Tag Archives: Greek runners

Detraining in endurance runners

2014-01-04 11.43.04If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you probably know that I usually run 50 to 60 miles per week. Unfortunately, the recent snowstorm that hit much of the eastern U.S has made it difficult to maintain this routine. My usual routes are covered in several inches of snow or ice, and it is going to take a while for most of it to melt. And more snow is expected next week.

It’s no big secret that I’m not a big fan of treadmills or indoor exercise in general. And treadmills don’t like me much either, so the feeling is mutual. I’ll use it when I absolutely must, but going beyond an hour is difficult for me since it feels tedious and dull.

I can still run outside, but it takes longer and it is more tiring to cover my usual routes. If you’ve been following my crazy blog long enough, you know I can run long distances in snowstorms, but mostly in the early stages when there is little snow on the ground. Unfortunately, due to all the snow outside yesterday, instead of running to Valhalla like I usually do, I ended up running to Mount Olympus, which is closer. For those new to the blog, Valhalla is a town 12 miles north from me, and Mount Olympus is a diner in Yonkers. What did you think I was talking about? I have traction enhancers on my sneakers, but they merely prevent slipping, they don’t necessarily make running in snow less tiring.

With my routine temporarily reduced, this leaves me wondering how much of my endurance capacity will be lost due to “detraining”. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like much. Overall, it is much easier to maintain fitness than to become fit.

According to Sports Medicine, in “Impact of reduced training on performance in endurance athletes“:

Abstract

Many endurance athletes and coaches fear a decrement in physical conditioning and performance if training is reduced for several days or longer. This is largely unfounded. Maximal exercise measures (VO2max, maximal heart rate, maximal speed or workload) are maintained for 10 to 28 days with reductions in weekly training volume of up to 70 to 80%. Blood measures (creatine kinase, haemoglobin, haematocrit, blood volume) change positively or are maintained with 5 to 21 days of reduced training, as are glycogen storage and muscle oxidative capacities. Submaximal or improved with a 70 to 90% reduction in weekly volume over 6 to 21 days, provided that or improved with a 70 to 90% reduction in weekly volume over 6 to 21 days, provided that exercise frequency is reduced by no more than 20%. Athletic performance is improved or maintained with a 60 to 90% reduction in weekly training volume during a 6 to 21 day reduced training period, primarily due to an enhanced ability to exert muscular power. These findings suggest that endurance athletes should not refrain from reduced training prior to competition in an effort to improve performance, or for recovery from periods of intense training, injury, or staleness.

There doesn’t appear to be much to worry about, even though I usually feel cranky if I don’t run on a day I was scheduled to run on. Based on my readings, it appears that endurance capacity can be maintained for up to 2 weeks, even if exercise is greatly reduced. It’s after 2 weeks that reductions in fitness start becoming apparent.

So if Old Man Winter is interfering with your outdoor fitness routine, don’t worry too much about it. Adapt if you can to the outside conditions, but if the situation is too extreme, try exercising indoors whenever possible.

Photos from the Brooklyn Marathon

Here are some photos from the rainy Brooklyn Marathon last month:

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Thanks to Ken Shelton at Ken Shelton Photography for the photos! In case you are new here, yes, I did juggle the entire time and finished in under 4 hours(3:52:33). I think I am about 95% recovered from this marathon. I already did a 20 mile run last week without much difficulty. Thanks to my friends and followers for your advice and inspiration!

My Brooklyn Marathon experience

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Just after completing the Brooklyn Marathon. They also gave me a nice hat, besides a Brooklyn Marathon running shirt, which I didn’t wear.

First of all, congratulations to all finishers of the Brooklyn Marathon! it was great running with all you energetic and wonderful people. And Thanks to NYCRUNS for organizing a great race experience.

Earlier today, I completed the Brooklyn Marathon in Prospect Park while juggling. The Brooklyn Marathon is a very young marathon compared to the Yonkers Marathon(also organized by NYCRUNS) I did back in september. I often call it a “baby” marathon because it is only 3 years old, unlike the 106 year old Yonkers Marathon. This in no way means it is an “easy” marathon, though it is a lot less hilly than the Yonkers Marathon.

Now for the results: I was a tiny bit slower than last time, finishing at 3:52:33, compared to 3:51:43, which is how I did at the Yonkers Marathon, an almost trivial difference. At least I managed to finish in under 4 hours again. There were 400 finishers in the race, and my overall place was 122. I think that may be kind of impressive.

At least I improved when it came to juggling, dropping only twice during the entire marathon, compared to 4 times in the Yonkers Marathon. I probably would have done better if it hadn’t rained on and off for nearly 30 minutes, leaving me all wet and making it slippery in some spots. It was also a little warm for this time of year(nearly 60 F or 15.5 C toward the end of the race) and uncomfortably humid, though when the race started at 8:30, it was a little chilly.

I think the tedium of doing several laps on the same path in Prospect Park going around and around and around got to me mentally(I did this entire path once earlier this year). This was the biggest problem with the race, from my perspective. I prefer a race that isn’t repetitious and takes me places. Fortunately, NYCRUNS has some ambitious plans to bring the Brooklyn Marathon out onto the streets of Brooklyn. I even feel like they stole my idea – I kept thinking to myself: “Wouldn’t it be great if this race ended in Cony Island?”. And the organizer at the beginning of the race said exactly that! So this is a potentially great marathon in embryo form, just as the big New York City Marathon was once an embryo that used to be completely run within Central Park back in the 70s.

I also felt a borderline nausea during some parts of the run, especially when I tried running faster. I wonder if this would have been less of a problem if I had been consuming the probiotic blueberry or cherry kefir before the run, which is what I did last time. Unfortunately, due to time constraints I wasn’t able to make any this time, though did have some store bought kimchi.

Another issue was that the marathon route wasn’t closed to non-marathon runners. I couldn’t get over how many people were walking or running on the path, seemingly oblivious to the fact that a marathon was going on and they were in the middle of it. This must have slowed down a lot of the runners.

On the bright side, the crowd support was amazing. There were so many people cheering for us, and I gotta admit, especially me. This feels so weird to me. I can’t count how many times I heard people say “Go vegan joggler!”, because of the vegan T-shirt I had on. I think at least a few of the people watching the marathon were vegan(which may have explained their excitement), and I am aware of a few other vegan runners who I met. Yes I know I get a lot of attention, but you all inspire me too; I don’t think I would be doing this at all if it wasn’t for vegan runners setting an example for me to follow and to feel camaraderie with. Not to mention that part of the reason I do this is to dispel myths about veganism.

After I crossed the finish line, some other runners thanked me for making the race more “entertaining” for them. This is why I do what I do – it makes racing more fun for me and everyone else. I’m glad I could entertain you, and maybe inspire you to run a little faster – after all, who wants to come home from a race and say they got beaten by a vegan joggler? This is also the first long run in which I’ve worn the new ASICS sneakers I got about a week before the race. It felt terrific running in them, they are definitely a little roomier width wise compared to my previous pair.

All in all, a great race experience in spite of its flaws. I also wish I had gotten more sleep the night before. I got around 5 hours which is usually inadequate for me. This also may have slowed me down a little bit.

I drank a lot of tart cherry juice during the ride home, and ate some Cliff Bars. It’s difficult to have a full meal after very long runs. I drank a lot of tart cherry juice because it may help speed recovery. I feel sore now, but I did go for a walk after I got home. Hopefully the soreness will be gone within a few days.

I look forward to doing many more marathons and races. I wish all my followers much success with your races and your fitness routine. I hope anyone reading this who ran the Brooklyn Marathon had as good of a time as I did. And if you happen to be planning a trip to New York City, be sure to visit Prospect Park, it’s a lovely little green space that has a lot to offer.

Related posts:

Brooklyn Marathon here I come!

All those rumors swirling around the blogosphere are true. I will be running the Brooklyn Marathon on the 17th, which is this sunday. I will be juggling the whole time, while wearing a tutu. Actually, I’m just kidding about the tutu.

It looks like the weather will be perfect for running a marathon. If you are in the area and want to see what joggling is all about, this is your chance to see it live. It’s so awesome that it will be held in Prospect Park, which is right next to the Park Slope neighborhood. Park Slope is one of the most vegan-friendly communities in the entire north-eastern U.S.

This will be my second marathon, so I’m hoping to achieve a faster time compared to how I did at the Yonkers Marathon. Wish me luck everyone, and I wish all my fellow runners and other athletes success with their races.

Back in business!

If you remember my post from october 19th, “13.1 mile run to Valhalla again“, I was much slower than usual. This was mostly due to donating blood 3 days before the run. It took me 2 hours and 18 minutes to run the 13.1 miles to Valhalla, while I can normally run this distance in a little less than 2 hours. I was slow pretty much all of last week, even on my 22 mile run(or better yet, “slug crawl”) to “Little Iran”.

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Shiraz restaurant in “Little Iran”, Elmsford, New York

Now, it appears my blood has mostly recovered. Today, 14 days after the blood donation, and 30 days after the marathon I managed to run 13.6 miles to Hastings and back in 1 hour 58 minutes. During the run, a cyclist acquaintance of mine tried to pretend he was juggling while cycling after he passed me. It was really funny, and I gotta say, he shows a lot of potential to be a good juggler-cyclist! Besides this, I felt like I was in top form during most of the run(even when running up hills), and didn’t feel totally exhausted afterwards. Right now I still feel very energetic, compared to how I often felt last week.

While the main reason I donated blood was to do a good deed, I was also interested in experimenting to see how much slower I would get and how long it would take to recover. Just as I suspected, it isn’t a big deal and I encourage all healthy people, athletes and non-athletes to donate whenever possible.

Now I am almost back to the way I was before, thanks to eating a lot of iron rich foods and supplements, and can work on improving my speed again.

How I did at the Yonkers Marathon

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A few minutes after crossing the finish line

First of all, congratulations to all finishers of the challenging Yonkers Marathon! And a big thanks to everyone supporting and cheering us as we raced!

Yesterday, I completed the hilly Yonkers Marathon while juggling, my first ever marathon. It felt spectacular! It took me 3:51:43, to complete the 26.2 mile(42.1 km) course. I wasn’t expecting completing in under 4 hours, not just because this was my first marathon but also because of all the hills. And some old injuries which occasionally give me problems. Most of the hills aren’t very challenging, the inclines are mostly gentle, except at the point where Main Street in Hastings-On-Hudson meets route 9 when the route loops back into Yonkers, between miles 4 and 5(17 and 18 during second loop of full Marathon).

The race was a combined full and half-marathon, so at the 8 AM start there were around 1,200 runners total, with only 196 doing the full marathon. Half-marathoners did one loop, full-marathoners 2 loops. My overall place was 86. It was really crowded at the start, in front of the Yonkers library in downtown Yonkers. Because I’m a joggler, I wanted to be toward the back and by the side, in case I dropped the balls. I dropped them 4 times.

The first few miles north on Warburton Ave were a breeze(it was 55 F or 12.7 C at the start) and is mostly a gentle incline. I decided to start slow, and it would have been difficult to pass many runners due to how crowded it was. At first the route is very urban, and kind of slummy, but it became increasingly suburban the further north we went. Between mile 2 and 3, there were some decent views of the Hudson(trees tend to block much of the view in the warmer months). Just after mile 3 it starts feeling rural, with lots of wooded park areas. Some of the houses in this area have great views of the Hudson. It was around this time that I had my first drop, all because I wanted to drink some Gatorade.

The Newington Cropsey Foundation art museum. It is one of the most interesting sites places the marathon route passed. It is located near the middle of Hastings.

The Newington Cropsey Foundation art museum. It was one of the most interesting places along the marathon route. It is located near the middle of Hastings.

A little after mile 4 and we’re in Hastings-On-Hudson. This is a picturesque small town just north of Yonkers with a Bohemian feel to it and some historical sites. By this time the crowd of runners started to thin out and I was passing a lot of runners. Some were impressed while others felt bad about having someone run faster than them who is also juggling. There weren’t a lot of crowds along the path, mostly just water and Gatorade stations where everyone cheered loudy for the passing runners and usually louder for me(this made me feel a little uncomfortable at times since I don’t normally enjoy being the center of attention). The staff from NYCrunners, and the Boy Scouts handing out water were very helpful and supportive. The police were also great at keeping traffic from interfering with the race(the route isn’t completely closed to traffic). I always thanked them as I passed.

A little after mile 6 and I was back in Yonkers. I was still passing runners but not as much as before. Between miles 8 and 9 I mostly stopped passing runners, and the route went from pleasant suburban to ugly industrial. I tended to grab water or Gatorade every 2 to 4 miles, running while drinking(though not juggling, these breaks were always very brief).

From miles 9 to 10, some runners would pass me and I would occasionally pass some runners who decided to walk. It also became increasingly urban as the route approached downtown Yonkers. I started to feel a little tired by mile 10. The temperature was rising, and there was nothing blocking the sun’s increasingly stronger rays.

Miles 11 to 12 were very urban, and there were a lot of people out in the streets watching the runners and cheering us on. My right hip started to bother me around here though strangely started feeling better a few miles later. The route comes within a quarter mile from the Bronx(northernmost borough of New York City) which is to the south, and even feels like the Bronx at this point. The route then goes west on Valentine Street, and then turns north and away from the Bronx on Riverdale Avenue toward the area where the Marathon started at mile 13.1. The crowd support at the starting/finish line area was great, so many were amazed by the joggling.

The strange turn-around to do the second loop for the full marathon was a bit confusing when the head of the marathon explained it at the beginning, but luckily helpful staffers were able to show me and other runners the right direction to go in. I probably would have ended up in the Hudson river if not for their guidance.

The crowd support at the center of town, and the knowledge that I was 50% through the race was very invigorating. The crowd of runners had thinned out, since it was now only us full marathoners. It almost felt like I was doing a training run because of the few runners I saw ahead of me on the road, mostly in the distance. My speed improved and I passed several more runners between miles 14 to 18, but I would occasionally slow down to quickly recharge my batteries. By mile 18 I felt I had hit the wall, in part due to that steep hill on the edge of Hastings village I mentioned earlier. I dropped the balls a couple of times between miles 18 and 20, and was passed by some faster runners. Besides this, the temperature had risen to the upper 60s(20 C) and I felt it and started to sweat a lot.

It was pretty lonely after mile 20, with a lot of space between me and most other runners. I could barely keep pace with the runners 50 to 200 feet ahead of me, when I could see them, and walked for 1 to 2 seconds a couple of times in hilly areas. By mile 24.5, after one last incline, there were no more hills. It was all downhill toward the finish line!

I had my last sip of Gatorade and felt reinvigorated at around mile 25 when told there was just 1 more mile to go. My speed picked up. As I approached the finish line area there were a lot of people cheering me on. As I crossed the finish line I did one of my tricks, throwing a ball above the finish line banner and catching it on the other side as a coup de grace. The crowd loved it. Although I didn’t do it perfectly, I was surprised I could do it at all due to my tiredness. I don’t think I’ve ever been cheered for that loudly before. Of course, I am not the first person to joggle an entire marathon, this has been done countless times before.

As I approached the baggage area I felt like I was going to faint and a few staffers were concerned. I quickly recovered though felt very sore. I drank a lot of Gatorade and water and had a Cliff Bar.

I felt very sore after the marathon, and feel a little sore now. However, I managed to walk for a few miles after the marathon to get some exercise. I’ve been drinking a lot of tart cherry juice and blueberry juice to help me recover. I also drink some blueberry kefir juice, and I think drinking this the day before and the morning of the race may be why I had no digestive complaints whatsoever during the marathon. Ordinarily I would at least feel some stomach pain if running over 15 miles.

All in all, a great experience. Some people might like to believe vegans can’t run marathons. I had certain people laugh at me when I told them I would complete one – while juggling the whole time. Now, I am laughing at them. Of course, a lot of people laughed at me during the marathon due to my juggling, but it was more of a complimentary laugh. They were also laughing at the male runner dressed in a tutu, though it’s not a real marathon if there isn’t a man in a tutu running it. I laughed too, though laughed less and less when I realized how fast he was.

Alas, I couldn’t keep up with the runner in the tutu, but there is always a next time. I hope everyone does great at their races!

If anyone reading this has any good photos from the marathon, please email me.

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