Have you ever had a running gait analysis? I now have video of mine thanks to Nike Running.
On Sunday, October 19, I’ll be running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco! I’ll be attending the race courtesy of Nike as part of a media group. Along with the race, they’re helping me train and gear up for the event. Excited? You bet!
To help me gear up for the race, I got fit for shoes at the Nike Running store in New York City’s Flatiron district. I’ve had my gait analyzed four times before at various running stores and in physical therapy. I have it checked periodically in case my form has changed dramatically since I’ve gotten faster, been diagnosed with arthritis, injured my hip in a horseback riding fall, and all the other things that affect how I run.
But year after year, gait analysis shows I’m a steadfast neutral shoe runner. This time I have video proof.
In two weeks from today I’ll be at the start of the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in Newton, Mass. The race will be my third half marathon in 2014, but my first attempt at a sub 2 hour half marathon this year. My current half marathon personal best stands at 2:00:30 from the 2012 Staten Island Half. Breaking “2” is the one running goal that has eluded me time and time again. It has become my Everest.
On Saturday, I finished my last long run before the big race. I ran 12.15 miles total, with 10 of them in Central Park’s rolling hills at a 9:40 pace overall. My goal half marathon pace is 9:00, which would bring me in at 1:58. A sub 2 hour half marathon pace is 9:10. I’m absolutely within striking distance.
I don’t like that I had two 10:13 miles as I climbed one of Central Park’s steepest hills twice during miles one and five. But I like that I was at least consistent over said hill. And I love that my last mile was my fastest.
My goals for the race are:
A) Run a sub 2 hour half marathon
B) Run a personal record, which means besting 2:00:30
C) Run as hard as I can, whatever time that means
My “A” goal is a sub 2 hour finish! (Photo: morgueFile)
I know I have the speed in me to finally break 2 hours. I’m much faster than when I set my current half-marathon PR. My long runs have been consistently 30 to 40 seconds faster per mile than they were in fall 2012. And I’ve since lowered my 5K and 10 PRs by two minutes and three minutes, respectively.
But I’m just not sure I have the endurance I’d like to have at this point in the season. Going into the Staten Island Half, my longest run was a 16-miler since I was in the middle of marathon training. Going into this race, my longest run was yesterday’s 12.15-miler, with just 10 of them at speed. The other 2.15 miles were an easy warm-up and cool down. Do I have 13.1 fast miles in me? That remains to be seen. Read the rest of this entry →
Finishing Run For The Parks in Central Park. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
Regular readers know I host On The Run, New York Road Runners’ Web and TV show about running. It’s a job I genuinely love that has one flaw: I don’t get to run any of the races I cover for the show. It’s OK. I’ve run most of NYRR’s major events in the past: TCS New York City Marathon, NYC Half, Brooklyn Half, Staten Island Half, Fifth Avenue Mile, the list goes on.
Thankfully, NYRR puts on dozens of other races throughout the year. I’ve done a New York Road Runner’s 4-mile run in April every year since 2007, except 2012. It’s traditionally my first fitness test of the year. Basically, this one is my annual wake-up call.
Stretching in Central Park after my 6-miler on Saturday. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
First, I’m lucky to call Central Park home turf. The day before the race, I logged 6 miles, much of them through the park. After a winter of hiding out on the treadmill and running errands on the city streets, Central Park kicked my butt. It’s both an unusually beautiful and challenging place to run.
My splits at this race were a case in point. Mile 1 is uphill and (and pretty crowded): I ran 9:20. Slow for me. Too slow. Mile 2 is mostly flat: I ran 8:39. Mile 3 is a series of three hills: I ran 9:01. Mile 4 is largely downhill: I ran 8:35. Read the rest of this entry →
But I had yet to decide if I would use the race as a sub-2 hour half-marathon personal record attempt or a training run for a PR attempt later in the spring.
This is how I felt after the Newport Liberty Half Marathon. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
Well, I’ve decided.
While the runs I’ve been doing indicate that I am in or near PR shape, I haven’t put in the mileage I’d like to. Rather than have another crash and burn attempt, like my run at the DirectEdge Newport Liberty Half Marathon in the fall, I’d rather keep training, get my mileage up and use the race as a hilly, long run. Then I’ll target another race in April or early May as my big PR attempt.
1) It took me longer to get over jet lag than I would have liked. It was a 6-hour time difference and took me four full days to adjust to the point where I didn’t want to take a nap every moment of every day. Jerusalem is a 7-hour time difference and I’ll have been there for three days before I toe the line. I don’t want to get my heart set on a PR when my body will likely be dazed and confused. Unfortunately, I’m just one of those people who needs lots of sleep.
This trail through the Apls proved slippery for running without traction. (Photo: RunKarlaRun)
2) I meant to run every day on my trip. I really did. But I forgot to pack my Yaktrax. Crucial mistake. In the Austrian ski town of Sankt Anton am Arlberg, where I spent most of the trip, the roads weren’t even remotely safe for running—no shoulder, no sidewalk, steep inclines covered in ice, blind turns, and ski buses speeding by.
Trails abounded, but they were covered in packed snow and ice. I went for one run on a gorgeous trail intended precisely for walking and running, but it was so icy it took me 80 minutes to cover 4.5 miles. After nearly wiping out three times, I realized baby steps were the only way I’d get through the run.
But I cross-trained galore throwing in curling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing and swimming at my hotel pool.
3) I came home from the trip with a mystery pain under the ball of my left foot. I don’t notice it at all while walking. But it was bad enough that I curtailed my first run at home after just a mile and hopped on the bike instead. I did three more runs of increasing mileage, but still felt the pain lurking, especially on the road more so than the treadmill. I’m guessing I bruised a bone or something. I’ve been babying it in case it’s something more serious. Read the rest of this entry →
The Jerusalem Marathon and Half Marathon. (Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90-IsrealTourism/Flickr)
In exactly seven weeks from today, I’ll be on the starting line of the Jerusalem Half Marathon as part of a press trip sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism in cooperation with El Al Airlines. Last week, I wrote about how meaningful this race will be for me. Now, it’s time to dive back into my half marathon training plan.
After the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday, January 11, which marked the end of my 46-day running streak, I took two weeks off from running. My body needed it. I did run once during that time: On Saturday, January 18 to participate in Meg’s Miles, honoring a runner killed by a drunk driver and raising awareness for runner safety.
Come Saturday, January 25, it was time to ease back into training. The Jerusalem Marathon and Half Marathon is an odd duck in the running world in that it’s on a Friday. So my new training schedule is Saturday to Friday, instead of the usual Monday to Sunday. I’ve got an eight-week half marathon training plan mapped out and am happy to say that Week 1 is successfully behind me.
This is it. With four weeks down, I’m entering the final stretch of the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak.
So far, my quest to run at least 1 mile every day from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day has been a resounding success.
I had a slight drop-down in mileage this week thanks to holiday festivities, but my Monday to Sunday calendar week was my highest yet at 28.94 miles.
It’s keeping me so motivated that I’m thinking on continuing the streak into 2014.
But one step at a time. I have to get to the finish line of the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak first.
Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 4
Wednesday, December 18: 3.51 miles
My favorite way to kill time on a treadmill is to push buttons. And a fartlek workout is a perfect workout for button-pushing. So I did 1-minute hard and 1-minute easy for 30 minutes with a little warm-up and cool-down on each side. Read the rest of this entry →
As tempting as it would be to tackle the marathon or, even more, the Dopey Challenge, I’m “just” going to run every other race that weekend instead. That’s right, I’ll be tackling the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Walt Disney World 10K and Walt Disney World Half Marathon on three consecutive days. Read the rest of this entry →
It was snowing just yesterday, my Christmas tree is lighting up my living room and Christmas is just two weeks away. Wondering what to get for the runner on your list? These are just a few of my favorite things: the best gifts for runners this year.
I get lots of samples from sports companies and buy plenty of gear myself. The products on this list represent my favorite clothes, gadgets and gear currently available from a range of brands. In clothing, I’ve tried the women’s versions, but many come in men’s options too. I’ve indicated which items are available for men or in unisex sizing—a full 30 of them are. And I’ve included the list prices, though you’ll find many items for less than that.
Also, if it’s been in a past gift guide of mine, I didn’t include it here. But many of the products I highlighted in the days of yore are still available. So here are my guides from 2012, 2011, and 2009.
Without further ado, it’s time to get shopping and wish-listing. Here are my favorite running jackets, layers, tights, shorts, tanks, socks, sleeves, sports bras, gadgets, books and more this year. There are nearly 50 items in all.
View of Manhattan from Newport Town Square. (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Direct Edge Newport Liberty Half Marathon
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Direct Edge Newport Liberty Half Marathon is a low-frills event in Jersey City, N.J. with 2,700 runners and a gorgeous course.
When I say gorgeous, I mean gorgeous. As the website claims, this is easily the most beautiful half marathon course in New York City’s metro area. I’ve run the NYC Half, Brooklyn Half, Staten Island Half and Yonkers Half. While they all have their charms—run through Times Square at the NYC Half, finish on the Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn, watch FDNY fire boats perform a water salute in Staten Island, and take in cliff high views of the Hudson River in Yonkers—the Newport Liberty Half Marathon offers more breathtaking views mile for mile than any other NYC area race I’ve done. Read the rest of this entry →
I’m no running coach, but after eight years as a runner and four years as a running reporter, I’ve learned a repertoire of workouts that I love. Every Wednesday, I share one of them.
This week, let’s look at the progression run. Stamina workouts aren’t my strong suit. But for runners like me, a progression run is a great option.
What is a Progression Run?
The idea is simple: start your workout slowly and finish faster than you began. In races, we call it running a negative split. In workouts, it’s a progression run. There are many ways to tackle a progression run: breaking it into half or thirds, or running at a steady pace for most of the workout and then kicking it up a notch for the final mile or minutes, or making the harder effort at the end longer than the shorter, easier effort up front.
Kim Smith passes the Cyclone roller coaster on her way to victory at the Brooklyn Half. She ran the race as a half marathon training run. (Photo: NYRR)
Sometimes races aren’t about racing. Toeing the line in competition is exhilarating, but sometimes it’s good to use the occasional race as a training run or fun run, especially during half marathon training.
Kim Smith won the 2013 Brooklyn Half on May 18 in a new course record of 1:11:24. But the three-time Olympian from New Zealand who lives and trains in Providence, RI wasn’t even racing. She ran the half-marathon as a tempo-pace training run, as she told me in pre- and post-race interviews for “NYRR On The Run at the Brooklyn Half.”
“I’m going to treat it as a workout,” Smith told me at the race pre-party the day before.
Indeed, Smith’s half-marathon personal best is 1:07:11, a full four-minutes faster than her finish time in Brooklyn.
“It was a pretty relaxed effort,” Smith said after the race. “I didn’t go all out.”
She said she’s training for the track season and will be back in New York City on Saturday, June 8 to race the Oakley New York Mini 10K, a New York Road Runners event that usually attracts a stellar competitive field. The women-only race boasts a $10,000 prize for first place, and past champions include the legendary Grete Waitz, Olympic-medalist Deena Kastor and World Champions Lornah Kiplagat, Edna Kiplagat and Linet Masai.
Kim Smith breaks the tape at the 2013 Brooklyn Half in course record time, though 4 minutes slower than her personal best. (Photo: NYRR)
I found Smith’s decision to run, but not race, really encouraging. Never mind the fact that not racing for her still might mean winning and scoring a course record. What’s important is that she set-out to do the race as a half marathon training run and did just that.
In my mind, there are three types of races for mid-packers like me: personal record attempts, training runs, and fun runs. Pros and elite runners have a fourth type that will likely elude me my entire running career: running for the win or the podium. Though I did once place in the top 10 women at a small local race, out of 65 ladies. While that will likely be my claim to fame for a long time, the other three types of runs will always have a place in my racing repertoire, especially during half marathon training. Read the rest of this entry →
But the rain didn’t stop me and over 3,100 other runners from tackling the UnitedHealthcare Providence Half Marathon and Cox Providence Marathon. A race where “HOPE” is the state motto couldn’t be anything but uplifting.
I certainly looked happy on race day, as this video my husband took attests. He’s newly obsessed with Vine, the 6-second video version of Twitter. I’m saying “Rhode Races” at the end, but it gets cut off a bit.
I have to say, I’m really excited for this race. It’s only the second race I’ve done in Rhode Island, a place I’ve fallen in love with in the last few years. And there are so many great running puns to be had with Rhode Island, as the “Rhode Races” series attests to.
But since then, I’ve been floating in a nebulous training zone, half-heartedly running and doing some weight training, while philosophizing about being “fit.” I joined two friends in “Fit February,” which meant, for me, making healthier food choices—basically not eating ice cream every night—and exercising five days a week. I succeeded in losing two pounds during “Fit February,” but not much else. It’s been a long, cold, snowy and treadmill heavy winter.
So after two loosey-goosey months, it’s time to focus again, shake out the cobwebs and get some real training done. I’m not a runner who can train hard with no goal in sight. I need a big race to look forward to.
Running toward New Year’s resoultions (Photo: Phil Hospod)
2012 was a notable year in running. The pros dazzled at the London Olympics, the New York City Marathon was canceled for the first time in its history, and a vice-presidential candidate’s not-quite-true claims of marathon glory brought running into the national conversation.
On a personal level, it was a meaningful year for me too. I married my Prince Charming, who proposed after a half-marathon; I ran for my cousin Laura, who died from cancer in June; and I started hosting a web series about running. I also knocked out four personal records in the marathon, half-marathon and triathlon, and ran 10 races total to reach a personal milestone of over 50 “career” races.
I’m not the fastest runner and I’m not the slowest, but I am a running nerd. A journalist by trade, I love to research, read, learn and cogitate. So stick with me. Like all good nerds, I’ll do the homework and share it. But the running is up to you!