Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Dunkin' Donuts

It feels great to be back into my running and preparing for Berlin. Having said that, I’m feeling a little bit heavy, which seems to be the pattern for me after a race. I suppose it’s not surprising really: you do very little training in the week before the race but you’re carbing like crazy. Then after the race, you do nothing for another week (and, in my case, I can’t resist eating a few of the things that I’ve denied myself during my training). My weight will drop again as I get closer to the race. I’ve even discussed with Laith some 3 mile runs first thing in the morning, in addition to my main training schedule. I don't want to eat less, so running slightly more is a perfect solution. I also prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, before my brain figures out what’s going on. The 3 mile runs would be slow and perfect for burning fat. The low intensity gives your body time to break down fat reserves into the glycogen fuel that it requires. During higher intensity runs, your body can’t wait to break down fat, and goes straight for the glycogen that’s stored in your muscles. That’s why slow, low intensity runs are such an important part of marathon preparation: they get your body used to turning fat into glycogen. Given that your body only stores about 15 miles’ worth of glycogen, being able to use fat reserves is really important.

Final warm-up in San Francisco - looking like an extra from Wilson, Keppel and Betty (,_keppel_and_betty)

A few blog readers asked me about the title for last week's blog, "Ich bin ein Berliner". It's actually a quote from U.S. President John F. Kennedy. On 26 June 1963, JFK delivered a speech in West Berlin, in which he underlined the support of the United States for West Germany, 22 months after the Soviet-supported East Germany erected the Berlin Wall as a barrier to prevent movement between East and West. In a show of solidarity, JFK wanted to say "I am a citizen of Berlin", the correct German for which is "Ich bin Berliner". Instead, he said "Ich bin ein Berliner". Unluckily enough, "ein Berliner" is the name of a popular German snack, and to the crowd's bemusement, the President had just announced that he was a doughnut. Given the relatively undeveloped state of German comedy, that still has them rolling in the aisles 46 years later.

Running into Golden Gate Park

At least Kennedy had the excuse that he was speaking a foreign language. In 2004, my preparation for the New York Marathon was often delayed by protracted meetings with one particular client. He was a great guy, and a fellow long distance runner, but he wanted our constant attention. The long meetings were at least brightened by the client's unintentional use of mixed metaphors and malapropisms, some of which were absolute crackers. "We'll burn that bridge when we come to it" was a particular favourite of mine, as was "Don’t count your chickens before they cross the road". He also managed some complicated combinations, like "We need to take the bull by the balls before somebody pulls the rug out from under our noses" and "That's like a red rag to a bull in a china shop".

Just before I left for New York, the client called to wish me good luck and advised "Just remember, marathon running is 90% mental. The other half is physical". Even with the unorthodox delivery, you could understand what he was trying to say, which is more than you can say for some modern jargon, which doesn’t really mean anything. For example, as I left the office for last Wednesday’s 6 mile run, a colleague asked my advice on a tender for a new piece of work: "How will we stand out from the crowd and get above the noise? What do we know about their buying triggers and who pulls the gun?". Sorry, didn’t catch a word of that. The same chap wanted to gauge opinion on a particular point and suggested that we “run it up the flagpole and see who salutes”. Answers on a postcard, please.

Barcelona, 1 March 2009
London, 26 April 2009
San Francisco, 26 July 2009
Berlin, 20 September 2009
New York, 1 November 2009

This week’s training schedule:

Monday, 10 August 2009 6 miles easy
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 Speed work
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 6 miles steady
Thursday, 13 August 2009 8 miles steady
Friday, 14 August 2009 Speed work
Saturday, 15 August 2009 Rest
Sunday, 16 August 2009 14 miles

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004