Wednesday, January 30, 2013

10 Things That Annoy Me About Running

Just like no one is perfect (not even Kate Middleton – hello barfing Dutchess!), no activity is perfect either. This includes running.  But, I certainly don’t want to stop running just because there are some unpleasant side effects (just like I don’t want to stop eating just because it makes me poop). Viola the list:

1. Chafing. Then bleeding and screaming in the shower.Yes, I know that’s what Body Glide is for.

No, this is not the kind of chafing I’m talking about

2. Trots, Sharts and Farts. Your insides get jostled causing all kinds of unexpected and embarrassing noises and smells. I have talked about this ad nauseum on this blog so I won’t go into anymore detail about crapping oneself or uncontrollable farting while running. It’s just part of it for some (most) of us.

3. Breathing. It’s hard to do.

4. Not cheap. Running’s supposed to be cheap (and basic and simple!), but it’s not. This is probably user error. I could find a way to run more cheaply. I could skip races, I could refuse to buy gels, chomps and GUs, I could forgo massages and gym memberships. Hell, I could just run naked and shoeless down the street and call it a day. But, I don’t, so for me it will remain pricey.

5. Always More To Do. There is always one more PR to strive for, one more race distance to do. This is also the beauty of running. There is always more to learn, do and strive for.

6. The “Other” Crap. There’s all this other stuff you have to do to become a stronger runner. Core work, strength training, cross training, stretching, ice baths, supplements, magic potions.

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Me doing my first ice bath ever. Good times.

7. Dogs chase you.

8. Cold then Hot. You’re cold when you start and wear too much then get hot.

9. Overload. There is too much confusing information and research about the best running form, shoes, training plans, etc. (take this article that just came out for example). That’s why I am on a mission to find what works for me and stick to it.

10. Camel Toe.

Despite it all, I won’t and can’t stop

Anything that annoys you about running or do you love every stinking thing?

SUAR

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2nd Annual Virtual Run for Sherry

Be Safe. Run On.

Gretchen Rubin says, “The days are long, but the years are short.” This year has zipped by in all of its busy-ness and routine, but some days have felt tortuously long. After a tragedy, you think life should  stop and stand still, but it somehow it just keeps going. I can’t believe it’s been a year since my cousin Sherry was killed. Sherry’s death has brought greater attention to what we can do as runners to be safe and to be aware.

Most of you know the story (covered by media world wide) too well, but if you don’t, here is a brief summary and update:

On January 7, 2012, Sherry Arnold, age 43 and a mother of two, left her house in the small town of Sidney, Montana at 6:30 a.m. for an early morning run. Sherry often ran within the town limits and January 7 was no exception. When Sherry did not come home later that morning, however, her husband began to worry. He called the police and a search ensued. By 3:00 p.m. hundreds of volunteers were searching for Sherry and only one clue had been found, Sherry’s right Brook’s running shoe.

For several days there was no sign of Sherry. On the seventh day, a tip was received on the FBI’s tip line that led to the arrest of two men, one in North Dakota and one in South Dakota. One of the men confessed to killing Sherry. She had been abducted and killed at 6:40 a.m., only about a mile from her house. Reports indicate that the two men had been using drugs while driving from Colorado to Montana to find work. They decided to find and kill a woman when they got to Montana. As the report goes, Sherry ran by their parked car and said, “Hi.” Then, she was grabbed and choked, dying immediately.

Sherry’s body was finally found on March 21, 2012, in a shallow grave near Williston, North Dakota. The two suspects have been incarcerated in Sidney since they were arrested. This week, state District Judge Richard Simonton set trial dates of November 4, 2013 and and January 6, 2014. Each suspect faces one count of deliberate homicide and attempted kidnapping. Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty if the defendants are convicted.

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At Sherry’s funeral on March 30, 2012

The loss of someone, anyone who is dear to us, is heartbreaking. The sudden loss of someone to violence is indescribable. As a mother, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, runner, wife, niece, and cousin, Sherry was so much to so many and her absence leaves voids in homes, schools, churches - everywhere. No doubt her family and community have suffered greatly this year trying to make sense of it all (is there any sense to it all?). But they bottom line is, life was better when she was here, and without her, some things have simply fallen apart. 

As runners and women, we fear it could have been us. Our hearts continue to break for her students, her family, her community.  The human connection often feels deepest during tragedy. With her disappearance and death, the goodness poured out of people worldwide, and as many as 30,000 of you ran in Sherry’s honor on February 11, 2012.

There will be a 2nd Annual Virtual Run for Sherry on February 9, 2013. Races 2 Remember generously donated their time to creating a running bib for Sherry last year and they have also helped with this year’s bib.

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Details:

  • Mark your calendars
  • Print out a running bib and pin it to your shirt
  • Gather your friends, your running club members, your families
  • If it’s wet where you are, “laminate” your bib with postage tape and punch holes in it
  • If that time doesn’t work, go when you can
  • GO. Run as far and as long as you want. Walk, hike, cycle, rollerblade if you don’t want to or can’t run.
  • Please share this on your blogs, Facebooks and Twitters
  • Keep it simple. Just run with Sherry on your minds and hearts.

Click HERE to print the bib
(you can also click on the image of the bib in the sidebar)

The goal for the run is two fold:

  1. To get the MOST love, momentum and energy moving in honor of Sherry. This run symbolizes a hope for continued healing and honors a woman who was courageous, strong and loved by so many. When we run for Sherry, we also run for other runners who have been brutally attacked.
  2. The run symbolizes our promise to run as SAFELY as we can, but to not fearfully scramble inside to treadmills or to stop doing something we love due to fear. Please read HERE for more information on steps you can take to run more safely.

For those of us in the Denver/Boulder/Longmont area I will be organizing a group run so let me know if you are interested and I will give details.

A Facebook page has been set up for last year’s run and this year’s event HERE.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring about Sherry and her family and for running in her honor. Be Safe. Run On.

Can you run on February 9?

SUAR

Sunday, January 27, 2013

10 Favorite Things In the Middle of Freaking Winter

1. Favorite Thing to Look Forward To – Spring Beak in Mexico. Hope the beach is that empty.

Ocean Coral All-Inclusive

2. Favorite New Marathon Training Plan (created by me, but loosely based on Run Less, Run Faster)

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3. Favorite Clip from a TV show – Fart Patio on Portlandia (don’t even pretend you didn’t think farts would be involved)

4. Favorite Type of Racing I Want to TryStair Racing (said to make an “Ironman Wimper.” Wonder what it would do to a half-Ironman like myself? Probably roll over, drool, shake and die.)

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5. Favorite Lunch at Home – Greek Pita (from Sprouts) with Spinach/Chickpea Patty (from Costco) and Ranch – this might make me go to the Fart Patio

Greek pita bread + chickpea patty + ranch dressing

6. Favorite Quick and Dirty Core Workout from TribeSports (best done while watching the Biggest Loser and before popcorn with parmesan cheese and wine(

7. Favorite TV Series I Just Watched on DVD (please send me Season 2 if you have it. I heart Sergeant Brodie)

8. Favorite New Song on My iPod - Let Go By Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo. It will make you run 4 minute miles.

9. Favorite Book I’m Reading Now – What can I say, I’m a social worker

10. Favorite Quote:

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Are you going anywhere for Spring Break?

What’s a favorite (book, show, workout, song, recipe, food) for you this month?

Ever tried Stair Racing?

SUAR

PS: the winner of the sock giveaway is Becky C. from C and C Cupcakes. Drop me an email at beth@shutupandrun.net and I’ll tell you how to claim your prize.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vertical Miles

Yesterday Jill and I went on a leisurely trail run:

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She wanted to get in some “vertical” miles (aka ball busting climbs), so we chose Walker Ranch outside of Boulder. If you think this looks easy, go buy a ticket to Denver, call me and I will take you here. Then you can cry and beg for mercy.

Hey Jill, is this “vertical” enough for you?

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It may only be 7.5 miles, but this loop kicks one’s ass. Altitude + major climbs = no joke.

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Not sure why this sign is lying down.
Probably got assaulted by a horse or someone dismounting a bike.

On a run like this, you do not know how to dress. I brought about nine changes of clothes in my car (wedding dress, bikini, pasties) because when it is 50 degrees, sunny and calm at my house (5,000 feet), it is 40 degrees, cloudy and windy 30 minutes away (7,200 feet).

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You can tell by the elevation map, that we started high and immediately descended 800 feet to the South Boulder Creek. I listened for the roaring water, but there was no roaring water because everything was frozen. Frozen or thawed, this image is a spectacular one.

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I only tripped over one puddle:

When you do a run like this one, you have to get over yourself and realize you will be walking some steep parts (to avoid passing out and having your body blow up) and your paces will be several minutes slower than a typical flat road or treadmill run. But, let me tell you – do a run like this a few times a month and when you get on flat road, you will haul ass.

Despite hills and wind – trails, pushing myself and running just makes me happy. Plain and simple. Makes Jill happy too,

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A couple of announcements:

  • If you want to sign up for the Colorado Colfax Marathon (May 19), do so before January 30th and it is only $79 (vs. $90). Use promo code AMBBET.
  • Tom Campbell, Assistant Principal at Reedy Creek Middle School in Cary, North Carolina, has organized a virtual run – the Buddy Up Against Bullying 5K (March 16) to raise awareness about bullying and to make efforts towards prevention. Check out the blog and how to download a bib for this event HERE.
  • A reader let me know that an interview I did with Runner’s World UK has been published in the February 2013 edition. The article was about Sherry and running safety. Let me know if you have a copy or know of a way I can get a copy of it.

What do you think is tougher: speed work on flat surfaces or grunt work on hills? I think they are both challenging in their own way. I actually find doing intervals at the track tougher than steep climbing and hill work. I think my body is built more for slow, difficult climbs than speed.

How much do you add in speed/hill work to your marathon or half marathon training? I add in lots of hills (my motto has become what Olympian Frank Shorter said “Hills are speed work in disguise” ). I love my Yasso 800s and tempo runs, but I always feel these make me injury prone.

Have a great weekend!

SUAR

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Major Running Sock Giveaway from Injinji

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Hmmm…is this a hand or a foot? Well, you can tell it’s my foot because of that crazy long second toe.

These are multi tasking socks. Why? Well, they…

  • Look good, and highlight long, fingerish toes. You know what Confucius says: “He who has long toes sits in own pew” – no wait, that’s he who farts in church. Sorry.
  • Provide ultimate compression from end of long toe to top of calf
  • Give each toe its own compartment, which helps prevent blisters
  • Have superior “moisture management”, which basically means all of your bodily fluids are effectively absorbed (well, maybe not all of them…but the ones that count)
  • Properly aligns toes, which can contribute to better overall posture and balance

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See? I am balancing quite well.

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Don’t even pretend you don’t run around your house. And, then stretch on the banister. Yes, this is a stretch all of the elite athletes do.

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Injinji does not just provide compression socks. There are everyday socks, trail socks, running socks, and even yoga socks (toe less available as well). All socks come in different weights (lightweight to mid weight to suit your needs). They run anywhere from $10 to $38 (compression) per pair.

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I’ve worn these socks (both compression and regular running socks) on several long runs, regular length runs and trail runs. The toe thing takes a bit getting used to, but once I start running I forget about it completely. One con of these socks is that I don’t recommend wearing them in sub 30 degree temperatures. Just like with gloves vs. mittens, when your toes are split up, they do not provide warmth to one another. My toes got quite cold while wearing these on a 25 degree trail run last week.

So, do you want some socks or what? Injinji is offering a bundle of at least four pairs of socks (assorted) to one winner. 

To enter (comment for each):

  • Go check out Injinjis new website (required) and let me know +1 entry
  • Tell me what kind of running sock you currently wear +1 entry
  • Facebook, blog or twat about this giveaway  +1 entry

Giveaway closes on Monday 1/28.

SUAR

Fine Print: I received my socks courtesy of Injinji. I was asked by Injinji to provide a link to their newly launched website in exchange for the giveaway items.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

111 Push Ups–Done! (video)

It sounded like a good idea at the time. Now I know it was stupid. Asinine. Check out what went on at the Shut Up and Run Facebook page today (we have a lot of fun over there in case you want to join us).

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Honestly, not sure what I was thinking. Although I got 573  likes, they don’t all count because the agreement was that you had to “share” the picture for it to be legit. So, in actuality, I had to do 111 pushups. Not all at the time same, not even all in the same hour or the same life time. Just at some point before I die. And I did all of them. Here are the last 10. Pure ugliness.

Yes, my form sucks. But, at least I gave birth to someone who has good form. I don’t get far enough to the ground, my butt sticks up, I groan and grunt and fart. Even so they still hurt.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see how many kegels I can do.

Are boot camp type workouts part of your routine? (you know – pushups, burpees, etc)

Are you a Cross Fitter? I’ve never tried it, but would LOVE to.

SUAR

Monday, January 21, 2013

Who Do You Pick?

I’ve never had a personal trainer or coach. I often wonder what it would be like to hand over my fitness potential to someone really skilled who would push me, boss me around and make me a super star. Last time I was watching the Biggest Loser I really thought that if Dolvett could get his hands on me (nice!) I could reach marathon heights I never thought possible. I just hope he’s not opposed to MFT (Multiple Fart Trauma).

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Yes, I would choose Dolvett. What about you? See if you can guess who is who:

1. Drill Sergeant-Therapist: Gets in your face, tells you what a dip shit you are, screams obscenities, then an hour later, calmly asks about your childhood and why you think you are overweight, sad, depressed, lonely, etc. Sheds a tear while learning your personal story. Occasionally touches your arm or rubs your back. Uses a soft, almost whispering voice that reminds you of the mother you never had.

2. Plain Ol’ Drill Sergeant Like in the Movies: Gets in your face and blinds you with his bright teeth. Reminds you what you are made of. Never fails to wear a tight sleeveless shirt that shows you what you could be if you really tried. Expects the world from you, but has an underlying sense of compassion. Gets results by orchestrating a teeth clenching, ass kicking, puke instigating work out.

3. Southern Drill Sergeant with Ink: Gets in your space, but not your face. Is not afraid to use the “f” word and repeats “Are you kidding me?” multiple times during a training session. Occasionally wears knee socks or clothes that do not jive with the gym atmosphere. Obtains a new tattoo about ever six months. Manages to be firm, effective and give you an ass whoopin’, yet you always know he has your back. Incredible skilled and has the ability to tailor and customize workouts like no other.

I made it so easy for you.

Everyone is different. Some people are motivated by yelling and aggression and high expectations. Others need more coddling and support. Lots of people might be somewhere in the middle. I get my feelings hurt kind of easily, so while I think I need someone to really push me, if they were too mean or degrading I would just cry and get snot everywhere. But in the end I would be better and stronger and maybe not such a crybaby.

All I can say about this season of TBL is 1) I’m glad the puke fest is over, and 2) PLEASE let there be a marathon!!

Have you ever had a personal trainer or coach? What do you look for? Consistency. Confidence. Skill. Risk Taker.

Bob, Jillian, Dolvett or none? Why?

Do you love the marathon episode as much as I do?

SUAR

Saturday, January 19, 2013

5 Ways to Stop Beating Up Your Running Self

Most of the time not only are we our own worst enemies, but we are our own worst critics. I read somewhere recently that almost everyone suffers from the “not enoughness” disease. I’m not going to lie – it makes me feel good to know I’m not the only one!

This got me to thinking about how hard we are on ourselves about running. I know that to train well and to be disciplined, one needs a certain amount of self-critiquing. If we don’t assess our weaknesses and work to improve them, then how do we evolve? But, I am here to say that there is a fine, yet very definite, line  between critiquing yourself productively and beating yourself up. Using productive criticism feels like growth, encouragement and progress. Beating yourself up feels negativity, failure and constriction

So, how do we do it? How do we lighten up on ourselves, yet still expect the best?

1. The Grass Is Not Greener. I say this all of the time and you are probably sick of hearing it, but don’t compare yourself to others. Your internal dialogue should not say, “Oh, I’m a loser. I don’t run as fast or as far as ___________. What is wrong with me?” You should instead be saying, “Okay, I’m not running the paces I was at this time last year. What’s changed? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I running with a potential injury? Am I over trained or stressed about something? How can I be healthier?”

2. Reframe It. Remember what you are doing right. It is so incredibly easy to focus on our shortcomings - that we didn’t PR in that last race, or that we did too much and got injured. Just when you want to berate yourself for being less than, is probably exactly when you need to build yourself up for being enough. Remember all of the times you got up early to fit in a run before you had to make breakfast for the kids and start your workday. Give yourself credit for all of the times you got out to run when it was 10 degrees and all you wanted to do was stay in bed. Most of all, view every single time that you pushed yourself, every time that you made a run happen, as a success. Focus on what you do right, not on how you are falling short.

3. Lighten Up. Stop taking yourself so damn seriously. Laugh in the face of imperfection. We get so focused, so set on what has to happen, that we forget to just be present. In just one day I can tell you at least five things that I inadvertently do that are hilariously imperfect. I fall down stairs. I trip over roots on the trail. I blow a snot rocket and it lands on my sleeve. I fart during a massage. I mean, if I took myself ultra-seriously I’d have to to be medicated 24 hours a day just to survive.

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4. Surrender. This is so clichĂ©, but letting go really does work. This doesn’t mean that you give up caring or trying or setting goals. It does mean that you stop resisting everything. Have you ever heard the expression, “what you resists, persists?” It’s almost like the more that we wish something different, the more energy we give to it and the more it shows up in our lives. Let go of the fact you are injured or a slower runner than you’d like to be or five pounds overweight. Stop thinking about it all day long. Acknowledge it, accept it and set an intention to change it.

5. Be Vulnerable. Have the courage to not be perfect and show this side to others. What makes you human, what makes you relatable to others, is that you are not afraid to share your struggles and challenges. This does not mean that you have a pity party or play the victim all day long. Instead, let people in when life gets hard for you. Don’t be afraid to say you get discouraged with your running sometimes. Don’t be afraid to say you wish you weren’t getting older and slower. Chances are if you open up and share this, someone will share something right back. Connecting with others this way builds us up and gives us permission to go easier on ourselves. Because good friends remind you that you are enough and if you hear that enough times you might start to believe it. Need more help? Read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.

The bottom line is that we are much harder on ourselves than anyone else is on us. I would never talk to a good friend the way I talk to myself. That’s crap. In order to be our best selves, we need to build ourselves up, not break ourselves down.

How do you regularly beat yourself up and how are you going to stop it?

What did you do today to treat yourself well? I had a long and “vulnerable” conversation with a good friend.

SUAR

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Exercise Vomit

Here is my exercise vomit for the week (so far). If you don’t know what that means, exercise vomit is when when someone feels the need write down the components of the workout they just did or are going to do as their Facebook status (or on their blog) and continue to go on about how hard or how great it was.

Sunday: Swim technique class – swam about 2,200 yards
Monday: Ran hills on the treadmill using this workout (which I tweaked  a bit)
Tuesday: 1.5 hours of hot yoga
Wednesday: 5:45 a.m. spin class. I’m not sure what was worse getting up so early or the ball busting workout this manic instructor gave
Thursday (today): 8 mile trail run

You know how I love my trail runs.  It’s fun because sometimes you can’t even see the trail so you have to use your navigation skills and all of your senses to not get lost. I hear this is good for your aging brain just like crossword puzzles.

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Today was chilly – but not as bad as it has been. About 25 degrees at the start. Here is where I built a bonfire to warm up:

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I love this particular trail (Heil Ranch for you locals) because it heads up for a few miles, then you do a loop at the top that affords amazing views. Do not be jealous of my outfit. If you want to look like this, just dump all of your running clothes in the middle of your floor, close your eyes and pick two tops and two bottoms. Oh, and be sure to put on compression socks under your tights. It’s double compression which basically cuts off all circulation to anywhere in your body. I hear that’s good for recovery.

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There is about 1,000 feet of climbing over 8 miles, which is a definite workout, but not ridiculous. I managed to average a heart rate of 151 bmps – really good for me and my racing heart.heilranchelev

At this point I’m just continuing to establish my base to start marathon training. Right now I’m running about 20 miles per week.  Yep, that’s it. You know what they say: if your miles are low, your IQ is high (made that up but I’m sure it’s true).

Do you always go by a workout plan, or do you do what you feel like on any given day? In my non-training times I do what I feel like. I’m a believer that the more well rounded you are, the stronger your body will be in all areas. However, when you’ve got a specific race goal, you obviously need to primarily focus on that activity (Law of Specificity).

How many times per week do you work out? I try for six days with one complete rest day.

Do you use a heart rate monitor while running? I always wear one, but don’t always stick to my correct zones.

SUAR

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Secrets To Your Kick-Ass Marathon Training Plan

It seems like forever since I’ve trained for a marathon.  It feels so amazingly good to be back.

When I got sidelined back in October 2010 with a femoral stress fracture (left hip) I was in the middle of tapering for what was going to be my fastest marathon yet (or so I thought). With the results of that MRI, I was heart broken - just like so many of you have been when you’ve had to give up on races you trained so hard for. 

I cried, drank wine, yelled obscenities at other runners, felt sorry for myself and watched bad TV. Then, I started fighting because having goals and doing anything that made me feel the tiniest bit athletic was my salvation. Plus, I had qualified for Boston a few months earlier and no way in hell was I giving up my spot.

What did I do? As soon as I could, I hobbled on my crutches onto the deck of the indoor pool, got in the water and ran. Almost every stinking day.

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I am smiling but whispering “this mother eff’ing sucks the big one.”

I hated it. But it kept me in shape. So many times I almost threw in the towel and gave up hope that I would be recovered in time. My PT even told me to forget about marathon training, I would not be healed and it wouldn’t be smart. I pressed on anyway. Five months later and with very little training (one long run of 15 miles and a bunch of other junk miles) I ran Boston. It was my slowest marathon (4:08) by far, but I did it.

It was a great comeback story – someone really should have made a Lifetime movie out of it. Only, I would have to have had an abusive husband stalking me around the marathon course and a bottle of Oxycontin stashed in my running skirt along with a gun and a ransom note.

But, what I’m here to tell you is this – running injuries are no joke. It takes a long ass time to truly heal, to stop compensating, to be 100%. You can train and race like I did, and you can do pretty well at it. But, those damn post-race injury blues and aches and pains haunt you.

I don’t know if I’m 100%, but I finally feel ready to start marathon training again (for this race in May). I’m hoping my body holds up well, but if it doesn’t, I’ll go to plan B (half marathon). The plan I’ve had the most success with in the past is this one:

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It was with a plan of running three days a week and doing lots of cross training (mostly swimming and Bikram yoga) that I was able to qualify for Boston. My body does not like running more than three to four times per week. My body does not like running over 40 miles per week. I accept this as my fate as a runner. I am 45 and have been running for four years. I know I’m limited. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be a successful runner.

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So, I take out my pencil and scrap paper and hatch a 14 week plan that will start on February 11. Over the past year I’ve also incorporated many of the Chi Running techniques and am hoping this will help prevent injury – that said, I will also apply elements found in the Chi Marathon book. I like to take parts from various sources and customize a plan for myself that fits me and my life.

What makes a good marathon training plan? Whether you have a coach, are following a plan from a book or online sources or are creating your own, there are a few components I think a plan should have, especially if you are a newer or first time marathoner. You can disagree, but this is my blog and this is what I think.

  • It should make you excited (not fearful and like you want to crap yourself) when you look at it.
  • It should start you out very gradually. Your beginning mileage should be about what you are running right now per week, if not less.
  • It should incorporate recovery weeks. I like my plans to have a recovery week every fourth week. I build for three weeks, cut back down for one week, then build again
  • It should have at least one complete rest day per week (where you do nothing. No yoga, no burpees, no sex – well, maybe).
  • It should build you up slowly – about 10% percent per week (mileage)
  • It shouldn't incorporate speed work until you have a solid base built up (and Yasso 800s are the BEST).
  • It should have you doing your long runs SLOW (like 60-90 seconds slower than marathon pace). I know some plans incorporate more progressive or marathon pace runs – but for newer runners or first timers I think this can be risky.
  • It should enforce strength and cross training (or you will be burned at the stake).
  • It should incorporate a decent pre-race taper period (when you will lose your mind but you will get much needed rest for the big day).

Just some of my thoughts/advice based on experience, reading, my coaching certification and common sense.

Are you training for a marathon now? Which one? Colfax Marathon in Denver on May 19. Join me!!

What is your best tip for marathon training? Rest, recovery and carry TP.

SUAR

Monday, January 14, 2013

The 6 Most Important Treadmill Rules

Yesterday I did not have it in me to run outside.

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Before you start calling me a pussy, you must understand I am not afraid of the cold – in fact, I kind of like it. But, I am very ICE-phobic.  The last thing I need is to break my ass bone or get a phallic shaped bruise from falling on the ice.

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I am also sick and tired of wearing 29 layers on each run and was in the mood for a cute running skirt. But, cute running skirt + 10 degrees does not equal smart. So – I headed indoors. Unfortunately I do not have my own private paparazzi, so have to take mirror shots when no one is looking.

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The scenery at my gym is really outstanding:

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Here was my view for 7 miles. I am so glad the treadmill doesn't look out onto a beach or a mountain range or something. That would be far too distracting:

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As I was bored and running, I decided there should be some steadfast RULES FOR TREADMILL USE:

1. Wipe It. Always use a wipe to clean off other people’s germs, STDs, diseases and bodily fluids from the treadmill before you begin your workout. Also, use a wipe to clean off your germs, STDs, diseases and bodily fluids from the treadmill when you finish your workout.

2. Be Covert. Always spy on people nearby to find out how fast they are running. They best way to do this is to go get a drink from the water fountain and as you come back to your treadmill, casually walk behind them and glance at their pace and miles run.

3. Hang Up. Never talk on the phone while running on the treadmill. This is a sure fire way to be hated by other runners and will immediately classify you as a non-real-runner. Plus, if you can run and talk on your phone while on the treadmill, you should not be a runner you should join Cirque du Soleil because you are very coordinated.

4. Watch the Gas. If you wear ear buds while running, be aware that when you fart that while you may not be able to hear your flatulence, others around you who do not have ear buds on, CAN. And, everyone can smell it, ear buds or not.

5. Keep Quiet. Try your best not to slap your feet, grunt, groan or sing so loudly that you draw significant attention to yourself. We are all in this together, sharing a small space, so don’t monopolize.

6. Don’t Stink. Wear deodorant and FDS (if needed).

And, for God’s sake, do not try to do tricks or get on moving treadmills like some of these people (this clip is hilarious and puts those Biggest Loser treadmill accidents to shame).

Got any treadmill rules to share?

Ever had interesting/funny incidents happen to you while on the treadmill? I HAVE! I got on a moving treadmill once and was sling-shotted across the gym. Also, once while was running the custodian unplugged my treadmill (a$$!).

SUAR

Friday, January 11, 2013

Today I Got Stuck

Ever tried acupuncture?

IMAG1118

Today was my day. My back has been tight for awhile now, it comes and goes, but mostly comes.  My hamstring still tightens up sometimes and honestly I think I have running injury PTSD. This is when you have frequent flashbacks to a time when you were injured, sitting on the couch, staring at your crutches and wanting to punch every runner you see when you drive down the road.

Today I visited a medical doctor who has a holistic practice where she does acupuncture. She is 55 years old and did her first Ironman (she has done three) when she was 51. She has persevered through some setbacks and she made me see that setbacks are often just a part of the process. They are not a reason to quit or back down.

Unlike some doctors, this woman really gets it. She told me that a lot of times endurance athletes do what they have to do to hold their bodies together, and this usually involves some type of bodywork. She reminded me that we are a tough group, and that with the right blend of recovery and other resources such as acupuncture, massage, cross training and/or core work, we can usually find a way to keep going and avoid injury.

I know she is right. I have come to accept the fact that endurance sports – be it a long distance triathlon, a marathon or an ultra marathon – is what makes me happy. Training and racing and feeling strong in my body makes me feel complete and confident. I will do just about anything to keep moving, but I want to also be the healthiest version of myself (something that involves a cheetah skirt):

coloradomarathon

That said, I am not a pro athlete and will never be. I do not have unlimited time to train, unlimited money for coaches, therapies, etc. or dieticians to help me eat the best way possible. My life is real: I have kids and a job. This means what I do has to fit into my budget and my lifestyle without getting me off balance. It also means I have to do a lot of research on my own.

I think the trick is that each of us has to find what works for us. There is no set rule or solution. Finding what works for us includes, but is not limited to, asking yourself these questions:

  • What type of obligations (family, job, etc.) do you have outside of training and racing? How much time can be devoted to your fitness goals?
  • How many miles can you put in per week before you break down? Do you have a number?
  • How much, if any speed work, can you do before pushing the edges of injury?
  • What type of resources, if any, do you need in place to keep you healthy (massage, PT, coaching, acupuncture, chiropractic) and how much of it can you afford?
  • What foods make you feel the best, help you recover the best and give you the most energy?
  • How much sleep do you need per night?
  • What type and how much strength/core work do you need to do?
  • How many races, if any, can you safely and financially incorporate per year?
  • What type of cross training works best for you?
  • Where do you like to train the most? On trails, in the water, on the roads?

Customize a life that best fits your circumstances and who you are. Think about what makes you happy. Think about how to best find balance. Remember this is your journey and you need to do it your way, and not mirror anyone else’s path.

It may be too soon to tell, but when I got off that table, my back felt better than it has in months. Funny thing is, most of the work was not on my back, but on my IT bands and my left hip (where I had my stress fracture). She said my hip was so tight she wasn’t sure how I was running at all.

Bring on the training!!

What do you do to hold your body together while training?

What race is next for you? For me, looks like I’ll be training for the Denver Colfax Marathon in May! I’m sure I’ll throw in some shorter races as well – and some tris during the summer.

SUAR