That One Nagging Thing

So many runners and triathletes don’t make time or forget to stretch. It so simple but the focus is on the training. I started to put it in my athletes training schedule. Then there is the question I get from athletes and friends: how do I stretch the muscle that is hurting? I always shake my head and chuckle a little. You might think the muscle hurting is tight but it may not be. All muscles are connected. If the muscle is just tight then stretch that muscle and all other muscles around it. If it continues hurting after stretching then you need to see a doctor and physical therapist. Also something can be out of alignment especially from running on the road. Many roads in New England are cambered (slanted) to allow the rain to run into gutters/drains. This puts a lot onto the left side of the lower body. Then try to run on rail trails or trails. Check out my videos on stretching and foam rolling at: Be safe and healthy.

We’re Back

On Sunday, Cinco de Miles 5K was the first race I ran in person since 1/1/2020. The weather was nice but seeing all my running friends was the best. Millennium Running put on great safe events (road races and triathlons). Many runners and volunteers at the race were fully vaccinated and runners wore the masks before and after their run. Everybody, that is 1800 runners, followed the rules. It was time trial start, with 2 runners going off every 10 seconds. Many races including triathlons, marathons will be doing this. Some runners like time trial and some like the mass starts but you have to look at the big picture. And the big picture is we are getting close to being back to normal. Be safe and healthy! @pamhouck @millenniumrunning #millenniumrunning

Patient With Process

Completed Run Maine (495 mile) Virtual Challenge

Saturday’s long run help me complete Run Maine (495 miles) Virtual Challenge, which I started 9/1/2020. Today’s run I completed Run Rhode Island (140 miles) Virtual Challenge. Today’s news was the best to hear that road races and endurance events will be permitted to start May 10th in Massachusetts. I have 2 more states (CT and VT) which I will finish in May and that will be the end of virtual racing for me. This Sunday, I will be racing a 5K in New Hampshire in person. And I am excited because it is 15 months since the last race. All my friends and clients (triathletes and runners) are doing happy dance as more states allow races to happen. But we all have to do our part by getting vaccinated to allow more businesses to open and we get back to normal. Stay healthy and safe!

How Did You Do It

Recently for Zone 1-2 post I got a comment: “I would like to know how you and her managed this. My runs are almost always in zones 3,4 and 5 even allowing for heat and other factors”. As a coach, I am ask this question many times. First is to understand how your heart rate zones 1-5 are created. Did you do FTP test on the bike or Lactate Threshold field test on treadmill or use the new Kavoren formula or max heart rate formula? This is critical in determine how your heart rate zones are created. The most accurate way are the FTP test and Lactate Threshold field test on treadmill. The least accurate is max heart rate which is 220 – your age very generic. Many sport watches do that and some do the Kavoren formula adding your resting hear rate. Sarah and I did the FTP test on the bike then add 10 for each zone for the run. I tried the new Kavoren formula for Sarah but she was always higher. Where the FTP test is based on her current physiology and more accurate for her. Now you need to understand how your perceived exertion relates for each heart rate zone is critical too. I created a chart for my athletes using Borg Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), and feeling through breathing. Example of Zone 1 is hardly noticeable of the breathing. Example of Zone 2 is slightly noticeable of the breathing. When you run in the heat and/or up a hill your breathing will be harder and heart rate will be higher. Also, your running paces will be different for each zone. Sometimes just walking a bit or walk a hill on easy day will lower your heart rate. I hope this answered the question. If you have any question please reply to the blog. As a coach, I want to make you better athletes. Be safe and healthy!

Pool Lane Challenge

A week after my first COVID vaccination shot, I joined local gym to swim. First shock, I haven’t paid for gym membership for long time because I train and taught classes at that gym. The second part, you have to call to reserve a lane. I’m use to just going when ever to swim. Now because of COVID, you cannot share a lane which is why you have to call to reserve a lane. As more people get vaccinated, more are going back to the gym to swim. Living in New England to cold to swim in lake now. Swam in March 2 times and 2 times in April so far. Swimming is aquatic which you need to swim at least 2-3 times a week to make any gains. To get me in the habitat, I schedule in my Google calendar to beep me on my iPhone to call the gym to reserve pool lane for the next day. I miss calling Sunday but did call call Monday morning which there was 1 lane open a 12 pm. Yup the rest of the day all the pool lanes were reserved. If you snooze you loose! If you are a swimmer or triathlete use your Google calendar to remind you to schedule your swim time lane. Be safe and healthy!

Zone 1-2

Back in January, I did a post “Battle of Heart Rate Training”. I talk a little about my client/athlete Sarah how all her workouts would have high heart rate Zones 3-4-5. 3 weeks ago, she ran 5.5 miles at the usual pace. But what she noticed, her average heart rate dropped 15 beats and the run felt easier. Since January, the majority of her training has been in heart rate Zones 1-2. Zones 1 (easy) and 2 (endurance) which are critical for endurance training. As she changes her focus to Boston Marathon, she will find the training easier as the distance gets longer. Another training benefit of Zone 1 – 2, your resting heart drops because you are getting stronger. Be safe and healthy!


Beware of Wahoo

I have a Wahoo Kickr Snap smart trainer which it is sync to Zwift for my bike rides during the bad weather. For the northeast that is about 5 months of the year. The rides on the trainer feel like you are riding outside. But past couple of weeks, the rides were not fun and going nowhere. I would be pedaling then all sudden Zwift would stop me then start picking me up a couple minutes latter. First I thought it was my WiFi but that was fine. So I went on the Wahoo app and my account was deleted. I went online to create my account again. Then went back on the app to check Bluetooth connection which found my Wahoo Kickr Snap and updated the firmware. This morning before I rode, I did the Wahoo calibration of the Kickr Snap. So next time, you are crazily spinning and going nowhere on Zwift then check your trainer app/firmware is up to date. Be safe and healthy.

I Got This

The Start of Sarah’s Boston Marathon Training

Last Tuesday was the online registration for Boston Marathon virtual race. That is 70,000 runners around the world signing up. Some wanted to do this marathon all their lives but knew it was impossible to qualify. Sarah knew that was her and it was her chance to get the unicorn medal. She knows the next 6 months will get real and tough but she is mentally ready. For many this will be their first and last marathon. Then some register because other friends were doing it. I know one did sign up then next day question why?! She has come to a resolution that she will be doing it and started get herself ready. Then there is Kim, she has done the race but was injured. This time she wants to do it but train safely and be injury free. Many athletes have same goals as Kim. This is where I come into the picture as their coach. What both Kim and Sarah do one positive thing, they cross train with bike and strength. Marathon can be one of the toughest sports on your body and mind. My goal is to create a safe program which focuses on their current physiology and their goals. I have another athlete doing Mt Washington Road race (running up 6288 feet, only 1 hill!). The funny part, I have run up Mt Washington race 7 times and completed 3 Boston Marathons, which gives me a little experience. But the thrilling part for me is to watch all my athletes reach the finish line with tears and smiles.

Treadmill VS Road

Infamous Powwow Hill, just keeps going up!

I have couple athletes like treadmill but most prefer the road/trails to run. Me, I am a road/trail runner. To me, treadmill environment is too control. Most runners that run treadmill do it at 0-1% incline that doesn’t relate to the real road conditions. Many fine it difficult to adjust to running outside especially during a race. Treadmill running can be good during bad weather in the winter but don’t make it a habit. My home town has great training for runners and triathletes. We have plenty of hill from rolling to steep. Sometimes during a race, I will hear a runner or triathlete complain it is too hilly. When ask where they trained, answer usually track, flat area or treadmill. Now we are in the good weather, go outside and enjoy what mother nature gave us. And say I am going to conquer this hill! Be healthy and safe!

The 2nd Shot

Thankful To Be Running!

I think the photo says it all! What a year it has been for everyone. Like you, I am ready to get back to normal which for me is doing races live. Virtual races were good to motivate us to keep running and biking but a live race is totally different. I feel lucky that I didn’t get COVID. I know some athletes that had mild symptoms are still feeling them, the long haulers. Today’s run felt good because a big weight has been taken off my body with the 2nd Moderna vaccine shot on Friday. Looking forward doing a live race but that is also dependent on how many do get the vaccine for many races to happen. If you love sports, your friends and family then get the vaccine. I have many friends know this and want/getting the vaccine. Be safe and healthy!

%d bloggers like this: