ING NYC Marathon

Reposted from: http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/running-marathon-training-tips/

In high school, I could barely run the timed mile test, walking most of it.

Three years ago, I ran my first marathon after losing 50 pounds. I finished in 4:59, and I was happy just to have finished. But I knew I had more in me.

A few weeks ago, I ran my fourth marathon in 3:56. I took more than an hour off my time in three years, without devoting my entire life to running. I work a full-time job, volunteer and have an active social life, but I never felt like I was giving anything up for running. If anything, it added to the quality of my life.

I trained hard to get there, but there are also a few important tweaks I made that helped. Of course, the marathon is a special beast, and anything can happen on race day. But most coaches agree that training smarter physically and mentally can get you to the starting line stronger and ready to tackle 26.2. Here are five strategies that can be effective across the board, along with insights from Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World.

1. Add Speedwork

When I started training for my first marathon, I was still pretty new to running. I’d been at it for about a year, and the thought of intentionally running faster sounded terrifying. I just wanted to finish. During subsequent training cycles, I learned that speedwork (pushing harder in the middle of a workout at a specific speed for a specific amount of time) would change everything. That’s right, running faster… helps you get faster. Crazy, right? Speedwork works best when you’re running hard at a distance relative to your race distance, so tempo runs or mile repeats are best for marathoners. “I always felt like I was getting a little bit of speed but lots of endurance from mile repeats,” says Yasso.

2. Log Race Pace Miles

How are you going to run your goal pace for hours on end if you don’t know what it feels like to run at that pace? Speedwork paces and goal race paces should be fairly different. Your speedwork pace is typically your pace for a 10K or a half-marathon, or, a pace you can hold for roughly one to two hours. Your race pace is something that you’re trying to hold for 3-plus hours, unless you’re an elite athlete.

I practiced at my goal pace for mid-distance runs and at the end of long runs, so that I knew what it felt like to hold it for a sustained amount of time, and what it felt like to hold it on tired legs. On race day, while I checked my watch obsessively, I easily could have told you if I were running faster or slower than my goal pace by how I felt the cadence in my legs. By running race pace miles, says Yasso, “I always felt that innate sense of rhythm that I can carry this pace on race day.”

3. Up Your Days and Your Mileage

The first time around, I ran between two and three times per week, supplementing that with other forms of cardio at the gym and lifting with a trainer. I finished that marathon at an 11:25 pace, hitting the wall colossally at mile 18. I knew if I wanted to get faster, though, that I would need to run more. I used to be terrified of running two days in a row, but this year I typically ran five days per week, and I maxed out my mileage at 47 miles one week. I got to run on tired legs quite often, which was a huge mental boost at mile 22 of the marathon, when my legs felt like someone had strapped massive sandbags to them.

Though there are many variables to determining weekly mileage, says Yasso, the key is to listen to your body and not overtrain. Experts generally recommend not increasing your weekly mileage more than 10 percent each week.

4. Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Running is hard. Running fast(er) is even harder. Miles 21 to 24 of the New York City Marathon were incredibly uncomfortable. Of course they were. I’d just run 20 miles! I reminded myself it was supposed to be uncomfortable and not to walk.

“The only way to advance in our sport,” says Yasso, “is to go to the uncomfortable zone. Embrace the pain, and you will be rewarded at the finish line.”

5. Never Set Limits

I took off 40 minutes between marathons 1 and 2. If I had believed that was impossible, I wouldn’t have had the guts to go for that time and make gutsier goals from there. But I thought about what I could do and shot high. I missed the mark last year, but if I hadn’t set such an audacious goal, it wouldn’t have lit the fire in my belly to chase the 3:56 this year.

Tips for Running in Humidity

Posted: August 22, 2013 in Fitness
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It’s not (just) the heat that matters! How to cope with the muggy weather.

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       Published        
July 10, 2013

Mind Body Aug 2013

Runners often obsess over weather reports, tracking the coolest time of day in which to run. But as anyone who’s ever tried to finish a five-miler in steamy conditions knows, it’s not just the temperature that matters, it’s the humidity.
“Of all the climate measurements we take to assess heat risk for our runners, humidity is the biggest factor,” says George Chiampas, D.O., the medical director of the Chicago Marathon. Humidity makes warm summer runs even more taxing because the higher the moisture content of the air, the hotter it feels. An 88-degree day with a relative humidity just under 40 percent, for example, will feel like 88 degrees. Hot, yes, but when humidity reaches 70 percent, that same 88 temperature feels like 100 degrees.
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in Paradise, Nevada—the least humid city in the U.S.—here’s how to cope when running in steamy conditions.
Why Humidity Matters When you run, your core body temperature naturally rises, and your sweat glands produce droplets that carry excess heat to the surface of the skin, where it evaporates. But humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, so the heat stays put. “On a hot, humid day with no breeze, you have lost a key way to get rid of your building body heat, which can make running dangerous,” says Michael Bergeron, Ph.D., a professor at the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota.
If your body heats up and gets more and more dehydrated, it goes into survival mode, maintaining blood flow to your essential organs (to keep you alive) and to your skin (to regulate temperature). Less blood will flow to your GI tract, which will make the digestion of sports drinks or gels difficult, and you may feel nauseous as a result. You may also find you are more prone to side stitches when you are overheated—especially if your breathing becomes shallow and uneven. And your heart rate will escalate as your ticker and lungs work overtime trying to deliver oxygen throughout your body, Dr. Chiampas says.
But wait, there’s (ugh!) more. If you continue to gut it out, your brain temperature will rise, which makes matters worse: Your ability to assess your own body temperature will become difficult (runners often report feeling chilled or goosebumpy when they’re overheating). You can also start to lose control over body mechanics (your form and footing will get sloppy), and your mental abilities may start to break down (you may feel dizzy or disoriented).
“Your temperature can spike in minutes,” Bergeron says. “If you’re running a 5-K or a 10-K on a hot day, you can jack up your body temperature quickly.” Also, it’s a myth that newbies or not-fit-enough runners are the ones who suffer in hot, humid conditions. In fact, competitive athletes may be more prone to heat-related illnesses because the faster you run, the more body heat you generate. “As humidity increases, thermal strain and premature fatigue increase exponentially, and so running at your normal pace will feel very difficult,” Dr. Chiampas says. It’s also important to recognize that feeling sluggish on a sticky day doesn’t indicate a lack of fitness or a lapse in mental toughness—it’s your body’s physical response to a stressful environment.
Of course, some people handle heat and humidity better than others. Body size is one factor—the more body mass you have, the more insulation and load you carry and the more heat your body generates, which makes it easier for you to overheat. Age is another variable—over time, your body becomes less adaptable to heat; age-related changes to sweat glands can decrease sweat production and reduce the body’s ability to cool itself effectively. Also, sweat content varies: Some people lose more sodium in their perspiration than others, and that can impact performance and increase risk of cramps if these salty sweaters don’t take in enough electrolytes. Where you live also plays a role: It takes generally 10 to 14 days to acclimatize to hot and humid conditions. People who train in humid parts of the country will become naturally used to muggy conditions and probably fare better at, say, an August East-Coast race than someone who travels in from the West Coast, where humidity is generally lower.
Slogging On You might think the best times to run are early morning or evening, or cloudy, rainy, or not-crazy-hot days. But all of those can be incredibly humid. When you check the weather report, don’t pay attention to just the temperature. The Heat Index combines temperature with relative humidity to give you apparent temperature—how it actually feels outside. Relative humidity doesn’t become a factor until it reaches about 40 percent—below that, you’ll have a comfortable run; above that, it could impact your performance. For example, a 75-degree day with zero percent humidity will feel like 69 degrees. But in 100-percent humidity, 75 degrees will feel like 80. (Though there is no simple formula for calculating Heat Index on your own, it’s easy to find on weather Web sites and apps.) The National Weather Service issues a Heat Advisory when the Index is expected to exceed 105 for at least two consecutive days.
In those conditions, if you are intent on getting in a quality workout, your best bet is a treadmill in an air-conditioned room. Otherwise, opt for a shaded path (versus heat-absorbing roads), run close to water (bodies of water offer breezier conditions), and take walk breaks. It’s essential to hydrate properly and let go of any time-based goals—run by feel instead of pace. When temperatures go from 75 to 90 degrees, heart rate can increase by 10 to 20 beats per minute, which will make your perceived effort much greater. Add humidity to the mix, and the effect will be even more significant, Bergeron says.
Be mindful of the early warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: fatigue, nausea, dizziness, headaches, tingly skin, and confusion. Call it quits if you experience any of them—even if you haven’t reached the end of your run or the finish line yet.
The good news? You can teach your body to respond more efficiently in the heat. Signing up for a race in the second half of the summer will give you a few weeks of heat training under your fuel belt, so you’ll struggle less than you would at the beginning of the season. And any training you do now will only make your fall runs all the more enjoyable.

Food Mistakes

By Cynthia Sass

Whether you earn your living working up a sweat, or squeeze in workouts when you can, it’s easy to fall prey to eating errors that unintentionally hold you back from getting the most out of your workouts. Here are five common missteps I see, and how to correct them to reap the rewards of your hard work.

Eating Too Little Fat Despite my recommendations to include good fats at every meal, like avocado, nuts, seeds and coconut oil, some of my clients remain fat phobic, and will scale back, fearing that fat is “fattening.” But the truth is, getting enough fat is a smart strategy for both sports nutrition and weight control, because fat: delays stomach emptying, so you feel fuller longer; increases satiety, to shut off hunger hormones; boosts antioxidant absorption, which in emerging research is related to leanness; and ups metabolic rate, to help you burn more calories. In fact, fat is one of the most vital nutrients in your diet, because it’s a structural part of your cells, which means you can’t heal a cell or construct a new one without enough fat to perform these important jobs. Cutting back too much can result in fatigue, chronic hunger, or a lack of satiety, irritability, depression, a weaker immune system and an increased injury risk. So even if you’re trying to reduce your body fat percentage, don’t be afraid to add almond butter to a smoothie, top your salad with avocado, and sauté your veggies in extra virgin olive oil. Filling the fat gap can be the key to finally seeing results.

Using A Sports Drink When You Really Don’t Need One If you sweat heavily, work out for more than 90 minutes, or exercise in hot, humid conditions, reaching for a sports drink rather than plain water is a smart way to keep hydrated, stay fueled and replace the electrolytes lost in sweat. But if you’re exercising for less than an hour and a half, in a climate-controlled gym, plain water should be fine. The carbs in sports drinks are designed to keep you going when you can’t stop to eat, but if your muscles don’t need the fuel, just one 20 ounce bottle means consuming a surplus 35 grams of sugar, the amount in about 20 gummy bears. And while unsweetened coconut water is a little lower, an 11-ounce jug still contains 15 grams of potentially unneeded carbs.

Not Eating After A Workout Because You’re Afraid To “Eat Back” What You’ve Burned While it’s true that overcompensating for a workout by eating too much can prevent you from shrinking your fat cells, striking the right balance is key. Working out takes a toll on your body, and having the right raw materials to heal and repair the wear and tear is important for seeing results. In other words, it’s not just the training itself, but the healing from the training, that mends muscles, boosts metabolism and makes you more toned and fit. So while a good hard workout isn’t a license to sit down to a big plate of pasta, or eat dessert every night, you should be eating something afterwards, with a goal of delivering the nutrients your body needs to properly recover.

Only Eating Protein Post Workout While protein is a key recovery nutrient, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. In addition to a lean protein source, like a smart phone-sized portion of fish or chicken or a scoop of lentils, you should aim for plenty of produce (to replenish nutrients and supply antioxidants), a healthy fat source (which also helps muscles heal and optimizes circulation), a small serving of a whole grain, like wild rice or quinoa (to replete glycogen, the carbohydrate stored in muscle tissue, which serves as a primary fuel source during exercise) and of course fluid, preferably good old H2O (to rehydrate). If you exercise after work, a great post-workout recovery dinner would be a stir-fry made with chicken, shrimp or organic tofu, along with a variety of colorful veggies, over a small portion of whole grain rice, topped with sliced almonds or black sesame seeds. For a simple aromatic stir-fry sauce, that’s not loaded with sugar, whisk together a few tablespoons of brown rice vinegar, with a splash of fresh squeezed citrus juice (like tangerine or blood orange), and a dash each of fresh grated ginger, minced garlic and crushed red pepper.

 

Doubling Up On Recovery Meals For my pro athlete clients, I highly recommend eating something like an all natural bar or shake within 30 minutes of the end of a game or a tough training session whenever possible, because starting the recovery process within a half hour has been shown to help maximize healing. But employing this strategy if you’re not a pro can wind up working against you. For example, if you munch on a bar or grab a smoothie on the way out of the gym, then go home and eat dinner, you may be in recovery overkill. While it might not register as a meal, a bar with 30 grams of carbohydrate, 5 grams of fat, and 10 grams of protein is like eating a small turkey sandwich with mayo. And a smoothie can be the equivalent of three to four handfuls of fruit, plus a container of yogurt. Downing these “snacks” just an hour or so before eating a regular dinner, can mean giving your body far more than it needs for recovery, which results in feeding your fat cells, rather than shrinking them. If you’re going to be eating a meal with an hour of leaving the gym, skip the bar and shake. And if it’s going to be a little longer, munch on something like almonds, which supply some protein, good fat and nutrients, to tie you over.

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Image  —  Posted: June 6, 2013 in Cycling, Fitness, Nutrition, Performance, Running, Weight Training
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Here’s a way to keep yourself accountable while training for a far-away race: book your plane ticket.

Destination races—like the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon series, which hosts runs in cities around the world (from the Nice, France 10-miler during Carnaval to a half-marathon in Las Vegas)—are more popular than ever. In fact, nonprofit group Running USA reported that 13.9 million people finished road races in the U.S. in 2011 compared to 5.2 million in 1991, a 170 percent increase.

But doling out the dough for a ticket is just the first step in preparing to compete someplace far away. Jenny Hadfield, author of Running for Mortals and blogger for RunnersWorld.com, shares seven ways to make the most of your training.

1. Simulate the Course Stuck in Boise while you’re training for Boston? Start by scoping your race’s website for the course layout. Then, do what you can. For example, consider the terrain you’ll be running: If you’re training for a race in snow (likely an uneven surface) in Florida, off-road it, since trails give you an idea of the unevenness, Hadfield says. Pro tip: Bookmark running blogs with inside tips on races all over the world and training secrets from beginners, experts, or elite athletes. Check out Pavement Runner, a San Francisco-based runner’s blog that recaps races from 5Ks to full marathons, and ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes’ blog on RunnersWorld.com.

2. Know Your Temps If you’re going from a warmer environment to a cooler one, your training won’t need much adjusting, says Hadfield. “It’s harder for your body to cool itself than warm itself up,” she says. But if you live in a cool climate and will be running in the heat, do some of your runs on the treadmill. “Gyms are usually 68 to 72 degrees,” Hadfield says. That temperature change can make a big difference—you won’t be bundled up, and you’ll be able to notice little things that could be game-changers on race day, like where your shorts chafe.

3. Pack Smart Wearing compression gear post-workout can reduce muscle aches and soreness, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. In fact, people who wore compression clothes felt about half as much soreness 2 days later than those who didn’t, the research found. Though it has been reported that such clothes help with circulation, researchers think the magic is more in the fact that compression gear reduces swelling and, along with it, pain. Hadfield likes CEP’s recovery socks and tights ($59.95, $199.95 respectively; cepcompression.com).

4. Book an Aisle Seat According to recent research in the journal Chest, window seats on a plane increase your odds of suffering from dangerous blood clots called deep venous thromboses (DVTs). Some studies have suggested a window seat can increase the risk two-fold, mainly because you’re more likely to get up and stretch your legs from an aisle seat—something that’s vital for circulation. No matter where you sit, move around every hour or so. If you can’t get up, flex and stretch your feet to get the blood flowing. Remember, blood clots aren’t an old person’s problem—a high percentage of people who get them on planes are active and young, says Hadfield.

5. Order Tomato Juice on the Plane A Japanese study of 40 people on a 9-hour flight found that drinking one carbohydrate-electrolyte drink (like tomato juice) per hour was more effective at helping people retain fluid than drinking water. The people who had the carbohydrate-electrolyte drink also saw no increase in blood viscosity—a precursor to clots—while the water group did. Electrolytes help balance fluids, which your body can lack after a long workout. A sport drink will work, too: The concoction in the study was 110 milligrams (mg) of sodium and 30 mg of potassium per 8 ounces (oz). Gatorade is similar with 160 mg of sodium and 45 mg of potassium per 12 oz.

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Burpee Equivalents:  Understanding Junk Food in terms of Your Favorite Exercise

by Dr. Jeff Godin, Ph.D., CSCS, & Spartan Coach

Occasionally we slip up with our diets and sneak in some junk calories. When we do, we have to pay the price…In Burpees!  At Spartan Coaching HQ we have been conducting research to quantify energy expenditure during the Burpee exercise.  Here is what we found:

Burpee

 

Calories (kcals)

burpees for 130lb individual

burpees for 180lb individual

1 large French Fries

500

524

349

1 IPA beer

195

204

136

1 Slice of Dominos Peperoni Pizza

260

272

182

1 8 ounce Ted’s Bison Cheesburger

730

765

510

1 scoop of Ben Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream

270

283

189

1 12” Roast beef sub from Subway

970

1016

677

1 Cola soft drink

200

210

140

1 Fried Calamari Appetizer

700

733

489

1 Plain Bagel

320

335

223

1 Slice of Cheescake

1000

1048

698

1 Egg McMuffin Sandwich

300

314

210

1 Cadbury Creme Egg

59

62

41

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Food Frauds That Can Wreck Your Diet

Food Fraud: Caesar Salad

Some foods that we think are healthy can be sneaky little diet wreckers. University of Pittsburgh nutritionist Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, shares a few of these “food frauds,” starting with Caesar salad. Just a small bowl has 300-400 calories and 30 grams of fat, thanks to loads of dressing.

Food Fix: Use only 1 Tbs. dressing and 2 Tbs. tangy, Parmesan cheese.

smoothie

Food Fraud: Fresh Smoothies

That “healthy” berry blend at a smoothie shop can have a whopping 80 grams of sugar, 350 calories or more, little protein, and often no fresh fruit. Fruit “concentrates” are often used instead of fresh fruit. And sorbet, ice cream, and sweeteners can make these no better than a milkshake.

Food Fix: Get the “small” cup. Ask for fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, milk, or protein powder to blend in protein and good nutrition.

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Image  —  Posted: January 20, 2013 in Health, Nutrition
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How Often Should You Eat?

Posted: November 30, 2012 in Fitness, Nutrition
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Here is a great article that I found on USnews.com.  It discusses the different diets and recommendations for eating frequency.  I am a firm believe in several small meals a day but I can see how that might not work for everyone.  Enjoy the Article!

 

I’m amazed at the emotions that charge the answer to the question of  how many times a day we should be eating. Some people swear by six small  meals, while others stress three square ones. Others argue that two  daily meals, or even one, will suffice. I’ve also met folks who  passionately believe that snacking ensures a successful diet, while others firmly believe that diets can fail on snacks alone.

The  medical literature isn’t much help in these matters. There are studies  clearly demonstrating that frequent eating benefits weight management.  Other studies, however, show that frequent eating leads to caloric  excess.

So how is it possible for there to be so much division and passion,  both in opinion and in evidence, for a singular behavior? How can eating  more frequently be at once fattening and thinning? The answer depends  on both the foods and the individuals involved.

First,  let’s start with whether or not snacking is helpful or harmful to  weight management. Undoubtedly, the answer depends almost entirely on  the snacks. University of Alberta researchers recently found that a  drink and a snack from a vending machine  would provide 15 teaspoons of sugar and 433 calories—roughly the  caloric equivalent of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. By those  calculations, people who snack on food from a vending machine may well  find their waistlines challenged.

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