Tuesday, March 14, 2017

THE LOSS OF A RUNNING LEGEND

Running icon, Ed Whitlock, died yesterday, at the age of 86. Below is a blog I wrote on November 27, 2015, entitled "In the Presence of Greatness," after having had the honor of meeting and speaking with Ed at the Berwick, Pennsylvania Run for the Diamonds on Thanksgiving Day 2015.

Ed Whitlock was humble and and gracious. We talked about training (he joked about the irony of his daily training route: a cemetery near his home), racing, and injuries. Ed never stretched, or cross-trained. When he got injured, he would take time off and pick up with his running when he felt he was healed.

After I published my blog, I received a thank-you email from Ed. You would have thought I had handed him a million dollars. 

How awesome was this man? Here's a sample of his times at various ages. 5K: 17:23, age 67. 18:21, age 73. Half marathon: 1:20:14, age 69, 1:22:03, age 70, 1:38:59, age 81. Marathon: 2:51:02, age 68, 2:54:48, age 73, 3:15:54, age 80, 3:56:33, age 85. 

Rest in peace, champ.

IN THE PRESENCE OF GREATNESS-November 27, 2015

In this world of overpaid, egotistical athletes, playing their professional sports, shamelessly hawking any product to make a buck, then bragging about their accomplishments, yesterday, in Berwick, Pennsylvania, at the 106th running of the Run for the Diamonds, I had the honor for being in the presence of greatness.

It was my privilege to meet, and speak with 83-year old Ed Whitlock,

In my estimation, Ed Whitlock is the greatest living athlete on the planet.

So, in an effort to be completely accurate, I'll list Ed's accomplishments, as listed on his Wikipedia page.

" In his 60s after retiring he started to concentrate on road racing and latterly the objective of becoming the first man over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours. After an initial attempt at age 70, injury prevented another attempt until age 72 when in 2003 he completed the marathon 2:59:10. In the following year, he lowered the record to 2:54:49 and in 2005 ran 2:58:40 at age 74, to date (2013) the oldest man to run under three hours for a marathon.
In 2006 he set the world record for the 75 to 79 age group with a time of 3:08:35 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon,[2] and in the Rotterdam Marathon on April 15, 2007, Whitlock lowered that mark to 3:04:54 on a day when the marathon was stopped after three and a half hours because of high temperature.
On September 26, 2010, Whitlock ran the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in 1:34:23.4.[3]
After turning 80, Whitlock improved the marathon world record for his age category by almost 15 minutes to 3:25:43 at the 2011 Rotterdam Marathon on April 10, 2011.[4] He then further improved on his age category world record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16, 2011, lowering the record to 3:15:54.[5]
At age 81, on Sunday, September 16, 2012, wearing bib number 1, Whitlock broke the Canadian and unofficial world half-marathon record at his hometown inaugural race, the Milton Half-Marathon, running 1:38:59.[6] In 2013, he lowered the record to 1:38:11 on the same course.
Whitlock also competes on the track, where as of 2012 he holds 15 world age group records ranging in distance from 1500 metres to 10,000 m and age groups 65+, 70+, 75+ and 80+, as well as the three age group marathon records 70+, 75+ and 80+.[7]"


That's right folks, a 3:15 marathon--at age 80!

I have never met a more gracious, humble man. Ed Whitlock is a great athlete and competitor, but he is an even greater individual, He told me he can't wait to turn 85 so he can assault more age-group records.  Even more than the delicious turkey, my meeting Ed Whitlock was the highlight of my Thanksgiving Day.

I just hope some of his talent, dedication, and determination rubs off!


Monday, March 13, 2017

LINKED FITNESS Q&A

Recently I did a Q&A with my favorite fitness website, Linked Fitness. www.linkedfitness.com. Enjoy the read and check out this great site.

1) How long have you been running and what made you start?

Ask the Running Coach with Joe Muldowney | Linked Fitness CommunityI ran track and cross country in high school and college, but it was after I graduated from college in 1975 that I began to run seriously.
Having graduated from college and knowing that team sports were behind me, I enjoyed the freedom that running afforded me. I could train anytime, without having to worry about a partner or a team to train with.
I ran my first road race in the spring of 1976, and my first marathon later that year. With the exception of a few injuries, I haven’t stopped. I have kept a running logbook since 1976, and it tells me I have run over 122,000 miles in 41 years of competitive running.
Recently, I learned I rank 24th on a list of 38 runners who have run sub-3-hour marathons in five decades.

2) How do you motivate yourself to go out for a run?

Running has always been therapy for me. During my more competitive years, I wanted to train my best in order to race my best.
These days, as an older competitor, I realize that rest days are important, but if I miss an extended amount of time due to injury, I become anxious, and sometimes quite irritable.
In short, I love running so much that motivation has never really been an issue for me.

Related Article: How to Motivate Yourself to Run

3) Should I eat before a run? If yes, what do you recommend?

I adhere to the “2-hour” rule. If I plan to run at 9:00 a.m., I won’t eat anything after 7:00 a.m. I do recommend eating something prior to running as opposed to running on an empty stomach.
Keep it light, but I believe that some food in your body makes you stronger as you run.

4) Which part of my foot should I land on when running?

A distance runner should be running heel to toe, in a smooth, rolling motion. Sprinters should be on their toes; but not distance runners.
Remain relaxed, keeping your arms in the shape of the letter ‘L.’

5) Can I train for a race on a treadmill?

Ask the Running Coach with Joe Muldowney | Linked Fitness CommunityAbsolutely!
Place the grade on the treadmill on 1% to simulate outdoor conditions, listen to music or watch television to reduce the boredom, and you’re all set.
A few years ago, an American from Alaska qualified for the Olympic marathon team by logging most of her training miles on the treadmill.

6) What tips would you give for running downhill?

Relax, allow gravity to propel you, keep your arms loose, and use the downhill as an opportunity to gather strength for the uphills and the remainder of the run.

7) Should I avoid running the day before a race?

Ask the Running Coach with Joe Muldowney | Linked Fitness CommunityThat is an individual decision.
I have always run a couple of easy miles the day before a race, but a good friend of mine has run his most successful races when he takes a day or even two days off before the race.
Don’t leave your race out on the roads. Make sure you go into a race fresh and strong. If taking the day off from training the day before the race works best for you, then, by all means, do so.

8) Have you ever hit the wall in a marathon? What is the best way to avoid it?

I have run 54 marathons, and I have been fortunate to never have, “Hit the wall.” I attribute that good fortune to a training method I have adhered to for years.
When training for a marathon, it is simply not enough to turn in the long runs. Rather, my training was based on ‘quality’ long runs. For example, a sub-3-hour marathon averages out to about 6:56 per mile. If I ran four 20-milers in preparation for the sub-3-hour race, I would start with a 7:30 pace for the first 20-miler, then get close to a 7:00 pace for my final one.
Simulating race pace during your long runs can help you to avoid hitting the wall.

Related Article: Half Marathon Training: A Guide for Beginners

9) How do I know when to replace my running shoes?

Ask the Running Coach with Joe Muldowney | Linked Fitness CommunityIf your sole wears down to the white midsole area. If, when you look at your shoes, they lean inward or outward, or simply if you can feel too much of the road beneath your feet, it’s time for new shoes.
Running shoes are a runner’s most important investment. Never try to squeeze extra miles out of you shoes. Doing so is inviting an injury.

10) What is your favourite race distance?

The marathon has always been my favourite event. Running a marathon is like baking a cake. If you use the proper ingredients and mix them correctly, you will create a masterpiece.
I enjoy locking into a pace and grinding it out. The marathon can be a race of attrition, and if you’re properly prepared, you will outlast the competition.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ARRS

If you enjoy reading running statistics, I mean every conceivable running statistic, there is a site you absolutely must visit.

The Association of Road Race Statisticians, ARRS, www.arrs.net, was created by Ken Young.
ARRS focuses on elite distance running at distances from 3000-meters and longer. ARRS has a huge date base of more than 900,000 performances from more than 160,000 races by more than 35,000 elite distance runners from around the world.

Simply put, if there is a legitimate running performance or achievement that is noteworthy or elite, you will find it on the ARRS site.

The task of compiling the mountains of data has pretty much fallen on Ken Young, as the influx of race results increases. Currently, he is seeking sponsors so that he can hire a programmer to structure the online data base. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Ken at: kenyoung@wildblue.net

You can also become a member of the ARRS for $50 a year. Members receive 50 issues of the Analytic Distance Runner, which is distributed to members through email, on a weekly basis. The newsletter contains comprehensive information about road, track, and cross country events.

Just like many road races and endurance events, the ARRS needs our support to continue to keep an accurate listing of distance running records.

Visit the site or contact Ken Young to learn more.







Tuesday, March 7, 2017

24 of 38

"I ain't old, but I've been around a long time."

From the song, "Been Around a Long Time," by Delbert McClinton.

Most days, when one opens their mail, it is filled with advertisements, political jokes or comments from friends, bills, and occasionally, something useful or informative.

On Saturday morning, as I perused my email, sipping my coffee on a cold March day, I received a message from Ken Young, president of the Association of Road Racing Statisticians. http://www.arrs.net/

The ARRS focuses on elite distance running at distances from 3000-meter and longer. Many of the statistics been generated from the ARRS database which has more than 900,000 performances from more than 160,000 races by more than 35,000 elite distance runners world-wide.

Mr. Young informed me that I earned 24th place on an all-time list of runners who have broken the 3-hour marathon mark for 5 different decades. http://www.arrs.net/TR_5Decades.htm

Indeed, I ran my very first 26.2-mile race at the Harrisburg Marathon in Pennsylvania, in November 1976, where I turned in a time of 2:49:06. In November 2010, I ran a time of 2:59:01 at the Philadelphia Marathon.

Following are my best times for each decade.

21 Nov 2010   2:59:01     Philadelphia PA/USA       Philadelphia
17 Apr 2006   2:55:33ax   Boston MA/USA             Boston
20 Apr 1992   2:33:52a    Boston MA/USA             Boston
18 Apr 1983   2:22:54a    Boston MA/USA             Boston
17 Apr 1978   2:29:21a    Boston MA/USA             Boston

Yes, I've been around a long time. But it's been a pretty good run.



Friday, February 17, 2017

ALMOST HEAVEN!

"Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River."

Take Me Home, Country Roads--John Denver

Morgantown, West Virginia is a magical place. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountain range, along the Monongahela River, the city of about 31,000 residents swells from August to May with the arrival of students from around the world who attend the famed West Virginia University.

Football and basketball dominate the West Virginia University scene. In fact, the University's basketball arena bears the name of perhaps it's most famous alumnus, NBA legend, Jerry West.

Since 2015, however, this small, friendly city, with a big-city atmosphere has become known for another athletic endeavor, and people are beginning to take notice.

On September 23, the third annual Morgantown Marathon will be contested.

Morgantown is a city of rolling hills, so if you're looking for a pancake-flat marathon, this race is not for you. But the Morgantown Marathon is a unique, runner-oriented race that will both challenge and motivate you, as you run through all seven wards of the city, past festivals, bands, and enthusiastic spectators.

For many runners, qualifying for the Boston Marathon is a major goal. If you hail from a region where the geography is flat, the hilly Boston Marathon course can be devastating. Running a race like the Morgantown Marathon is excellent preparation for a course like Boston.

Temperatures in the 50s and 60s during September, along with plenty of shade, are both beneficial to marathon runners, and are featured at the Morgantown Marathon.

If you're looking for a challenging marathon course, a race that is well-organized with many amenities, cheering neighborhood crowds, and breathtaking scenery, you owe it to yourself to place the Morgantown Marathon on your running bucket list.

And if you're not quite ready to tackle the marathon, consider the 'Morgantown Thirteener' Half Marathon.

The out and back course will take you through the city's neighborhoods, keeping you motivated with festivals, bands, and cheering spectators.

Or, you can run the Mountain Mama 8K race. This event begins at the WVU Coliseum, courses through city neighborhoods, and back to the coliseum. The race will kick off the 3rd Annual Morgantown Marathon weekend experience.

For additional information, check out the race website: www.morgantownmarathon.com, go to the Morgantown Marathon Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter @MotownMarathon.

Hope to see you at this great marathon event.












Tuesday, February 7, 2017

7 FOR '17

Following is an column that appeared in today's Republican Herald newspaper, published in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

We are a little over a month into a year that, thus far, hasn’t been too bad for runners. Temperatures have been relative mild and snowfall has been minimal.

As you embark on your training for this calendar year, I would like to offer seven tips for ’17 that should make your running more productive and enjoyable

1. WRITE IT DOWN- I believe it is essential to keep an accurate log of your workouts. I've done so for over forty years. Write your workouts in a log/date book, on your computer, or on a calendar. Write a Russian novel, or keep it brief. However you choose to do it, writing it down allows you to study what works and what doesn't work for you, why you ran great or poorly, and any changes in workouts that may have caused you injury.

2. SPEED-We all love to get out there to take in the scenery, listen to music, or enjoy a workout with friends. But, once a week, on weeks when you're not racing, go to your local track or stay on the road, and run something fast. Intervals or tempo runs are fine, but if you want to race faster, speed work is a must.

3. GO LONG-Whether you are planning to run a 5K or a marathon, a weekly long run is essential. If you're running a 5K, your long run may be 6-8 miles; whereas for a marathon it could be 20 miles. (but not every week) Now here's the key. LSD, long, slow distance, is meaningless. Make your long runs count. If you are aiming to run a race at an 8:00 pace, run your long runs at an 8:30-8:45 pace. Long, slow distance makes long, slow runners.

4. PUMP IT UP-Running is great exercise from the waist down. Too many runners, however, neglect their upper bodies. Two or three times a week, design a 20-30 minute upper body lifting regimen that features low weight and high repetitions. Build strength, not bulk, so when your legs tire, your upper body can carry the day.

5. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY-Take a rest day if you feel a specific pain rather than soreness. Resting when the pain or illness occurs will keep you from missing much more time if the condition worsens.

6. SAVE YOUR MONEY-Stop racing so much!! Your body needs time to heal. If your goal is to run more races than anyone else, by all means, race every weekend. But if you like EARNING your hardware, by winning age group awards or more, then target and select your races and make them count. Quality, not quantity goes the distance.

7. ENJOY-Run a beer race, crawl under the barbed wire, dress in a tutu, do a zombie run. Keep it fun. Does this contradict the aforementioned Rule #6? Not at all. Select your races, but keep your running fun. Go to big races, but support small races. Both in training and racing, keep it fun, and you will enjoy this sport for a long, long time.


Have a happy and healthy 2017.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

QUANTITY OR QUALITY?

Back in 1976 when I began my road racing career, I sometimes was forced to drive several hours to find a race.

Today, on any given weekend, I am able to locate several races within 45 minutes of my doorstep.

And that's a good thing.

I think.

Through my personal contacts and posts on various social media outlets, I hear about folks running back-to-back marathons. "Festivals," where one can remortgage the home and run a 5K, 10K, AND a half marathon on the same weekend. More and more races, all willing to take your bucks, while you water down your times and risk injury.

If you slow down, chances are you won't slow down.

Pick your races carefully.

If you are competing in more than two races a month, your times are suffering and your risk of injury is increasing.

Select fewer races and aim higher.

It's January, and in most places, it's cold. Dress properly, log big miles, and run one, yes one race, during the month.

Increase to two races in February, and continue with that schedule throughout the year.

If you plan to run a marathon or a half marathon, don't overrace during the month before the event; then, allow your legs to heal after the race. If you run a marathon, it takes one day for each mile of the race for your body to completely heal. In other words, you should wait a month before you race again.

Racing too much may increase your medal count, but it will inflate your times.

In the end, quality eclipses quantity every time.

Race less and your times WILL improve.

And, if you want an inexpensive, personal training plan, check out my gigs on Fiverr. www.fiverr.com. Go to Health and Fitness, and check out my Running Shorts training plans.