TRAINING STARTS Runners: your long run this week is the distance that some half marathon plans stop:12 miles. Walker plans often stop at 10 miles. Both Earned Runs plans have you going farther.
My very first half marathon was closed, incredibly after the race had started, because of dangerous conditions including downpours of cold rain, thunder, lightning, hail, and high winds. A storm had rapidly blown across Lake Michigan that morning and the "Park2Park" race course followed a lakeshore road between state and county parks. I had been at my personal mid-point in the course, roughly the 6.5-mile mark; the top finishers were undoubtably already in the shelter area, warmer and dryer than the slower paced runners.
In spite of beautiful and mild weather conditions pre-race, I had significant doubts about crossing the finish line. My confidence received a small boost upon overhearing other first-time half marathoners, next to me in the starting chute, talk about their training. They had covered 12 miles on their longest training run, as instructed by a trainer. I knew I had accomplished the exact distance, 13.1 miles, and then tapered 2 weeks.
I don’t know their finish times 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 push through to the cold and wet end partly because I had covered the full distance and had rested with the taper. The training experience helped me survive.
Unfortunately, there was no official time clocked after the race was called. But the ordeal was so memorable for everyone involved that in addition to the official race shirt the next year, another ‘survivor’ t-shirt was also made available, marking the event.
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, go for it! If your race date is a week earlier, the taper will be shortened, by one week.
So, you’ll keep on keeping on with the Earned Runs plans in order to hopefully acquire both emotional and physical insurance that finishing the race is entirely possible, especially if the going gets tough on race day.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
NOTE: Check out the article from Runnersworld.com if recovery from longer runs is becoming an issue. Overall, the expert referenced in it recommends cold over heat therapy.
EARNED RUNS IS ABOUT BEING COMPETITIVE, about setting goals, finding and following training programs, and then testing the results of training. Repeatedly. Earned Runs suggests that the use of competition bibs may help push this process forward if access to organized events is limited. Bibs can be a source of inspiration and motivation and employed to track progress, record successes, and document victorious seasons.
Earned Runs is not so much about “getting” fit but “becoming” an athlete regardless of age, previous training or sport experience, or body habitus*. It’s about achieving a life perspective in which daily activities are viewed as greater or lesser contributors to athletic successes but not to an endpoint of perfection.
To borrow an overused comparison, it not the destination but the journey that matters to an Earned Runs athlete. By striving to meet a variety of personal or public fitness challenges over an entire year, and then the next year, and the next, the Earned Runs athlete is able to find purpose in exercise and maintain a level of physical activity that benefits long term health.
An article by Sarah Lorge Butler for runnersworld.com, “You’re Never Too Old to Be Serious About Your Running,” highlights the competitive attitude of two runners who may not fit the typical demographic of elite athletes, yet embody the athletes Earned Runs wishes to support.
Jeanne Rice and Gene Dykes, both 71 years old and soon to be 72 in April this year, are featured as endurance race record holders who say a secret to staying competitive at levels that are the envy of younger runners involves focusing on goals and committing to continued hard work and training. Their quest to break records began only 2 years ago.
That genetic luck may have played a role in their late life successes, just as it must figure in the early careers of much younger athletes, isn’t disputed in Butler’s piece. What is featured in her story is their perseverance in training and willingness to put it all on the line in big time competitions, repeatedly, regardless of age.
According to Butler at the time the article was posted (March 5, 2020), Rice was the first to cross the finish line in her age group in Chicago in 2018 and was looking to compete in the March 2020 Tokyo Marathon after a strong showing in Berlin last autumn. Dykes came with seconds of a world record in his age group in Toronto’s 2018 Waterfront Marathon. This April he was planning to run the 5K in Boston as well as the London Marathon, or possibly Chicago in the fall. Of course, the upcoming Spring 2020 races will not be held as scheduled, we now know.
Key to their recent surge in elite running top finishes is annual goal setting and repeatedly participating in contests that they use to consistently push themselves in training. Butlers article, which tells more about their stories and histories, inspired me. In truth, it was the amazing images of ’oldsters’ like me that grabbed my attention; they were running together on a city street wearing competition bibs and looking amazingly athletic.
Although running since age 25, I only became ‘competitive’ in my early 60’s. Osteoarthritis issues took me down a couple years ago, but I’m making my way back with a combination of walking and running. This article helped me to realize that I too can continue to push my limits, by finding a training method that works for me under current constraints to safely avoid injury and repeatedly testing myself in personal challenges or organized events over the entire year.
Global viral infection concerns have led to the postponement of many major spring and summer events, and the virtual running of some. Depending on the resolution of current problems, we might see a huge rebound in Autumn 2020; making it a boom time for celebrating life itself and the resumption of traditional events.
Plan ahead, stay focused on training, and maintain readiness to race. Wait for it. The time will come to prove our mettle and rejoice in health, in competition.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*A medical term that refers to a human body’s “build, physique, and general shape”.
RUNNING BOOM NUMBER 3 COULD OCCUR. National stress seems to bring runners to the start lines, indicates a recent commentary from RunningUSA.com, and the level of global stress as we are experiencing now could mean more people than ever will lace up and participate in the sport worldwide. When the infection situation abates and it is safe to gather in numbers, events, including virtual races, may draw increasing numbers of participants after six years of decline, the organization's post suggests.
The newsletter item explains the previous two running booms came in the late 1970’s and in conjunction with the 2008 Great Recession, lasting roughly 5 years, until 2013; both were difficult times
It points out that the boom may already be in process as those sequestered at home realize running is a “simple, accessible, effective form of go to exercise” that can be carried out while keeping the mandated distance between others. A resource exclaims, "It's the perfect sport for a pandemic."
Notice, it says that some big races like the Boston Marathon, have been postponed rather than cancelled, because there’s widespread support for such moves.
Not currently a runner but think you might wish to be included if the running community gets on the road again in a big way? Now is a perfect time to test your legs for the first time or resume if it was a sport you once enjoyed but put aside. Very few people are outside together, so there are few who will witness your rough sessions.
Think about it during these tough times.
Earned Runs will post several upcoming blogs that may help with the decision and the process of starting up. I thought I left running behind forever in 2017, but about a year ago was inspired to combine walking and running to enable a comeback. With the RunningUSA.com news about a potential upcoming boom, I’m motivated to stay healthy and be one of the surging numbers of runners, regardless of pace.
Consider getting ready to power the surge.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
TRAINING PLAN STARTS. Runners and walkers, your long-distance workout is into double digits this week! Can you believe yourself? Wow! This calls for a celebration AND A FOAM ROLL.
You might consider performing an abbreviated foam rolling session on the areas that tend to bother you BEFORE running or walking, and a full session afterward. You can foam roll the next day as well, if still feeling a bit sore.
The bit of advice about pre-run foam rolling was provided by a trainer who at the time, was coaching a championship high school cross country team. Tim Broe now heads training at Saucony™ shoes company's Freedom Track Club, which is dedicated to developing Olympic running hopefuls. It's not a practice prescribed only for oldsters.
Congratulations for all the progress made this far.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
See the RESOURCES page for FOAM ROLLING links, including "5 Minute Warm-up With A Foam Roller " by Shane Barnard for Under Armor's MyFitnessPal.com.
RESOURCE PAGE FROM USA RUNNING: “Resources, news, statements and more from around the global running industry” can be found on this page from usarunning.org. Whether as an individual you are interested in learning the status of a specific event or hope to be updated on the effect of the pandemic on events in general, information is available. The main focus is on “aggregating news, event organizer statements and public resources from official sources relevant to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic here”.
Categories of some, but not all, included links that may be of help to the public:
There’s a great deal of additional information aimed at assisting race organizers and other running industry members with handling the changes made necessary by the situation.
Many of us at home are eager for news, that which is encouraging and hopeful, but also helps us navigate the new world of infectious danger. Perhaps it will also help to turn away momentarily from general news to coverage that looks forward to resumption of normal sport activity.
For example, a statement from race organizer Beth regarding the 10th Fort2Base Race scheduled for later August 2020 indicates organizers are continuing to make preparations “unabated”. It’s a bit of a boost to look ahead and imagine the event will take place as it has for 9 years and that training should begin on schedule.
For some RunningUSA’s page may be a hopeful look toward the close of a frightful period.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY
SEVERAL WEEKENDS AGO I WALKED/RAN THE 13.1 MILES I HAD PLANNED TO COVER IN AN EVENT ON APRIL 4, USING A PERSONALIZED VERSION of the Earned Runs Half Marathon 2020 with ‘Saints Days’ Walker Training Plan. I had adapted the Walker program to accommodate an intent to cover the distance alternating mostly walking with some running instead of just walking. Last weekend I realized I had gotten far ahead of the walker schedule and my own personal run/walk plan schedule too, possibly because it felt so much easier to crank out weekly long sessions with this mix of locomotion types.
Incredibly I was discovering that walking/running was much less difficult for me than only walking or only running! It was an entirely unexpected revelation that my knees, legs, core, and arms felt less fatigued, stiff, and sore when I was able to run part of each mile instead of just walking.
From previous experiences training to run half marathons competitively, with the goal of finishing in the top three places in my age group, I knew only running was likely to increase the risk of a sidelining injury. Walk/run training not only felt better, it was a smarter way to train. I was running slowly, but still moving with one foot hitting the ground surface at a time.
Weirdly, this body-knowledge escaped my attention until about 3 weeks ago, when it hit me that I had been reading the program’s schedule incorrectly and had jumped ahead by about 3-4 weeks. I had been covering roughly 4-5 more miles than recommended by the plan yet wasn’t physically wasted afterward!
The next Monday, after checking the upcoming workouts, I decided to keep going on the accelerated schedule, thinking I might train to compete sooner in a personal race than wait to do so in the April half marathon with other participants. Shortly thereafter, when coronavirus infections in the US hit the level to be qualified as an outbreak, it seemed increasingly likely that either I would decide not to put myself at risk by mingling with race day crowds in a large city event, or the organizers would cancel the race.
I resolved at that point to be ready early and go it alone in a personal half marathon, shooting for a goal pace of 16-minute miles or less, as required by the rules of most distance races.
Warmer than normal weather, sunny days, and the absence of snow boosted each long outdoor effort the next several weekends. The result was an early completion of my goal race about a month ahead of schedule on a lovely Saturday morning with birds singing under a clear sapphire sky. My average pace was 14:03 minutes per mile. Success!
I plan to continue with weekly long walk/run sessions through March and April, probably increasing long session mileage based on ‘feel’. If there’s no extreme fatigue, soreness, or pain associated afterward, both the day of and the day after long days, I’ll persevere and see where the training takes me.
It’s a disappointment not to be competing in the April Chicago-area half marathon, but by walk/running my own race the situation has been saved from being a total bust. Especially as the race ultimately was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. I did not lose the race fee because I hadn’t yet paid. Also, I was not prevented from testing myself and my months of training.
Perhaps I’ll attempt to stay at a readiness level that allows competing later in the season, when the viral outbreak is, hopefully, under control. From past years, for me this has meant maintain each week’s long session mileage in the range of 9-11 miles.
Beginners who are following the run and walk programs should continue as scheduled and not speed up as I did. I was about 2 weeks ahead of the walk plan when I began to train in January, and at an intermediate to advanced level of physical training when I began to combine walking and running.
However, you might consider the walk/run form of training for your next race.
The annual 10-nautical-mile distance Fort2Base Race (about 11.5 miles) held in late August in North Chicago, IL, offers run/walk training plans with either 4 minutes running/2 minutes walking or 3 minutes running/2 minutes walking. Like me you can customize these schedules to run according to feel. My intervals are about 3 minutes running/ 3 minutes walking. Additional information on the 2020 event on August 23 will be posted as more details become available in a future post. The race website is being moved and will be back up ‘running’ according to contact Beth Salinger.
Enjoy spring training, it’s almost here!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 11 HALf MARATHON TRAINING PLAN STARTS You should be settling into a rhythm by now, but you’ll notice a few changes on the horizon.
The WALK schedule includes 1 short ‘easy’ walk + 2 longer ‘easy’ walks + 1 high intensity interval training (HIIT) that’s been bumped to a duration of 36 minutes this week + 1 long ‘brisk’ walk. On the next 2 Tuesdays there’s still an option of a hill repeat workout, but it disappears in April, replaced by walks of same then decreasing duration as the long weekend walks increase to distances above 10 miles. After hitting 13 miles on April 25, the taper will begin.
IMPORTANT WALKER NOTE: If you are planning to cover the 13.1-mile half marathon distance just to finish in a custom solo personal race, you can treat April 25 as your official event day and be done with training!
If you’re registered for an organized event later in April or May, you may wish to continue to build mileage then follow the taper. The Earned Runs plan adapts (extends) a Hal Higdon program that stops at 10 miles /12 weeks.
Rather than stopping at 10 miles, the Earned Runs (ER) plan is taking competition-minded walkers out to the actual distance. To gain confidence from surviving the full distance, but at a slower pace. In training you’ll be walking more easily with breaks and stops as needed. On race day, in the company of other competitors, ER thinks you’ll push yourself to a higher intensity, and for safety reasons to possibly avoid injury, is offering the opportunity to train the actual distance. However, this strategy is not based on the advice of an expert or another plan; information could not be found that supports or refutes it.
The RUN schedule includes 1 recovery walk + 3 shorter distance runs + 1 long run, each week. The types of shorter distance runs have not been specified up to this point, although 1 hill repeats session has been offered as an option on Tuesdays. In week 13 there will be an option of a tempo run on Thursdays.
However, runners can individualize one or both sessions now that all work is focused on the half marathon.
Remember, this plan is for beginners or those getting back into running races who did not have one available to them for this distance. Advanced runners who wish to increase their speed to a faster pace and finish with an improved time will have scanned this plan and likely realized it was not going to help with that. They will have used a plan provided by event organizers if formally registered for a race, or found one online that promised to prepare runners for their “best finish time ever.”
Beginners can choose to run hill repeats on Tuesdays or run easy steady continuous speed run that day. They have 3 options (see below) for running the shorter distance session on Thursday. #1 is for runners who only wish to “finish” the 13.1mile distance and are not concerned with time. #2 is for those who wish to finish strong but aren’t focused on gaining speed. #3 is for runners who wish to push their limits a bit more and test themselves in the upcoming event.
Jenny Hadfield offers 4 tempo runs for runners who are new to them in an article for Runnersworld.com, “Four Tempo Workouts for Runners”. Included are warm-ups and cool-downs, which are a must! You are roughly running 2-4 miles, because the exact distance will vary by running pace. With increased running intensity in certain segments, the swap with a 3-mile run would be fine, and suitable for the Thursday 3 mile run, especially if you're not running hill repeats.
If you are new to racing, the Jenny Hadfield “high-five” tempo workout listed first might help you deal with one aspect of competition, the speed-ups and slow-downs normally experienced in a race if you’re not a leader at the head of the pack. For example, in a competition you occasionally might wish to speed up and pass a group that has slowed down in front of you, then dial it back a bit after the harder work. Or tackle a long, low hill that requires more effort, after which you take a little breather by easing up.
When you are training by yourself or with friends you or they control the pace. In a competition, you and your running partners will not always be in control as others surge or fall off their pace around you, which will prevent movement in a familiar straight-line direction. If not ready for it mentally and physically, it could throw off your race plan.
Have fun experimenting with these shorter runs soon. There’s enough time now, before the race, to try the negative split, the tempo run, or both, and revert to the old comfortable routine if the change-up doesn’t work for you.
RUNNERS and WALKERS, recognize the progress you've made and be proud.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
PLANS ARE POSTED ON THE RESOURCES PAGE
NOW THAT WE’VE BEEN QUARANTINED, SOCIALLY DISTANCED, PHYSICALLY ISOLATED, AND GENERALLY PREVENTED FROM ENJOYING the simple routine activities of our modern lives during the coronavirus pandemic, what’s left to do?
Many of us will turn to devices to check for news updates, communicate with friends and family, perform work from home, and for entertainment. That means there’s potential for a lot more sitting time. There’s also the potential for more fitness sessions but the constraints of home exercise will present a challenge.
Health cautions in recent years that “sitting is the new smoking” may add anxiety about being relatively inactive for weeks and perhaps months to disquieting feelings about infectious disease. What to do besides standing more? Evolutionary history may provide some answers to this question.
It turns out that evolutionary biologists have observed a few behavioral options that, rather than sitting, may have worked to protect certain human populations from industrialized civilization-linked metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Scientists who examined sedentary inactivity practices in a hunter-gatherer society living in Tanzania, the Hadza, identified postures which they then demonstrated involve a greater amount of muscle work than chair sitting.
The study by Dr.David A. Raichlen of the University of Southern California and colleagues from other universities, involved gathering and analyzing data from thigh-worn accelerometers, observations, and electromyographic (EMG) measurements of leg muscle activity. It showed that although this group of people live in a manner closer to hunter-gatherer societies in our evolutionary history, their sedentary non-ambulatory (not walking or standing) time is similar to our own, averaging almost 10 hours a day.
Despite total sedentary time being at levels close to that of our own society, linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), the Hadza did not demonstrate biomarkers of this risk. The study importantly showed that instead of sitting in chairs when not ambulatory, the Hadza achieved active rest in postures requiring more lower leg muscle work, and possibly added effort from trunk muscles too.
The abstract of the reported results, available free online from the PubMed (National Library of Medicine), identified squatting as a posture. The full article, “Sitting, Squatting, and the Evolutionary Biology of Human Inactivity”, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, which requires a subscription, elaborates. Squatting, as well as assisted squatting, kneeling, and ground sitting were additional non chair-sitting postures observed in this group.
Postures were defined by researchers as such:
The authors focused on the sedentary behavior differences between societies but checked levels of daily moderate to vigorous activity too, which were higher in the Hadza than recommendations developed for US adults. There are dietary differences too that cannot be ignored. According to the article, the Hadza who participated in the study live far from villages and survive almost entirely on wild foods, similar to those who follow the current Paleo diet prescription.
This study does not represent an equal comparison of urbanized and non-industrialized societies when it comes to assessing reasons for differences in CVD risk. But it does suggest that there may be a way to lessen the detrimental effect of work and leisure time spent in a non-ambulatory positions like sitting on health. And that way might not involve just standing more but rather assuming positions of high-intensity active rest at intervals during the day.
Intensity matters, the study authors indicate. EMG data they gathered shows activity generated in some lower leg muscles by squatting and assisted squatting was recorded at 20–40% the level generated by walking. Wow.
I’m alternating between kneeling, assisted squatting, and ground sitting as I compose this post. My body will require some time and work before I’m able to spend longer sedentary periods not sitting in a chair. I usually dislike standing while working, but now find it a welcome relief to stand after assuming these postures for mere minutes at a time.
The movement it forces me to perform, which is more than that generated while I sit quietly with butt resting on a chair or sofa, at this point may come from regularly transitioning from one cramping posture to another and standing in between!
I likely can’t yet achieve the level of leg muscle activation seen in Hadza because I just can’t assume those positions comfortably for long periods. But the overall strategy of trying to mimic them may be more effective than the tactic of setting a timer, often ignored, to move during each hour of Western-style sitting.
I loved this study because it looks to evolution to find solutions to chronic medical problems we are told arise exactly because we no longer live like our ancestors. Their ancient, rugged, survival-mode lifestyle’s effect on our genes seems to continue determining our bodies’ responses to modern living, to our detriment.
Rather than being at the mercy of our ancestral genetics, and thus metabolism and physiology, it seems more empowering to take this approach to health. For some, attempting to change sedentary position habits to those of non-industrialized societies, like changing nutrition to a Paleo diet, may be something try. If your joints can handle it*.
For now I am at least trying to practice what I call “High Intensity Interval Active Rest Posturing” (HIIARP), arranging myself in positions that require greater knee flexion than chair sitting, as well as ground sitting at least some of the time when not standing.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
* As is always cautioned, if you are or have been treated for muscle or skeletal issues, check with your health care provider before attempting changes.
BECAUSE THERE IS USUALLY ONLY ONE UPPER BODY ERGOMETER (UBE) MACHINE IN A GYM IT MIGHT GO UNNOTICED, In my gym it is sandwiched between a row of ellipticals and the couple of studio spinner cycles that are kept on the floor for use outside classes. It has a rounded somewhat old-fashioned appearance, with green-light numbers displaying details of time and effort that seem to be from decades past.
In my experience, most times it sits there unused. Occasionally someone with a leg or foot splint will be seated at it. The only equipment brand I have seen in place is TechnoGym although apparently there are others.
In spite of the UBE’s tendency to be ignored in fitness centers, I love using one. There have been several time periods when I’ve suffered with lower body problems, affecting knees most commonly, and wanted a good aerobic workout that rested my legs. Swimming has been my top, go-to cardio-respiratory exercise when in rehab or recovery mode. Rowing takes second place.
But for a change-up any time regardless of injury status, when I want to spend an extra 15-20 minutes on moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity before heading home, arm cycling on the UBE is most appealing.
During my first session on an arm bike, a very fit woman on the UBE next to me (there were 2 machines in my gym at that time 16 years ago) had kindly given me encouragement and her tip for mixing up the movements. She suggested alternating pedaling action every few minutes by gripping the hand bar device in different positions: 1) horizontal bar with palms facing down, pushing in a forward move 2) vertical bar with palms facing inward, pushing forward, and then 3) horizontal bar with palms facing up in a push-forward-then-pull backward move. This last positions always been hardest for me, possibly because it requires decent bicep strength, which I must constantly work to maintain
The upper body muscles worked by this equipment are the biceps, triceps, and deltoids.
With repeated use, I came to realize the stabilizing abdominal and back muscles of my core were being worked hard too. This bonus workout was achieved by maintaining a straight upright body posture while using only arms and shoulders to power the pedaling movement, not allowing the small of my back to arch or my trunk to significantly twist.
An article by Andrea Bolt for livestrong.com describes the benefits to be gained from using an arm bike, from getting leg-resting cardio and burning calories to working on upper body strength without lifting weights (the resistance can be adjusted on the machine just like a regular bike to increase or decrease difficulty). A YouTube video by Kusha Karvandi demonstrates and instructs how intervals and endurance workouts can be accomplished on a UBE.
The biggest caution I have with the TechnoGym model used in the video and placed in my gym is that to change the machines resistance/difficulty level requires taking hands off the pedals and reaching up and forward to push the control button, which disrupts the flow of the movement. During short intervals this disruption is quite annoying, but in longer endurance sessions it’s not so much. My intervals work-around is to set the resistance significantly higher after the warm-up period and then adjust pedaling speed, faster and slower, to increase and decrease the intensity level, respectively.
Consider trying this equipment if you tend to avoid upper body strength work and enjoy endurance and interval training. Start with a 5-minute warm-up going through different bar/hand positions. Increase the resistance level for 1-2 minutes at each position, gradually working up to build strength; or vary pedaling speed to adjust intensity, like you would during a traditional bike workout. Finish with a cool-down of 1-5 minutes. After that you may wish to create a custom routine according to your fitness goals (endurance, interval training, or strength).
Boldt reports exercise scientists demonstrated that a UBE can be used to assess physical fitness in rock climbers , which to me indicates it can provide a challenging exercise session. Don’t be put off by the fact that few others in the gym use the arm bike; you won’t need to wait your turn to get started.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 10 HALF MARATHON 2020 Training Plan Starts You are officially entering the second half of the plan this week! Congratulations for making it this far! There are no more ‘tune-up’ races after this last week of St. Patrick’s Day-themed events. You’ll be looking ahead toward your goal half marathon event.
Runners and walkers who completed a ‘Saints Day’ 10K run, will have an 8mile (or 80 minute) run and walk respectively. scheduled for Saturday. For both groups, it may be the longest training distance ever. Wow!
Remember it’s especially important to foam roll before, after, or before AND after covering high mileage workouts, and perform the other warm-up and cool-down routines. Continue with strength work to prevent injury and help improve endurance.
If you’re outdoors during this session, take note and enjoy the first full weekend of Spring (March 20 is the first day). The songbirds may be starting to return to your region. I initially was amazed to hear one sweet tune a few weeks ago, doubting that it was real. Over the next week there were a couple more instances in which birds were chirping and singing.
For me, having the silence of winter broken in this way is reason to rejoice and motivation to get out before or just after daybreak. Consider foregoing listening to music playlists to enjoy this special spring and summer experience.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*NOTE: to learn more about birdsong, Birdwatchersdigest.com has a free download that may be helpful.
RUNNERSWORLD.COM POSTED AN ARTICLE DISCUSSING THE OUTBREAK AND WHAT SHOULD BE OF CONCERN TO RUNNERS IN PARTICULAR. written by Danielle Zickl. The main warning involves those who are at peak levels of training for or who have just competed in a long-distance race, including marathons and half marathons, or ultras.
Immunity can be compromised in situations in which athletes push themselves to the highest levels of effort, making them more vulnerable to infection the article cautions.
Earned Runs decided to look a bit more closely into the specific details of increased risk for athletes related to immune status. A 2018 article by Neil P. Walsh from the University of Bangor in Bangor, United Kingdom, reviewed the scientific information on this topic: “Recommendations to Maintain Immune Health in Athletes.”
Most helpful was Walsh’s initial identification of prominent risk factors that contributed to decreased athlete immunity, which included “intensified training in the winter; long haul travel; low energy availability; high levels of psychological stress and anxiety; and depression.”
This information was followed by a listing of challenges that “athletes might frequently encounter”: heavy exercise, life stress, sleep disruption; environmental extremes, and nutritional deficits.” Shown in diagram form for big-picture understanding, these challenges were also discussed in separate sections in the article, with the background science explained in much greater detail.
Most importantly Walsh offered the promised recommendations as to how training might be modified to maintain the body’s protections against infection during and after sessions as well as competition. One word, in my opinion, might be used to summarize these training recommendations: modulation.
The definition of this word according to Google is “the exertion of a modifying or controlling influence on something.” By my take, Walsh is saying that physical training at levels which greatly stress the body should be controlled by activities that promote recovery and modulated by alternation with sessions of lesser stress. The points of his self-described mini-review on the topic discuss specific tactics by which training rigors can be smoothed out to help athletes avoid dips in immunity:
Most of the above recommendations seem to be what expert trainers already preach to recreational runners. Many will welcome a fitness prescription that directs us to rest and relax, to enjoy life after a tough season of training and a completed goal competition. Elite athletes are likely to view rest and recovery differently, especially professionals who depend on results/outcomes to secure financial support. However, the attitudes of elites toward training can be adopted by high-performing recreational athletes who love winning contests for non-financial reasons.
The recommendations put forth by Walsh for maintenance of immunity in athletes, in the midst of a novel coronavirus pandemic, can help us use fitness activities to boost rather than harm health. According to the expert quoted in the runnersworld.com article, runners who train normally are likely to enhance their ability to fight off infections like the common cold. Improved immunity is one of the expected benefits of improved fitness!
Because some runners may have followed intense training programs during the winter to compete in spring endurance races, and now in the midst of a pandemic infection threat face additional life stresses, a personal assessment of risk should be considered to guide further training.
These next months, in which social distancing and preparedness are advocated by health authorities, could present the perfect recovery opportunity to recharge bodies recently tested by heavy physical training.
Family members have expressed distress at not being able to exercise, run, and cycle, and otherwise work out on a normal schedule because of life disruptions related to the COVID-19 outbreak, precautions taken against infection, and efforts to get ready for a potential confinement period. Now might be the time to acknowledge that settling for a more-manageable level of physical activity will be beneficial to health and protective against psychological stress, anxiety, and depression.
Literally, the best advice might be to not ‘sweat’ these next weeks and months of abbreviated or missed training. Whatever level of physical fitness effort can safely and logistically be exerted, given the dangers and constraints of the pandemic, should be celebrated.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
“Recommendations to maintain immune health in athletes.” European Journal Of Sport Science. Neil P. Walsh. (Abstract https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29637836)
Full article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17461391.2018.1449895
WITH CONCERNS MOUNTING REGARDING THE SPREAD OF VIRAL INFECTION, large gatherings may be cancelled or scaled back, including organized competitions. Even if held as scheduled, individual participants may decide for personal safety reasons not to attend long anticipated events, despite registration fees being mostly non-refundable.
Worse than losing money is the disappointment engendered by such moves, which are likely to result in the end of training without a physical test to assess performance .
However, there’s no need to surrender important goals. There’s no need to let a situation dictate your response or the ultimate outcome. 'Run' your own race; whether it's a run, run/walk, bike, swim, or combination effort. Determine a date and time, find a course or location, devise a support system for a longer distance race or assemble a team if required. Then compete. As the Nike corporate slogan encourages athletes, “Just Do It”.
Designing, competing in, and completing personal challenges has allowed me to continue to believe in myself as an athlete regardless of circumstance. It has prevented me from dropping out of training programs, saved me from discouragement, boosted my self-esteem as an over-60 competitor, and preserved important relationships.
Once I started using personal competitions as back-ups for potential event failures the need to choose between important social or work and fitness commitments rarely arose. Most situations were salvaged, fitness goals were met, and the disrupting issue was resolved.
Like the time my niece's out of town wedding was scheduled on the day of an important-to-me half marathon. I lost the registration fee and chance to join the herd, but competed a week earlier on the exact course by myself. Sure, there is disappointment when plans must be changed, but the opportunity to compete and use skills gained from training is preserved. There's no way I world have missed her big day that year; it was a win-win outcome.
I love to use Earned Runs bibs to formalize and record personal competitive goals and accomplishments. These small Tyvek rectangles may not inspire everyone. But for me, writing results and details of accomplished goals through 4 seasons on 4 bibs (plus colorful stickers) tells the story of my fitness efforts across an entire 12 months.
This year, 2020, I trained but waited to register for an organized April half marathon in Chicago until the latest possible time. Good move, I’m thinking now, and a wise strategy going forward until the infectious disease situation stabilizes. I'll run it there if I can, or at home the week after.
My sister sent me notice of a runner in China who ran 66km, a 41+mile ultra-marathon distance, inside his apartment in the midst of the coronavirus quarantine in the city of Hangzhou near Shanghai. Her comment that he could have used an Earned Runs bib inspired this post!
Coronavirus dangers, work, family, or other circumstances beyond your control might be managed so as not to become unsurmountable obstacles to fitness achievements. If healthy, consider arranging personal competitions as alternatives to official organized events. Save money, time, and frustration; ‘run’ your own race.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 9 HALF SAINTS DAYS 5K & 10K Training Plan Starts
The fun continues this week if you are anticipating running or walking the 'tune-up' St. Patrick’s Day 10K scheduled in each of the full half marathon plans.
Last week’s post discussed how this shorter distance race fits into your half marathon training. By the way, you can find this week's schedule on both Part 1 and Part 2, which overlap a couple weeks to allow visualization of the previous training weeks once part 2 is officially entered, after the 10k 'tune-up' race.
This post will be about the fun of the holiday! Did you know the Irish in North America may have been responsible for the first St. Patrick’s Day parade? Bostonians take credit for an event on March 17, 1737, held as a “gesture of solidarity among the city’s new Irish immigrants”, to “honor the memory of the beloved Patron Saint of Ireland”, according to information on the South Boston parade website.
However, a History.com item indicates that the first recorded parade took place on March 17 in New York City, commemorating the anniversary of the saint’s death on that date in 461. Irish soldiers serving there in the British army had the idea of marching through the streets in 1762 to celebrate the holiday.
Wikipedia.com informs that new research has revealed the world’s first parade took place in the Spanish Colony of St. Augustine, Florida in 1601!
Regardless of the city in which the practice of organizing this parade originated, history.com says it all started because “early Irish settlers to the American colonies, many of whom were indentured servants, brought the Irish tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s feast day to America.”
In their home country, the Irish had observed this day as a religious holiday. They attended church services in the morning and then spent the afternoon enjoying food and drink. In the New World the feast day seems to have begun with festivities rather than church services. History.com says that over the years parades eventually became “a popular celebration of Irish-American heritage”.
And here we are now, running and walking races on that day as well! Enjoy your readiness to compete on this day, earned by hard work and perseverance, as well as the post-race revelry. .
If your event has been cancelled due to coronavirus infection concerns, commit to running or walking it as a personal race of your own design. Don’t let circumstances out of your control derail your opportunity to train with this tune-up race.
Get your green on and celebrate the unofficial start of the spring race season.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
THE ORIGINAL PURPOSE OF THE WORLD TIME ZONES “SPRINGING FORWARD” AN HOUR each year to Daylight Saving Time (DST), such that sunrise and sunset each occur an hour later by the clock, has always been explained to me in terms of farming needs.
It turns out there is a more complicated explanation and that farmers generally opposed the move. The very first official use of DST was instituted by the town of Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) Ontario, in Canada, according to timeanddate.com, and it happened on July 1, 1908. The reason given was to “save energy and make better use of daylight.” A few more Canadian cities followed the lead of Port Arthur in the spring of 1914 (Regina, Saskatchewan) and 1916 (Brandon and Winnipeg, Manitoba) the site explains.
Having lived much of my life in the northern tier US state of Michigan and visiting Canada occasionally, I am familiar with the lowness of the sun in the sky during the short days of winter around the Great Lakes region. Thunder Bay ON is at the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, like my home now is, and we celebrate the some of the latest sunsets of the USA each summer, almost at 10pm! To me it’s no wonder my northern neighbors in the same zone came up with this great idea. We’re tired of cold and snow by February’s end here, hoping the winter will be winding down soon, and this artificial step toward summer seems like pure inspiration.
However, the real original reason for whole countries deciding to make the time switch makes more sense than the tale about helping farmers bring in their crops or milk cows, or Canadians tired of winter (that’s my assumption). It was war.
The need to conserve fuel for war purposes caused the change to be made by Germany and Austria in 1916, in the middle of World War I. Less energy would be used to generate electricity for artificial light and more would be available for moving troops etc. Soon thereafter England and France did the same, and “War Time” became popularized across the globe in other countries.
The timeanddate.com piece credits a New Zealand scientist with first having the modern world idea back in 1895 and a British builder with suggesting it’s use in his country in 1905 and introducing a bill to do so before Parliament. However, this site an others explain the Romans may have been all over this concept in ancient times. Apparently, the idea is not all that new. There’s much more to the time change story that can be explored elsewhere online (see below).
Can athletes and exercisers use DST to benefit our fitness lives? It seems golfers and baseball lovers have been enthusiastic about DST because it allowed more sport playing time. Rather than saving energy I too hope occasionally to burn a bit more by using the later sunset to get in an additional pleasant physical activity. .
My weekday work clock won’t change. I’ll still wake at the same time for morning exercise before starting on routine computer and house chores. But some days I will be able to anticipate an extra hour or more of daylight after dinner that can be enjoyed outdoors. Rather than my winter habit of setting aside the time to watch nightly news or a gameshow, “Jeopardy”, I’ll use DST for a walk or bike ride, timed to catch the descent of the sun in the western sky when possible. On weekends the possibilities for more movement and exercise are almost limitless when paired with lengthening daylight hours
Although in the early days of its world-wide implementation DST was called “War Time”, in the United Kingdom and the European Union it’s referred to as “Summer Time”.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WINTER DREAMS AND ESCAPES – THE CES FIVE ISLAND CHALLENGE
THIS INTERNATIONAL SERIES OF CARIBBEAN RACES ARE INVITINGLY HELD IN THE WINTER MONTHS OF THE YEAR when tropical getaways are most appealing. Atlanta Life insurance Company is sponsoring the opportunity to earn honors and a special completion medal for finishing marathon, half marathon, or “Combothon” races in 5 island destinations: Bermuda, Jamaica, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas.
Yes, with the laid-back attitude visitors come to expect and love in this part of the world, the Five Island Challenge requires you to become a member by signing up and to complete a marathon or half marathon at each of the races. Challengers have 6 years in which to accomplish this feat.
If you’re interested, here’s the list:
December 6, 2020
Negril, Jamaica: The Reggae Marathon
Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K
December 4-6, 2020
Bridgetown, Barbados: Cave Shepard & Co. Run Barbados
Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K Run, 5K walk, Fun Mile
December 6, 2020
Cayman Islands Intertrust Marathon
Marathon, Half Marathon, 4-Person Relay, Kids Fun Run, Wheelchair Division
January 15-17, 2021
Bermuda: The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge,
Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K
January 16-17, 2021
Nassau, The Bahamas: Sunshine Insurance Marathon Bahamas;
Marathon, Half Marathon, and Relay and 5K
All five locations consider their races as true “run-cations”. The variety of fun and serious endurance contests offered at each indicate they wish to include vacationers of all abilities in the fun and fitness activities.
Marathoners interested in qualifying for the Abbott World Marathon Majors Wanda Age Group World Rankings should take note that the Reggae Marathon has been selected as the Caribbean Qualifying Event.
In harsher colder climes, now is the time to dream and plan for winter 2020-21 escapes. Even if these races aren’t going to be possible for you next year, the picture galleries on their websites allow for pleasant imagining of running and walking in beautiful international locales.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY
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.
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