Sunday, October 16, 2011

New, or should I say, old iPod Nano Update?

I am trying to figure out how Apple is making money on their latest iPod Nano updates. Yes I know they dropped the price on the seventh-generation Nano [that would be the 2011 version – meaning the one that came out last week] to $129 for 8GB of storage or $149 for 16GB, compared to $149 or $179, respectively, last year. But if you own the sixth-generation Nano like I do, there is no reason to go out and buy the new Nano. If you are in the same situation as me, you’ve already got a sixth-generation iPod Nano; I’ve got great news for you. All you need to do is a simple software update, available when syncing your Nano with iTunes, and you now have a 7th generation Nano.

As I reported earlier in the summer, the software version 1.1 was a great improvement with the ability to hold down the on/off switch to make sure that the Nano would be put to sleep, thereby saving your battery from being runned down by an inadvertent Nano not being paused correctly. Here’s a quick rundown on what’s new in version 1.2 of the software.
-The Nano now displays only a single, much larger icon at a time. Before with Nano software versions 1.0 and 1.1, you had 17 different app-like icons: Playlists, Now Playing, Artists, Genius Mixes, Radio, Podcasts, Photos, Settings, Songs, Albums, Genres, Composers, Fitness, Clock, Audiobooks, iTunes U and Voice Memos. With the new Nano software 1.2, you have 11 or fewer: Now Playing, Music, Radio, Fitness, Clock, Photos, Audiobooks, Podcasts, iTunes U, Voice Memos, and Settings. You now access the Genius Mixes, Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, Genres, and Composers and Compilations.
(You still have the option of using the smaller icon faces on your Nano; you can access this feature in the settings function.)
-New wallpaper and watch faces if you want to use the Nano as a watch in your non-running mode. There are 18 different clock faces: nine analog, four digital, one analog/digital, two Disney analog (Mickey and Minnie Mouse), and two Muppets analog (Kermit and Animal). Most clock faces also display the current date.
-No need for the shoe sensor and white plug-in for your Nano. With the new software, the Nano can now has a built-in accelerometer for the Nike+iPod sensor so you don’t even need a Nike+iPod sensor in your shoe. In other words, you can now use Nike+iPod with any shoe brand and without having to spend more money for the sensor and dongle. Wonder how they got Nike to sign off on that?
All-in-all, to say that I’m extremely pleased with what Apple did with this software update is an understatement. I know they took a lot of grief about not making a structural design change with the new iPhone 4S, but in the case of the Nano, I can’t criticize them in the fact that they didn’t make a design change to force their customers to buy a Nano for the new features. I feel that this is a big reward for being a customer of an Apple product and I cheer their willingness to give us this freebee.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Do You Know How Much To Drink?

WebMD had an interesting 15 question poll on how much water to drink. A lot of the questions were on using water while exercising. Even after all the articles that I've picked up, I still just scored 11 out of 15 in the poll for 73%.

Give it a whirl and let me know how you do.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So close… and yet so far (about 10 miles) away.

Finally getting to my recap of my experience at Grandma's Marathon. I have no excuses. I thought my training was there. The weather was perfect - - okay, some don't like to run in 49 degree weather but I have run Grandma's in 70 plus temps and 90% Humidity, I'll take the 49 degrees, overcast and a 9 MPH tailwind.

As I shared earlier, I had run the Stillwater Marathon 20 days before. Now looking back, that was probably not a great idea. But finding the right mix of miles, speed, and rest for the marathon is not like any other distance. You can make a mistake on shorter distances when you have the wrong combination of the three, but in the marathon, you are going to pay, in time, distance, or by just dropping out. After all that training, I wasn't about to drop out.

My plan was to run a 10:30 MPM using the Galloway method for the entire distance of the marathon. Run 1 mile at a 10:08 pace, walk a minute, run to the next mile marker and do it again. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Galloway, he argues for walking breaks each mile so that the body can recover from the pounding that it takes while attempting the marathon. In my long run training, I had used his formula of running 5 minutes, walk 30 seconds, and keep alternating. This helps the body recover faster from the long runs and gets you ready for the marathon attempt. His method also has you do a 26-29 mile long run, 3 weeks before the marathon using this same 5 min/30 second run/walk system. Again, because it has the walking breaks built in, the rationale is that you should recover in time for taking on the marathon at a faster pace. Hence, the reason for my running the Stillwater Marathon 3 weeks before.

Anyway, back to attempt at Grandma's. I picked a 10:30 MPM pace because I wanted to go conservative to see if this method worked. That's right, conservative. My speed workouts (800s) were done at a 4:07 – 4:14 pace. This translates to a 4:07 – 4:14 marathon total time. My Stillwater Marathon was 5 hours, about an 11:30 MPM pace. Galloway says that you should run the long runs at a pace two minutes slower than you plan to run at the marathon. This I did (a 4:10 marathon total time equates to a 9:30 MPM pace – two minutes faster than the Stillwater pace). So instead of going for a 9:30 MPM pace, I went for a 10:30 MPM pace – this should be easy following the formula.

Well, it wasn't. I have to admit, for the first half of the marathon, I was right on pace 10:30s all the way. But at the 14 mile mark, there was tiredness in my legs that I just couldn't shake. My heart rate was a mirror image of the Stillwater Marathon, nothing change there, but I couldn't get into the heart rate range to make up for the drop in pace, no matter how hard I tried. I wasn't out of breath or anything like that, I just couldn't shake that my legs had to be 're-started' after each one minute walk. At 16 I knew I was in trouble, by 18, I knew I wasn't going to keep the 10:30 pace. But I switched to the mind games that we all use in marathons - - telling the body to do something it doesn't want to. The last 10K was all mental. I would make a deal with my legs "Just start running and keep running until the heart rate gets up to what we did in training for the long runs. You can stop after you hold that heart rate for two minutes." Believe it or not, this would get me to within view of the next mile marker, and then I could say "Okay, just keep running until you get to that mile marker and then you can take the one minute walking break." This worked to get the marathon done. But I ended up with the same total time I ran at Stillwater.

So live and learn. I am now convinced of two things. The first is that you can't run a marathon competitively, within 3 weeks of another marathon. The second is that you can run marathons every week, as long as you don't run them competitively. I believe I could probably run another marathon this weekend… but my overall total time wouldn't be that good or any better than the marathon the week before, give or take a few percent.

I have thought about doing an Ultra Marathon in my future, and I will probably use the Galloway method to complete that. As I expressed in an earlier post, I am also looking at running a marathon in all 50 states. But as for running marathons competitively, I am tossing this training method out. It's great for finishing a marathon, not so much for achieving a personal best.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chomping At the Bit

Down to the last 48 hours before running Grandma's Marathon up in Duluth, and keeping the water bottle close. The past two days, it has difficult keeping my pace and heart rate below the easy pace/rate zones. The legs want to take off.

I'm taking this as a good sign because it shows that I am ready. The speed workout that I did on Tuesday satisfied the need to test myself, but I controlled it too such a short distance, it didn't really satisfy me for the rest of the week. Yesterday and this morning, I kept drifting off in thoughts of what I needed to get ready before the trip and found myself cruising.

I am glad to see my old body responding this way. When I ran the Stillwater Marathon on Memorial Weekend, I worried that I may have done too much. I ran it smart as I could, but sometimes your body tells you something that your mind didn't want you to know. But every distance and speed workout since then have told me that I am prime to have a great race. 'Race'. Can't believe I'm talking about a marathon using that term. I must be ready…

Monday, June 13, 2011

Marathon Week

Finally into the last week before the Marathon. There are many different schools of thought of how to handle that last week but here is what I've found from my experience with the marathon:

  • To run or not to run? You really can't gain anything of value – aerobically that is, in the last week. You can screw up a great marathon (I have) by doing too much running though. Mileage should be about 1/3 to ¼ of what you have averaged in your high mileage weeks OR LESS. For example, my highest mileage week was 57 miles. Now that was the most, if I used the average that I had the last two months, we're talking in the 35-45 range. So that comes to 14-15 miles before the marathon this week. So starting Sunday (for a Saturday marathon), I try to do my best to keep my total mileage down to 15 miles. I will do no more than a 3.5 mile run if I do a bunch of 2 milers or 5 mile run if I'm skipping a bunch of days. I plan to do a 2, 2, 3, 3.5, 2, and 2 (Sunday to Friday).
  • Speed. Again, you won't get anything out of running fast except to tire yourself if you overdo it. But I also don't want to lose any speed that I've already acquired. Since I have had at least one speed workout each week (800s on Wednesdays), I will do 3 x 800 at my predicted marathon time on Tuesday. Since this is a total of 1.5 miles of speed, I've found that it's safe and I keep my edge. I also can do this easily by not going over 3 miles in total. 1 mile warm up, 800/400 rest/800/400 rest/800/400 walk~cooldown. Again, it's not necessary to do, only if you feel like you need to 'stretch the legs'.
  • Diet. I'm not a carbo loading nut. But I will make sure I'm having carbos for dinner every night. Stay away from high fat meals during this week. They won't necessarily blow your marathon, but they won't help it. Remember, you have enough body fat to run 10 marathons stored in your body even if you have a 5% body fat composition (the lowest I've ever seen on another runner).
  • Lots of water. You can't have too much this week. Okay, you could, but few of us really make an effort to make sure we do drink enough. I carry a water bottle with me all week – in the car, watching TV, to meetings. They say 64 ounces a day is the goal, but it won't hurt to get a couple extra bottles in each day during this week. I want to make sure my body is completely hydrated before I go to the line. I'll make sure I don't overdo it on marathon morning but during the week, your urine should be clear every day.
  • Cross Training activities. I'd suggest not doing them. But if you feel they've helped you in your training and you just have to do them, cut back on the reps, sets, distance or time (in half) if you do cross train. Sore muscles will all come out during an endurance test of 26.2 miles.
  • Lastly, get as much sleep as you can. Don't panic if the night before you are too wound up to get the 8 hours. I've slept with less in many marathons. But make sure you are perpendicular for 8 hours. Even if you are just lying on the bed with your eyes closed, your body is still getting the rest, even if your mind isn't. If you need a dream to help you sleep, use mine. You are standing at the Boston Marathon start line with the world's elite. The gun goes off, and you start to visualize each of the 35,000 steps that you need to take to finish the marathon.. One, two, three,….. z-z-z-z-

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Running a Marathon in all 50 States

I'm starting to get back my love of the long run back this year. It must be the cooler than normal spring that we've had, but my long runs have been timed mostly in the 50-65 degree weather, which has made the training more enjoyable than I can remember in about ten years.

I ran the Stillwater Marathon 13 days ago and have Grandma's Marathon only 7 days away, yet I'm already planning what marathons to run between Grandma's and Steamtown in October. So I think this qualifies as being bitten by the long run bug.

So it got me to thinking, I've completed 25 of these, mostly in Minnesota but also in 6 other states. Since Steamtown would make it 8 states so far, what would it take to run a marathon in all 50 states?

I ran to and it's been great doing what-if scenarios. I've never done more than 4 in any given year, but again, the long runs have never been so fun.

There is actually a "50 State + DC Marathon Club". You need to complete marathons in 10 states before they will admit you, but at $5, it's a pretty reasonable fee to join. I am a little late getting started, but maybe I can sync my 100th marathon with the 51st state/DC finish?

If any of you can let me know what your favorite marathon in your state, please let me know for my planning. For Minnesota I can tell you, it's either Grandma's in June or Twin Cities in October. Both are in the Top 25 Marathons in most lists and even Top 10 in a few. I love them both, but if you gave me a choice of only one, it would be Grandma's. The whole city (Duluth, MN) rallies around this marathon like it's the Superbowl. And for their location and time of the year - - it is.

My Dad used to say "I thought about running a marathon, but then I sat down, and waited for the feeling to pass." Maybe that will happen with Grandma's next Saturday. But if it doesn't, this could be a summer to remember for me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Care of De Feet

After pounding out the mileage over the past spring getting ready for Grandma's Marathon next Saturday, I needed to do some doctoring of my feet the past week. One item I get (Don't know if it's age, bad shoes, or my slight pronation) each year as soon as the mileage goes up is corns.

I'm interested to see what others have tried, but there is one thing that seems to work for me. It's the small double round band aids that you can buy at any Walgreen's or CVS. No, it's doesn't matter if it says Dr. Scholl's, Johnson & Johnson or Billy Bob's corn-be-gone's. They all use the same medicine as far as I can tell on the package, but it's the delivery of the double band aid that does it (I think). I've tried Dr. Scholl's one-treatment, creams, ointments, etc. But only the double band aids seem to work.

Does anyone else have a home remedy that works?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

2011 Grandma’s Marathon Weekend Registration Update

June 8, 2011



2011 Grandma's Marathon Weekend Registration Update


The entry numbers for the 2011 Grandma's Marathon weekend races are official.


Grandma's Marathon has 8,319 registrants signed up for the race's 35th anniversary. The 2011 total is nearly 1,000 more than a year ago when 7,387 registered. The nation's 17th largest marathon is Saturday, June 18 at 7:30 a.m.


The weekend's other two races, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and the William A. Irvin 5K, both have a record number of entrants. The half marathon has 7,223 registered and the 5K has 1,770. In all, 17,312 are signed up to participate in the three-race weekend.


# # #

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Stillwater Marathon

Ran the Stillwater Marathon last weekend and I couldn't have run it any smarted. Kept my pace slow, my heart rate low (Well, lower than my other long runs) and made sure to stop at all the water stops. Came in at a net time of 4:59:57 (how's that for a sub 5 hour marathon plan). The weather was perfect - 54 at start, low 60s at finish, overcast with slight sprinkle 4 hours into the run.

I'm truly onto something here. I looked back at my marathon times and this is the fastest marathon I've run in the past 5 years. As you know from my previous post, this wasn't supposed to be my fast marathon, that's in less than three weeks at Grandma's in Duluth. This was my last long training run before the marathon that I plan to pin my ears back and go.

This past week I've been crunching the heart rate numbers, the distances that I ran with those numbers, and the weather for each of the runs. I've also checked the speed workouts, the 400s, the 800s, see if I can glean anything of value of why this years training is going so good. If I'm successful at Grandma's, I'll share it all with you, but for now, here's the main insight that I've come across....

I've been running my long runs way too fast. Its shown up in my early long runs. In March and April, I took them very slow.... Like recovery run type of speed. I've never bought into running long runs that slow because you end up out there running all day. But if I am able to shave a minute a mile between two marathons run 20 days apart, you can bet I will be jumping on the slow long run train for future events.

My reluctance to run that slow has always been in Half Marathons and shorter distance race training. I've always found that if you can run 10 miles at 1.5 hours two-three weeks before, you surely can do it for 13.1 miles in under 2 hours.

But as I've said before the marathon is a different animal for distance training. This past 5 months has been a big leap in acquired knowledge in training for it, and I can't wait to test it out on June 18th.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, May 20, 2011

Using a Marathon to get ready for a Marathon

I am slated to run the Stillwater (MN) Marathon on May 29th, three weeks before Grandma's Marathon and use it for training run. I can appreciate that many of you may question this move.

There are currently two schools of thought. One says that there is no need to run more than a 20 miler before running a marathon of 26.2 miles. In training, if a runner can get to the point of a couple of 20 milers, both done two to three weeks apart, with the last one at least three weeks before the marathon, then that is all the training that is needed for the long run(s). This school of thought believes that there are no benefits received from going farther than the 20 miles – physiological, physical or helping a runner develop 'running economy'. Any longer distance can actually hurt the runner when it comes time to run the marathon.

The second school, usually Galloway followers, believes in actually running the distance of the marathon three weeks before the marathon, and up to 28-30 miles if the runner wants to run the marathon with a time goal, say trying to qualify for Boston or breaking a 3, 4 or 5 hour time goal. They believe that once the 'wall' [which usually shows up between Mile 18 to 21] is broken in practice, it won't show up at the marathon. Since the runner knows for sure that he/she can go the distance, they have a mental and physical advantage in completing the marathon.

So, which school of thought is right?

Well, actually, it's both. Let me explain.

I've trained for marathons using both methods. The first has a runner running those 20 milers at or near the speed of the time splits at which they will run the marathon. Let's take the runner trying to break 4 hours in the marathon. He or she will try to do their 20 miler in 3 to 3-1/2 hours. This projects out to 9-9:30 minutes per mile. If they need a 9:09 MPM, this is a good test.

If you follow the Galloway guidelines, yes, you will be running a 28-30 miler three weeks before the marathon. But for a 4 hour marathon goal, he will have you run that in 5 to 5-1/2 hours, at 11 minutes a mile, clearly 2 minutes slower than what you should be able to run that on race day. By running it 2 minutes slower, it will help you recover faster so that in three weeks, you will not only know you can run the marathon distance, but also have recovered from the long 30 miler.

So, when you look at both concepts, they are correct. The 20 miler theory 'programs' your body and stride length to know what it's like to run at a set predictable pace. The Galloway method teaches your body to burn fat as a primary source of fuel, teaching it how to access that fuel and 'expect' a longer distance than what you will do at the marathon.

By now you're wondering 'So why are you choosing to run a marathon distance as a training run'? The answer lies in how my training is going. I've already run a 22 miler at a 9:30 MPM pace. So I know that I should be able to keep that pace for the marathon. But I'm not sure that my body has been accessing fat as a primary fuel during my run. I noticed the last two to three miles of that 22 miler, my minutes per mile started creeping up. So I want to teach my body to go to my fat reserves for fuel, hence, incorporating the Galloway theory. So, I will be forcing myself to run the Stillwater Marathon at a pace two minutes slower than I know I'm capable of.

But I'll be honest, training for the marathon is a crap shoot, it's not like any other distance. Lots of theory and practice go into trying to find the "Marathon Holy Grail". In a month, I will be able to tell you whether I found it or not.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Follow up to Nano Story

I wrote about having the Nano go through the wash machine. Thanks to readers that offered me their many suggestions. Long story, short, the Nano came back to the point of giving me the Apple Logo but nothing more.

But much to my surprise, I went into the Apple Store, and after verifying that the water indicator was triggered (red), they replaced it. I had to wait two days for the replacement but who's complaining?

Kudos to Apple for this type of service. I have had other Nanos replaced but taking this back with a full replacement shows why they have a great following. This is customer service to the nth degree!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

VO2 Max Testing

I've written about getting your VO2 max tested as well as finding your maximum and minimum heart rate values to follow my heart rate training. But I wanted to send out a warning that you need to have it tested by reputable facility sites.

This became apparent to me when I had a reading done at my LifeTime Fitness health club this past Monday morning. First, I want to say I love my LTF health club. I've got no complaints on any of the services I've used in the past and think they do a great job of keeping their facilities updated and clean. But when it comes to VO2 max testing… ummm… not so much.

He performed the test in record time, 10 minutes. Not that I don't think you can get a good VO2 Max test done in that time, but I don't think you can when 6 of the 10 minutes are done in warming up and cooling down.

The readings he got were very bad. For instance, I got off the machine not even feeling like I broke a sweat. I don't think these tests need to kill anyone but they also shouldn't give anyone a pass. He had my VO2 max or anabolic threshold at 153 beats per minute. Since I completed a 22.2 mile run 9 days before this at a 155 BPM average, this is physically impossible.

It was useful telling me how much fat I burned at the different zones, everyone should know this. But I did question those numbers when the others were in question. I'm sure that LTF has to be careful in giving tests like these to the general population. They have to deal with folks with varying degrees of fitness like those just starting out, triathletes, marathon runners, treadmill walkers and the weekend warriors. But then they should have different levels of testing for those wanting exact readings when they are counting on these numbers for a goal such as a 5K or 10K race, or as in my case, a marathon.

If you are looking for this type of precision from a testing center, I would recommend going on-line to . If there isn't one listed in your state, ask some of the top finishers in your next race where they have gone for their test.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week Twelve in Half Marathon Training Plan

You have finally made it to the final week of training for the Half Marathon. This last week will seem almost pedestrian after the last 11 weeks that you've put in. But cutting back this week is the most important thing you can do. In fact, you can pick out one of the four days of running I have listed below and take that off if you are not feeling strong throughout the week (which you should be).

Week Twelve program:

Sunday, Friday - off
Monday, 4 mile Easy Run (under 70% HRM)
Tuesday, 4 miles easy (under 70% HRM)
Wednesday - 5 miles Tempo (80-88% HRM) This you will do by warming up one mile under 70% MHR, then alternate between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 10 minutes 80-88%, then again between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 10 minutes 80-88%of your HRM, etc., to a distance of 4.5 miles and then a half mile cool down.

Thursday - 4 miles easy (under 70% HRM)

Saturday – Half Marathon Race Day!

I will have some last minute race tips for you before Saturday in my updates. For now, just remember to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day throughout the week. Don't worry that it's putting water weight on your body frame; you have more risk of dehydration than being water-logged for a race. Remember this especially if your race in going to be in weather that the predicted temperature is 60 degrees or above (like 90 plus percent of races this time of year).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Running Tip 5: Run Away From Home

Happy Earth Day [and Good Friday to all my Christian followers]!

I hope that there isn't any teen age runners following my blog, read the title, and think that I'm giving them sage advice on leaving home. Today's Earth Day's Tip is referencing where you run when you do run. Think about making your home your starting point of your week day run, and run from home.

Many of us check the weather map and start weighing the 50/50 odds of the weather turning south and end up going to the club to run on a treadmill. There are also those of us that have a favorite 10 mile route that is part of the [fill in the missing blank: New York City/Chicago/Twin Cities/Houston/etc.] Marathon. Some of us just enjoy going to a wooded trail that runs next to the lake or river in a nearby town.

I don't want to spoil anyone favorite running haunt, but when possible, run leaving your driveway. If you haven't explored a running trail a mile or two away – run there from home, figure out a circuit, and then bring yourself on that route back home. If you do feel the need to run at a starting point away from home, car pool with a running friend instead of meeting them there. It saves both of you gas money, gives you companionship, and an opportunity to multi-task – catching up on the past week with a friend and a coffee/lunch on the way home. This is also true of any races that you plan – do it with a friend and car pool.

If you are interested in making it fun, take the distance that you plan on running and see if you can't challenge yourself to see if you can get to a certain spot and back. If the weather holds up tomorrow, I am going to try to run from my doorstep to the doorstep of Mall of America and back [approx. 20 miles as the crow flies]. You don't need to try that kind of distance but planning and preparing for any distance can be fun especially if it's not something you've run before. One note of caution for anyone trying this, don't forget to bring a cellphone to call for rescue, planned water stops to refill your reusable water bottle, and a GPS [if you have a smart phone] wouldn't be a bad idea.

Again, Happy Earth Day! Get out there and celebrate it on your favorite running trail!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day Running Tip 4: Before you shower each day, run.

I will admit this tip could be hard for all runners. But for those of you where this can work, do it. I am fortunate to be in a job where I work from home. So I can plan my day so that if I have a meeting later in the day, I can get my breakfast in, run in, prep work done and shower before I have to run into a soul. But when you think of your water use from taking two showers each day [when it begins and later after your run] there's a lot of water being heated and used. Two biggest energy uses in a home are furnace/air conditioner and hot water heater.

I realize this is asking some runners to become early morning runners, so I understand that this tip doesn't work for everyone. But if you do work from home, you can make this practice a habit regardless of when you run in the day. So when feasible, wait for that shower until after you run.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Earth Day Running Tip 3: Recycle Your Shoes… more than once.

I know that many of you probably follow this practice, but if not, why not? I have a phasing out of my running shoes. I go through shoes on a quarterly basis. When you are putting in 30 plus running miles a week, it doesn't take long for your shoes to break down. And at my weight, 500 miles is usually the breaking point. But I recycle my shoes three times. The first use of my shoes is for 3 months. During the next three months, after I am running with next pair of new shoes, I wear the prior pair for that same three months – only not in a running situation. Around work, around home, for walks, they become my casual shoe. I actually put in marker on the tongue of the shoe, the month and year that I wore the shoes as running shoes. I am currently wearing "11 10" shoes. This means I started wearing them in November 2010. When I started running in my new shoes "02 11", these became my new casual shoe. The shoes I wear for cutting the grass are "08 10" (August 2010) shoes. Thus, the shoes for cutting the grass are my second recycling of the shoes.

So every three months, the shoes all move on to a new phrase. Next month, May 2011, (or "05 11" for those of you following along), my 08 10 shoes will finally be brought to a race or church drive to be recycled. By then I'm estimating they will probably have 1000 miles on them but I'm sure still enough wear for anyone that has either no shoes at all or in need of any shoes because of the charity they receive them from. I'm guessing those shoes that aren't selected are recycled from what I'm told at race shoe drives, but I'm not counting that as the fourth recycling since I'm not totally sure if they are.

As you can probably tell, I go through a lot of shoes, but you must admit, I do get a lot of use out of them. And except for the winter, at work and maybe the beach, you won't see me in anything but running shoes. I think they are more comfortable than most shoes, and for the most part, keep my legs fresher than shoes that put form before function.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Earth Day Running Tip 2: Support Green Races

This might be a little tougher for you to follow, but every major city has races that support the green movement. Whenever possible, support these races. You might question, how I know if a race is a green race? Send an email to the race organizer. If they get enough of these inquiries [and believe me they do] they start making subtle changes to do what they can to eliminate those items such as 'medals' that are actually engraved wood, running results computers that are solar powered, running goody bags that are recycled and can be used over and over again for shopping, and a recycled shoe drive where you can deposit your old running shoes.

If you are looking for a race that can give you a blue print on what they can do to go green, I am including a link to the most environmental friendly race we have here in Minnesota: The Urban Wildlife Half Marathon & 5K supports the use of all those efforts I've listed above and more. Their running numbers last year were made of a bio degradable material that could be planted for sun flowers. Okay, I'll admit, the rain last year rode havoc on the number staying on us during the race, but the point is they are trying different efforts in an attempt to have runners not leave an environmental footprint in the races we run.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Earth Day Running

In honor of this Friday being Earth Day, I am dedicating a blog post each day on ideas on how to incorporate environmental ideas into your running. My friends and family that know me wouldn't describe me as Mr. Green when it comes to environmental issues. I have questions about many of the claims made on how men or women affect the world environmental system. But regardless of your political bent on ecology, we can all do simple things that help saves the planet for future generations while just making common sense (and cents) at the same time. I'm what you might label an 'economical environmentalist'. If the benefit of the practice outweighs all of the costs, why not do it?

First and foremost, probably the biggest immediate impact you can have – bottled water. For Christmas 2010, bonnie bought me a Kleen Kanteen Bottle. I love the bottle, easy to clean, light metal, cool color and easy to keep in the side pocket of my gym bag. Since the start of the year, I have drunk 1500 ounces from it. I have not used bottled water once this year. Now that's 4 cases of bottled water. I know what you are thinking, 'Sam's Club sells a case of water for $5 a case, big deal." But that's still $20 vs. free. And think of the 100 empty water bottles that would've ended either in a landfill or recycled with additional use of energy. And you want to know something that made this practice a habit? It's easier. When I think of hauling the cases of water that I did in the past from the car, the searching for the bottled water before going to the club, paying $1.50 for water at the club Aquafina machine because I forgot the bottled water, etc. – this is a very easy practice to get into.

So Tip 1 for the Green Runner: Can the use of Bottled Water.

Boston Marathon

Two hours until the start of the Boston Marathon. No, I'm not running it, just waiting for it to begin on TV. I probably have a unique love for the race different than most runners. My second sport love is baseball. And for those of you that may not be aware of this, The Boston Red Sox have a game that starts at 11 am on Patriot's Day (the day the Boston Marathon is run each year). They do this so that the game should finish (barring a tie and extra innings) and have the crowd get out about the same time the leaders of the Boston Marathon are passing the 23 mile mark of the race. Mile 23 is approximately where the Stadium is located.

When I did run Boston, it was one of my favorite memories seeing baseball fans cheering you on, just when you needed it. You could imagine they were cheering you because of your race or if you had just hit the game winning homerun. Or in my case, you could imagine both.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week Eleven in Half Marathon Training Plan

You made it to the tapering phase of training for the Half Marathon. The next two weeks you will be tapering. I want to warn you that some of you might feel that this is too easy and that you might be losing some conditioning, and therefore try to do more than I'm recommending. Don't. These two weeks are just as important as the ten week base you've already put in. Don't blow it but trying to do too much.

Week Eleven program:

Sunday, Friday - off
Monday, 5 mile Easy Run (under 70% HRM)
Tuesday, 5 miles easy (under 70% HRM)
Wednesday - 7 miles Tempo (80-88% HRM) This you will do by warming up one mile under 70% MHR, then alternate between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 10 minutes 80-88%, then again between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 10 minutes 80-88%of your HRM, etc., to a distance of 6.5 miles and then a half mile cool down.

Thursday - 4 miles easy (under 70% HRM)

Saturday - 6 miles (under 70% first 8 miles, 70-80% last two miles)

You will no doubt feel more rested at the end of this week just from the mileage decrease. Watch your diet these last two weeks. Runners tend put to pick up weight from trying to store extra carbos for the race, but it is really unnecessary,

Monday, April 11, 2011

iPod Nano... After the wash and rinse cycle...

Well I do have to admit, I've gone through my share of Nanos during it's product life but they finally got small enough for me to have this happen.

Yes, I left it in my marathon running shorts that went not only through the wash and rinse cycle, but showed up on the bottom of the dryer (wonder how that rolling around helped..).

If any of you have ideas for me to dry this out, I'm all ears. Right now I'm having it sit in a sealed bag of rice. That worked once when I had an older model shut down during a rain storm. But I am open to other ideas.

Otherwise, the screen is probably going to keep the 'wave action' look that I'm getting for some time to come.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Energizer AP 1201 for iPhone 4

Finished a 20 miler this past weekend with a great rechargeable battery for my Verizon iPhone. If you aren't the type of runner that uses GPS for any of the apps they use for running, this might not mean a lot to you, but for everyone else, this should be good information.

I've found that my iPhone/iPod can usually last 2-2 ½ hours on a full charge if I'm using my GPS. I use the RunKeeper app for my long distance runs as it is pretty reliable on the mileage tracking. But as we all know, the GPS on any phone just drains it at double the rate of normal use. So I have been plugging in a reserve pack for any of those runs going more than 2 ½ hours. But no need to with the Energizer AP 1201.

The battery bills itself as giving your iPhone double the battery life. But I found that you actually get more than that, probably 5 ½ to 6 hours life. What I really like is that it's a silicon case that also protects the iPhone. If you get caught in a quick rain, it's nice to flip the phone in a pocket or on your sleeve so that it isn't getting water directly, which just kills an iPhone.

One of the other advantages of the unit is that it you can plug your iPhone into it, then plug both them into a wall socket and charge them both at the same time (no charging them individually). The iPhone automatically charges first, and when it gets full, the unit then starts taking the charge, pretty slick.

Again, if any of you that need to take an iPhone with you on a long run (because of using a running GPS app, a phone to call for a pickup if you die on your run, or as protection in running in an unknown area) the Energizer AP 1201 is a great accessory. I would give it 5 out of 5 in this category.

If you are interested in buying this, Best Buy has them available at a discount price, but I found the best deal on Amazon for less than $30. See:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week Eleven in Half Marathon Training Plan

You made it to the tapering phase of training for the Half Marathon. The next two weeks you will be tapering. I want to warn you that some of you might feel that this is too easy and that you might be losing some conditioning, and therefore try to do more than I'm recommending. Don't. These two weeks are just as important as the ten week base you've already put in. Don't blow it but trying to do too much.

Week Eleven program:

Sunday, Friday - off
Monday, 5 mile Easy Run (under 70% HRM)
Tuesday, 5 miles easy (under 70% HRM)
Wednesday - 7 miles Tempo (80-88% HRM) This you will do by warming up one mile under 70% MHR, then alternate between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 10 minutes 80-88%, then again between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 10 minutes 80-88%of your HRM, etc., to a distance of 6.5 miles and then a half mile cool down.

Thursday - 4 miles easy (under 70% HRM)

Saturday - 6 miles (under 70% first 8 miles, 70-80% last two miles)

You will no doubt feel more rested at the end of this week just from the mileage decrease. Watch your diet these last two weeks. Runners tend put to pick up weight from trying to store extra carbos for the race, but it is really unnecessary, you will get these from the drop in mileage, but not to the point of bloating yourself. Again, don't change anything in your diet by eating too much or cutting back. Just eat like you have for the past few weeks.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Week Nine of Half Marathon Training

Alright, you just got an easy week, time to get back to endurance training.

Week Nine program:

Sunday, Friday - off
Monday, 5 mile Easy Run (under 70% HRM)
Tuesday, Thursday - 4 miles easy (under 70% HRM)
Wednesday - 7 miles Tempo (80-88% HRM) This you will do by warming up one mile under 70% MHR, then alternate between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 10 minutes 80-88%, then again between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 10 minutes 80-88%of your HRM, etc., to a distance of 6.5 miles and then a half mile cool down.
Saturday - 12 miles (under 70% first 8 miles, 70-80% last two miles)

You have now built up to 10 minutes for a Tempo Workout.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Grandma’s William A. Irvin 5K almost full, Marathon fees increase on Friday

The William A. Irvin 5K has about 200 spots remaining for the June 17 race. Runners registering for the 35th Grandma's Marathon field (June 18th) have until Thursday to enter the race at a reduced cost. Beginning April 1, the current entry fee of $90 increases to $100

For more information on any of Grandma's Marathon's races or events, visit

2011 Grandma's Marathon Online Registration Schedule

Grandma's Marathon (Limited to the first 10,000 entrants)

Registration Open through June 1


Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon (5,700 entrants selected via lottery)

Registration Closed


William A. Irvin 5K (Limited to the first 1,700 entrants)

Registration Open – 200 spots remain

Getting Your Long Run “Groove” On

Have you ever had a long run that you had to do over the weekend and you weren't sure how it was going to? You tepidly go into it thinking "Boy, I hope I can get that 12-14 miler in…", but you have enough experience to know it might be a struggle? But within the first hour of your run, you realize "Hey, this might be my day..." and end up doing more than you planned?

I had such a day last Saturday. I had a 14 miler planned, but with work, being out the night before at a Fantasy Baseball Draft, I didn't know what to expect. But I followed my pre-long run breakfast, drinks, and morning constitutional ritual hoping that it would be enough to get me through. But, as I described above, within the first hour, I was feeling like Blue Steel. I felt like Forrest Gump, like I could run forever.

But from years' experience, I knew I could harm myself from over-doing it. As I've probably mentioned a million times before, patience is one of those skills you have to learn in running or the probability of injury spikes up. So at mile 9, one and a half hours into my long run, I started to work with the rational side of my brain to decide, just how much farer I should go beyond the 14 miles planned. I knew I could go double the distance I had at that point. I was averaging a 10 minute mile with the 30 second walking breaks I was talking to re-fuel. A quick calculation told me that was 3 hours which would give me 18 miles. The longest long run I had up until that one was 12-13 miles at a little over 2 hours. So I rationalized that I would do something less than the 18 miles with the last half mile walking. 17 seemed safe based on that since jumping from 13 to 16.5 is another 35 minutes of running, not an earth shaking difference but not an easy slide either. So I followed my gut and everything worked. Felt like I could've done more but at the same time didn't want to blow the training to that point by over doing it.

That's the hard thing with long runs, you never know what you're going to get. But I can tell you one thing I did at the end of the run. Wrote down everything I had done that morning, the day before, two days before. As I mentioned before, keeping a running diary is important for making those small advancements in your running program. We each have our own formula that works for us. Sure, you can get advice on the big things that you should do (or shouldn't do) the day before running a Half Marathon or Full Marathon. Yet it is the little things that you do, that are unique to you that will help you perform at the top of your game. PowerBar or toast? Coffee or Coke? How much water the day before? Stretches or no stretches before you go out the door? GU every 45 minutes, 30 minutes, or forget the GU, use Gatorade instead of water?

We are all an experiment of one. What works for you, doesn't necessarily work for everyone. But once you find that formula, use it until you have a bad run and tweak it until it starts working again.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Host Families Needed for Fresh Air Kids for the summer.

The New York City Half Marathon is done but the work of The Fresh Air Fund for this summer is just beginning. The Fresh Air Fund is in need of host families for this summer. I wrote earlier in February that the Fresh Air Fund raises money through running teams in the New York area. It is a great cause and gives children two weeks in their lives that stay with them for a lifetime. Almost two-thirds of the kids are re-invited to stay with Host Families after the initial visit. If you live in the 13 northeastern states or Canada, please consider opening your home to be a Host Family.

It's a great way to give something back to what running has given you. For more information go to
You can also email or call (212) 897-8890 for more information. Your efforts can help a child have an experience that will change their life!

Week Eight in Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 8 is the final week where you get a break from the long run until Week 11 where you start your taper for the race. Enjoy it while you can. That said, this week isn't a complete layoff week. You have four 6 milers. You should be able to do all of these by now since your base if very strong by now. No speed, no Tempo runs, just running. It doesn't get simpler than this, 6 milers on four days all done at an easy pace.

Week Eight program:

Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday - off
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday - 6 miles Easy Run (under 70% HRM)

If you are feeling guilty about the time off (I'm sure there are some of you that will) walk a 2 miler on any of the three days that you have off. Bike if you want for 30 minutes. But whatever you do, don't add another run in those 3 days. There is a method to this madness and running additional will not help you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

William A. Irvin 5K – Grandma’s Marathon 5K

For those of you sitting on the fence, or believing you have more time to register… your time is now.

Received word that the William Irvin 5K only has about 200 spots open as of this morning. Register here if you are interested:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Man runs 365 Marathons in 365 Days

Read about this feat last month in the paper and it reminded me of the runners from the 70s that tried to keep certain streaks alive. Most days running every day for at least two miles. Running five miles at least five days a week. Run 100 miles each week for a year.

I'm sure that this guy will probably have a record that will remain untouched for a number of years. 26.2 x 365 days is 9,563 miles in a year. I can't believe that there are people that set goals like this, but I do wonder if his (pick one: hips, knees, ankles, etc.) are going to pay for this later on in life.

I can't say that I admire this feat. I can respect the fact that someone did this, but I can't say I admire it. One thing I strive for, in my training, in my life, in my work, is balance. Stephen Covey in his '7 Habits of Effective People' calls this sharpening the saw. If you don't take time out from your vocation for activities that are your avocation, you ultimately just wear down the teeth of the saw.

I can't believe after his first month of running marathons that he woke up every morning thinking "I can't wait to get out there". After the second month, this had to feel more like a job than an adventure. In my younger years, I tried to put in those high mileage weeks, the ones that you could brag about, but after a while, there was that voice in my head that said "why are you really doing this?" The answer always came back "to impress someone besides yourself". That usually was all I needed to tell myself to get me to stop.

I think anyone that runs something like this a total outlier. Way out of the norm and is probably working out something besides the love of running. Again, I can respect it, because it's an unbelievable achievement but I don't have to admire it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week Seven in Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 7 is going to start testing your endurance. Hopefully you are up for this test. The next four weeks of the training will solidify your endurance as well as your speed. If you find the speed too difficult to maintain, back off, but realize the speed you move down to is now the speed you can expect to be for the Half Marathon.

Week Seven program:

Sunday, Friday - off
Monday, Tuesday, 5 miles Easy Run (under 70% HRM)

Thursday - 4 miles easy (under 70% HRM)
Wednesday - 6 miles Tempo (80-88% HRM) This you will do by warming up one mile under 70% MHR, then alternate between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 9 minutes 80-88%, then again between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 9 minutes 80-88%of your HRM, etc., to a distance of 5.5 miles and then a half mile cool down.
Saturday - 11 miles (under 70% first 8 miles, 70-80% last two miles)

You have now built up to 9 minutes for a Tempo Workout.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is Fitness All in the Genes?

Read the article [] in the New York Times about this question and thought I'd share my two cents with you.

From my experience, I agree that there are only so much improvement that we can all expect from any training that we do. But I get worried when articles like this give the everyday person an excuse to not even make the effort. If I believed that genetics dictated the physical abilities of everyone, I mean, what would be the point of trying?

This is what I've experienced and what I've seen from other athletes. Genetics do play a big role, but they are not a be all to end all. If I were to put a value on how much certain aspects of running success, I would put it at 50% of it is genetics. 20% of it is training. 20% is age. 10% of it is diet, weight and/or lifestyle [amount of sleep, personal hygiene care, healthy choices, etc.]

My grandmother used to say that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. That may be a crude analogy but I think you can probably make the best pigskin purse by applying the same sewing technics on the pigskin as you would the silk. Meaning that you can get the best of what you've got by applying the best effort.

I've finished many a race behind a runner with better genetics than me. But I've also finished ahead of my share of runners that had genetically better VO2 Maxes than me. Give me a runner with a VO2 Max of 82 with no training at the start of a marathon, and I'll bet you that my VO2 Max body of 48 finishes that race 9 times out of ten before them [if not all ten]. If the genetically superior person does not train their genetically superior body, it limits it ability to provide superior performance.

So I agree you can put in what God left out. But you can play the best hand with the cards you were dealt.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Kindle - Top 20 Sports Blog

Just wanted to send out a Big Thank You to my readers regarding my accession on the Kindle Blog Lists. I have been informed that my Marathon Madman blog has moved up to the #20 spot on the Kindle's Blogs in the Sports category. I do realize that it's you that got me there, and I will continue to work to earn your support.

I really appreciate the support from all of you in achieving this. Your questions and input help me make this a better blog, day-by-day, week-by-week. I take my role in supplying you with running news that is timely and informational very seriously. And I plan to continue helping everyone in the running community keep abreast of topics, training plans, products, events, movies, articles and issues that keep us all out on the roads!

Please recommend my blog to all your other running colleagues, and please give me a favorable rating on the Kindle Store where it asks for your opinion in my blog description. I want to keep the price of my blog to a $1 a month, and every additional reader helps keep it there.

Again, Thanx!!!

Belkin Headphone Adapter with Remote for Nano

I believe I found an answer to the problem that I've had with ear buds remotes that I've been using. I've been using an adapter [less than $15 at Best Buy or $8 on Amazon] from Belkin that literally works with all of my ear buds. It allows you to plug any set of head phone or ear buds and has its own volume up/volume down/next song/previous song and pause.

I've tried it on Panasonic, Apple, Sony, Phillips and

One item I do want to point out is that I've only found this to work flawlessly on the Nano. When I tried to use it with the iPhone, I had problems with the volume buttons. The iPod seemed to work just as well with this adapter as the Nano, but I only used it on the current iPods, the earlier versions may/could have problems.

As you will find on the Amazon reviews, I have been warned that I may not be happy for long. There are complaints that the adapter doesn't last long [earlier reviews have it breaking out with continued use]. But for me it's worked like a charm on the Nano to date. Maybe Belkin improved it based on past review and the one I picked up in January was the improved model. But at $8 on Amazon, it's not much of a risk for you to try. Especially when you can keep your favorite ear buds and just switch the remote out.

For any of you interested, here's the Amazon link to it:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Recovery time for a Tempo workout

Are you doing your Tempo workout too hard, too easy, or just right? There's a simple way to find out, the two minute test.

As you progress in the distance or time that you run your tempo intervals, you will need to walk or jog between the intervals. Each week as you lengthen the distance from .5 mile to .75 mile to one mile lengths and beyond, the time that it takes you to recover should be the same.

Utta Pippig's coach followed the rule that the runner's heart rate should get down to below 60% of MHR before getting into the next internal or repeat. It's a good rule. But you need to also add to that equation the time it takes you to reach that level. Hence, my two minute rest rule.

It should not take you more than two minutes to get your heart rate below 60% of MHR. If it does, you are working too hard, either by running too fast, running too long [distance or time] or not slowing down enough between the intervals. If when doing the tempo runs [in the 80-89% of MHR range] you can't seem to reach approximately 60% of your MHR after two minutes of walking, change slow your speed or reduce your distance. A tempo run isn't supposed to be a speed workout. It's supposed to teach your body to maintain a pacing speed, not a quarter mile speed.

If you find that in your recovery time, your MHR drops from 80-89% of MHR to less than 60% in less than a minute, chance are you aren't running it fast enough or long enough. So, in this case, increase either to reach the more than one minute recovery time.

Either too fast or too slow is not the way to go. Like Little Red Riding Hood, you want a speed and distance that's just right. ;->

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Training for a Half Marathon and a Marathon….at the same time.

Received a question that I'm sure a lot of runners get to sometime in their running careers. If I'm training for a Half Marathon and an excellent opportunity comes up to run a marathon within a couple of months after the Half Marathon race, what should I so to change my training to do both?

Maybe this question seems timely because that happened to me in the last two weeks. After finding out that I [and my family in Team Beaver] did not get chosen in Garry Bjorklund's Half Marathon [Grandma's Half Marathon] lottery, I decided to run the Full Marathon. Okay, that's a heck of a change I know, but Duluth, Minnesota does put on a great show and Grandma's Marathon is on Top 25 Marathons on a number of lists.

Since I was already training for Get-In-Gear's Half Marathon on April 30th, I figured it was a good base anyway. Those of you following my Half Marathon program for it, know that we are putting in a number of ten mile plus runs leading up to the actual Half Marathon race.

FIRST, a disclaimer: From doing past Half Marathon and full Marathon training, here's my hard warning. These are two different race efforts with two different training plans. I would not encourage any of you that are training for your first half Marathon to attempt this for your first marathon. All others read on.

I'm a believer that you pick a race distance and train for it. So just because I'm running Grandma's, I'm not going to change my weekly [Mon-Fri] runs. What I change is the long runs. For example, my longest run before I signed up for Grandma's was two hours. So for the long run I had planned two weeks later, I add 20 minutes, the next one two weeks later another 20 minutes, and so on. That way I don't screw up my speed for the Half Marathon in April while building a base for the marathon in June. It just so happens that April 30th I was scheduled for a 17-18 miler. So I will do the Half Marathon hard and recover with a very, very slow jog/walk. If it ends up being just 15-16 instead of the 17, I'm not worried about it. The Half Marathon fast is equal to a 15-16 miler slow or easy.

Hope this helps you plan appropriately. If you need any help in creating your own running plan in this area, you all know you can contact me at for additional questions.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Easy, Speed, Tempo, and Long Run

Shooting out a quick note this morning for any of you that might have the same question as the one I'm getting on the workout schedule. What speed should I be going for my easy run, speed, tempo and long runs?

If you follow my guide you should be doing this via a percentage of the Maximum Heart Rate. But I know when you are starting something new like this you wonder if you still are going to right speed. If you could let me know what speed you are going for your easy run, ( I could give you a good guide. But lacking that let me share mine with you.

My easy runs are done at 11:00 minute miles. My speed is just under an 8:00 minute mile. My Tempo ends up being between those two at 9-9:15 minutes per mile. My long longs are done at easy pace until the last two miles and I usually end up at something faster than tempo when I finish. Again, this is a quick guide for you to use to see if you are somewhere close to where you should be. You will notice that all four speeds get faster as you get conditioned, but usually not more than a minute a mile over a three month training period.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week Six in Half Marathon Training Plan

Week Six adds a little new mix to the training. We now start to concentrate on Speed, and holding it for longer stretches. The hard speed in the middle of the week is rewarded with a shorter distance long run on Saturday.

Week Six program:

Sunday, Friday - off
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday - 4 miles easy (under 70% HRM)
Wednesday - 7 miles Speed (90-100% HRM) This you will do by warming up one mile under 70% MHR, then alternate between .25 mile 90-100%, then .25 mile under 60% HRM [walk to get to this level, and then repeat to a total distance of 6.5 miles and then a half mile cool down.
Saturday - 6 miles (under 70% first 5 miles, 70-80% last mile.)

You have now built up to putting in a total speed distance of 2.5 miles of pure speed. In a future 5K race, you will note that you will be able to keep this speed for that distance.

These .25 mile efforts should end at the 90-100%, not begin there. So don't expect to start there in the first 30 seconds, concentrate on getting there at the end of that .25 mile. Consistency is more important than speed. So, for example, it is better to do 8 - .25 miles at a 2 minute pace for the .25 mile, than one at 2:15, another at 2:10, another one at 1:59, etc. What you want to accomplish is a set speed for a set distance at 90-100% of your MHR in the last 20 seconds of the .25 mile.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Hunger Games"

Just finished a long run listening to the last book (Mockingjay) of the Hunger Games Trilogy. Overall, a great story of (what I guessed were in the) future tales of what our civilization will turn into after a coming World War.

I'm not to going to ruin the story by giving away any spoilers. But the story was very easy to follow through the past two weeks of training and very addictive. It got to the point that I was listening to this on the Nano not only during training but also on all my car trips. Following the adventures of Katniss became an obsession.

If youre looking for a great Audiobook for your next Audible or iTunes selection, you couldnt lose go with the Hunger Games Trilogy - Hunger Games (Book 1), Catching Fire (Book 2), & Mockingjay (Book 3).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, March 4, 2011

Not getting into Grandma’s Half Marathon

Well, to all of you that followed my advice and got entered into Grandma's Half Marathon's Lottery – here's hoping you got in. For those of you that didn't, welcome to the club.

We registered a team of six members and none of us got picked. How is that possible? The Lottery rules state that our odds by entering as an individual are the same as the odds as entering in as a group. I know it's been years since by two years of statistics in college, but how would the odds be the same? If any of the six are picked, all six get in. So how can the odds be the same?

Well, my mother always said that when God closes a door, he opens a window. So I did enter the Marathon instead. I know, I know, at my age it's like being penalized twice for losing a Lottery, but Lord help me, the event is so fun I have to participate in it.

Openings are still available for those of you that are looking for an early Marathon to get a qualifying time in for Boston or New York.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Boston Marathon Qualifying Times

The Boston Marathon released new qualifying times for the 2012 Marathon. It's upset a number of runners and for good reason. They essentially moved down the QT 5 minutes for each age and sex category.

In defense of the Boston Marathon, they ran into a lot of runners upset in 2010 when they met the QT (Qualifying Time) for 2011 but didn't apply in time. So the BAC (Boston Athletic Congress) met to determine what changes they needed to make to correct this problem. Moving down the QT 5 minutes would definitely lower the number of qualifiers.

They further removed the +59 second rule they had in place. This means, if a male, 55-59, runs a 3:45:59 QT, he qualifies (even though the QT is The argument here is because there could be a number of factors at the starting or finish line that impedes a runner to get a certified time (lots of runners to run around, varying measured distances, etc.), the 59 seconds would allow him a fudge factor.

They went another step further. They also would open the application time earlier in the season, the third week of September, so that the earlier a runner qualified the better.

Lastly, they also prioritized the applications that would be adjudicated. So if a 55-59 runner applied in the first week with a 3:45 time, BAC would admit a 3:25 55-59 male runner in the first 3 days of the open registration, a 3:30 55-59 male runner in the next 3 days, and so forth.. until the race filled. So, a 55-59 male runner could have a QT of 3:45 and still not get in.

But it raised a lot of other questions.

First and foremost, the basic question of whether the marathon is a people's race or an elitist race?

I'm surprised about the question. For those that didn't realize it, Boston is an elitist race. They do have a QT standard. That said, I do think that there are ways they could make it a people's race.

I ran Boston in 1996 on its 100th Anniversary. Before you give me respect for achieving this, I want to point out that in 1996, Boston had a Lottery. You could enter the Lottery and if you won the Lotterry and had a QT, you would be moved from the Lottery running wave into the QT running wave. If you won the Lottery and didn't get the QT, you ran in the Lottery wave.

I won the Lottery but never got the QT time.

So I ended up being one of the 5000 non-QT runners that ran it in 1996. I hope that someday they ask us all back for the 125th or 150th [probably my best chance to run it with the changes they made to it]. But I did get a registered finished time, shirt, medal, etc. that all finishers got.

I think Boston should have the Lottery every year the same way. Okay, maybe not 5000 entries, maybe a 1000, but whatever the number, give keep those Marathon runners dream alive of running Boston. I would be fine that once you won the Lottery, you couldn't run it again until you had a QT and got in via the rules above. Yes, even if that means I'm excluded from the pool because I got in via the Lottery back in 1996. Because I think everyone should get a chance to run it, its that special.

But I also think the changes that the BAC made will have unintended consequences, some of which I don't think they thought out. I believe that since registration will open in September, a lot of the fall (non-Boston, of course) marathons will see a lot of runners lose interest in running them. I mean, if you haven't qualified by October 1st, good luck getting in before the race fills. And that will have a ripple effect through the running community with runners applying for shorter distance races instead of the marathon, or runners setting their sights on spring/summer marathon races for the following year's Boston.

I can believe that the New York, Chicago, Twin Cities, Steamboat, Philadelphia (need I go on?) marathons are happy with this announcement since they are all run after 10/1/201x. Something tells me that the BAC will be getting pressure to change their rules once again.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

IPod Nano Improvements

With all the excitement today on the release of the iPad 2, some of you may have missed the new iOS that Apple released for the Nano last Sunday. I've downloaded it and love it.

One of the issues that I wrote about in my review of the Nano was that I hated the fact that there was no external speaker anymore. I found it valuable whenever I would pull my ear buds out of the Nano, heard the music/audiobook still playing and then make sure that I turned it off so that I wouldn't drain the battery dry. I can't tell you how many times in the past 6 months I have picked up my Nano just to find the battery dead.

Good news, runners. The latest iOS for the Nano will force it to sleep. After loading the new iOS, just hold down the sleep on/off button for a few seconds, and a small circle will start spinning, letting you know that your Nano is getting shut down. Hold it down again for a few seconds and you will see it 'wake up' from the sleep mode. Long overdue enhancement.

An additional feature that was added was the ability to double click the sleep button, and it will advance to the next song. I realize you can do this from the face of the Nano, but this does it with or without the screen being lite. Again, another nice feature.

With these changes I'm willing to upgrade the new Nano over my last review, but still not to a perfect score. I did like the external speaker and video that the earlier Nano had. But this is a definite improvement.

For any of you interested in upgrading your Nano, just pull it into iTunes and follow the instructions to upgrade the operating system. Let me know if any of you find additional features that I missed.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week 4 of Half Marathon Program

Welcome to Week Four of the 12 Week Half Marathon Program.

This week you get rewarded for all of your hard work to date. No Tempo, Speed or Long Runs. Four days of training instead of the 5 day training week. Enjoy the change.

Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday - off
Monday, 6 miles Easy Run (under 70% HRM)

Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday - 5 miles easy (under 70% HRM)

You might be tempted to put in extra miles on your Long Run, but don't. This week is to help your body recover. Again, enjoy the day and miles off.

For those of you that contacted me asking for the total 12 week program, sorry, I've been chasing my tail but will get it out in the next 48 hours to you. Promise. For those of you that want to be copied, you can still contact me at , and I will email an Excel spreadsheet with all of your workouts and schedules for the 12 Week Schedule.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Plan for Week Three of Half Marathon Training

Welcome to Week Three of the 12 Week Half Marathon Program.

So now to the third week's program.

Sunday, Friday - off
Monday, 5 mile Easy Run (under 70% HRM)
Tuesday, Thursday - 4 miles easy (under 70% HRM)
Wednesday - 5 miles Tempo (80-88% HRM) This you will do by warming up one mile under 70% MHR, then alternate between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 7 minutes 80-88%, then again between 2 minutes under 70% HRM and 7 minutes 80-88%of your HRM, etc., to a distance of 4.5 miles and then a half mile cool down.
Saturday - 10 miles (under 70% first 8 miles, 70-80% last two miles)

You will note that on the Tempo Run, you running for time instead of distance. You should've built up to 7 minutes for a Tempo Workout with the last two weeks as your base. If you haven't guessed it by now, you will be going longer (both time and distance) in future Tempo Workouts.

This week will be testing you. But stay with this, next week is a recovery week. You'll enjoy that when you get there.

For any of you that need a 12 Week Complete Workout please feel free to contact me at , and I will email an Excel spreadsheet with all of your workouts and schedules for the 12 Week Schedule.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Running on a Low Carb diet

I was asked to summarize my experiment of running on a Low Carb Diet last fall. I only lasted one week, but my Running Diary should tell you all you need to know.

"Day One - got back from the club, weight training and weighted in on the scale. 208 lbs. This is like a four week high, ouch. I'm hoping some of this is from the weight you gain initially from weight training. If not, I could be in trouble.

Day Two - ran a slow 7 miler and weighed in 203.5. Okay, now I'm not so worried about yesterday's weigh in. I know this is after a run, and that yesterday may have been at a bad time of day, but I like Day Two vs. Day One.

I still am having trouble keeping up with Bonnie, but I did better than last Saturday when we did a six miler instead of a seven. But I know I'm no where near were I was earlier in the year, so the jury is still out.

Review of the diet. It's hard to be break old habits in the eating department. But one thing I can say about this diet is that I'm not hungry. I'm able to do a hard boiled egg and a piece of fruit and be satisfied. Don't know how long that will last but good so far.

They say you can lose mental acuity on a Low Carb diet. So far, I'm still winning my chess games and Words With Friends on the iPad. If that starts slipping, that will be my first indication.

Day Three - woke up and checked my urine with a Ketosis strip. Doesn't look like I've entered any Ketosis phase - still negative.

Again, did not wake up hungry. I thought maybe that the ketosis would kick in but as evidence in the ketosis strip test, that's a negatory. This was the first day that I actually got tempted by carbohydrates. I'm on a weekend and you figure what the heck?.

Weighed in at 204.5. I'm okay with increased weight though. My justification is that if I can under 208 ( the first day's weight) I'm doing better. I can do this if I should be able to keep going.

Day Four - okay, still not hungry but getting tired. Not for day-to-day things but for running. Don't know if I can keep this up but the weight loss is very encouraging. Down to 203 today.

Day Five - 201? I didn't run today and I weighed in at 201? I'll be at 170 in five weeks at this rate. Running? If I just want to do weight loss, this is the diet to use.

Day Six - Scale must've been off yesterday. I made it 3.5 miles and had to route my run back because of being tired. The weight showed 202 and there should be no way that I'm gaining weight. I don't have a carving for carbs like I thought I would but I don't have an appetite at all. Pretty amazing and scary at the same time.

Day Seven - I can't stay on this diet. Yes, I like the weight loss [even though there's that voice inside my head that keeps saying 'More than 2 lbs a week isn't good'.] But my urge for running is gone, too much energy needed.

Day Eight - gave up today. Added carbohydrates in the morning and ran an easy 3.5 miler in the afternoon. Low Carbs do work for losing weight but I can't count on training for any races if I stay on it for any amount of time. I truly believe that it probably works for some runners, but not for this one."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review of running with an IPhone 4 vs. iPod Touch

Yes, I was one of the lucky ones that picked up the first Verizon iPhones. I am glad that I didn't get there any earlier than 6:30 for a 7 am opening. There was a guy I talked to that had been there since 4 am. Standing in -13 temps for 30 minutes was bad enough, can't imagine being there for 3 hours....

I've been asked about using the iPhone 4 in regards to running and keeping track of distance. There are probably more running apps that you can purchased than I can survey in the 8 months since the iPhone 4 has come out. So I will focus on using it with two of the more popular ones, RunKeeper and Nike Plus.

Both apps work great for running. I like the integration of the iPhone with Nike [playing from your music playlists]. Yet the RunKeeper has the same functionality. Run Keeper also keeps more accurate track of your mileage [yes, I'm aware of the Nike Plus now has a GPS function but my results with that has varied - run-to-run]. RunKeeper also allows you to upload your data without a computer hook up. You maintain your own website that you can easily share with others.

Cons to both: Nike Plus sometimes misses uploading my runs. Not all the time but enough to make me question it as a life long partner to your training. Also, I was surprised that Nike allowed heart rate monitoring with a new Polar Belt with the iPod Nano but didn't with the iPhone. Don't know what the thought process was there but they should had that functionality with all iPod products. As I stated on an earlier blog, I also didn't like that I have a Radio with the Nano but not with the iPod Touch or iPhone 4.

RunKeeper is number one in my evaluation. The app developers are constantly updating the app and are even [as I write this] developing heart rate monitor capabilities with the latest update. They show a lot of dedication to keeping up with all the phones also. I switched to a Droid X in October and found the Droid app very similar to the Apple app. It's nice to have that flexibility and not worry about losing the app. As you already know, I've just left the Droid X for the iPhone 4, but again, the app seemed to work fantastic on both phones.

But I would like to point out my overall view of running with any phone [I will be following up with a review of the Droid X]. Given my choice, I would think that if you are serious about running, the iPod Touch would be a better option for a couple of reasons. One, weight and size. The iPod Touch is lighter and doesn't take up much space.

So if size and weight matter to you, I would suggest the iPod Touch. If you are struggling between the iPod Nano vs. iPod Touch, get the iPod Touch. It's additional functionality pays for itself in the long run.

If its accuracy you are going for, then I would recommend the RunKeeper app with any smart phone that accepts apps. It's fun, accurate, and dependable for keeping track of all your runs throughout the year.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Running in the snow and ice - Yaktrax Pro

If you are struggling with running in the snow and/or ice (and with most every state experiencing that this year) I have a product that will help you tackle the task of getting out the door without breaking your neck for each run.

Yaktrax Pro is shoe traction accessory that literally slips over the shoe before your go out each morning. It comes in three sizes and I wear a Size 13, so if it fits my size, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that there's one that would work for you.

I've tried others and I like Yaktrax Pro the best. The reason is that the bottom contains a strong wire spring/coil that can take a beating and still not lose its grip. Other brands usually have a set of small spikes on the bottom of the rubber sole, but this usually wears down quickly. The other brands also seem to snap off my running shoe easier in deep snow.

One of the season's tests this year in Minnesota has been the number of multiple 2 inch snowfalls occurring every 3 days. This product has held up well in running on streets before and after the plow has gone by, as well as the walk/bike paths that only get done if there is a snow depth exceeds 5 inches.

So if you are looking for a little help skating/skiing, or sloshing through the season in maintaining your running program, Yakima

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Apple Nano, Nike Plus, and bumps in the road

A couple of comments I wanted to respond to on runners that have said that they have problems with the Nike Plus App on their Nano, iPod Touch or iPhone (are any of you using it on an iPad? I'm waiting to see that at the club next...)

The main complaint I hear is that a runner will be running with the Nano and then, all of a sudden they hear the spoken feedback say: "Workout Paused" or "Workout Resumed" or the dreaded "Workout Ended". There are variations of this problem, such as the music they are listening to has the song keep restarting or the skipping to the next song.

So normally, a runner has to slow down or stop to try to correct the problem. But backing out of Nike Plus or doing a hard reboot of the Apple device seems to have no effect. Even if later on that day, you delete the app and reinstall it, within the next couple of days the problem is back. What's worse, is that the problem continues if you start using your iPhone/iPod instead of your Nano.

About now, you are ready to quit Nike Plus altogether. It must be a bad app, right? Well, I'm thinking that's not the case.

If you are one of these runners, I have good news, I know what's causing your problem. It's not your Nano, it's your earbuds.

I found this out the hard way. Trips to the Genius Bar even had them stumped. Replacing my Nano didn't help. Okay, initally for a few days the problem went away, but sooner of later it would come back.

What I noticed about the earphones is that I was using the Apple stereo earbuds. I loved using them because they allowed you to skip a song, pause the music, change volume, etc. But I have a theory [that I prove in practice] that if you generate a charge through the earbuds, by something as simple as your running shoes on the moving treadmill belt, it causes your Nano and any other device to read the earbuds as if they are sending a pause, stop, or advance order. I even experienced this when I had a Timex iPod watch.

I've noticed that this also happens if you use a Nike or Apple device, such as a wrist band remote, or any other type of remote. That static electricity will do wonders for your frustration level.

The simple answer is to change your earbuds. I now only wear ones that do not allow for advancing, pausing or resuming the songs.

Hope that helps many of you that are having this problem. And if you gave up on the Nike Plus app, hopefully this will give you incentive to try it again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grandma's Half Marathon Lottery Opened Today

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Registration for June’s Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon began this morning. The race entry process is conducted through a lottery in which 5,700 participants will be randomly selected.

Beginning Feb. 14 and continuing through Feb. 25, registration will be available at for all half-marathon hopefuls. Lottery participants can submit their registration any time during the 12-day online registration period. Participants will be randomly selected and their acceptance into the race will be confirmed via e-mail during the week of Feb. 28. Runners not selected will receive an e-mail notifying them that their entry was not among those chosen.

The entry fee for the 2011 race is $75, plus a processing charge. Only those 5,700 runners selected through the lottery will have their credit cards charged.

The 21st annual Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon is Saturday, June 18, at 6:30 a.m., and is run on the second half of the Grandma’s Marathon course.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Guaranteed Entry to the New York City Half Marathon March 20th

I wanted to send out a shout out to any runners that are planning to run the New York City Half Marathon next month. There is a worthy cause that you can add to your effort by joining The Fresh Air Fund. The Fresh Air Fund is looking for runners to join their Fresh Air Fund-Racers team for the NYC Half-Marathon on March 20th. This is a great way to participate in NYC's premier road race while helping Fresh Air Fund children.

Information is on their website:

You get a guaranteed entry in the race in exchange for helping them with their fund raising for a very worthy cause, getting kids a one or two week experience that they will remember the rest of their lives. You can email or call (212) 897-8890 for more information.

If you also want to open your home this summer, Fresh Air Fund is also in need of host families. Host families are volunteers who open their hearts and homes to a child from the city to give them a fresh air experience they never forget.

It's a great way to give something back to what running has given you.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Surviving Week One of Half Marathon Training

Hopefully if you are reading this, you've completed your Saturday Long Run and are looking forward to a day off tomorrow.

The long run usually is the one run that gets runners to a point of realizing that not only can they complete the Half Marathon Planned in the future but also run it for a predicted time. You probably noticed that your last two miles, in which I had you step up the pace a bit, gave you a sense of whether you are an endurance runner or a speed runner. If you felt like you could've gone faster, keep that thought, as later long runs in the coming week are going to test it. If you felt like you couldn't set it up, that was your body telling you that you may not be built for endurance. Don't let that bother you, all runners have good and bad long runs. This program will get you over the bad ones.

So now to next week's program. I'm not going to give you day-by-day instructions like I did this past week. Hopefully you can just go back over the past blog entries for any refresher information that you need. But here's the mileage plan for the coming days:

Sunday, Friday - off
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday - 4 miles easy (under 70% HRM)
Wednesday - 5 miles Speed (90-100% HRM) This you will do by warming up one mile under 70% MHR, then alternate between ¼ mile 90-100% of your MHR and ¼ mile walking or slight jog 7 times, and then a half mile cool down.
Saturday - 9 miles (under 70% first 7 miles, 70-80% last two miles)

You may be already noticing some changes in you first week. For any of you that have been over-training, some extra energy. You might actually feel by the end of the week that you wonder if you are going fast enough because you only do a Tempo/Speed once a week. Believe me, this is enough to get you where you need to be. As I written about in the past, Half Marathoners only need 5%, at the most 10%, of their total running distance with speed exceeding an Easy run speed. Runners do have a problem with this concept as a lot of them believe "More is Better". But again, my advice is that you show up to the starting line uninjured and ready to give it your best effort.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tempo and Long Run

So how did your Tempo run go? If your experience is anything like most runners in training, you should've found that you can run a half mile at a 2-3 minute pace faster than than your easy runs. Your 12 MPM turns into a 10 to 9 MPM.

This week was just the start of your Tempo Runs. Each week, you will notice that we will be increasing the length of the run as we acclimate to endurance that allows us to keep this as our long race pace.

A word about tomorrow's long run. You will run the first 80% of your distance at your easy run pace, again, staying at less than 70% of your MHR. The last 20%, you will increase it 7 to 10 seconds per mile until your hit your Tempo pace in the last .25 mile of the 9 mile run. What this will train your body to do is to prepare to bring your race home in the last 5K of your Half Marathon.

If you're doing this on a treadmill, you can increase the speed .1 each minute to get you home. For instance, if you are keeping a 5.2 pace, you would increase the speed .1 each minute starting with mile 8, until you get to a 7.0 pace at the end of the run of 9 miles.

I will recap the week with summary tomorrow and give you next week's runs.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

First week on 12 week Half Marathon Plan - Easy and Tempo

So it's Tuesday in the first week. You've run your first run by now, how'd it go? If you had a hard time with the run, you may want to incorporate walking breaks (idea first mainstreamed by Jeff Galloway) into your runs. You might want to try these if you had trouble just staying under the 70% HRM.

To try these, there are a number of ways but I'll simplify it by asking you to run 5 minutes at > 70% and then walk 30 seconds, run to the 10 minute mark, walk 30 seconds and just repeat until your 4 miles are done. These walking breaks help your body adjust to the new stress. These walking breaks can be incorporate the same way for your long runs if you find them difficult also.

Tomorrow you are slated for a Tempo workout. For Week One, move into these carefully by warming up for one mile at >70%, run a mile in the 80-88% range, .25 mile walk or easy running, mile at 80-88%, .25 mile walk/easy run, 80-88% mile, finish with a half mile walk easy run.

Remember, you need to stay in these zones in the training. You may find that you last Tempo mile is at a slower pace than your first Tempo mile. That's okay, what's important is that you stay in that zone 80-88% during the mile. We're looking at heart rate zone, not timed speed for this exercise.

I will have another update for you Friday before the Long Run, so that you get started with a good first long run.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week One of 12 Week Half Marathon Plan

Alright, here is the Half Marathon Plan in a nutshell. You will run 5 days a week. Sunday and Friday you have off (how great is a plan that starts you off with a day off?!). Monday, Tuesday, Thursday are easy days (my defintion of easy might be different than yours if you are beginning runner, but they will become easier as you acclimate to the training). Wedenesday is a Tempo or Speed Workout. Saturday is your long run.

A couple of items to point out. Your easy and long run days are run at 70% of your HRM (see yesterdays blog on how to figure this out if you need a reference point). But I want to stress that while reaching this running might seem easy, stayin below it will be the real challenge. If you are a Type A (like I am) when it comes to training, it is very difficult to not go above that number. But I ask you to please follow this for the 12 weeks and see if it doesn't make a difference in your Half Marathon results.

To give you a personal example of the struggle, after running the Walt Disney Marathon four weeks ago, I gave myself a couple of weeks to receover and then got back on the treadmill. I set the speed to a 10:32 minutes per mile (5.7 on the treadmill). I felt I needed this to slowly get back into training. After a mile and a half, I couldn't keep my heart rate under 146 if my life depended on it. Every couple of minutes, I would lower it... 5.6, 5.5, 5.4, 5.3, etc. until I finally got down to 4.8 (that's a pedestrian 12:30 minutes per mile!). I wasn't crazy about running that slow (my average pace is usually a 10:30 in easy training) but I knew the run would be worthless if I didn't keep my HR to under 146.

So what caused me to be so out of shape? Well, it could be I took too long off from training or made it too easy the last couple of weeks. Could be me getting older. Could be the pounds I picked up on the vacation that we took in Hawaii. The point is that they body doesn't lie. You can lie to yourself but you must train in the right heart rate zones or you will never truly get better in future training. You need to check the ego at the door going into the health club before going in. It's better to train smart than just train.

The good news, is that from running for over 25 years, I have learned that my heart rate average will get better. I know that soon, as the pounds melt off, my body gets back into training mode. Soon, I will be back closer on my easy days to the 10:30 mpm that I was running a couple of months ago. The key is patience and persistence. I know that this will be hard for a lot of you (as it is for me) but remember my goal is to keep you running. And if you don't follow the under 70% rule for you easy/long runs, you will not run your potential. You will either injure yourself or show up to your half marathon tired on race day.

So here's the first week's plan:
Sunday, Friday - off
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday - 4 miles easy (under 70% HRM)
Wednesday - 5 miles Tempo (80-88% HRM)
Saturday - 9 miles (under 70% first 7 miles, 70-80% last two miles)

-I will check in during the week with more on the Tempo run and Long run descriptions.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Getting Ready for a Spring Half Marathon

I'm already registered for a spring Half Marathon and want to give my readers a great running plan in case any of you are planning to run one in the next months. The plan I'll lay out will cover a 12 week period. This plan is tied to Heart Rate Running, so if you need a refresher on how to determine your heart rate percentages, please read over my earlier articles.

This is a very simple plan. Each Sunday, starting tomorrow, I will give you that week's plan. The week I'm setting is from Sunday through Saturday. This doesn't have to be those days, you can adjust accordingly, but follow the basic tenets of the plan if you want to use it successfully.

There are five running days a week. Saturday is the long run. Wednesday is reserved for either a Tempo Run or Speed Workout. You will note that about every 3rd or 4th week, I back off of mileage for the week as well as each day's mileage. That is to help you recover for the training stresses that your body will be going through.

Before I send out next week's plan tomorrow, I ask that you find the following heart rate ranges for all three workouts - Easy/everyday and Long Runs (less than 70% HRM), Tempo (80-88% of HRM) and Speed ( 90-100% HRM). Remember, the HRM (Heart Rate Max) is the following formula = (Max Heart Rate - Resting Heart Rate (difference) x percent + Resting Heart Rate.

Just a quick example to help you. My heart rate max is 185 beats per minute. My resting heart rate is 55. So the difference is 130 beats per minute. So my everyday rate would be 146, determined by 130 x 70% = 91 plus 55 = 146. For Tempo, it ends up being between 159-169 and Speed 172-185.

This means that I won't let my heart rate go over 146 in my easy runs and most of my long run (there is something that I add to the long run different than what you see in other plans but I will share that with you later).

This plan can be used by essentially everyone, beginner, veteran or expert. I can't guarantee your fastest PR (Personal Record) race(no one can), but you will run it at your best potential if you follow this plan. I've used it to run a 2:00 marathon last year when my best Half Marathon to date was a 2:08. So I'm not promising to take 30 minutes off your last Half Marathon, but it could take almost 7% off your last Half Marathon time.

Look for the first week's running plan tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, January 21, 2011

Still running after January 21... of any year.

As an occasional treadmill runner, January 21st is one of my most favorite times of the year. It's the make-or-break day of yearly resolutions for most folk.

Psychologists tell us that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This is true for either a good or a bad habit. At my health club, LifeTime Fitness in Eagan, Minnesota, I've noticed that in the past 17 years that I've been a member, that the treadmills open up drastically after January 21st. By that time, the people that made the commitment to running or walking are either still there or working on a new 'resolution'.

Here's hoping that you are still on your 2011 resolution to a healthy life style. If you've made it to this point, your odds of staying with it for the rest of the year just doubled.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Running for weight loss

January is a great month for veteran runners and just-getting-started runners alike. For the new runners, its just getting the established practice of running in a consistent manner. For the vets, its a chance to back off speed, endurance, and just let the body heal while getting ready for the upcoming year/season.

For both, this is a good time to start burning through the fat in our bodies. Nature has a way of adding pounds during the winter season. A lot of people believe its because of Christmas and the Holidays. Its probably true that all of the down time mixed with parties probably adds a few pounds. But I'm of the belief, that nature adds fat to the body during this season to insulate it from the cold during these months. Of course, that's probably imbedded in my mind because of the fact that I live in Minnesota.

One misconception that is repeated time and time again, is that you can only lose weight quickly if you run at less than 70% of your maximum heart rate. I believe that health club consultants are just trying to help new runners by repeating this misconception. But the truth is, you can lose weight at the 70-85% level, just as quickly. It's simple science.

Let's say you are a 200 lb. man that runs 3 miles a day. If you run a 10 minute mile, you will burn 12 calories a minute, 67% of those of which will be fat. If you run a 8 minute mile, [again staying in the 70-85% zone] you will burn 16 calories, but only 50% will be fat [the remaining calories being burned are carbohydrates in the blood]. Either way, you will be burning 8 calories of fat. One run will take you 30 minutes to complete, the other 24 minutes. Both runs burn the same amount of total calories and fat calories. So if you are looking at efficient running, the second option [running an 8 minute mile] would be the way to go.

I'm not advocating that you do all of your runs at 70-85% of your maximum heart rate, in fact, that would get you injured sooner or later. What I am advocating is that you don't fear incorporating a tempo of faster workout in your training because you were told those workouts don't burn fat [or that they don't burn as much fat].

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad