Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Annoying Headlines

One of my Facebook friends posted this article "One of the Worst Forms of Exercise There Is." And I thought to myself, hmmm, what could this be about? To my utter shock, the article is about long distance running. Seriously, did you know that long distance running was one of the worst forms of exercise there is (eyes rolling)? Besides shocked, I'm irritated. The title of the article and knowing that it's about long distance running makes me not even want to read it. Of course, I might not be the most objective person given that I enjoy long distance running, but really, the author couldn't think of a less antagonistic title? The article provides link after link to studies stating that running can cause heart damage, and then goes on to suggest much better forms of exercise that only need to be done twice a week for 20 minutes. I can't think of anything that I could do for only 20 minutes twice a week that could keep me as fit as I am now. I could envision exercising for the same duration of time as I do now, but doing something other than running (maybe).

What seems to have spurned this article was a recent study entitled "Exercise-induced right ventricular dysfunction and structural remodelling in endurance athletes." For the record, this article title seems very reasonable to me, but a whole slew of news articles have been written based on the study. Some of the titles include: "Running Marathons Could Cause Heart Damage", "Running marathons could permanently damage the heart", and "Running Marathons May Cause Permeant Heart Damage." What's interesting to note, however, is that the study includes only 40 athletes (so it's a small study to begin with) and not all of those athletes were runners. Cyclers and triathletes were also included. Also, the athletes were "elite". Several of the articles above state that the duration of the events included in the study ranged from 3 hours to 11 hours, but it's odd because elite marathoners run faster than 3 hours...

Maybe I'm just being difficult because I run marathons, but I feel as though those news articles aren't necessarily representative of the study they are reporting on. What do you think? Do you think running is damaging your heart? Are these news articles a fair representation of the study? Is long distance running the worst exercise there is?

In other news, wrenches are still flying around here. Have you watched Dodge Ball? "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball." Sound advice. I need to learn that skill. Little miss Kaylee was sick yet again last week, but she's getting better. Yay! I did run a great 14 miler, and hit 45 miles for the week. I'm also thinking about running a 5K on super bowl Sunday...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When life throws a wrench at your training...

You, of course, throw that wrench right back. And waving fists in the air yell, "take that wrench thrower!" Or not. Sometimes that stupid wrench trips me and I fall flat on my face. In fact, that happens more than I would like to admit.

What the heck am I going on about? Well, Kaylee had a stomach bug last week, which made me think about training obstacles. She only wound up being sick for about 24 hours. We were lucky this time. In November, however, she had an evil stomach bug that landed her in the hospital. No running happened that week, and honestly running was the last thing on my mind because as soon as Kaylee came home from the hospital I was dealing with a wicked case of croup with Emily.

It happens though, we manage to schedule running into our already hectic lives, then BAM, you get whacked with a wrench. I'm not sure there's much we can do to mitigate the wrench risk. The week Kaylee and Emily were super sick, there's nothing I could have done differently that would have changed the outcome. How did it impact my training? Minimally, I think. I picked up where I left off, and chose not to linger on any negative thoughts. One poor running week probably doesn't mean much. I like to look at several months when trying to characterize how I'm doing on the running front. One missed week out of several months of good consistent running is fine. Now if I were to start stumbling every other week, then I'd need to reassess how I'm doing and perhaps make changes.

I know some runners that never miss a workout, and that's awesome. I'm not one of them though. I do miss workouts from time to time. I don't think I'm lazy or uncommitted, but you know, there's life and stuff going on...

From a numbers perspective, training was awesome last week. I missed the day Kaylee was sick, but turned around and ran a nice interval workout that turned into a 12 miler. I had also done a tempo run at the beginning of the week that turned into a 12 miler. My mileage total for the week was 55. Overall a good week, but my right knee is twinging ever so slightly. I am certain that it's a case of "runner's knee" and given that I've never had "runner's knee" in my almost two decades of running, I'm fairly certain it's from too much interval running. I may need to limit my workouts to one hard run per week.

How about you? Do you ever feel like someone is throwing a wrench at you while you run? How do you deal training obstacles?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Just Added a Marathon to the Spring Schedule!

I was selected to be a Rhode Races Blogging Ambassador! Basically I'll be blogging about my training and the nice folks at Rhode Races have offered me a free marathon number! Sweet deal! I'm excited to have the opportunity to connect with other runners who are training for the same race, and excited to be training for another marathon. I only run one or two marathons a year (preferably one actually), so committing to the Cox Providence Marathon is a big deal to me.

My first action as a blogging ambassador will be to suggest this phenomenal post regarding fueling, running, and recovery over at Small Town Runner. Up until last year, I completely ignored fueling. I would drink water on long runs, but that was the extent of my fueling strategy. I still don't generally fuel for runs under 10 miles, but I take longer runs or harder runs much more seriously. I'll take a gel every four miles and sip some electrolyte every mile, and I am finding recovery so much easier! Anyway Raina's post is well written and informative. Definitely worth reading.

Now I have to think about marathon training...Yikes! There are 17 weeks until race day. Plenty of time, right? Truth be told, my training probably won't change too much. I've been running 40-50 miles a week, which seems to be a reasonable amount of running for me. In case anyone is interested, I've been good about inputting my workouts on Daily Mile. You can see my running specifics on the right from the Daily Mile widget. My next challenge will be to plan my long runs, but I'll save that for next week.

On a completely unrelated topic, I wanted to ask about compression tights. I'm on the market for a new pair (yay Christmas money) and can't decide if I want to buy another pair of CW-X tights or try another brand like Zoot. Any thoughts? The CW-X tights truly are amazing. They have done wonders for my recovery and help me out on runs where my legs are simply tired. I hate the way they look, however. I feel like a linebacker in them. To be fair, this could potentially be an issue with any brand. I'm not a small runner. I guess I'm hoping that there's an awesome compression tight out there that is also flattering. What do you like for compression tights?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Reflections & Resolutions & Photos


2011 was a good running year. When the year began my littlest baby was only 4 months old and an awful sleeper, but somehow I managed to run over 2,000 miles for the year, one half marathon, two full marathons, and three 5ks. Although I was happy with all my race times (which can be found on the right), there's only one race that I actually felt good while I was running. The turkey trot, which wasn't my fastest 5k for the year, but was definitely the best I felt for any race. I blame my tiny tykes for my lack luster feelings on race days. When do kids let their parents sleep anyway?

My best performance was, surprisingly, in the 5k (18:52). I've never believed that the 5k was my best distance, but maybe it is. I don't know. I guess we'll see what happens in the other distances in 2012. Speaking of 2012, I don't really have any new year's resolutions. I don't even have specific goals. I'm finding that training with a loose set of goals is working better for me.

I do whatever training I feel like (within reason), then a week before my race I look at my training logs, the race predictor calculators, and determine what pace I should be able to run. Training by feel is less pressure for me. Selecting a time goal in advance is so much more stressful. There's pressure to run certain paces in training regardless of how one feels, which for me is a recipe for disaster. And less enjoyable overall.


Okay, so my running resolution for 2012 will be to go with what works (and to have fun). Oh, maybe I should also resolve to blog more, like at least once a week. Yes, I will blog at least once a week in 2012. (Believe it or not, I actually go back through my blog posts sometimes when my training notes and memory are a bit spotty.)

The racing schedule for 2012 is in flux. I have two half marathons planned, but everything else is undecided. Besides those two races, I'm sure I'll run a marathon and a few 5ks. I just haven't decided which to run.

Do you train by feel or with specific times goals? Is your race calendar decided?


My fastest race of the year! If you really want to you can purchase photos from Capstone Photography

So much trouble, but so much cuteness in one package!

Me & my little ladies

Speaking of little ladies...