It was admittedly a slow month here on Predawn Runner in August – marathon training, vacation, and, well, a major announcement took away from the time available for writing posts. But that means there are more ideas queued up for the rest of the year, so look forward to articles on such topics as the “experience curve”, contradictory facts about running, and other hopefully compelling topics.
It seemed that the rest of the running world was a bit quieter in August too – unless they were writing about the Olympics. Two moments stood out for me (in the distance running arena) this year – the first I actually didn’t get to see, and that was the 1-2 finish by Farah and Rupp in the men’s 10,000-meter. That spawned this article by Mario Fraioli on lessons learned from Salazar’s approach to training these two fine athletes. The second was Morgan Uceny’s fall in the women’s 1500-meter final. My initial reaction was to question her balance and strategy, as well as her decision not to finish the race, but Becky’s post on The Middle Miles changed my mind – she was a victim of bad fortune, and deserves pity.
There were some good “primer” type posts from the usual suspects this month. First, Runners Connect’s John Davis provided some good thoughts on the basics of running form – comprehensive yet not intimidating. Some good thoughts to focus on, so long as you continue to focus on only one idea at a time. Also on Runners Connect, Emily Brown discusses the energy systems used to propel your running. You may be familiar with the idea of anaerobic versus aerobic, but you can deepen your understanding of what tapping these energy systems means to you as a runner (and, to some extent, an eater).
As we head into the fall marathon season, it’s time to get race-specific in our training and in our featured posts. Thus we start with a guest post on Jay Johnson’s blog reminding us of the overriding importance of consistency in our training as a driver of success – hopefully it’s not too late, I know I’ve been fighting the inconsistency bug for much of the season. Emily contributes another gem with her primer on the possible ways to carbo-load – I think I got this right last year and hope to repeat it again. And Pepper’s interview of successful marathoner Camille Herron on Salty Running gives a good voice of experience to the whole process of training and preparing for the marathon. And just one warning from the non-running world – here are the top 3 candidates (personality-wise) for burnout. Are you exhibiting any of these types of behaviors as your training approaches its peak? If so, it may be time to back down a bit.
To get a bit more granular on workout structure, let’s start with Caleb Masland discussing how to run strides. Like so much in running, the tendency is to make things more complex than they need to be, and Caleb does a nice job getting back to basics – it’s not about a pace or an effort, it’s about a feeling. Jay Johnson distills the difference between tempo and threshold runs on Active.com – the former is a type of run (frankly, any run with a decent-length segment at an increased pace) and the latter is a specific effort dictated by physiological processes – i.e., the accumulation of lactate in the blood as you generate it at a rate exceeding your body’s ability to clear it. And Jeff Guadette encourages us to think about how to use the recovery intervals during repeat training to drive specific gains. I’ve started experimenting with shorter recovery jogs and will also do a “float” workout next week where the recovery intervals are run at marathon pace.
To close with two more worthy posts for this month, Scott Douglas summarizes (and links to) a study providing evidence of the value of an aggressive warm-up, another element I intend to implement at a half-marathon next weekend. And Jeff also reminds us of the value of doing “the little things” in our training – strides, warm-ups and cool-downs, drills, strength work, etc. Something that’s tough to do when training begins to peak. Let’s all vow to make time to do better with this in September, shall we?