Archive for March, 2012

Running Weather

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 29, 2012 by activerunner

Spring is in the air! At least on some days.  Utah weather tends to change every 15 minutes.  We had Davis District Championships on Wednesday and Thursday and the weather was constantly changing.  For a few hours the sun peeped through the clouds, the next few hours there was wind and a few drops of rain, and then it just got cold!  I laughed, but felt a little bad for my runners.  It always seems the wind decides to pick up during a distance event.  can’t the weather just make up it’s mind?  But my runners stick it out through all kinds of weather.

Watching distance runners is actually quite comical.  You see them start out strong and fast, trying to get a good position in the pack.  Congrats! One lap down only 7 more to go… What! Are you serious??  You see their facial expressions go from strong and confident to agony and exaustion.  I remember being totally confident before specific races, “I have been training for this my whole life! I’m amazing!!” but half way through the race I’m thinking… “Oh why? Why do i put myself through this??”

Quite possibly running is like the weather.  at one point you feel like you can run forever…  at the other you feel like you are going to die a slow and painful death, yet you push through the overflow of emotions and finish the race.  At that point you feel exhaustion, pain, proud, and exhilarated all at the same time.  can’t you make up your mind? Bravo to those who do run in all types the weather… seems you’ve made up your mind to stick it out no matter what.

The Benefits of Laziness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by activerunner

Laziness… we all have characteristics of laziness.  Some, more than others.  Whether you’ve slept in past noon, skipped class to play video games, or slacked off at track practice, I hate to tell you this, but you are guilty of being lazy.  I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of all three of these examples.  Good thing there are many, many benefits of laziness. 

If you agreed with that last statement… I would like you to name one.   Unfortunately a lot of people feel that way or in my opinion are just trying to justify themselves.  I recently read an article on the benefits of being lazy and procrastination. The Amazing Benefits of Procrastination.

According to this article your body’s natural defense mechanisms are the ones telling you to procrastinate in order to avoid harm.  The author chooses sweating as her example… which I would say isn’t the best choice for her case.  Sweating is  a natural defense mechanism in the body allowing you to work, without overheating.  The body is built to work and to move, It is not built to sit idly in front of the television set.  We have defense mechanisms that adapt to whatever work we are doing.  If you work out in the sun all day, You body produces more of the chemical melanin which causes your skin to darken defending against burns.  If you shovel dirt or labor with your hands your body develops callouses defending against pain and discomfort.  weight lifters, your body recruits muscle fibers to strengthen muscles so you are able to lift weight that you were unable to lift the week before.  Your body adapts to the environment so you can work, it does not instill procrastination to avoid harm, that’s called laziness.

And laziness is in the mind, not the body.  Your body can handle a lot more stress than your mind thinks it can.  Take the Navy seals for example. It takes 30 months to train a navy seal in which they undertake grueling tasks.  In week 4 of phase 1 they  endure “Hell week.”  In this phase of their training the most important task is training the mind.  Trainees are constantly in motion, cold, hungry, and wet.  They are forced to run miles and miles, then swim in hypothermia inducing water, Roll in the sand, and start all over again.  They do all this for 5.5 days on 4 hours of sleep. 

according to the article http://usmilitary.about.com/od/navytrng/a/sealhellweek.htm;

“The belief that BUD/S is about physical strength is a common misconception. Actually, it’s 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” said a BUD/S instructor at the San Diego facility. “(Students) just decide that they are too cold, too sandy, too sore or too wet to go on. It’s their minds that give up on them, not their bodies.”

Physically the body adapts to all the obstacles thrown at the training navy seals making success possible.  It is the mind that fails them.

I’m not saying you can’t relax and take it easy. There is a time and place for Idleness, but just so my track runners know, this time is not at track practice.  If you choose to do something, do it whole heartedly, do it successfully.  You can handle it.  And don’t justify your laziness! The benefits of being lazy?? They’re aren’t any!

Are you a Winner?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2012 by activerunner

We had our first track invitational this passed weekend.  And let me tell you the weather was horrible.  We had fierce blowing winds and cold temperatures! But did that stop of from having the meet? No!!  Did Layton win the meet?  No!! But overall I would say the meet was a success because we did our very best….  Sappy answer?  I used to think so.

However, my distance team did do their very best.  At the beginning of the season I had them each run a mile and an 800 timed, just to see where they were at.  I recorded their race times at the meet so lets compare shall we?

Mile 1 (03/09/12)        @ invite (03/17/12)

Erik              5:54                       5:46

Dillon          6:16                       6:01

Tanner        6:28                      6:28

Jack             6:53                      6:24

Deverey     6:48                      6:36

Abby           8:09                      7:30
now, none of these times are that impressive.  None would break a state record or even qualify for state, but I’m proud because each and every on of them either improved their times or stayed the same and that is what matters.  It doesn’t matter whether you finish first or last… of course, nobody wants to finish last…  Winning doesn’t mean anything if it’s easy.  What makes winning worth while is the work you put into getting there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at this picture.  The one in white is Deverey from Layton High.  They are running the distance medley relay, which consists of a 1200 leg, a 400 leg, an 800 leg, and a 1600 leg. This is the 1600 or mile part of the race.  This is the final stretch before the finish line.  Neither of these girls finished first…  The first place team was at the finish line a while ago.  And yet, here they are sprinting to the finish line despite the poor weather conditions, the pain they feel, the fact that they have already lost, and everything else that could cause them to quit.   Just because you didn’t finish first does not mean you didn’t win.

Now I’m a very competitive person.  I’ve always thought that if you aren’t first you’re last.  But honestly, there will always be someone who is better, faster, or stronger  than you are, no matter what you are involved in!  The point is being the best you can be.  Where were you when you first started? Where are you now? Have you improved? Are you working to continue improving?  If so I’d say you’re a winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change it Up

Posted in Training with tags , , , on March 16, 2012 by activerunner

Slow it Down, Change it Up.

Running can get monotonous sometimes.  My track runners always ask me, “what are we doing today?” “We’re going to run.. what did you think??”  Lets face it, in order to become a better runner, you’ve got to run! Go figure right? Each year towards the middle of the track season I can see that running is not as stimulating as it once was for my team.  Even I get sick of running every once is a while.  I mean, its the same thing every day.  Well it doesn’t have to be you can find ways to change it up.

I run track practice a little like this:

Monday is, Welcome back from the weekend, day.  I use this day to put in some distance.  We’ll run distances varying from 2.5 to 5 miles at a strong, challenging pace.  Yes, Welcome back team.  We are running far and we are running hard!

Tuesday is, Day before a meet, day.  basically this day is the same as monday, except with shorter distances and slower paces.  We won’t go any farther than 3 miles on this day.  The longest race in track is the 2 mile and I see no reason in making them run more than a mile farther than their longest race on the day before a meet.  The key here is to run at a controlled pace.  Runners should be able to have a conversation without getting a side ache.

Wednesday is meet day!  And hopefully everyone’s favorite day.  This day is different for every runner.  Some Runners have one event, others have two, and a few crazies have three or four! Usually with distance the event count stays relativlely low.  The 800, mile, and two mile are the three distance races in a meet.  Our first Meet is today at Kearns!  We have a weekend invitational so our schedule was a little messed up this week. Wish us luck.

Thursday is, wish it was the weekend, day.  This day is not for conversation.  The focus is on covering distance and becoming faster.  We do interval training, usually 4 rounds of 800’s or 1200’s.  the goal with interval training is to run each interval at the same pace.  The last Interval you run should be as fast as your first. This is extremely hard to do, but is effective when learning how to quicken your pace and keep it there.  Your pace is determined by what race you run.  If you run an 800, your pace should be quicker than someone running the two mile.    I also am planning on incorporating Hill training in which runners run up and down hills for a half hour.  Hill work is very effective in improving speed.  You have to work harder to get up a hill which causes running on flat srufaces easier, therefore increasing speed. 

Fun Friday is… well Fun friday.  I use this day to completely change it up.  The whole week has been dedicated to improvement in speed as well as endurance.  Whenever training for anything I believe you should take a day to change up your training routine.  Don’t get so stuck in doing the same thing over and over, this only causes monotony and dread.  This passed friday the team and I played Ultimate Frisbee.  This sport requires a lot of running, stop and go.  It’s a very good work out and yet different.  This gives runners the chance to take a break from running just to run.

There are many ways you can change up your routine, but sometimes you need to take a completely different route.  It doesn’t hurt to slow it down, change it up, completely forget about the routine and do something different, it can only help!  Do a little cross-training; go for a hike, ride a bike, take a swim, play a sport, get away from monotony.  some may think it impossible, but you can have fun and still get a great work out.

Glorified Pain

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by activerunner

This is officially my first entry in my new blog Active Runner.  The Idea to create this blog first came to me as a way to record the progress of my distance runners, I’m coaching Track at Layton High School, and by recording their progress, I’m recording my progress as their coach.  I think this blog could become much more than that.

Running isn’t the worlds most popular sport, the reasons for this I can’t be sure of.  It may have something to do with pain.  Yes, running is painful, especially when you are first starting.  but who doesn’t enjoy a good hard run?  The answer to that question is… most everyone.  But running until you puke has got to have some health benefits right? The answer to that question is… most definitely.  The saying that we have all heard our entire lives, “No Pain No Gain,” could not be more true in running.

My distance runners showed up the first day of practice and I’m not sure exactly what they were expecting.  A few of them ran for me last year so they may have had a better idea. I asked, out of the group, how many of them had been running during the winter season, the answer I received was zero.  Now I’m not such a mean coach as to make them all run until they puke on the first day.  Not one of them would return if I did. but, whatever work out I devise for these so called “runners”, they are going to feel pain.  Why? because the are all out of shape!

Now the first week of practice is done and over with and we are in the middle of the second.  My runners are in much better shape now.  but guess what, that doesn’t mean the pain is at an end.  In order to improve in running you’ve got to push until it hurts.  in order to improve your distance, you’ve got to go longer than you have ever gone before, which causes pain.  In order to improve speed, you’ve got to go longer, as well as, harder than you have ever gone before, which causes more pain.

Now I realize this article is probably scaring you.  So lets move on to the good stuff, the “Gain” part of running.  Seeing your times and distances improve each week is one gain.  Seeing your body transform from flab to fit is a life changing one!  Running outside in the sun and enjoying nature is another.  And the gains keep coming; running a 5K without dying, setting a personal record, winning your first race, entering races you never thought possible, and learning to love running because you are now stronger and can handle the pain are all gains you can accomplish.  I have accomplished quite of few gains on that list and I used to despise running.  I was a lot like some of my track runners.  I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started.  My coach at Layton High (Joe Losik) pushed me harder than anyone has ever pushed me before and that has made all the difference.  Never did I think while in high school track that  I would become the new head track coach one day.  I Never thought I run again after track ended.  I now run every day and love it.    I personally think those gains out weigh any pain I felt towards the sport.