The Boston Marathon 2014

It has been overMarathon Sign 1 two months since The Boston Marathon April 21st.   Why it is taking me so long to write this post.  Well it could be because last year was my first time running of the Boston Marathon and before the evil that killed three people that day, it was everything and more that I expected it would be.  But then the unthinkable happened and running changed in a second.   It took a long time to feel good about running again.   But running was the only way to honor those who’s life changed that day.   So I continued to train. The focus of every run, every race leading up to April 21st 2014 was to remember Martin, Keystle, Lu, and Sean.   I wanted to train as hard as I could, and run as fast as I could to “take back the Finish Line”!

I arrived Friday afternoon on April 18th.  Getting from the airport to my hotel in Newton only 8 miles away took almost 2 hours.  Traffic was crazy to say the least.  I thought about going to the Expo on Friday night but decided to just rest after unpacking and eating dinner.  I had signed up for the Boston 5K on April 19th (not the day before the Marathon like normal because of Easter).  So Saturday the plan was run the 5k in the morning and go to the Expo after.

I woke up ear5k startly Saturday and drove to Copley Square at 6am.  The race was at 8am so I had enough time to walk to the start and enjoy the race electricity.   The whole town was in the mood to run.  It was like the day before Christmas and everywhere you are it just feels like Christmas.  Well being in Boston during the Boston Marathon weekend everything is about running.  My plan for the 5k was to just take an easy, slow shake out run.  I think 8,000 people were running and it was packed.   The field of elite runners was tough.  Two 5k winners 2time winner 2011, 2012 Ben True (see photo, Ben is behind the John Hancock banner) from USA was the favorite, the defending  winner from 2013, Dejen Gebremeskel (see photo in front of banner) from Ethiopia was also there.  I could list the top 10 male and female runners and in any other race, they would win easily.  But this was Boston and $39,000  in prize money going to the top 10 makes this unlike any other race.  When the 5k was over the course recorded was broken.  The Men set a course record of 13:26 when Both Ben and Dejen finished tied.  On the Women side, Molly Huddle from USA won with a time of 15:12 tying the course record set in 2012. Second Bomb site were MR lost his life 2The 5K was a great start to the weekend.  There was a lot of excitement from all the runners, but everyone understood that this year we were running for the world.  This was not just another race.  The Boston Marathon never has been, but this year everyone was running to celebrate and honor those who suffered on 4-15-2013.

 

After th20140419_095129e 5K I headed to the expo, picked up my bib and shopped for a bit.  So many things to see and do at the expo.  I
bought some new compression sleeves and then headed out to get ready for a U-Can presentation with Meb Keflezighi speaking and signing autographs.  I headed back to my car to change and put my packet in.  That was when I noticed I had got a parking ticket.  Whoops, I guess there is no free parking on Saturday’s.  I thought about moving my car (rental) into the parking garage, but I figured since I am paying for the ticket anyway, might as well just leave it with the ticket on it.

So off I we20140419_133929nt to meet Meb Keflezighi.  I have never been much of a crazy person who wants an autograph.  At another expo, I almost stood in line to get Ryan Halls autograph, but it was too long and no way was I going to stand there for hours to get someones scribble.  But this was a presentation from U-Can, a product that I had tired in the past.  Can’t say I liked it much, but figured I could get some free samples and give them another try.  Plus it was in a hotel coBibnference room so I got to sit down and rest.  Listening to Meb speak was for sure the highlight of the trip.  He was just another person who loved to run.  He talked about the same problems we have all had. The last thing he talked about was running to win.  It is his catch phrase and he added, it does not mean you win every race.  But you push and put everything you have into that race.  He said

“A Marathon hurts, I know I will be hurting on Monday, everyone hurts in a Marathon”

It was nice to know I was not the only one :-).  He took a picture with everyone, one at a time, and signed autographs for everyone.  I brought my bib and he signed it.  I can’t say how many times I used that motivation during the race to keep me pushing.

After meet20140420_113353ing M20140420_114043eb, I was in a runners high (as my wife would say).  Next stop was to go site seeing a bit.  Last year we visited friends north of Boston, so we didn’t get to see Boston much.  First stop the Prudential tower observation deck.  I walked around and took photo’s.  Saw Fenway Park, the famous Citgo Sign ( I remember that from last year’s race), and of course a great view of the finish line.  After the observation deck and got some lunch and headed back to the hotel to rest up.

I did stop 20140420_150748on the way to the car and bought a ticket for A Duck Tour on Sunday.  I figured that would be relaxing and not a lot of walking. Sunday was strange, most of the time you run a 5k race the day before the Marathon, plus most Marathons are run on Sunday.  But we have already said, The Boston Marathon is not like most Marathons.  Today was going to be a lot of resting.  Hopefully not much walking was the plan.  Of course I was still following my carbo loading plan.  That reminds me, if I ever finish this post I need to write a post on carbo loading.  But I digress….. The Duck tour was relaxing, but uneventful.  I think the kids who got to drive the boat had the most fun.  Plus they got a sticker.  It did keep me occupied, off my feet and I got to learn a few things about Boston that I would not have.

20140420_164720After the Ducks, the plan was to go eat at the race spaghetti dinner located at town hall.  But the line was crazy long.  I never did find the end, but figured there was no way the meal was worth that wait.   So I went back to my car, Yay no ticket today and headed back to the hotel. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up dinner.  Of course lots of carbs, Pizza, chicken and a potato.

Ready 2

I set up my gear for the next day, ate my dinner and waited.  I was ready for the race.

 

 

Race mBuss loading moon was outorning, finally it was time.  I headed down to the Commons to catch a buss to the starting line.  To make sure I didn’t get another ticket, I decided to park in the garage recommended by the race.  Of course I was a bit early.  My boarding time was 7:30am and I was there at 6:00am.  Don’t want to be late.  I checked my bag in (new this year, no bags allowed on the buss or at the starting line).  The buss ride seems so long.  I have to run that far, it was painful to be on the buss.  I had heard a few people ran to the starting line, and then ran the race too.  What? Waiting at the staging area was crazy, so many people.  I stood in line to pee a few times.  laid on the ground to rest and then they called my group to head to the starting line. Last year I left a bit late and had to run to start with my corral.  This year I had enough time to get there.  I took my pre race drink (U-Can and Karbragousmix).  Not very tasty, but it seemed to work.  I figured if it was good enough for Meb it was ok for me. At the start of the race, the temperature was 68^f a bit higher then I would have liked.  I wondered if I could run my goal pace and hit 3:15.  I would know soon enough. On a normal year The Boston race is crazy, packed with people everywhere, but 2014 was not normal and it was more then packed, I was bumping into people like a human pinball.  The first 20 miles I had to dodge and dip more then I wanted to.  I reached the half way well ahead of my goal at 1:36:55.  But I still had the Hill’s of Newton ahead of me and the sun waMeb Strongs coming out.  I could feel myself slowing a bit, but still maintaining a good pace.  Going up the third hill in Newton, a fan held up a sign that I red, “Meb won, Run faster”.  That sign put a smile on my face.  How great for our country to have an american win. The second half took its toll and I did slow a bit.  Not much be enough to miss my goal time of 3:15.  I finished 3:16:44, still a PR and with the heat, I was happy with it.  There is always next year. Finsih Time Bill Marsh

Posted in Advanced Runner, Half Marathon Training, Marathon Training, Race Reviews, Running Coach | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Speed work – Are you doing it wrong?

Everyone wants to run like Meb Keflezighi (ok maybe just me).  I know deep down I will never be that fast.  The fact is, I am not competing with Meb, I am competing with myself.  Every race I run, I want to do better, I want to PR.  Sure there are fun races that I just want to run and don’t try to PR, or maybe I am just using a race as a training run.  But the main reason I train, race and train some more is to PR.  To find that perfect race when the planets all align, the weather is perfect and I’m at my peak.  Ok, stop laughing, I know that is a dream, but you get the idea.

I have written about speed work in previous post, but when I read them I think I might have been doing it wrong.  I recently watched a training video and the person made a comment that really caught my ear.   “You can only be as good in your training as in your ability to recover”.  Could it be that simple?  Sometimes we over complicate everything.  After I heard that comment and a few weeks of over racing, over training, it really makes so much sense now.  Really that statement “You can only be as good in your training as in your ability to recover” applies to every type of run, but for this blog I just want to focus on speed work.

When I first started doing speed work, about four years ago I can honestly say I had no idea what I was doing or why.  All I knew was if I wanted to be faster, I needed to do it.  To be honest, I am not sure I am doing it right now, but I have learned a lot over the last four years and I would like to share one of the most important lessons that just came to me like a rock hitting my head.

First let’s look at a chart from Feb, 2011 one of the first speed workouts that I can find data from.  Looking at the data, I did a warm up for .36 miles, then 1000 X 5 (400RI), then a cool down for .41 miles to finish it.  I had just red “Run Less, Run Faster”.  Good book and if you have a chance to read it you will learn a lot. For some it might have too many numbers, calculations and data.  But It said do a speed workout each week.  So ok, I started.  I got my pace numbers using their charts, and I could not wait to start running fast.

2-14-11 HR 1Kx5-400RI 2-14-11

So what was I doing wrong?  Well first off, a 0.3 warm up and 0.4 cool down.  That is not enough to warm up or cool down.  Looking at each interval, 1st 4:21 (7:01 pace), 2nd 4:33 (7:21 pace), 3rd 4:40 (7:32 pace), 4th 4:41 (7:34 pace) 5th 4:47 (7:43 pace).  It almost pains me to look at.  I don’t remember what my target pace was, but I know I was trying to hit a certain number.  Clearly I did not hit it, even back then I knew the slowest to fastest interval time should be no more than 5 seconds deference.  From my fastest to slowest it was 26 seconds.  And each interval got slower than the last.

Looking at my HR data, I think this is the first time I have looked at it for that run.  My 0.3 mile warm up (at 8:26 pace) was almost anaerobic, the recovery interval does not look to bad, I got into the aerobic zone.  Each interval is barely maximum effort.  Then the cool down, really the 0.4 miles, looks more like another interval with my HR almost at 90%.  That is not a cool down.

So fast forward three years.  Monday is my speed work night and I went to the track.  Today’s plan, one mile warm up 12X400 (400RI) one mile cool down.  So here are the charts.

12x400-400RI 3-24-14HR 12x400-400RI 3-24-14

So what am I doing right now?  It is easy to look at each interval and see they are much more consistent.  The slowest was the 1st interval at 93 seconds (6:16 pace) and fastest 12th interval 82 seconds (5:28 pace).  Ok, you’re right I’m still not with-in 5 seconds, (11 seconds) but I’m ok with my last being the fastest.  But here is the kicker, I was not even looking at my pace, or interval time.  What I was focusing on was my recovery.  So forget about my pace for a minute, think about recovery for a moment.  Look at my Heart Rate.  My one mile warm up, done at 9:52 pace (keep in mind, I didn’t care what my pace was.  I was running easy, zero effort.  Normally I water down my HR monitor strap and get a better reading, but if you don’t do that, it takes about a mile to get a good sweat going to get a good reading (at least for me).  So my first interval, looks like my HR monitor was still not accurate.  I would say around the 2nd interval my HR strap had a good connection and was ready correct.  I did the first 9 intervals maybe not 100%, but close.  My concern was not so much my speed interval but my recovery interval (RI).  Rule of thumb, a recovery interval should be about the same time as the speed interval.   Tonight’s interval was 400 with 400 rest, so the rule of thumb is kind of out the window.  What I am looking for in my RI is that my HR recovers to at least Aerobic, I need to get oxygen to my muscles for them to recover and be ready for the next interval.  The first 9 intervals I was not recovering in the RI enough to really reach my max on the speed interval.  So after my 9th interval, instead of a slow jog for my recovery, I walked until my HR got into zone 2.  Then I jogged and kept my pace to ensure it stayed in zone 2.  Simply put, Zone 1 is warm up, Zone 2 is easy (fat burning), Zone 3 is Aerobic, Zone 4 Anaerobic, Zone 5 is max effort.   You can see looking at the last three intervals that when I recovered I was able to increase my speed and reach 100% effort.  Then I did a mile cool down in zone 2.  Never once during the mile did I care about my pace.  The cool down should be easy.  What my pace is does not matter.  If I needed to walk to get my HR in zone 2, I would have been walking.

So that was a lot of data.  Maybe too much, but let me digress to the point of this blog.  “You can only be as good in your training as in your ability to recover”.  Too often we focus on the first chart, looking at the pace during the speed interval of the work out.  What I suggest is don’t worry about pace, focus on your effort and more importantly focus on your recovery interval.  If you recover properly during the RI, your speed interval will produce better results.  We all want to be faster.  Four years ago I started doing speed work and yes I have gotten faster from doing that speed work.  But it is the process that gets you faster, not simply running faster and looking at the pace.  If you focus on recovery more than what your pace is, maybe you can get faster a lot faster than I did.

 

Posted in Advanced Runner, Half Marathon Training, Interval, Marathon Training, Running Coach | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Speed work: The key to running faster!

How do you run fast?  The answer is very easy: Run faster. But seriously, if you want to run faster, then you need to do speed work. Speed work, AKA intervals, track repeats, or fartleks, as I have mentioned in another post (5 Keys to reaching your potential on your next race), is one of the five keys that you should be doing every week (speed run, tempo/pace run, long run, easy run, and don’t forget the last key which is just as important: rest).

What is speed work?  Speed work involves running a series of relatively short distances (100 meters to 3200 meters) at your maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max).  Between each short distance is a brief recovery, known as the recovery interval (RI).  Speed work increases your body’s ability to process oxygen and improves your run economy.  Speed work should be about 22.5% of your weekly miles.

A speed workout will consist of a number of repetitions, the distance or time to run fast, and the distance or time to rest.  For example, 4 x 800m (90 sec. RI).  In this example, 4 is the number of times you will run a distance of 800 meters (1/2 mile, normally two laps on a track).  After each time you run the 800 meters you would rest for 90 seconds.  You could rest with a slow jog or walk either way.  During the RI you want to recover enough so you will be ready for the next interval.  How fast you run each interval is based on you and your current training level.  There are some great speed work calculators on the web to help you find your correct pace.  One I like is http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/.

Once you have your interval time and the workout you’re going to do, there are some important guidelines you should follow.

  1. Start and end each speed workout with 5-10 minutes (around a mile) at easy pace to warm up and cool down.  Easy pace is conversational pace,  a pace where you could chat with a friend running alongside you. This is a rhythm that feels like you could maintain it all day long if you had to.
  2. To run fast and efficient, your cadence (steps per minute) should be 180.  Speed is a product of how many steps you take and how far you step.  Many runners try to slow their number of steps down and increase their step distance thinking this will save energy and be easier.  In fact just the opposite is true.  The slower your cadence and the longer your step distance, the harder it is and more energy you will use.  Over stepping (heel striking) produces a breaking effect, causing you to have to use more energy to continue to move.  Taking more steps at a shorter distance (keeping your foot behind your knee, mid-foot striking) uses less energy.  When you feel tired doing your speed work, focus on your cadence.  Make sure your arms are moving front to back.  Try to elbow the person behind you as you move your arms back and forth.  If your cadence drops, move your arms faster, as your arms move fast, your feet have to follow.
  3. Do your best to keep your slowest/fastest interval no more than 5 seconds in difference.  Don’t use all your energy in the first interval and not have anything left for the last one.
  4. Speed workouts are best performed at a track, where it is flat and easy to know how far you have run.
  5. A GPS watch makes speed workouts much easier.   You can also use your phone and one of many apps, such as Runkeeper or Endomondo.  Set up your watch or phone for your interval.

Garmin Training Center4x800(90secRI)
Here are a few examples of what a workout looks like.  Figure 1 is the Garmin training center, which can be used with most garmin GPS watches (I use the 910XT). Figure 2 is a screenshot from the phone app RunKeeper.  (Both are using the example 4X800m (90 sec RI).

Figure 1                             Figure 2

If you don’t have a GPS watch or a smart phone to help you know your pace, run your speed interval at a fast pace.  “Fast pace” means you should only be able to say one or two words, but if someone asked you a question, you wouldn’t want to expend the energy to answer them. Don’t sprint all-out or push to the point of pain, or where you feel you’re going to pull something. You should feel like “I’m okay, I just don’t want to do this for very long.”

The distance you do for each interval depends on what race you’re training for.  The shorter the race, the shorter the interval you should run.  So if you’re training for a 5k, run 100m and 200m; for a 10k, run 100m up to 800m; for a half marathon, run 200m up to 1600m; for a marathon, 400m up to 3200m.  Switch up your interval distance every week. Never let your body get “used to” a workout.  You are not improving if your “used to” a workout.  Plus running the same workout every week is boring.  Here are a few examples from my training plan for intervals.

  • 6 x (1 minute fast then 3 min. easy)
  • 4 x (3 minute fast then 3 min. easy)
  • 8 x 400m (90 sec. RI)
  • 4 x 800m (90 sec. RI)
  • 2 x 1600m (3 min. RI)
  • 4 x 1K (400m RI)
  • 2 x 800m (1:30 RI) 4 x 400 (1:30 RI)
  • 2 x (4 x 400) (1:30 RI) (2:30 between sets)
  • 1 mile (400m RI), 2 miles (800m RI), 2 x 800 (400m RI)
  • 1K, 2K, 1K, 1K (400m RI)

Now you’re ready to go to the track and run faster!  Have fun, but remember to be smart.  If you feel pain, stop running.  The #1 goal of every training plan should to be to stay injury free.   Because you can’t achieve any running goal if you’re injured, prevent injuries and run smart!

Posted in Advanced Runner, Beginner Runner, Half Marathon Training, Interval, Marathon Training, Running Coach | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Deep-Tissue Massage Works Wonders

I first started getting deep tissue massages last year. I was training for my BQ race and I wanted to do everything I could to make sure all my training and planning for this one race went perfect.  Well, if you have been following my blog, you know it did, and I was able to BQ and run Boston 2013.  But after my BQ race (Wineglass Sept 2012), I wondered how much benefit there was in the deep-tissue massage.  Was it worth the pain and cost to get them? I had my doubts. My last deep-tissue massage was Dec 2012.  I trained harder than I ever had before for Boston 2013: 60+ miles a week (at base mileage for 4 weeks), and 5 long runs more of 20 miles or more, the longest being 31 (my first ultra).  The Boston Marathon (again if you follow me you already know) was incredible.  I made my goal (3:20), qualified with 10+ minutes to spare for next year’s Boston Marathon, and everything was great.

Since then, I have continued to train. (There is always a “next race”!) I did nothing but recovery runs for the next 30 days.  I started increasing my base mileage again and training for my next half marathon.  I got up to a base of 50 miles a week and started doing my speed work and tempo runs again each week.  I added a few 5Ks and 10Ks into the training plan and used them as pace runs.  But something was missing.  I thought to myself, why don’t I feel good? I was just not recovering like I had been last year. I’m still eating the same and taking my supplements (BCAA, Protein drinks, and electrolyte tablets).  My training was the same, so what was wrong?  Was I just getting old and needing to slow down?  But then it hit me! Could it really be that simple?  I have not had a deep-tissue massage since December 2012—is that what I needed?

Then after my last 10K, they offered free massages after the race.  I waited in line and asked for a deep-tissue massage on my back and legs.  They didn’t have a massage table, so she was only able to do my back and a little bit on my legs.

I made an appointment with Dr. Taylor and finally had another deep-tissue massage.  I asked for her to focus on my legs. The therapist said I had a lot of hot spots.  I have another appointment next week.  My tempo run the day after my massage felt great, 7 miles 1 mile warm up, 5 at 7:45 minutes per mile, then 1 mile cool down. Normally my tempo would be 7:00 minute miles, but it was 85 degrees, So I added 45 sec per mile due to the heat. 30 degrees over 55 degrees, 1.5 sec added for each degree. (Read my blogs about running in the heat if you have not yet.)

I have learned (again) that deep-tissue massage is a key part to any training plan! So what is a deep tissue massage? Deep-tissue massage relieves severe tension in the muscles and connective tissues or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscle located below the surface of the top muscle.  Deep-tissue massage is recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain, are involved in heavy physical activity (such as training for a marathon), and people who have sustained an injury.  It’s important to drink a lot of water after a deep tissue massage to help flush lactic acid out of the tissues. If you don’t, you might be sore the next day. It’s possible that you might feel some soreness the day after a deep-tissue massage even if you DO drink water. This just means a lot of waste products were flushed out of the tissues. It should pass within a day or so. It is not uncommon for a person receiving a deep-tissue massage to have their pain replaced with a new muscle ache for a day or two.

If you are into self-abuse (and what runner is not?) then you could try using a foam roller.  With a foam roller you can do what is called self myofascial release.  This takes some practice to do and you will need to be somewhat of a contortionist to roll some of your muscles.  But again the reward will be a more flexible and stronger muscle. Dr. Taylor or your fitness trainer can show you how to do it correctly to derive the most benefit.

So if you have not tried a deep-tissue massage or a foam roller yet, I recommend you give it a try.  I would say, “it can’t hurt,” but the truth is it does hurt.  I guess this is the one time that I agree with the saying “no pain, no gain”!

If you are in the San Antonio area, I recommend “Jennifer” and Dr. Taylor at Palser Chiropractic and Massage Therapy. Dr. Taylor is also trained in Active Release Techniques (ART) to correct soft tissue injuries. If you want to learn more about “rolling,” you can find numerous videos on youtube. If you prefer to have a professional introduce you to rolling to “take you from pain to fitness,” Paul Castellano of Thee Body Shop provides private or group sessions.

Posted in Advanced Runner, Half Marathon Training, Injury, Marathon Training, Running Coach | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How many miles do you run a week?

Posted in Running Coach | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Running in the Heat 2

Ok, it is that time again.  For a few months I thought it was going to be a cool summer, but then … “BAM”  it was hot.  Ok, no problem.  I have done this before.  I love running in the heat.  Oh, crap, this is HOT.  Oh no, it is only 90 degrees and it will get to 100.  Ok, calm down, breath, everything will be ok.

First off, I have to remind myself, I am working out, so I guess sweating is all part of that.  Heck, the more I sweat, the more I know I am working out.   I can deal with the heat, not a problem, Right?

Let’s first go over why I think it is good to run in the heat.  Then I will talk about how to run in the heat.

So why should you run in the heat?  Well, that depends.  What are your running goals?  Do you just want to run for fun?  Are you running your first Marathon and just want to finish? Or do you want to PR at your next race?

Well if you answered yes to any of the questions other than PR at your next race, you don’t need to run in the heat, yet 😉  But if you’re ready to take it to the next level and PR, you need to love to run in the heat.

So if you’re still reading, you want to PR.  Now why the heck do I want to run in the heat? And more importantly how is it going to help me PR?

As you run more in the heat, your body will adapt to it.  The human body is an amazing machine.  Even though most of us enjoy running and do it for fun, your brain is in flight or fight mode.  It is doing everything it can to keep your body alive.  At first it does this by keeping blood flowing to your legs and muscles so you can out run whatever you are running from to stay alive.  Your heart rate increases and you start to sweat to cool your core temperature.  As your core temperature increases, your brain is faced with a choice.  Keep your vital organs working and cooled, or keep your muscles working and run.   This is an easy decision for your brain so it reduces the blood flow to your extremities and focuses on cooling and keeping the vital organs alive.  If you have ever started to feel numb or tingling in your toes or fingers, now you know why.  Your core temperature is getting to hot.  But like I said, your body is an amazing machine.  As you continue to run your brain says, “I need more blood to keep the muscles working and the vital organs alive”, so over time (lets use 6 weeks, since it takes a broken bone about that long to heal), your body produces more blood.  With your increased blood volume, your heart will not have to work as hard to keep you alive so your heart rate is reduced.  You can see that all that hard training in the heat will pay off at your next race when the temperature is a perfect 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ok, so now you know why you should love to run in the heat, How do you run in the heat?

Just like every other run or race you need to plan.   Temperature is part of that plan.  Reduce you running intensity when training or racing in the heat. Consume extra fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration.  I have to laugh a little when I say reduce your running intensity, because you will run slower and feel worse from the heat.  The tough part about running in the heat, understanding that you are still getting faster and training smart even though you are running slower.  Yep, you are running slower, but going to be faster for it.   I remember running last summer training for my BQ race in September.  I tried to run at pace on my pace runs.  My BQ pace was going to be 7:20 minutes per mile.  But no matter what I did, when it was hot, and it was HOT, I could not run at 7:20 for a 6 mile pace run.  Well I trained, did my best and had no idea if I could run at my planned pace.  To make a long story longer, I did, and I’m telling you, you can too even if it means running slower in the heat.

So how do I know what pace to train if it is HOT?  I’m glad you asked.  Reduce your running intensity by using this easy formula.  Optimal running temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  For every degree above 55 add 1.5 seconds to your pace per mile.

Tempo in HeatStill don’t believe me?  Here is my work out today.  My tempo run should be in normal conditions around 7:00 minutes/mile.  But today it was 90 degrees, so that’s 35 degrees above 55.  35×1.5-52.5, so around 53 seconds added to my pace per mile.  Or I should expect around 7:53 minute mile pace in 90 degree weather for my tempo run.  Here is my run.  2 miles easy warm up, 6 miles at tempo pace, 2 miles easy cool down.   Ok so I was a little slower, but I did this run on my normal neighborhood course and there are hills.  So they might have slowed me down a bit 😉

Now running in the heat adds another problem, dehydration….

The best way to prevent dehydration during a run is to make sure you’re not dehydrated before the run starts.  The easiest way to check if you dehydrated is checking the color of your urine.  If it is clear you’re drinking too much, light yellow color or like the color of hay – your good, Dark yellow or like ice tea color – your dehydrated.   Everyone is different, so saying drink 8 oz for every 20 minutes of running does not work.  If you’re thirsty, then you should drink.  Make sure you’re not only drinking water.  Excess water in the body can cause hyponatremia (low blood sodium).  So make sure if you sweat a lot you replace lost electrolytes with a sports drink or other form of electrolyte replacement and that you are not only drinking water.  Consult a RD CSSD  (registered dietitian (RD) and board certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD)) for more information on how much electrolyte replacements you need.

Now go out and run in the heat.  You will be glad you did at your next race! (as long as it is 55 ^:-)

Posted in Advanced Runner, Beginner Runner, Half Marathon Training, Marathon Training, Running Coach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Why do I run (part 3)

I constantly try to answer this question. Everyone, including my wife wonders why I run. We’ll let me first set the stage. Today was a long day, I stayed up late last night watching a basketball game (Spurs won, 😉 and 3 a.m. came too fast. So when I got home from work, I sent a text to my wife and asked “Want to go on a bike ride with my 10 mile run with me tonight?” She said, “Maybe.” Then a few texts later she said, “Go on your run, I’m tired.” I replied, “I’m tired too, but my plan says 10 miles, I am running 10 miles.” Her reply was “I don’t have a plan, I just listen to my body.” To which I said “If I did that, I would never run.”

Then I put on my shoes, and opened the door. While I ran, a light came on, and not just from the sun beating down on me. (It was 5:30 p.m. and 94 degrees out.) I thought, “Why am I running? How can I explain to my wife so maybe next time she will want to run/bike with me?”

First I have to go back to when I was in the 8th grade. I was not in shape as a kid. So one day I decided to wear a muscle T-shirt. It had a print on it that looked like I was not wearing a shirt and that I had a lot of muscles. Knowing what I know now, I could have predicted the outcome of wearing this shirt, but being a 13-year-old kid, I thought it would be cool. So in the school hallway, another smart 13 year old laughed as he saw my shirt and said “You wish.” I’ve since thought a lot about what that kid said. But that kid was wrong. It was not if I wished I were in shape, because if that’s how it worked, everyone would be in shape and healthy.

I lost a lot of weight when I was 18, and stayed healthy for maybe 10 years, but by the time I was in my 40s, I was now back to being that out of shape, unhealthy 13 year old kid. Except now I was 43 and 230lbs. To be honest, I still thought I was in shape, but gaining ½ pound a month for 15 years adds up. So I made the choice to not be unhealthy. I didn’t wish it; I said this is what I am going to do. I made a plan, and set my goal for my first half marathon, but most of all I said, I will do this! I don’t have to wish it; I can make the changes in my eating habits and exercise habits, and I will be healthy.

I skipped over a few things, like chest pains at 43, and my father dying of his 5th heart attack when he was 48, and going in for a checkup because of those chest pains and finding out I had high blood pressure. I could see for maybe the first time who I really was. And it does not have anything do to with size or weight. But I could see I was out of shape and it was starting to affect my health. If I didn’t make the right choices, I could end up like my dad. Keep in mind that my father never got to be a grandfather, my kids never knew him. I want to see my grandkids. I want to spoil them and take them to the park, watch them play soccer; go to a baseball game, or a basketball game with them.

So why do I run? I run because I can’t wish myself to be healthy. I run because I want to be around for my grandkids someday. I run because I want to live and be healthy.

Maybe the question you should ask is not why do I run, but why don’t you run?

Posted in Running Coach | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments