Monday, January 30

World Marathon Majors

The world's five premier international marathons--the Boston Marathon, the London Marathon, the Berlin Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, and the New York City Marathon--have joined forces to collectively represent the top echelon in the sport of marathon running. These five events will now be known as the World Marathon Majors.

The directors of the five races will launch the World Marathon Majors Series this spring at the 110th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17. The series will culminate at the 2007 New York City Marathon on November 4 with the award of a total $1 million prize purse split evenly between the top male and female series finishers.

In addition, over the two-year scoring period, the world's best marathoners will earn points when they finish among the top five places at the individual WMM races, the IAAF World Marathon Championships, and the Olympic Marathon.

"This is one of the most significant changes in the history of our sport," said Dave Bedford, race director of the London Marathon. "The World Marathon Majors Series marks the start of a new era of growth and excitement for our sport."

"The World Marathon Majors marks the first time in the sport's history that the world's top five races have joined together for the common good and promotion of the sport by creating a unified global circuit of the sport's best and most prestigious 26.2-mile championships," said Guy Morse, executive director of the Boston Marathon.

The announcement of the WMM Series was made in joint news conferences in Boston and London and included the endorsement and backing of many of the world's best athletes, including world record-holder Paul Tergat of Kenya and Olympic marathon silver medalist Meb Keflezighi of the United States.

"Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Champions hip are to golf," said Mary Wittenberg, race director of the New York City Marathon. "Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events."

After the WMM Series commences this spring at Boston and at the London Marathon on April 23, the competition will continue in the autumn at the Berlin-Marathon on September 24, the Chicago Marathon on October 22, and the New York City Marathon on November 5.

Sunday, January 29

Sunday Stroll

Today after church the beautiful blue skies and the moderate temeratures were just too alluring so Karen and I went out for a nice three-mile walk.

Afterward, I started planning the workouts I'll need to get in before I run the Country Music Marathon in April. They will include:

Foundation Runs: Steady runs at a comfortable, moderate aerobic pace

Strides: 20-second relaxed sprints with 40-second jogging recoveries.

Long Runs: Twelve to twenty mile runs done at the same pace as the foundation runs.

Hill Repetitions: Uphill running intervals done at near maximum intensity with two-minute jogging recoveries.

Fartlek Runs: Foundation runs with scattered 30-second bursts at one-mile race pace.

Tempo Runs: Steady runs at a 10K race pace sandwiched between a long warm-up and cool-down.

Speed Intervals: One-minute running intervals done at one-mile race pace with three-minute active recoveries.

Lactate Intervals: One to three-minute running intervals done at VO2 max pace with jogging recoveries of equal duration.

Hopefully, my schedule will cooperate and I'll actually get the time to prepare like I really need to in order to finish well.

Saturday, January 28

Context Is Everything

If it weren't for the fact that I am supposed to be training for a marathon in three weeks, I'd be happy with my eight mile run total today (one this morning and seven this afternoon). And my six-day total of thirty-four miles would ordinarily have made for a very good week. Context is everything.

Friday, January 27

Short Long Run

The plan was to get in a good long run today. But, because of meetings and other scheduling conflicts, there just wasn't enough time for an honest-to-goodness long run. So, I settled for a sort-of long run, a short long run of just seven miles. But, it looks like I'll have some extra time tomorrow between obligations so I am going to try to squeeze in a few more then.

My Austin Marathon training has turned into a fiasco--I'm just three weeks away and I have not done any serious long runs, tempo training runs, or speed work since late November. Nevertheless, I am going to give this a go and see what happens. Pray for me!

Thursday, January 26

Junk Again

OK. The plan is to try to get in a real training run tomorrow morning early--despite the forcast for cold, overcast skies. But, I wanted to warm up a bit and see how my legs felt following the two longish runs earlier this week. So, I sloughed through three more junk miles.

Tuesday, January 24

A Bit More Junk

Two days in a row! This is a record! For the past two months--since the St. Jude Marathon--my schedule has prohibited me from stringing together two training days in a row. Until today. They were still junk miles, but those seven junk miles convinced me that I can probably still do the Austin Marathon in three weeks--albeit slowly and with much decrepitude. I am encouraged.

Monday, January 23

Junk Miles

All the training guides warn against trying to get in "junk miles." In other words, they aren't real keen on mileage undertaken just for the sake of mileage. Part of the reason is that junk miles increase the risk of injury. In addition, junk miles tend to be unplanned and serendipitous--and thus, they are not a part of a balance training plan.

The thing is, when no balanced training plan is actually possible due to persistent scheduling conflicts, junk miles are better than no miles at all. So today, I cobbled together nine junk miles--which was glorious indeed.

Saturday, January 21

Another Three

After a long and tiring weekend meeting, I was able to get in a quick three miles. Nothing special, just trudging through.

Thursday, January 19

Four Essentials

According to most experts, there are four essential elements for marathon training: endurance, strength, speed, and stamina. Endurance is the training base of distance, distance, and more distance. Strength is the added dimension of anaerobic athleticism. Speed is, of course, the rapidity of stride turnover. Stamina is the ability to maintain that stride turnover for extended periods of time.

Good form in preparing for a marathon demands different types of workouts for each of these essential elements. In other words, it is not enough to simply "run a lot."

The problem is that busy schedules tend to mitigate against anything and everything except sporadic road work. And that makes for bad marathoning.

Unable to focus on any of the four essentials, at least I got in three lackadaisical miles today.

Tuesday, January 17

Catch As Catch Can

I've very nearly given up hope of getting back on track with my training plan for the Austin Marathon in February. So now, I just squeeze in any kind of run whenever and wherever I possibly can. Today, I snatched a few minutes out of the crowded hours of my day to get in a treadmill five-miler at the YMCA. Tomorrow is fully scheduled with wall-to-wall appointments so I know I won't get to run then. Friday is just as bad. I am going to see what I can do about possibly getting in another quick jaunt on a treadmill Thursday and then maybe have a short morning run on Saturday before launching into a very busy meeting schedule for the rest of the weekend. Whew! Maybe, just maybe, next week can be a little better.

Saturday, January 14

Cold Catch Up

With my training plan really on the ropes, I knew that if I got a chance today, I'd need to get in a little catch up running. The day dawned cold, snowy, and windy. Not good. But, by this afternoon the sun was out and the sky was blue. It was still cold and windy, but I bundled up and got in a good five-miler. I didn't exactly catch up. But, it certainly was better than nothing.

Thursday, January 12

I'll Take What I Can Get

For some rather inexplicable reason, my run yesterday left me a little sore. So, I took it really easy today with a "Gallowayed" three-miler. We're supposed to have cold, windy, and wet weather tomorrow, so I knew I had to get in something today because it may be a while before I can run again.

I'm supposed to be training for a half marathon in a month. Because of my schedule and the peculiar providences of life, the training plan I'd set up weeks ago is pretty well shot, so if and whenever I can get in a few miles, I'll just take what I can--with gratitude.

Wednesday, January 11

Road Therapy

When the vicissitudes of life intrude on the best laid plans of mice and men (as is wont to be the case on an almost daily basis) I have found that I can either fret, fume, and fulminate or I can run.

Today, laboring under a great weight, I chose to run. Twice. Nine miles total.

The running doesn't alter the circumstances of our sundry adversities. But, it does alter us. It does alter me. And it has altered me.

I'm better now. At least, I think so. Until tomorrow.

Monday, January 9

Group Run

I've never been terribly inclined to do group runs. I do enjoy the atmosphere and camaraderie of races. But, when I am grinding out the miles in training, I have always preferred to run alone.

Until today.

Admittedly, the group run I went on today was not exactly typical. But, it sure was fun. For the first time, I ran with my grandson (well, OK; he was in a stroller). And the dogs came along too just to make the comic scene complete.

I only made it three miles--running with a stroller is not as easy as it looks (even a not-so-cheap stroller that is sort-of-designed for running). But, hey; they were three quite glorious miles punctuated with giggles, laughs, and a good deal of nonsense. What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, January 3

Trail Runs

Trail running is so much easier on the knees and legs than road running. This morning I was able to get in another three miles. And this despite the nine-miler yesterday. This evening I hit the trails again for three more. Amazingly, my legs still feel fresh--I just got out too late to get in much more than that. Tomorrow, I'll know better and go longer.

Monday, January 2

Florida Running

I am in the Flordia panhandle for a few days. The weather this morning was rainy and stormy--I was afraid that I might not be able to get in a run. But, by late this afternoon, the skies cleared and the sun shone. So, I got out to the trails and ran and ran and ran. At first, my legs felt tired and unresponsive. But, after about three miles, I really started to feel great. Finally, the sun began to slip below the horizon and I had to call it quits--after nine miles. It was a great way to start the week.