Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Run Faster, Suck Less, Write More Yelp Reviews

Yelp, Internet Law, and other things I don't understand. 
Have you guys heard of the lady being sued for her Yelp review?  Interesting stuff.  I don't know anything about internet law really (beyond some of the stuff I do for work), but I think we're definitely still in the Wild West period of being on the internet.  The world is still feeling out what's allowed and legal, etc.   

I'm usually the last person to advocate for regulations like restricting what you can say on the internet, but I do think it's very easy to destroy the reputation of a business or person online based on untrue statements.   But where is the line between providing an opinion and damaging something/someone based on untrue claims? 

If you're a lawyer, let me know what you think?  Or even if you're not.

New Shoes New (s)Hoes 

On a totally different note, I am loving the new Mizuno Inspire (9th edition).  I've had it for about three weeks.

They've updated the feel of the shoe (it almost feels like a lightweight trainer) and increased the cushioning in the forefoot.  It's also quite a bit lighter.  I feel like this shoe might appeal to people who aren't as die-hard about Mizunos as I am, while not alienating their base.   I know I'm biased about the brand, but I think it's a great update and wanted to pass it on if you're looking for a stability trainer.  

The Plan to Suck Less and Speed Up

I decided to start getting more serious about running about two years ago.   I ramped up by doing some speedwork and trying to get ready for the Boston Marathon.  I ran a 3:35 which I was happy with based on the amount of preparation. 

That fall, I increased mileage to around 40-45 miles a week, did speedwork three times a week and started road biking.  I set pretty the majority of my PRs during that time and was feeling pretty good. 

Then I started looking at the mileage that other people ran.  And it was way more than what I did.  So when I trained for Eugene, I tried increasing the intensity of the speedwork and mileage.  I was freaking exhausted.  I ran a minor PR, but fell short of my expectations.  And this summer and fall, I increased mileage quite a bit (I think I peaked around 60 miles a week) but stopped doing much speedwork.  And I am noticeably slower. 

Higher mileage just doesn't seem to work for me.  Also, I don't like it and find it mentally exhausting.  Maybe those are related?   There are only so many episodes of This American Life one can listen to on a long run...

It also makes me absurdly hungry all the time, so I struggle not to gain weight when running a lot.

So it's time to go back to how I trained in Fall 2011.  This means running about five times a week, biking twice, and running the hell out of any speedwork / tempo sessions.  I'm going to try to combine workouts from Running Planet and RLRF again.  Also, it's time to do minor weight training.  It's embarrassing how much my upper body gets sore in races.   Let me know if there's a good resource online about weight training for runners.

Next race is the Surf City Half.  Unless a small miracle occurs, I won't be in PR shape by then, but hopefully I'll be close.  

What makes you a better runner?  Increased miles?  More Speed-work?  Form drills?  Reduced cookie consumption?  Do tell...


  1. On the one hand, I would certainly credit mileage increases as the main instigator behind my running improvement in the past few years... but I also think it's generally a matter of building and fitting in all the pieces. Sometimes you're focusing on the volume, and sometimes you're focusing on the speed. If you see improvements while focusing on the speed, former attempts at getting in more volume are probably at least part of the reason for those improvements... and vice versa. At least, that's what I suspect. In any case, it seems like the secret is to go with an approach you're excited about until it stops yielding results/stops being exciting... and then you shift gears and try something else...

  2. What SK says.

    Also: if you're going to run more miles you have to slow down for a certain percentage of them. I'd say more but really, you should just read what Lydiard said instead:

  3. The jury's still out for me on high mileage because I haven't really ever achieved it--I think I've only had two or so weeks where I got over 50. I will say that speedwork DOES work for me, if done properly (I can overdo that too). I'm one of those people who easily gets overtrained.

    Honestly I think getting good sleep is really huge. I was really good about sleep ahead of my PR half in October but the two weeks before CIM I kind of let it slide (also ate too many cookies). I found myself with a crappy race and a cold instead of a PR/BQ. Coincidence? I still mostly blame the weather for that bad day, but going to bed earlier couldn't have hurt either.

  4. Hills. Long ones. Short ones. Sometimes fast. Sometimes slow. A whole lot of miles aren't necessarily helpful. Good luck finding a plan that will enjoyably give you what you want :)

  5. Yeah, suck it to high mileage! I know I'm usually stuck in that zone, but don't follow my lead. I think I slowed down this year in some regards due to TOO MUCH speed work. it was really only 1-2 days per week, and some weeks zero days, but it led to heavy legs and aggravated some injury-ish things. My marathon PR came when I was basically just doing fartleks and the occasional treadmill progression run. I might go back to that and quit the track...

    Yelp: I've done a little work relating to defamation (libel/slander) and it comes down to whether what the person said/wrote was false, and presented as a fact rather than an opinion. There are other elements, but I can certainly see a knowingly false Yelp statement of fact (i.e. "I heard the manager say they use horse meat in their beef dishes," as opposed to opinion) being a valid lawsuit if it led to a provable loss in business, reputation, or other damages.

  6. Agree with XLMIC hills are great preparation, they build strength so when you hit the flat you'll be faster

  7. I think the biggest improvement for me came when I started doing a boot camp a few times a week and really built a lot more muscles. My PRs dropped more starting about 3 mos after starting camp than they probably did in the last 3 years before that. But since I've been in reasonably good shape, I feel like miles are king. The more I run, the better I do, but I haven't ever really done high mileage -- I tend to max out after a few weeks in the mid-50s. I'm hoping 2013 will be the year I regularly run in the mid-50s and I cap out with a few weeks in the 60s or 70s and I will see what results that produces.

    As for the review, it's not internet law, it's the same speech laws that are in effect for something in print or otherwise spoken and published -- if it's false facts, that's actionable, if it's a bad opinion, you're entitled to voice it. The only types of permissible content based speech regulation are hate, incitement to violence, offensive, defamatory, and commercial. As to whether this is defamatory, it would depend on whether it was couched as an opinion or not.

    1. Thank you Carina!!! I have been trying for at least a year to convince Margot that cross-training, and I do not mean elliptical or the stationary bike, real cross-training like boot camp type stuff, plyometrics, core work that is not crunches (thinking more like high knees and stuff like that) can truly improve your running. Over the last year I've been doing that type of stuff and my running saw tons of improvement. I dropped nearly 3 mins off my 10k time and then dropped 2 more mins after that in less than a year and of course it's all relative and not a direct association but I know that doing that type of cross-training helped. Plus it's a good way to not get bored lacing up your shoes 7 days a week. Yes we all love running but that's no reason not to take a little mental break (and a good physical one too) a few times a week. I strongly believe that lateral exercises (which you can't get from running, biking, elliptical) is really important to increase strength (think knees!) for running.

  8. Thanks for sharing about the new Inspires. I really do love them and am glad to hear the new edition is a hit.

    The thing about training is that everyone has they're opinions and at the end of the day you just have to find what works for your body and your lifestyle. As for me I LOVE running so I run a lot of junk miles. Is it helping me? Probably not but I enjoy it. :)

  9. That law suit regarding Yelp is interesting. I have not heard about that. Going to look it up now. I think the level of service can often times set apart two identical franchises. There are a couple of places that I won't ever go back to because the service was that terrible.
    I'm one of those runners who train in the lower mileage range. I often get injured when I try to increase my mileages so I've only tried that for one training cycle.

  10. I'm trying to figure the mileage thing out, too. What got me faster before was ending fast when i ran long runs and increasing my miles. Adding more speedwork slowed me down - I was too tired. Everyone's different!

  11. I'm still figuring all this out myself. Speed work definitely helps, even if it is just to build my confidence at faster paces. I like peaking for a marathon at about 50-60mpw, otherwise I feel like all I do is run. :)

  12. So far Run Less Run Faster has been more successful than any other training plan I've ever done, in that I didn't get injured and I PR'd. Then again, I only followed it for about 5.5 weeks, so maybe anything that said "get yo lazy ass to the track" would have had the same effect. I do think I'm destined to be a lower-mileage runner, though, because I hate injuries and like other sportz.

  13. I have been trying to amp up my strength training, I truly believe it helps my running alot. But running in the cold weather helps my running too. I always run faster when its cooler outside!

  14. I have gotten faster with higher mileage and seem to do well on it, but its hard to say if it is a casual effect. As a still relatively new runner I'd most likely have been improving with whatever I did (to a degree). Would something else have worked better? Maybe. I think tempos have helped a lot too. I am not as big a fan of speedwork and maybe that is because I generally suck at it. I am much better at distance over speed so I am trying to take that into consideration in my next training cycle. I think it's good to work on weaknesses but also play to your strengths if that makes sense.

  15. I relate to your high mileage woes, A LOT. I can barely make 40 miles a week, mainly because it's hard for me to buckle down and do them. I'm giving myself the next 6 months of no marathon training to get to be 100% with my knee and calves while also running some halfs for fun. I'm going to be the insane crossfit advocate who says (truthfully!) that ever since I started crossfit my upper body and core have not hurt at all during or after a race. That being said, it is hard to combine both good mileage and CF workouts and I think "crossfit endurance" the crossfit marathon plan is a recipe for mediocre times and injury, it's just not for women who want to go fast (in my opinion). I think a boot camp option (as mentioned above) might be good for more strength while also focusing on some speed and the required long runs.

  16. I just looked up the VA yelp lawsuit--is that the one you meant? Awesome last name! I think she prob was upset and went overboard with the negative review. I think it is best to contact businesses before leaving a review because often they are unaware if something is wrong unless you tell them. In the case of a contractor sitation, maybe the manager didnt know the project was going badly. Businesses can be surprisingly helpful and nice if you contact them directly to fix a problem. However, sometimes businesses are not great: you get horrible service at a restaurant, there is a store on etsy that ships soooo slow, whatever, and how would we know if people didnt write honest reviews? If we all wrote only good reviews, then there would be no relative good and bad so there would be no point to a good review.

  17. I def need to incorporate speedwork into my workouts, it is the only thing that has actually helped me PR. That is my number 1 New Years resolution!

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  19. I love the idea of high mileage but when it comes down to it, my head prefers painful speedwork instead - like you said, how many episodes of TAL can a person listen to? I've only run two marathons and one was an epic fail, so I have no view yet on what works for my body yet, but I'm figuring it out. I felt strong when I was running 50miles a week, but it also depends on the rest of my life - I can't literally run myself ragged with exhaustion trying to do endless miles and everything else.