Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thumbs Up / Down

Now back in Hong Kong, I appreciated in full the "weather gap" between the 15C dry in Europe and the 27C/haze/90%rh here...

In the past 2 weeks I did not run at all, just eat, eat and eat...
It was the right time to let all my niggling injuries heal and get some down time from running to charge the batteries in view of the next season.
Said that, from the marathon I good some really good learnings, which I try to summarize here


1) Cracovia Marathon: is itself a very nice race, well organized and very much runner friendly.
With 3000 at the start, it is still something where you can focus on the pleasure of the race without too many cumbersome logistic problems (like waiting for 3 hours in freezing cold like in NY..).
The course was not actually pancake flat, but there were some slight inclines which are undetectable on the course profile, but not on a couple of tired legs...
Plenty of water points, with also energy drinks and food, etc... Even a post-race massage was available.
For me it was even easier thanks to the kindness of the organizer who granted me a Elite bib.
The course is quite spectacular with nice vierws of the old town, even if the section between 18 and 26K around the suburb of Nowa Huta  (dull socialist style industrial town) was rather disappointing (not many spectators and the marathon was taking only one lane of the large boulevards, so we shared our run with passing-by cars...)
Entry fee is a reasonable 30 Euro and for additional 12 Euro I could get a digital version of all the 59 pictures taken by the race photographs (!!). Considering also the modest cost for lodging and food and the range of low-cost flights from all over Europe, it is sure a good choice for a Spring marathon. Good race and good sightseeing for a long weekend.
I do not bother anybody with all the 59 shots, but here some of the most spectacular:

2) ASICS Tarther Blitz 2: I must really do an unconditional endorsement for these shoes...

  • Light but supportive (around 220 grams)
  • cushioned but let your feel the road
  • really wrap around the feet
  • good grip

I really felt totally sold-out on them... they are the "perfect shoes" for a marathon (at least for a pronator like myself).
The only draw-back is that at 950 HKD RRP (around 120 USD), they are not on the cheap side (at least for HK standard...). Since I won them at a race, I could not complain on this. But probably they are well worthy the extra money

3) Our club uniform: a real hit also in Poland... everybody was shouting "Bravo" and "Vai Italia" !!

4) My overall training plan: no doubts that it works.
Long hard workouts at or near race pace every 3-4 days + many easy runs...
I think I slacked a bit on the strides, hill sprints, etc and therefore lacked a bit of speed and neuromuscolar coordination.
for good inspiration, give a look at the training of Moses Mosop for the Boston Marathon. We are obviously an another planet in terms of speed and overall workload, but the structure of the training plan is clear. 


1) Traveling long-haul with small Kids: honestly I think it was it was a "2 minutes loss" factor.
- jet-lag: the kids were up and awake at 4am
- the baby with a cold, kicking me all night long (he was sleeping in our bed)
- walking and driving here and there for all the 3 days before the race...
So I took the start line probably really low on sleep and energies...
I got a lesson, an intercontinental trip is already a big stress, with the kids then became unsustainable. In short, next time...leave the kids at home

2) Injury Management: I was way too slow to react to the different injuries:
- hamstring: I waited too  long to go for a series of deep-tissue massages
- foot: dragged around for 4 weeks with a painful foot, popping pills and putting ice... it would have been better to head straight to the doctor and do the cortisone shot which was a solver in 2 days!
- tendon inflammation: also too slow to react... (well the time was not much anyway, but). It come out of nowhere, but I should have headed straight to the doctor. The shot on saturday afternoon did not have enough time to make effect and was too late.
So I really did poorly on treating my injuries...
The big lesson is that is always better to skip running immediately for 2-3 days at every small pain and deploy all the most powerful "weapons", rather than trying to cure with only RICE and easy runs...

3) Running a race with a Garmin (or any GPS): I did the experiment and it was really a total failure:
I had set-up the screen to disply the average total pace and the average pace of the current lap.
I was taking splits at each Km marker in order to avoid the usual GPS errors.
But still... my watch was maybe giving me an average lap pace of 3'40" and then I was maybe splitting in 3'45" or 3'50"... So I did not really know what to trust and how to adjust the pace.
Overall I think that the approach of using a HR monitor and checking the split at every Km is more reliable and let the runner make a better distribution of the effort...


Scott Brown said...

Thanks for that Roberto.

Learn a little myself ;)

Looking forward to following your continued progress.


Great photos, magnificent and race!

Sling Runner said...


Well done on completing the marathon. The course looks beautiful and picturisque.

I agree with your assessments about flying long distance with young kids and also on injury prevention.

That's why I like to do Aussie/Korean marathon since the flight time is < 8 hrs.

Hope you recover soon.