Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Running Advice Installment 9

Howdy team,

The race is almost upon us. You've all done some good training and I believe you're well prepared. Just a few last minute bits of advice.

At the race expo, there will be booths of people selling running equipment, nutrition items, and miscellaneous other things. Feel free to browse and check things out but under no circumstances are you to purchase anything and use it for the first time in the race. This can be a big time mistake which you can potentially pay dearly for. We want to stay to tried and true running shoes, socks, shorts, shirts.

The same goes for pre-race breakfast. If you ordinarily eat a bagel and bannana for breakfast, do the same for the race. We don't want to be trying new foods and risk an upset stomach. Eat at least an hour before the race to allow time for the food to digest. The idea is to give yourself some energy but not so much that things are sloshing around while you're running. Try to stay hydrated the next few days and eat meals that are relatively high in carbohydrates such as pasta, fruits, and vegtables. Don't forget to incorporate basic proteins such as chicken and fish. Your body will need some protein to assist in rebuilding from the rigors of the race.

The night before the race try to go to sleep at a reasonable time. It is also important to get a good night's sleep over the next couple of nights so that your sleep resevoir is well stocked.

The night before the race, get your race gear in order, lay out socks/shoes, shorts, etc. Pin your race number to the front of your shirt. (putting it on the back labels you as a neophyte ;) Do not wear the race t-shirt during the race. This is sacreligious. You'll also have a timing chip to attach to your shoe lace. You can either unlace one of the eyelets and put the timing chip on the inside of the shoe or use the plastic attacher to securely attach it to the shoe lace. I'd probably recommend the latter as you'll need to give it back at the end of the race and won't feel like bending down and digging around with your shoe. People will be there to assist you with this.

On the day of the race, plan to get to the starting line a minimum of 30 minutes prior to race time (7:00 am). Feel free to do some light stretching and jogging to warm up. However, don't let the large numbers of people doing their own thing intimidate you and get you doing something you're not used to. Just treat the race like a regular workout. Do whatever you would to prepare for a workout.

There will be lots and lots of runners there. You have prepared and deserve to be there as well. Be confident and visualize yourself striding purposefully along during the race.

At the start of the race, there will be several groups seperated out. Just settle in to whichever group you are assigned to and make friends with someone around you. Be careful as you approach the starting line as this can be one of the more dangerous points of the race due to the massive amount of people trying to get going. The key here is to stay on your feet. When I ran cross country races, I always repeated to myself at the beginning "don't fall, don't fall." The temptation can exist at the beginning to zoom out of the gate and zip along. Resist this urge. It is much better to go a bit slower at the beginning and then have energy later on than to go fast for the first couple miles and die at the end. You'll have plenty of time to settle into your groove as the race progresses.

Speaking of grooves, make it your own and not someone elses. While running with others and focusing on someone's back in front of you can be helpful, it is important that we not let them dictate our pace. Just monitor how your body is feeling throughout the race.

Water/Sports drink stops will be throughout the race. One good way for connecting with a volunteer is to make eye contact with them and initiate the hand off. Try to say thank you if you remember, volunteers make the race world go round. Pinching the cup so that it makes a spout is a useful technique which will allow you to continue running while drinking. Feel free to use this time as a brief walking break as well. If you don't need the whole cup, you are welcome to throw it on the ground. They will have a crew to pick these up after the race.

At some point towards the end of the race, there will be photographers taking pictures. Be sure to smile, or look intensely focused, whichever is your preference. :) You'll want to preserve this memory.

At the end of the race keep walking to avoid cramping and be sure to drink water and/or sports drink to replenish supplies. If you are so inclined, you may want to schedule a massage for Monday when you get back. It is better to wait a couple days to allow some of the deep tissue muscle damage to repair. Light massage is ok if you would like right after the race.

I am proud of all of y'all. You've done great work in your preperation. If anyone has any questions please feel free to give me a call. During the race I'll be out on the course cheering for you somewhere. Go team!
Happy running,

Coach Andrew

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Word of the Day- April 23, 2006

agog \uh-GOG\, adjective: Full of excitement or interest; in eager desire; eager, keen.

The runner's were agog with their new found athletic prowess resulting from intensive training.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Running Advice Installment 8

As you engage your long run this weekend, it would be a good idea to incorporate drinking water and/or sports drink during the run. Hydration is a key factor when running for lengths of time exceeding much more than 20-30 minutes. This can especially come into play as we encounter warmer temperatures and consequently more perspiration. The muscles and body need a frequent renewal of liquid when pumping it out on such a regular basis.

If your route allows you to return to a central location, store a water bottle there. If not, consider stashing a few water bottles along the way or identify public places which would allow for drinking fountains (i.e. library, community center, church, etc.) Obtaining water from private citizens garden hoses cannot be endorsed in this installment. However, I won't tell if you won't tell. ;)

During the race, there will be water stations along the way with cups of water and/or some type of sports drink. See the following webpage for details. It looks as though stations are approximately 1.25 miles apart.

You may wish to practice drinking while running by enlisting the help of a buddy to hold out a cup while you run by. I recommend taking in at least a portion of your hydration via sports drink in order to replenish glucose stores and provide a bit of a boost to the muscles. Recommended quantity and frequency is 4 oz every 15-20 minutes. Use your best judgement but keep in mind that if you are thirsty, you're already on your way to dehydration.

Over the next week, try to stay hydrated throughout the day as well by drinking plenty of water, juice, milk, or sports drink. Try to minimize the intake of caffeine as it is a diuretic and can cause more frequent trips to the rest room as well as a reduction in net hydration. Great job on all y'alls training. Only one week to go!
Happy running,

Coach Andrew

Running Advice Installment 7

Howdy team,

In this segment, we'll be briefly discussing sidestiches (aka cramping of the abdomen). It is notcertain what causes this although some theorize itcould be related to air pockets. This can be fairlyintense in pain and may feel like a knife stabbing inthe side. Essentially, there is a constriction of theabdomen and we need to stretch it out. To perform thisstretching, take a deep breath with your abdomen(belly breathing), hold for a few moments, then blowout rapidly through pursed lips (like a fish). Thishelps to stretch out the abdomen. Repeat severaltimes. If this does not seem to help, stop to walkuntil the cramping reduces. Something else to keep inmind is to limit eating immediately before running.
Happy running,

Coach Andrew

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Running Advice Installment 6

When training on hills, there are two topics to discuss, uphill and downhill. Uphill can present challenges in the sense of increased level of effort. One way to help get up a hill is to pretend you're on a bike and just keep on pedaling and cycling your legs. For some reason, this seems to help. Another tip is to avoid looking at the top of the hill, this can prove daunting and downright disheartening. Just keep your eyes straight ahead.
If you find the temptation to look up too great, instead of looking all the way to the top, try to pick out objects along the course and tie your eyes to it. Use this imaginary rope to pull yourself up the hill.

Downhill presents an entirely different challenge. While perceived effort is much less, it behooves us to be careful when running downhill. Downhill running increases the likelihood of injury due to increased pounding on the legs. A trick to maintain good form while going down hill is to kick the heels back in a slightly exagerated back kick. If you are familiar with strides that track, baseball, football, or soccer teams may perform, you may be familiar with this exercise. These concentrate the impact to the quadriceps and reduce the potential damage invoked by the downward pounding.

Downhills are not entirely bad. They can provide a few moments of rest. The key is to not allow the hill to carry you away but instead approach it in a more controlled manner. Allow the hill to pull you downward but don't let the hill own you. Own the hill. Up and Down. :)

A side note on a somewhat related subject. Running behind another runner can be beneficial by allowing that runner to set the pacing and cut the wind. This helps a good deal psychologically and can help to pull/push you along when feeling less than fresh and feeling the burn. Focus your eyes on the middle of the person's back and just stick with them. Clearly, you should not allow them to completely dictate your pace but it can be a useful technique for persevering.
Happy running,
Coach Andrew (Dre)

"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 3:14


I am convinced that prayer is powerful and that it is a means to truly communicate with God. It helps place my heart and mind in a different attitude which can both humble and lift me up at the same time. I may be frustrated or confused but coming to the altar possesses a way of breaking me to the point where God can begin His work. How great is our God. Let His work continue and breakdown all pride and selfishness in me.

One thought that occurred to me after the prayer walk at church on Saturday is to begin praying for people I come into contact with whether it be for a few moments or something on a more long term basis.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Banking Some Per Diem

If traveling, and the entity which is sponsoring your trip is willing to pay per diem, it is possible to come home with some extra cash. On top of the fact that you do not need to purchase food at home, you also receive this money. So even if you do not bring home additional cash, you save the opportunity cost of purchasing food. A bit of frugal spending can leave your bank account a bit healthier. One other nice feature of per diem is that it is not taxable. So, assuming the taxpayer was in the 25% tax bracket and brought home $100 during a trip. This would be the equivalent of $125 gross pay. Did someone say bling?
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