Archive for February, 2012

Inspiring Speech!

Posted: February 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have always cherished getting to know the Marathon Coalition runners on a deeper level than simply our commitment to getting to the finish line of the Boston Marathon in relative comfort.  Afterall, they are unique and special because they’ve committed themselves to raising funds that will provide opportunities for people who would otherwise not be given them.  Training for the Boston Marathon is just another part of what drives them in their commitment to making a significant difference in the world.

At the conclusion of a recent training run I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Millie and learning about her story.  Since training for a marathon is all about taking on big challenges, dealing with setbacks and HUGE accomplishments, Mille is well positioned to succeed on April 16, 2012.  Millie is running for Summer Search, which provided her many of the aforementioned opportunities that she’s committed to providing others. 

I hope you are as inspired by her story as I am.  Her example will be my True North whenever I need direction or a reminder of how important it is to deal with any challenge I encounter in the most positive way!

 

THE ABC’S OF SUCCESSFUL MARATHON TRAINING

Always listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly.  It is important to monitor your resting heart rate each morning by placing your index and middle fingers on one of your carotid arteries.  Count your heart rate for six seconds and add a zero.  After 5-7 days of normal training conditions you will be able to establish an average resting heart rate that will serve as a baseline indicator throughout your training.

If you have an elevated heart rate your body is providing signs that it’s taxed and you should consider the following options:

  • Reduce the intensity and the distance of your run
  • Cross-train (e.g., water running, spinning/cycling, elliptical trainer, etc.)
  • Take the day off completely

Provided that you receive sufficient rest, eat well, stay hydrated and minimize stress, your resting heart rate should return to normal the following morning.

Being connected to something more than just running provides a far greater degree of meaning to this journey.

Cambered roads can wreak havoc on your hips by placing considerable stress one side of your body.  When possible and safe, switch to the opposite side of the road to balance the stress on your hips and lower extremities.

Don’t be tempted to increase your training too dramatically.  A good rule of thumb is to not increase your long run by more than 2 miles of any run during the last 7-10 days.  Another useful guideline is to not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%.

Efficient running helps to reduce stress and will provide significant dividends in the marathon.

Fundraising can be as daunting as the actual marathon training.  It is equally important to have a similar plan and remain committed to it.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.  You will hear me repeat this endlessly throughout our training because it’s so relevant to preparing for the marathon, achieving your fundraising goal, and living a fulfilling live.  I have discovered it is also the cornerstone for achieving far more than I ever imagined.

Having the goal of finishing the marathon in ‘relative comfort’ will serve you well throughout training as well as on marathon day.

Ice baths should become an integral part of your weekly post long run routine.

Joining a team provides a far more meaningful marathon training experience.  You have an opportunity to meet new friends, learn from everyone’s experience, and develop an incredible sense of belonging to a unique group.  Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people can change the world.  Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has!”

Keep your entire family as well as all of your friends and colleagues informed of your goal of completing the 2012 Boston Marathon.  You will rely on them heavily to achieve your fundraising goals, to stay motivated throughout your training and to pick you up when you need it most.

Lowering your resting heart rate and increasing your lean muscle mass will be only two of the many benefits of becoming a runner.  You also develop an empowering sense that you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible!

Marathoner!  Once you complete the trek from Hopkinton to Boston, that will be a well-deserved and extremely unique title forever attached to your name and your life!

Nutrition plays such an important role in preparation for, and recovery from your runs.  It will impact your performance in training and in the marathon as much as your actual running.

Overtraining is one of the most common mistakes first-time marathoners make.  Don’t be tempted to run more than the mileage that is prescribed in your training schedule. 

People are always going to question ‘why’ you are training for the Boston Marathon.  Don’t pay these naysayers any regard.  They tend to be part of an extremely large group that tends to sit on the sidelines as casual observers of those committed to making a difference in the world.

Quiet is the word that best describes what you should be emulating with your running form.  There is definitely a strong correlation between running quietly and efficiency.

Rest ranks near the top of important components of a successful marathon training program.  A much-needed and well-deserved rest day is as important to your training as a great training run.

Shoes should be properly fitted and closely monitored during training.  Most runners wear shoes that are too small.  You should have at least a thumb’s width between the end of your longest toe and the shoe.  Your feet are also going to swell while running, particularly on your long runs.

Training schedules are not etched in stone.  Don’t make the mistake of following the schedule precisely every day.  You are going to be forced to miss days for various reasons.  Don’t try to make that missed mileage up in one fell swoop.  Your primary goal should be to achieve the total weekly mileage.  If in doubt, refer to the aforementioned training guidelines to avoid injury and burnout

Under no circumstances should you attempt to run through pain.  RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) should always be your normal protocol at the first sign of any pain.

Visualization should be of paramount importance in your training.  The mind is extremely powerful and if you allow negative thoughts to dominate your mindset you will fall well short of your potential and expectations. 

Weather is an additional challenge you have to prepare for when training through the New England winter.  Avoid cotton altogether!  Layering with anti-microbial wicking material is your best choice.  You should also dress as though it’s 30 degrees warmer because your core temperature will rise quickly and you’ll be shedding layers otherwise.

Xeric conditions still exist during the winter.  Hydration during the coldest months of the winter is as important as during the heat of the summer.

Your ability to adapt to change (i.e., weather, distance, fundraising, etc.) will define the degree of success you achieve during this journey.  Be flexible, have fun, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Zone out all negative thoughts and stay focused on all the benefits of pursuing your goal of running the Boston Marathon.  I am confident this experience will be one of the most memorable and inspiring of your life!

The Ultimate Truth

Posted: February 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Running a marathon provides the ultimate truth in life.  It provides you clarity and insight in who you REALLY are and what you’re capable of achieving. 

Training for a marathon and ultimately completing the 26.2 mile distance reveals and magnifies strengths and weaknesses more than any other endeavor.  The marathon will show exactly how committed you are, how you deal with setbacks and how inspired you are by accomplishment to set the bar of achievement even higher.

Charity runners are much further along in the realization of truth than the average marathoner (no, that isn’t an oxymoron) because they’ve committed themselves to a cause and purpose greater than simply running the Boston Marathon…and that’s the truth!

Long Run Recovery

Posted: February 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

Recovering from a long run actually begins during the long run.  Proper fueling and hydration during the long run will help to minimize post-run muscle soreness.  Gradually allowing your heart rate to return to normal levels is more beneficial than suddenly stopping and sitting down at the conclusion of your long run.  A post-run walk will keep blood flowing to your major muscles and help reduce lactic acid buildup.

Using the Roll Recovery R8 (www.rollrecovery.com) while performing a post-run stretching routine will also help to reduce soreness.  ZICO chocolate flavored premium coconut water is my favorite post-run drink.  I also like to have salted pretzels, fig newtons and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich within 30 minutes of finishing my long run.

Paying close attention to unusual aches and pains and appropriately icing will assist in the recovery process.  Many runners become too committed to the training schedule and resume running when they could use an additional day of rest or cross-training.  A well-timed and much-needed rest day is as important to your training as a great run.  Injury-prevention becomes far more important as we build our mileage to the 21 miler just 3 weeks prior to the marathon.  I recommend erring on the side of caution as you monitor the signs your body is providing in the form of aches and pains.

Ice baths are counterintuitive after a long run but can be the cornerstone of a speedy recovery.  You have to be as determined to get into an ice bath as you are when running up Heartbreak Hill.  You need to be fully fueled and hydrated prior to getting into an ice bath.  Wearing a hat and fleece top, along with a cup of hot chocolate or tea will help you to tolerate the shock of sitting in an ice bath.  Playing music will help muffle the screams and won’t alarm your family or neighbors 🙂

Take a moment to cherish the sense of accomplishment in completing another long run and reflect on all the benefits of becoming a marathoner.  This 5 month journey will be a defining time in your life, one that you will rely on for further motivation and inspiration in the years ahead.

Having a strategic plan for fueling and hydrating before, during, and after your long runs will increase your recovery time!

Getting Out The Door!

Posted: February 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

My wife is the most dedicated runner I know so I’ve asked her to share her thoughts on getting out the door every morning:

  
 Let’s face it, winter is knocking on the door, and the cold temperatures are here to stay. It will only get colder, and add to that some wind, snow, sleet and of course, darkness, and you have a recipe that will make you want to stay in bed when that alarm goes off in the morning.  How do you get out the door when the cozy warmth of the bed, not to mention the temptation of another hour of precious slumber, is pulling you back under the covers?  Well, it’s not easy… getting out the door is the hardest part, but there are some things that will help you resist the urge to hit the snooze and forego the run.
  
1. Get your mind ready.
The very most important factor that needs to be in place to get you out the door in the morning is your mind set- and that needs to be in place before drifting off to sleep the night before.  You need to be ‘ready to run’ mentally before you go to bed, and committed to getting up in the morning.  While having your gear in place will help you feel prepared and get your mind thinking positively, you still need to remove the doubt. So, as you are drifting off to sleep, tell yourself that you are getting up when that alarm goes off and doing your run- there’s no other choice.  Think of it as having a season’s pass to running… you want to get your money’s worth from your investment and that means making every run.  No is not an option. 
 
2. Get your stuff ready.
Set out your gear (shoes, running tights, tops, outer layer, hat/headband, mittens, neck warmer (this is my most important piece), reflective things, headlamp (optional) and socks) so you won’t be looking for things in the morning darkness- everything will be there, ready to go.  Fumbling around in the morning looking for your gear wastes precious minutes that you could otherwise be spending on your run- it also gives you time, and an excuse, to change your mind and go back to bed. If you have a heater in your house, you might choose to put your things near it so that they are warm when you slip into them.  (We have a pellet stove and I like to put my clothes on the couch by the stove- they are always nice and toasty when I put them on.)   
 
3. NO snoozing
When the alarm goes off, do NOT hit the snooze button.  If you snooze, you lose, literally.  Do not even take a moment to think about it, your decision was made last night and you committed to it.  You cannot afford to have a ‘maybe’ attitude.  Get up!  Set your clock away from your bed if necessary so you have to get out of bed.  Get dressed and brush your teeth- there’s no turning back now.  This is the time to hit the floor to do some pushups (or pullups or any other activity)- start with 10 or 20, then add a few more to get your heart rate up and your body warmed up.  Doing pushups fully dressed to run will warm you up so quickly that you’ll want to get out the door to cool off- and that is exactly what you’ll do, every day. 
 
Make it a habit and you’ll have no problem getting out the door for your run in the morning… you’ll be so glad you did!   
 
Lori Muhr

Everyone Can Make A Difference!

Posted: February 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

I want to share an amazing experience that I had when Rider was only 3 years old.  It was the day before the 2004 Boston Marathon and he said to me, “Dad, I want to learn to ride my bike today!”  Up to that point, Rider had always refused to ride his bike with training wheels, but he rode a Razor scooter from the time he was about 18 months old.  It was so remarkable to see him pushing with those little legs and racing his scooter around our neighborhood; people used to stop and ask how old he was.

So, we got out his two-wheeler, went into our back yard and I simply gave him a push and he rode across the yard like he had been riding forever.  When he made it to the other side of the yard he stopped, turned around and proclaimed, “I want to do that again!” 

Lori was taking care of the horses at the barn and when she returned home she was amazed to see Rider come from behind the deck, riding his bike all by himself.  Shortly after that he said to us, “I want to ride my bike to raise money for kids with cancer.”  That statement was so awe-inspiring because we realized that he was paying attention to what we were doing as Team In Training coaches, and he was also influenced by our runners.

We had taken Rider to training with us before he was even a week old.  So he spent every Saturday of his life around people who were extremely charitable.  I had heard the adage, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ many times before but now I was witnessing just how true that was.  Our TEAM of runners at Team In Training certainly influenced him and he clearly adopted their commitment and mindset.

So Lori found a Pan Mass Challenge for Kids event in Upton that was scheduled for two months later.  Lori and I have both lost parents to cancer so she made Rider a shirt that said, “In Memory of Grandma and Grandpa” so he could wear it on the ride. 

Rider then dictated a fundraising letter to Lori and sent it to our closest friends and family.  He raised over $400 for his first time!

When we arrived at the Pan Mass Challenge For Kids event, Rider was clearly the smallest participant.  There were kids several years older who were still riding with training wheels.  I began to realize how unique and special Rider is.  I mentioned to Lori that I would run beside him during the ride.  Afterall, I was a marathoner and he was only 3 years old.  How far could he actually ride on such a small bike anyway?  I didn’t have to wait long for my answer.

Once the ride started, he was gone.  I couldn’t believe it and I was in a state of panic.  He had never been out of our sight and suddenly he was consumed by this flood of riders.   I was cutting through yards and taking every conceivable short cut to catch up with him.  After what seemed like hours, I finally caught a glimpse of him.  I quickly sprinted up to him, and saw him at a water stop, bicycle laying on its side.  He was consuming a packet of Skittles with the biggest smile on his face.  He was so full of life and enjoying every minute of it- especially the Skittles (which he NEVER got to eat at home)!

Rider ended up riding 12 miles on an extremely difficult and hilly course with the temperatures soaring through the 90’s.  Even today, after training thousands of charity runners and witnessing selflessness and giving beyond comprehension, Rider’s commitment to raising money for kids with cancer still ranks at the top.

His example has proven to me that ANYONE can make a significant difference in the world if they have the desire and belief.  He has inspired me to do more than I ever imagined.  I hope that this story will inspire you to adopt his commitment and belief that YOU can make a difference too.

I love you Rider!

Head Games….(Lori Muhr)

Posted: February 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

The marathon is very mental.  In fact, running in general employs great mental strength, especially in the later miles of a long run.  Your mental fortitude can make or break your marathon experience, and it can also improve your training experience.  What do you think about to get through the tough miles of a run?  The following is a list of ‘thoughts’ to help keep the mind occupied, and, most importantly, positive- after all, where the mind goes, the body will follow…

 
1. Smile- When you feel good you smile… so, when you smile, you’ll feel good.:-)
 
2. Sing- Think of favorite songs and sing the lyrics (in your head).  Make up new lyrics or a limerick.
 
3. Mantra- Repeat a positive sentence or phrase that is empowering (Hills make me stronger, Run smooth, Shorter quicker steps, I’m tough, Run in the moment, Keep it together, etc.)
 
4. Think Math- Compute the miles of different sections of your run. For example, I break up one of my runs into sections that include a 1.4 mile out and back, a .8 mile neighborhood loop (done 1-3 times depending on time and distance I need) and a 9.5 mile loop.  I often add and re-add these parts in different orders (and even get the same total!:-). 
                    -Calculate how many miles left, and how many miles done? 
                    -In the marathon, I try not to think about miles until I hit the 6.2 mile mark, then I tell myself I am just heading out for a 20 mile run (which I’ve done before and I know I can do it.).  Then when I hit various mile markers after that, I think similarly (at mile 10, I think of going out fresh for a 16.2 mile run, etc.
                    -Compute ages of people, or determine the year of their birth from their age. 
                    -Project your finish time based on your pace and figure what it would be at different paces. 
 
Math definitely occupies the mind!
 
5. Imagine running your courses-  When I have 5 miles left, I imagine running my usual 5 mile course at home.
 
6. Remember the reason-  You committed to running the marathon for a cause and you are making a difference. You WILL finish!
 
What do you think about during your runs?

The Running Puzzle

Posted: February 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Most runners focus almost exclusively on the act of running rather than all the other facets of running. It’s the difference between running being a lifestyle versus having the marathon as just an item on someone’s bucket list. I have never been one to simply check an experience off a long list of things I want to experience during my lifetime. I need to thoroughly research anything I’m interested in so that I understand it completely. It’s important that it becomes an integral part of my life for a sustained period. Motorcycles were one of my earliest interests and continue to be today. In June of 2010 I departed home on a Friday morning and rode 5,000 miles in 10 days through Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. I only carried a bike messenger bag, no GPS, no rain gear. I experienced rain every day! But when I completed the Natchez Trace and Blue Ridge Parkways and all the other motorcyclists sought shelter, I felt an extreme sense of accomplishment when I rode out of the mountains at the end of each day. This was a defining experience in my life. 

 I became interested in running when I was a senior in high school and preparing for boot camp. I grew up in Buckhannon, West Virginia and vividly remember running on the railroad tracks in leather Puma basketball shoes each day after school. I discovered that I could run long distances and not experience fatigue. I had a Marine drill sergeant that put pressure on me at every opportunity, running was no different, so he actually fostered a determination in me that exists today. I excelled while running in the heat of Texas in June, July and August. I remember placing bets with my friends in basic training that I could run unfathomable distances on days where the heat was so intense, exercise was practically forbidden. It was also a great way to supplement my military salary. When we finally earned weekend liberty they immediately went into town to enjoy things they had been deprived of for several months…I headed to the track to explore my physical and mental limits. That passion has remained with me today.

 At 53 I’m still interested in exploring what I’m capable of accomplishing in my running. There’s no doubt that it’s far more challenging for me to run under 3:15 in the marathon today than when I ran 2:33 many years ago…it’s all relative. While the times have changed, the one constant is my love of running and my desire to extend myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Running has to be a lifestyle for someone to thoroughly experience all that running offers. I remember one of my favorite runners, Toshihilo Seko from Japan, was once asked if he had a girlfriend, to which he replied, “The marathon is my only girlfriend. I give her everything I have.” Now that personifies a running lifestyle. He represented Japan in two Olympic Games and won Boston in 1981 (2:09:26) and 1987 (2:11:50). Are you giving your running everything you have? Now, you don’t have to adopt Seko’s extreme philosophy but I know there are things that you can do to make running a more integral part of your lifestyle. For instance, are you preparing for your workouts days before with respect to your nutrition, hydration, rest, cross training and managing your schedule?

 I find that many runners work their running around all the circumstances in their lives with negative results. Training for the Boston Marathon, which is less than 10 weeks away, doesn’t allow one to waste a lot of time. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to have setbacks, but you need to strike a balance in your life in an effort to gain more control over your running. If the scale is imbalanced during your marathon training it should be in favor of your running. Runners that have the Boston Marathon as an item on their bucket list focus too much on checking off the requisite mileage on the training schedule and deprive themselves of the abundance that running can provide. I simply cannot comprehend adopting that philosophy. I want to plan everything so the return on my investment is considerable.

Running has never been just a physical act to me. It’s also been emotional and spiritual. There’s been a definite correlation between the time and effort I’ve put into my running and the benefits I’ve received. The physical benefits speak for themselves but I am undoubtedly a better person because of running. Running has helped me to deal with failure, loss and disappointment and it’s shown me what I’m truly capable of achieving. It’s allowed me to look at the world differently and, more importantly, to look at myself differently. I have benefited so much from running because it’s been an integral part of my life, an entire lifestyle, and I’ve managed to piece the puzzle of running together so well. The pieces consist of goals, a strategic training plan, proper clothing and the best shoes for my biomechanical needs, staying well hydrated, eating well, receiving sufficient rest, minimizing stress and having fun.

 Running is MY time to enjoy the elements, the company of friends, to sort through my thoughts and focus on the things requiring the most attention in my life. I hope that you receive a fraction of the benefits and enjoyment that I have from running. Just piece your running puzzle together and enjoy the sense of accomplishment!