than a slight wave and 'how's it going?'. But it's alright, Carol is a fellow marathoner who, as should be noted, qualified for the Boston Marathon this past fall during the Columbus Marathon. Congrats, Carol!

I finished strong into my apartment complex's parking lot.

Great workout. Great pace. I'm looking forward to many more of these this summer.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A flexible runner is a happy runner.

After yesterday's relatively intense 3 1/2 hour workout (tennis and run), my problematic left ankle was pretty stiff and asking for some R&R when I woke up this morning. It was definitely time to take my allotted second day off of the week. But, as I have mentioned in a previous post, there are always things to be done to supplement your running on your days off.

Today didn't involve any actual cardio workout, but it did include some stretching.

Stretching and its subsequent flexibility is one of the best things you can obtain to compliment your training. Your muscles work in what are commonly referred to as "muscle groups." In essence, when your foot strikes the ground, the force travels from your foot, up your leg muscles, into your hips, and up your back. When a particular muscle, for example's sake, your calf, is tighter than the rest of your legs and lower back, your body naturally transfers the stress normally absorbed by your foot's strike to the remaining muscles of your lower body. This maldistribution of stress among your body's muscles is a common cause of injury to athletes of all disciplines.

The solution? Increase your flexibility.

A lot of people take this general concept of flexibility to mean that they should spend 10-15 minutes before a run forcing their bodies into all kinds of weird positions before their run. This is not true. In fact, there is plenty of evidence that suggests that stretching before a run (stretching cold muscles) can be harmful to your muscles. The way I 'stretch' before a workout is simply to take my first mile or two at a much slower pace than I plan on running for a majority of my outing.

When it counts the most to spend time sitting down and working on deliberate stretches is FOLLOWING your run. In the 20 minutes after your workout, take some time to stretch out the various muscles groups which are employed during a run. Your calves, hamstrings, shins, thighs, the outside of your thighs, your butt, and lower back. While going into actual detail regarding how to stretch out all these various muscle groups is another blog entry altogether, I would recommend checking out some running websites such as Runner's World's website.

So whether you're out for a workout or taking they day off. 10-15 minutes of stretching will help your body immensely.

Happy Running!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ooooo that's hot. Running in the heat.

6 miles time: wasn't timed. (it became more a game of survival)

As the summer season swiftly approaches and the temperatures rise, I'm reminded of the biggest challenge to training through the summer for fall races; the heat. Before my run today, I had played 2 hours of tennis. Needless to say, I was tired before taking my first stride of today's workout. It was 87 degrees and a humidity percentage of about the same.

In the next few paragraphs, I want to share some of the lessons and thoughts I've learned and thought during today and past summers of running.

First things first. While you're most likely thinking about the integrity of your workout, your breathing, and if you've taken in enough fluids throughout the day, you also need to think about your skin. Sunscreen is CRUCIAL, especially on longer runs. Don't skimp out on this. A hat isn't a bad idea either.

Next, running in the heat often requires you to make a lot of adjustments.

1)Shade is your friend. While it is always recommended that you run on the left side of the road, when it's 90 degrees (like today), run on whichever side of the street offers the most shade. Early on in your run, your body temperature is initially much lower than it is as you're making that final turn into your neighborhood. Think about your planned route for the day. Is there a stretch that's notoriously shade-covered (bike paths usually have ample amounts of trees)? Is there a stretch or straightaway (often on roads connecting towns or different parts of a city) that doesn't have a tree anywhere in sight? Take all of this into account. Plan your run so that you have more shade later in the run.

2)A headwind later in the run is best. Check the weather and determine the wind direction. A nice breeze in your face for the later miles is a good way to stay cool despite the heat.

3)The early bird is way cooler. The best time of the day to beat the heat during the summer months is EARLY. Preferably before 8, ideally before the sun is up. I've made the mistake many times of thinking it will cool down later in the day. I then head out around 6 or 7 in the evening to realize that the only thing 'cool' about running at this time is the extra hours of sleep I had that morning. The sun heats up those roads all day, they're still hot in the evening. Get out there early in the morning. Besides, it's the best way to start your day!

4)Hydrating early and often is a must. In the event that you have no choice other than to run in the afternoon or evening, be sure to be hydrated throughout the day. There is a noticeable difference between chugging a couple glasses of water right before heading out on the road, and deliberately taking in ample fluids throughout the day.

5)Be smart, be wise, take the day off. Something that I've learned in my 11 years of distance running is that sometimes the wisest decision is to admit that you're only human. I used to hold the mindset that no matter what, I WOULD get my workout in. That mentality often brought me injury and unnecessary stress. If it's too hot to go running, it's too hot. It's not the end of the world, just get back out there the next day and continue on. It's better to take a day or two off during a heat wave than it is to run the risk of injury (heat stroke) during a relatively nominal workout (there's no ONE day of training that is going to make or break your chances of reaching your running/racing goal.)

So stay cool, be smart, enjoy your run, or a day off spent at the beach or pool.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A runner's rhythm.

Today's workout:

8.3 miles. 50 minutes. 6:01 pace.

Today was just a fun run. That is, there were no intervals, no repeats, only settling into a good pace and finding your groove.

As I turned onto Northwest Boulevard in Upper Arlington something happened that reminded me why it is that I enjoy distance running. I was nearing 4 1/2 miles and I found my "rhythm". It's at this point in the run where you no longer have that feeling of getting into your car in the winter and desperately waiting for the heater to finally kick in. Instead, this is the feeling of getting walking into an air-conditioned room in late August. These are the times when it almost feels as though my legs separate from the rest of me. My legs go on autopilot and I'm merely along for the ride.

I'm cruisin'.

When I've reached this point I then take time to pay attention to my surroundings. A couple high school-aged kids walking down the street in the middle of the day. Hmmm? Aren't you supposed to be in class? A middle-aged mom jogging down the street with a stroller. Good for you! The business man standing outside of Caribou Coffee waiting for whoever it is he's meeting. Yes, put that phone to your ear so it doesn't look too awkward while you're waiting.
All of this happening while I enjoy a workout.

Soon the run is over and I'm in the shower going over in my mind everything that has get done today. But I'm still carrying that rhythm. I'm ready to tackle the day.

It's a great day to be a runner.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Work to do even on my days off.

It seems somewhat ironic to have a day off after having just started this training log yesterday. However as I have learned from experience, I am a runner that needs at least one day per week to be free of pounding the pavement. Today is one of those days. In fact, I usually only run five days per week.

Nonetheless, even on days when I'm not striding around the city, there are many essential workouts that need to be done to keep your supporting muscle groups in good working condition. Below are a few which I swear by.

1)Hips. Although it might seem reasonable to think that runners have strong legs and hips, this is simply not the case. In fact, distance runners are notorious for having weak hips. I am no exception. After spending my entire summer last year recovering from a series of ailments related to weak hips (IT band syndrome, sore ankles, etc), my PT recommended that I particularly work on pelvic region. The exercises consist of me laying on my side, weights (2.5 pounds) on my ankles, and raising each leg a total of 30 times.

2)Ankles. For those who know me and my running history, they know that my left ankle has been the source of many problems over the years. However, through these following 2 exercises, I'm hoping to overcome this relative 'thorn in my side.'
- Drunk flamingo. Stack some text books. Balance on one foot. Close your eyes. And before you know it, you'll look more like someone stumbling out of the bar at 2 in the morning than an aspiring elite athlete. Switch off ankles every 30 seconds until you've balance 90 seconds on each ankle.

- Ankle pulls. Grab some surgical tubing, wrap it around some sort of post (a bed post in my case) and do 3 sets of 30 repetitions per ankle.

Follow up this exercises with some crunches and push-ups, and you're finished with an excellent, easy, core workout to help stabilize your running.

I hope you found this helpful!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I suppose I'll give it a go

Hey everyone. I've decided to give this online log thing a go. I have begun training for what I intend to be my fastest marathon yet. This summer I plan on keeping a log/journal of my training, thoughts, and tidbits of wisdom which I have gained from my past years and miles of running.

This blog will be an effort to share a runner's story and perspective during my training for what is truly a bear of a race.

For those of you who decide to follow me, I hope you enjoy.