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Runner's Diary: Joe Bell


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Joe Bell
Joe Bell


If I were going to give someone advice about attempting more serious running, I would talk about consistency and frequency of running.

I would ask them how they felt about waking up an hour earlier before work each day to get a run in and if they wanted to do it that badly. I want to learn if they would be willing to run five miles a day.

Something I see a lot is where people will go do a track workout once a week and then will run once or twice other than that. That is something I would advise against. You need to be more consistent and run a couple of miles every day at an easy pace as opposed to trying to run hard all the time.

For me, the long runs were the hardest part. At first, I made the same mistake that I just talked about. I would go out and try to run too fast during training runs instead of slowly plugging away every day.

You need to hit your goal times instead of taking chances with training in which you could end up hurting yourself. You need to just keep doing it over and over.

When I started, I could barely make it eight miles. But that had something to do with me trying to run faster than I should have. Eventually, I slowly worked it up to a comfortable pace to the point where I could go out and enjoy doing a 20-mile run. That just doesn’t happen all at once. It takes patience and consistency and all those buzz words that go along with it.

Even right now, I am just slugging it out and doing the same thing.

Training schedule

MONDAY: Easy eight-mile run in morning; easy 10-mile run in afternoon.

TUESDAY: Track workout, one-mile runs (8 times); 20- to 30-minute core workout.

WEDNESDAY: Easy eight-mile run in morning; easy 10-mile run in afternoon.

THURSDAY: Run up a quarter-mile hill, eight to 10 times, 20- to 30-minute core workout.

FRIDAY: Easy eight-mile run in morning; easy eight-mile run in afternoon.

SATURDAY: Long run, 22 to 24 miles with two five-mile pushes at marathon-pace intervals.

SUNDAY: Easy eight-mile run in morning; easy eight-mile run in evening.

Another thing I talk to runners about is time spent on their feet. That applies to the fact that you have to get your legs used to that pounding when you are running a race pace.

Hopefully, you can do those training runs without killing yourself.

You have to remember that there is going to be a tomorrow, whereas with the race, you run as hard as you can.

You just slowly get better. With a marathon, it’s 99 percent aerobic, so you shouldn’t be out of breath.

It is a measuring stick with running. When I look down now, my pace is faster, and I am not huffing and puffing. I can carry on a conversation.

I tell people that training takes up time. It means you are away from the house, your family, running longer times. You start looking at an average of 12 to 14 hours a week running.

That essentially is a part-time job. It can certainly affect the rest of your life. Is your spouse going to watch your child? You have to plan ahead.

I do not really plan meals right now, but I eat a lot of bananas, four or five a day, and I buy more vegetables to eat at some point every day. I am eating a lot of fish, salmon or tuna, canned and packaged.

I do have a beer or two, and I use it as a reward if I have a good week. You do have to restrain yourself because it can’t be like your college days. It’s like everything else — in moderation, it’s fine.

Beers are not too bad for you, and you are getting carbs. But I paid the price on Saturday morning because I ran a 20-miler after I went to a buddies’ birthday party the night before. Normally I pay the price in my gut. I get an angry stomach.

When you are running a marathon or half-marathon and that happens, usually you have enough time at a water station where you can grab a water and maybe dilute it. Or you can make the dreaded porta-potty stop.

If you have acid-reflux, there is not much you can do. I don’t know any secret to it. I know it is a pretty common problem, especially with marathoners. It is not a pleasant experience.

You just have to practice, during training, eating whatever you are going to have during the race. I’ve eaten as many as eight of those energy gels during a marathon. I won’t eat anything solid.

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