Runners Notes
By Heather Cass Erie Times-News staff blogger
If you want to know anything about the local running scene, ask Heather Cass. A member of the Erie Runners Club for 10-plus years, she is immersed in the local fitness culture, and she's taking your questions.   Read more about this blog.
Archive for the ‘Beginners’ category
Posted: March 20th, 2014

Worth Reading

Star Tribune: She found running and left troubles in the dust

How to pick the right running partner (Tip: If your goal is to get faster, your best running partners are those slightly faster than you. This means you may curse them while running because they will push you, but…that’s how you improve).

Because we can: Why we all need to run

Undies for running women (cute concept, but…pricey — 3 pairs for $48. Ouch).

Forget Fitbit -  This T-shirt embeds fitness sensors into fabric (interesting)

Funny stuff

 

How Are You Training? from Boss Hog on Vimeo.

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Posted: February 26th, 2014

When you’re just getting started in a sport, it’s hard to learn the lingo. Running and walking, like any sport, has it’s own special language and local phrases. Each week, I’ll define a term or phrase that will help you not only walk the walk (or run the run), but talk the talk.

A “recovery run” is a run that you’d do the day after a hard or long (or long and hard) run or race. It’s meant to speed recovery by getting the blood flowing to the legs to flush out all the toxins, lactate etc. Recovery runs are always short, but… most importantly, they’re done very, very slowly.

More info on recovery runs here and here.

Posted in: Beginners, Lingo
Posted: August 8th, 2013

Worth Reading

* Protein is key to satiating meals and, therefore, key to weight loss (you eat much less when you eat protein). Here are 9 Portable Protein Sources for Athletes (though I disagree with peanut butter…it’s full of sugar and peanuts are legumes, not nuts).

* Can’t figure out what your next race should be? Take the pop quiz to find out what your next challenge should be.

* Dogs don’t sweat, so be cautious about taking your favorite four-legged partner on a run on a hot, humid day (no matter how much they WANT to go). Heed these 12 safety tips for running with your dog in the heat.

funny

Gear of the week (I’m getting bored with T-shirts)

Check out these cool MantraBands!  Mantras can get you through a tough race. I’ve got several mantras and they’ve changed over the years. The one I relied on in the PA Grand Canyon marathon was “Relentless Forward Progression.” I don’t see that one here, but I’m thinking I won’t need that one again anyway.  “Carpe Diem” or “Enjoy the Journey” might be better choices for me now.

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Wanna be a Poser?

Also…don’t forget about Pose-method classes that are now available in Erie. Here are the details:

crossfit

 

 

 

Posted: August 7th, 2013

Guest post

By Tom Madura

Hi, my name is Tom and I haven’t run in months.

Well, not quite true. I’ve run. A little.

But this is a story about what happens when you lose the drive, and how hard it is to get it back. See, I’ve been a runner for about 30 years, give or take, and I’ve had my ups and downs. But never like this.

I started running in my 20s, and now, in my 50s,  my PR’s are all behind me. My 1:44 in the Clarion River Half Marathon seems like a lifetime ago. (That’s the fore-runner of the Cook’s Forest Half for you young ‘uns). But that’s OK.  I don’t mind getting older and slower – as long as I can still run and enjoy it.

It’s been years since I ran with the express purpose of beating anyone or trying to continually improve my pace. I started running barefoot to reduce the stress on my knees, and started to run just for the sheer fun of it and to stay fit. I love running and I was having a ball.

But last summer something changed – a long stretch of hot, humid weather led me to take a few weeks off. “What’s a few weeks?” I thought. It’s happened before. As soon as it cools off, I’ll start puttin’ in the miles again.

Only I didn’t. “Just a couple more days”, I thought, and I’ll jump right back in. I promise.

And then I twisted my ankle while out boating. A running injury when I wasn’t even running. Just great.

So then I decided, “Well, with that ankle all swollen and sore I’d better not start running again until it feels better.”

Weeks stretched into months, and then it was almost time for the Turkey Trot – one of my favorite races, and one I have only missed once in the last ten years. I hadn’t run at all since August, and it was early November. I did a few 2-mile runs and felt pretty good so I signed up for the 5K. Afterward I felt great, but there was still a little twinge in my ankle, and it was a little swollen the next day. No big deal, I’ll just take a few more days off (this train of thought was getting way too easy!)

Next up was the Snowflake Run – another favorite. I ran it and felt great.

Then I started to find every excuse imaginable not to run. What was wrong with me? All winter it was “I’m busy tonight”. “It’s raining – maybe it’ll be nicer tomorrow.” “It’s too cold”, or “I had a long day at work – I‘m tired”, or “Boy that couch and fireplace sure look more inviting than a run in the snow.”

Problem is, there are ALWAYS long days at work, or it’s ALWAYS too hot or too cold, or too rainy, and the couch is ALWAYS there. These things never stopped me from running before. I just didn’t have the motivation. I’d lost the drive. I was in a slump. My wife bought me a running motivational calendar for Christmas – it’s hanging in my office – I read it every day.

Didn’t help.

I read Heather’s blog every day for motivation and envied her drive to train for her Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania marathon.

Didn’t help.

It was just becoming easier and easier to NOT run.

Winter turned to Spring and I was really starting to miss running.

Oh, I finally started to go for an occasional 2 or 3 mile run, but getting back into a regular running routine was turning out to be harder than I thought. I did a few after-work runs at Presque Isle, and did 3 miles on International Barefoot Running Day in May. But by then it had been almost nine months (nine months!) since I had run on a regular schedule, and time I had previously set aside for running had now been taken up with other things – yard work; staying late at work; going out with friends. My schedule was full! Was this a permanent change in my life? Was I becoming an ex-runner?

N0. Damn it. I just need to focus on this and motivate myself – it’s for my own good and nobody else is going to do it for me. And I ENJOY IT! Why is this so hard??

As they say – it’s all in the mind. Just Do It.

So last week, on a cool rainy day, after a long day at work, I told my wife that dinner would have to wait a little bit tonight, and with only a passing glance at the couch as I headed out the front door, I did my first 3 mile run in weeks. And I’ve done 3 more since.

And most important of all, I finally WANT to keep doing it again! I’m looking forward to my next run.

I’m back! And it feels great!

I’ll see you on the road.

~ Tom

Posted: August 2nd, 2013

What one piece of advice, learned from your own experience, would you give a runner running his/her first race?

Do not go out too fast. To have your best race, you need to run evenly each mile in the race. Yes you will slow going uphill and speed up downhill. But as this is your 1st race, just complete the race and that will be your best race. — Mike Filutze

Have a running buddy. — Mark Dombrowski

Don’t get caught up in the electric excitement and start too fast/hard or you might lose steam way too soon! — Tracy Jenks

Have fun! — Dennis Albrewczynski

My mom always tells me…”don’t start out too fast”. It is so true! — Jessie Zahner

Run your own race. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing out there. — Rhonda Berlin

Don’t worry about your time. It’s your first race. What you get is your first PR – you will improve with more races you do. — Jennifer Bach

Don’t worry about your time. It’s your first race. What you get is your first PR – you will improve with more races you do. — Mike Caggeso

Don’t worry about your time; you ain’t goin’ to the Olympics. Have fun and wear the t-shirt proudly! — Michael Morris

Tie your shoes. Then check. There’s nothing like having to pull off to tie your shoes. — Jim Lang

Look around – not just down. You are creating a memory you will always remember. — Christine Vassen

Walk the water stop(s), and don’t worry about your time. — Lisa Shade

Pretend you are holding potato chips in your hands you don’t want to crush.. keeps you loose. — Ron Peterman

My advice is much of the same as has been said above, but I’d also add a few etiquette things:

* Line up in the back — when you’re new, better to pass people anyway (gives you a nice boost)

* Don’t stop dead in front of the water stops. Runners expect you to keep moving (slow jog). If you want to walk and drink your water (I ALWAYS do), step off to the side so that you’re not in the way of the runners who want to drink on the run.

* Pin your bib to the FRONT of your shirt.

* If the bib is not chip timed (ask), you need to stay in order when you are in the finisher’s chute.

* Be kind to the volunteers at the race — they’re all volunteers. Express appreciation, if you can (smile, wave, “thanks”…whatever).

* Don’t be afraid to ask a veteran runner questions. 98% of runners are super friendly and they love to answer your questions — don’t be afraid to ask. (Avoid the serious-looking ones that are jumping up & down at the front of the start line.)

Also, check out 10 things to know before your first 5K.

Posted: August 1st, 2013

benefield_jamie

Worth Reading

* Ironman Andy Potts shares his best training advice. (I think we should all start eating like little kids. I truly think we all eat too often…that eat small meals all day thing is bunk, provided the meals you do eat have protein and fat in them..yes, FAT…don’t be afraid. Trust me on this.).

* Next time someone tells you that running is bad for your knees, hit them with these 9 Ways Running is Good For Your Body.

* Planning to celebrate your latest running achievement with some new ink? Check out these 41 Running-Inspired Tattoos.

* If you’ve taken some time off from running, whether by choice or by doctor’s orders, here are 16 comeback songs to inspire you when you’re ready to lace up again.

Video of the Week

T-shirt of the Week

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Posted: July 18th, 2013

Worth reading

* Here’s a cool resource: Different shoelace configurations designed to accommodate foot pain and fit issues.

* Women’s running: 20 Signs You Know You’re a Runner. (I definitely do 80% of these, including 20, 13, 12, 10 & 3).

* Top 10 Running Mistakes. (I’m guilty of at least two of these, but…I’ll say that a few years ago, I’d have been guilty of half of these. With running age, comes wisdom.)

* Tyson Gay tests positive. I tend not to put anyone, even elite athletes, on pedestals, so I can’t say I was all that disappointed in this news.  I had to google him, frankly. Then I shrugged my shoulders & thought…Meh. Don’t most professional athletes dope now? Perhaps that’s a sad statement/assumption, but it seems to be a pretty accurate one.

* What You Can’t Tell About a Woman From Her Body Shape (I definitely learned this from racing — you can never judge a runner by their body. Stop comparing. Be amazed with what your body can do for you.)

Funny stuff

For the non-runner in your life ($5.25 at Zazzle.com):

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T-shirt of the Week

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Available here in various styles for $25+

Posted: July 17th, 2013

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This is my circle of speed work running friends after a recent night of too many 400s to count (I totally lose track, so I need all of them to remind me what number we are on).

For many of us, running with other people gets us much faster and further than we ever would alone, but…how do you meet people to run with?

1. Join the club. A good place to start is by joining the Erie Runners Club and maybe attending a few membership meetings (2nd Monday of the month at 7 p.m., currently at Asbury Woods park…they move indoors in fall) and/or newsletter stuffings (1st Monday of the month at the Plymouth Tavern at 7 p.m.). The newsletter stuffing nights are actually a lot of fun, believe it or not, and the club provides free wings, pretzels & beer after! Admittedly, it tends to be the same people who show up at all the meetings and newsletter stuffings, but…trust me when I say, they know everyone in the area who runs. Ask around. Find out if they know anyone in your area who runs about your pace.

2. Friend the Erie Runners Club on Facebook. Then, request to join the Erie Runners Club Running Groups group (say that three times fast). This is where you can learn about some group runs in the area. Or post the time/distance/location you’re looking for someone to run with.

3. Chat up your competition. When you do a race (oh..and racing is a great way to meet other runners and make friends), make it a point to chat up the people in slightly in front of you (after the race, of course). Just simply say…hey, nice race…I was trying to catch you the whole time. They may just invite you to join them on training runs.  They are the ones you want to run with. You’ll get the most out of running with other people if you run with those just slightly better than you.

4. Attend a 5K training program. Harborcreek Township offers a great learn-to-run program every summer (it’s over now, but look for it next May!) and there’s one for women that started Saturday. It’s not too late to join.  Details here.

5. Ask me. I  know tons of people who run in the Erie area. There’s a pretty good chance I can find someone that runs your pace that you may be able to meet up with for weekend long runs (or whatever). You need to tell me a few things: gender, age, pace-per-mile, what kind of distance you want to do (if you’re training for a race…tell me the distance).  You can email me at zipdang22 at aol.

 

 

Posted: July 16th, 2013

faster

Sometimes I have email exchanges with runners that I think would be helpful information to share with others, so in that spirit I share this:

A reader recently contacted me with questions about Couch to Her Times 5K training program and she said:

My first 5k was last October.  Terrible time. Trying to redeem myself :) I’m new at this.  Any tips from a seasoned runner?

Here was my response:

Hi, Nicole. When you say you had a terrible time, do you mean that you were unhappy with how long it took you to complete the race? It’s all sorta relative (my fast is another person’s slow), so…it really does only matter what YOU think. But if you feel like you could do better, then here are some things that helped me:

1. Run with other people. And, most importantly if you want to get faster, run with people slightly faster than you and soon you’ll be a their pace. What is your pace…do you know? If you tell me, I may know of some groups/people you might join. (I extend that offer to all blog readers…I know lots of runners at various paces who live in various areas of the city & county).  Join the Erie Runner Club and like their page on Facebook. Request to join the ERC’s running groups facebook page…that’s where you can learn about various group workouts.

2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is true ONLY for racing…you should not be running training runs like this, but, when racing, learn to accept that it’s hard and it hurts and tell your brain that it can handle it (because your “selfish brain” will keep telling you to slow down).  This article is fascinating and it will give you some insight into what’s happening in your mind/body. (This is written for an ultrarunner audience, but it applies to many of us. Again…it’s all relative…your “ultra” may be my “warm up,” you know?)

3. Start interval training/speedwork. It’s all explained pretty well in this article. Word to the wise: if you can talk any friends into doing speedwork/intervals with you, it’s way more fun with friends (or at least less miserable).

4. (to 29.) Here are 25 more ways to run  faster.

Good luck! You can do it! Let me know your pace and I may have a group for you to meet up with.

~ Heather
Posted: July 12th, 2013

What’s your number one recovery aid (aids)? ice bath, compression socks, chocolate milk? What’s your go-to to speed recovery?

“Vicodin.” — Dbrew (It’s a joke, people!)

“IPA” — Ross Aresco (It’s a type of beer)

“Easy runs” — Pat Krott

“Diet Dr. Pepper and potato chips!” — Jan Comi

“Lavender Epsom salts in my bath while drinking a beer!” — Karen Groshek

“Chocolate Milk, Compression Socks, Ice Bath…in that order of importance. I see too many runners wait too long for the chocolate milk (or other carb/protein replenishment if they are vegan). The Compression Socks don’t have to come before ice, but they do make a difference. We have had athletes do significant workloads and slide into a pair of compression socks between along with a nice snack and be able to handle everything on a very hard day and not be any more sore than a normal hard run. Ice never hurts (except frostbite) so I do think that it’s critical, and the constriction of the capillaries is really important to reduce the chance of inflammation, and also a good recovery tool if you forgot anything else and are sore the next day.” — Greg Cooper (Editor’s note: Greg is Penn State Behrend’s head running coach…which is to say…a guy who would know about recovery! :0 )

And more from the coach:

“Also, Patrick Krott’s suggestion of easy run is also great. Of particular benefit is running a recovery run at a recovery pace within 24 hours of a hard run. Inside our brain, interleukin-6 is the trigger that causes us to feel we have fatigue, this is also an inhibitor of motor impulses from brain to muscle (this is bad if you’re trying to run fast at the end of the race) Some research from the U of Copenhagen in Denmark says that the easy run w/in 24 hours of the hard run allows your body to learn to run with lower levels of glycogen (one of your primary fuels), so when we run those easy runs, we teach our body to continue to send those motor impulses from brain to muscle when we are tired, fatigued, sore, etc., This is not eliminating soreness, but it’s teaching your body to not feel that pain/soreness nearly as much the next time. This is probably a good thing if you want to progress in your training.”

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