Tag Archives: racing

Maccabiah Games – Israel 2013

And the official countdown can being. I leave for New York July 9; Israel July 10th; and then race on July 23rd in Tel Aviv! It is starting to feel a little realer to me! Not in the super super prep and excited mode quite yet but I am sure that will come when July arrives. Maccabiah USA has also starte to send information, details and uniforms! Here is what I have so far:

  • ARRIVALS (July 10, 2013): The 1100 plus USA athletes will arrive in Israel and start meeting one another. Besides Coach Rothman (who is coaching the Junior Track team) and Rob Fellman (Track Chair and athlete), I do not know anyone! I don’t even know anyone from the half marathon team – so this should be quite exciting!
  • ISRAEL CONNECT (July 11-16, 2013): We get to see Israel and all it offers – well not all – but a lot! Including: Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Masada, Bedouin tent dinner, Yad Vashem, and much more!
  • TRAVEL TO TEL AVIV WITH HALF MARATHON TEAM AND OTHER OPEN SPORTS TEAMS (July 17, 2013): This is where the two weeks of competition period beings. (I won’t be running until July 23 so I will have lots of time to see Israel
  • half marathon coursevisit with family, meet the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County’s partners in the region, and do some work for BlueIvy Communications!
  • HALF-MARATHON RACE (July 23, 2013): The race will take place in the evening at 8:00pm, when it could potentially cool to around 90 degrees and 90% humidity! Luckily I am from Florida so am sorta used to it! Picture of the course included below.
  • TEL-AVIV TO NEWARK TO FLORIDA (August 1, 2013)

I will share pictures in the coming weeks – and of course during the games you can follow me on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/melissaperlman). Not a friend? Just request me!

Still interested in supporting? I am still a ways away from my goal – so any little bit helps! Visit my donation page here: http://friendraising.towercare.com/Markslist/campaign/display/profile.do?campaignId=10591

More details provided to me on the Maccabiah Games: 

We represent the USA’s best Jewish athletes. Since the Games started 80 years ago, only 6,000 USA athletes have participated, many former, current or past Olympians.  Our track and field teams over the years are fewer than only 500 participants- (many are blind copied on this email.)  You are in the company of: Dwight Stones (announcer and US Olympian), Ken Flax (current NCAA record holder, US Olympian), Deena Kastor (current USA marathon record holder and USA Olympian), Irv Mondschein (USA Olympian). Jews are a small minority in the world (.25%) yet we make up of over 3% of Olympic medals. As per Adam Sandler, “not too shabby.”

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!

REVIEW: Skechers GOrun Shoes

Trying out the Skechers GOrun shoes at the Mind Body Sole store in the Wellington Green Mall.

Earlier tonight I headed over to the Mind, Body & Sole store in the Wellington Green Mall for a Skechers GOrun Test Run. It was hosted by one of the runners in the South Florida Runs group – Bryan Fedor – and was advertised as an opportunity give us runners a chance to try out Skechers’ new running shoes – Skechers GOrun – designed to assist with the “longed for” or “envied” mid-foot and front-foot strike. With Bryan’s request that we help make a contribution to sports science, I figured why not head over and try the shoes out!

According to Skechers, “Skechers GOrun shoes are designed to give you a more natural running experience and to allow you to interact with and respond to practically any surface, while at the same time offering the additional benefit of Resalyte™ cushioning. Skechers GOrun promotes a mid-foot strike. The Skechers GOrun brings you closer to a barefoot experience AND provides impact protection.”

In other words, wearing supportive running shoes combined with the practice of jogging have both basically changed our running form. Most of us now run by striking heel then toe, heel-toe. This may be natural and ideal for a slow, easy jog, but while racing? A truly efficient runner moves forward with each step. They eat up ground with every stride. They do not stand still. Most runners according to studies (especially the elite runners) will strike front or mid-foot first. (This becomes very evident when you watch the high schoolers race around the track – especially in a relay race.) Over the past few years a number of brands have tried to fix this by introducing barefoot running shoes and minimalist shoes. Each has its advantage, but I have to admit that I’m impressed with the Skechers GOrun Shoes. Especially from a company that in the past – you wouldn’t necessarily correlate with real running or racing.

The Skechers GOrun shoes essentially force you to move forward. They almost propel you forward. They weigh hardly anything (6.9 oz for men; 4.9 oz for women) and they have built-in high-abrasion rubber “knobs” as I’d describe them that literally make it awkward for you as a runner to run and land on your heel first. They force you to land on your mid- to front foot. I personally felt like I was running on my toes…as if I was in a pair of spikes sprinting around the track. However, I had more padding and support. The running on your toes experience definitely uses more calf muscle – so you will feel that quicker than usual – and all-in-all it does feel a little awkward at first. But it’s primarily a weird feeling because we are so used to running flat footed or heel-toe as I mentioned before.

I wondered to myself how long I could run like this and if my feet would tire out sooner than usual. The GOruns in my opinion are a great way to train ourselves to run on our toes, run forward and run more efficiently. However, as the Skechers rep mentioned, you should probably only start off with wearing them 10% of the time (during your runs) and then adding a little bit each week from there. Starting off with the GOruns on a four or six miler or even longer run could result in soreness or even injury  – specifically an Achilles injury (as is the case with any shoe or running practice that forces you to run on your toes constantly).

But if you, like me, are wondering if you should be racing in the GOruns, and if so, how long of a race is appropriate…then you’ll be comforted to hear this. Meb Keflezighi wears the Skechers GOruns and he just won the 2012 USA Olympic Marathon Trials held in mid-January. Yes, he ran in them for 26.2 miles. Now I’m sure there were a few tweaks made to the shoe to add a little bit of extra padding and support for the long 26.2 mile race (that’s common for any athlete wearing their sponsor’s shoe/product)…but all-in-all the shoe is pretty much the same thing. And for me, hearing that Meb wore the Skechers shoes in the race and will wear them again (the special red, white and blue Olympic version) in the London Olympics – was all I needed to hear. So look for me on some upcoming runs and races trying my Goruns out with a better, more efficient, forwarding moving stride! And I’ll let you know if any PRs result!

Learn more about the debate over heel-toe and toe-heel striking here. There is evidence on both sides! And here is a good video of the two types of strides – if you are confused.

As I side note, while doing some research for this post, I read this article about the difficulty athletes go through getting sponsors and then getting an adequate salary. Skechers really got behind Meb – as it sounds from this article – and that’s pretty cool. Read the Wall Street Journal article here.

Skechers GOrun website.

Are You At The Right Racing Weight?

I recently read an advertisement for a new diet program and thought I had to share…

As a runner or athlete, you know that every extra pound you carry costs time, wastes energy, stresses your joints, and affects your performance.

And you know that “dieting” doesn’t help much, either. Diets only leave you feeling weaker by starving your body of vital energy and choking off the nutrients you need for muscle growth and training improvement.

What’s worse: With diets, you run the risk of undernourishing your body and losing muscle along with fat. So what’s the answer?

Burn off excess fat, get lean and finally get to your RACING weight.

The ad happens to be for a new book by a Triathlete selling his nutrition program…It goes on to ask, could 5 or 10 lbs be standing in the way of your personal best?

WELL, the book brings up a good question and something that’s important for all athletes and especially runners. In high school, prior to my junior year, I never thought about weight. As Coach Rothman said, do the workouts, eat well and the weight will be at what it needs to be. It seemed so easy then. Junior year, however, I started packing on the pounds. I was growing up you could say. All of a sudden, I found that I needed to pay attention to what I was eating. No more sharing pints of Ben & Jerry’s with one of my teammates in the local Publix parking lot after every long run. It was during the winter of my junior year – between cross country and track – that I got my eating schedule under control. I was on a nutritional program that told me what and when to eat. It was a perfect balance of carbs, protein, fats, etc. I was eating enough that I felt energetic, yet not too much so I kept my body lean. Later on the in the spring, I ended up winning the Florida 6A Track & Field 1600m and 3200m State Championships. So you could say the program worked.

But was it easy from there? No, I definitely went through phases again through my senior year and through college of eating too much again, and then eating too little. My energy was low and my races suffered; or I was carrying an extra few too many pounds and my races suffered. The balance is tough for a lot of us. I am the first to admit it, and that’s why a program that tells you what and when to eat has always been ideal for me. It ensures that I am not eating too much and that I am most importantly not restricting too much! It also allows me to live my life and not worry about what I am eating and if I had too little or too much. Because who wants to spend their life thinking about what’s next on the menu?

Now, 12 years later since that junior year of high school, I am back on a program and enjoying it once again. I am seeing the results and I am feeling good. If you or someone in your life needs that guidance, I recommend the AdvoCare program. It’s a complete nutritional and eating plan that keeps you on schedule and on target to be strong and lean. More details here.

Still not believing me? See some of the results!