Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's all about pacing

As I have mentioned previously I coach half marathon clinics. I have another one that has just started with a bunch of new and eager faces looking to complete the Vancouver International Half in May.

The first few weeks are always interesting, each clinic develops a personality a vibe but the one thing that is always consistent is how could I possibly know more than them. Irregardless of the fact that I have lost count of the number of half's I have run, that I have completed full marathons, or that if you could screw up or injure it I have done it and if I have not done it yet rest assured I will do it. From overtraining, to training too fast, to not eating properly, to not stretching, to not training enough and so on-and so forth. I got the bumper sticker or I am in the line at the cashier just waiting to pay for it. But I repeat WHAT COULD I POSSIBLY KNOW?!?!

So because I am fully aware that it will take about 5 weeks - around the time we start running 14km and up before they will realize that I might know something I always introduce them to my secret weapon - June. June - aka June Bug is my secret weapon because the most important thing I can teach runners is patience and pacing. That there are different paces for different runs and they all have their place in training but the most important run is the Sunday - Long SLOW Distance run that we run slowly. They all go okay and then on SUnday's they jump into a pace group they have no business training with because it is too fast for them for SUndays and they are overtraining. Then come race day they don't understand why they trained with the 2 hour pace group but finished with the 2:15 group. But what do you do you can't yell at them -well you can but I find they don't respond well. YOu can't leash them - apparently their are laws against this. All you can do is repeat it and repeat it and then introduce June.

Running half marathons and more importantly full marathons is all about patience and correctly pacing your run. You are running 21.1 km or 42.2km it does not make sense to use all your energy in the first 10km. June does this like a text book.

I first met June about 2 years ago while training for my 3rd full marathon. We are great friends now and kindred spirits that love our beer and our long runs. June is a high school English teacher who is also working on her Masters. I quite frankly think she farts rainbows.

When I met June I was pace group leader for the 4:30 (4 hours 30 min) group. She had walked lots of marathons but this time she wanted to run it. She however had started training with a faster pace group then she should have and ended up injured early so she was sent back to the 5 hour pace group for the rest of the clinic. She could still run she just had to do it slower on Sundays. The thing though was June did it and she did all her hill work and other runs with a smile - nothing phases June she is always smiling, but I digress.

So I skip forward to race day and off we went I started behind June and the gang and figured I would pick-up my pace as I went along - which is what I did and it worked perfectly. I eventually passed them around 5 miles in and kept chugging and then in the final km I look beside me and there is June! Holy crap! Well I wish I could say we crossed holding hand but we did not because the other thing me and June share is a competitive streak and she sped up, passed me and finished in front of me. I was thrilled for her. Her time just over 4 and 1/2 hours.

Every race June does she has a personal best, EVERY RACE, and it is because of the way she trains and races. She trains on Sunday's now as the 4:30 pace leader but her last marathon she finished in 4 hours 12 minutes. Most people would automatically train with the 4 hour group or for 4 hour 15 min even but June gets it. By running slower on Sundays she is improving her endurance by running her Tempo runs at the correct pace and working on her form during her hill workouts and then slamming it on speed work she continues to take time off her finish times. Oh and did I mention June is 52.

So as we start a new clinic I will bring June in to explain to the group about pacing and my group leaders will talk about it and some will get it but most won't at least not the first time. But I am getting more and more to buy in as more and more try it and find success.

Fighting the good fight

Shaun

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm hit - woman down.

So after my last post and feeing all uppity that I was doing so great - bam!

They got me - I have been literally surrounded by cold and flu infested people for the better part of a month. I thought I might have dodged the bullet but a week ago today I woke up feeling a little wierd and thought hmmmm. So I dug out the COld Fx and decided I would take some just to be safe. By the end of the day my neck was killing me - but being the queen of denial I thought just tight muscles from swimming. Tuesday I got up and that ominous burning sensation in my nasal passages told me that I had been hit - so I immediately went on the acute Cold-FX treatment regime. I got through the day not feeling too bad but skipped both workouts still hoping that by doing that I would be good to go on Wednesday.

No such luck by Wednesday I felt and looked like death warmed over. I made it through a 1/2 day and that was it. In an effort to beat this thing quickly I made the drastic decision that I was going to stay home and in bed until I beat it - about half of the people I know that have gotten this have been down for 2 - 3 weeks. I just cannot afford to miss that much time from training. I left my bed house once before Sunday's clinic run and that was for the Thursday clinic night where I just did the talks - no workout and then went home.

It was painful but it paid off - I woke up yesterday good to go and had a great 18km run with the clinic. I did have to slow down my pace but I felt good and today I feel great. I only missed a week so I am happy about that. Tomorrow I will start up again but just to make sure I don't relapse I will shorten the distances/times for the next week.

I was so glad I did not miss yesterday's run because it was such an inspiring run. I have a lady in my clinic who is absolutely terrified of bridges and the route was to go over to the Northshore via Lions Gate Bridge. A gorgeous route that I was very exited about, I was not aware of her fear and had already sent out the route so it was too late to change it. She emailed me and asked for another option so I quickly came up with another route for her that would let her run with us for the first part before we crossed. Sunday she came up to me and said I am going to do it - I want to run with my group. I was like are you sure? She was like yes - I drove it yesterday and I am going to run it today - she sounded determined but I could see the fear in her eyes. I grabbed her group leader and gave her the scoop and asked her to run beside her and if necessary hold her hand. I was not with them for the initial pass over but on the way back I ran back to see how they were doing and decided to cross over with them. She owned it - not once did her stride falter! I was so proud of her and to see the look of total triumph in her face when we got to the other side was the best thing I have seen in awhile. Made the run that much better.

Ready to get back at er

Shaun

Friday, January 11, 2008

Finding the Rhythm

So this week I am pretty happy with my training. I feel like I have a rhythm and am in the training zone. While we are only 9 days in to the actual schedule I feel great. I am following the schedule and have not missed one workout yet, early days I know but last year I copped out a lot from the get go. It is wet outside (what you say in Vancouver - say it isn't so) I will just run a little longer and skip the ride. PATHETIC

Yesterday was the second brick of the season and it was crappy outside. Just awful- I kept looking out and hoping it would change. It did not but no biggy I got changed at lunch grabbed the bike and away I went. At one point I thought sheesh this is wet and then I thought to myself but not nearly as wet as it was last June and you are only doing this for 45 minutes with a 20 minute run. Not 6 hours followed by a 3 hour run (LOL).

That goes to show you how my perspective has changed - never underestimate the power of a DNF. As I said to a gal in my half marathon clinic - Last year I was cocky - I thought it can't be that bad I have done sprint Tri's and run marathons. I got my ass handed to me on a platter Respect the distance do the training.


The biggest change I think is that I am just taking each day and doing what I need to do that day. I am not worrying about the next workout - I have found my rhythm. And whenever I start to think about blowing off a workout I just think back to last June and that motivates me to get out and do it.

Bring on day 10 -

Shaun

Monday, January 7, 2008

One for Shaun - Zero for the *@!* Trainer

Excuse me while I gloat for a second.... Okay so for most serious triathletes riding on a trainer in the winter months is a given. I however HATE it and would rather shave my legs by individually plucking out each hair with tweezers than get on my bike on the trainer so I feel pretty darn proud that I did it.

Yep folks 1 hour and 30 minutes butt numbing agony. I will be honest I did get off at 1 hour 20 saying enough I can't do this but then I had a flash back to Iron Mountain and how much I hate that stupid friggin DNF and said NO and got back on the demon trainer and rode it for 11 minutes more just to prove I could.

Most of you will be like geez what a whinger but I don't care. However I have come to the conclusion I need a different seat if I want win the war not just this one battle. So off the the bike shop.

Feeling victorious

Shaun,

Friday, January 4, 2008

New beginnings

Yes it has been awhile since I last posted. No excuse really just caught up in life, coaching and the holidays.

Everyone always asks what is your new years resolution and I can honestly say that I don't really make them because I try to make ongoing resolutions. Find ways to improve myself as a person and an athlete. Resolutions to give back to the community and my friends - I figure it is better that way.

We are all a work in progress - especially myself and sometime it is painful to see yourself as others do. Myself I can be control freak, I am outspoken and blunt. And while my intention is not to be a bitch - I am often protrayed and seen that way. I don't believe in BS - as a general rule if you ask me I will tell you - if you do not want to hear it please do not ask, get the job done - basically put up or shut up. I like to think that I am a good listener and flexible but I also have the courage of my convictions and refuse to back down or apologize for them if I feel I am right - just as do not expect others to. That does not mean that you are not entitled to yours - it is just a let's agree to disagree.

So as a new clinic begins in the next 3 weeks and the current one wraps up I have been taking to heart observations made about me and well it can be a bitter pill to swallow. I don't want to be known as the tyrant to my clinic members and am upset that my group leaders use me as a threat to their pace groups rather than a resource. I am not sure how to overcome this because overall feedback on my clinics is always good and I get a lot of returnees so I like to think I am doing something right. Maybe I am too sensitive - maybe that should be the resolution - to be less sensitive. Oh and to train harder for the Oliver Half. That is the other resolution - after taking the month of December off except for running on January 2 I have jumped in full steam ahead. So far so good - have done all my scheduled workouts for the last 3 days - only 141 training days to go....

Resolving to post more

Shaun