Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

6 Exercise Machines You Should Do Without

I don't do any of this, but thought it was interesting...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Six common mistakes to avoid when training for a marathon

This is an email from Sports Performance Bulletin. I couldn't find a link in the email to the site or I would have just put a link to it. Jim Bledsoe wrote this article. (Jim, include a link in your emails)

Six common mistakes to avoid when training for a marathon
If you run marathons or are preparing to run your first marathon, it is vital you avoid these six common mistakes.

by Jim Bledsoe

Mistake Number 1

Carrying out any runs that exceed a 10 mile distance during the four-week period before race day.

For a runner with average leg strength, it takes at least a month to recover from strenuous marathon training so that the race itself can be completed with rested, healthy leg muscles. Scientific research suggests that during this month before the race no workout should cover more than about 10 miles. Violating this principle will weaken your quads, which means that come race day they will still be reeling from the previous four week’s punishing training schedule.

Correct strategy:

To promote better recovery while still enhancing the ability to run marathon-type distances carry out a long run every two to three weeks. Gradually increase the duration of this effort to 22 miles but only run 10 to 12 of them at race pace. On alternate weeks, complete shorter-duration quality training.

Complete the last long run at least four weeks prior to race day.

Mistake Number 2

Carrying out just one workout per week at faster than goal marathon pace.

For endurance runners in general, max running speed is a good predictor of marathon potential. Improvements in max running speed almost always lead to upgrades in marathon performance. However, it is difficult to enhance max speed when only one 'speed' session is completed per week, especially when that 'speed' session is more of a tempo run than a higher-intensity effort.

Correct strategy:

Complete at least two faster-than-marathon-pace workouts per week, mixing interval workouts at 10-K, 5-K, and 3-K pace with neural training (see Mistake no. 3) and placing less emphasis on tempo runs.

Mistake Number 3

Failing to complete any neural training i.e. failing to train at VO2max speed and omitting 'super sets' from the overall programme.

It is certain that VO2max workouts produce more gains in VO2max, lactate threshold, and running economy than any other type of training session; these three physiological variables are great predictors of marathon success. It is likely that super sets have a similarly strong physiological effect.

Correct strategy:

Carry out a neural workout every 10 to 15 days during the early stages of marathon training - and every week during the last eight weeks before a marathon.

Mistake Number 4

Emphasizing non-running-specific strength training.

Correct strategy:

Start preparations for a marathon with six weeks of whole-body strengthening, with an emphasis on exercises which involve most of the muscles in the body simultaneously and which avoid seated and reclining postures.

Then move on to hill training and exercises which duplicate key aspects of the gait cycle, including one-leg squats, high-bench step-ups, one-leg hops in place, bicycle leg swings, reverse bicycle leg swings, eccentric reaches with toes, and arrested step-downs, focusing on weight-bearing exercises which require high degrees of coordination and must be carried out with full body weight supported by one leg at a time.

Finally, finish with about eight weeks of explosive work, including hops, bounds, sprints, one-leg squats with lateral hops, in-place accelerations, Indian hops, drop jumps, and high-knee explosions. These moves enhance the ability to run fast, and as max running speed increases, it drags marathon pace along with it.

Mistake Number 5

Using gels during the marathon itself.

This is very tricky business, since exactly the right amount of water must be taken in with each packet of gel. Take in too much water - and you end up with a hypotonic sports drink in your gullet which delivers too few carbs to your leg muscles. Take in too little water - and you concoct a syrupy goo within your intestines which actually drags in water from surrounding tissues and spurs diarrhoea. Pour sports drink down your throat along with the gel, and you might as well begin scouting around for a Portaloo.

Correct strategy:

It is possible to use gels during the race, but you'd better have a sports-drink expert or exercise physiologist calculate your water intake for you. It's far easier to simply use a sports drink throughout the race (remember never to mix sports drink with water), a practice which will increase your chances of avoiding GI upsets and delivering enough carbohydrate to your muscles.

Mistake Number 6

Employing a training programme which is devoid of variety.

Correct strategy:

Avoid a too-heavy dependence on tempo and long running, substituting an array of higher-quality workouts, including neural sessions (see Mistake no. 3), lactate-stacker workouts (two-minute intervals at close to max pace, separated by four-minute recoveries), hill climbs, fartlek efforts, speed-strength circuits, 800-metre intervals at 3-K pace, 1200- to 1600-metre intervals at 5-K speed, 2000- to 2400-metre reps at 10-K pace, and competitions ranging in distance from 5K up to the half-marathon.

These kinds of exertions will have a much broader - and larger - impact on the key physiological variables which are important for endurance-running success, including VO2max, lactate-threshold running speed, and running economy. They will also promote the ability to run faster, which is critically important for all types of racing.

A note on Lactic Acid:

It's important to bear in mind that aqua jogging does not remove lactic acid from the leg muscles. In fact, if the aqua jogging is above a fairly minimal intensity, it will actually increase muscle lactic-acid concentrations. In truth, there's no need to fret about lactic-acid levels in the muscles. Most of the stuff is removed or metabolized within minutes after a workout is over, and of course lactic acid does not cause muscle soreness or stiffness.

Bottom Line

Remember that it is your overall fitness which will determine your success at marathon racing, not the quantity of miles in your training log or even the number of long runs which you have completed. In fact, too many training-log miles will make your legs feel like logs on race day. The idea in marathon training is to 'peak' in neural and physiological fitness and in the ability to run long at goal marathon speed about a month before the race - and then to reach an even higher 'peak' in marathon capacity over the last four weeks by combining less total running and greater rest with the right amount of intense - but not prolonged - training. If you can pull that off, while retaining your confidence, you will have the greatest chance of running your best-possible race.

Questions from me:
I liked this list but I had a few questions and wondered what others think about the list.

"Neural training i.e. failing to train at VO2max speed"... What is that?
Is a sports drink just as good as using Gels? Do you really need a "sports-drink expert or exercise physiologist to calculate your water intake for you"?

running injuries | Sports Injury Bulletin

running injuries | Sports Injury Bulletin

Great links of posts from runners with advice and tips on many running injuries.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to Become a Runner: A Simple Method for Beginners | Life Learning Today

How to Become a Runner: A Simple Method for Beginners | Life Learning Today

I just saw this and thought it was pretty good. There are also some good links throughout for stretching and eating...

First Official Half Marathon 14.2

I ran my first official half marathon this weekend in Tupelo, MS. It was actually 14.2 miles due to the way the course was set up. The full marathon is basically in a horse shoe shape out and back to make the full 26.2. The half you just go to the end and cut across an extra mile back to the finish line.
Here is my full report from dailymile with pictures:

I really enjoyed the race today. It was about 58F and chilly around 5am.
I met up with some great Dailymilers/twitter(ers)... @Bamarunner, @gabsatrucker & @sweetdaddyd69. Doug stayed with me the whole time and kept me company and on pace. I really appreciate him doing that... Would have been a long lonely road.
Not much of a moon to run by but the stars were out bright in the clear sky. (luckily most people around us had lights to run by)
I can't get over this weather... Once it was bright enough to see, you could see your breathe in the air. I wish it could just stay like this year round.
I felt really good running today at a faster than training pace. In training I've been doing around 11:30 on the long runs and today we stayed around 10:30 most of the time. We took a little extra time at the bathroom breaks, so that probably added at least 10minutes to our time.
With about 1.5mile to go Mark (@Bamarunner) came back to run with us back to the finish line and @gabsatrucker joined us for the final stretch. Was really awesome to be there with them to finish up my first half marathon!


I have neglected my blog for a while... I've been posting and tracking everything on dailymile, so I haven't really focused on getting everything on here.
But, I do want the things that I learn and do along the way to all be in one place... so I played catch up with a few of the latest posts.

Here are my PR's (Personal Records) to date:
1 Mile: 7:27
1.5 miles: 12:20
5k: 26:47 This was on the same course of my first 5k in March(Time was 33:00)
10k: 1:04:00
Half Marathon: 2:30:00
14.2: 2:43:38

Weight Loss

One of the benefits of running is the weight loss that comes along with it.
I weighed 227 pounds at the end of 2009 and when I started running in February I was about 220 pounds and about to go into size 40 dress pants! I was determined not to need bigger than a 38 and am so glad running came into the picture...

Eating healthy is still really hard for me. I love all the foods and desserts that I don't even want to mention because I'll want to eat it all... One thing I have been able to do is to stop drinking everything but water. I will drink coffee every so often and I probably don't have a soft drink more than once a month. Sweat Tea was my downfall and I have totally cut it out. I have cut fried food from my diet (for the most part...) and cut way back on my portions and not stuffing myself.

Today I am 183 pounds (44 pounds lost this year!) and in size 34 pants! I feel so much better and can't wait to get down to where I want to be... around 170.

I have hit a wall in my weight loss over the past month and need to start exercising more instead of just running. The Spartacus Workout broke my plateau last time, I need to find another routine to get into...

Running Is Not Just Running Anymore

About a month ago, I had another one of those great 10 mile runs that just put me at ease and allowed me to think. This was my dailymile post that morning:

I've never been a morning person... Getting up when it's still dark used to seem crazy... Now, 5am comes and it means something totally different to me. I get to run... Something that most people in my life just don't understand. It's an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the stars, the moon, the sunrise... Things most people take for granted just because they never take the time to enjoy it. When I started running, it was for weight loss, to do a half marathon, to compete and to accomplish something. I have done these things and will continue to build and ad goals... but one thing I didn't expect was all the time I would have to think and reflect on my life, work, family, good and bad decisions that I've made, where it has brought me and all the things I have to be thankful for.
Running is not just an exercise... It's way more than that...

The Run I Aborted - Heat Stroke

A few months ago, I had planned on doing a 10+ mile run like the week before.
The previous week, all thing just fell into place and I ran the furthest I had ever done. One of those runs that you hear people talk about being on a "runners high" and feeling like you are running effortlessly...
I wanted to capture that feeling again the next week, but the heat had another idea.
It was one of the hottest days I had tried to run in, 86F and 90% humidity. About 4 miles into the run I started feeling awful, my heart rate was really high and I started getting strange chills and a tingly feeling in my face and arms like I was freezing. I had never felt like that before and it freaked me out. So, I cut the run short at about 6 miles and posted about it on dailymile.
From the response I got, cutting it short was definitely the right thing to do...
Sound like I was dangerously close to heat stroke. Some of the advice I got was to make sure and hydrate the day before, get plenty of electrolytes and fluids during the run, make sure to drink plenty before you feel thirsty (once you get dehydrated, there is no catching up without stopping and cooling off...) and once you start to feel that way, get to shade immediately and cool off.

Here is a link to a Mens Health article about running in the heat that has some great tips... Avoid Heat Stroke

Spartacus Workout

If you want a full body workout that you don't need to go to the gym for... try this one! I did it for 4 weeks and it is crazy! Here is the description from

"To create the Spartacus Workout, we chose 10 exercises that collectively work every part of your body. Then we made each exercise a 60-second station so you can challenge your heart and lungs as well as your muscles. The final product is a high-intensity circuit designed to torch fat, define your chest, abs, and arms, and send your fitness level soaring. You'll sculpt a lean, athletic-looking body—and be in the best shape of your life."

I wouldn't recommend starting this before a major race...
Here is the link: Spartacus Workout

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sub 2 Hour American Marathon?

Watch this video. Shows a lot of things you can improve on. I just got this in an email.

(Text from email to me)
"Conventional wisdom has it that African distance runners are faster than Americans because they are genetically superior, run to school as kids, and live and train at high altitudes.

Our analysis shows that they are just more efficient.

In our new video, we measure the mechanical problems that are keeping American runners from the sub 2-hour mark.
Our conclusion is that the top American marathoners are right now much more fit than their African competitors. Once they rid themselves of their mechanical problems, they can run under two hours with no problem."

Running Tips from Ryan Hall

Foot Landing

Arm Swing