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Jeff Wolfe has been an avid runner for years, including running cross country in high school and college, though he's not as fast now as he once was. This blog is designed for high school runners, and their coaches and parents in Delaware County.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Broad Street and quote

Yes,it's cold out there and the Broad Street run is over 2 1/2 months away, so it seems like you've got forever to get ready. But it's important to start getting ready for the May 1 event now if you're physically able.
Of course, just how much you should train depends on where you are. If you run regularly, say 30-40 miles per week, then it will not be a big deal to build up to a 10-mile long run at least once a week. And once you're there, if you can build to two or three 15-milers before Broad Street, you'll really feel confident about competing for 10 miles.
If you're just getting started, it's vital to work your way up gradually. It will make the coming weeks easier on you mentally and physically. Too much too soon, and you feel like you never want to do this mentally, because everything hurts physically.
Sometimes a runner will ask if he or she can improve their time in a long race, such as Broad Street. Of course you can, it just depends on how much you want to train. If you have the time and motivation to get serious about training, it would be a big benefit to compete in 5Ks by at least mid-March, then look for a 10K or maybe something longer in early April. Even if you find a half-marathon in early April, just so you can compete a little and be happy to finish, that will really help for those 10 miles down Broad Street.
Another big question is if you've trained hard, when do you start resting for the big race? It's important not to shorten the mileage or intensity too soon, or your body and mind will be in for a little shock. However, you don't want to be super intense the week of race, or you just won't have the energy to go faster when you want to. So, I usually go for somewhere in between. If the big race is on a Sunday, I think you're still OK to do a long run on the Monday before, then a short, but difficult workout on Tuesday. But then you need to start pulling back, Wednesday, then just do some really light stuff Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The other factors that play into race performance are of course what you eat, how much sleep you get and how much you drink. Remember hydration should be a habit, not a one-day binge.
So, start preparing now mentally and physically. You're body will thank you come May 1.

Here's a quote from the late great Steve Prefontaine that may help you get out the door on these cold mornings:
"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ice, Ice Baby and a quote

Here are a few reminders for those of you who are dedicated enough to get outside and run during these often dreary looking days of winter, even when there's ice or packed snow on the ground.
Ice can be the worst, because if you're running on streets, it is not always the easiest thing to see. So, if you're going straight ahead and hit a small patch of ice, just try to keep going straight. If you suspect any ice at all, don't run nearly as aggressively, or else you'll be asking for a fall.
The main thing on icy roads to be super careful when making a turns, or turning around. Even if it looks dry, take your time, even to the point of almost stopping, if you have to. That beats falling and hurting yourself and not being able to run for an extended time. And you're probably not going to set any PRs on a slippery road anyway, so what does a couple of seconds matter on this kind of day? They don't.
Just be thankful you were able to get out the door and hopefully stay on your feet.
So, here's a quote from George Bernard Shaw to motivate you to run when everybody else thinks you're crazy.
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

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Friday, January 14, 2011

'Nova gets a good one in Venables

The Villanova women's cross country team took a big step toward continuing its national-caliber program when New Jersey high school state champion Megan Venables committed to run for Gina Procopio and the Wildcats.
Venables is one of the nicest people you'll meet, but also one of the toughest when it comes to competing during races. Venables comes from a solid program at Highland High School in New Jersey. Led by Bill Collins and Bob Wagner, Highland has produced several good runners and some national-level runners over the last 25 years. However, they each said that Venables was the toughest runner they've ever had.
Give credit to Collins and Wagner for knowing the kind of talent they had in Venables, bringing her along slowly and progressing her training each year. She set the course record in New Jersey at the difficult Holmdel State Park course in 17:28 by seven seconds in November. It had been held for 27 years.
A lot of credit goes to Venables as well. She not only does what she's told, but does the workouts with conviction and determination. She's not just a good listener, but someone who takes her training to heart.
The Wildcats have been NCAA champions each of the past two seasons. They just got a champion runner and person. It should be a good fit.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

New goals for a new year and a new quote

It's not unusual for distance runners to make big goals for an upcoming year. There are a variety of ways to set goals. It can be a matter of wanting to lose some weight, maybe you had a good year, but want to make this one better. Maybe you need to get fast enough for colleges to notice you during spring track or cross country season in the fall.

Goals are a part of everyday life for runners. Goals can vary from completing a certain amount of miles for a run, or a week, or a year. Or maybe setting a goal-time for a big race, like the Broad Street Run in Philly in early May, or a 3,200-meter time in the spring, or even a 3.1-mile time for cross country.

It's important to set primary and secondary goals. For example, if you set just one goal and don't get it, you might be trapped into the thought of being failure, and that's not good. So, you may set a goal of running 2,500 miles this year, just a little under 50 per week. But, so many things can happen, setting a secondary goal of 2,000 is good as well.

Or if you haven't made it out the door to run in a few weeks, and you want to start back, don't be too bold too soon. It's important to build gradually, so you may want to start at 10-15 miles a week, then go to 15-20 miles and so on.

So, with goals in mind, here's a quote from T. Alan Armstrong that might help you stay motivated in the winter months.
"Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character."

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's cold, but ...

Yes, we all know it's cold out there and when you add in the wind chill, that's a handy dandy excuse to stay in and not go on a run.
So, here's a few tips to help get you out the door.
First, and most importantly, wear appropriate clothing. Don't try to be a hero here, running in light clothing, or leaving big parts of skin, like legs, arms, hands and ears uncovered. You may end up with frostbite and that will certainly keep you from going out again in the cold weather.
Second, maybe you need to start what is called a CD. If you pledge to run at least one mile a day for a month, then you can have a Consecutive Days streak, and once it hits 30, you'll probably want to keep it going. It's a good way to get going each day.
Third, on these rather blustery days, if you run in housing development areas, that may help block the wind. It also may help you change direction frequently so you don't spend too much time running against the wind.
And, if you need a quote to inspire, here's one from former Oregon coaching great Bill Bowerman: "There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people."

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter workouts

Now that the cross country season has been finished for a while, that's still no excuse to not run, especially if you're not in another winter sport. A runner doesn't want to lose the fitness gained during the hard work of the cross country season.
It's cold you say, but that's no excuse. Just put on the sweats and mittens and you'll be fine. It takes about a mile for the body to get warmed up on these cold days, so just stay with it for a bit and you'll be fine.
With the All-Delco team being published earlier this week, congratulations to Runners of the Year Hannah Grossman, of Strath Haven, and Chris Garrity, of Cardinal O'Hara.
Grossman was good at the start of the season and gradually improved as the season went on. What was best about Grossman is she had her best race of the year at the state meet with that third-place finish. To run your best at the biggest meet is not an easy accomplishment.
Garrity was also very good all season and he led O'Hara to a third-place finish in the team standings at the state meet. Like Grossman, he ran very well in the most important race of the season.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Some things leading up to states and quote

I was not at all surprised by the performance of Strath Haven's Hannah Grossman at districts. She's been the top girls runner in Delaware County all season and had her best race in the biggest race of the season. And now with THE biggest race of the season set for Saturday, given health, she could very well have another good run.
As a sophomore last year, Grossman was 62nd in the state meet up at Hershey. She's a good bet to make a marked improvement on that mark this year.
Last year, Pennsbury's Sara Sargeant won the District 1 Class AAA race in 17:39 and then took the state race in 18:35. So, if you add approximately a minute from Grossman's District 1 time of 18:02 to the state course in Hershey, she's a good bet to finish in the top 10 Saturday. Last year, Haverford's Tess Meehan finished 10th in the states as a freshman in 19:21. and yes, don't forget about the Sophia and Tess Meehan in this race. They've been in plenty of big-meet situations and it wouldn't be a surprise to either one of them challenge for a top 10 spot as well.
Sometimes, runners get in a big meet like the states and feel they have to do something different to have that extra-special race. However, if Grossman just races the way she has all year, then a good showing at states is a high probability.
The two best individual bets to place on the boys side from Delaware County are Glen Mills' Mahdi Koliso and Cardinal O'Hara's Chris Garrity. Garrity nipped Koliso at the Delaware County meet. Koliso ran a 16:02 at Districts to reach the states. So, if those two are still comparable, and can run something in the 16:15-25 range, they would have a shot at making the top 10. Tenth place last year at states in the Class AAA race was 16:24. It will be interesting to see how Garrity and Koliso respond to the tough competition because they could go even faster than expected.
In terms of the team scoring, the Cardinal O'Hara boys could make a big jump from last year's 18th place finish. The scoring five last year were Garrity, Dan Savage, Mike Bilotta, Jake Saccetti and Chris Pastore. They all returned this year and Garrity is the only senior. The addition of Christian Ostrowski and Mike Hess into the mix, with Ostrowski being the No. 2 O'Hara runner at the Catholic League Championships, makes the Lions even stronger this year.

Here is this week's Quote to Run By: It comes from William Faulkner, which hopefully some of you have read. "Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."

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