Monday, January 17, 2011

Angry Al's Advice

Years ago some friends and I used to do our Sunday long runs at Chesnut Ridge Park outside of Buffalo,N.Y. In the group of five or six runners was Al, a 2:50 marathoner who during the course of our runs, used to entertain us with his views on running,politics and life.Inevitably,the further we got into these runs the more critical and cynical he became, hence,the nickname angry Al. Even though I have moved from the area I still keep in touch with Al. Shortly before I started this blog I called Al to let him know what I was planning to do and to seek his opinion. True to form,he kiddingly(I hope) said; "great,just what the world needs,another running website." However, he was kind enough to send along some suggestions of things I should never do. Here they are as I remember them: "1.Don't bore me with daily posts on your mileage and how you are getting into the best shape of your life or some other crap like that.Doubt me? Then let me ask you this,how'd you like to read the blow by blow details of my workouts day after day? I don't care if you're an elite runner or not,it's boring. 2.Don't try to tell me how the newest running fashion trends are things I should have.That goes for things like arm sleeves(arm warmers) or those sissified knee high running socks. If I got two drawers full of long sleeve running shirts and two Gore-Tex running suits,then what do I need with those things? Runners need to admit to what they are, vain attempts at looking cute." I should add here that Al has never gotten over spending too much money on a heartrate monitor a few decades back that he used twice and gave away because he found it a "pain in the ass" to use.
3." Spare me with the hyping of books that claim to have a new and revolutionary way to train. Sorry,you can't reinvent the wheel,there isn't a new way to throw or catch a ball,so I'm supposed to believe there is a new way to train for distance running? It's base conditioning,strength conditioning and sharpening,that's how it is and always will be.
4.Please don't tell me about new foods, supplements,etc. that will improve performance. I've seen them come and go over the last 35 years. All are designed to pick your pocket.The only major advancements have come through the production of the Powerbar and Twinlab's Ultra and Hydra Fuels." Once again let me add here,Al has not forgotten that he,before the Revco-Cleveland Marathon, jumped on the carbo loading before a marathon fad and got so sick that he couldn't run it.
5."Lastly, don't bother with the, there is a resurgence in American men's distance running going on stories.Outside of Lagat,a naturalized U.S. citizen, and that Polish kid,there's nothing going on.If anyone doubts me then check the best in the world lists and the results of the most recent World Cross-Country Championships.While I'm on the subject,if I read another story on how some U.S. shoe company is funding camps and programs that are allowing our athletes to dedicate all their time to training and we are about to regain world rankings I'll puke."
Now you see why we call him Angry Al,he does bring up some interesting points though.

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