Thursday, May 29, 2008

NEEDED: first time marathon advice

my good friend sarah from scu has a boyfriend, jon, who is running his FIRST marathon in san diego this weekend. the good ole rock'n'roll san diego. i've had a request for some first time marathoner tips for him (and anyone else who'd like a little marathon advice!)

okay, love to run readers, let's give him some good advice.

here's mine:
  • breathe. just breathe. relax. i love the saying, "go out fast, die like a pig" (an old TNT joke). don't let the excitement of the start line affect your finish line. keep it easy the first few miles and stay conservative.
  • keep with your routine. don't stray from what you've been doing all training long. keep the same shoes, stay in the same running outfit, drink the same electrolyte drink, eat the same gel. keep with what's familiar.
  • i've run this marathon twice. while it's a really fun city, it's a tough course. there are a lot of people to deal with and navigating the course can be a challenge. lucky for you the weather is looking to be fantastic so enjoy that. but be prepared to be in a MASS of people.
  • enjoy it. this is your first marathon! you'll never be a virgin marathoner ever again. take in the sights (the zoo, downtown, the bay, the marine corps depot). listen to your body. it's going to be hard, but enjoy the work. it's a feeling you can't experience anywhere else.
  • stay mentally tough. positive thoughts matter more than a strong body.

ok, i'll leave the rest to my fantastic marathon friends. jon, let us know if you have questions.

GOOD LUCK! you are going to be great. just getting to the starting line is a huge accomplishment.

love to run side note: GET SOME SLEEP

i am so flippin' tired! and yes, for those wondering, i am not going to bed at a reasonable hour.
it is SUCH a bad habit! well, and combine that with a lot of driving and no sleep over the weekend and then no sleep for the week - MAN! my body just won't give anything to me during my runs this week. mental note: SLEEP!

Friday, May 23, 2008

power of the schedule

alright kiddies, "operation cross train", while still on the brain, was not executed really at all this week. it points out two things: 1) i really love to run because instead of cross training, i ran a lot this week and 2) i need something to tell me what to do - a schedule if you will.

over the last four years, i've never had a set weekly running schedule. the only real planning was for long runs on the weekend, which were done out of necessity to plan for marathons, tapering, etc. the first time i had a weekly detailed schedule that included tempo runs, set interval workouts, and designated easy/long runs was this april, when i ran the salt lake half marathon. this detailed schedule gave me a goal everyday. it gave me motivation to get my butt out the door everyday because i had a workout with a purpose. it was incredibly fulfilling to "check off" each workout for 10 weeks and work towards a larger goal.

so now i'm addicted. i stayed up late on wednesday night watching the dog whisperer and drafting a detailed schedule for my next six weeks of cross training. then, i'm taking on an entirely new marathon training schedule, which i'll post about soon.

while a fitness/running schedule doesn't need to be intense (or maybe it should be for you?) draft something up for the week and check 'em off when you're done. it might just become your new obsession. i'm hooked ...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

for you nike+ geeks

joan benoit samuelson, the first woman to ever win an olympic marathon has now released a workout and training mix through iTunes. i've used these types of workouts in the past (i've purchased ok go's workout and a few of nike's workouts with alberto salazar) but this one caught my eye with this description:

Iconic marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson shared the strategies she's learned throughout her storied career in this 30-minute running workout. Joan clues runners in to the importance of releasing tension where you don't need it, proper breathing technique, and using abdominal strength to land lighter on your feet.

after kaylynn's awesome post, this just might be the ticket to helping you with some form during your next training run. thought i'd pass it along. for more info on the workout, click here.

so do you any of use coached workouts through your mp3 player, or music at all? or do you do without?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sizing Up Your Running Posture

Over the last couple of years of looking at marathon photos, I've come to realize just how incredibly different everyone looks when they run. Some are hunched, some are perked up, some run with straighter legs than others, some run on their toes, some have both feet off of the ground, etc. So, I decided to do some digging and find out what correct running posture is (or at least what the "experts" say it is).

Here's some different pictures for fun

What is proper form? According to, "Running posture is similar to the posture that your mother nagged you about when you were growing up: It's how you hold your back, shoulders, and neck." They say there are a couple different 'best practice' techniques.

Running with your back straight up:
"Running with your back perfectly straight can make for good running posture, as long as it doesn't indicate that your body is as tight as a violin string. Be sure that, in keeping your back straight, your body isn't rigid, such that your neck and arms are tensed instead of relaxed. If running with a perfectly straight back is natural to you and you feel relaxed, don't try to change it. But if you feel tense, try to lean forward just slightly from your waist as you run."

Running with a slight lean forward from the waist:
This is the most common — and most efficient — way to run, with a slight lean forward. With just a slight lean, your arms, back, neck, shoulders, and diaphragm relax. See Figure 1.

Now, having not read either of those definitions, I would have said the lady in the picture is running with her back straight up and down. That shows that I definitely mis-interpret what it means to lean forward. It looks like 'slight' should be 'miniscule'.

Four common mistakes:

You lean far forward at the waist. Although this posture is unusual, some runners do lean so far forward that they look as though they may fall. This posture puts quite a bit of pressure on your lower back and doesn't allow you to keep your eyes up and on the back of the person ahead of you in your marathon. It can also interfere with your breathing. Although changing your posture may seem awkward at first, try pulling yourself back to perfectly straight or a slight lean forward for at least three runs.

You lean back at your waist. Leaning too far back makes you unable to fully fill your diaphragm, which means that you can't breathe as well as you would if you leaned a bit forward. Instead, you want to lean forward slightly at the waist. Also think about bringing your chin down, because it's likely tipped back.

Scrunching your shoulders so that they're up near your ears. This makes running far more difficult than it needs to be. Instead, relax your shoulders and hold them slightly back — just like your teacher told you to stand when you were a kid. Efficient running is all about relaxation, and you can't relax your body with your shoulders all scrunched.

Tilting your chin up so that it points to the sky. Ideally, your neck stays perfectly straight; your chin is neither tilted down toward your chest nor tilted up. Many runners, however, do tilt their chins up, especially as they become fatigued. Practice keeping your neck perfectly straight as you run.

I think I'm going to work on not leaning forward so much and relaxing my shoulders. Does anyone have any tips for practicing good running posture? How is your running posture?

ADDENDUM: (by Julia)
there's your forward lean:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

i chipped my nail polish on a bosu ball

... and loved every second of it. "operation cross train" is underway and while i'm having serious urges to enter a half this month or next, i'm going to resist and work on my basic fitness. i'm back at gym heaven full time and attending their core and strength classes regularly.

last night jona and i attended their 30 minute "stretched and balanced" class followed by 30 minutes of their core class. three cheers for jona - it was his first group class - ever. while he felt like a fish out of water, he was a rock star for keeping me company. we got a great workout, with the bosu especially - even if it does pose a threat to a good manicure. :)

the goal is to get faster. to run faster. starting from scratch hopefully will get me there. what do you like to do to cross train and "mix things up"?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

NYC Marathon anyone??

The other day I submitted my lottery application for the November 2nd, NYC Marathon. The lottery deadline is June 1st, for those who want to join me! You can crash on my floor if you don't want to pay for a hotel room!! ;)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


the website that featured us* on their wellmix 360 half marathon page has a new alternative to finding out what you're eating while you're eating out. wellternatives offers nutrition information at your fingertips online. and while you're on the go, a simple text message can give you instant nutrition information, as well as a possible better food alternative at the restaurant. just found out that my favorite burrito at chipotle has 30 grams of fat, 889 calories, and 100 grams of carbs. phew! that's half my food intake for the day!

*not a paid endorsement! just love the site!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

North Carolina Marathon, Greensboro

what a great race, and a challenging course! i had such a fun time running this half, though i didn't even come close to my goal time. ah, maybe next time.
highlights of the race:

  • a small, local race with a lot of fun, local runners
  • a course that wound through three universities, two golf course communities, and a charming downtown greensboro
  • early morning chat time with jona driving to the race (yep, 4am!)
  • taking maggie with us, who was the belle of the race. even the local news crew took footage of her for their coverage of the marathon
  • taking on an unexpected challenge of a hilly course - up and down and up and down
  • eating french toast at cracker barrel in burlington afterwards
  • finishing my 12th half marathon!

Friday, May 2, 2008

do you TRI?

i dreamt about swimming in a triathlon last night. i felt long and strong, streaming through the cool, open water as i rounded the orange buoys. it was awesome. (reality for me in open water is a very different story, but i'll enjoy the dreams as they come.) the other funny aspect of my triathlon dreams is that i always forget my bike gear and feel totally unprepared (no dream analysis, thank you!). my triathlon experiences (fall 2005, 2006) with tri girl, tri were amazing. it looks like my internal psyche is dropping me another hint.

after the half marathon this weekend, i am set up for a few months of serious cross training to get ready for my fall marathon, and i'm convinced that triathlon training is one of the best ways for runners to cross train. as a runner we use certain muscle groups over and over again, while the muscles that aren't directly worked can possibly atrophy to a certain extent. that's where triathlon training comes in for me.

swimming is an amazing core workout with serious booty, hamstring, and arm benefits. (i'm sure there a ton more, but i'm no doctor, so i'll list the ones i know) i find initially, that swimming is very difficult, as the aerobic (and anaerobic) demands are very high. but with a few weeks in the pool, the fitness comes very quickly. and at a vigorous effort, you burn the exact same amount of calories that you would running. the other great benefit of swimming is that there is ZERO impact on your joints. so for those of you who are injured, this is a great alternative. the strokes are very easy to learn (freestyle is the fastest, and widely used by triathletes), and there are also a lot of fun exercises you can do in the pool other than just laps. we'll ask kaylynn to maybe post a few of those.

cycling has really become jonathan's love. i watched him lose over thirty pounds climbing the hills in the bay area. while a more expensive sport to invest in, the rewards are amazing. i always complain to jona about my miss piggy legs (aka cankles) and his answer every time is "get on the bike!" and it's true. the man has calves of steel. he swears he's a successful marathoner because he's a cyclist.

so maybe give it a tri this summer. check out for events in your area.