Bouncing Soles Running Blog – Covering races and events in the Philadelphia area

13Oct/160

Ultra Run Commute – Things I learned running 40 miles in one day to get to work.

Posted by Patrick Durante

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After each race I write down what went right, wrong, and what I could have done differently.  I've been doing a 20-24 mile run to work for several years now.  Mileage will vary depending on the different paths I take.  For about 8 years I've thought to myself, would it be possible to run both directions, both to and home from work?  The shortest distance I could make the route was 20 miles, so it would be around 40 miles round trip.  That would be about 6-7 hours of running, broken up over 2 parts of the day.  The terrain is mostly flat, and somewhat downhill heading toward the city.  Well, I pulled it off...  Here was some of the things I learned doing my ultra run commute.

 

 

What went right

  • FOOD
    • I had stomach issues my last 50K race.  Some of that I attributed to excessive sugar intake during the race.  I went this time with granola bars, cashews, 1 GU, and Vitargo as my drink.  Adding some REAL food vs using energy gels seemed to agree more with my stomach.
  • Heart Rate
    • Using an alarm when your heart rate is too high was critical.  I'ved turned on the HR alarm in the past, but I knew if I wanted to make it home alive, and in a reasonable time, I had to be conservative.  I stayed at my Maffetone heart rate for both directions of the run, for the most part, with only allow +10 beats over my number (145 for me, I allowed a max of 155 since I treated it like a race).  I never felt fatigued or felt like I was running past my abilities.
  • Constant status checking
    • I've learned that you need to run YOUR RACE for the long events.  The last event I did I got swept up trying to run somebody else's race.  I wasn't taking an inventory of my own situation.  Every few minutes you need to run through a checklist: "Am I going to fast?", "Am I eating enough". "Am I taking these hills too hard".  If you don't pay attention you could end up where you've depleted your body and run past your abilities.  I kept taking a mental inventory because I knew if I didn't I would pay for it on the way home.

What went wrong

  • Carry the essentials
    • I carried way too much equipment/food on my way to work.  If I had to do something like this again I would have brought everything to work the day before that I needed for the return trip.   I made sure I only had essentials for heading home.  Maybe it was the idea of not having to carry so much stuff, but I felt so much faster/lighter that it made the run back seem easier.
  • You get by with a little help from... complete strangers.
    • I was half way home when this guy runs by me and  says, "Good job man, keep it up".  It was enough for me to strike up a conversation with him and ask if it was OK to run with him.  I know this is really a positive, but I don't understand why I need others to help me run faster.  I am glad he came along because without him I NEVER would have run a negative split heading home.  I'm just wondering what do I need to unlock the ability myself, not relying on someone else.  I can't always have a pacer at the right time and need that strength to come from within.

What I would do differently

  • Carry music for the last 10% of the race.  I gave up music years ago, but I do think it has a place for the end of a race.  When the pain is starting to set in and you need a distraction.  It also would have been something to look forward to if I had said, "At mile X I get to listen to music."  As long as this doesn't interfere with doing your inventory of your body to make sure everything is still OK.
  • I wouldn't change a whole lot with this day.  I was happy with the time, I was happy with my pace.  I think I really got lucky running into that guy who ran with me for several miles.  I still can't believe I ran a faster time heading home...  This is something I could see myself doing once a year, as long as I'm still working at the same place in the city.

Run 1 - 2:59:24(watch rebooted and I lost some data)

Run 2 - 2:58:58

 

Patrick Durante - Crossing the finish line the family drew.

Crossing the finish line the family drew.

 

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29Nov/150

Useful tips and quotes for running

Posted by Patrick Durante

Here are some useful running tips from the professionals I have heard over the past year.  The majority of them were taken from Trail Runner Nation or some other podcast that I have downloaded.

  • Training
    • If you wake up and you don't have spring in your legs you shouldn't be doing anything fast.
    • Stomach can only process 300 calories and hour but you burn 1000(this varies per person).
      • Carbohydrate is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. You can store about 400g of glycogen in your muscles, and about 100g in your liver (though, as we shall see, these can be increased with training). This means you can store about 2000 kcal as glycogen – enough energy to run or walk about 20 miles.
      • You need to learn to burn fat as an energy source. Getting your body to burn fat means you won't hit "the wall", or it comes a lot later.
    • Training is 80 low intensity or aerobic and 20 high intensity or anaerobic.
    • Learn to love other things besides running.

      • Choose cross training so you work other areas of your body.
      • Bike, swim, or do the elliptical machine, that's the secret to keep you running for years.
    • Every run should have a purpose.
      • Tempo
      • Speed play
      • Fun run
      • VO2Max or the newer VVo2Max
      • Interval
      • Long Run
      • Hill Repeats
    • Follow another person's training plan who has completed what you want to accomplish. This will give you mental confidence in knowing someone else has completed the distance/race following the same plan.  
    • H.I.T.T causes your body to make adaptions with running at a faster pace.
    • Most pros are running high mileage, I.E. 100 miles per week.  The more you run it will develop a rhythm.  The more you practice something the less you need to think about performing the action.  If you can perform the action with greater ease then there is less mental effort.  It takes time for our bodies to adapt so it needs to be gradual.  The more mileage you do the more your body is forced to adapt.
    • Running long distance is like flying a plane.  You are constantly checking all the nobs and making little modifications.  Keep asking yourself:
      • Am I too hot or cold?
      • Am I eating enough?
      • Am I running the downhills too fast?
      • Did I take enough salt tabs?
      • Is my effort sustainable?
  • Race Day
    • There is a 20 percent boost in performance when running with a person vs running alone. Try to stick with somebody in a race that runs a similar pace.
      • You still need to run your own race, but it is mentally easier to follow than lead in a race.
    • Go into each race expecting it to hurt. Mentally prepare yourself for the pain but know it is finite.  It makes it easier to accept.
    • Don't run out of your shoes the first time doing a new race distance. Just get it done so you know what it will be like for next time. Smile.  It will be a long day if you are hating life.
    • After every race write down 3 things
      • 3 things done right.
      • 3 things done wrong.
      • 3 things you would do differently next time.
    • Run your first mile at the pace you would like to run your last mile.
      • Run a pace that you can maintain.  This is crucial in marathon distance or higher.
    • Perform a mind map the day before a race.
      • Close your eyes for 20 minutes and picture the finish line.  Think about all of the positives in the race and the worst things that could happen.  How would you handle those situations?  If you do the mental training you will require less energy if something happens on the run.
  • Running Form
    • Lean like you are trying to give somebody a kiss. This causes you to lean from the ankles not the waist.
    • There's a hand foot connection. Don't extend far out in front of you. Your hand should track from your hip to your chest and close to the torso, but not across it.
    • Use the big muscle groups to run. They heal quicker and can not be injured as easy, I.E. Run from the glutes / hips since they are less likely to be damaged.
    • Strengthen the foot muscles to avoid injury.
      • Spend more time barefoot and do quick squats and leg exercises throughout the day.
    • Stand tall when running.  Don't slouch.  Remember to check your posture if it is late in the race.  Extend your arms high above your head as a way of confirming you are not slouching.  Don't drop your chin.
    • Elbows shouldn't come past the hips. Most runners have too much arm swing which causes over striding.
    • Fix your form and keep it strong late in the race.
      • You will have a better time and not have to work as hard to run.
    • Run with a breathing pattern
      • Every foot strike is linked to either inhale or exhale.  Follow the orders below.
        • SLOW PACE - 3 inhale -2 exhale
        • FACE PACE - 2 inhale - 1 exhale
  • Sleep and Rest
    • Waking up multiple times over the night is not normal. Even if you drink a large amount of water you should not wake up. Your stress levels may be too high or could be dietary issues. Odds are this is the result of over training. Make sure you workout schedule is on a 3 week cycle so you get enough rest.
      • 3 weeks on / 1 week off for training cycle.
      • I noticed I have had bad nights sleeping after very stressful runs.
    • Your body will wake up when it is ready to wake up. You shouldn't need an alarm clock to wake up.
      • This really isn't possible when you have to work in the morning.  This could be saying that you need more sleep.  Enough that you would wake up naturally around the time your alarm goes off.
  • Motivational Quotes
    • Every person has a pain threshold.  Learn to push through it to achieve the next level of performance.
    • You are twice as fast as you think you are.
    • If you want something bad enough you will find a way to make it happen.
    • You're only as good as your best day and your best day could be yet to come.
    • Thinking about how you will think— how you will react— when those highs and lows come along is a key to success in both racing and life.
    • If something scares you it means you are on the right path. Fear should be there as you are progressing.
    • “What would you do if you weren't afraid?”   - From the book Who Moved My Cheese
    • Find your carrot in life. There may be multiple, but chase the things that truly motivate you.
    • Choose either between the pain of suffering or the pain of regret.
    • Be someone who confronts structured suffering on a regular basis.
      • The fog of malaise will lift the more you do.
      • Make the pain and pleasure of self-progress your true lover.
      • Hunger/experience is what everybody is attracted to, you want to be one of the few actually going out to get it.
    • You never touch the physiological limit of our bodies we just hit the mental limit.
    • There's nothing that separates you physically from other people who have achieved something great. They just didn't let fear hold them back.  They are using either past experience or dedication to continue achieving great things. People who succeed the most at life are good problem solvers.  They know how to remain calm when they hit a road block, and that is what you need to learn.
30Jun/150

Making a few changes…

Posted by Patrick Durante

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Every year I make adjustments to my training.  I do this to see if I can make improvements, or make running even more enjoyable.  This is a list of the recent things I've changed to help my training, and overall health.  I've listed them here with the reasons for the change.

 

 

  • Standing desk
    • Strengthens the hips and makes you more likely to walk around more.  I work at a desk all day near a data center.  When my fitness tracker, the Garmin Fenix 3, tell me I've been standing still for too long I take a quick stroll around the data center.
  • Weekly Yoga
    • Running tends to make your body tight and decrease range of motion.  Yoga helps correct some of the muscle imbalances and improve range of motion.  I just feel better when yoga is in my schedule. Works great for balance, which you need for running, since that's what running is.  The act of balancing over and over again on one foot.
  • Zero Drop
    • This one is tough, twice I've had pain in my calf during a race by from zero drop shoes.  I've now decided to never race without heal support.  I need more time to adjust to the lack of support, since I've had heal support my entire life.  I do believe that you should vary your shoe selection and stimulate the muscles in your foot in different ways.  I've also changed my daily sneakers to a very flat, zero drop shoe.  This helped correct a foot pain I've had for years.
  • Less grain carbs and more healthy fats and fruits
    •  I'm trying to increase fat burning enzymes and lower inflammation in my body.  Running at a lower HR decrease stress, which also decreases inflammation.  By changing your diet you also teach your body to better use fat as fuel.  The less you eat grain carbs, the more fat burning enzymes you will create.  The body is meant to burn fat as fuel.  If you do this you will run faster, farther, and with less effort than before.
  • 85-90% of your training at the 180 Formula
    • This one is HUGE.  I can go on and on about how much I love this type of training.  I have less stress, recover faster, feel better, and just enjoy training more.  See Phil Maffetone's 180 Formula to calculate the HR you should run at.  This will take 3 months for your aerobic system to adapt.
  • Slow weights
    • I really hate weight training, but I know it's important.  I use a kettle bell to do a few quick exercises throughout the day instead of dedicated weight training.  See Phil Maffetone's slow weights article.
  • Back to back runs
    • Long run on Saturday, and a second effort on Sunday normally in the afternoon for heat acclimation.  This gets you used to running on tired legs, and running when you are uncomfortable.  You need to be VERY careful with this cause it is easy to get injured if you increase mileage too quick.
  • Striders
    • 100 meters at 95% effort.  1 Minute recover x5 or as many as I fit in.  This is to get my body ready for speed, and to increases leg turn over.  This is helpful for being able to run faster on race day.
  • Hill training
    • Works again on leg turn over.  Forces you to run at a faster cadence.
  • Fuel
    • GenuCan or Vitargo for my new pre-race meal.  I may still take sugars on the run, but this leaves the gut faster and gets to muscles quicker.  Still need to take an electrolyte and water during the run.  This is such a good fuel source cause it doesn't spike your insulin and provides a nice steady burn of fuel.  Your diet needs to be similar to this as well, so don't make this change until you are less carb dependent.
  • Take a full body inventory when you wake up
    • I forget what podcast I heard this on, but when you wake up in the morning take an immediate inventory of your body.  Are you very stiff or sore?  Do things ache really bad?  Guess what.  You might be over training.  That's not how your body is supposed to feel when you wake up.  You might need to take a few more easy days, or slow down the pace.  Maybe your not getting enough sleep or have too much other stress in your life.  If you don't feel near 100% when you wake up you need to take the day off or run very easy.  Trust me, you will not decondition.  If anything you will make yourself stronger/faster.  The benefit from a workout comes in the recovery, not the workout itself.