One of the best things about running is you don’t need much. Some shoes. Some clothes you don’t mind getting sweaty. And a little time to go out and suffer. That’s pretty much it.
I don’t run with headphones or music or anything too fancy, so maybe I’m not the best person to write up a gift guide full of stuff, but…if you want to get the runner in your life something that goes beyond boring socks (actually, socks are always welcome for runners), here are a few unique and useful ideas for any of your friends that are constantly talking about training or their next race.
Of course, you could always get them a nice, soft unique new running t-shirt 🙂
After the triathlon season ended, I wanted one more goal to help motivate me for the fall road running season. I decided to try to pick off my longest standing running PR, the 10k. It’s been stuck at 41:16 since 2014 and now that I’m over 40 and a masters runner, it didn’t seem like that goal was going to get any easier in the future.
Unlike the marathon, where a lot of the training is just being on your feet and running with fatigue, or the 5k where it’s about holding that speed as long as possible, the 10k requires a mix of easy, hard, fast, and slow runs. This variety can be great to shake up a training routine that is stuck in a rut.
Sometimes you see yourself in your kids in the oddest ways. September brings school, soccer, hurricane season and, of course, the first school-borne viruses and colds. We woke up (early) Thursday morning to that dreaded barking seal cough echoing down the hallway. Even with the immunity armor of five years of day care, Ally still picked up a bug in her first few weeks of kindergarten. I suppose I should be relived it wasn’t measles or scarlet fever.
There’s a clear dichotomy in our family in how we respond to illnesses. Michelle flat out refuses to acknowledge she is sick. She has to collapse at 2 a.m. in the bathroom or be admitted to the ER before she might consider taking an aspirin. Being sick just doesn’t fit into her plans. Cecilia is much the same. Even if you witness her sneezing, she will adamantly refuse to admit she actually did. She’s only missed 3 days of school total so far.
I, on the other hand, treat any sniffle or throat tickle like a pending doomsday scenario. I start guzzling herbal tea and green smoothies by the quart as if I can drown the germs in hippie goodness and save myself. I’ll wrap myself in warm baths and comfy sweatpants. I’ll seriously consider going to bed by 4:30 if it will help me get better faster.
Allison takes after her Dad. She believes any dose of medicine is all the passkey to endless hours on the couch binging on Netflix, Saltines and popsicles. Who am I to disagree?
It’s easy to get lost in all the fitness data you can collect now during your workouts. Does anyone really need to know their power output when running? So far, I’m convinced most of it is just noise. Maybe interesting noise, but not really all that helpful in helping you get more fit or get more competitive.
Of course it’s not all junk data. Some of the data is helpful to track. I like to use two particular fitness tests, one for cycling and one for running, and tracking the resulting data from those tests really helps me judge my current fitness, any improvements, and just what I can expect in any upcoming races.
Left, right, left, right.
This could be a very short post. Actually going out for a run isn’t difficult, but really getting into running, making it a lifestyle habit can take a commitment and if you’ve never done it or it’s been a long time, it can be intimidating.
I joined a running group in the past year and it has a list of nearly 100 members, but only 20-25 regularly show up for the weekly runs. Why? A lot of people find ripping the band-aid off to get started overwhelming. Here are 5 steps to get started in running. It’s worth the effort. Running is one of the most beneficial exercises for both mind and body.
Just drink plenty of water and you’ll be fine. Right? Not exactly. Anyone that has run in the heat and ran face first into “the wall” can tell you that sometimes figuring out what enough means can be complicated. With summer training comes the heat and humidity, two of Mother Natures tougher foes for endurance athletes.
If you don’t have access to a coach or a lab, how do you figure out how best to hydrate so you don’t end up crawling along the sidewalk?
There are a couple simple rules of thumb that should keep you safe and running.
Here’s what I’m learning as a master’s athlete (i.e., an old man), there isn’t a lot of room for error. All those things coaches have been telling you for years (nutrition, strength training, stretching, rolling, recovery), if you don’t do them now, or try to skimp, like you did in your 20s or 30s, you will get injured or see impacts to your performance.
So far, the biggest impact to maintaining speed and fitness as I age has been to increase the focus and consistency of my strength training. I think I’ve finally hit on a formula that doesn’t make me dread going to the gym to lift.
The second biggest impact has been a return to the track and consistent speed work. It doesn’t have to be the gut-busting, lung burning intervals of high school or college. I’m learning that consistency over intensity is also a key to success as a master’s athlete.