Long run planning
Fri Nov 2 2007
Some people enjoy pain, others understandably prefer pleasure—while still others are just totally bat-shit. On Sun 4, over 40,000 masochists from all over the world—including seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong—will have the time of their lives at the ING New York City Marathon. We sat down with longtime Armstrong coach Chris Carmichael to discuss the event.
One look at my work-induced pallor was all it took for Carmichael to offer me some useful advice. He said, "Take care of yourself now. I’ve seen some journalists who have been at it for awhile and by 35 they’re pretty run-down." Point taken—I am currently exploring the possibility of getting some interns to install an elliptical machine near my desk. According to Carmichael, the retired Armstrong sees the marathon as more of a hobby, and therefore it requires less of his legendary need to crush the spirits of his athletic rivals. "He’s a professional athlete. With the Tour, that was his goal and everything was centered around that. Lance right now is like any other 35-year-old guy. He’s got three kids, a lot going on in his life. He likes to stay active, and thinks that it is important to live that kind of lifestyle. So, yeah, it’s a hobby for him now, which is very different from when 24/7, 365 days a year."
Carmichael also had some pertinent training tips to impart, which might actually be helpful when I finally detach my ass from this chair and do something resembling physical activity. "I like to say every man has an Everest—sort of every person doing the impossible. For close to 40,000 runners on Sunday, it's their Everest. In regards to nutrition, first thing is eating food for performance. You’re really looking at food as fuel for your activities. Whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruit, things like that, that will deliver energy quickly, which are also a good source of good vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber."
Running 26.2 miles on a hard surface can be hell on your body, and he has some hints for helping to alleviate the physical stress marathoners often endure. He says, "The key thing is make sure that you build up progressively when you train. A lot of times what happens with running is that your body hasn’t been built up in a way to tolerate the stress of every step. So building up slowly and progressively is important."
And the recent reports of romance between Armstrong and Ashley Olsen?
"I wouldn't know anything about that. I'm just his coach."