Friday, May 27, 2011

CLU results from NCAA Div III Nationals

The NCAA Division III National Championships for track and field are this weekend. My alma mater, Cal Lutheran, has two athletes that have already scored points (a top 8 finish). Eric Flores, the Div III National hammer record holder has already won two events: the hammer (213ft 11in) and the shot put (57ft 5.75in). He won the shot put by a quarter inch on his last throw! That give CLU 20 points and puts them tied for 3rd place going into the final day. Toccoa Kahovec was 8th in the women's steeplchase with a time of 10:39 , also a school record time, earning her All-American honors. Not bad considering CLU doesn't even have a track! Congrats to both athletes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Conservative training progression and Vibrams

Anytime you put "Vibrams" in your title these days people will stop and read. You may have seen these "shoes" out there that are really just a glove for your feet. Christopher McDougall might be able to take credit for the fad after his book Born to Run became a best seller and people wanted to try this new inovative type of running called "barefoot running." The truth is that people have been running barefoot, even in the US, for part or all of their training for many years. This is not a new idea. During my high school and college cross country years, we often used to take off our shoes and run sprints or strides across the football field after workouts. It is a great way to teach running on your midfoot or forefoot and strengthen your foot and ankle. The vibrams allow a runner to "run barefoot" on surfaces other than grass with some protection for your feet. Like any training tool it is best to progress forward conservatively.

The video is a recent guest interview of Keith Olbermann on the David Letterman show. The related discussion is in the first two minutes. Keith comes out on the show walking with a cane and a walking cast and goes on to tell Dave that he has a stress fracture in his foot caused by running in Vibrams. He goes on to imply that if you weigh more than 175 pounds and you run in Vibrams you WILL get a stress fracture.

First off his podiatrist must have stock in Vibrams because to say that walking in Vibrams is good for your knees and hips is a bunch of baloney. WALKING is good for your knees and hips. It really doesn't matter what foot wear you have on. The Vibrams allow for your foot to move as it was intended to move and that is a good thing, but to say that Vibrams are good for everyone is hog-wash.

The reason that Keith got a stress fracture in his foot is not due to wearing his Vibrams, it is because he either ran in them too much too soon, or ran in them before his body was strong enough to control the new movement at his foot and ankle.

This brings me to my point. The key to improvement in running is consistent training progression over a long period of time without interruption (injury). A conservative approach to training progression will ALWAYS decrease your risk for injury. The problem becomes determining how much is too much or not enough. Most people will give you the 10% rule for a safe amount of weekly mileage progression. This means that if you ran 20 miles last week then you can run 22 miles the next week, and 24 miles the week after that. This may be too much for some (jumping from 90mpw to 99mpw) and not enough for others (10mpw to 11mpw). It has to be individualized.
Jack Daniels, PhD. would say that any weekly increase may be too much when continued over many weeks. He advocates keeping mileage fairly consistent for 3-4 weeks before increasing. This gives the body a normal amount of time to adapt to this new stress before changing it again. He recommends increasing mileage by 20% every 3-4 weeks.
I believe I read somewhere that Coach Alberto Salazar increases Galen Rupp's peak mileage by only 5 miles per year. This means that if the most Galen ran in one week last year was 90mpw, then next year his highest mileage will be around 95. Now that is conservative, but you don't hear about many serious injuries with Galen and he has demonstrated a consistent and steady improvement in 5k and 10k times over his career so far.
This conservative rule applies to all aspects of training. If I want to add intervals into my weekly training program and I start with 8000m worth of interval work on the first day, I am at a higher risk for injury than the runner who started with 3000m. If I want to try some barefoot running and I start with a 30 min run 4 times a week, I am at a higher risk for injury than the runner who starts with some light jogging on the grass for 10 minutes.
Unfortunately, everyone is different and even the 10 minutes in the Vibrams might be too much for some, conversely the 30 min 4x/wk runner might be just fine. I tend to lean towards the conservative approach to training as a little bit less over a longer time yields better outcomes than short bursts of heavy training.

Keith may want to just do some light jogging on grass for 100m at a time once his podiatrist gives him the OK to run again. In the mean time he would definitely benefit from some general strength and conditioning. His weight (over 175lbs) probably had little to do with the injury (ie: the contestants on The Biggest Loser seem to be just fine).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

News and Links

I did not make it down for the Oxy High Performace meet, but it sounds like this will be an annual event so maybe next year. There is no other meet in the country, except maybe Pre Classic, that attracts so many top tier runners.

The meet was highlighted by some quick 800s. Two women went under 2:00 which doesn't happen too often in the US, and two men went under 1:45!

The 1500s were a little slower than last year but won by Katie Follet and Andrew Wheating. Katie is tearing it up this year and ran a PR in 4:07.44. Andrew won in 3:36.46 in his season debut in an open event. Neither were A standards but solid performances.

Here is the link to all the race videos and interviews.

I wrote about the US World Championship marathon team recently. Today runnersworld posted a link to Nick Arciniaga's blog that he started to document his training for the marathon in Daegu. He discusses his teammates and their chances of a team medal! Hopefully he updates it often. It will be fun to read his insights on marathon training. I posted a link to his blog on the blog list to the right.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

oxy high performance meet

The heat sheets for the Oxy High Performance meet are out as well as the race schedule. Check out the Men's 1500 championship race. There are 6 olympians in the race including the rabbit (Nick Willis). Events start at 6:45 and should be done by 9:00 pm. Two hours of the fastest mid-distance athletes in the country!

Also an update on the Ryan Hall appearance at Dick's Sporting Goods in Santa Clarita. The rumor is that there is an organized "run with Ryan" at 8:00 am at Dick's followed by autographs at 9:00am. Call to confirm.

Anyone planning on attending either of these events? I am hoping to go to the meet on Saturday night. Let me know if any of you are going.

Do you rotate shoes?

First, USATF officially announced the US marathon teams for world championships in Daegu, Korea this August. We knew that Sergio's win at Twin Cities last fall guarenteed him a spot but now it is official. The teams are as follows:
Mens: Nick Arciniaga, Sergio Reyes, Jeffery Eggleston, Mike Sayenko, Mike Morgan.
All of these guys have run under 2:15 in the last year with Nick being the fastest, 2:11:30 at Houston.

Womens: Kara Goucher, Tera Moody, Colleen DeReuck (at the age of 47), Kathy Newberry, and Alissa McKaig.
The first 3 women have run 2:30 or better in the past 2 years. It was a suprise to see Kara Goucher on the list but I guess she wants to get in one more marathon before the Olympic Trials and this is on a World Championship stage. Although, I read that if she qualifies in the 10k at USA's this summer that she will run the 10k in Daegu instead.

The UVA Center for Endurance Sport posted an interesting article on running shoe cushion this week. The reason people used to rotate shoes was the idea that the cushion would "rebound" back to previous shape a day or two after a run. What they found was that this is not true. Almost a "mythbusters" type of experiment. What they did find is that the EVA midsole does weaken and eventually breakdown over time. "Shoe breakdown is variable depending on the runner’s mass, running surfaces, and gait style." The author did reference an article that showed that running in "worn" shoes did increase stance time and altered lower leg range of motion, thus slightly altering gait and possibly increase risk of injury.

Since we all cannot look at our shoes under a microscope after every run, we have to make a decision for ourselves when to switch to a new pair. The gang at UVA is still recommending switching out, or at least starting to think about, a new pair every 400-500 miles. That would be once a month for those running 100+ mpw. Their research showed the breakdown of the shoe is cumulative and it doesn't matter if you run every day or even twice a day in the same shoes.

My recommendation is to keep an eye on the "white foam" on the bottom of your shoe. Once you start getting multiple creases and wrinkles, and it appears to be smashed then it is time to begin thinking about a new pair. I usually can "feel" a difference in my shoes, and may also start to be more sore or have more little aches telling me I might need a new pair of shoes. I do continue to rotate my shoes (typically 2-3 current pairs) but mostly for certain workouts. I have a pair I like for longer runs and a pair I like for faster stuff (threshold or track workouts). I usually have a racing pair for up to half marathon distance. I have always run a marathon in my current trainers. I find that switching shoes everyonce in a while also challenges my foot to adapt to a different amount of support, thus working the muscles of my foot and ankle more.

Like the article says, I also recommend "being nice" to your running shoes. That means only using them for running, letting them dry out first if they get wet, and not leaving them outside in direct summer heat to dry out. I also don't recommend putting them in the washing machine or dryer if you plan on running in them again.

Be careful, switching between shoes that are too different in their amount of support (motion control to neutral) could be too much change and stress at one time and you could set yourself up for injury.

How many current shoes do you keep active in your closet?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Next weekend events

There are some great track related events going on in the local area (Los Angeles) this Saturday.

First, at 9:00am Ryan Hall will be at Dick's Sporting Goods in Santa Clarita signing autographs.

When I heard that I wondered, "why would Ryan Hall be coming to the LA area?" Then I remembered the USATF High Performance meet at Occidental College is this Saturday and his wife Sara Hall must be running there. Sure enough, she is running the 3000m steeplechase.

How do I know this information? Well I have been looking online for the entrants list for this meet and found nothing. So today I emailed the race director, Rose Monday, and she emailed me here entrant lists! It is going to be awesome! They added a men's and women's steeple this year along with 800m and 1500m.

Here are some of the highlights of entrants.
W800m: Maggie Vessey, Hazel Clark, Jenny Simpson
W1500m: Katie Follett, Shannon Rowbury, Phoebe Wright, Brenda Martinez
W 3k Steeple: Sara Hall, Lindsay Allen, Delilah Dicrescenzo

M800m: David Torrence, Duane Solomon, Tyler Mulder, Khadevis Robinson,
M1500m: Andrew Wheating, Leo Manzano, Lopez Lomong, Nathan Brannan, Russell Brown, Will Leer, Matt Tegenkamp, Nick Symmonds, Evan Jaeger. And Nick Willis is a rabbit!
Also Asics Aggie Phil Reid (who just PR'd for 5k (13:39) is running the 1500m!

It is going to be sweet, especially the men's 1500m! It may be Andrew Wheating's first race this season. They also have some international runners coming. The races start at 7:00pm at Occidental College. I ran there many times when I was at CLU.

Here are the race directors.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Typical Antelope Valley Spring Weather

I did not get in any running this weekend. The video is my excuse. One of my small trees in the front yard snapped in half!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

McMillan's Even Steven

Tuesday morning Dale, Joel and I have met off and on for track workouts. I am hoping that we can make it more of a weekly meeting. I talked with Dale last night and he confirmed that he would be there. Then he said, "You pick the workout Karl." That can be dangerous, although Dale and I are both 9 days post OC marathon so I didn't want to do anything too crazy.

I decided to try a workout that Greg McMillan wrote on an email called Even Steven. He recommends this workout when you need a down week or maybe don't have time to get in some hard workouts, or just need a "fun recovery workout." We seemed to fall into that last category this week. It also stresses all energy systems. Here is the breakdown.
After a warm up (I did 1.5 miles)
10 minutes at MP
2 minutes Easy
8 minutes at HMP
4 minutes Easy
6 minutes at 10k pace
6 minutes Easy
4 minutes at 5k pace
8 minutes easy
2 minutes faster than 5k pace
10 minutes cool down.

The workout totals 60 minutes and each faster workbout ends on a multiple of 10 so it is easy to follow on your watch.

We made it through and covered 8 miles in the hour.

Things I like about this workout:
1. It allows you to ease into the workout at slower speeds.
2. You are supposed to pace by percieved effort and not worry about splits.
3. You have to run hard on semi tired legs.
4. It did feel like I got a good workout in just an hour.

Things I didn't like about this workout:
1. You don't spend too much time at one pace.
2. There is plenty of rest in between.

I would recommend trying this workout during a recovery week or during a base phase to just get a small taste of running at different speeds. It is more like an appitizer sampler of all your different race speeds. I would not do this workout during specific marathon training or within a month of any road race, as there are better more specific workouts to be done.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Running in Houston

I traveled to Houston, TX this weekend for the wedding of a running buddy of mine. Tom and I met at CLU. He was a freshman when I was a junior, but the next year we roomed together and quickly became close friends. One of my first memories of Tom was his first cross country meet at CLU because he missed the bus by oversleeping and missed the race. He was one of the most natually talented runners on the team and was always one of our top performers. I remember a 1500m race at Claremont that I was in with Tom. He was tripped and fell in the first 200m of the race but got back up, ran hard, and still beat me! I don't know what his PRs are but I think he broke 4:10 for 1500m and ran a few good 5ks. He seemed to always make the final for the 1500m at SCIAC championships. By his senior year he was consistently running in the 26s for 8k cross country. Then at the end of that year of cross country he broke a metatarsal in his foot running and was off his foot for a few months which put him way behind for track. I even got him out to Las Vegas a few years after he graduated for a half marathon which he ran 1:25 on little training. Like I said, "natural talent."

Anyway Tom got married this weekend to Mindy Roll and asked me to be in his wedding party. Tom, Dan (Tom's brother), and I went for a wedding day 3 mile run that morning just as Tom and I had done on my wedding day. We had to start the day off right.

Man, it is humid in Houston (about 60-70% humidity) and it is only May. The wedding went great and Tom and his bride are off to Ireland today.

I also got to meet Eddie Carson whom I had been following his blog for some time. Eddie ran the Boston Marathon this year in 3:10 and has made huge improvements in his running in the last few years. He and his wife picked me up at the airport and took me out for a beer and a bite to eat. We talked for over 2 hours. They were both very welcoming and went above and beyond to welcome me to Houston. Thanks again guys!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Shout outs!

I have been meaning to give a shout out to Clay Patten who finished his second LD50 last weekend. He is in great shape and had an awesome first 35 miles before having trouble with his asthma and hiking the last 15 finishing in 10:45 (he was on pace to run 9:45). It is hard to believe that it was a year ago when I ran my first ultra out there. My time last year (30th place) would have put me 38th place at this years race. It is becoming more and more competitive and I hope to do it again. Trail running is some of the best and most rewarding running out there, with beautiful views, challenging terrain, and a sense of accomplishment after every run. Keira Henninger put on a great race this year with 50mile, 50k, and 30k options.

The winner of this years race was 24 year old James Bonnett. Running Times did an article on him a few years back as an up and coming ultra runner who had run his first trail marathon at the age of 9 and was 23rd at Western States 100 at the age of 19!

I had a few friends run the OC half marathon last weekend too. Justin Patananan was 4th in 1:10:37 and Neil Small ran a huge PR finishing 11th in 1:15:33!

Here is a link to my finishing video and pictures. You can see how windy it was at the finish in the video.

Monday, May 2, 2011

OC Marathon Recap (3:44:34)

I wanted to write this post last night but I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch watching the Payton Jordan Invitational live on flotrack. Here is the full recap of the OC Marathon. I decided to stick with the full marathon at Orange County only in the last week leading up to the race. Actually, more like the day before the race. This was my 9th marathon and 7th slowest in 3:44:34 (avg pace 8:34 pace), and it was also my longest marathon (more on that later).

The day before the race, Dale went down to pick up our race packets. He texted me while down there and said, "Lauren wants to drop to the half, what do you want to do?" I texted back, "What are you running?" thinking that I didn't want to be the only one running the full. He texted back, "do you want to drop down?" which didn't answer my question, and after thinking that Dale would not want to drop down in distance, I texted back, "NO." I finally called him back and he said that he actually switched both Lauren and himself to the half, but then had second thoughts as did Lauren, who texted him back saying, "keep me in the full." So we were all still registered for the full marathon. What did we ever do without cell phones?

So the plan soon became to run with Lauren and help her run a solid marathon, maybe even a Boston Qualifier. Little did I know that she had been having lots of trouble with her asthma earlier in the week.

To avoid the hotel costs I crashed at Dale's house and woke at 2:40am to leave for Newport Beach by 3am and arrive in time to make the bus to the starting line. We arrived in what we thought was plenty of time. The line for the bus was already quite long and continued to grow. We waited for over a half hour to get on a bus and then sat there for another 5 mintues or so. When we finally arrived at the starting area we got off the bus and heard the National Anthem playing, we ran over to a short port-a-potty line and started weaving our way up as close as we could to the starting line and made it about half way into coral A before the gun went off.

The three of us talked and enjoyed the beautiful weather and clear skies for the first hour of the race. We meet up with David Weary (who was running the half) about mile three and he joined "team Lauren" for the next 8 miles or so. We were cruising right along and hit the 10 mile mark in 1:23, then David broke off to finish the half. Dale playing tour guide along the way as he is from Orange County, and he told us that there were only 2 big hills on the course. Lauren and I started counting hills and we were up to 9 at mile 9! This is NOT a PR course in any way.

We hit the half split in 1:47:47 (8:14 pace) and I thought this might be Lauren's day. I started helping her refill her amphipod at aid stations while she ran ahead. I would catch back up to her and deliver her water. About mile 17 she started to get some cramping in her diaphram which set off her asthma and she had to stop. We got her going again but then she had to stop again. Even by mile 15.5 our average pace was down to (8:11). But after 3 stops we could tell it was going to be a tough finish for Lauren. Dale and I continued on and tried to pick up the pace a bit but he soon decided he had had enough and said, "see you at the finish line Karl." Not a mile or so later, the bear jumped on my back and I "hit the wall."

The last 5 miles were a struggle. I guess I anticipated that it would be tough but it was also reaching 80 degrees and by now the dry Santa Ana winds, that were a nice cooling breeze, were now blowing at 15mph and in my face the last 3 miles. I looked around at my fellow runners and as glad to see it wasn't just me struggling out there. There is a comradery among runners, something about struggling together that bonds us. I called it, "The Death March" for the last 4-5 miles. It was tough. Certainly my lack of fitness was showing. For a while I tought I could be close to 3:35 and then sub 3:40 but ended up 3:44 (avg pace 8:34). Chuck was waiting for me at the finish line. He ran 3:41. Dale came in at 3:51 and Lauren finished in 4:02, actually better than I thought she would do.

The reason I said it was my longest marathon ever is because after running back and forth at water stopps and running back to check on Lauren, I actually ran just over 27 miles on Sunday!

It is hard to imagine running almost 50 minutes faster right now (my PR is 2:57). But here is my calculation of how I got to this time. 2:57+10 minutes for each of the last 3 months due to lack of training+3% slowing for every 10 degrees over 50=3:47.

It was a blast running with Dale, Lauren, and David. We told stories, jokes, and kept each other going. I thought Lauren had it today but it did not happen. There's always next time Lauren!

Finally, this morning at work I was reading an article in Competitor Magainze about Rhabdomyolysis, and it said, "just because you've run a marathon in the past doesn't mean you should run 26 miles without an appropriate build up; doing so can put you at risk becuase your body has not been trained to handle the stress." So I guess this is one of those, "do as I say not as I do" moments. I never once felt that I was in any kind of medical danger, just some major chaffing issues that a little cortizone creme took care of.