Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Bad Warm-up....What Does That Mean? Nothing.

The crazy part about running is how much physical effort we all put into training. Logging miles on cold winter days, rainy days, 100 degree days the work is still put in the bank.  That type of training and effort is awesome, but how many times has the mental side of running gotten in the way of your race goals with just thinking negative thoughts.  More specifically when you felt cruddy on a race warm-up have you lost it mentally and already been beaten?  Maybe we all forget how much physical prep and work has to be put in to get to that point in time where you are one hour away from a big race.  A sub par warm-up I have found to be an awesome way to center your thinking.  Control what you can control and to get your focus back on your race strategy and goals. If your legs feel like crap then you do not have to worry about how your legs are going to feel race already know that after the warm-up your legs feel like garbage so move on.  That is out of your control 45 minutes before the gun goes off.

Back in March of 2004, I raced in the USA 15k road championships in Jacksonville, Florida. The Gate River Run is the largest 15k in the United States and is definitely a top notch race if you are ever looking for a racing field trip (there is a 3/4 of a mile uphill at the 8 mile mark though).  For me the winter of training for me had gone as planned before the 15k, but during the warm-up before what was my biggest race in some time things began to fall apart. I got stuck running with a guy who would not stop talking about himself like he was Pre.  Our warm-up pace was like 10 minute mile pace (normally I go 7 minute pace), and to top it off with the slower than normal pace my feet were not too far off the ground so I caught my toe and tripped and fell.  After I tripped I sprinted away from that joker. Plus on top of it all my legs felt like crap. For some odd reason it felt like a knife was stabbing the side of my heart, I had never had that stabbing feeling before and never since but it hurt like hell.  That is where the all thoughts need to turn to race strategy and that is what I ended up doing.  Control what you can control.

I knew from past experience that USA road championships go out crazy fast so I was ready for that even after all the garbage that went on within that last 45 minutes before the race. I was not ready for a cannon false start where 25 front line runners (including me) raced off the line for 10 seconds only to be called back and then told to continue. A crazy start, I do not think I got my first mile split!  The first 5k saw the leaders out in 14:10 my split was around 14:20, I finally caught my breath through the 10k in a road PR (29:20) to that point.  The legs felt awesome to that point even after the circus warm-up act and having tired legs. The last 5k was tough with getting out pretty fast and with that 3/4 of mile hill at the 8 mile mark but hung in there for a top 5 finish in 44:25 for what turned out to be one of my better races on the roads.  After all the garbage that transpired 45 minutes before the race that all led up to a  happy race.  I never again question how my legs feel in the warm-up or what other negative stuff happens before the race. I am actually worried when my legs feel great during a warmup. Anyone else ever feel like that....that worries me??

Monday, May 9, 2011

One of the Greatest Inventions the Running World

If there is one running toy you ever spend $10 on it should be this one. The Palmassager by the Pressure Positive Company is amazing. I bought one of these 10 years ago and the tool has helped with a sore achilles, hamstrings, a sore lower back, and slight case of plantar fascia over the years. Another benefit of using this tool is when you have tired legs full of garbage after a long run or hard workout you can work that junk through your legs to aid in recovery like getting a sports massage.

The easy part about this tool benefiting your running is that you can use it anywhere/anytime. I found the massage tool totally easy to travel with to races even using the Palmassager after my warmup if I had a tight hamstring that needed work.  Go out and buy this today.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Perfect Workout Partner

Before you hit a hard workout you need to make sure you are mentally and physically ready to roll. Hopefully you have enough calories in you but not a full stomach.  Bust out the light weight trainers and hit the 5hr energy and you will be ready.  That all is great advice but the one missing piece from a successful workout is the perfect Ipod song playlist. Running purists will scoff at this but do not dismiss it without trying it. You may even set a workout PR because that is the power of music.

My favorite workout Ipod line of all time was by Willy Kaul an 11 time All-American and former D3 National 5k & 10k champ. Before a workout where we were looking to do 3 miles at 4:55-5:00 mile pace, 2 miles at 4:45-4:50 pace and 1 mile at 4:35 pace all on 2 laps jogging rest was..... "You know I am going to have my Ipod on during the workout...right?"  I guess that meant do not talk to me until the cooldown.  Then I knew Willy was as serious as I was, there were never any outside distractions or games when I worked out with Willy. Just before each interval he would reach down and tap the volume one time and right then I knew there was no fooling around on pace or effort. It had to be there.

For setting your playlist you need to factor in about a 15-20 minute jog warmup followed by 15-20 minutes of stretching and strides. Basically you have to fill 45 minutes with around 10 songs pre-workout with some music that is going to be just enough to pump you up but is still holding you back just a bit because you want to save the pump music for the 45-60 minutes while you are doing the workout.  Those raging 12 workout songs are going to help you hit workout splits. For your Ipod or Mp3 player make sure to title the playlists accordingly for each workout so you know what works.

Here are some pre-workout warmup suggestions soft enough but setting the table to fire you up.
Cinderella - Gypsy Road
Aerosmith - Sweet Emotion
ZZ Top - La Grange
Nirvana- In Bloom
The Offspring - Self Esteem
Sponge - Plowed
Monster Magnet - Powertrip

For the Workout the Playlist has to work as hard as you do.
Judas Priest - Living After Midnight
Slipknot - Psychosocial
Metallica - For Whom the Bell Tolls
Motley Crue - Kickstart My Heart
Rage Against the Machine - Bulls on Parade
Buckcherry -  Lit Up
Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Alice in Chains - Man in the Box
Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
Sum 41 - Fat Lip
Black Label Society - Overlord or Fire it Up

If you had (1) song to listen to before the Biggest workout/race of your life.....what would it be?  If your initials are A.N. or R.M. I will not be debating this topic with you. Go out and get a music player.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A running/training Quiz.

This training dilemma has come up at least one time in every single runners training from 5k's to the marathon. Today I want everyone today to take this running quiz and decide what you would/should do.

Let's say you are 16-17 weeks into a 20 week training plan where you are looking to peak or run your key race around weeks 19-20. Up to this point training has been going great and you have hit all your weekly mileage goals, key workouts, and have logged your long runs.

Here is the training situation that in one way or another has come up for everyone:
The previous week you slogged home the last half of your Sunday long run and those tired legs are now spilling over into the next week and you notice early on that your legs are again sluggish on Monday through Wednesday's normal day runs. I don't mean just a little bit tired you are running 30 seconds slower per mile with a ton more effort than all other training runs up to this point. You know something is not quite right but what do you do at this point?  We will rule out that the tired legs are not due to lack of sleep, nutrition or stress.

What are you going to do Thursday your planned workout day with tired Legs? (QUIZ TIME)
1. You could pretend nothing is wrong and attempt to complete 100% of the 13 mile workout where 8-10 miles were to be at goal half marathon/marathon race pace..with this plan you are pretty much saying nothing is potentially wrong and you will be fine it is just a rough patch of training.
2. You could begin the workout and if things are not going well pull the plug on it/stop and try the workout next week...but complete the rest of the week's mileage as scheduled.
3. You could be cautious and admit there is something not quite right and bypass the workout entirely and just run 1/2 the mileage each day you had on your training schedule the rest of the week. (the last 4 days)
4. You could because you know your key race is in only 2-3 weeks try to put a stop to the tired legs by taking off Thursday-Sunday and get (4) full days off of running to hopefully save your key race and tired legs...and resume training as scheduled next week after the mini break.

That situation/quiz hopefully makes everyone think a bit.  This is why Olympian Kara Goucher has Alberto Salazar helping her through these rough patches. Or American 10k record holder Chris Solinsky has coach Jerry Schumacher to tell him to take a day off and what did 8 time USA Cross Country National champ Pat Porter do when he had his pre-workout meeting with coach Joe Vigil going over all potential options.  You will not find this individual training advice in online training programs or books.

Post your comments and thoughts.