WEEK 16: HALF MARATHON 2019
WEEK 16 TRAINING PLAN STARTS TODAY
There’s not too much to do this week, as you are on the glide path to your half marathon race, except to continue the taper. Don’t overdo the long run at the end of the week. You want to be prepared and fresh for the race.
An extra foam rolling session is scheduled for runners this week. Use it to roll out sore and stiff spots on Wednesday or any other day of the week. It can be a full session or an abbreviated one. Walkers will officially have one added next week, but may wish to start the extra session this week (It was an oversight that occurred during updating; sorry!).
If you are tempted to introduce new nutrition, shoes, gear, or apparel into your race preparations, be careful. Most experts would advise against making changes. There isn’t much time to truly test a new fuel strategy. Also, the runs are not as demanding as earlier in the plan and can’t serve as trials for new items. Foods taken and gear worn on the upcoming shorter runs may not be adequately assessed as to whether or not they will work on race day.
New spring fashion upgrades can serve as rewards for following through on your commitment to train and finish a goal race!
If you have not yet found an organized race to run on May 18 or 19, or plans have collapsed for one, consider pinning on an Earned Runs bib to be sure you meet the challenge of running or walking the half marathon for which you trained. Don’t let circumstances deter you from reaching your goal race! Request a set today to keep one in reserve, “just in case”.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
TO ME IT SEEMS NEARLY EVERY FITNESS ADVICE ARTICLE THAT ATTEMPTS TO HELP PEOPLE PERSEVERE IN FITNESS ACTIVITIES suggests working with a partner, finding a tribe, or joining a class. The abstract of a recent scientific research publication in the Strength and Conditioning Journal that was offered ahead of print appeared to explain a reason.
In the 2019 article The Kohler Effect: A Motivational Strategy for Strength and Conditioning, author Christopher R. Hill PhD from the Department of Kinesiology of California State University at San Bernardino in California, indicates “research in social psychology has largely found people do not work as hard when in group settings”. The statement seems to contradict the most common advice to workout newbies, so I looked for further explanation of the Kohler Effect (KE).
After searching science journals a bit more, another 2012 study abstract was located that offered information on the KE, The Kohler Effect: Motivation Gains and Losses in Real Sports Groups. Lead author Kaitlynn Osborn of Michigan State University and colleagues wrote, “Results show that inferior group members” of a swim team “had significantly greater motivation gains than non-inferior teammates in preliminary and final swim races”. When track and field athletes were studied “similar results were replicated”, “with the weakest member of the team showing larger difference scores from individual to group competition compared to middle-ranked and higher ranked teammates”.
The scientific literature was looking at the KE from the perspective of the ‘higher-ranked‘ and ‘middle-ranked’ team member, or a coach attempting to get the most from her or his best athletes. Being paired or grouped with an ‘inferior-ranked’ athlete seems to be detrimental to their training according to KE studies.
The popular media provided a few other lay articles that offered advice based on the Kohler effect, but seemingly from the opposite perspective, that of exercisers whom the scientific studies would identify as ’inferior’ team members. Those for whom working out in group classes rather than alone would result in better performances.
This little bit of discovered science sheds light, for me, on why we might gravitate to solo or group exercise situations depending on whether we consider ourselves to be a stronger versus weaker members of a group or class. For example, to be faster it seems wise to train with faster runners /cyclists or alone, but occasionally social-run/cycle with those of equal or lesser speediness. To receive an introduction to resistance training, it may be best to join a class, but to seriously build strength it's better to arrange solo sessions or partner with a superior weight trainer.
Companies like Peleton™ and Strava™ appear to capitalize on the KE by allowing subscribers to find competitors and classes that will enhance each individual’s motivation and training needs.*
The science behind the Kohler effect also supports the Earned Runs approach to becoming an athlete: it involves committing to a challenge and training without seeking or requiring others to affirm or join your effort. The responsibility to begin and demonstrate a willingness to work hard to reach a goal lies with the individual. For some, taking on a fitness challenge requires separating from our social circle of 'inferior' team members, who cannot increase our motivation level. Later decisions to join or not join with partners or groups will, possibly related to the Kohler effect, arise from the strategy and tactics that we test to move us closer to achieving that goal.
The best of the best in a sport struggle to find training partners who inspire greater motivation. In running**, elites will train in teams although they compete against each other as individuals. Intuitively this practice makes sense. As a recreational athlete, it’s fun to have stumbled upon the science which may have promoted this practice.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*I have not used these products/services; please comment if you have first hand experience.
** World-class cyclists compete in teams. Would appreciate comments of cyclists .
IN ADVANCE OF THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST EARTH DAY AND MONTH in 1970, this is a perfect time to plan a year of helping to make our environment cleaner, healthier, and friendly. For all beings who currently inhabit our planet and will do so in the future. That means our children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and neighborhood kids amongst the humans, and countless generations of other living creatures who will continue to make our world a beautiful, exciting, and wondrous place.
Earned Runs has encouraged trash pickup this month, but the problem of disposable plastic pollution can’t be solved by clean-up efforts. Media stories are increasingly sounding the alarm that that recycling is ineffective in reducing the rapidly increasing amount of waste that is filling the planet.
One way to become a part of the movement today is to simply take the “Pledge to End Plastic Pollution” promoted by the Earth Day Network to reduce use of disposable plastic. Now. Then take a few minutes to learn more about the issue from the EDN’s educational materials.
Or from an Earned Runs blog post on October 22, 2018 (the half year mark of the official celebration that year) that provided background information on the environmental burden created by widespread disposable plastic bottle use and the economic reasons to revert to drinking tap water from earth-friendly re-usable bottles.
The task today can be education, nothing more. I took the EDN Pledge and received a thank-you message on another page. I was asked to donate but did not.
Instead I clicked on a charitynavigator.com link which took me to the mission description of the organization. It indicates that the EDN “grew out of the original Earth Day in 1970” and how it works to “mobilize” the worldwide annual celebration to “as the most effective vehicle for promoting a healthy, sustainable planet”. I learned the EDN has a very good overall and accountability/ transparency scores (91.94 and 93 respectively of 100) from Charity Navigator, should I decide later to give money.
Next, I returned to the EDN ‘thank you’ message and clicked on the “Campaigns” link at the top of that page, and then the “Plastic Pollution” link at the bottom of the page which had opened. I checked out the “plastic calculator“ that determined my personal yearly consumption and how I might reduce the amount.
Earned Runs encourages lovers of outdoor fitness activity to learn more about and begin to fight plastic pollution leading up to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and Earth Month. Although our efforts might be scattered throughout the year, not be part of an organized campaign, and not involve donating money, the earth will benefit. Especially if we spread the message to others to multiply the environmental effect of fighting plastic pollution.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
EARNED RUNS BLOG POST October 22. 2018
IMAGES below: Picking up trash is not going to solve the plastic solution problem, but it is a small gesture of earth-love.
WEEK 15: HALF MARATHON 2019
WEEK 15 TRAINING PLAN STARTS Today is April 21. Tomorrow is Earth Day 2019, but for many this weekend offers the best chance for observance, if not official. Are you planning anything that shows appreciation for our planetary home or provides a little TLC? If not, the official day is yet to arrive, and the rest of the week could be utilized as well
In our daily non-running/walking, non-fitness lives, just like in a training program, sometimes we don’t accomplish what was in our hearts and minds to do on a certain day. It’s convenient to give a shrug of the shoulders and then completely neglect the necessary task, or responsibility. We just don’t do it, forget about it, cross it off the ‘to-do’ list. Whatever the self-assigned duty, it was possibly going to be difficult to attempt or finish, or unexpected events may have prevented our accomplishing certain self-assigned duties.
There’s nothing magical about April 22. We can take care of the earth any day of the year, or many days of the year, if we commit to making the effort. With more restrictions, the same goes for training. Some workouts for specific upcoming races cannot be performed any random day of the year. However, if a critical workout is missed, like a long run or walk,* writing it off may not be the only option.
If there’s enough wiggle room in the schedule before a race, the missed session should be completed as soon as possible, with the remainder of training continued from that point. Long runs or walks, strength training, or hill repeats can be performed on days other than what the schedule dictates. However, care must be taken not to pile up too many consecutive days of intense work to avoid injury.
PRE-run/walk dynamic stretches, mobility worm-ups, and foam rolls are most helpful in preparing for this kind of make-up work. POST-run/walk stretches, foam rolling, and massages can ease the body afterward.
Don’t give yourself an easy pass when you miss a day’s training session. Carefully consider how you might go forward without risk of injury by re-scheduling it as soon as possible.
RUNNERS: this week the long run has been tapered down to 10 miles. If weather or life circumstances prevent it, get it done the next day. It may help to ‘slide’ your training plan over one day, making it Monday to Sunday for the last remaining weeks (rather than Sunday to Saturday) . For races occurring on May 17-19 there is a 3-week taper period built into the plan that can accommodate a few misses.
WALKERS: those training for a half marathon are essentially READY for their competition on any day. If not registered for an organized race, walkers can extend this upcoming weekend’s 13 mile walk to 13.1 miles and will accomplish their goal race!
If you’re using an Earned Runs bib for a custom competition that you designed, the race day can be pushed forward, any day or time that works.
Bottom line, hold to your training plan and make minor SAFE adjustments as needed.
Oh, and pick up trash along the way on your cool down walk today or tomorrow, if your long run is yet to be performed, or along your recovery walk path tomorrow. It’s a chance to love our Earth!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
RE-calculating BOSTON 2019 winners
BY NOW MOST INTERESTED FOLLOWERS OF THIS MARATHON RACE are aware which individuals competing in the women’s and men’s elite groups crossed the finish line first.
A results list is available from Boston.com. Worknesh Degefa (Ethiopia) earned the right to wear the laurel wreath for females in her division and Lawrence Cherono (Kenya) edged out his closest male rival. In the push-rim wheelchair competition, Daniel Romanchuk (USA) took the men’s and Manuela Schar (Switzerland) took the women’s top honors.
PodiumRunner.com (formerly competitor.running.com) reports that a re-calculation of the times based on age per the World Masters Association system resulted in scores which would place 61-year old Joan Benoit Samuelson (USA) in the number 1 slot followed by 39-year old Edna Kiplagat (Ethiopia). Number 6 would be Gene Sykes, who is 71 years of age young!
This year Samuelson ran the marathon and commemorated her 1979 open division victory at Boston, the 4oth anniversary of the accomplishment, the article explains. It also explains how she "won" the 2019 event as determined by a World Master’s Association calculation system, which assigns an “age-graded” score to each runner’s performance. My check of the calculator shows that gender is also a factor.
Using the WMA scoring calculations, the article generated a list. It appears that women and men over 60 years of age performed very well on the "top 22" podiumrunner.com list, with 5 each in the top spots:
Finisher Gender Age/age group
1. Joan Samuelson Benoit F 61
6. Gene Dykes M 71
11. Vitor Queranza M 65-69
13. Roslyn Smith F 70-74
15. Jean Marmoreo F 75-79
16. Paul Crociere M 60-64
17. Keijo Tavassolo M 80-84
20. Gail Wasielewski F 65-69
21. Eliz Barrett F 80-84
22. John Oweleen M 75-79
It is my thought that the runners identified within a grouping rather than by years of age, were most likely to be in the pack of the non-elites, which is why their exact ages are not provided. On the registration form they would have checked an age-range box. The finish times are identified in the full podiumrunner.com article.
My math indicates that Barrett must have averaged roughly 11:30 minutes/mile over the course of the marathon, finishing in just over 5 hours. Wow! I inserted one of my previous half marathon times into the calculator to try it out. What a surprise to see the score!
One message to take from this data may be to train smart to STAY HEALTHY and injury free, manage to avoid developing significant osteoarthritis over the years, and one of these top spots could be yours.
Perhaps it will be fun to take a best race finish time each year going forward to chart progress by WMA score as an individual runner/walker at one distance (5K, 10K, etc)?
Any runner who has merely thought about qualifying for Boston realizes that every participant is a winner, by right of earning a bib number. As is everyone who has attempted to qualify...and so on...
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
AMANDA BROOKS PROVIDES ADVICE FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE on how to handle exercising outdoors in allergy season in an post on her blog page www.runto thefinish.com. Some of the tips she provides touch on scientific principles and most add a common-sense approach that only might have been worked out, through trial and error, by someone significantly impacted by seasonal suffering and driven to relieve it.
Summarized incompletely below but discussed in greater depth in the article, which deserves a thorough read, they are:
Timing medicines; dosing with a sweet vaccine; fighting inflammation with food; washing hats; stripping asap; showering nightly; timing eye drops; exploring essential oils treatment; learning to breathe properly; letting rain clear the air; stutter-starting your session; and staying indoors.
One is an often-repeated recommendation in articles on the topic, to shower every evening before bed. An additional measure that can be taken to reduce contact with allergens that have adhered to the head after an outdoor exercise session include immediately washing hair. Another tactic is to have an ample supply of freshly laundered pillow cases ready for nightly changes.
Brooks’ tip that hasn’t been specifically tested for pollen allergy relief in adults to help keep symptoms from flaring involves dampening inflammation with a diet rich in anti-oxidant foods.
There is evidence that a pre-natal maternal diet rich in antioxidants, vitamin D, and fatty acids can influence food allergy development in their children’s future lives. “Obesogenic” diets that are high in saturated fats, highly refined carbohydrates, and sodium, and low in vitamins, anti-oxidants, and soluble fiber have been discussed as contributing “to the development of airway inflammation and loss of asthma control.” Thus, improving diet quality might not only be good for general health, but for soothing airways stimulated by allergens.
Brooks has revealed her tricks to alleviating allergy misery in the 15-points of this article. Those who have the problem may find one or more of them lessens their suffering just a bit, at least on some days.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WHAT TO EAT DAYS BEFORE, AND THE MORNING OF AND DURING THE RACE The article “How to Fuel for a Half Marathon” by Pamela Nisevich Bede for RunnersWorld.com, discusses carbohydrate loading and pre-race and in-race fueling. Since this and next week contain the longest runs/walks of the 18-week plans, this is the time to be testing what works best. Some of you may be competing your half marathon this or next weekend! The piece may provide helpful information for first-timers, and also those who regret not paying attention to nutrition in advance of previous longer distances races.
First, Nisevich Bede addresses the issue of what to eat days before you anticipate “being on the road for more than 90 minutes”. Then, breakfast before an early race. Finally, fueling during the race.
She does nice work explaining all three topics in this updated 2019 piece. Give it a look if you want help or check it to determine if your planning is on track with expert recommendations.
Remember, just as it’s not a good idea to introduce something new during the race, dietary alterations that are planned for the days leading up to race day should also be ‘practiced’. These next training weeks can be used for nutrition trials.
An embedded link to an article by Dimity McDowell and Runner’s World’s Editors suggests a test-run the week before the longest training run/walk (the article advises 6 weeks before the race, but this may be for marathon plans). There are specifics on what to eat for each meal.
EARNED RUNS NOTES:
Among other recommendations, Nisevich Bede suggests eating a larger mid-day lunch, making it your main meal, and a smaller dinner the day before a race. If accustomed to a pre-sleep high protein snack, you might easily continue with this routine especially if the protein is casein (dairy), as long as the fat content isn’t high. Calories don’t need to be increased; there’s the risk of feeling sluggish after a bigger than normal intake the day before.
Lean meat is a preferred protein source. Pasta is often recommended. That shouldn’t be translated as including all Italian foods. Remember that pizza heavy with cheeses and high-fat meats (sausage, pepperoni) will represent a big load of fat.
Runners should keep in mind that TIME IS WARPED on race day. Regardless of how nearby the course is to where you are staying, you should factor in time and activity involved in travel to the parking or assembly area, shuttle to the start, and standing in the chute. The bigger the race the more time and effort will be required before the start.
Your typical fuel needs on a long training run day may be increased on RACE DAY. Consider the following:
- Your ‘wake-up call’ may come an hour or two earlier than usual.
- Travel may involve an Uber ride to a point where the streets are closed, a significant distance from the starting area, and walking is required.
- Depending on your ‘wave’ and the size of the event, you may spend up to an hour after the official starting gun blast waiting in a chute.
- You might spend some of that waiting time running in-place or jumping to stay loose or warm. Or before entering the chute, waiting in a line to use a portable toilet.
- There may be more than a few minutes spent running with very tiny steps in a pack of runners as you make you way to the start line, where electronically your official race begins.
And there’s nervous energy!
It’s not a good time to overhaul pre-race and in-race fueling strategy with a few weeks to go before racing. But being aware and ready to make small adjustments might be helpful.
One of the most important points made in Bede’s article is that fueling should start 30-60 minutes into the race, before you are totally depleted of glycogen. If you typically fuel 40-50 minutes into your long training runs, keep in mind that you are probably NOT on your feet 2 hours prior taking off on a training day as you might be on race day.
The link to a piece on what to eat for breakfast has some helpful calculations that may help you BOOST that breakfast, especially if a long and active interval between it and the start of YOUR race is anticipated. If you’re nervous about taking in too much food pre-race, think about starting your in-race fueling earlier, at 30 minutes. A small amount then, followed by a small amount at your usual time of 40-50 minutes.
Another important point made in the article is that water should be taken when ingesting concentrated fuel, like gels, to ‘dilute” it and allow absorption. This is to avoid becoming nauseated from the bolus of carbohydrate that’s being delivered to your stomach.
I have been reluctant to eat and drink while competing, especially in the later stages when trying to pick up the pace to finish strong. I learned quickly that this was a very bad idea. So, starting earlier and continuing throughout the race's course with smaller amounts of fuel/water has kept me from running on empty in the second half of the race. I have been able to skip that very last water station to concentrate on performance.
Best of luck to all who are racing this week; you are ready for this.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 14: HALF MARATHON 2019
WEEK 14 TRAINING PLAN STARTS Runners, finally, on the last day of this training week you can prove you have what it takes to run 13 miles! But you’ll do it easy, with stops as needed. Walkers, you are almost there. Both groups are essentially ready to go the distance in competition.
These plans extend for 18 rather than 16 weeks to allow safe preparation, include a generous taper, and provide a little wiggle room for vacation time or mild sicknesses of winter. Late April and mid-May are popular times for half marathons, which tend to be scheduled when spring weather is expected to arrive in various locales in the Northern Hemisphere. The Earned Runs programs attempt to bring runners and walkers to starting lines during this period.
Runners, if you have an opportunity to watch TV coverage of the Boston Marathon on Monday, take note of the leaders’ running form. Their heads will be up, chests out, torsos tall and erect, shoulders loose and down, with elbows rhythmically pulled back. If it’s possible to count the number of steps taken per 15 seconds (multiply by 4 to get steps/minute) to calculate cadence, you might see the number is greater than 180, possibly up to 200. Compare what you observe in the elite runners’ forms with your own.
When advised to do this by a trainer to correct my form, I scoffed at the idea. I wasn’t an elite, was my thinking, so why run like one? I am a plodder, with a pace about 2.5 times greater than the best in the world. It would be pretentious!
But I followed the advice and started to check out running form on all images, including magazine covers, ads, and online articles. All the pros displayed similar form. Athletes who dedicate their efforts 24/7 to being the best runners in the world and building professional running careers that span decades don’t adopt a certain form to look pretty in pictures; they do it to be fast and prevent sidelining injuries. I wanted to be fast and avoid injuries too, so tried to model my form on that of the elites, just like coach instructed.
There are other components to good form running. See the chart from New Balance on the RESOURCES page to refresh your memory. The secret to maintaining it throughout a long run is to build core, upper body, hip, leg and strength in training. The form for walking fast, but not race walking, is somewhat similar.
I find that the greatest source of fatigue at the end of 13.1 miles comes from having a tired back, core, and arms. Which means there’s more work to do to become stronger in these areas.
An additional benefit is that this work will translate into a more athletic posture.
Congratulations on finishing 12 and 13 miles!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
DATHAN RITZENHEIN’S SHORT 8-WEEK PREP PLAN WILL BE PUT TO THE TEST THIS MONDAY. If you have been disappointed in efforts to reach one or more important goals, Ritzenhein is one elite runner you may wish to watch at the Boston Marathon.
An article by Jonathan Gault for Letsrun.com indicates that the 36-year-old hasn’t finished a marathon in 4 years. The runner’s problem, as described in the piece, seemed related to an unrestrained approach to training that ultimately led to dream-killing health issues or injuries.
In mid-2017, Gault says Ritzenhein took a new approach to training after a plantar fascia tear prevented his finishing the NYC marathon in late 2016. He joined the Brooks-Hanson team to prepare for Boston 2018. Again, he likely pushed too aggressively and was forced to withdraw before the event due to injury.
Thus, the theme of Dathan’s come-back story in 2019, according to Gault’s piece, has been restraint. His coach’s strategy has been to have him stick with a plan that includes adequate recovery days, with scheduling of a race with a rest period before (rather than in the middle of) his build-up to Boston. And the build-up period has been shortened to 8 weeks!
The details of the Hanson’s coaching strategy as told by Gault might be of specific help to runners who also have difficulty controlling enthusiasm and pushing too hard in training. Their problem is working too hard rather than not enough.
However, beyond these details there is a message to many others. That repeated disappointment may be a common experience of elite as well as everyday athletes. That the stinging embarrassment and profound discouragement that comes with not finishing or withdrawing from a goal competition should not force an end to hope or effort.
We can pause to recover, re-examine, and then revamp plans to move forward over time. Possibly we’ll need to repeat this process more than once. Perhaps we will need to change events, or the sport in which we compete! The path to realizing a dream might not only be difficult, it might not yet be visible. The inspiration message I take from Gault’s piece about Dathan Ritzenhein is that an athlete will persevere. To be an athlete, I must strive to persevere.
If watching the Marathon is on your schedule, consider tuning in early at the beginning of each division’s event. For this elite runner and everyone else at the start lines, just being there will be a Boston victory.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
APRIL 15 FORECAST: MORE OF THE SAME IS POSSIBLE! The cold, raw, rainy, and windy weather conditions of the 2018 race may make a repeat appearance, says Boston meteorologist Terry Eliason, WBZ-TV’s executive weather producer. Of course, 7 days out from race day the prediction can shift, she explains. However, Eliason indicates that one certainty is that the day is not likely to set any heat records. A Sports Illustrated writer suggests that returning winners from last year, Des Linden (women) and Yuki Kawauchi (men) who seemed to benefit from the harsh weather would be similarly helped to repeat if the weather did too.
TV COVERAGE: NBC SPORTS WILL BROADCAST AGAIN THIS YEAR. Details of this and other ways to watch, as well as the various start times, are provided in an article by myworldevents.com. Local coverage is through WBZ-TV which will offer streaming to New Englanders. The NBC Sports App is identified as a source for live streaming outside of New England.
PARA-ATHLETES WILL BE ABLE TO COMPETE in 2020 in a first-ever major marathon division for those with “vision, lower-limb, and upper limb impairments”
“Next year runners who meet the competitive standards will be racing for official recognition and prize money as the Boston Athletic Association introduces a new Para Athletic Division with categories for classified ambulatory athletes with vision, lower-limb, and upper-limb impairments.”
WHO TO WATCH: START WITH THE RETURNING CHAMPIONS They will all be back to defend their titles and to bask, at least one more day, in the glory that comes with winning the Boston Marathon. Des Linden and Yuki Kawauchi will be back in the women’s and men’s open races, as will wheelchair heroes Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug.
The elite field is stocked with exciting competitors from around the world. Check out the lists that were issued in January, in the article from Boston.com. The USA elite team includes 29 athletes, in total, according to a December 2018 FloTrack.com piece by David Monti.
START TIMES BEGIN at 9:02am and 9:04am Eastern Daylight Time, with the men’s then women’s push rim wheelchair events. Hand cycles and duos take off at 9:25am. Elite women then elite men will hear the starter’s pistol at 9:32am and 10:00am respectively, followed by non-elite waves of runners.
If the weather is going to be harsh, it’s possible there will be another set of crazy finishes. Last year 23 elites dropped out, which surely positively influenced the outcome for some who toughed it out to the end. Perhaps this year elites will have trained and planned better for environmental factors.
Consider watching at least a portion of the spectacle if you haven’t before now. You might be surprised at the excitement it can generate.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
by JDTaken Jan 9, 2011. The Spirit of the Marathon Sculpture, Our Daily Challenge Standing at the mile one marker of the Boston Marathon, the statue celebrates the achievement in 1946 of famed Greek marathoner Stylianos Kyriakides. Kyriakides narrowly escaped execution during the Nazi occupation of Greece and hadn’t run in six years when he came to Boston. Emaciated from the lack of food in war-torn Greece, he ran against advice of doctors, winning the race in a mythic performance. https://flic.kr/p/98UpoP
JUST BECAUSE EVERY OTHER MARATHON IS DOING IT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S RIGHT Not being aware of the differences between the men’s and women’s races that existed for the past 15 years, the news of the change in the men’s competition this year at Boston came as a sad surprise. The significance of the start times change seems obvious now that it has been pointed out. Apparently, my not ever having run the Boston Marathon, one of the other ‘majors’, or any marathons at all, had rendered me clueless.
Jonathon Beverly, in an article posted by running.competitor.com “New Boston Marathon Rules Kill the Underdog Story” explains the change in the men’s start that will eliminate the possibility of an unknown winning, and why this has not been a possibility for the women for many years.
“The B.A.A quietly revealed this month that instead of a mass start, it will send off a select group of elite men 2 minutes before the first wave of plebes, and only those in the elite field are eligible for prize money. Up to now, the elite men started at the same time as the mass start, so al men from the larger field were awards-eligible (at least the 8,000 or so in the first wave””.
Beverly reports the facts, but his just-beneath-the-surface emotional response to the new reality is what makes the piece worth reading to the very end. That the non-elites won’t be eligible for money prizes is only one consequence of the change. The author of the piece points out that separating the male elites from the first wave masses makes it impossible for an unknown to surge ahead and break the tape at the finish line as in previous years. This outcome is highly unlikely, but its possibility is a tiny bit more thrilling than the new reality. Beverly proposes a way to preserve the “egalitarianism” of road racing in this most historic event, which is heartening and brilliant.
In years past I have proclaimed that running championships, embodied in major marathons which bring competitors together from across the globe, are superior to those of other sports. Especially to those who disparaged running competition sas boring. “What other championship would allow non-professionals on the field of play at the same time as the sport’s best, to compete at the same level, with the possibility that the non-elite could win it all?” I would ask. Are golfers let on the course to compete with those holding a PGA/LPGA tour card? Can recreational league soccer team players take the pitch in the World Cup? It would be ridiculous, surely in these situations. But running is different, I thought and declared, until now.
Jonathon Beverly explains and informs in this article about the elites v underdogs situation that exists in big marathons, and which is a given in other sports’ major championship level competitions. And then he offers a solution that would benefit underdogs in both the men’s and women’s fields.
In my head, the time-worn admonition of parents everywhere helps make a supporting argument. “Just because everyone else is doing it” doesn’t make it right for you (or mean you should do it) are the versions I remember Mom and Dad saying.
The Boston Athletic Association organizers might consider leading rather than following the rest of the sport, in this regard, daring to take inspiration from the city’s “Spirit of the Marathon” statue which commemorates the miraculous 1946 win of a famous underdog runner, Stylianos Kyriakides of Greece.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 13: HALF MARATHON 2019
WEEK 13 TRAINING PLAN STARTS Runners: your long run is at the distance that some half marathon plans stop:12 miles. Walkers often stop at 10 miles as discussed previously. In my first half marathon, called because of dangerous conditions including downpours of cold rain, thunder, lightning, hail, and high winds, I overheard runners next to me in the starting chute talking about this. On their longest training run they had covered only 12 miles as instructed by their trainer.
I don’t know their finish time or in what physical condition they were at the race’s end, or whether the strategy worked for them in such terrible weather. I was able to continue because I had covered the full distance and felt rested after a taper, The confidence gained helped me survive the scary experience.
The Earned Runs plan has you continuing the next week to reach 13 miles and then tapering for several weeks. If you wish to make it 13.1 miles, for mental training, that’s great. You can shorten the taper, as needed, by one week depending on your race date.
In a blog post last spring (4/6/18) on heat therapy, it was suggested the pre-treatment before exercise could help with recovery by protecting the muscle and promoting adaptation to training. You might wish to warm up a bit before long runs, especially if the weather has been unseasonable cold. My area weather forecast indicates the possibility of accumulating snow at week’s end.
As indicated in that post, research has not yet lead to recommendations on the details of heat therapy. Applying heat for a limited time at a safe, comfortable temperature seems wise, about 16 hours before exercise.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BOSTON MARATHON 2019!
EARNED RUNS IS CRAZY ABOUT THIS MARATHON RUNNING EVENT, held this year on Monday April 15, and thinks the more you know about the Boston Marathon the more likely you are to become a fan of this elite running competition. Therefore, the topic of most of this week’s blogs will highlight the race. The hype is NOT about the city. It’s about running heritage and the race itself.
Some people don’t follow horse-racing but throw a party and very much enjoy the Kentucky Derby race in May. The same goes for those who aren’t football fans but join in the fun surrounding the Super Bowl each January-February. Major League Baseball’s World Series and ice hockey’s Stanley Cup are other sport championship finals that attract non-fans. Land lubbers who have never been sailing get excited about the America’s Cup competition. Final episodes of a TV series' lure larger number of watchers at the end of the season. Big events, involving the best of the best, attract attention!
A sign of the love and excitement inspired by this Boston road race are the special edition shoes. Last year two hometown companies, DUNKIN' DONUTS and SAUCONY, joined forces to issue a 'sprinkles' donut shoe that was all the rage. To no one's surprise but to the delight of many there's a new 2019 donut shoe model! Other shoe companies release 'Boston' shoes too.
To catch the excitement and be able to enjoy another sport ‘championship’ read on to learn how it all started.
BOSTON MARATHON HISTORY
The official Boston Athletic Association (B.A. A.) website provides a history of the Boston Marathon, which it has sponsored since it’s very first running. The page explains that “after experiencing the spirit and majesty “ of the marathon run at the modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, “B.A.A. member and inaugural US Olympic Team Manager John Graham was inspired to organize and conduct a marathon in the Boston area.“ According to a Wikipedia entry, the “Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon”, and has been “held every year since 1897 to celebrate Patriots Day, a holiday marking the beginning of the American Revolution, thereby purposely linking Athenian and American struggle for democracy”
Timeanddate.com explains that “Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775”, on the third Monday of April. It’s an official state holiday in the states of Massachusetts and Maine. The entry cautions readers not to confuse it “with Patriot Day, held on September 11 to mark the anniversary of terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001.”
Boston Marathon History that you may not know:
- The race’s distance was not always 26 miles 385 feet! The first modern Olympic marathon course covered 24 .5 miles and the Boston Marathon covered 24.8 miles. The official marathon distance was standardized by 1924.
- The first year in which women were officially allowed to run was 1972. However, one ran and finished the full race without a bib number for 3 years, 1966-68, and one ran and finished but did not identify herself as a female in 1967. Read the page to learn their names and more about women in this race.
- This was the FIRST marathon to include a WHEELCHAIR DIVISION, in 1975.
Other Race Milestones
(Updated; first presented in 2017)
Watch for other posts in the next two weeks!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
12 Fast Facts About the Boston Marathon by Kristan Dietz for Competitor.com
March 20, 2018
PUSH-UP CAPACITY MAY MEASURE CARDIOVASCULAR RISK There are several exercise tests that have been proposed as methods of predicting longevity including hand grip strength, sit-to-rise, and 6-minute walk distance. Recently, Dr. Justin Yang of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and colleagues from other institutions turned the spotlight on the ‘push-up test’
The group of scientists sought to determine whether a simple exercise test, not requiring specialized equipment or technology, in a medical office setting could be used to objectively “assess the association between fitness and cardiovascular disease risk”.
They felt the most commonly used subjective assessments of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), based on self-reported accounts of physical activity and health and lifestyle questionnaires, weren’t accurate or adequate. It seems that the results of objective tests of aerobic fitness show that we aren’t as fit as our own estimates of physical activity would predict.
The results of their research, which studied 1104 male firefighters between the years 2000 and 2010, were released in a Journal of the American Medical Association Network publication (JAMAnetwork.com) in February 2019. The full article, “Association Between Push-up Exercise Capacity and Future Cardiovascular Events Among Active Adult Men” is available online, free of charge.
Data was collected from baseline and follow-up assessments of firefighters 18 years of age or older (mean age 39.6 years and body mass index 28.7) with no job restrictions. Information from a self-administered health and lifestyle questionnaire, complete physical examination, anthropometric measurements, lab analysis, and fitness testing (determination of exercise tolerance on a treadmill, plus push-up capacity) was gathered and analyzed, as well as occupational and clinical health outcomes.
Cardiovascular disease events tracked during the study period were defined as a diagnosis of coronary (heart) artery disease or a major cardiovascular disease event, like heart failure or sudden cardiac death.
To determine pushup capacity at the time of baseline and follow-up testing between 2000-2007, each “firefighter was instructed to begin push-ups in time with a metronome set at 80 beats per minute” until “the participant reach 80 or missed 3 beats of the metronome,“ or stopped voluntarily or because of medical symptoms noted by the clinical staff.
In the research analyses, 5 categories of 10 push-up number increments were created (0-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41+).
The take-home message of the article, from Earned Runs perspective, is that physical fitness which contributes to a long and healthy life may not be best measured by aerobic capacity and thus not solely attained through aerobic exercise.
Workouts that build functional body strength may be equally or more important to cardiovascular health and longevity. Adding years to life may be as uncomplicated as incorporating classic bodyweight strength moves like the pushup or its variations into our routines. Resistance training is recommended to athletes by trainers and coaches to boost sport performance and prevent sidelining injuries. A third benefit may be that it protects against cardiovascular disease.
Medical research may not produce results that apply to all populations, but guides thinking in new directions. The scientific ‘compass’ seems to be suggesting that functional strength is something we can work on to improve future health regardless of age or weight.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
NOTE: Why study firefighters?
On the surface it may seem that scientists randomly chose this Indiana-based group of public service workers because of convenience. They were available to participate in and be studied by a research team for 10 years. However, medical concern over firefighter wellness has been evident for a long time. Firefighting is known to be a highly stressful job, and firefighters seem to be at increased risk for serious CVD events compared with persons in other occupations, especially during or shortly after firefighting activities.
A 2017 study revealed that exposure to “extreme heat” at a time when peak physical exertion is required is may “trigger the formation of blood clots and impair blood vessel function”, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Dehydration combined with shunting of blood to the skin to help handle the higher body temperature (average of 2 degrees Fahrenheit) likely result in lowered blood pressure, an AHA heart.org article that highlights the research explains.
The article also states that approximately 45% of on-duty firefighter fatalities each year in the US are caused by CVD events.
Although the Harvard research study results may help motivate non-firefighting adults to improve muscle strength to improve longevity, the information may be of utmost importance to this particular highly-stressed population. Dr. Stephanos Kales, the senior and corresponding author on this ‘push-up capacity” paper has an established track record in investigating medical issues of firefighters and police officers. His comment was sought in the several articles I pulled off the internet about firefighter health risks.
“Dr. Kales’ primary research involves the health of firefighters and police officers, and he is an international clinical authority regarding cardiovascular disease among public safety personnel.” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/stefanos-kales
Dr. Stephanos Kales directed Earned Runs to view the study's push-up protocol through this link: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6504138764946939904/
by Rachel Schultz for SHAPE.com “The Number of Push-ups You Can Do May Predict Your Heart Disease Risk”
FOR REASONS THAT WILL BE MORE FULLY DISUSSED IN THIS WEEK’S SCIENCE FRIDAY blog post the push-up is a common body weight exercise that some may wish to make the focus of a spring challenge this year. The basic version, which does not require additional equipment, is most often performed. There are variations that can make the movement easier for beginners, or more difficult for the advanced fitness enthusiast.
Simon Boulter wrote a helpful 2017 piece for medium.com describing a progression that allows beginner athletes to ease into the full exercise using proper form. Boulter explains that the “dip* and push-up go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly” and that both “are essential for building a body that is well balanced, well rounded, and ready for action at any time”.
Tthe article concentrates on the pushup, which Boulter points out, primarily builds strength in the shoulders, triceps, and pectoral muscles of the chest. Other muscles worked which stabilize the body during this move are the abdominals, the small muscles along the spine, the biceps of the arms, and the quadriceps of the legs
As Boulton indicates, “pushup exercises are as minimalist as it gets when it comes to equipment and locales required”. Only a floor is needed he says. I learned during my personal 2018 Summer Challenge VI, which involved training as if for an Obstacle Course Competition, that a running path, playground mat, or just a sandy beach will do too!
If building upper body strength will enable participation in upcoming fun summer sport events, spring might be a great time to begin training to perform pushups. Perhaps by Memorial Day you will be able to “drop and do 40” push-ups, which besides making you look tough, will be a general boost to living a long healthy life. Check the April 5 SCIENCE FRIDAY blog post for more on this topic.
RUN AND MOVE HAPPY!
*The ‘dips’ in this instance probably refers to chest dips rather than triceps dips, which are often alternated with pushups in upper body exercise routines. This link demonstrates how to perform the triceps dip.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
New! Search Box
Earned Runs is now searchable! Check it out...