Race Preview: Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K 2013

Feb 17, 2013 by

Race Preview: Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K 2013

I can hardly believe it, but on February 23rd, I will be running the Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K for the 5th time!  Much has changed in four years.  in 2009, the LRAH was my first oranized race, and I had only run over 6 miles once before the actual race.

These days,  6 miles is a pretty short workout for me.  And though I’ve run many races over the last fours years, the LRAH is still one of my favorites.  The race organizers do a fantastic job, and there is a large turnout.   Last year, I came close to a personal best for a 10K, and this year I hope to actually set that PR.  I haven’t set a PR in a 10K since 2009!

The course is tough, though, so a PR will be extra special.  Here’s the course elevation map:

There’s still time to register, and there is a 5K walk if 10K is too much for you. Visit the official website at http://www.lrah.org.

For my race review from last year, click here.

POFIFOTO!

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Running Social

Sep 4, 2012 by

Running Social

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

When it comes right down to it, one of the things I like about running is being by myself.   Maybe running is decompression time for me or maybe I’m somewhat of a loner, I’m not sure.  Anyway,  I’d bet 99% of the thousands of training miles I’ve logged before this year have been solo miles. This year, though, as part of a surgeon-less makeover I’ll call Greg 2.0 (or maybe Greg 2012, if you’re a Microsoft fan), I made a conscious decision to add more social to my running world.  So far, this is what I’ve done:

  • Helped coach a group of beginners in a Couch To 5K-type program.
  • Coordinated a group of co-workers for a team event 10K.  We helped raise money for a charity and came in third in the corporate competition.
  • Paced a friend in a half marathon.  We both set person bests.
  • Trained with a partner for most of my runs this past summer.

Now, I’m certainly no expert on being social yet.   I barely have over 100 friends on Facebook.  Nonetheless, I’ve come up with some reasons to run social, at least occasionally, and some guidelines to follow when doing so.

First, I’ve discovered at least three reasons to run with others:

  • Motivation. Most of us, if not all, need help with motivation. If you know a group or partner is counting on you to run at 7am Saturday, you’re probably more likely to get out of bed.  When my friend Ben called me to pace, it was just the motivation I needed to set a PR. (I wrote about this in this old post.)
  • Knowledge sharing.  One piece of advice I gave to the beginners in the running club was to buy a good pair of moisture-wicking socks.  A couple of weeks later, one the runners told me she had followed my advice and really loved the new socks.  You can also learn from others.  I also believe that even the most experienced runner can learn something from others.  For instance, I learned about a running app from a friend during one of our runs.  I’ve also learned about races that sounded fun and penciled them in on the bucket list.
  •  Fun.  As much as I still like to run alone and be lost in bad ’80s music, running with others is really fun.  And if running isn’t fun for you at least every once and a while, maybe you should check out cycling.

Second, I have come up with some guidelines to keep in mind while running with others.  These are even more critical if the runners’ abilities are vastly different. One of the biggest challenges with running with others is how to compensate for these differences. Some suggestions:

  • Slow down to the comfortable pace of the slower runner(s).  Running is no fun when you cannot keep up.  Discuss the plan and pace before starting.
  • Don’t over do it – a.k.a know your limits.  This is a hard one for many guys.  The bottom line is it is just dumb to push way beyond your abilities.   If you’ve never run over three miles, then don’t try to do ten!
  • Don’t leave anyone behind.  I found this was especially important in the group 5K training. No one wants to be left behind on a group run.  I liked to make sure I played “sweeper” on the group runs, hanging out with the slowest person.  Sure, I could walk faster, but I just ran really slow and tried to give encouragement.  Remember, we’ve all been there.

If you have anything to add, please share in the comments below.

POFIFOTO!

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Training Change Update

Mar 22, 2012 by

Training Change Update

I’ve added a new section to my blog site called Heart Rate Training, where I outline changes I made to my training last November and the results so far.  It is too lengthy to post here, but the link to it is at the bottom of this post.

The basic premise: All of my training for about 3 months starting last November was done keeping my heart rate in a small, specific range.  I used a heart rate monitor to make sure I was in the right zone and had my watch beep to indicate too high or low. I had to really slow down to do this.

For much of the last two years, I followed training plans laid out in the book Run Less Run Faster.  This program does work, and I still think it is valid under the right circumstances.  Maybe I’ll do a post one day comparing the two programs more thoroughly.  For the time being, though, I’m going to continue with the heart rate training.  I’ve been really happy with the results.

If you are a beginner/restarter or  frustrated with a plateau or dealing with nagging injuries, I’d encourage you to adopt this type of training for 3-4 months!

Please click on this link to read the new section and learn more: http://palmettostaterunner.com/hrt

POFIFOTO!

 

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Race Preview: Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K 2012

Feb 13, 2012 by

Race Preview: Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K 2012

I took a break from posting for various reasons.  I’ll try to do better.  On with the show…

On February 25, I’ll return to the scene of my first organized race, the Lexington Race Against Hunger.  In 2009, I entered because the timing and location were right for me.  Now, I enter because this race is one of the best races in the midlands of South Carolina.  Here’s why:

1.  Great cause.  Many, if not most, organized races benefit charities.  The beneficiaries of this event are local organizations whose missions are to feed the hungry.

2. Great Course. This is one tough 10K.  Mile 3 is especially tough with a trip up Main Street Lexington and then another tough stretch up South Church Street.   Here’s the elevation map:

LRAH Elevation Map

  3. Great race T-shirt.  The race shirt is a quality long sleeve cotton tee. At least it has been the last 3 years.  Hope they don’t make a liar out of me and change it up this year!  I have plenty of short sleeve t-shirts but never enough long sleeve.

4.  Great pizza.  The post race food table has pizza!  It may just be local delivery, but warm pizza tastes good after a run on a cold February morning!  Also, the post race awards ceremony is indoors!  This is usually a good thing since it will be late February!

Hope to see you there. For more information, click here.

POFIFOTO!

 

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Once Upon a Time

Sep 15, 2011 by

Once Upon a Time

I have to admit a little pride here. Lately, my cross country running teenager has exploded to a new level of speed. He set personal records twice in the opening 3 meets, by almost 1 minute each time, and the speed gap between us continues to widen. And I love it. He’s been working hard, and I’m proud of him.

First Place 40 Yard Dash 1978!

I was fast once, too. 4th grade field day. 40 yard dash. 1st place. Here’s a picture the ribbon to prove it. However, my childhood sports journey took a more traditional route of baseball and basketball, so I never built any long distance speed. Now that I work pretty hard at training for long distance running, including workouts to get faster, I get frustrated at my lack of progress at improving my pace, especially in the 5K.

Why don’t a improve faster? Besides age, some of it is probably due to not training correctly. However, I have a theory on speed in older runners: If you ran track/cross country as a teenager and returned to running later, then you can regain some speed, at least compared to others in your age group. Conversely, if you didn’t run early in life, then you just won’t get fast. To me, learning speed as a middle age runner with no past running experience is very much like learning a new language or musical instrument as an adult. If you had other languages or musical training as a child, you can be fairly successful, but if not, the road is quite bumpy and frustrating. It is a theory for now – or at least a rationalization for my lack of speed. I’ll need to poll some of the 40-50 year olds that can still break 20 minutes in 5K races to learn about their pasts. In the meantime, I’m going to keep working on improving pace with weekly speed workouts, not accepting the fact that I just may be a slow old guy now!

Speed Training

To get faster, you are supposed to do speed work, which trains your body to not hit the wall so fast.  One of my favorite speed workouts for beginners is this:  Go to a local oval track.  Walk or slowly run a lap or two to warm up.  Then do the speed workout by running the straight always at an increased pace over your normal pace.  Not an all out sprint, but faster than normal.  Then walk the curves.  Work up over the course of a few weeks to be able to do this for 10-12 laps.

Here are some links to additional speed workouts:

Runner’s World

Active.com

POFIFOTO!

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Funky Town

Aug 23, 2011 by

Having spent my teenage years in the 1980’s, I occasionally like to listen to ’80’s on 8 on satellite radio.  The other day I managed to sneak over to the station when the kids weren’t paying attention, and I heard a remake of the 1980 Lipps, Inc. disco classic Funky Town .  The remake was by a group called Pseudo Echo and apparently went to number 1 in 1986.  I was kind of appalled, but I figured it was a sign that I should make continue with this post.  And, why did they remake it so soon?

Oh well, back to running.  What does Funky Town have to do with running?  I suppose one of the ’80’s versions might be on your run playlist.  However, if you have any high-tech fabric workout clothes, Vibram Five Fingers or ever left wet shoes in a closed car for a day, then Funky Town may have a whole new meaning – the smell.

Here are a few tips for dealing with Funky Town.  First, get a separate small clothes basket for your running clothes.  Keep your  dirty workout clothes here.  Also, try to air dry clothes if you cannot wash right away.  Second, the main reason to keep the clothes in a separate basket is so you can easily wash them separately in the special detergents they make for high tech fabrics.  These really make a difference.  Occasionally, I have put on a high tech shirt that went through the regular wash, and I could tell a difference in the fabric smell.  We (and I use “We” loosely, since my wonderful wife handles 99% of the laundry duties!) currently use Tide with Febreeze for the running wash loads.  Third, if your shoes get wet from dew,  rain, or a 20 mile marathon training run, stuff newspaper in them for a day to absorb the moisture.  Finally, if you have Five Fingers Funk, good luck.  Washing them works for a bit, but the funk comes back quick.  I do keep dryer sheets in mine when not in use.  Here’s a link to a review of a product that just might work: http://barefootrunninguniversity.com/2011/04/13/killing-the-infamous-vibram-stink-a-better-solution/

POFIFOTO!

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