Monthly Archives: July 2012


Most inspired to hear of a comrade who, after a 41-hour travel period that included 4 hours of sleep, ran the Colchester sprint triathlon this morning. I was meaning to write this about 10 hours ago, entitling it “For Those About to Rock” — but at this point you have already rocked. Still, we salute you! Hail!



Raining, here, though not quite soaked. Manning the fort. No pressing motivation to run. Perhaps in the late afternoon. It’s not nearly as hot here as it could have been, or was last week. Some country bicycling in store.

I found a draft lurking here, forgotten. So here it is.

I’ve always pretty much in awe of Timothy Noakes’ Lore of Running, 4th Edition, a compendium of learning impressive for sheer weight alone (3.5 pounds), but on top of that throw in a dash of scientific rigor and a no-nonsense practical mindset and you’ve got a great (reference) book. So I couldn’t help be curious when I came upon this piece in Running Times about his new book, Waterlogged. His point? Runners probably drink too much water.

Here’s the editor’s note prefacing the piece:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tim Noakes, author of Lore of Running, has a new book out that will surprise many readers and perhaps even offend some. In writingWaterlogged, Noakes pored over seemingly every bit of research ever conducted on hydration and performance and concluded that much of what we’ve been told on the topic is wrong. Noakes says we’ve been sold a “dehydration myth.” In the following excerpt from Chapter 2 of Waterlogged, Noakes explains the physiology of dehydration and how research on the topic often contradicts conventional wisdom.

It’s not light reading — densely and forcefully argued — Noakes makes the case that you probably drink too much water. Here’s another sample:

More recent studies further confirm that the sensations of thirst are always sufficient to ensure proper hydration both before and during exercise. Participants who began exercise in a dehydrated state (-3.4 percent BW) drank 5.3 times as much fluid during 90 minutes of exercise than when they started exercise normally hydrated such that, provided they were able to drink during exercise, it made no difference whether subjects began exercise dehydrated or normally hydrated; by the end of exercise their core body temperatures, heart rates, blood osmolalities and thirst ratings were the same.

I’m afraid I’m just inclined to agree with him. This idea that you have to drink in anticipation of some dehydration that’s going to sneak up on you — even when you’re not thirsty — just seems like bunk.



Really enjoyed this run today. Had run through all kinds of crazy plans — a 10 mile run before vacation (ill advised, as my weekly mileage has only been up to 17 miles thus far), 7 miles easy, 5 miles easy — in the end compromised with 5 miles in the hills. Terrific run from Vermont Avenue, right across from the Greek Theatre (upcoming Huey Lewis, Joe Cocker, David Byrne) just below the observatory up into the south facing hills of the park, then along the curves to the sheer hillside facing Glendale to Bee Rock, which is where I turned around.

Run begins with a nice 70 ft elevation gain, a prelude to a more grueling one that comes later. In fact, by the time I got to 1.3 mile I was pretty much hating myself for doing the run. That’s after a 280 ft elevation gain. After that it’s just winding (closed) fire road to Bee Rock. Big slabs of decomposed granite, scrabbly oak and tortured pines and a blinding haze over Glendale. On the way back you are thrust into admiration for the person that ran in the opposite direction — brakes!

I really ought to be doing this one weekly. Working on the pacing of those hills, etc. Griffith Park I shall miss you!


I don’t travel all that well, in terms of running. The humidity of the East Coast (or anywhere, for that matter) does a number on me — and then there’s jetlag, the redeye, etc. So I’m trying to cram in a few extra runs before vacation. Must say that I do love the calendar function at Garmin Connect — which I usually ignore. But it’s super handy if you’re tracking these things. (If you click on the image you can see more clearly just how granular, helpful the information gets.)

Started out slow today, then some bursts, but kept it short. The legs were happy this morning — clearly zippy from yesterday’s effort.

20:24        2.52 miles        8:07 min/mile

One Less Steady Hill

Maybe it was the heat. This hill just did me in. After 1.3 miles I was done. The first half mile is pretty intense. Then it gets intense again later. But I do enjoy those hills. Great stuff. At the end I was really glad it was over.

40:45        4.04 miles        10:05 min/mile        570 ft elev gain

Update on McMillan Running Calculator

When I got the Garmin watch it helped my running immeasurably — well, maybe measurably. The feedback it provided just provides a marvelous kind of real-time motivational tool that makes such a difference. I’ve heard similar experiences from other runners. I used to run slower — I used to only run X number of miles, but now I run farther. It’s hard to say exactly what it is about those little numbers on the watch. Perhaps it’s the amount of data at your finger tips — my setup that I’ve been using for ages is with four data fields: time, distance, current pace, pace overall for the run. Really helpful for keeping on track!

I got an email the other day from the running calculator people. It’s below. The McMillan Running Calculator is one of my favorite running tools. Once you’ve got some small base of running under your belt, it’s really satisfying to set up a training plan and some goals. But how to make them realistic? I got my initial goals from one of my favorite running books, Brain Training for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is one of the few runners out there who writes engagingly, which makes things a little easier. And it was from Fitzgerald’s book that I first heard of the calculator.

The next thing, given that data you’re accruing on your sports watch, is to move up another step on the ladder — get a bird’s eye view. Get a plan. Put each run in context of other runs. Think about how many rest days you need. A good book on training can do that. Or maybe try the McMillan Running Calculator. Even a quick perusal will give you some ideas about the variety of kinds of runs you should be doing to set up a good training plan. It’s free, after all.

(Here’s that email they sent me. They’ve updated the calculator.)

You asked and we listened. High school coaches wanted the 1600 and 3200 meter races added to the Calculator so in the most recent update, we’ve added them. Cross country runners and coaches wanted 6K and 12K added so we’ve added those as well. Military, police, fire and other emergency personnel asked for the 1.5 mile distance that they often have to use as a performance calc pacestest and ultra runners wanted the 50K, 50 Miles, 100K and 100 Miles so we added them as well (though ultra runs are very hard to predict due to the variation in terrain and environmental conditions).
You’ll also notice that we’ve widened the Recovery Run, Long Run and Easy Run pace ranges. We found that runners who wear speed/distance monitors were forcing themselves to jump right into the pace ranges whereas those who ran more by effort eased into the paces. So, we widened the range to better match what runners should do – start easy and gradually pick up the pace. Research and practical experience also taught us that while runners at the front of the pack did their easy runs slower than marathon pace, runners at the middle and back of the pack needed to spend more time at around marathon pace (or even slightly faster) so some runners will notice that their Endurance Workout paces should be a little faster.