Monthly Archives: March 2009

Boston Marathon : 10 Training Tips

Boston marathon is the oldest marathon in the world. For most runners Boston marathon is on top 100 things in life to accomplish.

Some facts about boston marathon are

  • The route is hilly – four in number
  • The weather can be unpredictable
  • The runners are fast, thanks to the minimum standards.

10. Boston Marathon running tips

To beat these challenges Boston marathon provides every runner with a list of 10 marathon training tips.

  1. Train hard but remember to take a rest.
  2. If a day or two of training is missed due to injury or illness or other reason, don’t try to cram two days of training into one. Lost days are simply days.
  3. Train at your projected marathon pace.
  4. Try to train at the time of the day the race starts and in the predicted weather condition as much as possible.
  5. Do the long runs.
  6. Remember to stretch
  7. Do speed works round a track, it just makes your legs feel better.
  8. Listen to your body, If you feel tired take a rest, if you feel pain go easy, if the pain is too much stop running.

Source : boston marathon site

Amazing Race : Phil Kheoghan : Secret Diet

Phil Kheogan is the host of my favourite TV show, The Amazing race, I just read that Phil is embarking on a 40 day, 3500 mile bike ride across USA to promote the reality show and help raise money and awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Thats brilliant!!

What food is Phil eating to fuel his “Amazing race”

A 5,000-calorie-per-day diet featuring an afternoon treat he calls a “Philiminator” Shake (a special energy concoction combining whey protein, soy milk, flax seed and peanut butter)

What bike is Phil riding

Phil will be swapping between the Specialized Transition and the Specialized Roubaix. Two classic bikes.

Phil Bike Training Plan :

His coach has emphasised the need of rest to boast performance. On the official website he is quoted saying he made sure Phil trained hard but also he had adequate time for recovery so that he bounced back each week feeling stronger. I call that : Train Hard : Rest and Be strong.

I won’t pray for him to have an easy bike ride but I will pray for him to be strong!!

All action at phil rides across usa.

Running Watch For The Casual Runner

If speed and performance are not a concern, and you run for fitness, not to compete, avoid Running Watches with all the bells and whistles. Instead, select a CASUAL RUNNING STOP WATCH with these basic features:

  • Water resistant (not for swimming but for rainy days!!)
  • Scratch resistant
  • Illuminated display (for clarity)
  • Alarm
  • Chronograph (stop watch)

A casual running watch is cheap and is not as expensive as the GPS watches (watches with global positioning system)  out there.

A casual running watch will only tell you what time you took from start to finish while the advanced GPS watches can tell you, your pace, calories burned, and distance covered.

Formula : How To Make Your Own Gatorade

In this age of inflation sports drinks like Gatorade don’t come cheap. One clever way to beat the corporate prices is to make your home made sports drink.

If you take a look at a gatorade bottle you will see gatorade has a formulation that gives the following for an 8oz serving:

  • 14grams Carbohydrate (5.9%)
  • 110 mg Sodium
  • 30mg Potassium
  • 52 calories

The good news is that making a sports drink from home is pretty cheap. Everything you need is right in your kitchen.

I found this simple recipe for making a home made sport’s drink

Homemade Sports Drink Recipe by Dr. Lorraine Williams

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 9 tbs. Sugar
  • 3/8 tsp Salt
  • Water to 2 liters

Nike Air Zoom Vomero + 2 : Best Running Shoe

In 2008 U.S Consumer report tested over 205 shoe brands and the Nike Air Zoom Vomero+2 was judged to be the best running shoe. The Nike Air Zoom Vomero+2 topped the rankings for men’s and women’s shoes.


The Nike Air Zoom Vomero+2 scored top marks in :-

  • Cushioning
  • Stability
  • Flexibility
  • Weight
  • And Breathability …ah! according to CR, shoes that dissipate sweat quickly keep feet cooler and reduce the risk of bacterial or fungal infection.

Race Report : Running My First Tokyo Marathon

This is a Guest Blog post from my Friend Khalfan who ran the 2009 Tokyo Marathon. He is a Kenyan teaching in Japan

Tokyo Marathon(My first Marathon)
From Khalfan.


Actually my main sport has been soccer since when I was 6 years old. But in high school I ran a number of short races like 4 x 100m relay, and 200m.
Although I am from Kenya, running is not seen as cool by city youths. Only these days of running boom, people are kind of noticing the power of running. In my case I felt the power of running when I moved to Japan.

How I fell in Love with running

Last July, my student invited me to run in their 5k by 4 Ekiden, and I was the anchor! I was expecting something like 20 minutes, but to my surprise I ran for 17 minutes 30 seconds(Thanks to my soccer sprints!).

After this I felt like challenging half Marathon in November which went well and was tempted to shot at the Tokyo Marathon. Amazingly, a month before November’s half Marathon, I had only two runs. One 6 Kilometre run which I did in my October vacation in Mombasa and a 16 Kilometre run which I did two days from the race. I was quite poorly prepared, but was surprised to finish in 1 hour 31 minutes.

Tokyo Marathon 2009

Starting line:

I didn’t want to go to the Tokyo Marathon start line as poorly prepared as November. So I started training hard and long, only to get injured and stay out of action all of December and January. The injury was so serious that it forced me to go to an orthopedician. In mid Feb I was back on my feet but was scared to do tough training to avoid another injury. So I went to the start line with confidence but poorly prepared again with only one 25 Kilometre run as my longest run.

Register : Get an Entry To Tokyo marathon : Matter of Luck

I think you already know that Japan is a country of runners, I don’t mean record breakers as we know them but I mean people who love running! That means getting a ticket to the Tokyo Marathon, being the biggest running event in Japan is not a joke! The limit was 30,000 Marathon runners and 5,000 10 Km runners, but there were over 260,000 applicants. Lucky me!

On the starting line I met a few good runners I know since my position was good as I used my 5k results. I was dreaming of an ambitious target time of 2:55 to 3:30 and was planning to run 5k 20 to 21 minutes splits. From my half Marathon experience I knew that my pacing is bad, so I decided to follow a guy who can take me at a 4:10 pace.

When the gun went off, we crawled for about one and a half minute before crossing the start line. My leader Mr. Paddy was quite slow at the first split and we crossed 5k point after 23 minutes. Although I trusted him, I still doubted myself if I can hold such a slower pace for long, so I decided to speed up (A rookies mistake which I knew about!). The reason I sped off was the feeling that I better get tired after covering many Kilometres in a short while than getting tired trying to keep a uniform pace.

The second split 5k to 10k I did it in 21 minutes, 10k to 15k at 22minutes, 15k to 20k at 23 minutes. But my trouble started between 20 to 25 mark. My calf muscles started getting tighter as I approached 24k mark. Remember that is around my longest practice run! I hanged in there and crossed the 25k point in 26 minutes.

The Awesome Spectators of Tokyo marathon

The good thing about Tokyo Marathon is that, there are supporters everywhere, it makes it difficult to even think of quitting. And that is why the finishing percentage might be one of the highest in the world at 97%. Although the idea of quitting started filling my head after 25 mark, I knew that I had to reach 28k mark since that is where someone was waiting for me with my Gel. So I pushed on, telling my brain that after taking the gel I can just quit.

I have heard of people eating Bananas, cookies and bread and other stuff as they run, but I always felt this is very silly since serious runners have no such leisures. Also the idea of run-walking was something I never imagined I could keep up with! But as I approach 28K mark I felt all my energy was sapped out! When I saw the Banana supply, I grabbed a handful of Banana pieces that amount to about two bananas. I took the banana hungrily, drunk lots of water and amino drink, enough to get me to the 28 mark.

At 28 mark I got my gel but since I was so hungry I drunk the gel in few seconds, and was supply less. Luckily just around the corner some supporter offered me a bottle of water, and two more supporters gave me gels. Nevertheless at 29 mark I broke my not walking promise and stopped to stretch and walk. In fact at this point I was thinking of quitting but most of the route had railings and supporters never stopped cheering. That made me feel like I was on the stage, and I started enjoying talking with the supporters in between my runs!

The only thing that helped me on top of the food helping was the medical support around! I knew someone had medical supplies, but I forgot what color jacket volunteers had medical supplies. I stopped a number of them asking, until I found out the volunteers in red jackets had spray that could ease my calf muscles. So with few pit stops, I could manage a decent walk run that saw me cross 30k mark after 32 minutes, 35k mark after 31 minutes, and 40k mark after 33, The last 2ks or so I did them in about 12 minutes and managed to cross the finish line far from my target time after 3 hours 46minutes. The rest is history!

The winner of Tokyo Marathon was a fellow Kenyan – Salim Kipsang, I wished I had asked him to carry my chip for me!

Inspiring Story of a 65 year Old Japanese Marathon Runner

Though a Kenyan won, the real record breaker was a 65 years old Japanese with Bushido(Samurai) spirit – Mr. Akinori Kusuda who ran 52 Marathons in 52 days. Tokyo Marathon was his 52nd!

I just ran my first Marathon and I feel like I need two weeks recovery, I wonder what kind of muscles does Mr. Akinori have!

The run was tough, but really memorable and fun! My next plan is to do more long runs of 30 to 35k and do a couple of 10 ks and half Marathons before attempting another Full Marathon!

95 Years Old Athlete : Inspiring Story Of The Week : Leland Mcphie

So, what are your plans for your 95th birthday? I thought about that question after reading the life story of 95 year old athlete Leland Mcphie.

At last weekend US masters indoor championship Leland Mcphie competing in the weight toss,threw a 35-pound mass nearly 22 feet. It wasn’t a record, but it was good enough to win his age group.

That age group? 95 years and older. His is a story of 78 years athletic career.

According to a story of Leland Mcphie in the San diego tribune,

  • Born in Salt Lake City in March 1914, the oldest of nine children
  • a self-taught pole vaulter at Colton Union High School from 1929 to 1933.
  • At San Bernardino Valley College in 1935, using a bamboo pole, he set a vault record (12-10) that endured until 1961.
  • In 1973 he began playing tennis.
  • In 1994 he discovered the track out of curiosity. Dressed in tennis clothes and shoes, he tackled the 50-meter dash – and won his first race.

Mcphie training plan

He trains five days a week, he’s either toning muscles on the weight machines at the YMCA or practicing throws and jumps.

“He does a crossword puzzle each day,” McPhie’s granddaughter, Rochelle Michaels, told the Trib. “He has continued to exercise all his life. He has a strong spirit. He’s amazingly inspirational.”

What Women Think About Thin Runners

From the readers question section of Runners world magazine I found this interesting question from a distressed man

“So my wife says, if I lose too much weight and end up looking like Hendrik Ramala (a skinny South African long distance runner) She will divorce me! But to be a better runner I need to work on my weight. So what?” Nigel S.

This question made me laugh, felt sorry for Mister Nigel. I don’t think the views of Mrs Nigel represent all women.

Here in Kenya, the runners are Razor thin and they are all (atleast most of them) happily married. If the women in their lives are unhappy about it they don’t admit it publicly, they put up a brave face, like a good African wife should.  They can’t complain as long as the men continue winning races and making lots of money from road running.

Running Tip: Home Made Endurance Sports Drink

The longer you sweat while running the more electrolytes you lose. And the more electrolytes you lose the more your feel fatigued.

One solution for these problem is buying sports drinks that contain extra electrolytes but these sports drinks do not come cheap.

Researchers have found that the more salty drinks athletes consume, the less urine they produce and the fewer electrolytes they lose.

Home made endurance sports drink

Runners can make their own home made endurance sports drink by mixing water with salt and sugar. It is that simple. I got this idea from a magazine article about ultra marathon running. One runner said he drinks it to avoid stomach cramps. The mixture has a nasty taste but once you get used to it you will be fine.

I always drink a mixture of water  plus sugar plus salt before I dash out for my long runs.

Just remember not all drinks work for everyone.

Pre Race Water Drinking : Fluid Loading

One of my marathon training tactic is to drink plenty of water the day before my long runs. I call it fluid loading.

Fluid loading is like carbohydrate loading, except with water instead of carbohydrate.  Carbo-loading entails gobbling carbohydrate before a long race to maximize muscle and liver glycogen stores. Fluid loading entails drinking extra fluid to achieve a “hyperhydrated” state before a race to minimize the effects of dehydration.

I use this tactic in my marathon training because during my training runs (my long runs can be up to 30 – 32Kms) I don’t carry water to rehydrate along the way. The goal is to train my body to run on minimal water.

While this tactic is advisable for training it is unnecessary before a race because at a race there will be enough water stations for re hydration. Before a race the water intake can remain at your normal levels to maintain hydration.