Happy 4th of July UVRC! Our regular editor Amanda Kievet is on vacation, so I (Geoff Dunbar) put together this newsletter for you. But never fear, Amanda was due for the “Letter from a Board Member” section, so you’ll hear from her below. As always, this newsletter wouldn’t exist without you. Send submissions to: email@example.com and check out our submission guidelines here.
Table of Contents
- Letter From a Board Member by Amanda Kievet
- Take Back the Hashtag by Rebecca Stanfield McCown
- Couch to 5K to CBHM by Mary Peters
- What is VO2 And How Can Understanding It Help My Training? by Tim Smith
- Parkrun Around the World by Bill Young
- Shaker Seven by Keriann Ketcham
- The Survey Says
- Ask the Coaches
by Amanda Kievet
The other night while helping out with the Couch to 5k program, a participant asked me, “does it ever get easier?” I thought for a second before replying, “I don’t think so, but I think that’s what’s good about it.”
Perhaps this is the thing that separates runners from non-runners: making the choice to fully embrace the uncomfortable. Most of the runners I know aren’t in it to get fit, to win prizes at races, or to impress their friends — at least not long term. Rather, it’s the whole life benefit of deciding to face the difficult head on and to come through it again and again that turns us into “runners”.
My running story proves a couple of points: 1) Being a runner doesn’t mean you have to fit a certain mold and 2) Not all runners today started out that way 3) Speed isn’t everything. I only ran when forced to in gym class until after graduating college when a friend encouraged me to try Couch to 5k (the app). It took me a full year to run my first 5k. Today (six years later) I regularly run ultramarathons and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Some miles totally suck, but at the end of a long run or tough workout, I wouldn’t have them any other way.
by Rebecca Stanfield McCown
Have you been on Instagram recently and wondered where all the epic photos of Upper Valley
running are hiding? Have you found yourself going down a never-ending rabbit whole of
Minecraft and Rugby posts when you thought you were searching for UVRC pictures?
It’s time for the UVRC to reclaim #UVRC and takes back the Instagram feed. My challenge to all
of you (if you are on Instagram) start taking pictures all your Upper Valley running adventures
and post on Insta with the hashtag #UVRC. Post a photo from you daily early morning run, group
coffee at Lucky’s after a Saturday Group run, high fiving your run buddy after crushing the TNT
workout, or lounging on your recovery day- It is all awesome and we want to see it!
Each month, the Club will pull a few photos from Instagram to feature in the newsletter. So get
out there and share your adventure, reclaim #UVRC, and show social media that running is more
fun than video games!
by Mary Peters
Chuck Morgan, Scott King, Lori Stevens all pictured participating in CBHM! All Couch to 5K graduates/veterans.
by Tim Smith
You have heard Kim, Dorcas and myself say, “Let me help you use your VO2max” to figure out what your pace for TNT should be”. Then, somehow we take the result of a recent race and with some sort of math-a-magic turn that into a pace for tonight’s workout. But that hardly answers the question of what is this thing called VO2max? Do I keep it in the refrigerator? Is it house trained?
VO2 max is the power rating of you running engine
VO2 literally mean “Volume of Oxygen-2”, Oxygen-2 being a molecule of oxygen that we breathe all the time. When an exercise physiologist measures an athlete’s VO2 in a lab, they put them on a treadmill with a mask which measures how much oxygen (O2) they inhale, and how much CO2 is exhaled. With those measurements one can figure out how much oxygen the body is using and so how much energy you are producing.
The usual way of reporting VO2 is with units of “milliliters per kilogram per minute”. The “milliliters” of oxygen is directly related to how much fuel (glycogen) you burned, and so it is a measurement of energy. “milliliters per minute”, is the rate at which you are using that energy, which means it is power. By adding the “per kilogram” we account for the fact that a person twice as massive takes about twice the power to move at the same speed.
All this means, though, is that this VO2 is power (like Watts or horsepower). So a 70 kg runner running at 6-7 miles per hour is about 600-700 watts (power) or about 1 horsepower (power), or about 30 mL of O2/min/kg (power).
VO2, time and distance
By now you have probably jumped ahead of me and figured out that “VO2max” is your maximum power. You may have also realized that you can not operate at your maximum for very long. That would be “red-lining” your running engine, and it will shut down – soon. But knowing something about your maximum power can also tell you a lot about your power (and therefore speed) under other conditions.
The person most strongly associated with using the VO2 information for training is Jack Daniels, an exercise physiologist and coach at SUNY Cortland (SUNY is my alma mater – but Cortland was a rival campus!), in the middle of New York State.
There are two observations which go into a VO2 calculation. The first is that the faster you go, the more power you use. Not so surprising! If fact if you took a number of runners, put them onto a treadmill and measured their VO2 as a function of their velocity you would confirm this — as shown in figure 1. It is not exactly a straight line, but it is pretty close.
The second observation (and this was Jack Daniels’ insight) is that you can only maintain a percentage of your maximum power for a limited amount of time. In fact he could take athletes, put them on treadmills, set the speed and see how long they could keep up that pace. The results are show in figure 2.
When I first saw figure 2 an alarm went off in my head; how can the percentage exceed 100%? In fact you can produce more power then indicated by the oxygen you breath, but only for a little while. If you sprint, most of the oxygen used was already in your body before the gun went off. Even if you run an 800 meter race, or a mile you will be drawing on that pre-existing oxygen.
So now (believe it or not), with just these two curves you can figure out all sorts of stuff. For example, imagine you are running a 20 minute race and your VO2max has been measured at 50 mL/kg/min. According to figure 2, you can run for 20 minutes at 95.3% of your VO2max, or at (50 * .953) = 47.65 mL/kg/min. Now you can go back to figure 1 and you find that VO2 of 47.65 means you can run with a speed of 251 meters per min. Or in 20 minutes you can run 5,020 meters. In other words, if you have a VO2max of 50 mL/kg/min you can run a 20 minute 5k, with a few seconds to spare.
No race organizers puts on a 20 minute race, but you can use these curves in many ways. Let’s say you just ran a 10k in 45 minutes. 10,000 meters in 45 minutes is a velocity of 222 meters per minute, which from figure 1 is 40.98 mL/kg/min of VO2. From figure 2 you will see that 45 minutes is 90.66% of your VO2max. Which means your VO2max is 45.20 mL/kg/min.
In fact these curves are a relationship between time, distance and max-power (VO2max). If I know two of those numbers, I can figure out the third.
There are combinations which are not so simple to work out, like going from VO2max to the time in a race of a fixed distance (like most races). But by guessing at times and using reiterative techniques (ie. a computer) you can always find an answer.
This is actually what the tool I have posted for TNT workouts does:
It combines your race time and distance, with these curves to calculate your VO2max.
Really VO2max – “effective”
The truth is that if you went to a sport physiology lab and they measured your VO2max you probably would not get the same number as from these curves or my calculator – and Jack Daniels recognizes this. He then points out that running efficiency is missing in the calculation. Some have better form and more effectively turn that VO2 power into forward motion. But, as Jack Daniels points out, it doesn’t really matter. Let’s say your efficiency is low, then you velocity will be low, and the calculated VO2 will be lower then a lab measured 2. But if you use that calculated number to figure out your projected times for a different race, or pace for a workout, you will get the right times and paces because efficiency on one part of the calculations cancels efficiency in the second part.
Jack Daniels suggest that perhaps we should use the term VO2max effective for what is calculated, but often the term is shortened.
Next time . . .
Next month I’ll write about how to use VO2max to figure out your training paces. As a teaser I will leave you with figure 3.
The top part of this figure is a histogram of my pace as measured every 10 seconds, over one week of training. In the bottom part I have converted every pace measurement for the week to an “effort”, or percent of VO2max. I have also marked the TNT part of the week. This is the week in which Dorcas had us running 400m at “repeat pace”. This graph comes from my website where I have written some code to import your Strava data and plot it in various ways. The site is experimental, but you are welcome to try it:
If you have questions, I am at:
See you on the track!
by Bill Young
Selby, North Yorkshire, England. 9 AM Saturday June 22, 2019.
Lorna Young beat her old course record on her home course in Selby England. Something like an 18 minute 5 K. An abandoned WW II North Yorkshire airport provided the bucolic out and back course. Cows watched us closely and fast trains flew by in the distance. Sarah and I were welcomed as guests from across the pond and “parkrun” first timers by the 200 plus participants. We turned in our free bar code registration and our results plus global age rated standing were reported hours later. Technology Is amazing.
Woodstock, Vermont, USA. 9 AM Saturday June 29, 2019
Runners from Australia, Canada and South Africa joined the Upper Valley locals to run 5K on the Road to the Pogue course one week later. This was week 5 of the only Parkrun in Vermont and the 35th in the USA. Organizers Dominic and Geraldine welcomed promotion through the UVRC. Parkruns will be held every Saturday of the year. Yes that means winter in New England. Check out the listing in the Valley News Endurance calendar, register and join this healthy global movement.
Parkrun Contacts and History
Runners and walkers of all abilities are welcome. Children run/walking with parents or in strollers joined the fun. Dogs on leashes seemed happy to be there. Sign up here:
This is royally BIG in the UK and growing in the USA.
Number of events: 142,918
Number of runners: 2,091,561
Number of runs: 29,200,323
Number of locations: 637
Number of clubs: 6,280
Number of PBs: 5,109,225
Average runs per event: 204.3
Average number of runs per runner: 14.0
Average run time: 00:28:40
Total hours run: 1,592Years 364Days 18Hrs 30Min 37Secs
Total distance run: 146,001,615km
by Keriann Ketcham
Here is a picture of many UVRC runners before the start of the Shaker 7 on 6/23.
THE SURVEY SAYS…ADDITIONAL CLUB ACTIVITIES
For our June survey we asked UVRC members for thoughts on additional club activities including another organized run and whether there are any other activities members would be interested in having UVRC sponsor. Here are the results!
If the Club supported one additional organized run per week, what type of run should it be and where and when should the group meet?
- Thursday evening at Omer and Bob’s for an easy run.
- Either just an easy run or a tempo run/hill workout during the summer.
- I liked the idea Rob Frost had for individuals to organize a weekly run from a starting point of their choosing in the UV. I would like it if we had something similar to the trail runner’s Wednesday runs where someone posts a different route each week on meetup. I’d prefer a weeknight (Wed/Thu) for about an hour. Rob Daniels
- Hanover Green, 3-5 mile run, Saturday mornings ending at Umpleby’s
- Speaking from a Coucher’s point of view. A third day of organized run may be helpful to get me the next level where I feel part of a team. Perhaps running some trails that have hills but not just up than down.
- Trail run! On trails around the area – or even just one trail system where one can run year-round.
- Thursday tempo at Occom Pond
- The group should sponsor a Friday Night Social in which a short run 3 to 6 miles is followed by light meal and drink in the White River Junction vicinity. The new restaurant Trail Break could be an excellent meeting place.
- Thursday, tempo-like run, or long intervals.
- I don’t make Sat morning runs because 1, it’s early, 2, I’m a slow runner and don’t want anyone to run slow to keep me company. So, how about an after work run for people of 10+ pace?
- I would probably go. Perhaps a weekday morning option would meet the needs of members who can’t always make it in the PM.
Are there any other activities you would like to see the Club sponsor?
- Perhaps an article in the valley news about growing the club to include more ‘slower’ runners. I would love to have people to run with!
- Beer mile? (or Ben & Jerry’s, donuts, egg nog,….)
- While there is a group that does trail runs, runners get a benefit out of hiking mountains not just running trails. While it might interfere with races it would be nice to do some hiking and fittings a hike in might be a challenge perhaps we could do an annual hike. Something memorable such as a full moon hike or Washington so we can appreciate the effort those who run up it perhaps more than we already do.
- Some trail race(s), and perhaps a spring kickoff social running and picnicking event.
- Training for fall marathons on the Sat. runs, 10k Turkey Trot-specific version of TNT during the fall, Trail runs on Sundays (or maybe from DH in Boston Lot at noon during the week)
- a Sunday long run option in Hanover
- YES! I was just talking about this yesterday. What if we scheduled a few outings? My first idea that comes to mind is either Hulbert Outdoor Center high ropes course or the high ropes course at Sunapee. I think it would be a great activity for the group and would bring together the C25K group with the non-C25Kers. Another idea would be either an escape room (Claremont) or SkyZone (Concord). I think these types of programs would be very fun non-running, but still active, and we could capitalize on a group-rate.
- I would love to see more running seminars sponsored by the Club on different topics such as hydration and fueling, flexibility and mobility, avoiding injuries, strength training for runners, developing a training program, optimal stride, etc.
Got a question for the coaches? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it on!
Just Another Runner:
The benefits of cross training and “breaking up the routine” are often heralded by The Experts. It seems to make sense that running the same distance at the same pace on the same route all the time will only get you so far.
To try to counter that, and to be more efficient, for quite some time I’ve introduced what I call “mini-sets” into my running. My running buddies humor me in this little fetish but I can tell they’re skeptical.
Here’s how it goes: after a couple or three miles, I run backwards (having a spotter helps), then I do right and left sashays (that’s what my ballet teacher calls them), then two types of butt kicks (one with knees pointed down and the second with knees pointed straight ahead), then high knees, and then some bounding. I top it off with exaggerated arm swings.
My question for The Coaches is twofold: one, does this really work? Is it worth it to annoy my friends and look like a major weirdo to passersby? And two, if it is in fact a worthwhile endeavor, could The Esteemed Coaches suggest other exercises one could incorporate into the run?
Haha! Apart from the joy it gives me to imagine you running backwards, I am pleased to say I am a huge fan of this sort of “physiologic confusion.” The body adapts when faced with new stimulus. Training is essentially forcing adaption via applied stimulus. The trick is twofold: recovering from your stimulus (not the point of this question) and applying stimulus that triggers adaptation that will help you DO whatever you are trying to do (very much the point of this question.)
I have all my runners do a workout called “specific strength.” It’s basically one workout devoted to these types of drills, designed to mimic and exaggerate run-specific motions. Everything you do sounds good to me. I have three suggestions:
1) Don’t do it every day. I have my athletes do this workout at most once a week, sometimes as rarely as once every three weeks. If you want to have this sort of stimulation more than once a week, divide your drills into two separate sessions. And take a week off from it once every 4-6 weeks.
2) Focus on form. Don’t just go through the motions. These drills are dynamic; keep them that way. Get the fullest possible range of motion out of each exercise without compromising form.
3) Add a couple new exercises! I have suggestions. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by bounding… is it similar to skipping? Uphill skipping maybe? Is it simply long strides with an emphasis on the “pop” and “float time?” Anyway, I recommend some skipping! Two types: emphasis on length of skip, and vertical height of skip. Can do them on an incline if you want. Then there’s the curtsy hop and the step stride. Both require a bit of form explanation, and the step stride requires a little timing practice. I have videos of both of these. Since I can’t really include videos in this column, anyone who is interested in learning how to do these exercises should feel free to email me and I can send you a video and description. They’re great exercises!
Thanks for such a fun question, and for your devotion to effective training, even at the cost of some raised eyebrows.
About this Newsletter
This newsletter is put out monthly by the Upper Valley Running Club, the premier (and only) running club in the Connecticut River Upper Valley Region. This month, the newsletter was edited by Geoff Dunbar. Any comments, questions, submissions, backward running techniques, etc, send to email@example.com.