How I Eat One Week Before an Ultra

One to two weeks before a long-distance race, there are some pre-race tactics I employ to ensure I am ready on race day. In this post, I’ll share some of my strategies with respect to eating in case some of my tips can help you, too.

Carbohydrate Loading, or Carb Loading, is popular among ultra-marathoners, although not everyone is convinced it works. The bottom line is, if it works for you, keep doing it! If not, you should feel free to try alternative pre-race nutrition regimens.

Carb loading seems to work for me, so I thought I would share a little info about the science behind it and how I plan on implementing it this week, one week before my first 12-hour endurance event. Continue reading “How I Eat One Week Before an Ultra”

Race Report: The Trident Half Marathon 2018

How do I begin to tell the tale of this epic half marathon that took place yesterday? Since I’ve posted about the race venue on a page dedicated specifically to this race, I’ll start with how I prepped for it yesterday morning.

Raceday Morning Prep

Since the start time for this race was high noon, I didn’t have to get up particularly early, which as a non-morning person, was right up my ally! I got up somewhere between 7 and 8 AM and started in on my race prep right after my first cup of coffee and bagel (never too late to carb-load, I thought!). Continue reading “Race Report: The Trident Half Marathon 2018”

Champion Form

By now you’ve heard the news…earlier today, through freezing temps, driving rain, and a strong headwind, Desiree Linden became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years. And since I recorded the entire event, I thought it would be fun to watch some parts in slo mo and pause the recording periodically to study and analyze her running form. After all, at five-foot-two, she doesn’t exactly the longest legs I’ve ever seen, so I wanted to know how she did it. Continue reading “Champion Form”

How to train with Strava segments

How do you know if you are improving as a runner?

When I was growing up, the best way to do this was to get a fancy running watch, like a Timex Indiglo (I had two!) with a lap feature, and use it to track your time running laps around the block in your neighborhood. Of course, after your run, you had to write down your lap times in a notebook or type them into a spreadsheet if you wanted to be able to compare your performance over time!

Timex IndigloNowadays, we have a huge variety of running apps we can use on our smart phones, as well as some sophisticated pieces of hardware we can wear on our wrists. But believe it or not, many of these do not have a simple “lap” feature.

Enter “Strava Segments”.

If you’re not already a Strava user, I suggest you download the free app and log in with your Facebook account, if you have one. Then check out the segments feature. This handy tool makes tracking your performance over time a piece of cake, without having to use a lap feature of any kind. Once a segment is created, you can literally “set it and forget it!” This is because every time you happen to run the same segment, the app will track you speed, pace, etc. without you having to do anything. Then, you can review your performance over time.

Here’s an example of a segment I have run a few times at the North Jupiter Flatwoods Natural Area and how the app displays my performance. You can also change the view to show how your results compare to other men and women who have run the same route. And watch out, you may just be crowned “King of the Mountain” if you get the course record on that particular segment!

Strava Segment 1Strava Segments 2

And creating a new segment couldn’t be simpler.

Here’s how it works. Simply go for a run in one of your favorite locations and track it using the app. Then, log in to on a computer and click on the activity (from Training/My Activities). Once you are viewing the activity, click on the small wrench icon on the left and select “Create Segment”. This will bring up a map of your activity. Once you do this the instructions on the page will tell you exactly what to do but here are some tips.

  1. Change to Satellite view and zoom in.
  2. Click on the green and red start and end points on the slider at the top, and you will be able to pinpoint exactly where you want your segment to start and end.
  3. Click next, and give your segment a name that makes sense not only to you, but to other Strava users who may also run along that same route. (Uncheck “make the segment private” box.)
  4. Click Create.

And that’s it! From this point on, every time you run over that segment during any of your runs while using the app, it will record your performance. Oh, and your past performances will show up too, as long as you recorded them with the app. And viewing your performance over a segment is really easy to do using the smartphone app too.

So give it a try..what do you have to lose, except maybe a course record if someone faster than you tries it too!

Keep running to the beat!


How to do a Speed Workout

On Thursdays, I try to do a speed workout, to achieve two main objectives, to learn to move my feet very quickly and use efficient running technique.

And the best way I know to do a fun, motivating speed session is to do a 30-minute Cadence Burst workout. So today I headed out to the closest park near my house to unwind after a long day at work.

Nature Trail
The nature trail at North Jupiter Flatwoods.

The best place to do a Cadence Burst session is a sidewalk or non-technical trail that doesn’t usually have a lot of people on it. I like to go to North Jupiter Flatwoods Natural Area, where there is a nice ¼-mile paved nature trail loop that is perfect for this type of workout.

Each Cadence Burst session starts with 4-5 minutes of warm-up walking, plus an additional 2-minute walk that starts off the intervals. I usually start my watch when the first sprinting interval begins, and hit the “lap” button every time I change speed.

Cadence Burst intervals consist of alternating two-minute walks and one-minute sprints, for a total of ten intervals. Today I ran four of my one-minute sprints at a sub-7 minute/mile pace! The fastest was 6:46. Now, if I could only maintain that pace for a whole mile! Someday…

Today I ran to the fastest track on the album, Run Like the Wind (up to 194 BPM).

Keep running to the beat!