Wednesday, April 26, 2006


The runner's diet

Just finished the chapter on diet in Hal Higdon's excellent book Marathon. The gist of it is that you should stick to a healthy diet (i.e. low fat, lots of complex carbs), and up the carbs to meet your caloric needs as you train harder.

Part of me hoped that it would say "once you are seriously training, eat whatever you want", but it didn't. I see I will still have to think twice about that extra piece of pizza, or that ice cream... But the better part of me finds this encouraging, in two ways.

First, this advice sounds so sensible. I don't want this marathon project to take me too far from normal life. I'm a busy guy with a lot of responsibilities, so I don't feel that comfortable going off on some wacky quest. The closer this is to normal, healthy habits, the better. In other words, this is the way I want to live anyway, only more so.

Second, this will set me up well for the reentry into normal life when the marathon thing is done. I don't intend on doing this more than once. Maybe at the most I could see myself doing a marathon once a year for a few years, but probably, this is a one time deal. So, I'm going to have to get right back into the normal routine starting November. If I were eating a box of Cheese-Its and a big bowl of ice cream every night while training, it would be hard to break the habit.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Encountering my limits

Last week it was the Achilles tendon. This week it is the knees. In neither case was it serious, but I feel my joints are sending me a message to take it easy. This gives me pause, and for the first time I am considering the possible scenario where I have to give up on the marathon quest. For now I am hopeful, but I can't take anything for granted. I'm sure the power train is up to the task, but the suspension is another question.

Last week I did my first >15 mile week in I don't know how long, ending in another 7.1 mile run (same 8 minute pace!) I'm glad I did this before the official start of training, because I'd be bad to run into knee trouble then. I'm hoping that if I slowly try to build up the weekly mileage (alternating light weeks and "stretch" weeks) I'll be in ok shape for the official training.

The other thing I need to do is push the weight loss a little harder, since every pound less is that much less stress on knees, shins, etc. This has been a struggle for me lately-- I've maintained but not continued the loss. I hope to blog on this soon.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Microwave oatmeal

Ok, no grand thoughts lately, and I don't want to bore anyone with the old running details. So today I present a weight-management tip. It is a recipe, or method, for one of breakfast-dom's best-kept secrets: microwave oatmeal!

You can create a nice warm bowl of old-fashioned oats in about 2 minutes. I don't understand why people keep buying those little packets of instant oats, which to me are little better than wallpaper paste.

Here's what I do almost every morning:
* Take a deep soup bowl, and my 1 cup measure, and dump about half a cup of old-fashioned oats into the bowl.
* Now add a cup of tap water (use the same measure-- now it's rinsed and can go back on the dish drainer)
* Optionally, add raisins or chop up an apple or ...
* Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let it rest a minute then nuke for another minute if desired, for texture.
* Add cinnamon, wheat germ, or whatever you like and enjoy.

This is so easy. There is one wrinkle, though. There is a risk that the oatmeal will boil over the edge of the bowl. You may have to experiment with what works with your oven and your bowl shape. You can try a deeper bowl, or lower power setting and see if that helps.

It's worth the effort, though, because once you find the method that works for you, you have access to a hearty, low fat, low sugar, high fiber and complex carbo breakfast that is pennies per serving, and will keep you going all morning.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


8 [minute] mile

Ok, I used the Gmaps Pedometer to measure Monday's run. It came out to be about 6.75 miles. When I divide my time by this, I get ... 8.05 minutes per mile. Much slower than I thought yesterday, but on the other hand, its still and 8 minute mile.

Ran easy today on account of yesterday. Ran the basic 3 mile course, and got a time of 24 min. So it looks like I am hard wired to run 8 minute miles. That's ok if that scales up to marathon distance. (I know, I really shouldn't be concerned about time for this first marathon).

Feeling a little concerned about achilles tendonitis. After a long run I sometimes feel what can best be termed an "awareness" of this tendon. Not pain or discomfort, just a different feeling. Last night, I felt just the slightest bit of a burning sensation. No problem in itself, but it has me worried that it could develope into something more serious.

I guess I should take it easy for a week or so and see how it goes. I skipped today's workout. I'll plan on a light run for tomorrow.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Boring running details

In an effort to get the week off to a good start, get a taste of longer distances, and give my weight loss efforts a shot in the arm, I ran my longest daily run yet (for this year). About 7.1 miles, with small detour*. My goal was to see if I could do this with an 8 minute mile. This would fortify my hope that I can scale my workout pace up to longer distances, and maybe even The Distance.

Turns out I did hit the target, by a wide margin. So wide, in fact (much closer to a 7 minute mile) that I am beginning to doubt the accuracy of the distance measurement I am using (a running map of the Charles River I got off the web). I plan to measure this on Google Maps, and hope to give an update.

Regardless of the time, I am encouraged that I felt so good throughout the run. Frankly, I think my biggest challenge for these longer runs will be getting into the office early enough so I can get these longer runs done and still start work at my regular time. Included in this challenge is getting to bed early enough the previous night so that I'm not doing my workout on a severe sleep deficit.

I tried something new-- skipping breakfast at home and running on an empty stomach. From what I've read, this is ok. Its fasting after a run that is not recommended. I did this to push the weight loss a little. I have maintained the weight loss of a few weeks ago, but things have stagnated lately.

*The detour is because the BU Bridge does not connect to the river path directly, on the south (BU) side. You have to take a little jog on the BU Campus to a footbridge that crosses Storrow Drive to get to the south side river path. The detour is about half a mile, by my best guess. I'm not sure the river running maps account for this.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


This and that.

While running today I tried to think how to describe what it felt like. I feel pretty comfortable. There is a sense of relief when I finish, of course, but during the run I don't feel like I am doing anything to hard. Most days I feel like I could do 10 miles, if time permitted (tho I don't think I could do 10 a day, every day). I do feel a strain if I try to push the speed, so mostly I run at my "idle" speed. I feel blessed to be in this good health.

Got myself a training diary-- in the form of a chunky little spiral bound notebook. I've tried everything-- text documents, spreadsheets, writing on a paper calender, but have not found the perfect way to track my efforts. Most records peter out after a few weeks. Maybe this chunky notebook will fit the bill. I may also record weight and eating observations. I can't track everything I eat, as some do--I don't want to live that way. But I can make general remarks.

However, I did create a spreadsheet this weekend for my marathon training. I listst the planned mileage for each day, based on the 18 week training schedule, and places to fill in actual miles. When I begin the 18 weeks, I need to track much more carefully. I doubt I will be able to match the days and miles exactly, but I can try to get the weekly mileage as close as possible.

What do I do between now and when the official training begin? I think I'll make my best effort to average 15 miles a week (actual average is probably less than 10, since I skip so many days during the week). I think I'll also make it a goal to do a 10 mile run-- either an actual race or just a good workout.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?