Saturday, March 31, 2012

Running can................

During the heady running boom days of the 70's, running was viewed by many as a panacea for a variety of ills,not the least of which was cancer. It was an exciting time, running was prominently featured in all the media outlets, it occupied a place in this country's consciousness that hasn't been seen since that decade. However,as all things must eventually come to an end,the initial enthusiasm and faddish excitement of the 70's and early 80's faded, people found out that running couldn't cure cancer,in fact, you could actually injure yourself and become sick from this sport if you weren't careful.The media began to sour on running and began to publish many cautionary tales on the "dangers" of running. The death of Jim Fixx in 1984 was a serious blow to the sport's image of being a healthy activity. Jim's excellent book,The Complete Book Of Running, published in 1977,was one of the two major reasons for the running boom,the other being Frank Shorter's gold medal in the marathon at the '72 Olympics.In regards to Fixx's death, largely ignored by the media,at least early on, was the fact that Fixx had a family history of serious heart problems. Combine this with the fact that he abused his body for decades by being a heavy smoker,his premature death shouldn't have come as all that big of a surprise. The not so thinly veiled message that came from articles published after his death was that jogging had the potential to kill you. Of course this wasn't helped in later years when former running advocates such as Dr. Kenneth Cooper and Jeff Galloway produced books strongly cautioning people from running "too much"(Editor: this is discussed further in a prior blog entry,Betrayal From Within, The Trojan Horse Syndrome). Although I will agree that running cannot cure cancer, it can change and mold you,if,you allow it to. Recently,during the course of a conversation with Harve Sipel,a friend and fellow running zealot,he said something that caused me to stop and think for awhile. He said that in all his years of running,he had never met a dedicated runner who was overly preoccupied with having lots of money. The key word here is dedicated runner, a runner who,as I like to say,"lives for the run." As I thought back to all the athletes I had known over the years I had to agree with what Harve had said. In fact, some runners I'd known had forgone potentially lucrative career changes because it would have had a negative impact on their running. I then started to think about the characteristics of a dedicated athlete in which you could see how running had helped shape and influence them.What follows are some of the things I've noticed about runners over the years, it's in no way intended to be a comprehensive listing,I'm sure there are other traits you could add.To begin would be the ability to discipline's oneself, as well as having a respect for your body and health.Include an appreciation of nature, of life and of your own well being. A type of calmness appears to be a characteristic of the distance runner, some call it being "laid back". Add to this a quiet self-assurance and confidence. A desire for simplicity in life also comes to mind.
As I said, there are other characteristics you see in a dedicated runner, and although running may not be a cure for major diseases, it will change you and your life in a very positive way if you allow it to.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Ties That Bind

Perhaps some of you out there can relate to the following.There was a time,now many years ago,I viewed myself as one of the minority. I was a runner but one who lived for running,one who strove for excellence in competition. I believed I trained more seriously then most and I felt I was hardcore when it came to the way I approached all aspects of running.Although I didn't dislike "joggers," or what some call fun runners,I certainly believed I was on a whole different level as far as the running experience goes. It would be safe to say I suffered from some elitist perceptions as far as who I was and what they were. Of course those feelings were not unique just to me,they still exist in many others,it only takes a visit to a few of the large internet running forums to see proof of this.
However, as the years have gone by,I've mellowed my views and perceptions. Advancing age has a way of doing that,But, I will add that I am as involved and committed to running as I was 25 years ago when I was "hardcore." This blog entry today was prompted by an experience I had recently training.As I ran easily down the street,I saw a runner coming towards me from the other direction. As I often do, perhaps because I have coached and been a runner for so long,I watched how this runner moved,sort of evaluated her form and probably was also trying to get a gauge on her level of "seriousness." As we passed she said with a smile,"hey,good morning!" she then held out her hand for a kind of sidearm high five.I was touched by the genuineness she exhibited,just one runner sharing the moment with another on a beautiful morning. I then got to thinking how all of us who love to run and get out there everyday are really not that different.We all share the same feelings and emotions when it comes to running and racing.
No matter the skill level we all share the following:
The pleasure felt from a quiet early morning run.
The pain sometimes experienced during a strenuous workout.
The anxious anticipation of a race that is about to start.
The agony of the closing stages of a hard run race.
The frustration of not reaching our goals or finishing "poorly."
The determination to continue on after those less than satisfying performances.
The absolute joy of running well or setting a personal record.
The inability to conceive of a life that doesn't involve running.
OK,I think you all see what I'm getting at,the above is a sample of the many,many reasons as to why distance running is such a great sport. For those who may want to hang on to their elitist mindset I say this, if you are fortunate to stay in this sport long enough; you,we, eventually all of us become joggers........again, and that's not a bad thing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Master's Runner Looks At His Return To a 5k,Self-Perception vs Reality

Recently, after helping another runner prepare for an upcoming 5k race,it struck me that it had probably been close to 15 years since I'd run a road 5k. I have raced almost exclusively on the trails for the last 25 years. Recognizing the truth in Cerutty's words that,"those who can't do, can't coach," I sought out a 5k to race. I found one that was advertised as a beach race but running on the beach only comprised about 300 meters of the total distance. My preparation for this race, and the race itself, taught me a few things that may be of help to those of you who are "getting on" in years.For you younger runners,you may want to file away some of the things you are about to read for the time when you reach the Master's ranks. I'll say a few things to begin,I had sort of forgotten that there is a world of difference between racing on the roads and racing on the trails. There is no doubt in my mind that racing on the trails can be an equalizer for some runners who may have slower per mile speed but who thrive on the type of footing and undulating courses that make up many of the trail courses. Here's the other thing,just because you think you feel like you did when you were 40, doesn't mean your body does too. As I looked at last year's finishing times for this 5k, I was stunned by how seemingly slow they were in comparison to the 5k I had run.......20 years ago.So,about the preparation for this race. I should say that I had 4 weeks to "step it up" in fitness before race day.I believed I was reasonably fit prior to this time. One thing that all older runners should recognize is that inactivity is something that must be avoided. Taking a week off or so from running for reasons other than illness or injury opens up the potential for acquiring an injury once you resume running. Bolstered by the fact that I had shed 17 pounds in the months prior to the race,as well as the fact that I ran at least 5 days a week,I assumed a 4 week "sharpening" period would be adequate.After all,it had worked in the past. As those of you familiar to this blog realize, I am a firm believer in the fact that as we age,we must back off on our anaerobic work and step up our aerobic work. Sure we do the Lydiard prescribed pick ups and leg speed drills,but as far as hammering out the intervals? No, not a good idea long term.I immediately increased the length of the 3 aerobic runs I was doing a week,I also kept doing the easy fartlek run of about 35 minutes long and did a "pace" run of about 1 1/2 miles on another day. I was just looking to get fitter,I knew I wasn't going to get into my very best shape. I was mindful of the fact that attempting to do much more distance and intensity in a short period of time was unwise.I should add that I would take a day off after 3 days training and then take another after 4 days training. Outside of a little fatigue on occasion,the added training felt good. As race day approached I recall saying to myself,now don't do something stupid and get yourself injured where you can't race. That was something I never considered in my younger years. I took 2 out of the 3 days prior to the race off but you could never say I was inactive on those rest days. You may feel like you are 40 but the calendar says you are 62, and once again,your body registers as 62,you need more rest in preparation for races as you age. As the race started I made it a point of containing the adrenaline and anxiety and went out at a reasonable pace. Isn't that the indicator of someone who knows how to race, that they ignore everything around them and go out at their projected pace? Heaven knows I've had my time when I've ran too fast early and just sort of hung on the best I could and finished.Although there were 1200 runners in this 5k, after a mile I was struck by how many runners were ahead of me,somehow I figured I should be further "up there." I averaged a slower per mile pace then I had planned but at least the miles were all about the same speed.However, when I was about 400 meters past the 2 mile mark,my plan to increase the pace significantly and finish strong just didn't happen. Conjuring up thoughts of Cerutty,Elliott,etc. didn't work like they had in years past. I finished ok,I suppose,but not how I thought I would.
Winning my age group was satisfying but I found that the satisfaction was somewhat diminished by my not reaching my pre-planned finishing time. As I considered this and other things relating to the whole experience of the 5k,the preparation and all,I found that my self-perception seemed to have been locked in a time warp or frozen in time 2 decades back.The self-perception was not in tune with reality. My days of quick trips to racing fitness are gone,the unhealthy, neurotic thoughts that rear their ugly head before events you deem important have begun to appear as well as the occasional fatigue that seems unwarranted. These are the unwelcome guests in this master runner's life.I suspect they have also visited most other runners of a similar age. But,there is good news. With every change that seems to have the potential to diminish performance,adjustments can be made to minimize them. It's like life, with the passage of time there are the inevitable changes,how we view these changes, and how we deal with them determine whether or not we are happy and successful in the future. Who doesn't want to be happy,especially with our running? Recognize and accept the changes,the best is yet to come!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Have You Been Debased?

I was recently looking through a book by Mike Spino, author and former Director of the Esalen Sport's Center.The book, published in 1976, was entitled Beyond Jogging;I bought it because it had a lot of Percy Cerutty stories in it.As an aside, Spino attended seminars with Cerutty and briefly went on a lecture tour with him in the early '70's. In 1977, Spino released another book entitled,Running Home,which also contained a fair amount of Cerutty references. While reading a section of that book on nutrition Percy was quoted thusly,"A philosophy of foods,when the appetite for food is not debased,when the food eaten is plain and wholesome,when the eater realizes the nature and value of various foods,then his enjoyment of simple,plain,and natural foods will be enhanced to an extraordinary degree." My first reaction to this quote was to ask what he meant by debased. A quick look in the dictionary gave me the answer,it means to lower in quality,value or character. I then wondered if there were other ways in which we,as serious athletes, could have been "debased." Consider the following: In regards to foods Cerutty brings up something that we should all ask ourselves,are any of us so removed from eating healthy that attempts at doing so are unappealing? Nutrition,along with training and rest are the three keys to achieving athletic success. Keeping it natural and simple with your foods is essential. For instance, if you prefer cooked foods with fatty meats for breakfast as opposed to one with fruit and a quality cereal,bread and/or yogurt,then your appetite for food has been debased. Someone once asked me how they could get into eating healthy and gain an appreciation of fruits and vegetables which they admitted they rarely ate.I gave them the surefire cure,I told them to go 16 to 24 hours without eating any food and to drink only water. After that, I told him to eat a few pieces of fruit. When you are truly hungry,foods in their natural state are delicious. Something else to think about: has our view and belief in the correct way to train been debased? Have we been swayed to think that there are other ways to achieve athletic success,ones that are quicker and easier? Have we chosen to forget or ignore the time tested and proven ones? Ones that say it takes 4 to 7 years of consistent quality training to reap the maximum benefits of a proper program?Here's another thing to think about: Have we allowed our minds to be debased? Do we watch things on television and in the movies that have absolutely no redeeming value? If the television suddenly disappeared from the earth would we be lost and confused? What type of things do we read, do we even read? Do we look to be entertained or do we find and initiate our own entertainment?Have our everyday lives been debased? Do we think that owning lots of things is the way to go and that they are the key to happiness? If we do,then the way we view life has been debased. I can't tell you how many former zealous,hardcore runners I've known who've traded in their athletic lives for owning an overpriced house and expensive car(s), only to eventually discover, as their waistlines got bigger with each passing year and their health went into a slow steady decline, that they made a huge mistake.Remember what Herb Elliott said,"An ideal life is one of simplicity."I think everyone out there sees what I'm getting at, you can plug in your own, "have you been debased" question to other facets of your life.
What I'm saying is that as athletes we need to be aware and discerning people. This takes an alert,inquisitive and active mind. Dulling it with useless mind numbing activities, consuming too much drink (as in alcohol,the true opiate of the masses) and crappy food is an easy lifestyle to settle into.Daily involvement in edifying pursuits that stimulate the mind and lead to growth as a person is a one way ticket to true satisfaction and success mentally, as well as physically.For some, shaking off their accumulated debased habits and views will take varying amounts of time and effort.The key is in being able to recognize if you've been debased in the first place. Here's hoping that the above may be a help.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Your Will Power

George Hackenschmidt was a Russian born wrestler and strongman, as well as a fitness and strength innovator.Born towards the end of the 19th century, Hackenschmidt lived to be 90 yrs old.He was an example of the truth of what he taught regarding health and physical training.Cerutty was influenced and encouraged by Hackenschmidt and referred to him often in his writings,in later years they became friends.Described as a deeply spiritual(Editor:not in a conventional way) and thoughtful man, a writer said this about him:"George Hackenschmidt was the epitome of calm,self-assurance and inner peace,with full awareness of his own capabilities and thus like all masters,found no need for machoism or outward aggression. His tactic to win was skill and speed,born of confidence in his own ability." The proof of a truly unique and remarkable athlete is the one whose entire life exemplifies what he believed in and espoused. These days,after most athletes retire from competition, the majority move away from sport and on to the business of, well business, translation...making money. Although you can't blame them a bit for doing so,I hold special affection for people like Cerutty,Lydiard,LaLanne,Hackenschmidt and others who devoted their entire lives to helping others through training and athletics. The following is a quote by George Hackenschmidt and is a reminder as to what conditioning one's willpower can accomplish."The frequent employment of one's will power masters all organs of movement and trains them to perform feats which otherwise would have been difficult,painful and even impossible. The man becomes independent and self-reliant; he will never be a coward,and, when real danger threatens,he is the one who is looked up to by others. The knowledge of one's strength entails a real mastery over oneself; it breeds energy and courage,helps one over the most difficult tasks of life, and procures contentment and true enjoyment of living."It's not hard to see the similarity between the above and what Percy taught.What Hackenschmidt has to say is true but cannot be experienced unless we set about the process of developing our will power. For many,that should begin by understanding what will power actually means and all that it comprises. Self discipline and challenging oneself, often, are the keys.Few do it to the degree that is required. The benefits as described by Hackenschmidt should be irresistible to those seeking to live life to its fullest.




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Advice For Runners of All Ages

The following is a portion of an essay written by British coach Brian Mitchell many decades ago. As with all good advice,the information offered is as relevant today as it was when it was originally published. Although supposedly geared towards the younger athlete,it is applicable to every runner out there. Ultimately,the athlete who is content and at peace with who he is,is a person who thinks,plans and considers all things.
"In the beginning,do one thing: take a long,thorough look at what you wish to achieve,how you think it can be achieved,and how long it will take you. Time spent on this survey of ambitions is time well spent.Study carefully the factors involved in your training and racing,and accept that there has to be long-term preparation.
Intelligent forethought is the foundation of success,and positive pride its creator. Thinking will map out a route,and pride will ensure progress along that route. Intelligence--seeking and using knowledge--is a necessary quality of the successful athlete. The more you know about training and racing,the better you will be as a competitor. The more self-respect you have, the more you will stay on the route that you have worked out.
Although it will probably help to have someone to persuade and support you,in the end you will train and race successfully because you want to,not because somebody else wants you to. This strength of mind and character is best seen in those men and women who do essentially solitary deeds or carry essentially solitary responsibilities.
The true athlete must have this kind of spirit--vigorous,sane,not easily demoralized or defeated. Allied to intelligence,it prophesies success.
The cultivation of this spirit,or will-power,is possible. Running coach Franz Stampfl has said, 'It is capable of tremendous development under training and stimulus, or of near extinction under neglect.'
Accept the very severe limitations under which the animal body must work(need for sleep and rest,capacity to function only within a narrow range of temperatures,need for proper nourishment,sensitivity to heavy and repeated doses of fatigue,etc.). And while not giving way to slight signs of discomfort, learn to judge when you have started to break yourself down rather than build yourself up. The history of running is littered with the bodies of people who believed that all they had to do was an exert an iron will in order to succeed. Their success was finally not much greater than that of men and women who lacked the necessary will; their frustrations and disappointments were bigger.
The best advice is that given by a former British Olympic runner,Frank Sando, who recommended that young athletes should "make haste slowly.". Nature cannot be hurried, as coach Percy Cerutty is rightly fond of pointing out.There are no crash courses in the preparation of a runner, but the iron-willed athlete who lacks intelligence thinks there are(editor: so true!). It is when that iron will is a partner to intelligence that athletic greatness emerges.
Cultivate your physical resources. Don't try to thrash them into life, or you may end up killing them.
The pride which is an integral part of an athlete's character operates to make him or her, want to carry through whatever plans have conceived. It also operates to make the athlete want to beat other athletes.This,after all,is what competition is all about. There is satisfaction in beating a stopwatch.There is more satisfaction in beating other runners. While this kind of pride need not--and preferably does not--become an arrogance that sees defeated opponents as necessarily inferior people,it will be very stubborn and evident to its owner.
Finally,the athlete is well advised to keep running in its place. Be passionately involved in it,certainly. Exert yourself to succeed. Get from running the massive satisfaction that running offers. Yet be a rounded,sensitive,literate human being. It is not the job of athletics to produce people who know or care for nothing except athletics. Keep it in its proper place."
The writer brings forth many good and insightful things to consider.
By the way,when was the last time you went to a site or mag and read a quote by coach, and Cerutty nemesis,Franz Stampfl?


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Final Interviews, Arthur Lydiard

I hesitate to say that the following is the final interview Arthur did before he died because it seemed as if he was continuously doing interviews. With that said, it would not be a stretch to say it was one of his last ones. I've singled out portions of the interview that contain information I hope is unfamiliar to most readers. I'll put my "two cents" in here and there.
First off,Lydiard addresses the many benefits of cross-country training.
"Interviewer: How important is cross-country training and racing?
Arthur: Cross-country has always been a vital part of my training program. You can develop fine muscular endurance and suppleness in your stride by running cross-country. It also develops good running form and strengthens your muscles. When you engage yourself in road races,most of the time it is flat and fast because of the traction and it really puts lots of pressure by the heart. In other words,you are pushing yourself in a very anaerobic situation. On the other hand,in cross-country-and this I mean try cross-country races in Europe,not a flat gold course with firm footing in America,which is nothing more than a glorified road race.The pressure is put on your muscles because of hills and uneven and slippery footing, your overall general conditioning can be developed without taxing your body too much anaerobically. So cross-country training and racing is one of the best forms for general conditioning.
"Interviewer: Should cross-country be more of an emphasis for 800-1,500 guys?
Arthur: Runners for all distances can benefit from training for cross-country."
Lydiard is then asked about stretching and said that although he is not against it,he felt that it is often overemphasized by coaches and overdone by runners. Again, the benefits of cross-country are brought up.
Interviewer:How much stretching should a distance runner do?
Arthur: You should do some,particularly when you do faster training.However,if you do lots of hill running or cross-country running,your muscles will be stretched."
A few thoughts come to mind regarding the above. If you are one who desires peak conditioning and/or racing excellence,you are making a serious mistake if you exclude cross-country from your training regimen.The benefits are irrefutable. I have known many runners who won't do cross-country because they; #1. don't want to bother finding or travelling to the locale to do that type of training.#2.the uneven footing and terrain are uncomfortable when compared to the roads.
As far as stretching? Personally speaking,I agree with Lydiard, it's need and benefits are overrated.There was a time decades ago when stretching was considered essential to a runner's ability to continue running injury free.All types of stretching routines,yoga workouts,etc., were being promoted in the books and magazines. Sometime after, articles came out stating that runners were often doing themselves more harm than good by stretching improperly.The reality is, for most, when beginning a run, you can warm or stimulate the muscles by doing some walking, followed by a period of easy jogging after which you start your workout. You should finish a workout by jogging slowly, then walking and ending it with a few basic stretches(quad and calf) familiar to most every runner. If you talk to those in the running community whom I call the "old-timers", you will rarely find one that who has found it necessary to spend too much time stretching.
It was once believed,and may still be believed for that matter,that every serious marathoner only has a handful of excellent marathons "in him." Arthur responds to this school of thought.
"Interviewer:One elite marathoner said to me that he thinks there might only be about five good marathons in the body. Is there a limit an elite athlete should race at the marathon distance? Arthur:That's alot of rubbish. You can run more than that. That's the question of recovery. With so much money involved in marathon running today,some elite runners have run a marathon,picked up a check and moved on to the next marathon to get paid again without adequate recovery. That shortened their career. But, if you're careful about recovery,you can keep on running marathons and keep improving."
The above goes for us mere mortals too. I've known many runners who have started running road races less than two weeks after racing a marathon. As I've said before,just because your body may be able to tolerate doing so,doesn't mean you should or that it's good for you.
"Interviewer:What is the most important component to marathon training?
Arthur: The most important thing in running a marathon is muscular endurance.If you want to run a good marathon,you've got to do long runs.If you are a serious runner,it helps to go as far as 30 miles in preparation."
I guess the key words here would be,a seasoned runner, as well as a serious runner.It only makes sense that you'd have to have put in the time and the miles before going out for a 30 mile jaunt. Lydiard also advocated running for a certain amount of time as opposed to miles for novices and those who were gaining in experience. I call it time out on your feet. I have found that in preparing for a marathon,that by going out for a run interspersed with some walking breaks for a total of 4 hours has been very effective. I should add that previous to this I had done some 20+ mile runs.
I close with some words by the Master that sums up what is needed to train successfully:
"If you want to be a successful runner,you have to consider everything.You have to take a long view and train on all aspects of development(anaerobic,aerobic,etc.) through a systematic program. It's a lot of hard work for five,six or seven years. There's no secret formula. There's no shortcut to success."
Athletes who aspire to achieve running excellence recognize that hard work is a part of the process,however,for those of us who live for the run,that work is a labor of love.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Advice For Young Athletes

What you are about to read is some advice given by Percy Cerutty in a letter to a young athlete who had asked him for his thoughts on achieving success.Not surprisingly,his responses are applicable to athletes of any age.Percy wrote: "To have success in something requires:
1.Imagination.
2.Finding the way and means.
3.Self-discipline.
4.Concentration on task.
5.Persistence.
6.Faith in oneself.
7.The quality of 'rather die than give in or be ultimately beaten.'
8.The recognition,until one's goals are achieved,that one cannot serve two masters,that one goal must,and does,take precedence over the other.
9.The recognition,as we overcome so we strengthen to overcome better, and as we weaken in our resolves,so we become weaker and less capable of worthwhile achievement.
10.Total commitment to your goal."
The above is sensible advice and well put,but,I find #9 to be very insightful and well worth thinking about. As they say, success can breed more success, so does failure have the potential to lead to more failure. We have read in previous posts that acceptance of being beaten without putting up a serious fight sets the stage for future loses.
One other thing I would like to add which is a little off the subject but should be remembered when working with younger athletes in particular, it is important that a love of running should be nurtured in the athlete. When a love for the sport exists,the athlete's ability to deal with disappointments,loses and the occasional rigors that come with it are better dealt with and accepted. A pox on those individuals and coaches who destroy a young athlete's enjoyment of the sport because of their selfish preoccupation with 'winning at all costs'. I've seen that happen too often in my career as a coach.Nothing is more empty and shallow than an athlete who runs solely to win and holds no love for the sport he is involved in.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

From the Archives, pt.10, Running Profile

The following is another excerpt from The Stotan News written sometime in the mid 90's. It was meant to be a good-natured jab directed at a local writer from my former hometown who published a weekly column on all things pertaining to racing,training and running. This person,whom I'll call Daniel,wrote with conviction and authority on running but really didn't possess either of those qualities as it pertained to the sport. There wasn't a running fad, a training system,gadget, piece of equipment or machine that came out which Dan didn't endorse enthusiastically. He was big on Owen Anderson when he was popular and totally bought into the Jeff Galloway,running too much is bad for you mindset preached during the 90's.Sadly,Dan was clueless when it came to training properly.He rarely linked poor training habits and injuries to the program someone was following,consequently,he believed that visiting medical practitioners was the answer instead of evaluating how one trained. I should confess that this mock interview was motivated by two things: one being that he was a no show when the legendary Arthur Lydiard came to town to do his seminar( he went to see Galloway but not Lydiard?),and secondly,while he would write at length on every local running club, he totally ignored the Stotans. This was particularly galling because we had lots of team success at the area road races as well as on the trails everywhere else.I should say before I begin that I finished the "interview" by acknowledging that Dan's running column was appreciated by most runners in W.N.Y.
Editor: First of all Dan,I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us a little about your involvement with running.
Dan: Well, I sort of got interested in it after Fred Shorter's victory at the '72 Olympics-I began doing some jogging to supplement my tennis workouts.
Editor: You mean Frank Shorter.
Dan: Oh,yes,Frank,Frank Shorter.
Editor: How much were you running?
Dan: 2 to 3 miles, 4 times a week. After Fred's,I mean Frank's silver medal at the '76 Olympics my interest was really sparked. I gave up tennis which was causing me alot of elbow problems. I found that it was inevitable that if you play alot of tennis,you will eventually have that problem,my orthopedic doctor told me.
Editor: So the running started taking off?
Dan:You bet it did! I hooked up with the local Chess Running Club and started training intensely,track workouts 3 times a week plus a tempo run on Saturdays.
Editor: What about doing base work?
Dan: Huh?
Editor:You know,long easy stuff.
Dan: Oh yeah, we'd do a 12 miler on Sunday's. Tom,the team coach, said too much slow stuff makes you slow.
Editor: Any injuries?
Dan: A bunch,mostly leg and foot problems but my podiatrist said this was due to the fact I suppinate causing an imbalance when my right foot lands. Also, a chiropractor I was seeing suggested that some of the problems might be the result of my left leg being a little longer than my right. Between the two of these guys,and my orthopedist,I was able to keep running.
Editor:What's your favorite shoe?
Dan:Shoe?
Editor: You know,running shoe?
Dan:Oh, I thought you were referring to my Bruno Maglis! For running I like the Nike Air Max Lite, a great shoe that accommodates my orthotics well.
Editor: Tell us about your marathon experience.
Dan: I've had some problems with that distance, all of which seem to relate to my body's tendency to deplete of glycogen rather early in the race compared to the average runner. For a while it was quite perplexing--I mean,I was doing the work,20 milers and mile reps but I was still crashing. The Chess Club's nutritional consultant, Clark Nancie, put me on a vitamin/fluid replacement regimen that may be taking care of this problem.
Editor: So Dan,let's take it to the here and now,how has your running evolved? Tell us about your current training regimen.
Dan:About 8 months ago I was reading an article by Geoff Halliday(former elite U.S. distance runner),he was discussing his training system. He stressed the need to back off a little in our training as we age, so due to the fact that I'm 37 now, and considering all the injuries I've had,I thought I'd give his program a try.
Editor: Tell us about your program.
Dan:I'm running 3 days a week. One day is a 5k tempo run that is done at my projected per mile pace for a 5k plus 30 secs. The day after this I usually rollerblade or use my aerodyne rowing machine. Then the next day is leg speed drills, I do 50 to 100 meter floats with a 200 meter walking recovery between each. This is a 30 to 45 minute session. After this I take 2 days off and on 1 of those days I usually go to the Buffalo Athletic Club and lift weights. On the last day I do my big run which is 11 miles. When the weather's bad I'll do that one on my treadmill,in the winter I do all my runs on it.
Editor: How do you like it(the treadmill)?
Dan: For 3,000 dollars you better believe I like it! It's the same one Jennings and Brantley use.
Editor: So Dan, what results are you seeing from Geoff's program?
Dan: Well, I'm not hitting the 5k times like I once did but I attribute that to the fact that I'm older, but at least I'm staying healthy.
Editor: Did you ever think your slower 5ks might be the result of Geoff's program?
Dan: No,he's a former Olympian,he knows what he's talking about! In fact,I just got his software training program which is great! He's also got a line of vitamins and supplements he's personally developed. If anyone wants to,they can be a distributor for these products which will entitle you to big discounts. Geoff corresponds only through email,I'd like to give his address in case any of your readers might be interested.
Editor: Well,I don't think our readership is oriented that way but go ahead.
Dan:It's GHAL@pyramid.com
Editor:Thanks Dan,thanks again for taking the time to talk with us.
Dan: Anytime!