Yearly Archives: 2013

CrossFit as a Runner

There are mixed views on CrossFit from runners (and endurance athletes as a whole), with some saying it’s the worst thing you could do for you and others swearing its improved their endurance and speed.  And then there are others who just have no idea what it is.  As a CrossFitting runner and triathlete, I’m somewhere in the middle.  I love a good CrossFit workout, but also know it can trash your muscles if you go too hard one day, ruining the chances of a good run.

What is CrossFit?

According to the CrossFit main page:

“CrossFit itself is defined as that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at a relatively high intensity).  CrossFit is also the community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together.  In fact, the communal aspect of CrossFit is a key component of why it’s so effective.”

In a nutshell, CrossFit is a type of workout that incorporates a wide variety of movements – from Olympic Lifting and Powerlifting to Gymnastics, Mobility and Endurance  (including running!) – into a single workout.  The hour-long workouts emphasize different skills, movements and muscle groups depending on the strength component and WoD or “metcon” (Workout of the Day or metabolic conditioning).  Each class is different, and it can be months before you see a WoD/metcon repeated.

So this all sounds good, but won’t it hurt me and leave me injured with all those heavy weights?

While it would be easy to jump after it and say “yes” because Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting can be very dangerous if done incorrectly, and it appears from the surface CrossFit is geared 100% towards heavy, heavy lifting, in my experience, and from what I’ve […]

By |February 21st, 2013|Categories: Latest News||1 Comment

Being Goal Oriented and Balanced

27 days away until the first part of the LA/SF Challenge when runners toe the line at the ASICS LA Marathon on Sunday March 17. If you have been training for the first part of the challenge the high mileage weeks and long runs are starting to come together. For the San Francisco Marathon 2013 Ambassadors that are running in the LA Marathon the weekend long run and the weekly total mileage has really started to increase. Many of us are hitting our 18-22 mile weekend long runs and really upping the mileage during the week.

As the high mileage weeks and long runs start to happen runners begin to realize that training for a marathon becomes a part time job, or at least equivalent to in regards to the amount of time spent training for the 26.2 mile event. During the heavy training time, runners will begin to make many sacrifices, but while making these sacrifices it is important to keep balanced. In this case, the balance I am talking about is the enjoyment of running. There are days where we will say enough of this. Even moments where we begin to doubt our goals. With all of this we cannot forget why is it that we are deciding to train for and run a 26.2-mile race. For me, like many other runners it isn’t about winning the race, it is because we have fun doing it.

While we get into marathon training mode and start to put together our specific goals or start getting our “game face” on, we need to have moments of easy and relaxed. I think running on hard all the time creates for burnout and takes away from the […]

By |February 18th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||1 Comment

Running Your Own Race

Happy 50% off Valentine’s Day Candy Day!  Yesterday marked the midway point of February which means time is ticking by and June 16 is fast approaching us for the San Francisco Marathon.

I was fortunate enough to participate in a 10k last weekend.  My second one ever, to be exact.  I’m always giddy on race morning and enjoy the excitement that comes with meeting new people, the camaraderie, and most of all-racing!  Races are something a lot of runners live for.  They give runners something to train for and presents the perfect opportunity for any runner (or walker) to show off what they have worked so hard for.  So many people from so many different walks of life are represented at every race.  But one thing I have to always tell myself is to run my own race.

Running your own race can be extremely hard at times.  It is almost impossible not to compare yourself to those you see in Runners World, in Instagram photos, blogposts, or those you read about in other places of triumphant victories over seemingly daunting obstacles.  It is easy to feel inadequate.  It is easy to think that your first sub-30 5k that you busted butt for can seem so meaningless in the shadow of someone who has accomplished greater feats.  It is easy to get caught up in sizing up fellow runners/walkers at the start line.  Those feelings are real and they are justified.  We live in a media driven society and running has become the mainstream. But still, we must remember to run our own race.

I can’t count the times I have stood at a start line and felt like all my training was a waste after looking at […]

By |February 15th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||1 Comment

Making Your Run Count with Running Social Networks

Sometimes forgetting to wear my Garmin Forerunner during a run is a blessing in disguise. Once in a while, I find it refreshing to just run free and detached, in the moment, and not know my exact pace or mileage.

However, last month I was in a competition among friends to see who could log the most activities on the Plus 3 Network, a free site that donates money to non-profits for logging runs and activities. Forgetting my watch meant possibly losing out on valuable kudos that directly translates into more money going to charities and non-profits. Logging your activities on this site is simple as it allows for direct uploads from a Garmin as well as the capability to log activities manually.

The friendly competition kept me motivated for the whole month to log activities, and I found I was enjoying my runs more since I was logging activities with a purpose. After logging a few runs on my Garmin, I would eagerly upload them to the site to see how many kudos I have accumulated. The quantitative side of me was amazed with the increase of my number of active days, and time spent running and doing other active activities. At the end of the month, I reached a new personal best in logging the most activities I had ever logged on the site.

There are several virtual networks that can be used for motivation in running and training. For the running communities out there, there are several good websites that my fellow SFM Ambassadors and I have come across.

DailyMile is a running social network that allows you to track your workouts, map your routes, compete with friends, as well as connect with others to […]

By |February 14th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off

The Joys and Challenges of Cross-Training

Over the last few years, my primary form of exercise has been running. When I picked up the sport, living in Africa from 2008-2010, I only really ran twice a week – one morning run along my Mozambican beach, and one long run through the surrounding areas on the weekend. The other days were exercise DVDs in my bamboo hut – if we had power – and other types of full body exercises.

I got into pretty great shape. And over the last two years, I’ve spent most of my time running. And admittedly without being 100% committed to the types of runs that can help build fitness fast – speedwork intervals, hill repeats. (I got the “long slow distance” run thing down, though!) Running has helped me become much healthier physically and mentally. But, in terms of daily workouts, I’ve grown a little complacent due to my confidence in my running abilities. (Pushing the pace, running with more experienced friends, trail running: awesome challenges. But my morning runs have seen me lacking a bit of motivation.)

Enter cross-training. My big goal this year has me transitioning from a marathoner to a Half Ironman-er (just go with it) in the next five months. Which means I probably need to learn how to swim and bike in a half decent kind of way. And so, while running will remain important and my favorite sport (with marathons on the calendar to boot), it’s time to focus on bringing some new activities in as well.

#1: Overall Strength and Conditioning

An overall stronger body = better running. Especially with core strength and leg strength. I’m going to be hitting the weights more often. I took BodyPump at the gym last Thursday […]

By |February 13th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||2 Comments

Motivation

Motivation… we all struggle to find it, loose it from time to time and are constantly looking for ways, places and things to fill our motivation tank.

Quotes, photos, stories, blogs, registering for races, buying new gear, talking to other runners, having a great run, PRing at a race, and plethora of other things all help.  Together and alone they make up a lot of what keeps most of us ticking but what do you do and where do you turn when your finding motivation tricks no longer work, when you lose the drive and cant seem to get out of a rut?

I try to keep things fresh, especially when I notice I am slipping into a rut.  I’ll try something new, remind myself of the good, the happy, the awesome runs, the fabulous races, the race bling, the laughs, the post run celebrations and I tell myself  that “life goes on” and “you can’t have the rainbow without the rain”. Everyone has bad days, bad runs and rough times and its coming out of them that makes us stronger.

Many things have helped me find motivation and get back on track, these are my top 3:

1. Switching up my runs-  I find a new route, run at a different time of day, run with a local running club or group (local stores usually have info on these) hit the trails and it drag a friend out with me. A change of scenery can go a long way.

2. Registering for a race – preferably a goal race, one I really want to want to finish strong, one I’m seeking a PR in,  one with a medal I’ve been  lusting after, one I want and know I can dominate. I […]

By |February 12th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||3 Comments

Send Your Favorite Runner an e-Valentine!

Send your favorite runner an SFM e-valentine!
By |February 8th, 2013|Categories: Latest News, Uncategorized||Comments Off

A Tale About Training For My First Marathon

Two weeks ago I ran 21 miles. It’s a goal that I’ve been working toward for months (years, actually), but was never really sure I could accomplish. I have friends who tell me I’m crazy for training for a marathon or say “I could never do that”. It’s pretty crazy thinking about it, because these are statements that I’ve said to myself numerous times. People tend to think that just because I work for the marathon, that I must automatically be a marathon runner. But let me tell you, I’ve looked at friends who run insane amounts of mileage each week and thought, “how does someone do that?” If I’ve learned anything in the past few months, it’s that accomplishing a marathon goal is only partly about the physical training  and knowledge – it’s also about the strength I’ve gained from those who support me. And it’s about learning to reach out and asking for that support.

For a very long time, I’ve been held a mentality in which I feel like I must do things on my own in order for me to be worthy of my accomplishments.  Five years ago, when I began running, it was very much a solitary activity to help me get through a difficult transitional phase in my life. At that time, I ran by myself, trained by myself and embraced the solitude.

In the beginning of my marathon training I’d had several weeks of difficulty. I’d been plagued by recurring plantar fasciitis, back spasms and hip and knee pain. Making it through a 10 mile run, something I’ve done on enough occasions for it to be a tolerable distance, was bringing me to tears for the last couple […]

By |February 7th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||2 Comments

LA/SF Challenge Update!

41 days away from the first part of the LA/SF Challenge, which starts with the Honda LA Marathon. As the count down continues to the upcoming events with the Honda LA Marathon on March 17 and the Wipro San Francisco Marathon on June 16, most runners have started off their 2013 race season by pinning a race bib or two onto their running attire and gear. For those of that have committed to running a marathon or two in the first 6 month of 2013, I think taking part in a couple of races prior to the big race has it’s benefits. For me running events prior to any race I consider a focus race, such as the Honda LA Marathon, provides me with opportunities to train on different running routes I would not otherwise run, train around people that run at different paces, and most importantly provide me with and opportunity to practice my marathon day routine. I treat many of these races as “dress rehearsals” for the big day.

After taking the month of January off from any races to focus on my newest training program for the Honda LA Marathon, the first weekend of February opened up with 2 opportunities to practice for the big day as well as continue to get my training miles in. On Saturday February 2, I took part in the Jed Smith Ultra Classic in Sacramento, running in the 30k distance. The 18.6 miles was perfect to test out my race day gear, race day breakfast, and in race fueling. For me the race day breakfast is very similar to my pre training run breakfast. However, one of the key focuses I had outside of the actual […]

By |February 4th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||1 Comment

Accepting Limitations – Not Excuses

Life has been throwing me a lot of curveballs lately as I attempt to take on some pretty significant fitness goals. Lots of international travel amongst other significantly schedule impacting events have made finding time to complete long runs and other training pretty much impossible as of late. Big goals have faded to the background as my most salient goal these days is to get enough sleep to make it through the next day. Things have just been a tiny bit crazy. And I have to face the facts that I’m dealing with a few limitations these days when it comes to capacity for training.

Unfortunately, dealing with limitations has recently equated into a lot of excuse making on my part. I don’t know how it happened to this girl who used to barely be able to skip a workout day without feeling antsy. One day I’m just a little too tired to get up. Another day the lure of happy hour keeps me from the gym, just this one time. And then another. Jet lag keeps me in bed for a few extra hours. The junk food flows and it’s free. And the dangerous cycle begins – one skipped workout becomes several. Good nutrition is neglected. And I’m definitely not feeling any better!

It came to a head this last weekend when I went to a trail race and ended up cutting my distance by a significant margin for no particularly significant reason – driven more by excuses (I’m tired. I fell and sprained my ankle and cut my palm but know I’m fine. I’m bored. These hills are hard!). Recognizing this and turning back anyways was a hard moment for me. I realized that […]

By |January 31st, 2013|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off