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Monday, September 27, 2010
To race a 5K, you're pretty much in high gear the entire race. There's very little ramp-up time and very little room for any back-sliding. That however, is what appeals to many runners. They love the rush of adreniline and challenge that a 5K provides.
So how do you train for a 5K? There are a lot of different theories on training for a 5K, but the one common thread of most 5K training plans is speed work. I personally think that three types of runs are key to 5K training—Lactate Threshold Runs, Aerobic Power Runs, and Endurance Runs.
Lactate Threshold Runs are more commonly known as Tempo runs. Lactate has gotten a pretty bad rap over the years. Ever feel that deep down burning sensation in your legs when you've pushed the intensity of a run? That's due to the buildup of blood lactate (a waste product of the energy production). Because you've ramped up the intensity so quickly, the body isn't able to clear it out of the blood stream fast enough, so you feel a burning sensation and you begin to fatigue and slow down. What many runners don't know is that lactate can actually be used as a source of muscle fuel. The key is pushing out that lactate threshold. In other words pushing out the point at which you feel the burn. A great way to do that is through tempo runs. These are runs in which you run about 30seconds slower than your 10K race or at about 80-90% of your Max Heart Rate. So, it's a slightly uncomfortable run, but not a run where you're completely wiped-out at the end.
1. Learn the feel of his/her race pace.
2. Have more evenly paced splits.
3. Experience running consecutive race-pace miles.
5-10-minute warm-up jog
1-mile at a 7:00min pace
5-10-minute cool-down jog
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The Reader's Digest article starts with a really amazing factoid—"You can cut your risk of heart attack by nearly 40% if you eat a 3oz serving of black beans daily." I doubt most people are going to eat black beans everyday, but it's enough of an eye-opener to want to add them as frequently as possible.
Actually, in my household, we eat beans (all kinds) rather frequently. Our problem is changing up the menu so we're not always having the same old beans-n-rice dish. That's why, this healthy version of a traditional lasagna recipe caught my eye. I made it for the family and it was a hit. Makes 12 servings so there were leftovers which were perfect for reheating for a quick lunch.
Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think. Don't forget to send in your own recipes to be featured on the blog and get a chance at winning a $25 gift card to RoadRunnerSports.com and a free box of 3BAR energy bars! [Click here] for details on how to enter.
Black Bean Lasagna
9 lasagna noodles
2 cans (16 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
1 cup water
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 carton (15 ounces) reduced-fat ricotta cheese
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
To enter, all you need to do is "Like" their FaceBook Fan Page and then send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 28th. In the Subject line of the email put "RunnerDude Raffle" and in the body copy put your full name and address. That's it!
Be sure to check out all the other great running gift items at www.GoneForARun.com.
Note: Even though GoneForARun.com provided me with a personalized BibFOLIO for free, I was not in any way encouraged to write a positive review of the product or their website. My review is based entirely on my own personal experience using the product and website.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
It's easy to enter and fun! All you have to do is:
- Like Landice on Facebook
Post a photo to their wall using the photo link under the text box.
- The only requirement on the photo is that it has to have their name, “Landice” in it.
- Tell all your friends to vote for your photo by “liking” it.
The photo with the most votes WINS!
They've had several entries so far. The "Wonder Woman" photo is just one example that a contestant has entered. Visit the Landice Fan Page to see all the entries, vote for your favorite or post your own!!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries of NC, Inc.
There will be a prize for the runner in the best Halloween costume and relay races and games for the younger crowd. Following the run there will be refreshments, a drawing for door
prizes and an Awards Ceremony.
Thanks to all the participated in the contest. If you haven't already, check out the other two contests currently running on the blog:
RunnerDude's All-Call for Training Recipes
RunnerDude and New Balance 759 Prize Drawing
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Each 45-minute walking session (beginning at 9:30AM) includes intervals consisting of low intensity, high intensity, and lower-body exercise moves to tone your lower body. You’ll be slimmer and stronger in no time! The 4-week program includes
- Information packet containing the walking/workout plan & other helpful fitness & weight loss tips
- Five 45-minute group walks each week
- RunnerDude’s Fitness/Off’n Running Sports Technical T-shirt
- 10% Off Coupon for Off’n Running Sports
- 15% Off Coupon for any RunnerDude’s Fitness services or programs (You can use it for a second round of the Fat-Blaster Fitness-Walking Workout Group!!)
- Motivational Emails
The Fat-Blaster Fitness-Walking Workout Group begins with the first walking workout on Monday October 4th. Register by September 30th!
Not in the Triad area? No problem! Ask me about purchasing just the 4-week plan with online support!
Friday, September 10, 2010
Question From Wayne Ball: Ok, so this may be better answered by Ritalin but how do I keep focused on my body/mind during runs? While running I do attempt to listen to my body (breathing, heart, aches & pains) but my mind wonders incessantly.
Matt's Answer: Wayne, there's absolutely nothing wrong with letting your mind wander when you run. It's good for you. The only time it's necessary to really focus on running while you're running is when you are pushing against your limits, and in that circumstance such focus becomes automatic. (Try to do long division in your head in the last 400 meters of a 5K!) My book, RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel, is not about teaching runners how to think about running while they run. In fact, the best runners actually think the LEAST while they run. That quietude of mind is itself a product of a strong mind-body connection. Read my book to learn why.
Question from Caleb Kinney: I recently suffered from a metatarsal stress fracture. How much rest do you recommend during a training week and how much rest is needed preceding and following races?
Matt's Answer: Caleb, the optimal amount of rest varies between athletes and even for the same athlete at different levels of fitness and experience. The most effective way to determine how much rest you need is to listen to your body. It will always tell you and it's never wrong. You just have to listen and know how to understand what your body's telling you. I discuss how to develop and use this mind-body connection in RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel.
Question from Erin Grantham: Recently, I've been having a left calf issue. I usually stop, stretch and get back out there. Lately, I've noticed I'm starting to get tingly in my feet (almost like coming back from it being asleep when running!). I usually just power on through it but now I'm wondering if that is such a smart idea. At what point do you say, this pain is preventing gain and just STOP. And how do you differentiate between what good pain and bad pain should feel like? I guess to sum it up...how the heck do I get in tune with my body?
Matt's Answer: Erin, that is a key challenge in running, and one I address thoroughly in RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel. Only experience combined with paying attention can teach us to discern the difference between normal pain and what I call "red flag" pain. But I believe it always remains necessary to take some risks in training, and that the occasional injury is an unavoidable consequence of pursuing performance in running. Accepting this reality can itself be helpful, though.
Question from Tina Wardlaw: I use the book Run Faster to come up with workouts and I'm glad you've written a new book. I read a short portion of it and you wrote that if you have a problem fading at mile 20 of the marathon, you might want to run back-to-back 20 milers, or a long run with 14-16 miles at marathon goal pace or a 27-30 mile run before your goal marathon. Do these suggestions apply to middle-of-the-packers like me or just the speedier set? Those look like tough training runs!
Matt's Answer: The point I wanted to make in the section you read is not that marathon runners with a bonking problem should try those specific workouts. Rather, the point was that all runners should feel free to get creative and trust their intuitions to come up with possible solutions to the barriers they face. So, if your intuition tells you those example workouts would be too hard for you, they probably are! So, what does your intuition suggest as an appropriate alternative?
Question from Marcus Grimm: One of the things I enjoy most about your books is that it's pretty obvious that you try virtually everything you write about, from nutrition and supplements to gear and training programs. However, like all of us, I'm sure that some things that you've tried have become critical staples in your own personal training whereas others, long-term, haven't given you the benefits you'd hoped. I'd be curious to know which of the subjects you've covered have become vital to your training over the years. Would be curious to know, as well, of any that didn't work out for you, realizing that with everything, it's always very personal.
Matt's Anwser: Marcus, Interesting question. If you are familiar with my past books you know that I have long favored a nonlinear approach to periodization, where high-intensity training is in the mix throughout the training cycle. But I learned the hard way that this approach creates a risk of becoming stale and overtrained before race day. You feel on top of the world 10 weeks into the training cycle, but the wheels come off after 14 weeks. So I've since shifted to a periodization approach that blends nonlinear elements with linear elements. High intensity is still always in the mix, but I keep it dialed back until relatively late in the training cycle. As for practices I've held onto, I've always been a big believer in strength training, including heavy weightlifting, and the older I get the more convinced I become of its importance.
Question from Mark Ulrich: As I'm inspired by Alberto Salazar's success in revising the running form of Alan Web, Radcliffe and Goucher, and cognizant of Dr. Jack Tupper Daniels' observation that all top athletes maintain a running cadence of ~180 steps per minute (spm), over past month I've begun applying the Evolution Running recommendations to improve my own running form. Being an engineer by education and hoping to approach this process systematically I've found that I've been successful at speeding-up my running cadence (which by default had previously been close to 165 spm) by listening to Podrunner techno tracks, which have highly percussive fixed beats per minute approaching the Daniels' determined optimum of 180. By concentrating on a quiet mid-foot landing with a slight forward lean from the ankles I'm encouraged that a better running form has emerged. I judge this improvement by my recent ability to simultaneously increase both my total weekly mileage and my pace versus my prior efforts, and feel that the new form is less jarring and flows smoother than my former slower cadence heel-landing stride. Using the treadmill as a means of me simultaneously avoiding the oppressive summer heat while allowing me to discern whether the 180 spm cadence is applicable across all paces I feel that it's not. I.E. when I speed the treadmill (at 1.5% grade to make its pace equivalent to running with normal wind resistance) 30-seconds faster than my goal marathon pace, that holding my cadence at merely 180 seems unnatural - based on the acceleration of my breathing rate which I use as a gauge to my exertion - i.e. drifting to a cadence close to 185 reduces my exertion level. Conversely, when I run on the treadmill at a pace of 30-seconds or more slower than my goal marathon pace I find that my optimal cadence correspondingly slows somewhat, i.e. closer to 177 spm. With that lengthy background, my multi-part related question (sorry!) is....
- Have you seen other runners' successfully convert and improve their running form (i.e. without the benefit of a running coach)?
- Do you agree that a runner's cadence is a key element of their form?
- Do you generally agree with Dr. Daniels' observation of runners' general optimum cadence of 180 spm? If so, does he see any logic in my view that the actual optimum varies slightly corresponding to the runners' level of exertion & speed?
Matt's Answer: Mark, a stride rate of 180 per minute is commonly observed in elite runners, and so is a marathon pace of 4:55 per mile. I believe that turning the former observation into a prescription for all is no wiser than turning the latter observation into a universal prescription. In other words, saying, "Run at a stride rate of 180 per minute because the elites do," is not unlike saying, "Run your marathons at 4:55/mile pace because the elites do." I believe—and the best scientific evidence suggests—that all runners find their optimal stride rate unconsciously and automatically, given the totality of their running mechanics. Therefore, artificial efforts to impose a higher stride rate are more likely to decrease than increase efficiency. Stride rate can increase, but this will only happen in a beneficial way as a consequence of getting faster. So I recommend you focus on getting faster and let your stride rate take care of itself. I've generally moved away from my previously held belief that conscious manipulation of stride mechanics is a good idea, and I explain why in RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
You know when you're in the car-rider-pick-up line at your kid's school and you're buried, deep in the middle of the line (no way out) and your gas light comes on? Can you feel that panic? Probably makes you anxious just thinking about it. But after that initial fear passes, you remember that you have a few gallons left in the tank when the light comes on. So, you put the car in park and turn off the engine instead of idling. Knowing that little reserve is there, is very reassuring. The real fear is if you remember that the light came on several times the day before and you ignored it, and now you're not exactly sure how much gas you have left. Of course that's also the day your kid is running late and is the last one to make it out to the pick-up line.
Okay, you're probably thinking, where is he going with this....don't worry, there is a connection. Your brain is like that gas gauge and your body is that couple of gallons of reserve gas in the tank. Sometimes when you push your body to extremes, the self-preservation mode kicks in and your brain will actually try to slow you down. If during the race, you're running low on your carb stores, your brain can actually fatigue your leg muscles in order to slow you down. Why? Well, your body needs fat in order to survive. All the little nerves running through your body are actually coated or wrapped in something called a myelin sheath which is made of fat. If the body thinks you're dipping into your fat stores for energy, it may feel threatened and begin to fatigue your muscles to slow you down. Also, your brain needs carbohydrates in order to function. If it feels threatened that your carb levels are getting too low that can also trigger the fatigue.
The thing to know is that you're body actually has more energy in reserve and more than likely you're not in danger of running out of steam. Now let me back up a step. You're not in danger if, and let me stress IF, you've trained and fueled properly. If you've carb-loaded prior to the marathon and you've been drinking water and/or sports drink and using gels periodically throughout the race to keep your glycogen stores stocked, then you can actually override your brain by telling it that you're okay. No really, you can actually talk your brain out of the self-preservation mode by reminding it that have the fuel you need to continue. The verbal reminder and self-talk will actually help reassure your brain that you're not in danger. Now on the flip side, if you haven't put in the training nor properly fueled or hydrated yourself prior to and during the race, then you need to heed the warnings and slow it down.
A different kind of mind game that often occurs during an endurance race is self-doubt. Did I train hard enough? Should I have done an extra 20-miler? Did I hydrate enough? Did I hydrate too much? Will I look silly? Am I too old for this? What was I thinking???!!! When that nasty old self doubt creeps in, quickly kick it to the curb. Having a mantra or a phrase of encouragement or inspiration is great to repeat to yourself to keep that self-doubt away.
There's one thing I tell my clients over and over, "Trust in your training." It's a simple phrase but a powerful one. It even makes a great mantra. If you've put in the work and you've properly fueled yourself, then trust your training to carry you across that finish line. Now, that's given that you don't throw all your hard work out the window and run like a bat out of hell at the starting gun immediately depleting your glycogen stores in the first 2 miles of the race. Stick to the plan and your plan will stick with you.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
- Vary your running routes.
- Vary the intensities of your runs.
- Find a running buddy or join a running group.
- Set goals for yourself such as running a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, or full marathon.
- Train for a triathlon.
- Set a mileage goal like running 1,000 miles in a year.
- Run for a cause.