Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Is Micky D's really that good?

I saw this while reading the Irish Independent online.....

Check out this link - Someone really loves their Chicken Nuggets


Monday, August 9, 2010

Living with no money

I don't know about you, but I've always wondered if it's possible to live with money. But in my imagination its usually somewhere hot or warm at least 360 days of the year. To live off the land in a way similar to how our ancestors did. I'd imagine it would've been a very hard existence as most of your day would be spent searching for food and fuel for fires. Thanks to our modern way of living a lot of the skills that would've been essential to living back in the good "bad ole" days are either forgotten or dead.

Check out this guy (if you haven't heard of him already). I don't think that such a life would be possible in here due to our cold winters, but then again the First Nation peoples had been living off the land long before the first Europeans came along so it could be done.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Shut up Body!!!

Cyclist Jens Voigt tells his body to shut up. I think this is a lesson for all of us that give into that inner voice whether it be in workouts or in races. Shut up body!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Up to the End of July

Well I’m back from my west coast adventure about a week now am thinking the training is going well, but who knows. I guess we’ll find out at the half marathon in Edmonton on the 22nd of August. Running while on vacation is always a challenge as you’re either trying to do it before everyone gets up or are trying to fit it in around when babies take their naps. This year I have not been one for getting up uber early to run, so I get out when Patrick goes down for a nap. Unfortunately this also coincides with the hottest part of the day, most days I was able to get at least an hour of good running until my body decided that it had enough of the good life and started to reject what I had been using for fuel, the heat didn’t help much either. There was a couple of days where I just either fell apart during the run and always out in the middle of nowhere, worst case was on Salt Spring Island where I just ran out of fuel 8K or so from the house, for that 8K there was nowhere to get a drink nor did I see anyone other than two cyclists pass me in the time it took me to walk back to the house. The other time was in Port Hardy, when I was only 20 minutes out into a run and the body decided that it had had enough, so you’re thinking it was only 20 minutes back to the house? Well that turned out to be closer to 40 minutes and it was the most uncomfortable 40 minutes I’ve ever had in years, I think since I gave up on most dairy products especially milk. I don’t want to get into too much graphic detail but let’s just say “running” is not only something the legs are able to do.

The vacation itself was one of the best that I’d been on since moving to Canada. I also think it is one of the first that we’ve gone on vacation that I didn’t have a race somewhere in the schedule. I love going to Vancouver, it’s such a beautiful city to run in, there is so much to see and do, part of that attraction is running on the water front around English Bay and Stanley Park.

We also went to Salt Spring  Island as a trip to the coast wouldn’t be the same without going to the Island and  then up to Port Hardy up in the north of Vancouver Island, in my opinion they are two of the most beautiful places to visit. Salt Spring reminds me of Wicklow and the hills around Dublin, while Port Hardy is one of those places that is a little bit more.....what you think the coast of BC looks like when you think of the Pacific coast line, it also reminded me of a couple of places that I stayed in while in Australia (except the trees were not pine trees down under). There was a lot Eagles in the trees along the beach, we even saw a whale in the bay all from the comfort of the couch with a coffee in hand. Life doesn't get much better than that. Unfortunately like every vacation it had to come to an end as we had to come back to Edmonton.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Where have I been....

Well it’s been awhile since I last updated this thing, partly because I got out of the habit of updating and partly because I didn’t really have anything new to say. Maybe I still don’t...


So what’s been going on for the last couple of weeks? Not that much I guess, I’ve started running again every day and am now 3 weeks into the build up to New York. I’d like to say that the training has been going great, but the sad truth of it is, it hasn’t been. Maybe it’s due to trying to come back after my marathon in good shape, or maybe it’s a number of things that have just gotten the better of me in the last week or two.


I ran the Canada Day 15K on July 1st and I wasn’t very happy with the outcome of the race. In fact it was one of my worst results at that race for 3 or 4 years. I guess to some people the time looked pretty good, but to myself I don’t think it was a good indicator of how fast I’m running. Do I have any excuse for my bad performance? No, I just wasn’t as good as I thought I’d be on the day. I sure I could come up with 4 or 5 excuses but what it is the point? The fact is I ran badly. The worst thing about running badly was that after the race I probably wasn’t in the nicest of moods and so I must apologise to anyone and everyone that I seemed to be a little snappy with (Sorry Cheryl), However Fast Trax did have a pretty good day Mark Armstrong showed that his time down in Boulder has really benefitted him by running a great time. 


After Canada Day we (the family) and I took off to Canmore for the weekend, the weather there wasn’t all that great but it was nice to get away from Edmonton if only for a couple of days.  I ran Saturday and Sunday there and both runs where not that great, I don’t know why...maybe it was due to the lack of sleep or maybe whatever was bothering me after Thursday’s race was still bothering me. But my running on Monday was so much better, in fact my running all of last week  was going great until Saturday when I tried to get out of bed and found that I couldn’t bend over, not sure what I did but I seem to have tweaked my back. Luckily I was going to the Chiropractor anyway to get adjusted but it didn’t really do anything for me as I was just as sore and stiff on Sunday. So I ended up spending most of my time trying to stretch it out and take as much pressure of my back as I could. Yesterday I finally broke down and bought one of those back pads that you see being advertised on the box, as well as some drugs... after that the back pain started to ease off and I ended up sleeping alright. But I’m not running just yet.


Not being able to run has been a pain in the proverbial. But it has enabled me to watch the end of the World Cup, I thought the game on Saturday between Uraguay and Germany was much better free flowing football than the game on Sunday between Spain and the Netherlands. It was good to see Spain win and become only the second team to hold both the UEFA Cup and the World Cup at the same time. I also got to see a lot of the Tour De France, which is getting pretty exciting now that Lance is way down on GC, him losing time on Sunday was probably the best thing to happen at the tour in a long time as it has made the race a wide open affair and I don’t think we’ll see a definitive winner until after the second last day which is a long time trial over 50Km in length. If its Andy Schleck that’s in Yellow starting the TT I don’t expect him to retain it unless he has a substantial lead over the other contenders, as he is not a renowned time trialist,  when compared to Evans or Contador. Between now and then there are a couple of very hard stages that the riders have to get through down to  the Pyrenees and then there is no real let up until the day before the TT.


My prediction for the race overall is  Contador to win with Evans or Schleck being the runner up. Is going to be any surprise performances? Leipheimer fighting for third. As he can both Time trial and climb with the best of them. Unfortunately for RadioShack Levi’s chances are dependent on how much work Armstrong is willing to do for the team, as in the past he has not exactly been good at switching roles from leader to helper. If Armstrong was to drop out of the race for whatever reason I can see RadioShack giving up on the overall. (Pure speculation on my part)


Are we going to see any big doping stories at this year’s race.....Unless something comes from the investigation that started last year around Astana and Caisse d’Epargne getting preferential treatment from the testers then No. We may see something after the race with the Landis allegations.



Friday, June 11, 2010

Since the marathon....

On Sunday it will be two weeks since I completed the marathon and I have to say that I’m looking forward to running again. For my first long run back I’m planning on running 15 miles with my buddy Marc. The following weekend I hope to run about 20 miles on the Sunday.

The first week after a big race is almost always (for me anyway) a week with very little or no training, its more about letting the body recover than thinking about getting in the miles. What I’ve noticed about myself is that after the last couple of race’s I’ve run is that I wasn’t particularly banged up. After these races I’ve walked for about an hour right after which I find really helps the legs from getting stiff.  Then the next day (if possible) go out for about an hour on my bike using very low gears and just rolling along. This helps the legs feel like they are moving again, most of the time I can’t stand up on the pedals as there is still a lot of muscle damage and tightness in the hips from the race, but that’s ok as I’m not looking to gain fitness, I’m looking to help the legs recover.

Two days after the race I take it pretty easy with just some light walking, in some ways having a mall attached to our office tower is good as I’d just walk around the mall while on my lunch break. Three days after the race I get a massage and this really helps the legs, they might still have a bit of stiffness in them but by now  they are starting to feel ok. In the past I have gone for a massage earlier, like the day after the race but I found that I almost hopped off the table as the pressure being applied was too much. Four days after the race I go to see my Chiropractor and get adjusted. This time he was pretty amazed that I was moving so good.

Five days after Calgary marathon I started training again. This is what I’ve been doing since the marathon.

Friday (day 1 back training) – swim for 30 minutes
Saturday (day 2 back training) – Ride for 90 minutes
Sunday (day 3 back training) – Ride for 90 minutes
Monday (day 4 back training) – Run for 45 minutes
Tuesday (day 5 back training) – Swim 30 minutes / ride for 60 minutes
Wednesday (day 6 back training) – Run for 50 minutes
Thursday – Rest day
Friday (day 8 back training) – Swim 45 minutes
Saturday (day 9 back training) – Will be 90 minute ride
Sunday (day 10 back training) -  Will be 15 mile run

Next week (starting the 14th) I plan to run every day and then add some intervals towards the end of the week. My next race will be the Canada day 15K then on June 21 I’ll start a twenty week block of training designed to get me to New York in the best possible shape.

World Cup 2010 day 1

Just watched South Africa draw with Mexico in the opening game of the World Cup. I think the Bafana Bafana ended up being a little unlucky not to come out with a win, but I'd say that Mexico was far more upset that they didn't walkover SA. The strike that led to the South African goal was brilliant. This is going to be an interesting couple of weeks.

Not so sure that I'll be paying that much attention to France V Uruguay later today....

Every Team needs a......

Update - I didn't watch the second game and it ended with no score. Just as I suspected it would. South Africa have got to be happy with that result.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

World Cup 2010 starts on Friday.

The World Cup is about to start in South Africa and Adidas has brought out a new commercial for the competition. Check out this link.If you like Star Wars then you'll love this...

This also makes me ask who will you be supporting? that is if your team didn't make it to the finals. Since Ireland didn't get in due to that whole Thierry Henry fiasco I won't be supporting them. Most Irish people would probably tell you that they'll support any team other than England and now added to that very short list is France. But I wouldn't say that, the biggest league in football (sorry Soccer) is the premiership with the most of the great players and most of the money. If you think about it most (if not all) of the Irish players play in the premiership. Would it be so bad if England won the World Cup? To me it would just reinforce that the premiership is the place to be. England has lots of talented football players, but they have yet to recapture that element that made them great in the past.

When the world Cup comes around every 4 years I like to support the teams that could be considered under dogs or even teams that many people say don't have a chance of getting into the finals. But sometimes these teams can surprise you, sometimes its these teams that want it more than the established countries. So this year I'll try and make an effort to watch the games that African teams play in. First up is South African V Mexico on Friday 11th June.

Enjoy the show

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

End of a blog

One of the many blogs that read/follow ended this last week or so. It’s a weird feeling to read what may be the last lines that the blogger may ever write. The Outsidein Blog from the Irish times was written by a man who came to Ireland and then wrote about his life there warts and all. I was able to identify somewhat with Bryan’s views and experiences as some of them reflected my own since moving from our small island to the great white north. Bryan’s blog questioned life in Ireland, he asked the question why is it like this, while we that lived and still live in Ireland have become desensitized to how dysfunctional it is at times. I like to think that at some point we were all like Bryan questioning everything until one day we just stopped questioning and started accepting that that is how it is. Yes, we’d voice outrage for a week or so but then we’d shrug our shoulders and say “what are you going to do about it?” and return once more to our own little “I’m alright Jack” worlds. I’m sorry to see Bryan finish up what was one of the best blogs that I’d ever read, I hope that Irish times can find someone to start similar blog.

Job Done!!!

The marathon has been completed and after a couple of days now is the time to sit back and think about what went right and what went wrong. There are a couple of factors that no matter how hard you train you don’t have any control over. The first one being the weather, the day before the race it was -5’C with the wind-chill and it was snowing. On race day it was only about 2 or 3’C maybe even closer to Zero, since the race started at ungodly hour of 7:00am. It was a little blustery towards the end, but thankfully the rain/sleet held off. I guess the only consolation for this is the weather effects everyone sometimes bad weather can help. I ran all through the Alberta winter and it does make you mentally tough. The second thing you can’t control is the fitness of your competition, the only person that you can influence is you, so if faster guys show up then all you can do is stick to your race plan. My race plan is to try and run even splits. The third thing you can’t control is how good or bad you’ll feel on race day, this is something that only your body can control. No matter how fit you get, peaking for one day on a particular day is not very easy. Sometimes you just have to roll with it and say that today is not your day, sometimes it takes most of the race to get going. I didn’t feel like I was running to my ability for about 20K in the middle section of the race, the first and last 10K I felt went pretty good.

The race itself was on the coldest day that I’ve ever run on in shorts and a singlet. (note: for next time long shorts and maybe compression socks, they look silly but they’d keep your calves warm) My upper body wasn’t too bad but my legs at one point were red from the cold. We started with the half marathon runners so I had a couple of people to run with until their turn around and then it was just me and one other guy. The first 10K spilt was right about the time I was looking for at 37 minutes. But in the second 10K segment we slowed down a little and I think that it was mainly due to the hills, Shaganappi trail is steep and it comes around the 14K point just after you’ve gotten into a good rhythm. The roads up around the University are rolling with the down hills not really all that fast so you never really gained any time. We went through 20K about 30 seconds off the time I was looking for, so still not that bad. But somewhere between 20K and 21.1K we lost a little bit more time as we went through the half way point in 1:19:45.

The guy I was running with was looking to get around 2:40 which may explain why when he set the pace we slowed down just a little. At the same time though when I set the pace I wasn’t opening it up all that much either and I think this was due to the cold and how tough that made an already hard course, maybe it was just me but it felt colder around the University than it did down by the river. At times you could see snow on the ground on the hills that surround that part of Calgary. When we go to the 30K point I noticed that we were almost 3 minutes off the time I was hoping to get to that point. So I was starting to think that it would be impossible to run the last 12K at a pace that would get me under 2:40. At 32K which was the bottom of Shaganappi trail I was starting to feel that the time was getting away from us. But I knew that the last 10K was almost entirely flat, it was just after we came off the trail I started to pick it up and dropped by partner. This meant that I was running on my own which is fine as most of my runs are by myself, but I also had people in front of me that I looked to pass, even though they were in the half marathon and most of them were walking it gave me something to concentrate on. If my calculations were correct (as I didn’t take any splits) I ran the last 10K in approx 37 minutes, which meant that I finished as strongly as I started. There was one hill that almost did me in and that was just before the finish, it was pretty steep (as most rises are at that stage of the race) and the effort was beginning to tell on me there, also I was surrounded by half marathoners so I had to try and find a line through them as I was moving a lot faster than some of those guys. As I turned into the finishing chute that was when I realized I could go under 2:40, I saw the clock ticking closer to 2:40 so I picked it up as much as you can in the finish and managed to come home in 2:39:43/45 (depending on if you go by gun time or official clock time). It was only after I finished did I find out that I came 3rd.

Am I happy with the race? Yes and no. Yes due to the fact I broke a time that set out to beat. No in the fact that I didn’t feel like I was running all that well for about 50% of the race. Happy that I ran a very evenly split race, happy that the last 10K of the race was one of my best, in Dublin back in October I started to struggle somewhere around 34K. Happy with the nutrition strategy I used. I consumed a Gel about 45 minutes before the start and then took another on at the 17K point, it took me 3-4K to finish it and then I took a third gel around the 27K point. Only problem was that the second gel wasn’t all that good, is was thicker than the first it was more like a paste than a gel, so it had to be taken in even slower than the first so I was still using it when I finished. Next time I won’t be taking GU gel with me.  I was thinking that the GU would help me and maybe it did, but never again. The other thing I did was I didn’t take on any energy drinks, this was deliberate as the gels (so I thought) would be enough. I missed a couple of water cups due to some stations only telling us that they had GU drinks, the volunteers could have been spread out a little more so that if you missed a cup at the start you could get one before you exited the aid station. The other thing was a couple of people held the cups so high (fear of being splashed, I guess) that I couldn’t reach them. But those two things are things that you as a runner can’t control, you can suggest to the race organizers to correct them for the next year.



I have to give the volunteers, race organizers who didn't hold it against me for being from Edmonton, the spectators along the way a big thank you for all of their work to make the day such a good one, not only for me but for the other runners as well. I should also thank the Calgary Transit driver left enough space for us to run through before unloading his passengers, I tried to give him a wave bu am not sure it was seen. It couldn't have been that easy to stand around in the cold on a Sunday morning when most people would use it as an excuse to stay in bed.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Training Update - May 12 2010

It’s funny how things can change in the matter of a day or two. On Friday I did a fartlek type workout of 10 x 20 seconds with 1 minute recovery jog between and I was pretty much done for the day by the end. Some of the twenty second busts where uphill, most of them on rolling terrain through the River Valley, so I was pretty happy with that, on review of the run some of the 20 second bursts where at 2:30K pace. On Saturday I ran another 36K run this time by myself as my running buddies had a different workout planned. I ran over the same course as last week only I felt very good, so good in fact that I managed to run the distance at a pace that was twenty seconds faster per K than the week before. Not sure what I was thinking, might’ve been the gel that I took with me, all that sugar going to my head. 

Although I’ve been reading that Carboom is supposed to have less simple sugars than most of the other gels that are on the market plus the fact that I only used it sparingly, it took me the time to run 9K to finish it, so it can’t be that. It might’ve been the fact that I’ve slowly increased how much I eat during the week as well as the Pizza & beer that I had Friday night J or it really was that point in the training cycle that has me tired.

After the run I took the young fella for a walk around the lake at Hawrelak park. He was pretty excited and a maybe a little scared at first to see the birds, ducks and geese up close but by the time we got most of the way around the lake he wanted to touch them. It’s funny listening to him trying to talk, everything was a bird, or a car (including the ducks and geese).

I took Sunday as an day off from training. Since it was Mothers day I thought I’d spend it with the family that plus the fact that I haven’t taken a day off from training in the last 3 weeks nor can I remember when I took a Saturday or Sunday as a rest day.

So far this week my running has been going pretty well, it feels very easy to run even though I’m trying to slow myself down as I have a couple of workouts that I have to do this week. Including a race pace run on Saturday.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Couple of things to bring me up to date (lastly)

Running and tiredness
I’ve been feeling tied again this week, and the weather isn’t helping. I wonder though if it is just that time in the training cycle were you’re just about to finish ramping up the training and start the peaking phase. There are also a couple of other things to take consideration A) am I eating enough to carry me through all of this training? And B) am I getting enough rest between running twice a day as well as getting in enough sleep.

With regard to A, I’m going to say No. I don’t think I eat enough throughout the day. So to find out how much I shove down my pie hole I’ll start counting calories. Apparently a man my size (6ft tall & roughly 165lbs – that was the last time I was on a scales, will have to get back on there to confirm) needs somewhere around 1600 Calories a day just to maintain the bodies functions, but someone of that size that also trains for Marathons should be consuming closer to 2800 calories a day just to maintain .....so far I think I’m falling short by about 800 calories per day.

For example let’s say I run at least 12K every weekday (a lot more on the weekends) and depending on the speed I run at I should be burning up anywhere between 900 and 1000 calories (roughly), so what this means is if you are just eating the bare minimum number calories and are running at this level you’ve removed half of the calories that the body needs to function and eventually it is this starving of the body will catch up to you and manifest itself in things like no energy (maybe I’ve just answered my own questions) If there is anyone with a medical or nutrition Background reading this feel free to add your two cents worth.


With regard to B, right now I’m feeling that tired that I had to cut out the second run of the day. So I am getting more rest between workouts but I’d rather be running twice a day. As most families with young children know you only get as much sleep as they will allow to get away with. In an ideal world we (the parents) would be going to bed pretty much around the same time as our children, so that we could get twelve hours of sleep a night. But we don’t do it....maybe it’s our fascination with Lost or Desperate Housewives or that there are just a lot of things to do that you can’t do when the little guys are around. I wonder sometimes how much we’d accomplish without TV to distract us now that it has become ubiquitous with modern living.

It seems that I always forget the lessons learned from racing the year before. It’s like once the new season begins my memory is erased and I’m starting over. Last year I recall having the same problems with my calves as well as having no energy. What never seems to leave my brain is the useless information. Which is great when I’m watching Jeopardy but kind of sucks as I forget important things like birthdays or how to configure a Router using the CLI. Is this one of the systems of the body not having enough energy to make use of those memories or am I on the road to Alzheimer’s?

A Couple of things to bring me up to date cont'd

My running
On Saturday I ran 36Kwith my training partner Marc, we left my place and then ran down the Whitemud Ravine until we hit the EPS Half Marathon course, followed that and then ran back up the Ravine. It was a great long run, felt pretty good throughout the run so I can’t complain much about that. I think Marc was running slightly better than I which is good for him as he’s running in the 5peaks race this weekend. Only one more long run to go.

On Sunday I ran a workout that I hadn’t been able to fit in during the week. I ran 10 x 800 and then took the same amount of time it took to run the 800 as recovery. The bad thing about this run is that I didn’t get going until midday when we put the young fella down for his nap. Then just after I got out the door it started raining which made the roads slick. As it was I had programmed the Garmin for 10 half mile repeats with a warmup and cool down, which made it 12 half mile repeats that I actually ran, I’m a slave to the beep on the Garmin. I felt great and flew through the workout, more than half of the repeats went slightly uphill on twisty trails around T Towne. I averaged 2:38 per half mile which initially I wasn’t happy about, but all things considered it wasn’t that bad.

I had a 11K tempo run scheduled for this week and since Sunday is Mothers day I figured I’d better get all my running in so that on Sunday we get to spent the day together. I started late (8:00pm) on the treadmill as I wasn’t going to risk a rolled ankle out on the roads after all of that snow froze, all I could run at my tempo pace was 30 minutes. 30 minutes you might say is not bad, and it’s not unless your plan calls for at least 45. So that was yesterdays running, today is a new day and you have to leave behind the training you did yesterday no matter how good or bad it went.

A Couple of things to bring me up to date

Chalk one up for the big guys,
This past weekend saw American Chris Solinsky become the first non African to break the 27:00 barrier for 10,000m this is a huge achievement. At the same meet Simon Bairu broke the Canadian record for the distance. What is also so great about this is and it looks to be a bigger story in the media anyway than the actual accomplishment is the fact that Chris is over 6ft tall and weighs quite a bit more than more Elite level distance runners. This is not to say that he’s a slob in anyway, if you look at the pictures of Chris running you can tell that he appears to have very little body fat.

So what should this tell us? To me it suggests that the preconceived ideas of what a distance runner should look like are to be taken and thrown out the window. I’m not saying a guy that weighs about 300lbs could run that fast, although those NFL or Rugby players can move pretty dang fast when they need too. It also suggests to me that Chris had people tell him he’d never be any good because... (insert reason here).... And that is something I can identify with.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Was 2 races in 7 days a bad thing?

Hi There,
Was doing two races in the space of 7 days a bad thing? it is now Thursday and I'm yet to feel like I'm recovered completely from the races. I'm not feeling beat up just feeling a little worn out. Luckily this week I only had two workouts planned....but I'm yet to do them. The first was 8 - 10 x 800 with the same time it took to do the interval as a jogging recovery and the second workout is a long run of approx 36K.

I'll keep the running easy today and then see what tomorrow brings. I usually don't like running a hard interval day before a Long run day, as that screws up the recovery for a tempo run I've planned for Tuesday.

A Tale of two races

On April 18th I ran my first real race of the season out in St. Albert over Ten miles. You may think that this should really be my third race of the 2010 season, but I’m not thinking of the 10K in Calgary as being a real race, yes I ran hard and finished around my normal 10K time but I got the pacing all wrong, went out way too fast and then paid for it in the second half. I think of it as more of an indicator of how much fitness I have after a long winter. I’m not really counting the 3K (indoors) either as that was more of a time trial than a race. That’s not to say that anyone that took part in either of those races should think of them as I do. The 10 Miler went well, I was very happy with the race as I ran a new PB for the distance, I finished in a time of 56:32 which is almost 3 minutes faster than the year before.

On April 25th I ran my first half marathon of the year, yes a week after running a 10 mile race. This probably wasn’t the smartest idea that I’ve ever had. But that’s how I drew up my training plan for this spring. I trained pretty easy during the week, and only ran one Fartlek type workout of 8 x 2 minutes on 1 minute off. The other possible dumb idea that I had was getting adjusted by my chiropractor the day before because adjustments usually make me very tired. Considering how cold it was on Sunday morning (there was a trace amount of snow on the shed in our back garden @6:30am) and how tough the course was, it has to be one of the hilliest half’s in the city, I was happy with the time (have to be, right?) of 1:17:20 it’s a new PB for the distance.

I’d also like to tip my hat to the guy that came second at the half marathon. I’d never heard of him before that race (that doesn’t mean anything though) from checking the results last year he was also second to Jack Cook, but on Sunday he ran about 4 minutes faster than the previous year. So it looks like he should have a pretty good future in road races.

I was going to bore you with how each race went mile for mile, but I won’t....I’ll spare you. However once I get this Garmin figured out I’ll post a graph comparing the two races.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

For inspiration





Eamon Coghlan will be coming to Edmonton for a talk on Coaching/Running on May 1st. Seminar called Dare to Dream. For most young Irish lads at the time everyone wanted to be Eamon Coghlan.

Recovery Techniques

Hi There,
I got a Deep Tissue massage on Monday over at Kwantum Health and Wellness. It wasn't the relaxing experience that you see on those commercials for day Spa's. The discomfort was my own doing, by not stretching enough after training runs for about six months, this made the muscles in my legs were as hard a concrete blocks. The Therapist worked the muscles in my legs for an hour and by the end I felt like I had gotten beaten up, I was so sore. But I'll be going back for some more later this week. I'm back running so the problem wasn't that bad.

I thought about getting IMS work done on my leg as I know that it will help, but to be honest I don't like being jabbed with needles especially when there is not much fat around the muscles in question. The last couple of times I've had this done I felt like I was going to jump off the table as a nerve was hit by the needle. unlike Acupuncture where I never noticed being a human pin cushion. Even though some of the principles of the two therapies are the same.

In my opinion massage is a very important part of the recovery process and one that needs to be incorporated more often into training cycles. The only downside to more massage is that it can be fairly expensive if you're getting one every couple of weeks. Usually over the course of the year I try to get one a month, sometimes more often if I doing a race as I feel that it has great Benefits

If you are doing a two or three week build and then the fourth week as a recovery week you should consider adding massage into this week, along with everything else that helps you recover from training. For me if and when I can afford it I try to get a massage and a Chiropractic visit in on the recovery weeks. I know a lot of people don't like the idea of their necks being adjusted and I can understand that, it took me a long time to feel comfortable with the adjustment.

If you can arrange it so that you have a massage and then an adjustment that's probably the best combination for you since the body is relaxed the adjustment will be easier on you, this would be pretty easy to arrange as most Chiropractors also have a Massage therapist working in the office. From my own past experience its probably best that you take the next day as a day off (rest day). I always feel drained a day or two after my adjustments depending on the adjustment.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boston Marathon April 19th

Hi There,
So it looks like the Boston Marathon is going to be shown (live) Monday April 19th on TSN from 7:30am (MST). Be sure to set your PVR or Video Recorders if you Haven't jumped to the latest technology. This years race looks to a good event with both Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall competing.

Did the Bruins make the Playoff's? - as that's (in my opinion) the only reason why we get to see the race.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Adding Mileage without running?

Hi There,
These tight calves have got me thinking (can you smell the burning from where your sitting?) If I can't keep the mileage that I'm currently doing how can I add more miles to my training? So instead of running to work I could ride my bike a couple of days a week an may run before work......the cycling would help my legs recover between workouts and I would then have at least 5 hours between runs (more than what I have right now) this way I'd still be home in the evening at a good time so I can spend some time with the young fella before he goes to bed.

The schedule would something like this:
Monday - Commute to work and Back Total (42K) Run 12K
Tuesday - Run Lunch = 12K /  Run Evening =15K
Wednesday - Commute to work and Back Total (42K) Run 12K
Thursday -  Run Lunch = 12K /  Run Evening =15K
Friday - Commute to work and Back Total (42K) Run 12K
Saturday - Long Run (30 - 38K)
Sunday - Recovery Run (60 minutes)

So between cycling to work and running I'd be doing approx. 250K a week. Now if cycling is 1.5 times easier than running I'd be doing the equivalent of 180K per week....which is a lot of Mileage. My only problem with adding cycling to the mix is cycling and running don't really work together. But on the other hand when I training for Tri's I never had any problems with injuries until I added more running (mind you I wasn't running very fast then either).

Also on Sunday afternoons I think I'll take the young fella swimming. Its not really swimming as such, but its a chance for me to let my legs recover from the weeks training (we were doing this throughout the winter, its just that the session ended about a month ago)

First things first - get the tightness out of the calves. Will keep you updated on how that's going.

Tight Calves....again!!!

Hi There,
This one seems to be come back to haunt me every year for the last two years around this time of the season. Tight Calf muscles that cause my left Achilles to be a little tender while out running. The odd thing is its always in the same spot just about halfway up my lower leg. This happened last year just before the 10 miler and I was still able to break the hour for that distance, so I'm not freaking out just yet.

Now I'm not sure if this is due to pushing a little harder in workouts than I should (while I don't think as I'm still only running one track type workout a week) or upping the mileage too quickly (again I don't think it is this as my mileage is pretty much similar every week) or not giving myself enough recovery between workouts or not doing enough stretching after workouts, I think it is a combination of the last two factors as this last week or so I've been trying to run an interval day and then a Long run the next day, rather than leaving a recovery day between like I was doing all winter. Plus I did something stupid like started adding mileage to second runs on Tuesday and Thursday which only come 3 hours after my first run of the day.

I'm going to have to reschedule my training back to like it was in March. I'm also going to have to forget about running to work for the moment as I'm not going to start adding more miles if I can't run the miles I normally run right now. I ran on Saturday for 75 minutes on the treadmill (nothing new there been using the treadmill once or twice a week since November) leg was great, ran for 2:15 yesterday and the leg was complaining every time I ran down hill. This doesn't bode well for either the 10 miler or the Policeman's half Marathon. But I'd rather miss one or both (if need be) or just run them and not race than miss my first goal race of the Spring at the end of May.

Since our son was born one of the first things to go and one of the difference makers between getting injured and not getting injured was my weekly yoga class. Now I try and get in a twenty to forty minute yoga dvd session when I get home from work, but I don't do it every night and its not the same as going to a class. I've been trying to get to a yoga class but there doesn't seem to be that quite fits my schedule. Meaning a class that is on after my son goes to bed, normally though by the time 8:00pm rolls in I'm only good for sitting on the couch. 

Injuries are good for one thing, they teach us to slow down (even if its just a little) think about what's happening to the body.  So this week I'll organize a couple of massages and try and get to a Yoga class on my lunch break at the Y.I'll also ride my bike since that is a not weight bearing exercise it shouldn't aggravate my leg.  I'm also due to see my Chiropractor this week, which I'm thinking I may have to see more often as I feel the need for more adjustments during the season will help keep the body aligned for all of the running that I'll be doing in the build up to May and then New York in November.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Running to work

Hi There,
Just a question to anyone out there that actually reads this stuff. Does anyone commute to work by running? Now I'm not really concerned with those that live within say a 6 mile radius of their job, I'm more concerned with people that if they ran to work it would be an hour to 90 minutes each way. I've been toying with the idea of running to work for some time now as a way to get my training in and not take away from the family. I'm also getting tired of the traffic jams (now that construction season is on us) and having to pay for parking every morning, the potential problems with running to work is that I'm on call for two weeks every month, so if there was a problem at work I wouldn't be able to run that morning, plus there are also no showers here but there is a Y two blocks from the office (so I guess that cancels that one).

There's an article in Runnersworld about 4 people that (by RW's Standards) Work hard and Train Hard, but the person that run the most mileage tops out at 50 miles a week. What about people that work 40hours a week but then train around 80 - 100 miles a week? Why don't we hear about those people, as they are the ones I'd like to ask how they do it.

Ideally I'd like to run to work twice a week and keep my lunch time runs as well. This would bring my mileage or weekly K's up to approx. 160K a week. Is it doable? would there be a benefit from going from 130-140K per week to 160? or would I just be taking away from time I should be using for recovery?

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are you in?

Hi There,
The Lottery for the NYC Marathon was drawn this morning (Edmonton Time), This is the end of wondering if I'm in or not. 


I guess that gives me 210 potential days to train for it.....better get of the couch :)

http://www.nycmarathon.org/

Monday, April 5, 2010

Life/Training up to Sunday April 4th

Last week’s training went pretty well, there was a couple of days that I didn’t get as much mileage in as I would’ve liked. But sometimes that’s just the way it is when you’re running comes after Family and work. Thursday was April 1st or April Fool’s day and the weather here really was playing a joke on us. I started my run from Hawlerak Park in brilliant sunshine being passed by guys on Skateboards in shorts and t-shirts, but by the time I was have way through it had started to snow. It was at that point that I was glad to be a little over dressed.  Most of my running is easy running, it’s still reasonably fast compared to the speed I ran my long run on Saturday as I was starting to feel the weeks training in my legs.

On Wednesday I ran 10 x 1minute hard, 1minute easy, at a speed that was supposed to be faster than my 5K speed. This is a harder workout than it sounds on paper, by the tenth hard minute I was happy to be done. Thursday was a double day of easier running, because on Friday I was to run 5x2K with 2.5 minutes recovery and then 3x200m with 200m recovery. Each 2K was to be run in around 7 minutes, so it was to be hard but not so hard that there was going to be a huge difference between the first interval and the last.

With Friday being a holiday (Good Friday) I didn’t have to work, so I was able to do this workout at any time during the day. I met my training Partner Marc for the run over at Foote Field, where we had a good warm up before we started the intervals. The Weather was great, the sun was shining, I even managed to get sunburnt a little which was odd considering it wasn’t even all that warm, it may have  been a wind burn though as the wind was blowing pretty good. Marc had just come back from a couple of days in Vegas, so he was pretty tired. But I was happy to have the company for this run. While on the track, we were joined by two of the ladies from our training group, they were doing 4oom repeats. There was also a sprinter on the track work with his coach. Otherwise it was a very quiet day. Even with wind getting up as the workout neared it completion I was able to run each interval in sub 7 minute pace and then the 200m in around 31 – 34 seconds.

It’s interesting to watch sprinters train and how different it is when compared to a long distance runner. They work a lot more on the mechanics of running than endurance guys at the start of their workout and then they do their intervals or repeats, but the most interesting part was the amount of rest that was taken, there was a couple of times that I thought the guys had finished for the day only for them to come back and work on something else. It was good to watch someone that’s practiced how to run, to see their stride technique. I’m sure they must cringe when they see distance runners trying 200m repeats.

When I got home and had a bit of a rest I met up with my wife and her sister (who had just come in from Vancouver for the Easter weekend) as they took the little guy over to the playground not far from our house. He really loved being there, he loved the slides. He never seemed to get bored and would try to climb up the stairs even though the steps are a little further apart than his little legs can handle right now, I went down a couple of the slides with him and so too hear him laugh brings me great joy and happiness. We went back on Saturday after I got back from my Long run out in St. Albert, but he didn’t seem to like it as much as he watched other kids play before he decided that he wanted to get in on the action.

On Saturday I hooked up with Marc and we ran over the course of the St.Albert 10 miler, that we are racing on in two weeks. I  haven’t made up my mind as to running over this particular course. As sometimes it’s better to not know what you’re facing. The St. Albert course is interesting though with the first 10K being either uphill or downhill, the uphill sections are not very hard but it’s easy to see people going out a little too fast in the beginning and then paying for it after wards. Each uphill section goes up like steps as there is a little flat piece at the end of most of the sections. It’s actually the last 6K that are the toughest as its mostly hills. Thinking ahead it will be interesting to see how this race goes as it’s the first race in the Timex Series here in Alberta, so I’m thinking it’s bound to attract some of the best runners in the province. My goal for the race is to run the best time that I’m capable of and not to worry about who may or may not be there I’m also hoping to beat my time from last year, when I went under the hour for 10 miles for the first time. This is one of my Fitness testing races in the build up to the Calgary Marathon, the only other race that I’m going to run is a week later and I’m not sure if I’m running it yet. The Policeman’s Half Marathon is on April 25th and I think it would be a good race for me as I have about 4-5 weeks to get my act together for Calgary.

Ideally I’d like to get a good time for the 10 mile race and then run at or better than that pace for the Half Marathon and then run the marathon at those paces. It’s not the end of the world if I blow up trying to hard in the Marathon as I’m thinking of also entering the Edmonton Marathon in August. This year I thought I’d support more local races.

Training completed last week:
Monday – 20 minutes in V5fingers + 30 minutes yoga
Tuesday – 50 minute run (no afternoon run as I was picking the family up from the Airport)
Wednesday – 50 minute run (10x1min on/1min off)
Thursday – 50 minutes am + 70 minutes pm
Friday – 5x2K +3x200m/200 rec
Saturday – 30K (including over the 10 Mile course in St. Albert)
Sunday – 65minutes easy

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Training so far...

Hi There,
 I guess it’s about time I updated this thing. Training has been going pretty well except for a couple of small hiccups here and there due to work and weather.

It shouldn’t really matter but in the last two weeks I’ve missed 2 easy days of training due to circumstances that I couldn’t/can’t control. The days that I actually got out running the training has been going well. I’ve been doing either 2 interval type workouts a week or one interval day and a race.

A couple of weeks ago I headed down to Cow town to run in the St. Patrick’s Day 10K. The weather wasn’t the greatest nor was it the worst that Alberta could’ve thrown at us at this time of year. I arrived early at the start of the race and ran a 5K loop to warm up, but then seemed to lose sometime after that as I had to rush to get ready for the race. I got into  a good position on the start line and tried to go with the leaders, but I guess my fitness isn’t what I thought it would be and I started to slow down just after the first hill. I went through the first mile in 5:27 (fast) but not as fast as I can run, slowing down throughout the race. As guys came by me I tried to use them to shelter from the wind, but I was slowing down the entire time. I managed to go through the first 5K in 17:34 which again is not bad but it’s not great. For the second 5K loop I tried to make sure no one passed me and that was about the only thing that worked. I ended up finishing in 36:08, which is not the worst time I’ve run for a 10K its closer to one of my best.

But it tells me I haven’t gotten the pacing down yet for 10K, with a split of 17:34 (first 5K) and 18:34 (second 5K) I went out too hard and then paid for that in the second half, I was probably paying for that in the first half, but it shoes in the second.

Last weekend I was invited to run in the second Aerobic Power 3K at the ButterDome, I wasn’t really expecting to run all that well as the day before I ran a 30K long run. I was thinking that I’d run as hard as I my legs would allow me too after the run. So on the morning of the race I ran 5K to warm up and then did some drills once inside the ‘Dome. The race went pretty well as I was pretty comfortable running around 38-39 second laps, I think myself and Marc Meunier went through first K in 3:16 – 3:17. The pacing was great, unfortunately for us Brian L was ahead, running closer to 3:10 per K. Not much we could do about that as we don’t have Brian’s speed right now. I kept the pace high and ran from the front for the entire race at some point I stopped hearing Marc’s breathing behind me and that kind’ve inspired me to run faster stopping the clock at approx 9:48.

This is a new PB for me, although it’s not uber fast in the overall scheme of things, it lets me know that the work I’ve done over the winter is working for me. This time last year I ran this race in 10:05 or 10:10 so it is a big improvement over a year.


One thing that I noticed after the race is I need to do more drills to improve my running. admittedly I almost cut out running in the Newton’s during the winter as I didn’t feel safe running outside in them in all of the snow and ice we had. I ran the 3K in a pair of Adidas Adizero RC’s that I’ve been using on the treadmill. Prior to the race from the mid foot back to the heel there was no wear or dirt on them, after the race there was. Even though these shoes weigh about 5oz’s I still managed to heel strike.




I can see other problems with my running form...arms maybe a little high, shoulders may not be relaxed and there is no lean in the upper body. Good things to keep are the ears appear to be over the shoulders and then in turn over the hips.



I’m watching the clock, trying to figure out our pace
Pictures are courtesy of Kevin Masters (Aerobic Power)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March Madness

March Madness doesn’t just refer to college Basketball, March Madness refers to the end of winter and the beginning of spring in some places the end of one tax year and the beginning of the next, if you’re a farmer it would refer to the new arrival of new lambs or calves. A lot of people go a little crazy in March , you see them out running in shorts and t-shirts when its only +5’C, out you may see them out on the track and their hammering out intervals quicker than they have done all winter. But by April they are back into their snug winter routine.

As an athlete I have found that March is a long transition month into racing, by that I mean April or even May is when the true racing season begins, in years past (almost a life time ago) the first race of the season was among the most important races of the year and for reasons that escape me now I don’t know why. Myself and my friends would get as fit as possible for that first race and more than likely it would be raining and we would end up having a pretty mediocre race. Now I try not to get carried away with the training in March but it happens to the best of us, it’s sometimes harder to hold back than to let yourself run with the energy that is bubbling up inside of you, the white stuff is starting to go away the days are getting longer and the air is getting warmer and you want to see what all of that training over the winter has done to your fitness levels. But as much as these are good reasons to start upping the training, by pushing too hard in March there is a good chance that by May you’ll be done either physically or mentally and won’t want to train once the really good weather gets here nor will you be thinking of the Fall races such as a marathon.

So try to hold back on increasing the intervals, if you’ve been doing 5 times whatever the distance don’t move to 6 times the interval just yet. If you’re running a race or 2, what result you get at this time of the year will almost be forgotten by the time October rolls around, so don’t get that upset if you don’t run according what you thought you would do. Use March as a stepping stone to bigger and better things later in the season.

Later...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A quick howdy...

Hey there,
Just have time for a quick howdy y'all!! as of next Monday I have a plan and am sticking to it!!


I know it sounds scary, but until now my training has been a little unfocused, which is probably fine for the winter. But when you have a couple of races coming up its time to get focused. The goal races remain the same beginning with the St. Albert 10 miler and the Calgary Marathon. After that you knows a bit of a rest and then back at it for the Edmonton Marathon (provided the legs still want to run).


I'll post what the plan had and then post what was actually done.


Later

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Five Fingers update

Hi Guys,
At some point I mentioned that I would provide an update on the 5finger testing. Well its been a while and to tell you the truth I haven't been using them as much as I thought I would be. The first couple of runs in them went great (I only ran for about 20 minutes each time) but I noticed that I got a blister right on the seam where the upper is joined to the sole. Other than that I now can't tell the difference between 5Fingers/Newtons and a pair of Adizero RC race flats that I run in. I'm hoping that this is a good thing.

I did notice a difference between those 3 sets of shoes and a pair of Lunar Glides that I own. When running in them I still run on the forefoot/midfoot but it sounds like I'm landing a lot harder and louder than I am in the others, this may just be the shoe itself as its about the same weight as a Newton but the sole seems to be a harder material. I can tell this now as people are giving me space on the sidewalk when I approach them from behind whereas before people won't hear me until I was right up on them.

While out running yesterday at lunchtime, I saw a guy using the 5Fingers down around the CloverDale Pedestrian/Bike bridge and I thought that his feet must be freezing as it wasn't really all that nice out (around -5'C), the other thing I noticed about the runner is that he didn't seem to run like an antelope (as this is what I think of when I see people running with good form)

Light on their feet, good leg turn over, arms relaxed, back straight and head level.

About 1:10 in there is a clip of that graceful movement that I'm thinking of.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2Ax2WVTGNc&feature=related

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekly Training - Week ending Feb 21st

Monday - Rest (Family) Day
Tuesday - 105mins total for day 24 K (long run)
Wednesday - 50 minutes @ Lunch total for day 11.5K
Thursday - 50 minutes @ Lunch 11.5K + 11K inc. 5x5 @ 5:40per mile pace
Friday - 75 mins total for day 17.2K (the running commute - ran to work)
Saturday - 135mins total for day 27K (Long slow run)
Sunday - 70 Total for day 18K with Fartlek

Approx for week = 120K
Good week for running. I think this is the biggest week of training that I've done for some time. Monday was family day so I spent the day with the family watching the Winter Olympics, I also took Tuesday off work and went running.

On Friday I ran to work (as we had a meeting at lunchtime), it was about a 75 minute but I got a call around halfway and had to resolve some computer issues while on the road.

Saturdays run was pretty good, albeit slower than I normally run. But that's OK right now as I'm not looking to make the long runs hard (just yet) I'm looking to spent time on my feet rather than distance covered.

Roll on this week - one more week building and then possibly a rest week

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weekly Training - Ending Feb 14th

Monday - 50 minutes total for day - 11.5K
Tuesday - 50 minutes Lunchtime + 5x3mins / 2 min rec @5:15 mile pace
total for day - 22K
Wednesday - 50 minutes
total for day - 11.5K
Thursday - Rest day + 30 minutes yoga
Friday - 50 minutes
total for day - 11.5K
Saturday - 2hrs with APTS crew. including 6x2K (6 x 2 laps of the Legislative building 3 starting at top 3 starting at bottom) Times for each repeat 1) 7:41 2)7:32 3)7:15 4)7:11 5)7:04 6) 6:58 2min rec between repeats.total for day - 24K
Sunday 65 minutes total for day - 16K

Total for week - 96K
Not a very good week on Thursday I think I ate a little too much MSG as Friday mornings running commute to work was called off due to feeling hungover. On Tuesday the the intervals didn't go as easily as they had in the past. Only good day was Saturday's run. Roll on next week

Monday, February 8, 2010

Weekly Training - week ending Feb 7

Monday - Rest day
Tuesday - 50min lunch time + 50 min evening (15 warm up 5x3min @5:00 mile pace/ 2min Rec 15 min cool down) - Total for day 23K
Wednesday - 50min lunchtime - Total for day 11.5K
Thursday - 50min lunchtime + 70 mins evening (15 - 20min warm up 5x5min @5:20-5:30 mile pace/ 3 min rec 15-20min cool down) - Total for day 25K
Friday - 50 min lunchtime - Total for day 11.5K
Saturday - 2hr run with APTS crew - Total for day 22K
Sunday - 70 min (20min warm up 10x3 @ 5:40 mile pace /5min rec 12 - 15 min cool down) - Total for day 15K

Approx. Total for week = 108K

Summary of Week
Good training week this week. The run on Saturday was slower than I would normally run, but I was going for more time on my feet than for distance. By running slower a couple of others stayed with me for the 2 hours and since it was pretty cold out there the company was welcome. I'm also trying to get in more quality runs in per week than previous years. By March I plan on adding 1 mid week long run and then in April a second one.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sugar Cravings.....


Is it just me or do a lot of runners have sugar cravings? Yesterday I felt like the cookie monster due to the fact that I couldn't seem to get enough sugary things to eat.

This is what I had to eat on top of my normal everyday food. (remember spread throughout the day)
1 - Choclate Chip Muffin (from Second Cup)
1 - Yoghurt covered granola bar
2 - Mint chocolate cookie things
10 - (at least) Arrowroot and Vanilla Bean snaps? cookies

I wonder also if this is related to the amount of Coffe I drink daily?
1 - 12 cup pot of coffee a day... I do drink a lot of water to offset the coffee intake, at least 4 litres per day.

This is an ongoing battle I have been having for many years and for the most part if there is nothing sugary around to eat I'm good, I can do without. But lately its been getting the best of me and to tell you the truth I'm getting a little annoyed with myself for eating the crap as I know its not doing me any favours, its a quick pick me up and thats about it.

I've been thinking lately that I need to start taking something to take the edge off the cravings as I'm starting to feel that sugar is getting the best of me...Do I need help?


Training

For most of my time in sport I have been self coached or have done whatever the group was doing. When I took my spot for the Boston marathon in 2008 I decided that I would need a coach, as I was thinking that since this is the biggest marathon in North America I couldn't go there and not run a good race.

So I contacted a couple of people and met with both coaches that I had heard good things about. The first coach (unknown to me) that I contacted had decided after that initial meeting that he wasn't going to coach via the internet anymore. The second coach (Kevin Masters) that I contacted ended up introducing me to Brian Torrance, who came my coach for that season and who then introduced me to Jack Cook at Fast Trax (for which I’ll always be grateful).

Since the birth of my son I've gone back to being self coached using books and ideas that I get from either the internet or from talking to people about running. So 2009 was a kind've mixed bag in terms of results. I started out slowly and to tell you the truth I was finding it very hard to combine running/working and our new baby then by year’s end I was almost where I wanted to be in terms of times for the marathon and half marathon. After the marathon in Dublin I decided that I wasn’t going to let the grass grow under my feet (so to speak) and that I was going to keep training, maybe not as hard as in the build up to the marathon but at least getting out there every day putting in the miles until February and then I would commit to running a marathon in the spring just see how it would go.

For me the worst thing about being self coached is it seems hard to commit to something that you read in a book, or if you’re like me you read six books and then somehow combine all of the training ideas into some sort of mongrel training plan that doesn’t always make sense or bring you to the fitness levels you expect or allow you to peak at the times you have in mind mostly because you second guess yourself all the time. The first training plan that followed successfully was one downloaded from runners world. It wasn’t bad, but it only had one day per week as a hard day and that alternated between intervals one week and a tempo run the other week. Brian’s training plan had a lot (for me) of harder stuff per week some of which had me reaching pretty deeply to complete.

Right now I’m kind’ve limited during the day as to how much I can do. Most days I run anywhere between 10 and 12K on my lunch and then run longer on the weekends once or twice a week I try to get in a second run (this depends on if I have to pick my son up from his day home or not). I guess this is how most people that have families and jobs train. But I wonder sometimes if I pushing a little too hard? For instance yesterday I ran a hilly 12K in 50 minutes and then today I ran a flatter 11K in 45 minutes, this usually happens as I try to train more by how the legs move than by strictly keeping to either a heart rate or a set pace.

This makes me wonder what the Kenyans are doing, not the top Kenayans but the men & women that are running my kind of times. Do they sit around in the evening watching the final season of Lost or do they even second guess what they’ve done in training for that day?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Weekly training for week ending Jan 31 2010

Monday - Rest day
Tuesday - 45 - 50minutes easy in River Valley(lunchtime) / 15min warm up 5x3minutes @ 5:22 per mile pace going up to 5:05 per mile pace, 2 minute recovery 15minute cool down. Total for day 20K (evening)
Wednesday - 50 minutes easy, total for day 11K (lunchtime)
Thursday - 52 minutes, total for day 12K (lunchtime)
Friday - 50 minutes easy, total for day 11K (lunchtime)
Saturday - 95 minutes easy total for day 22K
Sunday - 15min warm up 2x12minutes @5:30 pace 4 minutes recovery 20 cool down in 5fingers.
Also spent 30 minutes in the pool with my son.
Weekly total of 95K

Good week of running, though I was hoping to get a second run in on Thursday it didn't happen due to life getting in the way. Saturday and Sunday went pretty well but I had to cut both runs a little short due to the weather and poor footing.

Bigger Stronger Faster

Hi There,
Not sure how many people watch the CBC. But last night they had a documentary as part of their Passionate Eye series called “Bigger, Stronger, Faster”* *a side effect of being an American.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/bigger-stronger-faster/

The guy that produced the doc had tried steroids in the past but then gave them up as he felt like it was cheating, throughout the documentary he talks to people about the use of steroids. What worried me is the number of people that he talked too that said steroids are safe. The vast majority of people interviewed either thought steroid use was A) safe and could not understand why they are portrayed as being evil and B) was using them for a long time. The only people that seemed to have a problem with steroid use, was congress and his parents. However when one their sons dead lifted over 700lbs they looked like they had won the lottery (to use the producers own words)

The majority of people he interviewed that used steroids were bodybuilders/power lifters (one guy lifted 732lbs, don't tell me he wasn't juiced up). He did speak to a couple of athletes such as Floyd Landis, Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis. Interestingly here for me is that Ben Johnson and others don’t think they are/were cheating since everyone else was doing it. This reminds me of something I heard back when the Festina Scandal broke in 1998, “we’re not cheating, we’re leveling the playing field” or we’re not cheating since everyone cheats on something be it exams, taxes, wife’s, husbands or whatever. It is amazing to me how people that take steroids to get super performances will A) Deny, deny, deny that they used them and then B) how they can justify the use of steroids to themselves and their families. One of the producers brothers said that if he thought using steroids was wrong he wouldn’t use them, but since he didn’t think it was wrong.....he had no problem with their use.

I have a problem with the use of doping in sports. It’s wrong, to me sport is something that we do for fun. Even though I'm sometimes (to others it seems) like I'm pretty serious about it. I know that we’re not going to be world Champions or get to the Olympics (first of I’m not dedicated enough and secondly I maybe a little old). I just don’t see why you would need or want to use them. Mostly because I think if I can’t do it on my own then I wasn’t meant to do it. If I started to produce world class times, I think you would have to start questioning the improvement. There is a quote from Chariots of Fire when Sam Mussabini tells Harold Abrahams that “you can’t put in what god left out!” or I'm sure you've heard you can't turn a donkey into a racehorse. Maybe I’m naive but I’d like to think that there are not many people out there that use steroids to run in Alberta. This begs the question - What has happened to our moral compasses that we think that cheating is not a bad thing?

It also makes me wonder if there should be drug testing at a provincial level, maybe not for things like Franks Wednesday X-Country league, but for the championship races and the marathons.

Your thoughts?

Friday, January 29, 2010

January 29th 2010

Hi There,
Well it’s been an interesting week or so since I last spoke to you. I took some time off from work and trained a little more than usual, I didn’t however get out and ski at all. Instead I decided since it was so nice that I would ride my bike out on the road. I ran in the morning and then rode out towards Devon in the afternoon. Thinking that it would be warmer in the afternoon than the morning. I had forgotten that my left foot gets frozen out on the bike… it’s been awhile since I last rode my bike in the winter. On one of my spins my foot wasn’t that bad, but on another one it took almost an hour for me it to warm up afterwards. I had also forgotten how much clothing you need to wear while out on the bike, more than I would wear while out running in similar temperatures. One of the things I like about cycling this time of year is that drivers almost always do a double take when they see you.

I was reading on the Irish independent website about how the cold snap that they had in Ireland during January had caused some of the country’s top runners to head to warmer climates so that they could train properly without the risk of getting ill due to the cold or injured due to the snow and ice on the ground. This made me laugh, and I seriously thought of emailing the reporter that wrote the piece about what it’s like to run outdoors in Edmonton during the winter. I mean Ireland had approx two weeks of the kind of weather we have for 4-5 months of the year, only in Ireland would snow bring a country to its knees.

So far in 2010 I have changed my mind as too which events I would concentrate on, and depending on how things shape up I think that this year will be a marathon heavy year with (right now I’m thinking) 3 marathons. I’m thinking of both Calgary and Edmonton, although they are only about 10-12 weeks apart that I’m not sure how that will work out. I’m thinking Calgary as it’s the provincial marathon championships and then I heard on the grape vine that the course for this year’s Edmonton marathon is changing to a flatter route than the previous year’s course. So we’ll see how that develops, I’ve spoken to a few people about the Edmonton marathon course and they reckon that it is much harder than Boston, which I’d believe as running up MacKinnon ravine can’t be easy after having run 18 or miles.

I read Nate Jenkins blog pretty regularly and as you may notice he always posts his training from the previous week, it gives you a good idea of how a professional runner trains, he always has a summary of the week and some pretty good quotes at the end of each posting. But what I like most about Nate’s blog is that he takes time to reply to people that shoot him any questions. So I thought that I would try to include my mileage per week and break down some of the workouts as I thought it would give you an idea how a not so professional runner trains. Please bear in mind that running (as much as I love it) is only a hobby for me as I work full time and have a family to look after and provide for, before I can head out running.

I’ll start next week with the mileage, my weekly mileage (until the snow melts) is about a steady 100K per almost every week. The only thing that changes are the length of the intervals and whether I run a hill workout or a tempo workout that week. Due to work and family commitments I’m limited in the amount of time during the week that I can put into my running.

Anyways thanks for reading
Niall

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Weekly Rant

Starting this week I think I’ll add a “weekly Rant”.

This week’s rant has been on my mind for some time now and it’s to do with Marked /Unmarked Crosswalks. If you run downtown at lunchtime you must at some point cross the street at an intersection. If like me your daily run takes you by Churchill square and Canada place you’ll know how crazy it can crossing any of those crosswalks within a 3 block radius of the Canada place building. It is almost a daily experience between the hours of 12:00pm and 1:00pm that I see people (myself included) almost hit by cars. If the Air Transport Safety board knew of the sheer number of near misses that occur on a daily basis, they would investigate and then close that area down. It can’t just pedestrians fault as I’ve walked across the lights with the white man up there and someone in either a minivan or a pickup truck decides that they are not stopping, like today when I point to the lights which were in my favour she just stared at me blankly. The worst crosswalks are definitely the unmarked ones as again (maybe it’s the minivan and pickup) don’t even look to see if anyone is crossing. I even had one lady see me but wave me off as she drove through the cross walk without slowing down.


What is worse is when you graciously point out that you are in the crosswalk and the White man is there or you’re in the crosswalk and more than halfway across the road, drivers of said minivans and pickups get very upset, not because they almost hit you. but the fact that you are reminding them who has the right of way. Are there prizes for almost hitting pedestrians? Is this how Deer feel when they get trapped in a cars headlights?


In true Edmonton fashion the drivers argument (from reading about cars hitting people or cyclists in the Journal) is that it’s almost always the pedestrians or cyclists fault. Don’t believe me – Next time there is some killed in a crosswalk or on a bike read the comments section under the story.


And I'm done......til next week!!!

January 12th 2010 – here we go......

WWell its only 12 days into the new year and that means that I’m 12 days overdue with a blog post. As I mentioned in a previous post I will be posting more often. But you know I find it hard to post about things other than running, not because I don’t have a life outside of my daily lunch hour runs. It’s mostly due to not wanting to say too much that may or may not come back to bit me.


Overall I think my running has been going well considering that I had the post Holiday cold that everyone seems to pick up. This had an impact on my running as I stopped for a few (5) days and am now just getting back into it, I’m still coughing now and again but it’s going away. Prior to catching my cold I was starting to do some good quality intervals on the treadmill, running 5 x 800m at 5 minute mile pace with 400m recovery and 5 x 3 minutes at 5 minute mile pace. These 3 minutes are slightly longer than the 800m repeats they are good to put into a training plan as it works out to be just short of the 1K distance.


Since this is Edmonton and sometimes winter can go on forever here, I got myself a pair of new skis that I am yet to try out. A couple of years ago I skied pretty much all winter and ended up with a fairly VO2 due to the intensity of the skiing. I don’t plan on doing that much skiing this year but just enough to make the purchase of the skis worthwhile and enough that it can give me a break from running, I'll still run every day only now I'll also add skiing. While I was trying to get rid of the cold I decided that I would invest in a pair of the Vibram Five Fingers check out the website - http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/products/index.cfm In my next update I’ll let you know how I’m getting on.