Sunday, August 27, 2006

Side Stitches

I was finishing up a long run with my marathon team yesterday when all of a sudden a painful side stitch developed. There are many theories as to why stitches develop from irregular, rapid breathing to spasms in the diaphram, the major muscle responsible for breathing. In either case, there is a secret to getting rid of side stitches quickly.

My stitch was located in my left side. While running, focus on exhaling when the right foot (or opposite foot from the stitch) hits the ground. Not every time the foot hits the ground, but when you do exhale do so when the opposite side foot strikes the ground. It is also helpful to slow down and get your breathing under control. This trick usually gets rid of that stitch in seconds. It is amazing. It allows the musculature (diaphram) on the stitch side to relax and release the spasm that is causing the stitch.

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

Monday, August 21, 2006

Run Like a Kenyan

I had the pleasure of running and coaching Daniel Cheruiyot, a Kenyan runner who races for John Bingham Racing. We were in Tucson preparing for the Arizona Distance Classic and he asked me to go for a run with him. At first I chuckled, thinking yea, right, I am going for a run with a Kenyan runner. No way... Then he explained to me that he was running SLOW. I chuckled again and thought, yea, slow for a Kenyan runner is still too fast for me. He assured me it would be okay and we headed out the door.

While on the run I asked him what his typical slow pace was and he replied 8:00 minute miles. I was shocked! He runs sub 5 minute per mile pace in races and his slow pace was 3 minutes slower. Wow! He also added that most American runners, especially new runners, train too hard and too fast. I've always known the benefits of truly training easy on easy days, but this was a true testament that it works.

So, on your next "easy" run, truly take it easy. Make sure you can have a conversation and aren't gasping for air. If you are using a heart rate monitor, hang around 65-70% of your max or at a pace that is very comfortable. Because running easy allows you to run hard.

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Running Negative

It is August in Chicago and a time when all you see on the Lakefront path is runners training for the Chicago Marathon. Although I am not training for Chicago this year (Our team, Chicago Endurance Sports has over 400 this year so I will be coaching) I am training for a few great races this fall.

One of my favorite training runs is what I call a Negative Split Run or Running Negative. Although it sounds negative, it teaches you how to pace from the start and pick up the pace in the last half of the race.

If you try it, plug it in as a "hard run" on your schedule. Head on a out and back course and take the first half at an easy pace. At the turn around, run back at a comfortably hard pace or at a pace that is just outside your comfort zone. If you are in to heart rate monitors it would be 70-75% out and 80-85% back. Your second half time split should be 1-3 minutes faster than the first half of the run. That depends greatly on the total time and your running speed.

It sounds easy but is a very challenging run. It takes discipline to run easy in the first half of a training run and a race. This is one of the most important skills to learn for race day. Pacing yourself from the start will conserve yourself for the final miles. You will end up passing more people, feel better in the final miles and most importantly, look GOOD for the finish line photo. And that is what it is really about, isn't it:)

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny