Friday, November 03, 2006


The only reason I ran 10 miles this morning was because I was wide awake at 4:15. By 4:45 I figured I might as well just get out of bed and get in a longer run. It seems that whenever I’m working on an article or post another interview it causes a loss of sleep.

Anyway, it was a crisp 18 degrees outside this morning, which leads me to today’s debate on winter running. A friend is looking for hardcore winter runners to be interviewed for an article on winter running. I said, “I’d guess that most, if not all, of the top local runners are hardcore.” She thought I was being optimistic.

Now I’m not talking about Joe and Jane jogger. All one needs to do is compare a run around Lake Calhoun in the summer to one in the winter to know that Joe and Jane are “hibernating.” In the summer, one lap around the ever-popular lake will nearly drive you crazy as you weave in-and-out of all the traffic on the paths. Come winter, you’d think you traveled back in time forty years to the pre-Running Boom days, as you have the paths to yourself. You almost forget you’re in a major metropolitan area.

My statement refers to the people finishing in the top 5-10% (maybe more) of their age group. These guys and gals are not taking 3-4 months off entirely from training and then placing high in their age-groups. Running doesn’t work that way, especially given the strength of the local running scene.

Heck, if you can handle 18 degrees on November 3rd, you can handle 90% of the weather we’ll have this winter. If you can’t, then I wish you luck. You can try to do all your winter running on the treadmill, but base training is hard enough without using that mind-numbing apparatus.

This next topic will probably piss people off, but oh well…I wasn’t going to post about it, but the more I thought about it this morning, the more I felt I needed to post about it. I know we’re all one big happy running blog community and we all want to make friends and have everyone like us. However, I think it is okay to pick at people’s training and ask questions – either to help them or to gain a better understanding yourself.

With that said, when someone mentions that the marathon plan they followed didn’t have any tempo runs, but it has her doing them 10-11 days after the race, I have to ask “WTF?” Not only do I not understand the training, I don’t understand all the comments like; “Great job with the training.”

Again, go ahead and support one-another, but don’t be afraid to challenge someone either. Hell, if you don’t like what I’m doing, go ahead and tell me. I’ll take your opinion into account and weigh it against my own ideas – and then go with my own ideas anyway. Just kidding. I’ll use your ideas and then call them my own – if they work.

Quote of the day;

“There is a marathon lifestyle. It is called sacrifice. I would like to exemplify it more than I do.” – Phil Curatilo in The Marathon: What It Takes To Go The Distance by Mark Bloom


Lance Notstrong said...

I agree. Sometimes people just go with the flow and say "good job". I agreed with you when you questioned someone's "3 mile" runs all the time too. What good are 3 miles runs when the target is 26.2?

Triseverance said...

Zeke Zeke Zeke, I think sometimes you take things a bit to far.

We are a big happy family or at least we try to be, and I just don't see where calling somone out on your blog does anything but hurt feelings.

You can offer advice, give encouragement whatever but I am not really sure what you are trying to prove with this post? Very puzzling indeed.

While I don't consider you an elite runner, I am beginning to consider you an elitist.

It's a simple blog dude, get a grip. I seriously think you owe someone an apology.

MB said...

My only reason to comment is the finish on your post; it resounds the truth and what I (and imagine others) am looking for by blogRunning.

Primarily the blog provides a better dedication to logging training due to its visibility and peer pressure. With the blog one can learn alot on where you have been and how best to train for what's next.

Now, if one didn't want to hear feedback they can simply turn off the comments. waaalaa!

Keep sticking your head out there, some of us have thick skin.

Mike said...

If you're honestly looking to get called out yourself you need to post your training log. Gets me called out all the time. That way people can compare what you actually do with what you say you're going to do.

I gotta say though, I think she's run more than you since Chicago.

Chad said...

Bob, Bob, Bob, I love this shit. Go back and re-read my post and tell me where I went too far.

"Not only do I not understand the training, I don’t understand all the comments..."

I'm not "calling out" RR, I'm questioning the training program she's following. If you understand it, please enlighten me.

And what irked me even more is all the "tempo runs - great job" comments. It's like people blindly patting each other on the back no matter what. If that's elitist, then so-be-it.

Don't you ever question anything in life? Is it okay to do it in other areas of life, but not on a blog? Please post that list of blogging rules too.

BTW, do you have Hal Higdon's email address so I can apologize to him? It's his plan after all.

Mark, how can we learn from one another if we can't question one another?

Mike, I believe I mention my days run in every post. I don't give a lot of specifics like my mile splits from my Garmin, what zone I trained in, etc. I tend to think those kinds of post are extremely boring.

BTW, I didn't realize putting in the most miles in the 2 weeks after a marathon was the goal. But she's definitely run more tempo runs than me since the marathon.

Laurie said...

I think you are right to question her program and push her to work harder. I noticed in your comment on her blog that you believe she has more potential and could run even faster. I don't think you are trying to be too critical of her on a personal level.

I do disagree about you bringing it up on your own blog. The proper place for it is where you first put it: in her comments section. There is no reason to bring undue attention or embarrassment to the RR.

SRR said...

Since I DO wear my heart on my sleeve and I take my running very seriously and since it has been indicated that runners who can't compete at a "fast" pace shouldn't be running competitively I was slightly pissed by your post.

Hal Higdon has done me well, and I do believe that I have actually done tempo runs in my marathon training, but they were called something "pacers!"

Now I am sure that I piss people off with some of my posts, I'll give you that. The difference being is that I never "rat" other bloggers out unless I know them personanlly and have a good rapport with them. Which in this case you do not and honestly NEVER will. But someone of **your** running caliber wouldn't give a shit about that now would they???

Chad said...

RR, as long as you were only "slightly pissed" I don't feel too bad.

As a reminder, here's what your post said; "I am still recovering from Chicago nicely. But for some dumb reason Hal has me doing tempo runs in my post marathon schedule. Crazy, because I did not do a single one in my training.

It sounds like you were questioning Hal's plan too. I was agreeing. Sorry if you think I ratted you out.

Triseverance said...

My point is not that you can or can't question a plan or even what someone is doing. I just feel the place to do it is directly to them.

I love this shit as well and I honestly like your blog. Howver I just think that crossed the line a bit. Just my humble opinion of course.

After I posted I read your comment on RR's post and really just don't understand why you could not have left it at that.

No rules just a little sensitivity and kindness is how I see it. But whatever too each his own I guess. Write what you want it's a free country.

One last reality check would be to ask RR how she feels about being the subject of your post.

Anonymous said...

You're right Zeke....she was questioning it herself.

Sometimes it's nice to read a post that (politely)says what you really think

Anonymous said...

I remember going for some seriously mettle building long runs on the golf course during the worst of our winter storms at U of Michigan. We'd follow what we thought was the fairway only to end up clawing our ways out of bunkers, only our eyes visible through the balaclavas.

Agreed on the tempo runs, too. Gotta get 'em in, but they don't do much good after the race. We're all trying to raise our games and if friendly advice from others can help, critical or not, let them sail.

getwell said...

I think comments like “great job with the training" are intended to be more complimentary and motivational than critical of the actual training regimen. I really wouldn't look more into it than that.

From an editorial point of view, to curse out "WTF!" in your comment on RR's blog is rather strong and I would recommend limiting its insertion to obvious humorous jesting or unless you really wanted to start a flame war. IMO, it conflicted and confused the writing style of your comment and gave RR the wrong impression.

I enjoyed reading the second paragraph of your note as it seemed to clarify your 'tough love' coaching stance with RR. Reminded me of my grade school piano teacher who was highly critical of my playing, but only because she really believed in my potential and wanted to bring it out. I assume this is the 'passion' you felt about RR's potential that you were trying to convey to her. If so, I was hoping she would catch it as well.

With all that said, I find your entries enjoyable to read and really don't think you should cut back on your running critiques. I think they're quite beneficial to runners like myself who read your blog. Still, I do recommend you clarify your position with RR in a private email to her if indeed your intention conflicted with her impression. Makes no sense in starting fires that make much ado about nothing. After all, what would George Sheehan say?

Chad said...

Bob, I guess I "didn't leave it at that" because I thought it was important for other bloggers, not just RR's readers.

There was a new training concept - tempo runs after the marathon - that I've never seen anywhere. There were like 20 comments and no one really questioned it. People were more concerned with the dopping of her towel than anything else. I just found that frustrating.

Jim, thanks for the support. Nice winter running story. Gotta love those.

Getwell, good comments. You're right the original WTF could have been a "What the heck?" But I was never questioning RR's abilities, I was questioning the Hal Higdon program.

I was hoping she caught the passion too. Apparently not.

Allez said...

I'm checking in with your blog because you really know your stuff. "Criticism" in a training plan is the best way to improve. Some people can take it, some can't. BTW...I used to live a few blocks from Lake Calhoun. Very pretty area!

SRR said...

Zeke...thanks for the email and for the clarification! :-)

Chelle said...

Wow, Zeke...I'm impressed. I thought Duncan was the only one who really pissed people off. Of course, now that he doesn't write about anything besides how much he hates Dean, I'm not sure people are still reading him anyway.