Race Report: Ron Daws 25k

April 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

After admiring Ron Daws for nearly two decades, being aware of this race for a few years, I have finally had a chance to run it.  I’ve followed the race from afar and know of its reputation of being a tough, hilly race.

It lived up to its reputation.

I used the McMillian Running Calculator to estimate a time–a little over two hours.  So I semi-targeted two hours or 7:45 pace but since I knew it was a tough course and I haven’t run over 13 in this training cycle, I was ready to back off from that.

Making it a little easier to break down mentally, I figured I just needed to run five 24:00 5ks in a row.

The weather was good–upper 30s at the start.  I got to the race on time.  Was able to take care of pending bodily functions.  I debated what to wear on my upper body–I had two shirts, one short-sleeved and one long-sleeved, but didn’t know if I should keep on my wind-breaker jacket.  During a very short warm-up (6 very slow minutes) I decide to keep the jacket because there was a slight wind.

Whether it was my own misunderstanding or the race actually starting late, I was ready to go around 8:00 but we didn’t push off until around 8:15.  The start was interesting–first the race director, Jeff Winter, I believe, was charmingly curmudgeony about avoiding cars and the fact that there were too many runners this year.  And then we had a mass false-start.

But once we got going, I started out pretty well–running each of the first four miles between 7:35 and 7:52 for an average of 7:46 through 4 miles.  But a hill in mile five and some realization that I needed to back off and I ran the next 10 miles at an 8:17 pace (8:10-8:33).  The fifteenth mile was a tad slow, 8:42 as I struggled up the final climb but covered the last three-quarters of a mile at a 8:15 pace so my legs weren’t completely de-spunkified.

My 5k splits were:






Overall, I loved the race.  The course was everything I hoped it to be–tough, I definitely got some serious strength work in.  I can definitely imagine Daws running over those same hills.  The fees were next to nothing ($4).  Had some good conversations during the first half of the run.

The final race results were even posted relatively fast, albeit not necessarily accurate—I had a watch time of 2:08:57 but listed at 2:08:24.  I’m guessing that there was a place problem and I got the time for the runner who finished 2 slots ahead of me.

My legs were beaten the rest of the day, I took Sunday off, and struggled through 3.25 today.  It will be interesting to see how these old legs respond in tomorrow’s hill work.



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.

Training Schedule, Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

March 6, 2011 § 3 Comments

I took some time to plot out my training schedule for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in June.  I like to use a combination of Jack Daniels‘ plan, as found his book, Jack Daniels’ Running Formula, and Ron Daws‘ hill workouts (his interpretation of Arthur Lydiard‘s hill workouts), as found in Running Your Best: The Committed  Runner’s Guide to Training and Racing.  I substitute Daws’ hill workouts for Daniels’ Repetition workouts.


Phase Week Start Date Primary Secondary Tertiary Comments


I 14 3/7 Easy Easy Easy


13 3/14


12 3/21


II 11 3/28 R or I T L or LT Ron Daws 25k


10 4/4


9 4/11


III 8 4/18 I or LT T MP


7 4/25  Lake Minnetonka 13.1


6 5/2


5 5/9


4 5/16


IV 3 5/23 T lT MP


2 5/30


1 6/6


0 6/13 Race

Paces, based of a VDOT of 46 from my 21:45 5k on 2/5/2011.

L = Long, 8:48 pace
E = Easy, 8:48
MP = Marathon Pace, 7:48
T = Threshold, 7:17
LT = Long Threshold, 20 min of Threshold + 60 min Easy
I = Interval, 1:40/400m
R = Repetition, 94/400m


November 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Sometimes it takes an experience in a different, lessor realm to make a lesson clear in a primary aspect of your life.

We are in the process of finishing our basement.  Basic stuff, putting up some walls, running electrical circuits, and dry-walling.  Saturday, I rented a truck and hauled drywall home.  I carried 26 sheets of the stuff from our garage, where I initially unloaded it, down a snow-covered small slope into our basement.  Roughly 45 yards.

I’m a runner and I have been since 1984–my commitment has wavered off and on, but for the last decade or so, I have done at least 500 or so miles per year–about 66 hours of running.  My leg muscles are relatively strong.  My arm muscles are not.

Each sheet of drywall weighs about 55 pounds–over a third of my body weight.  I knew I was in for a work-out.

The first sheet was not too bad.  Around the seventh, I noticed my grip started to weaken on my panel carrier.


So naturally, I decided to speed the process by carrying two sheets at a time.

It was a disaster.  I made it about ten yards before I had to stop the first time.  I ended up stopping five times on that one load.  Not only did I slow down the process tremendously, I risked damaging the drywall.  The lesson I learned was that doubling the workload (weight)  much more twice the work if you exceed your strength limits.  Whether you are running uphill, into the wind or on a high-resistance surface like sand, snow, or sloppy mud, at some level of difficulty, you might exceed your strength limits and crash.


After the disaster of sheets eight and nine, I started to alternate arms.  Up to that point, I had used only my dominant, right arm.  I noticed with the very first carry using my left arm that the lack of strength in that arm prevented me from using good form–making the carry more difficult.  I found out with my right arm that by bending my elbow enough so that my hand was up against my hip, I could partially sit the sheet on my hip, taking some of the load off from my arm.  I was not able to lift the sheet high enough with my weaker left arm to get the same advantage so the stronger arm was not only able to more easily lift the sheets on its own but because it was strong enough to use better form, it was able to make the job easier by distributing the load (although my right hip wasn’t too thrilled about that).

Good running form makes running easier but requires enough strength to do so.  A weakness in the muscles will result in poor form and slower running.  This reminds me of the book, Explosive Running, by Dr. Michael Yessis.  In his book, Dr. Yessis talked about form problems, their causes, and provides strengthening exercises to correct them.

It also reminds me of how Arthur Lydiad (as interpreted by Ron Daws) scheduled strength-building hill workouts early in a training cycle so the runner is better prepared for the training.  I think Jack Daniels might also use strength workouts early too, although on the track–my copy of his book is packed away so I am unable to verify that.


As I continued my marathon of carrying 26 sheets, my right arm fatigued slower than my left.  By the end, I would do two carries with my right arm for each with the left.  Being stronger and using better form with my right arm prevented it from fatiguing as fast as the left arm.

As both arms got tired, my form got worse and my control suffered.  I had increased risk of damaging both the sheets of drywall and myself.  I did end up with some minor dents in a few of the later sheets–I survived basically unscathed.

The obvious lesson for my running is that being strong allows you to run longer, faster, and with better form.  This should also help prevent injuries because as your form gets sloppy, injuries are more likely to occur.

I knew all these things before but having first-hand experience in a different context–one where my strength, or more accurately, my lack of strength, was more obvious–helped make those points so more obvious.

As a Daws disciple, I believe in running hills and doing a set of form drills to help strengthen your legs.  I should also do core work, although I seldom do–my running would benefit, however.



July 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Doh! One of the downsides of running from work is the potential to be unprepared, leaving shoes, shorts, or, today, socks at home. Luckily, socks are something I can get by without. At least on a short, 4 miler.

Way back when I thought I was indestructible–which incidentally led to my destruction but that is another story for another time–I use to occasionally run barefoot and get away with it. Would do it anywhere–sidewalks, streets, trails, track, the only place where it was difficult was where there were a lot of small rocks. The football fields at Hobbs was the best place though. I got away from this, although I hear it is somewhat the rage now with Nike and others making shoes to simulate barefoot running.

I think I owe my own barefoot experiment, as most of my crazy ideas, to Ron Daws. Lately though, the only barefoot running I’ll be doing is in my shoes.

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