Category Archives: tools

Winter As Training Tool

Not my Los Angeles winter. Your winter. A nice article I quite enjoyed from Running Times, which made me want to don cross country skis, snow shoes, etc. Worth a read. Here’s a little sample:

“Winter training makes you strong, flexible and tough,” Robinson says. “Strong because running through mud or snow builds running strength better than any gym, particularly the combination of leg lift and stride length, and the cardio capacity the effort produces. Flexible because you–and your hips, legs, knees, ankles and feet–learn to move flexibly over every kind of surface, and react to every surprise the terrain holds. When I was running across varied country every day, I never did stretches. The sticky ploughed fields or clumpy sodden grass stretched every muscle for me, with every stride. And my stretches were done at speed, which is surely what a runner needs. Tough because–well, it’s obvious. If you have trained in deep snow, or battled up a slippery hill into freezing sleet, or lifted your feet out of sticky clay for an hour, the race can hold no fear. If you do real winter training, Boston in April can throw nothing at you that you have not prepared for.”


Garmin Almost Craps Out


I was all set to rant about how much I hate Garmin, but was able to hard reset my watch by following the instructions in this video. Why the watch, which is fully charged, would suddenly play dead I cannot fathom. Some sort of short, electrical burp, requiring the resetting action. So I have not lost all my data. Though I am on the horizon of having to delete workouts that I have never uploaded so as to be able to create data from my newer workouts. It doesn’t help that I’m exercising the lap function rather heavily. Of course, I doubt this type of behavior from an electrical device bodes well, but perhaps it’s a false alarm.

Having some soreness in one of the adductors (longus or magnus, I’ve no idea), on the left side. And have had some awareness of the sartorius, quite unusual, to feel a little tug going all the way up to the top of the hip. No pain, though.

New Garmin in the House!

The wife expressed some interest in going running the other day. Then she went on a run with me and the kids. After a trip to the local runner’s emporium, I got that the motivation was there, some real intent. I suggested that we get her a Garmin as I think they are fantastic motivational tools — in addition to being great for tracking performance, tracking activity. I know of one person who didn’t think she could run more than 3 miles before she got her watch. Now she’s running 7 miles. There’s just something about knowing your distance run, time run, pace run… logging onto the website and seeing those maps. Very satisfying.

Knowing my proclivities, she suggested that I take care of the purchase and it seemed like moments later I was configuring the 110, Women’s Pink Bundle. Frankly, I’m a little jealous that she has a heart rate monitor. It seems to work smoothly. The clamp that you attach to the USB charger is a little odd, but probably less prone to damage than the usual socket configuration.

She did a walk with a friend last night. So great to have some “before” data, to be able to mark all the progress. Looking forward to crunching her data!

For myself, I’m laying low today. May head out early with the new running group tomorrow morning. No idea what to expect. What an adventure.

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.