Friday, February 8, 2013

No. 17 - Training Tips for Beginning Runners

By - Bill Urbanski

As a lifelong runner, a veteran of ten marathons and countless races of lesser stature, friends who are new to the running and racing scene often ask me for advice.  So I decided this subject would make a good blog post.  And by blogging, I could pass along some things I've learned over the years to a larger audience.

Competing in the '06 Boston Marathon - my first sub-3
Whether you're a beginner or intermediate, I hope the following will be of use: 

1.         Endurance First – don’t worry about speed workouts for first few weeks. Just concentrate on building endurance. Speed will come later.

2.         Standard Daily Workout Routine – light stretch, warm up (~five min. of jogging – I do half mile at 6.5 mph, or 9:12 per mile pace), full stretch, workout, full stretch, cool down (half of your warm up), light stretch.  I am a stretch fanatic.  By increasing your flexibility, I am a firm believer that stretching decreases your risk of injury.
3.         Standard Weekly Routine – one day for long run, one day for speed, at least two others days of running. Once you establish a base of fitness, you can bump up to a five-day week, with off days following your long and speed days.  I often go to a six-day week for a few weeks to pack in miles before I taper for a big race.

4.         Long Run – pick a day and keep it consistent.  Monday is always my long run day.  A lot of runners like Saturday or Sunday.  Find what works best with your schedule.  Pace should be about 2 to 2.5 minutes slower per mile than your 5K race pace.

5.         Speed Work – I have 5-6 different speed workouts involving intervals and hills that I rotate for variety.  Racing (5k’s and 10k’s, etc.) can substitute as speed work.

6.         10 % Rule -  applies to long run and weekly total.  Do not increase a long run from one week to the next by more than ~10%.  Do not increase overall weekly mileage from one week to the next by more than ~10%.  Violating this rule could lead to injury and/or burn out.

7.         Step Back Rule – applies to long run and weekly total.  Increase your mileage over three consecutive weeks, then “step back.”  That is to say, give yourself a one week reduction of 20-25% before increasing mileage again.

8.         Keep Log – Post Log – keep track of your daily workouts – mileage, pace, resting heart rate and working heart rate.  I’ve created a couple spread sheets to chart my progress, and I like to post them in a conspicuous place so they’re always there to remind me to run.  I post mine on the closet door in my bedroom.

9.         Resting Heart Rate (RHR) – best time to check is when you first wake up, and I typically check for a full minute.  Do it once or twice a week and log it.  It’s nice to watch the numbers drop as cardio-vascular fitness increases and your heart becomes more efficient.  My RHR when in peak shape is in the mid 40’s.

10.       Working Heart Rate (WHR) – unless you have a heart rate monitor to check as you run, the best way to check is immediately after a workout.  Check pulse for fifteen seconds and multiply by four.  Do not count for a full minute.  The intensity decreases the moment you stop running and your heart will begin to recover if you wait too long and you won’t get a true WHR.  Your heart will also recover more quickly the better shape you’re in.  Log it.

11.       Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) – Easy formula is 220 minus your age.  Not good to push your WHR beyond this number.

12.       Intensity –        90-95% MHR – high intensity speed work
80-90% MHR – tempo runs
70-80% MHR – recovery runs
60-80% MHR – long runs
50-60% MHR – warm up
 < 60% MHR (other than warm-up) – might as well be walking.
13.       Nutrition – Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy.  But protein and fats are important too, as is water.  Percentage of daily caloric intake should be as follows:  Carbs 60-70%; Proteins – 15-25%; Fats – 10-20%.  If you don’t do so already, get in the habit of reading nutrition labels on food.  Learn what’s in the foods you’re eating.  Until you develop a good nutrition routine, it can be helpful to keep a log for a few days, or even a few weeks, writing down everything you eat. 

Now go out there and RUN!

Friday, February 1, 2013

No. 16 - 2012 Year in Pictures

By - Bill Urbanski

2012 provided yet another year of adventure and travel and amazing experiences with great friends, old and new... and I have the pictures to prove it:

24. July - Kayaking returned to my life in a big way with excursions on the Francis E. Walter Dam, the Susquehanna River, and more.

23. October - Friends John, Jill, and Dave proudly join the ranks of fellow marathon completers, at Scranton's Steamtown Marathon.

22. November - Return to Joshua Tree N.P. for JTreeTweetUp 4. With Patrick on belay on a 5.9 sport climb called Sexy Grandma.

21. June - Car roof surfing with brother Steve on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

20. May - Busking on the streets of Scranton during a First Friday event.

19. February - With veteran marathoners Rob and Traci at South Carolina's Myrtle Beach Marathon. Rob's finish earned him his first trip to Boston.

18. June - Departing Mt. Hood Oregon. A week-long blizzard scuttled our summit bid. Nothing but blue skies on the day we had to leave.

17. June - Posing with fellow 48-Completers at the Highpointer Convention, Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon.

16. August - Deep water free soloing - a new summer time passion.

15. April - With the family, toasting the 75th Anniversary of Urbanski Farms.

14. July - Climbing "The Nose" - following 4th of July fireworks on the Mall in D.C.

13. June - Sunrise summit of Hawkeye Point, highest point in Iowa, with Patrick. Most challenging part of our climb was trying to stay awake on the all-night drive to get there.

12. March - St. Patrick's Day gig at Fiddler's Green. Performing as the Whiskey Rebels with Rich.

11. August - Slack Lining above the Library in Mocanoqua.  My newest passion (aka, newest way to hurt myself).

10. September - training for The Dangler, a 5.10a classic at the Gunks, using my homemade climbing gym / fireplace.

9. June - Smith Rock State Park, Oregon - 3 days of sport climbing in nature's Disneyland.

8.  June - On the approach to Mt. Shasta, California, gazing in awe at all its 10,000 feet of prominence. 

7. June - the iconic Monkey Face, 5.7 A0, at Smith Rock in Oregon. We ran out of time on our bid to send this classic, but look closely for other climbers about to enter the mouth.

 6. August - Cliff jumping - the perfect way to cool off on a sweltering summer day.

5. October - Urban climbing.  Thanks David for the opportunity, and Patrick for the photo.

4. June - Smith Rock climbing crew - a great day with friends old and new.

3. November - First fire. 3-year project complete. It has been a back-breaking labor of love.

2. October - sending The Dangler, 5.10a, at the Gunks in New York. I think the black and white really captures the moment. Thanks Jason for the photo.

1. June - Atop the 14,179 foot summit of Mt. Shasta, California with Patrick.

Many thanks to Patrick Gensel, David Weaver, Jason Gebauer and others for the photos, and for sharing many of these amazing adventures with me.