Monday, April 4, 2011

Hitting A Wall

I'm excited! I had such a great run today! My friend Chris and I met up before we were to go see a show and decided to run. He lives across the street from a beautiful park called Walnut Hill Park. Absolutely gorgeous (and it is the same park where my May 5k is going to be held.)- it has a perfect 1 mile loop which means we could run and not have to worry about keeping track of mile markers. 

We ended up actually running about 2.5 miles in total, which is fantastic in my opinion, especially considering that both of us are novice runners. As we were starting our third mile I got a major cramp in my right thigh muscle. Well, more like my thigh/groin area. The same place that hurt when I ran to the library the other day. I ended up having to stop and do some stretches to work it out, but I was able to keep running. Yay fortitude

Anyway, I was going to wait to post my blog until tomorrow, but I saw an article on that caught my interest and I wanted to discuss it here. It was written by Jeff Galloway, "a 1972 Olympian who ran the 10,000 meters and was an alternate on the marathon team. He is the author of more than a dozen books on running, including Galloway's Book on Running". (Pretty impressive stuff, eh?) He wrote an article about how sometimes during races, or even training, you can "hit a wall" where your body loses energy and just cannot go any further. Galloway says that in order to prevent this from happening you should 1. reserve your energy while running by using a run-walk-run method and 2. while training, make your long runs longer than the race you are training for.

Let's tackle the first point: For myself, I use a run-walk-run method solely because I am a beginning runner and haven't yet worked up to being able to run more than 2 miles before my body needs a break. However, there are tons of people out there who can straight-run a marathon or half-marathon, etc. (And isn't that kind of the point anyway?) Galloway says that "Marathoners, for example, run an average of 13 minutes faster, in surveys, when they shift from running continuously to using the run-walk-run ™ method..." mainly because they start reserving their energy early on in the race. The earlier one stops to walk during a run, the better they will be able to perform because they are, essentially, stabilizing their energy levels and maintaing a consistent energy level throughout their entire run. This is as opposed to starting out fast and strong, exerting mounds of energy and then having none left for the later miles. 

Now, on to the second point: Most training schedules that I have seen have you run under the total miles you need to for whichever race you are training for, i.e. training for a full marathon and the longest run you have is 20 miles before tapering. I was told that the training is set up this way so that your body gets close to the mileage it has to run, but then you leave it wanting more. The tapering helps your body wind down so you are rested for the big day, but that the excitement of Race Day will help push you through those remaining miles. However, Galloway thinks that running over the amount of miles that you are training for, i.e. running 29 miles on a long run before starting to taper, is better for your body. I'm assuming it solely helps the body adjust to the distance it needs to endure before Race Day actually hits. 

Questions for Today:

1. What is your best 5k time?
Today's practice 5k which was 41 minutes (6 mins less than in December).

2. What do you think of Jeff Galloway's ideas on avoiding "hitting a wall"? (Most specifically, his longer long run theory?)


FruitFly said...

My 5K race PR is 30:35 (and I set it while I had a cold!) Ooh - I have a cold now and am doing a half marathon on Sunday .... is this the key toa PR for me??

I'm not sure on Jeff Galloway thoughts as of yet. Mostly this is because during my first half marathon I kept getting stuck behind a woman that was doing his run/walk method. It was pretty annoying to be running, then suddenly have to try to swerve around her as she walked. We were stopping for character photos, so we kept having to pass her as she motored along. BUT it does seem to make sense. I can guarantee you I'll be doing some walking during my half this weekend - and I'm fine with that. And if it does help me in the long run, then that's great! I think I would like to pick up his book and give it a read! (I saw him at the expo in February signing his book, but I was too shy to get a copy and meet him. Silly me!)

CupCake said...

That's an awesome PR, especially with a cold!
I'm hoping that my PR for my next 5k will be around 40Minutes. I would really like less then that, but I am still new to running and my body is adjusting to everything.

I would like to read his book as well. His ideas, at least the longer long run one, seem to opposite from what I've heard in the running world. Even in RW magazine when they show professionally created schedules, there's never a run longer then the race itself. Interesting to see if it works or not.