RRCA's 37th annual meeting gets off to a brisk pace

RUNNING

April 08, 1994|By Michael Reeb | Michael Reeb,Sun Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Run, eat and meet.

That's the order of the day as the Road Runners Club of America continues its four-day national convention here today.

Things got under way yesterday with an informal run around Pentagon City.

It is one convention from which the delegates won't go home with excess baggage.

It also is the first time in the 37 years of the annual meeting that the convention has convened at the RRCA's national office.

Because of cost, area clubs usually send their president and a delegate to the national convention, but because of its proximity this year, area runners can take advantage of a diversity of seminars.

Women's running safety and course measurement are two topics.

Yesterday, a coaching coaches' seminar focused on the difference between the recreational and competitive runner.

It helps when author and former Florida track coach Roy Benson is the instructor and Runner's World writer Hal Higdon, who is training for the National Senior Championships, is the pupil.

From a motivational viewpoint, it also helps that Benson's running camps are based in Atlanta.

Said Benson: "Being in the Bible Belt, we have very few runs on Sunday. We meet early and run short because everyone gets cleaned up and goes to church."

But because runners everywhere are interested in interval training and heart rate monitoring, Benson's specifics were bound to hit home.

For the recreational runner who likes to race a lot, training is different from that of the competitive runner's.

Said Benson: "Their pace tends to be only about 20 seconds slower than a race pace. They get what I call accidental PRs [personal records]. You can't plan when you're going to set PRs because you're racing year-round."

But for the competitive runner, training takes on specific objectives and a limited calendar. For such a runner, endurance runs and heart rate monitoring become viable training tools.

"The idea of a long run is to maintain endurance," Benson said. "This is an area where people really mess up. I say, 'Watch out for the pied pipers.' You've probably just identified a workout winner.

"Sometimes, they're Svengalian in their approach -- they're the classic workout winners but they can't win a thing once the race starts."

Today's agenda includes the RRCA's annual business meeting and awards banquet, at which U.S. Olympic president LeRoy Walker will deliver the keynote address.

Longtime Annapolis Striders member and former Marine Corps Marathon winner Scott Eden is scheduled to receive the RRCA's 1993 Nike/Kurt Steiner Children's Developmental Running Award.

The convention comes to a close Sunday with the running of the Northern Telecom Cherry Blossom 10-miler, for which the field has been closed.

For information on seminars today and tomorrow at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, call (703) 836-0558.

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