A Perfect 10

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This year’s St. Jude Memphis Marathon is coming up fast, December 6th, 2008.  This race can’t get here fast enough.  Last year was my first half marathon and while it was a huge personal accomplishment I definitely felt the pain of being a rookie.  Wearing the wrong socks, not hydrating enough, and not running enough before hand.  I believe that I only got up to 9 miles during training and my mid-week runs should have been taken more seriously.  I paid for those mistakes by feeling hung over almost day and two blisters.

However, I was to not be beaten.  This year I have trained not only harder, but more efficiently.  I completed my 10 mile run yesterday and it felt great.  Most importantly I felt great afterwards.  The key being that I brought food with me on my run and ate a little bit around mile 4.5 and mile 8.5, along with staying hydrated with a mixture of Gatorade.

It was the perfect 10.

Only 3.1 miles to go.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

Running, Tips Add a Comment »

While I was training for the half marathon last year, I was fortunate I didn’t have to experience any extreme temperatures or humidity. The day of the race I think it got close to 70 degrees . . . in December.

This time around I’m having to experience extreme Memphis heat and humidity. It doesn’t matter if it’s 6 am, 12 noon, or 8 pm, it’s always hot and muggy. Even when I’m done with my run and get cleaned up I still can’t seem to stop sweating for at least 2 hours.

I completed a 5 mile run last week and I felt as if I’d run a marathon. Even with all the Gatorade and water that I carry with me on my runs, the hot weather is a formidable adversary.

In order to keep up with my training obligations, I’ve been reading up on how to run SAFELY through the hottest parts of the year. Here are some tips that have come in handy:

  1. For long runs that are held on Sunday, preparation should begin on Saturday. Eat light and drink LOTS of water.
  2. Slow down. When it’s extremely humid outside, sweat won’t evaporate as easily.
  3. If you’re new to running in the heat, start in the hottest part of the day, and start slow. Take a short walk or run a few easy miles a couple of times a week for the first few weeks. “Spending all your time in air-conditioning and then expecting to run well outdoors in the heat is not going to cut it,” says William Roberts, M.D., former president of the American College of Sports Medicine and the medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon.
  4. Wear socks made of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from your skin to help prevent blisters and athlete’s foot.
  5. Drink adequate fluids 30 - 45 minutes before you exercise and then a cupful every 10 - 15 minutes while exercising. After exercising, drink more fluid than you think you need. Sport replacement drinks are superior to water, especially if you’re running longer distances and times (over 60 - 90 minutes). The electrolytes and carbohydrates in sport drinks will help speed your recovery from the stress of fluid loss and your long distance run. Sport replacement drinks also taste great, encouraging you to drink more than you otherwise might.
  6. Dress lightly and wear light-colored clothes. Avoid cotton t-shirts, which will become soaked, heavy, and prevent evaporation, which is how your body cools itself.

A Change of Pace

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Ever since I purchased my Nike+ kit I’ve been relying on the collected data not only for motivation, but to track my training as well. I’m currently on hiatus from any serious training until June, when I start training for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. My fellow bloggers and I have all expressed the need to train smart. Part of my “smart” training strategy is to give my body a break - especially my knees.

My current regimen now consists of three types of running:

  1. Up to 4 miles outside
  2. Running to the gym (~1.12 miles from my house), working out, and then running home
  3. Up to 4 miles on the treadmill

This has been my routine since early March and it feels great. My knees are holding up and I haven’t had any problems with motivation due to the fact that each workout is different.

This change of pace is helping keep me on track.

Working Out the NEW Nike+

News, Nike+, Running, Technology 1 Comment »

AppleInsider.com has uncovered some recently filed patent documents that reveal some intriguing information about the way Apple and Nike are expanding Nike+.

The next installation of Nike+ not only looks to be coming to the Apple iPhone and Apple iPod Touch, but it is also going to allow all types of exercise to be recorded, not just running. So all those reps, curls and circuit training you perform at the gym will soon be able to be logged and analyzed using Nike+. As well as being integrated into the NikePlus.com Web site, it appears as though there is going to be a dedicated desktop application to manage all your personal information, goals and workouts.

And yes, it also looks like a heart rate monitor will soon be available to work alongside Nike+.

One of my favorite parts of the forthcoming tools is the comprehensive training program users can build themselves. For example, a user could be advised that the best way to lose weight might be to perform a warm-up walk on a treadmill for a set period of time, then complete a set of different weight drills, before embarking on a gentle run for a certain distance. Each exercise task can then be checked off via the iPod/iPhone as the user performs each individual workout. Upon uploading this data to a computer once the athlete is back home, it’s likely that the desktop software or NikePlus.com Web site will record, rate, and congratulate the person on a successful workout.

Who needs (the cost of) a personal trainer when you’ve got this kind of technology…?

Slow and Steady

Challenges, Running, Tips 1 Comment »

Now, please don’t take my post title the wrong way. It’s not a lack of creativity or dedication to the cause, but rather I believe Scott must’ve read my mind when he published his last post.

My mom’s training for the ING half marathon in Atlanta, GA. She wanted to spend some quality time with me, so we went running last Saturday. Our desired distance was eight miles. I was a little nervous because the last time I ran that distance, I ended up killing myself for the sake of having a better ranking in the challenges. This has been stated before, but I really feel that it can’t be reinforced enough: while it’s good to push yourself, you definitely SHOULDN’T over train.

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Watching from the Sidelines

Injury, Running 4 Comments »

It’s a fact that if you participate in a sport long enough you’re going to get injured. Well, I’ve reached that point. Last Sunday’s run was AWESOME, as previously posted. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that Herculian feeling for Wednesday’s four-miler. Granted, my time and pace where almost perfect, except for a small amount of walking due to sharp pain in my left shin. That’s right runners, I have a shin splint.

Shin splints are a condition that causes pain and sometimes swelling in the front part of the lower leg (shin). The pain is most likely from repeated stress on the shin bone (tibia) and the tissue that connects the muscle to the tibia. They are common in people who run or jog. Activities where you run or jump on hard surfaces, such as basketball or tennis, can also lead to this painful condition. - WebMD

The treatment for this ailment isn’t more cow bell, but rest, stretching, and ice packs. Granted my leg might feel better and training can continue, but what about my mental pain - the longing to run by the river on Sundays or hearing my favorite quote “400 meters to go?” I guess I’ll just have to settle for reading my favorite blog, 400mToGo.

Though shin splints are pretty common for long-distance runners, it doesn’t give way for a lack of stretching, warm-up runs, and keeping training on pace. It’s an all too common pitfall of pushing ourselves too far too fast (which is what I think caused my injury). Remember to train hard, but train SMART so that you can enjoy those long Sunday runs.

Any Given Sunday

Running, Running Shorts 1 Comment »

As in football, any given Sunday can bring victory or defeat. Sometimes no matter how hard you practice, the other team practices harder. I face this uncertainty around 3:30 pm every Sunday - that’s my regularly scheduled long run. It’s the time when I battle against the pavement. The past couple of long runs haven’t exactly been in my favor, but, like the NY Giants, I’ve always beaten the odds and conquered my adversary.

The conditions couldn’t have been better for Sunday’s eight-miler - sunny skies, a good night’s rest, and an extra bottle of water along with my Gatorade. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better run . . . well, maybe a slightly faster time, but, none the less, I can finally put another one in the win column.

Not Meant to Be

Challenges, Running Add a Comment »

Last night I had a TERRIFIC five miler. It was a little cold outside when I started, but that little inconvenience soon disappeared. I felt really good right afterwards, partly because I knew tonight I would just have to run a quick three miler, rest tomorrow, and then eight miles on Sunday; that was until I remembered that my wife and I have dinner plans with some friends right after work.

However, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I decided to get up a little earlier in the morning and knock it out. I was out the door this morning a little later than I would have liked, but still on schedule. I jumped on the treadmill and started my five minute warm up when I realized I had forgot my iPod®. DAMN!!! I started to convince myself that what was important complete my miles not whether or not I had music or my chip to log this run. I decided to suck it up and do what I came to do.

Yea…that lasted literally two minutes. I don’t know if I was just tired from the night before or just lazy, but I didn’t have ANY energy to keep going so I bowed out. I was very disappointed in myself, but I guess that is why we fall of the horse every now and then…so that we can get up and get back on.

Running Against the Wind

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I know that the title is pretty cliche’, but there definitely isn’t a title as fitting to describe my run last Wednesday. Though it was only a four miler, and the terrain was pretty flat, I felt I was running up hill the entire time. If there is one thing that I can say about training thus far, I have experienced about every end of the spectrum when it comes to weather.

Though during the time I might hate it when I look back I know that the benefits are generous. Let’s face it…not every race is going to be under conditions of 70 degrees and sunny nor am I always going to feel in tip-top health. That is why that I truly feel that training for long distances races doesn’t only mean conditioning your physical body, but as well your mental strength.

My Experience with the ‘Couch to 5k’ Plan

Running, Websites 16 Comments »

My running life began a short time ago, in the last week of October 2007. I made the decision to begin running in much the same way I’ve made other important, life changing decisions: by buckling to peer pressure. I had just started a new job and made a couple of friends in the office. About that time it seemed that “everyone” in the office was talking about participating in the annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend. Not wanting to be left out, I decided that I too would participate in the event and began considering registering for the St. Jude Memphis Grizzlies House 5k. Considering that for the past 10 years of my life I had been, among other things, an avowed couch potato, a heavy drinker, and a heavy smoker, it didn’t exactly follow that I would be a candidate to participate in a foot race of any distance, much less a 5k jaunt in the company of accomplished runners in the dead of winter. Enter my solution, the Couch to 5k running plan.

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