“Running is a mental sport and we’re all insane” ~bumper sticker on my car. I think it is safe to say that the majority of healthy adults could finish a marathon. Maybe they couldn’t run the whole way or qualify for Boston, but they could finish. So why has only approximately .5% of the US population actually accomplished this goal? It isn’t because their bodies can’t do it, it’s because their MINDS think they can’t. A marathon is run with strong legs, healthy lungs, pumping arms, a clear mind and an open heart.
Whether or not to listen to music while running can be a hot debate in the running community, but when I started running several years ago, I never even questioned it. It was just a given that I would. Seriously: Music was as integral a part of my early running experiences as shoes were. About 90% of the reason I started running in the first place was to have an excuse to buy a new iPod Nano, complete with Nike+ iPod kit. My husband’s first running-related gift to me was a mix of running songs from the iTunes store. I loved picking out new tunes and podcasts, making playlists, and developing deeply held opinions on the best headphones.
There are two important changes that most of us should try to incorporate into our running regime as soon as possible: a proper warm up and cool down
For years, coaches told their teams that stretching and loosening up prior to a race would improve performance, yet almost all recent research has shown that this recommendation is simply not true. All the jumping jacks in the world will not make you run faster in a race, nor will it improve your heart rate or stamina.
When we go to races we notice that some runners never compete in a race without a proper warm up or finish their day without a cool down. Conversely, almost all of the Striders never warm up properly before they begin, and never cool down after they are finished. Yet, years of research has determined that those who choose not to have a warm up or cool downs are usually the people who incur the most injuries, as warming up and cooling down now proves to be the single most important ingredient for injury prevention.
Both the warm-up and cool down are vital parts to any running program and should not be skipped under any circumstances.
Why Is Warming Up Important?
The warm-up is necessary because cold muscles are not very flexible, meaning that they are more likely to be torn or pulled. Warm muscles therefore have a wider range of motion. Before you begin any run, no matter how long it is, a warm-up jog and stretches should be performed for 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the duration and intensity of your workout. If you’re running a couple miles slow, then 5 minutes will do; however, if you’re running a track workout or […]
Recently I have been dealing with life’s adversities. At such a time, one’s immediate reaction is to whine and complain, “why me?” I look at life positively and say, “why not me?” Many things in life are beyond your control, but running is one within your grasp. The hours you put in will show up on your race day results. The mentality that goes into training will prep you for anything in life, especially training for a marathon.
The marathon in my view has to be one of the most demanding of all running distances, because it puts your body and mind to enormous stress, fatigue, anxiety and pain. And no one is excused from such pain. I question any marathoners that says they don’t feel pain at some point in time between mile 23-26.2. Physically, mentally and emotionally your mind tells you to stop, but you have to fight such a negative thought and go on. Running requires a great mental attitude. There will be so many unknowns during the course of 3 hours, 4 hours, even 5 hours but you have to think STRONG!
weather: wind, rain, heat, high humidity;
the course: hill climbs, uneven surfaces like rocks and loose gravel;
time expectation: I don’t dwell on this, but a lot of runners do (I feel like running is already hard, why beat yourself up?)
When things are beyond your control on race day, take a deep breath and just accept the conditions you are dealt with. There’s nothing much you can do but to move forward. I like to take the relaxed approach-and I know eventually I’ll get to the finish line. Panic never helps. Stay positive and relaxed!
Be in control. Feeling helpless only reinforces […]
So you’ve made it to The SF Marathon blog page — a hearty congratulations to you! You must already know that running is a wonderful, magical, superhuman barrel of fun, right? You plan your weekends around going to bed early and racing the sunrise to the highest points within 20 miles of your house, right? At a moments notice, you can name your exact personal best time in every distance from a 5k to a 50-miler, right? Okay, okay, maybe you’ve only been running one time ever. Maybe your brother / sister / significant other / best friend / boss / mother-in-law is a runner and you’re pining to know the secrets of their emphatical joy. Well, you’re in luck; whether you’re an elite runner or a curious novice, this post is for you. I give to you: 7 Wonderful & Little-Known Benefits of Running.
1. Running Improves Joint Cartilage — For ALL Ages
Wait, isn’t running bad for “older” people? HA! The wives’ tale that running damages the knee / ankle / hip joints is about as accurate as saying that a woman’s body can’t handle running a marathon. And just as Katherine Switzer showed us in the 1967 Boston Marathon, sometimes conventional “knowledge” is far from true. According to a 2013 study of osteoarthritis and hip replacement risk, “long-distance running does not increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the knees and hips for healthy people,” and “might even have a protective effect against joint degeneration.” Whoa! The New York Times also covered this phenomenal phenomenon here.
2. Leaner Bodies Like To Workout
You’re telling me that working out makes me want to work out? Mentally, by and large, yes. In a study published in The International […]
It’s just running … Yes, I said it! It’s just running. This coming from someone who is nearing 500 days of a running streak, someone who runs 34 miles on a Monday morning just because, a person who wakes up to get out and run the track, someone who drives for hours just to run with friends that are often times longer than the time actually running. At the end of the day it’s just running, a motor skill that shouldn’t be taken fore granted, an enjoyable sport, and a fantastic way to stay fit and enjoy the great outdoors, but it’s just running.
Running is not who I am, it doesn’t define me (or hope it doesn’t). Running is what I do. It does teach us lessons about who we are and those around us, but still it’s just running. I see too many people feel the “pressure” on race day, the nerves building up, the overly serious looks and attitudes for that matter. Chill out people it’s just running!
Remember it’s something we do! Not who we are! Things we do should be beautiful enjoyable, non-stressful. This isn’t a job for 99% of the people who do it. I mean if you are a pro and it is what puts food on the table and keeps a roof over your families head, I get it I understand results can determine your income (prize money) and your sponsorship deals, etc. However, for the rest of the runners, we pay to run, we commit our time to training, and have supportive family members (spouse and children) that allow us to do this. With that being sad, why make it stressful for them too.
People ask me how […]
Practice during your long rung, simulate the race as much as possible.
Wear the outfit you plan on racing in so you can see if it causes chafing. Don’t wear the race shirt you get at the Expo unless you know the fit and know it won’t bother you.
Try out your new shoes and socks, believe it or not, socks can make a HUGE difference!
Wear a hat, scarf, visor? give them a try! You need to know if it fits too loose or tight. Don’t buy anything new at the Expo and expect it perform the way you want it to.
Use a fuel belt or hydration pack?? Better use it on your long run to make sure you like it. The marathon is not a place to try out a new one, especially a fuel belt. It could rub and cause chafing or worse, blisters on your back.
If running a marathon or anything longer than an hour, YOU MUST FUEL every 45 minutes, I prefer Huma Chia Energy Gels. You need to know which ones work for you and which ones cause tummy trouble. Don’t forget to practice running and eating since you will not want to stop during your race. Chase your Gels with water too.
Don’t forget your keys! If you have to drive yourself to the race, are you going to run with your keys? Better practice running with them.
Sunscreen, chapstick, etc. Try out new products before the race to make sure you aren’t sensitive to them.
Make sure your Garmin is charged the night before a race, the last thing you want is a dead Garmin during your run.
Fuel with extra carbs 48 hours before the race. It isn’t necessary to carb load […]
As I write my second installment for The SF Marathon blog, an article was published recently in The New York Times entitled Running as Therapy. In summary, the author writes about how distance running helped her through some of the most difficult experiences. The article is something that I can totally relate to.
Besides struggling with obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression in my early twenties. I rarely disclose this because I fear that people will judge me. Life is sometimes not fair. The depression was different than the blues. I went through some rough periods where I felt that I could not lift my head to see the light. I battled with self-doubt, self-loathing and low self-esteem. I wanted to be alone. It hurt to be around my friends. At my lowest point, I contemplated ending my life because my spirit was so broken.
I was prescribed antidepressant medications such as Wellbutrin and Luvox in addition to psychotherapy. Though the treatment helped manage my depression symptoms, I still felt a fog of sadness that I couldn’t get out of. I struggled to find happiness and purpose. I had the support of family and friends but it wasn’t something that they could take away. It was something I had to work out on my own.
On November 12, 2012, I signed up to run the first half of The 2013 San Francisco Marathon. It was the next item to check off on my list of goals on my weight loss journey. I did not think it would change me. I had doubts that I could even complete the race since it is a challenging course.
It was […]
Hitting the trails for a run can be a beautiful way to spend the morning. The dirt underneath your feet, the trees waving overhead as you pass by, the fresh smells of nature in the air. Trail running however isn’t always euphoric.
There comes a time in everyone’s trail & road running life where you are bound to hit the ground from tripping. You might fall hard. It will be frightening, and yes, there might even be blood. How do I know? Perhaps I have fallen just as many times as I have lost toenails if not more, and maybe, just maybe, I have more scars than I have scarves. And, that’s saying a lot!
You would think with all of the falling I have done, I would be an expert on the subject. But sadly, I still have yet to master the art of tumbling. I did manage to gain some insight on how to fall gracefully though.
• Rather than tensing up with the horror of “I’M FALLING” try relaxing the body, (easier said than done).
• Keep your elbows bent and use your hands as shock absorbers. The closer your arms are to the body, the better. Arms that are extended can cause serious injuries like broken wrists.
• If on smoother terrain, try to roll. – I have actually seen runners who fall, roll and are back in a standing position all within a blink of the eye. I only wish I could be this coordinated!
• Not able to roll, try to at least fall on your bum. While not ideal, the bum can endure far more than the head can.
Falling can be not only painful and emotional, but at times embarrassing. It is comforting […]