Running Ideas

A few weeks ago I checked a book out from the local library titled Advanced Marathoning by Peter Pfitzinger and Scott Douglass.  This book provides several sets of training plans designed to prepare a runner for a marathon.  One set of training plans peaks at 55 miles per week.  Another set peaks at 70 miles per week and another set peaks at 93 miles per week.  I have not read the 2nd edition of this book.  But, having read the table of contents of the 2nd edition, it looks like there are four sets, instead of three in the latest edition. 

Pfitzinger was an elite marathoner in the early 1980s, finishing marthons at around 2 hours and 15 minutes.  His training plans ask runners to do the bulk of their miles at a pace 10 to 20 percent slower than their goal marathon pace.  So, if one were hoping to run a marathon at a 9 minute mile pace, one would do most of the training runs from 9:54 minutes per mile to 10:48 minutes per mile pace.  There are some threshold runs, some VOmax runs and some runs at goal marathon pace sprinkled into the training plans as well.  And each set of training plans contains a 24 week, a 18 week and a 12 week training plan, depending on how much time you have to train for the marathon. 

Two other books that I am interested in read, but have not yet read, are Hansons Marathon Method: A Regegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon by Luke Humphrey and Daniels Running Formula by Jack Daniels

In the final analysis, I tend to think that the best training plan is the training plan I can actually stick with.  But I am always trying to find the right balance between lots of long, slow distance (aerobic) running with “quality” runs which are at a faster pace.  I don’t want to do what I did a few years ago, which was try to do most of my runs at goal race pace.  That got my fatigued and injured.  But I plan on doing some more reading on this as we move towards the spring racing season of 2014.

The Low-Carb Fraud

Dr. T. Colin Campbell has just come out with a new e-Book titled, The Low-Carb Fraud.     

Going “low-carb” makes sense if this means replacing Mountain Dew with water and replacing donuts with fruit.  The problem comes when people assume that no moderation is necessary with respect to protein and fat.  Dr. Campbell is very much responsible for me adopting a whole foods plant based diet because it was his first book, The China Study, that persauded me to give his nutrition ideas a try.  Two months later, to my surprise, I was not only enjoying my plant based diet, but I also became a runner.  Thanks Dr. Campbell. 

3rd Time Is The Charm

This morning I ran in my 5th half marathon race in Carmel, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis.

The events are called Carmel Marathon Weekend, which includes an 8 kilometer race, a full marathon, a half marathon and a marathon relay. Many of my running buddies in my running club decided to form a marathon relay team and had a good time. Maybe running “only” an 8 mile leg of a 26.2 mile course is more fun than running the entire 26.2 miles? I wouldn’t know since I have never attempted a full marathon.

About a month ago I had thought that I would jog this race in Carmel and save my energy for the half marathon on May 4th, two weeks from now. But Carmel Marathon weekend and I have a bit of an uneasy history. 2011 was the first year of these running events. I ran in the 8 kilometer race and didn’t do very well, failing to finish in the top half of my age/gender division. In 2012 I ran the half marathon and didn’t do well, again failing to finish in the top half among my contemporaries.

So, about a week ago I decided that it rather than jog this race, I would take off the gloves and do a full effort. I wanted to beat my personal record in the half marathon, my 1 hour and 55-56 minute finish last November.

I remembered the Carmel course from last year as being relatively flat. But because of the flooding in some areas, the race director had to change the course at the last minute and had to get this new course re-certified by USA Track and Field as being 13.0975 miles. This course seemed to have more hills than I remembered. Maybe my memory of the course is distorted by the fact that I hit the wall last year near the end and did a walk/jog for the last 3 or 4 miles? Also, I think in order to get this course certified by USA Track and Field at the last minute, they might have erred on the course being a bit longer than 13.1 miles. My Garmin GPS watch said that I covered 13.27 miles this morning.

I finished in about 1 hour and 54 minutes, a new personal record. During the race, after the first 3 miles, I relied on my heart rate monitor to determine whether I was pushing it too hard or not running hard enough.  In my previous 4 half marathons I didn’t rely on heart rate data at all for pacing help.  I think using heart rate is a good idea.  The only downside is that I might have used my heart rate as an excuse not to push harder than I perhaps could have.  On the other hand, several times during the race the data from the heart rate monitor gave me permission to run harder than I would have if I had relied only on pace from the GPS feature.  

I am happy about the results, even though my Garmin GPS watch was telling me during the race that I was doing better than my 1:54 or so finish as stated in the official results. Garmin can’t be wrong, can it? My Garmin records me as having run a little faster in the second half of the race than in the first half. But the official results say the opposite. This makes me think that the race director did add an extra tenth of a mile in there somewhere at the end. But it was a good time, even though it was about 34 degrees at the start of the race and stayed in the mid-30s for the remainder of the race.  

Perhaps the highlight of the race was during one of the middle miles of the race, perhaps mile 8, when we the course took us through a residential area.  There was a little girl, maybe 7 years old, holding a sign that said, “Run for Boston.”  Yes, the tragedy of Boston last Monday was in the minds of us runners in this race.  We had a moment of silence to honor the victims just prior to the beginning of the race.

This Carmel Marathon Weekend has become a 3 times in a year habit. Maybe I’ll do it again next year.  I admit that running another full effort half marathon two weeks from now sort of goes against my idea of avoiding something called “Extreme Endurance Exercise” and whatever cardiovascular damage that might result from it.  But that’s a topic for another post.