A place where the average runner can learn and share
In October of 2011 I ran my third marathon in as many years. Unfortunately it was my slowest, although I did finish. After the race I felt tremendous burn out. I know this happens to many runners. The joy of running for me was setting the goals and reaching them, the ultimate was finishing the marathon. I am very proud of the accomplishments, but I made a decision to "take a break" through the holidays...
That was a mistake! So like everyone else in the world I started my workout/running today--the second day of the year. So what did I learn? How unbelievably fast you can lose what you have gained. Today I said to myself I would just take it easy and run for 30 minutes. That 30 minutes seemed to knock me on my ass worse then the marathon! It literally felt like starting over.
So I reset my goal. Start over and set a goal of running more days but less mileage. Use time instead of mileage. 30 minutes 4 days a week with a 60 minute run on Sundays. Switching my goals to time might just be the motivation I need to get me going again. The hope is to do more mileage inside the same time frame. I have always been on the slow side so maybe this will help.
Here is to 2012!
Well 2 weeks to go. Am I ready? Unfortunately not so much. It has been a hectic fall with many things converging. My training was not as strong as last year. However the excitement builds and my goals have revised to meet expectations in order to really enjoy the race. More to come. Run on...
On Friday of this past week a little thing happend that changed my mood all weekend. For those in the running community — most are familiar with Bart Yasso. As goofy as this sounds, I received a notification from Twitter saying "Bart Yasso is now following you". I couldn't believe someone of this stature in running would take the time. It re-ignited my fun for running.
According to my training plan I had to run 17 miles today. When I woke up this morning I could hear the rain. I had the thought of "well I can do it next week". Then I remembered the "follow" on Friday. And thought back to his book "My Life on the Run" (you can read my review of the book here) and what he has endured in his career of running. A little rain shouldn't be a problem. So with that I was out the door and had one of the best runs of the year. A cooling rain that helped me pick up the pace and kick seventeen miles in the ass. Thanks Bart!
This is an ad that Nike put out. Sometimes I feel this way, yet I can see people's point to the controversy. If you have thoughts, post em. Run on...
Well the heat has hit pretty hard. That means early (wait very early) runs. On Sunday it was 12 miles, today was 3 in 90 degree heat. Remember: slow, hydrate, live. Run on...
If you are like me — you have been told by someone at the store or coach that you "overpronate". For years now I have been buying stability shoes and they seem to be ok. My current shoe is the Nike Lunarglide + 2, which has less stability than my old Asics 2160's. Today I came across a good article on overpronation and thought I would share it. It is from Active.com. Who knows, maybe I will end up in some Vibrams....
Well this year has been a bit of a slow start. Finding the motivation to push myself further has been quite difficult. Currently my work schedule has left me with little time. I am very grateful to be working in this economy and I absolutely love being in the creative field. Deadlines for clients have been dramatic to say the least. In addition to my day job I also teach design at a local Art College (College for Creative Studies). Two nights a week, working with some very talented group of kids. It seems I have been giving a lot of time to others — while not paying attention to mine.
Not all has been lost, a few weeks ago I did run the Martian Half marathon sponsored by Running fit here in the Detroit area. It went pretty well with a finish time of 2:04. Waiting for the weather to finally break should get me back up to speed. Today I completed a six mile run and the sun quickly followed. Hopefully I will get renewed sense of urgency and begin to update the blog as well as get my butt in gear and hit the pavement. If anyone is still out there reading this — it would be great to get a topic from you. Sign in and contribute!
It's been what it seems like forever, but yesterday I was able to actually get outside and run. Seems like an easy thing to do, however with the snow, ice and cold, it can be daunting.
With all the indoor running I noticed I felt less in actual running shape! I have been using the track lately but still not the same as feeling the fresh air.
Spring is close! Real training will start and the world will be right once again.
This Sunday, here in Detroit, looks like I may be able to actually run outside! Snow and all will force a slow run, but man I am starting to get that "Shining" feeling! Run on
The winters here in Detroit can really put you in a state. Myself -- well the cloudy skies and ice really get to me. I really enjoy being able to run outside, but in the winter I am much more worried about being "sure footed". Which basically regulates me to the inside track or treadmill.
This is the only time for me that running becomes a chore. Not the act -- that still is something that gives me peace. It is being couped up inside, going round and round a small track that takes eleven laps to make one mile. Or running for five miles on a belt and go nowhere, like a hamster on a wheel.
It can be tough for me, and maybe you as well, to get motivated to run. I am a creature of routine so if I start to miss runs I start to beat myself up and feel a bit out of control going into a vicious cycle of missing the next run. There are ways to break this cycle and move forward.
One of the ways is to sign up for an early spring race. This works wonders for me. It gives me that goal to look forward to and sets up a real training routine. My personal nature is to compete against myself, always looking to do better than before. What seems to get me going is signing up for the Martian Marathon (the half) here in the Detroit area. The half marathon for me is really my perfect distance. I feel like I am really running something but it doesn't exhaust every ounce of energy like the full.
This year I am starting something different. I am helping organize a small run club at work and getting new people into the world of running. I am going to attempt to motivate and teach people that haven't ran much to run a 5k this spring. The nice thing is we will be doing this once during the week at lunch in a different indoor track in the middle of Downtown Detroit. Getting others excited about running has jump-started my energy for running again. (and writing this blog!)
Which leaves me to the last result THE TREADMILL. This is the toughest for me. I can only do about five miles on the treadmill and then I get crazy and have to stop. I try to create scenarios on the treadmill and use the settings for different terrains and elevations. Create time constraints and speed to help get past the tediousness of the situation. Without my iPod I would be a disaster. I use this time to listen to podcasts and catch up on the latest tech news, (I am a geek) running news and some new music. When on the treadmill I tend not to think much about running, which in not necessarily a good thing. Runners World has a nice article on treadmill motivation, you can read it by going here.
The winter doesn't last forever and it is not too late to get your motivation back -- still I can't wait for spring!
First -- let me apologize. It has been quite sometime since I have posted an article. I found myself a little lethargic since running the Detroit Marathon back in October. Looking back and after doing a little research -- I see that I have been going through some post race depression or really just the "blues". In no way do I equate this with the real clinical diagnosis of "depression", this is something different, very real but much different.
As some of you know I have been posting my progress as I trained for the Detroit Marathon. My goal was to finish in under four hours. My time was four hours and ten minutes. Ten flipping minutes! Yes it was better than last year and I should be proud. I am -- honestly I am proud -- however I still feel like I failed. I buried the feeling for a while, but it keeps coming up. What followed after the race has been procrastination. I love creating this blog, but I felt "how can I be motivational even though I failed?". I mean I just read an article on Lance Armstrong, he has gone through way more than I have, yet he wins. That is inspirational. So I shied away from the running community and running as well. (I still do 10 on Sunday).
With some research I found this is quite common. I look back and wondered was all the training worth it? The hot mornings in August, the night runs, the discipline of eating as right as possible. It felt like it was for nothing. I am certainly not the only one that has gone through this (see internet...) and I won't be the last.
The tough thing about the marathon is -- you can't run it again the following week like you can with a 5k or 10k (unless of course you are Dean Karnazes). Maybe a month later but even that is tough. So "proving" myself again would take some time.
Proving myself...hmmmm. This was the problem. I came to the realization that I thought that finishing the Marathon in under four [pullquote_left]Proving myself...hmmmm. This was the problem.[/pullquote_left] hours would somehow legitimize me as a real runner and not some weekend wannabe. Failing at that gave me the feeling of just being a "hobby" runner. Now I know this is not true, but sometimes emotions control logic and that is just life. Understanding where these thoughts came from really helped me deal with reality.
It can be easy not to see what the true accomplishment of just finishing a marathon can be. The time and training along with getting to the race healthy is more than most people choose to tackle. As I write this I can look up and see the medals hanging of the various races that I have ran -- accomplishments. I started this to be healthy not to be Lance Armstrong, so next steps is to get back to basic training and running for fun.
Time to let running become (again) that release of tension not the source. For running to be enjoyable and "selfish".
Time to run on.
Here is a video finish of people finishing between 4-4:20 you might catch me at the 4:19 mark holding a flip camera!
Just came home from the Detroit Marathon. Thanks to all for your help, comments and well wishes! It was a perfect day for the race and I did the very best I could.
Well I didn't get my time, but I am 4 minutes better than last year. Official Chip Time 4:10:44. I am still happy, legs not so much!
Coming soon a full post.
So, its the night before the race (the Detroit Marathon) and everything goes through the mind. Did I train enough? Did I rest enough?
The journey is reaching the end and all the training should payoff tomorrow. The idea of finishing with a time of 3:59:59 still entrenched in my brain. 16 weeks of disciplined training. Leading up the wait the night before.
I know many of the readers here will also have many questions about themselves the night before as they go to bed. To all of you, relax and enjoy.
Here are a few questions I ask myself on race night that may help you:
- Is my number pinned to my shirt?
- Are all my clothes ready for when I wake up?
- Did I get my shoes ready (add my timing ribbon)
- Do I have my hat?
- DID I SET MY ALARM?
- Are my songs synced on my iPod?
- Do I have my "throw-a-way clothes"?
- Did I pack all my "fuel" (gatorade and gels)?
- Is there gas in my car?
- Can I get to sleep?
- (bonus, did I write the blog entry?)
Number Ten is the toughest for me. Much like the night before starting school, your mind runs it's own marathon in bed and it is tough to sleep. So two nights before the race, I hit the mattress early. That seems to help.
It has been really inspiring writing this blog as I trained for this Marathon. I have become just as passionate for this blog as I have been about running. I have met many people via social networks and even had a few friends take up running this year. So needless to say it has been great.
It's not over yet, and neither is this blog. The last item I am packing will be my Flip camera to document the race. Look for it soon! Also I will post my time as soon as I can tomorrow, no matter what it is.
The taper time in training for a long distance race, for me, is filled with anxiety. When your building up your distance running, it seems you are focused on that weeks long run -- now you are slowing down with less mileage. The taper also forces you to think about something that won't happen for about three weeks.
The tough thing for me is NOT to run. Honestly my mind says do more, but I know it's about race day. It is time to heal, eat the best you can and REST. Work on actually getting sleep. Think about the food you ingest (remember garbage in garbage out).
Perhaps the toughest part of the taper is the waiting and second guessing. Everyone feels they may not have done enough to get through the race in the time they set for themselves. For me I am competitive with myself. I always want to do better than before or it is considered a failure. This is not the most positive way to think I admit. However it does give me that push sometimes to move.
Another aspect of the taper process can be the little aches and pains that crop up. For me I have had muscle tightness and ankle soreness that seem to have come from no where. As I ask running friends and looked around message boards, this seems to be a trend for most runners. The body starts to heal and giving it time to heal before the big race will only make you stronger for the race. The trick for me is not to worry about every little feeling of soreness as a debilitating injury. (Although if the pain you feel is changing the way you run, than please rest and have it checked)
I do believe this -- the experience of training for a Marathon is not one to just dismiss when you are tapering. The discipline, the time it takes away from other things. Waking in the morning before anyone else just so you can get that run in. After all of the miles logged without injury is an accomplishment in an of itself.
So with one week left and my mind now focused directly on the race. I will: Think about eating right, plan out what I need, and sleep! Even if I can't break the 3:59:59 mark, I sure hope to beat last years 4:14:36 mark. We will see.
Once in a while I get excited about geeky things, like when Return of the Jedi came out when I was 13 or when I got my Atari 800xl computer. This is how I feel after using the Runkeeper App. Although I still use the Nike+Wrist band experience, I have now pushed through to the next level. That level is Runkeeper the running tracking App that works on both iPhone and Android smart phones.
RunKeeper uses your phone's GPS to track your fitness activities. Get your distance, time, pace/speed, how many calories you burn, and your path traveled on a map. All to track, measure, and improve your fitness. The beauty of this app is it's simplicity and excellent user interface that allows you to run while it keeps track. Best of all the App is FREE!
Personally I have an Android phone (the Droid 2) and for the most part have been made to feel "inferior" to the iPhone, well this app is available on both platforms, but works exceptionally well for me on Android. It gives real time feedback of your run, uses Google maps and GPS to record your route with elevation. All of this information is sent directly to your profile.
One of the best features is the integration of your information on the web at your account with Runkeeper.com. You can set up your own profile (feel free to view mine at http://runkeeper.com/user/avgrunningjoe/profile) and connect with other runners. You can share accomplishments on Facebook, Twitter and now Foursquare in which you can unlock achievements as you go. For premium subscribers you can allow others to watch your progress in real time as you run your race!
Another plus is you do not need any other equipment, no pod for the shoe or device to hook up. Now to be fair Nike+ has just released their app on iTunes, however I can not test that because it is only iPhone compatible. Adidas also has an app and I am sure other shoe companies will too. Runkeeper can also keep track of biking, hiking, skateboarding and walking. As this app upgrades over time, this runner will keep using it.
Do yourself a favor, if you have a smartphone download this app now!
The Peak weeks -- which means the longest runs before the Marathon -- 20 miles but I did 21. Something about stopping at 20 that feels like bad luck to me. A crazy superstition I have about going passed 20, a mental hurdle so to speak.
Peak weeks are an important part in the Marathon training experience, it is the last chance to assess your progress and prepare for the race.
The long run just before the Marathon should be used as a dry run. Wear the clothes you are going to wear, wake up at the same time you would for the race, eat the same food, use the same supplements you will use during the race, etc. The reason -- well [pullquote_left]the last thing you need on Marathon day is a surprise[/pullquote_left] the last thing you need on Marathon day is a surprise. The worst surprise is stomach related. If you eat something new on race day you may not know how it will effect your digestive tract. No one wants to spend their race day in the blue boxes along the race route. Also this gives you a great time to really see where you are so you can set a reasonable expectation for race day.
Setting the expectation for race day will help you have an enjoyable experience on race day. If you started out the training period with one expectation but arrived at another on Peak weekend -- you can now reset. For better or worse, no surprises. For me I am at my pace of 9:38/mile which puts me at 4:12:27 for the Marathon, twelve and half minutes longer than I want to be. I am not giving up on my strive for 3:59:59 but I need to be realistic and safe come race day. And heck that is two minutes better than last year!
As I hit mile 20 yesterday, I thought "my god, I would still have 6.2 more to go!" doubt crept in! Upon reflection I feel pretty confident, my legs are sore and tight but I finished. I feel I have my routine for race day down pat. I feel prepared.
Honestly yesterday really took a toll. Normally after I run a long run I can rest and still accomplish some things in the afternoon. Yesterday however -- I just sat. I sat at the "peak" of training -- resting. I sat and reflected on what it took to get to this point. The hours of running, the explanations to people as to why, two pairs of shoes and countless Cliff bars. I sat in my chair and felt great, despite the soreness, despite my time and despite all doubt.
The next two weeks are about staying healthy and healing before the race. The taper. Some get restless and want to run more, me I enjoy this period. The build up, the anticipation of race day and excitement of conversation with other runners. Yes my friends I am going to take in this time to reflect and enjoy every moment before the race comes.