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.

Friday, October 31, 2014

What Does "RACE READY" Really Mean?

I've been running for about 30 years now. I've heard and used the term "race ready"  for a while. My definition is simple. I need to have some distance( 8  to 10 milers), run a sufficient number of runs at a pace near race pace, and stay healthy. Being an engineer by profession, I have a tendency to over analyze things. It's probably because of all the math and science classes I had to take in college. Anyway, I just went back over my running logs recently and noted that I have only run 6 (three 5Ks) races in the last three and a half years. That includes 3 Manchester road races (4.75 miles) too, where it's hard to run your best with 10,000 or so runners. The Manchester seeding cards help, but there are just too many people that jump in on Main Street or climb over the barriers at the starting line. That's a very small number of races to truly become "race ready" in my book.

I noted two other things with my running lately. One, I seem to have lost 30 seconds per mile in the last 3 or so years racing. Also, I haven't been training at my expected race pace too often. Hence my limited races times haven't been good.  So where do I go from here. During this period, I've done some weekly speedwork on the trails, but I just don't think that the pace is quick enough. I could go to the track, but I've been lazy about it. Also, I switched my running shoes about  three years ago from Nike to Merrell (minimalist shoes). I don't get the bounce from the Merrell shoes so I wonder if this could be a factor.
I'm going to try switching back to Nike for a while to see if there is any difference. I'll keep you posted as to my progress. I know I'm getting older, but I haven't given up trying to run faster. I plan on running another 5K race in a week or so. Will I be "race ready"? I hope so. 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Road Versus Trail Running

I've always run on trails and roads each week. But I predominantly ran on roads for many years. I made a point to hit the trails every weekend at least once to get a trail run in.

Since leaving my job, I've had more time to run over the past year or so. Now the tide has turned. I mostly run on rail trails near my house. This brings up an interesting dilemma. What's the right balance between both surfaces?
Trails provide a much softer surface and therefore are kinder to your body. However, technical trails, with stones, roots and all types of things to trip on, can put a runner at risk, especially if that person has any historical injuries. Rail trails are typically much more manicured and have far less trip hazards.
Road running, on asphalt, provides a nice flat surface with little to trip on, aside from curbs and garbage people toss out their windows onto the streets.  But running on a hard surface beats the body up and can lead to stress fractures and other injuries because it is so rigid.
Most races are on roads. My opinion is that to race well you need to train on roads at least part of the time. What is the right percentage of road/trail to run on each week to stay healthy, in shape and injury free?

What's your opinion? Feel free to elaborate on your reasoning, whether it's from experience or just how you feel.

Thanks for sharing.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Florida Time

In May, we went on vacation to Fort Myers Beach, Florida. It was another great time and the weather was sunny the whole ten days we were there.

As usual, I tried to get in a run every other day. I ended up running just four days though, for a total of 27 miles. Last year, I developed a blister on my right big toe from running in the sand so I ran the majority of the time along Estero Boulevard. I made sure to start running before 8:00 am to avoid the hotter, more humid weather.

Take a look at a few of the pictures I took while we were down there.