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RUNNER'S NICHE

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Vol. 4 No. 1 January, 1999

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NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

**********************

There are a ton of books on running, and many web sites,

magazines and other resources to help you along. The keys

can be sorting through all the information, and, of course,

taking some advice with a gain of salt.

Guidance that I once got from a silly computer cartoon

"moose" rings pretty true when it comes to running. He

popped up on the screen and said, "Don't believe everything

that you believe."

Many runners read something new about training and take it

as gospel. Others take advice so literally that they become

easily baffled. I know one runner who was dismayed and

unsure how to proceed because two different authors

suggested heart-rate targets for his lactate threshold

training that were 5 beats per minute apart. He analyzed

himself into a frenzy. It never occurred to him that a

difference of 5 beats per minute wasn't likely to make much

difference one way or the other.

On a broader scale, some runners will examine a training

schedule and dismiss it entirely because their bread and

butter workout isn't a part of the program. It never occurs

to some people that there may be more than one way to

accomplish the same training goal. For example, some people

prefer to do intervals on the track, others like to do it

on trails, fartlek style. Some will do a prescribed,

measured course for their threshold workouts; others will

just go hard for 20 minutes or so on any route that suits

their fancy that day. Your body will respond and adapt,

regardless. These differences in training are more a matter

of style and personal preference than physiology.

Then there are runners who find a running program and

follow it to the letter, day in and day out, regardless of

how they feel or what results they are getting. They may

stop doing workouts that have worked well for them before

and greatly alter their training intensity in the name of

following a prescribed schedule. Training schedules are

meant to be guides, though, not training law.

Here's one that will blow some of you away. There are

runners out there who don't have a clue what the terms

lactate threshold, aerobic base training or fartlek are,

yet they succeed at improving just by running a variety of

routes at different paces according to how they feel and

what seems to work.

Don't get me wrong, every runner should try to learn as

much as they can about how to maximize their training

efforts. We are all an experiment of one, and so we each

need to build our own personal programs based on how we

individually respond to training. The more we know, the

better job we can do. So, by all means read everything you

can get your hands on, consult a coach, and talk to other

runners. Just remember that what's right for someone else

may not work for you. Also remember that the guy who writes

that training article you read each month doesn't know you

anywhere near as well as you know yourself.

Take an expert's advise here, a training schedule there,

add your own practical experience and a pinch of scientific

data and you will be able to cook up a training program

that works best for you. By the way, make sure you're

having fun, too. Otherwise, why bother?

- WG

--- --- --- --- --- --- ---

!!!TAKE A LOOK AT THE RUNNER'S NICHE BOOKSTORE!!!

Point your browser to:

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MANY GREAT RUNNING TITLES LISTED! PLUS YOU CAN SEARCH FOR

ANY BOOK TITLE IN PRINT WITH UP TO 40% DISCOUNTS!

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GOES THE EXTRA MILE.

Visit their web site at: http://www.marathonandbeyond.com

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*********************************************

RUNNER'S NICHE / MARATHON & BEYOND TRIVIA CONTEST

*********************************************

Congratulations to last month's trivia winner, Steve Pavlik

of Racine, Wisconsin. Steve receives a free issue of

Marathon & Beyond Magazine and FAME!

This month's winner will also get a free issue of the

running periodical that goes the extra mile - Marathon &

Beyond Magazine. Trivia contest entrants are limited to one

prize per calendar year.

When answering, email your answers with the subject "trivia

contest" and answer the questions in the order they appear

below. Mail to: woodyg3@netone.com. The FIRST person to

answer all ten questions correctly wins. If nobody answers

all ten correctly, we will award the prize to the person

who answers the most questions correctly. Good Luck!

This Month's Questions:

1. Who was the highest placing American woman in the 1996

Olympic Marathon?

A. Kim Jones

B. Ann Marie Lauck

C. Linda Somers

2. Middle distance running star Gabriela Szabo is from...

A. Russia

B. Canada

D. Romania

3. Sonia O'Sullivan is from...

A. Ireland

B. Scotland

C. United States

4. Boston champ Fatuma Roba is from...

A. Kenya

B. New Zealand

C. Ethiopia

5. Collegiate distance running star Amy Skieresz attends...

A. University of Arizona

B. BYU

C. San Diego State

6. Priscilla Welch, the world masters marathon record

holder, is a citizen of what country?

A. England

B. United States

C. Ireland

7. In what 1987 race did Welch set the masters marathon

record?

A. Twin Cities

B. Boston

C. London

8. How many times did Portuguese star Rosa Mota win the

Boston Marathon?

A. Never

B. 3

C. 4

9. How many times has German star Uta Pippig won the Boston

Marathon?

A. Never

B. 2

C. 3

10. Australian distance runner Lisa Martin attended what

American university in the early 1980's?

A. Oregon

B. Colorado

C. Villanova

Last Month's answers:

1. How many times has American Lynn Jennings won the World

Cross-Country title?

Answer: 3

2. Who was the first runner to break 3:50 for the mile?

Answer: John Walker

3. Who was the "surprise" bronze medalist in the 1992

Women's Olympic Marathon?

Answer: Lorraine Moller

4. Who was the first runner to break 1:42 for 800 meters?

Answer: Seb Coe, who was also the first to break 1:43.

5. Who is the only woman (as of 12/31/98)) to break 2:21 in

the marathon?

Answer: Tegla Loroupe

6. Who won the 1984 U.S. Men's Olympic Marathon Trials

race?

Answer: Pete Pfitzinger

7. Referring to the last question, who did the winner have

to out kick to win the race?

Answer: Alberto Salazar

8. Who won the 1987 Women's World Championships Marathon

race?

Answer: Rosa Mota

9. How many AAU Cross-Country Titles did Steve Prefontaine

win?

Answer: None. Hard to believe, eh?

 

10. Who was the first man to run a half-marathon under an

hour?

Answer: Arturo Barrios did it on the way to a world record

for the hour run on the track.

Thanks to Conrad Truedson for the last two questions.

***********************************************************

**

FUR SEALS, STEEPLECHASE, AND BIG HEAD TODD: THE SCOTT

DVORAK STORY

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**

By Woody Green

Scott Dvorak has been running at a high level for many

years. He started at Ocean Park High School in Florida,

where he feels that a wise coach held him back from doing

too much training early in his career. He ran a 4:27 mile

and 9:35 two-mile, then moved on to Bevard College and

North Carolina State. A solid performer through his college

career, he discovered he was a good steeplechase runner in

his senior year when he clocked 8:57.

Scott managed to lower his steeplechase time to 8:39.6 and

make a name for himself nationally as a top distance

runner. Now concentrating on the 5,000 and 10,000 he has

continued to improve and placed 6th in the 1997 USATF

nationals for 5,000 meters. While he had a down year last

year due to injury, Scott is upbeat and has his eyes on the

big prize, a spot on the Olympic team in 2000.

This North Carolina resident's interests are certainly not

limited to running, though. He enjoys music, drawing,

windsurfing, mountain biking, and he even does some

modeling to earn a few extra bucks. He also spends a good

deal of time in front of his computer, working as a

WebMaster and updating his personal web site.

When asked how he balances all his interests and active

lifestyle with his running, he said, "It's always

difficult, and I really have to focus sometimes on making

planned time for my training, and not merely trying to

'fit' it in. Certainly, there are times when 'life's little

hand grenades go off', and I have to replan things, but

I've found that if I begin each day with a set plan of when

I'm going to train, where I'm going to train, and how I'm

going to train, then it becomes more the priority, and not

an afterthought. Running is not the number one thing in my

life, but when it's time to do it, it is!"

Good employment situations and a support crew of friends

and family have helped as well. "I've been fortunate enough

to find jobs that are somewhat understanding of my running

and my goals. I used to work for a sports management

company, and they gave me a lot of latitude when it came to

training and racing. Now, I work as a WebMaster for a

company called Self Source here in Charlotte. My boss is a

guy named Bill Taylor, who was a national class runner in

the late 80's and early 90's. Having an employer who

understands what is needed to achieve the goals that I've

set for myself in running is definitely a plus! I generally

do my morning runs at lunch now, and if an employer is

understanding of that, it makes it a whole lot easier."

While it may be tough to fit running into a busy schedule,

not running at all due to an injury last year was worse.

Then, he had the long road to recovery. "Fortunately I had

the understanding of a lot of people including Christie

(his fiancee), my family, my coach Jim Cooper, and my

sponsor Brooks, who still had faith in me."

"I had some chronic knee pain that wouldn't go away. I had

also had some other things happen in my life that left me a

little emotionally wrecked as well, and at that point, I

wasn't sure that I ever even wanted to put on a pair of

training shoes again. I still had my goals in running, but

I wasn't sure if I had it in me to do the work to get back

to where I was. I was just drained all around."

It wasn't easy for this elite runner to start over after a

long lay-off. "It wasn't until August that I really started

to train again," he said, "and regain some of the 'fire and

desire'! I told my coach Jim Cooper recently, that if I

ever miss that much time again, I don't know if I will make

it back. It's just really difficult when you fall out of

your running routine for a long period of time, to try and

make it a daily part of your life again. The fact that I

would go out and suffer through a 4-mile run didn't make it

any easier, knowing where I had once been. And believe me,

I suffered through a lot of them this past summer!"

Scott seems to be quite the adventurer. He has traveled to

faraway spots like Vietnam for a bicycle trip and

Antarctica, where he competed in the Antarctica Marathon in

1997.

Of his travels to the southernmost reaches of the globe, he

says, "When I agreed to do the event for World T.E.A.M.

Sports, I decided that I would try and not deviate too much

from the plan that I had set for my spring and summer

season. The focus for me was to just get through it without

damaging my upcoming track season. I basically continued to

do the same work that I would have done otherwise, but I

bumped my long runs up a little from 14 or 15 miles to

around 16 to 18 miles. Don't misunderstand me though, I

went down there with a serious frame of mind."

Running in the Antarctic summer, "it was 28 degrees with a

wind chill of -2 degrees. The first part of the race we

went into the wind, so I had a lot more clothing on. The

wind was by far the worst part, especially on the run up

the glacier. It was a crosswind, and you really had to dig

in to keep from getting blown down the thing.

"The race was predominantly run on a dirt road, which was

muddy at times, but for the most part fairly dry. We ran

about 3 miles up and down the glacier, and there was some

very rocky terrain that we had to navigate before and after

hitting the glacier. For the most part, I was able to carry

a good pace over the terrain. I ran 2:23:11, a Continental

Record for Antarctica. Only 7 people in the world can make

that claim! It's stretching it a little for a 'claim to

fame', but I'll take it!"

During the run he came upon a couple of fur seals in his

path. These animals can be vicious at times, so he had to

take a wide path around them. "That wasn't so much a

frightening experience as it was a wake-up call," he said.

"Up until that point, it had just been another cold run. I

mean, I knew where I was, but I could have been in the

middle of North Dakota in 28-degree weather and wouldn't

have known much of a difference, it would have felt the

same. But when I came around that turn and saw two big Fur

Seals in the middle of the trail I was like, 'Holy $#%@,

I'm at the bottom of the world running a marathon!' It just

really sunk in of what an incredible experience I was

having! One that only a handful of people would ever

experience!"

For many people, just trying to run the 3000-meter

steeplechase, a track event run over heavy hurdles with a

water jump each lap, would be wild enough. This was Scott's

primary event for a while, but he says, "I think my steeple

days are coming to a close. In '94 I was in Vancouver, at

the Harry Jerome Meet. It had been raining all day, and the

conditions were pretty ugly. I was boxed pretty well. We

were a mile into the race and I wasn't getting a clear view

of the barriers as I was approaching them. Going over a

hurdle on the backstretch, I slammed my trail leg knee into

the barrier and it completely flipped me. It was probably

one of the most shocking things I've every experienced."

Leaving the steeplechase behind makes sense in ways other

than simply saving body parts, too. "With the improvement

that I've had in 5000 and the fact that my knees aren't

what they used to be, I'm more inclined to stay away from

the steeple. I'm also hoping to run my first 10,000 on the

track in the summer, so I may focus on either the 5,000 or

the 10,000 for 2000."

When asked why the Kenyans seem to have such a strangle

hold on the Steeplechase in international competition,

Scott said, "I think they're just really talented and do a

lot of work. Most of them aren't really beautiful hurdlers,

but they can run like mad in between the barriers. They

also have a fearlessness... They have a strangle hold on

distance running in general, not just the steeple. I would

prefer to concentrate less on why they're so good, and more

on how we, as Americans, can get that good!"

What will it take for that to happen? "I think U.S.

distance running is taking the correct steps to see

that there are Americans once again competing with the best

in the world. The programs that are being instituted are

right on target. When I first came out of school there was

very little. Now, with some of the grassroots programs that

are starting, I think there is the potential for great

improvement. The training groups that are starting to form,

like the guys in Boulder and in Washington, D.C. will help,

as well the grants that are being made available. Also,

more opportunities to race, like the CAN-AM Series, will

help. I think they need to continue to focus on the

developing athlete, but also not forget the guys like

myself who have been at the grindstone for longer. I only

wish that they hadn't waited for things to get so bad

before they started trying to make improvements."

One of the programs that helped many U.S. distance runners

was the high altitude elite distance camp in Utah in 1997.

Scott was one of the participants there.

"That was another great experience! I would like to see

more of that take place in the future. The camp brought

together some of the best guys in the country to train for

4 1/2 weeks in Park City, Utah. Guys like Brad Barquist,

Dan Middleman, Dan Browne, Scott Strand, Gary Stolz and

Francis O'Neil. By spending time with them, we were able to

not only trade off on training ideas and thoughts, but also

developed a lasting camaraderie and friendship between us.

There was a study that was taking place around us as well

which focused on the 'Live High, Train Low' Theory, the

idea being that by living at 8000 feet, and doing our

interval work at 4000 feet, we were able to get the

beneficial effects of living at altitude, without the

taxation that it brings to the body when training at high

altitude." Scott hopes to take advantage of some high

altitude training later this year, perhaps in the mountains

of Arizona.

Scott's focus for this year and next are pretty clear.

"Obviously the big one is the Olympic Team in either the

5000 or possibly the 10,000. Everything else is focused

around that, the World Trials this June, possibly Europe or

the CAN-AM Series, Mt. SAC or Penn Relays the following

year.

"I feel like I'm capable of running in the 13:20's this

year, but I've got some work to do to get there. I'm

mentally very rested and hungry right now. Taking that time

off was the best thing that I could have done. I'm very

optimistic. I feel like there is a wave of momentum

beginning to be built with running in this country again.

Guys are talking about running fast again and there is

excitement in the air when you hear people talk about the

near future."

With his running back on track and his employment situation

looking good, you might think that completes the story.

But, Scott is more than just a runner and an important part

of this man's story happened in April at a rock concert he

attended with his girlfriend, Christie.

Scott tells it like this, "Her name is Christie Webb, and

she is an incredible person! She works as the Director of

Wellness for the county, basically overseeing the physical

wellness programs for all county employees. I asked her to

marry me on stage at the Big Head Todd and the Monsters

concert here in Charlotte. The group is her favorite band,

and I thought it would be a great way to do things and make

it something that she and everyone else would remember. I

was able to get in touch with the band's manager, and

although he wasn't quite sure how we'd do it, he said that

they were game to give it a try.

"When she and I got to the concert, I sneaked away to a

port-a-john and called the band's manager on a cell phone.

He had 2 backstage passes for us, but I had to sneak away

to get them. I came up with a bogus story of having to go

find one of my friends, and went and got the passes. The

plan was that Jeff (the band's manager) would act like he

was an old college friend who was now a roadie with the

band, and that he'd gotten me the backstage passes. I went

back and found Christie and let her know that an old

college buddy of mine had managed to come up with the

passes and we were going to get to watch the show from the

side stage. She was elated! We said good-bye to our friends

and proceeded backstage.

"I had made sure to tell all of our friends, as well as

Christie's parents, what was about to transpire, so they

were all in the crowd. We went backstage, and were hanging

out with the band and Jeff. It was funny because, Jeff and

I were having this false conversation about our college

days that never happened. Meanwhile, all the guys in the

band knew what was going on, so they keep giving me a hard

time behind Christie's back. About 10 minutes before the

band was supposed to go on, Jeff asked me if I could help

him move some things up on stage, so I went up on stage

with him. Then I asked Christie to come up and check it

out. She wasn't really wanting to get up on the stage where

people could see her, but after some prodding she did. We

were sitting off on the side stage looking out on this sea

of people and talking about how cool it all was. Christie

still had no idea was about to happen. There was a big

group of our friends right down in the front row. At this

time I was pretty nervous. Then Jeff comes up to me and

says, "Hey Scott, the band's about to go on, could you go

out and introduce them?" Without missing a beat I said

'sure,' got up and began walking out onto the front of the

stage. I turned around to see Christie sitting there with

her jaw dropped wide open, wondering what the heck was I

doing?

"I took the mic in complete tunnel vision and yelled, 'Are

there some Big Head Todd fans out there?' The crowd

erupted. I went on to tell them that the band would be out

there in a minute but first I had a little personal

business to take care of. I said that I've got a huge Big

Head Todd fan back stage, and I needed their help to help

me get her out, cause she has know idea what's about to hit

her. The crowd erupted again. I looked backstage and saw

Christie with her hands in her face either laughing or

crying hysterically, I couldn't tell! I saw Jeff run over

to her and tell her something, probably that she needed to

get out there! Christie came out, and when she got up to

me, I dropped down on bent knee, took out the ring, and

simply said, "Marry Me!" It was awesome, she took the ring,

and gave me this huge hug and a kiss, and the crowd was

going nuts."

When Scott talks about his future in running, he says,

"I'd like to be thought of as a legitimate shot at a spot

on the Olympic Team at the end of this year. Whatever it

takes to do that."

With a rock concert proposal and an Antarctic marathon he's

gone literally and figuratively to the end of the earth in

pursuit of his life goals. You've got to figure the man's

got a shot at anything he puts his mind to.

 

Visit Dvorak's web site at:

http://www.concentric.net/~steepler/

 

***********

ICE IS NICE

***********

Most of us have heard that it is good to use ice on injured

joints and muscles. Usually, the main reason sighted is to

reduce inflammation in the injured area. Another, often

overlooked benefit of ice therapy is stimulation of

circulation. Increased circulation occurs in an area that

has been iced for at least 15-20 minutes, according to

various studies. Greater circulation, it follows, will aid

healing.

When icing, remember that...

1. Ice right on the skin can be irritating, and some people

will need to use a towel between their skin and the ice

pack.

2. It's best to ice for about 20 minutes at a time.

3. Sometimes soaking in ice water is more convenient, such

as with an ankle, than using ice packs. Just be careful not

to induce frostbite.

4. A great icing trick is to freeze water in a paper cup.

Take the cup out of the freezer and peel part of the paper

away from the cup, while leaving some to use as a "handle."

Then, you can massage the ice on the affected area. Some

trainers feel this massaging action stimulates increased

circulation better than icing alone.

5. Another tried and true method is to use a plastic bag of

frozen peas as your ice pack. The peas are just the right

size to conform well to different body parts, and the bag

can be reused many times. Just toss it back in the freezer

when you are done icing.

 

*************

THIS AND THAT

*************

*Laurinburg Runs*

On March 13 the Laurinburg, NC Jaycees will host a 5K run

and 1 mile Fun Run/Walk. The 5K course is flat, out and

back. The first 100 entries receive a free event t-shirt.

Proceeds from the event will be used to support local

charities and Duke Cancer Center. For more information

call (910) 277-0874 or cdaly@carolina.net

Entry fee is $10 in advance (by March1) $12 at the race.

*Goucher Signs With FILA*

NCAA superstar runner Adam Goucher, who just graduated from

Colorado, has signed a deal with the FILA shoe company

through the year 2004. The contract is said to give Goucher

a very comfortable income with no pressure to run specific

events. He and his coach, Mark Wetmore, retain complete

control of his training and racing schedule. Wetmore told

Mike Sandrock of the Boulder Daily Camera, "If Adam runs

attainably well over the next six years, he'll end up very

comfortable when he hangs up his spikes."

*********************

WEB SITES OF INTEREST

*********************

*George Sheehan Web Site*

Web site of the late running philosopher and training

advisor.

http://www.GeorgeSheehan.com

*Running Message Board*

Post your opinions at:

http://www.woohoo.org/pheidipiddes

*Texas Running Info.*

They don't just watch Cowboys football in Texas:

http://www.RunningNetwork.com/TexasRunning

AND AS ALWAYS:

RUNNER'S NICHE at:

http://home.netone.com/~woodyg3/runiche.html

*************************

LETTERS FROM OUR READERS

*************************

*MANY MILES TO GO*

Dear Runner's Niche,

I have a comment and a question to ask you. I'm in high

school and right now it's the off-season so I can't really

talk to my coach. Anyway, a bunch of my friends and I are

training for track and a few of us including me have been

running a lot of miles. Last week we put in about 60-70

miles, and a couple of days we even ran up to 12 miles. I

was just wondering if running this much off-season really

does help. We only do speed workout once a week and during

that last week I did 3x800 and a couple of 200s. Do you

think I should increase my speed workout to two or three a

week, I mean I'm in pretty good shape for the off-season.

I think right now without any coaching I'm running at 4:45

for my mile. So could you explain to me what I should do

better in order to help my track season.

And also I just wanted to commented on your as article

about Stretching. I thought it was very good advice for

the young runners that doesn't stretch very much like me or

stretches before running. Since my coach isn't there to

coach me I just wanted to get my miles in and go home. So

thanks a lot for putting that article up.

~Lap Huynh

ED: Dear Lap,

It sounds like you are a very dedicated runner, and that

you are serious about improving. Be careful about running

too hard in the off-season. The miles will catch up to you

if you aren't careful, and 60-70 miles a week is quite a

lot, even for most college runners. If you have slowly

built up to that kind of mileage, you might be okay.

There is no real reason to be doing more than one "speed"

workout a week right now. Your interval training, lactate

threshold training and sprint speed training can be

increased once you get into the outdoor track season. For

now it is best to concentrate on building a solid aerobic

base.

Remember above all else, keep it fun!

 

*ISLAND RUNNING*

Can any of you help with some suggestions? A reader has

written asking for the best, safest places to train in the

Caribbean. Send suggestions to Glenn at:

gu2@hotmail.com

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