Archive for the ‘Marathon Training’ Category
Traveling for a race can be very exciting. Especially if it’s a destination you’ve never traveled to. Hitting the road for an event can also add extra stress, which will effect your performance. Follow these tips on how to have a successful race while on the road.
Scout out different hotels that are near your event’s starting line. There may be a lot of traffic on race day, it’s best to book a hotel that is walking distance to the beginning of your race. This one convenience can make a big difference in your stress level on race day. Make the morning of your race as easy as possible by reserving a room close to the start.
2. Arrive Early
Plan to arrive at your destination more than a day early. You want as much time to get settled as possible before your race. Anything can happen when traveling, lost luggage, flight delays or missing a flight. Give yourself an extra day to make dealing with these travel obstacles a lot easier. You don’t want to feel rushed on the day before your event. You work so hard to train, you should be as relaxed as possible the day before your run.
3. Research The Area
Take some time to check out the city you are staying in. We have so much information at our fingertips these days, use the internet to your advantage. You are likely to find helpful reviews on places to eat before your race. Learn from other visitors’ experiences to make the most out of your stay. Be sure to look into your hotel’s breakfast hours and what they serve. You will most likely be getting up very early for your event, make sure you will have access to the food you normally eat before your run.
4. Review The Route
Most races provide a map and elevation chart on their website. Get to know where the hills and tough spots of the route may be. If you are someone that likes to know every inch of the course then study the race map and read other runner’s reviews on the race. Many times past participants will give specific tips on the best and worst parts of the course, which can be extremely helpful.
Destination races are a great experience. Make sure to take some extra steps to make your race-cation a successful one!
You’re alarm goes off in the morning and you immediately start debating whether you should actually get out of bed to get your run in or take an extra hour of sleep. While the extra sleep may sound very tempting, here are 5 reasons why you should get out of bed and hit the pavement.
1. Perfect Weather Conditions
In the summer months the weather can get very hot and humid as the day goes on. Even if you do manage to get through a 90 degree run in the middle of the day, you will not perform as well as you would have in the cool hours of the morning. It’s easier to stay hydrated in cooler weather as well. You won’t sweat as much as you would in hot and humid conditions.
2. See The Sunrise
One of my favorite things about running early in the morning is watching the sunrise. You will feel so awake by the end of your run. Starting out in the dark and finishing your run as the sun is coming out is a beautiful way to start off your day.
3. Enjoy The Rest Of Your Day
Exercising in the morning means you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. You can focus on the other activities that occur through out your day. There is no worry in the back of your mind that you won’t be able to fit in your scheduled run because of traffic, making dinner or any other chores you have to get done. It’s one less thing to worry about.
4. Less Traffic
Depending on where your route is, the morning may be the safest time for you to run. There are less cars on the road before sunrise giving you a safer run. Be sure to wear light or reflective clothing on your early morning runs so the cars that are on the road can see you clearly.
5. Peaceful Running
The hours before sunrise are often very quiet. If you are someone who runs without any music this is a great advantage for you. Some of us enjoy running because it quiets our minds. You can focus on your breathing or listen to your feet hitting the pavement. Early morning is the best time to enjoy a quiet peaceful run.
When your alarm goes off tomorrow morning remember all of the great things that a morning run has to offer and get out of bed!
Photo Credit: http://www.fitsugar.com
Do you find yourself stressed the morning of a road race? Follow this checklist to ensure a cool and confident start to your event.
1. Set Two Alarms
You want to make sure you get up on time the day of your race. Don’t rely on one alarm clock. Place one next to your bed and one across the room so you have to get up to shut the second one off. When you wake up on schedule you give yourself the advantage of taking your time, instead of rushing around the house.
2. Eat Breakfast
Never skip this important meal. Eat 60-90 minutes before you leave your house. For endurance races have a meal that is 40% Fat/30% Protein/30% Carbohydrate. With these nutrient proportions you will be properly fueled for your event. Take your time eating and have at least one glass of water with your meal to start hydrating.
3. Stick To What You Know
Race day is never the time to try something new. Wear your usual running gear, try out your breakfast before the day of your event. Never grab something from a re-fueling stand during the race unless it is a product or food you have had before while running.
4. Stock Up
Don’t rely on the race to supply water, Gu, Shot Blocks, etc.. If these are products you normally use during a run then bring them with you on race day. Chances are there will be stations with water and Gu during the race, but you don’t want to take that risk. Try out different products for carrying your supplies. There are lots of fuel belts on the market, find one that works for you.
5. Wear Sunscreen
Avoid ending the race with a sunburn. Even if the weather seems mild when you start the sun can get stronger as the race goes on, depending on your event. The pavement when your running is a magnet for the hot sun, don’t leave your skin unprotected.
6. Leave Your Home Early
- You may hit traffic, or there can be a long line of cars waiting to get into the parking area, depending on the size of the event.
- If you have to hit the bathroom, chances are there will be a line about 10 people deep, no matter how many port-a-potties there are.
- The start line can be a long walk from the parking area of a race.
Be prepared for these situations by showing up early.
7. Pick a Meeting Point
Designate an area where you will meet other runners, your family or friends after the race. Do this ahead of time so you’re not rushing around before the race trying to get the message to everyone. You don’t want to be worrying about having to search for your friends, while you’re trying to concentrate on your run. Pick a specific area to make meeting up after the race easy.
Take these seven simple precautions to make the day of your event as relaxing as possible.
Photo Credit: www.kellybennett.com
I have been running in the Nike Frees for over a year and they are by far my favorite running sneaker.
I have logged many miles in the Nike Frees including training for and completing the 2010 Chicago Marathon. I’ve ran in a variety of running sneakers through the years including Adidas, Saucony, Asics, New Balance, Brooks and now Nikes. My search ends here with the Nike Free and here’s why.
The sole of this sneaker is very flexible. The shoe forms to your foot and allows for a natural running stride. There is minimal time to break in this sneaker because they do not start off stiff like most running shoes. I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon in a pair of Brooks sneakers that were recommended to me. The shoes were heavy and I felt like I had bricks on my feet. I appreciate the flexibility that the Nike Free allows.
There is minimal cushion in the Nike Free. The less cushion you have in your sneaker the more you decrease the risk of developing an overuse injury. With minimal padding in your sneaker you learn to land softer on your feet, which lessens the impact on your ankle, knee and hip joints. I use to run very heavy on my feet, you could hear me stomping on the treadmill a mile away. Now, I’ve learned to land softer, which has been less stress on the joints in my legs. The muscles in your foot will also get stronger which enables you to support your legs more efficiently.
A good pair of running sneakers traditionally run from $100.00-$200.00. The Nike Free costs about $85.00, depending on where you shop. If you are logging a lot of mileage buying running sneakers can get expensive. There is a good price difference between these sneakers and other top running shoes.
The Nike Free comes in multiple colors and styles. There are different levels of cushioning for those runners that want to break into this style of shoe gradually. Nike currently offers the 7.0 which has the most cushion, the Free Run Plus is the next step down and the 3.0 has the least cushion of all three. Nike comes out with new colors for this shoe every few months. You can even customize your own on the Nike website.
I’ve had clients that were recommended orthotics and motion control sneakers that ended up with knee pain and were unable to run. When they tried running in the Nike Free they had no pain in their knees and were able to train for and complete a half marathon.
Over the past year I’ve recommended this shoe to many of my clients that are runners. 90% of the time the Nike Free has been the perfect fit.
Photo Credit: eplaya.burningman.com
Training for a Marathon? Here are 5 common issues endurance runners come across, and simple ways to avoid them.
1. Sour Stomach
This is one of the most common issues that can happen on a long run or any run for that matter. Stomach discomfort can be prevented by paying attention to your diet. The night before a long run, eat a meal that is 40% Fat/30% Protein/30% Carbohydrate. Be sure not to eat too late at night as well. The next morning eat a breakfast with the same proportions and give yourself at least one hour to digest before you head out to run.
Quick Fix: Take a break and hit the nearest gas station. Most places are good about letting runners use their bathrooms.
Runners can be prone to cramping in their stomach and/or legs. Take these three precautions to prevent cramps.
- The day before your run drink plenty of water and limit drinks that cause dehydration (coffee, soda, alcohol).
- Use a foam roller daily to help work out any tightness in your legs.
- Get a massage every couple of weeks
Quick Fix: Slowly come to a stop and stretch until you feel relief in the tight area. Start back again at a slower pace and try to calm your breathing.
Running the same streets every week can get tedious. Make sure you switch up your running routes so you don’t get bored. Use a running website to map out your runs such as fivi.com. Step out of your comfort zone and try a new path, the variety will keep you awake and engaged in your run.
Quick Fix: Take your mind somewhere else. Visualize crossing the finish line at your race or make a to-do list for your week. Some of your best ideas can come to you during a run.
4. Low Energy Level/Dizziness
Poor fueling will cause you to have a low energy level and this will effect how your run goes. Depending on the length of your run, using Gu can be very beneficial for your energy. Use one Gu packet every 40-45:00 for the most efficient results. If you wait until you’re feeling tired then it’s already too late to get the most benefits out of your Gu. Also, be sure to get enough sleep the night before your long run.
Quick Fix: Stop at the nearest convenient store and pick up something with sugar. If they don’t have Gu, grab some sport jelly beans.
5. Wardrobe Malfunction
Comfortable clothing is key when you’re hitting the streets for hours at a time. If you are uncomfortably dressed, that is bound to be a distraction. Avoid discomfort caused by clothing by trying your running outfit on a shorter run like 3-5 miles. It’s too hard to tell how your clothes will feel during a run by just trying them on in a store. Make sure you to test it out before your longer runs.
Quick Fix: If you’re stuck with multiple layers that are causing discomfort, shed something. You can always drive back and pick up the clothing item(s) you dropped.
Long runs are the time to work out these kinks that can happen on race day. If you experience one of these running issues, pay attention to what you did leading up to your long run. Learn from your mistakes and you will be much better off on the day of your event.
Photo Credit: http://thedynamiclife.wordpress.com
I couldn’t help but think of my Physical Education students when I read the Times Article “Skip the Stretch Before Running — It Doesn’t Prevent Injuries”¹ The article states that through a recent study, static stretching before a run did not decrease your chance in injury. I spent the first 3 months of my P.E. Teaching career explaining this concept to my students, especially the older ones.
The children that I teach had been use to their routine of coming into the gym, performing static stretches, running laps and then starting the lesson plan for the day. For me to change their routine took a lot of explaining and I still believe they’re not all convinced.
I used the analogy of comparing your muscles to a rubber band. If you’ve ever seen a cold elastic band, what happens when you try to stretch it? The rubber band breaks. When you have a warm rubber band, it stretches very easily.
In my classes, I always start with a warm up, but I never have them perform static stretching at the beginning of class. My students start with a walk/light jog, followed by dynamic stretching and then some additional static stretches before we begin our lesson plan. This prevents injury and gets their muscles prepared for the sport/exercise they are about to partake in. However, at least once a month I will still have a hand raised with the question “why don’t we stretch first?”
As a runner, I agree with the Times Article for myself and for the way I work with my clients and Physical Education classes. I always start with a proper general warm up before exercise. I use static stretching at the end of a session for a cool down and in an effort to prevent any cramping or tightening of the muscles after exercise.
Here is an example of a dynamic warm up that I use with my Physical Education Class.
- 100Ft. of Toy Soldiers; Take one step, lift the opposite leg as high as it will comfortably go and touch the knee of that leg. Repeat on opposite side
- 100Ft. of Cherry Pickers; High skip while reaching one hand in the air
- 100Ft. of Caterpillar; Bend at the waist and walk your hands out to a plank position. Then walk your feet into meet your hands, while keeping only a slight bend in your knees. Walk your hands back out and then your feet in again to meet your hands.
- 100Ft. Back Shuffle; Step backwards staying on the balls of your feet. Look behind you to make sure you don’t crash into anything.
Repeat all exercises
This warm up will raise your core temperature and improve your flexibility at the same time. For an extra stretch you can perform some static stretches afterward, although it is not necessary.
¹Skip the Stretch Before Running — It Doesn’t Prevent Injuries By Alice Park Friday, February 18, 2011, Time Healthland
Photo Credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
As the years have gone on I can stand the treadmill less and less. Living in New England there will be times when you literally have no other choice if you want to get a run in. Here are two work-outs to make your time on the dreadmill go by fast!
2:00 Walk/3:00 Easy Jog
1/2 Mile Run @ 80-90% Max Heart Rate
1/4 Mile Jog or walk @ 65-70% MHR
3 Rounds for beginners
6 Rounds for advanced
Work Out #2 Interval Strength Training
2:00 Walk/3:00 Easy Jog
1 Mile Run All Out/10x Burpee (or Push Ups for beginners)
3/4 Mile Run All Out/20x Burpee
1/2 Mile Run All Out/30x Burpee
1/4 Mile Run All Out/40x Burpee
5:00 Walk and stretch
By breaking up your run into short intervals your mind will stay occupied. Concentrate on your heart rate and timing. When you are done, record the times of your intervals in a journal. After a few weeks you should see an improvement in your speed.
Photo Credit: http://www.improvingyourworld.com
One moment can change your life, it’s incredible to think the all the things that happen in a whole year. Here are my highlights and low-lights of 2010.
1. Starting Fitness By D
While I’ve worked in different facets of the fitness industry, this was the first year that I’ve ventured out on my own. It’s an amazing thing to have your own voice and watch people respond to it. I’m so grateful for the ones in my life that have supported me and helped Fitness By D get off the ground. I want to say a very special thank you to Rebecca Churt, with out her this website and company would not be what it is today.
2. Becoming A Physical Education Teacher
The opportunity to work with children twice a week in a field I am so passionate about is truly a gift. Every week I get to influence young minds on the importance of sports and fitness. I love that I get to teach them how crucial it is to get moving and I’m looking forward to another year of teaching and learning from their responses.
3. Coaching my clients to running a half marathon and then to a full marathon.
Watching my clients progress over the past year has been an inspiration to me. Many of them had never run a road race until last year. Every week from January until May they trained for The Boston Run To Remember Half Marathon. Watching them cross that finish line was one of the best moments of my year. Two of those finishers went on to train for the Chicago Marathon in October and the feeling of joy they had at the finish was another priceless moment.
1. Not Qualifying For The Boston Marathon
In 2009 I ran The Boston Marathon. I received a number through Mass General by fundraising for their Pediatric Cancer Unit. I was grateful for the opportunity to support this cause.
Since then it’s been my own personal goal to get a qualifying time for Boston and earn a number on my own merit. This summer I gave everything I had to training for The Chicago Marathon in the hopes of breaking 3:40 and securing my spot for The 2011 Boston Marathon.
Long runs, ice-baths, no-life outside of training and working was pretty much my whole summer and fall. I put so much pressure on myself that my mind was not where it should’ve been on race day. That combined with an unseasonably hot day (85-90 degrees) by the finish resulted in my time of 4Hrs. 9Min. Not my best race finish and not my worst, but not good enough to secure a number to the sacred Boston Marathon.
This was a heartbreaking moment for me and a true learning experience. I know I will earn that number someday, and the good news is I’m not a quitter so I have the rest of my life to keep trying!
2. Going Through A Break-Up
Break-Ups are hard no matter what the circumstances are. It can feel like such a clear decision but the aftermath is never easy. One thing that I was very grateful for through this was exercising. Even if it was a 30:00 session, that was time spent feeling good about myself and improving my mood.
3. The Economy
For a good part of this year finding work was not easy. This recession has caused people to cut back and personal training is considered to some to be a luxury. The good thing about this was is launched me to start my own business where I’ve learned to market myself. While it’s not always easy, I’ve been able to find more people that understand that taking care of themselves and their health should not be considered frivolous spending.
As 2011 approaches this is what I hope for the new year for myself and all of you……..
“May the best of your today’s be the worst of your tomorrows”
Photo Credit: http://fallforward.wordpress.com
The final contestants on The Biggest Loser are forced to join that one percent in their final challenge. For three months these people have been working hard in the gym, monitoring their nutrition and overcoming their weightloss goals, that should be enough of a journey to keep the viewer interested.
The people on this show lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. While it is a great thing to take control over your health, when it is done in such a short amount of time it’s very stressful on your body. Now they are taking on a 26.2 mile race and they’re given a short amount of time to prepare. To properly train for a marathon your body needs time to build up to that mileage.
At this point in the show some of the contestants are still considered obese. They need to be concentrating on getting the rest of that weight off. Instead, their final months are spent stressing over running a marathon.
Take Biggest Loser contestant Darius. He completed the marathon in 4Hrs. 2Min., which is a great time. He also gained two pounds in the process. Training for a marathon can be stressful, it’s natural that these contestants would go back to the only way they use to deal with stress, overeating.
It’s also interesting that Jillian Michaels, one of the trainers on the show, has never run a marathon. As a trainer I wouldn’t insist that my client take on something that I am not willing to take on myself. I am always inspired by the progress my clients make but I continue to lead by example, not the other way around.
I wouldn’t find this show any less inspiring if they had ran a 10K or a half marathon at the end of the season. If the show’s producers were truly interested in the well-being of these contestants they would give them the proper amount of time to train for a marathon, or have them end the show with an event they are prepared to take on.
The Biggest Loser feels that running a marathon is suitable for their contestants final challenge. Clearly it’s to add to the drama of the show and they do not care about the participants long-term health.
Photo Credit: http://www.bestmedicine.co
Start with a quality pair of running pants. Under Armour’s Cold Gear Pants are a great investment for the winter. They have plenty of styles and fits that all do a good job of keeping you warm and dry. The fabric is light and unlike cotton absorbs your sweat so you’re not weighed down by wet clothing while you’re exercising.
Top layers are going to be your best friend this winter. Start with a long sleeve shirt made of dry-fit material. Most major athletic brands make quality base layers, my favorites are Under Armour and Nike. They come in lots of colors, styles and fits.
Your next top layer should be a jacket or hoodie. If the weather is rainy or not too cold go with a windbreaker jacket that will keep you dry and warm but not too hot. When temperatures drop go for a warmer running top like The Nike Thermal Running Hoodie. This hoodie is lined with dry fit material and it’s easy to run in. This top also has small pockets at the end of the sleeves to keep your hands warm. When the weather gets really cold wear both a hoodie and a jacket.
Lastly you want to take care of your extremities.
- Good socks are going to protect your feet. The company Thorlo makes socks that are incredibly warm and comfortable.
- Warm your hands from the cold with a nice pair of gloves. Look for a pair that is not made of cotton.
- Cover up that head. There are many styles of hats and headbands that will do the job for you. Nike makes a winter running hat made of dry-fit material that even has headphones sewn into it, which is perfect for those of you that like to run to music.
Everyone’s body heat regulation is a bit different, it may take you a few tries before you find the combination of layers that works for you. I suggest going out with more because you can always take something off and tie it around your waist. If you do find that you’re uncomfortably warm take off a layer and hide it somewhere, then drive back to get it after your run. I’ve done this many times and my things have never been taken. Most importantly don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying outdoor activities.
Your cold gear pieces can get expensive. Look for deals at local retailers like City Sports or T.J. Maxx.
Photo Credit: http://houstonrunningblog.blogspot.com