Friday, August 21, 2009

The Peak Performance Maine Marathon and Half-Marathon is just over five weeks away, on October 4, 2009. This means that over 50 people have been training hard for the past three months with the Peak Performance Marathon Training Group. (A few are doing other marathons, but are in the fold nonetheless!)

The 18-week program got underway on May 31st, with participation doubled from the inaugural group last year. Runners joined the program with a wide range of goals: many to do their first ever marathon or half-marathon; others to improve their half-marathon time from last year; even a 56-time marathon veteran came on board to run a goal time in the half! Over half the runners are also raising funds to benefit the Center for Grieving Children in Portland, Maine, the race beneficiary for the 2008 and 2009 events.

Runners received an individual training schedule based on their level of fitness, running experience, personal schedule, and goals. Most run their weekly long run on Sundays, as a group, while others run their long run on Saturdays, as it works better for them. A few live out-of-state and receive coaching via E-mail; and all are kept up to date with weekly communications.

About three weeks into the program, I received a call from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training Coordinator. The Maine training group had lost its coach and was looking for support. These twelve runners from all around the state were welcomed into the group and are training for the Maine, Dublin, and Nike Women's Marathons, all in October, while also raising funds to benefit the Society.

The distances of the weekly groups runs have been progressively increasing, with a few runners up to 18 miles. Because it's an individual pursuit in a group context, distances and paces vary. What is fascinating and fairly reliable about the process is that people seem to 'find each other' and are able to develop friendships and training partnerships. Because so many are first-time runners at these distances, speed and intensity are not the focal point. Instead, long slow distance runs are encouraged, particularly for the weekly group run.

Training runs will occur on sections of the marathon course for the next few weeks before the taper phase. Runners should have a very good idea of the course and will be prepared both mentally and physically for the big day. Throughout the program they have had access to free clinics covering topics such as nutrition, injury prevention, sports psychology, self-massage techniques, and understanding the physiology behind performance and training. It's a full and productive four and a half months, no doubt!

If you have any questions or would like to receive more information about running programs through A Running Conversation or Peak Performance, please just let me know. And, if you are training for a fall marathon, best wishes for a great run!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oh, to Post

Whenever someone approaches me and makes a comment about one of these blogs they've read, I'm reminded of how much I enjoy writing them, yet cannot for the life of me find/make the time to do it more frequently.

I suppose it's like stretching or cross-training, eating well or meditating. We know it's good for us and that we always enjoy doing it once we're engaged in it. But dedicating the time when the spirit moves us....aaargh! It is difficult these days.

Tonight Rick A. attended the clinic on injury prevention presented by physical therapists from Edgewater Orthopedic Physical Therapy in Falmouth, Maine. It was a very useful talk about, one, body design and function, and two, how to use it well without injury. Should injury occur, they talked about ways to heal and recover, and to resume your sport.

But back to Rick. He is an Ironman triathlete, in his sixties, and thinks that the over-the-hill phenomenon I mentioned in my last post is more universal than reserved only for women. Perhaps. I just know that on a local level, I see a numbers discrepancy whereby there are more competitive men over 50 than women. But I've not run the numbers so I could be all wrong.

But here's something ironic: I mentioned that a friend thinks competitors over-50 become somewhat discounted, or "invisible." While that notion didn't resonate entirely for me, I thought okay. Maybe. Well, didn't the Portland Press Herald completely leave out the Open Masters and Open Seniors divisions in their reporting of the Beach to Beacon 10K results last Sunday?! What a hoot. Nothing. They reported in the copy about the overall finishers, and the top Mainers, including masters, but when they broke out all the age divisions they failed to include the Masters (40+) and Seniors (50+). Humph. I felt invisible all of a sudden.

I let the Press know about the mistake and unfortunately didn't get a reply, but I'm not hung up about it. I know where I finished, and fortunately the Beach to Beacon race organization recognizes where I and the others finished, as these are prize money categories! They actually award us. I was quite happy to be a senior citizen on August 1st.

Which brings us to the middle of August already. School starts in a few weeks. Summer rapidly winds down. Major events like the Dan Cardillo Memorial 5K, the Reach the Beach Relay, and the Peak Performance Maine Marathon are upon us before you can count to twenty. Wow. I've got to get some sleep. I just remembered there's another clinic to attend tomorrow at the Center for Grieving Children in Portland, Maine - a fabulous organization and the race beneficiary of the Peak Performance Maine Marathon this year. It's a talk by a sports psychologist on how to use your head to its fullest when it comes to athletic performance. I love it! I'd much rather think my way through some of these races than actually feel how physically hard it it is! Go here for more on the clinic. Peace.