Monday, April 25, 2011

Trying to get healthy and my best 1 mile run yet!

Not much really to report (besides my killer 1 mile run!) just a listing of some things I am trying to improve my health.

I have dramatically reduced my sugary snack food intake. I was eating ice cream every night and woofing down my daughters left over Valentine’s Day goodies. Now we have a massive amount of left over Easter candy in our house that I am trying my best not to eat.

Here is a listing of some healthy ideas I am trying.
1. Eat 5-6 meals per day. I like this idea a lot since I love to eat.

2. Drink six to eight 16oz cups of water per day. 96-128 oz of water per day means lots of running to the bathroom!

3. Eat more grains. I have been eating the Quaker oats lately. I hear they are not as good for you as the steel cut oats though. I make my own batch by mixing some cinnamon and raisins with the plain oats. Sometimes I cheat a little and mix some “Sweet and Low” in there too because the flavor is a little gross.

4. Increase my protein intake. I really like the Greek Yogurt. I just buy the plain low fat and mix some banana hunks in it. It really taste great and has a lot of protein.

5. Eat more fruits. I try to eat different types of fruit too.

6. Eat more vegetables. Unfortunately my vegetable intake is still low. I have been drinking some V8 but I know that is not as good for you as straight veggies.

7. Work out (hard) 2 times per week. I perform a mixture of free weights, machines, and Calisthenics. I work out for about 50 minutes. I believe this has helped my running a lot.

Here is a quick summary of my latest runs.

I did a 10 mile run on Saturday. I have been trying to keep my heart rate in the Zone 2 or below level during my long runs. My pace is a little slower than I am accustomed to but I believe it is helping me more than running 10 miles in Zone 3 and Zone 4. According to some heart rate training plans, I have read, Zone 3 is the worse zone to be in. Supposedly you get most of the tiredness but little of the benefits of Zone 4 (Zone 4 increases your lactate threshold) and Zone 3 doesn’t really help your aerobic capacity either. I have no proof of this beyond just reading it on the web. I am still learning about the heart rate training. Does anyone else out there have any heart rate zone information?

Also, supposedly, you do not really go by the maximum heart rate formula (220 – your age) to find your true zones. You need to do a lactate threshold test. The maximum heart rate formula that is based on age is inaccurate and not worth the effort. Rick Kattouf had me do a lactate threshold test and he made up my heart rate zones for me.

I did a short warm up run down to the track on Monday. I then ran a mile in my Vibrams and broke the 6:18 mark. I am really excited as that is the fastest mile I have ever run in my life. I am still hoping to break the 6 minute barrier soon. I felt really good today during the mile run.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Latest Goals

Run a 5K at 7:00 min/mile pace
Run 11K, 7K, and 15K Paris Mountain Trail Runs in Vibrams.
Increase cadence up to 88 BPM

To achieve the above goals I’m using Rick Kattouf’s training program. My company started the 12 week exercise program through Team Kattouf about 8 weeks ago. This program encompasses my meals and exercise regimen. I like a lot of Rick Kattouf’s ideas. Lately, instead of going by pace during my training runs I have been using heart rate training. As mentioned in previous post I am one of those “special” people with a high heart rate. When I am at rest my heart rate will drop down into the low 50s sometimes even the high 40s. However, when I start to exercise my heart rate will shoot up very fast and high. Just my warm up jog is usually a 134-144 effort. Rick Kattouf had me perform a lactate threshold test and he developed a special heart rate zone program for me.
My heart rate zones follow: Zone 1 = 134-144, Zone 2 = 145-154, Zone 3 = 155-164, Zone 4 = 165-174, Zone 5 = 175-184.
Each training run that I do has a different goal. Sometimes the goal is to keep the HR in Zone 2 for a long run (1-1/2 hours). Other runs may have me doing intervals from Zone 2 to Zone 4 for different durations. Every once in a while I throw in a run of my own. I love to jog down to the track near where I work and do a 1 mile run as fast as I can go. My record so far is 6:39 min/mile. However, that was before Christmas and my training did drop off some at the beginning of the year. However, I am back on course and barring any injuries, I am going to try and hit the 6:30 min/mile in April.
Rick Kattouf has also improved my strength training regimen. I work out twice a week for about 50 minutes. This is a very intense program with minimal resting between sets. Since I have stated Rick Kattouf’s program I have dropped 5 pounds. I am hoping to drop below 180 this week. At the end of last year my training dropped off and I slowly gained weight until I hit a high of about 188. I am glad that I have worked it back down to 180. My goal is go get down to 175 pounds.

To summarize:
1. I am now training to heart rate zones and duration instead of pace and distance.
2. I am still working on increase my cadence.
3. I have added strength training.

Quote of the day: “A gentle word of compliment falls lightly but it carries a great weight.”

Have a great day.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I apologize for not blogging!

I am still running! Since my injury last year (about this time) I have never fully returned to my running ability. I was close to a 7 minute mile for a 5k but now I am back in the sub 8 minute/mile. I am still using the Vibram 5 fingers and I am also using the Nike Free. I really like the Nike Frees. They feel really good and light.
I ran the Milliken Earth run in the Vibrams last weekend. It was very good. I planned on an 8 minute/mile pace but I went a little faster. I did start tiring at the end but I finished the race in good shape. I ended up with a 7:49 min/mile pace. Not too bad for me. I did not see anyone else in the Vibrams. Maybe this barefoot craze is dying out again. I try to run in the Vibrams at least once a week if not more.
I am still working on my cadence. I have to really concentrate on my cadence in order to get it to 88-90. Maintaining that is really hard. Even if I try to go at a 10 minute/mile pace with a high cadence I get tired out. They have a Chi running clinic at my sports club that I go to. I am thinking of trying that clinic. I know that the trainer suggest the 88-90 foot cadence. Maybe chi running can help me attain the higher cadence. I believe that a high cadence will get my speed back up and most importantly reduce my chance of injury. A friend of mine at work runs a lot of marathons and he reduced his stride and increased his cadence and found that his injury rate when down. Plus for a guy over 50 he is fast!

Have a good day!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Latest Information

Well I did not get to run the Paris Mountain 11K trail run. I was ready, willing, able, and out of town for work. I was supposed to come back Friday evening before the race but due to a problem at the job site I did not come home until mid afternoon Saturday. I really wanted to run that race. I guess I will have to wait until next year.
I have still been running in the Vibrams. Usually about 2 times per week on my shorter runs. So far all has been well. I still feel a little pull in my calf but it does not seem to progress into anything more so I keep running. I have changed from 30 second stretches to 2 minute stretches. I read that the 2 minute stretches are better for you.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Moonshiner 5K Paris Mountain Night Run

I ran the Half Moon Outfitters Moonshiner 5K on Friday, September 17th in the Vibrams. The race started at 8 PM. I was amazed at how many people attended. The race results showed that 212 people ran the race. Even Superwoman and her sidekick showed up! You will have to view the photos to see what I am talking about. Go to When you see the picture you will understand.

I've never run or hiked at night so I had to order one of the headlamps that they offered on the race entry website. You were not allowed to run without a head lamp; which is wise during night run.

The race started promptly at 8. I decided to start out about mid way in the pack of runners. I was not planning on running the race hard and did not want to delay any fast runners behind me. Unfortunately that allowed a bunch of slower runners in front of me.

We started off at the top of the main parking lot and ran past a shelter over the paved road and onto the Mountain Creek trail. We then took a quick left onto the Turtle Creek trail. That trail is very narrow and extremely hard to pass slower runners on. I decided to just go with the flow and tried my best to watch my footing so I did not wipe out. I did have one near fall but caught myself with my hands and kept going. After about a 1/2 mile or so we popped back out onto the paved road. I had not studied the route before hand so I had no idea how long we would be running on the road. Most of the paved road was uphill which helped spread out the flock of runners. I felt really good so far so I decided to pass as many people as I could while there was space. I am not sure where but eventually we turned back onto the Mountain Creek trail and started back towards the finish line.

During the run I was amazed at how much dust and debris I was sucking into my lungs. My bright running light illuminated all of the dust kicked into the air by the runners. There was also a lot of small moths flying around. I am sure I ate a few of those during the run.

The crowd had really spread out on the return trip on Mountain Creek so the running was much more fun. I picked up my pace quite a bit during the second half of the race. It was really neat running on those trails at night. I was starting to tire a little near the end as we emerged back onto the paved road for the final stretch. I did not realize how close the finish line was until it was too late. According to my Garmin the race was actually about 2.86 miles instead of 3.1. I usually like to sprint the last hundred yards but I did not get that chance, which is fine.

Thanks to Half Moon Outfitters we had lots of water to drink and food to eat at the finish line. Half Moon Outfitters and the race volunteers really did a great job. I appreciate all of the hard work they put in to make a successful event. Thanks again! The race was a blast.

Have a great day.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Paris Mountain 7K

I apologize for the long delay in writing. Work has been overwhelming and I have been putting off writing. I did run the Paris Mountain 7K in the Vibrams. Before the race started I met two other guys running in Vibrams. They both were running with the Bikila Vibrams. This shoe was designed more for running than the KSO that I wear. The Bikila has a thicker sole to help absorb impact from small rocks and other debris on the ground. When my KSOs wear out I may try the Bikila.

I felt good the morning of the race and to "enhance" my performance I tried an ABB Ripped Force energy drink. I had tried one of those with good results on the Milliken Earth Run so I thought I would give it a try in this race.

We started off at the upper picnic shelter and ran down the road and through the parking lot to spread us out. My plan was to go at it hard until we hit the Mountain Creek trail to get in front of the slower runners. I believe I ran a little too fast. By the time I hit the Mountain Creek trail I was panting hard. I continued up the Mountain Creek and then took a left on the Sulphur Springs. By the time I crossed over the road I was beat. I looked at my Garmin and noticed my pulse was at 193. I have never seen it that high before. The morning was warm and humid and I think the high heat index coupled with the energy drink made my heart rate soar. I got a little nervous so I walked for about 2 minutes to catch my breath. I then continued on at a slower pace. By the time we climbed up the rocks by the dam I was approaching the 190 beats per minute again. Fortunately there is a good downhill after that climb. This gave me a small amount of time to recover.

The worse hill was still yet to come! Coming off the connector trail we hit the road and started the steep climb up the only portion of road that you actually run for a distance on. It is a very tough hill. Somehow I actually continued a jog up that hill without stopping. Knowing that I had some good down hill stretches ahead of me helped motivate me through this portion of the run.

Once I passed the Archery Range picnic shelter the trail is a steep and treacherous downhill. It is difficult when you are tired because I tend to not pick up my feet as high and catch them on the roots and rocks. I struggled through the remainder of the run just hoping the finish line would appear soon.

Approximately 1/8 mile from the end a friend of mine passed me up. That bummed me out because I did want to beat him in this race! As we turned onto the final trail for the finish I decided to suck it up and try to catch him. I actually got close enough to grab him if I wanted but we got into a jumbled group at the end so he actually ended up two people in front of me.

My finish time was 39:27. That put me at 57th place, which I suppose is good for me. The Vibrams felt great. Even though I was exhausted most of the race I never tripped or stumbled in them. No blisters either! My feet must be toughening up! I really like running the trail runs in the Vibrams. However, I believe I will skip the ABB Ripped Force next time. I suspect that may have caused my excessive heart rate.

My next post will be on the Moonshiner 5K. I did that run last night and it was a blast. I will describe it in the next post.

So conclusion is: the Vibrams are definitely great for running trails. I still don't run for extended periods of time on the road yet. As much as I am trying not to be, I am still somewhat of a heel striker. That is something you don't want to do in the Vibrams.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tabata training work out!

I have been researching the high intensity interval training and especially the Tabata method. I described it in an earlier post but basically the Tabata method is 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 repetitions for a grand total of 4 minutes total effort. The exercise can be anything that involves the larger muscle groups; sprinting, dead lifts, swimming, etc. According to the information among the websites I visited you can make some dramatic increases in your VO2 maximum and your anaerobic capacity in as little as 6 weeks.
I went out today (July 27th) to give it a try. I have to admit I ended up wimping out a little. I started off with a 2 mile warm up. I added some butt kicks and some high stepping into the run. After the run I stretched out a little to loosen up. I set my Garmin for 8 repetitions of 20 seconds with 10 second intervals. I then let loose with my first sprint. Well, since I have aged I don’t sprint too often unless someone or something is chasing me. A 20 second sprint is a looooonnnng time! Conversely a 10 second rest period is a short time. When the Garmin signaled the 20 seconds were over and I slowed down to a walking pace, the 10 second rest was done! After about 6 repetitions I had to take a 30 second break instead of a 10 second break. My last couple of sprints was more of a slow run. I think I need learn to take the pain and crash through my lactate threshold. I was not satisfied with my performance at all. Next time out I need to give my all for that brief 4 minutes.
Has anyone else out there tried any high intensity training? I like the idea and plan on incorporating it into my work out routine. I must say that I don’t necessarily look forward to it. Hopefully I can bump up my running ability some. I have been stuck at a little above 7 minute mile pace for a 5K for about two years now. I would really love to get below the 7 minute mile for the 5K and also break a 6 minute mile pace for 1 mile.
We will see what happens. I plan on doing the Tabata twice a week.

PS: Another thing about sprinting is it is hard on your body. I was amazed at how my legs, knees, and ankles were sore. If you have not sprinted in a while you might want to start out slowly.

Have a great day!