Archive for March, 2008

The Longest Run During Marathon Training

Every time that I read an article about marathon training I see something pertaining to the longest run in a marathon plan. Why is there so much controversy?

Every marathon runner or coach has his or her own theory about the longest run during marathon training. Some argue that 20 miles in long enough. Others argue running up to 30 miles. And some even say that 15 miles is long enough. Which theory is correct?

In my own opinion the two greatest coaches are Arthur Lydiard and Jack Daniels. These two coaches never had their runners run longer than 22 miles. My interpretation of their coaching system is that they based this distance on the length of time that a marathoner would run during the actual race. During marathon training a distance of 22 miles ran at slower than marathon pace would equal the time running the actual marathon.

My own theory about marathon training follows a similar pattern. I try to lengthen my long run in minutes to the amount of time that I project to be my finishing time. For example if my projected marathon goal is 3 and ½ hours. My longest run will be 3 and half hours at my long distance heart rate of between 60 and 75% mhr 3 weeks before the marathon.

Two drawbacks to this theory are under estimating your finishing time and running longer than three hours. Figuring out your estimated finishing time can be a challenge. There are many ways to estimate your finishing time. My personal choice is to take my latest half marathon finishing time and double it and add one half hour. For those whose finishing time projects out to be longer than 3 hours I would not run longer than 3 and a half hours.

A suggestion about longs runs during marathon training. When your long run time starts approaching three hours allow 14 to 21 days between these efforts. Three hour runs take a lot out of you both physically and mentally. Extra time is needed for the body and mind to adapt to these difficult efforts.

My theory about long runs during marathon training has helped to me set my own personal best times in the marathon. I believe this will allow you to reach your own marathon goals also.

Author of: Fatigue Nutrition & Endurance Exercise, Run2Fast, Ultimate Training

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Posted by The Running Guy - March 30, 2008 at 10:48 am

Categories: My Marathon Training   Tags:

Prevent Injuries While Marathon Training

Injury prevention is a very serious issue for those who run regularly, especially those who are in training for a particular race or event. In these cases injury prevention is not only important because it helps the runner to avoid a painful injury and potentially long recovery period but it is also critical because an injury can disrupt the training schedule and result in the runner not being properly prepared for the race or event. This article will provide some basic tips for runners which will help them to prevent injuries.

Well designed equipment which also fits properly can go a long way towards injury prevention for runners. One of the most important pieces of equipment for runners is their running shoes. Running shoes should fit properly, not be overly worn and should also ideally be designed to accommodate the runner’s style of running. Additionally, running shoes should be replaced regularly to prevent injuries which may result from the running shoe being overly worn out. A good recommendation for how often to replace a pair of running shoes is every 300-500 miles. Runners should keep a detailed training log with a section for accumulated miles since the runner started wearing a new pair of running shoes. This will allow the runner to easily determine when they have reached the 300-500 mile range on a particular pair of running shoes and are likely to be in need of a new pair in the near future.

Stretching regularly can also help runners to avoid injuries. One worthwhile recommendation for stretching is to stretch during and after a run. Many novice runners make the common mistake of thinking they should stretch before their run but this is not necessarily true. Runners who stretch before they run are stretching cold muscles which are not as pliable as muscles which have been warmed up with a short jog. For example if you are planning to go for a five mile run, you might want to consider jogging an easy one half mile or a mile before you stretch to give your muscles ample time to warm up and be more receptive to stretching. It is also a good idea to stretch after you have completed your run. This will help your muscles to cool down properly and will aid in the recovery process of the muscles. This is important because the muscles can tighten considerably during the course of the run. Stretching them afterwards will help to prevent a long term shortening of the muscles.

Finally, runners can help to prevent injuries by taking care to avoid doing too much mileage too quickly. An individual who has not been running at all and attempts to immediately start running 5-7 miles per day is likely to experience a number of different injuries. Those who have not been running regularly are advised to start out with only a couple of miles a day. Even experienced runners can cause injuries by attempting to increase their mileage too quickly. You should aim to make mileage increases as gradual as possible and try to limit yourself to increase of no more than 10% per week to avoid injuries commonly associated with over training such as shin splints and stress fractures.

John Hopple is the owner of TheRunnersGuide a website that shares great running tips. To learn more about marathon training, go to my website and make sure to check out the benefits of running.

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Posted by The Running Guy - March 22, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Categories: Injuries   Tags:

The New York Marathon – The World’s Largest

The New York Marathon attracts over 35,000 participants each year, all entering either the men’s, women’s or wheelchair participant categories. The race first started in 1970, has been run every year since, and is the world’s biggest annual marathon, narrowly beating London to the title on the basis of runners completing the course.

In 2007 Paula Radcliffe scored an amazing comeback victory at the race, leading the women’s race from start to finish and completing the course in an amazing 2 hours 23 minutes and 9 seconds. The men’s race was won by Martin Lel of Kenya in 2 hours 9minutes and 2 seconds who out-sprinted second-placed Abderrahim Goumri in sight of the finishing tape.

World-class athletes such as Lel and Radcliffe are drawn to the race not only by the $900,000 prize fund but also the global TV audience of almost 315million. Many of the amateur athletes, who make up the majority of the participants, compete to raise money for charity and to enjoy the thrill of running past the two million spectators that cram the 26-mile route.

The Marathon takes in all five boroughs of New York City, starting on Staten Island. Almost the entire first two miles of the race involves crossing the massive Verrazano-Narrows Bridge over the Hudson into Brooklyn, before turning northwards. After 13 miles the route then traverses into the borough of Queens, before entering Manhattan over the Queensboro Bridge. After four miles the route crosses into the Bronx, where runners cover just over one mile in the last of the boroughs to be visited before heading south back into Manhattan. The last stage of the race takes the runners through Harlem and finally into Central Park where they complete the last three miles of this gruelling race.

The race finishes in front of the famous Tavern on the Green, which provides a dramatic contrast of the foliage and vegetation of Central Park against the concrete jungle of the surrounding skyscrapers. The congestion at the finishing point is best described as crammed, and anyone thinking of watching the finish in person should avoid this area unless they can view it from one of the many overlooking windows or terraces of a nearby Fifth Avenue apartment block or Central Park hotel in New York.

And with residents are just as keen – if not more so – on watching the race than visitors, the whole day exhibits a fabulous ambience, and definitely offers one of life’s great experiences.

Matthew Pressman is a freelance writer and frequent flyer. When not travelling, he enjoys golf and fishing.

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Posted by The Running Guy - March 15, 2008 at 4:27 pm

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Triathlon Training Plan – How Do I Get My Bike Miles Up?

I got a question this week from a triathlete struggling to build up mileage on his triathlon bike. This is a common challenge for triathletes. The trick here is to build mileage slowly and consistently. Here are some tips:

Remember to consult your physician before starting any fitness program.

1. Build up mileage slowly. Most triathletes are competitive by nature and they tend to push themselves to the limit. Out of frustration they might try to do a 4-hour bike ride when their longest ride before that is only a couple of hours. This is very risky and counterproductive.

If you overtrain like this you are likely to injure yourself, which can take you out of the game for weeks. Even if you manage to finish it without injury, your body will take a long time to recover from the workout and you may lose a lot of the benefit you might have gained from the long ride. Instead you want to build up slowly over time, adding maybe 25 to 50 percent to your base long ride (based on time in the saddle not mileage) every couple of weeks (see my sample plan to do this below).

2. Take time to recover and adapt. The goal is to slowly build up the length of your longest training ride while building in time to recover. Get to a plateau, ride there for a week and then try to extend it (see the sample program below).

3. A beginner can build effectively riding just 2 to 3 times per week. You don’t have to build your endurance by riding 3 or 4 hours every time you get on your bike. Instead focus on one long ride each week (time not miles). Your ultimate goal should be to ride for as long as you think your complete race will take you to finish. Your other rides during the week don’t need to be as long, but you might want to add some strength or technique training to these rides (like hills or cadence work).

4. Sample triathlon training plan Let’s say that your goal is to finish an olympic distance triathlon in around 3 hours. “Leg time” for this race is 2.5 hrs or more. Building your bike to 2.5 to 3 hours will help build the endurance needed for this event. Let’s make your goal to do a long ride of around 3 hours about a month before your race. Today you can easily do two one hour rides per week. How do you get to your goal?

By the way, you don’t have to be able to do a 3 hour ride to finish your first olympic distance race, but it is a good goal. As you advance you might try to increase the number of miles you finish during your long ride (see tip 6 for more on this). Here is an example of a basic plan to get you to your goal:

Building Bike – Time goals for your one long ride per week. Other workouts for the week would be based on your personal level of fitness.

a. Week One: Ride = 1.5 Hours
b. Week Two: Ride = 1 Hour
c. Week Three: Ride = 2 Hours

At this point you’ve doubled your long ride. Do you need more time to recover? If so then start over at Week Two and then do Week Three again. If you recover better then move on to Week Four. Do the same thing after each week that you build mileage – if it takes more than a couple of days to recover go back to the next lowest recovery week and start from there.

d. Week Four: Ride = 1.5 Hours
e. Week Five: Ride = 2 Hours
f. Week Six: Ride = 1.5 Hours
g. Week Seven: Ride = 2.5 Hours
h. Week Eight: Ride = 2 Hours
i. Week Nine: Ride = 3 Hours

Note: All rides should be ridden fresh with no hard workouts at least the day before and the day after. The pace should be in a comfortable easy pace (you should be able to talk or have a conversation while you are riding during the majority of your ride). Learn to “spin” or use your easier gears to prolong your muscle endurance.

You did it! At this point your long ride is now 3 hours and you have made a great improvement in your endurance. Next you will want to start working on other things like speed, terrain, etc.

5. Make sure that you are eating and drinking during these rides. If you are hungry or thirsty you waited to long to eat or drink. Right now you are asking your body to do things it hasn’t done before, you will need the calories. Eventually you will get more efficient and may not need to eat as much.

6. Time, Mileage or Heart-rate? Eventually all three of these measures will be important. When I start training someone we focus first on time at a comfortable pace. Next we add a heart-rate monitor to the mix and shoot for time within heart-rate zones. Finally we start working on the number of miles covered, heart-rate, and time. I suggest you start the same way.

If this sounds too over-planned, simplify it. Last winter I started training for a spring Century ride and my workout plan was just to add an hour to my long ride every 3 weeks until I got to 6 hours (although remember that I was starting from a pretty strong base and I didn’t train much in the other disciplines, I did hit the weight room 1 time per week, and the Yoga mat a couple times a week). The key is to do what works for you. Use this plan to adapt something for yourself or for you to present to your coach.

Triathlon Coach Janet Wilson is a USAT certified triathlon coach and ACE certified personal trainer. Janet is an accomplished and nationally-ranked amateur triathlete and she coaches triathletes of all skill levels, from a triathlon beginner to Hawaii Ironman qualifiers. To learn more about triathlon training plans, triathlon bike tips, coaching programs or just great tips on how to stay in shape visit her website at

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Posted by The Running Guy - March 8, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Categories: Triathlon   Tags:

Triathlon – Things A Beginner Needs to Know

This is collection of the answers to those pesky questions like:

1 What are the different Triathlon races and what are the distances?

2 What if I need to use the restroom on the bike / run leg?

3 Drafting? What is it? Can I do it?

4 Do I need a special Triathlon bike?

5 How to drink out of a paper cup while running?

Triathlon distances (and a few useful measures)

There are a couple of standard tri distances, however races often vary the distances

Sprint 0.75 k swim : 22k bike : 5k run

Olympic 1.5k swim : 40k bike : 10k run

Half-Ironman 1.2 mile swim : 56 mile bike : 13.1 mile run

Ironman 2.4 mile swim : 112 mile bike : 26.2 miles run (yes, that is a marathon)

1 k = 1000 meters = 0.62 miles 1 mile = 1600 meters (1.6 km)

What if I need to use the restroom on the bike / run leg?

It’s very important to drink enough and remain properly hydrated. In a sprint distance tri you might not have to cope with this, but in longer races you may have to.

1) Find a bush! If you are reading a page for Tri beginners you probably are not about to win a race anyway and can spare the 1-2 minutes.

2) Stop at the Port-a-Potties

3) for Men only:

Rule 1: Make sure you’re safe from legal repercussions. Urinating in public may violate indecent exposure, public nuisance, and disorderly conduct laws. In some states, you can become a sex offender for urinating in public. You don’t want to have to knock on your neighbors’ doors and notify them of your status. It’s awkward.

Rule 2: Make sure you’re riding on a slight decline. If you’re going too fast, you don’t want to lose control of your bike. If you’re going too slow, you don’t want to have to pedal midstream. You might as well just stop and get off your bike.

Rule 3: Learn the proper technique. Extend one leg and rotate the opposite hip towards the extended leg. Free your member from the top or bottom of the shorts, and let it flow. Tap as necessary.

Drafting, What is it? Can I do it?

Drafting refers to a riding technique where one cyclist rides behind another — sometimes directly behind them, sometimes behind them and a little bit off to the side — using the front cyclist as a windbreak. It helps reduce air resistance, meaning that the person riding in back doesn’t have to work as hard. The low pressure pulls you forward, while the wake pushes you along.

Most US races do not allow drafting. Both people involved in drafting (on the bike) can get disqualified. Note the “on the bike” part, because perfectly legal to draft in the swim .

Do I need a special Triathlon bike?

If you are a beginner, definitely no. I’ve seen people race on mountain bikes. It might be a good idea to put slick tires on that mountain bike, though. What’s the reason that people spend so much money for the lightest, fastest, coolest bike? Look at distances in a triathlon and estimate how long it will take you to finish each of the three legs. The bike leg typically makes up more than half of the race (time wise). So if you can get a gadget that speeds you up 10% for one of your three legs… which leg would you choose? 10% of a 10 minute swim would be 1 minute saved. 10% of a 25 minute run = 2.5 minutes, 10% of a 60 minute bike leg = 6 minutes. The choice is clear. There is another reason: time trial bikes are built slightly different than normal road bikes. For example the seat stem is a bit more vertical, which moves the saddle forward. This helps you transition from the bike to the run. Typically the start of the run is difficult in a triathlon (your legs feel like rubber and/or tend to cramp). The forward seat position shifts the work on the bike to slightly different muscles, which helps a bit.

How to drink out of a paper cup while running

There is a trick to it. When you run up to the aid station make eye contact with the volunteer handing you the cup. Grab for it from the top — do not try to grab it sideways. Right when you have the cup, squeeze the top together a bit. That gives you an oblong opening. Water won’t splash out of that easily. Drink from one end of that opening. You can run full speed without spilling any water.

and Watch those nipples…

What I mean is: your own! And this is a tip for men and women! Long distance runners sometimes put a band-aid over their nipples, or they use a products such as nip-guard, bag balm, or body glide. During a long run, the fabric of the shirt , singlet or jersey rubs this sensitive spot so much that it becomes seriously unbearable. And not in a pleasing way — it simply hurts.

Check out the Active Peak web site for answers to the following questions and more.

Should I use CO2 Cartridges?

What size Wheels are the best?

Do I need a wetsuit ? What kind of Wetsuit do I need?

What about Heart Rate Monitors?

Lulu has coached and trained triathletes for over 5 years. She currently holds USA Triathlon Level 2 accreditation. Lulu is an Ironman and has finished more than 40 triathlons and marathons. To read more Lulu’s Triathlon articles visit on line where Lulu is one of the coaches.

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Posted by The Running Guy - March 1, 2008 at 9:31 am

Categories: Triathlon   Tags: