Up to 1970

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Lately, I’ve been thinking and writing about long-distance running training. The principles of training for long-distance running have changed a lot in the last several years. Noting this, I began wondering what types of training running coaches were prescribing ten, twenty, thirty years ago, and even farther into the past. I decided to do a survey of long-distance running training starting in the 1930s up to today. Part 1 will discuss the training techniques of the 1920s up until 1970.

Pre-history Before 1930

The late 1800s was the era of the long walking contests, also known as pedestrianism. There were several quite famous…

Variables and Data Types — Part 2

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In Part 1, I introduced JavaScript variables and data types. In Part 2, I’m going to take you through the structured, sequenced steps of learning about variables. In this article, I’ll be demonstrating the Variable Swap program template in four steps: 1) Tracing the code of a variable swap example; 2) Translating the pseudocode of a variable swap; 3) Recognizing a template that describes a variable swap; and 4) Taking a unique variable swap problem and converting it into a working JavaScript program.

Tracing a Variable Swap Example

The first step in learning to program is to be able to successfully read and understand what…

Part 1: Variables and Data Types

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The first step in learning how to work with a programming language (unless you’re working with a functional programming language) is to learn how to declare variables and assign data to them. Along with this, you should also be learning about the types of data you can store in variables.

In this article I’ll introduce you to declaring and assigning data to variables in JavaScript. I’ll also introduce you to two program templates — Read, Then Prompt and Variable Swap. I’ll also show you some syntax templates you should learn along with the program templates.

Let’s get started.

JavaScript Data Types

JavaScript is…

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Training for an ultramarathon is a forbidding task. Whether it’s 50K to 100 miles or more, training for a race that is longer than 26.2 miles requires a lot of hard work. The old advice most ultrarunners followed was to do as many long runs as you can without much concern for pace. Ultrarunners just need to get in plenty of volume and some vertical miles as well if training for a hilly race, but the key to ultrarunning success was getting in lots of long, slow distances with training runs of 30, 40, and even 50 miles.

A lot…

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There are several different approaches computer programming teachers use when teaching how to use a programming language. Some teachers begin by showing students how to write a “Hello, world!” program and then expand from there. Some teachers start by introducing the syntax to the different constructs

I would like to suggest a different technique that follows a more structured, sequenced approach. I am going to provide you with an overview of this approach in the article and then, in subsequent articles, demonstrate how to use this approach to learn JavaScript.

I’ll be using Mozilla’s Spidermonkey JavaScript in this article.

The Four-Step Sequence to Learning Programming


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The 2021 Western States Endurance Run (WSER) was held on June 25 and June 26. This is the oldest 100 mile race and is considered the premiere ultramarathon in the United States. The race is run from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California on the Western States trail. Each year many thousands of ultramarathoners try to gain entry to the race but only 369 runners are accepted.

This year’s race was particularly interesting for several reasons. Because the race wasn’t run in 2020, the level of competition was particularly high, with many American elite ultrarunners entered into the field. There were…

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I am about to turn 64 years old. I started running when I was 14 after my football coach noticed I outlasted all the other players in the mile run and told me I was now also on the cross country team. I thought that was pretty funny because I’d always considered myself a slow runner, but I guess I already had the endurance I have now.

Except for a two-year break in college, I have been running ever since. I have had very few injuries and have averaged at least 20 miles per week since 1978, with a few…

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I recently read that the worst-kept secret in running training is the hill workout. I believe that may be true for high school, college, and professional runners but I don’t know if it is true for the general running public.

I live in a hilly part of the country (central Arkansas which is just at the eastern edge of the Ouachita mountains). I have been training on hills since I started running fifty years ago, and you can’t live in my hometown without negotiating them unless you run exclusively on a track or a treadmill. …

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A couple of weeks ago, I suffered my first bout of gastrointestinal (GI) distress during a race. I was running a 12-hour race that consisted of an 11.2-mile loop. On the third loop, at about 26 miles, my stomach became upset and I couldn’t run. I walked for almost two miles and finally sat down on a bench. As soon as I sat down, I threw up all the liquid and gels I had consumed over the past two hours and ended up throwing up three times in all. I got up and tried to run again, but was mostly…

Photo by Andrew Tanglao on Unsplash

Earlier this summer, I ran a race in Mississippi in weather much warmer and more humid than I’d been training in, even though I live just north in Arkansas. I had stomach issues, was sweating profusely after just a few miles, and my legs wanted to give up way earlier than they should have. It became clear I hadn’t properly acclimated to warm and humid weather and this caused me to not do as well as I’d hoped.

Also, I have been seriously considering entering some hot ultramarathons such as the Keys 100 and the Badwater Salton Sea. The Keys…

Mike McMillan

Mike McMillan writes about computer programming and running. He is setting up his new web site at https://michaelmmcmillan.com.

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