Monday, August 30, 2010

Knee Exercises

I have been asked a few times by people who believe they suffer from runner's knee what exercises I do for  my knee, so I decided to post on the subject.

Hills

I made a commitment not too long ago to do more training runs on hills, and in fact to do some interval training on hills, but I have largely failed to follow through. Some of that has been due to a series of races I registered for, and some of it has simply been that I sort of have a routine in which I do a day of speed work a day of tempo work, and mostly recovery, mid, and long runs otherwise.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

So long ye hitch in my giddyap

First off, I'd just like to point out that I used the correct spelling of "gitty up" in the title of this post. Raise your hand if you knew that... Good, a few of you. Now, what is all the hubbub (another correct spelling) about? The twightlight of my discontent, of course.

Photo by Ian Sanderson 2004. Used under Creative Commons License.

I can sense a change in the winds and it's time to hoist my mainsail, set the spinnaker, and sail away (that was for those of you who like nautical metaphors). In other words, that sucking sound that was the vacuum in my race schedule after my knee injury leading up to and during the GTIS Half Marathon has ceased. Now, as I prepare to start running again after a couple of weeks of recovery, it's time to consider just what races I should put back on my schedule.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Patience. A virtue? I wouldn't know

I have tried to be patient while my knee recovers from whatever it is I did to it in the weeks leading up to and during the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon. Just to recap (skip the rest of the paragraph if you already know), I started having some pain around my kneecap, did some exercises, and found that the pain was alleviated, but then I had a new pain, in a new location toward the inside of my knee, but it seemed to occur only late in my runs, and I could run through it, and then be fully recovered by the next day. So, I slowed down on my training and took extra time off between runs leading up to the race. In the race, the pain returned once again and suddenly became excruciating at the beginning of the 13th mile.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Workout? Get it any way you can

Being injured lately, and unable to run, I have turned my sights to other types of workouts that I can use to keep myself in shape, so I don't lose too much condition. Bicycling is an obvious alternative that I have fully embraced, but because the weather is cooling down somewhat again and the grass is going I may have other options.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Enforced cross training and the geriatric chick magnet

While my knee convalesces, my wife and I have been cycling together a little. It’s my first cycling since the knee injury, so I cycle at a much more acceptable pace for my wife, as I try to take it easy. That’s a good thing. Also good are the excuses that Fort Collins gives us to ride our bikes. This weekend, we made a trip each day to Old Town to see local musicians (and national artists) at Bohemian Nights at New West Fest. The festival was also an excuse to flex my legs with some nice easy walking—also a good thing.

The sad story of my knee to date

Ok, it's not really that SAD, per se, hopefully it's just a temporary disappointment.

I enjoy riding my bike, but I have spent much less time on my bike since I started running more seriously again last year and training for foot races. In a way that's to bad. I did have some injuries with the intense bike training I was doing last year, but I have had many more as my body adjusts to running sometimes as much as 50 miles/week recently. The latest injury was in my left knee. It started with pain around and behind the kneecap. I know what that is, because I've had it before (petellofemoral pain), and some exercises leading into the half marathon I ran last weekend (Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon) helped me deal with it fairly well.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Active recovery: all the cool kids are doing it

Recovery after a hard or very long workout during which muscles fibers suffer the microtears the stimulate the bodies healing process to strengthen the tissue, is important. If an athlete is very sore, some people believe it's better if they rest entirely until the soreness has abated, and this makes good sense, because the degree of soreness may be related to the amount of microtearing that has occurred during a hard workout. If the soreness is miles, an athlete may instead choose to do what is called "active" recovery, which is they may choose to do a very easy run instead of resting completely on an off day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Running aware with the wildlife

I decided to write this, because I post my workouts regularly on a website called dailymile and in the description of each of my running or cycling workouts, I make sure to note any interesting interactions with people and/or wildlife I have while I'm out on my run. In Colorado, it is not uncommon to run into wildlife, so these encounters happen frequently.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Negative splits aren't for me... Yet.

You usually hear that negative splits are the way to go. Run the second half of the race faster than the first half of the race. It's said to be a good strategy when competing with others for a victory, and is the favored strategy for athlete's vying for the top spot on the podium. But seriously... negative splits are not for me - at least not at my current level of fitness.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon: Report and Review

Preface
The 32nd Annual Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon was held on August 14, 2010, to benefit the Clear Creek Booster Club for the youth at Clear Creek Middle School and High School.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Listen to your body? No, "sense" your body!

When you're an athlete at any level, you hear people telling you to "listen to your body." I've been trying to do that and you know what? I'm done with it. The only time I ever hear anything from Mr. body is when Mr. body has something to complain about.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Patellofemoral Schmatellofemoral

Well, here I am again... it's about a week before my next kind of big race, the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon (GTIS) on 8/14/2010. Like several shorter races earlier this year, this is kind of a big one for me in that I've specifically geared my training for it. For 5 weeks, I've been in a build-up for the event, but about a week ago I started getting some patellofemoral pain. It seems as though every race I plan for is preceded by some sort of injury or nagging pain that shakes my confidence leading into the event.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fort Collins Human Race 10K: Report and Review

Preface
The Fort Collins Human Race includes both a 10K and 5K race and two kids races sponsored in 2010 by the Raintree Athletic Club, in Fort Collins. The proceeds support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County, Colorado.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Similar strategies but varying tactics in tapering for races

It is common practice to taper one's training during the final days/weeks before a race. The length of the taper corresponds to the length of the race, generally. There are different philosophies and explanations for the taper, and while some suggest during the taper the runner should cut back on speed work, so the muscles are totally healed up and strong on race day, the prevailing approach today appears to be to decrease overall mileage, while maintaining normal intensity in short and middle-distance runs at first, then closer to the race cutting back on intensity as well. This latter approach appears to make sense because aerobic capacity can be effectively maintained on two-thirds of ones normal aerobic mileage, while anaerobic mechanisms seem to require consistent higher-intensity effort to maintain.

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