Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday, March 31st . . . that's why I'm easy . . .

55 min. easy trail run with 5 min. barefoot warm-up. Heading to the mountains so I'll be doing higher elevation running between 7,000 - 9,000 ft. Not sure what type of runs I will do since I run entirely by feel so it depends on what my body says easy day. This also makes running fun as I'm not exactly sure what I will do easy day.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday, March 30th . . . tips to avoid injuries . . .

As this is a day off for me (reason explained below), I reflected on some of the key things I do that help me avoid injury and thought I'd share three (3) of them with you:

1. Identify how much time, in terms of hours, it takes for your body to recover from hard workouts, specifically track workouts and tempo and long runs. For me, I do track sessions on Tuesday evenings and I always take Wednesday off because my body needs a full day of rest to recovery from interval work. For long runs, especially if they follow a tempo run, I need about 36 hours to recovery so if I do a tempo run on Saturday, followed by a long run on Sunday morning, then I do my recovery run Monday evening. This is really important as I've identified how much time my body needs for recovery and muscle repair.

2. Incidentals, as I refer to them. This is what you do while not running. It's more important what you do while not running than what you do while running. I've had a past history of AT and PF problems but I've been injury free for 19 months and I attribute that largely to what I do while not running. Specifically, the exercises I do to strengthen my Achilles and Plantar muscle as well as the hard form roller for tight muscles. As a master's runner, this is critical, and I do these exercises daily.

3. The definition of "spontaneous" is " . . . proceeding from natural feeling or native tendency without external constraint." This is why I don't run with a watch or Garmin or any other technology. I'm a huge proponent of "running by feel," which allows you to learn to listen and understand what your body is telling you. I have types of workouts in mind, but I don't know what I will do on a specific day. I get up and listen to what my body says. Then, I warm-up, and see what else my body has to tell me then I decide to run easy, hard, long or short. We spend too much time trying to copy what elite runners do without understanding why elite runners do what they do. The goals and risk/reward analysis is completely different for professional runners vs. us recreational runners.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday, March 29th . . . back to the track . . .

15x400 meter intervals, 200 meter floaters, on the track. Legs are pretty weary and I'm taking tomorrow off.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday, March 28th . . . recovery run

45 min. very easy recovery run. Tomorrow it's the track.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday, March 27th . . . long + tempo combo

85 min. run with a 23 min. tempo at the end @ 6:08 pace. I don't run with a garmin or watch anymore so I used my iPod music track against the specific route to determine distance and pace. However, I've learned to run by feel after ditching the garmin and I know how fast I'm running by body feel, breathing and leg turnover.

All the love of running has returned since I quit relying on gadgets and started relying on my own body and mind.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday, March 26th . . . easy run

35 min. easy run. I'm feeling really good and I may do a tempo run tomorrow as opposed to my normal Sunday long run. My legs are feeling pretty good and my body is telling me it's ready for a hard run.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday, March 25th . . . another fun run

60 min. run in the MWU3 with a 5 min. barefoot warm-up. Just an awesome run . . . nothing more to say. I'm changing my workout approach and I'll post about that shortly.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday, March 24th . . . getting back on track . . .

55 min. trail run with 20 min. barefoot warm-up. My legs and body are getting back on track after a weird week. Due to work and life, my regular schedule was put in a tailspin and I was running at off-times but after this morning's run, I'm starting to get back on schedule and I'm getting back to normal.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday, March 23rd . . . the stuff run . . .

55 min. stuff run. I call it "stuff," because I did everything from easy to tempo to intervals to easy . . . something like a fatlek I guess.


Quote of the Day . . .

The challenge in running is not to aim at doing the things no one else has done, but to keep doing things anyone could do—but most never will.

Joe Henderson in The Complete Book of Running

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday, March 22nd . . . tired legs . . .

Short 40 min. recovery run, on tired legs.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday, March 21st . . . complete recovery run

40 min. recovery run. This is not to be mistaken for an easy run. A recovery run is different from a base or easy run. By Monday I've run a lot of days consecutively and my legs are generally pretty tired which means I need to be very careful. I generally refer to every Monday run as the "red zone" run meaning I better absolutely listen to my body and keep this run very easy at a steady and very comfortable pace in order to avoid injury. Even though I may feel fine mentally, I know I'm not fine physically. By this time, my body is still in complete repair mode.

So why do I run in this condition? Because it's a great time to focus on form and it teaches my body to respond to fatigue which can be useful mentally and physically during a race. However, this is where many runners get injured because it's a very short road to "too much too soon," so I keep this recovery run pretty short (generally less than 45 min.) and if I fee like I'm starting to run faster than I should, I immediately revert to a shuffle and slow everything back down.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday, March 20th . . . long run . . .

85 min. run in Nike XCs with a 5 min. barefoot warm-up. Another run without a watch and I can't see using a watch again. The things I'm discovering about my body through "running by feel," is absolutely amazing.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday, March 19th . . . tempo day

65 min. run with 7k tempo on the roads. I didn't wear a Garmin (watch) so it's been quite some time since I even wore a watch. Fact is, I don't need it anymore. I understand my body and I can run by feel. My Garmin is my body, breathing tone and rhythm and my mind . . . no gadgets needed . . . amazing how less is actually more.

Long run scheduled for tomorrow but I'll probably reduce the time by 15-20% given my run today but I'll see how I feel in the morning.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday, March 18th . . . light snow and trails . . .

55 min. run: 10 min. barefoot warm-up; 45 min. trail run in the MWU3's with light snow providing beautiful running conditions. One of the those runs where you say to yourself, "this is why I run."

I'm getting closer and closer to finalizing my shoe rotation. There's so many factors I've had to take into consideration but it's looking more and more like a Nike Air Zoom Streak XC, Mizuno Wave Universe 3 and Evo rotation. I plan to add Altra's new racing shoe as soon as it's available.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

MWU3 - surprisingly minimal . . .

Mizuno released heel and forefoot specs on its Wave Universe 3 and they are quite minimal as those of us that run in the MWU3 expected, but I was even surprised to see it's only a 2mm differential:

Heel (18mm), Forefoot (16mm); non-removable insole.

With the Nike Zoom Streak XC with only a 3mm differential and now the MWU3 with a 2mm differential, I'm going to seriously consider putting the MWU3 back into my core rotation in place of the Nike Katana and just run in the Nike XC, MWU3 and Evo.

At 3mm and less, I really can't notice any heel build-up. However, hopefully this puts pressure on other companies to zero drop because there will be plenty of shoes with very minimal heel differentials.


Thursday, March 17th . . . just another easy run . . .

45 min. easy run in Nike XC's with 5 min. barefoot warm-up. I've been closely tracking the quality of my workout and how I feel against the shoes I'm wearing and I'm clearly seeing a trend.

I have great runs in the Nike Air Zoom Streak XC's and Terra Plana Evo's, but everything else I run in is ok to good but not great and that includes the Adidas Adizero Rocket and Inov-8 F-Lite 195.

The Nike Katana is very good but I don't consider it a viable option since they discontinued production, at least in the U.S., and the MWU3 is an excellent racing shoe but I use it solely for racing only.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday, March 16th . . . day off

Track work + yesterday evening = day off today . . .

I always need 24 hours rest after track workouts.


Tuesday, March 15th . . . second half of the double

65 min. track workout including 8 sets of 400 x 200 x 200 recovery. 400's at sightly faster than 10k pace; 200's at slightly faster than 5k pace. My legs felt pretty good considering I ran for about 50 min. in the morning. I'm definitely taking today off as I have normal expected soreness but there's no reason to push the envelope when I'll be recovered after a day off, plus I did a double session.

Since my track group meets on Tuesday night and my daughter plays tennis every Wednesday morning, I'm fooling around with the best running schedule for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and taking into account Sunday is my long run. So next week, instead of the double session, I will experiment with continuing my long run on Sunday but doing a Monday night run, then Tuesday night track which will give my body more than 24 hours to recover before the track session, then take Wednesday off. My thought is that is a better approach.

I know my body very well know and 2 things tend to beat it up. First, is double sessions. Second is track sessions but the track sessions are good for speed work and form tuning but I need to be adequately rested before and take at least 24 hours off after. As you become a masters' runner like myself you need to be very careful and conscious as to the speed work you do. Speed work by nature increases the changes of injury so it must be managed very carefully to ensure you get the benefits of speed work without putting your body at danger. In other words, be very respectful of speed work. Many folks do not understand the impact of speed work on the body.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday, March 15th . . . morning half of double session

50 min. trail run in Inov-8 F-Lite 195's, with barefoot warm-up. Group track work-out scheduled for tonight. I've been running with no watch for over 1 week and it is so refreshing. I'm running stronger, faster and I love running more because I have no reliance on a gadget as I can only rely on my body to tell me how far, how fast, and when to rest. My next goal is to race without a watch. I'm entering the 2011 race season and I would like to race without a watch and just entirely rely on my the messages from my body to the brain to guide me.

I'll also continue to closely watch Ryan Hall's "free form running," philosophy. I suspect he is one of the few, if not the only, elite runner(s) that are running "by feel," and not following a set daily workout schedule.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Free Form Training

I woke up and my body said, "take today off," so I did. Now I'm feeling so strong I'm likely to do a double session tomorrow. But what it's all about for me is "running by feel," and "free form" training . . . more below . . .

Free Form Training

If you haven’t had a chance, you should purchase the April, 2011 edition of “Running Times.” On page 12 is an article on Ryan Hall and his new training philosophy. The article provides more specifics but at a high level, Ryan isn’t counting mileage or ledgering a schedule of his workouts. He is truly “running by feel,” and in fact, the author says Ryan “has taken this free form training to its extreme . . . “

I read a recent post by Ryan on his blog where he said he no longer counts miles or distance, and, god help us all, Ryan Hall actually takes 1 day off each week and does no running. Boy, he better be careful because that’s almost anti-American . . . we all must follow a pre-set schedule or life will end as we know it. I’ve also read a few books by Matt Fitzgerald in which he cites several East African runners that run without watches, only document their running activities at a high level (i.e., time only), and truly run by feel (there’s something to be learned here).

I’m posting for others than may be curious or interested. I’ve enjoyed running more over the past month than ever since I started running, and I’ve fully adopted this “free form running,” or “running by feel” philosophy and it has changed my life.

A few changes I made, and for me, they were drastic and it took some time for me to fully adopt them (I never realized how dependent I was on a gadget instead of relying on my own body):

1. Majority of my runs are with “no” watch. I run 6 out of 7 days and I only carry a watch on 1 run per week, generally my tempo run (I just recently quit using a watch for my long run and the joy and love has returned to my long runs; I even do my intervals at the track with my track club with no watch . . . I’m the only one!). I’m also slowly working toward doing my tempo run with no watch so I can truly run without a watch. Ultimately, my goal is only to use a watch when I’m a few weeks from an actual race to check where I’m at in terms of pace and feel. Lastly, I hope to progress to the point that I can race competitively without a watch.

2 When I get tired, I walk. If I get out of breath, I slow down. If I get too tired or sore, I stop and go home. Removing the pressure of any watch, gadgets, or pre-set pace or distance parameters has actually forced me to only rely on my body (I figure the best runners come out of Kenya and they can’t afford watches for many years yet they run beautifully). No technology on the face of this earth is as effective as that device of yours called your body but the trick and challenge is to learn how to listen and understand what it’s telling you.

3. Although I run 6 days per week, I’ve worked with my coach to identify key runs over a 14 or 21 day cycle and while I have a general outline of the week, my goal is to hit the key runs (tempo, interval and long run) but not in a pre-set defined order. I do try to hold Saturday’s for my tempo run but otherwise it’s a free for all and I have no problem deviating if my body so desires. Today, I decided not to run because I was too sore but now half way through the day I’ve recovered (mentally and physically) to the point that I’ll probably do a double session tomorrow (easy morning run, then track workout that night).

It’s wonderful when you remove “rules” from the natural world of running and just run . . . or, don’t run if you don’t feel like running. Some may think this “lack of discipline,” would prevent one from being as competitive as possible. Well, I’m running my “fastest” times and running “more” and “longer” than I ever did before. Funny how that is . . . let's all see how Ryan does at Boston!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday, March 13th . . . long trail run

85 min. trail run. Just a beautiful run over trails and grass fields. Left early in the morning and had the world to myself.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday, March 12th . . . tempo time

65 min. run: 15 min. barefoot warm-up; 50 min. run including 4 miles around 10k pace (6:28 pace). I feel great and that's always my #1 goal. Long run tomorrow.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday, March 11th . . . trails again

55 min. trail run: 5 min. barefoot; 50 min. in Nike Air Zoom Streak XC's.

Why do I run trails so often? It's easier on the body and, more importantly, it builds strength in the ankles and legs while increase foot and ankle flexibility. It's also a great way to avoid repetitive stress injuries since each landing is slightly different. Surface consistency is not always a good thing.

Tomorrow it's tempo time. Per Bart Scott, "Can't Wait!"


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday, March 10th . . . easy run

45 min. easy run on trails in Nike Katana's. Easy, fun and relaxed and my legs have recovered.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Great Training Tip from Ryan Hall

In high school, I was the mileage king. I loved the sense of accomplishment I felt when I added up my weekly mileage. Sometimes I would even sneak out for an easy extra run so I could hit a nice round number. But now I have learned that running a certain number of miles a week doesn’t necessarily mean I will run faster. Running is more art than science. Everyone has unique and changing needs. The only way to know exactly how much is enough but not too much is to experiment and get to know your body as well as you can.

The ideal mileage is the mileage that is right for you. More is not always better. I recommend a gradual progression, trusting that your body will tell you when you have crossed the line and gone too far. While increasing mileage, run on soft surfaces, such as grass and dirt, whenever possible. Also, when increasing your mileage, alternate longer and shorter weeks.

I am always reluctant to tell people how many miles a week to run. I don’t even keep track of my mileage (except when I was writing in a journal heading into Boston last year, and even then I never added up the weekly mileage). I get more confidence from hitting big workouts at specific paces, such as a 15-mile temp run at five-minute pace at 7000 feet over rolling terrain. My coach’s approach has always been to hit the big workouts and then go as short as I need to the following day. I recommend focusing on the workouts and filling in the easy days with as much volume as feels right for your body.


Wednesday, March 9th . . . very tired legs

65 min. run: 20 min. barefoot warm-up on the treadmill; 45 min. trail run in the Evo's. My legs were pretty beat up from the 800 meter interval track session yesterday.

I'm clearly seeing the relationship between speed, age and recovery. It takes 1-2 days for me to recover from intervals, especially 800-1200 meter intervals. I do much better with 200-400 meter intervals. By the time I hit the 800 meter mark, I'd prefer to knock off 1 mile splits. I have to learn about your body and I do much better at a fast tempo pace over longer distances and all out sprints.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday, March 8th . . . night at the track

60 min. with my local track club at the school track. 6x800 meter intervals, with 200 meter recovery. This type of workout is great for sharpening form and technique, although 800 meter intervals are brutal.


Monday, March 7, 2011

My body is talking and I'm listening . . .

Too bad it took me 3 years to learn how to listen to my body. It seems like a simple thing but it's actually a bit complicated and it takes time but once you figure it out, you can run forever and not worry about injuries. You first have to learn how to listen to your body, then you have to listen to what it's saying. Then, the final phase is understanding what it's telling you.

So how do you accomplish this? Well, I wish I had the simple answer but I don't. It takes deep reflection, concentration, practice and commitment. For me, my bare feet tell me a lot. Then, I had to break from my reliance on garmin's, iPod's and other gadgets which block the communications paths, that is, the message path from the body to the brain.

I run 6 days per week and take Tuesday's off but I'm taking today (Monday) off because my body told me yesterday and confirmed this morning that it needs to rest today. I'm coming off a couple 60 mile weeks and as a Masters' runner, I need to monitor how I react. I'm also coming off 4 good and hard speed sessions so all that combined means I need a rest day. But, here's the complicated thing. You have to understand the difference between when you need to push yourself and when you are truly fatigued and risk potential future injury. See, injuries generally don't happen immediately but they result from an accumulation of doing too much or doing something wrong.

I've identified the parameters of my injury threshold. Although I run about 60 miles per week, I generally limit my long run to around 80 minutes, 90 minutes top. But, yesterday I exceed that and pushed to close to 100 minutes and that's on top of a hard tempo run the day before and, again, the accumulation of back-to-back 60 mile weeks. So, I did 2 smart things. I stopped my long run as soon as I realized I was beyond the time I should be and my body started to tell me that with some slight tension in the right knee. Then, I took the day off today. It's only the morning and I can feel my body self repairing. Again, it's sad it took me 3 years to get here but I'm glad I arrived. My body is also telling me to have a reduced mileage week and I'm going to listen. Instead of a 60 miles this week, I'll carve back to 40-45 miles and then see how I feel at the end of the week.

Everyone has an injury threshold and once you understand your parameters, you will run without concern for major injury. Sure, it is very hard to take a day off but I remind myself what I felt like in the past when I was constantly injured (I'm 17 months of injury free running while running my hardest/fastest).


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday long run . . .

95 min. long run on trails in Adizero Rocket's (still not sure if I like the Rocket or not). Ran very early in the morning and didn't see another human being; only coyotes which means it was an awesome run. Nothing like getting out the door before 6am on the weekend . . . the world is yours for a short time (just me and nature . . . very humbling). I love running and finishing my run before most folks get out of bed.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday, March 5th . . . 4 x 2km

75 min. run. 30 min. warm-up, 4 x 2km with 2 min. recoveries. One of my favorite work-outs. Wore the Nike XC's.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday, March 4th . . . trails

65 min. easy trail run in Adidas Adizero Rocket's. Race pace running tomorrow.


Oh so true . . .

Running in the morning has me appreciate all the choices that come later in the day. The choices I make after running seem healthier, wiser and kinder. - Deena Kastor

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday, Feb. 3rd . . . easy trail and hill run

75 min. easy trail run: 15 min. barefoot warm-up; 60 min. run in the Nike XC's.

I will be listening very closely to my body as I'm pushing some heavier mileage weeks. It's not purposeful as it is just happening as I generally run by time without regard to distance and pace. As I look back over the last 3 weeks, with some conservative estimates, I'm pushing into that 60 mile per week range.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday, March 2nd . . . intervals

70 min. run: 20 min. barefoot warm-up on the treadmill; 50 min. run in Nike XC's including 8x400 averaging about a 5:30 pace.

I usually run in the morning but I had an early morning meeting so I ran at lunch. This is why running is so special. You can make it through a stressful meeting and then lace up the shoes and run all your stress deep into the ground. The way you feel after a hard run can't be matched!!!!!!!


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