Avoid Letting Your Running Routine Become a Liability

Photo Credit: Busy Schedule by Flickr user Flik, used under a Creative Commons license.

Photo Credit: Busy Schedule by Flickr user Flik, used under a Creative Commons license.

A year or so a go, a friend responded to a survey asking him to state the one word that best encompassed what running means to him with the word “routine.”   There is a lot of power in that concept, as it’s the attitude of creating a routine (and therefore a habit) that gets you out the door every day (or most days).  And since consistency is the key to long term success as a runner, regardless of your goal, making it routine can be a real asset.

But there can be a point where routine becomes limiting.  The negative connotations of the word include “boring”, “repetitive”, “unexciting”.  So it should be easy to see that too much routine can lead to getting into a rut, or to burnout.  Worse, when you have tunnel vision about the manner in which you train, you miss opportunities that are even only slightly different from what you are used to.  This in turn can lead to shortfalls in your performance, as it is often new opportunities that bring the biggest growth opportunities

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The Ups and Downs of Hill Training for Runners

Photo credit: Interval running (hill) 4 by Flickr user Michael Lokner, used under a <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en">Creative Commons license.

Photo credit: Interval running (hill) 4 by Flickr user Michael Lokner, used under a Creative Commons license.

One topic I’ve struggled a bit with as a coach and in designing my own training has been how to integrate hill training into the program. I’ve ranged from one extreme (structured hill repeats with goal times and the distance and repetitions progressing through the season, in preparation for the Akron Marathon) to the other (nothing structured but just incorporating hills into long runs to get ready for the Towpath Marathon).

We all know the potential benefits of running hills regularly:

  • Improves strength in your glutes and hamstrings
  • Provides low impact speed work
  • Builds mental toughness and can prepare you for hills in a race
  • Helps provide gains in your running economy
  • Certain workouts can improve your VO2max

But how do we best realize these gains and make the most of the time (and energy) we invest in hill workouts?

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To Eat or Not To Eat – That Seems to Be An Important Question

Photo Credit: after breakfast by Flickr user glasseyes view, used under a Creative Commons license.

Photo Credit: after breakfast by Flickr user glasseyes view, used under a Creative Commons license.

A few months ago, I participated in a chat hosted by Run Your BQ’s founders Jason Fitzgerald and Matt Frazier, with the topic being how to become a predawn runner.  While I be blunt in stating that the chat was nominally a waste of time (there were maybe six attendees, though I understand that it was archived on the site for future viewing), I did have one valuable takeaway from the session.  The biggest barrier to predawn running for most athletes (besides the whole “getting up early” thing) seems to be not knowing what to eat before running.

This amazed me.  My answer has always been pretty simple – “nothing.”  Perhaps because I’ve always done it that way, not having food before I run has never been an issue for me.  Not before the short recovery run, not before the tough tempo or repeat workout, and not before the 20-mile-plus long run.

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The 2013 Central Park Challenge – Providing Opportunities

CPC_2012_5k-start

As the parent of a child with autism, I support efforts to create a better life for individuals and families dealing with this challenging condition.  As opposed to awareness or research organizations where it’s tough to make a significant impact as an individual, I prefer organizations that are focused on delivering practical solutions to families today, especially in the upcoming era of tightening health care dollars.

When Abbey Faris of the YAI Network inquired about advertising on Predawn Runner for the Central Park Challenge, of course I was interested.  And as I learned more, I wasn’t really interested in selling ad space to such a good cause – I wanted to give them a free platform to promote this outstanding event.

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Posted in Races by Greg. No Comments

Boston Is Everyone’s Tragedy, Not Just Runners

Photo Credit: Boston Marathon Bombing by Flickr user Aaron "tango" Tang, used under a Creative Commons License.

Photo Credit: Boston Marathon Bombing by Flickr user Aaron “tango” Tang, used under a Creative Commons License.

It’s nearly impossible for a running blogger to avoid writing about the events in Boston this week, as any other topic seems trivial. While many have written about what it means to the running community or to the author as a runner, it’s important to discuss the broader aspects of what happened.

The natural tendency for a runner, especially one who has or aspires to run Boston, is to view the tragedy through that lens. To visualize the typical activities at a finish line and compare that to the videos we see repeated time and again. To turn to other runners for consolation and understanding or to express grief or fear. To view this as an attack at the soul of what it means to be a runner.

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Posted in Races by Greg. 14 Comments