Note: This will likely be the last post of top running content, as I’m migrating it to an email newsletter starting in February, 2013. So if you enjoy this content, please subscribe to this email using the form at the upper right. This biweekly (or so) email will highlight content like this as well as announcements and new posts from Predawn Runner.
Two posts this month focus on goal-setting. On Competitor, Jeff Gaudette discusses how to set realistic goals and, as I’ve mentioned before, emphasizes enjoying and focusing on the process as opposed to worrying too much about the results. The latter follows the former, and by keeping focused on the process you maintain patience and build your strength appropriately, as opposed to being in a hurry and risking injury. And Jay Dicharry makes an interesting argument that we don’t think general enough when we are in our base-building mode. Unicycling, anyone?
Caitlin Chock on Competitor points out four common form flaws with suggestions on how to fix them. And, as I’ve said before (and will say again soon), form follows function – if you have weaknesses or imbalances, it’s difficult to overcome them through just thinking about form. You have to fix your weaknesses through appropriate strength training.
Two posts also focus on the long run, in both cases skipping the boring “build up” period and instead discussing what you do once your volume and long run length is “up there”. Jay Johnson argues that the runs should be hard, but not too hard, generally advocating a progression from easy to a final two miles of “no talking”. Courtney Baird on Competitor also advocates for some long hard (lots of miles at marathon pace) runs, on a once / month or three times per twelve-week cycle basis. The workouts she posts are definitely more advanced, but worth considering once you have a solid base and several marathons under your belt.
This seems like it will be the year that the gap between “minimalist” and “transitional” shoes closes even tighter with the introduction of zero-drop cushioned shoes from Saucony, Brooks, Mizuno, and others. Just in time, Mark Cucuzzella provides this Q&A type post on moving into transitional shoes (or beyond), with some common sense advice from a site that often comes across as “minimalism or bust”. This is a topic I’ll be addressing shortly, both here and in a guest post on Runblogger.
Rick Merriam of Engaging Muscles provides (in his off-beat-yet-dead-serious style) another argument against passive stretching, suggesting that focusing on tight muscles is an error we too often make. We should instead be focusing on strengthening the opposing muscle, as that is what helps elongate the tight muscle. Which is another point in favor of active isolated stretching.
In the usually-entertaining Out There series on Competitor, Susan Lacke discusses what makes a good running coach valuable. Frankly, if all I need to do is email you a plan and write-up one time to start your season (or month), I’m disappointed. It’s the challenges that come when you are feeling a bit off, or have a schedule conflict arise, or face some other kind of disruption, that make the job interesting. And that’s where a coach is most needed, to help you figure out how to adjust and move forward.
And Mark Kennedy, a recent new client who runs the Healthynomics blog, posts the 7 never-again lessons he learned in his first marathon experience, and he’s probably not alone in making several of these (I know that I made a few). You can guarantee we won’t be making the same mistakes again.
For the second month in a row, we reach out of the running realm to tap Leo Babauta’s Zen wisdom, with an article he posts on learning how to wake up early. The best suggestion is making sure you are rising early to do something you are passionate about. I have an idea on what that could be…
And for those who may have missed it, my first article on Active.com (where I was invited to be a contributor) appeared this month. Focusing on the value of recovery runs (or, as I call them, anticipation runs), it is an attempt to bring honor (and significance) to this much-maligned element in your training plan. There is a second article up for February, but that would take me past the 10-post limit, so we’ll save that one for the email update.
Finally, congratulations to Team Predawn Runner member Geri Lynn Sanchez, who set a 4-minute PR at the PF Chang’s RnR Arizona Half-Marathon in what was essentially a B (or maybe a B+) race. Going into it with a foot neuroma, we had a lot of uncertainty, but she blew away her race day goal and looks set for a solid Shiprock Marathon this spring.