Banking Time in a Marathon

I’d like to deposit 25 seconds please…

Banking time in a marathon.  It seems like a relatively sound idea.  “I’ll just run the first half a little faster to account for the time I might lose later”.

We’ve all thought about it.  Tried it.  And gently wept afterwards when it didn’t work.

The idea of “banking time” really is appealing for the typical “Type A” personality runner.  It’s like doing your homework on a Friday night so you can enjoy the weekend.  We think, “If I can just put the work in at the beginning… I can coast later on and still meet my goal”.  Seems logical, but it’s the wrong approach!

Even splits are the answer!

Ask anyone!  Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Experienced marathoners will undoubtedly tell you that even splits are the best way to run a marathon.  That’s the approach the pros over at Marathon Pacing take.  And pretty much everyone I’ve talked to has told me their fastest marathon times were achieved by running even splits.

Further more, experts say that (on average) for every one minute you “bank”, you will lose two minutes later on.  For example, if you bank 10 minutes in the first half, you will lose 20 minutes in the second!  Yikes!

Dont bank time, bank energy!

This is a piece of advice I got from an experienced marathoner that stuck with me.  “Don’t focus on banking time.  Instead, focus on banking energy.”

My next marathon (Run for the Red Marathon) is a net downhill course with most of the downhill in the first half of the race.  I was discussing potential race plans, and threw out the idea of “banking” some time on the downhill section.  The idea was quickly shot down.

Even splits were strongly recommended.  The reasoning is that running my goal pace on the downhills would take less energy than on a flat surface.  Therefore, I would hit the half way point with more energy than I normally would.  This means I should have plenty left to run the second half right on pace.  Even better, I might have extra energy and be able to pick up the pace in the later miles!

What about negative splits?

If you are one of those rare gifted athletes that can run each mile faster than the last for an entire marathon, more power to you!  Maybe I should be reading your blog!  For the rest of us, even splits are your best bet.

Awesome! What should I do now!?

Go for a run, dummy!  :-)

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Garmin Forerunner 610 – Unboxing

Garmin Forerunner 610

Which do you want first?  The good news or the bad news?

Bad News:  My beloved Garmin Forerunner 405 has passed away.  Rest in peace little buddy.

Good News:  I upgraded to Garmin’s latest and greatest, the Forerunner 610:-)

The 405 was suffering from “charging issues”.  Basically, it would charge to 100% and then die 30 seconds into a run.  If this happens within a year of purchasing the watch, Garmin will actually replace it for free.  However, my watch is almost two years old, so they would have charged around $80 to repair it.  I’d rather put that money towards a shiny new toy!

I do have the Nike+ SportWatch GPS as a backup, and its a kick ass watch.  But I am totally addicted to Garmin Connect, so I broke down and bought the Forerunner 610.

I’ve been using the watch for about two weeks now and my experience so far has been awesome.  “What makes this watch so amazing?” you might ask.  Well, let me tell you.

Body Design

The 610 looks similar to the 405, but Garmin did a really nice job on the body design.  The watch is all black with blue accents and the back is all metal (see pictures below).

The metal back looks cool and gives the watch a very solid feel, but it is also functional.  The changing station is magnetic so it locks right up with the back of the watch.  Very cool!

Bottom line:  it’s an extremely good looking watch and fits perfectly on my wrist.

Touchscreen / No More Bezel

The one complaint I had about the 405 is the touch bezel.   It’s a cool concept and is great when it works, but when it gets wet (sweat, rain, etc…) it can be very temperamental.

Garmin did away with the touch bezel and went with a full blown touch screen.  This makes the watch much easier to navigate.  It also makes the watch much thinner than the 405.  Check out the comparison photos below.

The screen is very responsive and even works when I have gloves on!  Also, the back-light on the screen is nice and bright.  That will come in handy during those dark winter runs.

This one’s not that big of a deal but… on my Forerunner 205/305 you could display four data fields per screen.  On the 405 you were limited to only three fields, which kinda sucked.  But Garmin learned their lesson and designed the 610 to allow four data fields per screen.

Vibration Alerts

This is surprisingly my favorite feature on the new watch.  Instead of just beeping (like the 205/305/405) at every mile, the watch will actually vibrate.  It’s meant for people listening to music who can’t hear the beep.

I don’t run with music often so I didn’t think I’d even use this feature, but I definitely do.  I frequently miss the beep (and mile split) due to a traffic noise or simply just zoning out.  This ensures I don’t miss my mile splits!

Faster GPS Locking

With each new watch Garmin puts out the GPS locking has continually gotten better.  The 205 took for-e-ver to locate satelites.  So far, the 610 has been lightening fast (5-10 seconds) with locating GPS signals.


The Forerunner 610 is pretty awesome.  I loved my 405 and the Nike+ SportWatch is cool, but the 610 is quickly becoming my favorite.  If you’re in the market for a new watch, definitely check it out!

Posted in Gear, Running | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Ocean to Sound 50 Mile Relay

The Running Dummies!

The Running Dummies!

I recently had the opportunity to run with and sponsor a relay team. The Running Dummies were born… check out the shirts! :-)

The Ocean to Sound 50 Mile Relay is a popular local race and I jumped at the change to be a part of it.

The competition in this event can be quite tough. The first place team ran a 5:35 pace for 50 miles! However, there are a lot of teams that just have fun with it (wear costumes, decorate the support vehicles, etc…).

The two coolest teams (for me anyway) were the Wizard of Oz team (Dorothy, Witch, Tin Man, Lion, and so on…) and the Tetris Pieces team. Yes, an entire team running 50 miles dressed as Tetris Blocks (videos below).

We eventaully caught Dorothy during Leg 5, but the Tetris pieces beat us by almost an hour! :-(

Although we ran this race purely for fun… I am quite pleased with the Running Dummies coming in 56th place out of 125 teams and posting a total time of 7:09:36. The Online Results show that we also did reasonably well within certain individual legs also.

For those interested, you can view my Garmin Data for the infamously difficult Leg 7. Check out those elevations! I had a 256 foot climb within less than a mile! Ouch! :-)

There is not much else to say other than enjoy the pictures and videos below! And next year… Tetris Pieces… we’re coming for you!

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Runners

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
That’s me, in the red…

I’ve over-trained and been exhausted in the past, but it feels different this time around.  The problem seems to be less in my legs and more in my head.

Granted I did just PR at The Great Cow Harbor 10K two weeks ago and then ran a hilly 50 mile relay race last weekend, but I don’t feel like it’s my schedule that’s breaking me down.  Honestly, I believe the decreasing amount of daylight is the culprit.

I’m sure everyone has heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I’ll give you a quick rundown anyway.  SAD is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms at a certain time of the year, usually during winter.

Let’s be clear here… I’m not talking about “clinical depression”.  Although maybe it does get that bad for some.  I still get up in the morning (although my sleeping has been off), eat, go to work, run, blog, etc…  I just feel a noticeable difference in my energy levels and motivation.  The “giddy up” that I normally have is missing.

After spending some time on the Runner’s World forums, it turns out that this is a fairly common occurrence among runners.  Which makes sense.  I mean, We spend a lot of time outside  and are very in tune with our bodies.  If something changes (even slightly), we notice.

I guess this is just another low point in the peaks and valleys of being a runner.  I’m sure my body will adjust and I will enjoy going for runs in the cooler weather, but for right now… this sucks!

So let me ask you… does the lack of daylight and colder temperatures get you down?  Does it affect your workouts and race performances?  If so, what are some of the things you do to get through it?

Should I buy a SAD light therapy box (yes they exist)?  Try taking more Vitamin D?  Maybe some new shoes is just what the doctor ordered?

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The Great Cow Harbor 10K Run

Running Dummy with Olympic Bronze Medal Winner Deena Kastor!

Olympic Bronze Medal Winner Deena Kastor!

Being from Long Island, besides the ING New York City Marathon, there is no bigger local race than The Great Cow Harbor 10K.

This race has grown in popularity since its inception in 1977 and now draws over 5,500 runners (including elites from all over the country).

So what makes this race so special?

First and foremost is the course.  It is simply spectacular.  Runners get a scenic 6.2 mile tour of the quaint little village of Northport, NY.  The course is hilly and challenging, but the rich greenery and water views are worth the effort.

Second, the spectators are great.  Northport is a small town, but the people come out in droves.  They are loud, energetic, and supportive.  They also bring plenty of cow bells!  Get it?  “Cow” Harbor?  :-P   I especially liked the drunk guy in a banana suit (it was 9AM) that tried to pass me a beer at Mile Five!

The sheer number of runners is another great aspect of Cow Harbor.  Make no mistake, this is a “small town” race, but the field size gives it a “big city” marathon feel.  A staggered / wave start of 5,500+ runners adds to the excitement.

Lastly, the presence of elite runners adds to the mystique of the race.  Big names come from all around the country to race this prestigious course.  Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor are a few names that come to mind.

In fact, I was lucky enough to meet Deena Kastor afterwards.  She was extremely friendly and even gave me and my wife a quick Latin lesson!  “ASICS”, is an acronym of the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano”, which translates to “Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body”.   Thanks Deena!  :-)

Weather conditions on race day were absolutely perfect (mid 50′s with slight overcast) which led to some very fast times.  In fact, course records were set for both the men and women.  Mohamed Trafeh won with a 28:17.4 (4:34 pace), breaking the old course record of 28:22 set by Ryan Hall in 2006.  Janet Cherobon-Bawcom set a women’s course record with a 32:26.4 (5:14 pace).

I even managed to PR (personal record) on this challenging course with a 46:28.3 (7:29 pace)!  You can check out my Garmin Data if you are interested.

This was my first time running this awesome race, and I can easily see it becoming an annual tradition!  Enjoy the pictures below!

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