Half-Marathon Training Week 14: Matt’s Dartfish Results, Finding the Time


Dartfish is a video motion analysis software used by LVHN rehabilitation, fitness and sports performance professionals. Learn more about it in the September-October issue of Healthy You magazine.

Hopefully if you’re reading this, that means you’ve been spending some time on the trails this summer, and what a summer it’s been, so far. The weather has been nearly perfect, and the trails are in excellent condition. The Lehigh Canal towpath is much improved this year, especially near Freemansburg, Pa. Though, I still take issue with the aggressive geese that call that length of the canal home (they will hiss at you if you get too close). I’ve gotten in a lot of quality runs, but maybe not as many as I need in my training for the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) Via Half-Marathon on Sept. 7.

I’ll admit it: I’ve struggled to find extra time for my workouts the last few weeks. There were quite a few family obligations and commitments since the last time I wrote my blog. As a result, I missed a lot of the maintenance runs, the easy runs that keep up a general level of fitness during the week. I’ve kept to the plan as close as possible and have hit most of the hard runs that I could. I just feel like maybe it hasn’t been enough. Read More »

Half-Marathon Training Week 12: Feeling Like a Spartan

matt burns at spartanI took a small break from my regularly scheduled LVHN Via Marathon training plan to participate in a race I’ve wanted to run for a very long time. I finally completed my first adventure race, the Spartan Sprint at Blue Mountain in Palmerton.

For the lead-up to the race, I was able to stick closely to my training plan for week 11. This included a few easy runs and a 2-mile threshold-pace run. After the previous week (which included a holiday), it felt great to get out and stretch my legs on some faster runs, and I felt really strong. Feeling this well going into this stretch of training is a relatively new feeling for me.

Typically, I’m struggling with a multitude of issues by now. Whether it’s illness or injury or baby, there always seems to be some setback that forces me to play catch-up. Not this year. I truly believe it’s the result of the fantastic training plan my colleague Craig Souders, rehab program director for LVHN Fitness at One City Center, created for me. It’s made all the difference.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with adventure races, events like the Spartan Sprint host a multitude of challenges and obstacles to overcome. These include scrambling over walls, doing army crawls underneath barbed wire, and even jumping over a fire pit. So I know it doesn’t  seem like fun at first, but I’ve always been of the mindset that if someone tells me I can’t or shouldn’t do something, then maybe I should, just out of spite. Also, I wanted to prove to myself that I could beat a few flaming logs for unending glory. Read More »

Half-Marathon Training Week 10: (Many) Steps in the Right Direction

Matt Burns runsHard to believe, but we’re already 10 weeks into the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) Via Marathon training cycle. When my colleague Alyssa Young and I started on this journey, I had a clear goal in mind: to run the fastest half-marathon of my life. Thanks to the training plan from LVHN’s director of rehabilitation services, I know I’m on the right track.

In just 10 weeks, my legs are stronger, and I’m developing a nice rate of turnover. This means I’m not loping along at a plodding pace like I usually do. Instead, there’s confidence in each step I take, and it feels good to unleash some speed.

Last weekend I had my first marathon pace run of 6 miles with a 1-mile warm-up and cool-down. I’ve had a slight but persistent cough for most of the last week or so, and I really felt the extra tightness as I struggled to maintain my race pace of 7:37 per mile. For the first 3 miles, however, I was pretty consistent and very close to my target. However, the last 3 miles were a bit more of a struggle, and I ended up closer to an 8:30-per-mile pace.

The bad news is that’s nowhere near where I want to be by race day. The good news is that there’s still a full two months left until the half-marathon (still not too late to register). As an added bonus, I was still feeling pretty strong on the last 3 miles at times. I just need to get more consistent with my pacing. Read More »

LVHN to Sponsor World Cup SoccerFest and Viewing Party at Bethlehem’s SteelStacks; Look for Our Photo Booth Thursday

The crowd began gathering for the USA v. Portugal match over an hour before kickoff.

The crowd began gathering for the USA v. Portugal match over an hour before kickoff.

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is embracing the excitement of the world’s biggest sporting event. Starting today, LVHN is now an official sponsor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup SoccerFest and Viewing Party at Bethlehem’s SteelStacks.

Now through July 13, LVHN will sponsor the remaining World Cup matches that will be shown on the outdoor screen at SteelStacks’ Levitt Pavilion, including the USA vs. Germany match set for noon Thursday, June 26. During that match, you can:

  • Visit LVHN’s photo booth and get a chance to hoist a replica of the 2012 FIFA World Cup trophy.
  • Get information about our new LVHN-One City Center campus, which opens July 16 in downtown Allentown.
  • Learn more about orthopedics in action at LVHN.


The World Cup has captured the passion of thousands of Lehigh Valley sports fans. During last Sunday’s USA vs. Portugal game, more than 13,000 soccer fans descended upon SteelStacks, and large crowds are expected to continue throughout the duration of SoccerFest.

Half-Marathon Training Week 8: It’s Getting Hot Out Here

Matt Burns after humid run

This is the look of a tired runner after slogging through the heat and humidity. Remember to get lots of fluids before, during and after.

I’ve finally managed to kick my training for the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) Via Half-Marathon into high gear now that I have my training plan from LVHN’s physical therapy director. If you’ve been following our posts, you’ll see that my colleague Alyssa Young also received a similar plan to follow for her first half-marathon.

As luck would have it, I decided to get serious about my training just as the summer heat hit us hard here in the Lehigh Valley. If you recall from last year, I really struggled through the high heat once it finally hit. I don’t think this year will be as much of a problem for me, considering that my mileage is way down from last year (having two toddlers will eat up that time, I suppose).

A new strategy I adopted is that I now try to do most of my running in the morning before work while it’s still relatively cool. This has its drawbacks. Namely my legs just don’t want to get moving early in the morning. With each morning run, I’m running negative splits (I’m faster at the end, than the beginning). I’m not complaining, it’s just not what I’m used to.

But, if you absolutely have to run in the heat and humidity, here’s some advice which I got from LVHN’s sports medicine folks that I blogged about last year. Read More »