Monday, August 24, 2009

Extend Yourself

Double your endurance in just six weeks.
By Jeff Galloway

From the June 2009 issue of Runner's World

Imagine running twice as far as you do now. Mission impossible? It's easier than you think. And there's good reason to try. Adding more miles can boost your stamina, help manage weight, and help you get more comfortable on the road. Here's how.

Shoot For Three
A three-day running week is the best way to run more and stay injury-free. When you rest before and after a running day, your muscles feel fresher and you'll have more energy to go farther.

Make Every Mile Count
Giving each run a purpose will help you keep up your routine without getting stale. Designate one day for a "maintenance" run (an easy-paced run that helps maintain fitness), another day to run long, and a third day for speed play (aka "fartlek"). On this run, set out at your usual pace, and pick up the tempo when you feel ready. You might accelerate to a landmark you see ahead, like a tree. Then jog to recover. Take off again when you're ready.

Slow Down
On your long run, slow the pace from the start to cut your chances of getting exhausted—or hurt. Your pace should be about three minutes per mile slower than it is on a maintenance run. So if you usually run a 10-minute mile, aim for a 13-minute pace when you run long. Take a one-minute walk break every one to three minutes.

Go the Distance
How to build your mileage slowly.

Week ONE:
Maintenance (Miles) - 3.5
Fartlek (Miles) - 3
Long Run (Miles) - 4

Week TWO:
Maintenance (Miles) - 4
Fartlek (Miles) - 3.25
Long Run (Miles) - 5

Maintenance (Miles) - 4
Fartlek (Miles) - 3
Long Run (Miles) - 4

Week FOUR:
Maintenance (Miles) - 5
Fartlek (Miles) - 3.5
Long Run (Miles) - 6

Week FIVE:
Maintenance (Miles) - 5.5
Fartlek (Miles) - 3
Long Run (Miles) - 4

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fueling for Training and Racing

Research indicates that endurance athletes need 150 to 300 calories per hour during activity. Consider factors such as exercise intensity and duration, fitness, and body size when determining how many calories you need to consume on a given day. Through practice in training you’ll be able to come up with an exact number that works for you for this race, and then you can adapt during the event as needed.

Eat or drink your calories just like your car uses gas—steadily not in one big gulp. Take in 50-100 calories along with some plain water every 20-25 minutes during the race or training. Do this consistently. Some people need to set their watch alarm to remind them to eat at regular intervals.

During exercise or an event, drink 6 to 12 ounces (150 to 350 ml) of fluid every 20 minutes. Personalize this quantity—the recommended amount may be too much or too little for you. Experiment with types and quantity based on stomach comfort, body size, and absorption, and make sure you are taking in plain water in addition to your chosen calories for optimal assimilation of calories from the stomach.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bay to Breakers 2009

Bay to Breakers, the world's wackiest foot race, is Sunday, May 17, and you can count on Caltrain to get you there – in record time!

Three northbound special express trains will be available to take you to the race. Please refer to the schedule below for exact time and station.

One-way tickets, Day passes or 8-ride tickets can be purchased at the ticket vending machines at the stations before boarding. Tickets must be purchased before boarding, and Caltrain fares vary by zone. On weekends, your Monthly Pass is valid for unlimited rides between all zones served by Caltrain. If you are using 8-ride Ticket or complimentary passes on that day, you must validate before boarding.

Sunday trains depart the San Francisco station 15 minutes after the hour from 8:15 a.m. until 9:15 p.m. Fare and schedule information is available here or by calling 1.800.660.4287 (TTY only: 650.508.6448).

Here is the train schedule:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Your Ultimate Half-Marathon Trainning Plan

Presenting a can't-fail nine-week program for beginners, experts, and everyone in between.
By Doug Rennie
From Runner's World (title linked above)

Presenting a can't-fail nine-week program for beginners, experts, and everyone in between. For some time now, the half has been the hottest race distance out there, with dozens of new events springing up all across the land. Here's why: For newer racers who've maybe finished a couple of 5- or 10-Ks, the half offers a worthy-yet-doable challenge without the training and racing grind of the marathon.

For more experienced athletes, training for a half bolsters stamina for shorter, faster races, plus it boosts endurance for a full 26.2-mile challenge down the road. In fact, the half is the ideal dress rehearsal for its twice-as-long kin. And unlike a marathon, which can leave your tank drained for a month or more, you can bounce back from a hard half in as little as a week.

So find a flat, friendly half a few months out. To get you there primed and ready, turn the page to learn about the three can't-fail schedules we have on offer.

Four Training Universals

Rest means no running. Give your muscles and synapses some serious R&R so all systems are primed for the next workout. Better two quality days and two of total rest than four days of mediocrity resulting from lingering fatigue. Rest days give you a mental break as well, so you come back refreshed.

Easy runs mean totally comfortable and controlled. If you're running with someone else, you should be able to converse easily. You'll likely feel as if you could go faster. Don't. Here's some incentive to take it easy: You'll still burn 100 calories every mile you run, no matter how slow you go.

Long runs are any steady run at or longer than race distance designed to enhance endurance, which enables you to run longer and longer and feel strong doing it. A great long-run tip: Find a weekly training partner for this one. You'll have time to talk about anything that comes up.

Speedwork means bursts of running
shorter than race distance, some at your race goal pace, some faster. This increases cardiac strength, biomechanical efficiency, better running economy, and the psychological toughness that racing demands. Still, you want to keep it fun.

See training chart here

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eat the Right Fats

A 2007 study found that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats can help prevent weight gain.
By Leslie Goldman
From the Runner's World April 2009 issue (title linked above)

Dieter's Strategy: Eat low-fat foods.

Runner's Strategy: Eat the right fats.

Though the fat-free craze peaked in the '90s, many dieters still avoid oils, butter, nuts, and other fatty foods. Their logic: If you don't want your body to store fat, then don't eat fat. Many dieters also know that one gram of fat packs nine calories, while protein and carbohydrate both contain just four calories per gram. Dieters can stretch the same number of calories a lot farther if they eat mostly carbs and protein in place of fat.

But the notion that having fat in your diet isn't a bad thing is catching on again. "I think it's a pretty antiquated thought now that we need to eliminate fat to lose weight," says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Energy Naturally. In fact, studies have shown that eating moderate amounts of fat can actually help you lose weight. The key is to make sure you're eating the right kinds. Saturated and trans fats are unhealthy because they raise your levels of LDL (so-called "bad cholesterol"). Trans fats may also lower your HDL (or "good cholesterol") levels and increase your risk for heart disease—not to mention weight gain. But unsaturated fats (which include mono- and polyunsaturated) have important benefits. Here's why runners should include these fats in their diet.

1. Keep You Satisfied: Unsaturated fats promote satiety, reduce hunger, and minimally impact blood sugar. That's important because if your blood sugar dips too low, you may experience cravings, brain fog, overeating, and low energy, making it "fiendishly difficult to lose weight," says Bowden.

2. Protect Heart Health: Unlike trans-fats, monounsaturated fats found in vegetable oils (such as olive and canola) and avocados have the added power to help lower LDL and reduce your risk of heart disease.

3. Reduce Injury: Unsaturated fats can help stave off injuries, such as stress fractures. A 2008 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that female runners on low-fat diets are at increased risk of injury—and a sidelined runner can't burn as many calories.

4. Decrease Joint Pain: Bowden adds that omega-3 fatty acids—which are a type of polyunsaturated fat found in fish (particularly in salmon), walnuts, and ground flaxseed—possess anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe knee, back, and joint aches and pains that plague many runners. Translation: You'll hurt less and run more.

Spring Fling

Toss out old eating habits for new ones to refresh your meals—and your running.
By Liz Applegate Ph.D.
From the April 2009 issue of Runner's World (title linked above)

Change Your Breakfast
Eating the same meal every morning can limit the range of nutrients you get. Try something new, like a whole-grain cereal with complex carbs and protein, such as Kashi GoLean. Scramble eggs and serve on sprouted-wheat bread, which is slightly higher in protein than regular whole wheat.

Drink Something New
Studies show that by changing the flavor of a beverage, you'll be inclined to drink more. If you usually drink green tea, try white—it's higher in catechins that may reduce heart-disease risk. Switch from orange juice to pomegranate-cranberry for antioxidants that reduce inflammation.

Think Fresh
Spring brings lots of seasonal produce, like lettuces (which are high in magnesium, a mineral that helps release stored energy), asparagus (a good source of folate), and artichokes. Fresh veggies give your body much-needed vitamins and phytochemicals that stave off damage from hard runs.

Try a New Tool
Gadgets can help any busy cook save time and add flavor. A tool like the Garlic Zoom, for example, makes it easy to quickly chop fresh garlic—and get more of that vegetable's healthy, cholesterol-lowering compounds. is one of my favorite sites for kitchen aids.

Stroll the Aisles
Grocery stores get new products daily, so budget 15 extra minutes for your next trip to find healthy options. Check out whole-grain pastas made with added fiber or flaxseed. Look for tasty frozen fruit blends in the freezer aisle. Stock up on convenient 100-calorie packs of healthy snacks, such as nuts and pretzels.

Tend a Garden
Studies show you'll eat more vegetables on a daily basis if you grow your own. Pot a single tomato or herb plant in a container to keep on your patio; turn a small section of your backyard into a vegetable garden; or, if you want to plan a more substantial garden, consider enlisting the help of a neighbor so you can share the tasks of weeding and watering.

Custom Order

What, when, and how much should you eat postrun? That depends on the workout.
By Sarah Bowen Shea

This article is from Runner's World (title is linked above) and is longer than what I put in below. I just put in the parts I didn't want to forget!

Postrun: After a 45-minute run, you're short on time.

Eat This: For many runners, this type of workout is the backbone of their training, especially on time-crunched weekdays. For runs less than 60 minutes, don't worry about getting exactly the right ratio of carbs-to-protein postrun; rather, focus on eating foods that contain both. "It's when you run over an hour that the carbs-to-protein ratio becomes more important," says Jamieson-Petonic. Just aim for healthy choices. If you run in the morning, freeze a fruit and yogurt smoothie the night before and take it out to defrost before your run. If you're a noontime runner, pack a hummus and veggie pita sandwich to eat after you get back to your desk. Need a quick dinner after an evening run? Keep your freezer stocked with single, frozen chicken breasts or salmon fillets and pair with fast-cooking brown rice and steamed asparagus.

Postrun: You ran long and hard, and you're tired.

Eat This: When you run longer than an hour, you need to focus on refueling—and fast. "There's a 30-minute window where the body is very receptive to getting carbs back into the muscles," says Shulman. To know your carb needs, divide your weight in half. If you weigh 140 pounds, you need 70 grams (280 calories) of simple carbs within 30 minutes. Try energy bars or sports drinks because they're quickly absorbed. Getting some protein, too, will kick-start muscle repair. Within an hour of that snack, eat a full meal, ideally in a 4:1 carbs-to-protein ratio. According to a 2006 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, eating carbs and protein together increases glycogen levels more than eating just carbs. Try a bean burrito or pasta with meat sauce to give your body the nutrients it needs, says Shulman.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Stretch After You Run, Not Before

Runners have long believed that stretching will give them a longer, smoother stride and reduce their risk of injuries. However, in recent years research has failed to prove either point. Budd Coates and Jeff Galloway say they've never advocated stretching for their beginning runners, and the runners haven't developed injuries. Adds Dr. Lewis Maharam: "A preworkout stretching routine doesn't prevent injuries or improve performance, so there's no reason to do it. The time to do your stretching is after your run, or even later in the evening." Stretch (without straining) your calves, quads, and hamstrings for 10 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Crank it Up

How to map the perfect training sound track.
By Susan Rinkunas

Participants in London's Run to the Beat Half-Marathon in October got a performance boost: The race had a scientifically selected sound track. Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., who studies the connection between music and exercise, selected almost 100 songs to play at 16 course points. "Music is a legal drug," Karageorghis says. "It reduces the perception of effort by blocking fatigue messages to the brain, and it can elevate positive mood." Karageorghis has found that runners who listen to songs with a tempo that matches their stride rate increase their endurance 15 percent.

1. Warmup Area
Play Slow songs with motivational lyrics to create a positive mind-set
Suggested Tracks "We Are the Champions," by Queen (64 beats per minute); "Faith," by George Michael (96 BPM)

2. Start
Play Songs with a slightly higher tempo to get you moving but that don't encourage you to go too fast
Suggested Tracks "Gonna Make You Sweat," by C+C Music Factory (116 BPM); "Pump It," by Black Eyed Peas (120 BPM)

3. Halfway Point
Play Music that increases in tempo
Suggested Tracks "You Shook Me All Night Long," by AC/DC (127 BPM); "Where Are We Runnin'?," by Lenny Kravitz (130 BPM)

4. Killer Hill
Play A special "booster" song that personally pumps you up
Suggested Tracks "Eye of the Tiger," by Survivor (108 BPM); "Livin' on a Prayer," by Bon Jovi (120 BPM)

5. Final Stretch
Play A fast song with motivational lyrics
Suggested Tracks "Let's See How Far We've Come," by Matchbox Twenty (166 BPM); "Are You Gonna Be My Girl," by Jet (209 BPM)

Most musicians record in the range of 110 to 140 beats per minute, Which is ideal for low- to Moderate-Intensity Running.

Monday, March 02, 2009

What's Your (Half) Type?

Use this quiz to decide which half-marathon training program is best for you
By Sarah Lorge Butler

PUBLISHED 07/11/2007

According to Terrence Mahon, who coached Ryan Hall to his breakthrough 13.1-mile debut, you can approach the half-marathon in one of two ways--extend a 10-K program or modify a marathon program. Whether you should use a short or long program depends on your strengths, preferences, and goals.

1. Which race scenario best describes you?
a) You struggle in the middle, but outkick other runners with a fast
final quarter-mile sprint
b) You pass a lot of people during the middle miles

Most runners know intuitively if they're geared toward speed or built for endurance, says Mahon. Your body responds to workouts in your strength area, meaning doing those runs enhances your training.

2. Which workout are you more psyched for?
a) Fast 400-meter intervals
b) A two-hour easy run or a long tempo workout

Doing what you like increases your motivation.

3. Which workout leaves you feeling more beat up the next day?
a) Long tempo runs
b) Short sprints

"If I give short, hard intervals for Ryan, he fatigues and it takes a couple days to recover," says Mahon. Needing more recovery time can affect the quality of your other key workouts.

4. What races are on your calendar this summer and fall?
a) 5-Ks and 10-Ks
b) A full marathon

Like Hall, who knew he'd run the London Marathon just three months after his half, your goals should factor into your decision on whether to use the short or long training program.

Answer Guide:
If the majority of your answers were "a," the short program is best for you; if "b," go with the long program.

Hamstring Strategies

How to handle this common runner's problem spot.
By Nikki Kimball

Tight hamstrings? You're not alone. Many runners complain about soreness in this group of three muscles in the back of the thigh, especially after intervals of fast running. Stretching helps reduce the risk of aches turning into full–blown injuries. But it can be difficult to get at the hamstrings without stressing the sciatic nerve, which runs parallel to the muscles in the back of the leg. This exercise stretches the hamstrings, not the nerve.

Put one foot on an eight–inch step. Keep your toes pointed forward and knee slightly bent. Looking straight ahead, lean forward from the hips and pelvis while maintaining an arch in your lower back. Once you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh, hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. If you feel a stretch in your calf, then you're stretching the nerve. Reposition yourself so the sensation in your calf disappears.

Nikki Kimball, a physical therapist in Bozeman, Montana, is a three–time USATF Ultrarunner of the Year.