The other night, a couple of us were reflecting on our last long run. 20 miles! We started out in a large group like we always do and within a mile or two, we ease into our comfortable pace and end up with our sub-groups. This is where you end up once you find your comfort zone and ease into your run.

So, in my sub group there were 5, including me. We have now been friends for a couple of years and are super comfortable with one another. We talk about everything from books to running stuff to personal issues and so on. There’s rarely a lull in our conversation.

We were doing great, taking the run pretty easy and just enjoying each other’s company. Around mile 14, i think our conversation was still going strong but we were also starting to feel a little bit of fatigue….AND we had just turned in the opposite direction of our “finish” so that was tough. By mile 16 or so, we were on Linden which is just a boring, wide open, mentally exhausting, and physically demanding road. Our conversation started to die down a good bit. Every now and then someone would strike up the conversation again but for the most part, we were starting to run in some silence. By mile 18 or so, there was little talking and more often the occasional curse word! S#@T!!! F#@K!!

To be perfectly honest, that was about all we could muster at one point or another. Occasionally someone would just yell out a word (or even worse, just mutter it under his / her breath 🙂 ) and we would just kind of giggle. Well, not that we were thinking about the research i discovered a few years ago, BUT we were definitely putting it to the test.

“Research,” you ask. Yes, according to NeuroReport (journal), research shows that swearing can be good for you when enduring pain.  A subject group submerged in icy water withstood the deep freeze for 30 % longer and felt roughly 50% less pain when cursing than those who said neutral words! What!? I happen to think this is awesome.

There’s more to it than “it just reduces pain.” Tiffany Sharples writes the following in her article, Bleep! My Finger! Why Swearing Helps Ease Pain : “…humans are hardwired to swear cathartically, says Steven Pinker, a Harvard psychologist and author of The Stuff of Thought, an exploration of the psychology of language. Pinker distinguishes cathartic cursing from using profanity descriptively, idiomatically, abusively or for emphasis, and points to similar behavior in animals that suggests its evolutionary roots. If you step on a dog or cat’s tail, it will let out a sharp yelp of pain, for example. “Swearing probably comes from a very primitive reflex that evolved in animals,” Pinker says. “In humans, our vocal tract has been hijacked by our language skills,” so instead of barking out a random sound, “we articulate our yelp with a word colored with negative emotion.” The part of the brain that accounts for the urge to swear — or yelp, in the case of animals — is deep within, suggesting its primitiveness. Studies of non-human primates show that vocalization is nearly always attributed to subcortical processes in the brain, in those regions that control primal, raw emotions, says Diana Van Lancker Sidtis, a professor of speech language pathology and audiology at New York University. In humans too, the urge to swear likely stems from primitive parts, but it is usually overridden by commands from the brain’s more complex cortex — the abundant gray matter on which humans rely for language and reason, among other sophisticated abilities. “We have intact frontal lobes, which inhibit these responses,” Sidtis explains. But in certain circumstances — either because we don’t bother to inhibit them or because the shock of pain or discomfort momentarily surpasses the safeguards — our impulse for obscenity takes over. “In that way, it’s like the dog when you step on his tail,” Sidtis says.”

Believe it works or not? I think it makes pretty good sense and, personally, i welcome any help i might get on these long runs 🙂

Scared to death

I’m assuming most of you heard about the recent death in the Chicago marathon…a young guy only a few minutes from the finish line. Unfortunately this was not the first death in a marathon nor will it be the last. This causes a lot of questions amongst the running communities and especially the non-running communities.

Did he die because he ran a marathon? Should he have not run the marathon? Are marathons dangerous?

I came across a great article today that I’d like to share:

“Don’t let deaths scare you off marathons” by Andre’ Picard

A 27-year-old man died on Sunday in the Toronto Marathon. A 35-year-old man died in the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9. A 32-year-old man died in the Montreal Marathon on Sept. 25. Three high-profile deaths by cardiac arrest in seemingly healthy men during mass-participation events in less than a month.

How long will it before there are calls to ban marathons or demands that participants undergo mandatory medical testing before they can run?

As tragic as these deaths are, a knee-jerk response to restrict these type of events would be a mistake. The solution, while counterintuitive, is to encourage a lot more people to lace ’em up and hit the streets. The benefits far outweigh the risks – regardless of the impression you may get from the newspaper headlines.
Those who think that marathons are deadly dangerous are grossly misinformed: They don’t understand statistics and science – or, at the very least, choose to not do so to reinforce their prejudices.

About 50,000 Canadians suffer heart attacks each year. Almost 40 per cent of them are fatal, meaning 20,000 deaths. On average, two marathoners a year die during races. Yet they garner more media attention that the other 20,000 or so deaths combined.

Put it down to the man-bites-dog syndrome: The media have a penchant for the unusual, particularly when it occurs in a public venue. Nobody is counting or cataloguing the La-Z-Boy deaths – the thousands of people who die while watching TV or another sedentary activity. The science is unequivocal: The sedentary – the 50 per cent plus of Canadians who barely move each day – are at greatest risk.

Being active – including running – dramatically decreases your risk of death, particularly from heart disease (which has just been edged out by cancer as the country’s No. 1 killer). People who are fit have 50 per cent fewer heart attacks than those who are sedentary. They also have a lower risk of stroke, diabetes, cancer and dementia. Being fit does not require feats of super-athleticism. It means upping your heart rate – maybe even working up a sweat – for 30 to 60 minutes a day. That’s the equivalent of running (or jogging slowly) about five kilometers for most people.

You don’t have to run a marathon to be fit. And you don’t have to be Kenyan-marathoner-thin to run either. More than 61 per cent of Canadians are overweight or obese and spectators at any big city race know that there are marathoners in those ranks.

But running – and more important training for a marathon – can make you fitter. It can even offset the risks of being overweight to a large extent. The research shows that more activity is better for your health. Those whose activity levels surpass the minimum recommended norms tend to have a healthier body weight, lower blood pressure and better cholesterol readings and, over all, they tend to eat better. (Never mind that many marathoners have a voracious appetite and a sweet tooth to boot.) Yes, runners get injured, but their bones are actually stronger and their injuries pale in comparison with those suffered by the obese and the frail.
There are intangibles as well. Marathon and half-marathon participation has exploded in recent years because running is the social activity of choice for many. It is no coincidence that the new runners are predominantly in their 30s and 40s – when the fat starts to accumulate around the middle and the prospect of hanging out in bars to make friends becomes overly depressing. Running is not about vanity, it is about being part of a community and being good to oneself.

Public policy should encourage Canadians to be active. Building running trails, bike paths and sidewalks is one of the best investments in health promotion we can make. So, too, is promoting marathons, bike tours, inline-skating races and whatnot – even if it does inconvenience car drivers occasionally. It would be a shame if the legions of Canadians who are joining running groups at the YMCA, the Running Room and countless other spots were misled into thinking that running is deadly. And it would be downright tragic to slap them with dissuasive measures such as pre-race screening or medical tests. Doing so would be expensive, intrusive and ineffective.

The reality is that about 95 per cent of those who die during marathons have underlying heart problems – either genetic or lifestyle-related. A surprisingly high number of people have heart abnormalities, but most are benign. Detection does not lessen the risk of death, except in some specific instances. As for the lifestyle-related problems – high blood pressure and high cholesterol – these conditions are commonplace and runners are no exception. Hey, that’s why a lot of them run in the first place. But predicting the risk of a heart attack during a specific activity is almost impossible.

Paradoxically, if you’re going to have a heart attack, a marathon is one of the best places to have one because paramedics and defibrillators are nearby. About 75 per cent of people whose heart stops at a race survive; in everyday life, it’s about 15 per cent.

Ultimately, runners and non-runners alike owe it to themselves to go beyond the headlines and retain the important data. Donald Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, examined records from marathons where there were 3.3 million participants over a 30-year period. There were 26 deaths. That’s a death rate of one in 126,000 – roughly the same as the death rate in the general population. Stated plainly, people die of heart disease, not running. (And, to repeat, being fit reduces the risk of heart disease substantially.)

It is well known that Jim Fixx, whose seminal work, The Complete Book of Running, is credited with sparking the running craze in the 1970s, died of a heart attack while running. Less well known is that he had an underlying heart condition. Doctors estimate that he would have died a decade earlier had he not been fit.
Mr. Fixx would no doubt be bemused by the current debate about the safety of marathons. But his philosophy still holds true today: “I don’t know if running adds years to your life, but it adds life to your years.”


Double Digits

Tomorrow is a huge day for the Half Marathon group….their first double-digit run!! This is so exciting. I think, no matter how long you’ve been running, this is one you never forget. You get yourself so worked up, go through the typical “oh no, what if i can’t do this?” thoughts, and then you get out there on the road and rule 11 miles!

I remember many of my milestone runs and they mean more to me than lots of other runs. There’s just something about getting out there and pushing past what you thought your limits once were. You just can’t help but feel proud. I remember my first 5 mile run like it was yesterday. I remember my first double-digit run with fond memories and even remember my first 20 miler with a smile.

Lots of other runs get forgotten but i have a feeling this is going to be one that is remembered for a long time. It’s more than exciting to see a group of people who thought, 3 months ago, that they couldn’t even run 1 mile. Look at them now; planning for their first 11 mile run!!

It’s amazing what the body can do if you get your mind to back it up! It’s certainly normal to be a little nervous but you’ve just gotta turn those nerves into excitement and use that extra adrenaline. I have complete faith in this great group and can’t wait to hear about their journey into the double digits!

Running Tips

Women’s Health magazine just posted their “101 Greatest Running Tips” and while I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, i thought they’re definitely worth sharing. of course, i have to put my 2 cents in too though 😉
1. Accept the challenge
”Everyone is an athlete. But some of us are training, and some of us are not.” –Dr. George Sheehan, runner/writer/philosopher
2. Shoot for this (at least)
”Running 8 to 15 miles per week significantly increases your aerobic capacity, and positively effects many of the coronary risk factors.” –Dr. Kenneth Cooper, aerobics pioneer
3. Be a minuteman
”The biggest mistake that new runners make is that they tend to think in mile increments–1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles. Beginning runners need to think in minutes, not miles.” –Budd Coates, four-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier/coach (i do believe this is great until you get past a certain point, then it’s important to make sure you’re covering the distance- they’re not going to shorten a race course for you so we better get used to the miles)
4. Wear good running shoes
”Spend at least $60. A good pair of running shoes should last you 400 to 500 miles and is one of the most critical purchases you will make.” –John Hanc, author of The Essential Runner (i think it’s silly to say that you have to spend $60- just make sure your shoes are the right shoes for you, regardless of the price)
5. Think big (and wide)
Buy all shoes, both street and running, slightly longer and wider than your bigger foot. Also, avoid pointed shoes. You’ll save yourself needless foot pain.” –Ted Corbitt, ultrarunner and 1952 Olympic marathoner
6. Take the “talk test”
”The ‘talk test’ means running at a pace comfortable enough to converse with a training partner–but not so easy that you could hit the high notes in an Italian opera.” –Runner’s World editors
7. Listen to the rumbling
”If you feel like eating, eat. Let your body tell you what it wants.” –Joan Samuelson, 1984 Olympic marathon champion
8. Relax to the max
”When running, let your jaw hang loose, don’t bunch up your shoulders close to your ears, and occasionally shake out your hands and arms to stay relaxed.” –Dave Martin, Ph.D., exercise physiologist (love this one! as the miles get longer, you’ll get more and more stiff so make a conscious effort to do a body check every few miles)
9. Don’t crush the egg
”Don’t clench your fists in a white-knuckle grip. Instead, run with a cupped hand, thumbs resting on the fingers, as if you were protecting an egg in each palm.” –Runner’s World editors
10. Make time for a quickie
”If 15 minutes is all the time I have, I still run. Fifteen minutes of running is better than not running at all.” –Dr. Duncan Macdonald, former U.S. record holder at 5000 (set when he was in medical school)
11. Follow Road Rule Number One
”Running against traffic allows the runner to be in command. Anyone who is alert and agile should be able to stay alive.” –Dr. George Sheehan (y’all know what a pet peeve this is of mine! please don’t run with traffic at your back unless you absolutely cannot avoid it….which is going to be rare)
12. Try a “nooner”
”Noontime running provides a triple benefit: daylight, a break from the workday, and a chance to avoid eating a heavy lunch.” –Joe Henderson, runner/writer
13. Warm up, then stretch
”Try some light jogging or walking before you stretch, or stretch after you run. Stretching ‘cold’ muscles can cause more harm than good.” –Runner’s World editors (although you should never stretch a cold muscle, you CAN roll a cold muscle (the foam roller will warm the muscles) )
14. Stay “liquid”
”Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! In cold weather and warm. We use water to sweat, lubricate joints, tendons, and ligaments, and to carry blood efficiently to major organs. I work all day at hydrating.” –Dr. Alex Ratelle, former masters running great (we all get bad about this as the weather cools; get on a hydration schedule so that you’re not waiting until it’s too late)
15. …But be moderate
”Is beer good for runners? Sure…if it’s the other guy drinking it.” –Jim Fixx, author of the running bestseller, The Complete Book of Running (a lot of runners like to have a beer the night before a race because of the carbs; just limit your intake or you will end up dehydrated)
16. Listen up!
”You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance, but not through pain.” –Dr. George Sheehan (annoyance and pain are quite different. pay attention to your body and decide which it is. running can often be uncomfortable but not necessarily painful)
17. Create your own running creed
”My whole teaching in one sentence is: “Run slowly, run daily, drink moderately, and don’t eat like a pig.” –Dr. Ernst van Aaken, renowned German coach (you know i love mantra’s and power words!)
18. Come ready to play
”Fitness has to be fun. If it isn’t, there will be no fitness. Play is the process. Fitness is merely the product.” –Dr. George Sheehan
Basic Training
19. Take what you can get
”So-called ‘junk miles’–those slow miles done on easy days or during warmups–do count. They burn calories as effectively as fast miles; it just takes longer. Regardless of pace, each mile you run burns about 100 calories.” –Hal Higdon, runner/writer/coach
20. Learn from your mistakes
”You find out by trial and error what the optimum level of training is. If I found I was training too hard, I would drop back for a day or so. I didn’t run for 5 days before the sub-4.” –Sir Roger Bannister, first man to break 4 minutes for the mile in 1954
21. Dare to be different (but not dumb)
”In training, don’t be afraid to be an oddball, eccentric, or extremist. Only by daring to go against tradition can new ways of training be learned. The trick is recognizing quickly when a new approach is counterproductive.” –Benji Durden, 1980 U.S. Olympic marathoner
22. Reach for fast, low-fat fuel
”Energy bars are good portable food for runners. Look for bars with 4 grams of fat or fewer per 230 calories. Fat slows down digestion.” –Liz Applegate, Ph.D., sports nutritionist
23. Go for the goal
”I believe in using races as motivators. It’s hard to keep on an exercise program if you don’t have a significant goal in sight.” –Bob Greene, personal trainer of Oprah Winfrey
24. Think big…but carry a small eraser
”Brainstorm your training goals first, then write them down. Do this in pencil, so you can change some specifics when reality sets in.” –Jeff Galloway, Olympic runner/author/coach ( i absolutely believe everyone should have an “A” goal and “B” goal. don’t set either goal too easy though- that’s selling yourself short. it you don’t meet either goal, that just gives you reason to get out there and try again.)
25. Show some horse sense
”During long, slow distance training, you should think of yourself as a thoroughbred disguised as a plow horse. No need to give yourself away by running fast.” –Marty Liquori, running commentator and former world-class miler
26. Build with care
”If you put down a good solid foundation, you can then build one room after another and pretty soon you have a house. After your base mileage, add hills, pace work, speedwork, and finally race strategy.” –Rod Dixon, New Zealand Olympian and 1983 New York City Marathon champ (this is why we progress into our miles as well as our speed- we’re building a base before we can sharpen these skills)
27. Look at the big picture
”Whether one shall run on his heels or his toes is hardly worth discussing. The main thing in distance running is endurance–and how to get it.” –Clarence DeMar, seven-time Boston Marathon champion and U.S. Olympic marathoner
28. Toss out the clutter
”Throw away your 10-function chronometer, heart-rate monitor with the computer printout, training log, high-tech underwear, pace charts, and laboratory-rat-tested-air-injected-gel-lined-mo-tion-control-top-of-the-line footwear. Run with your own imagination.” –Lorraine Moller, 1992 Olympic marathon bronze medalist (there’s something to be said for running without all this crap but there’s certainly something to be said for running with it too. i remember the days when i ran in all cotton and boy, am i grateful for high tech gear)
29. Listen to your body (yes, again!)
”Your body is always trying to tell you where you are. Beware when you become tired and listless, when you lose interest in workouts and approach them as a chore rather than a pleasure.” –Dr. George Sheehan
30. Go steady
”Day to day consistency is more important than big mileage. Then you’re never shot the next day.” –John Campbell, former masters running star from New Zealand
31. Find the right proportion
”If you run 30 miles a week, then about 7 of those–or approximately one-quarter–should be quality miles. Quality miles will boost your aerobic capacity.” –Owen Anderson, Ph.D., running writer
32. Stay above bored
”A 40-minute run punctuated with a half-dozen 30-second pace pickups (not all-out sprints) can really jazz up an otherwise boring training run.” –Amby Burfoot, Runner’s World editor and 1968 Boston Marathon champ
33. Be a “cross-eater”
”Like cross-training, ‘cross-eating’ adds needed variety to your diet–and life. Expand your nutritional repertoire by trying one new food each week.” –Liz Applegate, Ph.D.
34. Ease it back
”After a run, don’t rush back into life. Take a few minutes to walk, stretch, relax, meditate.” –Runner’s World editor (remember, your long run isn’t over until you’ve properly fueled)
35. Don’t force the tissue
”Overly aggressive stretching can actually increase your injury risk.” –Tim Noakes, M.D., author of Lore of Running
Advanced Training
36. Think globally, act locally
”We wrote our workout schedules in 3-week blocks. My coach and I knew what my immediate goal was–what I was trying to accomplish in the next 3 weeks. But in the back of my mind was the ultimate goal: what I wanted to do months away.” –Bob Kennedy, U.S. record holder for 5000 meters
37. Go with mind over grind
”Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is doing the training that makes you gradually stronger.” –Keith Brantly, U.S. Olympic marathoner
38. Have fun on your easy runs
”I make sure I have some really enjoyable training runs, remembering to ‘smell the roses’ along the way. That way I don’t become caught up in the training-is-everything syndrome.” –Sue Stricklin, top masters runner from the 1970s
39. Have fun on your hard runs
”Do tough workouts that you enjoy. Mile repeats and quarters are more fun for me than fartlek. [“Fartlek” is Swedish for variable-paced, up-tempo running.] I feel better about my running when I do the workouts I enjoy and that I know I benefit from.” –Dan Cloeter, two-time Chicago Marathon winner (fartleks are extremely beneficial and can be a lot more fun than quarter repeats at the track- there’s certainly a place for each)
40. Stay open-minded
”When you try a new type of training, think like a beginner. Just because you can run 20 miles every Sunday doesn’t mean you can survive 10 x 400 meters on the track at a fast pace.” –Jack Daniels, Ph.D., exercise physiologist, coach, and former world-class pentathlete
41. Be a smart camel 
”Before you do your long run, place containers of sports drink out on your course, even if you have to bury them.” –Runner’s World editors
42. Work on your growl 
The long run puts the tiger in the cat.” –Bill Squires, marathon coach
43. Don’t always watch the watch
”I don’t wear a watch during my long runs. That way I’m not tempted to compare my time from week to week.” –Lynn Jennings, three-time World Cross-Country champion
44. Rest assured
”Back off at the first sign of injury. Three to 5 days off is better than missing a month or two. Take regular rest days.” –PattiSue Plumer, two-time U.S. Olympian
45. Divide and conquer
”Pick one thing each year that you need to improve, and work on that. It might be improving your diet, getting more sleep, or increasing your mileage. You can’t work on everything at once.” –Bob Kennedy
Hill Running
46. Join the resistance
”Hills are the only beneficial type of resistance training for a runner.” –Arthur Lydiard, Olympic coach from New Zealand (hills are one of the best types of resistance training but they are certainly not the only beneficial type)
47. “Chip” away at it
”Think chest/hips/push, or CHP, when it’s time for uphill running. Chest up, hips forward, push strongly off each foot.” –Jeff Galloway (great tip!! most people lean forward on an uphill and this cuts off your airway. remember to stay tall and think of the hill as a set of steps you’re going up- higher knees and tall chest)
48. Adapt–or weaken
”Running hills breaks up your rhythm and forces your muscles to adapt to new stresses. The result? You become stronger.” –Eamonn Coghlan, Irish Olympian and only 40-year-old to break 4 minutes in the mile
49. Up the ante
”Move into a hill session gradually, running the first few repeats moderately and increasing the effort as you go along.” –Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic Marathon Champion
50. Avoid the downside
”The advantage of running /hills’ on a treadmill is you can go up without pounding down the other side.” –Ken Sparks, Ph.D.
51. Ramp it up
”If you live in the flatlands, you’ll have to be creative about hill training. Deserted highway ramps or parking garages are possibilities, though they pose obvious safety problems. You may want to invest in a treadmill.” –Bob Glover, runner/author/coach
52. Grab hold of the rope
”If you’re laboring up a steep hill, imagine that a towrope is attached to the center of your chest, pulling you steadily toward the top.” –Jeff Galloway
53. Lean into it
”When going down, I lean with the hill. I know I’m doing it right if I feel like I’m going to fall on my face.” –Ed Eyestone, RW columnist, coach, and two-time U.S. Olympic marathoner
54. Save something for the summit…
”Don’t attack a hill from the very bottom–it’s bigger than you are!” –Harry Groves, renowned Penn State coach
55. …Then take off!
”I’ve always found it effective in a race to make a move just before the crest of a hill. You get away just a little, and you’re gone before they get over the top.” –John Treacy, two-time World Cross-Country champion from Ireland
Speed Training and Racing
56. Make the switch
”The difference between a jogger and a runner is a race-entry blank.” –Dr. George Sheehan
57. Get up to speed
”Three half-mile repeats on the track at 5-K race pace with a short recovery jog in between shouldn’t scare anyone away–and it will improve your speed.” –Frank Shorter
58. Just “Q” it
”Quality counts, if you want to stay fast. Don’t do all your workouts in the comfort zone.” –Ken Sparks, Ph.D., top masters marathoner
59. Stay in control
”Run your own race at an even pace. Consider the course, the temperature, the weather, and most importantly, your current level of fitness.” –Marty Liquori
60. Be flexible (or else)
”The idea that you can’t lose contact with the leaders has cut more throats than it has saved.” –Arthur Lydiard
61. Make a pass
”Passing competitors always gives you a lift. It probably has a physical effect, too, because you get a surge of adrenaline.” –Libbie Hickman, world-class marathoner
62. Get over it
”If you have a bad workout or run a bad race, allow yourself exactly 1 hour to stew about it–then move on.” –Steve Scott, coach and U.S. record holder in the mile (everyone is going to have a bad run at some point in training or racing. mourn it and move on. i believe it’s the bad runs that make the good runs so great)
63. Be patient
”Expect to put in 6 to 10 successful track workouts before you begin to see some payoff in your races.” –Marc Bloom, runner/writer/coach
64. Keep your finger on the pulse
”If your morning pulse rate is up 10 or more beats above your average, then you haven’t recovered from the previous day’s training. Take time off or back off until it returns to normal.” –Dr. George Sheehan
65. Mix it up
”Fartlek training can help you build strength and endurance, learn race pace, and practice race tactics all in a single workout.” –Bill Dellinger, former University of Oregon coach and 1964 Olympic 5000 bronze medal winner
66. Tie the knot
”I double-knot my shoe laces. It’s a pain untying your shoes afterward–particularly if you get them wet–but so is stopping in the middle of a race to tie them.” –Hal Higdon
67. Observe certain rituals
”Once you find a warmup routine that works, repeat it as habitually as possible.”–Ted Corbitt
68. Warm up, don’t wear down
”At most, jog easily for 15 minutes before a race. Then stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and lower back. With about 15 minutes to go, maybe do a few strides. But no more–you’ll warm up plenty in the early going.” –Mark Plaatjes, 1993 World Championships marathon winner
69. Wear the right pair
”Feather-light racing flats might help you run a faster 5-K, but lightweight performance trainers (with better protection and cushioning) are a better choice for most runners, especially in longer races.” –Bob Wischnia and Paul Carrozza, Runner’s World shoe experts
70. Finish it off
”To develop your kick, finish each repetition faster than you begin it. For example, if you’re running 6 x 400 meters on the track, start off at a steady, controlled pace, then subtly shift gears in the last 100 or 200 meters.” –Robert Vaughan, Ph.D., coach and exercise physiologist
71. Stay on pace
”It’s better to run too slow at the start than too fast and get into oxygen debt, which is what 99.9 percent of runners do. You have to learn pace.” –Bill Bowerman, renowned University of Oregon coach (read this one again!)
72. Don’t dodge the draft
”Occasionally pick up speed–for 2 minutes, tops–then settle back into your former pace. Sometimes this is all you need to snap out of a mental and physical funk. Pick a downhill stretch if you can, and really lengthen your stride.” –Mark Plaatjes
73. Snap out of it
”Occasionally pick up speed–for 2 minutes, tops–then settle back into your former pace. Sometimes this is all you need to snap out of a mental and physical funk. Pick a downhill stretch if you can, and really lengthen your stride.” –Mark Plaatjes
74. Go minimalist
”Marathon training doesn’t have to be a grind. By running for about 30 minutes two times a week, and by gradually increasing the length of a third weekly run–the long run–anyone can finish a marathon.” –Jeff Galloway
75. Step back a bit
”Build up your mileage in gradual increments, but every third or fourth week, drop back in mileage to recover. This will help you avoid your breaking point.” –Lee Fidler, coach and two-time U.S. Olympic Marathon qualifier
76. Don’t push it…
”In marathon training, 3 hours slow is better than 2 hours fast.” –Pete Gavuzzi, coach of four-time Boston Marathon champ Gerard Cote
77. …And enough is enough
”Never run more than 3 hours straight in training, whether your marathon best is 2:42 or 4:24.” –Ed Eyestone (COMPLETELY disagree. if you run 3 hours max in training, your body is in no way prepared for 4 hours, much less any more)
78. Be vigilant
”During the hard training phase, never be afraid to take a day off. If your legs are feeling unduly stiff and sore, rest. If you’re at all sluggish, rest. Whenever you’re in doubt, rest.” –Bruce Fordyce, nine-time Comrades Marathon champion from South Africa
79. Pamper your muscles
”When I’m training for a marathon, I soak in a hot tub every day, and get a weekly massage.” –Anne Marie Lauck, two-time Olympian
80. Try winning combinations
”I include iron with vitamin C in my diet to prevent anemia. Without it, I wouldn’t have the energy I need to train.” –Joy Smith, 2:34 marathoner
81. Know when it’s show time
”Just remember this: Nobody ever won the olive wreath with an impressive training diary.” –Marty Liquori
82. Taper on time
”The key step between a great training program and a great race is a great taper. Your last long training run before a marathon should come 3 weeks before the race–not 2.” –Pete Pfitzinger, two-time U.S. Olympic marathoner
83. Wait for the weights
”If you strength train, shelve your routine about a month before your marathon, to help you feel fresh on the big day.” –Steve Spence, 1991 World Championships Marathon bronze medallist
84. Hone in on the range
”Rather than going into a marathon with just one goal–such as finishing in a very specific time–develop a range of goals so that you increase your chances of success.” –Jerry Lynch, Ph.D., marathoner
85. The Total Runner: Don’t be in a rush
”Thanks to the race-day adrenaline rush, any pace will feel easier than normal. So make a conscious effort to hold back in the early miles.” –Lorraine Moller
86. Divide by three
”Divide the marathon into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.” –Mike Fanelli, runner and coac
87. Walk before you crawl
”When using the run-walk method to finish a marathon, the most important walk break comes in the first mile. The second most important one comes in the second mile, and so on. The point is, walk before you become fatigued.” –Jeff Galloway
88. Be a little shady
”Squinting intently requires more energy than you can spare over 26.2 miles. So if it’s sunny or you’re allergic to dust or pollen, wear sunglasses.” –Kim Jones, world-class masters marathoner
89. Save up
”To be effective over the last 6 miles of a marathon, one must harbor some sort of emotional as well as physical reserves.” –Kenny Moore, writer and two-time U.S. Olympic marathoner
90. Forget about it!
”You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.” –Frank Shorter
Finish Lines
91. Find a cheerleader
”The primary reason to have a coach is to have someone who says: ‘Hey, you’re looking good today!'” –Jack Daniels, Ph.D
92. Be a copy cat
”Visualizing perfect running form will help you stay relaxed. Visualize before the race. Then, once you’re in the race, pick out someone who’s looking good and running relaxed. This will help you do the same.” –Gayle Barron, 1978 Boston Marathon champion
93. Don’t overthink it
”In running I go by the axiom that my coach Jumbo Elliott of Villanova used: KISS–Keep It Simple, Stupid.” –Marty Liquori
94. Take baby steps
”You can’t climb up to the second floor without a ladder. When you set your goal too high and don’t fulfill it, your enthusiasm turns to bitterness. Try for a goal that’s reasonable, and then gradually raise it.” –Emil Zatopek, four-time Olympic gold medalist from Czechoslavakia
95. Muster your mental might
”Keep working on mental attitude. You have to fight that supposedly rational voice that says: ‘I’m 50 years old, and I don’t have to be doing this anymore.'” –Ken Sparks, Ph.D.
96. Train with someone…
”It may seem odd to hear a coach say this, but I think a really great training partner is more important than a coach.” –Joan Nesbit, coach and world-class runner
97. …Anyone…
”Never underestimate the value of a good training partner, even if it’s your dog. Training allies will get you out the door on those days when exercise might otherwise be reduced to a finger on the remote control button.” –Runner’s World editors
98. …But sometimes go solo
”The day after a hard workout, I always train alone. If you run with someone else, there can be a tendency to push harder than you should.” –Mark Allen, former Ironman champion
99. Find a reason why
”We run to undo the damage we’ve done to body and spirit. We run to find some part of ourselves yet undiscovered.” –John “The Penguin” Bingham
100. Feel the magic…
”For me, running is a lifestyle and an art. I’m far more interested in the magic of it than the mechanics.” –Lorraine Moller
101….But do what you must do
”If one can stick to training throughout many long years, then willpower is no longer a problem. It’s raining? That doesn’t matter. I’m tired? That’s beside the point. It’s simply that I have to.” –Emil Zatopek
Hopefully you enjoyed this and got at least 1 take-away from it. Happy running 🙂

Carb lovin’

There’s nothing better than training for a long race and being able to splurge a little more than usual on our pastas and pizzas. Most people have heard of “carb loading” and think that training for a race gives them license to eat every carb in sight. Although that’s not really the case, it is important to make sure you’re not skimping on the carbs.

Carbs are crucial for energy which means they’re crucial for our runs. A quick science lesson: carbs fill your liver with glycogen which then produces ATP which is basically a battery for your body. Without carbs you have no glycogen which means you have no ATP which means you have no battery. Got it? Of course, you want to make sure these are the right kinds of carbs- the kind that come from fruits, veggies, and whole grains; not the kind that come from candy, cokes, and white flours.

So, does this mean you can skimp on carbs all week and just eat them right before the run? No! Your body is constantly at work and if you’re already depleted, it’s just going to take longer to get it back to where you need it. A runner’s diet should consist of about 60-70% of carbs on a continual basis.

How does this translate to you and where we are in the training schedule? All of our long runs are on Saturday morning, the Full and Half Marathon groups, so everyone should make sure they eat a dinner on Friday night that consists of carbs. If you eat salmon and a salad you’re already getting yourself behind. Like I said before though, don’t eat more than you normally would, just make sure that about 70% of your meal is a healthy carb. This will allow your body to start processing the carbs and will help to top of your glycogen tank (“fuel tank”). As you sleep you burn calories and carbs (yes, you do!!) so you’ll need to top the tank off again. How do you do this? With carbs, of course 🙂

What do i do? I usually always have pizza on friday nights. Pizza is a great carb and i find that it works well for me. If i don’t have the choice of pizza, i’m still sure to get some carbs. If i am unable to do this for whatever reason, i’ll be sure to have a small amount of carb before i go to bed, either my sports drink or some easy mac. Note: i only go for the easy mac if i have a run longer than 15 miles or so!! Otherwise, i would live on easy mac at 10pm on friday nights!

About 80% of this pre-run meal should come from carbs. You can also have a protein and healthy fat but these are much harder to digest so it could impair your running performance if you eat too much. The amount you eat is dependent upon how early you wake up to eat but, no matter what, you do need to eat. It’s good to play around with what works for you. You’re probably going to be able to stomach 200-400 calories as long as it’s not right before the run.

What do i do? I pretty much always have a whole grain english muffin with peanut butter. so, for a 6 am run, i get up at 4:45, walk straight downstairs, make breakfast, and eat while i’m on the roller. That leaves me time to get ready for the run after i’ve eaten and gives my food some time to digest. The peanut butter works fine for me because i don’t use very much. Some people love bananas and bagels before a run so find what works for you.

On to the run! I KNOW it can be a little disconcerting to take in calories while you’re also trying to get rid of calories but you have to stop thinking of it that way!! Stop now! Would you rather burn 700 calories, have no steam, progressively slow down on the run, and end up so sore and tired that you have to stay in bed all weekend or would you rather burn 450 calories, have an awesome run, remain energetic, and feel up for whatever after the run?! Come on, go with the 450! The only way for this to happen is to make sure you’re not depleting your body of all its energy. Studies have shown that the body starts to deplete itself of glycogen with as few as 60 minutes of running so we want to make sure we are constantly topping off the tank so this doesn’t happen to us.

It will vary depending on the person and on the distance you’re doing that day so the general rule of thumb for Half Marathoners is 100-250 calories per hour and for Full Marathoners is 200-400 calories per hour. The smaller the person, the less calories needed. The longer the run, the more calories you’ll need. Sounds easy enough, right? Probably not. Now you have to figure out when to take it, how to take it, what to take, how to carry it, and so on. First, choose what it is that you think you want to use (you’re probably going to want to try several different things over the next couple of weeks and see what you like). Look at that and see how many calories are in it. More than likely, it’s going to be a sports gel or bean that you’ve chosen so the carb to calorie breakdown is already figured out and you can just focus on the calorie count. Now you can figure out how many you need to take with you for your run. Next, come up with a fueling schedule that you will follow during the run.

What do i do? It’s going to be different depending on the run. For a 7 mile run, i will sip on water every 10 minutes until mile 4. At mile 4, i will eat 1 bag of Honey Stingers (just happens to be what i like). Note: i am eating the whole bag (160 calories), not just 1 chew!! Those of you that are eating one chew or bean may as well just stick it in your ear instead 🙂 I will continue to drink water every 10 minutes until the run is over. For a 9 mile run, i will most likely start with water every 10 minutes, have some gu chomps or Honey Stingers at mile 4 and 8, while also sipping water the whole time. On a 13 mile run, i pretty much stick to the same schedule- fuel every 4 miles BUT i always take 1 extra pack in case i feel like i need more than i planned for. On a run that is 13 miles or more, i add in some Accelerade in 2 of my bottles and alternate this with my water as well as all my goodies.

from an old post:

things to note:
1. 1.if you’re using a sports drink AND sports gels, you must wash your gels / beans down with water, not your sports drink.  otherwise you’re taking in too many carbs at once and you’re going to end up with an upset stomach.  that’s why i like my 4 bottle belt- i put Accelerade in 2 of the bottles and water in 2 of the bottles.
2. 2.if you’re not using a sports drink and are only using water, you must look at the carbs, calories, and electrolytes on whatever food your using and make sure it’s enough.  you’ll probably need to take in more gels than you’re expecting.
3. 3.if you only have 1 bottle and you want sports drink, make sure you’re able to get water somewhere along the course to wash down the fuel.  you’ll need to wash down your “food” with water for 10-20 minutes before drinking a sports drink.

Lastly, fueling after the run.  You are not done with your long run until you have properly fueled.  After a long run it is key that you rehydrate, replenish muscle glycogen, reduce secondary muscle damage, rebuild muscle protein, and replenish muscle fat stores- the quicker you do this, the faster and more thoroughly you will recover.  Exercise related muscle damage can continue after you finish exercising unless you quickly consume carbs and protein to lower cortisol levels and initiate muscle protein rebuilding.  Rehydrating with plain water is not going to be enough!  You’ll need a carb and protein along with some electrolytes (especially if you have sweated a lot) within about 30 minutes.  This will help keep you injury free and, believe it or not, will keep you from gorging on bad foods later in the day.  Think of it as medicine for your muscles that you have to take before you eat something.  *I drink a muscle milk after all long runs before my shower.  I then shower and have time to concentrate and make (or get) a somewhat healthy meal.  Again, you do NOT have to do as i do but this is just giving you an idea of a way to refuel.

Here’s a study i’d like to share:
This was published in the Journal of Physiology.  Subjects were given a carb-protein supplement either immediately after exercise or 2 hours later while participating in a 12 week strength training program.  The subject receiving the carb-protein mix immediately after exercise has a muscle size increase of 8% and strength improvement of 15%.  Those who got it 2 hours later had no improvement.  For runners, this would serve the same purpose of preserving muscle after long runs.  (and NO, you’re not going to “bulk up” by doing this!!)

One more thing, you may be wondering why i choose Accelerade as my sports drink.  At the time i started using it, it was one of the only sports drink with a whey protein.  There was a study done that showed that athletes who used a carb-protein sports drink during a workout lasted 40% longer in workouts than those who used a carb only drink.  I have nothing to compare it to but i do know i’m willing to take some help anywhere i can get it 🙂  You definitely want to make sure your sports drink has electrolytes- sodium, potassium, and magnesium- this is the stuff you’re sweating out when you think it’s just water.

Again, these are tools for you to use to determine what works best for you.  I don’t know if you’re going to do well with an Ensure before a workout or a bagel but i do know that if you’re not fueling properly before, during, and after the long runs, you’re going to suffer.

Here’s to energetic running 🙂