Marathon Training

5 Ways to Prepare for Marathon Training

Wondering what you should be doing to get ready for fall marathon training? You’re not alone. Here’s how we recommend you fill those precious weeks leading up to the start of your marathon training:

(1) GET HEALTHY. Now’s the time for a little TLC for any extra tightness or nagging pain that’s been creeping it’s way into your spring running. Maybe this means taking a week or two off from running or a couple visits to your favorite therapist. Also, don’t forget the value of a good non-running shoe. Women, with warmer, summer weather comes flat sandals, flip flops and high-heeled sandals. None of these are good for your achilles or your feet. Instead, spend more time in shoes with about a 1-inch lift and some arch support.

(2) SETTLE INTO A ROUTINE. Marathon training must be a priority for it to be successful. So, make sure you’ve figured out a way to fit in at least 3 runs a week including one day a week that will work for your longer runs. If you figure out how to make your schedule work in advance, it’ll be a lot less stressful when training officially begins.

(3) PICK UP THE PACE. Get your body used to the faster paced workouts included in most marathon training plans with at least one run a week that includes speed bursts in the middle or at the end of your run. For example, after a couple miles into your run, pick up the pace 4-6 times for 15 seconds to a couple minutes. You don’t need to sprint, but get out of your easy, regular pace. Alternatively, finish your run with a fast last mile at a comfortably hard pace similar to a tempo pace. This pace should feel challenging, but you should still be able to control your breathing.

(4) LONG RUN PREP. Take a look at the long run distance in week 1 of your training plan. Now make sure you’re ready to tackle that distance by building up over the next couple of weeks to a mile or two below this distance. For example, if the first week of your plan has you running 10 miles, you should be able to run 8 miles before starting week 1. This way you adhere to the 10% rule of only increasing your long run distance by about 10% each week. 

(5) FIND A PLAN! No marathon experience is the same, so we believe no plan should be exactly same. Make sure your training plans works for you – not just your training partner. For a fully customized training approach and a fun, supportive environment, check out our 16-week training plans.  

Marathon Spectating 101

 by Jessica Green
The 2014 Portland Marathon is this weekend which means one Hot Bird is getting ready to race while the other is setting up her cheer strategy. The other day, a friend asked me, "What can I do for [our friend]" who is running the marathon this weekend? That same day, a client told me about how excited she is for her family to be able to come out and support her on race day.  Both of these comments got me thinking about how to be the best supporter to those who are giving it their all on race day. Here's what I came up with.   

Rule #1. Respect the effort. Acknowledge the upcoming race and how much effort your friend or family member has put in for many months for this one particular day. Runners want/NEED to get excited for their race day and what better way to do than by hearing how excited someone else is for them.  

Rule #2. Show up and cheer your heart out! This is so incredibly valuable to runners. There is nothing like knowing your friend or family is waiting for you at mile 19 to help get you through earlier troublesome miles. Bottom line, your cheering makes a HUGE difference. 

 

Rule #3. If you said you are going to be cheering, don't you dare flake. There's nothing worse than planning to see someone at a certain point in the race and them not being there because, oops, they didn't realize you were counting on them. 

Rule #4. Communicate ahead of time where you will be. This includes a specific point on the course and a specific side of the course.  Most likely, it's the runner that will find you if it's a crowded race, so they need to know where to look. 

Rule #5. Cheer for everyone. Your runner isn't the only person running that day. Since you're already out there, go ahead and cheer everyone else on. We don't care that we don't know you, we just love to hear you cheer. It gets us fired up!

Rule #6. Flair is fun. The Hot Birds LOVE their signs. For bonus points, make one sign for everyone and for your runner(s). You can always reuse them too. 

 

Rule #7. Avoid the crowds. Some of the hardest miles in longer races are the ones with the least amount of spectators along the course. These places might be a little bit harder to get to, but it's worth the effort for your runner. The other option is to park yourself somewhere in the second half of the race when your runner might need your support the most. For half marathons, we love mile 10. For marathons, mile 19 or 20 is good.  

Rule #8. Avoid saying "you're almost there" or telling runners how much further they have to go. We know exactly how far we have left and it might not feel like we are almost there even if there's only 1 mile left. Instead, just tell us to crush it or that we're looking good. 

Rule #9. Check for road closures. Make sure your spectating plan isn't spoiled by unforseen road closures. Check the race website the day before for road closure information and plan accordingly. Also, plan to arrive well ahead of your runner, so you don't miss them!

Rule #10. Congratulate your runner. Regardless of the outcome, your runner trained hard, showed up on race day and hopefully crossed the finish line. They want to talk about it. Let them. Congratulate them even if you couldn't attend the race. 

For all you runners out there, don't forget to thank everyone around you for supporting you through your training and on race day. 

 

 

How to Taper Effectively

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The reason behind tapering before a competition is to be as well rested as possible in order to maximize your potential on race day. This is not a rest or recovery period. Instead, these 2-3 weeks are when you reduce miles while maintaining intensity. If you are tapering for a marathon, plan to run about 30% less from your peak mileage 3 weeks out and about 50% less 2 weeks out from the race. While the miles decrease, your intensity doesn't. We recommend you run several race pace runs (especially, if you are going for a PR) and tempo runs during the taper. Don't slack on these runs, they are what will get you to the finish line in your goal time.
Use those last few long, weekend runs as race pace practice. We recommend running 13-15 miles 2 weeks out and 8 miles the weekend before your race. During each of these runs, aim to run 4-8 miles at race pace. During the week (3 and 2 weeks out), run 15-20 minutes at tempo pace (only 1 time per week). These runs get your body use to that pace and will help you mentally as your body fatigues later on in the marathon.

Taper time can be hard for many athletes because we are so used to filling up our time with running and marathon training. This is a good time to refocus on sleep and eating well, or watch that DVD series you've been meaning to start or read a book you've had on your list. Keep yourself occupied and enjoy the extra time. Don't fret about the miles or what other people are doing. Avoid looking up blogs or articles about training or taper time as well. You don't want to freak yourself out! We recommend unplugging a bit the week before your race; go to bed early, shut the TV off, turn the computer off and leave the phone in the other room. Allow your body and mind to rest.
In the end, it's about trusting your training and staying positive. Believe you will do great and you will have a great race.

When marathon training is hard...Really hard

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I haven't written about my training in a while for a number of reasons: 1) I moved, 2) I started a new job, 3) my training has sucked. Yup, sucked. I haven't been hitting my mileage or my times. My legs feel like they are full of lead. There's no acute trauma or reason for this pain, instead, it's built up over a few years of not treating my legs to the time off or rest that they probably needed. I had a really bad skiing accident in Dec 2012 which lead to a lot of trauma on my left hamstring. I let it rest but proably not enough and I think I've been compensating since. My hips are not aligned and because of that, I have started to compensate in my stride.

This realization (coming after talking to PTs and massage therapists) is making me look at my marathon on Oct 5th very differently. I am going to start the race but I am going to listen VERY closely to my body and heed its warnings. If I have to slow down or stop, I'm going to do just that. It's tough having to adjust your goals, especially after working really hard to meet them, but I believe it's the best course of action for me - physically and mentally.

I will be racing on Oct 5th but it might not be for my 3:20 PR; it might be for a finish. I have 3 sets of goals and I will be happy to meet any of them. What I'm learning throughout this process is the importance of setting goals and being able to adjust them; life is in constant flux, thus your goals should reflect that.

2 Great Alternatives to the Track


 by Jessica Green

Whether you have access to a track should not determine whether you are able to complete your track workouts during marathon training.  Certain workouts are designated for the track because a track provides precise, quarter-mile distance markers and a flat surface perfect for uninterrupted running and accurate feedback about your pace and times. Unfortunately, it’s not realistic for a lot of people to get to a track once a week for their track workouts. For some, it’s because a track is not nearby, and, for others, it’s because the thought of running around a track is very unappealing (to the latter, I recommend training in a group at the track - it's much more motivating).

Whoever you are, if you can’t get to a track, try these two alternatives to the track to get the most of out of your designated "track workouts." 

(1) Find a flat pedestrian path or trail with quarter-mile markers.  Most track workouts can be broken down into quarter-mile distances such as 400s, 800s, 1200, 1600s, etc.  Many cities have running paths with distance markers.  With the distances all marked out, all you need is a timer to track your workouts.  If your city doesn’t have a path with distances marked out, don’t be afraid to bring some chalk and make your own during your warm up.

(2) Set up your GPS watch to auto lap at .25 miles rather than 1-mile. This works well when you can’t find any distance markers. Plus, it provides you with your quarter-mile splits during longer speed intervals. This is important because it allows you to monitor whether you are running at a consistent pace or starting out slow and finishing fast or vice versa. 

Marathon Training - Week 8 = Speed

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Half way through marathon training and I'm feeling good. This week was all about speed and yoga. Since I'm on a bit of a vacation until my new job starts at the end of August, I'm using my days off to check out yoga classes and get everything ready to move.

On Monday I did an easy morning run along the waterfront with Liz. I then did an easy yoga class at Core Power Yoga. I felt great after the yoga class. As you all know, my hamstrings are really tight and finally getting into a yoga class showed me just how tight - I could barely get my fingertips to the floor! I had to bend my knees a lot. This is unusual for me; I use to be able to get my palms flat on the floor.

Tuesday, Jessica and I met for a track workout. We did 6x800s. It was hot but a great workout. I completed all of them in my pace zone. It was tough but I did it. Jessica did a cruise workout and stayed behind me which was great because I got coaching and she gave me some insights into how I run repeats.

Wednesday was my cross training day and I did 2 yoga classes. It was great and I felt so much better when I woke up on Thursday morning. My hamstrings were sore but not tight. I did an easy run to Grant Park where I babysat Lucia while Jessica coached. We are working on getting Lucia to run (just kidding, she's working on walking first!)

Friday was my race pace run. We did 6 miles at 7:30ish pace. It was a tough workout. I'm planning on doing 3 more before the marathon, building up to 12 miles at race pace. My race pace is going to be a hard one for me - it's a bit of a stretch. Saturday was yoga and Sunday was a 4 mile run with 2 miles at race pace thrown in - just for the hell of it.

On to week #9!

 

Marathon Training - Week 7

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I'm almost half way through training and feeling strong. I did my leg strength work 2 times this week and it's making a difference. My hamstrings are still sore but not like before and they recover much faster.

I had to shift my training days (once again) because of a 3 day trip. I did a fun, fast 7 miler on Monday morning along the waterfront and a 9 miler on Thursday morning. My 9 miler included 2x1 mile repeats and coffee with Jessica and Lucia.

On Friday, I did an easy 4 mile run and then timed Jessica and Marie in the Dual Duel - a crazy, fun 10 mile race on a track. Each team member runs 5 miles but in 400 meter increments. I ran it last year and loved it. Of course, you hate it on laps 13-16 but it's amazing to do and you come out feeing strong. I couldn't find a partner so I said I'd time it.

On Saturday, I went to Multonmah Falls and hiked to the top. It was a pretty steep hike but worth it for the views. Jessica, Marie and I met on Sunday morning for our long runs. We ran in Forest Park and focused on minutes run instead of miles. Marie reminded us that 15 miles in Forest Park on the trails is very different than 15 miles on the road. Her approach is to focus on minutes so that you are getting the same amount of time on your feet (as opposed to more when running trails). We did a fun route that I hadn't ever done before. Those girls are fast and they pushed me which was great. I ran for 2.5 hours and needed a nap!

 

Marathon Training - Weeks 5 & 6

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Track is back in my life. It's been awhile since I've done consistent track workouts and wow - those workouts are hard! Week 5 was a tough week because it was after the hilly half marathon and my body was fried. I recouped, slept a lot and had a lot less to worry about in my life so my runs were better. Monday was an easy recovery day, Tuesday was track and it was rough, rough, rough. I couldn't finish one of my repeats. The rest of the week was fine, did a spin class and but didn't do any strength besides core work. My hamstrings are really tight so I need to go back to doing MELT Method on a weekly basis and fitting in a yoga class.

On Saturday, Jessica and I met for a run. We did 10 miles in Forest Park which was awesome. First, it was great because we were back doing long runs together and secondly, I felt pretty good. The last 1.5 miles were hard but I survived.

This past week was a great week for me and running. I had some great runs by myself, a great track workout and an awesome long run. Jessica and I did a killer track workout: 2 x 1200, 2 x 800 and 2 x 400. It's a great track workout to test your pacing. We were both happy with our times because they fell on the faster side of our training range and because we were consistent. (I was NOT consistent the week before!) My long run was great as well. I ran 4 by myself and then met Jessica for 12 miles. We ran up Terwilliger and back down. Our last few miles were our fastest and we felt great. I also did 2 days of lower body strength work. I'm recommitting to strength because my hamstrings need it and my body feels better and more supported. I'm doing a lot of bridges, clamshells, backward lunges, side lunges, squats and dynamic movments to support my hamstrings.

I'm looking forward to week 7 which brings more track, an 18 miler and a long midweek run with race pace miles.

Marathon Training Week 4 - Highs and Lows

This week was a long one because of work, life stuff. It brought a low point and then a very, very high point (more on this later...) and then I repeated that pattern during my Sunday half marathon. My Monday run was a great one along the waterfront until I got a blister at mile 3.5. It was a 7 mile run so I had to get back. I haven't gotten a blister in a year and the last time was when I wore a pair of Saucony's (after wearing Mizuno's for 3 years). This pair, the Asics Gel-Electro33's are great because I slightly pronate but my foot was having none of it past 3 miles! I was able to continue running all week and it healed quickly.

I signed up for a half marathon with some girlfriends a few months ago. We thought it'd be a fun activity for us and there was the added bonus of wine tasting at the end. It was the first half marathon for one of my friends and I trained her. She did an awesome job - followed my plan to the T!

I was using the race as a training run because it was a hilly run. I had NO idea how hilly it really was. It was kinda ridiculous! There were over 10 hills and most of them were so steep. My body hates hills! I definitely need to go back to the hill repeats that I use to do. I finished but it was the worst half I've ever run. I stopped and helped a woman who fell, I stopped and talked to a friend who came to cheer us on and I was texting with my boyfriend during it. It was pretty funny but it definitely put my hill running ability into perspective. I'm committed to hill repeats now!

It was a great lesson in not giving up and a huge reminder how mental racing is. I had to talk myself through many of the hills. Don't give up - even when the situation sucks and the hill seems insurmountable! (There's always wine on the other side!)

Motivation Monday - Week 3 of Marathon Training

Week 3 brought my first hot, sweaty runs and hiking as cross training. Monday was an easy 5.5 miler, Tuesday I did 3 miles and the Hot Bird Running workout. Wednesday was our last Forest Park trail run. It was another hilly one! It was a great way to end the series. I felt much stronger than I have in past weeks.

Friday, I woke up and ran 14. Friends joined me for 10 of those miles which was great and needed! It was hot! I was doing great and keeping the pace to a nice 8:05-8:10 until about mile 12 when I started to slow down. By mile 13, I was down to about a 9 minute pace and looking for water. I've found that my body is just kinda done about 1 mile before my long runs end. Going to have to fake myself out in future runs!

I stretched, used my Tiger Tail roller and had a great day walking about Portland and eating well. I was ready for bed by 11pm that night though!

Saturday, I went to the coast and hiked Neahkanie Mt with some friends. It was a beautiful hike. Jessica was down below running with her Dad and baby, Lucia. We met up after for some drinks, food and a little smashball on the beach. 

Week 3 was great - I didn't do everything on my plan but I felt pretty strong and ready to tackle week 4 and the half marathon on Sunday. 

A New Type of Marathon Goal

by Jessica Green

While Meghan tackles the first few weeks of marathon training for the Portland Marathon on October 5th, I am re-committing to some type of cross training on a regular basis before my training for the NYC marathon on November 2nd kicks into high gear at the end of July.  Although I've been sucessful with some core work almost 5 times a week, it's not quite the same as a full 45-60 minute workout that has nothing to do with running. I'm talking about something like yoga, Pilates, biking or a conditioning class. 

In the past, my best races seem to correlate with periods of time where I am committed to my cross training activities at least once a week. These are also periods where I tend to feel the least tight, the strongest and most comfortable in my body and mind. Over the last month, the warmer temperatures and a busier schedule have taken an toll on my body and my cross training. I feel tight and weak and my running feels heavy. 

The solution, as I tell clients over and over again, is to do something else besides just running. Time to heed my own advice!  There's no way I'm going to make it to the finish line in one piece on November 2nd if I don't clean up my act and find something that will get me cross training regularly. So, this July, my goal is to take an hour-long class 1x/week that doesn't involve any running. This will take precedence over that extra day of running that I usually end up leaning towards.  I challenge those of you in my same position to do the same with the ultimate goal being that the routine continues through all of marathon training. 

Looking for the right type of cross training class or activity? Ask us to help you sift through the options to find the one that's the best fit for you. 

 

Motivation Monday - week 2 of marathon training

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Week 2 brought changes and the realization that my body really, really needs an easy, warmup mile before attempting to run fast. After a really crappy 10 mile run on Saturday and an easy 3 on Sunday, I was totally refreshed and ready to go Monday am. I felt great running the waterfront loop. It's a 5.5 mile loop that sometimes can feel like forever. This past week, it was the perfect temperature and my running partner and I just talked and talked the whole time.

Tuesday was an early morning spin class because I had an event after work. On Wednesday, Jessica and I met for a sustained hard effort run. I don't want to say tempo because I'm not at the point where I can run a sustained tempo pace. I wanted to run 7:20-7:30s for 20 minutes. However, I started off with Jessica and allowed her to set the pace. Full disclosure - she is faster than me. I did the complete opposite of what I wanted to run - running faster and then having to slow down. I prefer to get faster each mile or sustain. After the warmup, I did a 7:07 and then a 7:30 mile. It was rough - I would have prefered to run the opposite times but lesson learned.

Thursday was my strength training day. Friday was my rest day. On Saturday, I tackled the Terwilliger hill for my 12 miles. I'm definitely a long run person because the first two miles felt terrible! I actually felt better running uphill on the 3rd mile. I stopped and took a picture at the top, got water, refueled and prepared for the downhill. Sunday was an easy 4 miler.

One of my favorite aspects of running in Portland is the fact that there are water fountains everywhere. Terwilliger is popular route for runners, hikers and cyclists. It's a great route with sidewalks, bike lanes and water fountains. I was disappointed to see runners littering. It's not hard to put the empty wrappers back in your pockets or run over to the garbage can that was about 100 feet away. Respect where you run and pick up after yourselves. Of course, I know that none of our friends or clients would litter :)

Motivation Monday - 1st week of marathon training

It's been 2 years since I've trained for a marathon. I'm running the Portland Marathon on Oct 5th and going for a PR. My goal is to finish the race in under 3:20. This is 5 minutes faster than my previous faster marathon and I know the training will be challenging. I'm looking forward to it because I love how it feels to get faster, to hit times, to conquer hills and enjoy slower runs!
This past week I did hill repeats, a hilly run and 10 miler. I got into Forest Park to tackle the hilly run and found a new spot for hill repeats (missing the Brooklyn Bridge!) My recovery runs were just that - slow and easy. My body definitely felt the hills and the upper mileage. I'm not worried about my pace at this point. I'm looking for consistency on the hill repeats and a strong finish on the hilly runs. I hit my small weekly goals, slept a lot and am looking forward to week 2!

Mental prep for marathon training

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It's been 2 years since the Hot Birds trained for a marathon. We are back and ready to tackle and PR our fall marathons. You've heard us talk a lot about base trianing before beginning marathon season. One aspect that is crucial to our prepping and training, but we haven't talked about, is our mental prep.

Mental prep is huge for us. We have a lot of internal pep talks and text messages checking in and supporting each other. We know how crucial it is to be mentally prepared for training because it is an intense few months. We can't do it totally alone - we rely on each other and friends and family to support us and give us those pep talks when our spirits are low. So, find your support team for your next training season. Let people know you are training and you'll be surprised how many people want to support you!

I make sure I have a few yoga classes on my calendar each month and I do a lot of visualization. I find that using visualization techniques while running, especially during a tempo or track workout, visualizing running my marathon and finishing helps push me. I imagine the roar of the crowd and how my body will feel as I'm running the race. 

Meditation has never been easy for me - my mind races when sitting still! However, I've found a few apps that help me. Omvana is a great one. It has guided meditations as well as music tracks to help soothe you. It's amazing how listening to someone tell you to relax your shoulders, your hands, your legs, etc, actually works.

Prepping for Marathon Training

By Jessica Green

As a primer to our impending fall marathon training seasons, Meghan and I signed up for the Helvetia Half Marathon last Saturday - an amazing race that we recommend to all.  Meghan, who's running the Portland Marathon in October, starts her training on Monday, but I don't start my training for the NYC Marathon until mid-July.  With over a month until official training starts, I decided to to run last weekend's half hard to see where I was at since it was my first half back since my pregnancy.

Miraculously, I woke up Sunday feeling better than I felt before the race. Then I went for a hike in hilly Forest Park and was quickly reminded how much my legs need to recover from the race. Marathon training is about to begin and it's VERY important for me to take the right steps in my preparation to ensure a healthy, happy body going into training. So, I'm taking the week completely off from running and hard leg work and focusing on stretching, strength for my upper body and a little R&R.

We get asked a lot, "What should I do?" during the weeks leading up to the beginning of a marathon training plan. The answer isn't that simple and definitely isn't cookie cutter. For example, look at me. I'm taking an entire week off from running one month out from the start of my official marathon plan. Others should use this time to work towards building up to 20 miles a week or adding an additional run day over the next month.  No matter what type of runner you are or what you do in the next monthor days, the truth of the situation is that you are already in "marathon training." Albeit, it's not part of your 16-week plan, but it's still impacting how successful your training is going to be. 

The best thing to do right now is to listen to your body, identify and address any aches and pains and continue to work on becoming a stronger runner through regular strength and stretching. You've heard us say this countless times, but there's no time like right now to let it soak in.  Once your official plan kicks in and the miles start to climb (faster than you think) it gets harder and harder to find time for strength work and R&R. Use the last few days or weeks wisely whether it's a few more longer runs, adding more strength to your workouts or giving yourself a few much needed days off.  Continue to adhere to the 10% rule of increasing your mileage and your long run distance. Lastly, I recommend enjoying the final week before your official training starts with a low mileage week because you start to build as soon as you hit Week 1! 

Need more detailed advice on what you should do to prep for marathon training based on your level of fitness and training? Ask us! We are here to help and would love to guide you in the right direction!

In the meantime, I'll be doing these two stretches all week long to help my legs recover from last week:

 

Fall Marathon Training

Fall Marathon Training Plan Special

Train for a fall marathon with a customized, flexible training program offering continuous updates based on actual progress and training preferences plus unlimited feedback and support from a coach. The best marathon training plans are the ones that are customized to you, your fitness and your goals. 

 Training begins:

  1. Portland Marathon: June 16
  2. Chicago Marathon: June 23 
  3. NYC Marathon: July 14

SPECIAL PRICE: $249 for 16 weeks 

Training for a marathon is a long-term, physically and mentally challenging commitment. The first goal of any marathon training is to make it to the start of race day. In other words, train smart!

Sign up for our Marathon Training Plan to learn what it means to train smart, AND, more importantly, enjoy the benefits of it as you cross the finish line. Get the most of out your marathon experience working with your own personal running coach dedicated to your goals, training preferences and providing ongoing support. Your training plan includes:

  1. FLEXIBLE, FULLY CUSTOMIZED WEEKLY TRAINING SCHEDULES including detailed running workouts, cross training suggestions and strength training routines with customized pacing, distance and scheduling.
  2. UNLIMITED ACCESS to your running coach throughout the entire training plan. Email your coach any day of the week to receive performance feedback and modifications for things like missed workouts, revised pacing guidelines, injury concerns or mid-training vacations.
  3. TRAINING SUPPLEMENTS with detailed information about workouts, nutrition, goal setting, strength and stretching.  

Who is this training for? First time marathoners, marathon veterans ready to run a personal best, the injury-prone runner, any runner interested in expanding your knowledge about various training strategies and how they apply specifically towards improving your performance and overall training experience.

 

 

How do I sign up? Pay? Click here to pay and then fill out our New Client Registration Form. Contact us with any questions at 646.535.0307 or info@hotbirdrunning.com.

Monday Motivation - Training Inspiration

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After a marathon hiatus, I'm ready to train for one again. I start my base training phase today, in preparation for a fall marathon. Over the weekend, as I created my goals and plans, I was looking back at my old training plans for inspiration. I kept detailed notes during my 2010 marathon PR and my not so stellar 2012 marathon. I needed to look back to understand key learnings and to figure out what worked and what didn't work.

I realized that I incorporated a lot more cross training workouts in 2010 and that I was much more diligent at doing very specific workouts - namely, speed work and tempo runs in 2010. Thus, I'm concentrating on tempo runs over the next 7 weeks in order to prepare myself for the faster runs my marathon training is going to require. I wish I could just jump back into the workouts and crush those 800 meter repeats like I use to but my body isn't there. I'm stronger and can do more pushups than I could do in 2010 but I haven't practiced turning over my legs so that's my base training focus.

It's easy to write it down and say I'm going to do it; it's the actual doing that is the hard part :) So, to keep me inspired, I wrote out my goal and put it on my fridgerator. I printed out pictures of me during the NYC marathon and I recruited friends to run with me on different days - they will hold me accountable!

Additionally, my Dad is a source of inspiration. At 70 yrs old, he started running and committed to running 3 miles last summer. He did it and I couldn't have been prouder. This picture sums up how great he felt and sums up how great I want to feel after PRing in my fall marathon!

If you need help coming up with a plan or need inspiration - contact us. We have a great marathon special going on right now - $249 for a 16 week personalized training plan.

 

Base Training 101 - Prepare for Race Season

Marathon Season is approaching fast! What are you doing now so you’re ready to hit the ground running (literally) once race training formally begins? The answer - invest in a solid base training program.

What is base training? Base training involves a healthy combination of strength workouts, longer distance runs, stamina building tempo and interval runs and hill work during the weeks leading up to formal race training. During this time, you work on strengthening and balancing major running muscles, safely re-introducing intervals and hill workouts at medium intensity and improving your stamina with weekly runs at a harder, sustained effort.

Why do I need it? The goal of base training is to develop your muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance to enter race training with a proper foundation. This way you can jump into higher intensity workouts without risk of injury, and effectively execute each workout to reap the most benefits.

When to implement? Six to nine weeks before race specific training begins. We recommend a solid nine weeks for maximum strength and endurance adaptations.

Who is it for? Anyone who can comfortably run at least three times per week for a total of 10-15 miles a week and is beginning a formal race training program in the upcoming months.

The month of May at Hot Bird Running is all about base training. Whether you’re coming off a spring half marathon and ready to get back into running or you’re in the final count down before your marathon training starts this summer, base training is for you. Maintain a year round, balanced approach to running with a proper base training plan. Stay tuned all month for our base training tips - get the base before the race.

Long Run Essentials: A Runner's Checklist

Long runs aren't your typical "head out the door and run" activity.  Unlike shorter distance runs, any run lasting over 90 minutes should include a certain amount of advance planning, taking into careful consideration things like safety precautions, nutritional and hydration needs, weather conditions and transportation needs.  To avoid disaster during a long run, here are our top things you should know before you go. 

KNOW . . .

1. YOUR ROUTE. This sets you up for everything else mentioned below, plus it prevents you from running longer than you should which can be costly if you are in the middle of specific race training  We're not saying that you need to know each and every turn, but you should have a general idea where you are running based on how far or long you plan to run that day.

2. WHERE YOUR WATER IS.  Does your route include drinking fountains? Or do you plan to buy water at various points along the way (in the middle and towards the end)? Or will you need to bring your own water or drop off water along your route before you begin? Don't forget to bring cash with you if you don't have free water throughout the entire run. 

3. THE WEATHER CONDITIONS. Check the weather forecast and consider changing conditions halfway through your run.  If the forecast calls for thunder and lightening halfway through your run, consider a less exposed route towards the end of your run.  Considering the weather is also important in deciding what to wear especially in regions prone to extreme heat and humidity or cold conditions.  For example: humidity plus cotton t-shirts or the wrong shorts during a long run = chaffing!

4. YOUR BAILOUT PLAN. It is essential to not only listen to your body if it's telling you that your long run isn't going to happen that day, but to be able to bail out of your run before it's too late.  In case you need to bail out early, bring extra cash and metrocard for unexpected transportation costs even when routed to start and finish near near your home or car.  Also, avoid areas with little to no support along the route (e.g. trail runs) if you are recovering from an injury or new to long distances.

5. YOUR REFUEL PLAN.  Every runner has their own unique refueling strategy on those 2 to 3 hour long runs.  Whatever your plan is, make sure you're prepared for it before leaving the house.  If you plan to pick something up along the way, don't forget to bring money to pay for it. 

6. WHAT'S IN YOUR WALLET.  Don't leave home without some form of cash or bank card.  You won't regret bringing it and it can come in very handy in all different circumstances. 

7. WHERE YOUR KEYS ARE.  Nothing is worse than returning home after a long run to find you have locked yourself out either because you forgot your keys or they fell out during your bathroom pit stop or grabbing your shot bloks out of your pocket.  Our recommendation: put your keys somewhere that you won't access again until unlocking your door AND if they are in your pants/shorts pocket, make sure they don't fall out while going to the bathroom. 

8. SOMEONE ELSE IS LOOKING OUT FOR YOU.  Tell someone not on the run with you where you plan to run and approximately how long you estimate until your return. Always estimate the longest amount of time, rather than shorter to account for things like transportation, cool down, stopping for breakfast or lunch, or a slower pace than expected.  Think of this as, "if I am not back or you haven't heard from me by this time, something is wrong."  Make sure this person understands what to do in the event you are not back and where you might be if you're taking longer because you stopped for food or something else.

Marathon Recovery

By Maren Elliott

We've asked Maren Elliott to follow-up her inspiration post last week, The Final Miles, with a little insight into the recovery during the weeks after those final miles.  

The morning after finishing a marathon I wake up depressed – without fail.  It always seems so silly; I’ve accomplished something great so I should be elated.  Not to mention I’m free of long training runs, foam-rolling sessions, and painful massages.  But somehow the extra time and less regulated schedule doesn’t bring the relief I always anticipate.  I’m antsy, feel out of shape, and generally pretty grumpy.  The emotional recovery from a marathon is typically the hardest for me, but there is also the physical recovery.

Depending on the marathon I may be unable to walk or take stairs without grasping a hand-railing for fear that my legs will buckle and quit working.  Then there are those inexplicable marathons when I feel great the next day, like I could go for a run (and I usually desperately want to).  It can be hard to know exactly how to approach the recovery period especially when you feel out of sync physically and emotionally.

The general rule of thumb is to give yourself as many days to recover as miles you ran.  So for a marathon, you’d take 26 days for recovery.  There have been times when my legs needed twice that before I could even think about lacing up running shoes again.  And there have been times when I’m ready to run a week later.  In both cases the important thing to remember is to listen to your body and not force anything – it is different for everyone.

Taking walks and doing an easy bike ride in the first days after the marathon helps relieve the soreness a bit, and can provide some of the mental release I need in the absence of running.  Regardless of how long it takes, I constantly remind myself to “be nice to myself” during the awkward transition weeks after the marathon.  This sounds easy enough but can be hard when things feel off balance.  If you give yourself the time you need to recover and heal, the first run back will bring the endorphin rush you crave and all will feel right again.