Track v Tempo v Interval

Foam roller, hat, water bottle and slides

All the needs for recoverying and running a hard workout.

Hey runners,

Today I’m going to talk about my favorite runs, not specific paths but the workout itself. There is a philosophy of workouts in which there are 3 difficulties of days. The first is easy or recovering days, best for days before and after races and workouts. The second moderate is longer runs at a faster pace, these include long runs and in my opinion are the most satisfying. The third is workouts or hard days. After these workouts I am often exhausted and tired, however these give the most benefits and confidence boost. My absolute favorite is a hard day because you accomplish something that was hard to do.

Within hard days there are multiple possibilities. Workouts during track are mostly intervals or track work, cross country has tempo pre and post season. Tempos are set to be a certain time slower than a race pace, and usually the race distance you are training for. E.g. 5k pace = 5:40/mile, tempo = 6:00/mile. Intervals typically are to be ran at pace for the race, and track work is a particular type of interval. Hard days can include long runs if the pace is pushed, but also they can be considered moderate.

The most satisfying workouts, I have found are often the workouts that make me most sore. This is partly due to the fact that I feel that I am improving through the workout by simply only working. Also, the premise of completing an intense grueling workout makes them even more fulfilling

While hard workouts are essential it is important not to over train. One key is to listen to your body and not overextend. This can have effects spanning beyond just physical. One method of training is hard, easy, moderate, repeat. This gives you time to recover and prepare for the next workout allowing your body to improve along with your mental race state.

Winter & Cold running

Snow, often makes you cold.

Happy Holidays,

With the beginning of winter and the snow in the area running becomes more of a challenge. The cold makes it much more difficult than warmer weather as muscles become harder to move and easier to stiffen up. Your feet can also get cold from the water and snow seeping into your shoes.

While the cold is an obstacle, it can be mitigated by proper equipment. First item for winter running is a rain jacket. Essential for any rainy day run this will keep your body warmer me dry. Second running tights, while not my favorite for rainy days are one of the best items of clothes to have for cold days. On warmer days when it is raining, I like to wear regular running shorts and a long sleeve t-shirt. I have no solution for wet shoes or how to keep your feet warm yet as it becomes difficult to change your shoes and socks without impacting your running.

For muscles warmth is always an issue. The perfect temperature for running is mid to upper 60s  to low 70s. The winter times often do not even reach the low 50s. This means that your muscles will struggle to stay warm affecting flexibility and strength. To prevent or lessen this effect warming up, dynamically not statically, running for a short time 1-2 miles. This helps me, especially during my longer training. During the first snow in the winter, I was training for the half marathon, and I ran slow for the first two miles and then picked the pace up.

While difficult to run the winter is a time for training with the upcoming track season approaching fast. These tips can help you run through the winter and stay training.

Racing Mistakes

My racing bag. During cross country this year, I always had this same bag and will most likely do the same for track.

Hey runners,

Often racing can be stressful or extremely relaxed. Pre-race decisions often affect how you race. Some keys or things to do and not to do are not always clear but sometimes so obvious.

  • Don’t eat apples-while they seem good, as being a fruit, however they can cause cramps and even throwing up. Especially after races the effects of apple consumption are not good.
  • Don’t drink too much-unless you are doing this intentionally for a dare or something, then still don’t drink too much. While this may seem good for hydrating, it is very bad and can cause your body to not react as well.
  • Run a bit-if you are going to stretch then you need to keep your muscles loose and warm. Never do static stretching with cold muscles.
  • Don’t be too relaxed-often during races or before races that seem small or not a big deal runners risk not focusing on the race at hand. This can lead to poor performance due to a lack of concentration.
  • Don’t get too stressed-to much stress can be just as detrimental as being to chill. The stress can lead to an inability to race as well. The stress often causes your body to become tense which is not beneficial to racing.
  • Be composed-I find that if I become too stressed or too relaxed I will not perform or improve as I normally could. Finding a calming thought is the best way to stop nerves from getting the better of you.

These keys are often the keys to a good race and repeatedly this makes a good season.

Snatch Royale

Snatch Royale. This probably makes no sense to you unless you have ran cross country or track at IHS.

Snatch Royale is a run that he cross country team does before certain meets. However the focus is less about the run and more the tradition. Many teams have traditions which start from some random occurrence. For example Snatch Royale, it came from 3 parts. First, the original run snatch, named that way because it goes through the hatchery. Second, making up a run instead of the original run. And finally the current trend among the runners. The trend was a game called Clash Royale. When these all coincided a new run and tradition was formed.

Most cross country and track teams have one tradition or another. The traditions are often a very uniting force amongst teams. Traditions, while only psychological, can improve performances. If a runner always eats the same food the day of a race, or fixes their shoes the same way, they may experience a better and faster race.

Runners also have a tendency to create traditions, and they are often very difficult to understand. The runners are often part of these because they become so engrained into their minds. These often become a second nature. The tradition may be setting as simple as repeating something daily with your shoes. It can also be something that can be flexible and dependent on what you are doing.

Traditions are often a result of events happening simultaneously and them becoming ingrained in the runners mind.

    XC spikes with tape.

Keep Running

Keeping your speed is increasingly important the shorter the race is.

Hey runners,

The most difficult part of running is to not stop. While stopping can often be more difficult than maintaining your speed stopping feels much better in the short term. The key is to keep running the entire time.

In order to keep running depends on what distance the race is. For a half marathon, my motivation through the last few miles was pride. I was not willing to stop running as it would have meant the first miles where for nothing.

In shorter distances from 800-1600 my mentality is not so much about keeping running, but rather how much is left and about the race strategy. These races need nothing more than just a will to race and finish, neither is outside of the range of any humans running distance.

For road races and longer track races, 3200-5000 and 5 miles it is more the remainder of the race is the focus. I view these races as more of a mile by mile. It also is helpful to think I only need two more miles or however far left.

To stay running is also personal and what you need to do is find your motivation to keep running. This can be anything if it helps you. When I was begginging my first races and longer training runs I thought “get past this tree” or “finish this lap then you can relax.” With these the key is to not actually let yourself follow what you say you would when you reach the goal.

Whatever you decide to use as your motivation make sure that you are committed to following the plan. Getting through the hard parts of the run are what makes training or the race worth it.

Running heroes

Photo by Lawrie Robertson

All runners have a hero. A runner usually looks up to a specific individual who they believe embodies the sport and all the accompanying facets that goes along with it. The hero or idol is someone that the person is likely to either have known or seen during a large meet such as the Olympics. Many people follow their idol or heroes accomplishments and goals, in a way similar to their own. Often the goals are seen paralleled by the runners. Many runners use their idols as inspiration. These heroes or idols often are more than just an inspiration, but often are friends.
These idolized runners will become heroes when they help the other runners. One of the greatest aspects of running is the team community. Runners run (surprising, I know) mainly with runners closest to them in ability and friendship. Groups often form from friendships and vice versa. Running and racing with groups means that many times teammates become your idols through their encouragement. This positive loop leads to many opportunities for improvements and better teams.
I have found that often the greatest heroes are those we run with, not those we see on TV. Being with our friends and training partners who encourage us through everything, not just the good, but the bad as well, is the most important community that runners can have.
Running partners are only one type of hero. Many also idolize some of the fastest people ever. These idols are some of the biggest influences on people to them keep running.
While both provide an unmatchable inspiration, no runner can go without some inspiration. Idols and heroes are often the most influential people in a runner’s life.

Road races

Preparations for the half marathon.

Preparations for the half marathon.

Hey it’s me running man.

I, like many runners decided to take part in a road race. The race more specifically is a half marathon. Many runners race or run in road races, and many also train for the runs. However, from experience I have noticed that during 5k’s many people push the pace for the first mile and struggle through the final 2 miles. Many races begin this way and it takes much more self control to maintain a steady pace. Often during cross country, my races would start out faster then slow down. The key in these races is not necessarily to focus on a certain pace but rather how you feel.

During races I tend to think about how I feel mid race and how far I have left to go. However if I start thinking that I” have so far to go” , I drop the pace because I will die out.

The start is crucial in road races because this is where your pace is dictated. In my experience when running a fast first mile, the second will be slower but still fast. During road races with the large amounts of people running, the only possible place to have a full stride or strong start is the front. On the contrary, during cross country, my coach told us to get out hard because the first 10 seconds don’t affect how you feel. In road races this will force you to maintain a high pace or risk being engulfed in the masses.

In order to maintain a steady pace I like to be towards the front but not too far in the front. This way I can hold my pace and work my way through without ever sprinting.

Maintaining a good pace is a key for longer road races including 10k’s and half-marathons.

See everybody next week,

Happy running!

Pointlessness of running, or the point of running?

Hey running world, and any non-runners,

Running on its own is not necessarily very enjoyable. Running can be monotonous minute after minute, hour after hour. After each and every footstep you grow more sore. But what redeeming qualities does running have and how do people enjoy it?

I am a runner and am going to run this blog about running. It will mainly be about trail running during the winter and gradually more track during the spring. Here I will share my memories, my runs and the rewards with you. I will also share my tricks of the trade to benefit everyone. I want to become a better runner as well as to help others become better runners.

About myself, I am a middle distance track runner who competes in the 800m and the 400m predominantly, and an occasional 1600m. I also run cross country, but much prefer the shorter, adrenaline-fueled races that last less than 5 minutes. I began running in middle school and participated and competed in both cross country and track every year since. I began to take track and cross country more seriously during my sophomore year and improved greatly during my junior season.

Running track and cross country also has taught me life lessons, according to my coach, that I do not even know yet. It is sometimes the most painful thing to keep running, but we still continue anyway putting finishing ahead of temporary relief. The motto “Pain is temporary, pride is forever” becomes the dogma of runners during races.

Running has become for me, over the last four years, one of the most important pillars of my life. I have enjoyed successes and failures, which only make the successes even sweeter. I have met many of my friends through cross country and track and have found the running community to be one of the most beneficial groups in my high school life. From trail runs to time trials to intervals to races and Snatch Royale, I want to bring you the memories, keys and, most importantly, the indescribable aspects of running in words.