Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Sat, 28 May 2016 13:23:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 Beautiful day for the #RnRLiverpool 5k http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/race-coverage/beautiful-day-for-the-rnrliverpool-5k_150791 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/race-coverage/beautiful-day-for-the-rnrliverpool-5k_150791#comments Sat, 28 May 2016 13:23:01 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150791

Marathon weekend is underway in Liverpool as the award winning Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K took place on Saturday morning at Albert Dock under

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Marathon weekend is underway in Liverpool as the award winning Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K took place on Saturday morning at Albert Dock under bright and sunny blue skies. The race was given the Running Award for the “Best 5k Fun Run” in the UK. 28-year-old Ross Floyd won the men’s race in 15 minutes and 44 seconds. Representing the Liverpool Harriers Athletic Club Rachael Burns, a 36-year-old mother of two, won the women’s race with a time of 16:29.

Marathon weekend continues on Sunday as runners from 54 different countries take over the streets of Liverpool. Live bands will be playing along the course to entertain and encourage runners as they make their way to the Finish Line Festival in front of Echo Arena with a headliner concert by Cast.

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Health Scare Behind Her, Rachael Burns Juggles Busy Life and Fast Running http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/rock-n-roll-marathon-series/health-scare-behind-rachael-burns-juggles-busy-life-fast-running_150783 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/rock-n-roll-marathon-series/health-scare-behind-rachael-burns-juggles-busy-life-fast-running_150783#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 19:03:06 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150783

The mother of two is among the fast runners at Rock 'n' Roll Liverpool this weekend.

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The mother of two is among the fast runners at Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool this weekend.

Tony Clarke coaches the Liverpool Harriers Athletic Club and occasionally hears runners moan about the struggles of trying to squeeze in workouts amidst their hectic lives.

Short on sympathy, Clarke often responds thusly: “Look at Rachael Burns.”

Burns is a 36-year-old mother of two—an 8-year-old son, Oscar, and 6-year-old daughter, Polly. She works part-time as a pre-school assistant. In between schlepping the kids to and from school, helping with homework, cooking meals and trying to remain sane while supervising 2- to 4-year-old preschoolers, Burns trains.

Recently selected to represent England Athletics, Burns will toe the line Saturday morning at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool 5K, where her personal best is 16 minutes, 34 seconds. The 3.1-miler serves as a buildup for Sunday’s main event, when thousands of runners and walkers will tour the Beatles’ birthplace in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool Marathon & 1/2.

Of the thousands of hard-core runners who’ll be hoofing it about the streets, chasing the clock, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more compelling story than Burns’.

The Cliffs’ Notes version: Burns ran a little cross country in high school, then served in the Royal Navy for seven years, exited the Navy to start a family, began running some road races, dabbled in the marathon, switched to shorter distances barely three years ago and in 2016 has been popping personal bests like some do breath mints.

There also was a little incident in late 2012 when Burns collapsed near her home while on a workout, went to the doctor the next day and discovered her brain had hemorrhaged.

Of Burns’ tale, Clarke says, “Amazing, completely amazing. Fantastic.”

Burns first joined a running club in 2011, knocking off two marathons that year, clocking a 3:44 and 3:37. Noticing runners from Clarke’s club tended to regularly have medals draped around their necks, she switched clubs.

Clarke trained Burns for the 2012 New York City Marathon.

“She was in sub-3 (hour) shape,” said Clarke. “No doubt about it.”

Burns flew to New York, picked up her bib at the expo, was ready to uncork a PR, only to have the race canceled less than 48 hours before the start because of Hurricane Sandy.

Upon Burns’ return to England, Clarke unveiled a new vision.

“How about we put the marathon to bed a little bit and see how you like shorter distances?” he proposed.

The transition to the shorter stuff, though, had to be put on hold. Days after returning from New York, about 200 yards from home, Burns dropped to the ground, a piercing pain racking her head.

“I thought I’d been shot in the head,” she recalled. “I put my hands up there but there was no blood. It was horrific. My whole head felt like it popped. It was instant. I was in agony.”

After walking home, she picked up the kids from school, went to a hospital the next day and discovered a blood vessel had burst in her brain. She was hospitalized nine days and couldn’t exercise for three months.

Fast forward to 2016.

Owed in large part to consistent training and racing the past three years, Burns has set PRs in the 1,500, mile, 3,000, 5K on the road and 10K on the road. Some of the jumps have been phenomenal.

She dropped her best in the 5K from 17:11 to 16:34 and in the 10K from 35:52 to 34:46.

“Those are big chunks,” said Clarke.

England Athletics, a grass roots organization that develops athletes, noticed. Earlier this month Burns received a voice mail from an England Athletics official, saying she had been selected to represent the country.

“I thought it was a prank,” said Burns.

It wasn’t. Wearing a white singlet with ENGLAND printed across the chest, Burns represented her country for the first time on May 22 at the Loughborough International, a meet featuring some of Great Britain’s best amateur athletes.

Burns finished second in the 3,000 meters in 9 minutes, 27.08 seconds, clocking another personal best, this one by more than 16 seconds.

Burns and Clarke both feel that the frightening health scare she suffered more than 3½ years ago contributed to her success as a runner.

“It made running less painful,” said Burns. “It was like my running turned a corner after that. I think I was more determine to succeed, I suppose.”

During Burns’ hospitalization, Clarke said a doctor told him the staff had no idea how she would recover.

“It was touch and go,” Clarke said.

He remembers something else, something he told Burns while she was confined to a hospital bed.

“You’ll get out of this bed one day,” he said. “We’ll be running again.”

The 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool Marathon & ½ Marathon returns this weekend with the marathon and half marathon on Sunday, a One Mile Fun Run in the afternoon and a 5K on Saturday. More than 16,000 runners are set to take over the streets of Liverpool over the weekend from 54 different countries. Live bands will be playing along the course to entertain and encourage runners as they make their way to the Finish Line Festival in front of Echo Arena with a headliner concert by Cast.

The marathon and half marathon will start and finish by the Albert Dock, one of the most visited attractions in the UK and a World Heritage Site. The races feature scenic views of Liverpool’s stunning docks, rich architecture, spectacular museums and historic commercial districts.

“We are so excited to put on another great event in one of the UK’s most iconic cities,” said Rob Griffiths, race director. “We’ve seen a lot of growth since our inaugural event in 2014: in just three years, the event has more than doubled in participation. Our international representation has increased, and now more than 53 percent of the runners are female. We are also receiving such amazing support from the local community.”

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Can an Athlete be Fit But Unhealthy? http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/can-an-athlete-be-fit-but-unhealthy_150778 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/can-an-athlete-be-fit-but-unhealthy_150778#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 18:46:55 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150778

Here's a diagram of what is know as the "fit but unhealthy training and eating paradigm." Graphic: Simon Greenland and Ivan Rivera

A new paper published on May 26 in the scientific journal Sports Medicine takes a look at the topic of how athletes can be both fit and

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Here's a diagram of what is know as the "fit but unhealthy training and eating paradigm." Graphic: Simon Greenland and Ivan Rivera

A new paper published on May 26 in the scientific journal Sports Medicine takes a look at the topic of how athletes can be both fit and unhealthy. The paper, published by sports scientists Phil Maffetone and Paul Laursen, starts by noting that fitness and health are two different things: fitness describes the ability to perform a given exercise task, and health explains a person’s state of well-being, where physiological systems work in harmony. It also suggests that many athletes are fit but unhealthy, most often because of excess high training intensity or training volume and/or excess consumption of processed/refined dietary carbohydrates.

Maffetone and Laursen look at diet, athletic origins, training trauma and inflammamation before offering possible solutions and conclusions. Here is a look at the abstract of the paper (published with permission) and their conclusions, as well as a link to the published paper.

Abstract
While the words “fit” and “healthy” are often used synonymously in everyday language, the terms have entirely separate meanings. Fitness describes the ability to perform a given exercise task, and health explains a person’s state of well-being, where physiological systems work in harmony. Although we typically view athletes as fit and healthy, they often are not. The global term we place on unhealthy athletes is the overtraining syndrome. In this current opinion, we propose that two primary drivers may contribute to the development of the overtraining syndrome, namely high training intensity and the modern-day highly processed, high glycemic diet. Both factors elicit a sympathetic response through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, in turn driving systemic reactive oxygen species production, inflammation, and a metabolic substrate imbalance towards carbohydrate and away from fat oxidation, manifesting in an array of symptoms often labeled as the overtraining syndrome. Ultimately, these symptoms reveal an unhealthy athlete. We argue that practitioners, scientists, and athletes may work towards health and alleviate overtraining syndrome by lowering training intensity and removing processed and/or high glycemic foods from the diet, which together enhance fat oxidation rates. Athletes should be fit and healthy.

Conclusions
Physical, biochemical, and mental-emotional injuries are not expected/normal outcomes from endurance sport participation, yet the incidence of these in athletes is alarmingly high. Practitioners, coaches, and athletes should be cognizant of impending health abnormalities during training and consider periods of reduced training intensity and recovery, while emphasizing a natural, unprocessed diet to improve health and cultivate sustainable fitness. For optimal performance, athletes must be fit and healthy.

READ MORE: Sports Medicine

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Medals of Honor: Earn Finisher’s Medals to Honor the Military http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/features/medals-of-honor-earn-finishers-medals-to-honor-the-military_150770 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/features/medals-of-honor-earn-finishers-medals-to-honor-the-military_150770#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 18:43:16 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150770

A runner passes flags held by Marine JROTC members on his way to the finish line of Medals of Honor's inaugural Honor The Fallen 5K & Memorial Mile. Photo: Hannah Sleeper/courtesy of Medals of Honor

It’s not unusual to see service men and women running a race in their boots and fatigues. But Amy Cotta is different. She runs in combat

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A runner passes flags held by Marine JROTC members on his way to the finish line of Medals of Honor's inaugural Honor The Fallen 5K & Memorial Mile. Photo: Hannah Sleeper/courtesy of Medals of Honor

It’s not unusual to see service men and women running a race in their boots and fatigues. But Amy Cotta is different.

She runs in combat boots not because she’s in the military, but in support of her son who joined the Marines in 2011. It was her way of feeling connected to him as he went through basic training. The 47-year-old certified trainer, model, author of Six Weeks to Skinny Jeans and former competitive body builder was moved by the conversations that started as a result of her unconventional footwear, so she stuck with it. Cotta has since run more than 30 races in combat boots, everything from 5Ks to Ironman triathlons. When she isn’t running races, she’s volunteering at them with the organization she founded, Medals of Honor.

Medals of Honor began in 2014 as a grassroots effort when Cotta ran Ironman Chattanooga—in her combat boots, of course—with the pictures of 21 fallen servicemen on her pack. Cotta’s dream was to give her race medal to the mother of one of the deceased men. But she crossed the line after the official cutoff time, meaning no medal. Cotta turned to social media to share her plight, receiving donated medals for all 21 families within hours.

Now Medals of Honor is an official 501(c)(3) with a national impact and athletes at races across the country. Interested athletes can go to the website and register (it’s free) to run in honor of fallen service men and women whose families have added them to the Medals of Honor database. In addition to agreeing to donate their finisher’s medal, athletes running on behalf of Medals of Honor get special bibs (either as a downloadable template, by mail, or at select races) to share the name, rank, branch and date of death of their fallen hero.

“They wear the bib as they race to ‘carry’ their fallen hero with them,” Cotta says. “We’ve noticed the athletes get deeply, deeply connected with that person when they are running. It brings it home that this was really someone’s husband, wife, uncle, aunt, mother, father, son or daughter. It makes the fallen more than a number.”

Cotta says Medals of Honor is a way to close the gap between surviving family members, active duty military, veterans and civilians.

“Medals of Honor is the bridge, but they’re walking across and meeting each other on their own,” says Cotta, a mother of six and grandmother of three of the bonds formed through the program. “Some people also say this is the first time their racing has ever had meaning because they are doing it for someone else.”

In addition to assisting those who want to race for others, Medals of Honor has a new program called Enduring Heroes, where families of the fallen, active duty and veterans can apply for sponsored entries to endurance events of their choice.

“Races are a way for people to do something physical to heal and honor a loved one, fallen teammate or even someone they’ve never met,” Cotta says. “If you have the will and we have the means, we’ll make race entries happen.”

So far this year, 10 athletes have been sponsored through Enduring Heroes. Cotta’s goal for 2016 is to give away 30 sponsorships.

Medals of Honor is hosting their second event on Nov. 12, the Boots for Troops 5K, in Franklin, Tenn. For those who can’t make it to Franklin, there is a virtual participation option. As a unique twist, participants are encouraged to lace up a pair of boots, to experience a small sense of what it feels like for soldiers. Their first event, the Honor the Fallen 5K & Memorial Mile took place this past April in College Grove, Tenn.

“We’re growing fast, and I don’t see any limit to it,” says the military mom who knows her son is proud of what she’s doing, even though he thinks she’s a little crazy. “He’s a tight-lipped Marine, so he may not say much. But, where words fail, hugs don’t.”

RELATED: Mike Ehredt Continues Mission to Run for Fallen American Soldiers

 

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Last Lap with Knox Robinson: The Explorer http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/interviews/last-lap-with-knox-robinson-the-explorer_150762 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/interviews/last-lap-with-knox-robinson-the-explorer_150762#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 16:48:42 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150762

Photo: Courtesy of Nike

Nike+ Run Club coach Knox Robinson talks about NYC run crews, the second boom of running and the rewards of coaching.

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Photo: Courtesy of Nike

Few runners seem to explore what running looks and feels like the way Knox Robinson does. The former college runner at Wake Forest spent his twenties as editor-in-chief of a music magazine, then came back to running in adulthood in a big way. The 41-year-old from Beacon, N.Y., is now a coach of Nike+ Run Club in New York City, captain and co-founder of Black Roses NYC run crew and a top 100 finisher in the New York City Marathon. Away from the Big Apple he runs trails in Appalachia, curates exploratory runs in Mexico and can be found “wherever running is weird and interesting,” he says.

What attracted you to the run crew scene in New York City?

There was a little shift in New York that happened. A lot of guys in my peer group who were into partying, drugs, alcohol and tattoos kind of swapped one addiction for another and got into running. I was already running, and it was cool just to hang around folks who were super passionate about it. You didn’t have to talk about all that tedious and incidental stuff that surrounded running culture in the ’90s. It was awesome to see people just throw themselves at it, freeing themselves from all those previous trappings and just going at it for the feeling of it all.

How has this second running boom changed the sport?

Until recently, I think it was easy to take a selfie and say ‘I just ran a marathon’ and people would think you must be fast, or you must be amazing. Yeah that’s incredible, but there’s a sustainable and soulful approach that we can investigate and explore, and that’s really the beginning of understanding the gifts of running. It’s not just about ‘I got this finishers medal, I ran this marathon,’ it’s all about running as an inner exploration, and the engineering of the self.

What tends to make non-runners take up running?

Smokers are the easiest because they just want to quit smoking. Otherwise, I think sometimes an individual just says today’s the day. And they get up and run 1 mile. I want to think there’s something in the brain that says, ‘Hey, let’s get up and do this.’

What’s the most satisfying thing about coaching runners?

Last weekend, Black Roses NYC had a dude qualify for Boston, a woman qualify for Boston, and another woman break 4 hours for the first time. That was really satisfying as a coach. But it was also really satisfying that the entire group rallied around those people and cheered them on their journey. It’s really, really edifying as a coach to create a space for someone to explore their own dream of running. But if other people jump in and lift them up, that’s when you don’t really need acknowledgement as a coach. Looking at running as a kind of community building, and healing the human heart and addressing our public health concerns, that’s really what gets me up and going.

What directions will running head in the future?

I think people are gonna want to get weirder. The pattern I’m seeing is, you get into running, you get super passionate, the craziest goal you can think of is running a marathon, you throw yourself at it, you get hurt, you come back, run your marathon and afterward you’re like OK, so what? That’s when it gets interesting, and I think that’s why people are getting into trail running, or unsanctioned races, or weird races. In our culture we want to have goals and achievements and rewards, but running transcends and supersedes all of that. Because it’s ancestral, it’s part of our DNA, it’s part of our makeup. So once you really get into running, you’re constantly thinking, what’s next? That’s the promise and the torture of it.

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Friday Funny: Treadmill Fails http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/video/friday-funny-treadmill-fails_150763 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/video/friday-funny-treadmill-fails_150763#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 16:36:35 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150763

When treadmills go wrong.

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To lighten up your day, here are a few treadmill fails courtesy of America’s Funniest Home Videos.

 

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Mike Ehredt Continues Mission to Run for Fallen American Soldiers http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/features/mike-ehredt-continues-mission-to-run-for-fallen-american-soldiers_150750 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/features/mike-ehredt-continues-mission-to-run-for-fallen-american-soldiers_150750#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 15:48:50 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150750

Photo: Peggy Gaudet

The veteran has run more than 6,000 miles to honor those who lost their lives.

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Photo: Peggy Gaudet

For those left behind, especially when it comes to the families and friends of fallen soldiers, determining how to honor and express gratitude for those who didn’t make it home is difficult. Five years ago Mike Ehredt, a U.S. Army veteran and retired postal clerk, launched Project America Run as a way to do just that by doing something he loves—running.

A certified personal trainer and running coach with an impressive endurance racing resumé, including two Eco-Challenge and Marathon des Sables finishes, and three times kissing the rock at the Hardrock 100 in Silverton, Colo., Ehredt kicked off his remembrance effort with Project America Run Iraq in 2010.

Starting on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Oregon, the soft-spoken runner covered 4,424 miles across the U.S., before finishing at the edge of the Atlantic in Maine. He ran self-supported, covering more than a marathon worth of miles a day, pushing a jogging stroller with his gear and flags to honor the fallen. For his concept of One Life-One Flag-One Mile, Ehredt stopped every mile along the route to place an American flag tied with a yellow ribbon and inscribed with the name of a soldier who died in Iraq.

In 2012, Ehredt continued with Project America Run II in remembrance of U.S. soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan. He traveled 2,146 miles from the northern border of Minnesota, to just outside of Galveston, Texas. Between the two journeys Ehredt ran 6,570 miles over 223 days, averaging more than 29 miles per day, and taking a total of four rest days.

The 55-year-old Ehredt began Project America Run III this past Tuesday in his hometown of Sandpoint, Idaho. Since completing his initial projects, 70 more service men and women have lost their lives in Iraq and 230 in Afghanistan. The veteran plans to cover approximately 50 miles per day, placing a flag in a peg board every mile, for six days, finishing on Memorial Day. Instead of choosing a point-to-point route, Ehredt opted to stay in Sandpoint and is running a 1.05-mile loop in Travers Park. Not only is it safer than dealing with highway traffic (“in case the third time wasn’t a charm”), he can sleep in his own bed and has plenty of support and running company, including local school children.

“This isn’t about how far some guy named Mike can run. It’s about being a good person and doing something for someone you’ve never met, about being more than you are,” he says. “It’s an important message to share with kids.”

Ehredt will complete his final lap of Project America Run III, in honor of Air Force Captain David Lyon from Sandpoint, Idaho, at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 30.

When Competitor caught up withEhredt by phone, he was on mile 135 and “feeling pretty good, all things considered.” He’s running from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with a brief midday break. He’s also changing directions with each lap.

“I’ve had people with me 95 percent of the time,” says Ehredt, who was excited to interact with the Sandpoint community during his run. “This is my personal remembrance, but, for all of us, the best way to remember is not to forget, and the connections made on these runs help to accomplish that.”

He trained much like he does for any ultra, with smart miles, plenty of time on the trail and dedicated mental preparation.

“Once I begin to taper, it’s time to wrap my head around the challenge,” Ehredt says. “Mentally, I have to put myself in that place where I’ve been before. It’s almost like a switch flips and then I’m ready to go.”

For his run, Ehredt is alternating between a pair of Hoka One One Bondi he wore during the last week of Project America Run II (he dug them out for old-time’s sake) in 2012 and a pair of Brooks Ghost 6. In addition to fueling with V-Fuel and Tailwind Nutrition, he is eating all the junk food he wants.

To view every flag placed by Project America Run, use the Find a Flag function on the Project America Run website.

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Shoe of the Week: Newton Fate II http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/shoes-and-gear/shoe-of-the-week-newton-fate-2_150697 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/shoes-and-gear/shoe-of-the-week-newton-fate-2_150697#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 14:45:20 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150697

The Newton Fate II has a new upper that's more accommodating to toe splay and wider feet.

An energetic everyday high-mileage trainer that's accommodating to wider feet.

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The Newton Fate II has a new upper that's more accommodating to toe splay and wider feet.

Light and responsive, yet well-cushioned, the newest version of Newton’s Fate is a nice update to last year’s well-received original model. The Fate II provides a balanced fit from back to front with a snug heel cinch and secure wrap around the midfoot. It has a generous but not overly wide toe box, and soft overlays around the forefoot allow your foot to move without restriction and help accommodate a number of different foot types. Newton’s characteristic forefoot propulsion lugs, while visually prominent, maintain a subtle profile when they spring into action, encouraging forward energy without feeling particularly invasive or awkward. (The five-lug “P.O.P. 2” array is beveled at the front, allowing smoother transitions as the foot leaves the ground to start a new stride.) The latest edition of the Fate provides more underfoot pop, which makes it ideal for faster tempo runs and longer races without sacrificing cushioning and protection. It also has a new breathable upper with stretchy panels to accommodate toe splay and give the first and five metatarsals more wiggle room. Neutral, more efficient runners will enjoy it as an everyday trainer best suited for running on the roads.

This is the shoe for you if … you’re looking for an energetic everyday high-mileage trainer that’s accommodating to wider feet.

Price: $135
Weights:
9.4 oz. (men’s size 9); 7.9 oz. (women’s size 7)
Heel-Toe Offsets: 4.5mm
Info: NewtonRunning.com

RELATED: Shoe of the Week—New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 2

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Run Your Fastest 5K http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/training/run-your-fastest-5k_150598 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/training/run-your-fastest-5k_150598#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 22:25:50 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150598

Photo: Nick Isabella

An all-encompassing guide on nailing the 5K from building the speed and strength of a miler to increasing the endurance of a marathoner.

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Photo: Nick Isabella


Legendary Australian running coach Percy Cerutty once said, “You only grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone.” That’s 5K training in a nutshell. Because to master the 5K, you can’t just run distance, goal-pace intervals and a tempo run or two. Instead, you’ll have to schedule workouts that target every aspect of running fitness.

A fast 5K requires the speed and strength of a miler combined with the endurance of a marathoner. You can achieve that by performing a wide variety of fast-paced workouts—some that will certainly take you outside your comfort zone. The result will be an upgrade in your all-around running fitness and, quite possibly, a new personal record (PR). Over the following pages we’ll dissect each piece of the preparation process and explain how it all comes together on the way to your fastest 5K.

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Olympic Dreams Unfold on and off the Silver Screen for Alexi Pappas http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/olympic-dreams-unfold-on-and-off-the-silver-screen_150665 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/olympic-dreams-unfold-on-and-off-the-silver-screen_150665#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 20:00:45 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150665

"Tracktown" film set for initial showings on June 4 in Los Angeles and July 5 in Eugene, Ore.

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“Tracktown” film set for initial showings on June 4 in Los Angeles and July 5 in Eugene, Ore.

Alexi Pappas is either crazy ambitious or a visionary. Or maybe both.

For the past two years, the 26-year-old professional distance runner from Eugene, Ore., has been working on a feature-length film about a young woman much like herself who is trying to qualify for the Olympics. All the while, she had been training like a fiend and trying to improve her own running with hopes of punching her ticket to Rio de Janeiro this summer.

Now it’s all coming to fruition in splendid fashion. Editing of the 90-minute movie, called “Tracktown,” wrapped up in early May and will debut on June 4 at the L.A. Film Festival in Los Angeles. A second showing has just been announced on July 5 in Eugene, Ore., during a break in the action at the U.S. Olympic Trials track meet. (Tickets are $10 and go on sale on May 26 at TicketsWest, University of Oregon EMU and Eugene-are Safeway stores.)

In the meantime, Pappas found an opportunity to represent Greece in this summer’s Olympics—she has U.S./Greece dual citizenship—but she had to first achieve the Olympic qualifying standard in the 10,000-meter run. She did that on May 1 at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford, running to a new personal best of 31:46.85 for the 25-lap race on the track, earning her the chance to compete in the Rio Olympics in August.

“I’m so excited to have this amazing opportunity to run in the Olympics for Greece,” she said after earning the qualifying standard. “It’s a dream come true.”

Pappas co-wrote and co-directed the movie with her partner, Jeremy Teicher, who has earned acclaim for two previous indepedent films. Pappas also plays the lead role of a fictional 21-year-old track star named Plumb Marigold, who is training at Hayward Field in Eugene in her quest to make the Olympics.

Andy Buckley (The Office, Jurassic World) and Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live) play supporting roles, while several top-tier American runners (including Nick Symmonds and Matthew Centrowitz) make key cameos. Pappas, who trains with the Nike-backed Oregon Track Club Elite program in Eugene, started her college career at Dartmouth College, but then transferred to Oregon in 2012. She will become the first woman ever to represent Greece in the 10,000-meter run in the Olympics. (The event only became available to women in 1992.)

After finishing her collegiate running career with Oregon in 2013, Pappas signed on to run professionally with the OTC Elite. After developing the story and writing the script in late 2013 and early 2014, they did a lot of the filming in 2014 and finished up in early 2015.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever take the deepest of breaths to relax, but with every phase of pursuing the Olympics and making a film, the next phase is always a welcome thing because it means things are going well,” Pappas says. “We’re certainly busy, but it’s work that we want to be doing so now we get to pursue it to the fullest.”

“After we finished the film and nailed down the debut, we had to move on to the next phases to get ready for that,” Pappas says. “Now, having qualified for the Olympics, it’s a huge relief and a huge privilege but it’s a huge gift too. Now it’s time to get ready and be able to show up in Rio as prepared as possible.”

As for representing Greece in the Olympics, Pappas will race in the 10,000 on Aug. 12 in Rio de Janeiro. She’ll be flying to Greece after the premiere of the film in Los Angeles to meet some of her Greek teammates in person. Her grandmother was born in Greece and now lives in Maryland, but she still has many family members living in Greece.

“On a personal note, it really makes my Greek family very proud,” she says. “And it’s been really exciting to see the support from Greece after I earned the qualifying time. There is an electric energy I can feel from overseas.”

When did the idea of making a running film in Eugene first come up?

Teicher: “It’s hard to pinpoint an exact date, but there was a window of time we decided to make this movie was in the summer of 2012 after Alexi ran the Olympic Trials. That was a seed planted in our minds. ‘Oh, it would be fun to make a movie here one day.’ Then it became more serious when Alexi finished running for Oregon in 2013. I was finishing up work on our first film, “Tall as the Baobab Tree” and was traveling to film festivals and Alexi had just signed on to run with OTC Elite. She had really fallen in love with the town and I said, ‘OK, I’m going to move to Eugene’ and harness our energy to make our next film. It was a long process, but when you’re working in a reality situation where you’re working around elite athlete schedules, you have to factor that into the timeline of the project. Things didn’t happen exactly the way we expected them to, but that’s kind of what happens when you’re making an indy film. But you embrace that and that’s part of the joy of it.”

How autobiographical is the story? How much does the main character, Plumb Marigold, compare with your own story?

Pappas: “The story is inspired by my real-life experiences and observations of professional runners pursuing this Olympic dream, but it’s not directly about one individual story or person, myself included. We like to sort of think of it as a patchwork quilt of personalities and occurrences woven together to capture the emotional core of this pursuit.”

Was there ever a concern about making a film about competitive running?

Teicher: “When I first met Alexi, I didn’t even know she was a runner and didn’t know much about that part of her life for the first couple of months we were dating. I was an athlete in high school, but I wasn’t into sports in college, mostly theatre and film. But with indy films, you want film that only you can make. When you have your creative partner who is also training for the Olympics and living in a place like TrackTown USA and has friends who are training and you have access to an amazing track and underwater treadmills, as a filmmaker, you’re like, ‘oh, yeah, this is awesome.’ So it really made sense for us to do this. The emotional core of the story is about a person who is growing up and really dedicated to pursuing this goal but she’s not sure if it’s really what makes her happy or not and she has to figure that out before it’s too late. As an indy filmmaker, I can relate to that because we’re pursuing a crazy goal at the sacrifice of a normal career and you question that sometimes. But now I always kind of smile when I find myself at a track race after how it has all happened.”

How concerned were you with maintaining an authentic portrayal of elite running in the film?

Pappas: “One of the best moments was that the first athlete who read the script was Nick Symmonds, and I was nervous. Prior to that we had shared the script with our advisors in a competitive lab program through the Sundance Film Festival, but we hadn’t shared it with any athletes. We had Nick read it because we were asking him to come onboard as actor. He said he could identify with the main character Plumb and her pursuit of the Olympic dream while trying to balance that and be a normal person. That’s when I knew we were on the right path because I knew we were making a good film that will be entertaining as an indy film but it will also speak to my peers in the running world.”

Was it challenging to maintain your training while also working on the film?

Pappas: “We worked around my training. We strategically had the principle photography timed during my month off of running. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to be a fully committed athlete if I was trying to direct and act and nor would I be a great director or actress if I was trying to train at the same time. It was a very thoughtfully planned production schedule. I was very intentional about making sure my running and my filmmaking stood on their own, individual platforms. I really chose to pursue professional running because I wanted to be a quality athlete on the world stage independent of anything else. And the same with filmmaking—I want to be a world-class filmmaker and want to keep doing that for years and years after I’m done running. What has wonderfully happened is that they’ve both blossomed into these really positive and successful things in my life that have positive feedback looped to each other. It’s so fun to come back from practice after having a great workout and feel really energized to work on the film. Or sometimes I’ll have a so-so day of running and be rejuvenated by working on the film. So there’s a sense of balance there and I feel like I’m healthier as a runner, mentally and physically, because of it. Our film advisors have been so supportive and excited about my running and my coach, Ian Dobson, and (TrackTown USA president) Vin Lananna and everyone in Eugene has been so interested and supportive of the film. You really feel like one aspect is excited by the other and that really elevates both.”

What were some of the other challenges of making the film?

Pappas: I think there are uncertainties almost every day in independent filmmaking. Every phase of the project had its own goals and things we needed to tackle every single day. In the writing phases, there are challenges that are more creative. But then bringing in collaborators, finding actors, getting funding are things that are thing that are both in your control but also out of your control. We are so grateful to have such an incredible team—from our local collaborators in Eugene to people like John Legere of T-Mobile, who’s one of our executive producers and biggest investors—and it was because of all of them we were able to bring our story to life. It didn’t unfold as I would imagined it would, but I think it unfolded in a better way because of all of the relationships and experiences we had were new. Jeremy and I really learned a lot by doing and we met a lot of people and grew quite a bit as creative people and as filmmakers.”

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Kara Goucher Won’t Run U.S. Olympic Trials, Focusing on Fall Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/goucher-wont-run-u-s-olympic-trials-focusing-fall-marathon_150708 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/goucher-wont-run-u-s-olympic-trials-focusing-fall-marathon_150708#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 18:25:50 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150708

Kara Goucher placed fourth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Los Angeles, finishing in 2:30:24 and just missing a U.S. Olympic berth. Photo: Matt Trappe

She has not mentioned where she'll race yet, but Berlin and New York are both possibilities.

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Kara Goucher placed fourth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Los Angeles, finishing in 2:30:24 and just missing a U.S. Olympic berth. Photo: Matt Trappe

Soon after the disappointment of missing out on qualifying for her third U.S. Olympic team by finishing an oh-so-close fourth place at the Feb. 13 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Los Angeles, Kara Goucher’s thoughts turned back to the track.

Yes, she said afterwards, “I’ll be trying to make it in the 10,000.”

After returning to her Boulder home, with husband Adam and son Colt, Goucher took a break and then resumed training under her coaches, Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs. Her training partners include Olympic track athletes Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp as well as 1500m runner Sara Sutherland.

Making the 10,000 meter team was a realistic goal. Goucher has run as fast as 30:55.1 for the distance, earned the bronze medal at the 2007 IAAF Osaka World Championships, and remains as determined as tough a racer and trainer as ever. She needed run a a qualifying time of 32:25 or faster to qualify for the Trials.

However, on Thursday, Goucher told Competitor that she is no longer trying for the July 2 U.S. Olympic Trials 10,000-meter finals in Eugene, Ore., in order to focus on her marathon training.

“There was time to qualify (the cutoff is June 26), but I just felt like I was pushing too hard,” she wrote in an email. “After the marathon I felt great, but a month later I started to feel like I wasn’t recovering as well as I had hoped.

“It is very disappointing for sure,” added Goucher, “but I enjoyed training for L.A. so much that I am really excited to do another marathon.”

That marathon will come this fall. Goucher did not mention a specific race, but speculation is that she could run the Sept. 25 Berlin Marathon for the first time. Or return to the Nov. 6 New York City Marathon, where she placed third in her debut in 2008, and where under difficult conditions she finished in 2:37:03 in 2014, after running with the leaders early on.

Goucher’s personal best is 2:25:53, from that marathon debut, just months after placing 10th in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. (Goucher also placed 11th in the 2012 London Olympic marathon).

“My goal now is to build up over the summer for a fall marathon,” Goucher said. “In better conditions, I think I can scare my PR. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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At 52, Colleen De Reuck Prepares for Grueling Comrades Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/at-52-colleen-de-reuck-prepares-for-grueling-comrades-marathon_150688 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/at-52-colleen-de-reuck-prepares-for-grueling-comrades-marathon_150688#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 17:27:18 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150688

Photo: PhotoRun.net

(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.  The Comrades Marathon is no stranger to Colleen De Reuck. The

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Photo: PhotoRun.net

(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission. 

The Comrades Marathon is no stranger to Colleen De Reuck. The U.S. distance star grew up in a “Comrades house” – father Frank Lindeque ran it 15 times and brother Colin earned a top-10 spot in 1995—and she spent most years along the route to support them. She grew up close to the Comrades route in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province.

On Sunday she will be on the route again, but this time she will not be watching. The 52-year old from Boulder, Colo., will be running.

The 91st Comrades Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, a “down” run this year over 89.208 km (about 55.4 miles), will be De Reuck’s second ultramarathon after she had finished fifth in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon over the Easter weekend.

De Reuck is one of the best female distance runners ever produced in South Africa and still holds the national marathon record with the 2:26:35 run in Berlin in 1996. She won 10 South African titles on the road—among these the half-marathon crown four years in a row, 1986-89, with a national record of 1:08:38 in 1989—as well as two in the 10,000m on the track and one in cross-country.

Her rivalry with Elana Meyer was one of the greatest in the history of the sport. On the South African all-time lists they own the top 35 times in the 10K (and 45 of the top 50), the top 21 times in the half-marathon (and 37 of the top 50) and the top nine times in the marathon (and 20 of the top 30). De Reuck represented South Africa in all three disciplines of athletics: in the Olympic Games Marathon (1992 & 2000), World Half-Marathon (1992 & 1995), World XC Championships (1993 & 1996), Olympic 10,000m (1996) and World Championships 10,000m (1997). She became a U.S. citizen in December 2000 and, at the age of 40, represented her new country in the 2004 Olympic Marathon. She was South Africa’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1997.

She also holds the SA record for 20K (1:05:11, a world best at the time) and has the fastest time for 25K (1:27:26 on an aided course). Among her other PBs are 31:16(a) for 10K, 48:19 for 15K and 31:56.00 for 10,000m on the track.

None of these will count for much on Sunday, and she knows it.

De Reuck, also a top triathlete, has tremendous respect for the Comrades distance, she said last week, but she is going to run hard. “I am very excited,” De Reuck told Media24. “The Comrades is a dream come true. For the Two Oceans I got by with a normal marathon training program, but that is not possible for the Comrades. I knew that I had to include four-hour sessions in my program.”

RELATED: DeReuck Wins Ironman Age-Group World Title

Her legs were sore after the Two Oceans, her first ultra, and then she also fell ill and could not train for two weeks—but she now believes this was a blessing in disguise, because it allowed her body to recover fully before she started her Comrades training.

In the Two Oceans, 19 days before her 52nd birthday, she set a new world age best of 3:27:38 at 50 km (more than 14 minutes better than the previous mark) and demolished the course record in the 50-59 age category with her 3:53:07. The average age of the four runners ahead of her was 35.

In the Comrades she will face two of that quartet again: winner Caroline Wöstmann, who will defend her Comrades title, and Charné Bosman, who was fourth (and second in last year’s “up” Comrades).

“I have been extending my training distances steadily,” De Reuck continued, “and I am satisfied that I have done enough.”

She acknowledged that the Comrades is different from everything else she has done so far in her career. “You have to have respect for the race and the distance. I don’t really know what to expect. I would like to run at a pace of about 4½ minutes a kilometer so that I have something left in the legs for the last 20K if I have to push.”

Ellie Greenwood, the British winner of the last down run, has withdrawn because of an injury. However, apart from Wöstmann and Bosman, quite a few formidable rivals remain for De Reuck, who earlier this year finished 67th in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:49:57—among them Julanie Basson, Salome Cooper, Yolande Maclean, Kerry-Ann Marshall and Simona Staicu. But it will certainly be no surprise if the former South African duplicates her top-five Two Oceans finish.

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New Made-in-Kenya Running Shoe Brand Launching via Kickstarter http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/made-in-kenya-new-running-shoe-brand-launches_150534 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/made-in-kenya-new-running-shoe-brand-launches_150534#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 14:44:25 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150534

The soon-to-be-released Enda Iten weighs about 7.9 oz. for a men's size 9.0 and has 21mm/17mm heel/toe cushioning offset.

A new running shoe brand called Enda is hoping to generate enough funds through a Kickstarter campaign to be able to manufacture shoes in

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The soon-to-be-released Enda Iten weighs about 7.9 oz. for a men's size 9.0 and has 21mm/17mm heel/toe cushioning offset.

A new running shoe brand called Enda is hoping to generate enough funds through a Kickstarter campaign to be able to manufacture shoes in Kenya and ship its first models later this year.

The company, founded by Kenyan Navalayo (Nava) Osembo-Ombati and American Weldon Kennedy, got started in 2015 as a social change enterprise organized on the premise of sharing Kenyan running culture with runners around the world while also creating sustainable jobs and social benefits for Kenyan people, according to the brand’s Kickstarter post.

The company founders want to allow Kenyan communities to benefit from the international success and renowned culture of Kenyan running by having a percentage of its profits go toward projects aimed at providing greater access to things like clean water, sanitation healthcare and education. (The name Enda means “Go!” in Swahili.)

“We wouldn’t get into this if we weren’t driven by social mission,” Kennedy said via Skype from Nairobi on May 25. “Obviously, we can’t accomplish the social mission without creating a world-class product and we wouldn’t be true to our brand if we weren’t creating a world-class product, so that has got to come first. If you want to communicate with runners and want to bring financial benefits to a place, then the running shoe it is. So that’s what we’ve set out to do.”

Enda’s first shoe model, the Iten, is named after the iconic distance running town in the Rift Valley. It’s designed to be cushioned enough for high-mileage half-marathon and marathon training and sleek and light enough for racing from 5K to the half marathon (and the marathon, too, for strong, nimble runners).

Like many lightweight shoes in this category, it has a midsole made from a high-abrasion EVA compound and a blown rubber outsole. The Iten also has a sculpted midsole that will wrap part of the rear of the foot for a secure, snug fit. It has been designed with a 4mm heel-toe offset (21mm in the heel, 17mm in the forefoot) and weighs about 7.9 oz. for a men’s size 9.0. Once they become available, the shoes should retail for $100 to $110, Kennedy says.

The big deal about this shoe, of course, is that it will be the first one produced from Kenya on a commercial basis. Initially, most of the components of the shoe will be sourced and made in factories in China, then shipped to Kenya for final assembly, Osembo-Ombati says. “But in the long term, we hope to make the whole process, from start to finish, in Kenya,” she says.

The brand is hoping to embrace its Kenyan roots in many other ways, too. It will produce its first shoes in red, green and black to match the colors of the Kenyan flag—the brand’s logo resembles the tip of a spear, which is a symbolic icon of Kenyan culture—and the word “Harambee” is printed on the bottom of the shoe as a nod to the country’s “all pull together” national motto. Their prototypes were wear-tested by Kenyan runners, who provided critical feedback in the development phase.

“For us, the goal is making sure people can benefit from what we’re creating,” Osembo-Ombati says. “So far the support has been overwhelming. We had a passion for this and you think you have a good idea, but once it has gotten out there we realize it’s not just our passion. There are people all over the world who are interested in this, but up until now maybe there just wasn’t a way to express it.”

Enda is hoping to raise $60,000 in seed money through its Kickstarter campaign to take it through from the development phase to the production phase of its first generation of shoes. As of May 27, about 48 hours into its campaign, it had raised about $45,000 from 380 backers.

“We set out to find a great group of people to help us get this started and when we approached them and said, ‘We want to make Kenyan running shoes,’ they said ‘that’s absolutely mad, but I’ll be happy to help,'” said Kennedy, 32, who grew up in New Mexico. “We’re now at a point where we’ve got a [prototype] shoe and a plan and we just need to put the money to it.”

Osembo-Ombati, 31, hails from a village near Eldoret, another one of Kenya’s top distance running towns. A graduate of the London School of Economics, she is trained as both an accountant and a lawyer and has worked in the U.S., UK, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya.

Kennedy, who grew up in New Mexico, is a social-change campaigner who has worked on a range of early stage social change start-ups. He built the student and international member programs at The ONE Campaign and most recently led Change.org’s growth in Europe as the organization’s regional managing director. An avid runner and running shoe obsessive, Kennedy’s half marathon PR is 1:37:39.

Kennedy says he and Osembo-Ombati are fully aware of the challenges of entering an already crowded running shoe market, but they believe they’ll be offering something unique and different. He points to the success of relatively new brands like Newton, Hoka and Altra—which each came to market with an entirely new running shoe design—and also says Enda’s social mission will have a distinctive appeal.

Enda will take a portion of profits from every shoe sold and have its customers choose which projects that money will go toward.

“I think we have a unique opportunity to connect with people,” he says. “The ethical running game is a big thing. The experience of using running to accomplish social good is how a lot of people get into running. I think there is an opportunity in having products that speak to accomplishing social good in the running space. What we want to be able to do is connect this community of runners who will be running in Enda products to this amazing scene in Kenya and help people both see and participate in a way you just don’t get to do normally.”

Osembo-Ombati and Kennedy met at a social enterprise pitch banquet and later discussed ideas when the concept of making Kenyan running shoes came up.

Kennedy admits that there are numerous challenges to producing shoes in Kenya—not the least of which there are only limited industries and raw materials to support what they’re doing. They will try to source whatever materials they can in Kenya, but for starters that might just mean shoe laces and packaging.

However, he says the brand will benefit from the ability to ship shoes to the U.S. duty-free, thanks to the U.S. Congress renewing the African Growth and Opportunities Act a year ago.

Interested Kickstarter backers can pledge as few as $7 to as much as $6,000. If someone donates $6,000 to the effort, Enda will treat them to a two-week running vacation in Kenya.

“We were optimistic we could make running shoes because we knew we would have authenticity,” Osembo-Ombati says. “We don’t have the marketing budget of the big companies. We are small, but I think from a running perspective, our brand is really strong. It’s a niche market, but we are authentic.”

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Out There: On a Hot Streak http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/out-there/out-there-on-a-hot-streak_150656 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/out-there/out-there-on-a-hot-streak_150656#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 05:24:17 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150656

The years have passed but Jon Sutherland keeps running.

Could you run for 17,155 consecutive days? Jon Sutherland has.

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The years have passed but Jon Sutherland keeps running.

Could you run for 17,155 consecutive days? Jon Sutherland has.

My job writing for a running magazine requires copious amounts of…well, running. Which is great, because I love running.

And yet some days I just don’t feel like doing it. Take today, for example. Here I sit in my bathrobe, making excuses for why I shouldn’t tick off today’s workout: Last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones” gave me nightmares, and now I’m tired; it looks like it could rain any second; my dog is sleeping on my feet, and I dare not wake him up; either PMS or M&Ms have caused me to feel bit bloated, and I really, really, really shouldn’t go for a run…right? Right? Anyone backing me up here? No?

They’re all BS excuses, of course. Especially when you encounter people like Jon Sutherland, who holds the U.S. record for the longest run streak. As of today, the 65 year-old from West Hills, Calif., has ignored the excuses and run every single day for 17,155 days.

That’s 47 years, you guys.

That’s longer than I’ve been alive.

When I first heard of Sutherland’s run streak, I assumed he must be some sort of militaristic runner who rarely deviates from his routine. Quite the contrary: Sutherland is a writer who covers the rock music scene, which is about as far from militaristic as one can get. The hours are inconsistent, the deadlines pressing, and the travel demanding.

Sutherland runs anyway. Every day, without fail.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put on some pants and go for a run.

Q&A With Jon Sutherland U.S. Run Streak Record Holder

How many days does your run streak have?

On May 26, 2016, it is 47 years.

What “rules” do you have for this streak?

Running at least one mile every day unassisted. I kept up a minimum of three miles a day for almost 40 years now I’m thankful for the one mile days! I’ve averaged 11 miles per day for over 193,000 miles during the streak.

Was this an intentional thing? Did you wake up one morning and say to yourself, “I think I’ll run every day for the next 40 some-odd years”?

No, never! A teammate of mine, Mark Covert at LA Valley College, mentioned that he had run every day for a year, so I thought, “I’ll try that.” I was always 307 days behind Mark until he stopped his streak.

Do you log things formally, or is it just a matter of running for running’s sake?

I’ve written down every workout I have ever done going back to 1968. I fill a 3-inch notebook every year with my lifetime mileage stats, running diary and mementos from that year.

I’ll be honest—there are days when I look at my training plan and I’m just not digging it. Do you have days like that, too?

I bet I hold the world record for this. I’ve gone to over 1,000 rock concerts which put a lot of morning runs in jeopardy.

So how do you get out the door on those days?

I have two dogs, Puck and Pixie, to remind me every day. In all, I run about 10 times a week—I can’t do doubles everyday anymore.

Do you ever just check off the required mile and go home?

Usually when I run a mile just to keep the streak alive I feel guilty and run more.

Yeah, that first mile usually leads to more for me, too. What about injuries or illness?

I’ve had 10 broken bones during the streak: four ribs, a shin, pelvis, vertebrae, radius, and a couple stress fractures in my feet. I don’t get sick much – mono in college and strep throat a couple of times.

Was your streak ever threatened?

I had an avulsion fracture, where muscle pulled off the bone, during a half-marathon in 1988. I felt a big pop slipping on ice going at 5:00 min/mile pace, and the runner next to me heard it! I finished the race! The next day I could barely lift my right leg off the ground. That injury took nine months to heal.

A lot of people make a big deal about rest days—obviously, with a streak, that doesn’t happen. How do you build in that recovery time?

My trick was to run early one day and late the next to get the most rest in between runs.

How in the world did you go for a run the day after a race, when most people are zombie-walking?

I always used running the day after a race to analyze my performance. If I ran poorly, I’d be determined to train harder. If I ran well, I’d be excited—You’re getting there, man!—and I’d run harder. Races motivated me to do the work I needed to be competitive.

Do you still race?

Not anymore. I think 615 races are enough.

Some people view running (and especially run streaks) as a selfish endeavor. Has your streak ever been a source of conflict with your loved ones?

My parents thought sports were noble, so no problem there. My family brags about me and I have fun with that. I tell people, “It’s not what I do, it’s who I am. I’m a runner, runners run.”

I’ve found that the more time I spend running, the more I experience the world—I see more cool/interesting/crazy things, encounter new people, and have experiences I otherwise wouldn’t have dreamed of. Have you had the same experience? What has running brought to your life?

People. I have met so many fascinating runners. I’ve run with some of the greatest runners of all time. I remember a run I took in New Zealand with Dick Quax, Dave Bedford, John Walker, Jos Hermans and Rod Dixon—all world record holders! Wow! Traveling all over the U.S., Europe and New Zealand to race has been fun too.

In all your days of running, does one stick out as the best you’ve ever had?

Any time I can run at the bottom of Huddart Park in Woodside, California, I’m incredibly happy.

What advice do you have for building a long and healthy run streak?

Run on soft surfaces with good shoes as much as you can! Keep races on your calendar that will motivate you to get out there when you don’t feel like it.

* * *

About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). Susan lives and trains in Salt Lake City, Utah with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete husband. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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Chicago to Offer Free Community Running Races This Summer http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/chicago-to-offer-free-community-running-races-this-summer_150651 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/chicago-to-offer-free-community-running-races-this-summer_150651#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 04:29:10 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150651

The events aim to build communities and encourage active lifestyles through running.

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A collaboration between the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Area Runners Association came to fruition last weekend with the start of the ‘Go Run program—a free organized, timed 1-mile and 5K run held at three parks around the city.

The objective of ‘Go Run is to activate neighborhood parks and strengthen communities by encouraging an active lifestyle through running. Last Saturday was the first event, and events will take place each of the next seven Saturday mornings concurrently at Humboldt Park, Warren Park and Washington Park in Chicago. The 1-mile and 5K race courses are entirely within the parks.

RELATED: 5 Places to Run In…Chicago

“The first ‘Go Run was exactly what we hoped… organic, fun, free and diverse. We were pleased to see such great support from our running community. We had a large volunteer turnout with support from local high schools, running clubs, and community-minded individuals. ‘Go Runs are a long-term advocacy program for our communities and CARA is pleased to have the support of these organizations to make ‘Go Runs go in our neighborhoods and parks” said CARA’s Executive Director, Edward Zylka.

Participants and volunteers can sign-up online at CARAruns.org (choose ‘Go Run on the menu bar) or before the run each Saturday between 8:15 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. The runs are at 9 a.m. each Saturday.

“At CARA we often talk about the ‘power of the group’, and getting people running and volunteering together in their neighborhood parks is a perfect way to foster a greater sense of community, which is at the core of our mission as a non-profit,” CARA President Anne Baker said. “Looking ahead we plan to expand ‘Go Run to more Chicago Park District locations and throughout our entire Chicago area membership area.”

 

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Adidas Opening Shoe Factories Manned by Robots in Germany, U.S. http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/adidas-opening-factories-in-german-and-u-s_150637 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/adidas-opening-factories-in-german-and-u-s_150637#comments Wed, 25 May 2016 23:43:14 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150637

Adidas says it will open a U.S. factory to manufacture running shoes in 2017. Photo: Shutterstock

For decades, almost all running shoes produced in the world were made in factories in Southeast Asia. But adidas announced on May 24 that

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Adidas says it will open a U.S. factory to manufacture running shoes in 2017. Photo: Shutterstock

For decades, almost all running shoes produced in the world were made in factories in Southeast Asia. But adidas announced on May 24 that it plans to open new factories operated largely by robotic labor next year in Germany and the U.S.

The company’s German roots stretch back to the in the early 1920s, when German cobbler Adi Dassler started making athletic shoes out of his mother’s laundry room. His brother, Rudolf, joined the business, then called Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory, and they began making athletic shoes for competitors in the 1928 Olympics.

The adidas brand officially got started in 1949 (after Rudolf split off to start Puma) and it thrived as the world’s top athletic footwear manufacturer for decades. Eventually numerous competitors came on the scene, and then production eventually shifted to China and Vietnam. Adidas closed its last shoe factory in Germany in 1993.

RELATED: How New Balance Makes Running Shoes in America

But, according to a story by Reuters news service, advances in robotics and automation means that Adidas can now afford to bring production back closer to customers to meet demands for faster delivery of new styles and to counter rising wages in Asia and lengthy shipping times.

The company gave journalists a first look at its new “Speedfactory” in the southern German town of Ansbach on May 24, saying large-scale production will start in 2017 after producing the first 500 prototypes for sale later this year.

“With the Adidas ‘Speedfactory’, we are revolutionizing the industry,” said Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer. “Our consumers always want the latest and newest product–and they want it now.”

Hainer said Adidas hoped to open a similar plant in the United States next year and expects the two factories to produce at least a million pairs of shoes a year combined within the next couple of years.

“In the medium term, you will see our factories in all major markets,” he said.

MORE: Business of Fashion

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Running Tech Buzz: Garmin Forerunner 235 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/shoes-and-gear/running-tech-buzz-garmin-forerunner-235_150632 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/shoes-and-gear/running-tech-buzz-garmin-forerunner-235_150632#comments Wed, 25 May 2016 23:19:58 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150632

Photo: Valerie Brugos

Garmin’s new Forerunner 235 has all the training features we look for in a serious GPS run watch, along with 24/7 heart rate monitoring

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Photo: Valerie Brugos

Garmin’s new Forerunner 235 has all the training features we look for in a serious GPS run watch, along with 24/7 heart rate monitoring as well as sleep and activity tracking. We preferred the 235’s versatility and simplicity to its more sophisticated cousin the 630, with its chest strap and fussy touch screen. The 235 also improves on the 225, Garmin’s first wrist-based HRM GPS watch. It is lighter and smaller, with a bigger display and longer battery life. Physiology features also arrive via Garmin’s new Elevate heart rate sensing. We appreciated the easy access to heart rate data: instant, constantly updated resting with four-hour and seven-day trends. The thin, soft and slightly sticky strap was comfortable when snug and stayed put—we saw few GPS dropouts or wild HR readings.

Breakdown

Recovery and physiology

Run some harder workouts and the 235 will start to estimate your VO2 Max and give eerily accurate race time predictions. The Recovery Advisor kept our horses in check, estimating hours until our next hard workout.

Connectivity

Smart phone notifications, music control, and add-on widgets, apps and watch faces from the ConnectIQ store are new features that were not available in the 225.

Not sitting still

We noted a much more reliable workout synching to the Garmin Connect app than our earlier test of the 630. During our testing, cadence as a watch data field went live.

RELATED: Running Tech Buzz: Epson Runsense SF-810

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Run Your Fastest 5K: Resistance Training Routine http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/photos/run-your-fastest-5k-resistance-training-routine_150622 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/photos/run-your-fastest-5k-resistance-training-routine_150622#comments Wed, 25 May 2016 22:13:38 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150622

This routine will help control your muscle fibers for a faster, more explosive 5K start.

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Once a week—twice if you have time—perform a short bodyweight or free-weight resistance-training routine. These exercises force your nervous system to recruit all your muscle fibers both simultaneously and explosively, mimicking the demands of the 5K start. This isn’t about building bigger muscles. It’s about teaching your body efficient control of your muscle fibers.

RELATED: Run Your Fastest 5K

All Photos: Nick Isabella

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Workout Of The Week: The Sisyphus Session http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/training/workout-of-the-week-the-sisyphus-session_22493 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/training/workout-of-the-week-the-sisyphus-session_22493#comments Wed, 25 May 2016 21:00:54 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=22493

Photo: istock

Don't stop till you get to the top!

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Photo: istock

I love hill workouts. For my money, running up and down a hill gives you the most bang for your running buck—power, strength, endurance and speed all wrapped into one workout.

So, based on the title of this post, you might be wondering what a mythical Greek king has to do with attacking an incline.

Before we get to the Xs and Os of the workout, first a quick lesson in mythology. Sisyphus was a greedy and deceitful king who was punished for his crimes by being sentenced to roll a large boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll all the way back down to the bottom before he ever reached the top. Despite his best efforts, he was forced to proceed in this manner for the rest of eternity.

This hill workout proceeds in much the same way but unlike our poor friend Sisyphus, you’ll have the good fortune of getting to stop. Eventually.

The Sisyphus Session is one of the bread-and-butter strength-building sessions I like to have my athletes do in the weeks before beginning more pace-specific workouts. I’ll assign some variation of this workout to 5K racers, marathoners and everyone in between toward the end of the the base-building phase of their respective training programs. It’s one hill session that doesn’t discriminate.

RELATED: Steep Hill Sprints

As the nature of the name of the workout implies, you’ll be running up and down the hill a number of times. To get started, you will need to find a moderately steep incline that’s roughly 400 to 800 meters long. Before beginning the workout, warm up with 15 to 20 minutes of easy jogging. Follow that up with some dynamic warmup drills and a set of four to six 20-second strides on flat ground before setting off up the hill.

After warming up, run up the hill for 30 seconds at roughly 5K race effort and jog back down to the start for recovery. If you typically wear a GPS watch when you train, don’t pay attention to the pace on the screen. It will be slower than your actual race pace because you’re fighting against gravity, and since you’re not covering much ground at any one time it likely won’t register accurately on the watch, anyway. This workout is all about effort.

So without the aid of technology how do you know if the effort level is where it’s supposed to be as you’re running up the hill? It’s as easy as asking yourself, “Can I maintain this level of intensity for a 5K race?” If the answer is “no,” then back it off a bit.

Once you get back to the bottom of the hill, turn around and head right back up again at the same hard effort for 60 seconds. Pay close attention to your form as the workout progresses and you start to fatigue. Shorten your stride, get up on your forefoot, lift your knees and drive your arms. You should have the sensation of being pulled up the hill. When you hit the 60-second mark, turn around, jog back down to the start, and do it all over again, this time going up the hill for 90 seconds.

Congratulations, you’re almost there.

After jogging back down the hill upon completion of the 90-second repeat, head back up the hill for 2 minutes at the same effort and pat yourself on the back when you reach the top. You’ve finished the first set.

A completed set gives you 5 minutes worth of running uphill at an effort you should be able to maintain for a 5K race. For a beginning runner or someone just getting back into harder workouts after a lengthy layoff, this might be plenty of work the first time out. For more advanced runners looking to build some early-season strength, 2 to 3 sets (10-15 minutes of uphill running) is more like it. If you’re feeling overly ambitious, try a fourth set, but for most three will be more than enough. This is a tough session!

One variation of this workout is to shorten the length of each uphill rep (e.g. start with 15 seconds, work your way up to a minute) or find a hill with multiple twists and turns and forget about running up and down for set amounts of time. Simply run hard to the first turn and jog back down. Do the same to the next turn and continue proceeding in this manner until you reach the top of the hill. Adjust your effort level for the uphill runs based on the length of the hill and the number of sets you’re hoping to complete. In general, I suggest aiming for 10-15 minutes of uphill running at a strong effort.

In my college cross-country days, we did this workout on a stretch of dirt called Mountain Road, which was exactly one mile from bottom to top. We’d run up to various landmarks along the road, turn around and do it again…and again…and again. We finished the workout with an all-out ascent to the top, at which point we were finally allowed to stop. It was only then that our “punishment” was over for the day.

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Trail of the Week: Rock Creek Park Loop, Washington DC http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/trail-running/trail-week-rock-creek-park-loop-washington-dc_150576 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/trail-running/trail-week-rock-creek-park-loop-washington-dc_150576#comments Wed, 25 May 2016 19:22:15 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=150576

Photo: Doug Hay

A beautiful getaway in the nation's capital.

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Photo: Doug Hay

Our Trail of the Week feature is made possible through a partnership with Trail Run Project, a crowd-sourced collaboration by and for the running community. Thanks to Doug Hay for mapping and describing this route.

A complete natural escape from the busy streets of Washington, DC. The rugged and rocky terrain of the Valley Trail – South, and the smooth horse trail of the Western Ridge Trail, make for a solid run in the middle of the nation’s capitol.

There are lots of unmarked trails that take you out of the park, so be sure to follow the blazes.

This route is the best that Rock Creek has to offer!

The Data

Miles: 8.8

Runnable: 99 percent

Average Grade: 2 percent

Max Grade: 9 percent

Total Ascent: 484 feet

Total Descent: -485 feet

Highest Elevation: 305 feet

For a closer look, check out the interactive map, data, photos courtesy of Trail Run Project:



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