Hi! My name is Ken. I'm going to periodically write about running, writing, and a number of other topics. Please feel free to read my posts and provide your comments. If you have a question about any topic, leave a message and I'll try to help you get the information you're looking for. Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Flooding, Oh My!

The last 10 or so days has brought some of nature's fury to Eastern United States. Just last week, an earthquake in Virginia rocked states up to New England. Then Hurricane Irene brought with it 60-70 miles per hour wind gusts along with over ten inches of rain around Connecticut and surrounding states on its way north, causing significant power outages, property damage and some loss of life this past weekend.

Needless to say, I had to alter by  running plans for the weekend, since I usually do at least a 7 mile run on a nearby rail trail. Instead of this workout, I cross trained over the weekend by preparing for the storm by stocking up on supplies, moving outside furniture, and securing property so as to prevent it from blowing away or smashing my windows. It involved much more lifting than running although I did run back and forth in the yard doing some of this work for over an hour.

At about 7:00 am Sunday morning, my neighborhood lost all power, telephone and cable. Now I'm not your typical couch potato, but it's not much fun without these services, especially when you go to take a shower. Let's just say that this type of shower experience is like jumping into the freezing ocean in the winter. Finally around 4:00 pm today, we got our power and utilities back. Yeah! I was beginning to smell a little ripe.

I'm going to add a few pictures to this post in a few days so stay tuned. One of the pictures is a large tree branch that landed on a storage shed in my backyard.

I hope all is well with everyone. Drop me a message if you want to share some Hurricane Irene stories.



Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Need For Speed

Now let's be honest. Who hasn't said at least once recently "I'd like to see if I can get faster". I have read a number of books and articles about this topic and things can get a little confusing. Should I go to the track and do 400's or 200's? Perhaps I need to increase my cadence when I run aka my number of strides per minute. There's an article by former U.S. Olympian marathoner, Ed Eyestone about doing just that in the September 2011 edition of Runner's World. Some say do hill workouts for a period of time because they're like "intervals in disguise". I do pickups on some of my 5 mile loops because it allows me to do some faster running without going to the track. I typically do a 1-3-5-3-1-2-2 Fartlek circuit, where I warm up with about 4-5 minutes of easy running and then 1 minute fast followed by 1 minute easy. I repeat this process but increase the fast time to 3 and 5 minutes before backing down the fast times 3, 1, 2, and 2. This fits in perfectly with my 5 mile courses.  In Hal Higdon's Book entitled "RUNFAST", he talks about doing flexibility drills to improve speed like 1) high knees and 2) fast feet to improve. High knees requires you to run in place, gradually moving forward while lifting your kness high and landing on the balls of your feet. Fast feet requires a similar motion as high knees except you try to move your feet very fast without the high knee lift.

If you have been looking for ideas how to get faster, try using one or more of these techniques. Let me know what works or doesn't work for you. Just remember that speed training will tire you out so work in easier runs or rest periods after doing these sessions.

Good luck!