Saturday, September 25, 2010

Guys crashing women's road races

An article in the Wall Street Journal on how some guys run women's races. Here's an excerpt:

"To discourage male interest, many women's races present trophies only to female winners. Goodie bags often contain feminine-cut T-shirts, along with swag like perfume samples, chocolates and pink sandals. One race is giving away feather boas and tiaras.

Ahead of its Oct. 2 inaugural half marathon, Run Like a Diva announced that finishers' medals will be awarded by bare-chested male firefighters. "We had four men signed up, but two dropped out when they heard about the firemen," says Mr. Pozo, the race organizer. "We're making this race so girly that men won't want any part of it."


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tabata workouts - results from the last time

I started doing the Tabata protocol workouts back in late spring but never got around to posting the results. So, here goes:

Last week of May - 19:56 5K
Next week: 30 miles with Tabata
Next week: 40 miles including last Tabata workout
Next week: 7 miles
Next week: 22 miles and 19:37 5K at the end of the week
Next week: 11 miles and 19:05 5K at the end of the week

Probably ran a total of one or two tempo pace runs in the last three weeks. All the others were at 8:00-9:00 pace. Yet I was able to get the time down from 19:56 to 19:05 within about five weeks. I think it was probably a combination of the Tabata workouts and cooler weather in general. Plus the fact that the workouts probably took some time to pay off, i.e., the results aren't like instant noodles. Anyway, some time not too far away into the future, I'm planning to give this another try.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Is running an expensive hobby?

Like most things in life, the answer is it depends. It's like going out for dinner - you have a whole range from a $5 fast food meal to a $100 meal at a fancy restaurant. Let's take a look at how things add up.

For the most basic running, you need a pair of shoes, shorts, and a shirt. Some may argue that some or all of these are optional, but I think it's safe to say that for 99% of runners these three things are the most essential. Say $30 for shoes, $10 for a simple shirt, and $10 for shorts. You're looking at about $50 and that's about as low as it gets even if you get stuff on clearance. How long will this last? Assuming a runner does 20 miles/week, he gets 1000 miles in a year. Let's say he gets 1000 miles from his $30 shoes which is stretching it for most people. Assume he can get by on wearing the same shirt and shorts for the whole year. With all these assumptions, he can get by with $50 a year. Typically this is not the case.

Most people spend $40-$80 or more on a pair of shoes. Typically shoes get thrown out after anywhere from 300 to 500 miles. Most runners usually have two or three pairs in use at any given time. Shirts and shorts - most people probably have a few of each and more likely than not, these are technical fabric, which means upwards of $25-30 for shirts and upwards of $20 for shorts. Let's do some numbers again:
- 4 pairs of $30 shirts = $120
- 4 pairs of $20 shorts = $80
Say they last you for 5 years. In 5 years, say you go through 10 pairs of shoes at 20 miles/week and 500 miles to a pair.
- 10 pairs of $40 shoes = $400
So, that's $120 + $80 + $400 = $600 over 5 years for an average of $120 a year.

Of course, the costs go up the more you run and the more expensive shoes you get. For a 40 miles/week runner, the $400 above goes up to $800 which, in combination with the shirts/shorts, works out to $200 a year. If you're a serious marathoner logging 80 miles/week, you probably go through 10 pairs of shoes in a single year. That means anywhere from $300 to $800 or more on shoes alone in a single year.

So, all this was just considering the three "essentials". Now, let's throw in more stuff that runners typically need or use:
- watch - anywhere from $15 to $300 (for the GPS ones)
- hat - $10-$20
- sunglasses - $10-$200
- gels - at about a buck each, it depends on how much you run and need
- mp3 player - $10-$100?
- sunblock - $5-10 a bottle
- ointments for all those aches and pains - $5 a tube
- race entry fees - $10 to $100
- extra food to meet all that extra nutritional demands
- extra showers means extra costs on your water and heating bill
- rain, winter, or snow gear if you live in those kind of places. Those things are particularly expensive.

Now it's not looking that cheap, is it? But, is it worth it? I say, totally. Think of all the extra health benefits. Better health means less time/money spent on medical appointments and costs. Many a time, a runner will just run down the neighborhood street to run an errand (dropping off a DVD rental, dropping off some mail, etc.), thereby saving money/fuel that would otherwise be spent on driving. More time outdoors mean more vitamin D. Runner's high means you increase the total happiness quotient on the planet. I could go on and on but I'm sure there are many such benefits all of which add to the fact that I've never heard anyone say "don't be a runner, it's too expensive."

How much do you spend on running?


Sunday, September 05, 2010

Does it take longer to warm up as you get older?

Based on my own experience, I say yes. Back in my 20s, I could get out of bed and go for a run at a sub-7:00 minute pace right away and I'd alright. Now that I'm in my 30s, it seems not so easy to crank out a sub-7:00 right out the door. My latest experience was on an 8-mile run. I started slow as usual (8:30-9:00 pace), gradually increased the pace, and then tried to run the second mile at a 7:00 minute pace. To my surprise and utter disappointment, I was panting at the end of that mile. It was very slightly uphill but not so much that I should be panting like a locomotive engine. Anyway, I continued thereafter at about an 8 minute pace or so. Just over half an hour into the run, I had recovered enough to run mile 5 in 6:28 and mile 6 in 6:22 and at the end of that, I could still have run another sub-6:30 mile. What a difference some additional minutes make. A complete turnaround. I'm thinking that by half an hour or so, my system (legs, muscles, etc.) had warmed up sufficiently to facilitate a better performance. Anyone else have a similar experience?