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The Importance Of Massage For Runners

You’ve got your race number and your gear – but as you prepare for the San Francisco Marathon, remember to add massage to your race preparation kit. Here are a few reasons why.

Massage prevents injury
When you run, your tendons, ligaments and connective tissue are being stretched – literally – to their limits. Massage expands those limits by breaking up knots and tightness, thus widening your range of motion. Increased flexibility will improve your running form, and you’ll be less likely to sprain or strain something important during the San Francisco races.

Maybe you’ve already hurt yourself? Massage to the rescue. Massage has been proven to boost the immune system and speed up lymph flow (that’s the liquid containing your muscle-repairing white blood cells). That means massage will help you heal up and recover faster from your assorted aches and pains.

Massage reduces muscle soreness
This is a big one for runners. When you’re racing up to 26.2 miles, your muscles work hard. That’s where massage comes in – it’s the scientifically-proven way to reduce post-run muscle soreness. Massage, according to the New York Times, suppresses inflammation (which causes muscle pain) and increases blood circulation and the formation of new blood vessels (which builds muscles and reduces muscle fatigue). For best results, get the massage within 24 hours after a long run.

Massage keeps you in the zone
Massage doesn’t just heal the body, it soothes the mind. Massage squashes the release of cortisol (aka the stress hormone), while pumping up the release of endorphins, which improve mood and reduce the sensation of pain. A less-stressed brain is better at sending signals to the muscles and vice versa (called biofeedback). This means that you’ll feel better mentally and, through the […]

By |June 29th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on The Importance Of Massage For Runners

Best Spots To Run With Your Dog

San Francisco is known for its rollercoaster-esque hills and scenic surrounds, where humans and dogs alike can escape the city into the wild. Whether you’re training for a marathon or trying to become a better runner, the perfect trail is out there. Our friends at DogVacay have picked six of our favorite trails in the Bay Area—use the flowchart to find the one that’s best suited to you and your dog, and read more about each spot below.

Difficulty level: Easy

Type of terrain: Flat, paved roads

Length of trail: 4 miles roundtrip

get info

Not only will you get to enjoy breathtaking views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, but there’s nothing more San Franciscan than running along the Bay with your favorite pooch. With lawns and sandy strips along the way, this Presidio waterfront is a sensory overload for any pup. If you’ve still got energy after four miles, this run ends at the beginning of the Golden Gate Bridge, which you can run across with your dog too. Here’s a great tip from DogVacay Host Kirsty T.: “I recommend parking at the St. Francis Yacht Club and running to and from Hoppers Hands under the Golden Gate Bridge for a 5K workout with spectacular views. There’s also water at the facilities close to the bridge if you or your dog need hydration.”

Difficulty level: Easy

Type of terrain: Sandy shore

Length of trail: 3.5-mile stretch

get info

Nothing makes an Outer Richmond resident happier than being able to enjoy this popular spot without the overflow of tourists. Ocean Beach is known as a peaceful getaway where dogs and joggers run freely, kites float aimlessly in the wind, and the waves lap gently against the shore. Fun fact: when the […]

By |June 25th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on Best Spots To Run With Your Dog

Qualifying for Boston at the San Francisco Marathon

I ran my first Boston Marathon this year and I can’t help but thank The San Francisco Marathon because that is where I qualified for Boston last July. I realize lots of runners don’t think of San Francisco as the ideal Boston qualifying course – and maybe it’s not – but it was for me! I’m hoping I’ll be able to convince a few hill-lovers out there to take on SFM for their BQ/unicorn-chasing dream.

I signed up for TSFM without a real strong set of goals. I had come off a year of three tries at qualifying for Boston without success. I wanted to take off the stress of the goal. I took nearly a year between my previous marathon and TSFM. When I started my training, I told my coach (who is AWESOME!) that I really just wanted to run a strong race. All my marathons had felt fairly crummy at some point – yes, I realize that’s bound to happen in 26.2 miles – but I wanted to feel stronger, more fit.

I am lucky to live in Santa Cruz where we have year-round perfect running weather. We also have a climate pretty similar San Francisco with lots of hills. Before I started training for TSFM I had already began incorporating more hills into my weekly runs, but my coach and I made sure hills were a priority. Before last year, I used to dread climbing but there are great routes – just steps from my front door – to take me up and up where I’m rewarded with beautiful views of the Monterey Bay … and being ready for TSFM’s ascents. For those looking to qualify at TSFM, learn to love hill […]

By |June 9th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on Qualifying for Boston at the San Francisco Marathon

Course Tips From a 7-Time Loyal TSFM Marathoner

On July 26, 2015, I will complete my seventh consecutive San Francisco Marathon. I know the course like the back of my hand; every turn, every incline, every…buffalo! Yes, I did say buffalo! The course is 26.2 miles of historic San Francisco, and I like to call it my personal tour of the city on foot. I can’t keep away from this race; it calls me back year after year.

You will love the course as much as I do as long as you train for it. It isn’t the easiest course, but there are a lot less hills than you can imagine. Most would assume that it is very hilly, being that it is San Francisco, but actually it is half flat, one quarter up hill and one quarter down hill. The worst hills are at the beginning of the race, when you are still pretty fresh, so that makes things a lot easier.

In training for the San Francisco, you will want to take a look at the elevation chart. It is always best to try to simulate the racecourse as much as possible on your long training runs. You never want to go into a hilly race without practicing on at least a few hills. If you don’t have any hills in your area, try running stairs at a local high school football stadium or run the ramps of a parking garage when no cars are around.


Another thing to take into consideration are the down hills. Most people don’t worry about the down hills, but you need to practice your down hill running, otherwise you can mess up your quads and then they will be shot for the uphills. A good way to […]

By |June 5th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on Course Tips From a 7-Time Loyal TSFM Marathoner

TSFM 2015 Race Weekend App Available for Download

The San Francisco Marathon race weekend app, powered by Fitbit, is now available for iPhone and Android. You can download the app for free, then select The San Francisco Marathon, Powered by Fitbit, and start preparing for your live coverage of The San Francisco Marathon 2015.

Key Features of the mobile app are:

Easy tracking of multiple participants at the same time
Participant times, paces, estimates, and places in real-time
Live Push Notifications as progress is made on course
Live Leaderboards
Interactive Course Map & Live Map Tracking
Runner Performance Badges
Race Weekend Information
Breaking Event Updates
Interactive Experiences for Spectators & Runners

Featuring a groundbreaking integration with Fitbit data, the real time race tracking system that powers race weekend runner tracking allows you to track multiple runners during race day. You’ll have official, real-time race data at your fingertips during race weekend.

Runners and spectators alike can turn to the app for accurate leader boards as well as split times, pace and estimated finish times for their selected runners.

The app’s map functionality allows spectators to follow runners of their choice along with race leaders – and to locate themselves on the map as they travel around the course on race day.

Push notifications will ensure you’re getting the latest alerts and race information, all weekend long.

Whether runners or spectators, Fitbit users can link their Fitbit account to the Marathon app to see their real-time step counts throughout race weekend for a holistic picture of their stats – whether they’re running or cheering.

The app will also provide up-to-date information on the race expo, course details and much more, including special interactive features, like race training guidance from Fitbit ambassador Dean Karnazes.

Download the app today for free on iPhone or Android to get the latest race weekend guide at […]

By |June 3rd, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on TSFM 2015 Race Weekend App Available for Download

FitStar & The San Francisco Marathon Partner on Cross Training and Recovery Yoga Workouts You Can Access Anywhere, Any Time

The San Francisco Marathon is thrilled to be partnering with leading digital fitness company, FitStar, to give all registered runners free Premium access to their two powerful personalized fitness apps: FitStar Personal Trainer and FitStar Yoga. To help supplement training, FitStar created two custom cross training and recovery yoga workouts inspired by The San Francisco Marathon for runners to access anywhere, any time.

Released in 2012 and led by football legend Tony Gonzalez, FitStar Personal Trainer is built for iPhone, iPad and web, and delivers both personalized video workout Programs that adjust to each athlete’s level and pace, as well as more than 25 handcrafted Freestyle sessions that last from 7- to 30+ minutes. FitStar Personal Trainer has been recognized with an Apple Editor’s Choice Award and was an App Store Best in 2013 and Best of 2014 Product.

FitStar Yoga supports beginners and experts alike with 13 specialized Freestyle sessions and more than 300 yoga poses that the app pulls from to dynamically personalize each athlete’s session as they strengthen and advance. FitStar Yoga launched just months ago, in December 2014, and quickly became the #1 free app on the iPhone and iPad in Health and Fitness.

With its year-round RUN365 Bay Area training program, The San Francisco Marathon is committed to supporting runners in healthy training, so they arrive on the start line ready to race, remain injury free, and recover as comfortably as possible. Regular cross training is a key part of healthy marathon training and in its RUN365 Official Training Plans available in-app in RunKeeper, The San Francisco Marathon schedules runners for 1-2 days of cross training each week. FitStar is an invaluable supplement to marathon training because it delivers convenient cross training […]

By |May 20th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on FitStar & The San Francisco Marathon Partner on Cross Training and Recovery Yoga Workouts You Can Access Anywhere, Any Time

Mother’s Day Q&A

Our runners are an inspiration – achieving impressive feats and maintaining lifestyles that align with their personal goals. We are always motivated by how our runners inspire each other along their journey. This year for Mother’s Day, we had a chance to sit down with Lisa Gonzales for a Q&A session about what inspires her the most and keeps her going the distance.

What did running help you achieve last year?

Last year was my first year as a school district Superintendent and the job is certainly higher stress with more responsibility. Under my leadership, I have a staff of nearly 100, more than 625 students, and an operating budget of over $13M. Being able to hit the trails or the streets, process my work and decisions, and reflect with running mates helped me make it through the year with flying colors. The year went so well that I was one of 100 Superintendents who are technology leaders invited to the White House to meet with President Obama in November.

What were your training/running goals last year – did you reach them?

My goal was to survive an overly ambitious year injury free. I ran three marathons last year, including Napa, Big Sur and San Francisco. As I’ve matured as a runner, I’m still cognizant of my times, but they aren’t the end all be all – “it is all about the journey.” And while I still have the aches and pains of an endurance athlete, I can say I finished the year injury free!

What were you most proud of last year around your running/training?

I headed to the Napa Marathon with my family last year. While I was running the full (with no iPod…that was a first!), my […]

By |May 8th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on Mother’s Day Q&A

The Journey with Mental Preparedness: When a Finish is a Win

If anyone had asked me 5 years ago if I ever wanted to run a marathon, I would have laughed in their face. I would have made some joke about “only running if someone was chasing me” and we would have chuckled and that would have been the end of it….for a while.

Later, I would have felt sad because I believed I COULDN’T run a marathon. I believed my weight, my speed and my lack of athleticism would hold me back from ever doing something that huge. I am built more like a linebacker than a runner. My legs are thick, my shoulders broad, my stomach is more like a pony keg than a six-pack.

By 2011, when I became a runner, the answer was the same. Sure, I could bust out a 35 minute 5K. I could struggle through a half marathon and not feel like I was dying the next day, but I was no marathon runner. Leave that to the lean and the fast. Even though I had lost a significant amount of weight, I was still too big, too slow.

The first two years of my running life consisted of losing weight, training and signing up for races. As I would get fitter, I would get faster. My 5K time went from 40+ minutes to a solid 32. Between June of 2011 and August of 2012 I shaved almost 10 minutes from my 10K time. My first half marathon was barely under 3 hours. Four months later I ran a half marathon almost 20 minutes faster. I wanted this to continue. I wanted every race to be a personal record. And as I ran more races, the idea of a marathon didn’t […]

By |April 30th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||2 Comments

A Runner’s Experience Of The San Francisco Marathon

For me, marathons generally fall into one of two categories: a race that I remember because of the actual footrace, itself, the ground that I covered over the course of 26.2 miles, or a race that I remember because of the actual experience, something that includes the actual race distance (of course) but also all the other “little things” that go into making a race and its weekend unique.

The San Francisco Marathon, my friends, has earned a special place in my heart because of the sheer experience and magnitude of it all.

I first ran TSFM in 2010, and had flown in from Chicago for a quick weekend trip—literally only coming to SF to run the race—and I had no goals or expectations. I had never been to SF before (or California, for the matter), and I thought that run-seeing my way through the city by the bay, on a perfect Sunday morning in late July, would be the best and fastest way to explore all the city had to offer.

It didn’t disappoint. I was impressed with the experience of running past SF’s icons over the course of my 26.2 mile adventure, including:

The quiet of the Embarcadero in the early, predawn miles;
The hills of Fort Mason before making our way to the breathtaking views (obscured that morning by some equally beautiful late July fog) offered by the one and only Golden Gate Bridge;
The US’s largest urban park (bigger than Central Park in NYC), the esteemed Golden Gate Park;
The enormous downhills on Haight Street and the hippies and counterculture vibe that only the Haight can bring;
The Mission District;
AT&T Park, where you know you’re so close to the finish line but still have some work to do;
Running […]

By |April 3rd, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on A Runner’s Experience Of The San Francisco Marathon

RunKeeper and The San Francisco Marathon Partner to Help You Train

Leading fitness-tracking app, RunKeeper, is now offering its Elite members official full marathon and half marathon training plans from The San Francisco Marathon’s RUN365 training program. Available on iPhone and Android, these custom-built 18-, 12- and 8-week training plans deliver a daily training schedule to help novice or intermediate runners train for either distance, or help advanced runners tune up for either race, focusing on pace, distance and strength.

U.S. marathon participation is swiftly growing year over year, according to Running USA, with a record 540,000 finishers logged in 2013, up 25 percent since 2005. With more and more runners training for marathon distances each year, RunKeeper is continually expanding on its core GPS tracking features, which empower runners to access statistics on their run—such as pace, distance, time, and calories-burned. Beyond being able to track activity, set goals, get motivation to workout, and track runner partner’s workouts, RunKeeper’s more than 40 million worldwide users can now access race training plans, including the official training plan of The San Francisco Marathon, which support runners during marathon training.

The San Francisco Marathon’s RUN365 official training plans outline daily activity goals, offering runners details on pace, distance, intensity and time. Plans also include guidance on rest, recovery and cross training, and offer customized workout plans for intermediate verses advanced runners.

The RUN365 training program from The San Francisco Marathon has been active in the Bay Area for more than ten years, pairing trainees with RRCA and USATF certified coaches in-person three days a week on a mix of long runs, paced runs, track workouts and more. Runners are supported with one-on-one coaching, nutrition and hydration guidance, and the camaraderie of their fellow trainees. RUN365 is thrilled to be partnering […]

By |March 31st, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on RunKeeper and The San Francisco Marathon Partner to Help You Train