07-06-2016

6 Marathon Training Tips For All Levels

This week is week 3 of marathon tranining and I can’t believe we just ran 10 miles yesterday. It’s amazing how fast your body can get back in shape. Just a month ago I was struggling to run 5-6 miles. Shooting to run anywhere from 3-6 miles today depending on how I feel. I want it to be a longer recovery day but I can only run at 2pm so it will be HOT. 95 degrees and 50% humidity. And I just do not want to run on the treadmill, so we’ll see…

Anyway, today I’ve got some great training info for you from the author of Running a Marathon For Dummies (and many other running related books), Dr. Jason Karp. I am following his intermediate plan in the aforementioned book. 

I sent him a few questions related to training that I thought might benefit other runners as well. Let’s get into it!

Training for a marathon? Check out these tips and insight from Dr. Jason Karp! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

1) What are your suggestions for adjusting pace in tempo runs or track workouts when it’s hot/humid?
Adjusting pace is okay as long as you are still running at the correct pace given the conditions. For example, if you’re doing a VO2 max interval workout on the track and it’s hot and humid, you still want to run at your VO2max pace whatever that pace may be on that day. It’s hard to know exactly by how much the weather will affect someone. Your VO2max pace may be a few seconds per mile slower on a hot/humid day, so adjust the time for your reps. If someone has a heart rate monitor, the pace can be adjusted by heart rate. For example, if on a cool day, you’re running at 7:00 mile pace at 100% max heart rate, but on a hot/humid day, you reach 100% max heart rate at 7:10 pace, then run at 7:10 pace that day.

2) I’ve seen you mention that exercising 250 min. per week and watching your nutrition will easily help you lose weight. Do those 250 minutes include easy runs? Or just hard workouts? What other tips do you have for getting to your race weight WHILE marathon training?
The number 250 is based on the 2009 position statement from the American College of Sports Medicine. It includes aerobic exercise. My next book is all about running for weight loss. Even though the subject tends to be made complicated, it’s really easy€” — to lose weight, you must expend more calories and consume fewer. So, when marathon training, don’t replenish all of the calories after long workouts. Only replace the calories you need to fuel your running and recover from workouts.

3) What do you think of cross training? Your plan has 1-2 days of rest. Do you think adding a day of cross training like cycling or swimming is beneficial? What about cycling in the AM and running in the PM, to get more cardio in but less impact on the legs?
I promote cross training for runners who aren’t running a lot of miles. In that case, cross training can definitely help with cardiovascular improvement. However, if you want to be a better runner, you must run. Swimming won’t make you a better runner.

4) Can you explain the running science behind the tempo runs and track workouts, and how they can help one achieve their marathon goal pace?
This can take a long time to answer. I’ve written entire books on this subject! Briefly, tempo runs help your endurance by training you to hold a faster aerobic pace by raising your lactate threshold, which is your fastest sustainable aerobic pace. Track workouts can help a variety of things, depending on what it is you’re trying to accomplish with the workout. For example, VO2max intervals can help improve your heart’s ability to pump blood and oxygen because you’re running at the maximum capability for your heart to do its job. Anaerobic workouts can recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers, improve your speed and the ability of your muscles to generate energy anaerobicall, without oxygen.

5) If you had to pick the ONE thing that I MUST do in training, what would it be? (i.e., long runs, tempo runs, sleep 8 hours per night, nap, etc.)
Train consistently and progressively from week to week and month to month and year to  year.

6) I know many people in the same boat as me, trying to BQ and feeling it is impossible. They are also in the same boat as me in terms of time goals. Dropping from a 4:30ish marathon to a BQ marathon time of 3:30ish. Do you think that is realistic?
It depends on the person’s genetic ability and the commitment he/she makes to train. With adequate training, most runners can run much faster than they are. Can someone go from 4:30 to 3:30? That depends on how much training went into that 4:30. If the person ran 20 miles per week without any other types of workouts, then I’d say probably. But if that person ran 60 miles per week and did tempo runs and interval workouts, and is still running 4:30, then a 3:30 is probably out of reach.

So there you have it folks! Some great info from Dr. Jason Karp. I’ve been stuck around 4:30-5, but I know I still have a lot I can do. Like running more, running more consistently throughout the year, doing more tempo runs, strength training, etc. So we’ll see what happens for NYC Marathon!

Who else is running a fall marathon?

What is your biggest running related question?

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10-09-2015

Marathon Mantras

Edit: I meant to post this yesterday but then my free wifi at the airport ran out lol.

I’m writing this while waiting for my flight to leave for Chicago :-O It still doesn’t feel real to me. I don’t think it will until I am IN Chicago and walking around. It will be awesome to explore a new city!

A few days ago I asked people to share their race day mantras with me. I plan on keeping many of these in mind as I run 26.2 miles, and wanted to share them with you as well. Thank you to all for your input, and also thank you to all of you who have read my posts throughout this 18 week journey and provided support and advice!

One of my mantras I plan on repeating in Chicago is: Deal With It. I read about it in the book The Champion’s Mind, and really liked it. I plan on thinking this when I start feeling tired and want to back off.

Here are some of the others that were shared with me (and their respective blogs so you can go check them out too!):

Running a marathon (or any race) soon? Check out these race day mantras to help you get to the finish line! 

  • I don’t know how helpful this little mantra is but ever since my late high school/early college years of when I was a track/xc runner, my dad always would say to me to repeat to myself ‘lookin’ good feelin’ good’ (i think its from a movie?!) and it always made me laugh! So to this day I still use it :-) – Alyssa (Bits Of Everything)
  • Then toward the end of the race I tend to say “do you have anything else to give” the answer is usually yes and I’ll pick up the pace or at least hold my pace. -Amy (Amy Says So)
  • I ask for prayer requests from FB people and assign each request a mile. That way, I always have something or someone to focus on. -Lauren (Running Slowly With Kids)
  • My mantra is : “the body achieves, what the mind believes.” Helps me everytime! -Daisy (Fit Wanderlust Runner)
  • My mantra is “Get There!” I have it engraved on my id band for my watch. It reminds me that my goal is to get to where I am going, it doesn’t matter what happens between the start and the finish if I get there I am a winner! -Missy (Getting Fit To Find Myself)
  • Your mind wants to give up before your legs do. -Katelyn
  • You can do hard things. -Sarah (Uplift Training)
  • Run THIS mile. — don’t worry about THAT hill or how far you have left to go – Coco (Got 2 Run 4 Me)
  • When any discomfort or pain comes up during a race I repeat “think, feel, relax.” I think about the exact area that hurts, really feel it, then tell it to relax and imagine my muscles healing themselves. You’d be surprised by how well this works! It’s a Zen Buddhist teaching :-) -Bri (Run Lift Yoga)
  • I always turn to Walt Disney when the going gets tough: “If you can dream it you can do it.” -Kathryn (Dancing To Running)
  • You can crumble or you can conquer. -Carmy 
  • I can do hard things. -Courtney (Eat Pray Run DC)

How good are all of those? One of my all time favorites is “The body achieves what the mind believes.” If you’re looking to improve your mental strength, I highly recommend checking out The Champion’s Mind. It really has opened my eyes as to how much your brain affects your performance.

Okay…time to get ready to board. HERE WE COME CHICAGO!!!

Edited to add: We are now actually in Chicago and it has been awesome lately. Heading to the Expo today! :-O

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