September brings us (in the northern hemisphere, at least) cooler weather and, with it, the smell of marathon taper season. There was a lot of advice posted this month on the taper, and a lot of it suggests a trend of doing more with this time – that runners tend to cut back too much too quickly. Jeff Gaudette at Runners Connect points out three common mistakes made during the taper and suggests some workouts to keep you on task – I tried one and found it to be the most confidence-boosting taper run I’ve ever done. And “Mint” at Salty Running provides eight basic taper tips that are important to keep in mind – I, for one, always seek to invest in more sleep during the taper.
There are a few posts that may fall in the category of “too late now” – unless you live in the southern US (or the southern hemisphere) and are training for Philly or NYC or another late-season marathon. First, Mark Cucuzzella provides tips for racing in the heat (if you don’t need it now, bookmark it for when you do), and then Jeff, on Competitor this time, provides ways to spice up your marathon-training long runs. I foresee getting a little less Pfitzinger-like in my future marathon training seasons.
Speaking of workouts, as a coach I am always eager to see new ideas to incorporate first into my own, and then into my clients’ training programs. Peyton Hoyal at the Pulse Racing Team provides some workouts in categories that don’t fit the traditional approaches used in stock training plans, like “aerobic power”, “lactic resistance”, and “lactic capacity”. These are not for the feint of heart, but can obviously be scaled a little bit to meet specific needs. And, in case I assign you any of these workouts, Susan Lacke provides a handy translator tool we can both use to understand each other a little better.
John Davis on Runners Connect posts on a topic that has plagued me (I guess) for a few years, and that’s the impact of a leg length discrepancy for runners. Frankly, I’ve come around to the view that heel lifts often hurt more than help and it’s better for focus on strength, mobility, and form work to overcome such issues, though my discrepancy is admittedly small. And speaking of Runners Connect, Jeff also hosted a great podcast interview with Jay Johnson, who has now joined their team of coaches. I’m not above linking to rivals, especially since both Jeff and Jay have had a big influence on my training and been supportive of my foray into coaching.
Now for the pet peeve section of our program. After reading a post from Alex Hutchinson on how the myth of lactate’s impact in causing muscle soreness won’t go away, and then Matt Fitzgerald’s explanation of the real purpose of recovery runs (it’s about the miles, stupid), please raise your right hand and vow never to talk about “flushing out the legs” again. We don’t need an excuse for the recovery run (umm, I mean anticipation run) – they are valuable miles that teach you to run while tired while letting you prepare for your next tough go. Maybe you subscribe to the FIRST approach, and that’s fine – there is more than one way to skin a cat. Personally, I like running a lot, so even though I don’t need to “flush out the waste”, I’m going to stick to my anticipation runs, for now.
Stepping to the world of elites for a moment, long-time readers may recall in interview I did in the early days of this blog with Ariana Hilborn. At that time, she was working towards her Olympic Trial Qualifying (OTQ) time. Well Laura/Salty at Salty Running has caught up with Ariana this past month, so you an find out how things have turned out for her, if you don’t already know. A very worthwhile read. While Ariana has moved north, it’s not as far north as the runners whose training plans were dissected in a study Alex Hutchinson cites. And low and behold, they do a lot of glycogen depletion training – just one more reason to run predawn.
And for the last two this month, Pete Larson reminds us that we can learn a lot from analyzing our shoe wear patterns, and that running form is about more than where you foot strikes – how it strikes is every bit as important. I’m constantly flipping over my shoes to look at their wear at various mileage levels, and will detail in an upcoming post what I’ve learned recently by doing so. Mark Matthews posted a good list of reasons recovering addicts take up running (a topic he’s familiar with, as he candidly admits on his blog). It struck me when reading this that you could almost change the title of the post to 9 Reasons Running is Addictive, and it makes me wonder how many of us would find other, less healthy, addictions if we didn’t have running. A thought to consider as we head into the depth of fall – good luck to all those with fall marathons or other A races!