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Runner's Diary: Joe Bell

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Joe Bell
Joe Bell

The Republic will be following Joe Bell in his preparation for the Sept. 27 Mill Race Marathon. Look for his diary each week. Contact Bell for tips, advice or encouragement at

Danny Fisher and I have gotten to chatting about the topic that we are run junkies.

We will go and blog about running; we will put information in a log; and we will go and read about running. It’s kind of sad really but I do read a lot about running. There is a lot of bad information out there and a lot of repetition. But there always is something to read about.

I am kind of open to experimenting with stuff, different shoes, Jell-O shots, things like that. But I always try most of that experimental stuff in training before I would try it in a marathon. For example, I will look at what other guys are wearing, read information about that from somebody I know, such as their account in a recent race, then I will compare and apply.

I use four different resources online. I use Garmin Connect, Strava, Fast Running Blog and then I use the healthy lifestyles site that we have at work. You can get on and compare your runs against other people’s runs, join challenges and groups, track mileage, write a diary or read articles.

I also use an Excel spreadsheet where I track the number of hours I run and the total weekly mileage. You don’t have to be a computer genius to use one. It’s mostly hours and miles. I’ve never done much with calories, and I don’t use heart-rate monitors. I’ve never gotten into that.

Of course, there always is Facebook, too. It’s mostly a networking tool to meet up with people if you want to run this race or that race. Those sites and using the spreadsheet can keep you motivated. In a tough time of training, maybe you are just tired and don’t feel like doing it, somebody can help to push you along.

Training schedule

MONDAY: Easy 8-mile run in morning; easy 8-mile in afternoon.

TUESDAY: Easy 4-mile run in morning; track workout with Quaff On! team, interval workout, 5 two-mile runs.

WEDNESDAY: Easy 6-mile run in morning; easy 8-mile in afternoon, 20-30 minutes core work.

THURSDAY: Easy 4-mile run in morning; 10-mile run in afternoon with 6 miles at marathon pace.

FRIDAY: Easy 6-mile run in morning; easy 8-mile run in afternoon; 30 minutes core work.

SATURDAY: 23-mile run with 4 segments of 2 miles at marathon pace.

SUNDAY: Hour-long bike ride; easy 8-mile run in afternoon.2

I am tired and I get online and somebody says something like “Good job. I was tired today too, but it’s going to pay off in the long run.” A running blog very often is just support ground.

The spreadsheet lets me see how I progress. When I set my training schedule, I will set weekly mileage goals. Hopefully, those numbers are getting bigger. It’s kind of a helpful reinforcement. I ran 90 miles this week, and it drives it home.

Definitely, if I could make a graph for everything, plotting my progress, I would. That’s me. I need visual representation.

I think a big part of the growth running has seen has been due to social networking. More people are talking about running or biking.

And now we have all the data. I always wear a Garmin GPS watch. I would be pretty frustrated if I went for a run and my battery was dead. For me, it’s shoes, pants and a watch. That’s what I wear.Some people wear their cellphone in an arm band, but that never really took for me. It bothered me. The GPS data is everything you want when you are out running ... pace, setup, workouts.

I have been doing well in training. I went for a long run, and I was not feeling as tired as I thought I would be.

Nothing is really hurting me. I am still early in my training cycle, but I feel I am in much better shape starting off this year than last year. But I have a lot bigger expectations. I do most of my work solo, but I do run with a group once or twice a week. I change my course because if I don’t it gets monotonous.

Hills are a great strength builder, even if your marathon is going to be a flat course. I will gear a hill workout toward that day, every three weeks or so. I go on group runs in Brown County, so you can’t avoid the hills. Hill training is good because you are not over-striding and you have to change your stride.

But I do train. For example, I went out three hours and was running around town, loops around Mill Race Park, and most of the course was pretty flat.

The important thing that I have found for that pounding you take on a course that is mostly flat is that you have to simulate the time you will spend on your feet in the marathon.

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