Friday, August 27, 2010

Running in Seoul, South Korea

Traveling in Korea on the way to the 2010 World Leisure Congress and Leisure Games, and just spent 4 days in Seoul. The weather was very rainy while we were there but the locals tell us that we should be glad it wasn't last week - Hot and Humid.

Have to admit, didn't see a lot of runners in downtown Seoul. Bonnie and I ended up running in a Monsoon Tuesday morning and got a lot of stares from the locals as if we were aliens from another planet. But with a city of 20 million plus people, if we didn't get the run in by 8 am on their downtown streets, it wasn't going to happen. We were looking like O. J. Simpson going through an airport with the people we were dodging as it was.

It was explained to us that a lot of Koreans don't like being in the rain for health reasons. They may be right. One thing we both noticed is that our clothing and shoes had a sulfur smell to them even after being rinsed in a sink.

We did find a river road not two blocks from our hotel that was beautiful for a run. It cuts through the city and was long enough for our 30 minute morning run. We did not find more than a dozen people during this stretch, and it was lined with historical drawings, paintings, and architecture that lent a perspective of peace and balance.

Quick review of Seoul, and a comment about anyone planning on running a race here.

Seoul is a city that completely defines change. During the past 50 years, it's population has grown 450 percent, which would force change upon any society with that demographic shift. Part of that shift is happening right now. It seemed like there is a emphasis put on all students to learn English and to study hard in school. There were ads in the subway and on bill boards on companies willing to assist students to learning how to study and/or pick up a second language. Korea is preparing itself to be a leader in international trade.

If anyone is wondering what a government would be like if it was run by corporations, this would be a classic case study. All of the baseball teams have corporate names instead of city/state ones, such as the LG Twins, Samsung Tigers, etc. Most events have corporate sponsored in their advertisement.

I wouldn't consider myself a world traveller, but I was very impressed on the politeness and curtesy shown during our stay. Of the places I've visited, Korea is the one that presented me with the greatest language barrier. But they've made a great effort to have menus, signs, and subway information shown in both Korean and English to get where you going, and/or get what you need. They even had "Hi Seoul" agents in green outfits that helped Bonnie and I find a Temple when Google Maps had failed us.

All-in-All, I would not hesitate to come to Korea if you're looking for an Asian Marathon to run. It's relatively flat, the transportation system is very accessible and easy to understand, the people go out of their way to be helpful, and the cost of living makes it attractive to running one in Japan.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Hyoja-dong,Chuncheon-si,South Korea

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Heart Rates on the Treadmill

Running my Tempo Workout on the LifeTime Fitness treadmill this afternoon gave me reason for concern. I appreciate that the LifeFitness treadmill syncs with my Polar HRM but I found a flaw in that function.

While running through the workout, I saw the HRM on the treadmill move up to 175, then to 178, then 180. After stepping off twice to get the rate down, I realized that the HRM number on my watch didn't mat h the HRM number on the treadmill.

It dawned on me that the HRM on the treadmill was linked to something else.

Running next to me on the treadmill, all of a buck 35 in weight, was this 5 foot, 5 inch speedster doing a 5:13 mile (11.5 mph). As soon as he stepped off the treadmill - the HRM on my machine dropped to 135. I then used my Polar watch for the rest of my run.

My point is that the best technology has limits. You should trust how what your body is telling more than any other guide. Using technology as a servant, not a master, is the best use of any technology. The flip side of the use leads you down a path of dependence. As my Dad used to say "if you use crutches long enough, you become a cripple."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Amherst Way,Inver Grove Heights,United States

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Welcome to our British Brothers and Sisters

I received notice from Amazon that our blog has just been made available to our American Cousins in England through the UK Kindle store that open this week. So I wanted to give a shout out and "Howdy" from your mates on the other side of the pond.

I will try not to butcher the Queen's English too much in future blog posts, and feel free to send an email to let me know you're reading as soon as you sign up to the blog.

Again, welcome to the exciting eReader community and we look forward to your posts.

Good Day, Mates!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Hamilton Dr,Eagan,United States

Urban Wildland Half Marathon

Just finished the Urban Wildland Half Marathon in the rain. Ran a 2:16 (1:59 weather adjusted) in very humid conditions (90+). Well organized race and did a good job with lots of warnings and water stops.

They bill themselves as 'Minnesota's Green Race' and attempt to make all parts of it earth friendly - from the time keeping using solar power to the cups used in the race bio-degradable.

While I support that mission, there's a limit to how much emphasis one can go in that direction. One instance of going to far was our race numbers being made of bio-degradable sun flower seeds. Pin those to a thousand plus runners with high humidity and rain half way through the race and you get a thousand runners finishing the race wearing 4 safety pins on their shirt and no numbers.

This is an example of too much of a good thing, since those numbers ended up on the ground throughout a 13.1 mile path through Richfield.

It's the thought that counts, though, and here's hoping more races embrace the Eco-Friendly effort.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Richfield, MN

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weather Adjusted Running

Received a few questions on the Running in Hot Weather Blog. Since this is a concept that is rather neglected in running books and magazines, I thought best to give it more explanation.

Let's recap with my weather adjusted formula with humidity thrown in: "Pace Per Mile = 1+(Temperature – 60) + (Humidity – 50)% x Planned Pace"

Let's use an example. A runner that wants to run an 8:20 Pace Per mile in 75 degree heat and 75% Humidity would adjust his running time by the following calculation: 1 + ((75-60) + (75-50 x .1))% =1.175 x 500 (Pace in seconds) = 1.175 x 500 = 587.5 Pace Per Mile (or 9:48 MPM).

First, a disclaimer. I am not saying that it's time to pitch your heart rate monitors in the trash bin and replace it with this new adjustment for running. I am still in the camp that believes that HRM (Heart Rate Monitors) are the best technology device to assist runners in the past 20 years. That said I don't believe you should blindly follow any device, as we all have had HRMs that get affected by other wireless devices, battery strength, or syncing issues with the reader of the device.

I offer this Weather Adjustment as another tool in your arsenal for the sole purpose of my running column - - - that is, to keep you running.

If you are new to running, or even if you are a veteran, there are days that you feel like the run is twice as hard as others with no explanation. One reader was astounded at what I wrote with the question: "Are you saying that by running a 10 minute mile run as a training run during on hot, humid day during the summer, I can still realize a sub 1:45 hour Half Marathon in the fall?" That's exactly what I'm saying.

Let's break down what I'm getting at. I ran in 75 degree heat with 75% Humidity yesterday morning. When I looked at what I had to do for a training run, it was a 9 minute, 25 second pace per mile. Following my weather adjusted calculation; I set my training monitor to pace me at 11:04 pace per mile. Now, granted, the first mile this seemed almost turtle like, but by mile 5-6, I was feeling it, and my HRM was given me a reading like I was doing a 9:25 MPM.

So, why don't the running books push this concept more? For the life of me, I don't know why. Again, we are all an experiment of one, but I think everyone can benefit from this knowledge and use it in their training. Most running books have a section, maybe a chapter on it, but it's usually limited to giving you the warning not to run in that type of weather. Its good advice, but some runners that live in the south or in high humid areas don't have that option.

Remember that when you take on training for a time goal for a race, the recommended pacing time goals you are given are for certain ideal conditions. No coach worth his or her salt would ever expect their runner to do the same 8:20 pace per mile in 55 or 85 degree heat. By using the Weather Adjustment, you can still feel you have put in the same level of effort as running the 8:20 pace per mile as in perfect indoor conditions.

This adjustment becomes very apparent when the fall weather starts to go south. When you find the temperature drops below 60 degrees and/or humidity dropping to 50%, the 8:20 pace will still be challenging, but at least not unbearable. You will be glad that you didn't give up on your dream of running a sub 8 minute mile in the Half Marathon just because of the hot weather training runs that you had to do during the summer months.