Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Hal Higdon is a prolific writer of books about running and has written articles for Runner’s World magazine for over 40 years. The Hal Higdon Marathon Training Program takes 18 weeks and there are a number of program variants for novices, intermediate runners and advanced runners. There are also two 30-week programs – one for novices new to the sport of running, and one for advanced runners seeking to achieve a personal best time. The 18-week novice program calls for four days of running (including a long run) one day of cross training (swimming, cycling or walking) and two rest days. The intermediate program calls for five days of running, one day of cross training and one rest day. None of the programs advocate running more than 20 miles (32 km) in a long run.
Jeff Galloway is a life-long runner and ran with the US team in the 1972 Olympics, competing in the 10,000 metre track event. Galloway has published several books on running and has been developing training programs since the mid-70s. However, he is now best known for the Galloway Run-Walk-Run method which he developed to enable beginner runners to compete in a marathon and avoid injury during training. Depending on a person’s desired pace, the method sees the runner intersperse periods of running with shorter periods of walking for the first 18 miles/ 29km. For example, a person wanting to run at an average 9min/mile (5.25min/km) pace should run for four minutes then walk for one minute. The 32-week program sees runners undertake three runs (including a long run) and one walk each week with three rest days. The longest training run of 26 miles/41.8km is scheduled for week 26.
Kevin and Keith Hanson own several running stores in the US state of Michigan and also run the Hanson-Brooks Distance Project, an Olympic Development program for young, promising distance runners. They advocate what they call a ‘moderate and consistent’ approach to marathon training. Their beginner marathon training program includes up to five days of running each week with a maximum long-run of 16 miles/25.74km. It also includes additional strength and speed training sessions across the program’s eighteen weeks.
There are many, many other programs, but these are three that I continue to hear a lot about and which I see discussed regularly in running blogs and fora. I’m sure they are all very good programs.
The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training or ‘FIRST’ is based at Furman University in the US state of South Carolina. Since 2003 a group of scientists (all runners and triathletes themselves) have been developing, testing and refining their training program. Their research has indicated that “training intensity is the most important factor for improving the physiological processes that determine running performance”. The level of intensity required by the program is balanced out by the fact that it only includes three training runs per week with two to three days of cross training. Once a runner’s correct pacings are calculated from a recent 5km or 10km race time, the program is them built around the three key runs per week:
Key Run #1: Track Repeats (Intervals utlising assessed target paces for prescribed distances)
Key Run #2: Tempo run (with separate assessed paces for short, mid and long tempo runs)
Key Run #3: Long Run (utlising assessed target paces for long tempo, marathon pace, marathon pace +10 seconds, +15, +20, +25 seconds etc.)
Each running day is interspersed with a cross training day where the runner either swims, rides or rows. These days assist with recovery and injury prevention while continuing to provide a training effect. There are one to two rest days per week and the program runs for 16 weeks. There are a total of five 20 mile/32km long runs over the 16 weeks.
Earlier this year a mate from my Saturday morning running group lent me the book Run Less, Run Faster by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr and Ray Moss which goes into some detail about how the FIRST program was developed and outlines various programs for beginners to advanced runners, for 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon distances.
The program appealed to me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I don’t have a lot of free time to undertake a marathon training program that would require me to run up to six days a week. Secondly, I didn’t want to give up my resistance training in the gym. Thirdly the intensity of the workouts are an appealing added challenge in themselves and finally, I’ve never run more than three to four times a week, and the thought of injuring myself while training for a marathon was too disheartening, so the balance with cross-training seemed a good solution.
The marathon I’m aiming for is in September which would see me commence the FIRST program in late May. However, I’ve already drawn up a program based on my 10k race time with the Sydney Striders in February and have begun doing some of the interval sessions to get used to the intensity of the workouts – and I have found them intense! I’ll recalibrate my pacings on a more recent 10k time closer to May.
I realise this has been a long post, but I’d be keen to hear if anyone else had had any experience with the FIRST program. Or if there are some other programs you’ve found useful.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
My sister visited this blog this week and when she spoke to me on the phone a few days later, she said: “You’ve become a running nerd!” And you know what? I think she’s on the money. I was a little taken aback at first, but think about it. What other impression would a non-runner have of a blog like this or the hundreds of others like it?
I’ve learned to embrace being a running nerd this week. Why not take this simple test to see how you rate in the galloping geek stakes:
If you devour other people’s race reports, you might be a running nerd.
If you’re forever collecting training tips and comparing training plans, you might be a running nerd.
If you obsess over the latest running gadgets and gizmos, you might be a running nerd.
If you’ve read ‘Born to Run’ and tried barefoot running at least once in the last 12 months, you might be a running nerd.
If you feel like wearing sackcloth and covering yourself in ashes because you’ve sustained an injury that will keep you off the roads and trails for a few weeks, you might be a running nerd.
If when you hear the word ‘endorphin’ your eyes roll back, your tongue lolls out of your mouth and imitating Homer Simpson you say “Mmm… endorphins” before making a gurgling sound, you might be a running nerd.
If you love pouring over stats and data on Daily Mile, Buckeye Outdoors, Nike+, Runnerplus, RunKeeper and Garmin Connect and analysing the life out of it, you might be a running nerd.
If your iPod no longer has any music on it, but instead is loaded to capacity with back episodes of Run Run Live, RunDiggerRun, The Extra Mile, Running with the Reaper and A Mile with Me, you might be a running nerd.
If what will happen next with Phedippidations means more to you than what happens in the finale of the last season of ‘Lost’, you might be a running nerd.
If after a day or two inside without a run you start pacing up and down like a caged tiger and driving your family crazy with how on edge you are, you might be a running nerd.
If you have made it this far through this list and have either nodded in agreement or laughed at yourself even a little at some stage, then you are, most definitely my friend, a running nerd. Embrace the galloping geekiness.
Mmmm... Brussel Sprouts
Intervals are the Brussel Sprouts of run training. You know in your heart of hearts that they are good for you, however you just can’t bring yourself to even begin to like them.
I did my weekly intervals at lunch today. It was hot and humid and I had a particularly brutal set to do. I’m glad I don’t currently have a heart rate monitor, because I’m sure it would have spontaneously combusted today.
Here’s what the evil geniuses at the Furman FIRST program had for me this week:
10 min warmup jog
4 x 100m strides (inc one with 20m of knee raises and one with 20m of butt-kicks)
1200m (target pace 5:39, actual 5:59)
1000m (target pace 4:40, actual 4:55)
800m (target pace 3:42, actual 3:48)
600m (target pace 2:46, actual 2:49)
400m (target pace 1:49, actual 1:49)
200m (target pace 0:52, actual 0:56)
All with 200m slow jog rest intervals in between
10 min cool down jog
Having just typed out that list I can hear Marlon Brando’s whispering voice from ‘Apocalypse Now' in the back of my head: “The horror…. the horror…”
Here are the other stats for the week:
20 Mar: 21.6 km
21 Mar: 9.2 km
23 Mar: 6.2 km
25 Mar: 8 km (intervals)
Total for week: 45 km
Total for 2010: 347.9 km
I hope your training is going well.Happy Running!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This suits me to a tee, because I’m not really a gadget guy. I don’t feel compelled to have the latest gizmo all the time. When I do purchase something, it’s usually after a lot of careful deliberation and a determination that while it may not necessarily be essential, it may be helpful.
So, after I started running seriously a few years ago, it took me a little while before I started investing in better shoes, and shorts and t-shirts made from technical fabrics. Not essential, but helpful.
At the start of 2007, I was given a second generation, 2GB iPod Nano I would never have gone out and purchased one of these, but I’m glad I was given it., because after I loaded a bunch of my favourite songs on it and started to take it out running, I loved it.
2007 was the year that I also started ramping up my training to do my first half marathon. I started keeping a detailed running log using a basic excel spreadsheet template I downloaded for free from here, (I still use this log and have one for each of the last four years). I used my car to measure the distance for a number of different routes I was using, then used my watch to time myself over those distances. However, to keep my log accurate meant I could only run the routes I had measured out prior. I needed the freedom to vary my runs whilst maintaining an accurate record of them.
I started to read about GPS devices like the Garmin Forerunner but with their price tag, (up against a mortgage and two kids) I couldn’t justify the purchase and reconcile it on the ‘not essential, but helpful scale’.
Then along came the Nike+.
For a fraction of the price of a Garmin, I could purchase a foot-sensor and attachment for the Nano I already had. The Nike+ is essentially an accelerometer that, when calibrated correctly, estimates speed and distance over time. The foot-sensor is designed to go into a specially designed Nike shoe (which I wasn’t going to get!), so I purchased an all-weather pouch to mount it on the laces of my existing running shoes. The sensor communicates wirelessly to the Nano where the screen shows your speed, distance covered and average pace. The recorded details are then uploaded via iTunes to the Nike+ website where your runs are graphed and where you can participate in an online community to encourage and/or challenge other runners. There are also other non-Nike sites like Runner+ and Buckeye Outdoors which offer greater flexibility and freedom to interact with other runners who use the Nike+.
The Nike+ is relatively inexpensive (mine cost me around AUD$45). I generally like the online community, the encouragement and the challenges, the ability to keep a slightly more accurate record of my runs and the freedom to run wherever I want, but the downsides of the Nike+ are numerous.
While I’ve come close, I’ve never been able to achieve a really accurate calibration. Occasionally the calibration is lost completely, or alters slightly from run to run – on two recent track sessions, I measured a 100m difference in the lap length from one session to the next. Because it’s based on the Nano, it doesn’t work well in humid weather or in the rain. Sometimes when I go to pause the Nike+ on a long run the buttons stick and rather than pausing the run it ends it and I have to start it up from zero again. It’s no good for interval training as it doesn’t seem to keep pace with sprints and strides. The Nike+ website is slow and ponderous to navigate and doesn’t lend itself well to the sort of social networking that can be achieved on sites like runnerplus and Daily Mile. The battery in the sensor ran out within a year and I had to purchase a replacement. This second sensor’s battery has been going now for almost two years – go figure! It has been a love/hate relationship.
Nevertheless, it has served me fairly well to this point. But with my goal this year of running a marathon, and with working to a very detailed training plan that requires much more accuracy than can be provided by the Nike+, I think it’s time to move onwards and upwards and get a GPS-based device (and I reckon my 40th birthday might be a pretty good excuse for a rare indulgence in a new gadget).
Anyone else used the Nike+? How have you found it? What about other devices? What do you recommend?
Monday, March 22, 2010
Old Victorian home on 'The Hill'Old WW2 surveillance station on the headland near King Edward Park
Looking south from Nobby's Head to where I've run from
View of Newcastle's city centre from the harbour
A map of the route I took.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
On Wednesday I did the second of the intervals sessions that will be part of my marathon training program starting in May. I’m giving them a go now to get into the habit of interval training with the added benefit that it will also help with my training for the SMH Half Marathon in May as well. Here’s what was scheduled for this week.
1.5 km warmup
4 x 100m strides (accelerate to 90% for 80m then slow down last 20m)
4 x 800m (with a 2 min rest interval between each)
10 min cooldown
I was pretty close with the paces set for the 800s and so was pretty happy with how I did, but I had to really push myself. It was pretty hot, and despite re-hydrating carefully afterwards, I’ve had a dull headache ever since! Anyone got any ideas what that’s about?
So here are the stats for the week:
13 Mar: 13.9 km
15 Mar: 16.1 km
17 Mar: 5.9 kmkm
Total for week: 35.9 km
Total for 2010: 302.9 km
I also got to bask in the lovin’ of the Run Net Community this week, with some very generous shout outs for this blog from Ted at the You Don’t Have to Run Alone podcast and Carrie at the What the Runner Saw podcast. Thanks guys, I and both of the people who have read this blog to date appreciate it ;)
I also got a guernsey* on the Phedippidations podcast this week, (with Steve reading out a message I sent him last month which was quite possibly the only ‘nice’ email on the show). This was an episode that saw Steve seemingly abducted by aliens at the end. If you’re keen to hear what actually happened, check out Steve’s ‘Intervals’ video here.
Well, that was my training week. I’m heading off to visit some friends in Newcastle this weekend, which is also the venue for one of my favourite coastal runs between Merewether Beach and Nobby’s Head. I’m looking forward to that one for a bit of variety. I may even remember to take my camera along and share some of the scenery with you next week.
I’m hoping (time permitting) to write a post on my love/hate relationship with Nike+ for next Monday.
*In Australian usage, a guernsey may be the literal or figurative symbol of selection (e.g. a Football Guernsey indicating that you have been selected as a member of the team) Wikipedia
Monday, March 15, 2010
No list of running podcasts could not have at or near its top Steve Runner’s Phedippidations podcast. Steve, a middle of the pack runner from the US State of Massachusetts, has been producing what he refers to as his ‘goofy little podcast’ for five years now, and his background as an audio engineer is reflected in the quality of his production. But the thing I like about Steve’s podcasts are that he not only mixes well-researched and relevant information about running with big doses of humour, but that he also injects so much of himself into each episode – his struggles, fears, ambitions, successes and failures. Steve is by nature a fairly self-deprecating person, and this adds to the appeal of his podcast. Some of his more memorable episodes include recordings he has made whilst running the Boston Marathon each year. I often load up a back episode (from the more than 200 episodes now available) of Steve’s podcast to take out with me on a long run.
Other podcasts I’ve taken to listening to fairly regularly include Running from the Reaper – Nigel Runner’s podcast usually recorded whilst he runs through the Staffordshire countryside in the West Midlands region of England. Nigel has been podcasting for a few years now and also has a good backlog of episodes available as well.
Kevin’s The Extra Mile podcast is a fairly unique podcast in that it is made up from audio contributions from the podcast’s listeners who call in or email audio recording for inclusion in the show. Training updates, race reports, stories and training tips and traps from all corners of the globe are included in most episodes.
Running with the Pack is a little different, in that the show has two hosts, Stevie Rocco and Allan Gyorke and the subject matter also includes training for triathlons. Each episode is built on an informal chat between Allan and Stevie who discuss a range of pre-decided topics, but there’s plenty of scope for lots in interesting digressions. I love listening to Stevie’s laugh.
New running podcasts seem to be appearing all the time now, and a good way to find lots of new and interesting programs is by visiting http://www.runningpodcasts.org/.
Some podcasts that have only started in 2010 and which I now enjoy listening to include Peter Larson’s great Runblogger podcast, Ted Beveridge’s excellent You Don’t Have To Run Alone podcast, Carrie Richmond’s wonderful What the Runner Saw podcast and Kris Howard’s awesome Geek Girl Runner podcast - currently the only podcast I’m aware of from around my neck of the woods (Sydney, Australia).
I’m sure this is just the tip of the running podcast iceberg and that there are many more great shows for me to discover and take out on long runs to keep me company.
There are things about each podcast that are unique, and things that are universal. The uniqueness comes from the podcasters themselves. They come in all shapes and sizes, all have their own quirks and personality traits, and all bring a unique sense of place about the little part of the world in which they live and run. The universal aspects include their passion for running, their desire to share and learn and to make friends with their fellow runners all over the globe.
I really am very grateful for all the work so many people undertake to share a little of themselves and their passion for running. I am constantly encouraged, challenged, inspired by all that you do. Thank you.
For those of you who have yet to discover the diversity and depth of what is freely available online, let me encourage you to visit some of the websites I’ve linked to here, or visit runningpodcasts.org and grab a sample or two to listen to on your mp3 player. You won’t regret it.
Friday, March 12, 2010
The intervals session was taken from the marathon training program I’ve been developing based on the Furman FIRST method which requires fewer overall runs, but at a greater intensity, and with complimentary cross-training sessions. I wanted to have a go at the first of the recommended intervals sessions to get a feel for how long they might take. I actually did it during my lunch break at work at a nearby oval. I used my Nike+ (which for a change is currently calibrated quite accurately) to determine the distance around the perimeter of the field (approx 500m) and then used it to time and measure the distance of the required sets for the intervals. The whole session took just under an hour which gave me time to go back to my office and have a shower. The requirement for this session was:
10 min warmup
4 x 100m strides (accelerate to 90% for 80m then slow down last 20m)
3 x 1600m (with a 1 min rest interval between each)
10 min cooldown
I didn’t go out as hard as I could have/should have for the 1600m sets and the consistency of times I should be aiming for wasn’t there – I clocked 7:55, 8:03 and 7:49. But I think I’ve gotten a feel now for how these sessions might work, and now know that I can complete them during a one-hour lunch break during the day, which is really handy.
In the coming month, I’m going to post articles with more details on the Furman FIRST method and about my love/hate relationship with the Nike+ over the last three years.
While I only got to the gym once this week to do some upper body strength training, (not good enough!) I have decided to augment this by beginning the increasingly popular 100 Pushups program. I did the initial exhaustion test on Tuesday and based on what I was able to do, have commenced the program from week 3. I may see if there’s a widget I can put on this site to track this also.
So, my summary for the week is below. I hope your training is going well, or alternatively, that you’re feeling increasingly motivated to get off the couch and start enjoying the joys of running. Either way, Happy Running!
7 Mar: 14.7km
10 Mar: 8.6km
11 Mar: 9.6km
Total for week: 32.9km
Total for 2010: 267km
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
With my goal of completing a marathon in September 2010 in mind, I’ve decided to enter some additional races in the first half of the year on top of my usual calendar of the two big Sydney-based Half Marathons and the City to Surf. I’m hoping to use these to provide a focus for my training as I build up my base kilometres and as a benchmark for establishing my various training paces for when my marathon training program begins in May.
Firstly, I’ve joined the Sydney Striders Road Running Club. The ‘Striders’ hold a 10km race on the first Saturday of each month from February through November. I have run a couple of Striders’ 10km’s before on a casual basis, but I’ve forked out the money this year to become a member. I’m aiming to run at least six of the ten races to be held this year. I ran in February, but unfortunately missed March. The races are very well organised and take place at three different locations which they rotate through month by month. I’m looking forwarded to the races in April and May.
In addition, I’m looking at running in the annual Mothers’ Day Classic on May 9. This race will take place a week before the SMH half Marathon and three weeks before I begin my 16-week Marathon Training program.
The Mothers Day Classic includes an 8km run, a 4km run and a 4km walk and raises funds and awareness for breast cancer research. This is a cause close to my heart as I lost my mother to breast cancer 17 years ago. Kris Howard over at the geekgirlrunner blog and podcast has even set up a team for this year’s event.
Many marathon training programs recommend that you avoid racing during the work-up period before a marathon, so that you can focus solely on preparing for the one race. Through the course of my marathon training however, I’ve decided to race a couple of Striders’ 10kms as well as my fifth City to Surf in August. As I’ve posted previously, I’m not getting obsessive about this marathon – the aim is to complete it and complete it well regardless of the time I finish in.
Leave a comment and let us know what’s on your race schedule this year.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
For Christmas last year, one of my brothers-in law (who of all my relatives has the most uncanny knack of choosing just the right gifts for people) gave me a copy of Christopher McDougall’s book, “Born to Run”.
From the amazon.com review:
“Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.”
I immediately identified with the book’s author. McDougall is a big, heavy guy who had believed that he shouldn’t/couldn’t ever be a runner. His journey in the book and his scientific inquiries help him come to a completely new understanding of the origins of both why and how humans run and the simple pleasure that it can provide.
I want to offer a more in depth review of this book in time, but suffice to say I was gripped with the story and its message. It was just the sort of encouragement and motivation that I needed to get my running ‘mojo’ back.
Five years ago, I never in a million years would have thought I could run a half marathon. Now I’ve completed five. Last year, I would have said that I could never finish a marathon. Now I’m thinking, “Well… why not?”
Monday, March 8, 2010
Running was traditionally only something I did when I had to as a way to help me with another physical endeavour - to prepare for a rugby season when I was at school, or to cross train when I was rowing in my early twenties. I didn't enjoy it, I just endured it. I then spent the eight years between the ages of 22 and 30 doing little or no physical activity.
However, now one of my jobs requires that I maintain a certain level of fitness (which is assessed twice each year). I have to complete a timed 2.4km run and achieve a set standard for my age. And for a number of years after commencing that job I never felt the need, or the desire, to go much beyond that. The longest I would ever run was 5km and only then, usually on a treadmill and very rarely. Most of my physical activity from the age of 30 revolved around resistance training in the gym.
I didn’t run my first race until I was 35, in 2005. That year, I took part in my first City to Surf, a 14km road race in Sydney from Hyde Park to Bondi Beach held each August. I’d never run that far before in my life, and my longest training run in the lead up to the race was 8km.
It was such a buzz taking part in such a huge event, and I had so much fun on the day that the 12 weeks of training I’d put in seemed a small price to pay for the reward I got for taking part. I was hooked.
The following May, I began training for the 2006 City to Surf and improved on my time. Once again, I had a ball on the day. But I was ready for my next challenge.
Some mates at my church had started to run together on the weekends and I decided to join them as a way of keeping fit over the summer. Together, we all set ourselves the goal of completing the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon in May, 2007. I ran the Half and achieved what is still my best time for that distance (1hr 51min 44 secs).
I missed the City to Surf in 2007 because I was interstate for work, but we also took part together that September in the Sydney Running Festival Half Marathon as well as taking part in a couple of races in the Sydney Striders 10km series.
I spent the first half of 2008 overseas with work, with only intermittent run training during that time. I completed the 2008 Sydney Running Festival Half Marathon later in the year and then the SMH Half, the City to Surf and the Sydney Running Festival Half again in 2009.
While in 2009 I achieved a PB (or ‘PR’ as they say in the US) again for the City to Surf (1hr 12min 38sec), I didn’t fare well in the two Half Marathons, coming in several minutes below my PB in both. My training was becoming more sporadic and less focussed. I lacked a goal, and the motivation to pursue it even if I had one. What could I do?
Friday, March 5, 2010
The upside is that the weather is starting to cool down a little, (after a very hot, wet and very humid summer here in Sydney) and the running conditions are really good. The challenge is to organise my time to take advantage of it!
Finding the time in our busy lives to run is something I'm sure all runners find difficult to varying degrees. In my case things are compounded by long commuting times to my primary job, finding enough good time to spend with my wife and two children (my main organisational priority!) and meeting the other extra-curricular responsibilites I have.
This will make committing to a strict marathon training program difficult, but not impossible if I go about it in the right way.
Feb 27: 15.6km
Mar 2: 6.2km
Total for week: 21.8km
Total for 2010: 234.1km
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Jan 2: 12.5km
Jan 6: 9.7km
Total for week: 22.2km
Total for 2010: 22.1km
Jan 9: 12km
Jan 11: 5km
Jan 12: 6.8km
Jan 14: 8km
Total for week: 31.8km
Total for 2010: 53.9km
Jan 16: 15km
Jan 18: 5km
Jan 19: 7.8km
Jan 21: 8km
Total for week: 35.8km
Total for 2010: 89.7km
Jan 25: 5km
Jan 26: 15km
Jan 28: 7.4km
Total for week: 27.4km
Total for 2010: 117.1km
Jan 30: 17km
Feb 1: 5km
Total for week: 22km
Total for 2010: 139.1km
Feb 6: 10km (Sydney Striders 10km – Homebush)
Feb 8: 8.4km
Total for week: 18.4km
Total for 2010: 157.5km
Feb 12: 6.7km
Feb 13: 14.2km
Feb 15: 6.1km
Feb 18: 9km
Total for week: 36km
Total for 2010: 193.5km
Feb 20: 12.2km
Feb 22: 6.6km
Total for week: 18.8km
Total for 2010: 212.3km
First held in the early 13th century, it was originally run on the first Sunday of the season of Lent each year. Competitors ran a course taking them around the walls and though the narrow streets of the old town finishing in the piazza di Sant'Anastasia where a banner near a column would read ‘Corso la meta’ (essentially meaning, ‘you have reached the end’).
Today, a series of races including a 5km, 10km, half marathon and full marathon is still held annually in Verona each February.
I chose the name ‘Corso la meta’ because it suits my aim for my first marathon – ‘to reach the end’. I have no lofty ambitions of achieving a ‘BQ’ (Boston Marathon qualifying time) or even breaking the mystical four hour finishing time. My aim is simply to finish, and to finish well. It won’t just be the end of a race on the day, but the end of a journey of several months leading up to the race. Who knows, it may be the first of many such journeys.
So, that’s the story behind the title of this blog. It’s not the sort of title that will ensure maximal ‘search engine optimisation’ or draw aficionados of running blogs here in droves – but that’s not the point. I chose it because it resonated with me and what I’m hoping to achieve this year. I’m hoping that the process of updating this blog regularly will help me to keep active, accountable and motivated. If, dear reader, you are able to come here and read something about my humble efforts that might inspire you to perhaps to lace up your shoes and hit the road running – then it will have succeeded beyond my expectations. I'd also be happy to receive any encouragement or advice you might be gracious enough to impart.
You can read more about the original corsa del drappo verde here.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Let me state from the start, that I am not a great runner. I’m six foot two inches tall; I weigh about 95kg and consider myself to be a middle of the pack ‘Clydesdale’. But I do love running.
This blog is my way of tracking and recording my progress towards my goal of completing the Sydney Marathon. I will post training updates, race reports, articles and reviews about distance running as well as my thoughts and observations along the way.
When I’ve told people about my decision to run a marathon, I’ve generally been greeted with three distinct responses.
The most positive responses generally come from fellow runners. These people tend to ‘get it’ and like the idea of a challenge, the effort that comes with training for a big race over a number of months, the excitement that comes with taking part on the big day and the satisfaction of doing your best no matter what the final result or finishing time.
The negative responses generally come from people who aren’t runners, (not surprisingly). These people tend to associate running with pain and /or unnecessary effort. They may be sedentary, or they may be active but just don’t like running. In nearly all cases they’ve never actually tried running for themselves. For these people when I say, “I’ve decided to run a marathon”, I may as well be saying “I’ve decided to spend four hours scaping my fingernails down a blackboard”.
However, there is a third type of response. I don’t hear it too often, but it’s a response worth mentioning here. The third group of people are the ones who respond by saying: “Wow, I’d love to do something like that one day”, or “Gee, I’d like to run or get fit, but I just don’t seem to have the time or the motivation”.
I have no delusions about the number of people who will read this blog, but I hope that it will at least provide a source of encouragement for a person or two in this third group – those who aspire to running or simply getting off what running ‘podfather’ Steve Runner calls the *couch of doom*. As I said, I’m not a great runner, my aim here would be to have people look at me huffing and puffing to the end of a marathon and think, “Well, if a big old doofus like him can do it, then maybe I can as well”.
Please continue to drop by, or sign up to receive the RSS feed from this blog.