Sunday, September 15, 2013

Last training block...we're getting close!

Alright race fans, here it is. You're final 4 weeks of training. You will do your last long run three weeks out from the race. Unlike the beginner plan, the long run peaks at 14 miles, a distance you will have run several times before the big day. This means, you have trained OVER the distance of the half marathon and should be able to "easily" handle 13.1. You will notice there is still do plenty of race pace throughout this training block. 

If you haven't been doing so up to this point, you definitely want to be practicing your race day nutrition plan during your long runs. What will you eat before and during your run? What will you drink? Will you carry water with you? These may seem like small details but can make a huge difference. Practicing and knowing what combinations work for you means one less thing to have to worry about on race day. 

Be sure you are listening to your body and pay extra attention to any little niggles you may be feeling. Rest and recovery becoming increasingly important as you get closer to the race. And you can't ignore the all important taper!  

You're almost there! Just a few more weeks of hard work and you and you can reap the rewards!

Run for your lives,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Let's talk music...again

I know there are some purists out there who choose to run to the sound of their own breath and the rhythm of your feet. But many of us need to focus on something else and enjoy plugging in when we are plugging along.
Personally, I listen to podcasts or audiobooks during training. They are an easy to get lost in and can really help passing the time. I reserve my wicked playlists for race day. This way, at least in my mind, my favorite motivating tunes are fresh and fruity and get me all the more amped up when I need them the most.
Last year we had some great feed back on good songs to run to and I'd love to hear some new entries.
I'll admit that I'm still grooving along to a many of the same songs as last year, but  here are a few of my new favorites:
The Sound of Sunshine - Michael Franti
Gin and Juice - Phish
Us - Regina Spektor
Catch My Disease - Ben Lee
The new Vampire Weekend Album
Lover of the Light - Mumford & Sons
Ho Hey - Lumineers

Yep, my list is short and lame. Need more ideas?  Check this out:
Runner's World - Workout Music
Is there anything that Runner's World doesn't do? Gotta love 'em.

Some more music magic? There is an app called Cruise Control that will change the song to match your goal pace.
Whether you choose music or podcasts, also choose to unplug every once in a while and enjoy the sound of your own effort. It can be pretty magical too. 
Run for your lives,

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How to pace yourself on race day

You've done the work and logged the miles. Now race day is here and you are wondering how to pace yourself to ensure you have your best race. There are a number of strategies here and which one you choose depends a lot of your experience level.

Even Steven:
The Even Steven approach is to take a specific time goal and translate it to a per mile pace. On race day make every effort to run an even race and hit splits on target mile after mile. This can work very well for some people, especially those that have run many races before and can adjust well to changing conditions and know their bodies well.  There are a number of online tools that can help you calculate your splits if you want to go with this approach.
There is even a company who makes temporary tattoos so you can plaster your split times on your forearm!

Warm-up, Commute, and Race:
This three stage approach is better suited for newer racers and allows you to run by your body and effort on race day.  It works well because it can often be difficult to predict what race day will bring; you could be on or off, the weather could be favorable or horrific.  In this approach you divide the race into three sections. The first section is your Warm-up. In this stage you run the first 7 miles at a relatively easy, conversational effort. It would be the pace you would normally hold during your longer training runs.
In miles 8 - 12, dial things up a bit and start your Commute. You should be one level above your "happy zone." This would be your tempo pace from your training. You should be able to speak in one word increments. Mentally it can be very empowering to start to focus on specific racers and pass them one at a time. Think of it as a fishing expedition. Cast your line, hook a runner and start reeling!
Finally, you need to Race. This is the final stretch, the last 1.1 miles. Crank it up and run a hard, strong finish. Adrenaline is your best friend and will carry you through to a glorious finish. More experienced runners can use the Warm-up, Commute and Race strategy too, but should distribute more of their effort in the Commute and Race zones.

Run for your lives!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Following up interview with creator of The Oatmeal

For those of you who enjoy The Oatmeal comic, Runner's work just posted an interview with the creator.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Grrrrr...the lactic acid bear!

Whether you are beginning runner or a seasoned marathoner, the feeling of muscle soreness can be felt. Most people attribute muscle soreness due to lactate acid build-up. However, lactate acid build-up and soreness are only a small part of the equation and understanding the different causes of soreness can go a long way to preventing injuries.

Our muscles primarily produce energy in one of two ways: Aerobic (in the presence of oxygen) and Anaerobic (without oxygen). The body is constantly balancing and shifting between the two, but for simplicity sake, we can say that aerobic metabolism is used for sustainable activities like walking or jogging and anaerobic activities such as sprinting or weight lifting. At no time is the body exclusively using one form of metabolism.

When muscles need ever increasing energy for sprinting, the body cannot supply enough oxygen to the muscles in order to produce energy aerobically and therefore shifts more to anaerobic metabolism. A by-product of anaerobic metabolism is lactic acid. As more and more lactic acid builds, a burn can be felt in the working muscles until they can no longer contract and the activity must be stopped. The burning sensation is from lactic acid and this causes muscle failure. This is why we have limitations to our sprinting or how many times we can lift a weight. When the body begins absorbing the lactic acid, the burn goes away, and the activity can begin again. However, it takes several hours for all the lactic acid to fully be absorbed thus limiting contractile strength for hours. The soreness is temporary and does not cause muscle soreness following the activity.

Muscle soreness that is felt 24-72 hours after an activity is called, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and is caused by micro-tears to muscle fibers, not lactic acid. This often occurs with new activities or an increase in activity. The prevailing theory is that the body rebuilds these micro-tears and the muscle becomes stronger. The soreness should be mild and disappear in one to three days. However, one does not have to feel sore following a training session in order to get stronger. In fact, keeping DOMS to a minimum is the safer training strategy. If one increases activity too quickly or too intensely, larger tears in the muscles can occur which can often lead to injury.

Interested in learning more about the lactic acid burn? 
By the way...I personally use and endorse Extreme Endurance for managing recovery and buffering lactic acid. I get no kick back...but maybe I should!

Run for your lives,