Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Risk and reward of court sport cross training

Running is not the best sport for functional life.  It trains the muscles in one repetitive motion.  It coverts or at least enlists white muscle fibers to help with sustained running activity.  Runners typically look slow (Almost goofy) doing sports like tennis, racquetball, volleyball or basketball.

Until 10 years ago I was a court sport person.  I laughed at my runner friends in the racquetball court .. really could you 1st step be that slow.  Since then I have run @ 46,000 miles.  I have become what I mocked.  I have lost 8-10 inches of vertical jump, my 1st step is slow as molasses and it is hard for me to change directions quickly.

Other than impressing your friend with your aptitude at court sports, what other benefits do they hold for you?  Consistently playing court sports will lead to stronger support muscles around your ankles, knees and hips.  This is something you also get technical trail running.  Using your muscles in a different way will create a different stimulus than running, breaking up some of the running training monotony.  These sports tend to be very social sports, allowing people with different fitness levels to play together.

What are the dangers of court sports?  Since I have given them up for 5+ years, I have had significant atrophy of some of the support muscles in my hips, knees and ankles.  This leads to a higher level of risk of injury as I pick them back up.  I do not know how to play moderately.  If I have done a hard run in the same day before playing, it is very risky.  I have to treat playing basketball or volleyball as a hard workout day and run easy that day and know I will be a little sore the day afterward.

I know a lot of runners that get hurt playing court sports.

Is the risk worth it? 

For me the risk is not worth the physical reward.  I have started to play basketball, volleyball and racquetball again, not for the physical benefits, but because I love to play.

I am still uncoordinated, have no vertical and am slow as molasses ~ But with a smile on my face!

Good running to all!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Point Bock 5 Miler

This event closed out in less than 12 hours ~ A growing trend for all races.

It is the event that kicks off the Wisconsin racing season each year - A flatish, fast 5 miler with 1500-2000 people.  A fun time of racing and beer, held at the Point Brewery to celebrate Point Bock Beer season!

Luckily for me a friend found an entry and they allow transfers.

I am happy to now have this race on my schedule.

They have a Big Bock (200-219) division and a DoppleBock (220+) division.  I am currently DoppleBock, but I will be a Big Bock by race day.

Good running to all!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Anticipating Improvement

We train to improve.  To run faster or longer.  We know when we start a new training cycle we will improve in the macro-cycle.  We also create an expectation of improvement week to week.  Early in the training cycle we see quick improvement.  This leads to thoughts like ~ "Last week I ran 5x1 mile at 6:22 pace, this week it will be 6:18 pace."  We might even start scheduling out the improvement over the weeks to end in the fitness we want to be at for our goal race.

Reality improvement happens or does not happen on its own schedule. happens.  One week we might see no improvement, the next a much bigger improvement than we expect.

For me last week was the 1st week I took care of all the non-running training and I was anticipating a nice improvement in fitness.  I ate right, slept well and avoided alcohol.  I felt really good going into my Saturday morning 10 miles at marathon pace run.  I looked forward to a run faster and easier than the previous weeks workout.  But the 1st step was hard and by 1/4 mile I had to back down slightly.  It never got easy, some workouts are like that.  It never got harder either.  I spent the whole run trying to relax and find a smooth stride.  By the end I had run the 10 miles at the same pace as the previous weeks 9 miles at marathon pace.

I started running almost 10 years ago.  In the early years I would force improvement in workouts that was not really there.  This led to a snowball effect of over-pacing a series of workouts. I anticipated consistent improvement, but my real improvement was always behind the pace I was forcing.  Eventually this ended in over-training and a sub-par goal race.

I still anticipate improvement, but I am not a slave to the watch.

Currently my biggest potential improvement is from weight loss ... I am not gaining or losing ... stuck at 220 pounds.

Good running to all!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Which race distances scare you?

I am thinking about this year's racing goals = 5k-10k.  Looking at a race predictor

I feel little to no anxiety about getting into 2:50 marathon shape = being able to run 6:30 miles.  The thought of running a 29:19 5 mile, 17:45 5K or a 5:10 mile makes me pause and wonder if I can do it. 

Having never had a goal race or tapered for a race under a marathon, my experience in the shorter distances are running them as a speed workout while marathon training.

If I am going to spend 7 months training for the 5k-10k distance, not only will I taper for these goal races, but you better bet my goals are faster than the numbers above.  Of course if you read my post on "January Optimism", it is only February, so I still believe I will do great things in 2013!

100 Milers or 24 hour races do not scare me ~ Only a little dread about the pain that will happen.  Marathon - 50 milers I always look forward to as 9 out of 10 times they bring joy to me on race day.  5k - 1/2 marathons actually have caused me the most disappointment and in race anguish.  The only time I smile in these shorter races is after I am done!

I do have some long races that scare me ~ not the distance, but the race.  Arrowhead 135 or any race that you have to carry all of your stuff in a polk is not on my radar screen.  I will leave those races for the real Manly-Men out there.

Good running to all -

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Focus

I started training 4 weeks ago.  But that is only half true.  I started the running part of training 4 weeks ago.  Now it is time to add the focus on eating, hydration, sleep and avoiding alcohol (mostly) that is needed to truly "Be in Training".

I will commit myself to the next 8 weeks (February and March).  There are 3 ways you will know I have been successful:  1)  I will be < 200# on April 1st, 2)  I will run a 5k Friday April 5th and be <= 18:36 and 3)  Boston Marathon will be < 3 hours.

Then it is onto training toward my goals of 2013 ~ 5k, 5 Mile and 10k PRs.

Good running to all -

Friday, February 1, 2013

The old man and the snowblower

Stubbornly, I did not get a snow blower until I was 40.  I love being physical and snow blowers are for old men.  I turn 44 later this month and I have come to hate shoveling snow.

It rained a lot on Tuesday night and then it snowed 10 inches.  About 1/3 the way through my snow blower broke.  This left the snow / slush the snow plow leaves at the end of the driveway and the 40 feet in front of the mailbox of the same heavy slop.

Not only was it heavy, but it did not want to come off the shovel.  90 minutes Wednesday night and another 45 minutes Thursday morning (Thank you snow plow) left my back, hips and legs tired and tight.

Only in week 4 of my current training cycle, my workouts are still pretty easy.  Last night I planned 15-17 miles with 12x1.5 minutes (Treadmill) faster (Think mile pace).  I take plenty of rest 2.5 minutes between reps.  This workout is just glorified striders to work on form and to get comfortable at faster paces.

I knew I was in for more work than I bargained for right away.  I guess moving a few tons snow is not good for your training.  I had thoughts of passing on the workout.  I knew I would not have another chance as we are going out of town this weekend.

In the end it was not that bad.  Usually I do 5 reps a bit slower than add .1 mph to each of the remaining 7 reps.  Last night I ran 16 miles and did all the reps at 10.4 MPH.  Yes I am slow, but it is early in the season.

I need to get the snow blower fixed, because us old men have an aversion to shoveling. 

Today it is sunny, -5F with a wind chill of -26F.  I love the sun ... I need the sun in winter, but this old man does not like running in the cold either.

Good running to all!