I'll be at the Union Square JackRabbit shop tonight at 6:30 to discuss planning your season. Come on by to say hi and talk training. Here's the event description from JRab.
Do you have multiple races this season? Is your half-marathon training conflicting with your Olympic tri program? Learn how to intergrate multiple races into your training schedule so you're performing your best on the day that matters the most. Join Jonathan Cane, CityCoach founder, as he helps you avoid the pitfalls that can derail any season.
When your coach makes you run a hard tempo run on Thursday, followed by 16 miles on Friday, he doesn't really expect you to go out and PR on Sunday. Apparently Jeffrey Dweck didn't know that, because he ran an impressive 18:57 (6:07 per mile) this morning despite his coach's cruelty.
Jeff was joined by the Z team of Jessica Purcell-Zebrak and Steven Zebrak. Fresh off their long runs yesterday, they ran 22:10 and 22:14 respectively.
As most local runners and riders have probably heard by now, there are plans for major changes in Prospect Park. Under the proposed reconfiguration, cars will be restricted to one lane during the time in the park. Bikes will be restricted to one lane at all times, and pedestrians will have use of the former recreation lanes shared by cyclists and runners.
Even when cars are not allowed in the park, cyclists will be restricted to the single lane, with the outer lane only for official vehicles "temporary passing" by cyclists. Overall, this is a major step in the right direction. It limits the space used by cars, which is an improvement. It has consistent use of each lane, and the ability for clearer markings and less confusion. Certainly it would be better to get cars out entirely, but I understand that it's a political hot potato, and that the Borough President is a buffoon who champions the use of cars.
Still, I have some concerns. Reducing the bike lane from 23 feet to 10 feet during times that cars are out will effectively eliminate pack riding in the park. Perhaps that's not a bad thing, but it's noteworthy. I also worry about the lack of a "buffer" between the cars and bikes. There's one in place between the bikes and runners, which is understandable. But the car lane has been narrowed, and I worry about the safety of riders. (There is a 3-foot shoulder to the right of the cars. That could be used as a buffer if it were placed on the cars' left, but there are concerns about cars swerving to avoid drains which are on the right of the road.)
And apparently there has been no mention of the dangerous and illegal speeds that cars routinely drive in the park. Though the NY Daily News found it appropriate to do a full page story about some cyclists exceeding the speed limit, they have not seemed as interested in the habits of drivers. One would think that if cyclists on 20 pound bikes occasionally speeding by a few MPH is newsworthy, that the 99% of drivers speeding would also merit a full page story, complete with absurd and inflammatory headline. One would be wrong, but here's what the Park Slope Neighbors radar study found:
Congratulations to Cipriana Cuevas, who set a 23-minute PR with her 1:39:04 at this weekend's Disney Princess Half Marathon. Also, major kudos to Team SBH, who went down to Florida with 278 runners (and a total of 458 people) to raise money for a great cause. I was lucky enough to work with Team SBH last season, and it's great to see that they're even bigger and better this year. (Presumably the growth is not entirely because of my absence.)
Dear Mr. Exercise Etiquette: During my last 5k, my nose ran horribly and at times I found myself needing to spit or blow my nose, but it seems horribly rude. Is spitting acceptable? Need I really carry tissues with me when I run?
Signed, Spittin’ Sally
Dear Sally:Certain rules of etiquette that apply under normal circumstances are suspended while running. (No, this does not mean that you may wear white pants when running after Labor Day.) Spitting is acceptable, but only if you adhere to certain regulations. If others are around, please move to the side of the roadway before expectorating. Make sure that no one is directly behind you, and take the wind direction into consideration. Then spit away from the crowd and down. Not out, not up, not back – down. Once you have mastered this, you may move on to a more advanced technique, technically known as the Farmer Blow. To perform this maneuver, hold one nostril, point your nose downward, and blow. Remember, once the race is over, standard rules of etiquette are reinstated. Do not perform the Farmer Blow over your post-race breakfast if you plan on returning to the restaurant any time soon.
Dear Mr. Exercise Etiquette:When I go to the gym, this one guy (I like to call him Gym Jerk) monopolizes the bench press and I have to wait forever just to do a couple of sets. Short of putting Crisco on the bar, is there anyway for me to get rid of him?
Signed, Lotta Liftin’
Dear Lotta: The commonly accepted practice in the weight room is to “work in”, or share a piece of equipment. This allows you to lift while Mr. Jerk is resting between sets, and vice versa. Be sure to wait until he has finished his set before asking. Storming over to him mid-set would be a major fitness faux pas on your part. If 3-4 people are already working in, you may need to wait, but otherwise you’ll be fine. Don’t worry if you’re not using the same amount of weight as the others, it’s not unreasonable to add or remove a couple of plates if need be. Remember to extend the same courtesy to someone if they ask to work in with you, and for extra politeness points, help them strip or load the bar.
Dear Mr. Exercise Etiquette: What’s with all the noise in the weight room? Maybe there is a legitimate reason for this, but it seems like a lot of unnecessary clamor. Is it me?
Signed, Aurally Assaulted
Dear AA: It’s not you. Usually the noise is generated by the attention starved guys who scream, grunt and generally sound like a cross between Tarzan and Monica Seles when they lift. The truth is that all that noise doesn’t do a bit of good in helping them move the weight, but it does call attention to the offender, which is usually their objective. One of Mr. Etiquette’s favorite gyms posted a sign that said “more lifting, less grunting” to give the noisemakers a less-than-subtle hint. The best recourse is to silently and calmly perform the same exercise and set a good example.
Dear Mr. Exercise Etiquette:Every time I’m out for a training ride – even an easy one - my buddy tries to turn it into a race. I like to compete – but not at every workout. How do you get him to chill?
Signed, Passive Pat
Dear PP: One of the great things about bike racing is that there are tons of opportunities to race each season. Smart riders know the difference between training and racing. Your insecure pal is probably the same guy who sprints up a hill to pass some poor slob who’s in the middle of a three hour training ride and then pats himself on the back for doing so. Or worse, he’s the one who speeds up because his fragile male ego gets bruised every time he’s passed by a woman. Your best strategy is to tell your training partner your agenda before you ride. Explain that there’s a purpose to your training (maybe you’re aiming to stay within a certain heart rate zone, or recover before a real race) and that you need to stick to your plan. People are usually far more reasonable if you talk to them before the competitive juices start flowing. Let him know about some of the races you have planned in the near future, so that he has an outlet for his gung ho attitude. No matter what, don’t deviate from your training plan because of what he does.
Those of you who know me, realize that I am lazy and that I value proper manners. As such, I'm recycling an article that I wrote several years ago for Metro Sports Magazine. In it, I examined proper athletic etiquette. Of all the things I've written, this article generated the most emails, and I've also seen it posted in a couple of gyms. Go figure.
I'll follow up with a few "Dear Mr. Manners" submissions in the near future as well.
Whether it’s in the gym, the pool or the road, nothing can spoil a great workout like an obnoxious oaf who ignores the basic rules of sports etiquette. Unfortunately, many of these regulations aren’t posted or announced when you’re new to a sport. So, here are some tips in order to ensure that you’re not the aforementioned offending oaf.
IN THE CLUB
In the fitness world, you’d be surprised how many basics that go without saying actually do need to be said. Jeff Glowatz, Fitness Manager for a major metropolitan Police Department has seen it all. “Nothing surprises me anymore. You can’t take anything for granted. I’ve actually had to tell people that they need to wash their clothes before they work out.” In a gym, sweat is acceptable. Fermented, day-old sweat is not, so never re-wear soiled workout clothes. And while you’re at it, make sure to wear deodorant - especially if you’re sporting a sleeveless top to show off those buffed arms you’ve been working on. Lastly, take it easy with the perfume and cologne. If you slap on the Aqua Velva, the poor slob who’s breathing heavily on the treadmill next to you will be overwhelmed by the scent. Plus, even if you spring for the good stuff, the combination of a previously nice, subtle scent mixed with sweat often results in an offensive blend.
A few other “common courtesy” items that aren’t so common after all can really infuriate the staff and other members at the gym. An old adage in the weight room is “strong enough to lift it, strong enough to put it away”, yet visit any gym and you’ll likely find it littered with dumbbells, plates and other heavy metal within minutes of opening. Leaving weights on the floor is inconsiderate and unsafe. Listen to your mom and pick up after yourself. In that same vein, mom certainly wouldn’t approve of your leaving a puddle of sweat for the poor slob who has to follow you onto the treadmill or bench. Most gyms will provide you with a towel, or at least paper towels that you can use to wipe down the equipment.
Lastly, if you wear headphones while you workout, remember that the rest of us can hear you if you sing along. Every gym has one aspiring Destiny’s Child member who sings out loud (and usually off key). At first it’s amusing, but eventually it’s just plain annoying. Save it for karaoke night, and keep it to yourself in the gym.
A DAY AT THE RACES
One of the great things about running races is that anyone is welcomed. If you’re a middle-of-the-packer, or even a slow runner, most times you can do the same race as elite runners. Still – just because you’re on the same road as them, doesn’t mean that you should line up next to them. The widely accepted procedure is that faster runners start at the front, and slower runners at the back. Forcing the speed demons to weave around you during the first few hundred yards because you want the glory of leading a race for five seconds, or because you want to get a photo op for the local paper is a major no-no. With the wide use of chip timing at most races, there’s no reason to cheat your way up to the front. Sure, there’s always a little gamesmanship and the 8-minute milers usually line up in the area marked off for the 7-minute milers, but don’t get crazy. Be fair, and line up appropriately.
Swimming can be one of the most relaxing forms of exercise, and at first glance there’s really not much that can go wrong – just go from one end of the pool to the other and come back – right? The problem arises when swimmers fail to observe a couple of simple rules of decorum.
Perhaps your kindergarten teacher was also a swimmer, because everything you need to know can be summarized in those brilliant words of wisdom, “share, share, that’s fair.” Most folks are fine if they need to split a lane with one other swimmer, but introduce a third variable into the equation, and suddenly that spirit of cooperation disappears faster than you can say “flip turn”. While John Stewart is not a kindergarten teacher, he is a popular New York swim coach who offers advice on how to share. “Circle swimming [a counterclockwise rotation that allows three or more swimmers to share a lane] is quite simple, and shouldn’t hamper your workout. Stay to the right as you swim, veer left as you approach the wall, and leave the middle open for passing. Faster swimmers have the right-of-way, so if you’re being overtaken, stay to the right but don’t stop swimming. If you need to rest, hold onto the wall at the right side, so as to not impede the progress of the others.” If you were an only child and don’t like to share, you should aim for off-peak hours, but (unless pool rules dictate otherwise) it’s never acceptable to refuse to circle swim.
The other big peeve among swimmers is others who ignore the classifications for the lanes. In case you’re wondering, no one cares about those flirty indiscretions the last time you had too many cocktails at the office party. That big sign that says “FAST LANE” refers to the speed of your swimming – not your social life. If you can’t keep up, move to another lane.
One last tip – no matter how much chlorine is in the water – it’s never acceptable to spit, pee or otherwise share any other bodily fluids in the pool.
Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll make friends everywhere you exercise.