Running break

I took a couple of days off of running on Monday and Tuesday this week. I just felt like I was over doing the running. I was horribly tired on Sunday. I know I had just run a very strong race and Sunday is also my busiest day of the week, but that is when I always run races and the busyness never gets any easier. I was just run down.

I did not even get out of bed on Monday to call my running partner and tell him I was not going to be able to make it. I left instructions for my wife to call him as I planned to sleep in. I rested Monday and had no desire at all to run.

Tuesday I thought about doing a very easy run, but just did not feel motivated.

Today, Wednesday, I met my running partner and he started into his regular diatribe about how he feels like he is not improving. He took a few weeks off while I was away on my trip to the US and he thinks that now he is not doing as well as he was before. (We have this conversation just about every time we run). I try to convince him we are running 20 to 30 seconds per mile faster now than we were before. He refuses to believe that running slower will also mean he can run further and longer. Because Ryan Hall runs marathons at 4:45-5:00 per mile, my running friend feels like he is being lazy if he does not do 6:00 per mile himself. As much as I try to convince him that he is not going to be able to compete with Ryan Hall when he has only been running less than 6 months, he just does not hear it.

But, miracle of miracles, he decided to keep a slower pace and run with me today instead of ahead of me. We ran at a 9:18 pace instead of the 8:40 he wants to run. When we had been going at it for 29 minutes he asked me how far we had run. I told him the time and that I thought we had run about 3.2 miles. He was surprised that we had run that long and far. It is one of the longest runs we have done in the last several weeks. And we weren’t even worn out. Surprise! Running a bit slower really is helpful.

Did he learn anything? I don’t think so. He will take this experience today and probably feel guilty that we ran so slow. I say this because he then pushed the pace up to a normal speed for the next 7 minutes to finish the run.

Why don’t I just let him run at his pace and I run mine? Often I do. We start together and by the time we are done I am many blocks behind him.

We are going to run a race together in 2 weeks. It will be his first race. I am going to go for an 8:00 pace and try to kill him at the end.

Thursday is normally my long run day or speed work day. I run alone on that day. But tomorrow will be another day off for me. I still need a bit of a break.

My first cross country race

This morning I ran an 8K cross country race (5 miles). It was my first time to run a race in which we did multiple laps and my first XC.Dirty Sauconys

My poor shoes will probably never be white again.

We did 4 big laps with a final lap around a dirt track at the end. We ran around a park that is very hilly. There are two major downhills and two major uphills on each loop. Though I have run at this park before, it was never for a race, therefore the pace up the hills never mattered. On the final lap today I speed walked the two uphills. I did not seem to lose any ground on the guy just in front of me. I think it was a good strategy.

Terrain consisted of the dirt/gravel track as well as dirt roads and walking paths. Rocks were a factor for part of the race. There was a short section where we ran on grass. Each of the up/down hill sections were asphalt. About half of the paths were shaded and the other half was in full sun. Temperatures were a nice cool 73 degrees.

I ran the race in 42:36. That is a pace of 8:10 per mile. The race was 8.4 Km in length.

I got up at 5:30 this morning. That was 30 minutes before I needed to get up. I had been laying in bed awake since 5:00 and could not go back to sleep. That is what races do to me.

I was there early enough to get bib number 11 in the men’s category. There was a men’s division and a ladies’ division. First 25 places in each got a medal. There were 99 men who ran and I did not get a medal. Not sure what my placing was, but I was lapped by several of the front runners.

With getting up so early and running quite well, I had trouble staying awake in Sunday School class this morning. Oops.

My Thought Spot 22: Peanut Bunny and Quackers

Just a short show to update some of the recent posts. I have not been posting a whole lot here and therefore the podcast is short.

Show Notes: 

Review: Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide

Last week I decided on when to run my first marathon (more about that later). I had gotten the book Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide by Hal Higdon for my birthday. I have been holding on to it until I was ready to put the information into practice. That time has come.

This was a well written book. Higdon is an experienced author and his skill comes through. The book is written particularly with the first time marathoner in mind. He briefly covers the history of the marathon and why anyone would want to run one. But it is not just for the new marathoner. After I have a couple of marathons under my shoes I think it would be a great resource to read again. He talks further on how to improve your time.

There were two things that disappointed me in the book. One was how little ink was dedicated to shoes and also how he handled nutrition.

The information he did give about shoes was incomplete. The edition of the book I have was written in 1999; I hope that his shoe coverage was expanded in the 2005 edition. I don’t know if it was even possible to go into your local running store 10 years ago and have a gait analysis done like it is today. There is much more that the average runner can do in choosing the right shoes than what Higdon covered in the book.

The chapter on nutrition seemed to advise from the perspective that the readers would already be eating properly and that to train for a marathon you would need to change where you get your calories from. But there was not a basic list of good and bad foods. I realize that this is not a nutrition book, but since one chapter was dedicated to nutrition, I expected there to be more about general eating. In a nutshell, he said that it would be hard to get the volume of calories you need from your regular diet because it would mean so much greater volume of food. Of course he has to be talking about someone who already gets the bulk of their calories from non-processed foods. I think it would be more accurate to assume people are eating junk and they should be taught what is proper and what to avoid. It could also have to do with the fact that he grew up in a different generation and has always been an athlete.

His chapter on post race recovery, without being overly long, went into detail as to what you should be doing immediately after the marathon and just about every hour following that until the next day. He then gives you guidelines to follow for several days after your race.

His training plans are worth the price of the book. The plan itself is reproduced all over the Internet. But what makes the book special is that he does not just say “Run 3 miles today.” Rather he tells you that on Thursday of week 4 (4 weeks before the marathon): “Five miles for novices. You are entitled to feel a bit tired today. It’s normal. That’s what training is all about. A 40-minute tempo run for experts. Although the mileage buildup continues, we’ve already begun to cut back on your tempo runs. Don’t overdo today’s workout. Save something for a very tough weekend.” That is his coaching coming through. It is not just a bunch of numbers on a chart for Higdon. Those numbers represent something and he knows what you need to hear each day of the 18 week plan.

I am curious to see the newer edition just to see if he spent more time on shoes and changed his focus with nutrition. Other than those two things I thought it was an excellent preparation book. I am glad I had a chance to read it several weeks before I need to start training for my fall marathon.

Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, Hal Higdon, 1999, Rodale Press, 121 pages.

Common Craft: Podcasting in Plain English

I have been a fan of the Common Craft videos since I saw my first one. If you have not seen their videos, you should spend some time watching them. These are videos for Internet newbies or those who would like to understand some of the newer Internet technologies.

I saw this one they posted about Podcasting. As a fan of podcasting I have been waiting for this video for some time.