One of the bigger areas of debate among runners and coaches is the tradeoff between quantity of miles (or kilometers, of course) and quality of miles. With the growth of the “run less, run better” and Crossfit approaches to training, there is a temptation to believe that you as a runner can perform your best by landing on the quality side of this argument in your training and cutting down your mileage to the “minimum necessary.” There are plenty of success stories claiming to prove that these approaches work.
It is, however, important to distinguish between what “can work” and what “works best”. Yes, you can improve your race results with a low quantity / high quality approach, particularly if you are a newer runner (and don’t run with so much intensity that you get injured), or a runner who has been away for awhile but has a good aerobic and athletic base. But these gains are going to be limited in scope and over time, as your returns on investment will begin to fade.
One error many runners make is in the management of their tune-up races. These training elements, when used properly, can be a powerful tool for providing physiological and psychological development, feedback on your progress, experience in managing pacing and other race-specific elements, and in dialing in your “A” race goal. However, they can also quickly derail your training if overused or scheduled and executed improperly.
There are a couple of more common mistakes in the management of tune-up races that you should watch out for (and it’s an area I work closely with Team Predawn Runner members in planning and avoiding).
Bill Roddy is a fellow Cleveland runner and marketing leader, and as such gets the opportunity to travel to some interesting destinations. One of his most frequent stops is Philadelphia, and I asked before a recent trip if he’d be willing to provide some advice on running in one of America’s finest cities. He has been kind enough to contribute this guest post.
Running runs (no pun intended) in the family for the Roddy’s. Bill and his brother Bradley both ran the Cleveland Marathon this year, and his sister Julie ran in the half-marathon. They were inspired by their father, who Bill states was “part of the running craze in the 70’s” (regrettably, no reports or images of what the running shorts looked like back then). You can follow Bill on Dailymile and Twitter.
A couple of times per year, I have the opportunity to travel to Philadelphia to visit with clients. Philadelphia is a wonderful city to visit. Though famous as the birthplace of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it offers much more than cobblestone streets and historical landmarks. Philadelphia is also a wealth of art, culture and architecture, with a walkable downtown, seemingly endless shopping (with no tax on clothes) and incredible restaurants that all create an unforgettable experience.
The weather in Philadelphia is different every time I visit. Having been there during all seasons, I’ve seen snow and cold temperatures, thunder and lightning, light and heavy rain, comfortable temperatures to high heat, high humidity, and abundant sunshine. On my most recent trip (June 21-23), the high temperatures were in the 90s with high humidity. My runs began around 5:30 a.m. and temperatures were already in the low 80s with humidity levels around 75%.
Running in Philadelphia is always a great experience, and one of the best places to run in Philadelphia has to be along Kelly Drive (it is actually the only place I’ve run in Philadelphia). Stretching from the Philadelphia Art Museum to the Falls Bridge near Manayunk, Kelly Drive offers one of the most scenic runs in Philadelphia. It winds along the Schuylkill River, where you are sure to see crew teams practicing in the water, on one side and Fairmount Park on the other.
A two-day trip included two runs. Like I said, all of my runs in Philadelphia have followed basically the same route only varying by distance depending on where I was in my training program or the amount of time I had available that particular morning. This trip was no different, although, as you’ll see, I did some stair repeats during run #1.
Run #1: As mentioned, all of my Philadelphia runs have been along Kelly Drive, but since I stay about a mile away, I have to run a few downtown streets to get there. I usually run down 17th Street or 18th Street to Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Once on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, it’s a straight shot to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the famous “Rocky Steps”. Being one of the first movies I can remember seeing with my parents as a 7 year old in 1976, I’ve always been a fan of Rocky and the rest of the series (yes, even the one with Tommy Morrison). Anyway, I proceed up the steps as I do every time I run in Philadelphia, but this time, for whatever reason, I’m moved to do six repeats up and down the 72 stone steps before heading to Kelly Drive. Kelly Drive is a wide asphalt paved trail that makes its way past the art museum, toward Boathouse Row, a strip of 15 boathouses along the Schuylkill River which are used for social events and to house the racing skulls of the various clubs which inhabit them. Each of the boathouses is at least a century old, and it is quite a sight seeing the many crew team members arriving for their early morning practices on the river. Past the boathouses, the trail passes a number of statues and other beautiful public artwork. While there are always cyclists, rollerbladers, runners and walkers on Kelly Drive, it has never felt overcrowded and this day was no exception. At the halfway point, I turn around and make my way back along much the same route. On this particular morning, I decided to run back into downtown on 20th Street which put me right near Rittenhouse Square at the finish. The Garmin statistics show that I ran 6.52 miles with an average pace of 9:04 per mile. What a fabulous way to start the day before heading into all day meetings with clients.
Run #2: After reading about the first run, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that my second run followed almost exactly the same route only a shorter distance. And this run only included one trip up and down the “Rocky Steps”. I read someplace that making the iconic trip up the steps is regarded as a symbol of perseverance and determination, some adjectives which describe most runners I know. And while the statue of Rocky (donated to the city of Philadelphia by Sylvester Stallone) doesn’t sit on top of the steps as it did in Rocky III, it does sit on the grounds of the art museum so you can still grab a photo with the Italian Stallion. Back to the run, this run was meant to be a recovery (aka, slower paced) run, but I still ended up completing the 4.03 miles at 9:05 per mile. As always, this run was a great way to start the day in the City of Brotherly Love.
Addendum from Predawn Runner: Bill was kind enough to provide some footage of his running in Philadelphia, for your enjoyment. He really layered up for the 90 degree temperatures.
It’s not often that I spontaneously buy a new type of running shoe. But that was the position I found myself in when I went with my wife to help her pick out some new shoes at the best shoe store in the area, Vertical Runner in Hudson, OH.
First, I think a bit of a lesson is in order – be careful in trusting the expertise of running shoe salespeople, especially when it’s not a running-focused store. My wife got her first shoes from someone who had been “trained by Brooks” on selecting shoes. While the young lady got one variable right (neutral running form), she missed a few other key ingredients. My wife spends most of her work day in high heels as a hospital administrator, and has never really run before. The Brooks Pure Cadence sounded good on paper, but the low drop and limited cushioning were a complete miss. Fortunately, the store took the shoes back after ~20 miles, so we decided to go to a better source for try #2 (note, I had intentionally removed myself from try #1, to let my wife find her own space in developing as a runner). Read the rest of Running Shoe Review: Pearl Izumi Project E:Motion Road N1 »
Many runners are in a relationship where they are the only one pursuing the sport. Obviously, partners in a relationship can have divergent interests, that either predate the relationship or developed over time. This is a good thing, as everyone needs their own “thing”, and their time to themselves. Plus, running is a hobby that consumes a lot of time, and it can be difficult to balance with other needs like childcare – though hopefully you are doing your fair share of more of the work and supporting your partner’s own hobbies.
However, given the great physical and mental health benefits of running, which you are hopefully humbly putting on display through your fitness and good demeanor, it’s probably far more likely that your significant other (for simplicity, let’s just assume it is a spouse, and more specifically a wife, since Mrs. Predawn Runner has just started running) will develop an interest in running than in, say, golf or poker (especially poker). Or perhaps she just wants to have something more in common, something to talk about, or another way to spend time together.
A few Team Predawn Runner members have asked for help with their form of late. I’ve also been asked to provide some thoughts on the running form of one of the kindergarten soccer players coach. My response? Maybe it’s a little early to worry about that…
Form is a tricky topic and in fact a bit of a “bunny hole”, particularly when coaching online. That’s partly because form is highly subjective and individual, and therefore “messing with it” can often be counterproductive. Since it is a common concern runners have, it’s worth sharing a few thoughts on a “form philosophy” that I’ve built over the years. Read the rest of Nine Helpful Tips on Your Running Form »