If you were paying more attention during science class than I was, you know the air we breathe contains more than just oxygen. There are all sorts of gases in our air—some necessary for life and others that are deadly in certain doses.
As runners, we tend to pay far more attention to the inner workings of our body than the outside. We run through the Texas summer heat and oppressive sun and assume if our legs and lungs are OK, we must be fine. Maybe, maybe not. Many of us suffer in silence as our skin takes a beating. There is simply no doubt about it, if you are running in the summer, your skin will feel the effects of one or all of the following: sunburn, chafing, wind burn, sweat-induced acne) or just plain, post-run itchiness caused by dry skin.
It isn't exactly a newsflash that we runners are an awfully disciplined, highly motivated group of achievement-oriented, dedicated people. Maybe too dedicated. At least some time we are. To run a marathon or even a half marathon, obviously takes a lot of dedication to put in all the training miles. But many of us tend to do too much and run too many miles, hills, long runs and speed work. If you do, you certainly can get in great shape, but once you go overboard, all the work you put in can develop into overtraining and it’s just as serious a problem for marathoners as training too little. Maybe even more so.
There's absolutely no question that running is a difficult sport. Certainly, it's extremely rewarding, but any long-term training program is a major undertaking requiring a significant commitment. Take a look at what training is. Basically, it's hard, physical work which essentially boils down to adding specific stresses to your mind and body over a certain period of time.
One of the most difficult training concepts to accept is also the very simplest: Rest. That’s right, total rest. Not active rest or cross-training, but complete rest. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a runner, swimmer, cyclist, weight lifter or bowler (OK, maybe not a bowler), but your most important training day should have a big goose egg next to it. A zero. Zilch. Nyet. Nada. Nothing.
I consider myself a very lucky guy. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to run with some of the world’s greatest runners from Olympic gold medalist icons like Herb Elliott and Rosa Mota to American heroes such as Bill Rodgers, Meb Keflezighi, Steve Scott and Alberto Salazar. I’ve learned something from every one of them. But there’s one great runner who I ran with many years ago who has always stood out for me. That man is Rob de Castella.
Do you often feel on a morning run that every step feels like you’re running in cement shoes? Or, on a lunch time run with co-workers, does it feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders as you plod along ever so slowly? But after work, you often feel like you’re flying during a workout. What’s up with that?
When you make the decision that you want to run a marathon, you’ll quickly discover all sorts of elaborate training plans and schedules designed to get you to the finish line. Almost all of them require you to run at least four or five days per week with perhaps a day or two of cross-training thrown in.
Fatigue is something all runners face. Especially those of us diligently training for fall or winter marathon. The long runs begin to pile up and do enough of them hard enough (without adequate rest) can result in a general feeling of simply being tired. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. It’s quite common, but you can also do something about it by following a few handy tips.
One of the Golden Rules of marathoning is also one of the simplest: Don’t try to do anything on race day which you haven't done in training. The marathon is not the time for experimentation with new shoes, strategy, clothes or nutritional supplements. Doing so, might work out but chances are that experimenting with something [...]
Performance-enhancing drugs have been in the news for the past couple of decades as various athletes—including plenty of world-class runners—have attempted all sorts of means to boost performance. Some have been legal; some are not. (See Barry Bonds, Ben Johnson, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco, Lance Armstrong, Nellie Cruz, ad nauseum).
Any experienced marathoner will tell you that the No. 1 rule for beginning marathoners is simple: Don’t try to do anything new on race day or the day before the marathon. The marathon is not the time for experimentation with new shoes, strategy, clothes or nutritional supplements. Doing so, might work out, but chances are [...]
As a runner, you have probably had the same experience I have had many times: A non-runner asks you how to run. How do we do it? Or, what is the best way to run? But there is no best way. Running is a natural activity that doesn’t necessarily need to be taught. One of [...]
There’s just no way of getting around the fact that the most important element of any marathon or even half marathon training program is the long run. It is absolutely essential that every aspiring marathoner consistently logs numerous long runs during the three or four month marathon buildup period. It’s quite simple: Do the long [...]
Nobody can tell you precisely how many miles per week you need to run to successfully complete your first marathon or half marathon. Every runner is different as are the individual goals and levels of ability. But one of the most important questions any runner—regardless of experience—must answer when training for the marathon is how [...]