Mini-Marathon: Final Training Steps

May 6th, 2011 at 3:02 pm by under Mini-Marathon

I love the day before the Mini.  You have to understand I don’t run because I love to run.  I run because I love to eat.  The activity allows me a little more freedom to enjoy a few more snacks.  So, pre-race carbo-loading comes pretty easily to me.  Ask the WISH producer who calls me “Hoover” for my ability to eat.  (Maybe it looks that way because running makes me hungry a lot.)  In spite of the appearance, I try to be careful about what I eat — most of the time. 

Experts such as Kim Modglin will tell you these hours before the race are not an excuse for binge eating.  Kim is an exercise physiologist.  So, I thought it would be a good idea to review her advice, right now.  She encourages runners and walkers to get plenty of carbohydrates and liquids, this afternoon and tonight.  But don’t overdo it.

Kim’s advice for morning eating is: 

  • Awake early enough to eat pre-event meal three hours prior to event.  (High in low-fiber carbohydrates and fluids)
  • Drink 17 – 20 oz. of fluid two hours prior to event

The first year I ran the Mini, I followed the training class advice to take water at every station.  Before long, at every step, I could hear the water sloshing in my gut.  Since then, I’ve decided to limit my water intake during the race.  I bypass the first few water stops.  I may stop only for Gatorade along the course.  I may drink more, if it’s hot that day.

You probably won’t need any encouragement to enjoy the food offered at the end of the race.  But, there is a good reason to grab those goodies.  The sooner you get food in your system, the better you’ll restore your muscles. 

Good luck!  And remember: by this time tomorrow, you’ll be done!

Mini-Marathon: Using Technology

May 3rd, 2011 at 4:37 pm by under Mini-Marathon

I’m learning about a couple of new features to help record memories of your race — and help your friends and family keep track of you while you’re on the course.

Our Digital Developer, Charles Dillon, created the first option.  We’re calling it “Your Hit the Bricks Image”.  You can find your image in a video file, create a freeze frame picture of yourself crossing the legendary “Yard of Bricks” at the Speedway, and then share that image on Facebook and Twitter.

The 500 Festival created the other option.  Friends and family can enter your name in a Mini-Marathon web site.  Then, they can get updates on your progress by text message, Twitter and e-mail.  Here’s a link to that site.

I’m still learning how our new photo program works.  Charles will join me, live, during 24 Hour News 8 at 5:30 to explain it.

Mini-Marathon: Winding Down

May 2nd, 2011 at 8:10 pm by under Mini-Marathon

I had to control myself a bit on my long run this past Saturday.  My training for the Mini-Marathon wasn’t what I wanted it to be this year.  I think I was in better shape for last year’s race.  That feeling forced some self-control. 

I thought about adding a mile or so to Saturday’s run.  Since I run so slowly, I had plenty of time to think about it.  I decided to stick with the route I planned and not add to it.  

Realistically, running one more mile last Saturday wouldn’t make much difference in my performance this coming Saturday.  

That wasn’t just me rationalizing my way to an easier day.  I remembered a lesson from a Mini-Marathon training program, years ago: over-training may lead to injury.  So, I decided — if I really have extra energy, I should save it for race day.

That’s the lesson for this week.  Even if we feel like we can run a lot, we should be tapering our distances as we get closer to race day.  I know some people who don’t run at all on the day before the race.  If I run, it won’t be more than three miles on Friday.  By then, I’ll hope my legs are fresh enough for the full 13.1 miles – and then whatever it takes to get me back to my car after the race.

Mini-Marathon: Diet Idea

April 2nd, 2011 at 10:35 am by under Mini-Marathon

This order of “sloppy fries” from Bub’s allowed me to test a theory.  I present this bit of research here since weight loss is often a reason for people to participate in the Mini-Marathon.

I took a picture of these fries to see whether the “Flash Diet” might be effective.  Here’s how it’s supposed to work: if you photograph your food, you may change your eating habits — and eat less — because you stop to think about what you see on the table in front of you.

Did it work?  Well, I did stop to think about it.   I did take the picture.  In fact, I am still thinking about those fries.  They were delicious.

Mini-Marathon: Shoe Business

March 15th, 2011 at 4:17 pm by under Mini-Marathon, Uncategorized

Looks like my running shoe story, a few days ago, was well-timed. 

Today, The Wall Street Journal reports Nike expects to show a ten percent increase in its share price “thanks in part to strong sneaker sales.  Foot Locker already said Nike running and basketball shoes were among its top sellers in the February quarter.  Sportscan data, meanwhile, show Nike sales are up about 15% so far this year over 2010.” 

The WSJ also reports “total dollar sales of athletic footwear were up nearly 12% the first two months of this year from the same period in 2010, according to market researcher NPD Group.”

This is interesting if you follow the business side of running shoes.  It’s also interesting to learn that there are still people who use the word “sneaker” to describe shoes.

Mini-Marathon: Science vs. Style

March 12th, 2011 at 11:28 am by under Mini-Marathon, Uncategorized

Take a look at the big shoes in this picture.  They’re my running shoes.  They’re pretty nice compared to some I’ve worn over the years.  Guys like me, runners who might be classified as ”Clydesdales” at some events, have often had little to choose from.  Just variations of dull colors.  Drab on drab.  Designers let the skinny, little people show some style.  The Clydesdales not only are slower, they’re forced to look like it.

I know.  I know.  Distance running is not the time to worry about style.  It’s more important to find the right shoe.  But, I can’t help thinking the little guys feel faster in their shoes.  (Hey, when you’re a Clydesdale, you want any edge you can find.)

I asked Bob Kennedy of BlueMile, formerly The Running Company, for advice.  Kennedy is not only co-owner of BlueMile, he’s a former Olympian.  So, he’s worn out more shoes than most of us will ever use.   In his world, it’s not just how a shoe feels.  You choose a shoe ”that suits your individual bio-mechanics.”

I didn’t know that when I started running the Mini-Marathon.  So, I bought shoes that provided a lot of cushioning.  Too much, it turned out.  (Stress fractures — two years in a row — in the same bone.)  My bio-mechanics weren’t — and still aren’t — suited for that kind of shoe.  I need a design that provides more support.  I look for “motion control” shoes.  And, Kennedy says “advances in footwear technology make it possible to get the best of both worlds” — cushioning and control.

Another lesson I learned in those early days: find someone who knows how runners work and knows how shoes can help them.  Kennedy says his store uses ”video gait analysis to film you as you walk or run on a treadmill.”  Then his staff analyzes the video in slow motion.  Once they see how feet move, they can suggest the best type of shoe for each person.

People who plan to walk the Mini can choose walking shoes.  But, Kennedy says “running shoes offer many more fit and stability options.”

Shoe shopping also is a you-get-what-you-pay-for investment.  Kennedy says if you buy discount shoes, you’re getting shoes that lack the cushioning and stability of those you’d find in a specialty store.  His models range from $90 – $180.  He’s confident “you can get a great shoe that will serve you well at the low end of that price range.”  He says they’ll be more durable and give you better protection than discount running shoes.

Kennedy offers one other piece of advice that I’ve followed for years.  If you plan to run the Mini in new shoes, get them soon.  Some people will say you need to get your shoes broken-in before running 13.1 miles.  Kennedy says having better shoes now will reduce your chance for injury.  So, “don’t wait until the week of the race!”

And, don’t worry about the look of the shoe.  When you cross the finish line, and get your finisher’s medal, you’ll spending more time looking at that.

Mini-Marathon: To Eat and Run

February 27th, 2011 at 7:58 pm by under Mini-Marathon, Uncategorized

If you’re serious about  participating in the Mini-Marathon, part of your success starts in the kitchen.  What you eat will help you compete.

Runners and walkers — really all endurance athletes — look for ways to ensure their muscles have the energy they need to get the body over the finish line.  Carbo-loading is part of it.  But, only part.  That’s why I look for a variety of nutrition information.

This weekend, CBS News did an interview about a diet plan that encourages people to eat 4-6 times a day.  Jeff Csatari of Men’s Health magazine said that’s based on the idea that “we get into trouble when we get ravenous.”  If we get too hungry, we get junk food from the vending machine or  ”just chow down” at the dinner table.  Csatari said eating more than three meals a day keeps hunger in check.

But, what you eat makes a difference.  The plan Csatari described, called “The New Abs Diet”, recommends foods such as oatmeal, dairy, eggs, and beans.

The advice for this program is like any other: a diet is most effective in conjunction with an exercise plan.  Here’s why: “when people lose weight,” Csatari said, “they typically lose half muscle and half fat as weight.”  That’s why a good running program often includes resistance training as part of a workout plan.

I have a bad habit of using my running as an excuse to sample every snack that comes to the newsroom.  (That’s why you may hear a producer or two refer to me as “Hoover” — as in the vacuum cleaner.)  I usually take several pieces of fruit to work to help me fill the space and minimize the temptation between meals.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  But, I try to abide by the good habits when I can.

Remember, too, what works for one person may not work for everyone.  So, try different things between now and race day to see what works best for you and your style of running or walking.

If you have any questions, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian.

Mini-Marathon: Built for Speed

February 20th, 2011 at 6:35 pm by under Mini-Marathon

Chugging through my long run, this weekend, gave me plenty of time to think.   And, if you’ve read many of my Mini-Marathon posts over the years, you know that I’ll never win the race.  I’ll never even win my age group until I’m the only one left in it.  So, I’ve accepted the notion that I do this in pursuit of personal achievement — and the knowledge that running an extra mile might earn an extra scoop of ice cream when I get home.

Thoughts of my running pace were inspired by a discussion with one of my WISH colleagues, AJ Colley.  She’s preparing for her first Mini-Marathon.  From what I hear, she’s being very sensible about her approach to training.  She’s had to rein-in her boyfriend who has the attitude I had when I started running.

In the old days, I would just go out and run.  No sense of pace.  No sense of distance.  No sense, period.  By the time I finished, I was in such pain that I was sure I would never run again.  That changed when I learned to moderate my approach to running.

Sometimes I’m happy just covering the distance.  If I need to walk here and there, so be it.  I’ve also learned from others who’ve said you’re more likely to injure yourself when you add speed training to your workout.  So, I don’t mind staying at one pace, if it means I’ll be more likely to run without interruption in the weeks leading up to the Mini.

The traditional advice is: if you can carry on a conversation as you run, you’re at a pretty good pace.

You can add speed training to your workouts as your condition and confidence allows.  Just don’t look for me among the fast people at the front of the race.  (For advice, see this post from January 27, 1010.)

And, don’t believe the people who say “Slow and steady wins the race.”  That doesn’t apply in the Mini-Marathon.

Mini-Marathon: Lessons from Lab Rats

February 13th, 2011 at 3:08 pm by under Mini-Marathon

I found something that may be more encouragement for your training.  It comes from research reviewed by reporter Gretchen Reynolds in The New York Times.

Reynolds studied research done at Princeton University.  The scientists monitored lab rats that were allowed to run and compared them to rats that could not exercise.  The researchers found the running rats “had created, through running, a brain that seemed biochemically, molecularly, calm.”

Reynolds also reviewed other work being done to analyze why exercise improves your mood, “making it more stress-resistant” as Reynolds put it.

One study found exercised rats were “relatively nonchalant under stress”.  That led one researcher to say it appears “more and more like the positive stress of exercise” makes the brain “more equipped to handle stress in other forms.”

It doesn’t happen right away, though.  Reynolds noted, at the University of Colorado, scientists found three weeks of exercise didn’t do much to reduce rat stress. But, running at least six weeks did.

It sounds like the scientists aren’t sure how the time influences the ability to tolerate stress.  And, Reynolds says, “no one has yet studied how intense the exercise needs to be.”  But, the research indicates exercise will produce “profound” changes.

So, Reynolds’ report offered this exercise  advice from one Colorado scientist — and it’s just two words — “don’t quit.”

Carmel Marathon

February 7th, 2011 at 9:30 pm by under Mini-Marathon

Organizers of the new Carmel Marathon and Half-Marathon say support for their first event is “greater than we expected.”  And, the note sent by Todd Oliver, President of the Carmel Road Racing Group, says he and his team want to “execute the weekend without surprises.”  So, they’re putting a cap on registrations for the June 11th events.

The marathon will be limited to 2,500 participants.  The half-marathon will have 5,000.  

Oliver says this new event has participants coming from 11 states “and as far away as Santa Ana, California; Miami, Florida; and Fairbanks, Alaska.  

The 8K and the 1 mile fitness walk will not be capped because of their later start times.