Friday, October 30, 2009

At the risk of sounding like a whiner...

I'm going to complain some more about the pool situation at the gym (Urban Active). My first complaint was that the pools are not a standard length. While it makes my training a little more difficult, it's something that I can deal with.

My latest complaint has to do with a recent rule change. The pool used to be open anytime the gym was...with the exception being the time that the Aqua Fitness classes were being held. All of the sudden, starting back on October 1st, the pool hours changed. The pool was no longer open until 8:00am. Well, considering that I do ALL of my swim training in the mornings before work, this poses a problem. I just don't have the time to go back to the gym after work. I can sometimes sneak in a run in the evenings, but going back to the gym for a swim session is not an option.

Apparently, they are now enforcing a law that wasn't previously enforced. After doing a little research, I found the law.


(2) PUBLIC POOL AND SPA DEFINED.—In this subsection,
the term ‘‘public pool and spa’’ means a swimming pool or
spa that is—
(A) open to the public generally, whether for a fee
or free of charge;
(B) open exclusively to—
(i) members of an organization and their guests;
(ii) residents of a multi-unit apartment building,
apartment complex, residential real estate development,
or other multi-family residential area (other than
a municipality, township, or other local government
jurisdiction); or
(iii) patrons of a hotel or other public accommodations
facility; or
(C) operated by the Federal Government

So, according to the law, the gym pool is considered a "public" pool...even though it's considered a "private" club because you have to pay a membership fee. Here's the exact law that's making my life difficult:

When the public swimming pool is without water safety personnel on duty, a locked barrier with a minimum height of 4 ft. shall be present at the pool entrance. In addition, one of the following warning signs shall be placed in plain view with lettering 2 inches in height:




After emailing my complaint to Urban Active "Customer Service" (which I never received a reply to), and encouraging others to do so...they made a slight change to the new rule. You can now use the pool before 8:00am, but only if there are at least two people in the pool. This makes sense based on option (B) in the law stated above (which I will admit is already posted in the pool area). After 8:00am, the gym has two employees "working". One of which could go to the pool and watch a lone swimmer.

While I understand the need for this law in some public pools, I think that the law uses too wide of a brush in determining what constitutes a "public" pool. You sign a waiver when you join the gym freeing them from any liability if you become injured. This doesn't apply to the pool? I also think that the gym should spend the money and have an extra employee present from 5am to 8am. Our gym memberships are not why is the gym management? The gym didn't make this law, but they can abide by it with very little effort.

I've been able to swim a few mornings since the change, but only because I see other people in there and I hurry up and get in while I can. This isn't going to work when I get back on a strict training schedule starting next week. I may have to join the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center to get in my pool training...but why should I have to join an Aquatic Center when my gym has a pool?!?!

1 hour of weights (shoulders, traps, abs)
35 minutes of swimming:
5 minute warm-up followed by pyramid intervals with 1:30 rest in between
8 lengths (3:30)
12 lengths (5:35)
18 lengths (8:25)
12 lengths (5:42)
8 lengths (3:45)
5 minute cool-down

This was a tough workout today. It wasn't all that far (about 0.85 miles) and I didn't even push the pace, but I was gassed after just a few laps. Clearly, my body is still not at 100%.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More on Training Zones

The VO2 Max Test gave me some good information on what my heart rate should be while training. Triathlon coach and author Joe Friel uses 6 workout intensity zones. Here's his description of each:

Zone 1 (Warmup/Recovery): These are the easiest workouts, and the ones that help fit and experienced athletes rejuvenate the body following hard workouts. Intensity is low. 60-75% of your max heart rate.

Zone 2 (Extensive Endurance): Long endurance workouts are done in this zone. Aerobic endurance is built and eventually maintained by exercising at this effort. 75-80% of your max heart rate.

Zone 3 (Intensive Endurance): Slightly higher intensity, more fast-twitch muscles are called upon. Training in this zone is employed primarily in the base building period.80-85% of max heart rate.

Zone 4 & 5a (Threshold): After zone 2, this is the second most important training zone for a multisport athlete. Long durations at this intensity are measured in minutes, not hours. Since work is now maximally aerobic, the energy-production systems of the body are highly stressed. This zone is right around your Lactate Threshold or Ventilatory Threshold (zone 4 is below your LT/VT, zone 5a is above it). 85-90% of max heart rate.

Zone 5b (Anaerobic Endurance): This is the zone where interval training is done. Fast-twitch muscles are used in this zone, which stimulate their growth and development. Training in this zone should be approached with caution and followed by extended recovery. 90-95% of max heart rate.

Zone 5c (Power): This zone is very rarely used my a multisport athlete. Duration in this zone is only a matter of seconds. Short, explosive intervals at done in this zone with long recoveries in between. Two or more recovery days are often necessary following one of these sessions. 95-100% of max heart rate.

Finding your true max heart rate can only be done with a test (such as a VO2 max), done in a controlled environment. But a good way to get you in the ball-park is to subtract your age from 220 (males), or 226 (females).

If you have a heart rate monitor, make sure that you are training the right zones. Training at a heart rate too low will keep you from improving, while training at a heart rate too high can lead to chronic fatigue and injury.

Back to the gym this morning and 50 minutes on the bike. Good workout with hills and a few sprints (approx. 18 miles)
20 minutes of light weights (back, biceps)
Feeling much better today - felt good to get back in the gym!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Should I Train Even Though I'm Sick?

You may have noticed that I didn't have a "TODAY'S WORKOUT" posted yesterday...or today. It's because I've used my morning workout time to catch some extra ZZZ's and try to get over my head cold.

I feel like I could do some training, but should I? It's a common question..."Should I train when I'm sick?"

Here's some basic rules to follow:

1. If the illness is above your throat, you can train. But if it is in your chest, you should not.

2. If you don't feel well enough to go to work, then you don't feel well enough to train.

3. If you have a fever - skip the workout. Your body is fighting the illness and all of your energy needs to be devoted to getting healthy!

4. If you are having trouble breathing, then don't try to run/bike/swim.

These are just some general guidelines, but just use common sense. I probably could have got up and done a workout the last two days, but I just didn't feel right when the alarm when off at I turned it off and stayed in bed. Listen to your body and you will recover from your illness much quicker!

Fortunately for me, this little virus decided to visit me during my down time. The timing couldn't be much better. This week was going to be "light" for me anyway. I'm currently finishing up my training plan for the next year, which I plan to start next week. I'm sure I'll be feeling fine by then.

One more thing while I'm on the subject. Please cough and sneeze INTO YOUR SLEEVE, NOT YOUR HANDS! The best place to cough or sneeze is into your sleeve - specifically the elbow joint. When bent, your arm moulds to your nose and mouth, creating a confined area to cough or sneeze into. Do you part to stop H1N1!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More on VO2 Max Test Results

Warning! Warning! Engineering nerd alert!!! This post contains lots of charts and graphs, which I love, because I'm an Engineer...I can't help it!

So the main reason for having my VO2 max tested was to determine what my correct training zones should be. I've always trained hard, but with this data, I can now train smart!

I'm reading Joe Friel's "The Triathlete's Training Bible" to plan my training for the next year. The book lays out workouts according to training zones. These zones are based on your heart rate. Part of the VO2 max test was to determine where my heart rate should be in each training zone.

Zone 1 (recovery): 112-138 bpm
Zone 2 (extensive endurance): 139-151 bpm - this is where I will do the majority of my training
Zone 3 (intensive endurance): 152-158 bpm
Zones 4 & 5a (threshold): 159-173 bpm
Zone 5b (anaerobic endurance): 174-179 bpm
Zone 5c (power): 180-186 bpm

Take a look at this chart form the VO2 max test results. Note that right around 375-400 watts, my heart rate reached it's threshold (170-175 bpm). This means that in this heart rate zone I'm at my aerobic max. Time spent in this zone will be logged in minutes, not hours.

These two graphs show HR (heart rate) over time and VE (expired ventilation) over time for the entire VO2 max test. You can see that on both graphs, right around the 6 minute mark things changed. My heart rate began to increase rapidly after briefly leveling out and my VE went through the roof. This is around the point where I had to start working harder to maintain the desired power level.

If you notice, my HR is around 140 at this point, which is in zone 2. This zone is where long endurance workouts will take place. Aerobic endurance is built and eventually maintained by exercising in this zone. This is the level where you can run while carrying on a conversation.

Monday, October 26, 2009

VO2 Max Test Results

Keith Sherman from Velocity Sports Performance (free endorsement) did my VO2 Max Testing on Saturday at Cycler's Cafe. It was a pretty interesting test. Keith did a great job explaining exactly what I needed to do and how the test was going to go. The actual test is pretty much what I expected, but I'm getting a lot more data than I thought I would. Over the next few days I explain in more detail what data the results contained and how I will use it in my training for my 2010 races.

Here's some crude pics of the test taken by Jessica with my cell phone:

A power meter was hooked up to White Lightning (my bike) and after a warm-up, I was instructed to ride at 75 Watts for 30 seconds, then 100 Watts for 30 seconds, 125, 150, etc. We went all the way up to 400 Watts before I ran out of gas. My heart rate and breathing were monitored throughout and came up with some interesting results.

VO2 Max Attained = 59.9 ml/kg/min
Max Heart Rate Achieved = 175 bpm

VO2 max is a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use. It is measured in milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min). VO2 max is simply a measure of the oxygen that the athlete consumes at the maximum level of energy output.

So how do my numbers compare?

For my age, here's the VO2 Max of the general population:
<31.5 = Very Poor
31.5 - 35.4 = Poor
35.5 - 40.9 = Fair
41.0 - 44.9 = Good
45.0 - 49.4 = Excellent
> 49.5 = Superior

But, in all fairness, I don't consider my fitness level to be equal to the "general population". So how do I compare with other athletes? According to most reports, a trained male athlete should be somewhere in the range of 45-60 ml/kg/min. An elite athlete usually measures in 60+ ml/kg/min.

Highest ever recorded was 96.0 ml/kg/min by Espen Harald Bjerke (some Norwegian cross county skier). Lance Armstrong tested at 84.0 ml/kg/min, and famous marathon runner Bill Rodgers was at 78.5 ml/kg/min.

So while I would like to take all the credit for my relatively high VO2 Max, studies show that it is to a large extent determined by your genes; but it can be increased by training. Most people can increase their VO2 max by between 5% and 20%; but there is a small proportion of the population for whom training seems to make little difference. So thanks Mom & Dad! More so Dad...I'm sure his background in bike racing had more than a little something to do with my results. Plus, he shared the news with me yesterday that when tested during flight school, he recorded one of the highest VO2 max ratings in his class.

1 hour on the bike - some good hills with speed intervals mixed in...probably covered 20 miles or so
30 minutes of weights (chest, triceps, abs)

Friday, October 23, 2009

VO2 Max Testing

My bike shop of choice here in Louisville is the Cycler's Cafe on Lexington Road. They are a small shop compared to others, but that's one of the reasons that I like going there. I had them do a bike fit for me when I bought my bike and I have all of my tune-ups done there.

When they sent me an email a few weeks back telling me about the VO2 max testing that they were offering at their shop, I immediately called and set up an appointment.

So the obvious question is, "What is VO2 max testing?".
VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake or aerobic capacity) is the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and utilize oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual. The name is derived from V - volume per time, O2 - oxygen, max - maximum. Accurately measuring VO2 max is not something that you can do on your own. It involves a graded exercise test in which exercise intensity is progressively increased while measuring ventilation and oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration of the inhaled and exhaled air. VO2 max is reached when oxygen consumption remains at steady state despite an increase in workload.

Here's a sample of what a VO2 max test looks like:

So the next question is..."What do you do with the test results?"
As I develop my training plan for the next year, knowing what my aerobic capacity is will come in very handy. I can plan my workouts based on heart rate zones and rating of perceived exertion on a scale of 1 to 10. My training in the past hasn't been this involved, it was based more on time and distance. Workouts based on intensity are the more efficient and effective way to train.

I go for my VO2 max test tomorrow afternoon...check back for the results!

Ran 2 miles at 7:30/mile pace with 5 minute warm-up and cool-down
35 minutes of weights (shoulders & traps)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2010 Louisville Triple Crown of Running

If you live in or near Louisville and are a runner, you have to participate in the races held around Kentucky Derby time every year. The dates of the races have been announced and registration is open! There are a total of 4 races (first 3 are called the "Triple Crown of Running"), and no matter what your ability, there's a race just for you.

Race #1: Anthem 5K Fitness Classic (3/6/10) - 5K (3.10 miles)

Race #2: Rodes City Run 10K (3/20/10) - 10K (6.20 miles)

Race #3: Papa John’s 10 Miler (4/3/10) - 16.09K (10 miles)

Race #4: Derby Festival Mini-Marathon/Marathon (4/24/10) - 21K (13.1 miles) / 42K (26.2 miles)

I've already registered for all but the 10 miler (I may be on vacation that week). So if you are looking for some motivation, go ahead and register now! Start training today and come spring time, these distances will seem like a piece of cake!

Register for the races by following these links:

Triple Crown of Running (Races 1, 2 & 3)

Anthem 5K Fitness Classic

Rodes City Run 10K

Papa John’s 10 Miler

Derby Festival Mini-Marathon/Marathon

50 minutes of spinning (lots of sprints), probably covered around 18 miles
30 minutes of weights (legs and abs)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

These dudes are hard core!

If you are a runner, you've at one point or another had a black toenail or lost a toenail altogether. It's just a part of being a runner...not pretty, but you deal with it. According to an article in the New York Times today, some ultramarathoners have their battered toenails surgically removed — for good. Ultramarathons are 50 to 100 mile races. The surgery involves having acid poured onto a nail bed!

The podiatrists interviewed for the article said that permanent toenail removal should be a last resort. Many blackened toenails can be solved by wearing shoes that aren’t too snug, or ones that accommodate the foot swelling that’s the norm with long distances, or by filing the nails flat on top.

My wife is already disgusted by my feet - hate to think about what they would look like without toenails!!

45 minutes of weights (back, biceps and abs)
15 minutes of swimming - first time back in the pool in about 2 weeks, felt good to swim again. Took me a few laps to get in a rythym. Did about 5 minutes of swimming drills after 10 minutes of laps.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Louisville Half-Marathon Results

Results were posted yesterday and to my surprise, my time was good enough for 5th in my age group. Here's my official results:

Chip time - 1:43:39.90
Gun time - 1:44:36.70 (01:11.00 difference)
Pace - 7:54/mile

5th out of 56 in the male age 30-34 group
70th out of 577 overall runners

The chip time is my official time based on the timing chip I wore around my ankle. The gun time is from the time the race started until I crossed the finish line. It took me 1 minute and 11 seconds to get to the start line once the race started. In hindsight, I should have started closer to the front - I wouldn't have had to pass so many people during that first mile!

Thanks to the race organizers, Headfirst Performance. Todd and Cynthia Heady always do a great job with their events, and this was no exception! Plenty of water stations and volunteers along the course. I will definitely run this one again next year...who knows, maybe I'll try the full marathon!

1 hour on the bike (around 17 miles)
30 minutes of weights (chest, triceps, abs)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Revenge is a race best run in the cold: The Louisville Half-Marathon Story

So after running the worst race of my life during the Derby Festival mini-marathon back in April of this year, I knew that I had to redeem myself...that's why I signed up for the Louisville Half-Marathon as soon as registration opened. I needed revenge on 13.1 miles! After my embarrassing time of 2:09, I tired to figure out why I didn't have legs after mile 6. Was it the unseasonably warm weather, was it the training? Who knows, but I knew that I would need to train properly for this race to avoid another let-down.

Got up this morning at 5:15 and ate a beagle with some almond butter. Started sipping water while I was getting dressed. Checked the weather...34 degrees...perfect. Put on my cold-weather running gear and was on the way to the race start by 6:15. Got to the site and had no problems getting my race packet and emptying some excess fluids. Met up with a friend and walked form the race headquarters over to the race start around 7:20. Tried to warm-up with some stretching and easy jogging, but it was cold! I knew that I wouldn't get warm until I started running. Race started a few minutes after's my mile times with comments:

Mile 1: 7:45
First mile was very crowded - spent a lot of time running on the grass to get around slower runners. I was expecting it to be slow mile, and was surprised by the time.
Mile 2: 7:56 (Total time of 15:42)
Still trying to get room to run. By this point, we had moved from the road to a sidewalk, so space was at a premium. Still didn't feel like I was in a rhythm.
Mile 3: 7:34 (23:16)
We were back on the road and I was finally able to get some room. I guess I was a little too excited about not having to run around people - pace this mile was too fast.
Mile 4: 8:07 (31:23)
After seeing my split for mile 3, I knew that I needed to slow down...and I did. I wanted to keep my miles around 8 minutes, but I wasn't worried about being I few minutes over on this one, I knew that I had some time to spare from my fast split on mile 3.
Mile 5: 7:59 (39:23)
Finally found a group of runners that were running the same pace and stuck with them for this mile. We were making our way towards downtown Louisville on River Road - great view! On my long runs, I usually know by mile 4 or 5 how the run is going to go. I still felt great at this point in the race, so I knew that I had a chance to finish well.
Mile 6: 8:24 (47:48)
This mile was my slowest. Not really sure why. I was still hanging with the same group. This was the mile that had the only real hill of the course, so maybe that explains the time. I also ate a gel on this mile, which slowed me down a little bit.
Mile 7: 7:32 (55:20)
This faster split was obviously due to my slow time on mile 6; I wanted to make up some time. We were back on the sidewalk, but the crowd had really thinned out by this time. About 3/4 of the way through mile 7, we turned around and headed back towards the start...this is always an encouraging moment!
Mile 8: 8:12 (1:03:33)
Once during just about every mile, I would check my cadence. I was always in the 29-31 range except for the time I checked it during mile 8. I had dropped down to 28. Not sure if I just zoned out, or if my legs were starting to get tired. Either way, I'm sure this is why my time for this mile was slower than I wanted.
Mile 9: 7:53 (1:11:26)
I was passed by two guys during mile 8. I made an effort not to let them out of my sight. I maintained the same speed as them during mile 9. This mile and mile 7 were both literally right along the Ohio River. Beautiful view of the sun coming up on the river...great day for a run!
Miles 10 & 11: 16:25 (1:27:52)
The mile marker for mile 10 was missing, so the time was combined for miles 10 and 11. It was a little slow, but since I didn't get my split until after running two miles, I didn't know that I was running slower. I still had both of those guys in sight. One about 25 yards ahead of me, the other about a 100 yards.
Mile 12: 7:44 (1:35:36)
Still felt strong, so I picked up the pace a little during mile 12. Runners were very thinned out, so I could only see about 4 or 5 in front of me. I caught up with the first guy that had passed me and were were running stride for stride heading into the last mile.
Mile 13: 7:13 (1:42:49)
Legs were a little tired, but I knew that I had a kick I shifted gears once I passed the sign for mile 12. The first guy that had passed me at mile 8 wasn't able to keep up and I left him behind. I was closing in on the other guy. Breathing was up a bit, but I knew that I could push it to the end. As we turned off of River Road onto the Water Tower road, he was about 50 yards ahead. I moved into and all-out sprint for the last 1/4 mile, but I couldn't catch him...beat me by literally 5 feet.

TOTAL TIME = 1:43:40 (7:54 minutes/mile pace)

To say I'm happy with my race is an understatement. I trained hard for this race and it paid off. I completely obliterated my previous PR and goal for this race. Almost more encouraging than anything is that I still had enough left after 12 miles to run a very fast final mile. This is the race that I needed to finish off the season and head into winter. Already looking forward to my first triathlon in the spring!

I'll work on my training/race calendar this week and probably start training again next week...stay tuned!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Louisville Half-Marathon

With the race less than 38 hours away, it's time to talk about what my goals are for the race. Since this is technically an "off season/training race", goal #1 is to stay healthy and avoid injuries.

Goal #2 is to run my fastest half-marathon evah! This will be my 4th time running this distance. All of the previous races were the Derby Festival mini-marathon ('00, '01 & '09). Although this course doesn't include the leg-killing hills or Iroquois Park, it's still 13.1 miles - which seems like a good piece.

I don't have my official times from the 2000 & 2001 races (results on the race website only go back to '03), but I know that my time in 2001 was my fastest and I ran a little over an average of 8:30 miles. That would put my total time in the 1 hr, 52 minute range. So anything under 1:52 on Sunday, and I'll be happy.

Forecast still calling for low to mid 30's on Sunday morning...and I'm lovin' it!

30 minute recovery run - ran around an 8:00/mile pace with a 5 minute warm-up and cool-down, then some stretching. Rest tomorrow, race on Sunday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How much water should you drink each day?

Staying hydrated is critical to any endurance athlete. Leading up to my race on Sunday, I've been making an effort on getting plenty of water this week. You can't just drink a lot of water the day before, it takes several days to properly hydrate before a long race.

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

Several approaches attempt to approximate water needs for the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate.

* Replacement approach. The average urine output for adults is about 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) a day. You lose close to an additional liter of water a day through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Food usually accounts for 20 percent of your total fluid intake, so if you consume 2 liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than 8 cups) along with your normal diet, you will typically replace the lost fluids.
* Eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Another approach to water intake is the "8 x 8 rule" — drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (about 1.9 liters). The rule could also be stated, "drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day," as all fluids count toward the daily total. Though the approach isn't supported by scientific evidence, many people use this basic rule as a guideline for how much water and other fluids to drink.
* Dietary recommendations. The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

It's kind of gross, but the bottom line is to just look at your urine. If it's colorless or slightly yellow, your fluid intake is probably adequate.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Carbo-Loading: Does it work?

As I'm doing my final few runs leading up to Sunday's race, I've been asked if I'm "Carbo-Loading" this week. The answer is not really. I'm pretty much sticking to my normal diet, which naturally consists of lots of carbs.

There's lots of carbo-loading plans out there. They all pretty much start a week before your race. Some tell you to do a long-hard workout one week before your race, then each a high-carbohydrate diet for the week leading up to the race while training lightly.

Others suggest slowly building up the amount of carbs you eat during the week of the race. Then 24 hours before your race, do a short-hard workout, followed by a day of loading up on carbs.

Note that you should increase your carbohydrate intake not by increasing your total caloric intake, but rather by reducing fat and protein intake in an amount that equals or slightly exceeds the amount of carbohydrate you add. Combining less training with more total calories could result in last-minute weight gain that will only slow you down.

When you exercise vigorously almost every day, your body never gets a chance to fully replenish its glycogen stores before the next workout reduces them again. Only after 48 hours of very light training or complete rest are your glycogen levels fully compensated.

Having said all of this, just about every study has shown that carbo-loading in general will enhance race performance only when athletes consume little or no carbohydrates during the race itself. If you do use a sports drink or sports gels/gu's as fuel during your race--as you should--prior carbo-loading probably will have little to no effect. But it doesn't hurt to do it anyway.

1.21 mile warm-up at 8:15/mile pace
5 minutes of drills
3 laps (1.21 miles per lap) around the mall a little faster than half-marathon pace
Lap 1: 9:22 (7:44/mile)
Lap 2: 9:26 (7:47/mile)
Lap 3: 9:18 (7:41/mile)
A cool-down lap at around 8:30/mile pace

Total workout: 6.05 miles in 50 minutes (time includes warm-up, drills and cool-down)

Today's workout ended up being a good confidence boost if nothing else. I felt a little tight during my warm-up lap, but once I got going on my three faster laps, I felt good. Early weather forecast is calling for temperatures in the high 30's/low 40's Sunday morning - sounds perfect to me!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Best way to increase endurance is...

to either run long and fast or run long and slow. Yes, I know that they are not the same, but what works for one runner may not work for another. So it's best to try one method for a while...if you don't see results, try the other.

The endurance program based on long, hard runs has been popularized the last several years by marathon world record holder Khalid Khannouchi. Khannouchi does ferocious long runs-so fast and sustained that he gets nervous for several days before them.

What you should do: On your long runs, pick up the pace for the last 25 percent of the distance. Gradually accelerate to your race goal pace, or even your tempo-run pace. You don't have to attack your long run the way Khannouchi does, and you shouldn't collapse when you finish. But you should run hard enough at the end to accustom your body to the late-race fatigue of a long race.

The other approach is to focus on consistent, easy-paced training runs that help build endurance without getting hurt every couple of months.

This technique emphasizes "effort-based training," and keeping the effort modest (at 80 percent of the speed you could race the same distance) most of the time.

What you should do: Do most of your runs at 80 percent of the speed you could race the same distance. So, if you can race 10 miles at 7:30 pace, you should do your 10-mile training runs at 9:23. To convert a race pace to an 80-percent training pace, multiply the race pace by 1.25.

During my training for the race this Sunday, I've applied the long and fast approach. I've been running at the pace that I hope to run during the race. Although, I'm about half-way through reading "The Triathlete's Training Bible", and I can tell you that I will have some slower runs in my future!

45 minutes of spin at the gym - lots of intervals and speed with a few short hills mixed in
45 minutes of weights (chest, triceps and abs)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More on Ironman World Championship Results

I wasn't there, so I'll just give you what someone that was wrote...

Karin Stanton/Hawaii247 Contributing Editor

Craig Alexander ran down Chris Lieto in the last 5 miles to capture his second straight world title, the first man to repeat since Tim De Boom in 2002.

He crossed the finish line at 8 hours, 20 minutes, 21 seconds – greeted by wife Neri and daughter Lucy, 4, who was more impressed with her father’s pretty lei than his world champion title.

Alexander, 36, joined three other men in repeating as Ironman World Championship and did it in dramatic fashion. In addition to De Boom, Dave Scott and Mark Allen have back-to-back wins.

The Australian conquerer was back 12 minutes off the bike, but surged to victory with a blistering 2:48 marathon.

“It was so hard today,” Alexander said. “The beautiful thing about this race is that every time you race here you learn something about yourself.”
The start saw two men take the early lead – Americans John Flanagan and Andy Potts, who suffered a nasty bike wreck just weeks ago and who dedicated his race to his “nana,” who passed away two months ago, and for his father-in-law, whose funeral was Saturday.

That early lead was quickly erased as up to 20 men bunched together, before Lieto zipped out front.

Lieto took his 12-minute lead off the bike, well ahead of 2007 champion Chris McCormack, Maik Twelsiek and 2005 Kona champion Faris Al-Sultan.

McCormack couldn’t capitalize – even slowing to a walking pace for spells – as Alexander and Germany’s Andreas Raelert pushed each other and ground into Lieto’s lead.

Alexander finally made his move around the Natural Energy Lab, pulled away from Raelert and set his sights on Lieto.

He gnawed away at Lieto, who just couldn’t fight back and had to settle for second.

Raelert, an Ironman rookie, wound up in third place and McCormack clocked in fourth. Fifth place went to another rookie, Denmark’s Rasmus Henning, who had surgery within the last month to fix a broken hand.

On the womens side the incredible Chrissie Wellington Express wrote a new chapter in triathlon history by taking down the 17-year Ironman Hawaii race record held by eight-time winner Paula Newby-Fraser with a dominating 8:54:02 that outpaced runner-up rookie Mirinda Carfrae by the Paula-esque margin of 19:57. While Wellington surrendered her year-old run record to Carfrae's blazing 2:56:51 marathon, she upped her Ironman-distance win record to a perfect eight-for eight and took her third straight win at the sport's crown jewel, the Ironman World Championship in Kona.


4 mile run with three 1/2 mile intervals mixed in
total time was 29:31 (7:22/mile)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ironman World Championship Results

With the help of and Twitter, I was able to follow a lot of the race today. Andy Potts led out of the water before Faris Al-Sultan passed him on the bike. About half way through the bike American Chris Lieto took the lead. He built a big lead and was looking good heading into the final few miles of the run. He was caught at the very end by last year's winner Craig Alexander. Alexander won the race in 8 hours, 14 minutes, and 4 seconds. Lieto was 2nd with a time of 8:16:15.

Female winner was no surprise, Chrissie Wellington dominated from start to finish to repeat as Ironman World Champion. She's one special athlete.

More details and pics tomorrow...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ironman World Championship - Part 5

We know how tough it is to get to Kona, much less be competitive in the actual race. Here's a look at some of the more memorable athletes that have raced in the last 30 years...

Dave Scott - won the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii six times (1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1987). Because of his dominance in the early years of the sport, Scott is referred to as "The Man".

Dave Scott came out of 'retirement' in 1994 at age 40 to take second place at Kona, very nearly winning for a record-breaking seventh time. In 1996 at age 42, he returned again to place 5th. Running the marathon in 2:45.

Having started his impressive winning streak only two years after the first ever ironman contest, Dave Scott shaped the sport of triathlon like no other U.S. athlete.

Mark Allen - another six-time Ironman Triathon World Champion, but his success didn't come as instantly as Dave Scott's.
After competing and losing in the Ironman Triathlon Championships six times, Mark Allen emerged victorious in 1989. It would be the first of six Ironman victories for Allen, the last coming in 1995 at age 37, making him the oldest champion ever.

Over the course of his racing career, which ended in 1996, he maintained a 90% average in top-three finishes. He was named Triathlete of the Year six times by Triathlete magazine, and in 1997 Outside magazine tabbed him The World's Fittest Man.

Here's a clip of one of the Dave Scott vs. Mark Allen battles at Kona (gotta love the running shorts!):

In recent years, the top athletes have been Tim DeBoom (winner in '01 & '02), Normann Stadler ('04 & '06), Chris McCormack (2nd on '06, winner in '07) & Craig Alexander (2nd in '07 & winner in '08).

Looking forward to the big race tomorrow. I'll post the results tomorrow evening. The race isn't shown on TV (don't get me started on this!), but you can follow it live - race starts at 1pm EST (7am in Hawaii)

30 minute easy recovery run. Ran inside on the track due to the crappy weather. I didn't count the laps, but I probably went around 3.75 miles. Legs felt a little tired, looking forward to a day off tomorrow!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ironman World Championship - Part 4

The last few days we've covered the swim and bike portion of the Kona that just leaves us the run. As you know, this is a full marathon (26.2 miles).

The run leg in Kona is a tale of two courses. You have the incredibly humid five-mile out-and-back stretch along Ali'i Drive, and then the hot and hilly eight-mile out-and-back on the Queen K. There are no spectators out on the Queen gets very lonely. This is where your mental preparation matters just as much as your physical preparation. Without anyone cheering you on, your body will tell you to quit. Being able to manage the heat of the lava fields is what will make or break your run. The key is to keep your body temperature and heart rate down in the early stages of the run, which isn't easy to do.

Once you make it off the Queen K, the descent down Palani will help you find those reserves. Adrenaline takes over and there's little else to do but cruise in and soak up one of the longest (and coolest) finishing chutes in all of triathlon.


8.47 mile run - odd distance, I know, but it's 7 laps around the road outside of the mall.

Lap 1: 9:38 (7:57/mile)
Lap 2: 9:44 (8:02/mile)
Lap 3: 9:41 (8:00/mile)
Lap 4: 9:49 (8:06/mile)
Lap 5: 9:52 (8:09/mile)
Lap 6: 9:45 (8:03/mile)
Lap 7: 9:13 (7:37/mile)

This was my last "long" run before the Louisville Half-Marathon next weekend, so I wanted to have a good strong run for a confidence boost if nothing else. I made an effort to run a steady pace at the beginning so that I would have something left in the tank for the last few laps - and it worked. I was able to push it the last lap (obvious by the time) and still felt good at the end. Perfect run for what I wanted to do. Time to taper down before the race!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ironman World Championship - Part 3

From everything I've read, the bike portion of Kona is the toughest of the three legs. The majority of the ride is along the Queen K Highway- which is hallowed ground to a triathlete. Sort of like getting to play baseball in old Yankee Stadium, basketball in Madison Square Garden, or a round of golf at's pretty special. If Jessica and I ever take that vacation to Hawaii, I'm renting a bike and riding part of this course - mark it down - it will happen!

The bike course is a combination of two out-and-back portions. The first is in town with very short, steep segments. The second out-and-back is the real deal to Hawi. If you are picturing palm trees and beautiful ocean views, forget it. No shade, very strong winds, and lava fields on both sides of the road.

For the most part, there is a slight tail wind out to Waikoloa. The crosswinds usually kick in just before the road starts to kick up as you head to the turn in Hawi. This is where you are encouraged to eat and hydrate well; both become extremely hard to do when you are holding on to your bike in 25-mph gusting crosswind. Seriously, people don't want to take their hands off of the handlebars to grab their water bottle for fear that the wind will blow them off the road.

Due to the course layout, the halfway point isn't actually in Hawi—making a physically challenging ride very mentally tough, as well. Add to that the fact that the winds increase in the late morning, making that gentle tailwind you had on the way out into a nice headwind on the way back.

Suddenly, hills begin to appear that you never noticed on the way out. Kona, just like any other Ironman course, rewards the smart, patient and disciplined cyclist. Strength can be a liability on this course, if you don't know how to use it properly.

Knowing that the latter half of the bike is significantly harder enables most riders to pace themselves properly. That's why only the best get to race here...because they are good!

45 minutes of weights (back, biceps, abs)
25 minutes in the pool (5 minutes of drills, then swam approx. 1/2 mile - it's impossible to tell since I have no idea how long the pool is at the Taylorsville Rd. gym!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ironman World Championship - Part 2

I've done two races that had a "wave" swim start. This means that you are in the water with other competitors and they fire a gun/cannon/buzzer or just yell "go" to tell you when to start. This is a very interesting experience. Trying to swim in close quarters is not easy. I've been kicked in the face both times (knocking my goggles off once). Everyone eventually spreads out, but those first few minutes are crazy.

The Ironman World Championship in Hawaii this Saturday will have two waves: professionals, and age groupers (everyone else). There are 101 professionals racing and 1752 age groupers. Try to imagine over 1700 people all grouped together trying to swim! It's been described as "a washing machine". Check out the slo-mo video below (lifeguards are on surf boards and in kayaks):

Today's Workout:
It's Tuesday, so I did some intervals.

5 minutes of warm-up (easy jog)
5 minutes of drills
7 x 1/2 mile intervals with 1:00 rest between
5 minutes of cool-down (easy jog and walk)
10 minutes of stretching
Total workout was around an hour

Goal was to keep each interval around the 3:40 mark (7:20/mile pace)

(1) 3:38
(2) 3:40
(3) 3:40
(4) 3:42
(5) 3:39
(6) 3:38
(7) 3:35

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ironman World Championship

A few weeks ago I had a post discussing the origins of the sport of triathlon. The first triathlon was held in September of 1974. A few years later the first long-distance race was planned, it was called the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon.

The race included a 2.4 mile (3.86 km; 77 lap) swim, a 112 mile (180.2 km) bike ride, and a 26.2 mile (42.195 km) run. It was conceived during the awards ceremony for the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay (a running race for 5-person teams).

Among the participants were numerous representatives of both the Mid-Pacific Road Runners and the Waikiki Swim Club, whose members had long been debating which athletes were more fit: runners or swimmers. On this occasion, U.S. Navy Commander John Collins pointed out that a recent article in Sports Illustrated magazine had declared that Eddy Merckx, the great Belgian cyclist, had the highest recorded "maximum oxygen uptake" of any athlete ever measured, so perhaps cyclists were more fit than anyone. Collins and his wife, Judy, had taken part in the triathlons staged in 1974 and 1975 by the San Diego Track Club in and around Mission Bay, California, as well as the Optimist Sports Fiesta Triathlon in Coronado, California in 1975.

A number of the other military athletes in attendance were also familiar with the San Diego races, so they understood the concept when Collins suggested that the debate should be settled through a race combining the three existing long-distance competitions already on the island: the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 mi/3.862 km), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles (185 km); originally a two-day event) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.219 mi/42.195 km). No one present had ever done the bike race so they did not realize it was a two-day, not one-day, event. Collins calculated that, by shaving 3 miles (5 km) off the course and riding counter-clockwise around the island, the bike leg could start at the finish of the Waikiki Rough Water and end at the Aloha Tower, the traditional start of the Honolulu Marathon. Prior to racing, each athlete received three sheets of paper listing a few rules and a course description. Handwritten on the last page was this exhortation:

“ Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life! ”

— Commander Collins, USN (1978)

With a nod to a local runner who was notorious for his demanding workouts, Collins said:

“ Whoever finishes first, we'll call him the Ironman. ”

— Commander Collins, USN (1978)

Of the fifteen men to start off in the early morning on February 18, 1978, twelve completed the race and the world's first Ironman, Gordon Haller, completed it in 11 hours, 46 minutes, and 58 seconds.

Every year since 1978, there has been an Ironman triathlon in Hawaii. By 1983, the popularity grew so much that they instituted a qualification system. Ironman distance races began to be held on the U.S. mainland, with top finishers in each men's and women's divisions given the chance to compete in Hawaii for the "World Championship".

Since 1981 it has been held at the barren lava fields of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The race is now referred to by triathletes simply as "Kona".

The 31st Ironman World Championship will be held this Saturday, October 10th. I'll be blogging about the race all week...there are some amazing stories!

Today's Workout:
50 minutes of spin (around 16 miles with some good sprints)
45 minutes of weights (chest, triceps and abs)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cold hands!

So while I was waiting for the sun to come up this morning, I jumped online to check the as 49F. I was already in my running attire, which consisted of a t-shirt, shorts and a hat. Is 49 too cold to run in a t-shirt? Nah.
As a got started on my run, I quickly remembered how cold my hands get when running in the fall and winter. I've been back for over 15 minutes and my hands are still a little numb even as I try and type this. I guess I'll dig out the gloves sometime this week!

6 mile fartlek run this morning...picking up the speed for 30 seconds once every are my mile splits:


Overall time: 46:05 (7:40/mile pace)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Long run

Just got back from an 11 mile run. Weather was perfect (65F and cloudy). Route was pretty flat, mixture of sidewalks and pavement. Started from my office downtown and went down 3rd Street and Southern Pkwy all the way to New Cut Road and back...exactly 5.5 miles each way - with a bonus water fountain at miles 4.5 and 6.5! The having to stop at several intersections running down 3rd Street is kind of annoying, but there's no way around I had to dodge all the vendors setting up for the St. James Art fair this weekend. I felt like I got in a good rhythm after mile 3 or so and felt good the rest of the way.

Out: 43:53 (7:58/mile pace)
Back: 44:21 (8:03/mile pace)

Total time: 1:28:14 (8:01/mile pace)

Share This