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marathon training

  • What To Do & What NOT To Do a Week Out From Your Race

    screen-shot-2012-03-26-at-95815-pmOkay so it is a week out from your big race.  You've trained.  You've woken up at God awful hours to meet your running group for the Sunday long run.  You have sweated in places you didn’t even think had sweat glands!  You have put in your dues and now it is time to cash in.

    So make sure all that hard work pays off and you make the most of your training and race day.

    I had a friend who once taught me something invaluable.  She would always say, “First, do no harm.”  That is the stance you need to take the week before a race.  It is NOT time to try that new supercharged, extra cushioned, gel-infused running shoe. It is NOT time to try that new Thai restaurant down the street where every dish on the menu has five out of five chili’s next to it to indicate it’s heat level.  And it is definitely NOT time to tell your sister you’d love nothing more than to take her six year old twins to Disneyland for the day.  No, no and definitely no.

    Ok, so what CAN you do the week before your big race?  Here are my top five.

    1. Taper- Your mileage should be decreased by 25% of your average weekly mileage the week before a race.  You still need to run, but make your runs easy.  The goal is to get out, get the blood pumping and stay loose.  So no racing in your workouts.  Go light and enjoy.
    2. 4852159395_no_beer_answer_1_xlargeHydrate-Let me emphasize this.  Hydrate with a non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated source of liquid.  Vitalyte is my beverage of choice (duh).  Not only does it have the perfect balance of electrolytes to make sure my body gets the right minerals, but it also uses glucose as it’s carbohydrate source.  The glucose actually is the carrier that allows the body to absorb the electrolytes.  Glucose works, hops and barley do not. Embroider that on a pillow.
    3. Eat-Believe it or not people forget to eat when it gets near race day or they get nervous so they don’t eat as much as usual.  I’m not saying go to the nearest Schezuan Buffet and become intimate with the Kung Pao Chicken.  I am saying though stick to easily digestible and nourishing foods that will sustain you.  Things like oatmeal with berries for breakfast or a protein smoothie a few hours before your run will keep you super charged for your weekend race.  Also, don’t forget your Tri Phase.  I couldn't dream about running without it.
    4. Relax-Yep, the hay is in the barn so to speak.  All your work has been done so enjoy this time and take a moment to reward yourself.  Get a light massage or a facial.  Take some time to read a book or whatever relaxes you.  Make sure to get plenty of rest and let those around you know that you need some extra down-time.  Ask your family for their support in creating a restful environment.
    5. screen-shot-2012-03-26-at-95914-pmCelebrate-After the race!  Make sure to spend some time in the beer garden or getting together with your friends (cheers to the hops!).  After all, running is something to enjoy and celebrated with your friends and family.  Take the time to celebrate your hard work!

    Good luck to you all (and myself...) and hope to see you all at the Hollywood Half Marathon next weekend!

  • Born this Way

    Ibuprofen-4 dollars. Hot soup-3 dollars. New footsie pajamas-25 dollars. Taking a few days off from training because of cold-priceless. In the past I used to push through training when I was a little under the weather but the wiser, gentler me actually takes this time to step back, take a few days to completely recover and then go back to training a little fresher than before. This week when I was sick, I sat back one evening and actually took account of all that I ask my body to do in a typical day. I was pretty impressed, if I do say so myself, with the demands and tasks that I physically and mentally meet and achieve each day. Geeze, no wonder I need a little down time here and there. Now that I am working, I have to integrate my training with my work schedule and when my body calls for rest I have to listen. Sometimes I need to squeeze my run in during a 45 minute window between meetings or get up extra early so I can put in six or seven miles while most people’s alarms are still an hour from ringing. People always ask me what “drives” me to continue this journey. Many say “aren’t you too old to resume competitive running? Why don’t you just take it easy and run for fun?” I guess they just don’t understand the fact that, as Lady GaGa puts it, “Baby, I was born this way.” I was always the first one up in the morning at my household when I was growing up and I was the last to bed. I didn’t have hyper out of control energy, I just always knew what I wanted to do. At age five I ran a soccer jog-a-thon. It was about 90 degrees out that balmy summer day and everyone, including my parents, tried to get me to stop running. The heat didn’t bother me and I had no clue that the 20 continuous laps I ran around the high school dirt track was equal to five miles. Running was just always something I loved to do. So now when I need some time off I simply stop. I take a few days to regather and I know the recalibrating my body needs to do will happen and the next week will be a better week of training. And with a little over six months to go before the Hollywood Half, I know that I will be right back on track with training next week and my body will be healthy and rested. Not to mention I have a stellar pair of new footsie pajamas for the next time I need a few days off!

  • Post Marathon Recovery Advice

    Hello Vitalyte fans! How was the La Jolla Half? I bet many of you are still feeling the burn. And perhaps I should have posted this sooner. But anyways, here are some great tips for post-marathon recovery (provided by the lovely Active.com). Listen up and get your body back on track.

    Step 1 – Recovery actually should start the minute you finish the race. As soon as you’re done, slowly wind your body down. After all, depending on if it was a half or a full, you just ran between 13 to nearly 27 miles. What you really need to do is keep walking for at least 10 minutes after you cross the finish line. Doing so will allow your heart rate and blood flow to return to their normal states. It also reduces the possibility of blood pooling in your legs, which causes fainting. For the remainder of the day you should ideally get up and walk around for 10 to 15 minutes every few hours.

    Step 2 – Refuel that empty tank of yours! As soon as possible after the run, eat a healthy meal that includes carbohydrates, protein and sodium. It’s said that essential nutrients are most efficiently absorbed in the first 30 to 60 minutes after the race has ended. That being said, get a good PB & J sammie and drink up that Vitalyte!

    Step 3 – After a few hours have passed since the race, it’s time to soak your muscles in cool water. San Diegans, head down to the beach for a refreshing dip in the ocean. Those of you near a lake, take advantage of its cool waters. If you can’t get to either, draw a lukewarm bath at home and then add ice. Anyway you go, you’ll want to soak for about five minutes to help decrease inflammation and help speed the recovery process. Definitely avoid hot tubs or hot baths! As tempting as they may be, the heat can be a roadblock to recovery.

    Step 4 – Hydrate to the max. Um hello, you just ran a marathon. Drink drink drink to replace those lost electrolytes. Water is key, but sports drinks like – do I really have to hint anymore here? – Vitalyte, will help bring your electrolytes fast. Also, eat small meals frequently throughout the rest of the day.

    Step 5 – Massage out the pain. Schedule a massage no sooner than two hours after the race. If you get one too soon they can create added soreness. But, when you get one a little later on, they have a great impact on post-marathon recovery. Plus, they just feel great and are relaxing.

    Step 6 – For the next 7 to 10 days following the race refrain from running and stick to lower impact activities like swimming, cycling and yoga. If you run too soon after a big race, you are just asking for an injury.

    Step 7 – When you do start running again, don’t go full-speed ahead right away. Slowly work your longer and harder runs back into your routine.

    Hope these handy tips help some of you!

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