Archive for March, 2014

Time To Taper

Posted: March 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

Now that the 21 miler is in the books the tapering process begins in earnest. It’s important to take several complete days off from running to allow the muscle soreness to completely disappear. The residual effects of Saturday’s long run can actually cause soreness to worsen on the second day so don’t be alarmed if this occurs. Walking and other forms of low-impact cross-training (i.e., spinning, deep water running, yoga, elliptical, etc.), along with getting enough rest, eating well, and staying hydrated and using the Roll Recovery R8 will speed your recovery.

Many first-time marathoners can’t imagine how they’ll be able to run another 5 miles after the incredible effort it took to make the ascent up Heartbreak Hill Saturday. There are two very compelling reasons that contribute to this doubt. Once your mind knows the precise distance you’re running on a given day it communicates that to your body. If you were only scheduled to run 13 miles yesterday, I can assure you that you would have looked forward to just getting to 13 miles. And you would have been just as grateful the run was over at 13 miles as you were when you completed the 21 miler.

Most importantly, Marathon Day is a completely different experience. Saturday doesn’t even constitute a dress rehearsal for the Boston Marathon. Despite running with several hundred other runners as you made the trek from Hopkinton to Boston College, you were largely running alone compared to what your journey will be like on April 21st. Very few of the cars on the marathon course were happy about all the runners slowing their progress. But in just a few short weeks, all of New England will be focused on the Boston Marathon. The marathon course will be entirely yours for as long as you need it to be.

Those same drivers that were frustrated by your presence on ‘their’ roads Saturday will be laying out the red carpet for you and providing a heroes welcome as your make the journey into Boston. You will plan to run 26.2 miles on April 21st and your mind will communicate that to your body to make sure it’s ready to cover the entire marathon distance.

And the unimaginable excitement of everything the Boston Marathon entails is your assurance that you will make it to the finish line!

Run, Run, Run

Posted: March 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

It was such a pleasure to participate in this music video by Michelle Lewis as a tribute to those training for the Boston Marathon!

I am beyond thrilled to announce that Michelle will be singing this new single at the Marathon Coalition Pasta Party on April 19th.  It promises to be such an inspiring evening.




Preparing for this weekend’s 21 miler should be well underway. The next two days should be focused on developing your plan for the days leading up to the marathon on every level. Fueling, hydrating, resting , shoes, clothing and mental prepartion are the focal points of a successful journey from Hopkinton to Boston.

The final long run is the perfect time to test your complete plan for the upcoming Boston Marathon. You should attempt to replicate precisely what you will be doing in the days leading up to Boston. Hydration is often overlooked, particularly when the temperatures are so low. Hydrating during the colder months is as important than the summer. Properly fueling for a run of 20+ miles should begin days before and not the night before. I eat whole foods and avoid high fiber and processed foods. Carbohydrates will provide the energy your muscles need to sustain you through the rigorous initial 21 miles of the Boston Marathon.

I try to eat approximately 2 hours before a long run. Breakfast before a long run is usually oatmeal with soy milk. I avoid dairy altogether. (Soy, rice, and almond milks generally don’t contain the sugar lactose, which can be difficult to digest), toasted bagel with almond butter and a banana. I then use a water bottle with an energy drink to top off the tank.

It’s so easy to overlook resting because you have so much on your mind. Balancing life with putting the final touches on your marathon preparation is extremely challenging. Consequently, two nights before a major event; whether the 21 miler or the Boston Marathon, is your most important night to sleep.

Be sure to dress for temperatures that are 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. Turn the clothes you plan to wear inside out and remove any tags or modify areas that may cause abrasion. Obviously you shouldn’t be wearing clothing you haven’t tested on several shorter runs. Applying Body Glide liberally will prevent chafing in sensitive areas (e.g., under arms, between legs, feet, and under a running bra, etc.).

Proper mental preparation is as important as any other aspect of your preparation. Take time to reflect on how much work you’ve invested in this effort and how fortunate you are to even attempt the Boston Marathon. Accept the reality that you will NEVER feel totally prepared…that’s the excitement of something as significant as the Boston Mararthon. And that is why the sense of accomplishment is so signficant.

The time you invest in your final preparations for the 21 miler and the Boston Marathon will determine the degree of success you experience. Make the investment now and reap the rewards later!

Beyond The Boston Marathon

Posted: March 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

At this stage in training you’re likely focused on the goal of getting to the finish line in relative comfort. You have to focus on tapering properly by following the prescribed training schedule and avoiding injury. You have to also make sure you eat well, stay hydrated, get sufficient rest and not introduce anything new into your routine.

There is so much to consider in the remaining weeks before the marathon that you may not consider life beyond the marathon. While focusing on the aforementioned tasks is precisely what you should be doing, I urge you to take a moment to consider life beyond Boston. Many runners have expressed concern over the huge void that will exist in their lives once the marathon is over. It’s so easy to become consumed by the monumental task of training for Boston that you don’t consider how your life may change from this experience.

You many never have a clearer glimpse into what you’re capable of accomplishing in life than when you cross the finish line of the 2014 Boston Marathon. I’ve heard countless stories of how life-altering this accomplishment is to so many. Once you prove that you’re capable of committing to and completing a major challenge,  you begin to consider what other pursuits may be in your future. Completing a marathon, particularly the Boston Marathon, is one of the most empowering experiences you’ll ever have.

Becoming a Boston Marathon Finisher will be part of your legacy forever. No one will ever be able to take that title from you. The finisher’s medal will likely be kept with your most valuable possessions. But this experience is about so much more than checking it off your ‘Must Do’ list in life and the finisher’s medal. It’s about discovering things about yourself that you never considered or imagined. Training through the difficult winter and mostly on the hills of Newton likely revealed some weaknesses in your fitness, your mental state and possibly even your character. Those runners that embrace the reality they’re not as strong as they once thought and dedicate themselves to improving are likely to take more than the finisher’s medal from this experience. They take a passion and commitment to live their lives in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Too many people focus exclusively on their strengths and attempt to ignore their weaknesses which guarantees their accomplishments and self-perception will forever remain limited.

I hope that you take a moment to consider life beyond the marathon….it’s never going to be the same!

“Life is a journey, not a destination”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Boston Finisher's Medals

It is difficult to appreciate the journey when the destination is so significant.  Whether the destination is a graduation, marriage, the birth or a child or the 2014 Boston Marathon…the journey will ultimately overshadow the destination.

The 2014 Boston Marathon is particularly significant in the aftermath of last year’s senseless tragedy.  We are eager to heal and to show the world, particularly those that threaten our freedom and our lives, the spirit of a marathoner.

But I hope you will take the time to live in the moment, even the frigid temperatures, ice and snow-covered roads, and the seemingly endless winter, and embrace the warmth of the friendships you have developed the past few months.  It’s so easy to be consumed by the destination…the finish line on Boylston Street on April 21, 2014…and miss out on the reality of what this journey is truly all about.

Yes, it’s undeniable that training for nearly 6 months to prepare for the 26.2 mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston is our primary goal.  But it shouldn’t be at the neglect of all the small things that collectively define this journey…the new friendships that will sustain us through life, the times we laughed, the times we cried, the encouragement we’ve offered one another and, most importantly, the hope and opportunity our fundraising will give  those that have gone far too long without both.

While the magnitude of the 2014 Boston Marathon cannot be discounted, I know the entire journey will undoubtedly be the sustenance your soul needs to continue to live a meaningful life in service to others.

Now is the time to focus on each moment of the journey so, once you arrive at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and beyond, you will have enjoyed and been inspired by the journey as much as the destination!

Boston Marathon Finish

Marathon Day Preparation

Posted: March 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

This is undoubtedly the most challenging phase of training for the Boston Marathon. We are in the depths of New England’s winter and the marathon seems so far away.

Runners that keep their focus on the ultimate goal exponentially improve the likelihood of a positive marathon experience. This is a great time to begin developing a Marathon Day plan:

Here are several recommendations to consider:

1. Arrive at the Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton no later than 9:00 a.m.
2. Bring a folded piece of cardboard to sit on while waiting for the start.
3. Bring a large garbage bag or poncho to wear in case it’s damp.
4. Wear an older pair of running shoes and don’t wear the shoes you’re planning to wear during the marathon until after you leave the Athlete’s Village and walk to the starting line.
5. Pack food and fluid for the village.
6. The B.A.A. is going to limit what you can bring into the Athlete’s Village so wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes that can be left in the village.
7. Bring a marker if you plan to write your name or someone who has inspired you during this journey on your singlet or body.
8. Check the laces on the shoes you plan to run in to be sure they are in good order.
9. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. If it’s a sunny day, one of the more common areas that require extra sun protection is the back of your knees.
10. Don’t wear any jewelry to the village or during the marathon.
11. Start developing your own checklist of items you will need on Marathon Day to minimize unnecessary stress.

Time passes quickly and the marathon will be here sooner than you realize. Careful preparation now will provide reassurance and peace of mind that you’ve done everything possible to prepare for the Boston Marathon!

Team Spirit

Posted: March 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It it the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” -Andrew Carnegie.

Running is essentially an individual pursuit…it’s one of the primary reasons I was initially drawn to it. I didn’t have to rely on anyone else. I could simply put on my running shoes whenever I liked and go wherever I wanted. In races,  I didn’t have to rely on a teammate to make the shot, hit the ball or catch the pass. Whether I did extremely well or was an abysmal failure, I was entirely responsible.

My perspective on the individual aspect of running began to change soon after I became a running coach for Team In Training. I realized that nothing significant in life, particularly training for and running a marathon, is ever accomplished alone. The support and encouragement a runner receives during training and along the marathon course is as important as the perfect pass in a team sport.

Charity runners are undoubtedly part of a TEAM committed to one goal…raising as much money as possible to make a significant difference in the lives of others. I’ve been so inspired by the example of the thousands of charity runners that I’ve coached who place their commitment to the mission of their respective charity about their individual achievement.

I have never been more proud to be on a team than being on Team In Training and the Marathon Coalition TEAM! I am honored to be the coach of so many determined and committed runners. Their example of selflessness inspires me to give more of myself at every opportunity. The team spirit that exists on the Marathon Coalition TEAM has helped me to think less of myself and my personal goals and far more about how I can help others achieve their goals.

True greatness is not what we accomplish ourselves, but what greatness we inspire in others!

Being a coach of charity runners is one of the greatest gifts I’ve received…I rank it up there with my wife and children!