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Shake out run?  Andrew Guckian | 7/27/2010 at 8:29 AM

Hello MHRRC,  was reading through the Runner's World forums, and came across an interesting repost of a Running Time's article from 2007, and as it's something I've often been curious about, thought I'd share and see how/if anyone applies it to their pre-race routine.

Shake it Out

Early Rising = Better Racing

If you find waking up at 7:45 a.m. for an 8 a.m. race a painful struggle, perhaps you should read no further. But if you want to improve your performance by following the lead of many elite runners, you may want to set your alarm not just a few minutes, but several hours before the scheduled start.

For years, many elites have been doing "shakeout runs," short, easy jogs performed well before race time in order to get the body’s systems up to speed before stepping to the line. "It takes several hours to get your body temperature up and increase the flexibility and function of your muscles," says Keith Hanson, who with his brother Kevin coaches the successful Hansons Brooks Distance Project. To accomplish that, the Hansons runners are out on the roads several hours before the scheduled start.

While they’re out doing their pre-dawn shakeout, they’ll doubtless bump into most of the other elites who are competing in the same race. Deena Kastor is among the dedicated early risers. "It’s not the most pleasant thing to do, but it’s definitely helpful," she says. She notes that it’s usually hard to sleep well the night before a big race anyway, so getting up isn’t really that much of a struggle. Kevin Hanson adds, "Two nights before is when you need a good night’s sleep, so a few hours less the night before isn’t that critical."

Waking well before the start also has the benefit of allowing plenty of time for whatever pre-race routine you’ve determined is beneficial. "Finding and performing a routine is a big factor in racing well," says Keith Hanson. "So being able to do that without feeling rushed is important." Your shakeout run routine doesn’t need to be complex, just consistent. Here are a few of the pre-dawn secrets the top runners on the circuit have found work for them:

Timing: Three hours before the race’s start seems to be the accepted optimal time for most elites. "We actually try to time it so we finish our shakeout three hours before," says Kevin Hanson. "For an 8 o’clock race, we’ll meet at quarter of five, then start running at 10 of." He adds that the Japanese religiously do their shakeouts a full five hours before the start.

Duration and Intensity: The good part is that your still-sleepy brain and body won’t have to struggle to perform anything strenuous. "It doesn’t have to be more than a very slow jog, interspersed with some stretching, and maybe a few easy strides at the end — just enough to get you up and going," says Kastor. The Hansons runners jog easily for just 10 minutes. "For a marathon, we’ll reduce that to maybe only five minutes," says Keith Hanson.

Fueling: Another major reason for getting up three hours before a race is to have enough time to eat and digest a pre-race meal. "The continental breakfasts that most hotels put out is perfect," says Kevin Hanson, describing the ideal race day menu. "A bagel and banana, maybe coffee or a sports drink is just what you want." Getting your digestive system working early can also help avoid those long pre-race portajohn lines. "I’ll do my run and have a PowerBar, and within an hour I’ll go to the bathroom," says marathoner Josh Cox. "You definitely want to get rid of yesterday’s carbo-loading meal before you leave the hotel."

Filling (and Killing) Time: Even with a leisurely breakfast and bathroom break, you’ll still have nearly two hours before the start of the race. One thing you definitely must not do is go back to bed and catch a quick nap. "That would defeat the whole purpose of doing the shakeout," says Kastor. Keith Hanson says their athletes basically chill out in their rooms until it’s time to leave for the start. "Read the paper, stretch a little, watch TV — basically just stay relaxed and try not to expend too much energy."

After that, it’s just a matter of figuring out the time it will take to get to the starting area, whether it’s a brief walk or longer car ride, how long it will take to check in, and when you’ll want to start your major pre-race warmup. Do the math, and allow yourself extra time for each of these so you won’t feel rushed and stressed. But if you decide to be like an elite athlete and do a shakeout run before your race, oversleeping is one less thing you’ll have to worry about. And, it can make the race itself that much better. Examine the benefits of shakeout runs, and sleep on it — just not too late. (end of article)


------- The idea makes a ton of sense to me.  10 minutes to wake the muscular systems up, while you're waking your mental system up, followed by food and normal pre-race activity.  Does anyone do this already?  Do you find it helps you out personally?  I think I will give this a go next time I have an early morning race.


Also, I would like to say "Hi!" to all my fellow MHRRC members.  I'm AJ Guckian, and I've met some of you through the meetings at the track, and some at the Twilight Track series.  I asked Deborah if she would mind if I posted to the "blog" and she's given me access!  I'll try and not bore anyone, but will post mostly on things going through my mind concerning running, and how I'm working on becoming an actual distance runner, after years of just "going through the motions".  

Perks' Posse DID IT!  Web Master | 10/13/2009 at 8:33 AM


We finished! We all did the 26.2 - and we are still smiling from the accomplishment.

It was a blast: the training, the changes on our bodies, the weekend in Albany, Coach's face along the route, the pain of the last 4-6 miles, the triumph at the finish, the ending at Kevin's Mom's house for spaghetti! Pictures are on the website in Race Results>>Race Photo albums, but here is a teaser:

.Perks' Posse at the Albany Finish

Awards go to:

RUN-TUFF: to Barbara, for running the last 17 miles with a terrible blister, skin pain in addition to muscle pain.

RUN-SMART: to Polly and Karen O for their negative splits

RUN-ZUCCHINI: to Karen T. for her award, handed to her by Margaret at the finish line (I never really got the story of why)

RUN-BELIEVE: to Deborah, who thought she could never run 26.2 miles but proved that good coaching, hard work, and a great Posse can make miracles happen.

Many thanks to everyone who encouraged us along this path, especially to Steve, Margaret and  Denise.

Perks' Posse: in search of a marathon finish  Web Master | 9/17/2009 at 8:53 AM

 Our group has grown since the start of these blogs. Last night, we all met for a social hour and lots of running talk.


.Perks Posse

We are (from left to right): Margaret, Karen O., Barbara, Denise, Deborah, Karen T. and the famous Polly. Right now, two of us are injured so they can't run - but the injured will be cheering us on.

Wish us luck on October 11 at the Mohawk Hudson Marathon.


The Marathon Day Mystery  Web Master | 9/15/2009 at 5:03 PM

The buzz on the Posse trail: how on earth, if our longest run is 20 miles, will we ever finish the actual 26.2 miles at a faster pace?

Here is the response from Coach Steve:

As far as getting through 26.2 miles - remember you are doing all these runs in the middle of serious training. You will have a nice couple of weeks of tapering down to get ready for the marathon. A lot of it is mind set. Going into the race you will have mentally set yourself to be out there for over 4 hours. Being mentally ready for that ahead of time makes a big difference. Of course the last miles are going to be tough. On the other hand you guys have done awesome training so if it's a decent day to run and you run smart races (which I know you all will) they may not be as tough as you think.

And here is the response from Wayne McDaniel:

Excitement of race day, being more rested, hydrated and carbo loaded then you would/should (theoretically) be in your training phase - that's what you hope will get you through..  

You never know though. That's the difference between good and bad marathons. Sorry to say there's NEVER a guarantee that things come together as you plan. That's what makes marathoning so different then shorter races.  Most of those things above are things you need to consciously be aware of in your days leading up to race day (and guessing what you think is right for you).

This may sound weird but I consciously ensure that I drink at LEAST a gallon of fluids the day before a marathon!  I sweat a lot.  If I'm not hydrated to the max it will affect me getting through that distance at the pace that I want.

There are other things that will happen on race day - some you CAN control and some  you CAN'T control. The weather being a biggy that  you can't control - but it may affect your race day decisions on things that you can control. In the excitement of the race you can make right or wrong decisions during the race itself.  Things like: did you pick the right pace? Did you take in enough water, gatorade, GU's (or whatever) along the way?  That puzzle is unique for everyone. To make it even more challenging, the pieces of the puzzle will be different for each individual each time they run one!  I don't mean to get you nervous -  it's all part of the complexities of the marathon.

The good news is you don't have to get them ALL right! I've run over 30 marathons and I don't think I've ever gotten them all perfect on any given race. What keeps you coming back is having the runs where you get most of them right and the result was good enough to motivate you to try again with a little different recipe the next time.

So there it is: be prepared but expect the unexpected. For now, 3-1/2 weeks before our marathon, we are all just trying to avoid injury. We have a training challenge at the Classic Half (run the last 10 miles at marathon pace) and then we are looking forward to the fabled taper. And, on the plus side, we are all really enjoying feeling strong and in shape and having so much energy. Stay tuned.


Running and Ribs  Web Master | 9/3/2009 at 8:03 AM

So, we were happily beginning our run in Millbrook, a short 10 miler with Kelsey, Sue, Karen, Polly, Barbara and me, feeling strong and doing our favorite chatting thing. One minute, I am upright and in an instant my face is in the dirt. Ouch! Bruised knees, scraped wrist, wind taken out of me. So, as is usually done, I get up and finish the 10 miles, joking that it is typically Kelsey or Polly who fall on our runs.

At about mile 7, wrist really hurts. Small pain in ribs. By Sunday night, wrist is really bad so it is off to the doctor for x-rays. No breaks, rest is recommended (and still, 2 weeks later, wrist is tender and hurts to use). Fast forward to Thursday night, after a week of packing kids for college, cleaning, unloading, long car trips: ribs hurt so much I can't get comfortable - even a deep breath hurts. Off to the doctor again, more x-rays, no breaks, more recommendations for rest, pain pills that put me to sleep but finally provide some relief. Marathon dreams shattered. Missed the great 20 mile run that everyone did great on and felt terrific at the end (cool weather was a help, but good training was the key).

Surprisingly, I find out that it is not uncommon for runners to fall and hurt their ribs. It has happened to some of our best: Pete, Steve, Irv. They no longer bind ribs (too many bad side effects), but Irv claims taking a deep, slow breath helps the pain.

I've started up with some easy 6 mile runs and may try the short (12 mile)  long run with the Posse on Sunday. But, I've missed 2 weeks of speed work. I'm hoping my marathon dreams can come alive again, but I am playing it day-by-day. And last night, I stubbed my toe on our coffee table. Do I run because I don't have to be too coordinated? Am I accident prone? And rib pain from running?