So I realize not everyone is going to agree 100% with this blog, which is fine because we are not all unique individuals and different training techniques work for different people and everyone has their own philosophy but this is what works for me. (continue reading…)
One of the reasons why I recently decided to take the next step in my career is to essentially have advisers, how I feel in my training, and prayer shape my program on a daily basis. I am compelled to live a life that requires more faith on a day-to-day basis. I fully realize that not everyone is supposed to journey down this path (I fully support Sara, who needs the guidance of her coach) but it is the road that I want to travel. I long to have the same faith of others who have put themselves in a position that makes faith an absolute daily necessity. I don’t believe you have to be physically starving to have great faith, but I would suggest that the hungry are more often than not a little more desperate for God than those who are not.
Running has always been deeply spiritual for me. My desire is to have my training be more biblically designed, which has some very tangible applications and some not-so-tangible applications. Some of the more tangible applications come from verses like: Proverbs 24:6, “For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory” and Exodus 34:21, “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.” Obviously, there are no training plans in the Bible, so designing a program is a combination of my knowledge of training that I have developed over the past 14 years of competitive running, advice from others, but mainly through getting on my knees every morning and asking God what I should do. In the past I have found it very difficult for me to make deviations from my training plan once I have one written, so now I don’t have a plan in ink, making it easier for me to hear and obey God. With that said, God has a plan and sometimes He shows me one day, sometimes, a week, and sometimes the type of running I need to be doing in my current season.
I’ll be the first to admit that just because I ask God to show me how far and how intense I should run everyday doesn’t mean that my training will be perfect. Hearing from God is not always easy. But I know, that I know, that I know, that as I seek the presence of God He wants to speak to me. I believe He has been speaking to me about my running ever since He gave me the vision to go on my first run back in 1997 when I was 14 years old. The only difference now is that I am a lot more desperate to hear Him and open to letting Him direct my workouts.
Even though I know things may get messy at times, and I may not always hear God perfectly, I trust that God will scream if He has too, which gives me the confidence to approach everyday of training knowing that I am doing what God is telling me to do and trusting that He knows what is best for me.
I believe we are all dynamic individuals and thus change is an inevitable part of life. Recently, I prayerfully decided that it was time for me to make a change in my running career and withdrawal from the Mammoth Track Club. Sara and I are extremely grateful for all that our coach, teammates, and town have invested in us over the past five years, but it is time to take the next step. This decision was not based solely on problems in my buildup to Chicago, but based on many factors, many of which I felt prior to Chicago and some of which I will explain. I am making this pivotal decision with full faith that it will allow me to take my running performances to the next level. (continue reading…)
Race week is finally here as I begin to rest for the ING Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon this coming Sunday. I have been living the dream for the past couple of months. Camped up in the mountains at 8,000 feet, putting in week after week of hard training in preparation for both this coming half marathon and the Chicago Marathon to be run in a month’’ time. Now it’s time to begin to rest and allow my body to absorb all the hard running. (continue reading…)
When I was a senior at Stanford I received the “Mental Toughness Award” at our annual Track & Field banquet. While I was honored to receive any award, as I had sat through the previous three years without ever being recognized, I was questioning why I might be deserving of the “Mental Toughness Award.” (continue reading…)
I can’t believe its already August! Last week I finally returned home to Mammoth Lakes, which coincided nicely with my return to “true” marathon training. I write “true” because I have learned to embrace all the different elements of marathon training, including the month break after the race and the two months of 5K/10K training. However, I always get excited when it becomes time to put in those long, hard runs that characterize what preparing for a marathon takes. (continue reading…)
This past week Sara and I returned to the mountains to begin what will be three months of pre-Chicago Marathon altitude training. I feel the benefits of altitude training are undeniable. While there are elite runners who run very fast without training at altitude, my experience on the track and road circuit is that a majority of the top runners in the world either train full-time at altitude or at least use it in cycles throughout the year. I know from my own experience that on the first couple of runs down from a training stint at altitude I feel like I have a “third lung.” I encourage everyone to give it a try at some point, but there are some things to be aware of when utilizing altitude training. (continue reading…)
There is something beautiful about anticipation. The longer I wait to achieve a goal, get something, or go somewhere the more excited I get and the sweeter it is when I get there. Knowing this, I am learning to see struggles as part of that journey that heighten my anticipation. (continue reading…)
I have probably turned three shades darker after spending the last week in the warm San Diego sun after a brutal, never-ending, Mammoth-sized winter (Mammoth actually got another fresh six inches of snow last week while we were in San Diego and now there is talk of the ski resort staying open year-round). My body feels like it is beginning to adjust or perhaps I am just getting better at managing the warmer temperatures than I have been in the past. Here are a few of my keys to warm weather running.
The first and most important aspect of enjoying hot runs is hydration. Sure, hydration is obvious, but I have certainly grown to better understand how hydration can help my summer training. I recommend always starting off the day with 20 ounces of water first thing in the morning before eating. This was huge for me. After a night of rest the body might not feel like water but it is somewhat dehydrated and is needing to get a head start on the days hydration. As with most things the best way to deal with dehydration is prevention, and water first thing in the morning is the first step towards accomplishing this goal.
I also have a bottle alongside me to sip on after breakfast before I get in my morning training session, then I make sure to be taking in an electrolyte beverage (Cytomax) every 15 minutes or sooner (4-8 oz) on my long runs and workouts. Then the rehydration process starts again immediately after my runs, sipping on another 20 ounces of water.
In previous summers I have noticed that my stomach is usually much more sensitive on warmer days, which is likely the result of undigested food from a lack of water to help speed the digestive process. Staying on top of drinking 8 oz of water in the hour before and after a meal or snack goes a long way in helping to speed my digestion. I used to think that many foods didn’t sit well on my running stomach but now I am learning that I can enjoy these foods as long as my hydration is on target.
Beyond hydration, my other breakthroughs with warm weather running are mostly a result of the amazing equipment that is available today. For example, growing up I used to never wear sunglasses so I have many memories of long days at the beach and the “sun-aches” (as I like to call them) that followed. Now that I make sure to always have my Oakleys when outside I find that my face is much more relaxed and the number of “sun-aches” I suffer is basically nonexistent.
Wearing the right light weight breathable apparel is also huge in not overheating. If you are looking for some summer-wear I strongly recommend some of the nice light weight Asics tank-tops. I would also suggest if you have just gone for a hard run in the heat, hopping in an ice bath to get the core temperature back down. I usually dread the post-run ice bath but in the summer months I welcome them. I hope these tips help you as much as they have me. Enjoy the summer!
I must say it was very inspiring to watch the recent performance of Chris Solinsky breaking the American Record in the 10,000 meters this past weekend. It certainly had me fighting off the urge to lace up the running shoes and head out the door a few days prematurely of my two weeks of break from running and all physical activity, but I resisted. Unlike two years ago when after running 2:06 in London I got so amped watching the US Women’s Olympic Marathon trials and Boston Marathon that I cut my break a week short. I learned from that experience that if I cut my break short I may come back in better shape but I will be flat as a pancake come race day, as I was in Beijing in the Olympic Marathon.
Usually my break goes by dreadfully slow, but I have found that I have really enjoyed this time off. I haven’t enjoyed it in the sense that I don’t miss running but I have enjoyed it in the sense that I know it is part of the season of my overall development as a marathoner and a person. It took me years to get to the point to where I could see the benefits of rest. Going backwards in fitness after spending the last six months training my body feels all wrong unless I have the big picture in mind.
I have learned that the body craves this time of rest. As athletes we often don’t like to satisfy this craving, but when it forces us to take time off because of injury or sickness often times these are when our all time best performances happen. I have heard many elite distance runners share such stories and have personally experienced how much pop (sprint speed) my legs have after taking a break.
What I have done a better job of doing during this break is still continuing to take care of my body. I have continued to sleep well, eat well, and get massage compared to my former breaks when I would always get sick because I was eating tons of junk and not sleeping enough and when I would come back my legs would be a mess because I did nothing to work out the kinks from the marathon. I have come to the point in my life when I realized I am not missing anything but headaches, sickness, and feeling terrible eating junk during my let loose weeks off.