Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Salazar's 10 Running Rules

>> Thursday, April 30, 2015

Recently, I came across an article in Outside Magazine that was called "Alberto Salazar's 10 Golden Running Rules." Salazar knows what's up: he's a former world record holder, a 3-time NYC Marathon winner, and coach for Nike's Oregon Project (which includes him coaching 2012 gold medalist Mo Farah and silver medalist Galen Rupp). His body broke down at age 27 from too many 150-mile training weeks, but now he has things a little more figured out.

Here are "Alberto Salazar's 10 Golden Running Rules:"

1. BE CONSISTENT. Find a training plan that you can stick to long-term. If you can run four days a week, every week, you are going to get 90 percent of the benefits of training seven days a week.

2. TAKE RECOVERY DAYS SERIOUSLY. The day after a tough workout, the most you want to do is jog lightly or do some form of cross-training, like cycling. You need a recovery day after a hard day. No exceptions.

3. INCREASE MILEAGE GRADUALLY. Do not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent every month. No matter how good you feel, be very gradual. You won't know until it's too late that you're overdoing it.

4. STAY ON THE TRAIL. Pavement damages joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The more you can run on grass, woodchips, or dirt, the better off you are. My athletes run 90 percent of their workouts on soft surfaces.

5. RUN FASTER. It's hard to race faster than you train. However fast you want to run a race, you've got to do some shorter intervals - what we call speed work - at least that fast.

6. STRENGTHEN YOUR WHOLE BODY. Good runners condition their whole bodies. The arms drive the legs. Keep your upper body and core toned with a lot of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and back raises (don't forget that the back is part of the core). Stay away from machine weights and stick to Pilates, climbing, and dynamic flexibility work like yoga.

7. WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES. The second-most-common cause of injuries, next to running too much on hard surfaces, is foot pronation and shoe instability. The more you run, the more support your foot needs.

8. PERFECT YOUR FORM. Every motion your body makes should propel you directly forward. If your arms are crossing or you are overstriding, you're losing force. Your posture should be straight, and your striding foot should land directly underneath you.

9. TACKLE DOUBT HEAD-ON. At some point you're going to push yourself harder, you're going to enter into a gray area that can be painful, and you're going to doubt yourself. Push through it. Never think you are mentally weak.

10. EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY. If you don't have enough knowledge behind what you're doing, you're not going to run well or you're going to injure yourself. With the Internet, GPS phones, advanced heart-rate monitors, and even your iPod, you now can be coached individually, even while you run. I have an antigravity treadmill in my garage. Use the knowledge and tools that are out there.

I'm a big advocate of #2 and #5 (and #6). Put #2 and #5 together, and you have my basic training plan: work hard and rest hard. (I actually became interested in triathlons because I got injured so much while running, so it became a way to cross-train and still feel like I was training for something while resting tendons and joints from the pounding of running.) And I've got to work on #9, specifically the last sentence of that point.

For more "Thirsty Thursday" posts that highlight workouts, body science, and all kinds of interesting information, CLICK HERE.


Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Bike Race in a Mall

>> Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This would be fun. And mildly terrifying:

Direct Link:


First Du of the Year in 5 Days!

>> Monday, April 27, 2015

Well, on Friday afternoon I got officially registered for the short course race at the Cinco Du Mayo Duathlon that takes place this Saturday. The last time I did this race was 2 years ago, and it was my first (and only) duathlon win.

My butt from my 2013 race report.

It was 35 degrees, windy, and had just finished raining at this race 2 years ago. This weekend for the race, they're saying it will be a LOW of 53 and a high of 78! It will be a very different race experience!

I'm happy to be on board for 3 reasons:

• It was the site of my first win, so it has a special place in my heart. The race has drawn bigger names each year, so it will be harder to win this year, but I'll still be TRYING for win #2. But I'm not holding my breath.

• The course is awesome (it's out by Square Lake). I like the out-and-back run that has some hills. And I like the brutal 10-mile loop on the bike. Lots of hills. Not a fast average, but still a fun time.

• I'll be racing with BFFFN Devon Palmer. Devon's signed up for the long course, so we're not directly competing. Devon will be coming off his big win 2 days ago at the Cannon Falls Duathlon! Congrats, buddy!

Posting a bike split over 2 mins faster than any other competitor at Cannon. Awesome.

With Brian S and Suzie F. Suzie was the winning female, and Brian was 2nd behind Devon.
(You'll remember Brian from my 2013 Cinco Du race report because he won the
long course as I was winning the short course.)

So I've only really gotten in 1 workout since registering for the race because we were gone all weekend: I started the day today with a nice 28-mile ride that had 3x5 minute efforts in it. It was a good "long burn" ride. My intervals were 13:53, 13:35, and 13:56 (21.6, 22.1, and 21.5 mph).

As for the rest of the week, I might do a short-to-medium distance run with some speed tomorrow, some short but intense intervals on the trainer on Wednesday, a short/easy run on Thursday, and maybe a swim on Friday. Then, a balls-to-the-wall duathlon out by Stillwater on Saturday! Stay tuned!


More Intervals on the Track (and a week of workouts)

>> Saturday, April 25, 2015

I had a good, fast, long ride 9 days ago (seen in this post), and this all picks up just after that:

• FRIDAY: 2 easy runs with my boys. I posted a few photos from this last weekend. We took "the long way" to Bracket Park, played for nearly an hour, and then ran back home to log nearly 6 miles for the day.

• SATURDAY: 38 minutes of Spinervals (on the trainer) and some upper body strength work. My legs still felt quite heavy from my long tempo ride 2 days before.

• SUNDAY: a failed swim and a little core work. I forgot the indoor tri was going on at the Y and the pool would be reserved. Oops. I got to say hi to a few friends racing, and then I maybe distracted a lap counter who possibly made someone go 1-lap short. Oops again.

• MONDAY: easy long run (7.7 miles), and a little upper body strength work. I was going to pick up the pace for 3 of the middle miles, but my legs weren't feeling it. So I didn't bother to. I decided to do 1 mile a bit faster just to break up the pace. So most miles were around 7:10 with one random mile being 6:15.

• TUESDAY: 3x500 swim. I've started slacking on the swimming since I've been biking more, and I'm seeing it in my splits. At the beginning of the month, I did this workout with a 7:39/500 average. This past week after slacking on the number of times I've been hitting the pool, I did the same workout with a 7:47/500 average. Whoops.

• WEDNESDAY: 71 minutes of Spinervals, and a little core work. This was some longer, sustained intervals. (I hate those, so they MUST be good for me, right?)

• THURSDAY: 7x800 on the track. This came 3 week after my first track workout in about 18 months at the beginning of this month. There were 11 people on the track, and about half of them were doing the "prescribed" workout of 10-16x200. A few were doing less because they were tapering for the big "Get in Gear 10K" which took place this morning. And I wanted to do longer intervals than 200s because short, fast stuff tends to injure me. So I asked Nicole what to run. You might remember Nicole as my "race buddy" from the 2011 Winter Carnival Half Marathon:

Nicole and I pre-race.

Running somewhere around mile 4 along Shepard Road. (I took video throughout the race.)

(Oh, and if you've been a LONG time reader, you might remember the 2009 Tesfa 5K race report where I first met [and raced] Nicole.)

Anyway, Nicole told me to do 800s. She said 3:00 rest, or 2-2:30 if I'm "feeling fit," which I am. So I said I'd take 2:30 rest. And she told me to run 7 of them. She said what I was thinking: "So I'm thinking you'll be able to shoot for 2:40-2:42 for each." She basically gave me a workout that she had hoped she could do. So off I went.

A beautiful morning at the track, but it was only 32 degrees.

Here were my 400 splits and 800 times:

1:16, 1:19 = 2:35
1:17, 1:19 = 2:36
1:17, 1:19 = 2:36
1:20, 1:17 = 2:38
1:17, 1:17 = 2:34
1:19, 1:16 = 2:35
1:18, 1:16 = 2:34

2:35.4 / 800 average

Success. It f*ckin' hurt. I was hoping for just over 2:40s, and I ended up just over 2:35s. Nice.

• FRIDAY: 15x100 swim. Again, a bit slower than other recent swims: this swim averaged 1:25.9/100, which I was pretty happy with. But my last two 15x100 workouts last month averaged 1:24 and 1:23, which are substantially faster.

BOTTOM LINE: Keep swimming as much as possible, keep running "smart" to keep from getting injured, and keep "enjoying" those Coach Troy Spinerval workouts a few times a week. Oh, and don't forget about your leg exercises! Multisport season is coming soon!


Friday Funny 912: Relationships with Good Humor

>> Friday, April 24, 2015

Here are 10 couples who know how to laugh:

More funny stuff posted 10x a day on!


Friday Funny 911: A Random Dad Leading the Boston Marathon

Do you know Derek Yorek? If you watched the Boston Marathon coverage, you probably saw him for a few minutes. Yorek is a 31-year-old father of 2 who wanted to be seen on TV so his little girls back home in Texas could see their daddy racing. Here are some bits from a Runner's World article that's been going around:

For a glorious five minutes and 30 seconds, a dad from Fort Worth, Texas, led the Boston Marathon. For a miserable two hours and 59 minutes, Derek Yorek suffered to finish it.

“That was horrible,” Yorek cried after crossing the finish line in 3:04:57. He let out a few audible groans before getting a water bottle. It’s the reaction of a guy who ran one mile in 4:38 - close to the limit of his aerobic capacity - then had to trudge through another 25.2 in the rain.

He ran the first 5K in 16:18. And then got out of everyone else's way:

“I wanted to respect the race,” he says. “I knew I was fast enough that I wouldn’t blow up.”

Yorek planned on leading the Boston Marathon as soon as he registered. He wanted to give his five-year-old and two-year-old daughters an unforgettable memory. He also wanted to say thanks to his friends, family, and coaches back in Texas.

“It was something very special that I will be able to hold onto forever,” he says.

Not everyone can be in Yorek's position. He had to qualify to start in the first wave, and have enough fitness to stay with the elites before stepping aside - a fact he was well aware of before executing his plan.

This could have turned into a story of this guy being an ass, but he knew his role. He didn't seem to interfere or impede the elites in any way. But he got to make some personal history. Good for him. And he noted what it was like to run with some of the best distance runners in the world: “Their rhythm is amazing. They weren’t hurting at all. They are doing an amazing thing.” But after those first few minutes, things got pretty rough for Yorek:

... As the lead pack glided to sub 2:15 finishes, Yorek struggled to reach mile 14. There, he saw his mom and sister with tears in their eyes - ecstatic they got to see him lead the race on the live stream on their phones.

“I knew I had to finish it when I saw them,” he says.

On paper, Yorek’s race was a tactical disaster: 3,571 people passed him, he ran his last 5K nine minutes slower than his first, and he finished more than 30 minutes slower than his personal best.

But he doesn’t care. That’s because even though the announcers didn’t know the name of the guy leading the race after the first mile, two little girls back home in Texas did.

This is awesome. Now, how many times will we see this trying to be repeated in the future?...

Reminder: lots more funny stuff posted all week long on!


Friday Funny 910: Pranks

Here are 10 awesome/insane GIFs of pranks from CollegeHumor:

Lots more funny stuff on!


Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Don't Poo-Poo The 5K

>> Thursday, April 23, 2015

Today's "Thirsty Thursday" is taking a bit of a different angle than normal. Today's post isn't about the latest in exercise science or some new/awesome workout. It's a bit of writing about 5Ks that I thought was worth sharing.

I love Lauren Fleshman (2x US 5000 Champ with a 14:58 PR). She's a sassy professional runner who tells things like it is. Last year, she wrote an article for Runner's World about her push to renew "the love" for 5Ks. In the first part of the article she highlights a story of her talking with another runner (who didn't know her status as a runner) who didn't seem impressed that she "just" runs 5Ks. She was told "Keep at it, you'll get there." Oy. If he only knew who he was talking to.

Lauren goes on to write this, and I totally agree with it:

With a growing obsession over distance races, and a focus on completion rather than competition, 5-Ks have somehow lost a lot of their badassiness. They have become little more than a gateway drug for marathons. The prevailing mentality is to go longer and longer and longer, until one day you find yourself down six toe-nails, dressed head to toe in compression gear, contemplating your first 50-K ultra over a morning bowl of chia seeds. Stop! Listen to me.

The 5-K is freaking awesome. It encourages you to develop a combination of endurance, speed, and strength. You can train for it and still have a life. You can race one every weekend and still be able to walk normally. If people ran more 5-Ks, I'm positive the average life satisfaction of humans would increase dramatically.

Then Fleshman offers these 10 reasons why you should devote some time to focusing on the 5K:

10. Fitness

Shorter interval work is more effective than long-distance runs for weight management and gaining fitness. Interval training won't set you up to run a great marathon, but it will make you a baller at the 5-K, an event that requires strength, speed, power, and endurance combined. By making the 5-K your focus, your training plan will actually line up with what's best for your overall health. Excuse me, what? Yes.

9. Travel

With 5-Ks being readily available within driving distance, you don't have to fly around the country to do one. Racing is a cool excuse to travel, but you know what's even better? Traveling without racing. You can actually walk places and see things without limping, eat whatever you want, and spend a significantly smaller portion of your trip on the toilet.

8. Doctors' Bills

Overuse injuries go hand in hand with marathon training. Sure, you can get injured doing 5-Ks too, but with less overall mileage and workouts that involve a greater variety of paces, you'll be more likely to stay healthy. More running days per year = happy runners with more money = a healthy global economy = World Peace.

7. Free Time

What will you do with your weekends when you aren't destroyed from running three-and-a-half hours?

6. Nipple Health

There is no nipple bleeding.

5. Budget

5-Ks are cheaper, and you still get a stale bagel and a green banana and only have to run one-eighth as far.

4. Competition vs. Completion

The satisfaction in a marathon comes with completion under duress. You reach the point where you aren't sure you will finish, and then somehow you do. It's an amazing feeling, but it's only one way to experience racing. In a 5-K, you know that you are going to finish. Satisfaction comes instead from competing: against yourself, the clock, and others in an intense, concentrated period of time. This adds a whole new depth and richness to your running, regardless of your speed.

3. Mulligans

Getting derailed in a marathon due to inclement weather, travel mishaps, poo-poo problems, or just having an off day can cost you 16 weeks of training and traveling somewhere far away for another attempt. If you screw up the 5-K, you can just get in your car and try again next week. Boom.

2. The Humanity

When you hit the wall in a 5-K, it hurts a lot, but it's over faster than it takes to make a cappuccino. Literally. I timed it.

1. Style

No fuel belts. No water bottles. No gels or blocks or powders or bars. No shorts with 30 pockets. No Vaseline stains. You can run a 5-K in jorts with nary a chafe. 5-K for the win. Who's with me?

I have a few comments on Lauren's points:

#8: I've learned that I get injured from too much speed work, but I'm OK with moderate levels of endurance work. Just know your body.

#6: I once found a way to destroy my nipples in a 5K. If you're newer to my blog, make sure to check out that link. (That was a different time - I'm now over 2 mins faster.)

#4: This is a really, really good point, but it's also not for everyone. I'm proud that I've finished an Ironman, but I'm not proud of my time. (Whenever I do my next Ironman, I'd like to take 2 or 3 hours off my time.) I'm probably more proud of working hard to hit my 17:11 5K PR and my 59:05 10 Mile PR - things I really had to suffer for. I like how Fleshman wrote about this. (However, my wife isn't as speedy, but she loves to finish longer races, so I can see the other point-of-view here too: she's done 2 Ironmans, around 10 half Ironmans, and something like 15 marathons.)

#2: Very much agree! I like to suffer hard, but get it over quick. (There's a bedroom joke in there somewhere.)

RELATED: A lot of people really started to like Lauren after she wrote a very "real" blog post back in November of 2013 shortly after giving birth. In it, she showed a pic of her modeling some new Oiselle running gear, along with some more "natural," casual photos from later that same week:

"Turbo-flexed" and sucked in as she puts it.

She said she doesn't actually recommend squeezing your inner thigh.

HERE'S her original post about body issues, and HERE'S a great follow-up that she wrote for Runner's World talking about how hard it was for her to write that first post. It'll all make you love Lauren.

For more "Thirsty Thursday" posts that discuss workouts, body science, and all kinds of interesting information, CLICK HERE.


Upcoming Races

>> Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I've officially got two races on the books. I'm registered for these:

The OAKDALE DUATHLON is in just over 2 weeks on May 9th. I've done this twice in the past with brother-in-law Matt as a relay (in 2010 and 2011), but I've never done it myself. It's a 3 mile run, a 14 mile bike, and a 2.5 mile run. I'll be racing with my youngest sister-in-law Annie and her boyfriend (also named Matt). They are both also racing Duathlon Nationals, so we're using this race as a "tune up" race.

Then in early June, we'll be racing the DUATHLON NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS here in St. Paul. I decided to try their short course because I tend to be better at the shorter races. It's only a 1.55 mile run, a 14 mile bike, and a 1.55 mile run. The "official" duathlon National Championship race is the long course race, which is a 5K, 21 mile, and 5K. (I had to really give consideration to the long course because it has a better run-to-bike ratio, and that's my strength. But it came down to the amount of time I felt comfortable devoting to bike training - I can put in time to feel good about training for a 14 mile bike, but I don't have the training time to feel great about a 21 mile bike.)

Before I signed up for this race, I thought I *might* be able to do well here. First of all, the true "National Championship" race is the long course, so I figured most of the "fast" people would be in that. Secondly, where there are 2 distances, the farther distance tends to draw the faster athletes anyway. Finally, my training has been decent so far this spring. Without even looking at last year's results, I figured I could shoot for a top-10 finish. My-oh-my was I ever wrong. When I finally looked up 2014 results (also here in St. Paul - they have a 2-year contract with each location, so we knew a few years ago that the Duathlon Nationals would be here in 2014 and 2015), I glanced at the running splits. There were a lot of people who were running 4:xx pace. Yeah, really. Sub-5. I thought maybe the results had an improper distance put in - you see that sometimes where they maybe really ran 4K, but the pace is calculated based on them running a 5K for example. But then I saw local speedy master athlete (and Gear West Bike and Tri owner) Kevin O'Connor as 3rd place with a relatively SLOW run split (as compared with others finishing around him in the top-10) of 5:20 pace. Kevin is a better runner than me, and he can out-bike me in his sleep. And he was 3rd. Surrounded by run splits that I could only dream of. Yep, I'm NOT shooting for top-10.

But it still should be a good race where I can take advantage of my short-distance speed. This is my "A-race" for the summer. I've known since about Christmas that I wanted to get myself in shape for this one, so we'll see how good I can do. I would love to TRY to place in my age group, but last year, the 2 guys who placed 1st and 2nd overall were in my age group. Dang. Third in the 30-34 AG was 17th overall. That's a hefty goal, but it's something for me to shoot for. I'm aware it might not be practical, but a girl can dream...

p.s. In 10 days, I'm THINKING about doing the "Cinco DU Mayo Duathlon," which is a week before Oakdale. That's the small race that I won back in 2013. The short course race there is a 2 mile run, a 10+ mile (HILLY) bike, and a 2 mile run. I haven't signed up for this, but it's still on my radar as another possible race to add in. We'll see! Stay tuned!


Long Ride

>> Monday, April 20, 2015

Last week, I decided to bike to work. Pharmie didn't work that day, so I was able to leave a bit early and get in 8 miles before class (it's only 2.5 miles to work, but I was able to bike a few extra miles). I loaded my laptop, lunch, and "teaching appropriate" clothes and shoes into my tri bag:

It was heavy. I do not pack light.

I got to work and destroyed my office. I already had some stacks of projects and a big pile of books on my desk from a week before, but now it looked like this:

For comparison, here's what Deb's area looked like in our 4-person shared office:

I'm a pig.

Between classes, I hopped on my bike for a hard tempo ride. The day was PERFECT for riding, so I had no excuse for slow times. You've probably heard me talk about my go-to loop that I like to do when I'm short on time, which is about 15.5 miles mainly along the river, and back home down Summit Ave. Well, I started off from school and went towards home to do "the loop" plus a few miles before and after. I knew it'd be around 20 miles of tempo riding. I even took splits as I rode past home on the way out and on the way back so I could compare the middle of this ride to my normal loop ride.

Well, with the good conditions, I nailed it. My tempo finished looking like this:

For mid-day, high-traffic, urban riding that included a Ramsey Hill climb, that's not bad!

And my "regular loop" pace averaged 20.18 mph, which is only the 2nd time that I got that above 20 mph! (My PR was set last September when I did it in 20.2 mph. Click that link to see a map of "the loop.")

I biked around for another 20 minutes as a CD before my final class of the day, and then I biked home EASILY (adding in a few more miles) later in the day. So my log for the day looks like this:

8 miles to class, 20 mile tempo, 5.75 mile CD right after the tempo,
and 4 miles home later that day. That's 38.55 miles on the day!

Yes, I thought about biking another 1.5 miles to make it 40 miles, but I had to get home to watch the boys before Pharmie had to go to a big meeting. And I realized I didn't NEED to make myself hit 40 miles for any reason. It was my biggest day of biking since this ride nearly 3 years ago (which was my first early morning ride - something I've been doing a lot of since then). That ride from 3 years ago and a group ride with my bros-in-law in 2010 were the last 2 times I hit 40 miles. (Actually, the ONLY 2 times I've been over 40 miles since I started keeping an online training log in Sept of 2009.) So 38 miles in a day was pretty great.

Then I spent the night with my 2 dudes as Mama was at a meeting:

p.s. In case you were wondering, my diarrhea finally let up around last Thursday. That made about 7 full days of crap. (I first posted about it last Monday and then gave an update in Thursday's post.) It was about 8 days before a normal BM. All is well now. Thanks for the flowers and cards.


Running with the Boys

>> Saturday, April 18, 2015

Yesterday, I loaded the boys up for an easy run as we headed to Bracket Park:

Bottle for Daddy on the right, bottle for Charlie on the left.
(With Charlie kicking at the stroller cover in the middle.)

Crossing the Mississippi - there are buds on the trees that are ready to POP!

Playing at the park while Charlie napped a little longer (the main point of any stroller run).

Both boys playing.

I got in nearly 6 easy miles the day after a good bike workout (more on that in an upcoming post). We just did an easy run and didn't go to the gym yesterday because Charlie had a fever for the past 36 hours. We actually went to the doctor before the run, but it was probably just a bad cold. Drugs were knocking down the fever, so the doc wasn't too concerned. (Heroin works wonders. JK!)

Here are 6 more photos of the boys from Easter a few weekends ago:

Charlie's reaction when one of Great Grandpa's cows came RIGHT up to his hand!

Cute photo of my family with Great Grandpa Hap and a baby sheep!

Offering up Charlie as a sacrifice to the queen of the cows.

Henry and baby cows.

Easter baskets.

Chocolate time!

Back with some thoughts on a good bike workout soon, and a bit about upcoming races that I'm hoping to do. Happy weekend!


Friday Funny 909: The Next "Terminator" Movie (and funny links)

>> Friday, April 17, 2015

Like I do every few weeks, here are some of my recent favorite posts from my tumblr page:

Athletic-Related Funnies:


The joys of biking in Australia.

Running in the rain.

[GIF] Feel the burn.

Good form.

Want to take up running? Start off easy.

Chocolate milk after a long run.

[GIF] Handstand with a puppy.

Hipster bike race.

"Try steeplechase" they said.

[GIFs] Oregon runner celebrates too soon. Oops.

Sit ups.

Me while running in the summer. Really.

Non-Athletic Funnies:

My doctor told me to eat more Taco Bell.

These guys are geniuses.


The best things in life.

Awesome button.

The sausage principle.

Wheel of Fortune fail. I guessed wrong.

Adam has a point.

I need this medic alert bracelet.

Once you go black...

How to grow a college student.




The weirdest Easter photo.

Parenting in a nutshell.

And as always, stop by for funnies all week long. Happy weekend!!



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