The best thing you can do to run better (faster, fewer injuries, more enjoyment) is to vary your terrain, speed and effort, and the surface on which you run. Say... 30% off pavement, 30% fast pace and/or hills, and at least 10% twisty, turny, up and down and all around (like some trail runs). Always running straight ahead at the same pace on the same hard, flat surfaces and routes may be the biggest contributor to running injuries. Our bodies want variety. Another way to add variety is to alternate between running shoes of different models, categories, weight, flexibility, cushion, stack height, and heel to forefoot drop. We should not eat the same food for every meal day in and day out, and we should not run in the same shoes every day. There is a tool for every job, and there is a shoe for every run. Lighter shoes for fast days, more cushion for recovery days, and perhaps more stable for long days. There you have it.
That being said, if it ain't broke, don't break it. That is a variation of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', meaning: If your current running shoes and form are working beautifully for your purposes and goals, don't change everything just because someone said you should. There is nothing wrong with alternating between two or three pairs of the same model of shoes. We all just want to run happy. Have a Good Run.
Looooooog Runs, Presented by Saucony
Fall brings lovely leaves, even lovelier temps, and, of course, marathon season. The race itself, a perfect culmination of training miles, taper, adrenaline, and crazy crowds, is pretty much guaranteed to be a lovely run. But those training miles? Not so much, especially when it comes to the double-digit, multiple-hour runs that typically start in the dark, continue as temps climb, and are often done alone.
The bad news is that long runs are a non-negotiable if you want to KICKASSIMUS in your 26.2; the good news is that they don’t have to be total slogs. Here are eight ways to conquer the long run:
1. Be a tourist
Long runs are an intimate, eye-level way to explore new parts of town, so don’t get caught in the same-route, I-know-I’m-at-mile-7.43-at-the-purple-mailbox trap. Ask friends — or at running stores — for suggestions. Or spend some time online, scheming up new routes at Road Runners Club of America, which has a comprehensive find-a-run page. On a fresh route, you’ll concentrate more on the scenery than your Garmin — another welcome change of focus.
2. Don’t fret the distance
Yes, 16 miles is a long, long way to run, so yes, you can spend the entire week leading up to it fretting about every.single.step. you’ll be out there. Or you can do your best to realize that, if you’re following a training plan, you’re ready for – and totally capable of slaying – 16 miles. Certainly plan for your long run (the night before, eat a good meal, get your nutrition and hydration ready, and don’t skimp on sleep), but do your best not to obsess. You’re just wasting useful energy.
3. Chunk it up
Long runs can be mentally sliced and diced in myriad ways. Take 18 miles. You don’t have to think of it as 18 miles. It can be 36 x .5 miles, 9 x 2 miles, 3 x 6 miles, or 18 x 1 mile. Or it can be 4 miles to a park, then 6 miles around the park, plus a 2-mile out-and-back, and 4 back home. Breaking it up into smaller distances makes it feel so much more doable. Plus, concentrate on the segment you’re in: if you’re running your 5th mile, give your focus to mile five—not to mile 10 or 14. You’ll be there soon enough.
4. Incorporate a race into a long run
One way to spice up a long run—and have some company and refreshments along the way—is to cross a starting line and a finish line during it. Put a 10K into a 12-miler, or a half-marathon into a longer run. Scout out a nearby race, and either run to the starting line, or arrive early to get in half of the “leftover” mileage as a warm up. Then run the race at your prescribed training pace (easier said than done: remember these are training miles), and finish up with your final miles as a cool-down.
5. Create a team
In an ideal world, you have a running friend who is training for the same race and follows the exact schedule you are. Back in this world, you probably have a variety of running friends who are doing a range of distances. No worries; you can still recruit them for your long run team. They can all just run a slice of your distance. For instance, you can start a run by yourself, loop back to meet your neighbor who is on the XC Team for 6 miles, then have your sister meet you at mile 12 to bring you home. It requires a little coordination, but the company—and the anticipation of it—will keep you going. (And major bonus: they can bring you fresh, cool drinks too.)
6. Keep your tank full
Long runs are taxing enough on the body and mind; don’t make them more intense by not having adequate fuel or hydration. If you’re out there for more than 90 minutes, you need a nutrition and drinking plan, something tried and true that you know works for you and your gastric system. (Drinking to thirst and taking in between 150-250 calories per hour are good basic guidelines.) Once you have a plan, stick to it through the whole run: if you take a gel every 40 minutes, and are due for one with about 20 minutes left to run, still suck it down. You’ll need it for your final miles.
7. Maximize comfort
Keep your body happy by wearing clothes that have a minimal chance of irritation: skin-on-skin rub at mile 5 of a 17-mile is not pleasant. Capris are great for fall runs, as they eliminate any chance of thigh chafe and give a little extra support to your knees. Similarly, a soft, wicking top will keep your skin cool and dry. Mentally, stay relaxed by making a new playlist or downloading some podcasts to listen to when boredom sets in.
8. Accept the challenge
Running is not an easy thing to begin with; training for a marathon can feel downright masochistic at times. Long runs serve a very crucial purpose: to teach your body to keep on going when you’d rather not. Accept that the long-run exhaustion, both mental and physical, is part of the plan to get you to thrive on race day. Promise: when you cross the finish line feeling strong and smiling, all the training miles fade quickly into the distance.
Good Form Running Clinics
We offer Good Form Running by appiontment in the store and at work/business/club/gym locations and includes a training aid, video form analysis, and 15% off Dr. Miller's book, Programmed to Run.
We also do a mini GFR-Clinic for runners who come to our Thursday evening group runs.
Click HERE for the GFR website and videos
What to Do Before Your 5K
You've signed up, you've logged the training miles and race day is almost here! Taking on your first 5K can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. Here, find the best tips when it comes to running for beginners. These will help you maximize the enjoyment out there—and make your first 5K fun, fast and stress-free.
1. Get your z's two nights before.
Pre-race jitters tend to strike the night before the race, interrupting yoursleep. When it comes to running for beginners or even experienced racers, trust that this is normal and will not influence your race. Prepare yourself instead by getting quality sleep two nights before the race and taking that day completely off from any activity.
2. Keep it light.
During race week, your running mileage should decrease. At this point, your training is really about "storing up" rest so your legs are ready on race day. During the week, include 2 to 3 short runs with a few, small pick ups—short, snappy segments that get your legs moving faster and prepare you for the faster tempo of the race—to keep your legs fresh. Two days out from the race, take a day off for total rest. The day before the race, do a short (20-minute) run with up to 5 pick ups under 45 seconds to sharpen your legs.
3. Fill the tank.
On race morning, be sure to eat the breakfast you've practiced in training. Aim to eat about 2 hours prior to the race. Keep it simple—a bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit, a sports bar, bagel with peanut butter.Eat something high energy and easily digestible. Be sure to include hydration—water, sports drink if it's warm outside to give you the electrolytes you need, and coffee if that's part of your normal routine.
4. Get there early.
There's a lot to be done on race morning including parking, packet pick-up, waiting in line for the restroom, warming up. Arrive at the race site 60 minutes prior to the start—knowing where you can park, what time packet pick-up closes (if you couldn't do it the day before) and where to go for the starting line.
5. Warm it up.
About 25 minutes prior to the race, get warmed up. Start with a 10 minute easy jog, then slowly build your pace for 5 minutes. Then, include up to 5 short pick ups under 30 seconds at race pace. Gently stretch any tight muscles after your warm up.
6. Get in line.
The starting line can be crowded and nerve-wracking with so many people and different paces. Starting in the middle to back of the pack is safe for most beginners. You will start with those around your pace and you will have many more ahead of you to chase down.
7. Pace yourself.
Most racers give their best effort in the first mile leaving two more to go! Aim to negative split your effort on race day—that simply means finishing the second half of the race faster than you ran the first half. Start conservatively and build your effort throughout the run. When you start out too fast, your body works too hard too soon and fizzles after the first mile, making your overall time slower, not faster. In the last quarter mile, kick it in to the finish line to finish strong.
8. Keep it positive.
When things get tough, it's common for the little voice in your head to start telling you all the reasons why you will fail or why you should slow down. Often, having a positive mantra for the race—such as "I can do it" or "Fast feet to the finish line"—will distract you from any pain and keep you focused. Practice these affirmations during your harder training sessions so they become automatic on race day.
On race day, let go of any comparisons to other runners and release any worries or doubts. You've done the training and if you have the desire to get to the finish line, you will arrive. At the starting line, take a few deep breaths and assure yourself that you have what it takes to cover 3.1 miles. Revisit your best training sessions to find the confidence you need.
10. Capitalize on the high.
The post-race high can be exhilarating. Capitalize on it to keep your momentum going and set new goals for the next finish line, wherever that might be. Sign up for another run race a few weeks later to keep yourself motivated to continue with your new habits, to test your progress or just to have fun.
This article originally appeared on Shape.com.
Four steps to perfect marathon fueling
By Kim Mueller, M.S., R.D.
February 09, 2006
New Year's resolutions have been set and many are embarking on their first marathon training program as a result. In order to maximize performance, it's essential to fuel yourself properly during training and racing, especially when runs are prolonged (90 minutes or more).
As a nutritionist, I've found that many runners tend to overestimate how much they need, causing them to overeat during the day and gain unwanted weight during the season. And eating too much during training can trigger a multitude of stomach issues (e.g., nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, side stitches, sloshing) and ultimately hinder your performance.
Below is a step-by-step guide to help you determine your total calorie needs during training runs, and your target calorie replacement needs based on your race pace. Happy running trails!
Determining your total calorie needs
Step 1: Determine running calorie expenditure per mile
0.63 x body weight (pounds)
Step 2: Determine goal race pace or how many miles per hour you'll cover
Example: An eight-minute miler will cover 7.5 miles/hour
Step 3: Calculate hourly expenditure based on goal race pace
Example: An eight-minute miler would multiply 7.5 by the figure from step 1.
Step 4: Determine hourly calorie replacement needs
0.3 x the figure from step 3 (Note: Research shows runners can physically absorb about 30 percent of what they expend.)
Sample case study
John is a 200-pound marathoner preparing for the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon with a goal of breaking the three-hour mark. He's had issues with premature muscle fatigue and cramping during previous marathons, which has led him to seek nutritional advice for race-day fueling. We used the guidelines specified above to help calculate and devise the perfect nutrition plan for his needs.
Step 1: John's calorie burn each mile:
0.63 x 200 lbs = 126 calories/mile
Step 2: John's goal marathon pace:
John's goal marathon pace to break three hours is 6:50 per mile, which means he'll be running 8.78 miles per hour.
Step 3: John's hourly expenditure based on his goal marathon pace:
8.78 miles per hour x 126 calories per mile = 1,106 calories burned per hour
Step 4: Goal calorie replacement after 60-90 minutes of racing:
0.3 x 1,106 calories = 331 calories/hour
Step 5: John's calorie replacement:
The first 90 minutes of the marathon, John plans to use the course-provided water at aid stations to maintain hydration. After 90 minutes, John's goal is to consume approxiamtely 330 calories per hour until he finishes, which means he'll need approximately 500 calories.
In order to simplify his nutrition, John customized his sports drink through a company called InfinIT Nutrition. Each serving of his sports drink contains 160 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrate, 375 mg. sodium, 110 mg. potassium, 30 mg. magnesium and 15 mg. of calcium.
John will carry three heaping servings of his InfinIT in a large gel flask topped off with water. He'll take shots of the concentrate every 10 minutes along with course-provided water so that he'll consume two servings between 1:30 and 2:30 and the final serving between 2:30 and the finish line.
Kim Mueller, M.S., R.D., is a competitive endurance athlete who provides nutritional counseling and meal planning to athletes all around the world. For more information on her services, go to www.kbnutrition.com, or contact her at email@example.com.
Copyright ⓒ 2006 Active Network
The Couch-to-5K Running Plan
This beginner's running schedule has helped thousands of new runners get off the couch and onto the roads, running 3 miles in just two months.
By Josh Clark Posted Wednesday, 25 October, 2006, Cool Running
Too many people have been turned off of running simply by trying to start off too fast. Their bodies rebel, and they wind up miserable, wondering why anyone would possibly want to do this to themselves.
You should ease into your running program gradually. In fact, the beginners' program we outline here is less of a running regimen than a walking and jogging program. The idea is to transform you from couch potato to runner, getting you running three miles (or 5K) on a regular basis in just two months.
It's easy to get impatient, and you may feel tempted to skip ahead in the program, but hold yourself back. Don't try to do more, even if you feel you can. If, on the other hand, you find the program too strenuous, just stretch it out. Don't feel pressured to continue faster than you're able. Repeat weeks if needed and move ahead only when you feel you're ready.
A few minutes each week
Each session should take about 20 or 30 minutes, three times a week. That just happens to be the same amount of moderate exercise recommended by numerous studies for optimum fitness. This program will get you fit. (Runners who do more than this amount are doing it for more than fitness, and before long you might find yourself doing the same as well).
Be sure to space out these three days throughout the week to give yourself a chance to rest and recover between efforts. And don't worry about how fast you're going. Running faster can wait until your bones are stronger and your body is fitter. For now focus on gradually increasing the time or distance you run.
Run for time, or run for distance
There are two ways to follow this program, to measure your runs by time or by distance. Either one works just as well, choose the option that seems easiest for you to keep track of. If you go with the distance option, and you are not using a track to measure the distances, just estimate. It's not important to have the distances absolutely exact.
Before setting out, make sure to precede each session with a five-minute warmup walk or jog. Be sure to stretch both before and after. Read "Stay Loose" for some suggestions.
The Cool Running Couch to 5K program is now available for download in Active Trainer. It's the same program that has helped thousands of runners across the finish-line, published to your personal online training calendar. Active Trainer allows you to log your progress against the program. Try the program today!
Organized training groups, such as the Wasatch Training Group, Salt Lake City Track Club, Loco Motion Running Club, Desert Sharks Tri Club, Triple Threat Tri Club, and Team in Training, receive a 10% discount* along with the Treehouse and Lifetime fitness clubs.
Join the Wasatch Running Club and get *15% off all regularly priced products. WR Club members also get sale prices a day early and 20% off WRC branded apparel.
*no additional discounts apply to sale items.