Tag Archives: Runner’s World

The 25 Golden Rules of Running

I came across this list recently and was pleasantly surprised to find myself either in agreement or relating to the vast majority of the 25 Golden Rules of Running…

The 25 Golden Rules of Running: 25 of the most universally accepted rules of running.

By Bob Cooper

September 2005

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Runner’s World a few years ago. The article remains popular online, and the rules are as good now as they were when first published.

Golden Rules of Running

In most cases, these rules started out as a lightbulb over one runner’s head. After a while, that runner told a few running buddies (probably during a long run), word spread, and before you know it, coaches were testing it, sports scientists were studying it, and it evolved from idea to theory to accepted wisdom. Along with each of the rules we present, however, we list the exception. Why? Because, as you also learned in grade school, there’s an exception to every rule.

1. The Specificity Rule

The most effective training mimics the event for which you’re training.

This is the cardinal rule of training for any activity. If you want to run a 10-K at seven-minute-per-mile pace, you need to do some running at that pace. “Runners are best served by running at goal pace and in the expected environment of that race,” says Ann Snyder, Ph.D., director of the human performance lab at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The Exception: It’s impractical to wholly mimic a race–particularly longer distances–in training because it would require extended recovery. So, when doing race-specific training, keep the total distance covered shorter than the goal race, or run at your race pace in shorter segments with rest breaks (interval training).

2. The 10-Percent Rule

Increase weekly training mileage by no more than 10 percent per week.

Joe Henderson, the first editor of Runner’s World, and Joan Ullyot, M.D., author of three women’s running books, first popularized the 10-percent prescription in the 1980s. “I noticed that runners who increased their training load too quickly were incurring injuries,” says Dr. Ullyot.

The Exception: If you’re starting at single-digit weekly mileage after a layoff, you can add more than 10 percent per week until you’re close to your normal training load.

This is a good rule of thumb to use to avoid getting shin splints or other similar “new runner” ailments. While it’s easy to get sucked in and want to go full steam ahead right from day 1, ramping up slowly is a really good idea. Of course, if things start to hurt, feel sore, or just generally not work quite the way they are supposed to, 10% might even be a bit too much (especially during high milage training).

3. The 2-Hour Rule

Wait for about two hours after a meal before running.

“For most people, two hours is enough time for food to empty from the stomach, especially if it’s high in carbohydrate,” says Colorado sports dietitian and marathoner Cindy Dallow, Ph.D. “If you don’t wait long enough, food will not be properly digested, raising the risk of abdominal cramps, bloating, and even vomiting.”

The Exception: You can probably run 90 minutes after a light, high-carb meal, while you may need up to three hours after a heavy meal that’s high in protein and fat.

What? Really? PPPPFFFFF! So if I didn’t eat within two hours of my meals I would never run. Everyone is different of course and I personally have no problem eating what is a (more or less) normal meal meal for myself and then going out for a run in ~20 min or so.

4. The 10-Minute Rule

Start every run with 10 minutes of walking and slow running, and do the same to cool down.

“A warmup prepares your body for exercise by gradually increasing blood flow and raising core muscle temperature,” says Jerry Napp, a Tampa Bay running coach. “The cooldown may be even more important. Stopping abruptly can cause leg cramps, nausea, dizziness, or fainting.”

I typically start out a bit slower and easy into my workout pace by feel. Thinking about it, I bet this is ~10 min process. I’m not so good about slowing down at the end though :-/

The Exception: It takes less than 10 minutes to rev up on warm days.

5. The 2-Day Rule

If something hurts for two straight days while running, take two days off.

Two straight days of pain may signal the beginning of an injury. “Even taking five days of complete rest from running will have little impact on your fitness level,” says Troy Smurawa, M.D., team physician for USA Triathlon.

Yes.

The Exception: If something hurts for two weeks, even if you’ve taken your rest days, see a doctor.

6. The Familiar-Food Rule

Don’t eat or drink anything new before or during a race or hard workout.

Stick to what works for you. “Your gastrointestinal tract becomes accustomed to a certain mix of nutrients,” says Dallow. “You can normally vary this mix without trouble, but you risk indigestion when prerace jitters are added.”

The Exception: If you’re about to bonk, eating something new is probably better than eating nothing at all.

Yeah. Also knowing what alternatives are the most similar to your fuel of choice can be helpful in a pinch.

7. The Race-Recovery Rule

For each mile that you race, allow one day of recovery before returning to hard training or racing.

That means no speed workouts or racing for six days after a 10-K or 26 days after a marathon. The rule’s originator was the late Jack Foster, the masters marathon world record holder (2:11:18) from 1974 to 1990. Foster wrote in his book, Tale of the Ancient Marathoner, “My method is roughly to have a day off racing for every mile I raced.”

Deal.

The Exception: If your race effort wasn’t all-out, taking fewer recovery days is okay.

8. The Heads-Beats-Tails Rule

A headwind always slows you down more than a tailwind speeds you up.

So expect to run slower on windy days. “I disregard the watch on really windy days because headwinds cost me 15 to 25 seconds a mile, and I only get a portion of that back after I turn around,” says Monte Wells, a longtime runner in Amarillo, Texas, America’s windiest city. “The key is to monitor your effort, not your pace. Start against the wind, so it’s at your back in the second half.”

Isn’t this the frustrating truth?!?! I despise wind!

The Exception: On point-to-point runs with the wind at your back, you’ll fly along faster than usual.

9. The Conversation Rule

You should be able to talk in complete sentences while running.

A recent study found that runners whose heart and breathing rates were within their target aerobic zones could comfortably recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Those who couldn’t were running faster than optimal.

Singing along with your favorite trashy hip-hop/pop tunes will also do the trick if you’re running alone. This will also solidify your reputation as the crazy runner from down the street, but chances are there isn’t much of a debate left on the topic at this point. Maybe it’s just me…

The Exception: Talking should not be easy during hard runs, speedwork, or races.

10. The 20-Mile Rule

Build up to and run at least one 20-miler before a marathon.

“Long runs simulate the marathon, which requires lots of time on your feet,” says Gina Simmering-Lanterman, director and marathon coach of the Denver Fit training program. “And knowing that you can run 20 miles helps you wrap your head around running 26.2.”

I’ve had my longest run be as low as 16 miles and as long as 22.

The 16 miler was through a snowstorm during a 1/8 ass attempt at training for the Kili marathon. Soooo….the horrific experience that that marathon was, can hardly be pegged on the short long run. The overall single digit weekly milage was more likely the culprit (just maybe). Never mind the +75 F temperature difference.

The difference between 20 and 22 miles probably is physically beneficial (assuming that you don’t injure yourself of course) but the mental advantage to having those extra 2 miles under your belt is probably the biggest bonus. Knowing that you have another 6.2 miles to run at the end of the marathon, after you’ve already run the distance of your longest training run seems a lot more daunting than just a little 4.2 mile / 30 min joke. It’s amazing what I can convince myself of after 3.5 hrs of running.

The Exception: Some coaches believe experienced marathoners can get by with a longest run of 16 to 18 miles, while other coaches suggest runs up to 24 miles.

11. The Carbs Rule

For a few days before a long race, emphasize carbohydrates in your diet.

“Carbo-loading” became the marathoner’s mantra after Scandinavian studies in 1967 suggested cramming down carbs following a period of carb depletion produced super-charged athletes. Experts now say simply emphasizing carbs a few days before a race over two hours works just as well.

Hmmmmm…I say be careful with this one. If you aren’t used to scarfing down loads of carbs, I don’t think that the precious few days before the big race is the time for a diet overhaul. Upping the carb intake a bit with an extra serving or two of your favorite fresh fruits and veggies and easy to digest grains and pasta would be my (kind-of qualified) recomendation. Carb-bombing or consuming massive amounts of a food that isn’t usually in your diet are two approaches that I’d steer clear of.

The Exception: There’s a word for carbo-loading during regular training or before a short race: gluttony.

12. The Seven-Year Rule

Runners improve for about seven years.

Mike Tymn noticed this in the early 1980s and wrote about it in his National Masters News column. “My seven-year adaptation theory was based on the fact that so many runners I talked to ran their best times an average of seven years after they started,” he recalls.

Sad. 😦

The Exception: Low-mileage runners can stretch the seven years to well over a decade before plateauing.

13. The Left-Side-Of-The-Road Rule

To keep safe, run facing traffic.

“While running, it’s better to watch the traffic than to have it come up from behind you,” says Adam Cuevas, a marathoner and chief of the Enforcement Services Division of the California Highway Patrol. It’s the law in California and many other states to run on the left side unless you’re on the sidewalk.

Be careful! This can be tricky, especially if you’re on a road that doesn’t typically get much foot traffic. Wearing bright colors, choosing routes with wide shoulders and keeping your attentiveness up (music volumes low and one eye on the approaching vehicles) are helpful for staying safe. The sidewalk is just a pain (literally…hahaha….maybe? just a bit? :-/) on all the joints and shins, I really much prefer the road and I’ll try to make just about anything work. There usually is a way, but sometimes it requires creativity (ditch vs. shoulder, musical-sides-of-the-street, speed work across narrow bridges and through stretches of no-shoulder) and patients. Just keep paying attention!

The Exception: The right side of the road is safer when running into leftward blind curves where there’s a narrow shoulder. The right side can also be safer if there’s construction on the left side.

14. The Up-Beats-Down Rule

Running uphill slows you down more than running downhill speeds you up.

So, you can expect hilly runs to be slower than flat runs. “You don’t get all of the energy that you expend going uphill back when you run downhill,” explains Nimbus Couzin, Ph.D., a marathon-running physics instructor at Indiana University Southeast. “That’s because when your feet strike the ground on a descent, a lot of energy is lost.”

And going like a bat-out-of-hell down a hill is a great way to roll an ankle or hurt a knee. So crank up the speed carfully on the decent and remember that you can make up time on the straights too. The down hill can be a very effective opportunity to get a little “rest” and regrouping before laying down some fast miles on level ground…a lot more effective than a sprained ankle.

The Exception: When you run point-to-point with a net elevation drop, your average pace should be faster than on a flat course.

15. The Sleep Rule

Sleep one extra minute per night for each mile per week that you train.

So if you run 30 miles a week, sleep an extra half hour each night. “Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on training,” says David Claman, M.D., director of the University of California-San Francisco Sleep Disorders Center. “The average person needs seven and a half to eight hours of sleep, so increase that amount when you’re training.”

Training on less rest can train your body to be able to do more with less. This can end up being useful on race day (provided that you haven’t run yourself into the ground before then). Striking a balance of getting enough sleep to keep functioning but sufficiently little to put a little extra stress on the body can be tricky but effective. Cutting back on sleep early in the training schedule and seeing how things go on that little bit less is a good way to start (IMHO). Adding 15-30 min on the front and/or back side of your night in the few weeks before race day will help ensure you are well trained and rested. This might come naturally as you hit your highest milage weeks ~3 weeks out from your race.

The Exception: The extra sleep may not be necessary for some high-energy folks.

16. The Refueling Rule

Consume a combination carbohydrate-protein food or beverage within 30 to 60 minutes after any race, speed workout, or long run.

“You need an infusion of carbs to replace depleted muscle glycogen, plus some protein to repair and build muscle,” says Nancy Clark, R.D., author of Food Guide for Marathoners. “Ideally, the carb-protein ratio should be 4-to-1. Some examples would be 150 to 300 calories of low-fat chocolate milk, a recovery-sports drink, flavored yogurt, or a bagel and peanut butter.”

The Exception: Immediate refueling is less important if you aren’t running hard again within 24 hours.

17. The Don’t-Just-Run Rule

Runners who only run are prone to injury.

“Cross-training and weight training will make you a stronger and healthier runner,” says TriEndurance.com multisport coach Kris Swarthout. “Low- and nonimpact sports like biking and swimming will help build supporting muscles used in running, while also giving your primary running muscles a rest.”

I think there is a lot of value in cross training. It works different muscles than running and keeps things fresh. Unfortunately, I’m very bad about cross training. I rarely have the time, patients or facilities. There is no excuse for not doing at least some cross training though. Hiking, biking, football, swimming, etc… one or two days a week, while running your tail off on the other days is not too much to ask.

The Exception: The surest way to run better is to run. So if your time is limited, devote most of it to running.

18. The Even-Pace Rule

The best way to race to a personal best is to maintain an even pace from start to finish.

Most of the 10,000-meter and marathon world records set in the last decade have featured almost metronome-like pacing. “If you run too fast early in the race, you almost always pay for it later,” warns Jon Sinclair, the U.S. 12-K record holder and now an online coach (anaerobic.net).

I like warming up at a slightly slower pace and finishing hard. This keeps it a bit more interesting and eases me into those tougher, quicker miles at the end. It also greatly reduces the chance of blowing my legs out in the first half of the race. I haven’t exactly sent any land-speed records recently though, so…

The Exception: This doesn’t apply on hilly courses or on windy days, when the objective is to run an even effort.

19. The New-Shoes Rule

Replace running shoes once they’ve covered 400 to 500 miles.

“But even before they have that much wear,” says Warren Greene, Runner’s World gear editor, “buy a new pair and rotate them for a while. Don’t wait until your only pair is trashed.” Consider shoes trashed when the spring is gone.

I have two pairs of shoes going at all times more or less. Mizuno Wave Creations for most runs and then my lighter Mizuno Wave Elixers for my long runs and race day. This combo has worked well for me for quite a while. Running with a bit more junk in the trunk for the short runs helps make for a speedier long run. Rotating shoes also does definitely help get higher milage out of each pair.

The Exception: A shoe’s wear rate can vary, depending on the type of shoe, your weight, your footstrike pattern, and the surfaces you run on.

20. The Hard/Easy Rule

Take at least one easy day after every hard day of training.

“Easy” means a short, slow run, a cross-training day, or no exercise at all. “Hard” means a long run, tempo run, or speed workout. “Give your body the rest it needs to be effective for the next hard run,” says Todd Williams, a two-time U.S. Olympian and online coach at pushthepace.com. Apply the hard/easy rule to your monthly and yearly training cycles by treating yourself to one easy week each month, and one easy month each year.

Deal!

The Exception: After the most exhausting long runs and speed workouts, especially if you’re 40 or older, wait for two or even three days before your next tough one.

21. The 10-Degree Rule

Dress for runs as if it’s 10 degrees warmer than the thermometer actually reads.

To put it another way, dress for how warm you’ll feel at mid-run–not the first mile, when your body is still heating up. This means choosing the right apparel. (See the “Dress for Success” table) “On cold days, the new soft-shell tops and tights are light, warm, and breathable,” says Emily Walzer, fabrics editor for Sporting Goods Business Magazine. “On warm days, wear a lightweight performance fabric next to your skin, which will disperse sweat through evaporation.”

Definitely. Overdressing sucks!

The Exception: There’s a limit to how many clothes you can take off without getting arrested, so if it’s in the 70s or warmer, wear minimal lightweight, light-colored apparel.

Dress for Success
Here’s a cheat sheet to help you dress appropriately for your runs, no matter what the thermometer says. This chart factors in the 10-Degree Rule but doesn’t account for a significant windchill. On very windy days, you may need to dress warmer.
TEMP
(in degrees)
BASIC APPAREL
above 70 Lightweight/light-colored singlet and shorts
60 to 69 Tank top or singlet and shorts
50 to 59 T-shirt and shorts
40 to 49 Long-sleeve shirt and tights or shorts
30 to 39 Long-sleeve shirt and tights
20 to 29 Two upper-body layers and one lower-body layer
10 to 19 Two upper-body layers and one lower-body layer
0 to 9 Two/three upper-body layers, one/two lower-body layers
below 0 Three upper-body layers, two lower-body layers

22. The Speedwork-Pace Rule

The most effective pace for VO2-max interval training is about 20 seconds faster per mile than your 5-K race pace.

The best way to increase your aerobic capacity and long-distance speed is through VO2-max interval training. A pioneer of VO2-max training is Jack Daniels, Ph.D., coach at the Center for High Altitude Training in Flagstaff, Arizona. “By stressing your aerobic system,” he says, “this pace optimizes the volume of blood that’s pumped and the amount of oxygen that your muscle fibers can use.”

Yuck, but effective :-/

The Exception: The exact pace is closer to 10 seconds faster per mile than 5-K race pace for fast runners, and 30 seconds faster per mile for slower runners.

23. The Tempo-Pace Rule

Lactate-threshold or tempo-run pace is about the pace you can maintain when running all-out for one hour.

This pace is about 20 seconds slower per mile than your 10-K race pace, or 30 seconds slower per mile than 5-K race pace. “The key benefit of this pace is that it’s fast enough to improve your threshold for hard endurance running, yet slow enough that you don’t overload your muscles,” says Daniels. The ideal duration of a tempo run is 20 to 25 minutes.

I have come to quite like my temp runs. Is this insane? Probably.

The Exception: The exact pace is less than 20 seconds slower per mile than 10-K race pace for faster runners and slightly more than 30 seconds slower per mile than 10-K race pace for slower runners.

24. The Long-Run-Pace Rule

Do your longest training runs at least three minutes per mile slower than your
5-K race pace.

“You really can’t go too slow on long runs,” says RW “Starting Line” columnist Jeff Galloway, “because there are no drawbacks to running them slowly. Running them too fast, however, can compromise your recovery time and raise your injury risk.”

My long runs are usually quite a bit faster than this. Sooooo….either I’m slacking on race day or I’ve gotten damn lucky having not injured myself yet. Frankly, I do not want to stretch my 20 milers out to consume even more of my precious weekend days so I’m going to go with my issue being that I’m not maxing out on race day. Until things start to feel not so good (or I find myself with way too much time on my hands) I’m going to keep running my long runs by feel and at this ~9:15 min/mile pace. Good luck to me :-/

The Exception: Galloway says you should run even slower on hot days.

25. The Finishing-Time Rule

The longer the race, the slower your pace.

How much slower? Jack Daniels and J.R. Gilbert spent years compiling a table (see “Predict Your Performance”) that shows how much you should expect to slow down from one race distance to the next. “We did some curve-fitting to come up with a formula that generates a pseudo-VO2-max for each race time,” says Daniels. They sweated the math; now you just need to sweat the race.

The Exception: Terrain, weather, or how you feel on race day could all throw off the table’s accuracy.

Predict Your Performance
Want to know how fast you should be able to run a marathon without actually running one? Look for your most recent race time in one of the columns on the left, then follow it across to your predicted marathon finish time. The chart is based on the best times from runners of various ability levels.
1-MILE 5-K 10-K HALF-MARATHON MARATHON
4:20 15:00 31:08 1:08:40 2:23:47
4:38 16:00 33:12 1:13:19 2:33:25
4:56 17:00 35:17 1:17:58 2:43:01
5:14 18:00 37:21 1:22:38 2:52:34
5:33 19:00 39:26 1:27:19 3:02:06
5:51 20:00 41:31 1:31:59 3:11:35
6:09 21:00 43:36 1:36:36 3:21:00
6:28 22:00 45:41 1:41:18 3:30:23
6:46 23:00 47:46 1:45:57 3:39:42
7:05 24:00 49:51 1:50:34 3:48:57
7:24 25:00 51:56 1:55:11 3:58:08
7:42 26:00 54:00 1:59:46 4:07:16
8:01 27:00 56:04 2:04:20 4:16:19
8:19 28:00 58:08 2:08:53 4:25:19
8:37 29:00 1:00:12 2:13:24 4:34:14
8:56 30:00 1:02:15 2:17:53 4:43:06
Source: “Oxygen Power: Performance Tables for Distance Runners,” by Jack Daniels and J.R. Gilbert.
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Strength Training

As you all know I’ve been blabber on about incorporating strength training into my workouts. So far there has been a lot of talk and little action. Well, now that I’m not in the midst of a training season or a nasty work schedule (knock on wood) I’ve run fresh out of excuses. SOOOO, to start things out, here is a pretty nice little article on the importance of strength training from Runner’s World. There are links to useful follow-up articles through out (making all of our lives easier 🙂

Strength Training

Strength Training

Strength training is a supplement to a runner’s roadwork because it strengthens muscles and joints, which can improve race times and decrease injury risk.

If you want to perform at your full potential, you need to take a comprehensive approach to your running. That means targeting areas of fitness you may not normally pay attention to, like flexibility, balance, mobility, and strength. Studies have shown that strength training can improve body composition by helping you maintain or increase your lean body mass and can decrease your percentage of body fat, helping you look leaner and burn additional calories.

Not sure where you stand? Take our tests to find out how fit you are.

This is a very humbling informative self evaluation and gives you a good sense of where you are (or are not) starting from.

Incorporate strength training into your running regimen

So I am personally NOT a fan of the gym. I would much rather use some free weigths at home to supplement body weight and resitance bands for strength training. But, to each their own. If you do fancy the gym, also do avoid these weight-lifting mistakes.

  • Take a class if you’re unsure about how to strength train on your own.

See above comment. The same applies to classes for me. I’d rather read on my own and talk to someone personally than shackle myself to a class.

I have done a bit of yoga and really liked it, but don’t have it as part of my current training regime for logisitcal difficulties of attending a class (and my lack of personal ability to fly yoga-solo). Pilates, no thank you. Gyotonics, WTF? But again, to each their own…

YES!! 🙂

  • Integrate cross-training into your workout routine to build strength and flexibility in muscles that running doesn’t utilize and prevent injury. Try cycling or swimming to improve strength and flexibility.

YES!! While I don’t can’t swim, I love biking. I haven’t done nearly enough of this recently and need to get back on/off (which one is it?) the wagon. I suppose I should also learn how to swim.

Say goodbye to the long run?!?! WHAT? IMHO this is absolute garbage advise!! I’d say keep the long run and ditch another mid-distance run for some high-intensity, low-volume running. Or, alternate week for the long run and H-I, L-V workouts. But to ditch the long run? Put down the crack pipe!

Yes!

Gain total body strength. Multiple studies show that regular strength training can improve running economy-how efficiently the body uses oxygen-by as much as eight percent, translating into greater speed and more muscle endurance. And it makes sense for runners to focus on their most important body part—their legs.

Try these workouts to strengthen your lower body:

Not the area that I personally need to focus on first, but obviously not a bad area for a runner to spend some time.

But strong legs require a solid foundation. When you run, your abdominal and back muscles fire to stabilize your spine. Strengthening your core will help your legs also grow stronger.

YES!! Well, kind of. Yes = necessary (but painful) for me.

Try these workouts for a stronger core:

I need to rotate all of these into the mix, with an emphasis on the core, back and abs. Ready, set, go!

The best distance athletes don’t just have impressive quads and glutes. They have muscular arms and shoulders that help them maintain speed throughout their races.

Try these workouts for a stronger upper body:

 

Yes! And this one is going to be fun for me. I’ve natrually had a pretty easy time building and maintaining arm strength. This sounds like a good place to start!

Do a little of everything:

For a workout plan that incorporates all three muscle groups, try our Get-Strong Plan for a total body strengthening regiment.

Not a bad idea at all.

Just don’t forget the importance of rest and recovery. If you occasionally take a break from training while still maintaining fitness, you will come back a stronger runner.

Yes and yes. Rest and recovery are absolutely essential. (In all seriousness….)

Ok, so personally, I will start by focusing on my core, back, abs and arms. My plan is to construct a running schedule that works strengthing all of these areas in with long, H-I L-V and recovery runs.

Stay tuned because there will be more riviting details to follow as finally get my act together!

 

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Boo to overtraining!

I’ve had very different experiences during the teen weeks of my 4 marathon trainings seasons thus far…

#1. All sorts of system failures occurred long before this. By week 9 or 10 I was falling apart and firmly believe that I wouldn’t have made it to race day without my god-send chiropractor Dr. Jenny.

#2. Much better. I still had issues (Don’t I always?!?! Yes.)  but with one training season under my belt and regular maintainance from the wonderful Dr. Jenny before big problems began, I progressed through the higher mileage much more comfortably/successfully.

#3.  High mileage weeks? Long runs +16 miles? What are those? Are we speaking the same language? I felt great throughout my training! (And then like I’d been run down by an African chicken bus for weeks after the marathon…oops…)

#4. The best yet! I’m (unfortunately) thousands of miles from Dr. Jenny The Great and haven’t found another chiropractor since moving to NJ. I was really worried about this (and still am a bit) based on how horribly I felt during my first training season, but so far I’m doing ok. I can tell that a number of things are just a bit off…a tight muscle here or there, a sore ankle, a tight , a stiff neck, a stab in the shin…but over all I’m very pleased. Knock on wood, but there hasn’t been anything more than a few acute issues. My runs are feeling good. I can make it through the long ones with just a tiny bit a bunch of therapeutic complaining and I feel like I have good speed and strength throughout the short intense mid-week runs and on hills and all of that good stuff… That being said, I can’t afford to slack on the maintainance and have to put the effort in and find someone good to start seeing on a regular basis again. That being said, does  anyone have Princeton area chiropractor suggestions ?!?!

Anyway… the point of this post (only 6 paragraphs in, eh?) is to share a Runner’s World article jumped out of the computer at me as I was trying to work hard this evening…

Am I Overtraining for My Marathon

By Coach Jenny Hadfield (not to be confused with the one-and-only Dr. Jenny…)

August 22, 2013

Having trouble completing your workouts? Here’s how to train smarter to avoid fatigue.

SilhouetteRunner-500

The part of the article that I really like is the 4 day / week running + cross training schedule that Coach Jenny outlines for making sure you aren’t overdoing it during these later teen weeks of training…

Not being able to finish workouts due to fatigue is a classic sign of overtraining. I’m an advocate for cross-training, especially for runners over forty, as it takes longer to recover from harder workouts. Of course it also depends on the efficiency of the runner and many other variables like sleep, nutrition, stress, body alignment, and balance.

I’d follow your instincts and train four days per week.
1. A long run (make it at a conversational effort, please).
2. A hard speed workout with the group.
3. Two easy-effort runs.

If you’re unable to make it through the week of workouts, your body isn’t recovering efficiently. By scaling back the number of runs to four per week—and including two hard runs (long and speed)—you’ll allow your body time to recover, so you’ll be able to complete the workouts, adapt, and improve this season.

Weave in cross-training activity that focuses on body strength, balance, and flexibility (Pilates, yoga, or a general strength/flexibility workout). Your body needs to balance the high-intensity workouts with more calming activities that balance, lengthen, and strengthen the body. That way you flow from hard to easy and recover more efficiently. Your schedule could look something like this:
Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: Cross-Train
Wednesday: Speed
Thursday: Cross-Train
Friday: Easy Run
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Rest (or light restorative flexibility exercises)

I’ve actually adopted a 4 day/week training schedule for the entirety of my preparation due to the logistical constraints of the rest of my generally out-of-control life. This has served me well.

I have two weekday runs and then Saturday and Sunday of course. I try to put my weekday runs on Tuesday and Thursday to space things out – with Tuesday being shorter (4-7 mi) and “faster”/tempo, and Thursday being a bit longer (6-12 mi) and at a comfortable pace. I like to get the long run out-of-the-way on Saturday morning (as Friday night activities allow) topping out at 22 miles and with 3 +20 milers (alternating with 12 mile long run weeks). Sunday then is a good (as Saturday night activities allow) recovery run of 6-10 miles.

As for the “cross-train” part, this ranges from 18 hr days in the lab to hiking and flag-football. Oddly enough, I do think I’ve built considerable mental muscle from the frequent unreasonable-work-day + training-run schedule. Now I was starting to feel like I may actually be losing it with this theory. I mean how does this make any sense at all? I’m exhausted from work when I start my run, just to go back to work when I’m finished!! So, you can imagine my delight when I came across the How To Build Mental Muscle article that totally backed up this crack-pot idea of mine! Fantastic! 🙂 Also oddly enough, football has helped me realize that post-November 17th I need to rework my maintainance training schedule to include some speed, hills and core work. It will be nice to switch things up a bit for the next few months. Wait! What? I’m looking forward to speed and core work?! I guess I have lost it after all!

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How to Build Mental Muscle

While hard at work (of course) this article from Runner’s World basically read itself to me…

How to Build Mental Muscle: New research reveals that if you really want that PR, you have to train your brain—hard.

By Alexander Hutchinson

September 16, 2013

How To Build Mental Muscle Oct 2013

Lately work has been nothing short of insane and there really isn’t much hope that it’ll let up over the next 3 yrs. Getting work outs in at the end of the day or, better yet, crammed in between time points, can be stressful, draining and not feel like the high quality work out that I was hoping for. Heading out the door, I want to either feel good and be able to enjoy the run or feel like I’m getting in a productive work out. God forbid both I do both… 😮 Lately however, running has seemed like just one more irritating, not particularly productive, task that must be crammed into an already full day. Not cool. Not cool at all.

So, while lamenting at my desk (now this is productivity) the above article imposed itself upon me with exactly what I needed to hear…

After a few weeks, I’d progressed to 30-minute brain sessions. Sometimes, following Marcora’s advice, I ran immediately after to practice running while mentally fatigued. The result was familiar: It felt like heading out for a run immediately after a stressful day of work or travel. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t run faster—it just felt harder than usual. I’d check my pace partway through a run, realize that I needed to speed up, but be unable to summon the willpower to make it happen. The purpose of these combo sessions was to simulate the point in a race when your brain starts to feel fried, and practice pushing through it. Essentially, they were brain-training sessions, minus the shapes and letters…

Until recently, coaches and sports scientists believed runners should be as fresh as possible for workouts—well fueled and fully hydrated with rested legs. Now elite athletes sometimes do the opposite: train on empty stomachs and tired legs to stimulate the adaptations that help them cope with the rigors of racing. We’re due for the same shift when it comes to the brain, Marcora believes: Fresher isn’t always better. The military excels in training soldiers to function despite mental fatigue—forcing them to perform grueling marches when they’re already sleep deprived, for example. But it doesn’t have to be that crazy. If your brain is fried after a stressful day at work or a sleepless night with a sick kid, don’t follow the usual advice and reschedule the hard workout you had planned. Instead, embrace the mental fog and hammer the run. Yes, your times will be slower than usual, and the adenosine levels in your brain will be sky-high. You will hate running, and life in general, and Sam Marcora in particular. But if, a few months later, those please-stop-now runs translate into a PR, you’ll forgive him.

(While these more or less…maybe less than more…anyway…get the main point across, the whole article provides context and a good read.)

So, after work and during work workouts are going to be sticking around. The focus will be simply have to start shifting, well, to focus! Hopefully come November there will be a succesful Philly marathon and a shiny new PR to show for it.

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Food news

So I was hard at work today again (of course) and came across some wonderful food and running related info on Runners World that I can’t help but share…

First of all…

Eat This Now: Blueberries
In season June through August.
By Yishane Lee;
July 18, 2013

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Good for You
Nothing beats a bowl of fresh blueberries for flavor and juicy sweetness. These tiny fruits are nutritional powerhouses, delivering one of nature’s highest counts of antioxidants with just 84 calories per cup. U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers have found the berries’ antioxidants may improve cholesterol, boost cardiovascular health, and build strong bones.

Get the Best
Blueberries should be plump and firm, with a uniform blue color and powdery bloom (wild blueberries from Maine and Canada are smaller than their cultivated cousins and have a tangier taste). Avoid soft, squishy, or wrinkled berries; stained or leaking containers can indicate the fruit is old. Store blueberries for up to 10 days in the fridge. Do not wash them until ready to use.

Kitchen Simple
Appleman cooks blueberries into a sauce to intensify their flavor: In a pot, combine a handful or two of berries with a little honey. Stir over low to medium heat until they break down and become thick and syrupy, about five minutes. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and chill. Drizzle the sauce over yogurt or ice cream.

Sold! I love it when my favorite websites endorse my ~$30/month addictions…

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And then…

25 Great Snacks for Runners
Sport nutritionists recommend the best between-meal noshes.
July 31, 2013

Do you need a midnight, mid-afternoon, or mid-run snack to get through the day?

We know we do. Let’s face it: three square meals are no match for a runner’s appetite. The good news is that eating small meals throughout the day not only silences your grumbling stomach, but can also aid in weight loss. From soybeans to gummy bears, we’ve got 25 runner-friendly foods that can be eaten (in snack size) whenever hunger comes knocking.

From Eat Like a Genius: Nutrition for Runners, one of more than a dozen free training guides available from Runner’s World.

Now 25 is a big number for Dr. Trot so I have no intention of going through each and every item on this list. But, don’t worry, all is not lost. Here are a few of my favorites…

1. Bananas
Why they’re good: Bananas are chock full of good carbohydrates. They are a good source of vitamin B6 and are vital for managing protein metabolism. (Runners need more protein during and after workouts.)

When they’re good: Before, during, or after exercise. They’re great blended into a fruit smoothie. Or simply whip frozen banana chunks with milk in a blender for an awesome recovery shake.

Calories: 105 per medium-sized banana.

2. Carrots
Why they’re good: Carrots are low-calorie but filling, so they’re excellent if you’re watching your weight. They contain carotene and vitamin A, which promote eye health and strong immune function.

When they’re good: Eat them at night when you want something to munch but don’t want extra calories. Or eat them before dinner if you’re famished. This way, you won’t overindulge once you sit down for your meal.

Calories: 30 to 40 per medium-sized carrot.

NO! DON’T DO IT!! CARROTS ARE DISGUSTING!!!

11. Fruit Popsicles
Why they’re good: This refreshing low-calorie treat is loaded with vitamin C, which fortifies your immune system and helps boost iron absorption.

When they’re good: They’re great any time, but they’re best immediately after a tough, hot run.

Calories: 75 per 3-ounce frozen fruit/juice bar.

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17. Rice Cakes English Muffins with Peanut Butter
Why they’re good: Rice cakes are low in calories, most of which come from energizing carbohydrates. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. It also contains vitamin E, which helps with muscle recovery.

When they’re good: A perfect stick-to-your-ribs snack for mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

Calories: 225 per one rice cake with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.

Please note, the title of #17 has been amended for my Dr. Trot’s sanity. Bastardizing the amazing substance that peanut butter is by pairing it with a rice cake is beyond my comprehension.

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22. Gummy Bears
These fun, tasty, fat-free snacks are easily digested and provide a quick hit of carbohydrates. Many runners swear by Gummy Bears when they need a quick pick-me-up on long runs or during marathons. And try a few on those afternoons when your energy sags.

Calories: 130 per 1.4-ounce packet.

Nutrition Tip: After exercise, even if you have no appetite, get something in your stomach.

Amen!

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24. Microwave Popcorn
Unbuttered or slightly buttered popcorn is low in calories (mostly from carbohydrates), yet filling. It’s perfect when you crave a salty food but don’t want many calories.

Calories: 80 to 100 calories per 2 cups (popped).

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And with that, I think I’m going to go for a run find myself something to eat!

Any other personal favorites out there that didn’t make the list?

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