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Customizing P90X and Running.

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Friday, July 29, 2011


THE LETHAL SCIENCE OF SPLENDA: "'Splenda/sucralose is simply chlorinated sugar; a chlorocarbon. Common chlorocarbons include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride, all deadly. Chlorine is nature's Doberman attack dog, a highly excitable, ferocious atomic element employed as a biocide in bleach, disinfectants, insecticide, WWI poison gas and hydrochloric acid."

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Young lad in my running club just completed the Ironman Triatholon in Lake Placi New York

The Tri included  a 2.5 mile swim, a 120 mile bike ride and a full marathon!

Tim Glickman 11:37:27


777   23      Marlborough MA USA

SWIM    BIKE        RUN        OVERALL     RANK      DIV.  POS.

1:13:29   5:53:29   4:17:41         11:37:27          51              3      12
Congrats to Tim on a great job!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Story of A Runner Alanis Morrisette

I loved her in 95 when I was divorcing and angry, alone and then newly in Love!
What a record!!

I'm a Runner: Alanis Morissette

The rock star talks about her un-rock 'n' roll lifestyle while training for her first marathon.

By Dana Meltzer Zepeda

From the January 2010 issue of Runner's World

Occupation: Singer/Actress

Age: 35

Residence: Los Angeles

Tell me about the marathon you're doing.

I've been doing a lot of different cross-training and kickboxing and Capoeira and kite surfing, and I've just really been back to what I consider my original athletic self. And while I was doing that, I just felt in such great form that I had always wanted to do a marathon. I've done a few triathlons over the years and just thought it was time to do a marathon. I don't think I would have been able to commit to the training unless it was infused with some sort of service. If my star of Bethlehem is some sort of service, then I feel like I can push through some of the more difficult moments. I decided to do it on behalf of the National Eating Disorders Association. I think there is no better way to invite a human being to view their body differently than by inviting them to be an athlete, by revering one's body as an instrument rather than just an ornament. It's a really great way to reorient how you see your body so you can see it as this incredible, awe-inspiring machine that you need to fuel well in order for it to function.

Are you raising money for the charity? Are you getting sponsors?

I'm just raising awareness. I'll be putting a link up on my site and, to whatever degree people want to contribute, I'll invite them to do so. But just really raising awareness, not unlike what you and I are doing right now. I've just always felt it's an incredibly empowering thing, particularly for young women, to capitalize on their coordination and their strength. It's a very empowering thing to feel strong in your body.

What's the name of the marathon you're training for?

It's the Bizz Johnson Marathon. It's about an hour outside of San Francisco. It's a trail run. My twin brother [Wade] and I actually decided we wanted to do it in the same week, which is not very unusual for us because we're very telepathic. We definitely have that twin thing. Within five days of each other, we both sent e-mails to each other saying, "Let's do a marathon together." He's 12 minutes older than me and apparently we're doing a marathon together. We literally hadn't spoken about it once any other time so we just cracked up at that. He did some research. We were investigating the Big Sur Marathon. That's one of my favorite places on the planet. But then he found the Bizz Johnson one, and he said he really wanted to do one that's not on concrete. So I, of course, jumped at the thought of being a little gentler on the knees.

How does training for the marathon compare to the triathlons you've done in the past?

Really, distinguishing what stamina means versus endurance. It's really about how I feel in my head and seeing the ebbs and flows of energy levels and how food directly affects my strength or sleep. With the triathlon, the smaller versions of what I was doing, I could barrel through it regardless of what my state was on any given day. For the marathon training, especially some of the longer runs—I have a 14-mile run to do tomorrow—I have to take that into consideration a good 48 hours in advance. I have to make sure I get enough sleep. I have to make sure that I'm eating properly. It's just a larger scope for me.

I read you became a vegan last year for health reasons. Are you still a vegan?

I'm about 90 percent vegan. I think veganism is really well suited for training, at least for me anyway.

How so?

There's cleanliness to how I eat now. I'm much more in tune with my body, so now that I'm so in tune based on having become a semivegan, I can tell what foods affect energy levels. I can tell when I've been eating particularly high nutrient foods or I can tell when my glycemic levels are all over the place. The detox and veganism really allowed me to tune into the subtleties of how food affects my body. It's really helped for training especially. I feel like I'm a mad scientist.

What food works best for you?

Kale is my best friend. I eat kale salad. I put kale in my smoothies, kale in my soup. Kale, kale, kale! I feel like Popeye. I love it. I definitely need variety or I get super bored, so I have to mix it up with different sauces and tahini or whatever.

Can you tell me about the book you're working on?

It's a book that can be read in a nonlinear way if you wanted but very linear as well. It talks all about health and well-being and self-care and a lot of philosophy and psychology and anecdotes and essays and humor and self-deprecating humor and tons of photos from my travel. It's kind of a philosophy scrapbook, really.

Is it targeted specifically for women or about body image?

No. I'd say if there were any people I feel I'm speaking to, it's people like me who are sensitive and creative.

Will you incorporate running into the book?

I think so. I'll definitely be talking about this marathon and likely showing a photo of it. I like to think it will be a very exciting weekend.

When is the marathon?

October 11.

That's not too far away!

Yeah. I'm scared! [Laughs]

Are you?

I'm terrified, but I'm always terrified. That's never stopped me.

Will your family come cheer you and your brother on?

I believe so. We'll be inviting them all and our close friends. I've been reading a lot about marathon training, obviously. They've been saying it's not a terrible idea to have people meet you along the way and run a mile with you. Wouldn't that be great? But I have to be able to reserve the right to turn to them and tell them I can't speak right now.

Is your brother actually in L.A. training with you or is he training somewhere else?

We met up in Hawaii. I just did an advanced yoga intensive with Eddie Modestini and Nicki Doane in Hawaii, so my brother and I did some training together there. But he lives in Vancouver, and I live here in L.A. But we support each other and champion each other online. And we'll phone each other and, when we do get together, we always run together.

How do you motivate each other long-distance?

We just get really giddy and excited when we do our long runs. He'll come home and he'll go, "I did 10 miles," and I'm like, "Right on!" For me, it's turned into such a communal experience because I have some friends here who are doing it with me as well. It's such a feat for the body. And doing strength training on the side and doing some yoga has been incredible and just doing it with people. I don't think I could do it alone. I don't think I could do it. I'm not much of an isolator and, when I do isolate, I feel less empowered.

Before I forget, when is the book you mentioned coming out and what's it called?

I'll likely continue writing it through the end of the year, so I imagine toward the end of 2010 would be a good guess.

Do you have a title yet?

I don't. I have a few of them swimming around but none that have stuck.

What's your favorite way to relax after a long run?

I am a huge fan of a nap, especially after a long run. I think recovery is such a big aspect of training. So if I can work in an hour of free time after my run, I'll do that. I have futons all over my house. Napping is next to godliness for me, so I have futons outside and in the living room and upstairs in my apartment. I live kind of communally, so there are futons everywhere. I have that 25-minute window where I need to eat or drink something super high glycemic after a super hard run, and then I eat every couple of hours at least. There's always good food.

I bet your friends love it because they can always come crash at your place whenever they want.

We crash by the fireplace or wherever we fall down. Stretching, obviously, and ice has become my best friend, which is not the first thing that I would have imagined, but ice has been huge.

You've been doing Weeds and you tour a lot. Have you had any celebrity running partners?

No. The celebrities that I hang out with usually think I'm nuts. I was just in Hawaii doing a yoga intensive and learning how to kite surf and training for the marathon, so most of the feedback I get from people who aren't doing the marathon is they think I'm a little crazy.

Yeah, wait a minute. You're a rock star. Shouldn't you be doing tons of drugs and staying up late and partying?

Yeah. I do have a philosophy that includes kind of keeping the balance. There's no "in moderation" to this for me. There is great care, but I still party and include a little debauchery and some indulgences because I have to. I wouldn't want this to turn into another opportunity for self-flagellation. It's this amazing miracle of a feat, but I don't want to go too extreme in terms of the lifestyle.

What's your favorite way to indulge and party?

I occasionally indulge in red wine, and it's fun to have medical marijuana once in while. I love making martinis for my friends, sitting around the fire and just hanging out. Sometimes I'll go dancing, but mostly it's just all about socially getting together and playing games. Going on road trips is always great.

Have you gone on any great runs recently while you were out of town?

Yeah. Running in Hawaii was pretty profound. I've done a lot of long runs in Big Sur. Those two places would probably be my favorite, and then I've had some pretty amazing runs on treadmills. What's great about a treadmill is you can run alongside anyone regardless of what all your paces are because you're all going at whatever pace you want to go at, so you get to hang out and chat with all these people and you're all running at different paces. I kind of enjoy that too for the conversation part.

Where did you run in Hawaii?

Maui and Paia. I was just running on the beach as well and at the yoga intensive with Maya Yoga. Eddie [Modestini] and Nicki [Doane] are two of the greatest yoga teachers in modern times, in my opinion, so I feel really honored to be one of their many students.

How does yoga help your running?

Yoga completely opens up my hips and stretches my hip flexors and my quads and my hamstrings, and the practice itself helps me be super present and vigilant and caring. I remember doing one yoga class and the next morning doing a half-marathon and I just flew through it. Yoga really just loosens everything up and takes care of any of the cricks and tightness for me.

Do you usually run alone or with a partner?

I run with [my friend] Leah. She actually cooks for me and she's doing all this training for me. We've worked together for many years. She was always a really great runner. That was part of the inspiration. We were running quite a bit together not training for a marathon, just kind of getting in shape together, and she was always really fast. So she kind of became my guru in a way, so I always aspire to run as quickly as her. Then, when I built endurance and stamina after a while, I was keeping up with her. That's kind of how it began.

Have you beaten her time yet?

We try not to get too competitive. We're both pretty fast now, according to our standards, of course. She's hardcore.

What did you love about running on Maui?

It's just hard to be unhealthy in Maui. The food is really great. I always felt really spent by the end of the day. I was staying right by the ocean. The lifestyle there is very relaxed and physically caring. It's kind of set up to be that way. And the reason for going in the first place was to learn how to kite surf and do yoga so the whole orientation of the entire trip was for the care of my body. And Hawaii is just one of the most beautiful places. I love the sunsets and the air and the sky. It's pretty amazing.

Any big pet peeves about other runners that drive you crazy?

I've become one so I'd ultimately be judging myself. Not yet. The runners that I'm running with are all pretty funny people, so I don't have any pet peeves yet. After I've met 150,000 of them, maybe I'll have a different opinion!

What's your favorite song to run to?

There's a lot of really unbelievable songs I really enjoy running to, so I'll send that to you. I would be so honored to know your readers were running to it too because, to me, running to music that raises my vibrations, even lyrically, it's so important to me. There's a vulnerability when I'm running. I feel like such fertile soil when I'm working out, so what I'm listening to almost takes on this whole other level of importance. I can't listen to music or lyrics that frustrate me or aren't on my wavelength because I get a little freaked out and I have to change the song immediately.

So which body part hurts the most after you finish a run?

I would say my right knee this week, but every week is a different part. After certain runs, my hamstring will hurt. My ankle will hurt. But so much of it is also eating in a way that reduces the inflammation. Sometimes you've got to rock the ibuprofen, but the longer the runs get, the more important it is to sit in an ice bath to get that inflammation down. There's a lot of great books out there. There's a book by Mark Hyman. His book is called Ultra Metabolism and he talks a lot about anti-inflammation in those books and there's a lot of stuff on the Internet, a lot of information about how to eat in a very anti-inflammatory way. Right now, I'm obsessed with anti-inflammation because my knees and my ankles are always inflamed.

But you actually take a bath in ice?

Yeah. They say for every mile you should be a minute in ice, so I've been doing that. It's not too pleasant, but you get used to it. It's quick. In and out.

Has running inspired you to write any songs?

It's inspired me because of how much music I listen to while I'm training, so yeah, definitely.

How has it inspired your lyrics? Has it changed the way you write?

There's a great empowerment that I get from running, not only from the endorphins but I think just being an athlete and being a runner, I'll get specific. Being a runner, to me, has made being depressed impossible. If ever I'm going through something emotional and just go outside for a run, you can rest assured that I'll come back with clarity and empowerment. And that's huge! I've struggled with ebbs and flows of depression and elation my whole life. So to rely on running in this way, has been a godsend for me.

Did you run in high school or when you were younger?

I was never the fastest runner of the kids, so I was more into volleyball and basketball, ping-pong, badminton. I was active in sports growing up, but I never ran. I was a hard-core swimmer for a couple of years. The training for that—seven days a week at five in the morning—was intense. Oh my god!

Does it feel like that again?

Yeah, it does. But thankfully I can get up a tiny bit later. I've had to keep some decidedly un-rock 'n'roll hours while training for the marathon. Thank god, I'm not on tour. It wouldn't be possible!

Finish this sentence. Carbo-loading to me is ...

If I have to carbo-load, I'd eat probably whole-wheat pasta with tomato sauce that I'd make myself. I really like my rye bread with my vegan cheese and anything in wraps. Whole-wheat wraps, Ezekiel 4:9 wraps, whole-wheat pasta, rye bread, those are my faves if I'm going to go for it.

How do you psych yourself up for a long run?

Sometimes I don't. Sometimes running is the last thing in the world that I want to do, but I just tie my shoelaces, put on a really tight bra, and get out there like a little robot. A lot of times, the first five or 10 minutes of running is excruciating for me. It's like pushing through metal cobwebs, you know? And mental ones. Then, once I get into the flow and my pace gets going, then I'm in the zone. But it's rare that I'm about to go out for a run and I'm jumping out of my skin to do it.

When you wake up and you just want to hit snooze, how do you motivate yourself to move?

Well, the marathon itself. If I don't train, I won't be able to finish. So shame motivates me, potential impending shame! And also just doing it on behalf of eating disorders is huge because if I'm doing it on behalf of them, I really want to be accountable and show up. Then, also, training with partners. I don't let my training partners get away with not running if they can do it and certainly they wouldn't let me get away with it, so having a training partner is everything for me.

Get somebody else to get you out of bed?

No joke!

Why did you choose eating disorders to focus on for the marathon? Is there a reason it's close to your heart?

Yeah. I struggled with eating disorders, especially in my teen years, and food addiction and eating emotionally. I've had a relationship with all of that myself.

It's very personal. And I have noticed when I treat my body like an instrument instead of an ornament, my relationship with food completely changes because I view food as this really romantic fuel. I certainly want to enjoy my food, but I see it more like fuel that I happen to enjoy versus just a way for me to numb out my feelings or to downward spiral into being addicted to food.

It's cool that it's come full circle like this where you're educating people by taking care of yourself.

Yeah. It's really exciting because I'm learning as I go. It's not like I figured this out 15 years ago and I'm doing it. I'm figuring it out now, so that's great.

Do you have a long-term running ambition?

I have reason to believe that this won't be the only marathon that I do. It's pretty amazing to do this, and I'll likely do a few more for sure.

Are there any you aspire to do?

I really want to do Big Sur. That's a big one for me. It's less the prestige of the L.A. Marathon or the Boston Marathon. It's more the experience of doing it. And the fact that I'd get to invite all my friends out to my favorite place on the planet to support me would be great.

What do you have for dinner the night before a long run?

I eat every couple of hours, so tonight I'll eat probably a huge kale salad and some soup with spinach and tofu and vegetables. Really, the order that I go through almost compulsively in my brain, is greens, beans, and nuts, fruit. Then I throw in a little bit of vegan cheese here and there and sometimes a glass of wine just to keep myself a little sane and balanced. I'll eat that and sometimes I'll have a soy yogurt or even a full-blown yogurt with some fruit in it and nuts. I try to keep the balance going. As long as it's delicious, sign me up!

You're making me hungry ... Do you have a running hero?

No. I have a lot of physical fitness heroes. Jackie Warner, who I work with here and there, and Gabrielle Reece. Just women who are really athletic and going for it are very inspiring to me.

What time are you shooting to finish the marathon?

If I finish it anywhere between four hours and 4:40, I'll be a happy woman!

Alanis's Morissette's Playlist:


Copyright © 2008 Rodale Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Running Quotes - Running Quotes from George Sheehan

Running Quotes - Running Quotes from George Sheehan: "Like most runners, I always want to do better. I am constantly after myself for eating too much and training too little. I know if I weighed a few pounds less and trained a few hours more, my times would improve. But I find the rewards not quite worth the effort...I am forced, therefore to do the best with what I've got. I must get my speed and distance from the most efficient use of my body.'"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Running analysis-Runners world

Does Form Matter?

More runners than ever before—from elites to midpackers—are talking about running technique and debating its importance. Which begs the question: Should you change your form? That depends...

By Peter Vigneron

From the June 2011 issue of Runner's World

One of the problems with sports, not least running, is that when something incredible happens, it is often hard to understand why. Still, people try.

Soon after Ryan Hall became the first American to run under 60 minutes in the half-marathon, in January 2007, sportswriters began offering opinions about his stride. The magazine Marathon & Beyond wrote that Hall was "a study in minimalism. His legs, slender and long, appear to float, rather than churn." Outside said Hall was a "loping wolfhound in a field of shuffling terriers." When Hall later won the 2007 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Los Angeles Magazine wrote that he was "fluid" and "rhythmic." In 2008, just prior to the Beijing Olympics, Runner's World profiled Hall and wrote of "the immaculate nature of his footfalls."

To journalists, at least, Hall's form is fluid, floating, immaculate—maybe even perfect. But recently, the elements of his form have attracted additional attention. In April 2010, two students from Peter Larson's biology class at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire went to the Boston Marathon, where they set a high-speed camera alongside the course at mile 17.5. Hall was competing in the race, and the students recorded as Hall and a thousand other runners made their way to the Newton Hills.

(story continues below)

Larson, an evolutionary biologist and marathoner, turned his attention to running form and stride mechanics two years ago. As a runner, he was naturally interested in what science understood about the activity—which, at that point, was limited. In the scientific literature there are two published papers on observed footstrike patterns, and one focuses exclusively on elites.

"The only other study in a race situation is from 1980," Larson says. "It's old data, and it's a slow camera, so I'm a little suspicious about it." Larson had experience with high-speed cameras, so he decided to begin recording runners on his own.

By the time Hall reached Larson's students, he had drifted behind the lead pack and was running alone in ninth place. The high-speed camera recorded at 300 frames per second, and the video makes it possible to examine each element of Hall's form a fraction of a second at a time. In slow motion he almost appears to bound. He keeps his upper body still, leaning slightly forward, with his back straight, his arms half dropped, and his palms open. He lands on his midfoot, not his heel. Even at 300 frames per second it is hard to tell exactly when he touches down—it is a gradual, fluid motion. At the same time, his opposite leg extends backward, drifting along behind his body until he pulls it forward and back into service. "Hall has a very distinct arm carry," Larson says. "And while I have no data on this, my sense from looking at the videos is that he has more air time than some of the other guys." That may explain why Hall appears to float.

Larson now uses his video of Hall when he lectures on biomechanics at Saint Anselm. "How his foot hits the ground and how his leg is oriented—in a lot of ways," Larson says, "it's the ideal."

Most of us don't run like Ryan Hall. (Most of us don't set American records, either.) We flail our arms, we land on our heels, and since we don't go very fast, we don't really float. For years, nobody seemed to mind. Runners cared about other things—stretching, strength training, hydration, nutrition, running. The conventional wisdom was that trying to change the way you run—to run more gracefully, perfectly, like Hall—would likely cause you more problems than it was worth. The form you had was the form you had.

In most sports, technique and performance are closely linked. Take golf, for example: Golfers derive power from their hips, so hip engagement and rotation are pretty well correlated with how far and accurately a golfer can drive a ball. Running is different. How fast somebody runs is mostly about bioenergetics—the internal stuff, like the strength of the heart and efficiency of the muscles—not biomechanics, which is how individual body parts move together. If you wanted to go fast, you were better off lining up for intervals, not perfecting your arm swing.

Recently, however, the hands-off approach to running form has been called into question throughout the sport, from scientists like Larson and Harvard's Daniel Lieberman to elite coaches like Alberto Salazar. Meanwhile, chatter on the topic fills running forums and blogs. Form, it seems, suddenly matters.

"Until just five or 10 years ago, the people who took a look at biomechanics seriously were the top one-half of one percent," says Pete Rea, a North Carolina coach who works with professional and recreational runners. "Now, interest in form is spreading across the spectrum of age and ability. There is a marked increase in interest in the field of biomechanics."

Danny Dreyer has noticed the change. For years, Dreyer has promoted, with mixed success, what he calls Chi Running, a style that emphasizes landing softly with a slight forward lean. Even this magazine has paid Chi scant attention. "In 12 years, this is the first time Runner's World has reached out to us," Dreyer says. He has been talking about form since 1999, and he says his book Chi Running has sold 300,000 copies. "When I first came out with this stuff, it was like swimming upstream. It has been like that until very recently."

Things began to change in spring 2009, when Christopher McDougall wrote Born to Run. A New York Times best seller, the book has helped inspire the barefoot and minimal-shoe revolution. McDougall believes that modern running shoes cause injuries, and for a while, the revolution was just about footwear. Vibram's barefootlike FiveFingers have become staggeringly popular, selling 2.2 million pairs in the U.S. last year. In recent months, however, the conversation has expanded, perhaps in part because McDougall's central claim, that it is both possible and desirable to run without shoes, ultimately relies on a claim about how we run when barefoot—which is to say, our form.

But what is good form? According to McDougall and others, running with good form means landing on the middle of the foot, near the body's natural center of mass; maintaining aligned, straight posture; not landing on the heel with a straight knee and an outstretched leg; and avoiding excessive lateral motion—not rotating the upper body or kicking the legs out to the side.

While learning proper technique has appealed to recreational runners, professionals are paying more attention, too. In November 2009, Alberto Salazar, the former New York City Marathon champion turned Nike coach, began rebuilding the form of one of his runners, Dathan Ritzenhein. Ritzenhein is a fragile but enormously talented athlete, and shortly after he switched coaches and joined Salazar's training group in mid-2009, he went on a tear, lowering the American record for 5000 meters and winning a bronze medal at the world half-marathon championships. That success notwithstanding, the pair began making corrections to Ritzenhein's footstrike, hip angles, back kick, and arm position, partly mimicking the running style of Ethiopia's world record holder and Olympic champion, Kenenisa Bekele. Salazar believed some of Ritzenhein's injury woes were related to his form, and the changes, he hoped, would reduce his injuries and make Ritzenhein faster. They received close media attention as Ritzenhein prepared to run the New York City Marathon last November, and gave a certain degree of legitimacy to the idea that changing form might not be reckless—if Alberto Salazar was willing to prescribe it, it couldn't be that crazy after all.

"Ours is one of the only sports where the technical aspect has been the skeleton in the closet," says Phil Wharton, a noted physical therapist who has worked with dozens of Olympians.

"If you're not in the right form, and if you can't hold that form, you're going to stay in that injury cycle." If Wharton and Salazar are right, ignoring form may come at a price to both health and performance. But what if they are wrong? "For most people, I don't know if focusing on form is of great benefit," Pete Rea says.

"It appeals to our need for the perfect pill or magic bullet, to figure out the secret. When really, there is no secret."

In April 2010, Hall went on to finish fourth, in 2:08:41, the fastest time ever by an American at Boston. Still, a Kenyan, Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, won the race in 2:05:52, three minutes ahead of Hall in a new course record. And, like Hall, Cheruiyot has pretty good form. In which case, it seems fair to ask: Does Hall's form explain his success, or is it just a quirky footnote to it? And for the rest of us—if we have neglected form, and if we are now to think about changing ours, shouldn't we ask if it actually matters? Does it matter for everyone? Does it matter for you?

Harry Hollines is a business development executive and a former Division I basketball player. In 2007, after a heart scare, he began running at the advice of his doctor. (The scare was a false alarm, but enough to get him training.) Hollines, then 37, found that running reignited his competitive instinct, and after six months he was logging 40 miles a week near his Denver home and thinking about a marathon. Three months later, however, he was injured: first with iliotibial-band syndrome, then with plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. "Eventually," said Hollines, "I couldn't run any more." His wife, Maria, recommended a physical therapist, but Hollines couldn't shake the problem. Then, in June 2009, he noticed that he felt better walking around his house without his shoes on. After some research, he tried running barefoot. "That's when I noticed the changes in my mechanics," he says. Significantly, his injuries dissipated.

Hollines's story is typical of the barefoot movement, which rejects the idea that feet need to be cushioned and supported in order to run without injury. Barefoot runners believe the opposite—that cushioned, supportive shoes may actually hinder the foot's natural ability to absorb shock and, paradoxically, lead to more injuries. According to Hollines's physical therapist, Patty Pennell, his heavy, supportive shoes may have distorted his running form and caused his problems.

Many runners get injured (research puts the rate anywhere from 20 to 80 percent per year). If learning a better way to run reduces the injury rate for other runners as it has for Hollines, the consequences could be profound. Preventing injury is where the allure of proper form is greatest.

So the consequences of ignoring technique, some experts believe, are dire. "You would never step out on a golf course, unless you were on a three-day drunk, and try to play golf if you'd never played the sport before," Wharton says. Regular running, he believes, shouldn't be different than golf—runners need basic technique instruction, which involves learning upright posture, if they want to stay healthy. "We're sitting all day," he says. "How can we expect to just jump up and get working, unless we have strategies in place where we can strengthen our bodies?" Wharton is a proponent of active isolated stretching, which combines range of motion and stretching exercises to correct misaligned posture and properly lengthen muscles. Hollines has taken that message to heart. He now spends up to 30 minutes per day stretching, working on core strength, and doing exercises to keep his feet and calves strong.

Other researchers believe that modern running shoes encourage poor form. Shoes with high, cushioned heels allow runners to have long strides and make heel-first landings that they would avoid if barefoot. That elongated stride, some researchers say, increases the risk of injury, possibly by raising the speed at which forces travel into the body at touchdown. "These shoes seriously disrupt the sensory input in the foot, and that sensory input is a major factor in regulating injuries," says Craig Richards, an Australian doctor who published a 2008 paper that found no link between running shoes and injury prevention. Humans have a natural ability to protect their bodies, Richards believes, and thick shoes interfere with it. "There is a significant concern that this neurological disruption might actually lead to a maladaptive gait pattern," he says.

Researchers have found evidence that heel-striking increases loading rates in the shins and knees, and other studies have linked higher loading rates—meaning how fast impact forces travel into the body—to injuries in the shins. A paper published in January by researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands found that loading rates are higher in runners who sustain certain stress fractures. Together, the studies hint at a link between heel-striking and injury, even if the connection has not yet been explicitly established.

In clinical practice, biomechanists and physical therapists are using form instruction to treat injured runners. Irene Davis, Ph.D., P.T., who is on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and directs the Spaulding National Running Center, a clinical and research center in Boston, has coauthored several papers on form and injury. In Davis's studies, runners who were told to land softly and quietly or to activate certain muscles were able to significantly lower impact forces to their lower legs and, in some cases, resolve chronic injury problems. "We're able to retrain gait patterns and significantly reduce people's pain," Davis says.

Last December, I met Hollines for a run on the High Line Canal Trail, a crushed-gravel path that winds through the southern suburbs of Denver. As we ran, I found it hard to imagine him as an injured, out-of-shape executive. He is trim, though well muscled. Over the course of an hour, my repeated impression was that he was remarkably composed: His upper body was steady, he took short strides, and he landed on his midfoot.

Hollines wore a pair of slipperlike shoes called the Terra Plana Evo, which offer a puncture-resistant outsole and a flexible upper; they are similar to Vibram FiveFingers, but without the toe sleeves. When Hollines was first experimenting with different shoes and barefoot running, he asked his coach, Maureen Roben, to evaluate his form on a treadmill. He started by wearing heavy, supportive shoes, then changed into racing flats. "Interestingly enough," Roben said, "the more minimalist his shoe became, the better his form became."

Hollines has become fascinated with the mechanics of running, and we talked about several recently published papers on footstrike and impact-loading rates. When he runs in traditional shoes, he says his stride feels unstable, like he is on the verge of injury and his feet have forgotten that he's running, slapping the ground recklessly. Hollines has even asked a cobbler to replace the soles of his work shoes with a flexible bottom made by Vibram.

Today, Hollines's running is better in every respect than it was two years ago. He has not been injured in more than 18 months, and now runs more and trains harder than he ever has. And he has become respectably fast. His first 5-K, which he ran in the Mizuno Renegade, a motion-control shoe, was in the 21-minute range. Last October, he finished second at a local 5-K in 18:24, a 44-second PR. "Most of the 5-Ks up in Colorado Springs and Denver are not only hilly, they're at altitude," he said. "If I could ever get a flat race at sea level—who knows?"

During his hall of fame career, Arnold Palmer won seven major golf championships, became the spokesperson for dozens of advertisers, earned millions of dollars, and enjoyed the affection of everyman golfers, even though—or perhaps because—he had an ugly swing that defied many rules of proper mechanics.

Paige Higgins hasn't won the acclaim of Arnold Palmer, but she is an elite runner, and she shuffles. At top speed, Higgins has the look of a race walker, or maybe a thin, focused professional hurrying across a parking lot, and less that of a world-class athlete. She runs with an unusually low knee lift, such that her feet barely rise off the ground, and she shows no trace of Ryan Hall's flowing back kick. Her arms, by contrast, are busy. They swing decisively across her chest, then strike behind and to the side. Compared with her legs, Higgins's arms appear to be the primary drivers of her forward motion. Watching her run requires a certain quality of self-restraint: It is almost like seeing a frightening movie, except the impulse is to yell "Lift your knees!" instead of "He's in the kitchen with a steak knife!"

Yet Higgins is one of the better runners in the United States. Her fastest marathon, 2:33:06, placed her seventh at the 2008 Chicago Marathon and made her the eighth-quickest woman in the country that year. She has a shoe contract with Saucony, runs up to 140 miles per week, and has won a national title at 25-K. In 2009, she represented the United States in the marathon at the World Championships in Berlin.

Still, while Higgins is accomplished, her career has been up and down. Pro runners live precarious lives. Most get one or two shots at a big payday or Olympic berth; if they fall short, it becomes hard to stay in the sport. By early 2010, two years after quitting her job as an art teacher, moving from Colorado to Arizona, and joining a full-time training group, Higgins hadn't cracked the elite tier of American marathoners. With her coach, Greg McMillan, she was engaged in an increasingly desperate search for a breakthrough performance, and after a series of so-so marathons, she and McMillan decided that her form was partially to blame. So they decided to rebuild it from the ground up.

McMillan coaches 19 postcollegiate athletes, and only Higgins has undergone a form overhaul. By the time runners reach his group, they often have as many as 10 years of competitive running behind them, and like any repetitive activity, the mechanics of running eventually harden and don't easily change. McMillan sometimes cleans up his runners' form, adjusting an arm angle or encouraging better knee lift, but he has avoided altering the essential nature of a runner's stride.

Higgins's form, however, needed a good deal of attention. Though she ran upright, she was heel-striking and her stride rate was too high—even at an easy pace, she took more than 200 steps per minute, and McMillan believed that she would be better taking 180, which is widely considered ideal. McMillan thought that years of high-mileage training had turned Higgins into a runner who was efficient but lacked power—she could run forever, but her racing ability at short distances was relatively poor considering her marathon time. "We were running into a speed limitation, not an endurance limitation," McMillan said.

The scientific community believes that runners who heel-strike may waste energy. Runners who land on their midfoot don't brake their body weight as they hit the ground, conserving energy and slowing the rate at which impact forces travel up the leg. "If you treat the leg like a spring, it catches the body and pops it back up in the air," says Peter Weyand, Ph.D., a professor of applied physiology and biomechanics at Southern Methodist University. In a midfoot strike, Weyand says, the muscle and tendon structure absorbs, stores, and releases energy without much waste. (For a sense of how that feels, try taking a few strides on your midfoot. You should feel your quads and calves working harder, which means that they—not your bones—are absorbing energy.) But when researchers graph the energy-return patterns of heel-strikers, they see something else. "The heel-strike is dissipated energy," Weyand says. In severe heel-strikers, impact forces are absorbed by the bone structure, which does not store energy well. Theoretically, the harder the heel-strike, the more energy is lost. Current technology is not sophisticated enough to capture what that might mean in a race, but Weyand believes it is modest, though not insignificant. "Two or three percent for these elites is huge," he says. For Higgins, three percent might mean almost a five-minute improvement—the difference between making the Olympics and going back to teaching art.

In Flagstaff, McMillan broke Higgins's form-changing process into three phases. First, he had her focus on a series of nonrunning movements—one involved standing in place and lifting her knees one at a time, which was meant to engage the full range of movement and the full power of her hip muscles. In the second phase, Higgins did drills—high knees and lunges—hoping to take advantage of her new range of movement with dynamic, rather than static, exercises. In stage three, McMillan had Higgins run with a midfoot strike, higher knee lift, and a slightly longer stride. "Greg kept saying, 'Get an inch,'" Higgins said. To practice a cadence closer to 180 steps per minute, she clipped a metronome to her sports bra during training runs.

"We were able to see changes," McMillan told me. "We were able to get a longer stride, a slower cadence, and improve her basic speed. We timed her in 100 meters, and she got faster by a second, which is pretty significant." From the perspective of technique, the experiment was essentially a success. By September, Higgins was running the way McMillan imagined.

But it required a great deal of effort, both physical, as her body adjusted to a new stride, and cognitive—Higgins was conscious of every step she took, and she calculated that she was taking around 210,000 steps per week. Even on easy distance runs she felt sluggish. "It was so awkward," she said. "I was exhausted."

Struggling with easy distance runs, never mind hard workouts, is enough to wear down even the toughest runner, and eventually Higgins's mood soured. McMillan stopped assigning the more aggressive exercises. Then, in October, as Higgins was preparing to race the New York City Marathon, she landed awkwardly on a rock. A week later, she was diagnosed with a stress reaction in her left foot. Higgins believes that midfoot striking had weakened her metatarsals, small bones in the foot. "It was a buildup, where it was getting weaker and weaker," she says. (When I asked McMillan, he said he wasn't sure how she injured her foot. "She was training for a marathon. It's impossible to know for sure.") The next day, Higgins flew home to Colorado, where she moved into a one-bedroom apartment with her cat, Boston, and asked her brother-in-law, Mike Sharkey, to help coach her. She continues to tinker with her form, doing variations on exercises she previously did with McMillan, albeit cautiously. "I'm still working on [my form]," she says. "But I learned the hard way that being too aggressive can lead to injury."

It is possible to change form, as Harry Hollines and Paige Higgins prove. But is it practical? The answers, as Hollines and Higgins also suggest, are mixed. Even changing stride rate and length, which is likely the simplest form change to make, has proved challenging. "For distance running, people naturally select the stride length most efficient for them," Iain Hunter, Ph.D., a biomechanist at Brigham Young University, says. Hunter has examined what happens to running economy—a measure of how quickly the body burns oxygen—when runners deviate from their natural stride length. Even when a change should make a runner faster, like asking Higgins to take 180 steps per minute, Hunter has found that economy worsens. "We realized that changes [to form] will happen with training, but you don't make the changes and have the training follow," he says.

Nor is it clear that runners need good form to race fast. Paula Radcliffe, the marathon world record holder, has a famously idiosyncratic style of running, most notable for an awkward head bob. Runners normally hold their heads stable, but Radcliffe's nods forward and to the side with each step, a trait that seems to worsen with fatigue. She also has an uneven arm carriage, with her left arm dropping lower during her back swing than her right. The effect is that her gait looks halting even when she is not, relatively speaking, in a state of duress. "With the head bob and everything," one coach mentioned to me, "you'd think she was going to fall over." Radcliffe never worried about it.

"We looked at it way back, and there was nothing wrong with it," she says. Neither she nor Andrew Jones, a physiologist who has consulted with Radcliffe since 1992, believed that fixing the nod was worth the effort. "Changes to form that take a massive amount of effort take away from the actual training, and that's a problem," she says. And there is good reason to think that our aesthetic idea of good form—the idea that Radcliffe is jerky, for example, or that Ryan Hall is smooth—does not match well with performance or injury. Jack Daniels, the legendary coach and physiologist, once videotaped 20 runners, and then sent the tapes to a group of coaches and physiologists and asked them to rank the runners in order of running economy. None could.

The changes that Dathan Ritzenhein made occupied the better part of a year, a period in which he did not race and was often injured. One reason Ritzenhein and Salazar had looked to form was to avoid injuries in the first place. "It's a hard thing to do," Ritzenhein says. "It takes a while, and it takes quite a bit of effort. Even on a nice normal run you have to think about what you're doing." By February, the changes were long complete, but Ritzenhein was injured again after a hard workout on an indoor track irritated his left Achilles tendon. In March, he underwent surgery and may miss the summer track season. I asked Ritzenhein whether he felt that changing his form was worthwhile. After all, he had broken the American record with his old stride, his first major race with the new form had gone poorly, and he still ended up injured. Ritzenhein took a deep breath and paused. "I'm not sure," he said.

"I'm in a bit of a state of limbo. I feel like I've gotten used to the form, but I haven't had the race to say, 'Wow, it made a huge difference.'"

Still, it does seem reasonable to suggest that, for certain chronically injured runners, regardless of ability level, changing form might well be a cure. It is possible that many modern runners, in modern shoes, have learned a maladaptive style of running, one that causes them to run inefficiently and predisposes them to injury. And for runners who find themselves injured all the time—especially in the shins and knees—a change in form could very well provide an answer.

But most injuries, according to Blaise Dubois, a Canadian physical therapist, are the result of overtraining, not biomechanical flaws. Before you throw your stride away, you might check that you have the right training plan. Dathan Ritzenhein's priority was always proper training, even at the height of his stride transformation. "For a year, [form] was maybe in the top five," he said. "But we always ran 100, 120 miles a week. We lifted. We did intervals. We did long tempo runs. Those were the key things."

In addition, there is not a single controlled study in the scientific literature comparing injury rates or efficiency among shod and unshod runners, or midfoot-strikers and heel-strikers—in other words, nobody knows if good form is, in fact, good. The evidence that exists does not support any definitive statements about form, neither that it causes injuries nor that it prevents them, which is why changing form must be treated on a case-by-case basis. For a new runner with chronic shin pain, changing form could be a good idea. A veteran runner with no long-term injuries faces a different, riskier decision. As runners switch to a midfoot strike and store energy in the calf and Achilles, they also put more stress on those areas. That could be good, or bad. "If you get that bump in economy," Peter Weyand says, "you should be able to run faster. But you're probably running an increased risk of injury."

Put another way, changing form is like a medical intervention—to fix an ailment, you get a prescription, in this case to alter your stride. But just as in medicine, the question isn't always which intervention works, but how people apply it. It doesn't matter how good your medication is if you take it erratically. And it doesn't matter how great mid-foot-striking is if you don't learn it properly.

Perhaps—and this, too, is speculative—the modern cushioned running shoe makes running easy for the modern runner. This seems like a good thing. Should millions of runners suddenly decide to change their form and then find that running is no longer a manageable activity, it would be a tragedy. The solution to an imperfect state of affairs ought not make things worse—it should not produce more injured, unhappy runners.

"The sensible advice is, if someone has a reason to change their footwear, or they're interested in changing their gait, they need to do it in an educated way," Craig Richards, the doctor from Australia, says. Richards's landmark 2008 paper on shoes and injuries ("Is Your Prescription of Distance Running Shoes Evidence Based?") was important because it found no evidence that running shoes prevent or cause injuries. But Richards is just as quick to note that the evidence doesn't support the barefoot style of running.

"People need to be prepared to take the time to do it," he said. "And if they're not, they shouldn't go there. It's not for them."

In February, I reached Ryan Hall by e-mail. I wanted to know what he thought of all the attention his form has invited over the years.

"I get good and bad reports of my form all the time, from all sorts of different people, some of whom have no idea what they're talking about," he wrote. "I think we'll see what perfect form looks like in heaven."

Videos illustrating the elements of running form described in this article, including slow-motion gait analysis of Ryan Hall, are available at runnersworld.com/runningform.

The Elements of Good Form


A What constitutes ideal running form is often debated, but most experts agree that it starts by keeping your upper torso straight (with a slight forward lean) and arms bent at a 90-degree angle.

WRONG: Avoid curving your back. Doing so can prevent your legs from extending from your hips.

B. Although most runners toe off similarly, midfoot and forefoot strikers benefit from energy at toe off that has been stored in the calf and Achilles.


A. When running, your arms help maintain balance. By keeping your arms at a 90-degree angle (or close to it), you gain speed while saving energy.

WRONG: If the arms are held too high, overall balance and efficiency can be compromised.

B. Running means getting both feet off the ground. Still, efficient runners use more energy to travel forward, not up. As biologist Peter Larson says, "Avoid excessive vertical motion."


A. Your landing knee should be slightly bent, and the lower leg roughly perpendicular to the ground. Extending past that point, says Mark Cucuzzella, M.D., "may produce a braking moment."

B. Ground contact occurs near the body's center of mass.

WRONG: Landing too far in front wastes energy and can cause injury. "Land as close to the body as possible," says Jay Dicharry, M.P.T.


A. Other than your legs, look to minimize movement of body parts: arms swing upward from the hip, not out or in.

WRONG: Arms should not cross the center line of the body. "Avoid excessive side-to-side movement of the arms and legs," says Larson. Such action reduces efficiency.

B. Knee lift reflects speed—an elite runner may barely lift his knee while jogging but will bring the upper leg parallel to the ground when sprinting. For runners trying to maximize their speed, a high knee lift is necessary.

The Pros Strike a Pose


BERNARD LAGAT is widely admired for his forefoot strike and smooth, graceful style. While a mild heel-striker, SHALANE FLANAGAN runs with no lateral motion, directing all of her energy forward. MOLLY HUDDLE used her forefoot-striking form to break Flanagan's U.S. 5000-meter record in 2010.


ABDI ABDIRAHMAN has a heel-strike that is perhaps the most pronounced on the pro circuit. Though known for a conspicuous head bob, PAULA RADCLIFFE'S arm swing is also uneven. DATHAN RITZENHEIN spent a year learning to run with a midfoot strike, and is now waiting for the payoff.


Copyright © 2008 Rodale Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Team Beachbody - 1/3/2011 Start. No Messing Around Again! Bring IT!! - Connect: Message Boards

Team Beachbody - 1/3/2011 Start. No Messing Around Again! Bring IT!! - Connect: Message Boards: "Foam Roller Use:
Basically you roll your legs on top of the foam roller from you hips to your knees. Front, Back & Sides.
For the IT Band fix-Laying on your side, put the roller just below your hip bone then start crawling North. As the roller works its way to your knee, you will start crying like a little girl. Then roll it back to your hip. Do this several times, or until you cant stand it anymore. While it is stretching out the inflamed IT Band, the pain is indescribable, but you need to work through it!!!! After a couple times it really starts to feel good....and the regular IT Band pain will go away!!!!
For regular maintenance and stretching before any leg work, Do the same routine but do it on all sides of your legs....Its unbelievable how well it loosens up your quads, hammies and IT bands!!!!
This tool should be in everyone's bag of tricks!!!!

Any Questions?

I'm Out

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Customizing P90X, Part VI: Running

Customizing P90X, Part VI: Running

By Steve Edwards

Running is the most popular form of exercise in the world. So it should come as no surprise that explaining how to incorporate our exercise programs into someone's running schedule is one of the most popular requests we get here at Beachbody. Today we'll look at how to create a program that gives you the benefits of P90X without compromising your ability to set a personal record (PR) in your local marathon.

This article is part of a series on customizing P90X, and it will benefit you most if you'll take some time to read through each of the preceding articles. (See the Related Articles section below.) After all, what's 30 minutes of your time if you're going to spend the next 3 months training like a Spartan? Most importantly, read the last article (Part V), because it talks about structuring a yearly schedule. P90X is not training for running. But if you strategize correctly, it'll help your running improve.

What type of running?

Of course, the word run means very different things to different kinds of runners. Usain Bolt and Yiannis Kouros may both be running, but the physiological challenges they face could not be more different. Bolt, as you probably know, holds the world record for the 100 meters. Kouros holds records for distances from 100 to 1,000 miles. Most of us lie somewhere in between these extremes, so we'll focus on the more popular "distance running" distances, from the 10K to the marathon, for which training is similar.

This article will not discuss what to do for you running. That's what your running coach is for. Instead, we'll look at how to structure P90X around your current workout schedule, and when to alter it.

The perfect schedule

In the last article I discussed the off-season approach. This is when you should do your non-sports-specific training. Since all athletes can benefit from taking a break from their sport each year, the best case would be for you to stop running and just do P90X. After completing P90X, you would then combine your early-season running training with a maintenance schedule of P90X, which would flip-flop over time. As you got closer to your objectives for the year, you'd run more and do less X training, until you finally moved into a phase where you'd only be running.

But life is rarely perfect, and very few of us can carve our schedules into neat training blocks. This means multitasking. Most of us will likely find ourselves in a situation where we need to look as good as we can for a class reunion in July and are still trying to get a PR in an August marathon. That's the kind of scenario we'll address today.


Given that you've probably already been running, P90X is your foundation program for your running. This means that you should only begin the program if you have time to structure it properly. If you're within a few months of an important race objective, you'll be much better off waiting until after you're finished to begin P90X.


If you're unfamiliar with this term, read the previous articles. Your running training should follow a similar approach to P90X in that it should be laid out in phases. Unfortunately, most people don't really do this on their own, and if you don't employ a coach, this is likely to be the case with you. And that's cool, because you're about to get a periodizational schedule to use.

In the simplest sense, your running should target your weaknesses well before your scheduled objectives, and then bring your strengths into form close to race time. Your X schedule will do this to a degree, because that's how it's designed as a program: to force adaptation early on, with results showing up later as you master the exercises.

Unlike the normal P90X schedule, which you should do if you have the time, today's example will sacrifice some of the ultimate goals of the classic X schedule in order for you to adapt more quickly and to leave you with more energy for the higher volume of running you'll be doing later in the program.


The schedule laid out here is intense, as most doubles schedules are. Keep in mind that no schedule is worth overtraining for. If it's too much, back off and restructure it to fit your current state of fitness.

Putting it all together

This schedule is just one example. You'll need to adjust yours around your schedule. But this model should fit for most of you trying to get the most out of both your running and P90X. It's important to remember that while you're training for running, your speed will likely decrease. This is because you're creating muscular breakdown in order to improve your capacity to run faster later on. This means you'll be slower early in the program, but once your recover and convert your new strength into running speed, you'll be faster.

Block 1 (Weeks 1 through 3)

Day 1: Chest & Back and Ab Ripper X

Day 2: Plyometrics

Day 3: Shoulders & Arms and Ab Ripper X

Day 4: Yoga X

Day 5: Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X

Day 6: Kenpo X

Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic hike and/or X Stretch

Note: No running in the first block is by design. For aerobic work, keep your heart rate way below threshold.

Recovery/Transition Week

Day 1: Core Synergistics

Day 2: Plyometrics

Day 3: Yoga X

Day 4: Legs & Back

Day 5: Core Synergistics

Day 6: Long aerobic hike or easy run and X Stretch or Yoga X

Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic hike and/or X Stretch

Note: Not a traditional recovery week. An endurance athlete tends to have a different base and should be stressed differently. While the intensity of the first month should be high, the volume is low compared to how much many people run.

Block 2 (Weeks 5 through 7)

Day 1: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, Ab Ripper X, and easy run

Day 2: Plyometrics

Day 3: Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper X, and easy run

Day 4: Yoga X

Day 5: Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X

Day 6: Long run and X Stretch

Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic hike and/or X Stretch

Note: The easy runs should be aerobic. The longer run can have some amount of tempo intervals, but should still be considered base mileage.

Recovery/Transition Week

Day 1: Core Synergistics

Day 2: Easy run and X Stretch

Day 3: Yoga X

Day 4: Easy run and X Stretch

Day 5: Core Synergistics

Day 6: Long aerobic hike or easy run and X Stretch or Yoga X

Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic hike and/or X Stretch

Note: This should feel like a true recovery week.

Block 3 (Weeks 9 and 11)

Day 1: Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X, and run workout

Day 2: Plyometrics and recovery run

Day 3: Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper X, and run workout

Day 4: Yoga X

Day 5: Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X, and recovery run

Day 6: Run workout and X Stretch

Day 7: Rest and/or X Stretch

Block 3 (Weeks 10 and 12)

Day 1: Core Synergistics and run workout

Day 2: Cardio X and run workout

Day 3: Ab Ripper X and run workout

Day 4: Yoga X and run workout

Day 5: Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X

Day 6: Run workout and X Stretch

Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic hike and/or X Stretch

Note: "Run workout" denotes whatever your coach or your own running dictates. It doesn't necessarily mean a hard running workout. "Easy run" means subthreshold throughout. This should be followed with a true recovery period of yoga, stretching, and easy runs. Follow this with a rigorous running training block that ends with enough time so you can taper off for your event—usually 2 weeks.

Remember, don't be afraid to experiment. Your perfect schedule is personal. If something doesn't feel like it's working, don't hesitate to change it. However, it's also important that you let your program work. As I said before, as you're training, you'll get slower before you get faster. Changing your program so this doesn't happen will not allow the physiological adaptation to occur that will improve your speed later on. If you have any specific questions, or want to run your program by someone, you'll find many examples of these on the Message Boards.