"Be yourself - everyone else is already taken" - Oscar Wilde
OK, it's back to the cold weather early morning runs. I feel like I'm boxing with the weather gods. First, I'm holding them back pretty good (the cold weather has not come), then they get in a few jabs and I begin to falter a little bit (a few mornings of pretty nippy runs), but I come back off the ropes and feel pretty good about myself (a few warmer days). Now I'm hit with a right, then a left and my legs are wobbly (a REAL cold snap). I'm still on my feet, but I know it's just a matter of time before I get hammered and I'm down for the count till March (Winter has arrived). The referee is asking if I'm OK, and all I can tell him is I have nothing left except whining. Brrrrr!
Well, as we begin our 10th training week for the Mercedes folks, we're almost halfway home to February and I'm not hearing much about anyone hurting, so from a coach's standpoint, that's a good thing. Either everyone is doing things right, or you are not running enough to get hurt. A runner asked me the other day about her legs being sore and tired all the time. I reminded her that since we began training, she's run the rough equivalent of a round trip between Birmingham and Atlanta! They should feel tired just about all the time. Not to the point of "ouch", but that athletic soreness that you should just get used to. Follow the schedule. Some other things that might help are to: 1) run on the asphalt road when you can - I know, in Mt Brook you're risking a ticket, but the fact of the matter is that running on the roads will place 2-3X your body weight on your legs, while running on concrete crashes down with 4X your body weight. If you figure each mile is 1000 steps per leg, then you can see how it piles up. 2) Make sure your shoes are properly fitted and maintained. I can't emphasize enough how important the support that shoes give you are - you barefooters can't change my mind. You know, we don't drive cars with solid rubber tires anymore!!! Why? Because technology showed us that air in the tires HELPS!! Anyway, problems with your shoes don't always show up as foot problems. They can manifest themselves as gremlins in your knees, hips, or back. AT LEAST go to Trak Shak for your first pair of shoes. That way you can find out what types of shoes you really need. Of course, you should be buying all your running goods at the TS. This isn't a one-way street guys, and the TS does sooooo much good for the running community. Fortunately, we have our run this Sunday beginning from the TS at 6:30AM, and the store will be open after the run just for us. Discounts and advice galore. If you've been running in the same shoes since we began training, then you have somewhere around 250 miles on them, and THAT time is coming up to think of new shoes. If you don't want to buy now, just see what the right shoe you need is and ask for it for Christmas - see how easy it is?
If you do have aches and pains, the general rule-of-thumb (rule-of-foot?) is that if you can run without limping, then it should be safe to run through it - unless of course you're one of those guys that can run with an arrow in your hamstring without limping. Use SOME common sense!! If you have to limp, back off of the runs that cause the pain (distance, hills, speed, etc). Start with the simplest cures because most injuries are going to be simple inflammations. Use rest, ice (the miracle drug), and anti-inflammatories. Remember, you don't HAVE to do ALL the miles of ALL the training runs. Training is putting a bunch of training runs together to teach your body what to do. Every season, I see runners working themselves into a worrisome frenzy because they missed a training run or two or three. Believe me, your event in February is not going to hinge on a run you were supposed to do in November. Now, you can't miss too many of these runs, or there will be holes galore in your training tapestry. If you have to take time off from running due to an injury, try to substitute another activity. One mile of running equals about 2.5 miles of brisk walking, 3 miles of cycling, or 1/4 mile of swimming. Basically, you want to mimic in time and intensity of your missed run with the related activity. Your body just wants to keep pouring coal into the engine to keep your aerobic system going. No smoke, no mirrors, just basic physiology. One of my favorite rehab quotes (you have to keep these categorized) is: DON'T PULL UP YOUR CARROTS TO SEE IF THEY'RE GROWING - COME BACK CAREFULLY!!!
I decided to plot out the courses for our runs Sunday on www.mapmyrun.com . I think I made them easy enough so nobody will be lost past, maybe, Tuesday. No, seriously, I made them simple with few turns.
The first course which both marathoners and half-marathoners will do is 8.6 miles long: http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-states/al/birmingham/399128987119419305
Then, the marathoners will do an additional 6.6 mile course to the Clock Tower and back: http://www.mapmyrun.com/view_route?r=212128987046331581
Please, oh please, at least look at the maps. I'm hoping we'll all stay together, but I'm also hoping to get a call soon to be George Clooney's double in his next movie with Nicole Kidman!
Finally, the other morning, I was running and listening to one of the many podcasts I subscribe to, and there on The Marathon Show was our own Mary Creel talking about running and nutrition. It was a great interview and you can download it at www.themarathonshow.com
OK guys, hope to see you tomorrow, but if not, somewhere, I'll see you on the roads -AL
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