Thursday, March 29, 2012

Get-In-Gear 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon set to go up on April 1st.

For any of you that are planning on running the 35th running of Get-In-Gear K, 10K or Half Marathon, there's a fee increase on April 1st. So you should register now to save money and save your space (the Half Marathon filled last year). Get-In-Gear is one of the oldest 10Ks and in the Top 15 10Ks in the country in terms of registered runners. It is the largest 10K in Minnesota.

Click here to get entered ===>

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Changing The Long Run

I feel like the kid on the new TV Series "Touch". Have you ever had an epiphany while reading different blogs, newspapers, and magazines about a trend that is like a thread that runs through all of them?

That happened recently as I caught up with books by Matt Fitzgerald, marathon plans by the Hanson brothers (The running ones, not the hockey ones), and Runner World's advise columns. And the change is in what they are all warning about regarding the Long Run.

It used to be, more is better when it came down to the long run. Galloway had you run/walk more than the distance of the marathon in the runs leading up to the marathon. Joe Henderson also referenced that as long as you took walking breaks, you aided your endurance without setting your body back too much. Amby Burfoot, Boston Marathon 1968 winner, admitted that, yes, even he too is taking walking breaks so that he can keep up the mileage needed to finish those long runs.

But the new trend is a limit to the long run. The latest trend is to say that you should limit the time/distance of your long run. The Hanson's plan is that you should never run more than 16 miles for any long run. Runner's World advisors as stating that anything longer than 3 hours [no, it doesn't matter if you are doing a 6 minute or 12 minute mile] is counter productive. A Boston Qualifier told me that she never did more than 2 hours on any long run until 3 weeks before, when she did a 2 and a half hour long run [yes, just one before the marathon]. She told me that allowed her to do more strength training, speed workouts and tempo runs before the marathon - and that, was the key for her.

It's an interesting change. As a 55+ year old runner, it makes sense to me. My recovery times last year were brutal. Sure, some of it was the weight I was carrying but age was also a factor. I know my first three months have been progressing nicely with my training for a Half Marathon instead of the Full Marathon for the spring/summer races. I will not have a run over 15 miles in any of that training and it should show in my times (I hope).

If any of you have followed a marathon training program with a limited long run distance described above, please share it with me. I ill advance to the full marathon training after Grandma's in June and I would fully embrace any training that was successful that included a limit on the long run [time and/or distance] during the coming summer months.

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Location:Eagan,United States

Sunday, March 25, 2012

William A. Irvin 5K (Grandma’s Marathon 5K) Filling up Quick

June 15th Race Expected to Fill Quickly

(Duluth, Minn.) Registration for the 18th annual William A. Irvin 5K opened at 12:01 a.m. (CDT) on Thursday, March 17. There’s currently a buzz that even though they added 200 spots over last year’s total spots (from 1700 to 1900), the race is going to fill no longer than sometime this week.

The field limit for the 2011 race is 1,700 — an increase of 200 from last year when the capacity was reached in less than a week. To register, runners should visit The entry fee is $30.

The 3.1-mile run begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 15, near the permanently docked William A. Irvin ore boat on Duluth’s waterfront and is the first of three major running events during Grandma's Marathon weekend. Registration remains open for the 36th annual Grandma’s Marathon set for Saturday, June 16, while the entry process for the 22nd annual Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon is closed.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Barefoot Running

My wife Bonnie has found a number of articles citing the benefits of Barefoot Running. As a heavier runner, I've always thought this wouldn't make sense because the weight that the runner is carrying would need all the cushioning he/she could get in a shoe.

But the articles had commentary from heavy runners that actual endorsed the barefoot running concept, saying it actually helped them slowly get into running since it emphasizes the stretching /walking at the beginning of the training.

She is going to try it in the coming months and I'm interested to see if any of my readers/followers have tried this or know someone that has. Please write me if you have and let me know. I would like to integrate your experiences with Bonnie's as she goes through this trial.

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Location:Hamilton Dr,Eagan,United States

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to stop viewing weight loss by total weight loss.

I reported in an earlier column about my finding of weight loss and it's realtionship to my running times. One of the ideas I pushed was to not use total weigght but fat weight when judging success on the weight wars.

Here's what I've found so far in my lost weight. For the 23 pounds that I lost, 14 of those pounds came in the form of fat loss (in pounds). I don't know if everyone will have the same experience but that has been mine. Another way to look at it, is that I've gone from 24% body fat percentage down to 18.9% body fat percentage. Okay, the USOC will not be sending me an invite to represent the USA in London this summer anytime soon. But it is encouraging in my personal experiment of me.

Here's what I noticed. Back in January, I was hard press to break an 2:05 in the quarter mile. Knowing that I ran a 6:47 mile back in 2005, this was very discouraging. A 2:05 1/4 mile calculates out to a 8:35 mile, almost two minutes slower than my 2005 mark. But again, I knew I was no where close to being in shape back in Janaury.

Fast forward 8 weeks, and yesterday I completed 12 reps of 1/4 mile between 1:50-1:55 per 1/4 mile. Sure, it's only 10-15 seconds faster than January, but I went from a predicted 2:20 Half Marathon to a 1:57 Half Marathon prediction in 8 weeks! When's the last time you took 2 minutes - per mile - off of a Half Marathon? (I admit, I still have to run the Half Marathon but the tables say that it's completely doable as long as I keep up my endurance runs.)

So how do I know for sure my training is working and that fat/total weight loss is having an effect? My heart rate. As I mentioned many times, I keep track of the heart rate continually through my training to make sure I'm not only training hhard but training right.

Back in Janaury, I was hard pressed to keep my heart rate under 174 for 6 1/4 mile reps at 2:05. Yesterday, I never saw any heart reading over 170. So I know that not only am I trying at a faster speed with more endurance (repetions of the 1/4 mile) but I'm also not even reaching 90-95% of my max heart rate in doing it.

I'm still putting together all the things together that I did right (and yes even wrong) but I believe I've found a very effective way to lose fat weight while at the same time as not having my training suffer as a result of it.

More to come.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fit Leagues

I've found a great new website for those runners that are just getting started as well as those veterans among us. It called Fit Leagues and it's free. I was directed to the site by Joyce Aarsvold, a runner/walker that teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.

The concept is pretty simple. You join and keep track of your mileage on the website where it compares you to like runners/walkers that share your interest. A few key features that I like about it more than the NikePlus website...

First, it doesn't have a million runners that you end up competing with. I've found that to be ridiculous when you see that you put in a 25 mile week and are currently in 24,805th place for 2012. With Fit Leagues, there is a manageable group of runners/walkers/bikers that you show up with, and accruing a point only takes you a 1/10th of a mile to do it.

Secondly, it has a reward system that gives you immediate feedback. It's great to get that email after your first day of more than 3 miles telling you that you achieved the 'Bronze League' status.

Third, I like seeing how I compared with Joyce, maybe because I know her, but also because I don't have to search threw 25,000 runners/walked to do it. But the real benefit here is that they restart the mileage each week, so everyone has a refreshed status that doesn't turn stagnate after 21 days of following. I don't have to get my friends to join or find a league that will accept me, the website does it all for me.

Lastly, but probably a great plus for any RunKeeper followers, it saves you the problem of keying any of the information if you are keeping track of it through your RunKeeper app or website. As followers of my blog have seen, I am a RunKeeper groupie. Mainly because it free, but also because it works with any smartphone and is a great way to social your run with any of the social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc.. You can also just send it from the Fit League website if you want to, but I like having all of it done instantaneously.

The website is the creative genius of Dan Oachs, out of St. Peter, Minnesota. He is very engaged with any suggestions to make it better. If you are looking for a great way to stay connected with your running progress while at the same time following the progress of runners/walkers/bikers just like you, here is the link to get you connected

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Running in Boston

A point of clarification here. My Blog post is titled 'Running in Boston', not to be confused with 'Running Boston' which will take place approximately four weeks from now. (Not for me, but for the elites.)

Spent the last five days in Boston an the weather couldn't have been worse. Okay Sunday got us out of the 40s, but with overcast and rain, it made for a miserable week. But as we all know, runners carry their own weather.

Bonnie and I got out yesterday morning and got a 10 miler in along the Charles River. It was gorgeous. Reminded me of during what we call the 'Bridges Run' in the Twin Cities. The Bridges run can be a circle route that can take you four, six, 10, etc, miles depending on which bridges you want to cross over the Mississippi.

The Charles River was very similar that way. We started in North Boston at the Boston Garden, away from the city, crossed over between Boston College to the Harvard side and back.

It was a straight route on a path that is shared by the bikers but with ample room for both runners/bikers in both directions. Little stop and go for any car traffic. On the way out, you can view all of the Harvard Campus. One the way back, you can see the State Capitol with its Gold Dome that you can follow back into the city. They call Boston 'the city built on a hill'. Until we ran back in on that side, I never knew why they did. But you can see it from the side as you come into the city. It is built on a hill, and ever landmark viewable from that side.

Along with this route, for any walkers in your group, there is the 'Freedom Trail'. It's clearly marked, and starts from Bunker Hill and goes throughout the city through 16 major historical sites. As someone that enjoys history, I would give it high marks.

If you are interested to test what kind of shape your in, try doing the 294 steps up the Bunker Hill Memorial. Oh sure, I ran 3 marathons last year. But when I got out of there and started to walk down the steps by the Massachusetts Gate, my quads were burning. Something I noted in my running journal for future training.

All-in-all, I would rate the Boston running/walking routes 4
(out of 5) stars. I also found a lot of runners out there each morning that took advantage of their running routes. Boston is ideal for the running tourist.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Running for weight loss

In the past 7 weeks, I have loss 23 pounds. It started with a trip to the scale after a January Cruise that showed me in the overweight BMI range. I know a lot of folks blow off the BMI since it varies by body type (small, medium, large for example) but for me it was a wake up call.

So I took to the task in hand. How to get back into a range that I found acceptable.

I've shared the need to keep running journals with all of you. These became really valuable to me. After a review of 30 years worth of them (yes, I have them all the way back to 1983 when I started doing 5Ks) I started to glean a few insights that I want to share with you.

My best running times were tied to my lowest running weight. I know, I know, no big surprise here. But I also found there were times that I wasn't at my lowest weight (in fact 10 pounds heavier) but I still had a good season. What I did find is that my pounds of fat (fortunately we did pick up a scale that measured that along with total weight) had a direct correlation.

So how to use this information? Well, I attacked it by making a goal of reducing the pounds of fat, instead of the overall weight pounds. As a lot of us know, it gets pretty frustrating when you diet up for a week and don't see the pounds come off. Okay, maybe 2-3 pounds, but when you feel like you should've lost 5 and see 2, it does get discouraging.

I will be following up this blog with tips and items that I'm learning as the pounds melt off. But for right now, if any of you are trying to lose weight, I want to stress the need to get a scale that measures three things - BMI, Total Weight, and Fat weight (in pounds or kilograms - for my English cousins following the blog).

If you are looking for a recommendation, I would go with a Wiithings scale (if it fits your budget). The added bonus with a Withings scale is that it syncs with the WiFi in your home. This will allow you to keep track on your iPad, iPhone, RunKeeper, or literally any internet site or program. I've heard that many friends and /or partners that are trying to lose weigght together use this to keep each other motivated as they work on weight loss. (I'm of the other bent - I'm too embarrassed about my weight now, I'll wait until after I've lost another 10 before I move to that step.)

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Location:Constitution Rd,Boston,United States