Month: February 2015

Birthday & Vacation Week!

It’s less than a week until I take off for New York City. I have to get through a short work week and then it’s the Red Eye to the East Coast. I’ve been planning this trip for so long….it’s been over a couple decades since I’ve been to New York. I’ve wanted to go, but other cities, commitments and countries called my name, so I’ve had to hold it off until now.

But I’m ready or nearly ready. It hasn’t been easy. There’s so much pressure in my personal life right now, I need a break from it all. I’ll post more on that later when I can. I’ll write all about my trip when I get back with lots and lots of pictures!

Let’s just say that there will be massive changes when I return to SF.

Oh, and Monday, I turn 56.



Mind Over Matter

Today was the Vint group run. Last Sunday it was pouring rain and completely miserable. This week, it’s been beautiful weather, with this morning being no exception. Sometimes group runs make me feel very self conscious because I’m not a fast runner. I can run for a long time, but speed has never been my forte. The Vint group is really nice but the leaders sometimes forget that not everyone runs 8 minute miles.

The rainy Sunday run is the perfect example. No one from the group I lead (the 10K runners) showed up, so the Half Marathon group (who are faster runners for some reason) offered to have me run with them. I wasn’t going to do it, and probably shouldn’t have, but they promised to go slower. It was still too fast for me.

Speed has nothing to do with how long you run. You can still run halfs and full marathons if you run slowly. I said that in my last entry, but it’s worth repeating.

When this morning came around, I thought about not going and instead going for a run on my own. I miss my long Sunday runs. It seems like so long ago when I did them. But, I lived up to my responsibility and headed to the Embarcadero.

The 10K group was small and the other lead started out a pace. It felt okay. It was a little fast, so I did my best to keep up. After a mile we stopped and stretched and we saw that we were running 9:30 minute miles, way faster than I was used to. It was a good fast first mile, but I knew I could never keep that pace up. So, for the rest of the 3 miles, I slowed down just a little bit and I still finished the run a minute per mile faster than usual.

For three miles it was an alright pace. I didn’t mind going a bit faster, it was mind over matter getting in a nice paced run, but anything longer, I would need to start out much slower than that. Next week, no matter what pace everyone starts out at, I will go slower, even if I’m by myself.

A Mile at Five Minutes Or Fifteen Is Still a Mile

Running is a sport for all kinds of people. Old, young, tall, short, heavier and thinner can all enjoy the sport of running. With the huge diversity of runners, there is bound to be a wide variety of running speeds. Some runners are rabbits and some are turtles, and that’s what makes running great! Not all runners are going to be rabbits!

I get a bit cranky when I hear some trying to put limits on running half marathons and full marathons. With the exception of the Boston Marathon and specified time limits, even if you run slowly, you can still run a marathon and run it well. You do NOT have to run a mile in 9 minutes to run a marathon or run a mile in 10 minutes to run a half marathon, though I’ve heard those limits from others recently.

I don’t know where they come from, but they are out there. No wonder some runners feel bad about being slow. Don’t feel bad, just run. Be a turtle; embrace running! So you’re slow! Who cares? If you enjoy running, then run, slow or not, you’re still running. If you want to get faster you can attempt to do so, carefully, by doing some interval work ONCE a week, no more, please!

But it’s not necessary. Remember, running is a lifelong venture and it’s not who wins each race that counts.


Speed Can Kill

I read an article today that I took notice to, not only because it irritated me, but because it was just plain inaccurate. There is so much misinformation about runners by non-runners that I think it’s important I speak up.

I know the BIG thing in training today is HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. Many trainers are convincing their clients to stop the long runs and instead to HIIT.


Speed work like intervals, tempo runs, and the like, are fine in a couple of different circumstances. They are good 1) done once a week as part of a structured running plan 2) for experienced runners who want to run faster 3) for those not interested in running distance or races and just want to tone.

Doing lots of speed work is not good for those who want to continue running for many years who are not professional runners. This is an easy way to get injured. They are especially not good for beginning runners. Sometimes my clients ask me how can they run faster. Most of them are beginning runners. I tell them not to even think about running faster until they have run for at least three months of base running, consisting slow running.

Replacing the long, slow run with interval speed work is sheer madness, and obviously advice given by a non-runner. I would only give this advice to someone who has been running for a long time, does no speed work at all and wants to be faster in races. Then ok, replace ONE of your runs with a tempo run, and certainly NOT the long run, it is the MOST IMPORTANT run a runner can do! If that one day of speed work goes well, after a couple months then you can think about adding an interval run with some sprint work. But that’s it! The long, slow runs are so important for runners!

Doing too much speed work too quickly is one of the biggest reasons for injuries. Run too fast too much too quickly and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

The most important building block for runners is to set a solid base of running miles. If, after a few months of good, slow running, the runner wishes to add ONE DAY A WEEK of intervals, then sure, that would be a good thing. But when non-runners try to get into the running game and give advice to runners, especially when that advice is incorrect, it is annoying.

Any non-running trainer who wishes to learn more about running should book some running sessions with a true running coach, they may learn a thing or two. And perhaps it would help them learn the best way to teach their clients how to run.