Running better with a coach

Last summer, I wrote about how I have a difficult time asking for help.  This isn’t something that’s just running related, it’s something that I’ve had a difficult time with in many areas.  However, in December of 2010, I decided to get past my fear of reaching out, and asked a friend to help me put together a good training plan for the Flying Pig Marathon, and to help monitor how I’m doing as I tackle the runs one by one.  If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll recognize my friend’s name:  Joe Marruchella.  Joe is the founder of Run for Dom, the charity for which I completed the Chicago Marathon last October.

Joe’s help has been invaluable already and we’re only into week 5 of the 18 week plan.  We’ve made changes to the weekly schedule to make sure I’m making the most out of the important runs, we’ve added tempo and hill work (both new to me), continued to focus on cross training, and even made adjustments to my shoe choices to make sure I get to the starting line on May 1 in the best possible shape.  His attention to detail is tremendous and that helps me keep focussed on doing the work and really getting it right.  My confidence grows week by week and that alone will pay dividends come race day.

First run with Zensahs

As the fall in southwest Ohio gave way to winter last year, I noticed that there were days that were not quite cold enough to require a jacket, but the chill did get to my arms a bit.  After having read reviews of arm sleeves (and calf sleeves), I thought it would be a good idea to give them a try.  I know my family thought I was insane when arm sleeves were the only thing I listed for our Secret Santa Christmas gift exchange.  After I opened them up, my sister (my Secret Santa) said, “What the hell are those for?!”

Today was the perfect kind of day to take my new Zensah Arm Sleeves for a spin.  It was one of those odd January days where the temperature goes up enough to feel warmer but there’s still some drizzle in the air to remind you it’s not Spring yet.  I slipped on the Zensahs, put on my reflective gear and off I went for a 5 mile marathon pace run.  I could tell right off the bat that was going to love them as they kept my arms at the perfect temperature.  At the beginning of the run, before I had really started generating my own heat, the arm sleeves kept my arms warm and dry, which is exaclty what I had hoped for.  As the run went along and I got warm and started to sweat, the sleeves helped move the sweat away from my arms and let it evaporate to keep me feeling cool enough.  Again, keeping everything at that “just right” temperature.  While I didn’t need to on this run, I loved the fact that if I were running a longer run or a race and the day started to warm up, I could remove them without any problem, something I wouldn’t be able to do with a long sleeve technical shirt.

Many runners wear calf sleeves during and after their training help aid in recovery.  I’m soon going to enter the weeks in my marathon training where my long runs will be long enough to really feel the benefit of the compression Zensah Leg Sleeves give, so I may have to treat myself to some of those too!

Great product.  Highly recommended.

Zensah Compression Sleeves

2011 Running Goals

Just as I am nearly required to write a year end wrap up, I might lose my membership card if I don’t set out some goals for the new year.

The early part of the year will bring two races for which I’ll have no stated goals.  I’m running the first one for fun and the second one for personal reasons.  The third race will be the one that’s circled on my calendar.

  1. Ragnar Del Sol Relay, February 25, 2011.  This one is just for fun.  Myself and 11 other runners from DailyMile are going to descend upon Arizona to run all night, have a lot of fun, and just see where that puts us, ranking-wise.  The race is a little over two hundred miles so we’ll each be running somewhere around 16 or 17 miles broken up into three legs each.   I have no particular time goal in mind for this one.
  2. Cincinnati Heart Half Marathon, March 20, 2011.  I’m running this one because that race now has a place in my family’s memory, and honestly, I’d like to help make that memory be a little less sad.  I ran the mini marathon at this race last year, but they’ve added a half marathon to the mix this year, and that distance fits better in my full marathon training plan.  However, if I try to set a time goal for this race, my coach will kick my ass, as that Sunday is supposed to be the end of a step down week.
  3. Flying Pig Marathon, May 1, 2011.  This is the first “real” race I’ll have this year.  After my experience at the Chicago Marathon last year, the 26.2 distance and I have a score to settle.  My A, B and C goals are:  a) 3:55:00, b) 3:50:00, and c) 3:45:00.

I’m trying not to look too far beyond May 1.  If everything goes well at the Pig, I may set some more aggressive goals for a marathon late in 2011 or early in 2012.