Training + Racing = Tracing? #HHRAMBASSADOR

I listened to a podcast interview of Greg Meyer recently, whose claim to fame has recently been amended to “the last American to win Boston before Meb.” It was a different world back in the 70s and 80s, where Greg and other elites routinely raced on multiple consecutive weekends, sometimes even in close proximity to their goal races. Nowadays, training schedules are carefully calibrated to peak for major events, with a lot less racing in between.

None of us mere mortals will ever have to answer the question: “how did you keep up your 100 mile training week while winning that indoor mile?” However, some of the more general things that Greg had to say have some application for us as well. Basically, Greg liked to race. He was competitive. Who knows if he would have had the same level of success in the modern model of less racing? Maybe he would have lost motivation.

I tend to agree with him. I’m not racing every week, but I do think it helps me stay motivated to always have something to be looking forward to. Every year, I target two or three key races I’d like to participate in, put them on the calendar, sign up to commit, and adjust my training schedule around them. But that leaves wide open expanses of months at a time. Filling in some of those gaps, for me, is a great way to stay motivated and have something to look forward to. An added benefit is that you develop a baseline of how your training is going, and you can use that to adjust your training for your goal race. For instance, if you’re training for a half marathon, like, just say, for instance, Hospital Hill, (click here to register!) you could race a 5K, then use any number of online pace calculators to convert your 5K performance into an expected finish time and pace for the 13.1 mile distance. Of course these calculators aren’t perfect, your results may vary, etc., but they are kind of fun to tinker around with. Some of the better ones can adjust for temperature, elevation change, and other variables.

I love “tracing” – racing during training. (It helps if you say it like Tony the Tiger saying “They’re grrrrrrrreat!”)

So, what have I been doing to practice what I preach? I signed up for and ran the aptly-named “Commitment Day 5K” on New Year’s Day. First, shout-out (do the kids still say that?) to my niece, Kaitlin, who knocked it out of the park singing the National Anthem prior to race start. Bummed there’s no picture! Unfortunately, all I’ve got to offer are pictures of me. Also, I got to meet fellow Skora Ambassador Sarah, who snapped a shoe selfie of us that I can’t seem to locate any more. Pretty cool that in the whole country, two of us are running some of the same races!

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If I was wearing my Mizzou gear, I might be as happy as Bib # 951!

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Yep, it’s cold. 25F, but a brisk wind.

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Finished! No PR, but not bad on a hilly course on a windy day.

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More of the same…

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Bear with me…

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Okay, last one. Happy tracing!

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@skorarunning FIT: The 900 mile exit interview

I recently had to retire my first pair of Skora FITs. At just over 900 miles, they finally suffered a failure that compromised the “structural integrity” of the shoe. Yes, that’s right, shoes wear out. But at 900 miles, I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of a pair, don’t you? (Disclaimer, the shoes I’m talking about were advance samples provided to me free of charge to review, so more accurately I should say I feel like I’ve gotten the manufacturer’s suggested retail price out of them). The big running shoe companies all tell you to abandon your shoes at 6 months or 300-500 miles. That recommendation is primarily based on the compression of the thick wedge of EVA foam they use to cushion the shoe. In shoes with minimal (IMO, adequate) cushioning, you can pretty much wear the things until you actually perceive a failure – not based on a guess.

My FITs had a job to do for me as a runner: provide as little interference as possible, while ensuring comfort and control during my marathon road training and racing. My full-blown review of this shoe can be found here. Let’s talk to the FIT on the way out the door:

Tad: Did the job match your expectations?

FIT: Definitely. Your marathon training and racing are what I’m made for.

Tad: Do you think you met my expectations?

FIT: Yes, I’d say so. I can tell you’re a minimalist runner who strikes the ground naturally with the mid-foot, which meshes well with my zero-drop design. I put in 900 miles, giving you lightweight cushioning and staying out of your way. That’s pretty much what you asked me to do when I started. I thought we worked well together – also, you didn’t usually run me on consecutive days, which I think contributed to my longevity.

Tad: Did you feel like the work you were doing aligned with your personal goals and interests?

FIT: Yes, I’m an all-purpose training shoe, built for a wide variety of surfaces and light enough to race in. Like Frank Shorter says, running fast is more fun than running slow!

Tad: Did you have the tools and resources you needed to effectively do your job?

FIT: You bet, I brought all that with me. Here’s my resume.

Tad: Describe the workplace environment.

FIT: Almost all outdoors, pavement and concrete, I saw all four seasons. Thanks for taking me to the track occasionally!

Tad: What do you feel good about accomplishing in your job and in your time here?

FIT: I was thrilled when you asked me to run the Boston Marathon with you after a few weeks of training. I appreciated the confidence you expressed in me at that distance and I know how much the race meant to you. Other than that, we put in a lot of training miles together. As you know, there’s just no substitute for wearing out the rubber:

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Tad: What factors contributed to your decision to retire?

FIT: Well, as you know, the place where the airmesh upper connects to the sole separated:

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That was on my right. If I say so myself, there wasn’t an identical failure point on the same outside face of my left – in fact there wasn’t even one developing. However, there was an area developing on the inside of my left:

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This is basically what I looked like on the right side for several hundred miles before the hole appeared. I don’t feel like this compromised my function at all up until the very end, which is why I decided to hang it up.

Tad: What are your future plans?

FIT: Well, I’d like you to re-use my insoles in your FORMs. They’re a little bit thicker than the stock FORM insole, so you might like a bit more cushioning on occasion:

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Also, don’t forget to take off your LED light and my laces:

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Tad: Would you recommend this place to work to one of your friends?

FIT: Yes, and I understand you may already be employing some of my colleagues…

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In fact, you had me train my replacement, remember?

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Tad: Thanks for your year of service to the company!