Saturday, June 19, 2010

Run today?...Yes, no, maybe

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you". - John Wooden

Hi guys - Well, here I am up in Boston for the weekend, enjoying my family and grandson, Adam. The flight up here turned into a marathon itself. After being settled in our seats in Birmingham, our flight quite abruptly got cancelled due to mechanical problems (that the pilot had assured us, 10 minutes earlier, would be a quick fix). US Air told us there were no more flights to get us to Boston and that they would gladly put us on a flight the next day. What really got me frosted was that there was absolutely NO compensation for this being THEIR voucher, no waving the absurd baggage fee, no free coke, no pass to use the first class lavatory...nothing! So, after a few phone calls, I got us on a flight from Atlanta. Two and half hours later driving down I-20, we were set. So, Birmingham to Atlanta to Charlotte to Boston and here we are.
Not too hot here, but back in Alabama, some days are close to too hot to run. I always say that every run you do, fast or slow, good or bad, your body learns something. Well, I think my body is learning that this weather will flat wear you out! From asking most of you, it seems that you run in the morning. I guess it's better to run in 95% humidity than 95 degrees, but either way, when you finish, you probably can get in the shower TO DRY OFF!! Well, at least your consumption of hot coffee will go down. Remember, you won't gain weight by drinking water. There are no "points" in water - that's for all of you on diets that equate eating into some mathematical challenge every day.
As I write RWA, I try to direct it towards subjects that I feel most of my reading audience ("audience" sounds big, doesn't it?) are most attuned to. There are a ton of marathons and half marathons in the fall, but unfortuneately, that means you have to train through the teeth of the summer, and here in Alabama, IT IS FRICKIN' HOT!!! When I coach a group of runners to do their first marathon, I tell them we will only do one 20 miler during a typical 20 week training schedule. My philosophy is to build your strength with 13-17 milers. Therefore, there is a stretch I would call Coach Al's Valley of Horrors. We do 12 straight weeks of 13 miles or more for the long run!! It's during this time that you have to decide what conditions will MAKE you stop. You have to toughen up mentally. You don't want to be out there saying, "well gee, I think my legs hurts, I'm a little dehydrated, I'm sleepy, I'm tired, it's hot, it's windy, it's raining" and you talk yourself into quitting before you even get out the door. Many times I have said "Nope, I'm not running today. I'm too whipped". Ofcourse, I'm saying this as I'm lacing up my shoes. I've already made the decsion in some deep recesses of my warped mind that I'm getting out there, but I'm going through some chirade like I'm making this spontaneous decision. If you make your decision ahead of time what conditions will negate going out, you're set. You look out the window and say "No hurricane today, I'm running"..."It's less than 95 degrees, I'm running"..."Lightning bolt just hit my house, I'm not running". If you are going to make a decision every time a negative thought slinks it's way into your blood and oxygen deprived brain, you'll probably make the wrong decision. Just get it into your head that you made the decision to train for this event (running, walking or cycling) and you are going to teach yourself how to do it the best you can, and training is high up there on the list of things that need to be done. Everyone is an individual, but as a coach, I can look at you collectively directly in the eyes and tell you this is a very attainable goal. BUT, you have to get off your duff and find out who you really are - and most of you are going to be very surprised when you turn that final bend, see the finish line, and yell inside your head "I did it!!!". It will be a moment you will never forget, or want to forget. That moment is something you can't explain to ANYONE who has never done it, but can share it with EVERYONE who has. Don't you love it?

If any of you would like a generic 20 week training schedule, drop me an email to and I'll get it to you. It's a schedule I've used for many years with my new Leukemia TNT marthoners and half marathoners. If you have special concerns about training, I'm here to help. It's not easy training for an ultramarathon, marathon or a half, and because it's not easy to begin with, it helps to have a helping hand. I don't mean to blow my own vuvuzela, but I have been around the block a few times. I'm not a professional coach, though I do have sort of an official rating imparted on me by Jack Daniels at a TNT Coaching Workshop in San Diego years ago, but more importantly, I've made many mistakes along the path of trying to get it right, and hopefully learned from some of those mistakes. Get kicked by the mule 5 or 6 times, and you finally get the idea to walk in front of the mule. Oscar Wilde said "Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes." and I have a ton of experience.
I'll see you on the roads - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

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