RRCA Coaching Certification Class

August 7, 2011 § 3 Comments

I just spent the last two days taking the Road Runners Club of America’s Coach Certification Class.

It was awesome.

First, Patti & Warren Finke, the instructors, are long-time runners, marathons, ultra-runners, and coaches.  Patti is an exercise physiologist, and has been the American age-group record-holder for 50km and 50mi.  She has been an Oregon Road Runners Club Age group runner of the year three times.  Warren has raced in over 170 marathons and ultramarathons–winning more than 20.  Twice he has been the U.S. track record hold for 100km.

Obviously, both are well qualified.

But their presentation is what really made the classes enjoyable.  The first day included a lot of lecture on topics like nutrition and physiology. The material was somewhat dull but they kept the class entertaining with antidotes from their 60+ combined years in the sport.

One of my favorite stories was about a competitor in the Race Across America bike race who started hallucinating in St Louis that his crew was a bunch of aliens trying to abduct him.  This racer later confessed that even after his crew caught him and got him to sleep a couple hours, that he thought all the way to Atlantic City that his crew was a bunch of aliens.

The second day was a bit more interactive as we broke into small groups and worked on developing training plans for Josefina, as interestingly played by Patti.

One of the side benefits I had not expected–and wish I had been able to take better advantage of–was meeting several other (better) bloggers.

Rebecca, me, Adam, and Ann

Rebecca from Michigan sat next to me the first day and works with Girls On the Run.  If I remember right, she works with over 80 different clubs in a 3 county area in the Detroit area.  I’m hoping to pry some more information from her as I try to get my program going.

Adam’s blog, The Boring Runner is tragically mis-named.  I wish my blog was half as entertaining as his.   Dude can run, too.

Unfortunately, I had less time to talk with Sporty Girl of Sporty Girl Jewelry Fame but she was extremely nice & she makes really cool sports-themed jewelry.

The long lectures on Saturday, coupled with the fact I hustled home to my family right after class instead of going to the restaurant, limited how much I got a chance to hang out with anyone.  I wish there had been a casual get together Friday night or a group run one of the mornings.  But I guess there’s always Twitter.

Again, the class was really amazing, I think I learned a lot–we’ll see when I take the test.  If I pass (and I complete my CPR & First Aid class later this month), I’ll be  a certified Running Coach.  I have a few goals in mind of what I want to do with that but even if I go no further than the experience I had this weekend, it was worth it and something I would recommend for any runner.  If you live in the Portland area (or Kona) , you might want to check out Team Oregon‘s training groups.

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Race Schedule, second half of 2011

July 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

Now that I’m healthy and waiting for my Garmin to charge, thought I should declare the rest of my summer/fall training & racing plans.

It’s time to work on speed.  So I’m targeting a bunch of shorter races–mostly cross country-style (the best) races.

While I would like to run ALL these races, I won’t because even if I had the time & money, my old bones, or more likely, my old tendons and ligaments, wouldn’t hold up–especially running 5 races, including a half-marathon, over 20 days in late August.

But I would like to build a mini-Cross Country season for myself between the two trail series (potentially 9 races) and the first and last race on the list.  Cross Country was my introduction into the sport and still my favorite type of races.  Running the shorter races on softer ground makes racing more often possible.

7/9 Mayer Run For the Son.  I would have felt like I HAD to run this since it is in the small town that I live in.  But it got cancelled.  Probably a good thing for me since I shouldn’t be racing yet.

*7/23 Oulu Rock Run 5k This is a Must-Do for me, it’s in my hometown.

7/28 Lifetime Fitness Trail Series.  4.5 Miles, Hyland Park Reserve. This is part 1 of 5 of a trail series at parks throughout the area.  I ran one last year and it was fun–relatively cheap and good race with good grub (beer!) and SWAG.  I probably won’t run all 5.

7/28 Rice St Mile. 1 Mile.  I ran several years ago–I’m tempted to run it just as a measuring stick although given the choice between this and the trail run on the same day, probably will do the trail run.

*8/6&7 RRCA Coaching Certification.  The Road Runners Club of America puts on training classes to become a certified running coach.  I’ve thought about doing this for a couple years but either missed the registration period or couldn’t afford the time.  Made a special effort this year to make sure I got in.

8/11 Lifetime Fitness Trail Series.  5 Miles, Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve. One of the nice thing about this series is that the races are during the week which frees up the weekend.

8/13 Rockford River Run 5k   I ran this 5k last year and would like to do it again this year for comparison’s sake.

8/21 Minneapolis 13.1 This is where things get interesting. Considering my plan of training for the shorter races, why would I consider this? Two reasons, (a) To give myself a second chance to redeem myself, especially after doing some speed work, (b) I might get comped to do this–more detail in a later post.  They also have a 5k that would make more sense.

8/25 Lifetime Fitness Trail Series.  3.2 Miles, Clifton E. French Regional Park. One of the nice thing about this series is that the races are during the week which frees up the weekend.

*8/31 Solomon Autumn Trail Series.  This is the third year of this 4-part trail series.  I’ve run all eight races in this series’ history–a feet only matched by my nemesis, Scott– so I feel obligated to continue the streak.

9/8 Lifetime Fitness Trail Series. 5 Miles, Carver Park Reserve.  I ran this edition last summer since it is close to home.  This is also where I screwed up my knee a couple weeks ago.

*9/14  Solomon Autumn Trail Series.  This series is also run weeknights so it doesn’t interfere with weekend plans.

9/17 Fall Frolic 5k.  This 5k is put on to support the Chippewa Falls Cross Country team.  I’ve run it couple times before, including once where I ran the loop part–it is a lollipop course–backwards and had to meet all the other runners.  Oooops!

9/22 Lifetime Fitness Trail Series.  5.2 Miles, Elm Creek Park Reserve.

* 9/28  Solomon Autumn Trail Series.  The money from this series supports skier, Audrey Weber.

*10/12  Solomon Autumn Trail Series.  It always has great door prizes for the participants.  Great Sponsors.

10/15 Whistlestop Marathon. I probably won’t run the Half Marathon but this is another race close to where I grew up and is run on nice, soft crushed rock trail.  But it is on my radar.

10/29 Carson Park 10 Miler.  Another race I probably won’t do but this is my favorite race of all time.  Perfect time of year, love the distance.  I have not run the new course but it use to be a point-to-point race with an awkward bus ride to the start.  Unfortunately, this is now two hours from where I live.

11/6 Rocky’s Run 11/6 5k/8k This is a CC-style race at the University of Minnesota’s Golf Course.  It seems like a good way to finish off the season.

Training Update

April 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

Just a quick update on my last two weeks of training.

Two weeks ago was supposed to be my last week of “Phase II” training. But because I struggled the week before, I decided to extend Phase II an extra week.

The third week of Phase II and the bonus fourth week of Phase II both went well. The hill workouts went well and I did 3 miles of tempo (the max I’m allowed) in the bonus week.

One thing I did those two weeks is drop my mileage the last couple weeks–I’ve made some of the easy days completing “off” days trying to give my Achilles some extra rest and they are feeling better.

I’ve now shifted to Phase III training, where the primary workout is Interval training, the secondary is Threshold (Tempo) and tertiary is Marathon Pace training.

I completed my first Interval workout on Monday with 5 x 400 in 1:40 (200 recovery in 1:40). I was a bit anxious over this workout because I haven’t hit the track in a couple of years and didn’t know how my old legs would respond. A bit surprisingly, the 400s came kinda easy–I ended averaging 1:33 with a range of 1:29-1:34. That was encouraging.

Tomorrow I’ll do another tempo workout–3 miles at 7:15 pace. And on Sunday, I’m running the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon . I’m hoping to run about 1:40 but am not overly concerned with my time–I’m using more as an exploratory opportunity than a target race.

That leads me into a topic that’s been rolling around in my mind for a while–the contents of my blog. I consider my blog a pretty boring read, it is mostly training reports. I don’t put a high priority on my blog–my work, family, running, and relaxing all are higher priorities. The blog occasionally gets some attention. When I do give it attention, the easiest and quickest thing to write about is the training.

But it is myopic view of my running and what it means to me. While I know what workout I am running each day and do concentrate on the hard parts, most of my running time is spent taking a mental break. My training schedule provides a structure for my overall runs but I kinda of do them on mental cruise control.

So there is a big disconnect between what I write about on my blog and what I think about while I run. I bring this up for a couple of reasons. First, I have been working on starting a podcast for a couple of months. I think that a podcast, especially one that I record as I run might better reflect my running and be more interesting. However, similar to the blog, I’m struggling to find time to create it (along with numerous technical problems). I’m not sure if I will ever actually get it going.

Secondly, I’ve been listening to some running podcasts and one, The Ruminative Runner, has struck a nerve. Just enjoy Norm’s perspective. We’ve exchanged a few emails and comments. In a recent episode Norm mentioned one of my comments and this blog, he also described my blog as being focused on training (poor paraphrasing) and that’s probably a good summary. But it isn’t really what I want my blog to be. I want it to be more qualitative than quantitative. I want it to be more revealing than rational, to be more right-brain than left.

So right now, I’m debating what to do with this blog. Maybe my limited writing time could be better utilized in some other way because right now, I don’t really like this blog.

The Week That Was 4/4/2011-4/10/2011

April 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

This was the second of three planned weeks of phase II of my half-marathon training for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in June.  While I completed every work-out, I didn’t dominate them so I’m thinking that I may extend this phase a week.

Looking at this week, on Tuesday, I did a repetition/hill workout and did OK but not great.  I really struggled with my tempo run on Tuesday.  The ideal tempo workout would be 20 minutes at my tempo pace (currently 7:17) but I managed only to do one mile and then a second half mile.  Now, to be fair, this was my first tempo work since last fall so maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself but I really struggled with this workout.  My third work-out was a 10 mile long run which I actually over-ran–suppose to do 8:40s but ended up with a 8:28 average.

So overall, I had one bad workout, one so-so workout, and one good workout.  Looking at the schedule, though, Tempo work continues through the rest of the schedule so extending Phase II by a week would really just give me one more rep/hill workout so I’m not sure.  My left hip really bothered me during the disastrous Tempo run.

The good thing is, though, is since getting my Superfeet inserts, I’ve used only my oldest pair of Pegasus and really haven’t noticed an improvement–if anything, they have gotten sorer.  For my long run on Sunday, however, I wore a newer pair and today my Achilles tendons actually feel better than they did Sunday when I work up.  I’ve come up with the theory that new Pegasus provide enough motion-control for me but, as a cushioned shoe, they lose that control more rapidly than a true motion-control shoe.  And as they lose whatever control capabilities my Achilles take the brunt.

That would explain why I get short-term relief from new shoes but it doesn’t last long.  So hopefully switching to a true motion-control shoe will help–maybe I’ll make that more of a priority.  I still have a fresh pair of Pegasus with 0 miles on them that I was going to use before trying something new but maybe that will need to change.

A New Phase

March 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

After “building base” for the last few weeks, I enter a new phase this week–focusing on repetition (strength) work.   Last week was difficult, for a variety of excuses, I missed four consecutive days.  A mini-taper I guess for this new phase.

The difficult part of this first week is that I’m planning on running a race, the Ron Daws Memorial 25k, on Saturday.  I am hoping to do a hill workout on Tuesday and then take easy days until the race.

It is fitting that this race comes during this week.  While most of my training plan is using Jack Daniels‘ plan, the rep work I am doing comes out of Daws‘ book, Running Your Best: The Committed Runner’s Guide to Training and Racing.

Daws credits Arthur Lydiard with the hill drills that he details in his book.  The circuits I do include an uphill portion that include various plyometric drills like skipping, prancing, butt-kickers, bounding, and broad-jumps.  After a recovery, I do 2×200 meter rep, and a rapid downhill.  And repeat.

The trouble with doing this and then racing is that at first, it makes you weaker before it makes you stronger.

But I figure that running the Ron Daws 25k was an acceptable option.  Not only because of its name but because from everything I’ve heard, it is a killer course. A hilly course that will give both a douse of strength work and, because of the distance, endurance work.  May be a bit early in the training cycle but I can always back off during the race.

And, incidentally, I’ve been prehabbing–it seems every year when I start doing these hill workouts, my ITB starts to bother me. Several years ago, I saw a physical therapist for this and was given some exercises to do.  Whenever I have hill-induced ITB problems, the same exercises help make the ITB problems disappear.  This year, I was smart enough to start the exercises before the hill workouts. Let’s hope they work.

That’s more like it.

March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

The next 10 day weather forecast is exciting:

The temperature is supposed to get above freezing every single day for the next 10 days.

This has been a long, tough winter for running. We received a lot of snow early and while not horribly cold, the temperature was cold enough that the snow has stayed and stayed and stayed. So we still have snow banks and ice patches. The footing has been tough and it has been slow going so I’m looking forward to a melt-off and clear running. Not to mention discarding a few layers.

Boy was it tough getting up at 4:45 today after running long and switching back to Daylight Savings Time. Right ankle is a bit sore from yesterday’s run, as are both Achilles tendons but that is typical. Plan for an easy 3 this afternoon for a purely recovery run.

Well that went well.

March 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

After a pretty lame week, I finished off with a long, easy run of 12.25 today.  I plotted out a loop through the country roads.  Spent the first 7.5 cruising easy, a little under the 8:40 pace I was shooting for, and listening to Steve Runner’s Phedippidations.

Had a scare at 2.5 when my right ankle bent sideways they way it’s designed not to when I stepped on a frozen tractor track–had a sharp pain for the a bit and thought I may need to use the cell phone to call for a ride but after a hundred yards or so, it was feeling better and it felt fine after a half mile.  I’ll see how it feels tomorrow.

I switched to the Beatle’s Please Please Me. After P-dip.  I’m glad to run in the country where I don’t have to worry about anyone, other than an occasional cow, hearing me sing along.  I’m an awful signer to begin with, but throw in my breathlessness and the fact I know only a tiny portion of the words and the results would be pretty awful.

My pace did start to slip during the later half–I was also interrupted by a “pack” of dogs from someone’s yard, one that looked pit-bullish and a couple of big, black slobbery dogs.  They just barked but came onto the road, so I ended up walk-jogging through their territory.

I pushed the final mile to 7:48 pace, finished off with an easy quarter to get home.  Overall 12.25 in 1:46ish.

Only have to do one more mile and I’ll be doing my race distance, that always helps the confidence.  I have two more easy weeks before I start throwing in actual work-outs.  Not sure how I’m going to approach that first week, I’m suppose to be doing rep work but have a 25k (15.5 mile) race scheduled–I’ll probably do one introductory rep workout early in the week and the run the race on Saturday.  I’ll run the race hard but not truly be racing.

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