February 28, 2010
Just got word from Peter Horan in New Zealand. Bernie Portenski has smashed another W60 World Record for the 10,000 meters this morning (Sunday 28 Feb). Last week she broke the W60 5000 meters World Record in a time of 18.51 at Newtown Park, Wellington Masters two day meeting. Today at the same venue she smashed the 10,000 meters W60 by 16 seconds in a time of 39min and 5 seconds in windy conditions.
The previous 10,000 meter World Record was held by Theresa Baird from Australia in 39:21 s in 2001.
Bernie is now aiming to break World Records in the Christchurch Half Marathon in June, then crossing to Australia aiming to break the World Record in the Gold Coast Marathon in July.
Thanks Peter for the news.
Way to go Bernie, fantastic running!
February 26, 2010
I’ve just read a couple of good articles on mental training. March’s Runners World features US distance runner Kara Goucher’s battle with confidence. Many of us can relate to Kara’s struggles, as we’ve doubted ourselves at the start line, during a race or after a poor result. I love her honesty.
No doubts for some athletes at the Winter Olympics, they ooze self-confidence. Even come across as arrogant. The Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko comes to mind. In his post performance interview Plushenko talked as if he’d won, knowing he’d just lost the gold to the American Evan Lysacek.
US snow boarder Shaun White believes he’s the best in the world. After defending his Olympic title who could argue? Hey, snowboarders have to be fearless it’s a daredevil sport. But when you’ve got moves in your program that no one else can do, your self-confidence must be sky high.
Over at The Science of Sport, Ross Tucker discusses what it takes to win. Is it 10% physical, 90% mental, the other way round or 50/50? It’s an interesting debate.
After spending way too much time watching the Winter Olympics I’ve grown tired of some of the commentary. I agree with Ross when he says, “To suggest that one athlete won because “they wanted it more” is actually disrespectful to the other athletes”. These sort of remarks tick me off. I’m also not a fan of the term “choker”. It gets too much airplay.
So what can we do to improve our mental game? Here are some suggestions:
- Focus on your strengths and trust your training. Remember these on race day.
- Use affirmations – they work. Practice in training and use on race day.
- Enjoy competition, look forward to lining up against the best as it helps you perform at your best.
- Revel in your body’s strength and movement. Feel your running!
February 24, 2010
The New England Track and Field Championships was a popular meet for girls and women of all ages — including 13-year-old Colleen Sands (unattached), who ran the 5000 meter in 19:02 and Liberty Athletic Club President Mary Harada, 74, who ran the mile in 7:47.
High school, college, and masters teams were there, proving again that running is a lifetime sport. Here are some of the other outstanding performances:
Dacia Taylor-Samuels (age 20) ran the 200 in 25.34, Shereefa Lloyd of Jamaica ran the 400 in 54.24, Delilah Dicrescenzo, 27, ran the 3000 meter in 9:09 and masters runner Mimi Fallon, 44, ran the 3K in 10:33.94.
In addition to the Liberty Athletic Club, The Greater Boston Track Club, the Mass Velocity Track Club, and the Boston Athletic Association had numerous members represented.
As Mass Velocity Track Club runner Paula Fortuna said, it is clear that more and more masters runners are discovering track. “I am thrilled to see increasing numbers of masters women participating in track and field,” she said. “I think masters track has been a bit unknown about in the past with more focus on road racing.” The more to the track the better!
Click here for the full results.
February 17, 2010
It’s no surprise. Everyone seems inspired by the Olympics — at least by one performance. Every one of the graduate students in my competitive performance and goal setting class at Boston College — a mix of current and former professional athletes and executives ages 23 to 58 — say they’ve been moved to reflect on their own dreams, regardless of whether they’re professional, athletic, or personal. Different Olympic stories inspire different people.
The students discussed the messages they’ve taken away. They’re not new, but they are powerful: stress the small steps to a large goal; be patient with routine (remember the maxim of “boring wears well”); no achievement comes without struggle; stick with your own goals — don’t get swayed by those around you; be prepared to be reminded, again, that the journey and not the arrival is always the best part of striving.
Maybe the Olympics have encouraged you to reach for your highest goals?
February 12, 2010
My life has been a bit hectic lately.
I was approached by one of the young athletes, Alyssa Conley, who I coached a couple of years ago. It’s been a challenge as she was injured and unfit when I started with her a month ago. But she is such a mature athlete and so easy to coach. Alyssa is such a beautiful young runner with loads of potential in the sprints and maybe eventually the 400. Her running style reminds me a lot of Marion Jones.
Alyssa is one of the top sprinters in South Africa and has already achieved great heights as a junior and I believe is capbable of even better performances as a senior. Her best times are 11.85 and 23.83 and she finished in the finals of the world junior champs in 2008. Alyssa is turning 19 in April and has one more chance to qualify for the world juniors which will be held in Moncton, Canada from 20 – 25 June.
Even though I know her well enough, we have to guard against too much too soon at the risk of her getting injured again. Once again, my feelings on too much training on the tartan, especially young athletes, has convinced me that it is a minefield for injuries.
After 3 weeks of training on a grass track at 60 – 75% effort and doing a free-standing weight training programme 3 x a week, we’ve produced some positive results. We can only but hope that she will get to a fitness level by 12/13 March when our junior provincial championships take place. If Alyssa gets into the team to compete at the nationals on 8-10 April, she will have to run the qualifying times of 11.75 and 24.0 for the world junior champs, the 200m being her strongest event.
My running…well my youngest son is getting married this Saturday, so we have family up from Cape Town and of course all the socializing is not doing my training very good! I hope to compete again next Saturday, 20 Feb in the 100 and 200, but I have my serious doubts about setting up any times just yet.
February 11, 2010
Got my March Running Times this week. It’s always a good read with it’s sound running advice, great interviews and news. Pitched at the dedicated and knowledgeable runner you won’t find “15 ways to slim down” or “5 super foods to speed up your training”. Hey, I read these tips in other places but when I want some serious reading, Runners Times is my “go to mag”.
The fabulous and fast Colleen De Reuck (W45), female masters runner of the year, graces the March cover. Wouldn’t we all love to have Colleen’s hard muscled body and fast times? Colleen probably doesn’t see herself as a master as she’s too busy mixing it up with the sub 40 crowd.
This issue lists the “2009 Masters of the Year” and the “All-Time Best Age Graded Performances” from the 5k to the marathon. Sabra Harvey tops the W60 women and has 2 of the best age-graded 5k times. Marie-Louise Michelsohn has 3 of the best age-graded times. Click here for the top-15 places of the all time age graded performances.
Add to this master blogger Pete Magill’s article on the “Culture of Top Masters Running”, Mike Tymn’s five interviews with masters greats and a feature on Ed Whitlock, who ran a sub 3 hour marathon at 73. Incredible! It’s a masters bonanza! Get your hands on a copy.
Colleen De Reuck
February 9, 2010
Remember the importance of specificity of training? Incorporate “running arms” into your workouts. Strong arms help running speed.
So — stand in front of a mirror with feet shoulder width apart.
1) Your front arm angle should be between 60-90 degrees at the elbow, your back arm should be between 90-120 degrees, also at the elbow. Initiate arm swing at and through the shoulders.
2) Elbows should be locked in place, with elbow angle changing only slightly. Range of motion with the arms should be hip to cheek. The hand clears the hip in the back and comes up to about cheek height in front.
3) Drive the elbows down and back. Focus on driving the arms back as they are recovered elastically by the stretch of muscles in the shoulder. So, don’t drive your arms up and forward — the stretch reflex will bring them forward anyway.
4) Don’t cross the midline of your body. (Otherwise you may rotate your hips, burning excess energy, causing fatigue.)
RUNNING ARM EXERCISES WITHOUT WEIGHTS: THREE DIFFERENT INTENSITIES — 2 – 3 times a week
Stand in front of a mirror with the feet shoulder width apart. Bring your weight forward onto the balls of the feet so your heels are slightly off the ground, but not so far forward that your toes curl to maintain balance.
Start with one arm forward, 90 degrees at the elbow and one arm back, also 90 degrees at the elbow. Perform this drill at three different intensities.
1) Arm action at 50% intensity –
2 sets of 30 seconds
, 15 second rest between sets
2) Arm action at 80% intensity
– 2 sets of 20 seconds
, 20 seconds rest between sets
3) Arm action at 100% intensity –
4-5 sets of 10 seconds
, 25-30 seconds rest between sets
You deserve a thumbs-up now.
February 8, 2010
Joanna Harper spent the past weekend at the USATF half marathon championships in Melbourne, Florida. Here’s her take on meeting some old and new friends and racing…
One of the things that I always love about these master’s races is the chance to spend time with other women from around the country. This time I got to race and socialize with two from Nebraska.
I had met Linda Barnhart twice before at Club Cross Country. She was friendly and warm on each occasion. I saw that she was entered and Saturday morning I found out we were both staying at the race hotel. So we made plans for lunch.
Over lunch I got to meet her teammates including Stacie Shaw. Both Stacie and Linda have similar backgrounds. They were both track stars when young but put their athletic ambitions on hold to raise families. Now that their kids are older, they have both returned to the sport they love.
They trained hard through the Nebraska winter for this race. Linda told me stories of doing mile repeats outside in 20 degree weather and running 65-70 miles per week on roads often covered with snow. They were both under strict orders from their coach not to go out too hard. In fact they had to promise to follow him for 10 miles before they could start racing.
I usually pace myself pretty well and this race was no exception. They had 100 meters or so on me at the mile, but I reeled them in by 6. I went right past them and thought that I had put them away. But around 10 miles a spectator yelled out go Nebraska just after I passed. I knew then that at least one of them was gaining on me.
By 11 miles Stacie had pulled even with me. I tried to go with her but I faded over the last hill on the course and she beat me by about 30 seconds. Linda suffered through some pretty bad cramps in the last miles and finished a couple of minutes behind me. We had the chance to rehash our races over lunch. While I love to race, I think it’s great to be friends with your competitors win or lose.
The other woman I’d like to tell you about is Vicky Crisp. I lived in Nashville in the late eighties and Vicky was one of the best-known runners in town at that time. My favorite story about her is that she ran a 22 minute 5K just 10 days before giving birth. All of the local women were amazed that someone who was nine months pregnant could do such a thing.
Well Vicky is still kicking butt twenty years later including mine. I hadn’t seen her since I left Nashville and I finally caught up with her at the awards ceremony. We talked about the runners that we both knew and she promised to pass on my best to everyone back in Nashville.
The morning after the race, several of us were up to see the last night time (4 AM) shuttle launch. Even from 30 miles away it was an awe inspiring sight. For me it put the cap on another fine weekend of master’s racing.
By Joanna Harper
Here are some results from Sunday’s race:
Top 3 Masters Women
1. Lori Kingsley (W43) 1:20:32
2. Marybeth Reader (W41) 1:21:54
3. Terri Rejimbal (W41) 1:23:46
The amazing Kathryn Martin won W55 in 1:27:49 and won the overall (men & women) best age-graded performance with her 94.23%.
Stacy Shaw 5th in W40 in 1:33:01.
Ceal Muldoon Walker won W45 in 1:27:44.
Linda Barnhart 3rd in W45 in 1:35:07.
Joanna Harper won W50 in 1:33:29.
Vicky Crisp 2nd in W55 in 1:31:20.
Nancy Rollins won W60 in 1:36:37.
Margie Stoll won W65 in 2:00:32.
Barbara Miller won W70 in 1:48:57.
Full results are at the USATF website .
February 2, 2010
Many people say their best races have been due to a positive mental outlook. Try two approaches and see which works better for you:
1 – Dissociation, or focusing thoughts away from fatigue and effort. Techniques to practice dissociation are 1) playing music 2) counting – count the number of mail boxes, or green cars your pass, for example 3) picking a category like countries or names and talk through the alphabet and 4) imagining what you might do if you won the lottery. Avoid thoughts that can create tension.
2 – Association involves focusing on bodily sensations and monitoring any internal changes – usually internal – that occur. Breathing rate and muscular sensations provide physiological cues that allow you to pace yourself while avoiding a focus on pain or intensity. You can 1) focus on controlled, relatively deep rhythmic breathing – and picture tension leaving your body every time you breathe out 2) think of relaxing, starting with your head and working down your body, focusing on each muscle group or 3) try “self-talk” with positive thoughts (think “I am strong” in the third quarter of a race). Many athletes say they’ve planned positive phrases to think about before their races.
Recent research has shown the following:
1. In general, association seems linked to faster running times.
2. Dissociation can reduce the sense of effort and awareness of physical sensations such as pain and fatigue – usually up to moderate-to-high intensity.
3. Athletes of all levels appear to prefer association in competition and dissociation when training.
4. Elite athletes tend to use both strategies during training and races, and are able to switch between the two, as required.
February 1, 2010
When Larry and I were back in Sydney last October for the World Masters Games we caught up with my Aussie mate Marie Kay. I hadn’t seen Marie since the 2005 WMA outdoors in Spain. We’d stayed in touch by email and I’d followed Marie’s success as she amassed more world golds and records. As Larry likes to say, “Marie’s got more titles than the British Royal family and almost as many records as Amazon.com”.
Marie’s not only a track and field superstar, she’s a mum, a grandma, a personal trainer and track coach. I’ve been wanting to do a story on Marie for a long time. After chatting at the track, at another mate’s BBQ and many emails later it’s come together. Here’s WRT’s interview with Marie.
Marie’s just turned 50, hitting her new age group in time for the 2011 World Masters Indoor Champs this March in Canada. She’ll be rooming again with her friend, USA sprinter queen, Lisa Daley and traveling with her Aussie best friend, coach and sprinter, Noreen Parrish.
It’s only 24 sleeps till Marie and Noreen leave for Kamloops. Look at worlds!
Marie Kay & Lisa Daley
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