Wisdom of the (running) crowd

 

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

I found it interesting that three knowledgeable runners (Carla, Karl and SIOR) have all recommended a mid-week long run as part of a half marathon training plan. I generally run shorter distances in the middle of the week. My excuse has always been a lack of time. But people with schedules busier than mine seem to get them done. Here are strategies I heard this week that I will take to heart for my training:

Carla: “The key for me ended up being doing at least two 15+ milers. and another 7-10 mile run during the week. Plus a 10k, 15k, and 10 mile race, and progression runs in the buildup phase. In effect, more overall mileage. And more of it at hoped-for race pace.”

Karl: “It’s all about stamina and endurance. Speed is largely innate. The stamina (tempo and progression runs) and endurance (long and easy runs) workouts allow us to maintain whatever speed that we have over longer period of times.”

SIOR: “I would run speed work on Tuesdays, a longish run on Wednesday (7-9 miles), and easy runs on Thursdays and Saturdays. Then when all is said and done, I would sign up for a fall marathon.” [Editor’s note: SIOR is a troublemaker who knows I will never run a full marathon.]

Right now, seven mile mid-week runs are a challenge, but once I get my base closer to double digits it could be managed. If I’m going to go out for four miles anyway, what’s another half hour? And now that I’m comfortable with using the treadmill for speed work, I won’t have the excuse that I can’t run weekday intervals due to restricted access to the track.

Today’s workout was another treadmill run. I had planned to run slowly in deference to yesterday’s speed session, but I ended up doing a more intense workout. I hope that by resting on Friday, I’ll be properly recovered for Saturday’s relay. I keep telling myself that it’s only a two mile leg, but going all-out for 17 minutes (if I’m lucky) will seem like a very long time.

Sorry doctors, but I’m ignoring your advice

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.4 miles  

Back in the early ’90’s, when I first moved to NYC, it seemed like I was always battling a cold or virus. One weekend my sister confronted my constant state of illness and asked me whether I took a multi-vitamin. I said that I didn’t think they provided any real benefits. She guaranteed me that if I took a daily vitamin for a month, my constant sniffling and coughing would go away.

I figured it was worth trying, if only to prove her wrong. Thirty days later, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a symptom. Ever since then, I’ve taken a daily vitamin. Except for a very very bad week, I’ve been pretty good at fighting off illnesses. My wife and kids have also taken vitamins on a daily basis and they rarely get sick.

When I saw on the news today that the Annals of Internal Medicine had published an article entitled, “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements”, I had to disagree. After all, what makes these doctors, with their years of training and expertise, more qualified than me to decide if vitamins are good or bad? Not only are these doctors saying vitamins don’t help, they are saying that taking vitamins may pose certain risks. Does my sister know??!!!

Seriously, I’m conflicted by this news. I’ve taken a daily vitamin for over 20 years and have a healthy immune system. But I also run 20 miles a week and eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. So is it my diet or the daily supplement? It’s not quite as paradoxical as Schrödinger’s cat, but it’s pretty hard to prove one way or the other.