The ABCs of Summer Marathon Training.

The title explains it all…

A- Acclimate to the summer temps. I know, this is much easier said than done. It does take time and consistency in order to really feel comfortable with the heat and humidity. Sooner or later you will be rocking those runs and pushing the pace a bit. Not to worry. Just stay at it it and try not to get too discouraged with how “slow you feel”

B- Bring a spibelt/flipbelt/pockets with zippers on them for the long run. You will definitely need this when it is time to refuel with your energy gels, salt tablets etc. I love to carry my Camelbak hydration pack in the summer because it has a ton of compartments where I stash my keys, fuel etc. Certainly comes in handy.

C- Carry water/electrolytes on super hot days. This should go without saying. Or…carry your credit card with you so you can stop at a convenience store and grab ice or cold beverage to fill ‘er up.

D- Don’t neglect summer skin care. My skin burns super easily so I’m obsessive about my sport sunscreen especially on my face. My skin is doing so much better with training than last year, simply because I’ve been more religious this year about it.

E- Ease up on the pace if you have to. Know that your body is getting used to running in the heat and it is going to feel harder because your body is having to work harder in these rough conditions. Every mile still counts and time on your feet definitely matters.

F- Forget comparing your training to other runners…Y’all…if I gave a flip about what so n so was doing on Strava or Garmin Connect I definitely would not be the ultrarunner that I am today. Drops the mic.

G- Get yourself some killer runner swag. I love my lightweight tank tops, shorts, moisture wicking socks in the summer. Oh yeah, and a good sports bra. Crucial to prevent boob chafe. It is so real, ladies.

H- Heat training can totally make you stronger! Those fall temps are going to feel oh so amazing, oh so soon.

I- Ice baths are not super essential in my opinion. If you have a good massage therapist, you know how to stretch after running, and you cross train and do all of the right things ice baths are not a priority. I think it is a fun thing to try though if you haven’t I’ll just say that. And by fun I mean torture.

J- Just make sure you get up early! I am a fan of beating the heat especially if you are running 18 plus miles. I know, you may have to forgo a happy hour or two but trust me it is worth getting it done and out of the way.

K- Kiss sleeping in goodbye on Saturdays! Or Sundays, whenever you like to do your big run.

L- Learn to love the track. This has been a long time coming for me but I’m slowly getting back into it and now really feel like my body is benefitting from some speed work.

M- Make the most of your recovery runs. They are on your schedule for a reason. So do them.

N- Nuun can be a great electrolyte replacement. There are so many great flavors too! And less sugar than Gatorade.

O- Optimize your routes. I try not to do the same routes over and over because I do get bored especially because I run so dang much. I always try to switch it up, even if it means starting from a different corner of the street. Ha.

P- Pickle juice can be a good tool when you need a little salt in your system. Definitely helps with cramps.

Q- Quit making excuses for your lack of commitment with your training schedule. Do the work. Reap the benefits when you have kick ass marathon times later.

R- Rest and recovery. I love me some active recovery. Fo sho.

S- Say YES to running at different times of the day! Lately I’ve been loving me some sunset runs. It’s nice to wind down from the work day.

T- Text your running friends and tell them you love them. Because they are amazing.

U- Understand that not every training schedule is perfect. Some days you may need to take a rest day and skip a workout. That does not mean overdosing on running the next day. You miss a beat, you pick back up on it the next day. Be patient with yourself and with your progress.

V- Vote YES for running groups! I cannot tell you how much (actually I think I can especially if you have been reading here a while you already know) I love my tribe. They’ve definitely kept me motivated when I just was not feeling it and they make the miles fly by so much faster.

W- Win over your running buds by bringing watermelon post run. Bonus points if it is super cold watermelon!! You will be the MVP for life.

X- X-tra guac in your Chipotle bowl after running 20 miles. Just kidding. I was trying to find something for X.

Y- You know your body well. Listen to it.

Z- Get your zzz’s! Man sleep is oh so crucial for all of this training. I would be a raging b*tch without it.

Add something to the summer marathon training ABCs if ya want!!

Top Five Tips for Surviving HOT Long Runs.

Happy Tuesday! Hope your holiday weekend was long and luxurious. It was a hot and humid one here!! I still managed to get some running in. It is getting to be that time of year again where folks want to beat the heat to survive their long training runs. Here are a few ways that I have been able to survive HOT long runs thus far!

1. The longer the training run, for me the earlier in the day I like to get it done. I personally love early mornings provided that I get enough shut eye so when I know I have a looming 5 AM run I make it a priority to get my rest. Let’s be honest waking up early to workout sometimes sucks but I am all about the end result.

2. Electrolytes matter. Especially with these longer runs and in the heat. Since I live in Texas it is pretty much hot and humid during all times of the day in the summer time. So that means salt tablets and your electrolyte beverages are all the more important!! You can purchase the electrolyte tabs (GU even makes them) at any running apparel store or outdoor store. I usually will take 1-2 during a 20+ mile run but some people take more.

3. Everyone’s body responds differently to different things, fuel wise. For some, a post run beverage of say cold chocolate milk does the trick. I have learned over the years that I cannot really do the dairy milk like that because sometimes it does a number on my stomach with digestion. But I love a good recovery type of smoothie with say non dairy milk like almond milk. Here’s one of my fave homemade recovery drinks, really hits the spot.

4. Slather on the sunscreen. I used to be super lazy about the sunscreen but I make sure to put it on everywhere now even on my face. I love the Neutrogena sport face sunscreen because its oil free and feels great on my skin. I even wear it under my makeup during the work week and it definitely helps my skin feel protected.

5. Don’t be all concerned with pace when it comes to running in the heat. Time on your feet is so important with marathon training especially. Be consistent with running and throw in some tempo runs etc and pace will follow. But you definitely tend to slow a bit the warmer it gets. I try to do some HOT training runs because I do think they make you stronger but just know that all of the training in the summer will make you much faster come fall and winter when it gets cooler.

What are some of your tips for surviving hot long runs?

7 Ways to Slash an Hour (Or More) Off of Your Marathon Time.

So today I thought we would discuss marathon times and for those of you that are trying to hit some serious time goals, this post is for you! I don’t pretend to be an expert but I wanted to share my experiences with the marathon distance and how I’ve vastly improved in the last few years.

A few short years ago, I was running marathons and finishing them in 4 hours and 50 minutes. I was slowly but surely creeping into finishing all of my races in 5 hours and it was so mentally frustrating. But I altered some things and making those changes has literally slashed 1 hour and some change off of my current time. My PR is now 3:45 and that is due to a lot of hard work and dedication. So I wanted to share how I’ve gotten there. And hopefully I may be able to help some of you.

1. Figure out what style of training works for you. I was just talking with my running buds about training methods this morning. I have a friend that I train with in the mornings (he does his easy runs/recovery days with our group) that is pushing 60 years old and you guys he is just remarkable in every sense of the word when it comes to badass runners. He has broken 3 hours in the marathon more than once and is returning to Boston this year to really crush it. He consistently runs strong times and actually told me that one of the things that has helped him improve over the years is upping his weekly mileage. It is all about balance and all about patience. Increasing your mileage slowly over time is definitely going to build your aerobic capacity and make you a stronger runner in the long run. Pun intended.

2. Stay on top of problem areas when it comes to injury prevention. Do you have issues with your hips, knees, whatever etc!? Do not run yourself into the ground until you fall apart. Find out what is going on with your body and do what it takes to immediately nip it in the bud. The moment you stay on top of things before they become serious issues is when you will start to see improvements in your running. I run a lot…but guess what? I stretch a lot too. I see the same massage therapist 1-2 times a month who works on my issues when they come up. You do what you’ve gotta do to stay healthy and stay rocking out the mileage.

3. Be consistent! You can’t expect to improve if you are not willing to put in the work. Run when you don’t want to. Get up early before you have time to think about it and get the time in on your feet. Keep track of your miles from week to week. Include recovery weeks in your training. The more consistent you are as a runner the better you will get at it and the better you will get at what does and does not work for you.

4. Stay mobile and active even when you are not running. I have a varidesk at work. I am telling you, having an adjustable desk where you can stand up and move around and you are not sitting all day will help you immensely! Before when I was sitting all day I had to see my chiropractor on a consistent basis for hip adjustments. Now I only see him a couple of times a year. So thank you, varidesk…you are the real MVP.

5. Okay, keep it real time. Racing weight does matter somewhat. I don’t necessarily think it is the end all be all to running faster times. You still have to put in work because you could be stick thin and unhealthy and still be struggling with running. BUT… dropping excess weight does make you lighter which in turn could make you a tad faster. In the last few years I’ve dropped about 25 additional pounds really due to the higher mileage and getting adjusted to that. But I do think that helped give me a bit of a boost and helped running a sub 4 hour marathon not feel so difficult. Y’all that sub 4 used to feel HARD to me. It really doesn’t anymore. So, make some adjustments in your nutrition if you have to. Add more fresh foods into your diet. Cut the unnecessary post long run “treats”. I know some of us run because we are foodies or like to drink margaritas. But doing all of that stuff is NOT going to make you faster. Eat to fuel your running and to fuel your goals. *drops mic*

6. Hills. Speedwork. Long runs. Do them. When I started adding more hill training especially is when I started to see lots of improvement in my training. I really feel like hills strengthen my legs and make me more powerful when it is time to race. Hills definitely are speedwork in disguise. Also even if you do things like strides (quick pickups while you are running) or hit the track 1-2 times a week, tempo runs etc. All of these things will make moving faster not as difficult.

7. Run with faster people. This one is major. If you want to run faster marathon times you have to put yourself in a scenario and envision yourself being that “fast” runner. Run with people who have more experience with this than you. Run with those Boston marathoners that wear the flashy jackets. Find out what makes them tick. Sooner or later you will be rocking and rolling and pushing the pace and feeling like that confident fast runner that is crushing those marathon times.

What are some things that have helped your running improve over time?

How to Maintain Your Running Fitness During the Off-Season, as told by Oprah.

So I don’t know about you, but during the off season of not racing so much, I like to maintain my overall fitness. Whether that be in the form of doing other workouts or easy runs, I make sure that I keep moving my body so that when it is time to ramp the miles/speed back up, I am ready to plunge into some hardcore training. Here are a few ways you can still maintain your fitness during the down time when you are NOT racing, as told by our favorite advice giver of all time, yes that would be none other than your girl Oprah…

Get into a good rehab routine. Yoga, massages, foam rolling are all my besties, and especially during the off season period. When I am not training so much I obviously have more time for things like yoga classes so I take advantage of yoga studios in the area that are donation based. If you are local to Dallas/Ft. Worth I highly recommend this place, it is amazing to just drop into a class and try out a gentle flow or heart pumping power class. Plus your hips and hamstrings will thank you.

Run watch-less. Or naked, however you want to call it. This is something I have not done in a while actually (with all of the new apps and such we have like Strava it is easy to get caught up in the numbers/pace game) but it is so good sometimes to just go out for a run for the sake of just running and moving your body. Trail running is another way you can just go out into nature, and not worry about how fast you are going. Just going out there and enjoying nature can be a beautiful thing.

Work on your nutrition/diet. I know, I know when you are training, counting carbs or whatever you do typically goes way out the window. I love me some carbs as much as the next runner.

And really, carbs are not the enemy. But when you aren’t training so much you can focus more on balanced nutrition. So I personally eat complex carbs (sweet potatoes/brown rice/quinoa etc) and lean protein with veggies. It really has become so easy to eat clean so you really do not have an excuse here. Meal prepping can make things easier too during a busy work week so you are not so tempted to eat out.

Improve your strength. This is also a good time to get back into adding more strength movements, both with and without weights. I love incorporating kettle bells into my workouts and there are lots of strength moves you can find on Pinterest to include in your routine. Strengthen the areas like hips/glutes or wherever your imbalances are so you can get back on those roads stronger than ever.

It’s as simple as that. I need an “easy” button.

What are some ways you stay fit during a racing off season?

12 of My Favorite Running Quotes.

1. Either you run the day or the day runs you. -Jim Rohn

2. It is impossible to win the race unless you venture to run, impossible to win the victory unless you dare to battle. -Richard M. DeVos

3. A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more. -Steve Prefontaine

4. Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. -Robert Collier

5. To be a good runner, you must first be a good athlete. -Jay Johnson

6. We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort. -Jesse Owens

7. Running allows me to set my mind free. Nothing seems impossible. Nothing unattainable. -Kara Goucher

8. I think I get addicted to the feelings associated with the end of a long run. I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, and sweat-purged. I love that good ache of the muscles that have done me proud. -Kristin Armstrong

9. It’s very hard at the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually, you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit. -George Sheehan

10. Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running. -Julie Isphording

11. There is magic in misery. Just ask any runner. -Dean Karnazes

12. People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life.- Haruki Murakami

What are some of your favorite running quotes?

I Love Me Some Morning Runners and The Beauty of the Easy Run.

10.11 miles this morning with my Irving Running Club crew. I love running with this girl especially because she is always so bubbly at 5:30 a.m. How she does it, I do not know. I clearly need to buy the coffee that she is drinking.

So today I thought I’d chat real quick about a few reasons why you shouldn’t overlook the beauty of the ‘easy’ run. Sure, we all need our speed work, track, tempo days where we bump up the intensity but scaling it back is important as well.

Time on your feet. Yes, it is true that the more time you are able to get in on your feet, the more efficient you become as a runner. That is why we do our long runs. They are the bread and butter of any training program.

Less stress on the body. You need those days that challenge you and days that help you recover. Rest days and easy days are both important and you should definitely do both. Motion is lotion, so if you are able to get back out there after a hard workout and do some easy running it will be less impact on your body so you can get back out there to do the hard stuff.

It’s good for you mentally. Easy running helps you to really know your body and what it needs. It is nice some days to just get out there and not have to worry about being a slave to numbers.

Injury prevention. We all know those runners that seem to GO HARD all the time and then all of a sudden they are sidelined on injury boulevard. Don’t be that runner. You are welcome.

It helps to gauge and get an idea of what your easy pace is…you can find out here.

How is your training going? Do you run with a club, solo, or both?
Both. I equally love my solo and running friend time.

Quirky Things Runners Do, Continued.

Runners, we are a quirky bunch…aren’t we? Let’s do a bit of a continuation of some of the quirky things runners do…in no particular order…

Hem and haw about waking up early to run. But hey, someone’s gotta do it. Getting up and out the door is half the battle.

Go out for ‘just 4 miles’ and end up doing 7 or 8. Guilty.

Get up to run on a Sunday morning after going out with your buddies on a Saturday night. Because ‘sleeping in’ is overrated.

Post motivational ‘run quotes’ on Instagram. Preferably with a sunrise or sunset in the background.

Bitch and moan about things we cannot control, like the weather. Just because we can.

Go run long and come home and basically do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day. Well hey, you’ve earned it.

Runners, what are some more quirky things that you do?

4 Reasons to Get Excited About a Long Run, as Told by SATC.

So I don’t know about you but for me the best part of my weekends is always starting it with a long run. It’s a great way to get the training miles in all while having fun with your friends at the same time. Here are 5 reasons to get excited about a long run as told by my SATC ladies. Let’s get to it!

1. To test out your brand spanking new running gear. Long runs are the ultimate dress rehearsal. I just love it.

2. Because mimosas at the end of a 20 mile run are always the best. Yes indeedy.

3. Because sometimes you just want to treat yourself, retail style. New shoes after running some serious mileage? Even better. Treat yoself.

4. The post long run nap. It’s like the holy grail at the end of all of your hard work. Nuff said.

What are your reasons to get excited about a long run?

5 Reasons to Sign up for a Fall Marathon.

So it’s springtime, and for many runners this is the time of year that we start thinking about more races to throw on the calendar. Here are a few reasons in no particular order why you should hit the registration button and sign up for that fall marathon to gun for a super speedy PR.

1. Training runs with friends or your local running club. I don’t know about you but for me the best part of marathon training is doing long runs with your friends. If you are fortunate enough to have some awesome runner friends it is a great way to bond over many happy sweaty miles.

Throwback Thursday pic! Ice cream and running go hand in hand.

2. Early hot runs especially in the summer time leading up to fall will make you mentally/physically super strong. If you can get through long runs in crazy weather, you can get through just about anything. Come fall and winter after months of training you will definitely see your speed pick up because it will just feel so awesome after training in such conditions.

3. There are just so MANY amazing marathons to sign up for! For me honestly it is a great way to see a different part of the country or explore a new town.

4. RACE-cations are absolutely the best. It just honestly gives me an excuse to travel sometimes too. Fall is the perfect time of year for it.

5. Nothing is more beautiful than running a marathon in the fall. The changing fall leaves, the cooler weather…you simply cannot go wrong. It’s the best time of year to put a marathon on your calendar.

Have you signed up for a fall marathon yet? Which one?
I plan on running an ultra this year in November on a beautiful new to me trail! I am really looking forward to it.

When It’s Cold Outside…Runners Be Like…

We all know how easy it is to fall into excuses during this time of year. It’s too cold, it’s too windy, there’s snot coming out of my nose (hey just keeping it real), my bed is too warm etc. I found some cold weather running funnies on Pinterest that explain my exact thoughts sometimes. To be honest, I love the cold but the early dark mornings can be tough! HA. That just makes you that much more of a badass though if you get it done.

In no particular order…

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Are you getting your run on today?
Done and done.

What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?