11 Essential Things to do Before a Long Run

(pic by Martineric from here)

Despite a tear in my medial meniscus, I hope to run the New York City Marathon on November 7, 2010. The long runs are the most grueling part of marathon training. There are NO crowds to cheer you, there is no one handing out water and no friends to pat you on the back. Its just you and the demons, on a long road. And it is you alone, my friend, who will have to slay the demons.

Having a checklist helps you get psyched for the long run and reduces the stress that you may have forgotten something important. It also works like a trial run for the Marathon. So prepare a list and tweak till you get it right; then it becomes your Marathon prep checklist. Continue reading “11 Essential Things to do Before a Long Run”

Tutorial: How to do Interval Training on a Treadmill

pics of Julie Schlenkerman doing intervals on a treadmill by Arun Shanbhag

In Interval Training, you combine a short, 1 minute burst of high intensity exercise followed by a 4 minute recovery period of low to moderate intensity. You string together these 5 minute cycles, or intervals, and end up with a very intense exercise regimen with amazing consequences. Also called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), a 30 min interval training is the quickest way to lose weight, get physically fit and enhance your running speed.

Benefits of Interval Training: Continue reading “Tutorial: How to do Interval Training on a Treadmill”

Marine Corps Marathon 2008: The Long Slog!

Marine Corps Marathon 2008
time: 4:33:10
My Slowest Marathon!


Its been two weeks and now I can write about my slowest marathon.

The Course and the Run:
I loved the first ten miles of this course. Leaving the Pentagon, the course works its way through the narrow streets of Arlington, VA. The mass of runners then worms their way over the George Washington Parkway and through the forests of Georgetown. It was a nice incline and the heavy breathing of runners filled the cool air. As we worked uphill, sunlight filtered through fall trees and only a few feet ahead, runners disappeared in fog mingling with mist from their breath. It was a beautiful slog. Then we raced down to the center of Georgetown to a large and raucous crowd. At that point, it was only mile Ten, and I was ahead of my expected 4:00 h pace!
Continue reading “Marine Corps Marathon 2008: The Long Slog!”

BAA Boston Half Marathon 2008

BAA boston half marathon medal Brooks Adrenaline Shoes

Boston Half Marathon 2008
time: 1:53:09
pace: 8:38/mile

Enjoyed a nice run on a spectacular Fall Sunday here in Boston! The air was crisp and sunlight poked through leaves in all hues of red and yellow! On this blessedly beautiful morning, everyone ended a winner!

I ran like on a careless stroll and did not check my watch till the race was over! Then, I wished I had run a bit faster! This half marathon was part of the taper before the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon (Washington DC) next Sunday (26th). This was not the time for heroics and my legs needed to rest after the 20-miler I did the previous week.

Big Foot Stories:
Continue reading “BAA Boston Half Marathon 2008”

Not Running the Boston Marathon

Yes!

As the runners are all laced up and waiting for the gun to go off, I am at home recovering! Aarrrrghhh!

After my 18 mile run about 5 weeks ago, I came down with a bad case of the flu. Instead of resting, I pressed on with the training (tough guy!). It got worse, and I ended up with bronchitis/asthma! Missed the 21 miler and all the running since then. With medications and two types of inhalers, I could do TWO MILES! Been resting and trying to get my lungs back to capacity.

It was extremely frustrating to fall ill at this late stage of the training. Very depressing and I couldn’t write about till now. C’est la vie!

My friends remind me: There will be other marathons! If I can start running this week, and it looks likely that I can, then I plan on running Boston’s Run to Remember at the end of May. I think deep down, my marathon training is ‘saved in draft form.’

And for the Fall, I have signed up for the New York City Marathon (Nov 2) lottery. Did not get in the last two years, so perhaps this third try is a charm! As a backup I am signing up for the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC (Oct 26).

Still too depressing to actually go to the course! I will imagine its in a different city and just track my friends on the computer!

Monster March Training Schedule

For runners training for the Boston Marathon (April 21, 2008), March is the feared Monster March. While we start training in January and slowly ramp the mileage in frigid February, it is March when every weekend entails a 14+ mile run; on cold snowy Saturdays! Brrrrrrr!

The long runs planned for each weekend in March start at about 16 miles and end with the longest training run of 21 miles on March 29th – three weeks before the Marathon. After this, we reduce mileage during the three-week ‘taper’ and run 26.2 on Marathon day. So in April, you only have one 26.2 mile run. But in March, every weekend is a 14 – 21 mile run. And that does not include the mid-week lower mileage runs!

Thus surviving March is key for a successful marathon! If you get through March, without getting injured, sick or the equally dreadful – over-training injury, the actual Marathon can be very enjoyable, though exhausting!

Despite my ankle injury in January, I have nearly caught up with the mileage in my training program. But I find myself running at a woefully slow pace: about 1 minute slower! 😦 And March finds me tired all the time. The long runs (with associated stretching, prep, driving to the course, etc) take up entire Saturdays. Sundays is for rest and catching up on sleep. I need an extra hour of sleep each day – to just recover from the trauma of running! You could catch me dozing off on the T and even at work. And socializing has shrunk to zero. I need my rest!

And the amounts of food I have been putting away is quite disgusting! In prep for the Saturday long run, I order a take-out pasta dish meant for two, and gorge on it myself. I actually get tired of eating, and will take a little break from dinner, do some cleaning and then come back to finish dinner. Yeah, gross!

Here’s my weekly training schedule. Notice emphasis on Stretching:

  • Monday: Stretch (~15 minutes); 45 min intense spinning;
  • Tuesday: Stretch; 4-miles fast on Treadmill; stretch;
  • Wednesday: Stretch; strength training (upper and lower body); stretch;
  • Thursday: Stretch; 4-miles fast on Treadmill; stretch;
  • Friday: Stretch; light strength training; gluttony!
  • Saturday: Stretch; long run; stretch; nap; ice knees and ankles; early to bed!
  • Sunday: Stretch; 90 min Iyengar Yoga; Eat well and rest at home!

Surprisingly, recovering from the long runs has been very quick; must be the banana I force myself to eat immediately after the run, along with a bottle of water.

If you need more tips, don’t hesitate to holler! 🙂

Tips for Running on Snow and Ice

My training for the Boston Marathon is in a funk. No sooner had I signed up, I hurt my ankle. Nothing broken, but sidelined for a couple weeks. “Not running” is tough during marathon training. Give me bone chilling, snot freezing, long runs any day, but please don’t let me nurse an ankle when its Marathon season, the skies are blue and the air is crisp!

If you are training for the Boston Marathon, you need to start training in the dark winter days, when the ground is still frozen and covered with snow or ice. You could squeeze a couple short, mid-week runs on the treadmill, but you need to do the longer weekend runs outdoors – even if there is snow and ice on the ground.

Here are a few pointers (and forms) for running on various snow and ice conditions. These are based on my personal experience of innumerable winter runs; btw, I have had my fair share of slips and fall in the snow, including a nasty head injury and a cracked rib, four weeks before last year’s marathon.

Important: If there is any amount of snow or ice on the roads or trails – RUN SLOW! Speed work can stay for another day. For the long run, just plan on clocking the miles, and making it back without getting hurt! This is not the time for heroics, just go for the distance (not time)!

More than Four Inches of Snow
Try your luck on roads if they are clear. Remember, the plows only clear a narrower lane for vehicles and there may not be enough shoulder for you to run safely on. And if the snow is piled high on the sides, you may not have a safe place to escape if you see a truck barreling close.

Instead, put off running and instead go for a long walk. Or wait to see if the weather will clear by the next day. There is always tomorrow.
Continue reading “Tips for Running on Snow and Ice”

Boston Half Marathon 2007


Boston Half Marathon 2007
time: 1:49:31
pace: 8:22/mile (5.11/km)

Was a minute 56 secs slower than my Feb Half Marathon in Hyannis. 😦 And my pace was off by 9 seconds!

In Feb for Hyannis, I was in training for the Boston Marathon and at the top of my training. This half marathon was to be a practise run for the New York City Marathon in Nov. But I did not get into the NYC lottery, making it difficult to get motivated. And I suffered from heel pain all summer (now you know why I wrote all those heel pain articles) and could not run on my heels for most of my training. Today was the first time in months that I ran any distance on my heels ~ and transiently felt a stab of pain at about mile 6.

Enough excuses!

And wow, what a scenic but tough course! The course runs through Boston’s Emerald Necklace, a chain of nine parks linked by parkways and waterways. My friends who ran it last year had correctly warned, “it is very hilly!” At the halfway, we run through the Franklin Park Zoo, past the giraffe pens, birding area, tropical animal trails and the alligator area; before turning back around. Sorry did not pause to enjoy! :-))

No excuses! A fabulous run and I am very pleased. In this off-season, needed to maintain form and was expecting to do better than a 9:00 minute pace. And did way better than that! Now I rest for a few months and restart training in Jan for either the Boston or London Marathon in April 2008! Yaay! Run ARUN Run!

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