Saturday, December 20, 2008

Running indoors

One of the options I mentioned in the previous blog entry was moving indoors for training in the winter.

This may makes sense if you live where is difficult to train outdoors. I would still recommend that you spend some of your training outdoors even if it is only when the weather cooperates. To get the most out of your indoor training, I think there are several strategies to try and adopt.

1. It is a good time to recover from a hard summer/fall training to racing season. Cutting back on the running makes sense to allow the body and mind to recover and rebuild. This is especially true of the mind since the mental effort needed to sustain a hard training routine is high but we tend not to notice it.

2. Adding some strength training can go a long way to regaining balance between muscle groups that have gotten out of wack. I think we tend to forget or forgo some of the alternate training when we are in the final phase of our race season or just end of summer for those who have been building on their training over the summer.

3. Adding some flexablility training such as yoga or palates might be a good thing to help relax the mind and stretch muscles that have tightened up.

4. Some running in necessary during this time since it can be a real chore to regain that running rhythm if you take of entirely from it over the winter. Indoor track and treadmill workouts, while boring can be the way to start working on the push to spring after a month or so of easier runs. What I strive to do is to take one day a week and start building a steady state running focus by taking a pace and running increasing distances at that pace. In keeping with the rebuilding mode, strive to run relaxed while doing this. This would mean that as you get into the run, relax...if you find yourself getting tense and can't relax, this may be the limit you want to go but over time you should be able to increase the distance. Once you have reached 4-5 miles at this pace relaxed, you might then pick up the pace 10 sec per mile or so and back off on the distance a couple miles and repeat the pattern.

5. It is very difficult to run hard and fast outside in the winter. The cold air can bother the lungs in many cases and the footing is not always good to allow a full stride. This is where the indoor running can help by letting you run faster and maintain a proper stride. Doing this at least 2 times per week will help you to regain your rhythm in the spring.

6. Other aerobic activities should be added into the mix at this time. Spinning is one such activity which under a good instructor can yield tremendous aerobic workouts. One caveat on this is to watch out for routines that put undue strain on joints and ligaments. Some routines have been known to cause problems but if an instructor is not up to date on the current thought, they may not know to forgo these routines.

7. Other aerobic workouts may also be good. I cannot in this case speak from experience since I have not done any of these. However, I would only caution someone to pay attention and if the workout seems to cause undue strain or stress, I would proceed with caution. I think many of the bad raps some of these get is not because the routines are necessarily bad but the instructor may not know the proper form.

have a good run

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thoughts on Winter

I remarked on my website about the fact that winter is well upon us. I think it useful to talk a bit about how this affects our running.

The thinks about running in the winter are first the shortened daylight available and second the weather. Unless you don't work or have a job that allows you time during the daylight hours, you have to contend with running in the dark.

There are several strategies that come to mind when I think of this.

1. Move indoors. The availability of a club with a decent indoor track or treadmills is one way to tackle this issue. The upside of this strategy is that you have light, warmth, and peer pressure.
The downside is you get bored going in circles or nowhere on the treadmill, and peer pressure can overwhelm common sense. I have been there and can say that one year where I had a good training partner and we trained on a small indoor track during the weekdays in the winter, I had my best marathon that March. The key was controlled training indoors and a good long run on the weekends.

2. Move to a better part of the day. This is good especially if you can adjust your hours or use your lunchtime for training. The upside here is daylight and warmer temps. While the downside is you may be limited on how long you can run because of having to get back to work. It is definately a plus to run midday when temperatures are likely to be the highest for the day. It seems like the same temperature when it is dark, feels colder (at least to me)

3. Train in the dark but move your training courses is another strategy. I have noticed that there are areas that are well lit by street lights that could be used for training after dark. The downside of this is that you will probably have to contend with vehicle traffic and pavement. The upside is that it will probably be plowed. This is a really tricky option. If you follow this strategy, you need to be aware of the dangers that are involved with mixing with traffic especially after dark. I will probably talk more about this in another session.

4. Train in the dark but stay on your favorite trails or move to better trails. Running single track trails in the dark can be done with proper equipment. Moving to a wider trail such as the SF Trail is a step up in trail conditions that can help. Again there are safety conditions that need to be considered here and again I will elaborate in another session

5. Stop running and cross train. This is an option that I never would consider for myself but if it makes sense, then consider it. I have used cross training during the winter to supplement my running and it has benefits. Spinning is a high intensity way to keep your aerobic levels up and provide a good workout. Climbing workout on the spin bike seem to help my hill running so I felt it did provide some positive benefits.

There are probably other ways to approach this and of course you can mix the types of workouts in a way that makes the most sense for your situation. I did this when I would do spinning especially when the weather was not good for any kind of outdoor work. At times, I even did an hour of spinning followed by an hour on the treadmill and some weight work for upper body strength.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

More Rubber on the Road

It been a few runs since I bought my new pair of Asics 2140's. Since other options have not been that good, I decided to take a gamble at the 2140's since they were just released.

So far, I have mixed results. My first few runs were OK. I noticed less problems that I had with the 2130's. Since my feet are not recovered yet, I am not sure about the impact effect. I think I will need to rest the feet a few days before deciding if there are still problems.

I ran them in a 1/2 marathon race Saturday and the result were pretty positive. I still had soreness from impact but I did push them quite hard. I was about 45 sec per mile faster than I had run it 2 years ago and a faster avg pace that most of my runs in this distance range this year so I know I put a lot of stress on shoes. I did not have some of the aches and pains of the previous models in other areas like the hips and the top of the arch.

More testing needed...but looking positive so far