Sunday, February 21, 2016

Some General Updates and Awe about Running under the Whitehurst Freeway

It's been a busy week, to say the least.  From time to time, you'll likely see me making passing references to my teaching career.  It's a career that I very much enjoy, and I tend to use every available opportunity to talk (or write) about it.  This past week--the week of Valentine's Day '16--I received a big stack of research paper drafts that required my commentary.  I enjoyed reading them--I always enjoy reading student work--but doing so kept me away from this blog for a bit.  Sorry for the gap in posting.

Since the last time that I posted, the Olympic Marathon Trials happened.  The DC area made an incredibly strong showing in the women's field.  Congrats to all!  (We knew this would happen, by the way.)

Also, Kieran O'Connor's excellent performance at the trials eradicates any excuses that the rest of us could ever conjure for training on the treadmill.  Below is a Google image of DC's Whitehurst Freeway--that road with the words "Georgetown Waterfront Park" overlaid on it.  Imagine running 24.5 miles back and forth underneath that in a snowstorm.  I bet your gym's treadmill looks like a sunny paradise right about now.

We're also increasing our list of blog contributors.  Wilson Komen will very soon begin posting here on a regular basis, and we also expect to be posting training updates from our other runners.  The Boston Marathon is fast approaching, and we have a few runners currently training to compete in it.  As a result, the next few months will be exciting ones for Coach Kiprunning, and we're looking forward to sharing that excitement with you.

In the meantime, feel free to share your excitement with us.  Comment as you would like, and email us with tips, accomplishments, whatever.  We'll be thrilled to hear from you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Treadmill Training

It's February, which means that for a lot of us, it's cold outside.  And dark.  And cold.  And it will be this way forever . . . it seems.

My high school, located just outside of Worcester, Massachusetts, had an indoor track team, but yet we didn't have an indoor track.  As a result, I spent lots of time in the frigid New England air running simulated 400 repeats in the school parking lot, because the outdoor track was covered in snow. Those days were not fun at all, and they permanently damaged my motivation for running outside in the winter months.

Though I still make it outside quite regularly on these cold, cold days, I do defer to the treadmill quite a bit as well.

Sometimes, of course, this adjustment is necessary.  I was forced to log 15 treadmill miles, on a single long run, last winter when the bike paths were still covered in ice (my personal treadmill long run record: 19 miles).  Though runners famously employ the cute term "dreadmill" for this kind of work, I actually don't think that treadmill running is--or always has to be--horribly boring.

Courtesy of Runner's World, here are some suggested treadmill workouts that can keep you active, motivated, and focused during these interminable winter months.  As a supplement, also check out their article on the 1% treadmill incline debate, keeping in mind, of course, that if you're doing a hill workout on a treadmill, this particular debate is irrelevant.  All the more reason to do a hill workout on a treadmill, I guess.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Long Run Route Compilation

One of the questions that I've always been asked about running is, "Don't you get bored?"  It's a fair question, for sure.  Honestly, the answer is sometimes, yes, I do get bored, because training for any kind of a race can become a bit of a grind from time to time.

For the most part, though, no, I don't get bored, mostly because I try to make a point of varying my long run routes, making sure to alternate terrain, so as to train as comprehensively as possible, and ensuring that I can tour different neighborhoods, state parks, national parks, etc.  Frankly, I've probably run through more of the DC region than I've driven through.

To offer our readers some assistance with varying their route options, we have launched a dedicated Long Run Route Options page.  As you'll see there, we very much invite our readers to submit their long run routes to us for inclusion on that page.  We invite submissions of route options from across the United States, and even internationally.

To submit a route, contact me at runsfishdog [at] gmail [dot] com.  In doing so, please include a link to a map of the trail, and offer a brief overview of access points and the availability of water.  The more information that we can acquire about our respective running communities--in a physical, geographical sense--the better prepared we all will be when we hit the trials or paths or roadways.

We're looking forward to hearing from you.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Safety Tips and Tweeting Owls

Though we're expecting a mild, temperate weekend here in DC--happy Super Bowl, by the way--it is still very much winter, which means that runners, joggers, bikers, walkers, all of us, really, are still working through cold temperatures, limited daylight, and potentially hazardous sidewalk and trail conditions.

It is in the spirit that we are posting a handful of links to solid safety tips for winter running and nighttime running.  Give them all a read:
Full disclosure: I was a former headphone wearer.  I've been doing this running thing for a long time, and all of us were enamored with the Sony Walkman (ever hear of that thing?), back in the 80s and 90s.  I can't stress enough how dangerous it is to run with environmental sound drowned out.  It lowers your general awareness overall, and that can be particularly problematic for busy urban areas and quiet wooded areas alike.  If you're a headphone user, I recommend the treadmill until it gets sunnier again.

Also, for the hikers among us, it is not a bad idea to employ those skills when running through dark, quiet, wooded areas, particularly late at night or early in the morning.  As goofy as it seems, I actually do make a habit of shouting or clapping or even singing (sorry, fellow trail runners) when I'm in wooded areas after the sun goes down (or before it comes up).  It's a good idea to let the wildlife know that you're around, because that's better than getting attacked.  

That owl is particularly vindictive, it seems.  He gloats on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Rising Local Running Legends

RunWashington just posted an excellent--and exciting!--article about ten local DC runners who will be competing in the Olympic Marathon Trials.

I had the privilege of seeing Susanna Sullivan rock the 2014 DC Road Runners Track Championships.  If I remember correctly (don't hold me to this), she actually asked to be excused from a night class that she was taking to get to the track and to crush a mile.  Then, she returned to class.

As a teacher of just over 15 years, I can honestly say that no student has ever asked me to be excused from class to run a 4:49 mile or to train for the Olympic Marathon Trials.  Those reasons seem like reasonable reasons to ask to be excused from class.

Give the article a read, and wish these runners well if you see them out there.