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Rick’s Corner

This category contains 25 posts

Coach’s Corner – Heat

As I write this, Portland is bracing for a stretch of perfect summer weather…in mid-May. Taced with such conditions, most Portland runners react by complaining and shifting to early morning or late-evening runs. One of the advantages of living in the Northwest, in fact, is how nicely it cools down at night, making it often [...]

Duniway Congestion (or what to do when the track is full of kids)

You don’t have to have spent much time in serious speed training to discover that come spring, your favorite high-school track is suddenly full of kids—or even shut down for a track meet. Although the Lizards’ training field at Duniway Park has never been shut down for a meet as long as I’ve been there, [...]

Beating the Never-Satisfied Syndrome

Part of being a runner is striving to improve. The moment you break a major barrier, whether it’s completing a marathon, running a 20:00 5K, or hitting any private magic number at any distance, you’re probably looking for how to improve, next time around. This is all well and good . . . if. • [...]

“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 [...]

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