Tag Archives: race

Steeplechase What?!

FullSizeRenderLast week, I drove up to Orlando with the Spanish River track team for the Disney Relays. The meet was a little hot (and sunny) but fun…but the highlight had to be the 2,000 Steeplechase event for high school boys. Two members of our team competed (jumping hurdles and steeplechases for the very first time), didn’t get injured and had a great time in the process.

I have to be honest…I questioned the idea at first…concerned that these runners would fall, slip, get trampled, etc. while trying out this “different” event…but my fellow Coach Doug Horn pushed for it, saying it would be fun for the boys…and he was right. They had a good time trying out an event…you rarely get the chance to compete in (especially in high school) and they did okay!

So, I figured I’d share some of the pictures from the race here…and also share some tips from steeplechase experts…

Also, check out this Runner’s World article on the subject.

Enjoy!

1. Don’t wear socks.

2. Have a strong core! The race requires you to get your legs up and over the barriers multiple times. Also, you don’t always land smooth. A strong core will help you keep your body in control and prevent a side stitch.

3. Run big. Running in any distance race where you are in a pack is tough. Now throw in some barriers to leap over and you have a disastrous mix if you aren’t careful. Find some space by staying outside, or being on the inside, but edge away from the first lane line a little to give yourself some space on one side. If people try to crowd you, lean towards them to make your presence know.

4. Don’t go out too fast. It is nice to be out in front and out of traffic, but if the pace is too fast at the start for you, the later stages of the race will be a death march. This race is unforgiving and just imagine being extremely fatigued with countless water jumps and barriers to make it over. Every hurdle is another momentum killer, so don’t burn up your energy too soon.

5. Learn to use hurdle with either leg. Out of all the steeplechase tips, this one is the most difficult to follow. You have to keep your momentum going, and you aren’t going to be counting steps between hurdles. Don’t do that choppy step routine or the long leg strides right before the barrier. Practice hurdling with your opposite leg. It makes a huge difference to be able to leap and not mess up your stride.

Turkey Trots Galore!

Thankgiving is in fact the biggest day for 5Ks in South Florida…so join in on the fun and participate in a Turkey Trot near you! I personally will be racing in the Levis JCC Turkey Trot on Thursday morning at 7:30am at South County Regional Park in West Boca Raton! Hope to see you there! Details below!

Register here.

Sun-Sentinel - Turkey

Boca Raton 2012 Holiday Mile!

Who is going to tomorrow night’s Boca Raton 2012 Holiday Mile?! It’s a very cool and unique event – involving just that, a straight mile race on the streets of Boca Raton. It takes place just before the Holiday parade down Federal Highway in front of thousands of people (fans?)!

I participated last year and it was definitely an experience. Usually, road races are 5Ks so to get out of the gate in what felt like an all out sprint and run down the streets of Boca was an experience! And I also quickly realized how terrible I am at judging distance. I mistakenly did not take a minute to check out the course…and as a result assumed the finish was nearly 400 meters before it actually was! Wow, what a painful mistake!

Here are some pictures of last year’s event. I ran it with my former high school cross country team and close friend Angela Morando Singer and her husband Phillipe Singer. They were in from France!

Let me know if you run tomorrow night! And send me your pictures if you do!

What: 11th annual Boca Raton PAL Holiday Mile

When: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 7:15pm

Where: 777 S. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, FL

REGISTER

 

Treadmill Versus Outdoor Running

I was talking to a runner earlier today…and he mentioned a friend of his had recently claimed to run under 17 minute pace for the 5K only one month after starting running/training – primarily as conditioning for another sport. My friend (the real runner) seemed concerned that this “newbie” runner was able to achieve such a feat so quickly and without seemingly much work or experience. So how, you ask, is this newbie doing so well, so quickly? Well, I left out the most important clue…he was running on a treadmill.

Could a treadmill really make that much of a difference? Is treadmill running that much easier than traditional outdoor running? Are treadmill times not realistic? And is treadmill running adequate training for an outdoor road, cross country or track race?

According to the experts at Runners World and other resources I have researched, treadmill running and road running are definitely not the same. And therefore, the times achieved from one versus the other really should not be compared. All-in-all, it is agreed that running on a treadmill is easier than running outdoors, for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The treadmill belt assists leg turnover, making it easier to run faster. This is why most runners will find that their pace on the treadmill doesn’t correlate to their road pace. (Good point for my “real” running friend.)
  • Some of the soft tissue conditioning or “hardening” that occurs with road running does not occur with treadmill running because the plate or base on the treadmill “gives” more than road surfaces. (Meaning – it’s a better muscle workout outdoors.)
  • There are no weather conditions to deal with when running indoors (rain, snow, ice, cold, heat, etc.). (Meaning “real runners” run outside and face the elements – whatever they might be.)
  • The incline that just occurs with outdoor running (because in case you didn’t know – the world isn’t flat!) is also missing on the treadmill – unless you specifically increase the incline on the machine!

This is not to say that the treadmill can’t be a great training tool – for a variety of reasons. And I’ll be the first to say I like the treadmill – unlike many of my “real” runner friends who almost equate it to the elliptical machine! In fact, a number of years back (around 2006-2007) after returning from college, I started running primarily on the LA Fitness treadmills after work each day. It was easier for me because I could go right after work and see people I knew; it was also safer because the sun was going down pretty early at that time of year and running outside wasn’t a great option for a single female. After a few months of “treadmill training,” I ended up running some great 5K times in outdoor road races. I attribute it to the short but FAST workouts I would do on the treadmill – of course music blasting. For me, as an overly competitive person, running on a treadmill ensured that I would run fast because in my head I had to look like a “real” runner to the random people working out around me!

But I digress…Because treadmill running is easier, it’s a good ideas to use it for speed work (like I did). You can do this by speeding up the pace for short intervals and then slowing it down for recovery intervals (i.e. a Fart-Lek – I’ll define that in a later post). This is a very convenient way to get in some speed work or tempo runs in a controlled setting.

Here are a few more Treadmill Running Tips:

Use a slight incline.

  • Set the treadmill inclination to 1% to 2%. Since there’s no wind resistance indoors, a gentle uphill better simulates outdoor running. Of course, if you’re just getting started with running, it’s fine to leave the incline at 0% until you build up your fitness.
  • At the same time, don’t set the incline too steep (more than 7%) — this may lead to Achilles tendon or calf injuries. Also, don’t run at an incline of more than 2% for your entire run.

Don’t hold onto the handrail or console.

  • Some people assume that they need to hold onto the handrails when walking or running on a treadmill. The handrails are only there to help you safely get onto and off of the treadmill.
  • When running on the treadmill, practice proper upper body form by keeping your arms at a 90 degree angle, just as you would if you were running outside.

Don’t lean forward.

  • Make sure to keep your body upright. It’s not necessary to lean forward because the treadmill pulls your feet backward. You need to pull your feet from the belt before they are driven away by the belt.

Pay attention to your stride.

  • Keep your stride quick and short to help minimize the impact transferred to your legs. Try to maintain a mid-foot strike to make sure you’re not heel striking and sending shock to your knees. You may need to exaggerate the heel lift because the lack of forward momentum means your feet won’t be moving in a circular path.
  • The more steps you take per minute, the more efficiently you’ll run. Elite runners run about 180 steps per minute. Determine your stride count by counting how often one foot hits the belt in a minute and then doubling that number. Try to improve your stride count during your run by focusing on taking shorter, quicker strides and keeping your feet close to the belt. This exercise will help you deal with boredom on the treadmill and even improve your outdoor running.

Don’t look down.

  • It can be hard not to continually look to see how much time or distance you have left, but if you’re looking down, your running form will suffer.
  • Don’t stare at your feet either. You’re likely to run hunched over, which could lead to back and neck pain. Looking straight ahead is the safest way to run, whether you’re on the treadmill or running outside.

Looking to buy a treadmill? Check out these.

Wondering what the world records are for treadmill runners? Here they are!

Florida Track & Field State Championships

Boca Raton News May 15, 1999: Florida High School Track & Field State Championship Meet Preview

Wow. It’s an amazing feeling to be back! It’s been 12 years since I was at the Florida High School Track & Field State Championships and it is great to be back! The energy of the fans and crowd, the friendliness of the officials, the enthusiasm of the parents and coaches, and of course the impressiveness and drive of the athletes is unmatched in my mind.

I am of course back now in a different position than I was 12 years ago but enjoying the experience nonetheless. Last time I was an athlete. In 1999, a two-time state champion in the 1600 and 3200 meter races; in 2000, a defending state champion (I didn’t repeat but did okay in the final races, medaling in both). This time around I am a coach. Coach to a high school senior, Nick, who is competing in tonight’s large school division 3200 meter race.

The experience and energy of the atmosphere here is the same – it’s excitement, it’s passion and it’s great athletics that I’m honored to be a part of! It truly makes you want to be better, work harder, and race more. I personally think this meet is going to serve as a great kick-off for a long summer of training and mileage. Because if seeing one female athlete (high school senior) race and WIN the 1600, 800 and 3200 (in amazing times) all in one night doesn’t get your heart pumping and wanting to compete, run, and win…than few other things will!

You can meet some of these same athletes at FLRunners.com, and see their amazing races, post-race interviews, etc. I think you’ll be motivated to be the best athlete you can be just the same…