Thursday, March 27, 2008

Switching Up Your Training

I'm sure that most of you already do this, but if you don't, then you should give it a try. Sometimes, you're not going to feel like running your regular workout, but you still want to add to your training regime.

Instead of forcing yourself to run, you should try putting in a strenuous bike ride or a good swim. You will still build your cardio while exercising different muscle groups that contribute to your long distance running. Plus, it will probably re-energize you as you get back into your training regime in the next day or so.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Putting In The "Hard" Miles

Something that I've learned during my years of running is that there are going to be days where you feel bad while running. For some reason, your body just doesn't want to be out putting in miles for the day, and just a short distance in you feel like taking a break and hitting the couch. However, those might be the most important days of your training.

I've come to realize that to be a good runner you have to be a smart runner. Sure, being fast is great, but if you don't understand how you can maximize your peformance with changes in pace, breathing and diet then what good is your speed? You end up wasting your potential because you're not running smart. The last two days I was able to apply that to my training.

Wednesday I was looking forward to logging my miles. Yet, after just a few strides my body was aching, and I could feel any motivation I had slipping away. I think the hard bike ride I put in the day before wore me out more than I thought, but I was determined to stick it out. After all, I had taken off almost two weeks from training because of a bad cold. I was, and still am, in the process of playing "catch up". The whole time I told myself that the hard miles are the most important ones. They challenge you to keep going, to push your body, and more importantly your mind. Another thing I've learned is that a mental block can hold back even the best runner. Pushing through hard training sessions makes it easier to get through any mental obstacles you might encounter. So I put in my hard miles, and was very suprised when I realized that I had run my fastest training time yet. It was only 4 seconds faster, but it was great to know that I could improve upon my time even when I didn't feel great.

Thursday, however was a different story. I wasn't looking forward to running at all. I really wanted to take a day off, but once again I knew that I needed to train. So, as I started my run I told myself that I was going to push as hard as ever. I figured that if I was making myself run that I was going to go all out. Even if it meant reaching total fatigue before I got to the end of my run. Towards the end of my run I had a feeling that I was doing pretty well, though I wasn't prepared to see that I had taken close to 30 seconds off of my previous best from Wednesday. I was glad that I had pushed myself as hard as I did, and reaped instant rewards. Plus, it helped improve my running psyche. Hopefully, I continue to shave off the time as I prepare for my first 5K in almost 11 years which I'm running next month.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Foray Back Into Speed Training

I used to be an avid runner. I ran track and cross country my junior and senior years in high school, and ran on my own during part of my college years. However, all the training and races eventually burnt me out, and I stopped running completely. It wasn't until I received the Nike+ setup this past Christmas that I started thinking about running competitively again. Then I checked out some results of recent 5K races, and realized that I could be very competitive within my age group(male, 25-29) if I dedicated myself to training like I had years ago.

So, I started out running 2 miles a day three to four days per week. Now, this isn't a lot, especially when you're training for a 5K or when you used to average 40-50 miles per week, but I also didn't want to start out too hard and get hurt or discouraged. Right now, I'm into roughly my 7th week of training(had to take two weeks off due to a bad cold), and I've knocked a little over two minutes off of my two mile time. With about seven weeks until my first 5K in many years it's time to up my mileage and start incorporating speed training. Like my plan to ease into the mileage, this is what I'm doing to ease into the speed work. Plus, it's a workout that doesn't require a track. Though, as I get more serious the distance will increase, and I'll probably put in some track time.

Since I already have my 2 mile course mapped out, I decided that I would just use that for my speed work. What I ended up doing was sprinting a block, then jogging a block. Each block where I run is approximately 1/10 of a mile. So it's 10 blocks out, and 10 blocks back. That means that by the end of the run I had put together a 10x160m(roughly) sprint workout. I didn't track the time because I wanted to concentrate on form and pace, though as I progress I probably will start tracking it. I can say that the first 1/3 or so I felt decent, but a few of those "middle" blocks were sort of tough.

All in all, it was a challenging workout, but the loose structure made it fun. Which is one thing I really want to stress on this blog. Yes, you do need some structure to your running "plan" if you aim to run races in a somewhat competitive manner. However, too much structure could lead to frustration or boredom, and ultimately hinder your training. It's up to you to decide what works best for you, and then use that in a manner that makes you not only a better runner, but a smarter one too.

First Running Related Post Here(Nike+ Info)

Because I've changed the focus of this blog to runnng, I decided to add a Nike+ widget to the sidebar under the "About Me" section. At some point I would like to try and organize some type of challenge for those that participate in the blogosphere.

If you're unfamiliar with the Nike+ system you can check it out here. Basically, it's a way for you to track your distance, pace and calories burned through your iPod. It's sort of an online version of a running log. I like it because I don't have to map out courses anymore, and I can just get out and run.

Let me know if any of you out there also have the system, and if you want to set up a challenge through the Nike+ site.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Movie "Review": Transformers

Ok, this isn't going to be as much of a review as it is a bunch of compliments about the Transformers movie strung together.

*Warning*, I probably will post about some of the coolest parts so if you haven't seen it you might want to click away.

Now that that's out of the way, HO-LEE CRAP!

Seriously, this movie is A-FREAKIN'-MAZING!

It took a ton of work, 38 hours for one frame of movement for the Transformers, and it shows. The way the Transformers blend with the humans is awesome. From the start you really feel like there were giant robots working alongside the actors on the set. That's also a testament to all of the actors as well. They did a phenomenal job.

I grew up watching Transformers, and when I heard that they were making a full-length feature film I was excited, but not overjoyed. I thought that it would probably be pretty good, but nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced last Tuesday night.

I was grinning like a little kid, probably like I used to when I watched the Transformers cartoon, from the time the lights dimmed to the time I walked out of the theater. Seeing that new Camaro on the big screen also added to the experience. I grew up loving Camaros, I currently drive a '94 Z28, and seeing the 5th generation Camaro get so much exposure, and whoop that Mustang's ass, made the movie that much better. Seriously, when it showed up for the first time in the tunnel I was clapping and whistling. The other moviegoers probably thought I was crazy, but I couldn't help it. It's been two years since the Bumblebee photos were leaked, and five years since the last Camaros were produced. I've got a lot of enthusiasm about this new model bottled up, and the Transformers movie helped relieved a little bit of it.

The acting was on point, Megan Fox is hot. The Transformers were perfect, sorry you had to die Jazz. And this movie spoke to me.

I really don't know how to describe it, but as I walked out of the theater I had this overwhelming sense that I have to be involved in the movie industry some how. Making others have the same feeling that I had after seeing this movie would be awesome. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this newfound enthusiasm, but I know that I can't waste it. I have a few projects that I'm putting together, mind you that I have no experience in film, acting, etc. Hopefully someone out there enjoys them.

In conclusion, GO SEE THIS MOVIE RIGHT NOW! Stop reading this blog, close down your browser and head to the nearest theater. Yes, it really is THAT good. Go! Now!

Monday, July 9, 2007

I Guess The NHC Reads My Blog

Well, not really, but they did make a decision today regarding the whole Director Proenza fiasco. He was reassigned within the NOAA organization, and Deputy Director Ed Rappaport has taken over Proenza's duties on an interim basis.

NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen released this statement:

“The staff is very focused on the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season and everybody’s ready to move forward."

While I'm not sure that this is the permanent solution, at least things seem to be a bit more settled as we get closer to the peak of the hurricane season.

A Hurricane Of Controversy At The NHC

An ongoing saga involving the National Hurricane Center has been unfolding in South Florida at the worst possible time. New director, Bill Proenza, is embroiled in a controversy regarding his outspokenness in reference to an aging weather satellite. Unfortunately, as calls for his resignation come from staff members the hurricane season, which began on June 1, moves closer and closer to its peak.

Director Bill Proenza took over as head of the NHC in January after Max Mayfield, a man who was seemingly liked by everyone, decided to retire. From the start there seemed to be some tension, as Proenza spoke out about NOAA's spending plan, his belief that the National Weather Service wasn't being fought for hard enough and that an aging weather satellite could hamper hurricane predictions. Proenza was ultimately reprimanded by Mary Glackin of the NWS, but his comments about the Quikscat satellite have continued to cause controversy.

Proenza stated in May that:

"He(Proenza) is worried about the satellite that provides data on surface wind direction and speed that steers hurricanes. He said he thinks it will stop working at any moment".

This immediately raised questions about whether or not the NHC would be able to effectively predict hurricane tracks and intensity this season. Add to it that Proenza stated "that tracking forecasts could be up to 16 percent less accurate without it(Quikscat)", and you can understand why people in coastal communities, especially Floridians, were worried about the information the NHC would be able to provide this season.

Ultimately, 23 NHC staff members, mostly senior and front-line forecasters, penned a letter to the Department of Commerce asking for Proenza's resignation. Senior hurricane specialist James Franklin even addressed Proenza's statements that the NHC would be less effective if the Quikscat satellite were to fail during the season by saying:
"He has been very loudly saying if it failed our forecasts for landfalling storms would be degraded, that warning areas would need to be expanded," Franklin said. "None of that is the case, and he knows that we feel that way. The science is not there to back up the claims that he's making."

Right now it appears that both sides are deadlocked, as Proenza has stated that he won't resign unless asked to by his superiors, and his boss, NOAA head Conrad Lautenbacher, has called the damage "repairable".

One thing that is certain is that the peak of hurricane season is fast approaching, and residents of a number of states are relying on the NHC to provide them with important and accurate data. Right now Proenza needs to take a backseat to the forecasters that have to be focused on the various satellites and models they use to forecast hurricane formation, track and intensity. This is a battle that can, and should, wait until November 30 and the end of the hurricane season.