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Tag: Patrick Durante

Useful tips and quotes for running

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.

Making a few changes…

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.

Tussey Mountainback Race – 50 Miler Race Report

I was very excited for Tussey.  It was the first race, where I would need to travel and spend the night in a hotel.  It’s a nice drive up to State College, as it’s very scenic from Philadelphia.  You get a sense of the terrain as you pass the mountains, on the drive that makes up the “Mountainback” part of the race.  Our destination was the Nittany Budget motel.  The best, cheapest place, if you are thinking about doing this race and need a hotel.  The other perk is that it’s a bottle shop, to bad I couldn’t drink, with the race the next day.  After check in, we made our way to packet pickup, which was located at the Toffee Trees hotel.  I thought maybe this would be an expo of sorts, since it’s considered the championship race for 50M, but the race really isn’t that large of an event.  We grabbed a bite to eat at the Allen Street Grill, which was excellent and not too expensive.  It was also next to a convenience store to grab some last minute race essentials.

Once back at the motel, I tried to get some sleep, but the constant stream of cars to the bottle shop kept me awake.  Someone also decided to let their motorcycle idle outside our hotel room for 10 minutes at 12AM.  It didn’t really matter much, as I wasn’t going to sleep well, with the race constantly on my mind.

Morning came and our breakfast was delivered via a double sided lock box accessible from outside.  We headed off to the race start, which was at the Tussey Mountainback ski lodge.  I said goodbye to my Dad, who was driving the support vehicles, and the race was off to a start.  Looking back, it’s both good and bad that they allowed vehicles on the course.  Great when you can see your support at every check point, not that great when a car needs to pass every few minutes.

Dad made the trip up to drive the support vehicle.
Dad made the trip up to drive the support vehicle.

It didn’t take long until we hit our first climb and passed the first aid station.  It wasn’t that far into the race, maybe 3 or 4 miles that I met my new best friend for the day, Shaun Sauer.  We got to talking and realized we both had around the same time goal for the race.  The more we started talking we both realized the larger goal was just completion, and barring no major problems, we were going to complete the race together.  Shaun’s farthest run at the time was 27 miles, mine 31.  We both had some doubts about what would happen once we were past the farthest distance we had covered in training.  It’s uncharted territory for any runner and you don’t know how the body will respond.  That was the part I was fearing the most, what was I going to feel like when I passed 31 miles.  This would be where your mental preparation comes in, which should be a part of your training, but I’ll post on that some other time.  Running with Shaun, we just kept focused on the course and climbs that we needed to conquer.  Both of us were in shock at the long hill in the middle of the course (2300FT from my Garmin). This was the hardest, longest climb I have run to date.  I would recommend hill training in your routine, at least once a week, if you plan to do this race.  I used a hill near my house to do repeats once a week.  The hill takes two minutes to climb, with about 100 ft of elevation. I also did long runs done on a pretty hilly trail system.

Patrick Durante Shaun Sauer Tussey Mountainback
The two differences between my training and Shaun’s was that he did upwards of 70 MPW, and I felt he pushed the pace more than I did.  The training plan, that I was on, had me at 50 MPW.  In hindsight I’d say this wasn’t enough, and at the time of the race, I regret not getting in more.  I’m sure most people say the same thing after the fact, but I fit in as much training as my schedule allowed.  As the saying goes, don’t force it where it doesn’t fit, and I definitely couldn’t fit in any more mileage.  I did get in multiple runs over marathon distance and think that was my only advantage.  Also, my training had more technical terrain.  For Tussey, I would call this more of a road race than a trail race.  This is a perfect first 50 mile race because it’s not rocky or difficult terrain.  Personally, dealing with the distance was tough enough, so I didn’t want to add technical terrain on top of that.
Patrick Durante Shaun Sauer Tussey Mountainback 5
For me, the race became a death march around mile 36.  I developed a blister on my pinky toe, that caused pain with every step I took.  I decided to change shoes because I could feel the hot spot coming on at mile 27.  I put Vaseline on it, which seemed to help for a few miles, but didn’t completely resolve the issue for me.  At two different aid stations, I had to cut the blister to relieve the pressure. It was still painful but bearable.  I did try to patch it with moleskin, but it didn’t seem to stay on my toe.  Next time I would try to prep with more body glide. I have also picked up some feetures socks since then to avoid this in the future.  In training I had zero problems with blisters, but I never ran farther than 36 miles.
Allowing cars on the course is both good and bad.  It’s nice that you get to see your support crew at every aid station, but having to deal with cars passing every few minutes was annoying.  If I had to choose, I would say it’s still more of a benefit. It was nice to be able to tell my dad something as he drove past, and he would have it ready at the next aid station.  This is also necessary for the relay portion of the race, so I understand why it’s needed.
For the last 10 miles of the race, we switched to a run/walk combo.  Almost everyone that I know that does an ultra walks at some point.  In your training you should practice walking fast.  It’s a tool you can use to give your legs a break.  We reached the final aid station, which is 5 miles from the finish, and my last chance I had to check my blister.  I cut it again to relieve the pressure and try to put some moleskin on it.  I picked myself up, and joined Shaun after he met with his wife for the final time.  This was the last leg of the race and it was all downhill.  We pushed the pace as much as we could, but my quads, at this point, were destroyed.  The pain was horrible, so much that it was really turning me off wanting to attempt something like this again.  I just couldn’t wait for this thing to be over, I felt so much of  relief when I turned the corner and could finally see the finish line.  I asked Shaun if he was going to go for it and, and one second later we started sprinting toward the finish.  Behind us I could see there were two runners that were gaining on us, and then, finally it was over.  We crossed the finish line in 8:26:33.  This was faster than I thought we were going to run it, and a great time for my first, and possibly last 50 miler.
Patrick Durante Shaun Sauer Tussey Mountainback 3
I could not imagine having to do this race alone, I actually think I had such an advantage with having a running partner.  It’s less time you would have to listen to your own internal monologue telling you, “This is painful”, “Please stop”, “Why are you doing this?”.  If I had to do it again, the only thing I would change would be upping my weekly mileage to 70-80MPW.  I think that played a big factor in the amount of pain I was feeling in the end.  My final thoughts on this race/distance is that it takes a ton of time to be competitive.  More time than I’m willing to commit, I’m happy with the 50K distance.  I’ll try to perfect my 50K before I would ever attempt another 50 miler.  I keep going back to my first experience at Blues Cruise, and nothing compares to it.  So for next year I think that’s going to make that my main focus and set a goal to place in the top 10.
Patrick Durante Shaun Sauer 2 Tussey Mountainback
There’s three people I have to thank for my big success at this race.  First, it’s my wife for giving me the time with a newborn to train for this race. Second, it’s my dad for making the trip up to State College to support me.  Finally, it’s Shaun for running an entire race with a complete stranger.  This was the most difficult race I have ever run, but running with Shaun made the experience easier.  It did not feel like 8 hours when the race was over.  His support helped me through some really tough patches during the race.  He said I did the same for him, so I’m glad that I could help him achieve his goal.  I really don’t think I would have completed this race otherwise when the pain became almost unbearable.  Running is not a solo sport when you think about it, it can be a team effort.  So if I didn’t have my wife, Dad, and Shaun helping  me I could not have completed this race.
Post race I didn’t really like their food selection.  The soggy hoagies from Subway didn’t taste that great, but they did have live music and beer which was great.  I quickly proceeded to burger king to get a greasy burger and fries with a tub of coke.  I was pretty sure I earned it since I just burned upwards of 7500 calories.  Overall, this race provided me with a very enjoyable first 50 miler experience.  So if you are looking for your first 50 that’s not extremely difficult I would say pick this race for sure.
38 PATRICK DURANTE ********* 65 32 M 23 0-39 2:58:22.17 8:26:33.48 10:08/M
39 SHAUN SAUER 158 47 M 7 45-49 2:58:23.19 8:26:34.50 10:08/M