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Archive for December, 2010

“Arms! Arms!” (Running Form, Part 1)

Anyone who’s ever been at one of my Duniway track workouts has heard it. “Arms,” I’ll be calling to someone. “Arms!” Part of learning to run quickly is curbing as many bad habits as possible — and poor arm swing is one of the most common. Fixing it takes time, concentration, and practice. But watch [...]

Diversity in Training: The Importance of Balance in Speed Work

When I was working on my second book with Alberto Salazar, Alberto said something that really caught my editor’s attention. Don’t always do the same speed workout, he said. Otherwise, you’ll be focusing too strongly on one physiological variable, such as VO2max, at the expense of the others. Also, different types of workouts build on [...]

Grey-Bearded Old Fish

The voice in the parking lot took me by surprise. “Hey, thanks for pulling me up that hill,” a singlet-clad runner called as I was collecting my warm-ups after a large 10-K road race. Momentarily, I was at a loss. I remembered passing him on the course, and he had no reason to be thanking [...]

Gene Doping: The Next Balco?

Gene Doping: The next athletic scandal? Twenty years ago, science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote a story called “The Super Runner,” in which he depicted the athletes of the future: gene-modified to have lungs like bellows, bulging muscles, and immensely jacked-up metabolisms that allow them to perform feats of endurance and speed impossible to ordinary humans. [...]

Exceeding the Workout

If you want to be faster, one of the staples of your program must be some form of speed work. There are several types, which I’ll describe in a later post, but for the moment, I’ll address the tendency of most people to over-do whatever forms of speed work they choose. It’s an extremely easy [...]

Descent of Pine Creek

Adapted from “Midwestern Creek Canoeing,? Paddler, Jan/Feb 2002. Dredged and channelized by Depression-era engineers, the Green River of Northern Illinois barely qualifies as a river. But there is one stretch where the river still runs swift and free between wooded banks, and it was here, on an adolescent outing with my father, that I had [...]

SMELT Running

If you live in the right parts of the country, you know of smelt as little fish that run in schools. And while runners may run in groups, most of us aren’t all that fishy. Still, the word SMELT has its uses in training. Training is all about pace. Each workout has a purpose, and [...]

Touring with the H Word

Glacier National Park has 350 grizzly bears. It receives slightly fewer than 2 million human visitors per year. At those odds, most people never see a bear—a statistic that didn’t particularly bother me when my friends Dave, Vera, and I were planning a loaded tour through the park. Bears are big, mean, hungry, and capable [...]

What’s Your Limit?

“What was the limiting factor in your last race?” It’s a question that a lot of people have hear from me, but the first time, it often draws a blank look. The answer might be as simple as motivation. Or heat, or not wanting to aggravate a not-quite-healed injury. If I’m doing a trail race [...]

In Search of Duffer Peak

Old cowhands know it is unwise to follow alarmed cattle into chest-high brush. But I learned it the hard way, midway through a jinxed hike, high in Northern Nevada’s Pine Forest Range. It isn’t that cattle–about 50 in this case–are apt to turn on you like wild beasts. Rather, like birds in flight, they tend [...]

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