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SUMMER TRAINING: SPEED, STRENGTH & A SMOOTHER STRIDE

JULY/AUGUST 2010 // ISSUE 378

BEAUTIFUL
FORM
MAKES YOU

FASTER
HOW TO RUN MORE EFFICIENTLY

RUN FEARLESS
7 STRATEGIES TO BEAT RACE ANXIETY

HYDRATION
MYTHS
THE TRUTH ABOUT CAFFEINE AND SALT

DON’T RUN
A MARATHON THIS YEAR
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CONTENTS JULY/AUGUST 2010
// issue 378

FEATURES_

37 WHY FORM MATTERS An in-depth look at good running mechanics and


how you can improve yours by Scott Douglas
+ An analysis of Lauren Fleshman’s form by Michael Yessis, Ph.D.

46 RUN FEARLESS
Get your head on straight and battle pre-race anxiety by Marc Bloom

54 HANDING OFF THE TASUKI


The state of the ultra-competitive Japanese racing scene by Brett Larner

63 A RACE TOO FAR?


Is it time to get over the marathon? by Jonathan Beverly
37
COLUMNS_

18 PERSONAL RECORD by Rachel Toor


The Singapore Sling: An eye-opening affair at an international marathon

16 PERFORMANCE PAGE by Greg McMillan, M.S.


Speed Work for 26.2: Short, fast running for marathoners

84 ART OF THE RUN by Leo Kulinski, Jr.


An historic glimpse of Frank Shorter in his hometown 10K

DEPARTMENTS_

04 EDITOR’S NOTE 28 COLLEGE


06 LETTERS 32 MASTERS 14
09 SHORTS 69 RACING
20 OWNER’S MANUAL 76 TRAILS
24 HIGH SCHOOL
Joe Wotjas

COVER ART
Oregon Track Club Elite runner Lauren Fleshman, a former U.S. champion in the 5,000m,
Getty Images

trains on the track at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.


design by Alan Luu / photo by Peter Baker 24
Nancy Hobbs

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EDITOR’S NOTE
were run from March 26 to April 22, while the issue is dated July/
TEN YEARS AGO this month I moved from Belgium Aug and came out in early June. In 2010, no one waits six weeks to
(where I was working as a freelance writer and coordina- read who won Boston, Crescent City or Carlsbad. Thus you’ll fi nd no
tor of an international consortium of business schools) Boston/London coverage in this issue, and the At the Races results
back to New York to become editor of Running Times. section has morphed into stories about larger trends in racing, such
One hundred issues later, I’m still here, and our man- as this month’s about the growth of the half marathon as a goal/des-
date remains the same: be the definitive voice for the tination race by JIM GERWECK (who appeared as editor-at-large on
dedicated, passionate, competitive runner. Pretty much the masthead of Running Times in 2000 as well).
everything else has changed. Race coverage has, of course, moved to runningtimes.com, in
multiple forms, from in-depth stories and real-time coverage for
One of the biggest changes personally is that I now live on the bor- an event like Boston (in collaboration with our Runner’s World col-
der of Colorado and Nebraska, coach junior high track instead of leagues, something that is very different than 10 years ago) to our
adults in Central Park with BOB GLOVER and the New York Road Monday morning roundup of the weekend’s races and our exten-
Runners, and do all my work via the Internet. The Web, of course, sive daily news links. The Web has much more than news, however,
has transformed all of our lives in the past decade, as well as signif- with daily content and archives on training, racing, injuries, elites
icantly changing the magazine. and, increasingly, expanded and timely content on specific areas
Looking back at my fi rst issue, half the edit was given over to race that we can dedicate only sections of the print magazine to: high
reports and results from the month’s races. Those races, however, school, college, masters and, particularly, trails.
We’re expanding our focus on trails this year, enhancing our trail

CONTRIBUTORS
section with more news, stories, personalities and gear for the trail-
heads, and inviting everyone (especially those who tend to stay on
the roads) out to Denver this fall for a “Tackle the Trails” event with

M
ARC BLOOM’s roles in the running media world include edi- two races, seminars with top trail runners, social events and more.
tor of The Runner from 1978–1987, founder and editor of The Also new at runningtimes.com is the deployment of our new train-
Harrier XC, a weekly on high school cross country, and author ing programs from 5K to the marathon. These present the same level
of nine books and hundreds of articles in Runner’s World, Running Times of expertise you’d fi nd in a Running Times training plan in print, but
and The New York Times. Bloom has been a runner since high school and in a customizable format that allows you to drag and drop workouts
is still going strong, most recently winning bronze in the 60–65 age group onto an online calendar, then have multiple interactive options for
at the 2009 USATF Cross Country National Championships masters 8K using that calendar: from daily email reminders to myriad options
in Maryland. Bloom writes regularly for us in the high school section, but for uploading data from GPS devices or manually logging down to
this month gets more personal with a story on managing race anxiety. individual details of interval workouts, enabling you to track and
“One interview that did not make the story,” Bloom says, “was with men- analyze your progress. Such plans won’t replace training features
tal training consultant Aimee C. Kimball. We talked about ‘control’ and in the magazine, but provide a more personalized and interactive
letting go of things you can’t control at races (in method of using the material you fi nd here.
that I’m something of a control freak). She made And what of the running world? In racing, winning marathon
a comment like, ‘You’re not going to always get times are much faster for men than they were in 2000, but about the
what you want.’ Hearing that, I started humming same for women, although they got much faster mid-decade and have
the Mick Jagger lyric… “You can’t always get what come back down. For training in 2000, we ran a story about a “new”
you want, but if you try sometimes you just might training method, neuromuscular facilitation. While the name hasn’t
find you get what you need.” caught on, the theory — namely the need for short explosive sprints
and drills even for distance runners — is now fairly mainstream, pop-

S
ABRINA GROTEWOLD, Running Times’ new Web edi- ularized by the likes of BRAD HUDSON (whom we profi led in 2005).
tor, became a runner after graduating from George Mason We were just starting to think seriously about form and efficiency
University in 2000. Her preferred distances are 10 miles and in 2000; today, lots of people talk about form, but we still feel the
the half marathon, although she enjoys a marathon every now and again. need to explain why and how runners should work on it (see p. 37).
Grotewold has lived on both coasts, Chicago and, for eight months, in In 2000, our cover girl, LAUREN FLESHMAN, was the Pac-10
Zurich, Switzerland, where she taught herself how to cook. Now in New Newcomer of the Year as a freshman at Stanford. Now she’s represented
York, Grotewold has worked for Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Smart Money, the U.S. numerous times at world championship events and is one
and book publishers such as Heinemann-Raintree and Publications of the most recognized faces of the sport in this country — although
International. She comes to Running Times from New York Road Runners, she still feels the need to improve her form, as we analyze on p. 44.
where she was a writer and editor for New York Runner magazine and As for me, I’ve gone from setting lifetime PRs to trying to stay com-
nyrr.org. Regarding her vision for runningtimes.com, Grotewold says, petitive as a master, but I’m still running, still trying to be my best
“Providing content that helps you become the — which makes each new issue of Running Times both interesting
best runner you can be is the mission. No matter and applicable, even after 100 of them. I’m still learning, still hav-
what your goals may be — to get faster, to find ing fun. I hope the same is true for you. •
new ways to treat injuries and recover, to read the
latest about optimal nutrition, to discover what JONATHAN BEVERLY
the pros do — runningtimes.com can help you Editor-in-Chief
achieve them.”

04 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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LETTERS
FIVE-DECADE SPEEDSTERS
In your article on S. MARK COURTNEY in the Masters department
of the May issue you report that he is attempting to be the fi rst to
run a sub-3:00 marathon in five decades. I don’t believe this is accu-
rate. An Ohio runner, KERRY GREEN, was also in Boston this year
attempting to run a sub-3:00 marathon in five decades. In fact, Green
has run sub-3:00 marathons in both Boston and New York the past
four decades.
— MIKE FUTTY / MANSFIELD, OH

Editor’s response: KEN YOUNG and AMBY BURFOOT have been


collecting data on this group, and confi rm that several runners
have accomplished this feat, the fi rst being BARRY MAGEE of New
Zealand 20 years ago. At Boston, Courtney fell short of his goal
by 18 seconds, while Green made it. Other confi rmed Americans
in the club are GARY ALLEN, DOUG KURTIS, DENNIS KURTIS,
TERRY STANLEY, and RENO STIRRAT. See more at www.arrs.net/
TR_5Decades.htm and http://www.facebook.com/5DSUB3.

YOU LOVE HIM OR HATE HIM


I was (probably still am) a huge fan of RACHEL TOOR’s articles/book
until her latest column on DEAN KARNAZES. Do you have to be
politically correct? I can’t believe for one minute you don’t think of
KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING. Dean K. as a self-promoting tool, his athletic achievements notwith-
Join us on our blogs. Go to runningtimes.com/blogs/member. standing. Yes, he is a solid ultramarathoner. Is he the best? Please,
not even close. The fact you mentioned SCOTT JUREK tells me you

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06 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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FIVE-DECADE SUB-3:00 MAR ATHONERS • DISSING DE AN

know and follow the sport. Therefore, you should know Dean K. is due: Scott is the real champion. It’s not about stunts to keep you in
not even close to Scott Jurek, as far as ultramarathons go. the press; it’s about the love of the sport.
You go as far as calling Dean Karnazes, inarguably, the most — MARK SAXON/ BROOKLYN, NY
famous runner in America. Are you kidding? He is famous because?
I can’t fi nish that thought. Have you heard of MEB, RYAN HALL, Thanks for standing up for Dean Karnazes in your article “Dissing
KARA GOUCHER, to name a few world-class American distance run- Dean” (not that he needs it). I have had the pleasure of meeting Dean
ners? While they may not be household names (neither is Dean K.) on multiple occasions and got to run with him during his Endurance
they are truly world-class runners. Dean K. is not. You know, most 50 quest. The amazing part of 50 marathons in 50 days was not all the
runners had forgotten Dean K., until you wrote about him. Thanks. miles of running that he did, but that he stood around until every-
— OCTAVIO A. DIAZ / MOUNT DORA, FL one was fi nished cheering all the runners on. Then he stayed and
signed autographs and visited with everyone until his crew pulled
I enjoyed your article on Dean Karnazes and I feel you made some him away to drive to the next state. You are right on the money when
valid points: Hey, Dean inspired me and a few friends to run ultras you wrote he is “not a bad ambassador for our sport.” We should all
(no 100 miles for me though.) But I thought it was a little hypocriti- thank Dean for introducing thousands of people to our sport and
cal on your part to go on and disrespect Scott Jurek. I have met both increasing its popularity, which in turn has given us more oppor-
men and both were really nice and genuine people. tunity to race and have fun! I disagree with one part of your article
In Scott’s defense, here you have someone who is basically the when you wrote that Dean has an “unrunner-like bod.” When I run
LANCE ARMSTRONG of the sport, breaking every record in sight, a marathon I see all kinds of “bods” out there, some of which I can’t
but who acts like it’s no big deal, and then sits around after each believe are running a marathon — and beating me.
race to cheer every last fi nisher, a guy who also volunteers for many — KARL STUTELBERG/QUARTZ HILL, CA
races himself if he’s not running them and has not made or asked for
a penny out of winning any race he’s done. So from his perspective
you might be a little annoyed that someone is getting all the credit WRITE TO US.
that, by and large, is due to Scott. Send your emails to editor@runningtimes.com with your address included.
Like I said, I think Dean is great and he inspired me and many Letters may be edited for clarity and brevity.
people to go out there and do it, but let’s give credit where credit is

ISEMENT)

RUNNINGTIMES / 07
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SHORTS K ANSA S CIT Y SMOKE • QUOTE WORTHY

Members of the Kansas City Smoke track club click off some strides prior to a workout on a high school track.

Yet they keep at their sport as hard as they


BY JOE MILLER

STILL Running
can, traveling to compete at national track
meets when they can afford it (and some-
times sleeping in their cars once they get
there), nabbing $100 prizes at local races
and generally striving to be the very best that
KC SMOKE EPITOMIZES SUB-ELITE PASSION they can be, even if few witness the small
glory that comes along with it. They have a
AT A LITTLE AFTER 5:00 on a Wednesday afternoon, a dozen runners deal with Brooks to get shoes and apparel at
gather at a sun-baked high school parking lot in the Kansas City suburbs. wholesale prices, and they get free entry into
It’s 105 humid degrees out, and the midsummer sun still hangs high in the most local races. A new sponsorship with
sky. The plan: 800m repeats at race pace. the Kansas City Sports Commission should
provide some leverage, but the chance to do
Common sense would suggest that early “We’ve had to move during a workout because workouts together and embracing the con-
morning might be a better time for such a of a high school soccer game. We’ve even had tinued commitment to the racing might be
grueling workout, when the temperatures security guards kick us off of tracks.” the club’s biggest perks.
dip below 90. But these are working folks. Founded in 2002, the Smoke was among The club won the men’s division of the
For them it’s the hottest part of the day or the earliest members of the USATF’s Elite 2008 USATF National Club Track & Field
not at all. Development Club Program, which was Championships, but it certainly helped that
For now, however, the heat is the least of established to develop nationally and inter- it was held in Olathe, Kan., on the outskirts of
their concerns. A tall chain-link fence and a nationally competitive athletes. They’re a Kansas City. JASON MCCULLOUGH, 32, the
sturdy padlock separate them from the track group of a dozen or so good 23- to 35-year-old head cross country coach at Fort Hays State,
where they usually train. And the track itself runners, all of whom did well in high school won the 10,000m in 31:35.05, while team-
has been torn up to be resurfaced — a situ- and at small colleges, but none of whom will mates JAMES HENRY, 25, an assistant coach
ation nobody bothered to tell them about. ever become a top-level elite athlete. And at Missouri State, took second in the 800m
“Welcome to our world,” says ERIC HUNT, they know it. They’re not at all ashamed to (1:51.99) and JOE MOORE, 26, then a tutor
director of the Kansas City Smoke track club. refer to themselves as “sub-elite.” Continued on page 10

QUOTEWORTHY
“I probably should consider this my last marathon, but you
never know what’ll happen. My friends reminded me that I
said that last year and the year before and the year before.’’
Eric Hunt

— 81-YEAR-OLD ROBERT BORGLUND, OF FORT MYERS, FLA., WHO WON THE BOSTON MARATHON’S
Photo:

80-AND-OLDER AGE GROUP FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR WITH A 4:37:24.
RUNNINGTIMES / 09
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SHORTS K ANSA S CIT Y SMOKE • TOP AMATEUR TR ACK CLUBS • HE ARD ON THE RUN

STILL Continued from page 09 Faced with the padlocked track, the team It’s not an easy gig. She’s not quite
at Kansas State University, placed third in decides to drive to another high school track elite enough to be fully supported
orted
both the 1500m (4:00.64) and 10,000m (32:03). a few miles away. After a 15-minute warm- by her running, so she still works
orks
Last year, when the meet was held in New up jog, they take off for their fi rst 2-lap repeat. part-time as a counselor, earn-arn-
York City, the club finished 11t overall (ninth They run as a pack most of the way. But right ing far less than she should be
in the men’s standings, 16t in women’s). at the end one runner, a guy with shoulder- able to with her degrees. Hacker
cker
MELISSA TODD took third in the 5,000m length hair and two zebras tattooed on his helps her out as well. “There’s re’s
(17:10:12) while McCullough was third in chest, breaks away. this dilemma that you should uld
the 10,000m (31:55.38). “That’s RIKKI HACKER,” says SHAWN grow up and do what you’re u’re
LOVE, the Smoke’s founder and original supposed to be doing w ith th
AMERICA’S director, who has come by to watch the
workout. “That guy is amazing. He can run
your life,” she says, gesturing
quote marks around grow up
ng

TOP AMATEUR a 1:53 800 without even training. He can run and supposed to. “Many timess
TRACK CLUBS a quality mile and then turn around and run we tell ourselves we shouldn’t ’t
Melissa Todd
a strong marathon.” be doing this.”
Ô Shore Athletic Club (NJ) He’s also a little crazy, a prototypical Since switching to near full-time
full time train-
train
Having helped train two dozen Olympians since club athlete. For several years after college, ing a couple of years ago, however, her times
its inception in 1934, the Shore Athletic Club Hacker lived entirely on running. He would have improved dramatically. “Work impairs
has long been one of the country’s preeminent run several races each weekend, lured by your running,” she says. Todd finished
track clubs. It dominated the men’s division of the prizes as small as $100. He even ran up eighth in the U.S. 10-mile championships in
last year’s USATF club championships and won Kansas City’s tallest building for $300. “I Minneapolis in 2008 (58:50) and this winter
the overall title, thanks in part to the strong knew it was keeping me alive,” he says. “I won the Rock ’n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon
middle-distance eff orts of former Seton Hall didn’t have to work. Just train, sleep and eat.” in 1:16:46, the latter helping her earn a spot
standout ROB NOVAK, who was third in the He has a good job as a trainer at a health on the Mizuno Racing Team.
800m (1:52.12), fourth in the 1500m (3:55.28), club now. But he can’t quite let go of his Her goal is to qualify for the 2012 Olympic
ran on the second-place distance medley relay obsession with competition. Several days trials in the marathon by running 2:47 or
and anchored the winning 4x800m relay. before today’s speed workout, he won a faster in the next 18 months (or a 1:15 half
Ô Greater Boston Track Club (MA) marathon in nearby Marysville, Mo. And marathon), but to date her fastest is a 2:51:15
This 37-year-old club started with the help the week before that, he ran a mile at a track effort from Twin Cities last fall. “A lot of peo-
of legendary distance coach BILL SQUIRES meet, followed immediately by a mile road ple fi nish college and they’re content with
has produced top-tier runners at all levels race, followed the next day by a 20K, at which the competition they’ve had there,” Hunt
and has won numerous Boston Marathon he placed second. says. “But this team is for those of us who
team championships. It finished second in Hacker sprints to finish his first 800 in still want to go out and just try to see what
last year’s championships on the strength of 2:19 and jogs over to a cooler to rub some we can get out of the talent we’ve been given.
strong relays, fourth-place 5,000m finishes ice on the back of his neck. “I feel kind of We might never be the best, but we still want
from DAN SMITH (15:05.54) and MEGHAN beat,” he says. His day started at 6 a.m. with to see what heights we can reach.” •
LYNCH (17:40.78), and a near domination of a core-strength training class he teaches.
the field events. That was followed immediately by a per- This year’s USATF National Club Track & Field
sonal training session, and then a spin class, Championships will be held July 9–10 in San
then another core class, topped off with a Francisco. For more, go to usatf.org/events.
resistance training.
Hacker runs three more 800s in the 2:20
range, all with the same kick at the end. As
he does, his girlfriend, Melissa Todd, fin-
HEARD ON THE RUN
ishes up her workout, a sustained pace Ô As a way to attract interest in her
run, and watches Hacker with Love. “She’s two biggest passions, LAURA NOVA, a
the best runner in Kansas City,” Love says, marathon runner and visual artist, installed
introducing Todd. an indoor running track in an art gallery in
Ô Central Park Track Club (NY) Todd is the kind of athlete the USATF had Hartford, Conn., for an exhibition called
The CPTC, which dates back to 1972, was a in mind when it started the Elite Development Limited Run. Throughout the month of
Greater Boston Track Club

close third in last year’s national champion- Clubs Program. And for the past couple of June, the exhibition at Real Art Ways will
ships (second in women’s standings, fi fth in years, Todd, a six-time NCAA Division III All- coincide with a series of community events
men’s) thanks to the eff orts of KATHARINE American at Carthage College in the 1990s, on the 80-laps-to-the-mile track, including
IRVIN, who won the 1500m (4:26.66), 5,000m has really capitalized on it, devoting her life scheduled morning group runs, informal
(17:04.51) and ran the anchor leg of the win- almost entirely to running. With a Ph.D. in races to be broadcast streaming live on the
Lester Cacho

ning distance medley relay, and NATALIE counseling under her belt, she knows she Internet and a screening of Chariots of Fire.
GINGERICH, who was second at 1500m and has a long, prosperous career waiting for A bell will ring every time a gallery visitor
helped the distance medley relay and the her whenever she wants. But her window of completes a lap on the track. For more, visit
From Top:

4x800m relay earn victories. opportunity for being the best athlete she can realartways.org.
be is right now, and it’s short.

10 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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SHORTS

Summer of THE LIST

TOP TIMES ON
Speed
THIS IS THE INAUGURAL SEASON of the IAAF
U.S. SOIL
With two IAAF Diamond League meets on the domestic race schedule
this year, it’s likely this summer will produce some of the fastest times
ever recorded on U.S. soil. Of all the middle-distance and distance records
Diamond League, a new series of 14 high-caliber interna- set in the U.S., the most secure would seem to be the 800m marks of
tional track meets created to foster global exposure for Norway’s VEBJØRN RODAL (1:42.58, 1996) and Mozambique’s MARIA
track and field. In replacing the Golden League series, it MUTOLA (1:56.56, 1993). The oldest all-comers record on the books is the
continues the tradition of big meets in 10 of Europe’s top women’s 3,000m mark of 8:27:12 set by 1972 Olympic 1500m champion
stadiums, but also includes two U.S. venues (see below) as LYUDMILA BRAGINA of the Soviet Union. That mark, set on Aug. 7, 1976,
well as stops in Qatar and China. The Diamond League will in College Park, Md., was a world record that lasted for almost six years.
include 32 individual event disciplines and winners of the
season-long Diamond Race points series in each event will MEN WOMEN
receive a trophy bejeweled with four carats of diamonds. 800m 800m
Both U.S. events will be broadcast live on NBC Sports. 1:42.58 Vebjørn Rodal (NOR) 1:56.56 Maria Mutola (MOZ)
July 31, 1996, Atlanta, Ga. May 22, 1993, New York, N.Y.
ADIDAS GRAND PRIX
JUNE 12, NEW YORK CITY 1500m 1500m
Th is meet at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island should feature a 3:32.34 Rashid Ramzi (BRN) 3:58.92 Mary Slaney (USA)
sizzling 100m race from Jamaica’s USAIN BOLT, but it will defi- May 21, 2006, Carson, Calif. July 23, 1988, Indianapolis, Ind.
nitely have a fast women’s 1500m field that is expected to include
Americans JENNY BARRINGER, ANNA PIERCE and 2009 world Mile Mile
championships bronze medalist SHANNON 3:48.28 Daniel Komen (KEN) 4:20.35 Svetlana Masterkova (RUS)
ROWBURY. Four-time world champion June 10, 2007, Eugene, Ore. July 20, 1998, Uniondale, N.Y.
BERNARD LAGAT will lead the charge in
what is a star-studded men’s 1500m field, 3,000m steeplechase 3,000m steeplechase
while other distance events include the 8:04.51 Brahim Boulami (MAR) 9:25.54 Jenny Barringer (USA)
men’s 800m and 3,000m steeplechase and May 18, 2002, Gresham, Ore. June 12, 2009, Fayetteville, Ark.
the women’s 5,000m. Plus, there’s also the
Dream Mile races for top high school run- 5,000m* 5,000m
Big city showdown. ners. diamondleague-newyork.com/. 13:02.90 Micah Kogo (KEN) 14:24.53 Meseret Defar (ETH)
May 30, 2009, New York, N.Y. June 3, 2006, New York, N.Y.
NIKE PREFONTAINE CLASSIC
JULY 3, EUGENE 10,000m 10,000m
Expect sold-out Hayward Field on the University of Oregon cam- 26:25:17 Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 30:19.39 Werknesh Kidane (ETH)
pus to be in classic form for this high-powered meet. The marquee June 8, 2008, Eugene, Ore. May 29, 2005, Stanford, Calif.
event should be the men’s 5,000m, which is expected to include
Ethiopian world record-holder KENENISA BEKELE and possibly Half Marathon (roads) Half Marathon (roads)
Americans GALEN RUPP, DATHAN RITZENHEIN, CHRIS SOLINSKY 59:43 Ryan Hall (USA) 1:07:52 Berhane Adere (ETH)
and MATT TEGENKAMP. Other Diamond Jan. 14, 2007, Houston, Texas Feb. 28, 2010, New Orleans, La.
League distance events will include a men’s
mile, a women’s 800m and 3,000m steeple- Marathon (roads) Marathon (roads)
chase events for women. A top-tier men’s 2:05:41, Sammy Wanjiru (KEN) 2:17:17 Paula Radcliff e (GBR)
800m and women’s 5,000m will also be held. Oct. 11, 2009, Chicago, Ill. Oct. 13, 2002, Chicago, Ill.
The night before the meet, top high school
teams will compete at Hayward Field in the *Sammy Kipketer (KEN) clocked 13:00 on the roads in both the 2000 and
inaugural Nike Track Nationals. runnerspace. 2001 Carlsbad 5000.
Classic Hayward.
com/PreClassic. •

3:50.46 1:41.11 1:53.28 DID YOU KNOW?

4:12.563:43.13
Aside from the men’s and women’s 3,000m steeplechase, no world record
from 800m to 3,000m has been broken on the track since 1999. (For more
3:26.00 on this subject, see runningtimes.com/jul10.)

12 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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IA AF DIAMOND LE AGUE MEETS • CHRIS SOLINSK Y • SHOWCA SE R ACE

5 MINUTES WITH

Chris Solinsky
CHRIS SOLINSKY BLAZED to a new 10,000m American
record of 26:59.60 in his debut at that distance on May 1 at
Stanford. He was coming off a 12th-place finish in the 5,000m at
last year’s world championships, but he was also stung by a DNF
in a race in Brussels where training partner MATT TEGENKAMP
broke 13:00 for the first time. After getting married last winter,
Solinsky logged several 100- to 125-mile weeks by himself before
reuniting with coach JERRY SCHUMACHER and Oregon Track
Club mates SIMON BAIRU, TIM NELSON, JOSH ROHATINSKY
and Tegenkamp. Solinsky will be running the 5,000m at the
U.S. championships June 23-27 in Des Moines, Iowa, and the
Solinsky raced relaxed and started the season off strong.
Prefontaine Classic on July 4 in Eugene, Ore.

did a series of 250m diagonals on a grass field.


Q How did you approach the race? Q What were your key workouts We’re not going to hit it hard, we’re going to
I tried to treat it like a tempo run. Even with before the record race? remind the legs that they can still turn over
seven laps to go, it was one of the fi rst times Simon and Josh and I ran an 8-mile tempo and not get too complacent or too stagnant.
I peeked at the clock. We were at 19 minutes, run in mid-March significantly faster than When we do speed, it’s kind of a play day but
and at that point, I figured we had 8 minutes we ever had before, and that’s when Jerry we also focus on good form. We’ll do our nor-
of running left, and I knew I could handle thought it might be a good idea to run a mal run, then we do something to turn the
that. Normally, I would have been thinking, 10,000m early in the season and use it as a legs over afterwards.
“Wow, seven laps to go, I’m not sure I can hold barometer for the rest of the season. I had
this for this long.” But I knew I could run hard felt good doing some pretty tough workouts, Q What can others learn from your
for 8 minutes. including a 4-mile fartlek about 10 days out. long road to a big breakthrough?
I kept telling Jerry before the race, “I know You just have to be patient and have confi-
Q What did you learn from it? I’m fit, I just don’t know where I’m at.” And dence that you know it’s going to come. You
Mentally, I think the biggest thing I’ve got- that’s probably where most of the nerves have to keep doing everything the same and
ten out of this 10K is that I’ve learned to kind came from, because I had no clue where the be conscious about being consistent. Take
of just shut my mind off during the race and fitness actually was. confidence when other people are doing it,
not think about laps or pace. I’m really look- and wait for your turn so you can seize the
ing forward to seeing what that translates Q What kind of speed work did opportunity when it presents itself.
to in a 5,000m because I’ve always been too you do leading up to your 10K?
“switched on” in races, and I think that’s kind The thing about Jerry’s training is that we’re Q What’s next?
of bitten me in the butt in races. And in the a very strength-based and methodical type I’m still a 5,000m runner and my goal is to go
10K at Stanford, that was honestly the fi rst of program and sprinkle speed in once in a under 13:00, and hopefully my 10,000 experi-
time I was ever able to shut it off. while just to freshen up the legs. We recently ence will help. — BRIAN METZLER

SHOWCASE RACE
MOUNT WASHINGTON ROAD RACE JUNE 19, PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H.
Nancy Hobbs

H
op on a treadmill, crank up the incline to 11.5 percent and run at a fast pace for an
hour or more and you start to get the idea of what the Mount Washington Road Race
Getty Images

(mountwashingtonroadrace.com) is all about. First run in 1936, the race to the top of New
England’s highest peak (6,288 feet) is celebrating its 50th edition this year, even though it’s been an
annual event only since 1966. From the top, it’s possible to see into Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New
Geoff Thurner

York and even Canada, but most runners are so delirious by the time they reach the finish line they’re more
likely to catch a glimpse of the great spirit local Native American tribes believed to inhabit the summit.
Lisa Coniglio/Photo Run

The race has had a few international elites in recent years — New Zealand’s JONATHAN WYATT
obliterated the course record with a 56:41 eff ort in 2004 and an encore win in 2007, and the Czech
Republic’s ANNA PICHRTOVA owns three wins — but it has typically been dominated by hardscrab-
ble New Englanders and altitude-trained Coloradans, including last year’s winners RICKEY GATES and BRANDY ERHOLTZ (who won by 9 minutes
last year and came within 45 seconds of MAGDALENA THORSELL’s 1988 course record). But no one is as prolific on Mount Washington as DAVE
From Left:

DUNHAM, a 19-time finisher and three-time winner who literally wrote a book about the race. This year’s event will serve as the qualifying race for the
U.S. Mountain Running Team, which will compete at the world championships on Sept. 5 in Slovenia.

RUNNINGTIMES / 13
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SHORTS HYDR ATION PACKS • COOGAN’S BLUFF

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drills. Here are a few new hydration products to help quench your thirst
this summer.
(PAINFULLY)
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ormer Olymipan and current Tufts
University assistant cross country
coach MARK COOGAN is best known
for his marathoning exploits. Lesser known
is that he was the first
Massachusetts native
to run a sub-4:00 mile.
Yet nothing quite cap-
tures the range of his
devotion to the sport
CAMELBAK DELANEY PLUS $40 FUEL BELT H20 2-BOTTLE BELT $40 as The Streak: for 29
Named after 24-time Boston Marathon finisher This lightweight mini bottle carrier features consecutive calendar
JOHN DELANEY (who works at CamelBak), this a moisture-wicking foam panel, an easy-to- years, from the time
pack has the ability to securely carry a surprisingly adjust-on-the-fly Velcro closure, holsters for he ran a 4:58 mile as Coogan: 29 years
large amount of fluid and gear. It comes with a two ergonomic bottles (8 oz. or 10 oz., and of sub-5:00 miles.
a high school fresh-
24-ounce Podium bottle (which has a one-way, you can add more) and a removable pouch for man through 2008, Coogan ran at least one
no-spill valve) and a small gel flask, plus it has gels, keys, credit cards and a driver’s license. sub-5:00 mile Once retired from competitive
two medium-sized zippered pouches that can (Pouches for MP3 players are available but sold running, Coogan often tried to knock it out on
carry a minimalist shell, gloves and plenty of other separately.) You barely feel it when you’re wear- the morning of his birthday on May 1. But as
essentials. The bottle is carried off the hip and has ing it and the bottles don’t bounce or create the the years passed, he found the real difficulty in
an additional pull-strap to keep it from sloshing. feeling of being imbalanced when one is empty. sustaining such feats: “It hurts much worse to
camelbak.com fuelbelt.com run hard when you’re out of shape than to run
a great performance when you’re in shape,” he
says. Blitzing a fast mile in his prime required
digging in for that final quarter. A sub-5 off the
couch? An absolute suff er-fest.
As the fall of 2009 came to a close,
Coogan’s harriers, aware of his streak, started
razzing him for not knocking out the sub-5.
By early December, the big 30 was positively
in peril.
Under the gun, Coogan did a few strides one
day after practice, then got psyched up and
spiked up. With coaches and athletes cheer-
ing him on, he set out on Tufts’ 200m indoor
HYDRAPAK FLUME PACK $48 NATHAN SPORTS oval. He hit the 800m in 2:24, went through
Ideal for long trail runs and self-supported SPEED 2R AUTO-CANT $50 the three-quarter mark in 3:36 and then, at
ultradistance races, the low-profile Flume trans- A uniquely shaped metal disk creates a cus- the start of his final lap, his Achilles tendon
ports 70 oz. of fluid in a silicone reservoir snugly tom fit by positioning rear support straps in popped and he crumpled to the track.
secured to two raised foam and mesh pontoons place specifi c to a runner’s hip size and shape. In an instant, the streak was over. Unable
that help off set sloshing and sweaty-back syn- Two 8-oz. bottles (with quick-squirt one-way to bear any weight on his torn Achilles, a dis-
drome. It has a stretch mesh pocket surrounding Race Cap valve that doesn’t need to be opened) heartened Coogan hopped back to the start
the body of the pack that’s big enough to store a are held in an easy-to-access canted position line, his charges in stunned silence.
minimalist shell, gloves and a hat, while a small at the back, while a two-pocket pouch (which Junior JEFF RAGAZZ INI broke the ice:
zippered pocket on the front (including a key clip) includes an interior key ring clip) are at the “Look at it this way, Coach, that’s 30 consecu-
has room for gels and other small necessities. front over a quick but secure Velcro closure. tive years of sub-2:30 800s!” — CHRIS LEAR
hydrapak.com nathansports.com

14 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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PERFORMANCE PAGE BY GREG MCMILL AN, M.S.

Speed Work for


For the 400m workout, we performed the
early workout (six weeks out from the mar-
athon) as 12–16 times 400m with a 200m jog
and the later session (two weeks prior to race
day) as 8–10 times 400m with a 200m recov-

Marathoners
ery jog. Again, these were fast but controlled
efforts and we ran the repeats in a progres-
sive manner. The goal was to run them in
sets of four at the following intensities — half
marathon, 10K, 5K, 3K.
THE WHYS AND HOWS OF SHORT, Many runners think about 200m and 400m
FAST RUNNING FOR A FASTER MARATHON repeats only as preparation for a 5K or 10K.
But you can adjust the intensity of the repeats
for marathon training, making them less
IN JANUARY, Brett Gotcher ran 2:10 in his marathon debut. It was the anaerobic or tiring than these workouts are
fourth-fastest debut in U.S. history. When asked about his training program for 5K–10K runners. All the short, fast work-
in post-race interviews, I was candid about the weekly mileage I prescribed outs Brett did were very controlled. Could
for him as well as the marathon-specific workouts and even his short, fast he have run them faster? Of course! But that
speed workouts. It was these short, fast workouts that prompted several wasn’t the goal. The goal was to augment the
questions as to why a marathoner would do 200m and 400m repeats. marathon workouts with some faster run-
Here’s why I had Brett run these workouts and why I think marathoners ning to keep his form perfect and his legs
can benefit from some short, fast repeats during this last 10 weeks before fresh. Mission accomplished. •
the marathon.

WHY TO INCLUDE SPEED SAMPLE MARATHON SPEED WORK PROGRAM


The reason for including short, moder-
ately fast workouts in marathon training Eight Weeks to Race Day: 20–24 x 200m with 200m jog at 5K to 10K pace
is threefold:
1) Short, fast repeats improve your running Six Weeks to Race Day: 12–16 x 400m with 200m jog in sets
economy (the amount of oxygen consumed at of four at half marathon, 10K, 5K and 3K race pace
a given pace), and improved running econ- Four Weeks to Race Day: 20–24 x 200m with 200m jog at 5K to 10K pace
omy is very important in the marathon. Think
Two Weeks to Race Day: 8–10 x 400m with 200m jog in sets
of it as getting better gas mileage — you can
of four at half marathon, 10K, 5K and 3K race pace
go longer before running out of gas.
2) Short, fast repeats break the monotony
of training. Often, marathon training starts two 200m repeat sessions. The fi rst was eight
to put runners in a pace rut. Fast repeats weeks before the marathon and the second
COACH’S NOTES
challenge you to turn your legs over and help was four weeks out from race day. We also
MODIFICATIONS FOR
avoid the “marathoner shuffle.” performed two 400m repeat sessions — six ENDURANCE MONSTERS
3) Short, fast repeats allow you to insert weeks and two weeks prior to race day. The These short, fast repeats should not be used,
some volume of running at a pace that is basic plan was to perform some short, fast however, for runners who struggle with speed
significantly faster than marathon race pace. running every other week during the last two work. These “endurance monsters” can run all day
For example, Brett’s goal marathon pace was months before race day. but find that speed work leaves their legs feeling
4:55 per mile so we were doing workouts at For both 200m repeat workouts, I had flat for several days post-workout. For example,
4:15–4:40 per mile, which allowed 4:55 to feel Brett run 20–24 times 200m with a 200m I didn’t include these 200m and 400m workouts
easier. The same will hold for you. jog between. The pace was 5K to 10K which with another athlete I coach, Paige Higgins, who
isn’t too taxing to run for 200m but gives the ran 2:33 in the same race where Brett ran 2:10.
HOW TO INCLUDE SPEED body/mind 2.5 to 3 miles of running at a pace With Paige, we did fartlek sessions (like 20–25
While you may have to modify the exact quite a bit faster than marathon pace. For times 1 minute on with 1 minute off recovery jog
placement of the workouts based on your Brett, the goal was to run 32–33 seconds per between), but these were more like a tempo run
individual training and racing schedule, here 200m (4:16–4:24 pace) and for the recovery with surges than a track workout. Her pace stayed
is how Brett and I inserted speed work into jogs to be moderate as well. In other words, closer to 10K to half marathon pace. For her, this
his successful marathon plan. he should not be doing the slow, sprinter exposure to running slightly faster than mara-
In the last eight weeks leading into his recovery stumble but should jog slowly but thon pace works much better than running 200m
marathon (Chevron Houston), we performed steadily between each repeat. and 400m repeats at 5K to 10K pace.

GREG MCMILLAN is an exercise physiologist


and USATF-certified coach who helps runners
via his Web site mcmillanrunning.com.

16 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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PERSONAL RECORD BY R ACHEL TOOR

non-issue. Homosexuality is no longer illegal; there’s a gay bar called


The
Singapore “Does Your Mother Know?”

Sling
Singapore is the easiest farthest away country I have ever been to.
The streets are cleaner than the floors in my house, everything is in
English, and the nightlife is hip and cosmopolitan. There are acres
of shopping malls offering clothes by the Gap and Armani, providing
sustenance from Starbucks and Subway. There are mall rat teenagers.
It’s one of the few remaining city-states, and since the govern-
ment puts on the Singapore Marathon, logistics are easy. Roads are
THINK ABOUT NEW YORK. It’s overwhelming. It’s closed, cops are on duty, and there is plenty of help.
crowded. It’s noisy. (It used to be dirty, until Rudy Giuliani The Sports Council gave 4,000 volunteers specific instructions on
rode into town.) It’s international, multi-culti, diverse how to cheer. The youngsters never seemed tempted to say “Good
across any spectrum you can think of. Everything is a job”; Singaporeans are not big on praise. Their “Don’t give up!” and
hassle. There are always long lines. “You must fi nish!” had a hectoring tone, like kids on a playground.
Volunteers had been told to “be open-minded, respectful, and pos-
Think about Boston, sess a positive team attitude.” The rah-rah attitude continued on
with its traditions of the 42 kilometer markers, each of which had a sports cliché on the
Brahmanism and pri- order of “Winners never quit, quitters never win.” Some were in what
macy, of elitism and everyone calls “Singlish.”
sectarianism. You have On race day the streets of Singapore looked like the Dean Dome
to prove you are worthy during a UNC-Duke game, with nearly everyone wearing a brand
and show your bona new sky blue singlet. When I expressed surprise about this to an
fides. Boston is not a expat friend she told me that Singaporeans are accustomed to wear-
place for the hoi polloi. ing uniforms. If you give them a shirt, they think they are supposed
Los Angeles, a to wear it. Singaporeans try to do what they think is expected.
pedestrian unfriendly The Singapore Marathon started in 2002 with 6,000 runners. It has
city, is forever messing grown to 50,000, and according to an article after this year’s race in
around with its mar- The Straits Times, the national newspaper, is “now one of the biggest
athon course. marathons in the world.”
Las Vegas is a place Th is is, of course, not true. There were about 18,000 people in the
w here t i me ha s no marathon. The numbers quoted included the half marathon and the
mea n i ng. T h i s c a n 10K. Singapore likes to pump itself up. While there is prize money,
make it a gamble for the emphasis is on getting folks — even if they’re not runners — out
certain kinds of events. and moving; the average fi nishing time is six hours.
The year I ran the Las Singapore, Singapore, is like the big corporate campus of a pro-
Vegas Marathon there gressive company. Folks are encouraged to do things that are good
were 26 clocks on the for them — to be healthy, active, educated, clean, and to embrace
course. Not one of them was at a mile marker. and maintain their diverse cultural identities. They are told to play.
The editor of Runner’s World France told (The many leafy public parks are littered with signs that say Let’s
me that the Parisians have no patience for Play!) When I asked one of the organizers if they had experienced
their city’s marathon. It annoys them. If you any race-related deaths, he said, simply, “That is not allowed.”
are still running when they open the course After centuries of invasion and colonization, Singapore has
back up, drivers will follow behind you and charted a self-determined and deliberate course. The nation’s fi nan-
honk and curse and make rude gestures. cial situation — it’s one of the richest countries in the world — attests
We all do things in our own image; you can to its success. It’s like those American companies where workers
tell something about a person by the way she begin to think and speak in lingo and don’t even realize it. If you’re
makes a sandwich, and about a place by the cynical, you say they drank the Kool-Aid.
way it puts on a marathon. I was delighted The slogans for the Singapore Marathon say a lot: “Your spirit
to go to the Singapore Marathon to see what our inspiration,” “Run your own race” and fi nally, “Keep Singapore
I could see. My friends worried that since I Running”— an intentional double-entendre.
Nate Dyer

spit and chew gum, I was going to get caned. Singapore was nothing like what I had expected. But once I got to
Wrong. Th is is not your father’s Singapore. know what kind of place it is, the efficiently managed, swag-heavy,
Illustrator:

You can buy sugarless gum behind the coun- orderly and team-spirited marathon was exactly what I would have
ter at pharmacies (it’s seen as a healthy expected. It’s a long way to travel, but it’s a far more interesting coun-
alternative to candy) and spitting is a try than I had anticipated. •

RACHEL TOOR teaches writing at Eastern Washington


University in Spokane. Her latest book, Personal Record:
A Love Affair with Running, was published in 2008.

18 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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OWNER’S MANUAL

Short Routine
BY STEPHEN PYLE

A
THE BEST WAY TO DO
ABBREVIATED WARM-UPS
IN 2004, 101 runners lined up at the start of the Olympic men’s mara-
thon in Athens. When the race started at 6 p.m., the temperature was 80
degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity was 40 percent.

Instead of doing their usual warm-up, many challenged some.” An added benefit: “The
of the marathoners shortened their pre-race runner will start the race realizing that he/
routine, which is saying something given she can’t go out too fast,” Daniels says.
the minimal warm-up most marathoners Former Olympian STEVE PLASENCIA,
do. Before toeing the starting line, many now the head cross country and track coach
of the men sat indoors; some even put on at the University of Minnesota, agrees, say-
ice vests to keep their core temperatures ing, “I would keep my warm-up to nearly
cooler. Among those wearing an ice vest was exclusive running. I would probably pro-
MEB KEFLEZIGHI, who went on to score a ceed at a pace a little faster than normal but
silver medal. leave a few minutes before the start to make
Granted, most of us aren’t obligated to sure I ‘gathered myself’ for a race as I nor-
race when it’s too hot, as the Olympic mar- mally would.
athoners more or less were. Still, it’s likely “When the gun goes off,” Plasencia says, “I Don’t panic if it’s a race to the start.
you’ll find yourself at a hotter-than-ideal would want my cardiovascular system to at
race. In that situation, should you do your full least be reasonably warmed up, and I think in the heat because “that way there isn’t a lot
warm-up routine? Or is there a point where running would be the best way to accom- of aerobic stretch on the body,” he says. “It
warming up can lead to melting down, and plish this.” just loosens the legs up.” Before workouts and
an abbreviated warm-up makes more sense? If there’s time, Plasencia advises, try to races, Brimmer’s athletes use the Myrtl rou-
And, regardless of weather, what if simple squeeze in a few strides, increasing from 60 tine, which you can view in the fi rst video at
logistics necessitate curtailing your warm- to 120 meters. But because you’re literally runningtimes.com/gsvideos.
up? What if you oversleep or traffic is bad or running late, Daniels’ warm-up-with-fast- Plasencia advises sticking with pre-race
you get lost and have scant time before the fi nish will usually work better logistically strides in the heat if they’re a regular part
start? Should you do all of your normal pre- before you need to join the rest of the field. of your warm-up routine, but to allow extra
race activities, but less of each, or perform Once in place behind the start line, use time between them to allow for close to full
triage and do close to full versions of one or that time — during the usual pre-race recovery. That can take close to 75 seconds
two aspects? announcements — to do a few standing in the heat.
stretches for the areas where you’re usually In the heat, Plasencia says, it’s also impor-
LATE FOR A VERY tightest, says Plasencia. tant not to have your warm-up jog, no matter
IMPORTANT DATE how short, dehydrate you. Warm up in as
When you find yourself pressed for time HEAT WARMS THINGS UP little clothing as possible, he says, because
pre-race, the warm-up run trumps all, says GARY BRIMMER, who coaches runners in “we do not want to perspire so much that we
coaching legend JACK DANIELS, who says San Antonio, Texas, deals with plenty of hot draw down body fluids before competing.”
10 minutes of running should leave you rea- temperatures. A 2:31 marathoner, Brimmer If you’re a heavy sweater, consider changing
sonably ready to roll. The in-a-pinch twist is knows heat, having also lived in Hawaii as outfits after you warm up so that you’re not
that, after starting at your normal easy warm- well as in Iraq while serving in the Army. starting the race in gear that’s already soaked,
up jog pace, you run progressively faster so During the summer, when the temperatures which could lessen its cooling properties.
Katie Wolpert

that the fi nal 3 minutes are at threshold, or are often over 100 degrees in San Antonio, If possible, says Daniels, go inside until
roughly half marathon pace. Try to time the Brimmer has his runners limit their warm-up race time once you’ve warmed up.
10-minute run so that you have 5 minutes to a mile jog and a few dynamic drills, such “I encourage them to go inside and cool off,
Brian Metzler/Zephyr Media

until the start, during which time you can as leg swings and rotation drills for the hips even placing cold, wet towels on themselves,”
get in place among the field. and hamstrings. Daniels says of his runners. “The muscles will
“Ten minutes of running is typically ade- “One thing I stress to my runners is when stay warm even if you cool the skin.”
quate for the muscles to get warmed up,” it’s hot, you just can’t stress warming up that No matter what your pre-race routine in
Daniels says, “and by increasing the speed much,” Brimmer says. “When it is warm, it the heat is, Brimmer has one last piece of
From Left:

of this warm-up run the aerobic system will does not take long to warm up.” advice. “You have to ease into the fi rst mile
be pushed into gear and breathing will be Brimmer is a fan of pre-race dynamic drills or so of the race,” he says. •

20 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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ABBRE VIATED WARM-UPS • SUMMER HYDR ATION TIPS

Are big gulps one key to the best hydration for hot-weather running?

BY JACKIE DIKOS, RD blood flow to the kidneys. Therefore, runners have traditionally been
told, avoid caffeinated beverages, especially when it’s hot, because

Fluid
increased water losses could impair performance.
In 2005, the American College of Sports Medicine clarified how
caffeine affects hydration. The organization’s statement on hydration
includes this sentence: “Caffeine ingestion has a modest diuretic
effect in some individuals but does not affect water replacement in
habitual caffeine users, so caffeinated beverages can be ingested

CONCEPTIONS during the day by athletes who are not caffeine naïve.” In other words,
if you’re used to it, moderate amounts of caffeine don’t increase urine
output more than a similar amount of water.
How is this possible, given the well-known urge to fi nd the near-
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT est bathroom not long after having a coffee? Caffeine is rapidly
STAYING HYDRATED absorbed by the body, and reaches its highest concentration about
an hour after it’s consumed; it can maintain that peak for several
TRAINING AND RACING in hotter weather abso- hours. During that time, yes, it often contributes to greater urine
lutely demands getting hydration right. For years, we’ve output for several hours, but that phenomenon is followed by a
been told that key elements of doing so include avoid- decrease in urine output. Over the course of 24 hours, then, caf-
ing caffeinated beverages and drinking small amounts feine results in no significant difference in overall urine volume.
throughout the day. Is that true? Let’s look at some On a daily basis, habitual caffeine users aren’t dehydrated by their
hydration claims and facts. beloved beverages.
A natural concern for even regular caffeine users is avoiding
CLAIM: CAFFEINE CAUSES DEHYDRATION increases in the urge to urinate during the early stages of a race.
Caffeine naturally occurs in the leaves, nuts and seeds of plants. It Fortunately, since there’s an increase in catecholamines and less
enters the runner’s diet through various foods and beverages con- blood flow to the kidneys, the early diuretic effect of caffeine is often
sumed every day, such as tea, coffee, colas, chocolate and energy lacking during exercise.
drinks. (Put another way, items that many of us consume on a daily Response to caffeine varies from person to person. Identify if
basis with great enjoyment.) Caffeine has long been identified as and when caffeine fits appropriately into your running. Caffeine
being a diuretic; it promotes the excretion of urine by increasing right before a hard workout or race may induce an upset stomach

RUNNINGTIMES / 21
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OWNER’S MANUAL SUMMER HYDR ATION TIPS • ANKLE FLE XIBILIT Y

or jittery feeling. On the other hand, regular caffeine users may during a run. Maintaining body mass that’s within 2 to 3 percent
suffer nausea and headaches if they go without. For most people, of your pre-run weight and avoiding weight gain conveys appropri-
caffeinated beverages can count toward daily fluid intake and aren’t ate hydration. Th is is done most effectively by tracking your pre-run
long-term dehydrators. nude body weight compared to post-run nude weight; calculating
your sweat rate offers insight as to about how many ounces to drink
CLAIM: SIP SMALL AMOUNTS OF FLUIDS per hour. If you gained weight on the run, you drank too much during
THROUGHOUT THE DAY, BECAUSE ONLY it. Conversely, and more commonly, weight loss greater than 2 to 3
SO MUCH CAN BE ABSORBED AT A TIME percent indicates you need to take in more fluid; your performance,
Runners are used to hearing that the stomach can’t process more especially at faster paces, starts to suffer significantly once you get
than 7 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes and that, therefore, the key past that amount of dehydration.
to staying hydrated is to consume small amounts. In reality, recent Once your overall volume need is determined, experiment with
research shows that drinking more fluid less frequently, compared training your gut to tolerate greater fluid volumes at regular inter-
with drinking the same total volume spread out in smaller, more vals while matching sweat loss. For instance, if 18 ounces per hour
frequent intakes, speeds gastric emptying (the movement of fluid is your ideal volume, try consuming 6 ounces every 20 minutes as
from your stomach to intestines). compared to 3 ounces every 10 minutes. By practicing in training,
Th is is so because as fluid volume increases, gastric-emptying it’s possible to teach the body to tolerate greater fluid volume less
rate also increases, allowing the small intestine to be more profi- frequently and support faster gastric emptying.
cient at absorbing and delivering essential fluids, carbohydrates,
and electrolytes to the body. Ingesting the appropriate fluid volume CLAIM: RUNNERS SHOULD LIMIT SALT
may be more valuable than the actual timing (although drinking INTAKE TO AVOID HEART DISEASE
at regular intervals still supports maintaining this faster rate of Hypertension isn’t common in the young, but it increases in preva-
gastric emptying). lence with age. Because sodium is often associated with hypertension,
The overall goal remains to match fluid intake with fluid loss it’s common to be concerned about sodium intake as we age. For a
healthy runner with low sweat losses, 2–3 grams of sodium a day

TRIED AND TRUE


may be sufficient. During hot running conditions, however, sodium
loss alone may well exceed the standard intake guidelines. Where
should most of us hedge our bets: Less sodium out of concern for
heart disease years from now, or more sodium out of concern for
AWESOME ANKLES poorer performance on tomorrow’s run?
If you don’t have a personal or family history of hypertension, go

T
op runners have known the importance of good ankle flexibility with the better-running-performance option. Research confi rms
at least since ARTHUR LYDIARD had his charges bounding up sodium loading before exercising in the heat supports fluid balance
New Zealand hills in the early 1960s. With decent ankle flexibil- and endurance during exercise. Sodium ingestion is beneficial
ity, you can push off more forcefully, which should mean more ground during a run because it stimulates thirst and helps to replace elec-
covered with the same amount of work. Two simple pre- or post-run trolyte losses from sweat. Failing to take adequate sodium after
exercises should suffice for most runners in building and maintaining running hinders the return to a state of normal hydration.
ankle flexibility. Sodium loss is harder to assess than fluid loss. A grainy texture to
the face and skin, a white sweat ring on clothing, and sweat-satu-
The first is gas pedals, which work the ankle through the rated clothes are signs of high sodium losses after a run. Inadequate
01 range of motion it needs to cover when you’re in full flight. sodium may also be the culprit behind nagging muscle cramps.
Lie on your back with one leg down and the other bent at 90 These recognizable signs of greater sodium losses warrant a little
degrees. Holding the bent leg behind the knee, bring that extra sodium in the diet. Recent research suggests the body adapts
foot as far as possi- to a greater appetite for salt when sweat loss is high, as compared
ble toward your shin, to distaste for salt when sweat loss is low.
then press it down as far Sodium replacement doesn’t mean pouring salt over all your
as possible, as if you’re floor- food or snacking on chips all day. Aim for food choices that are not
ing the gas pedal in your car. Do 20 repetitions, only rich in sodium, but also rich in other nutrients on days when
then switch legs and repeat on the other side. your sodium losses are likely to be higher. Such options include
cheeses and other forms of dairy, bagels, canned tuna, olives, veg-
The second exercise is foot orbits. These engage all of the etable juice and chili.
02 muscles of the lower leg so that you can run with a stronger, Runners with a strong family history or diagnosis of hyperten-
more flowing stride. Start in the same position as for gas ped- sion will fi nd the most reliable way to manage the situation is with
Stacey Cramp

als. Rotate the foot of the bent regular physical examinations and communication with their
leg 20 times clockwise, then physician. General hypertensive guidelines still apply, but it’s pos-
20 times counterclockwise. sible limiting the amount of exceedingly high-sodium foods like
Photos:

Repeat on the other side. processed meats and fast food would be adequate during hot sum-
mer training sessions. •

A frequent contributor to Running Times and runningtimes.com,


JACKIE DIKOS is a registered dietitian and 2:45 marathoner.

22 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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SUPERFOAM.
CRAZY.
THE KEAHOU II IS ALL ABOUT CUSHIONING. IT’S ALSO ALL ABOUT
STABILITY WITH THE GUIDEGLIDETM MID-SOLE AND VENTILATION
WITH THE FLOW COOLTM AIR SYSTEM. ALL THAT, AND IT’S STILL LIGHT.
PHYSICS, MAN. CRAZY.

DESIGNED IN
CALIFORNIA KSWISS.COM
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HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER STRENGTH TR AINING

Sand
BY JOE WOTJAS and field athletes and they give up their other
sport,” he says. Springer, for example, gave
up soccer as a senior to run cross country

and STRENGTH and became the state champion.


Palmer credits his father for getting him
into power lifting and strongman stuff, then,
SUMMER TRAINING AT WESTERLY HIGH at the University of Connecticut, where he
was competing as a thrower, he was amazed
THREE TIMES A WEEK beginning in August, a group of Westerly High by the performances of his distance-runner
School cross country runners make their way across their Rhode Island teammates. He would spend hours talking
town to Napatree Point, a stunning barrier beach along the Atlantic Ocean. to them about how they trained because he
There, co-head coach RYAN “ROCK” PALMER, a past New England colle- knew he would someday coach.
giate shot put and discus champion, waits for them with workouts that, Meanwhile, he began to think about what
arguably, no one else in the country is doing. strength training and sand running could
do for distance runners. What he’s found is
ashore. He has them run 150m repeats in it makes them fast while preventing injuries
knee-deep water and sprint out of the water by strengthening tendons and ligaments. “In
and up the dunes as they perform drills and the 14 years I’ve been coaching I’ve never had
jumps. Some days, they strap on snowshoes a kid with a serious injury,” he says.
and run in the sand. And for fun he some- As for the sand running, “It strengthens
times lets them somersault down the dunes. hip flexors. It strengthens everything. And
“I don’t know too many people who do this it promotes knee lift,” he says. Palmer is also
kind of stuff,” Palmer says, smiling. “But they a big believer in having his runners train in
love it.” bare feet unless on the track or on long runs.
Palmer’s methods may be different, but But why have seven of his runners carry a
you can’t argue with his success. He’s pro- giant log up a dune? “It’s partly to build team
duced a string of state and New England unity and partly because that’s what strong
champions, led by ANDREW SPRINGER, men do,” he says.
who was the country’s fastest high school TIM O’LOUGHLIN says he was a “skinny
miler in 2009, running 4:02 at the Midwest and weak” sophomore when he showed up at
Distance Gala. SAMANTHA GAWRYCH was the beach to join the cross country team. He
the national scholastic indoor mile cham- went on to run 4:15 for the mile and 8:49 for
pion in 2004, a 24-time state champion in 3,000m and now competes for the University
track and cross country (including individual of Florida. He says Palmer’s summer train-
events and relays) and her 2:47.6 is one of the ing, which he will again participate in this
fastest 1,000m times run by a high school girl. year, played a big part in his success.
At a high school where soccer and foot- “Over the season it really paid off. We had
ball are king among the 1,100 students, the strength that other runners didn’t have,”
Training the Westerly way. the girls track teams at Westerly have won he says. “When you were racing next to some-
eight straight Rhode Island indoor and one you knew they were not as prepared as
Palmer, who has coached at the school for outdoor championships while the boys we were.”
the past decade, paddles his surfboard into picked up their fi rst outdoor crown in 2009. While Palmer plans to continue his old-
the waters of Little Narragansett Bay until his Individually, Palmer’s runners from Westerly school ways, he says worried school officials
runners can’t touch the sandy bottom. They and neighboring Stonington High School have forced him to scrap one of his favorite Joe Wotjas (2)

swim out and begin a series of 2- to 4-min- in Connecticut (his alma mater and previ- training sessions because of liability con-
ute intervals of water running. In between ous coaching stop) have gone on to run for cerns. “We actually used to tow cars in the
each repeat they hang onto his surfboard. Division I college programs at Providence, parking lot when I was at Stonington,” he
Photos:

Back on dry land, the runners hit the sand Georgetown, Florida, Boston College, Rhode says. “We can’t do that anymore.” •
trails that wind through the dunes for some- Island and Connecticut.
thing more traditional, a series of repeats that The training methods used by the 38-year-
range from 250m to 600m, in which they try old Palmer come from one overriding belief:
to negative split each one by 10 seconds. Or “Developing athletes, not runners, has been
there’s a barefoot 2-mile time trial in the soft our philosophy here over the past 11 years,”
sand. But just when you think Palmer is like he says about the approach he takes with co-
any other coach, he has his runners sprint- head coach DAVE FEDERICO.
ing up and down the dunes carrying rocks “A lot of kids come out who are not track
or one of the large logs that have washed specialists,” Palmer says. “They want to get
in shape for basketball. They want to get in
More high school summer training articles shape for football or baseball. So we help get
and videos at runningtimes.com/highschool. Water running, Westerly style.
them ready. Some we discover are great track

24 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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HIGH SCHOOL RUNNING CAMPS

2010
BY CHRIS LEAR

Running Camp
PRIMER
I WAS FINISHING my sophomore year in high school
when my track coach suggested I go to running camp
that summer. Seriously? I thought. Running camp?

Despite my reservations, I signed up for the Green Mountain Running


Fall success starts with summer training.
Camp in Lyndonville, Vt., one of a series of camps operated by
Running Times’ own coaching guru, ROY BENSON. The dust hadn’t Twenty years later, the names have changed, Woodyball’s been
had a chance to settle after my arrival before we split into groups trumped by tweeting, but blessedly, much is as it was at camps
based on our mile PRs and set off on an (allegedly) easy 6-mile jaunt nationwide.
on Lyndonville’s rolling dirt roads. By mile 3, I was redlining it and Individuals from teams without a running culture get immersed
hanging on at the back of the pack, my summer of Snickers and sun- in one at camp, and are all the better for it, whi le high school teams
shine becoming more apparent by the stride. go en masse to camps like that of CHRIS BENNETT of perennial
One mile later we turned into a steep hill and I cracked, falling off national power CBA and learn what it takes to win state. And that’s
the back of the pack. One of the runners in the group (future UVA mostly about all the stuff outside of the actual running.
coach JASON VIGILANTE) took pity and fell back to help me reel “We’ve always stressed that cross country is a true team sport; the
in the pack. And then I heard footsteps. I turned to fi nd a rickety, training is secondary. The kids take for granted that they are gonna
septuagenarian madman chasing me, and gaining ground. Before do the training,” Bennett says. “The question is what separates the
I could process what was happening he boomed, “I’m gonna stick teams that have all put in the work. It gets down to who is gonna go
my foot up your ass, SIDEWAYS!” to the wall, and through the wall for one another, and that’s easier
Welcome to running camp. said than done.”
That madman was none other than legendary high school coach Enter, camp. “You’re there to figure out where you’re gonna go,” he

Brian Metzler/Zephyr Media (2)


ED MATHER, of Bernardsville, N.J. And when he wasn’t chasing says. “Sometimes it happens on the course, but sometimes it happens
down me and others that week, he had us in stitches with story upon off the course, away from the coaches, in a cabin, and that’s when
story of his awesome teams. they become a true team. If there is a secret as to why some teams
The week was a revelation. I learned to speak Finnish (fartlek), are better, that’s it; they have an identity and a bond has been forged.
ran more miles in a week than I had all summer (while discovering “Once the gun goes off, the coaches are useless. It’s up to the ath-
many actually did this all summer), played Woodyball (created by letes, and what’s gonna guide them is the obligation they feel to

Photos:
then-Dartmouth coach VIN LANANNA’s harriers) until my shoul- themselves and each other, and it starts at camp. That’s when they
der ached, and soaked in all things running from campers, staff, figure out what kind of team they are and
famed harriers and coaches like BOB SEVENE and Olympic mar- what they want to be, and
athoner BOB KEMPAINEN, and even enjoyed ice-cold post-run that’s the key.” •
mountain streams.

CHOOSING A CAMP
While much of the good that happens at camp comes outside the instruc-
tion and the workouts, you want those elements to be sound. Choose
a camp that is directed and taught by coaches with proven records. Do
your homework: Plumb the camp’s Web site for details on the sched-
ules and activities, contact the director to get a feel for the philosophy
and how you fi t (or don’t), get opinions from local runners who have
gone. What kind of running will you be doing at the camp? Where will
that fit into your summer training plan? Does the camp cater to runners
of various abilities? And, go prepared: Don’t expect camp to get you in
shape; show up ready to hone your fi tness. For a list of high school run-
ning camps, go to runningtimes.com/jul10 .

26 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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REDEFINING HUMANLY POSSIBLE

Ironman Champion and Nathan athlete, Kate Major


PROPER HYDRATION IS CRITICAL HOW TO HYDRATE PROPERLY:
Consistency is key! During your run, a steady intake

DURING TRAINING & COMPETITION of fluids will help you obtain peak performance.
Carrying fluids with you ensures your consistency.
Nathan Hydration Gear makes carrying these precious
Proper hydration will help you achieve your goals, fluids easy and comfortable.
no matter how impossible they may seem.
Ironman champion and Nathan athlete Kate Major
REASONS TO HYDRATE: knows a run of any distance will benefit from proper
Research has proven that proper hydration hydration. Nathan’s Sprint is the perfect size for short
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COLLEGE LIFE-CHANGING L APS

only half a mile. How hard could that be?


By the time we finally lined up for the
start, my heart was racing and my adrena-
line amped up to post-traumatic-stress levels.
Glancing at the other girls, I couldn’t help
but notice that they were all so much big-
ger, taller, and more muscular than me. One
looked like Rocky’s sister, so incredibly mus-
cled that I wasn’t sure if she was going to race
us or punch us out.
I was clearly in the wrong race. I’m 5-foot-
3, 98 pounds soaking wet. I was going to get
crushed. It came to mind that I might, in fact,
get last place. What on earth had my coach
The author’s ambitious effort in an 800m race paved the way to a lifetime of running.
been thinking?
The gun went off.
BY WENDY A. JOHNSON Every girl, including me, jumped from

Two Life-Changing
PAINFUL PACING MISTAKE OR NEW START?
Laps a complete standstill to what felt like a
sprinter’s dash.
I’d drawn lane 1, so everyone else was
ahead of me on the one-turn staggered start,
and at first it was hard to tell who was leading.
But soon, the girls in lanes 2 and 3 settled to
the front. For a few meters, I tailgated them,
THERE COMES A MOMENT in any race gone sour when time stops, but the pace seemed easy, and soon I was
the body seizes up, and the mind discovers that all the will in the world making up space. The pace continued to feel
isn’t enough. I suppose all runners with lofty dreams discover this eventu- good — so wonderfully good, in fact, that by
ally. I learned it three-quarters of the way through my first collegiate race. the 150m mark, I was beginning to wonder
why I’d ever been afraid.
I’d run in high school, but delayed the next wanted me to do was the 800. By the 200m, I’d grabbed the lead. Briefly,
step until the day after my 25th birthday, Th at was when his transparent effort to I remembered that my coach had told me
when I walked onto the team at Clackamas calm me down gave way to the desperate, not to do this, but I was having too much
Community College in central Oregon, ask- painstaking pleading that only a truly ter- fun, and it all felt so easy. I kicked harder
ing if they needed a distance runner. That’s rified college athlete can do. I begged him and by the end of the second turn, glanced
what I was in high school, so I was thrilled not to put me in this race; after all, I was a dis- back, startled by how far back everyone
when the coach told me he’d just hired a new tance runner, not a sprinter! He argued that had dropped.
assistant who would love to train me for a it was just to see where I was at and, since I Confidence surging, I decided to keep
5K or 10K spot. would never run under an 80-second quar- pushing. It was, after all, a short race. So off
“Great!” I said. “I’m ready!” ter, there was no harm in doing the short test I went, feeling like a gazelle. At the 400m
Of course, that eight-year hiatus had left distance. He also kept insisting that, this way, mark, I heard a voice — “55, 56” — and a
me a bit undertrained, but the distance I wouldn’t be worn out for the later meet, like very loud bell.
coach and I got along well, and soon enough I would be if I did the 10K I’d have preferred. “Is he serious?” I thought. “That must
I was picking up my times in practice, and I hadn’t raced in eight years, and had be a mistake.”
improving my turnover, dreaming of 17-min- never even considered an 800 except as a But as I began the turn, I felt a twinge in my
ute 5Ks and 35-minute 10Ks. Junior college? bad word. But he was the coach and I was arms. Soon it was spreading to my stomach,
Heck with that. I had every intention of run- on scholarship, so I gave in and decided he then my legs and shoulders, as everything
ning Division I times. must know best. began to tighten up. “It’s a short race,” I
Then one day, my coach told me he wanted The meet was at Western Oregon University, reminded myself. “I’ll be OK.”
me to test my legs in a race. We’d been doing about an hour’s drive from my junior college. By the end of the turn, my legs had gone
a lot of time trials, but this time, with our I arrived to fi nd the place full of toned, mus- from tight to painful, and my arms to numb.
first major meet about 10 days out, he wanted cled athletes. Not the most reassuring sight. I could hear people cheering and I wanted
to find out where I really stood. This was Nor was the sight of the track itself calming. so much not to let them down. I could have
what he usually did with new athletes, he In high school, my fi rst encounter with the sworn I overheard someone say, “Who is
added. No reason to be nervous; it was just other runners and the track had always set the that? Does she know it’s an 800?”
for practice. adrenaline rising. I might be the better part Midway down the backstretch, I was
Sarah Miller

I suppose some athlete somewhere has of a decade older, but nothing had changed. beginning to slow, and not just a little. My
actually bought a line like that. It was, after I got into race mode by jacketing up, touch- legs and arms were no longer mine to control,
all, technically true: the meet didn’t matter. ing base with some of my teammates and, as though they had been taken over by alien
Illustration:

But then he told me that, to gauge my speed since the coach wasn’t at the meet, telling forces. I was wobbling so badly that I could
without overly tiring me, the distance he myself, “Test effort. Test effort only!” It was Continued on page 30

28 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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COLLEGE LIFE-CHANGING L APS • FLORIDA STATE COACH K AREN HARVE Y

LAPS Continued from page 28 races as if I had never existed. Someone was you’re running for me next year, because
no longer stay between the lines. My arms asking if I needed water, but I couldn’t answer there’s no one out here faster than you. Read
were like strands of overcooked spaghetti. because what I needed was air and my lungs up on it, come see me, and we’ll fi x that disas-
Another spectator was shouting, now, but simply couldn’t supply it rapidly enough. ter of a fi rst lap. But, by the way, it was an
not to me. “Hey, you can catch her!” I felt like a fool. Then someone else joined us amazing 400!” •
I still had a huge lead, but it didn’t mat- — the coach, I realized, on whose track we’d
ter. My feet felt like cement blocks; my legs been running: ALEX WRIGHT from Western WENDY JOHNSON transferred to
were on strike. The pain was so intense that Oregon University. Western is Division II, a big Western Oregon and, under the guidance
as I wobbled out of lane 1 and staggered into step up from junior college, and it took me a of Alex Wright, won the Cascadia

Florida State University


lane 3 I was wondering if I’d actually man- while to realize he was recruiting. Collegiate Conference 1500m title
aged to break something. “When was your last 800?” he asked. in 1995 and eventually lowered her
Two officials dashed over, caught me and I coughed, still trying to fi nd my breath. PR to 4:28 as a post-collegiate runner.
assisted me in sitting down before I fell. To “Never. I’m a distance runner.” Now 41, Johnson juggles her running
my left, the other runners were racing by, “No, miss,” he said, “you’ve just discovered between stints as a volunteer high school

Photo:
heading into the fi nal 200m, running their that you’re a middle-distance runner. I hope coach and a singer in a rock band.

COACHES CORNER
KAREN HARVEY, Florida State
E
ntering her fourth season as head women’s cross country coach
at Florida State, KAREN HARVEY led the Seminoles to a team Q How do you build the team chemistry that
runner-up showing at last year’s NCAA meet after helping the is so important in cross country?
team earn back-to-back third-place trophies during her first two seasons. I don’t really force it. I think it just kind of happens. It’s really important
Despite high team and individual finishes — since-graduated SUSAN to have good captains who can tell when we need a team function or can
KUIJKEN was the national runner-up in 2008 and fourth last year — come to me and say someone is struggling or other things I might not
Harvey’s summer training program is fairly low-key. Harvey, who formerly see. We also spend Labor Day weekend in Boone, North Carolina, at ZAP
coached at Illinois, is a former All-American runner at Michigan and is mar- Fitness, and I think that’s a time when we really bond. It’s nice because
ried to three-time Olympic 1500m runner KEVIN SULLIVAN. we get to be in the mountains and run in cool weather and run a race at
Appalachian State, even though most of my top girls tempo it.
Q What does your summer program entail?
We take the two weeks off after track season and then we start running Q What are some of your key workouts in the fall?
every other day and slowly start building up. We do Like a lot of coaches, I have benchmark workouts that I go back and com-
some fartleks and hills and some elevated runs, pare to the previous years that we’ve done them, both on an individual
but it’s not super hard because I don’t want them basis and for our top fi ve and top seven. One that we do late in the sea-
too fi t too soon. I always tell them if they have son is 4 x 1 mile on a rolling grass course run a little faster than race pace
to move workouts around and change stuff with a 5-minute recovery. That one is brutal, but by comparing year-to-
up, that’s OK. There has to be a time in the year results I can tell how girls are progressing and how the team stacks
season where you allow a little fl exibil- up against previous teams.
ity because they need a break, too, and
once the season starts, you don’t have Q Do you repeat any workouts in the fall?
much of that. We re-visit workouts in late October that we had done in early September,
and you can see the improvement in fitness. For example, we do 6 x 1000m
Q What kind of mileage do with a 3-minute recovery twice a year. You’ve got to show the kids that
your runners log in the summer? their hard work is paying off and they’re getting better. There’s noth-
All the kids are running diff erent mileage, ing more factual than workout times and results like that. There are no
usually averaging 5 miles more per week than secrets. When you think there are secrets, you’re in trouble.
they did the previous year. I don’t have a high-
mileage program. I don’t really agree with Q How often do you veer from your master plan?
high mileage. I think it makes more sense for There’s a lot of juggling. Everyone’s lead-up to the national champion-
the kids to wait until they’re in their mid-20s ships is going to be diff erent. I show the kids a periodization chart at
or 30s to do high mileage. The most I ever the beginning of the year and show them exactly what we’ll be doing
have kids doing is 80 miles, but most of the every week until the NCAA meet. It includes a lot of aerobic running early,
girls are running between 60 and 65 in their slowly building in faster stuff with more and more VO 2 workouts and
peak weeks. And for the freshman coming race-pace workouts. It’s a master plan, but every year I’ll slightly change
in, I typically have them do the exact same a few things if I see things in races when I see they need more work in one
thing they did the previous summer. area or another. — BRIAN METZLER

30 / RUNNINGTIMES_JUL
LY/
LY
L YY//A
AU
AUG
U
UG
UGUS
GU
UST
USS 2010
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BECAUSE WE RUN

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MASTERS ULTR A CHAMP JACK PILL A

Running
BY JIM THOMPSON forgotten in a search for smooth pavement
and big waves as his passion for skateboard-

through ing and surfi ng grew. The only sign of what


he would someday accomplish as a run-
ner was a favorite pastime developed in the
the
Darkness
ULTRA ACE JACK PILLA BEATS PAIN WITH PAIN
cramped back yards of his neighborhood.
Like a dog with a stolen bone in his mouth,
the diminutive Pilla would race through the
yards, creating trails on the fly while trying
to outpace the heated reactions of the tres-
passed homeowners. It’s a memory that still
brings a devilish grin to his weathered face.
IN EVERY 100-MILE RACE, there is at least one dark, unforgivably “I don’t know why I did it, just something to
depressing section when it’s all a runner can do to continue. It’s a space of do,” he laughs.
time and trail, where personal demons lurk behind boulders and trees part- Whether in a neighbor’s yard or the moun-
ner with doubt and pain to assault a runner’s will. An aspect of the ultra tains surrounding his Vermont home, Pilla
world that stands apart from most running experiences, surviving these has a clinical approach to learning his body’s
emotional forays into the gutter of despair is an art best practiced by those capabilities. Last summer, for example, he
with some history on their shoulders. banged out a hot 20-mile run with a sin-
gle water stop at the halfway point, “just to
to win that event. see what it would be like,” he explains, then
In the Vermont 100, he was running shoul- deadpans, “I wouldn’t recommend it.”
der to shoulder with Pennsylvania’s JASON To test his fitness before a 100-miler, Pilla
LANTZ until the 88-mile mark. Finally, he has taken to doing an unsupported out-
broke free from the 28-year-old and, over and-back 46-miler on New Hampshire’s
the next 12 miles, put almost 45 minutes Presidential Range. Known for having the

“Running became a way to deal


with some of the stress with what I
was going through with my family.”
into his lead. Pilla ignored his pacer’s late- “worst weather on earth,” where a sunny
stages good humor when victory was clearly 70-degree day can quickly become a howl-
in hand and instead pushed hard to the fi n- ing blast of meteorological misery, the range
ish, becoming the first Vermonter to win contains a dozen mountains, almost 20,000
the event. Th is season Pilla will defend his feet of climbing and not a smooth step the
Jack Pilla wins open titles in trail ultras. title in Vermont and also compete in the entire way. And while completing the run
Leadville 100. has been a good barometer for race-day per-
Nine years ago, JACK PILLA became a run- Heading out past vegetable and flower formance, it does come with some serious
ner. On the tail end of a difficult divorce, he gardens, with Lake Champlain and the risks. “There was one time I fi nished it and
was told by a friend to try a marathon. With Adirondacks in the distance, Pilla runs then got in my car to drive home. But fi rst I
little more than four weeks of training under from his property and onto a nearby wild- needed something to eat,” Pilla says, explain-
his belt, Pilla jumped into the Vermont City life preserve. His 4-mile morning loop ing his trip to a roadside diner. Arriving there,
Marathon and cranked out a 3:19. During serves as either a wake-up call or the start he recalls, “Every time I thought I’d put the
the race, his IT band locked up on him so of a much longer run. He likes to get his run car in park to get out, I’d fall asleep, wake up
badly that he could barely walk for days after- in fi rst thing, because it “gets oxygen” to his and see I was still in gear and rolling through
ward. But the marathon was something he brain. His workouts are loosely structured, the parking lot.” Eventually, the need for rest
liked, and he decided to do more of them. averaging 70–100 miles a week with regular overcame his hunger, and he got in the back
“Running became a way to deal with some speed and hill sessions. Living just outside of the car and slept.
of the stress with what I was going through of Burlington in Vermont’s Green Mountains, To fi ll part of the void left by his divorce,
with my family,” he says. vertical work is impossible to avoid, not that Pilla has found a place in the robust running
On the road to relief, Pilla has run doz- he ever wants to. One of his favorite nearby community of greater Burlington. He pub-
Courtesy of Jack Pilla

ens of marathons and become a dominant slopes is aptly named “Puke Hill.” Th is is a lishes the Green Mountain Athletic Club’s
force in the ultra world with wins at the man unafraid to push his limits. newsletter and, with his 50-and-over club-
Stone Cat 50, the Finger Lakes Fifties and Growing up on Long Island, Pilla was an mates, won the 2009 national cross country
last year’s fi rst-place fi nish at the Vermont indifferent athlete when it came to organized team title for that age group. Recently, Pilla
Photo:

100 Endurance Race at age 51, the oldest man sports. A brief wrestling stint was quickly Continued on page 34

32 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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MASTERS MARY COORDT

AGE-GROUP ACE BY MIKE TYMN DARKNESS Continued from page 32


became certified as a running coach: “Satan”
is how his fi rst client likes to refer to him. The

Mary COORDT
YOU COULD SAY that MARY COORDT was a reluctant winner in the
workouts he prescribes are difficult; they
reflect the pain necessary to succeed, pain
Pilla learned from the hardships faced away
from competition.
Pilla had to leave his three children after
Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon on March 7. Although she was the his divorce and has not seen them since.
defending champion and a three-time winner of the California wine country It’s a pain that, for him, has no equal. Asked
race, her focus was on the Two Oceans 56K race on April 3 in Cape Town, how he deals with his dark moments on the
South Africa. “Initially I thought I’d go at least halfway as a hard training trail, he is quiet for a time. Then, with his
run,” Coordt, who was 40 on race day, says, “maybe even 20. I really didn’t eyes on the breakfast plate before him and
want to go the full distance as I had a week of heavy training ahead of me.” in a voice just loud enough to be heard over
the hustle of a Sunday restaurant, he shares
She went the entire 26.2 miles, however, scoring a 34-second victory over MEGHAN one of the secrets to his strength: “I have a
ARBOGAST in 2:46:08, her best time on the course. little frog trinket from my kids that I wear
Seemingly apologizing for her victory, Coordt explains that she was serving as elite coor- on my belt when I’m racing. When it hurts, I
dinator for the race, and when two of the top female contenders scratched at the last minute, hold on to that frog and I know that if I can
she decided to help Arbogast and any other woman shooting for a sub-2:46 U.S. Olympic get through not seeing them, I can make it
trials qualifying time by setting the pace for the fi rst half. through anything.” •
When a friend didn’t make it to the halfway mark in time to pick her up, Coordt decided
to go on to 20 miles, where her husband, Dave, would be waiting. At that point, Arbogast
was just barely on pace for a sub-2:46 and Coordt thought she’d help her for another 3 miles. TYPICAL WEEK
But when Arbogast started struggling and falling off the pace at 23, Coordt questioned the
appropriateness of pulling out of the race while in the lead.
OF TRAINING:
“It wasn’t a cake walk, but I know I didn’t leave it all out there because I recovered well,” Monday: 8 miles easy (7:30 to 8:00/mile pace)
Coordt says of her effort. The fact that she didn’t go under 2:46 made no difference as she
had already met that standard with a personal best 2:44:59 in the Twin Cities Marathon last Tuesday: A.M. 3 miles of intervals
October. She has now qualified for the last four Olympic trials marathons. on track, usually at 5K pace, 8–10
A native of San Diego, Coordt, who works as a health educator and physical activity spe- miles total; P.M. 5 miles easy
cialist for the California Department of Public Health, started jogging to relieve stress Wednesday: 8–9 miles easy
during her college years at the University of California-Davis.
Thursday: 5 miles tempo (5:55 to 6:00/
“As a graduate student, I started jogging more often and entered some trail races and my
mile pace) within a 10-mile run with
fi rst road half marathon, which I won,” she recalls. Her fi rst sub-3:00 and fi rst victory in
friends on bike trail at lunch break
the Napa Valley race came in 1997 with a 2:56:49, but she considers the 2000 U.S. Olympic
trials marathon in Columbia, S.C., where she clocked 2:51:54, as her most memorable Friday: 5–8 miles easy
running experience. Saturday: 18–20 miles with 10–14
“That race was my Olympics,” she muses, “and it was the most mentally and physically miles at marathon pace
challenging marathon I ever ran because I knew I may not be capable
of running afterwards due to a hip injury.” Sunday: Rest day
How does Coordt, now a veteran of 38 marathons over 13 years,

TRAINING
account for the fact that her best marathon and best Napa Valley
marathon have come after turning 40?
“A combination of things,” she responds. “It took me a while to over-
come that hip problem and run on both legs. I was biomechanically
running on one leg for many years. And it wasn’t until two years ago
that I started doing consistent intervals on the track.”
PHILOSOPHY
The Cape Town 56K went “as well as can be expected,” Coordt said “I do not have a coach or a set program that I
after she fi nished in 4:04:10. “The jet lag took more out of me than follow each week. And [in my 40s], I am more
in my previous trips to South Africa and it was warmer than I am careful about trying to do too many speed
used to training. But I met my goal: 10t woman and second mas- workouts a week and will alternate with one
ters, fi rst American.” This summer, Coordt hopes to see how close speed workout plus a long run at marathon
she can come to her personal best 10K of 36:06, recorded in 2003. • pace with two to three speed workouts and
easy long run or no long run. I do not do long
MARY COORDT STATS runs every weekend, and I no longer go all out
David Michel

BORN: JUNE 20, 1969 on speed workouts. I will take one day off every
LIVES: ELK GROVE, CA two weeks, and my mileage does not exceed
PERSONAL BESTS: 5K: 17:39 (2009); 4 MILES:
22:46 (2010); 10K: 36:06 (2003); HALF MARATHON: 75–80.”
Photo:

1:18:44 (2004); MARATHON: 2:44:59 (2009)

34 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AU GUST 2010


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WHY fig. 06

-45°

Help in filling out your

Modern life and runnin

Are you overstriding?

An analysis of running

fig. 12.f

MATTERS.

And how you can improve yours


By Scott Douglas

W
hen Bill Rodgers was the best mar- enviable technique, think that working on their
athoner in the world in the late form will make them faster, either directly or by
1970s, a biomechanist named Peter allowing them to train more by avoiding injury?
Cavanagh tested him in his lab at Penn State. And why should you?
As part of the test, Cavanagh had Rodgers “fi x”
his trademark across-the-body right arm swing. For starters, let’s go back to the Rodgers exper-
The result? Running with more textbook form, iment. No reputable source claims that, at any
Rodgers’ running economy, or oxygen cost at one instant, significantly altering your form
the same pace, was higher. That is, changing from what your body is used to will make you
Rodgers’ form to something thought to be bet- faster. Coaching legend and longtime lab rat
ter made it harder for him to run a given pace. Jack Daniels has tested thousands of runners
In the more than three decades since that lab over the last 40 years. “I have tested runners’
experiment, a take-home message from it has economy of running with their hands in their
been endlessly repeated: Don’t mess with your pockets, on their hips, folded on top of their
running form. Over time, your body will find heads, etc., and it always costs more than when
its best way of running. The more you run, the using a normal arm swing,” he says.
Charles Bloom

more your body will find its natural form. Just But that doesn’t mean the logical conclusion
run, baby. is that the form your body naturally gravitates
Why, then, do almost all top coaches have toward is what will make you fastest. “We
Illustrations:

their runners spend time working on their all run as children and assume that we are
form? Why do most elites, already blessed with doing it correctly,” says coach and two-time

RUNNINGTIMES / 37
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Olympic marathoner Pete Pfitzinger. “That is usually not in what the local Pose guru might be telling them than in
a bad assumption, but there is a difference between doing what Ryan Hall is doing. I would say all top runners work to
something reasonably well and maximizing performance.” improve their form.”
Pfitzinger says that many runners can improve their run- Certainly that’s been my observation. I can’t think of one
ning economy — their oxygen cost at a given pace — by 2–4 top runner in the last two decades I’ve spent more than a lit-
percent through improved form. “If you have been training tle time around who hasn’t worked on form, either directly
hard for several years it can be an easier way to improve than through technique drills, indirectly through strengthening
doing more repeat miles.” work or simply by being mindful of it while running.
Nor does it mean that your “natural” form is in your best
long-term interest. “When we go out and run we have a pat- It’s important when discussing running form to remember
tern of form that follows our skeleton and is dictated by that there’s no “perfect” form that we should all aspire to.
our muscles and range of motion,” says veteran coach Roy And, adds Pfitzinger, “No one can look at you and say whether
Benson, who has worked with high schoolers, Olympians, your running economy is good or bad. We would all try to
beginners and everyone in between. “Over the course of lots ‘fi x’ Paula Radcliffe if classic running technique was syn-
of running, it’s like an electrical current — your body follows onymous with good running economy.” In one experiment,
the path of least resistance.” Daniels tested a group’s running economy, then showed
Sounds great, huh? Not necessarily. Pete Magill, who holds footage of the runners to coaches and had them rank who,
three American age-group records and has coached runners based on running form, had the best running economy. The
for more than two decades, says, “This belief system that just coaches’ answers were no more accurate than if they had
doing it over and over is somehow going to make us better guessed randomly.
is really crazy. Longtime runners actually suffer from the So how to know if you should bother? And again, why do
body’s ability to become efficient. You become so efficient elites spend time on it?
that you start recruiting fewer muscle fibers to do the same University of Illinois coach Jeremy Rasmussen puts it
exercise, and as you begin using less muscle fibers you start this way: “I bet that if I went out and said we’re going to do
to get a little bit weaker. Over time, that can become signifi- functional testing on a sample of people, you’re going to find
cant. Once you’ve stopped recruiting as many fibers you start weaknesses in every single one of them. The body has adapted
exerting too much pressure on the fibers you are recruiting to who you are, but has the body adapted to the best possi-
Jen Goings

to perform the same action. And then you start getting mus- ble thing you can offer it? No, because you have inefficiencies
cle imbalance injuries — calf strains, little hamstring pulls, somewhere, so if you can change those inefficiencies and
Illustrations:

things like that.” make them strengths, then your body will start to change
Magill adds, with more than a little frustration in his voice, naturally for the better.” Rasmussen works with all of his run-
“Running is the one sport where people think, ‘I don’t have to ners on form, including three-time NCAA champion Angela
Peter Baker

worry about my technique. I’m not carrying a ball, I’m not Bizzarri, who won those championships and overcame a
swinging a bat, I’m not on skates, so my form doesn’t mat- history of injury only after she and Rasmussen worked to
ter.’ We also have a sport where people don’t always listen to improve how she covers the ground.
Photo:

what the top people are doing. They’re far more interested Magill agrees, especially for the many masters he works

38 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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Help in Filling Out Your Form
Here are eight simple exercises that help to address some common running form problems.

01 Feet Shuffle 05 Clams


Do This If You: Overstride and/or have a stride cadence Do This If You: Have any of the follow-
of less than 180 (i.e., each foot lands less than 90 times per ing while running: splayed feet, uneven
minute at your normal running pace). Feet shuffles will get pelvis, excessive rotation, forward lean at
your nervous system used to firing more quickly. the waist. Any of those issues can stem from f i g . 05a
How To Do It: Staying on the balls of your feet, shuf- weak glutes and hip rotators, and clams are
fle forward as quickly as you can while skimming over a simple but effective way to regain some
the ground. Keep knee lift at a minimum. Keep your strength in those crucial muscles.
arms bent at a 90-degree angle and loose, and your torso How To Do It: Lie on your right side with
f i g . 05 b
upright and relaxed. Do two 20-meter segments, with a f i g . 01 your legs together and bent at a 90-degree
walk back between, before running. angle. Hold your arms together straight in front of you. While keeping
your feet together and your right leg on the ground, lift your left knee as
02 G Drill if your legs were a clamshell. Do 10 reps on that side, then switch sides
Do This If You: Have a low stride cadence and/or and do 10 on the other leg. Over time you can make the exercise more
splayed feet. (The latter can mean that you’re spending challenging by attaching a Theraband around your legs near the knees.
too much time on the ground.) This exercise will help you
to get off the ground more quickly. 06 V Sits
How To Do It: Stand with one foot flat and the other leg Do This If You: Basically, if you’re a run-
bent at a 90-degree angle, with your arms in the appropri- ner. This core exercise will help strengthen
ate corresponding position. As quickly as possible, do an your lower abs and back muscles, which
“exchange” of getting into the same position on the other will lead to more upright carriage. V sits
foot. While learning to do the drill, focus on doing 10 are especially helpful in correcting your f ig. 06
exchanges with the best balance possible. As you become postural muscles if you have a tendency to lean forward from the waist.
better at the drill, see how many you can do with good bal- How To Do It: Sit with your legs straight on the ground. Raise them
ance in 15 seconds. f i g . 02 together while extending your arms in front of you. Don’t let your back
sag. Hold for 30 seconds. Gradually work up to holding the position for a
03 Flat-Foot Marching minute while maintaining good form the whole time.
Do This If You: Have limited knee lift, weak or tight hip
flexors, sit a lot, rarely sprint and/or seldom do other activ- 07 Scorpions
ities that require knee lift. Do This If You: Sit a lot, even if you don’t
How To Do It: March flat-footed, focusing on lifting have lower back pain. Loosening up your
your knees high, working your quads and hip flexors, and lower back and hip flexors will allow you to
f i g . 07a
maintaining upright posture. “Imagine that you’re a pup- more easily run with a slight curve in the
pet on a string with one string pulling your head straight small of your lower back.
up and two others working your knees,” says Pete Magill. How To Do It: Lying face down with your
Do three 30-meter marches with a walk back to the start- chest on the ground, pull your left leg up and
ing point between. across the right leg to the opposite side of
f i g . 03 your body. Switch sides continuously until
04 Glute Activators f i g . 07b
you have done 10 on each side. Scorpions are
Do This If You: Don’t strongly use your glutes (butt muscles) when especially helpful before running if you’ve been sitting for a long time.
running. (If that’s you, your legs don’t straighten behind you, resulting in
a stride that’s more in front and under your body than behind it.) 08 Neck Tuck
How To Do It: Lie face down and bend your right leg about 90 degrees. Do This If You: Find your head thrust forward when you run. (Or walk
Squeeze your right butt cheek and raise your foot at the same time. Do or sit, for that matter.) This exercise will strengthen the front of your neck
10 with the right leg, then 10 on the left leg. Do these right before run- and stretch your upper back so that you can keep your head over your
ning. Says world championships marathoner shoulders in line with your center of gravity.
Nate Jenkins, “These are isometrics, so you How To Do It: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the
don’t build a ton of strength in the repetition floor. Raise your head a few inches parallel to the ground, and then tuck
of them, but if you do them before running your chin to your chest. You should soon feel
or before other exercises you will notice the muscles along the front of your neck tiring.
you use your butt more in those exercises, Start with 10 tucks and build to 15, then 20 as
which over time can build a ton of strength f i g . 04 your neck muscles get stronger. Do neck tucks
in your glutes.” when you first wake up and at least one other
time during the day. f ig. 08

RUNNINGTIMES / 39
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with. “I assume that any runner who’s been away from youth- Pfitzinger says other common form problems worth
ful activities like basketball, Frisbee, football, tennis — been fi xing include:
away from a wide variety of activities that actually work on • Leaning forward at the waist, which causes the quads to
muscle balance — I assume that they haven’t been trained work harder to keep you from falling forward.
for a full range of motion and that they’ve developed mus- • Holding the shoulders up or holding the arms tensely or
cle imbalances.” holding the arms out to the side.
And while there is no perfect form, there are basic ele- • Obviously not using the glute muscles. Says Pfitzinger, “It
ments of good form, including landing over your center of looks like the runner is running just with the quads and
gravity, a light, rapid cadence, minimal lateral rotation and, hamstrings. Often the calves also don’t do much because
easier to spot than quantify, relaxed body position. What they are the last push at the back of the stride. There is
deviations from this basic model do experts most often see? very little push behind the body and the stride is relatively
Daniels says that in young and old runners alike he’s short. When the glutes aren’t working the leg typically
worked with, “The most common form problem was stride does not straighten behind the body so the stride is more
rate — bounding over the ground too slowly, with long in front and under the body than behind the body.”
strides. Runners are often told to work on a long stride, but • Holding the head forward of the center of gravity, which
that is more a function of getting fitter rather than just makes the neck and upper back muscles fire to hold the
doing it. I never had a runner perform worse when I felt they head from falling forward.
needed a faster rhythm and they actually did learn to use a Magill says that, for longtime runners, “I assume you’re
faster cadence.” not getting the same knee lift you used to get. Even for peo-
Benson and Pfitzinger also see more overstriding than ple who do tempo runs and reps, they rarely run faster than
they would like. Says Pfitzinger, “My observation of runners the race pace they’re expecting to go. Let’s say your short-
in road races is that hardly any of the elite runners over- est distance is 5K and you almost never regularly run faster
stride, but up to 20 percent of the runners slower than 40:00 than 5K race pace. Well, if that’s 100 percent of what you’re
for 10K overstride. It is very likely that if these runners would training your body to do, then it’s a 100 percent effort for
increase their stride rate and not reach out in front of their your body to lift your knees to the level you have to at 5K
center of gravity that they would be more economical. It is race pace. Your body’s going to find it’s easier to hit 90 per-
a subtle change but increasing stride rate by a few percent cent of that max effort, and you’re not going to get the knee
and decreasing stride length by a few percent can improve lift you need to run as fast as you want, and that’s just going
running economy in most overstriders.” to compound over time.”

Videos
For videos of general strength exercises that will contribute
to a more efficient running form, go to runningtimes.com/
gsvideos. For a video of a complete set of form-improving
drills, go to runningtimes.com/magilldrill.

Modern Life and Running Form


With age, many of us become increasingly removed from regularly moving through all planes of motion, as children tend
to do while playing and participating in a wide variety of games and sports. At the same time, we tend to spend more and
more time sitting, either in a car or at a desk. In the latter case, we’re often slumped in front of a computer, perhaps with
our head bent down and/or thrust forward.
None of this is good for our running form. Former Olympic marathoner and current office worker Pete Pfitzinger says
that sitting all day at a desk means “the hamstrings become short and weak and the core muscles do not have to work as
you lean back in your chair.” Pete Magill says, “It plays murder on our hips, and can also cause iliotibial band syndrome.
Anything we do for a long time strains certain muscles, and they’re going to go into spasm.” Roy Benson adds, “As we spend
less time being active and more time being passive, like sitting at a computer, even though we run, the less control we have
of our skeleton by our muscular system, and that is a big problem.”
There are two modes of attack here—address the problems and prevent the problems. Addressing them includes strength-
ening key postural muscles and improving flexibility in posterior muscles and the front-of-the-leg hip flexors. In addition,
if you run after work, undo some of the day’s damage with a dynamic warm-up that will help you start the run with bet-
ter form instead of the slumped-over shuffle.
In addition to regular core work, much of prevention comes down to day-to-day habits. Set up your monitor or other work
station so that it’s at eye level. Move your monitor close enough so that you’re not straining to see it (and therefore thrust-
ing your head forward). Sit with your center of gravity over your hips and your feet flat on the floor. (As much as possible,
try to achieve the same posture while driving.) And no matter how good your sitting posture is, get up and move around at
least once an hour to undo some of the chronic low-level strain on your shoulders, neck and head.

40 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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September 26, 2010

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There are three key approaches to improving running form. that’s going to apply to your race speed and to your efficiency
First is to deal with specific issues that might be inhibiting when running.
your progress. See “Help in Filling Out Your Form” for exer- “A lot of people waste far more time being injured from run-
cises that can address some common problems. ning with muscle imbalances and poorly developed form than
Second is to simply become an overall better athlete they do spending time doing drills or exercises or short hills or
through drills, regular running at faster than race pace, setting aside a short period each week to work on form itself.”
core strengthening, short hill sprints and other work that Third, you can work on improving specific parts of your
might not look impressive in your log book but should be form while running. Rasmussen does much of his form-
considered an integral part of any ambitious runner’s pro- improvement work by giving runners cues (“fast feet,”
gram. Says Magill, “If you can strengthen your muscles so “shoulders low,” etc.) while they do strides of 60–100 meters.
that you can move strongly through a fuller range of motion, In addition, he says, “When you go out for your run, for part of
you can take the fitness you already have and run faster.” your run, pick a light pole that’s about 100 meters out. Focus
Benson agrees, saying, “As you get general strength, you on that one particular thing for that period of time, and then
get better form.” go back to just running, and then a few minutes later find
If you’re thinking, “That’s all well and good for college run- another light pole and do it again, and bring it into your nor-
ners and pros, who have all day for their running, but I have mal runs that way. Over time you can feel the difference.”
only an hour a day total for my running, so I’m better off Finally, when this all starts to seem too much to worry
spending that time just getting in the miles,” Magill has an about for what’s a basic human motion, relax. Literally. Says
answer for you. Daniels, “While running, go over your body from head to toe
“That would be a great argument,” he says, “if it were true. and ask yourself: ‘Am I relaxed in the eyes? Am I relaxed in the
But if you have only an hour a day to devote to your running, jaw? Am I relaxed in the neck and shoulders? Am I relaxed in
the first thing you’ve got to do is learn to run. If you bring the arms and hands? Am I relaxed in the hips, in the knees,
bad form into your running all you’re going to be doing for in the ankles, in the feet?’ You may find some tight areas that
that hour a day is reinforcing bad form. If you spent even may lead to better economy if fi xed.”
one of those days per week, or just a bit of time in those ses- And then go out again tomorrow and see if you can be just
sions, now you would be spending time actually training a little better of a runner than the day before. •
with good form, so instead of throwing away that hour every
day you would actually be using it to train with the form Scott Douglas is a senior editor for Running Times.

More Form Improvement


For a podcast about running form with University of Illinois
coach Jeremy Rasmussen, go to runningtimes.com/jul10.

Are You Overstriding?


There’s a difference between overstriding and having a long stride. Overstriding means that your feet land significantly in
front of your center of gravity. When this happens, you’re unable to make full use of your fitness, because you’re braking
with every step. And you might soon be breaking with every step, in that overstriding amplifies the already-strong impact
forces of running and therefore can contribute to more strain on your bones, muscles and ligaments.
Coach Roy Benson suggests these two methods of determining if you’re overstriding.
1. Have a friend with a video camera stand 20 yards back from the side of a level surface. Run past your friend for 30–40
yards at an easy pace. Then run past at around 10K race pace. Finally, run past at a near sprint. Says Benson, “When you
watch yourself, even though you might not be able to stop action and analyze it at that level, just by seeing your form
you can recognize whether you’re overstriding. As long as your knee is bent and your foot is coming down back under-
neath you or close to you there’s probably not much inefficiency and not much risk.”
2. Have a friend stand in front of you while you run toward her at the three effort levels in the above exercise. Says Benson,
“The friend looks to see how much of the sole of your shoe is showing on impact. If there’s 4, 5, 6 inches of daylight between
your toe and the ground when your heel hits, you’re overstriding.”
The three effort levels are important, Benson explains, because many runners, especially those without a background
in scholastic running, become overstriders only when they try to go faster.
To improve a tendency to overstride, practice running fast while landing over your center of gravity. This is often best
done by going to a field or other safe, soft surface and shedding your shoes. Says Benson, “At first, jog in place. You’ll be
landing on the ball of your foot. That’s what it feels like to be a midfoot striker. Now stay up there and jog in place and lean
over and slowly accelerate over the next 50 yards or so and don’t go so fast that you forget to stay up there and land on the
ball of your foot. When you do them right, strides like these are fast enough to be a good way to teach midfoot strike.” Then
stay conscious of what that footstrike feels like when you do track workouts and other faster sessions.

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JANUARY 30, 2011

Produced by

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An analysis of directly over the foot during the support phase — you will project the body
more upward rather than forward. As a result, your run will be more up

running technique and down rather than remaining basically level and moving horizontally.
If you look closely at the sequence of Lauren you’ll see that there is some
up-and-down motion. This indicates that the major force action occurs
By Michael Yessis, Ph.D.
when her body is nearly above the support leg rather than farther out in
Running technique determines running efficiency, as well as what top front of the support leg. This is typical of most long distance runners and is
speeds you can reach. Understanding your technique can also help you usually considered an indication of effective running. In this case the force
predict areas where you are prone to injury and where you can improve of the ankle joint extension still propels her mostly forward, not upward.
through specific strengthening. During the push-off, you’ll notice Lauren maintains a slight flexion in
In this article, I will look at Lauren Fleshman’s stride at 5,000m pace her knee joint (frames 1,8), which is efficient and helps with keeping the
and the main actions that occur. Included will be what makes the actions force horizontal instead of vertical. Near the end of the push-off (frames
effective and, in some cases, in need of improvement. Keep in mind that 3, 9) it appears there is some hip extension but this is due to the rotation
the main actions that occur in the 5,000m are the same as the actions that of the pelvis. During the initial support phase there is no back arch and
occur in other running events. The only differences are in the amount of she is in a slight crouch with some spinal flexion (frames 7, 14), then the
force generated and range of motion in the joint actions at each distance. pelvis rotates forward so that there is a slight arch in the lumbar spine.
Focus will be on the three major force-producing actions: push-off, The crouch actions are needed to help absorb some of the landing forces.
knee drive and pawback. You can track Lauren’s stride on the above
sequence through these phases. The push-off is the primary action needed Knee Drive
to supply the force to drive you forward. The force comes from a powerful As the push-off takes place, the free (swing leg) knee is driven forward
contraction of the calf muscle that is responsible for ankle joint exten- via hip flexion. This action is commonly known as the knee or thigh drive.
sion, the main action involved in the push-off. The knee drive, which is It plays an important role in regard to maintaining or increasing stride
coordinated with the push-off, supplies additional forward momentum. length. In most 5,000m runners the thigh is driven forward so that it
In the knee drive, the thigh is driven forward from a position behind the rises up approximately 40 to 50 degrees to the vertical. Lauren exceeds
body to in front of the body. The height of the thigh at the end of the drive
this range, which is usually indicative of a faster run (frames 2, 9). She’s
phase is determined by the force generated by the hip flexor muscles. The pushing it somewhat faster than 5,000m pace here, and the extra knee
leg is then straightened and brought backward and downward in a “paw- lift would cost some energy in a longer distance race.
back” action to make contact with the ground. Note that the knee is driven forward, not upward, so that you gain hor-
izontal speed rather than vertical height. The more vertical your push-off
Push-off is, the more energy you expend and the sooner you bring on fatigue. It
The key action that occurs in the push-off is ankle joint extension. Push- has been estimated that if you raise your center of gravity by only 1 cm
off is not, as commonly believed, caused by the glutes and hamstrings on every step in the marathon you would have expended an amount of
being involved in hip joint extension or the quadriceps driving knee joint energy equal to climbing the Empire State building.

Peter Baker
extension. Observe the ankle joint in frames 6–9, and you can see it goes At the end of the push-off, you’ll note that Lauren raises the shin of the
through a substantial range of motion. trailing leg so high that she almost kicks herself in the buttocks. Although
Ankle joint extension should occur when the supporting leg is behind many top runners exhibit this action, particularly when accelerating, it

Photo:
the body. If ankle joint extension takes place early — when your body is is typical of a sprint; it is not needed at 5,000m pace and wastes energy

3
4
2
5

1
6

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in a long event. Ideally, the shin should be carried slightly above level her right arm back behind the body more than needed. She does not do
during the knee drive. this with the left arm, however. Th is is not unusual, as we all have minor
If Lauren would concentrate more on ankle joint extension so that discrepancies between what the left and right sides of the body do.
the foot and leg would push more backward to propel her more forward Her posture is good but may be improved by maintaining an even more
rather than upward, in addition to driving the thigh more forward, she erect position (perfectly vertical as opposed to the approximately 5- to
would be able to have a longer stride and use even less energy. 10-degree forward lean posture at push-off ). It may be due to too much
of a crouch position during support. This correction may enable her to
Pawback run even more smoothly. •
As the thigh reaches its maximum height and the push-off is completed,
the runner is now airborne and prepares for touchdown. The shin of the Michael Yessis, Ph.D., is professor emeritus at Cal State
forward thigh swings out in a leg-straightening action and is then pulled Fullerton and the author of Explosive Running.
backward, in an action known as pawback, to make contact with the
ground. This is needed for two important reasons: to eliminate or greatly Post-Mortem
minimize braking forces that occur if your foot lands in front of your body Looking at the sequence, Lauren Fleshman provided a “key words”
and to help propel your body forward so that your center of gravity is as far description of what’s going on in her head at each stage:
forward as possible prior to the push-off. Note the angle of Lauren’s lower 1. strong foot, drive forward
leg from full extension to ground contact in frames 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13. 2. float, swing through, relax
On Lauren, touchdown is good, as it occurs midfoot and sometimes 3. float and land foot underneath me
ball-heel, so she is not braking. In addition, it appears that she bends the 4. don’t let the back leg lag behind
knee to initiate contact and absorb landing forces. 5. heel to butt*
The pawback action executed by Lauren is minimal, however, as she 6. heel to butt, feel the ground, prepare to react
quickly drops the thigh of the swing leg instead of holding it up as the shin 7. reload foot, reload swing leg, like a coiled snake
swings out (frames 3, 4, 5 and 10, 11, 12). Because of this, she makes contact 8. swing through
with the ground earlier than needed, reducing the length of her stride. The 9. strong foot, drive forward
pawback can best be seen in sprinters, and is often weak in distance run- 10. float, swing through, relax
ners. Only the very best (such as Sammy Wanjiru) demonstrate a full shin 11. float and land foot underneath me
extension and pawback during the flight phase of their stride. Pawback 12. heel to butt, feel the ground, prepare to react
can be improved by strengthening the hip flexor and extensor muscles. 13. reload, coiled snake
14. swing through
Effective Secondary Techniques
Some high-level runners make up for deficiencies by having fairly effec- * She adds: “I think at the higher speeds, you have to bring your heel to
tive secondary technique characteristics. This includes an erect or tall your butt, and the fastest distance runners are running pretty fast the
body position while running, relaxed arms and shoulders, elbows kept at entire time. But Yessis is correct in that mine is a bit exaggerated. I was
a 90-degree angle for greatest economy in the arm swing in long-distance focusing on my form so much when I ran for those shots that I was most
running, and a good counteraction between the shoulder and hip rotation. likely exaggerating slightly compared to what I would normally do. So
For example, an outstanding feature of Lauren’s form is the minimal yes, Yessis is right: During the majority of a race, before the finishing kick
amount of shoulder and hip rotation. Most seems to occur when she pulls (1,000m out or less), my heel shouldn’t go as high.”

10 11
9
12
8

13

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RUN
RUNNIN
UN NIN
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I t was Thanksgiving week and I had a turkey
trot coming up: the Lou Marli Run, a no-entry-
fee 3-miler on Staten Island, where I used to live.
I would be among a couple of hundred runners
in the masters race, hoping to win my 60-plus
age group and break 20 minutes. In 2008, I’d
run 19:12. But last summer I had an injury that
had me jogging for several weeks, and by late
November, even with some excellent training
behind me, I felt I was still coming back.
As I marshaled on for Marli, where I would
hope to impress my old running buddies, I did
all the right training: distance, tempo runs, mile
repeats, speed work. But my emotional disposi-
tion still cried out for a touch-up: I have a lifelong
tendency to be a running head case. I am the
kind of person who carries life’s baggage around
and goes into races worn out from a perpetual
fight against … myself.
Standing on every starting line I feel a cer-
tain weight.
I can’t be alone in this, can I? I believe my
problems are human problems more than some
personal scar. So, for your benefit and mine, I

GET
sought help in getting my head on straight, free-
ing myself from impure thoughts and loosening
my grip on negative behavior that had become
so omnipresent it had seemed normal.
I’m trying to counteract the oppressive cra-
ziness of life with the ultimate indulgence of
constructing a life of play by training hard
and racing hard even at 63. The athlete in me

YOUR
is bursting, and I just need to match the physi-
cal and mental.
I was once fast. But I was never tough.

HEAD ON
STRAIGHT
7 WAYS TO BATTLE PRE-RACE ANXIETY
By Marc Bloom Illustrations by Charles Bloom

RUNNINGTIMES / 47
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1
We all need to get rid of the blob — what Pat Tyson, the charismatic head
coach of the Gonzaga University track and cross country programs in
Spokane, Wash., calls the “garbage” of life — to run our best. Tyson, who
LESSON NO. 2: REL AX
Raglin’s antidote for me — Mr. Negative — was to “re-structure” myself
emotionally so that typical stressors — say, fear of handling pain —
wouldn’t take me out of the routine that calms or energizes me. Since
ritual was calming, says Raglin, I always did the same race-day warm-
up as I would for an interval workout: 25 minutes
utes jogging, stretching, 5 x
100m at about 80 percent effort, a little more jogging
joggging and stretching,g fin-
n-

3
roomed with Steve Prefontaine, has always had a good fi x on the running ishing about 10 minutes before the gun. Then I would “zone out”
out
utt” and
a d relax.
an reela
la x.
x.
psyche. “A middle-school runner has very little fear,” Tyson says. “The
older an athlete is, the more garbage he has, stuff that gets in the way.”
Tyson told me that Pre “had the best way of dealing with pre-race anxi-
ety.” You mean some complex psyching system that legendary Oregon coach
Bill Bowerman taught? No. “He kept busy,” Tyson says. “Waxing the trailer,
waxing the car, vacuuming. He was not reading running magazines to psych
himself up.” (Ouch!) Then Tyson mentioned one of the secrets to Pre’s success:
“He learned, two hours before the race, how to turn it on.” At last fall’s New York City Marathon, Jorge Torres, making
ki hishi marathon
th
Turn what on? debut, may have set a record for low-keying it. Before the race, Torres, a
“The switch,” says Tyson. “There’s a lot of nervous energy. You have to 2008 Olympian in the 10,000m, told me, “I’m very relaxed. I don’t think
learn to control it. Some people do it too early, a week in advance, over- much about the race. I don’t like to overanalyze.” Torres hadn’t seen the
working themselves. Mentally, they’re flat on race day. The great ones course and, 48 hours before the start, hadn’t even gotten any instruc-
instinctively know that.” tion from his coach, Steve Jones, the former world record-holder known
for his low-key style.
LESSON NO. 1: DON’T DWELL “I might end up paying the price,” Torres said. “But I might attack the
I tried to stop dwelling on the race ahead of time. When a race thought, race with a different strategy because I’m not afraid of anything.”
usually accompanied by a pang of anxiety, hit me, I would use that pang as The clueless, fearless Torres, 29, wound up in seventh place in 2:13:00,
a mental cue to redirect my thoughts to pleasant, nonjudgmental images less than a minute behind previous winner Hendrick Ramaala of South
like playing with my grandkids. In other words, I was making sure the Africa and two-time runner-up Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco.
switch remained in the “off ” position. I also occupied my mind, doing How cool was that! “If you’re too organized, you run like a robot,” coach
crossword puzzles and such, at times when my daydreams would most Pat Tyson says.
likely drift toward the race. I would mentally “push” the race away until

2
race day when it was time to flip the switch. LESSON NO. 3: CUT THE CORD
It’s clear that many of us get dizzy with too much pre-race calculation,
and I’m reminded of what a high school runner from the national cham-
pion girls cross country team, New York’s Fayetteville-Manlius, told me
at a meet last fall. “Don’t think,” Courtney Chapman said. “Just run.”
Easy for her to say: she was 16. But the mature Torres took that approach,
affirmed by his coach. No thoughts, no worries. Cut the cord. Just run.

4
It’s worth trying.
To determine how to turn on the “switch,” I checked the latest research
with John Raglin, Ph.D., director of graduate studies in the Department
of Kinesiology at Indiana University and a leading authority on a pre-race
concept called “Zone of Optimal Function.” Simply put, it states that all
runners don’t have the same emotional needs prior to competition. Some
of us do better in a calm state; others run better when excited and anxious.
Raglin told me that the researcher who did the original work on Z.O.F.
— Russian psychologist Yuri Hanin — has now broadened the concept But perhaps cutting the cord is not for everyone. Based on new research,
beyond anxiety to include all pre-race emotions, to be categorized as there’s a type of runner who must plan ahead — a detail runner — to feel
positive (facilitative) or negative (debilitative) for performance. Where safe. John Raglin told me that in his recent studies of how personality
did I stand with my “worry” under those terms? Negative, Raglin said. affects anxiety — essentially one’s optimism or pessimism — he found
If, like me, you allow “stressors” to debilitate or “frazzle” you, Raglin that a certain brand of pessimism termed “defensive pessimism” was
says you’re in the negative category. You need to feel calm, not psyched potentially beneficial. It meant that some people who are good at what
up, because high excitement rattles you. On the starting line, you should they do tend to downgrade their anticipated performance (“I’m not going
breathe deeply, relax your body, compose yourself. If, on the other hand, to have a good race”), which takes the pressure off.
you allow stressors to pick you up mentally, you’re the kind who thrives This idea struck a familiar cord. Typically before racing, I would debate
on the rush of excitement. On the starting line, you gain from rous- within myself whether I would try for what I felt capable of — you could
ing yourself with animated stretching and a couple of last stride-outs say, my “reach school” — or settle for a lesser effort, eliminating an array
because, says Raglin, you can easily slide back into a relaxed state as of “can-I-do-it?” issues for the “safe school” and less pressure.
the race unfolds. “The interesting thing,” says Raglin, “is that defensive pessimists tend
to do really well. And they get a big emotional pay-off.” This is the run-
ner, explains Raglin, who after a race exclaims, “Wow, I never thought

48 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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I’d make the top 10!” the disappointment — how I allow it to say to me that I’m still the weak
While this approach gives the defensive pessimist an outlet beforehand, schnook who blew a time trial to make my high school team for the Penn
does it also provide a ready excuse for a poor result? No, Raglin said. While Relays; and, what’s more, how that type of weakness has affected me in
these people are competent, they are comfortable with lower expecta- other aspects of life.
tions and less pressure to perform; the point is, their result cannot be poor Yes, the blob.
— they’ve eliminated that possibility — by framing their thoughts defen- How should we respond to the meta-feeling? Start by being aware of
sively. The defensive pessimist gains ease by avoiding emotional distress it. For most of us, it exists in some fuzzy mass, perhaps in the subcon-
over the outcome with planning to address whatever they can go “wrong.” scious. Train yourself to become aware of the mass and not to repel it
but to “allow” it because then you won’t fear it. “When we are mindful
LESSON NO. 4: ACCEPT OR ELIMINATE PRESSURE of our negative emotions, they start to weaken. When we are mindful of
Now I can lower expectations without feeling guilt. This is a legitimate our positive emotions, they strengthen,” says Brennan. “Like the body
coping strategy, not a character weakness. My options have increased. I knows what’s good for it.”
can try to learn to accept pressure, or I can eliminate it. I don’t have to A tool to strengthen the positive and weaken the negative is to write

5
gain complete mind power in one big bite. down your thoughts, a simple but powerful way to commit to change,
according to Greg Dale, Ph.D., director of Sports Psychology at Duke
University. He counsels athletes using a white board filled with ideas. The
athletes write it all down, labeling their “irrational” thoughts. Often, says
Dale, they have to separate the performance from the person.

LESSON NO. 6: BE MINDFUL


Get to the heart of meta-feeling with “mindfulness” about your true hurt.
The defensive pessimists may be onto something big in that they focus Let it dissolve by not attributing negative consequences to race outcome,
on process, not outcome. Sports psychology consultant John Brennan, by realizing that you as a person are separate from, and “greater” than,

7
Ph.D., who teaches human behavior at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, what transpires on race day. I keep telling myself, don’t totalize.
Penn., told me that many runners with anticipatory anxiety put too much
importance on the outcome of a race, leading to greater dejection over
perceived failure. How do we stop it? “Paradoxical intent,” Brennan says.
That means: look at what you define as failure; try to consider it accept-
able; recall a time when this “failure” wasn’t important to you and you
went out and ran your best. In other words, you re-frame both yourself
and your environment.
Now we’re getting closer to the heart of darkness: In this last step, you I must admit that my non-totalizing is still a work in progress, as signaled
must reach back, perhaps far back, to when life’s baggage hadn’t piled in my exchange with Dale. “Are you a runner? Or do you run?” Dale said
up to block your true vision, your true talent. That’s where we all need to to me. “There’s a difference.”
be. I’ve been there, a few fleeting times, when the mind was clear, free of “I’m a runner,” I told him. I knew that, psychologically speaking, it was
judgment, in the moment, in the groove, naked, when the interconnect- the wrong answer. My stance came with risk. “When it comes to racing,”
edness of all things gave me a state of grace. I flew. Dale said, “you have to be more objective. Evaluate your performance,
We’re designed to grow with pressure, Brennan says, like the pressure not yourself.”
of a race. But stress is a negative reaction to pressure. It stunts growth. We’re all runners. We made that choice, empowering our bodies to per-
Brennan tells athletes that attitude equals energy state. Anxiety = low form wonders. For the mind to follow, take some time to remember when
energy. Joy = high energy. “There are no emotionless thoughts,” he says. you were a kid, Pat Tyson says. “Do the things that you used to do without
fear,” he says. “Take the risk. It’s all right to fall down and scab your knees.”
LESSON NO. 5: HAVE FUN
Racing is supposed to be the most fun we have, what we “live” for (I’ve LESSON NO. 7: THINK YOUNG
heard that said), but racing exposes our vulnerabilities, and we sabotage More and more, I’m trying to link mind nd aand body. I feel fortunate to pos-
our success. If racing really is “play,” then what are we worried about? sess the physiological age of a much younger man. That took work. I seek
Have fun and galvanize yourself by reminding yourself often that this is to also retrieve a younger mindset, realizing I have nothing to lose, and

6
what you love to do and you’re fortunate enough to be doing it. everything to gain, by being a childd at heart.

We’re worried about this: how we will feel about potentially uncomfort-
able feelings — what Brennan calls “meta-feeling,” which, he says, is more
important than the initial feeling. The meta-feeling has more control over
our physiological response, on how our bodies perform. Here’s meta-feel-
ing: I’m anxious about giving up in the last mile, letting people pass me
and missing my time goal. If that happens, I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll be
more disappointed, with a deeper hurt, about “totalizing” my reaction to

50 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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POSTSCRIPT
As the turkey trot approached, I steered away from performance thoughts
and fears, and on race day, as I went through my calming warm-up rit-
ual, I entered into a mindset of play and acceptance, of going out to race
people, holding pace and enjoying my fitness, as opposed to being fi xed
on time. I used some defensive pessimism to anticipate difficult parts of
the course and let go of the 20:00-or-bust rigidity. I ran without a watch,
ignored the halfway split and found a good rhythm. I even felt energetic
in the last mile and, in a way, free — happy about being happy, the best
meta-feeling of all. My time was 19:27. •

CRAZY ABOUT PARKING, OR WAKE ME


UP WHEN WE GET THERE?

T he examples of two of the nation’s top


age-group performers — Bill Dixon, 62, of
Brattleboro, Vt., and Kathryn Martin, 58, of
coach, Chuck, takes the wheel. “I find if I yawn
a lot, I’m ready to go,” says Martin, a real estate
broker. “The correlation between yawning and
suggest that Dixon is an “offensive pessimist.”
Before Buffalo, he worried, “What’s going to
happen if I’m 30 seconds off pace?” He was ner-
Northport, N.Y., on Long Island — emphasize running a good race is strong for me.” vous, he said. “I had my splits worked out.” He
that no one mental approach to racing is best. Martin, a native of Canada who started run- was offensive because he didn’t lower his expec-
Dixon, a retired math teacher who describes ning at 30 and has never been beaten in the U.S. tations to ensure success. He kept his goal high
himself as “anal,” uses complete control down in her age-group — her 5:26 mile at Fifth Avenue and managed to nail it. His pre-race security was
to knowledge of course topography, precisely last September was age-graded 100.6 percent based on control. Experience told him that wor-
planned splits and the parking situation to — says her lack of fear stemmed from handling rying was OK, as long as he covered his behind.
ensure success. “Pushing hard is never an issue,” pressure in her earlier work as a nurse in the ICU For pre-race calm, Martin likes to fall back
he says. Last September Dixon was at his anal and emergency room. “That was life and death,” on the old saw, “The hay’s in the barn, trust
best, achieving his goal of 6:00 mile pace for 15K she says. “Racing is not life and death.” your training.” She’s something of a paradox: a
with a 55:24 in Buffalo. He won the USATF 60–64 Well, it doesn’t have to seem that way if you laid-back real estate agent. She has a little Jorge
division by 6 minutes. He had an excellent park- have your head on straight. The best runners, Torres “what-me-worry?” in her. She doesn’t
ing spot. His pace was 5:57. “I sleep well before like Dixon and Martin, know the emotional sub- think about a race until the morning of com-
races,” he says. tleties that make them race-ready. petition. She sleeps in the car en route. On the
So does Martin, who continues her blissful Indiana University researcher John Raglin starting line, Martin feels no weight, only the
rest on the drive to the race site as her husband/ talks about “defensive pessimists.” I would incredible lightness of being. — M.B.

52 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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D istance running in Japan is facing
change. Elite athletes and the
system supporting them are starting to
face the fact that the methods that have
kept them internationally competitive
for so long have lost their edge. At the
same time, the longtime spectator sport
of marathoning has spread beyond the
elite and the serious amateur to become
one of mass participation. These trends,
and the reactions to them, may mark the
biggest shift in 100 years of Japanese
running tradition.

RUN
N NI
NIN
N IN
I N G TIMES_JULY/A UGUST 2010
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HOW JAPAN’S HISTORY AND CULTURE FORMED ITS MARATHON
TRADITION, WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE COMPETITIVE
RUNNER, AND HOW THIS TRADITION IS CHANGING
By Brett Larner

THE EKIDEN AND soon after Kanaguri’s Olympic debut was the and administrators wanted to make their ath-
THE MARATHON Japanese version of the long-distance relay, letes more competitive in the Olympic marathon
the ekiden. The first ekiden was held in 1917. It and believed that focusing their university men
Born just before the first modern Olympics, sparked others that are still in existence today, on a long team event was the best way to build
Shizo Kanaguri is credited as the father of the most important being the university men’s a pool from which to draw the best.
Japanese marathoning. In 1912 he became its Hakone Ekiden. Many early ekidens pitted As ekidens grew over the next 20 years, so
first Olympic marathoner and by 1924 had run regional teams competing against neighboring did the marathon know-how. Although they
a world-leading 2:36:10. His success drew others areas in a spirit of local pride as they handed off failed to score the ultimate prize of an Olympic
who found that the marathon demanded pre- the tasuki, the sash that characterizes the event. medal, Japanese marathoners dominated the
cisely the types of attributes often considered It’s tempting to see the ekiden as having 1930s; in 1934 the nine fastest times of the year
to be characteristic of Japanese society: disci- grown because it speaks to other traits stereo- were by Japanese runners. World War II brought
pline, austerity, self-sacrifice, and, above all else, typically considered Japanese: identity with the sport to a halt, but after the war it was part
inner strength. The sport began to thrive; mar- a group; the importance of your place in the of the rebuilding. Hakone was swift to return
athons and other road races sprang up, and by group and of giving your best to benefit the in January 1947. New marathons were founded,
1930 six of the 10 fastest marathon times of the group before yourself; and a profound sense of first among them the Lake Biwa Marathon and
year worldwide were run by Japanese athletes. personal responsibility and obligation to others. soon followed by Fukuoka, Beppu-Oita and
One of the race formats that appeared Hakone had a more concrete purpose: Coaches others. These events were small, efficiently

RUNNINGTIMES / 55
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organized and geared to the regional, national African and other foreign athletes in the late Hakone Ekiden has national TV viewership rat-
and international elite. 1980s helped Japan to improve the speed com- ings of over 30 percent for its two-day, 15-hour
ponent of its marathoning. In the ’90s came its broadcast, stunningly high production values,
COMPANY MEN first 2:06, and in 2002 Toshinari Takaoka, a run- and millions lining the course. In the midst of
ner who had avoided high mileage in university extreme pressure the runners have the same

Shoji Shimomitsu
As the Japanese economy recovered and grew and focused on speed, set the current national bravado and inexperience as 20-year-olds any-
post-war, corporations began to spend money record of 2:06:16. where else, but where the scoring structure of
on sports teams. Arata Fujiwara, a member of The university and corporate team systems NCAA cross country means individual runners
Japan’s 2009 world championship marathon were responsible for this progress, and through- can pass the buck to someone else on their team

Yobito Kayanuma
team, says about these jitsugyodan corporate out this period their championship ekidens were if they’re having an off day, the first thought in a
teams, “The purpose of a team is to unite the part of the season. The introduction of live TV Japanese runner’s mind is that of his responsi-
workers in supporting their company through broadcasts in the late ’70s meant more people bility to the others on his team because, if even

Naoyu Amari, Toyo University Booster Club


the camaraderie of cheering for their own team.” could watch these ekidens, cheering for their one person goes down, the entire team goes
Corporate funding gave athletes a place to company or alma mater and fi nding inspira- down. Takayuki Nishida, a 2:08 marathoner
continue to develop after university, and when tion in the performances that addressed the who as a student at Komazawa University set a
top men reached the end of their competitive essential importance of personal responsibil- new Hakone stage record, says: “When you get
days they had a chance to help coach the younger ity towards others for creating a functioning the sash in an ekiden it holds the efforts of all
men coming up on the team. Fifteen years of whole. Hakone and the New Year Ekiden took the runners who came before you. When you
building upon pre-war successes refined tech- on increasing importance for advertising spon- run you’re carrying the result of all their hard
nique and led to the importance of mileage for sors as audiences grew. A six- or seven-hour work too. If you stop you waste not only your

courtesy of Kokoropia Tamana Civic Historical Museum


building strength in an era when the marathon broadcast meant higher exposure for the race own run but everyone else’s, so you can’t ever
was primarily about stamina. In 1961 Takayuki sponsors and broadcast sponsors than in a two give up. Growing up in that kind of environ-
Nakao recorded Japan’s first world-leading time and a half hour marathon broadcast, leading to ment throughout high school and university
since 1942, running 2:18:54 and leading two oth- higher support levels and bigger productions. shapes the mindset of Japanese runners once
ers into the worldwide top 10. In 1964, Kokichi they go on to the marathon. Th at’s why you
Tsuburaya won Japan’s first Olympic marathon BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL never see Japanese marathoners DNF. It would
medal. In 1965, 10 of the top 11 times worldwide disrespect everyone who helped you get there.”
were run by Japanese men. In 1966, it was 15 of At the university level, where performance levels Even on Hakone winning teams, men who
the top 16. The rest of the world began to catch have increased to the point of the Kanto region ran poorly on an individual level give formal
up in the 1970s, but Japan regularly continued becoming the world’s most competitive univer- apologies to their teammates with tears run-

From Left:
to put men like Seko, the Sohs and Nakayama sity men’s system, this has created something ning down their cheeks, often as the national
into the top 10 worldwide. The introduction of that may be too much for its own good. The TV cameras roll. The pressure, the high level of

1: Japan’s first Olympic marathoner, Shizo Kanaguri, poses for a commemorative photo after returning to Japan from the 1912 Olympics. 2: Today’s top Hakone runners, like two-time
champion Toyo University’s uphill specialist Ryuji Kashiwabara, become national celebrities. 3: The Hakone Ekiden is a major event, with 30 percent nationwide viewership for its two-day
broadcast, a museum, several magazines, and commemorative beer cans featuring each team’s colors from main sponsor Sapporo Beer. 4: With strict qualifying times, Japan’s elite
marathon circuit gives the hard-working amateur the chance to race the best, as at the final Tokyo International Women’s Marathon on Nov. 16, 2008.

56 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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M E T RO P C S DA L L AS W H I T E RO C K MA R AT H O N • D E C E M B E R 5, 2 0 1 0

Along with our tradition of great scenery, music, fun, and fans, this year’s marathon features
new full and half courses. Starting and finishing at historic Fair Park, they’re our best courses
yet. So add that to the number of other reasons to sign up. Register at RunTheRock.com.

BENEFITING

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performance and the inexperience mean that marathon performances have waned: there has But like the early days of Hakone, Tokyo
the students run themselves into the ground. been only one sub-2:08 since 2005. Only one top- Women’s, along with later elite women’s races in
With Hakone as big as it has become, there class Japanese man ran Fukuoka last year, while Nagoya and Osaka, served the purpose of helping
is valid criticism that it is now interfering with at the New Year Ekiden four weeks later eight to pull them up to world standards. By the early
Japanese men’s marathoning. Young runners these men ran times equivalent to faster than the offi- 1990s they became a factor at the world level, with
days dream of Hakone glory more than an Olympic cial half marathon national record. The image of marathon medals at eight of the last 10 world
or world championships medal or slugging it out a nation of athletes running massive marathon championships and four straight Olympic mara-
in a major marathon. Most spend everything they mileage has shifted, and it appears now that the thon medals, two of them gold. They even earned
have before age 22. Those who do often have trou- main emphasis is on being ready for roughly a a world championships 10,000m medal, some-
ble maintaining the fire or remaining injury-free. half marathon on Jan. 1. thing no Japanese man has accomplished. Olympic
At the corporate level the New Year Ekiden record-holder and first woman to go sub-2:20,
is the center of the year, driven by the demands GETTING IN TOUCH WITH Naoko Takahashi, became a major public figure,
of sponsors and companies’ morale-building THE FEMININE SIDE the first native-born Japanese Olympic marathon
exigencies. Team members must be avail- gold medalist and probably the last Japanese run-
able to run the regional qualifying ekidens Compared to Hakone and the New Year Ekiden, ner who will ever hold a marathon world record.
in early November, meaning that marathons women’s university and corporate ekiden teams Almost any Japanese person can immediately tell
like Berlin, Chicago and New York are usually receive moderate attention, but despite a consid- you about Takahashi and her achievements.
out of the question. Again, Fujiwara: “What’s erably shorter history, Japan’s most famous and Nevertheless, women’s ekidens fail to receive
important in this system is that you try hard respected runners these days are its female mar- the same respect. Although all the women’s
together and give it your best as a team. Even athoners. The Asahi Kasei company funded one ekidens are broadcast, none has a following
if the team is certain that they are going to of the first women’s corporate teams way back in close to Hakone or the New Year Ekiden. Even
qualify it’s unthinkable that their ace runner 1951. In the mid-’70s, expat Miki Gorman scored now, the women’s races are all shorter than
would choose to run for himself somewhere else.” Boston and New York wins to become the first men’s ekidens. Where the National High School
Some runners may compete in Fukuoka in early great female Japanese-born marathoner, but it Boys Ekiden totals a marathon, the Girls Ekiden
December, but with the New Year Ekiden less wasn’t until the late ’70s that domestic women is a half marathon. Individual stages are also
than a month away most will maintain their began to appear in overseas marathons and not shorter. The longest men’s leg, Hakone’s 23.4K
focus on peaking then for the more or less half until 1983 that one, Akemi Masuda, made the fifth stage, is more than double the longest
marathon-length stages. After Jan. 1 those doing top 10 worldwide. When the Tokyo International National Corporate Women’s Ekiden stage.
a marathon will squeeze in a month of training Women’s Marathon was founded in 1979 as Perhaps as a consequence, Japanese women
to be ready for one of the four elite marathons the world’s fi rst elite women-only marathon, have had marginally more flexibility than men
in February and March. Although things have Japanese women were nowhere near able to to pursue different paths. It has been more
never been stronger at the half marathon level, compete with the invited foreign competition. common to see top-level Japanese women race

Japan’s elites and hard-working amateurs target the same circuit


of small, exclusive races. All of them are broadcast live nationwide.
Some of the main marathons include:

2009-10
RACE GENDER QUAL. TIME FIELD SIZE*
E*
Tokyo Marathon / Elite Division men sub-2:23 53
Fukuoka International Marathon / A Division men sub-2:27 84
Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon men sub-2:30 200
Fukuoka International Marathon / B Division men sub-2:45 671
Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon men sub-2:50 649

Tokyo Marathon / Elite Division women sub-2:54 33


Osaka International Ladies Marathon women sub-3:15 448
Nagoya International Women’s Marathon women sub-3:15 309
Yokohama International Women’s Marathon women sub-3:15 404
*excluding invited
nvited athletes

58 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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JanuaRy 6–9, 2011
presentedby

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overseas than the men in recent years, and and go on gasshuku summer training camps The Honolulu Marathon has long been the
the success of women like Takahashi and the together like the corporate and university teams. destination for those non-runners who wanted
Second Wind club team have in different ways Even among the sub-2:30 men or the sub-3:00 to experience one marathon in their lives, but
involved existences outside the corporate women, there are a nearly unlimited number the launch of the Tokyo Marathon in 2007 has
league world. of people around who ran in high school but had a deep impact. Roughly 272,000 applied
Defending gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi’s weren’t good enough to make a university team, for the 2010 Tokyo Marathon, the vast major-
last-minute withdrawal with injury and almost ran in university but didn’t go corporate, or who ity of them beginners. Over the four years since
everything else about the Beijing Olympics mara- retired from a corporate team but are still run- Tokyo launched, these beginners have helped
ning. These runners are motivated by trying to
thons were a major blow to the national confidence the industry thrive, with new professionally
level, but Yoshimi Ozaki’s silver medal at last get into the small, elite-only marathons and half coached clubs and brand flagship stores spring-
summer’s world championships showed that the marathons, to try to beat some corporate or uni- ing up everywhere. Fashion magazines now
overall level of the elite women is still high. But
versity runners, and, for the best, to win one of regularly target the largest demographic in this
like the men, the top end has become blunted; the many marathons outside the elite circuit population of new runners, independent young
three Japanese women in history have run under that offer trips to overseas races as first prize. women in their 20s and 30s. Longtime running
2:20, but there’s been only one sub-2:23 since 2005. The difference, perhaps, is that where a run- havens such as Tokyo’s Imperial Palace 5K loop

Brett Larner
The new Tokyo Marathon’s elite women’s fields in ner like this in the U.S. might dream of making have become almost dangerously crowded, and
the last two years have been as strong as those in
it at the national level, there is nearly no chance races of any length anywhere within a couple of

Courtesy of the Chuo University Track and Field Team and Tomoko Fujita
Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya, which have not had of that happening in Japan. These runners may hours of Tokyo fill up months in advance. Osaka,
the same kind of overseas talent as in the past or as
enter official selection races, but there is little Kyoto and Kobe will hold large, mass-participa-
is common in almost any other major marathon. possibility of them getting a spot on a national tion marathons within the next two years.
If the goal of these races was to elevate Japanese
team, as they would have to beat every corpo- And so Japanese distance running is now
athletes by giving them the opportunity to test rate runner in the race. approaching a potential shift, with waning
themselves against the world’s best, the question Where dedicated American amateurs international success at the elite level, increased
arises of whether the elite-only format still fulfills
might target Boston’s 3:10 and 3:40 qualifying attention on university-level domestic competi-
this function in the age of the big city marathon.
times, their Japanese equivalents are going for tion and a shift toward true mass participation.
Fukuoka’s 2:45 B-standard, Beppu-Oita’s 2:50, Whether the sport becomes something purely
THE PURSUIT PACK or Nagoya, Osaka and Yokohama Women’s 3:15. for the masses, whether the elites pack it in
It’s common for marathons in the bracket below and focus on the domestic ekidens, or whether
As at the elite level, the amateur world is ori- these races to have a 4-hour cutoff. You can find the rising generation of young talent is able to
ented toward teams. There is no shortage plenty of races for those farther back in the pack, maintain a competitive place on the world level,

From Left:
of clubs who not only train and run ekidens but with names like the Turtle Marathon these Japanese distance running faces deep changes
together but eat, drink, watch races on TV are explicitly so. as it hands off to the next stage. •

1: Chuo University third stage runner Shinichiro Kimata, left, hands off to Yukiyasu Suzuki at the first post-war Hakone Ekiden, Jan. 4, 1947. 2: Team Tepco does
a group tempo run in central Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park paced on a bike by its coach, 1991 world championships marathon gold medalist Hiromi Taniguchi.

60 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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B Y JON A T H AN B E V E R LY
3.1K 6.2K 15K 10M 20K 13.1M 26.2M

Is it time to get over the marathon?

I
ran my first marathon when I was 16. I’ve been fascinated by the dis- it every year, it’s still a select few), and training to finish it, at whatever
tance for 30 years, and covered it in a race 27 times. I’ve spent years pace, is a worthy goal. The distance itself is daunting enough to man-
where my main focus was planning and training for marathons; I’ve date disciplined preparation and inspire a life change, even if only for
strained relationships and ignored work, traveled hundreds of miles the six months or so of the training period. Standing on a starting line
to race them, built my self-esteem around my marathon prowess and not knowing if you can finish this, and then accomplishing it, is an awe-
experienced depression at failures. So it comes as a surprise even to me some experience.
that lately I’ve been thinking increasingly that the marathon, as a race, The people I’m talking to here are those like me: serious runners who
is too far for many runners most of the time, including me. have completed the distance many times and have no doubt they can
Let me say up front that this is not going to be a diatribe against the complete it again; people whose times have reached a plateau after the
masses completing marathons in 4, 5 or 6 hours. I think that marathon initial huge improvement in their second and third marathons, and are
“completers” have a valid reason for doing 26.2. The marathon is an inspir- unable, for whatever reason, to take their training to the level necessary
ing challenge that few have accomplished (even now, when thousands do make the marathon truly a race rather than a survival test.

TIMES / 63
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Training for months toward a half marathon time goal, and achieving it, can be as challenging and satisfying as running a marathon, if not more so.

Why We Go Long At any event with multiple distances, if you’re capable of running the lon-
ger race, the conventional wisdom says you should be running it. Th is
view sees the progression of distances, from 5K to 10K, on to the half
Before considering the question of why we might not want to run the marathon and the marathon, as a progression of ability and seriousness.
marathon, I think it important to revisit the reasons we are drawn to the The explosion of the marathon hasn’t helped. Now that running a mara-
distance in the first place. I’ve written elsewhere on its numerous attrac- thon is mainstream, many see the only reason a runner isn’t doing one
tions, centering on the fact that it’s big and difficult and challenges us in each spring and fall — or even more often — is because they aren’t yet
all of our capacities: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I still feel ready or they’re injured.
and value this place of the marathon in our lives, which is one reason I
don’t begrudge anyone who wants to attempt it.
Long before we feel the pull of the marathon, however, many of us go
long because we’re not fast, or at least not as fast as our peers. Faster run-
ners tend not to have this same compulsion: Talk to a 25-year-old not far
out of college running and often they’re still putting in 60- to 80-mile
The Downside
weeks to race 5K to 10K, and either have no desire to run 26.2 or don’t If we get affirmation by going long, and can run several marathons a year
feel they are adequately trained for it. As early as grade school, however, in respectable (at least to us and our friends) times, is there a problem?
those of us who aren’t quite as athletic but want to be good in sports dis- For some, no. If that’s what drives you and gives you self-esteem as a run-
cover that we can excel by being tenacious. So we go longer and longer ner, and you’re staying healthy and happy, go for it. But I’d like to argue
at whatever pace we can manage, and earn admiration by our ability to that frequent marathoning may be detrimental to some runners’ devel-
keep going. opment, and you may find greater satisfaction and success aiming at a
shorter distance during many of your training seasons.
One problem comes when cranking out miles supersedes all other
Conventional wisdom views the progression of distances, training. When we’re using all our available time and energy for dis-
from 5K to 10K, on to the half marathon and the marathon, as a tance, we tend to resist developmental tasks like improving form and
strength. Drills and exercises take some of the available time and energy,
progression of ability and seriousness. and changes in footwear and stride require adaptation at lower volume or
they’ll make us more susceptible to injury. Not embracing these changes,
This last point — earning admiration — is a key to why we continue to however, is what got us in trouble in the first place: We went too long too
go long, up to the marathon (and beyond for some). Ours is not a society soon, developed bad habits, and failed to build the athletic strength nec-
given to nuance: Just as it’s hard to sell the value of a 5 oz. filet mignon essary to support our growing aerobic strength. But, as soon as we sign
Bob Betancourt

over an 18 oz. T-bone, it’s difficult to explain that a 17:00 5K is harder than up for a marathon, our mandate is clear: Just get in the miles.
a 3:30 marathon. The same is true in our daily training: When our office- Not doing this general development work, and aggressively increas-
mates ask, “How many miles did you do today?” answering 10 is far more ing miles, we tend to get injured. Cross-training would help, but again,
impressive than, “Five, but three of them were 800m intervals at 5:20 per we don’t have time to waste on a bike ride when it will lower our mileage
asiphoto.com

mile pace.” (They stopped listening at “five.”) This is not confined to oth- total. When we’re really pushing the miles, even a 200m repeat workout,
ers’ perceptions: We often fall into the trap of believing that our measure such as suggested by Greg McMillan in this issue, gets ignored — we’re
From Left:

as athletes is based on how far we went today, or our weekly mileage. too sore and tired to do it well, and can’t risk getting beat up and miss-
In road racing, the measure of a runner is also too often on the distance. ing or reducing a day’s miles. But ignoring speed work leads to inefficient

64 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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The feeling of being able to hang with the fast pack in a 5K like Carlsbad is worth dedicating a season of training toward.

strides (the “marathon shuffle”) and injury as well. was not much faster than me at shorter distances and was training for a
Marathons also detract from our development because they beat us different marathon. I learned that he was running 90–100 miles per week,
up so much on race day. After any other distance, give it a week or so for which he considered barely adequate. Learning my miles, he suggested
recovery and we’re stronger runners. But after the marathon — as most that I should probably be aiming at the 10K. It surprised and somewhat
of us run it — we’re essentially injured, often sick, and require a month offended me at the time — but, while I ran a PR, he ran his marathon more
before we return to the level we were at before we started the training than 10 minutes faster than me.
program. Add to that the two- to three-week taper, and we’ve taken a big How many miles are necessary? Let’s look at one common measure: If,
step back on any long-term progression goals. Given this, many frequent as many coaches advise, the long run shouldn’t be more than 25 percent
marathoners never progress, simply ramping up to finish their next 26.2, of your week (many say 20 percent), any week when you are running a
then returning to the same base. 20-miler should total 80+ miles. This is in line with what top coaches rec-
On an emotional level, once we sign up for a marathon, it looms over us ommend if you want to do your best in the marathon: An informal poll
until race day, a mental burden that rides in the back of our consciousness: of five coaches came up with a range of 70–120 miles (see sidebar). Less
“Am I doing enough?” And the answer is usually, “No,” or at best, “I hope so.” than that, and not only is the marathon distance a survival stretch, but
Added to this stress, the marathon also puts a whole season’s eggs in the long run becomes too much stress in your week and you fall into the
one basket as we skip or “run through” other races, making the pressure problems discussed above of ignoring other elements, all of which are nec-
to do well, to prove our running creds, even higher. Yet, given the “edge- essary to become fully prepared to race the distance. I know first-hand.
of-ability” nature of the race, that success is more dependent on external Looking back with a critical eye, I’ve done adequate mileage for the dis-
factors than other races, making it that much more of a gamble. tance only three or four times, and it shows: Those are the breakthrough,
negative-split races amid many “glad I made it” finishes.
One could well argue that it’s pace that causes us to end the marathon
in survival shuffle, not the distance. And they would be correct. But if we

To Race Well, Or Not to Race slow adequately to run through the race, and that pace is closer to our
training pace than our predicted race pace, are we not merely complet-
ing the distance, rather than racing it? Again, there’s nothing wrong with
All of these downsides are acceptable sacrifices for us to become mara- that, nor with seeing how well we can run it at whatever level of training
thoners, but once we’ve done one, two, or 10, and start to look at becoming between “just finishing” and “fully prepared” we can fit in.
faster runners, I’m questioning if we might be better served by asking, If, however, as “serious” runners often argue, there’s a qualitative dif-
“Why?” Why must we run a marathon this season, even this year? ference between a 3-hour marathon and a 5-hour marathon, we need to
The downsides of training and racing marathons detailed above all question if we’re training at a level that lets us do this to the best of our
center on the fact that the marathon takes us to extremes, yet I would ability. A Runner’s World survey last year reported that only 4.4 percent
argue that even at these extremes we rarely prepare enough to really max- of Boston marathoners trained more than 74 miles per week. Again, that’s
imize our ability at the distance — to really make it a race. By a race, I OK — it’s worth running Boston for the experience on whatever miles we
mean that our results correspond to our ability in other distances, the can manage. But, if we’ve already run Boston, and we know realistically
pace is significantly faster than our training pace and we can maintain it that we have the time to max at, say, 50 miles per week this season, why
throughout the distance, and we can complete it without injury or illness. not focus on running a strong 10K?
To do so requires more miles and training than most of us ever do. I What if, when looking at a training book, we didn’t say, “I’m running 40
recall one spring when I was training for a marathon, getting in 50- to miles per week, I can follow the intermediate marathon training program,”
60-mile weeks, going on an easy 10-miler with an Austrian friend who but instead focused on the advanced program for the 5K or 10K? Let’s not

RUNNINGTIMES / 65
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fall into the trap that we’re going to “waste” the miles on a shorter race:
Top runners from Kenenisa Bekele down to any collegian regularly run
70 to 100 or more miles per week with no intention of racing longer than
How Many Miles?
10K. “Yes, but they’re elites,” we too often say. Why sell ourselves short?

T
If we can run 50-mile weeks with several speed workouts, why not use it oo often we associate shorter races with
to test the limits of what our bodies can do at a shorter distance, rather fewer miles: If you can run a solid 5K on
than accept that we’re intermediate at the marathon? Why play on the 25 miles per week, why run more? Top
edge of prepared rather than feel solidly ready for a shorter, faster race? runners, however, regularly run up to 100
One answer is that a 5K, 10K or half marathon doesn’t feel adequate to miles per week to race their best at dis-
spend a training season on. We know we can run one any day we want. tances as short as the mile.
But subtract 1–2 minutes from your last 5K time, or 5 minutes from your We asked several top coaches how much
best half marathon. Does thinking about running that time scare you they would recommend a competitive recre-
like the idea of running a marathon? If not, you need a better imagina- ational runner put in if they are serious about
tion. Running faster is just as hard, often harder, than running longer. reaching their best at different distances. The
But is it as satisfying? Marathons provide lots of markers that this is results, below, may surprise you. We’re not at
a big deal: expos, souvenir shirts, finishing medals, crowds. If those are all saying that one need to be running this type
important, many half marathons now provide similar levels of hoopla, of mileage to be “serious” or “legitimate,” only
and many classic shorter races do as well. that there’s plenty of room for most of us to take
Do we need the hoopla, however? Beyond the finishers medal and the our training to another level without moving to
accolades, the satisfaction of the marathon lies in the miles run during the marathon.
the months preceding the marathon, in the process of transforming your- “In essence, I think it takes a lot more training
self into a new person and accomplishing something you didn’t know if to be your best at all distances than people often
you could. The same satisfaction can be achieved by training for months realize or commit to,” says coach and Running
toward a time goal, in transforming yourself into a faster person. In my Times columnist Greg McMillan. “For compet-
experience, the times when I’ve dedicated a season to a limit-stretching itive runners, I find they can usually run much
faster when they safely build up to more and
better training even for shorter races like the
As soon as we sign up for a marathon, we can’t spare the time to 5K/10K.”
develop. Our mandate is clear: Just get in the miles. Coach Brad Hudson agrees strongly, saying,
“People are so in love with the marathon — it is
a great challenge — but those running that kind
goal at 10K or the half marathon are just as memorable as my top mara- of volume [the typical 40–50 miles per week] are
thons, and more satisfying than the many times I ran “another” marathon. going to do better at a shorter race distance.”
So what of the marathon? Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of Even knowing this, many of us can’t motivate
the New York Road Runners, suggests that most recreational runners ourselves to run 50-mile weeks for a 5K, requir-
would benefit by aiming for one once or twice a decade, with serious run- ing the fear factor of the marathon to get us to
ners limiting themselves to once a year at most. In Lore of Running, Tim that level. An option that might acknowledge
Noakes suggests that we “limit serious running to every second year and that reality and avoid the downsides of racing
then only a few months of that year,” noting, “[Y]ou just have to accept a marathon on less-than-ideal training could
that for the sake of your family, you simply can’t train hard enough to be to schedule a marathon, but make it second-
run your best. That is the price that must, quite realistically, be paid.” ary to a goal race a few weeks in advance. Then
At whatever interval you space your marathons, the key seems to me get in the miles, but focus your training on the
to limit them to those times in our lives when we truly have the time and shorter race, set a PR, and run the marathon at
the energy to do the training. We must be realistic. Just doing an 80-mile a relaxed enough pace to make it a good long
week requires an average of 1.5 to 2 hours per day; the other aspects of run that doesn’t beat you up.
training can easily expand that an hour more. When we’re not able to
make that kind of commitment but want to push and prove ourselves,
we might better accomplish this with just as challenging, but less time-
consuming, shorter race goals. Recommended Volume
Marathoning great Bill Rodgers has made this move. “The half mar-
athon provides the same sense of quest,” he says. “It’s all I can fit into
my life now, and it provides the sense of racing that the marathon used
for Serious Competitors
to. I like the powerful feeling of being competitive; I have fun with that.” Distance MPW / Long Run Speed Work*
Rodgers acknowledges that, for some, doing the distance is more impor- 5K 45–70 / 10–14 2–3 per week
tant: “Galloway run/walks them, and I admire that as a way to continue 10K 55–80 / 12–18 2–3 per week
marathoning for a lifetime.” But, Rodgers says, “I like the racing part of Half Mar. 60–100 / 16–20 1–2 per week
our sport — and it doesn’t have to be the marathon. The excellence side Marathon 70–120 / 20–24 1–2 per week
of the sport is very important.”
* including tempo and VO2 max
If the excellence side of the sport is important to you too, is it time to
get over our infatuation with the marathon? •

JONATHAN BEVERLY is the Editor-in-Chief of Running Times.

66 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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RACING THE RISE OF THE HALF MAR ATHON

HALF
BY JIM GERWECK

THE HALF MARATHON


GOES PRIME TIME
Full
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING sequence of events:
On March 21, the New York City Half Marathon drew more
than 11,000 runners to follow a field of elites, led early on
by HAILE GEBRSELASSIE and DEENA KASTOR through
the streets of Manhattan. The following Saturday, 8,500
braved the cobblestones of Prague to race 21.1K through
the Czech Republic’s capital. And the next day, the big-
More than 21,000 applied to run the New York City Half Marathon.
gest field of the three, 21,000-plus, assembled in Berlin
for a fast half over that city’s pancake-flat course. While becomes all-consuming. The half marathon, once viewed as merely
Berlin was celebrating its 30th anniversary, the other a stepping stone to or tune-up for a marathon, has come to be viewed
two are relatively new events — New York is only in its as a legitimate and worthwhile goal itself. And race organizers have
fifth year, Prague its 12th. And while Berlin race director begun to treat it accordingly, with tech shirts, fi nishers medals, and
MARK MILDE, who also heads up the city’s world-record pre-race expos becoming de rigueur at larger half marathons. The
marathon in the fall, says, “The half marathon will never entry fees have begun to reflect this as well, edging closer to that
have the mystique and draw the media attention that of marathons than the shorter races they were more similar to in
the marathon does,” he and his fellow organizers realize the past.
the half may be where the biggest future potential lies. Another phenomenon is the re-emergence of half marathons as
stand-alone events. While there have always been high-level solo
“We think the half can be as big, or bigger, than the ING New York half marathons in the past, such as the Philadelphia Distance Run,
City Marathon,” says MARY WITTENBERG, director of both Big the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis, or Kansas City’s
Victor Sailer/Photo Run

Apple events and president of the New York Road Runners. The num- Hospital Hill Run, for a time beginning in the late ’90s many 13.1-mil-
bers would seem to bear her out; 21,000 applied for this year’s race, ers popped up as secondary adjunct events to marathons, a way for
making it almost as popular as the five-borough run on a per cap- race directors to increase their total registration numbers. However,
ita basis. And Prague saw a 35 percent increase in its numbers for the half often became the numerical tail wagging the marathon dog,
2010. “Tell me what other industry had that kind of growth this year,” even though the full distance race was the one that drew the major-
Steve Sutton/Photo Run

says CARLO CAPALBO, the irrepressible Italian director of that race. ity of media attention.
Of course, for mega-marathons like Berlin, New York and Boston
A RUNNING GROWTH STOCK (which also holds a half marathon in the fall), conducting two races
That mirrors a trend seen nationally in the United States. Since 2003, simultaneously isn’t desirable or even feasible. But holding a half
From Top:

the half marathon has been the fastest growing race distance here, marathon as its own event can be even more beneficial to the orga-
and for four consecutive years (2006–09), the 13.1-mile distance nizers, in a number of ways.
has grown in popularity by 10 percent or If a half has a hook, such as New York’s course through Times
more in this country. In the 2009 National Square, it will create media interest and a large entry demand among
Runner Survey conducted by Running USA, runners. A strong elite field also helps. This spring New York brought
the industry trade group, the half marathon in Gebrselassie and offered a $100,000 prize purse, the richest for a
was selected as the favorite race distance. U.S. half. While some of the elites use a half marathon as a tune-up
That may be because of what Wittenberg race for a marathon later that season, for others it’s a goal race in
calls the half’s “Goldilocks” status. “It’s not itself, as well as a way to establish their reputation and enhance their
too long, it’s not too short, it’s just right,” she
chances of getting a big marathon payday later. PETER KAMAIS, who
says. Indeed, the race is Wittenberg’s per- won New York when Gebrselassie dropped out midway, is almost
sonally preferred distance, which may be sure to be invited to NYRR’s fall race as a result.
why her organization produces fi ve other
smaller ones during the year. She’s quick STEPPING STONE OR FINAL DESTINATION
to note, however, “It can be really tough if “There are many established marathoners, and a race can only recruit
you’re not ready for it.” Perhaps that’s part of so many of them,” says Milde. “For up-and-coming racers, a good
its allure: long enough to require a block of showing in a half marathon is a way to become noticed. Maybe they
Prague’s half is big.
serious training, but not to the extent that it Continued on page 70

RUNNINGTIMES / 69
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RACING HAPPENIN’ HALF MAR ATHONS • AGGRESSIVE R ACING

HALF Continued from page 69 up entry slots that should go to domestic runners). But that hasn’t
don’t get invited to a Berlin or New York, but they can now get in a happened with half marathons.
second-tier marathon. Or maybe a big race brings them in as pace- Consider that only 5 percent of the New York Half field came from
makers. And for some, racing half marathons is better — they can overseas, compared to nearly a third of the runners in the marathon.
run more of them, and other distances as well, to earn more money, It’s a similar situation in Berlin and Prague.
which they can’t do if they are focusing on a marathon.” “We get a much higher percentage of foreigners for our marathon
Average runners also benefit from stand-alone half marathons. in May than we do for the half,” says ANNE SCHEUNER-DESCLOUX,
Says Wittenberg, “A lot of fi rst-timers go right into a marathon, fol- marketing and communication manager for the Czech races. “I
lowing a training plan but not doing any intermediate races, and I don’t think runners see a half marathon as being long enough to
think that can be a mistake.” be ‘worthy’ of a trip.”
Besides the physical risk of jumping into the deep end of the dis- But that’s one assumption that needs to be examined and per-
tance running pool as a fi rst race, there’s the psychological shock of haps turned on its head. Combining a marathon and a vacation often
big marathons. “Running our half gives people a taste of what the tends to compromise both. Running 26.2 miles is hard enough with-
marathon will be like — the check-in, corrals, water stops, and so on out adding the challenges of travel, time zone changes, and strange
— so if they do run in November, they’re a little less overwhelmed by beds, food and languages. For the longest race most people will ever
the whole experience,” Wittenberg says. For runners without enough run, minimizing variables and potential snafus is the best way to
time to do the requisite training for a marathon, Wittenberg thinks enhance their chance of success.
the half provides a worthy challenge in itself. “It’s long enough that Continued on page 72
you can’t ‘fake’ it,” she says. “But the training
and the race won’t wipe you out like a mara- TACTICS BY GORDON BAKOULIS
thon can. You don’t need to do a 20-mile run
and then sleep on the couch all afternoon.
And you can do more races leading up to a AGGRESSIVE RACING
I
half, and get back to racing sooner, than you f you want to race well, you need to put yourself in a position to succeed. This tactic is employed
can for a full marathon.” That’s an important by top-level distance runners, and it can work for anyone who’s serious about competing —
plus if you live in a place like New York, where though it’s not easy, and it takes confidence and a close and honest assessment of one’s
there are races offered almost every weekend. fitness level.
MO TRAFEH knew he was fit in the lead-up to the USA 15K Championships in Jacksonville, Fla.,
FULLY WORTH THE TRIP in March. He employed a front-running strategy to win the race in dominating fashion — he went
One aspect of marathons that hasn’t been out hard, dropped the competition early, and cruised to victory.
assimilated by their shorter cousins is the A week later, Trafeh lined up for the NYC Half Marathon. Though he’d finished third in 1:02:11 —
“destination race.” Many runners will tie a a PR — at the 2010 Marrakech Half Marathon in Morocco in January, he lacked experience at the
vacation around a marathon, particularly a distance. The field in New York included multiple world record-holder HAILE GEBRSELASSIE,
foreign one, and numerous tour groups have who’d run 59:24 to win the NYC Half Marathon in 2007. “My strategy for the [race] was to be com-
sprung up to accommodate them (and in the petitive, cover all the moves, and not to get intimidated by the big names,” says the 24-year-old
opinion of some, are responsible for snapping Trafeh. He ran at the back of the lead pack through halfway until Gebrselassie and Kenya’s PETER
KAMAIS — a runner with a 1:00:35 best — began to pull away.
“I wasn’t ready for their pace, but I stayed close, in case they slowed down,” says Trafeh. Though
GROWTH OF this positioning was diff erent from Jacksonville, the strategy was the same — he was keeping
THE U.S. HALF himself in the best possible position to succeed. When Gebrselassie surprisingly dropped out at

MARATHON 9 miles, Trafeh was in second place, running alone. This was nerve-racking, with Kamais extend-
ing his lead (he would win in a personal-best time of 59:53) and the experienced MOSES KIGEN
1990 303,000 finishers (not individuals) of Kenya, a 1:00:39 half marathoner, closely following.
75% M / 25% F “It was hard running alone for 6 miles,” Trafeh says. When Kigen drew even with less than
~400 races a mile to go, Trafeh couldn’t shake him. The two sprinted to the line, and Kigen (1:00:38) beat
2000 482,000 Trafeh by 1 second.
60% / 40% “I was pleased with the way I handled the race,” says Trafeh, who PRd by 1:42 and made the
Victor Sailer/Photo Run

~550 races podium in a stacked international field. Key to his success was staying focused on his goals. Even
Gebrselassie’s unexpected DNF wasn’t a distraction. “Anything can happen in a
2007 796,000 race,” he says. “Haile is a great, great athlete, but we’re humans, not machines.”
45% / 55% (gender flip happened in 2005) He also stayed calm while pursuing an aggressive strategy. “My advice to runners
~770 races is to stay relaxed and be aggressive and smart,” he says. “Making good decisions
Photo:

2008 44% / 56% will make the diff erence between running a personal best and placing well,
900,000 and a subpar race.”
~830 races Trafeh says he didn’t think about the Jacksonville victory of the previ-
ous week; the two races were completely diff erent. “The NYC Half was an
2009 43% / 57%
opportunity to get great experience in the half marathon against a really
1.1 million
strong field,” he says, adding, “Take advantage of every chance you get to
~870 races
run well.” It’s advice that any runner can follow. •
Source: Running USA

70 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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RACING HALF MAR ATHON GROW TH • HALF MAR ATHON HISTORY

FOOTSTEPS BY ROGER ROBINSON


Go to runningtimes.com every Monday morn-
ing for a recap of the weekend’s big races.

Ron Hill to Hospital Hill who broke the record four times, her fastest
1:08:34 in 1984; KIRK PFEFFER 1:02:32, 1979;
STAN MAVIS 1:02:16, 1980; HERB LINDSAY
HISTORIC HALF MARATHONS 1:01:47, 1981; PAUL CUMMINGS 1:01:32, 1983;
and MARK CURP, 1:00:55, 1985.) Curp had
IT TOOK A VOLCANIC ERUPTION to stop RON HILL coming to tuned up for his stellar Philadelphia Distance
Boston in April for the 40th anniversary of his victory. Nothing less could Classic performance with a 1:03:48 course
get in the way of Britain’s still-intrepid European, Boston and Commonwealth record on home turf in the Hospital Hill Run
marathon champion of 1969–70. in Kansas City.
Regularly cited as one of the best races
there again in 2009, at age 70, in 1:49:59. in the country, and one of our oldest half
“That was my final half marathon, on marathons, it typifies the distance’s trans-
the same course where I ran my first,” he formation from obscure novelty into the
reflected. leading edge of this century’s running boom.
The race Hill inaugurated is now (by my Beginning in 1974 as a 6.8-miler, Hospital
unofficial count) the third-oldest continu- Hill quickly moved up to 13 miles, and
ing half marathon in the world. Granddaddy became a certified half in 1980.
is the Route du Vin in Luxembourg, founded It began to attract international stars like
in 1961, followed by the Lincoln Memorial PRISCILLA WELCH. Numbers soared up,
Half Marathon in Springfield, Ill., fi rst run
course records tumbled down, and crowds
in April 1964. Other venerable continuing f locked to forum speakers like GEORGE
American half marathons include the San SHEEHAN. Now the race is booming again.
Hospital Hill is a legacy U.S. half marathon. Dieguito in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (1968), Yet it is not for softies.
and the YMCA in Phoenix East Valley, Ariz. “The best tip is start out conservatively. That
Before his marathon fame, however, the fi rst (1969). These were the pioneers. lessens the effect of the hills and the possi-
real sign of that impending greatness came at Now the half marathon is the growth eventble humidity,” Curp says.
a distance that was unknown in those days: of our time, the distance by which increas- I agree. In 1980, with a tourist’s Amtrak
the half marathon. At Freckleton, Lancashire, ing numbers of runners defi ne themselves. pass across America, I stopped off in a swel-
in 1964, Hill won a new race at the oddball It came fully into its own in the late 1970s. tering Kansas City and (thanks to a cautious
distance in 1:04:00, more than hinting at the The United States led the world in creating start) ran a 1:10:38 masters record for third
sub-2:10 marathons to follow. great half marathon races and producing place overall. For me that counts as History
“The half marathon is a great distance, as fast runners. Four American women and five — the most memorable half marathon I
you can push yourself almost flat out without men set world records on American courses. ever ran. •
the risk of blowing up,” Hill told me by email. ( They were MICHIKO GORMAN 1:15:58, 1978;
Forty-six years later, Hill’s time still stands ELLISON GOODALL 1:15:01, 1979; PATTI ROGER ROBINSON’s “Footsteps”
as the Freckleton course record. He even ran CATALANO 1:14:03, 1979; JOAN BENOIT, chronicles the rich history of running.

HALF Continued from page 70 the state of distress or downright agony the fi nal miles of a mara-
Finally, there’s a huge investment of time and effort preparing thon can engender, you’re more likely to be able to enjoy the sights
for a marathon that can easily be undone by unfavorable weather as you run past.
or just a bad run. To up the ante with airfares and hotel bookings So while the half marathon will never achieve the mystique of its
would seem to needlessly raise the stakes too high. longer cousin, it has carved out its niche in the running world, one
But a half marathon might be almost the perfect distance for a that’s valuable for runners, whether they are en route to a marathon
vacation race. While it’s long enough to be challenging and memo- or setting the half as their ultimate goal. •
rable, it doesn’t require the pre-race asceticism of a marathon. You
can enjoy the destination city, either before or after the race, with-
out either one having a seriously negative impact on the other.
Speaking personally, in Prague, I took a three-hour walking tour
Victor Sailer/Photo Run

of the old parts of the city the evening before the race, which would
have been unthinkable before a marathon. And in Berlin, I spent an
equal amount of time sightseeing on foot after that race, something
that would have been painfully uncomfortable, if not downright
impossible, after running a marathon.
Russ Niemi

And the races themselves provide a vehicle for seeing most of


the tourist attractions of a city. The Berlin course passes through
From Left:

the Brandenburg Gate and past the Victory Column, Checkpoint


Berlin’s half features a run through the Brandenburg Gate.
Charlie and half a dozen other landmarks. And since you’re not in

72 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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Sunday, November 14, 2010
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Running on the Edge of the Western World


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RACING RISING MILER MORGAN UCENY

LEADING EDGE BY JIM GERWECK

MORGAN UCENY FINDS


POST-COLLEGIATE SUCCESS
IN MAMMOTH LAKES
S
top me if you’ve heard this one before: Ivy League girl com-
pletes solid college career, goes to Michigan for more running,
ups her training, gets better, then moves to Mammoth Lakes
to become a pro runner, wins some national titles before becoming one
of the best in the world.
Right, you and everyone else knows the ANNA PIERCE story, but this
time, it’s Morgan Uceny appearing as the lead. And the parallels, save the
“best in the world” part, are so uncanny as to be almost scary.
The big diff erences are that Uceny went to Cornell, not Brown, and is
from Indiana, not Maine. And while Pierce realized early that running was
her athletic calling, for Uceny, it was merely a way to get in shape for her
favorite sport, basketball, not surprising in the hoops-mad Hoosier State.
“I ran cross country my first two years in high school, but I really didn’t
like it,” she recalls, despite placing third in the state as a freshman. “I
think I had some anxiety about the distance.”
Indeed, while her Mammoth teammate, Pierce, is a steeplechaser who’s
moved down in distance to become one of the best milers in the world,
Uceny specialized in the 400m and 800m throughout high school and col-
lege, winning the Ivy title in the longer race six times at Cornell.
But it’s the mile, or its metric equivalent, where Uceny might have had
her breakthrough moment, and where she realizes her future lies. After
placing sixth in the 2008 Olympic trials 800m, Uceny bounced back to
take fourth in the 1500m. She followed that up with an extended tour
of the European track circuit, where she established her current PRs of
2:00.01 and 4:06.93, times she knows still have to come down to be com-
petitive, just in her country.
“In the last couple years middle-distance running for the U.S. has really
taken off,” she says. “It’s been so mediocre, now we have four women
breaking 4:00. It sets the standard higher and makes you a little more
Morgan Uceny wins the B.A.A. Mile.
hungry, ready to raise your game. Making the Olympic team would have
been great but I wouldn’t want to do that, then go out in the first round. B.A.A. Mile on the rain-soaked streets of Boston the day before that city’s
I want to be a part of a strong group, not the best of a bad bunch.” marathon. “I missed a lot of 2009 with a knee injury, so the plan is to get
The desire to be part of the best is what motivated Uceny to join the out early and post some good times so when the Diamond League and
Mammoth Track Club in October of last year. Pierce told her about her other European meets begin I can get in races there,” she says.
experience there, about TERRENCE MAHON and his techniques. “I knew With no world championships or Olympics this year, Uceny, like many
we’d be good training partners and I wanted to take it to the next level, Americans, plans to focus on just running fast, then start pointing for the
so it seemed like a good fi t,” Uceney says. next two years with her championship meet emphasis.
She’s had little trouble in her first experience training at altitude, some- “The timing is almost perfect for me,” she says. “I think it takes about
thing that gave Pierce fits. “I’d get texts from Anna about how hard it was two years to adapt to a new training situation, and I’ll be 27 in 2012, which
to breathe, but I seem to have adapted fairly easily,” she says. The biggest is the peak age for middle-distance runners.”
change has been in attitude rather than altitude. “It’s diff erent seeing Still, with Pierce, SHANNON ROWBURY and a large handful of other
running as a full-time job,” she says. “I’ve never had a coach who wasn’t milers not much older, Uceny realizes she’s not going to make the Olympic
Victor Sailer/Photo Run

also dealing with a big team, so I’m getting better on my communication team just through age attrition among her competition “They’re certainly
skills, letting him know when I need therapy, nutrition, blood work, all not going away any time soon,” she says. “By training with and racing
that ancillary stuff. I’d never really done two sessions a day, or gone to the against them, the goal of sub-2:00 and sub-4:00 has become much more
gym every day, so the intensity was a change, but I’m getting used to it.” achievable in my mind.”
The payoffs have already started. In another eerie echo of Pierce’s path, Toss in a few national team berths, and the Morgan Uceny story might
Photo:

Uceny won the USATF indoor 1500m (4:19:46 at altitude), then took the have a perfect ending. •

74 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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NATIONAL
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Friday September 17, 2010


Why? Where?
The goal of Run@Work Day is to Nationwide, company-based wellness programs, human resource departments,
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TRAILS UPHILL RUNNING TECHNIQUES • UPHILL R ACES

Onward and
BY ADAM W. CHASE

UPWARD
THE KEYS TO EFFICIENT UPHILL
RUNNING TECHNIQUE
TRAIL RUNNERS SAY that races are won on the
ascent and lost on the descent. You can see top-notch
trail runners’ ascending skills in their sustained and met-
ronomic leg turnover, their shortened stride as they
power up climbs with staccato efficiency. Fortunately,
some of the best uphill runners in the sport are will-
ing to share their “secrets” to climbing with fluid speed.

JONATHAN WYATT, the most decorated mountain runner there is,


with six world mountain championship victories to his credit, boils
uphill running down to: pacing properly; establishing a rhythm;
relaxing; pumping your arms; and staying on your forefeet.
With respect to pace, Wyatt recommends setting off at a pace
you know you can sustain and, if you’re feeling comfortable and
confident after a third of your climb, speeding things up a notch.
“It’s tough both physically and psychologically when you start too
fast and then feel yourself slowing more and more as you fatigue,”
he says, “and, believe me, I have seen even good runners slow to a
shuffle on tough, long, steep climbs when they have over-extended
on the fi rst third.”
Wyatt also coaches runners to relax and get into a rhythm on the
climb so that they can economize their energy with greater speed Eight-time Pikes Peak Ascent champion Scott Elliott knows uphills.
for less effort. To maintain this rhythm, he tries to take small steps
when the gradient gets steeper or there’s a technical part. Wyatt changes.” [See ”Elliott’s ‘Ascendant’ Breathing Technique” for more
uses regular arm and leg movement rather than trying to use his on breathing.]
muscle power to maintain speed, which accelerates muscle fatigue. Both Wyatt and NATALIE WHITE, a top British trail runner who
“So my cadence or leg turnover remains about the same on these excels in the Sky Running circuit in Europe and Malaysia and came
parts but I take smaller steps,” he says. “Th is helps maintain rhythm by her ascending skills from fell running, remind us of the impor-
and means that my breathing remains the same even as the terrain tance of our arms. “The arms really help you power up the hill and
take a lot of the work load off the legs,” Wyatt says, pointing out that

UPHILL RACES
if you emphasize the back part of your arm swing it automatically
has the effect of moving farther forward as well, and helps drive
your legs forward.
Here are a few classic uphill races in the U.S. and abroad: Wyatt and White also instruct uphill runners to get up on their
Mount Washington Road Race | 7.6 miles toes. White says she uses her calves a lot and fi nds that wearing com-
June 19, Pinkham Notch, N.H., mountwashingtonroadrace.com pression socks prevents cramping or tightening. Wyatt fi nds that as
the terrain gets steeper he needs to strike the ground more on his
Pikes Peak Ascent | 13.3 miles
forefeet. Landing on his forefeet makes his body position move far-
Aug. 21, Manitou Springs, Colo.; pikespeakmarathon.org
ther forward, pushing his center of gravity towards the slope and
La Luz Trail Run | 9 miles giving more momentum for the next step.
Brian Metzler/Zephyr Media

Aug. 1, Albuquerque, N.M; laluztrailrun.org To prepare, White likes to do short, fast hill reps on either a grassy
banking or a steep road, as these are good lactic acid sessions for
Mt. Baldy Run to the Top | 8 miles
her ascending training. For longer hill reps to work on endurance,
Sept. 6, Mt. Baldy, Calif., run2top.com
she recommends 3–5 minutes on a more gradual hill. For sustained
International Skyrunning Federation Sky Races climbing work, White uses long hills that last about 50 minutes where
June-October, skyrunning.com she tries to run the whole way.
Photos:

Continued on page 78

RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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TRAILS UPHILL RUNNING TECHNIQUES • A SCENDANT BRE ATHING • THREE’S A CHARM

ELLIOTT’S ‘ASCENDANT’ BREATHING TECHNIQUE

H
aving won the Pikes Peak Ascent eight times and finished among There will be a certain eff ort up to which you can maintain/tolerate this
the top fi ve 14 times, SCOTT ELLIOTT knows a thing or two breathing/footsteps cycle; usually you can maintain a conversation
about running uphill. This is a guy who once ran to the summit with a training partner at this level without too much trouble. Four-
of 8,133-foot Green Mountain in Boulder a whopping 200 days in a row. step breathing helps you focus on filling your lungs and strengthening
Now he’s passing along his uphill insights to trail runners who want to your diaphragm and abdominals.
improve their climbing. His big secret? Make sure your breathing matches
your running eff ort. Ô Moderate: A level up is an eff ort where, because of exertion level
“The most important and/or incline, you’re forced to inhale fully for two steps and exhale
thing to r emember is completely on the following one step. Elliott calls this “three-step”
to keep your race effort breathing. This eff ort is best used for anaerobic/lactate threshold
steady, not your pace,” work. Because you’re still taking the time to breathe in for two
he says. He suggests it’s footsteps, you’re maximizing the amount of oxygen saturation in the
both smar t and neces- lungs. Exhaling on one step allows you to quickly prepare for returning
sary to breathe faster as oxygen to your system. Most elite runners will naturally use three-step
you increase your eff ort. breathing during races.
He describes it as having
three basic levels of eff ort — easy, moderate, hard — and he links each Ô Hard: The third level should be reserved for maximal or close-
effort level to a pattern and frequency of breathing in connection to foot to-maximal eff ort. Inhale on one step and exhale on the next step
strikes, which he describes as “a natural metronome.” (Elliott calls this “two-step” breathing). This third gear is absolutely
“If you provide your body with a steady stream of fuel — in other necessary for those who wish to perform well at high-altitude races
words, oxygen — then it will work best; having a staggered delivery of like the Pikes Peak Ascent. Two-step breathing is eff ective on long,
oxygen does not help you maintain a steady eff ort during a race,” he steep uphills and although it may feel (and sound) strange, this
says. “My apologies to EMIL ZATOPEK and his sometimes unorthodox close-to-hyperventilating breathing rate allows your body to get the
training methods. He was known for sprinting while holding his breath, most oxygen possible, even though it may not be your primary source
but that’s not how your body is going to perform effi ciently, especially of energy when working so hard. Typically you’ll discover you can eke
while running uphill.” out about 10–15 percent faster uphill splits or uphill race times using
this rapid breathing method compared to three-step breathing. If your
HERE ARE THE THREE LEVELS: diaphragm and abdominal muscles aren’t really well developed from
Ô Easy: This is any eff ort where you inhale fully for two steps and many months of two- and three-step workouts, they’ll likely cramp
exhale the following two steps. Elliott calls this “four-step” breathing. during such intense breathing. — A.W.C.

UPWARD Continued from page 76 running. She begins


To read more about Jonathan Wyatt, go to
Colorado’s LISA GOLDSMITH, a two-time USATF masters moun- each full effort from runningtimes.com/jul10.
tain runner of the year, and a top fi nisher in most of the country’s a recovered start and
uphill races, also recommends doing lots of uphill running with a then sprints, “arms pumping, i legs driving high, pretending it is a
mix of long days of long steady climbing. Goldsmith also incorpo- sprint ‘to the fi nish’” — so that after about 10 seconds she is maxed
rates short hill sprints of 8–10 seconds up really steep paved roads out muscularly. She recommends starting with four to five reps and
to help with the neuromuscular changes needed for strong uphill working up to eight to 12 repeats as a solid session.
Goldsmith also emphasizes the importance of upper body and core
strength as key ingredients to upright posture and effective help when
THREE’S A CHARM fatigue begins to set in. “It is so helpful to be upright for breathing well,
looking ahead, not collapsing your hip flexors and feeling optimistic.”
STEPHANIE JIMENEZ, a top-ranked European mountain runner
who has conquered many a hill in her native Andorra and current
residence in the Dolomites, advises practicing for ascents by running
hilly roads and then progressing to trail climbs. Jimenez suggests
that running uphill on roads teaches proper technique and pos-
ture and with that foundation you can adapt your foot positioning
For the past three years, the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run has served up 113 to ascend on the trail.
Brian Metzler/Zephyr Media (2)

miles of tantalizing Colorado trail running for two-person teams via a lav- As for mental strategy, Colorado’s BRANDY ERHOLTZ, one of the
ishly appointed six-day stage race. But for those who aren’t lucky enough fastest American ascenders, likes to recall Th e Little Engine Th at
to be able to detach from the real world for a week of running, a three-day Could, and tells herself, “I think I can, I think I can.” She doesn’t look
mini-event for solo runners will debut this summer. Called the RUN3 event, at the whole climb but, rather, picks small focal points and once she
it will start with the six-day event on Aug. 22 in Buena Vista and cover the gets to the fi rst one she picks another, thereby breaking the hills into
first 59 miles of the longer course from Buena Vista to Camp Hale. For more, segments, which makes them seem very doable. “That and I say a
Photos:

go to transrockies.com. lot of prayers,” she adds. •

78 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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JULY/AUGUST 2010_RUNNINGTIMES / 81
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82 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY_ AUGUST 2010


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ART OF THE RUN
Frank Shorter surges
amid the heat to
win the 1982 Orange
Classic 10K in his
boyhood home of
Middletown, N.Y.
“I had just broken away
from Bill Rodgers,
who was ranked No. 1
on the roads at that
point, and I was going
as hard as I could
without straining
— easily in the 4:20s —
to try to gain as much
of an advantage as
I could going down
that hill. Breaking
away from Bill going
down a hill was sig-
nificant because he
was probably one
of the best down-
hill runners ever. We
did a lot of surging,
because there were
no rabbits or pac-
ing. It was real racing.
I wound up running
29:18 on a hilly course
in 90-degree
weather. It was one
of the last really
good races of my
career.” — American
running legend
FRANK SHORTER

Leo Kulinski, Jr.


Photo:

84 / RUNNINGTIMES_JULY/AUGUST 2010
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