From a slug to a runner - your story! (Read 7469 times)


Wasatch Speedgoat

    I was never athletic...actually spent most of my younger years marching in a national class Drum & Bugle Corps out of Boston. When I got too old for that (age 22) I joined a health club and started lifting weights...did that for awhile and my trainer was wanting me to prepare for middleweight boxing and had me start running around the gym before the workout...that eventually grew to running the 2 miles to and from my house. I liked running so much that i quit the gym and just ran... Next thing you know someone at work shows me a road racing mag (Yankee Runner) with race results, I try one and loved it! Started training harder, went from 190 lbs to 150 lbs running 30-50 mpw. Ran a 5 mile race and finished well, which only got me even more interested. Around that time Bill Rodgers was a big thing in Boston and set an American Record in 1975...He became my idol and inspiration. I ran my first marathon at the 1978 NYC marathon in 3:45....loved it, trained even harder and ran my next marathon at NYC one year later in 2:59....6 weeks later ran what is my now PB in 2:49:06 at the Cape Cod Marathon. Kept trying to run them faster, but never could....it was almost as if 2:49 was my limit. I seemed to be a better 5 mile to half marathon runner. (27:32 / 1:16:08) Anyway, I was always lean, so maybe that helped....add to that a driving mentality (and Bill Rodgers) which I guess drove me to that marathon. I am now 55, have been running for 32 years and now run ultramarathons just because... ...because i can spend time with my wife on the weekends as we train together...because running ultramarathons includes hiking, sometimes 50%, so I need to practice that also, which might have extended my running years...because life is good and running is awesome, I want to be able to do it for the rest of my life, so I've slowed down to smell the roses. I have been totally inspired by you folks....the before and after pictures are just fantastic. Keep it up! I think everyone has a sub 3 hour in them, it just takes time. Like my sig says...train long, train easy, watch what you eat and drink and it'll all come together. Dr.Ernst Van Aaken was a German physician/coach that believed in training at a low HR with very little speed and he coached some to the olympics and world records. His system is very similar to Phil Maffetone of today and is how I believe in training. It gave me a 2:49 marathon at the Boston Marathon in 1983 and a 4:55 mile in 1981....all on slow running and one short race every weekend (at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Ma.). The basics of training are build and maintain your aerobic base by running as many miles slowly as you can without reducing the quality of your life, run fast one day and run long one day...the rest just fit in what you can. If you look at my log you'll see that I no longer care about pace, yet at the age of 55 I am planning on attempting a 3:15 marathon this fall. Before you set running goals be sure you spend time with your family...family first! This is a great thread and a great website....thanks! Steve Smile
    Life is short, play hard!
    va


      ...Dr.Ernst Van Aaken was a German physician/coach that believed in training at a low HR with very little speed and he coached some to the olympics and world records. His system is very similar to Phil Maffetone of today and is how I believe in training. It gave me a 2:49 marathon at the Boston Marathon in 1983 and a 4:55 mile in 1981....all on slow running and one short race every weekend (at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Ma.). The basics of training are build and maintain your aerobic base by running as many miles slowly as you can without reducing the quality of your life, run fast one day and run long one day...the rest just fit in what you can. If you look at my log you'll see that I no longer care about pace, yet at the age of 55 I am planning on attempting a 3:15 marathon this fall. Before you set running goals be sure you spend time with your family...family first! This is a great thread and a great website....thanks! Steve Smile
      Steve, I like your outlook and congrats on a great 32 years of running!!! Where can I learn more about Aaken and Maffetone? Thanks,


      Wasatch Speedgoat

        You can read about Van Aaken here....it's a long read and is basically a thread on another forum, but many elite or former elite runners chime in which validates the training theory. http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?board=1&id=619879&thread=619851 Here is another lengthy Van Aaken discussion... http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=1150796&page=0 Van Aaken's theories were quite simple...run every day, as much as you can. Train slowly for up to 95% of your running, finishing every day's run with a burst of speed. Occasionally do some faster running, but nowhere near as fast as some do. He would tell his athletes to keep their heart rates between 130-150 bpm for almost all of their running. He was big on not eating much and eating very healthy foods. You would have to read the book or the above articles to get the idea. I have his book (my running bible since 1979), but I'll bet it's out of print. Phil Maffetone is also a very interesting coach. He is actually a Kinesiologist who coached many good Triathletes, one named Mark Allen. Supposedly the story goes that Mark just could not bust into the winner's circle at the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon...he was close but couldn't get good enough to win. One year Maffetone offered to coach him and told him that if he would give him one year he would not only win, but set a new course record. Mark not only did that, but he also did it 6 years in a row. Here's that story from Mark... http://www.duathlon.com/articles/1460 Here is the Maffetone article: http://www.rrca.org/resources/articles/slowdown.html And: http://www.rrca.org/resources/articles/sum99ots.htm I think Maffetone's approach is very similar to Van Aaken except for one thing and that is that Van Aaken has you do some speedwork, whereas Maffetone doesn't really mention it much, other than stick with the plan until you are running fast. I will go on record to say I really think to get fast you need to train fast, but first you need to build your aerobic base, which is where Maffetone and Van Aaken both come in. I like the Van Aaken method better than Maffetone's...but it all depends on what you want out of your running. I see now that Van Aaken's book is available used: http://www.amazon.com/Van-Aaken-Method/dp/0890370710/ref=ed_oe_h/002-3510408-2187234 You might also want to read this FAQ written by an ultrarunner friend of mine who had great success using Maffetone's methods. This pretty much sums it all up... http://www.myjjk.com/viewtopic.php?p=5296 Back in 2002 after an injury, I trained using Maffetone's methods all winter and Spring, which mostly consisted of 12 mpm for an hour every night. I did this: http://www.bighorntrailrun.com/results/2004100M.html I am 13th...out of about 75 starters at 52 year's old! I could go on and on about this training method Tongue Good luck! Steve
        Life is short, play hard!
        va


          Thanks for all of the info! I am interested in this subject because some day I'd like to say I've been running for 32 years! I'll be 77! Shocked Now back to something you said in your original post:
          ...because running ultramarathons includes hiking, sometimes 50%, so I need to practice that also, which might have extended my running years
          What dictates how much you hike in an ultramarathon? Is 50% typical? Does it depend on the terrain and race distance? Is this like taking walk-breaks during a long distance road race (e.g., a regular marathon)?


          Wasatch Speedgoat

            It all depends on the terrain. We hike the steep hills and run down. I will generally run some of the hills that aren't too steep. An old saying in ultrarunning is if you can't see over the hill, walk it. i practice walking at a 15% grade on my treadmill at 4mph, which is not easy....but i think it'll help me in a race so that i don't get too lazy. So, anyway, it is different than putting in walking breaks in a long run in that you aren't walking to take a break, but to not overstress your system. I live in the mountains in Northern NM at 8100' and my wife and I will train up there on the weekends and will do just like in a race...walk the hills and run all the other time. Recently it's been mostly with snowshoes...but the snow is melting nicely now Smile Another time I will walk in an ultra is just after leaving an aid station, which 90% of the time is uphill anyway to get back up on the ridge. As you walk out you might be eating something, so walk we do. Hope this all helps! You ought to try the sport, the people can't be beat!
            Life is short, play hard!


            Wasatch Speedgoat

              Another thing about ultrarunning....you live in the hotbed. There is a club there that I am a member of and always will be a member of that you ought to hook up with, they are fun people who run in the mountains all around you. http://www.vhtrc.org/news.htm Tell them you know me Wink
              Life is short, play hard!
              va


                Another thing about ultrarunning....you live in the hotbed. There is a club there that I am a member of and always will be a member of that you ought to hook up with, they are fun people who run in the mountains all around you. http://www.vhtrc.org/news.htm Tell them you know me Wink
                First things first. I'm a bit of a newbie to running. I don't run my first regular marathon until November, but I am already looking ahead to 2008 for new challenges. Some races that caught my eye were the Bel Monte Endurance Run 25K, Spring 2008, and the Great Eastern Endurance run 50K, Fall 2008. http://www.badtothebone.biz/mambo/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=67&Itemid=88 http://www.badtothebone.biz/mambo/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=35 Is it ridiculous to think that someone with 1.5-2.0 years of running experience can compete in these types of endurance runs?
                  I'm nowhere near a 3:30 marathon but I did go from a lump on the couch to running the 2006 Marine Corps Marathon (5:14:26). The "before" side is me at 265 lbs. in October 2005. The "after" is August 2006 during the four mile race of the Tour de pain (http://www.1stplacesports.com/tour06res.htm). I was around 215 there. Now I'm concentrating on losing the rest of the weight (shooting for 185 lbs) and I'm registered to run the Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2007! Actually, if anyone is bored our local newspaper gave me some print space where I "journaled" my progress through training for the MCM: http://www.staugustine.com/web_exclusive/marathon/ Big grin
                    voiceofgrog ----- Awesome!

                    Michelle




                    Wasatch Speedgoat

                      First things first. I'm a bit of a newbie to running. I don't run my first regular marathon until November, but I am already looking ahead to 2008 for new challenges. Some races that caught my eye were the Bel Monte Endurance Run 25K, Spring 2008, and the Great Eastern Endurance run 50K, Fall 2008. http://www.badtothebone.biz/mambo/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=67&Itemid=88 http://www.badtothebone.biz/mambo/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=35 Is it ridiculous to think that someone with 1.5-2.0 years of running experience can compete in these types of endurance runs?
                      No way! I ran my first marathon in NYC (1978) after only running for 1.5 years. One of my theories of running is if you can run 5 miles, you can run a marathon. (Most of the endurance training it takes to run a marathons is gotten in the 5 mile training)...you just need ot add a longer run! If you can run a marathon, you can run an ultramarathon...I train no differently now than I did when I was running road marathons except I now add walking so it's not foreign to me and I stay out a bit longer (about the same distance). A 20 mile training run back in the 70's took me 2.5 hours...it now takes me 5 hours...because if the walking of the hills. Also I ran the GEER 100K back a few years ago....I love the B R Mountains! Also I am friends with the RD's Russ and Frannie. Best of luck! Ultrarunning is actually easier than road marathoning...less stress on your body. I switched over from the roads after 20 years due to knee problems that have not been an issue since. God luck! Steve
                      Life is short, play hard!


                      Wasatch Speedgoat

                        voiceofgrog ----- Awesome!
                        Yes, very cool...you are an inspiration to many, I'm sure. If you want that 3:30, you will get it. Great article, BTW!
                        Life is short, play hard!
                        va


                          ultrastevep - Thanks! My interest is piqued! voiceofgrog - Excellent weight-loss and running achievementst!!! Shocked everyone else - Sorry for my Aaken/Maffetone/ultramarathon mini thread hijack.


                          Needs more cowbell!

                            Now I'm concentrating on losing the rest of the weight (shooting for 185 lbs) and I'm registered to run the Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2007!
                            Oh, you can do this--and I mean both meeting your goal and running Chicago! Someday I hope to run that race, too. And I must tell you that your blog is wonderful. I read a couple of entries, but will go back and read all the rest in the next couple of days. You are a very gifted writer, indeed! If you'd like support in your quest for your goal weight, come join us in the Jiggly Joggers group (in my signature). We're gearing up for a Spring weight loss challege and you'd be a great inspiration to have on-board! Smile k

                            I shoot pretty things! ~

                            '14 Goals:

                            • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                              Wow! Thanks for the compliments! I'm heading over to Jiggly Joggers now... Smile
                                Ok, I'll have to say that my story is definitely not over and in fact after 51, soon to be 52 years is really just getting started. I played basketball in high school but was never anything near a stand out player. After high school (1973) and college (1978) I didn't do much atheletically until the mid-80's when I decided to run on a newly built in-door track in the town in Wyoming where I lived. I got to where I could run 7 and 8 minute miles and would run 5-8 miles on the mornings I ran. But work related travel soon put a stop to my running for over 20 years. Well at the young age of 49 I underwent a quadruple bypass surgery on April 9, 2005. My surgery weight was 215 and in October 2006 I had allowed my weight to grow to 245 and a pant size of 38 really needing to be in a 40 but vanity kept me from buying them. At this time my wife and I started WeightWatchers, again. Also at this time my younger brother informed us that he was training to run in the Houston Marathon in January 2007. He has his own story of weight issues and success. Anyway, around Nov 1 I got the idea that I could run part of the marathon with him and I started to run on our treadmill. I had to work up to a 15 min/mile walking pace but soon moved on to a 12 min/mile jogging pace. At the Houston marathon on Jan 14 I ran almost 6.5 miles with my brother from just before the 20 mile marker to the end of the race. It was a great feeling, but it was an even greater feeling to witness him completing his first marathon and it got me to thinking about running seriously. The day that I was able to walk from our front door to the mail box, maybe 50 feet or so after my surgery is so etched in my memory and I wanted to prove to myself that I was still capable of being healthy. I ran my first 5k race on March 3 with a time of 35:59 and was proud that I did it under 36 minutes. A week later I did another 5k race in 34:55, then an 8k race on St. Paddy's day in 1:02:20 and oh I wished that I could have had just a tiny bit more finishing energy to get in under an hour. Now I'm in a full tilt towards running in the half Marathon at the April 29 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Last Sunday I ran the half marathon course and completed it in 2:52:46, and I was so amazed, first that I finished it, and second that I did it in under 3 hours. Talk about a confidence builder. I'm still a bit of a slug and I'm wanting to lose down to the 170-175 range and I know when I get there my time will improve as well. I'm also closely watching my heart rate as I run and am so wanting to see improvements there as well. I have one eye on the 2008 Houston Marathon and am hoping that if I commit to it that my brother will run it again.
                                Run Steady....Run Safe http://aggiesoles.blogspot.com/