Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pfitzinger & Douglas Marathon Training in Brief

Although I’m not into following strict training plans, I’m going to at least attempt to model my training for the Colorado Marathon 2011 after one of the18 week plans by Pfitzinger & Douglas (P&D), from their book Advanced Marathoning. I chose P&D not because I think they are the best, but because I have enjoyed perusing their book, and know others who have used their plans to achieve the kinds of goals I also pursue with some success. I know still others who have used quite different plans with success as well, and should I decide to run another marathon subsequently, I may opt to try a less technical training plan and strategy. For now, let's discuss P&D, however.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

FoCo Runner Energy Bar Recipes

A couple of years ago, I worked up some energy bar recipes for longer bike rides. These bars pack a lot of calories in a small package, and can be individually wrapped and frozen for storage and use over a long period. I used them for the entire summer. They soften somewhat in the heat, but stay together well (particularly the second recipe, from what I recall). I have either vacuum packaged them, and then just tear the end off the bag and use the back as a holder while I take a bike while riding, or just packed them a long in a zip closure or other plastic bag and done the same. I also used them while hiking, and suspect they'd work work well on a long trail run, too.


Energy Bars (Sesame Nut Bars)

Ingredients 
2 c. rolled oats  

1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

½ c. dates (or raisins)
½ c. raw almonds
½ c. sesame seeds
½ c. sunflower seeds
½ c. cashews

1½ c. tahini (or natural peanut butter)
1 c. honey

1 tsp. vanilla.

Directions

  1. Combine rolled oats, unsweetened coconut, dates (or raisins), raw almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and cashews. 
  2. Separately, mix tahini (or natural peanut butter) with honey and vanilla and microwave for one minute. 
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients. 
  4. On a greased baking sheet, spread mixture into a one-inch-high rectangle and cut into 12 bars (about 550 calories each), 16 bars (about 425 calories each), 24 bars (about 275 calories each), or 32 bars (about 210 calories each)-- (if time allows, you may opt to bake at 350° F for 15 minutes before cutting the bars).
  5. Individually wrap or bag, and freeze the bars for longer storage.

Energy Bars 2 (Chocolate Coconut Peanutbutter Bars)


Ingredients 
2 c. rolled oats

1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans

½ c. sunflower seeds
½ c. almonds
1-½ c. natural peanut butter
1 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla.

Directions
  1. Combine rolled oats, unsweetened coconut, chocolate chips, chopped pecans, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and cashews. 
  2. Separately, mix tahini (or natural peanut butter) with honey and vanilla and microwave for one minute. 
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients. 
  4. On a greased baking sheet, spread mixture into a one-inch-high rectangle and cut into 12 bars 16 bars, 24 bars, or 32 bars (did not calculate approximate calories for these, but close to recipe one) -- if time allows, you may opt to bake at 350° F for 15 minutes before cutting the bars).
  5. Individually wrap or bag, and freeze the bars for longer storage.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First Marathon: Colorado Marathon 2011 here I come

What’s all the hubbub about, bub? Well ok, so most of the hubbub is in my head. What’s it all about you ask? Well ok, so I’m the one that’s asking for you… Anyway, here’s the deal. I’m registered for my first marathon. Which marathon, you ask? Ok, so that’s me asking again, but the answer is (drum roll please…), The Colorado Marathon 2011! Yay!

When I started running again in 2009, I had no plans to run a marathon. I was running mainly for fitness and to improve my cycling. In fact, I only planned to run at most a couple of times a week, and maybe do a few 5K and 10K races now and then. It only took the first 5K race to get me hooked, though, and soon I had gone from primarily cycling to primarily running, and now in a little more than a year’s time I’ve run 15 races ranging from 5K to half marathon (13.1 mile) distances and my speed and endurance has steadily improved. So, sometime during the second half of 2010, I decided it was time to shoot for 26.2, if only to see what I can do.

Over the coming few months, through The Colorado Marathon on May 1, I’ll probably have a few things to blog about, including reflections on training, support and motivation, that sort of thing. I’ll also be running some shorter races along the way to provide some basis for goals/predictions for race day. Of course, I assume this is all more interesting and exciting for me than it will be for the vast majority of potential readers in cyberspace, but what the hell… Maybe it will prove to be more interesting than I think.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spice up your workout routine with some variety

Jason Fitzgerald, from Strength Running, is convinced that variety in the types and intensities of running workouts over time is key to building endurance, strength, and speed, and I think he's onto something with this idea. He's recently released a free ebook that describes 53 different workouts for runners that can help add a little spice to the old training routine, called 52 Workouts, 52 Weeks, One Faster Runner.

The idea is simple. By using a variety of workouts, runners can emphasize different muscles groups from day to day. Workout variety may reduce injury risk immediately by allowing the muscle groups worked hardest in the previous workout, to continue their recovery, while you do another workout that emphasizes a different muscle group. It may also reduce injury risk over the long haul by helping the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones needed for strong running adapt to a higher workload so they can support higher intensity efforts without injury, and also recover more quickly afterward.

So, if you're suffering injuries or just bored with doing the same old workouts all the time without seeing the progress you'd really like, have a look at Jason's free ebook for 53 workout ideas (he included a bonus workout).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Carb Loading Recipe

Ok, this isn't strictly a carb loading recipe, but I heavily tweaked a soda bread recipe a couple of years ago to turn a typical irish soda bread into something I could call a "Holiday Soda Bread."  Here's what I ended up with:


FoCoRunner’s Irish Christmas Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4-1 cup raisins (golden are best)

1) Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 9X5 bread loaf pan.
2) Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until you have an evenly moist sticky batter.
3) Fold raisins into batter, and pour into greased loaf pan.
4) Bake for 60-70 min. Test with toothpick and increase bake time if necessary until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Keeps pretty well.

Slice hot or toast and butter. Delicious.

Take it to your Running Club's Holiday Potluck.  It'll be a hit.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Looking for speed? Maybe hills can help...

Running Uphill
This is targeted mainly at relative beginners to systematic training. People who may be doing regular aerobic base, interval, and threshold running, but who haven't yet tried hill training in any form. For them, I highlight some fairly structured hill training concepts, and then also note that this kind of structure, while helpful for some who prefer a structured program, is not an absolute necessity. Unstructured high-intensity hill running may be just as effective, and combining structured workouts with unstructured workouts might even be the best approach for some.

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