Sunday, December 30, 2007
A lot of athletes seem to be getting sick, and even though they are trying to tough it out and keep training, some rest might be beneficial for them at this stage. Here is my advice for when you are sick.
(Skip the following paragraph if you are sick of my old war stories)
In college, we used to go away to ski camp for two weeks in the wilds of Northern New Hampshire. There were 30 of us, all crammed into a backwoods resort/cabin. Four people to a room, bunkbeds, sleeping in the unfinished basement, re-constituted orange juice out of a giant pot, pasta for dinner every night, we had it all. Invariably, there was always someone who would end up getting a cold, a hacking cough, or something like that. (In fact, out coach would ban you from going if he though you were coming in sick, he would make you stay on campus!) Getting sick during camp was really detrimental, because the Nordic race season starts in the beginning of January. That would basically kill your season. So, whenever some would get sick at camp, they would usually crawl into bed, pull the covers up to their noses, and try and drink as much water as they could, staying isolated and inactive. I guess they thought extreme resting would be the best way to beat their germs. I was lucky, though, I never really got sick at camp, and this is why I think I was so lucky.
Instead of staying inside all day, breathing in stale air and marinating in germs, I made a point to exercise, outside, no matter what the conditions were, every day during camp. It makes sense; get away from the germs, get some fresh air, get your body working. I believe that if you get the blood rushing, the sweat flowing and flush out your system, you can stay healthy, or accelerate getting back to healthy. Would I do intervals if I was on my death bed? Of course not, but I would force myself to exercise moderately to keep me active and keep my body alert, even if I felt a little crappy. After the run, I would always feel 100% better than when I started. Exercise benefits the body, the mind and the spirit, and that is how I always seemed to stay healthy.
So, if you are running a fever of 106 and you are delirious, stay in bed. But if you just have a hacking cough, or a runny nose, or are feeling run-down, bundle up and go for a twenty minute run. Get some serious stretching in, and maybe do a push-up or two. Trust me, it won’t make you worse, it just might make you better. It’s like when you are fatigued in a race. Don’t slow down, speed up, you might beat that fatigue. When you are sick, don’t hole up under the covers, get some fresh air, and you can beat back those germs.
How about those Patriots last night? Wow, that was a stressful game, I was worried, I admit it, when they were down by twelve. But that pass from Brady to Moss to break the records, wasn’t that awesome??!! A thing of beauty, the pass that exemplifies the season, if you ask me. The Pats surely need this upcoming bye week, I think getting the offensive line healthy, as well as Kyle Brady will make a huge difference in the post-season.
If you are reading this Sunday morning, today’s work-out needs to be pretty easy, as yesterday was pretty hard all around. Just some typical Sunday cross training. Take the dog for a walk, play some basketball, go skiing. If you want to run, change it up a little bit. Try running for thirty minutes through the deep snow. Or find a steep hill, hike up it and sprint down it a few times. If you are feeling injured, a nice easy walk would be perfect. I won’t see the team for a week, the last part of break leads right into the Iowa trip, but next week we have the first official time trial of the year, so get excited for that!!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The competition is running, putting in the hard miles. Are you?
2. Run to Englewood Dam. (1)
3. Execute some three minute VO2max intervals.
4. Go to Einstein's for breakfast. Yum!
5. Help put away X-mas decorations.
6. Watch the Patriots go 16-0. (2)
(1) I get to ride the bike to E.D., as last Saturday did something to my foot. some type of strain under my arch, it sucks. I gotta go see Dr. Ferret when I get back from Iowa.
(2) I will be watching the game downtown, celebrating Coach Hawk's 39th B-day at the Wyncoop! Mmmmm!!!!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Study the map beforehand. You can zoom in to see more details, make it a hybrid map to see satellite shots of the roads. Make sure you know where you are going. The route is somewhat intuitive, the turns are obvious, make sure you know where you are at all times!
The start and the finish are a few miles from each other, so arranging transportation from the finish back to the start might be necessary for some athletes. Unless you plan on running to the start as a warm-up and running home as a cool-down! I remember, back in my "glory" days, my good friend Chris Wolski and I ran 5 miles to a ten km road race in college, then we ran the five miles back. Wow, I was in much better shape then, huh? I even think I did OK in that race, I certainly did not come in last. (I think my coach did though!)
Make sure to get a good warm-up and a good stretch in before you begin this work-out.
You should feel like you are exerting the same effort that you have been exerting in the previous Thursday hard runs.
Stretching and a good cool-down are imperative when you finish.
I will not be there, but do not hesitate to run with your teammates. I would assume the seniors will step up and make sure everything is taken care of, but I also assume that all athletes can be self-sufficient to a great extent. Remember, one twig is weak, a bundle of twigs is strong!!
With finals and everything coming up this week, make sure to budget your time as wisely as you can. We will only have organized practice on Monday (weights at 4:15) and Tuesday (speedball game at 3:00). Wednesday will be 20-30 minutes on your own, Thurday will be a hard endurance pace run on your own (I have posted a link to an easy five mile course here, it goes through the neighborhoods) and Friday will be a 45-60 min easy run on your own.
I suggest meeting up with your friends to tackle Thursday's run, running hard by yourself is just that, hard! Meeting up with teammates makes it a lot easier.
Saturday will be at my house, 8:30 am as normal. This will be an easy run through Greenwood Village.
Later this week, I will get those times to hit for Thursday, but until then, stay healthy, and get some studying in!!! See you Monday late afternoon in the weight room.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
It was a tough course, some pretty good hills on the way out, but all the runners threw everything they had at the course, and everyone succeeded. No matter what your time was, being able to hammer 6-8 miles in the cold and on the street means you are in top shape, and you are ready to go even faster. I'm excited!!!
This bodes well, this is our "hard" week and you guys are really handling it well. The intervals we start in January are going to have to be ramped up, you guys are too fast for them already!! That is a great problem to have as a coach, thanks!!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Paul Tergat, the great Kenyan distance runner who holds the world marathon record of 2:04.55, described the depth of preparation for his re-match with Haile Gebrselassie in the 10 km at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (Gebrselassie won gold in Atlanta in 1996 to Tergat’s silver; the result was repeated in Sydney):
“I would be on the track, running hard, collapsing, getting up, and running hard again. And when I was done I couldn’t stand. I was so tired. I couldn’t eat. I felt sick. I had no energy to do anything other than take a drink of water and lie down. Then I’d think of Haile and know that he was training even harder.”
I like that one, it de-mystifies Tergat. Sure, he has great talent, but he works pretty hard as well. Speaking of talent, here is another quote I found out in cyberspace:
Dr. Glen Gaesser, professor of exercise physiology at the University of Virginia, referring to the definition of "talent." The professor was lecturing when someone asked him how to identify the most talented athletes. He paused dramatically to allow everyone to poise their pens, and then he said, "Go to a race and stand at the finish line. Then . . . see who crosses the line first. There is the most talented athlete."
That is great, it shows that talent is a combination. It's a mixture of genetic abilities, work ethic and competitive spirit. Lacking one of these three will not allow you to cross the line first. Very cool way to put it. And finally, I have to throw in my favorite
Lance Armstrong quote:
“Lance hates losing, but he’s not afraid of it.”
Lance used to train so hard, every day, because he was afraid of losing the race. He trained all year round, as hard as he could, covering every base, in order give himself the best chance he possibly could to win. On the other hand, he was never psyched out, he always had complete confidence in his abilities, and he never tied his deep self-worth to his race results. This mind-set freed him and allowed his superior mental and physical preparation to blow the doors off of competitors who were held back by the consequences of losing a race.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I really like his style of straightforward writing, so I have re-posted his latest article here on the blog. It is long, but reading it would be a great idea.
Staying Healthy this Winter
Anyone who ski races has had it happen to them. You train hard: intervals, overdistance, everything feels great. Your skis are running great, your confidence is high, and just before the big race, you get sick. Maybe you race anyway and get sicker. Maybe you skip the race and end the season unfulfilled. And maybe you race without consequence—unless you count getting beat by your nemesis by 10 minutes.
Everyone gets sick sometimes. And winter, when we race, is when that usually happens. But there are a lot of things you can do to prevent illness and minimize the damage to your season.
The number one way to prevent illness is to sleep. Most of the bad colds I got when I was competing at a world class level could be traced directly to several nights in a row of bad sleep. In those seasons where I was able to find the time to sleep well every single night, I almost never got sick. Today, with a full time job—and more importantly a toddler to chase after—I can’t always get the sleep I need. But I have managed to stay pretty healthy by backing off the training when I am way behind on sleep. It is far better to skip the intervals, and sometimes even the entire ski, when you are tired than to risk getting sick.
While colds are probably the most common illness faced by skiers, flu is a serious concern. An important step you can take to prevent this is to get a flu shot. You are probably reading this in December, which is later than ideal but not to late to help.
The next key to staying healthy is to stay hydrated. While you may not sweat as much in the winter (unless you office-mates crank the heat to 74) you still lose a lot of water, particularly through breathing the dry air. Drinking lots of water helps the machine which is your body run much more smoothly at all times. If you are traveling by airplane, if you have extremely dry air—common in hotel rooms—or if you just feel like your nasal passages are drying out, you should use nasal saline. It might feel a little weird to spray salt water into your nose, but it keeps your nasal passages moist and able to fight off germs before they establish themselves.
Speaking of germs, another important way to keep yourself healthy is to wash your hands frequently. Just like your mother told you, every time you go to the bathroom (even if you are a guy and don’t pee on your hands), before and after every meal, and basically any time you are near a sink and have a chance, you should wash your hands. You should use plenty of soap and wash as long as it takes to hum “Happy Birthday” twice. If the washing dries you hands out, get some lotion. If you can’t wash with soap, hand sanitizer helps but what is even more helpful is hand sanitizing wipes; the wipes remove bacteria and viruses in addition to killing them and studies have shown they are much more effective.
Changing clothes is another key to staying healthy. If you are dressed properly to train you will sweat, and driving home in you sticky wet clothing is a big mistake. Always bring at least a warm dry shirt to change into after your ski. And a hot shower when you get home doesn’t just feel good, it helps you stay healthy both by warming your skin and by letting you breathe some moist air.
If you feel you are starting to get sick, all of this advice goes double. Sleep and water help you recover and nasal saline prevents sinus infection. Washing your hands might seem less helpful at this point, but it keeps your friends from getting sick. If you have an important race in the next week, don’t ski for longer than it takes to stretch your legs and feel like you have your fresh air for the day.
As you start to get sick you will get lots of advice about pills to take. I will try to summarize what I know about your options. Zinc is clinically shown to shorten colds. Zinc is a supplement and so it is loosely regulated; there is a slight chance of any supplement triggering a positive drug test (if you are competing at that level) and a larger chance that you simply aren’t getting what the label says. Do your homework before picking a product. Vitamin C has a lot more hype going for it than science, but one of the few studies that supports Vitamin C for colds had competitive skiers for its subjects. Echinacea is popular but unproven and it is very hard to know what you are getting when you buy it.
Pharmaceuticals can also keep a cold from getting worse but should be used with caution. Sudafed is a great help to some people (by relieving nasal congestion) but kills others (by raising blood pressure). Guaifenesin (the active ingredient in Mucinex) is very good at thinning mucus, making coughing more effective and helping your sinuses to drain. And Afrin and Benadryl also help relieve congestion, which often prevents a cold from getting worse or spawning a sinus infection. For 90% of the population these drugs are safe; for a few they can be very dangerous. Talk to your doctor about safe cold remedies, and always follow the instructions.
Most important, once you are sick, have patience. You will get better, you will have great days of skiing and fast races, and the best training you can do right now is to lie in bed and drink water.
Monday, December 3, 2007
But hey, TFB came through in the clutch, although it was pretty stressful to watch though. I am pretty glad Brady is on our side.
What about Bart Scott of the Ravens, throwing the yellow flag into the stands? What a dumb move, typical of a Ray Lewis led defense though. Ray is a fraud.
It's not over yet, 44 seconds left. Beth is right, this is very nerve-wracking.
And the clock ticks down... Hail Mary!!!! Holy Sh*t!!! He caught it!
Don't make the mistake I did, stay healthy!!