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I have a goal of placing in a race in 2016.  Now that I have a goal, it is time to start working toward that goal.

  1. Get started. I went for a 5-mile jog at 10:00 minutes per mile.
  2. Analyze ways to achieve your goal.
  3. I tend to eat a lot more than I did five years ago.
  4. I drink less water than five years ago
  5. I exercise a lot less than five years ago
  6. My body is a lot healthier than it was five years ago
  7. I am a lot weaker than five years ago
  8. Create a plan
  9. Realizing that I was frequently injured in the past, I cut down on the number of run days. I am afraid that reducing the amount of running that I do will hurt my chances for placing in a race but I feel that showing up healthy will increase my chances of placing in a race.
  10. The plan that I will post is a running plan. I will post the training plan after Alamedarunners II shows up to teach me how to format an excel document for posting.
  11. I chose a running event in September as my target race.
  12. I am going to race in 3 triathlons between now and the event that I am attempting to place in.

I picked two Brazen Racing events in September for my goal of placing.  I will be happy if I can reach a top 5 in both races.  Reason for my selections:

  1. I love Brazen races
  2. I like these courses.
  3. Both courses are very hot and very hilly.
  4. If I can achieve my hill climbing mentality for training, I have a good chance of placing in these races.

Trail Hog in San Jose

Drag – N – Fly in Antioch, CA



Triathlon race check list


This is a good post to bring up every year.  I am preparing for another triathlon this weekend and I need a checklist for my stuff.

I was getting my stuff ready for an International distance triathlon when I decided to take a picture and post my plan.  I am packing up to drive a few hours to the race location where I will spend the night in a hotel then ride my bike about 5 miles to the race start area.

It is always a good idea to create a list of triathlon gear you are going to use and how you are going to use the gear.  You can organize the list in any order that suits you.  For this event, I used a towel on the floor, the equipment and a picture as my list.  My list shown below is based on importance of the equipment.  Some things are just required for most triathlons.

Bike – Tuned and in good working order
Bike helmet – I am not a good one to ask about helmet requirements.  If it fits, I am happy.
Running shoes – I have the added optional upgrades from RoadID and SuperFeet inserts.
Bike shoes – Running shoes will work but your feet will hurt and you will lose power on the hills.
Shorts – I have some Snazzy TYR Tri shorts that work well for all 3 events.  Any shorts will work but I really like the tri shorts.  The pockets are in good places and they don’t chaffe.
Shirt – Required at most races and they protect your back from the sun.

Bike pump – I like to pump up the tires right before I leave for the race.
Water bottles – I have 3 bottles
One to rinse my feet after the swim
One for the bike that is filled with an electrolyte mix
One bottle of water for the bike
This course is very hot for me.  I will drink half the electrolyte before I get on the bike and drink one bottle of water on the bike.  I will discard both bottles at the bike water stop for fresh ones, filled with cold water.
Two towels – one for the ground and one to use after the race.
Bike gloves – Just in case I feel like wearing them.
Body glide – Great for preventing chaffing from the wet suit.  It also protects your neck from the sun.
Food – I bring it but I probably won’t eat much.  I will probably eat a stinger waffle after the swim.
Spi Belt with bib hangars – A great place to put your bib and it only takes one clip to put it on.
Socks to help prevent blisters on your feet.
Super thin underwear – Some people like them, some don’t.  I like them.
Swim goggles – tested and adjusted to fit properly.
Multi-tool kit for bikes – In case something goes wrong while getting ready for the race.
Wet-suit –  fit tested with operational zipper.  I like to lubricate the zipper with body glide.
Bike pouch:
Spare tube
CO2 dispenser
CO2 cartridges (2)
Tire levers
Spare tube
Patch kit
First aid kit
Allen wrenches 3,4 & 5 mm
Bag to carry goods to and from the start line.
Sunglasses are in the car and I have not made up my mind on the bike jersey yet.

Prepare for your distance.  For my current level of fitness, an Olympic distance triathlon is a short event where I don’t need to worry about nutrition.  I do have to worry about the heat and water.  Practice with your equipment, including nutrition before the event.

The long slow run

For those of you building up for a long distance race or event, I hope you are doing your long slow runs.  The long slow run is what helps us build up to the target distance without getting hurt.  I like to wear a heart rate monitor for my long slow runs.  I have learned that 120-130 beats per minute is my ideal range for the long slow run.  It is okay, if I go up to 140 BPM for short durations.  My long slow run for today was 8 miles long.  I maintained a constant HR of 133 for most of the runs duration.  I went up to 140 for the home stretch because I have that old horse heading to the barn mentality and pick up the pace as I get close to home.  When I realized my heart rate was at 140, I slowed down until my heart rate was 120 then I started to walk for the cool down portion of the run.  It is important to cool down for 5-10 minutes after a long slow run.  There are a lot of arguments about stretching for runners.  I like to gently stretch by bending over for 30-60 seconds.  I don’t do anything aggressive; I just bend over and let my arms hang.  How you want to stretch is up to you.  I recommend reading up on stretching and running and find something that works for you.

One of the standards for determining your maximum heart rate is 208-(age*0.7)
The long slow run is an aerobic run at 50%-75% of your max heart rate.  That is a huge span.  I recommend 50% max for beginners who are just starting to increase your mileage.  At 50% max hr you should be able to converse comfortably and joke around.  At 75%, you should be able to talk but joking around will be difficult.

Here is an explanation of the heart rate theories.  We like to call them rules but people are not created equally so things can vary a lot.
Aerobic training is officially 50%-85% of your maximum heart rate.  The long slow run is typically 50%-75% of your maximum heart rate.  As you progress, the lower number will gradually increase.  My long slow runs are usually at 65%-75% max heart rate.
Long slow runs are fat burners.  The long slow run trains your body how to burn fat.  As your long slow runs increase in time and distance, your body gets better at burning fat and other types of fuel.
They say, you officially start burning fat between 60-90 minutes depending on who you ask.  I don’t care when I officially start burning fat.  I like to look at my watch and tell myself how close I am getting to burning fat.  When I am in the fat burning stage, I tell myself “Burn, baby, burn”.
The higher your heart rate, the higher the risk for injury.

Heart rate example for a 52 year old.  Since this is general in nature, I will use whole numbers.
208-(52*0.7) =208-36=172 max hr
50%*172=0.5*172=86 lower aerobic hr
75%*172=0.75*172=129 maximum long slow run aerobic hr
85%*172=0.85*172=146 maximum aerobic hr
Ted’s long slow run at an hr of 133=77.5% of max hr.  When my long runs get longer than 15 miles, I will probably lower the max to a max of 130.

I don’t usually eat during any exercise that is less than 2 hours.  When the workouts are longer than 2 hours, I like to practice eating.  I don’t like to eat when I exercise.  That is very bad for endurance athletes so I practice eating all of the time.

It is time to start training for the Oakland Running Festival half marathon again.  I may be carrying my 2:15 pace sign once again this year. I am a bit out of shape right now. If I can regain my form, I will carry the sign.

Completing a 13.1 mile run in 2:15 requires an average pace of 10:20 per mile.  In reality, it takes a 10:03 pace to make up for the walk to the start line and walking through the water stops. To finish at a clock time of 2:15, you will need to train for a 10:03 pace.

To make training easier, I wrote a training plan for you to follow.  I know a lot of people do not want to run four days a week.  Running four days a week will certainly make things easier for the half marathon but days can be skipped.

It is very bad to skip long runs (need to build up those miles) or tempo run (which is when you build your speed and endurance).

The main training begins in January.  I started with a month of run/walk for people who are just getting into running or getting back into the swing of things.  It is a good idea to be able to run 4 miles before you start your half marathon training plan.

I like to do my long runs on Saturday.  Sunday is fine for long runs too.

Long runs – During the long runs there should be no hard breathing.  You should be able to hold a conversation for the whole run.  If you start to breathe hard, slow down.

Cruise runs are a bit faster than the long runs but do not need to be too fast.  These runs are just to add miles to the legs.

Runs are random things that are a bit faster than cruise runs.  You can vary the pace of normal runs to change things up.

Tempo runs are where you build your speed.  They hurt.  You will need to build up to 9:00 to 9:30 miles for 30 minutes.  It is good to start out by jogging for about 10 minutes then pick a target a few hundred yards away and run towards it.  You should be breathing hard when you get there.  Slow down and repeat the process.

It is tradition to tell yourself to go get a physical before you start a running plan.  If you have good luck with getting a sports physical, let me know who your doctor is.

Get to training and I will see you on March 25th.

Week :    Mon                  Tue             Wed             Thur          Fri          Sat         Sun
12/30| 30 min run/walk | Cross train| 30 run/walk  | 30 min jog| cross train|2-4 mi|Rest
01/06| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|4 mi|Rest
01/13| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|5 mi|Rest
01/20| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|6 mi|Rest
01/27| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|8 mi|Rest
02/03| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|7 mi|Rest
02/10| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|9 mi|Rest
02/17| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|10 mi|Rest
02/24| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|11 mi|Rest
03/03| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|12 mi|Rest
03/05| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|13 mi|Rest
03/10| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|10 mi|Rest
03/17| 30 min easy run | Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min easy| cross train|rest  Half Marathon

Note: This is a generic training plan.  I will write up my own training plan soon and post that as well.

I had a lot going on between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My workout routines were and still are all messed up.  I had a routine that I followed.  The downward spiral from a messed up routine is amazing.  I found a lot of reasons to not do my workouts.  When I am in a groove, I find ways to squeeze my workouts in.  Now that I recognize the error of my ways, I am getting back into the groove.  I have a half ironman triathlon to do in July.

I got out for an easy 4 mile jog yesterday and I am none worse for the wear today.  My goal is to run the Oakland Running Festival half marathon on March 23, 14.  I just set that goal, now I have to register.  I found that it helps to have a goal.  Goals help us stay dedicated.  There are not goals like an Escape from Alcatraz swim.  If you can swim, I highly recommend doing that event at least once.  There is no goal like swimming from Alcatraz.  They San Francisco Bay does not care why you skipped your training.  It will swallow you up, if you are not prepared.

Back to running.  I did a 4 mile run because I knew that it was well within my limits.  When you take time off or messing up your schedule, take it easy.  Injuries happen, when we try to make up for lost time.  If you lost a month, take a step back and ease into your training.  I ran (jogged) 4 miles yesterday.  I rode my bike today.  I will jog again tomorrow.  I plan on running an easy 5 miles with an option to cut it short a mile, if I feel tired at mile 3.  I don’t have a running plan yet.  I am going to wing it for now.  Give me a couple of days and I will have something posted for a 2:15 half marathon training plan.

Get out and run.  Take it easy and do not get injured.  If you can run a block, do it.  Build yourself up and get strong!

Mizuno Wave Evo trial


The Mizuno Wave EVO running shoes have a flat sole that is designed for a midfoot or forefoot strike.  I have the Levitas style.  Let me start out by saying that I love to take long strides and strike with my heel first.  Although I am a neutral runner, by toes point out slightly.  Striking on the outside of the heel wears out the heel quickly and creates a lot of stress on the outside of the leg.  Between the stressed out legs and my capacity for over doing things, I am always injured.  I took a chi running class that changed my running technique from leaning back to leaning forward.  It seems to help. But I still want to strike with my heels.  I was browsing around The Sports Basement one day when I stumbled on the EVO running shoes.  I tried them on and they were very comfortable.  They were so comfortable that I bought a pair.

My new shoes were nice and comfortable for my first run.  I did notice that they seem to be about ½ size large.  I am not sure if they are big or they feel that way because they are vastly different from regular running shoes.  Without the heel padding, I tend to land more on the center of the foot.  I did not alter my stride intentionally.  It happened because there was no structure to encourage me to strike heel first.  I don’t know if it is good or bad to land mid foot as opposed to landing on my heel.  I do know that landing on my heel causes stress on the shin and outside of my leg where landing mid sole causes stress on the calf and inside of my knee.  My non-scientific reasoning says it is better to work the calf because it is a larger muscle.

If you noticed my comment about landing on a different part of your foot works different muscles, you may be prepared for the consequences of working new muscles.  I took my new shoes out for an easy 3 mile jog.  About an hour after my run, my calves started to show their displeasure.  Wow!  I had a lot of sore muscles.  I had sore muscles that I did not know existed.  There are a lot of muscles below the calf and around the ankle.

I have been wearing the EVO’s for about two months now with no injuries and no worse for the wear.  I am used to the long feel of the shoe and wonder if the shoes run big or it is the way I am accustomed to running shoes.  My runs have been between 3 and 5 miles with no pain.  I did push the pace on a 3 mile run with no adverse effects.

Things to note:

  • I am a neutral runner with high arches
  • I do triathlons and run the occasional marathon
  • I injure myself 2 out of 3 times that I train for a marathon
  • I replace my running shoes every 300-500 miles
  • Most of my injuries are running related
  • EVO’s are cheaper than regular running shoes
  • EVO’s are light
  • I love shopping at Sports Basement
  • If you try minimal shoes, start with easy runs
  • So far, I like the EVO’s and consider them a success.  That may change when I get up to the 15 mile runs but I will remain optimistic.

I ordered a new pair of minimalist shoes to try out.  They are still sealed in the garage.  I forgot who made them but that is part of the fun for reviewing things.  I hope they are close to Mizuno shoes for comfort and better for fit.  Amazon has them for about $110 but you can find them for $80 at Road Runner sports.  If you have not been to a running only store, I highly recommend it.

How to Fix a Dropped Bike Chain

There is a certain learning curve that beginner bike riders must deal with as they become familiar with riding, and fixing a dropped chain is one of those things.

Here is a short video that outlines three different ways to fix a dropped chain – two of which can be done while still riding – and is an important lesson for beginner bike riders:

After it happens a few times, and you become more familiar with your bike, it’ll be easier to quickly (and cleanly) put your chain back on. Keep pedaling and be safe!

How to Wash Your Running Shoes

Whether your running shoes are long overdue for a bath, or you just got done a fun trail run, many runners are unsure how to wash running shoes and keep them from being damaged.

In the Washer: Occasionally throwing running shoes into the washer to clean them is just fine. Typically best to wash the shoes on the cold/cold setting, along with a load of laundry, and then not worrying about a thing. Remove the insoles and wash them outside of the shoe.

Do NOT put running shoes into the dryer – runners need to let the shoes air dry. To dry shoes faster, remove each insole and put some type of moisture-absorbing material into each shoe.

For anyone trying to wash the shoes faster, a hose and scrub brush will get rid of most of the mud and gunk from the shoes. (It’s advisable to also remove surface dirt as much as possible before using the washer.) Using an old tooth brush with a little bit of anti-grease soap ;;tends to do a good job of cleaning up the shoes.

Here is what recommends:

Step 1
Wipe the outside of the shoes with a cloth. For convenience, Mom’s Budget suggests baby wipes. ASICS Sports says an old toothbrush will help get off stubborn dirt. Use an anti-grease soap on the outside of the shoe to clean grime.

Step 2
Remove the insoles, or liners, of the shoes if possible and wash them separately. You can leave the laces on or remove them and insert fresh ones.

Step 3
Place each shoe in a separate pillowcase. Knot the ends of the cases to secure the shoes inside.

Video: Stretch Those Hamstrings!

Here is a quick Livestrong video that discusses loosening your hamstrings using heat:

This quick blog post is a special request from a runner with occasional hamstring issues looking for stretching and strengthening techniques.  Full discussion available after the jump: Read more… »

Running, rest and age

Resting is a very difficult thing for most runners.  We hang with people who have been running their whole lives without missing a day of running for the last 30 years.  We also know people who are part of the marathon maniacs club who have to run something crazy like 7 marathons in 7 days to join the club.

We know these normal people who can do these amazing things and think we can do that too, if we work hard enough.  To help ruin our mindset, we remember running as teenagers with no adverse effects.  Hell, half of us would smoke or drink or both before running with no adverse effects.  We also read magazines and articles telling us to run 6 or 7 days per week where we run hard one or two days then do a recovery run for an easy day.

I would like to point out that rest is allowed.  If you are training for a marathon and work your way  up to 6 days a week that is fine.  If you are just starting out, rest is a good thing.  A lot of us like or liked to have fun in our youth.  Some would call it a misspent youth while others will have a different opinion but that is another topic entirely.

When we reach our 30’s, we realize our bodies can’t handle the abuse and some of us change our ways.  When we begin to change our ways, we look to the fit people who never stopped being healthy.  Quite often, the healthy people give very sage advice about taking it easy.

Most of don’t want to listen to the sage advice because we want to catch up to them.  Listen to the sage advice.  Going out too hard and too fast can cause injuries.  If you don’t let the injuries heal properly, they may become chronic.

Read as much as you can and try to tailor a plan to suit your needs or goals.  If you don’t have any goals or know how to create goals, you can always go for the old 10% increase per week or lose 1 pound per week.  If you think to yourself that a 10% increase over 0 is equal to 0, find a couch to 5k plan to get you started.

We are all different, find or create a plan for yourself and modify it as you go along.  Most of us create a plan where we will run a sub 30- minute 10K after two months of training.  Very few of us will achieve that goal.  Most of us will modify our goals to something a little more reasonable.