Yes, spring is officially here now and that means longer days, warmer weather, and of course for many of you, ramping your training up! We'll talk more about that in a bit, but lots of other cool stuff to cover first.
Before we get into the racing action, congrats to all those who took the time to head out to Arkona this winter. It's tough to train on hills in the city and the effort to run hills on the weekends definitely paid off!
March also saw the running of Around the Bay, North America's oldest road race. Congrats go out to Elizabeth, Kirsten, Lonna, Michele, Mike and Terry for awesome runs in the 30k and to our relay team of Frank, John and yours truly in the 10k relay (missing from the photo were Elizabeth and MIchele). Apologies if I've missed someone. Well done everyone!
There's LOTS of Renegade racing action this month. April will see Jackie and Juanita compete in the 10k Retina Run in London, Kirsten in the Big House 5k in Ann Arbour, Monica in the MEC 10k in London, Verylene in the Forest City Half Marathon, Juanita in the Waterloo Half Marathon, and last but certainly not least, John Simpson in the 2017 Boston Marathon! Good luck to all!
This month, we'd also like to welcome our newest Renegade, Monica Gillis. Monica isn't wasting any time and as we noted above, will be running the MEC 10k in London this month. Welcome Monica!
So here's the deal with the title. As you've seen, many people are already racing, but this time of the year will see training ramping up for many of you. We know that if we want to achieve our goals, that requires work, but the training can be much easier with the right attitude. Hopefully you all know what threshold running is; many people use the phrase 'comfortably hard' to describe it. Well there's another way to describe it, coined by Alberto Salazar. He calls threshold running 'Fun Fast', and that puts a really positive spin on it. So as your training and racing ramps up, let's keep the 'Fun Fast' attitude toward your workouts, and it might help to make them just a little bit easier.
This month, we're luck to have a really interesting contribution from "Iron Terry'. I hope you'l enjoy reading this as much as I did.
Have a great month!
Each year, I become more and more of an expert at 1 thing: getting older. And it does indeed beat the alternative. I have a coffee mug at work (yes, I still work) that says: “I don’t think I look 60 either”. But I’m no Ed Whitlock in terms of athletic ability, just a decent age grouper who has been around awhile.
When I was a kid living on my parents’ farm, I would run occasionally from our house to the back of the farm and return. About 1.5 km and my parents thought I was nuts and should be spending that energy on farm chores. In high school, I played basketball, football, and hockey. But in the spring, I’d join the track team and run the mile. In the small town of Listowel, Ontario, that was considered ‘distance running’.
I started running competitively in my mid-30s. I had rough training plans in my head, and I discovered that I was actually a pretty good runner. I ran a lot of the Saturday morning races with Sarnia Roadrunners. I had fairly fast times in 5 km, 10 km, and ½ marathon. I started using Runners World training plans (from the actual magazine), and doing track workouts with a ‘real runner’ who had moved here from BC. When I was 41, I qualified and ran the Boston Marathon, started training with Cal in there somewhere, and 3 years later I ran my one and only sub-3 hr marathon. I also took up triathlon around the same time and completed my first Ironman 1 year after that. And then the internet was invented (maybe a few years earlier)!
- Swimming, biking, running: Training in all 3 sports has enabled me to maintain cardiovascular fitness and muscle mass without putting too much stress on my running legs.
- Evolving my training: Although doing Ironman doesn’t exactly reduce the amount of training time, I have decreased my running volume over the years. I’ve also decreased the frequency of high intensity running (speed work) that I do. However, I’ve more-or-less maintained my high intensity cycling, which I find to be effective for running with a lower risk of injury.
- Increasing recovery time. Think Renegade Recovery Nights at Bottoms Up. This means more recovery time between tough training session or a race. I may need a little more time sleeping. I could be a function of the work I do which requires that I meet and work with people most of the day.
- Moderating my expectations: this is a difficult thing to do, but necessary, and it takes a few years. Since I’ve been running for many years, my PBs are well behind me. If I’m doing the same race over (i.e. ATB), I can try to maintain my time or come close to it from the previous year but my 2:06 from 1999 is not going to be duplicated by me. I’m a big fan of age group PBs.
- Knowing my limits (more or less): My limit is 2 or 3 long races in a year. So far, some have been pretty long, but they’re getting shorter. I’ve retired from full-distance Ironman; doing half from now on. I want to do another marathon but ATB is plenty long, and half-marathons are fitting into my goals once again.
- Motivation: I’m pretty much self-motivated when it comes to training. But going to triathlon and running races with my 3 kids has helped me stay motivated. Over the years I’ve gradually trained more with other people (Renegades), and even my brother!
- Warm-up, stretching, massage and sometimes ‘core’. Renegade warm-ups! I stretch in the sauna after swimming; I stretch after running or biking in Arkona. I get issues treated before they become injuries.
- Experience: For this one, I’ll quote the researchers from triathlete.com:
“Many athletes can replicate the threshold training they did in their mid-30s through their early 40s. The biggest change is recovery time. The good news for the long-term athlete is that muscle memory—muscle familiarity that comes from repeating a motion—does not disappear with age, so experienced athletes can be more efficient than their younger counterparts with fewer lifetime training miles. Athletes can attain previous fitness levels with less threshold work so long as they can perform consistent, strong aerobic efforts.”
Notice that I haven’t mentioned strength training and core exercises. That’s because I’ve never been committed to strength training on a regular basis. I do believe that cycling and running hills are effective alternatives to strength training. Besides, Cal pretty much addressed this in a previous Coaches Corner. I didn’t mention the changes I made to my breathing technique – also in a previous Coaches Corner.