Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Running with a group

My next door neighbor Paul runs with a bunch of guys in San Elijo Hills on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.  Paul has invited me to run with them a couple of times, but I hadn't ever gotten around to it.  Normally I get up and drive to work in downtown San Diego as early as possible to avoid traffic.  If I want to run, I run downtown along the water or on a treadmill in a health club.

Today, after having been sick for more than a week, I needed to go for a run and decided I could deal with a little traffic.  As it turns out, the running gods have been smiling down on me, as the group meets up a quarter mile from my house, at the end of my street.

This morning there were four runners and a dog waiting on the corner.  We set off right about 6:00 a.m. and headed south down the dirt path alongside Questhaven.  On the way, we picked up four more runners and another dog and headed into the dirt trails off Questhaven.  Chris, who recently finished a 100 mile run, led the group, which allowed me to zone out and just go with the flow.  Even though I knew exactly where I was, it's nice to have a tour guide.

This was the first time I had run with a group since my junior year of high school and I had forgotten how much I liked it.  Since I started running again a year ago, with the exception of running with my son, I've been a lone wolf runner.  I was now part of a pack, and a hardcore pack at that.

We ended up running a little over six miles, and although my legs were a little sore for not having run for awhile,  I felt good.  After the run I realized I should have done this months ago.  As a result, I encourage everyone who is a lone wolf runner, to run with a pack every now and then, as it enriches the running experience.

San Elijo Hills Running Club

Saturday, June 8, 2013

UCSD Triton Cup 5K

The Race

The UCSD Triton Cup 5K took place on June 8, 2013.  This was the first event the San Elijo Hills Running Club entered, with club members John and Zach competing under the club's colors.  Hats off to UCSD, this was a wonderful event to run in and the vibe was fantastic.  The race itself is a USAT&F certified course consisting of a relatively flat circuit that takes the runners around the campus.  I paced Zach throughout the race and he received many compliments from the other runners both during and after the race.

Lesson Learned

Zach and I started at the front, behind the eventual race winner.  I told Zach to go hard the first 100 meters, in order to get out  front and avoid the need to pass runners.  Next time, I'll need to refine my advice, as Zach sprinted the first 100 meters in probably 16 seconds.  I got caught behind a few runners and it took me a bit to catch up and tell him to slow down.  This explosion probably dented his time a bit, but Zach was still able to finish 103rd overall in 20:43.4 or a 6:41 mile pace, a personal best for Zach.

John, Kat, King Triton and Zach post-race

Lessons Imparted

Throughout the race, I provided a steady stream of instructions and motivation to Zach.  Perhaps the easiest thing a young runner can do is take the take the shortest path and find the correct line, e.g., rather than run on the outside curve, run on the inside and save a step or two.  I also encouraged Zach to let gravity help him  and to open his stride when going downhill.  To that end, I told Zach that he was in a raft and all he needed to do was float down the hill.  All in all, the purpose of the run was for Zach to have fun and become comfortable in race situations.  We succeeded on both counts and Zach and I are looking forward to running it next year.  

San Elijo Hills Running Club

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Running Books

I have read a bunch of running related books, but many of them I would not recommend.  I am interested in how to run, how to run faster, how to run without injury, how to recover, nutrition and the science of running.  The local bookstore is filled with books about how to train for a 5K or marathon, but these books only offer daily training volume and tables of times.

I don't see the point of following training programs like a robot unless you understand your body and the effects training has on it.  The books listed below offer training advice coupled with the science behind it.

The first book, Sports Speed, I used when I coached the girl's and boy's sprint teams for Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco for one season back in 1998.  This was my first time coaching a sport and both teams did extraordinarily well.  I credit the success of the teams on Sports Speed, as I relied on it to create the warm-ups, plyometric drills, form drills and sprint training.  I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in running faster.   (Dintiman, George, Ward, Bob and Tellez,  Tom.  Sports Speed, Second Edition.  USA: Human Kinetics, 1998.)

The second book, Lore of Running, is the one book you should buy if you could only own one book on long distance running.  It delves heavily into the science of running, including muscle fibers and oxygen uptake, as well as how to train for specific races.  It also provide a history of running's best runners and their respective training routines.  (Noakes, Tim.  Lore of Running, Fourth Edition.  USA: Human Kinetics,  2001.)

San Elijo Hills Running Club

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Trail Etiquette

This morning I was running on flat single track and encountered two mountain bikers coming the other way.  The mountain bikers, contrary to the International Mountain Bicycling Association's Rules of the Trail decided not to yield and road straight at me.  As a former bike messenger, mountain biker, roadie and track cyclist, this type of behavior annoys me, but I've come to expect it.

The question then becomes do you continue running straight at them as I did, or do you yield?  As the two riders came an inch from hitting me, along with their unleashed dog in an area where no dogs are allowed (I own two dogs), I opened my mouth, as I generally do, and told them, "you are supposed to yield to runners."  No response came back, but I then spent the next few miles reflecting on my behavior.

Luke, one of my two dogs.
At the time, I was wearing my San Elijo Hills Running Club singlet and therefore representing the club. As I continued to run, I mulled over what the club should represent: outlaw runners or courteous runners?

Although it pained me, I came to the conclusion that members of the club should strive to be courteous runners.  If 40 year old rookie mountain bikers won't yield the trail, step aside, let them pass and live to run another day.

San Elijo Hills Running Club