Friday, April 24, 2009

Hot weather, cool advice

This weekend is supposed to be very warm and temperatures are expected to reach the 80's. I'm hoping that nature will come to its senses for the following weekend so I won't need to deal with those conditions for my race. Of course, with an 8:00 AM start, there's a chance it will still be comfortable for running.

One of my friends, CK, is an accomplished runner who has given me great advice and encouragement since I started running again last September. After I'd debriefed him on my 4 mile race he gave me the following advice for training for the 5K:

1. Stay on the road as much as possible (if not all the time) when training for this next race.

2. Start your runs faster than normal, but slow down after two or three minutes to a comfortable pace.

3. Push hard the last ½ mile (or 4.5 minutes) during training to acclimate yourself to race conditions.

4. Consciously push/kick off hard during the last part of the run (last minute or so).

5. Try to incorporate some hills.

6. Stretch before and after (especially if you are doing hills).

Some of this differs from other guidance I've received. For example, in item #2, he advocates a fast start leading to a comfortable pace. I've usually assumed the opposite; start slow and build speed as you go. A couple of months ago I started a run at a much faster than normal pace. After about a quarter of a mile I felt spent and feared that I would not be able to make my planned distance. I did recover and it turned out to be one of the longest runs I've done to date. I'll try that technique this weekend and see how I do.

Also related to training, my dad sent me a link to an interesting article that ran in the NY Times this week about using a trainer as a way to improve speed. The article states that ", if done right, is the ultimate performance enhancer..."

This afternoon I'm participating in an end of the work week run in Central Park. It will be warm by then so I'm hoping for the best.

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