… You know running has arrived!
I just read this article by the amazingly talented Ultra-Runner Stephanie Howe:
To me it really begged this question and I am curious to see if there will emerge a satisfactory answer from the forum at ultrarunning.com:
“Hi Stephanie, this is very interesting and I agree in many respects. The part that I am struggling with is the remote nature of most runner/coach relationships these days: Based on the communication mix in the famous UCLA study, we see 7 percent verbal, 38 percent vocal and 55 percent visual. Now, in the case of running, we add factors such as form, how the athlete approaches the workout or race and features such as strength training and stretching, etc. Considering that most of today’s “personal online coaching” systems mainly add email and sometimes phone support, how do you suggest we bridge that massive gap?”
The following ideas are what I believe in- do they work for me? Not all the time and in any race- can they work for you? I believe that every distance runner is different and I will be happy to share my principles with you and give any individual advice I can- just ask!
This is a tough one, I have spent a lot of time reading about all kinds of theories and continue to experiment with different diets. At this time, I am convinced that a long distance runner can benefit from training with a diet low in carbs to strengthen the fat metabolism and then load up on carbs close to any race longer than the half-marathon distance. If I could pick a nutrition sponsor, however, it would be Starbucks and, yes, Ben&Jerry’s…
Despite all the extreme theories on both sides about mega-hydration and fear of hyponatremia, my advice is to keep it simple and drink to thirst. During training, water (salted over longer runs) is all you need, when racing, I have recently discovered Tailwind and find that it gives me proper calories and sodium as well as a bit of caffeine and is well tolerated by my sensitive stomach. Adding a bit of ginger or drinking actual Ginger Ale also seems to work.
Just like everywhere else in life, good advice is readily available everywhere and we are just as ready to ignore it most of the time. For parts of my running life, I have followed cookie cutter schedules from books and online training services, semi-custom pace-based plans and very recently even hired a personal coach as an experiment. So far I have enjoyed this de-luxe experience as I am building trust with someone who cares about running even more than me. Do I feel like I could be self-coached instead? Absolutely, since I feel I have read most of what is available and relevant to me in the market and am convinced that I know myself better than any coach near or far could with their mile-high outside view. I am also looking forward to continuing my studies and getting a running coach certification such as the one offered by the Road Runners Club America (RRCA).
While I am preparing to be a coach myself and possibly self-coach in the future, I consider it essential to go through this intimate experience of working with a personal coach myself.
I like to do 3 noteworthy runs every week and I am really looking forward to the book “Meb for Mortals” in April as it might prompt me (as an almost master) to change from a weekly to a 10-day cycle. These are typically:
a) a long run of 20+ miles with a fast finish or a tempo component interspersed
b) a tempo run of 10+ miles at around marathon pace
c) repeats or intervals of some sort at anywhere between half-marathon pace to 5K pace (not that I know what that is…) depending on length and number of repeats
Aside from those, I will run easy by feel and try to mix it up with running stroller , treadmill and trail as much as I can.
A year in the life of a runner is a long, long time. It is also full of temptations to race often and long as more and more races keep popping up everywhere. I believe it is important to focus on a small number of main races per year. To me, those have recently been a trail ultra in February and one in October as well as some sort of a long race in summer. For a lot of traditional runners this might be a Marathon in April and one in September. This is, let’s face it, the rhythm for a lot of elite world-class runners and peak performance ultimately requires focus and dedication. Outside of the main event buildups, it can be very useful to train for speed and race shorter distances or just go on adventures without expecting top outcomes- I will try and do some spontaneous events this year that coincide with private and business travel and just go with the flow- just don’t expect to score PRs.
This should really be the Holy Grail for all of us: healthy and well-time food, massage (or foam rolling in my frugal nature) and sleep(have recently started tracking it) are what most of us cannot get enough off. Same goes for rest as ambition drives us to go longer, further and harder all the time. This is where my final thought for the day comes in:
- Heart Rate Monitoring
I have long ignored this important training clue since I had both hated the 80s style chest strap and also wanted to be more like the African pros who run by feel and pace charts. I recently got an optial HR wrist band, though, and am keen to at least collect the day and try and derive some essential data from it. It is fascinating to read about the latest science, such as Heart Rate Variability and be able to experience it first hand with basic means such as the Movescount web portal. I am really learning interesting clues about my body’s reaction to training and its ability for recovery.
Thanks for sticking with me on these somewhat random thoughts on training-more soon.
As a lifelong student of the sport of running I have always been excited about the promise of learning from the great athletes and coaches in the sport. Some of the standout books that come to mind:
- Greg McMillan’s “You-only faster” is a fantastic workbook for anyone wanting to understand the process of designing a sound training schedule and the rationale behind it
- Peter Greif’s “For running life” (sorry, German only, at this time, though I might offer to translate it since it is so good) is a complete compendium of wisdom about anything you ever needed to know about the marathon.
- Scott Jurek’s “Eat and Run” is more cook book and biography than training guide but very readable and fascinating
- Haile’s “Running with Haile Gebrselassie” (also in German, only…) had a lot of promise but ultimately fell short in revealing all the secrets of the sacred master
Enter Meb with his book to be released days before the Boston marathon, I have long preordered it and snug around its AMAZON.COM page and today, at last, they published the “Look Inside” online preview:
I have just scanned through it and the contents seem to be highly promising: a comprehensive personal account of his running experience with tons of well-meant advice to us- cannot wait for this to be revealed.
sometimes you just get a wake-up call to start something new. For me, this happened last weekend, when
a) I finished my first road marathon in over 10 years and just missed the 3 hour mark since I decided to belittle the RD’s warnings and the posted elevation profile telling me that the course had 1300ft of elevation. The fact that I had bib number “7” might have also made me feel invincible.
b) Mike Wardian doubled on the treadmill 50K world record, first missing it by a hair since he had not fully researched the latest record attempts and then beating it a little over a day later.
These two events, unrelated as they may seem, motivated me to rethink my running, quit the whining and get to work!
On these pages, I would like to invite you to share our joint running experience, make commitments to excellence by our personal standards and get busy (damn, this sounds awfully corporate culturish…)
Specifically, I want to share my training experience (through personal tips, Movescount and Strava) as well as race reports and any pertinent product, service and nutrition related info with you.
Stay tuned, send me any questions, comments or feedback you have and remember:
“Alone we are all fools, but together we can be Ultra-Fools!”