Time to Get Beyond My Slacker Ways

I went through a thorough vetting process by my AJC overlords before I was permitted to post here. It was made clear then that my voice would represent the average runner.

That made sense. My blogging counterpart, Lauren, is an elite runner and finished about 24,000 spots ahead of me in the 2009 AJC Peachtree Road Race.

But if I was an average runner in April when I publicly set a goal of crossing the finish line in less than an hour, I think I’m training with more of a purpose than average today.

Last year I had the 28,182nd best time at about 75 minutes. That puts me near the median, if not the average of the 55,000 runners.

Only a little more than 12,000 of the 55,000 runners finished the 2009 Peachtree in under an hour. So it seems like I’ve moved slightly above the average category if I can finish the Peachtree in less than 60 minutes. I won’t be within sniffing distance of elite, so I’m not sure what that makes me. Extra-average?

I’ve had ups and downs during recent training as I’ve tried to maintain at least a 10-minute mile pace and add distance at the same time. Two weeks ago I kept a steady pace over four miles and I felt I was where I needed to be – and ready to add another mile.

But during my most recent runs my legs felt like they were full of lead. Tuesday morning I logged a three-mile run under 30 minutes, but it seemed to take a lot more effort than the four milers the week before.

I mentioned this to a runner friend at work later that day and he asked me what kinds of stretches I was doing. Average runner guy habits die hard. My answer was I don’t do stretches. He said that could be part of my problem and he proceeded to describe a few stretches I should do and emphasized the importance of holding one for 30 seconds or so.


And he asked me if I was loading up on carbohydrates. I’ve usually made a point of having spaghetti the night before the race, but I always thought that was more ritual than legitimate physiological preparation. But my runner friend said I should eat pasta (with gusto, like the ladies in the photo) the night before a training run and my leg muscles will work as if they are propelling a powerful tiger.

I’m going to give the pasta and stretching a try. There isn’t much time left to increase my speed, so I hope this crackpot scheme works.

Are there other things I can try to deal with heavy leg syndrome? Discuss and be prepared to defend your answer.

4 comments Add your comment

Gen Neyland

June 10th, 2010
10:06 am

Carbo loading rule #1 : Beer does not count as carbo loading. After finishing, beer can be viewed as a fluid replenishing sports beverage. I’ve carbo loaded on beer the night before races and it has never worked to my advantage…Last year I came in at 25,494 overall in about 73 minutes. Ran with a daughter that was running her first 10K distance, ever. Made her stop at all water stations. It may have been my last real fun run in the PRR for a few years to come….My ambition this year is to shave a few minutes off last years time as I will be running at my own pace through the human forest. My under a hour times are but a memory, last done in a PRR, circa 2000. Dang, if I were a Wildebeest, I’d be dinner for the slowest Cheetah nowadays. Slog on…


June 10th, 2010
10:23 am

I’ve noticed that sprint workouts, running stairs and strenthening my lower body in general have really help me with my strength and endurance and especially my speed. Boot camp has been great for getting ready because my legs are limber and I have so much more endurance as I pound up those hills.


June 10th, 2010
10:55 am

Carb loading doesn’t work if you do it the night before. To use the energy from the pasta you’re eating tonight you’d need to run in a few days when you’re body has had time to fully process it all. Head over to Runner’s World (link on left) or do a quick google’ing of it.

Lauren Dieterich

June 11th, 2010
9:56 am

Beer is by far my favorite replenishment beverage! Not sure that any sports scientists or doctors would agree with me…

John… I don’t think I have ever had my name and the word “elite” uttered in the same sentence before (you are too nice). With the exception of my top-notch carb-loading abilities – thanks for including this picture of me in your post. I love prepping for races by eating pasta and wearing bathing suits and pantyhose.