Saturday, November 13, 2010

How did I improve my last 1/2 Marathon time?

Well that is a good question.  I am going to attempt to write down some insight to remember what I did so I can do it again and also to give my follow runners and Primal Enthusiast some tips regarding endurance training.
So, my last 1/2, in April 2010, I ran in 2:12:20.  When I ran that I weighted 225 lbs and was running quite a few 30 mile weeks.
In the interest of time I’ll skip right to what I did.
  • Change my stride to a mid-foot strike instead of a heel strike.
My friend and running mentor, Ken Balvin turned me onto the book,  “Born to Run” and we discussed the notion of minimalist running to increase performance and prevent injuries.
I bought a pair of Vibram Five-Fingers to help me learn how to run properly.  -- I have only been using these on short runs (less than 6 miles) and, they really help me start the process of changing my stride and increasing my leg "turn-over".
  • Work on running with proper bio-mechanics.
I started thinking that changing my stride is pretty useless unless I learned how to run with proper form and good bio-mechanics. The sites  listed below provided a lot of useful information. I found Michael Stemper's tips the most useful, and what I try to work on the most when I run.
  • Lost 30 pounds
I really needed help with my daily diet as I no matter what I did or how long, I ran, I could not lose any real weight.  In the process of researching how to run properly, I found my solution at Mark Sisson’s Blog site,, and in his book, “The Primal Blueprint.”
In a nutshell, I stopped eating all forms of grain (wheat, corn, rye, rice, millet, oats, etc.) and eat lot’s a vegetables, fruit, meat, nuts and seeds.  So far so good!
  • Slowed down my runs (Low Heart Rate Training)
I think this was the key!  I kept my heart rates on all of my runs (except sprints and tempos) between 145 –150.  If my heart rate went up, I slowed down or walked until it came down.  It was hard at first but it is easy know.  This help build my aerobic system and help my body get good at burning fat for fuel (like it was meant to do).
  • Stopped worrying about formulas, miles, and days ran, etc.
For a long time I tried to program all of my runs.  My LSD had to be at least 30% of my weekly total and, I needed to run four days a week.  For the last 3 – 4 month I pretty much threw all that by the way-side.  I just tried to get in 3 – 4 hours a week of running.  With the majority of it being at 55 – 75% of my max heart rate and sprinting one day a week and maybe a 30 minute tempo during the week if I felt like it and a long run in there as well. The long run was as long as I had time for and felt like.  Usually it was 8 miles with a few 10’s or a 12 along the way. If I ran 5 days a week that was great!  If I only ran three days a week that was that was okay as well.  The rest is always welcomed!
  • Stopped checking my miles splits during the race.
    During the race I just tried to stay ahead of the 2:00 hr. pace group and just ran as hard as I felt like on that day.My regular Casio just had a stopwatch and that was all I needed.  I just checked my time at each mile and made a rough estimate on the fly to know about what time I would finish in (roughly) I stopped worrying about mile times and just ran.  I found it a lot easier to run that way.  Less stress!
    I had a ton of fun training for and running my last race

    1 comment:

    robison52 said...

    Very inightful and informative blog post! A wealth of tips!! Thanks for turning me towards Mark Sisson's site!