Advice from Papa Bear

These tidbits of wisdom were published in the New York Flyers monthly Newsletter during the year 2000.

January: Cold Weather Running

Papa Bear says: use the 20 degree rule in cold weather - dress as if the temperature is 20 degrees warmer than the thermometer shows.  So if it's 30 out, dress for 50 degree temperatures. If there's wind, use the wind-chill factor instead of the temperature and then add 20 (and remember to wear a windbreaker).


February: A Four Mile Race

This month's points race is the Snowflake 4 Miler on Feb. 26th.

Papa Bear says: to run this race you must know the miles. To know the miles you must know their names.

And the name of the first mile is EXHILARATION.
And the name of the second mile is DISTRACTION.
And the name of the third mile is DOUBT.
And the name of the fourth mile is PAIN.

When you know these names you will know the miles. When you know the miles you can run the race.


March: Wet running shoes

Papa Bear says: When you get home from a wet workout, stuff crumpled up newspaper into your running shoes. If they are really really wet, change the newspaper before going to bed. Works like a charm and doesn't destroy your shoes like a hot radiator.

Special hint: take the shoes off before stuffing the newspaper in.


April: Rounding

Papa Bear says: When training, we round our training mileage UP. So naturally 5.7 miles becomes 6 miles in your running log. When racing, we round our finishing times DOWN. So when asked our time after a 3:10:57 marathon we say 3:10, or to be really brazen to non-runner friends we might say "three hours and change". Note how useful the expression "and change" is, use it often.


May: Rest

Papa Bear says: as you get on in years, consider taking an extra day (or 2) off each week. The extra rest may actually improve your performance. Rearrange your mileage into longer runs with more days off in between. Papa Bear has trained just 4 days a week since 1995, during which time he has run 6 marathons and qualified for Boston twice. Rest works! Try it.


June: Bathrooms

Papa Bear says: if the race starts in 15 minutes and the port-o-san line is 20 minutes long, what to do? GO SOUTH about a half-mile, past Cleopatra's Needle to the traffic light at the top of Cat Hill; turn right on the maintenance road at the light. Bathrooms are in the maintenance building about 100 feet in from the road.

Or GO NORTH about a half mile along the reservoir track, past the stone pump house; go over the arched foot bridge and follow the walkway down to the tennis house. I have always found these facilities clean and safe. Besides you get a nice extra pre-race warm-up.

July: Hot Weather Hydration

Papa Bear says: now that the weather is hot and humid and we must increase those long runs, here's a trick to stay cool and well hydrated. Take a half-full quart container of Gatorade (or your favorite sports drink) and put it on its side in your freezer the night before your long run. In the morning it will be frozen. Fill the empty space with cold water and put it in a plastic bag. Hide it in the park where you will pass by every loop. Each time around take a drink - more and more of the liquid will be melted. It should stay cold for at least 3 loops.


August: Long Run Pacing - your U.T.

Papa Bear says: It's long run season and long runs cause soreness or injury for two reasons: 1) you run too fast, and 2) you get dehydrated. In both cases you break down your muscles and delay recovery. Papa bear says to avoid these problems, run your long runs under your U.T. (Urination Threshold). If you aren't making a pit stop every 5 miles or so, you're running too fast or you're drinking too little, or both. Slow down and drink up!


September: The Bridle Path

Papa Bear says: as you increase your mileage training for the marathon, your legs take a beating, especially you ankles, knees and hips. Give them a break - get off the pavement and run on the Central Park Bridle Path whenever you can. You can run about 2/3 of the way around the Park on this path and your legs will thank you. As an added benefit you will likely see Giorgio in his multi-colored running clothes!


October: Marathon Hydration

Papa Bear says: One of the most important ingredients for a successful marathon, and one that is easy to get right is hydration. 1) The last 3 days before the race, keep absolutely full of water: every time you "go", follow it up with another drink. 2) Race day: drink until about 30 minutes before the race, then STOP. Empty your bladder one last time as close as possible to the gun. 3) After the gun, take a small bottle of water with you and sip from it frequently for the first couple of miles, then throw it away. Skip the crowds at the first water stop, but drink at all the other water stops. If you are running at your proper pace, you shouldn't need any pit stops during the race.


November: A Great Marathon

Papa Bear says: Those of you who have just had the experience of doing a great marathon, and hopefully you all eventually will, where all your training and other factors have paid off, will know this advice already:

A perfect day and a well executed training plan do not allow you to run easier - they allow you to run harder!


December: Recovery

Papa Bear says: Now that you have finished your big race it's time to recover. Spend your time in the pool, hiking, skiing, partying and socializing. No hard running workouts or races for several months. Your body needs a break. You'll do better in the spring if you take one.

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