01 March 2012

My Training and Two Things of Note

I will begin posting each day Garmin Connect details for my runs.  I do this so that you can see how I train and, if you so desire, ask me about why I approach training the way I do.  On some days I will discuss something about my day's training.  On other days I won't.  I do encourage you to leave comments or questions about what you see.  The link to today's run is below.

Guerrilla Race by scarbellyracer at Garmin Connect - Details

I want to lay out some of the basic elements to my training for Prague.

1. I have been taking at least one day off per week.  Right now I'm taking Mondays off.  As my mileage climbs above 55 miles per week, this will change.

2. I have been taking a Vinyasa Flow Yoga class on Mondays as part of my strength training. This is the first time I've consistently practiced yoga.  So far I like it.

3. I will do little, if any, interval training as I prepare for Prague.  (This approach was suggested by Pete Pfitzinger in response to questions I asked during a webinar he gave about marathon training, and I wholeheartedly agree with him.)  I will mostly be building my weekly mileage to where it was before the 2010 Amsterdam Marathon (about 60 miles per week on average) and completing a weekly tempo run on Thursdays--did a five-mile tempo run this morning, the details for which you can view by clicking the Garmin Connect link above.  Every now and then, I will also run aggressively during my long runs.

4. If I do any high-speed training, I will probably begin with short hill sprints or diagonals, but I have no plans to do any 400, 800, or mile repeats.  I want to make sure my repaired body is able to handle the stresses of running before getting into heavy interval training.

5. Making it to the starting line in Prague a healthy runner is my most important objective right now.  However, while I will try to be smart in my training, I will not run scared of being injured.

*****

Interesting Note One: A new study looking at the metabolic costs of running barefoot or shod concluded that, "Running barefoot offers no metabolic advantage over running in lightweight, cushioned shoes."  Important note here, however, is that one thing still holds true: the lighter the shoe, the better (in terms of metabolic costs). You just can't have zero shoe.

Interesting Note Two: I recently viewed a fine documentary called, "Man on a Mission," about Brother Colm O'Connell, the man who has coached Kenyan runners at St. Patrick's High School in Iten, Kenya for over 30 years.  He has coached some of the world's greatest runners, including the current 800m world record holder, David Rudisha.  Former Olympian and world champion, Eamonn Coghlan, guides us through the story, as we get a little insight into what makes the Kenyan runners so great.

Four things stood out to me as I was watching this documentary:

1.  Brother O'Connell's runners pay a good amount of attention to form.  They have slow running sessions where a runner's entire focus is on good form, and they participate in drills that teach the body how to run with good form and that strengthen the muscles necessary to giving a runner the stability s/he needs to maintain good form.

2. How relaxed Kenyan runners look while running--something they train to accomplish--and how slowly they're willing to run during their easy sessions.  It's been said all too often that many American runners run too fast on easy days and too easy on hard days.

3. An eighteen-year-old student at St. Patrick's discusses the fact that he works out twice a day during the school days and three times a day when not in school.  Forget genetics.  The Kenyans are working harder and smarter than anyone else.

4. David Rudisha believes that all the barefoot running the kids do in Kenya helps eventual runners have healthier feet and ankles--an opinion I endorse fully.  (He could have also added that it probably helps them develop better running form, too.)  I hope to blog soon about how ridiculous most children's footwear is.

I hope this information has been useful, and if you get a chance, do watch "Man on a Mission."

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