Friday, February 26, 2016

Coach Lyons' Marathon Tips

The Woodlands

I'm running a marathon on March 5! The race I'm running has held a series of running presentations and this week, I attended Coach Dana Lyons' presentation. Here's what the coach shared with us about running marathons and especially about my upcoming race, The Woodlands Marathon (held north of Houston).


Before Race Day

  1. You don't need to load up with carbohydrates before race day. When he started racing years ago he needed to carb-load, but now you can get what you need on the race course. Still, you might like to bring a couple of gels to take in addition to the aid station Endurance Gatorade and gels (miles 10 & 20).
  2. Skip strength training, but do some core work the week before the race.
  3. The day before the race, run 10-15 minutes, snack on salty snacks like pretzels and eat an early dinner around 4 or 5 so that you have time to digest your food and will be able to have a good night's sleep.

On Race Morning


  1. Two to three hours before the race, eat a breakfast of 400-500 calories - maybe toast and jam or a liquid breakfast. 
  2. Ten minutes before the race, take a gel with 8-10 ounces of water.
  3. Wear shoes with 20-30 miles on them. Or at least don't wear brand new shoes!
The Race Starts Near Fidelity (The Presentation Location)

During the Race

  1. Run negative splits by starting out at 5-15 seconds per mile slower than your goal marathon pace. Speed up a little (a few seconds per mile) after a couple of miles, but don't run all out until you hit mile 20, which happens to be where a hill will be so that will be a fun section!
  2. Drink 16-24 ounces of water every hour. When you take gels, only drink water with them.
  3. Take in 100-200 calories and 25-50 carbohydrates per hour. That may mean you need to take two cups of Gatorade Endurance at each end of the aid station. 

I've run 17 marathons so far, but there's always more to learn. Coach Dana Lyons shared advice that I'll use on March 5.

  • No more uncomfortable carbohydrate loading for me! 
  • Eat more in the morning before the race. Before today's run, I experimented and ate more than usual: toast (PB & jam), 1/4 cup oatmeal w/brown sugar, 1/2 pop-tart and a cup of Gatorade. I wanted to be comfortably full. It worked!
  • During the race, drink plenty in order to stay hydrated on what is predicted to be a cold, but humid day.  

I hope that these tips will help you at your next race, too!


My Weekly Summary 

It's taper time! I ran 27 miles, biked, walked my dog and did a little core work.

Saturday: biked 45 min.
Sunday: rest
Monday: 5 mile run
Tuesday: 8 mile run
Wednesday: 4 Exercises to Improve Running
Thursday: 8 mile run with easy hills, surprisingly chilly so I layered on the clothing
Friday: 6 mile run (wore the clothes I'm considering racing in today), core work

Have a great week of running!


Friday, February 19, 2016

Maxing Out at 18 Miles for Marathons

Let's Go!
5 Good Foods/Drinks I Had This Week That You Might Like, Too

1. Green Apple Gatorade - It tastes like the hard candies that I like.
2. Peanut Butter Chocolate Hammer gel
3. Root Beer Gu gel
4. Freekah - Use it like rice. High in protein, fiber and iron.
5. Bee pollen - I've only taken a small amount for one month and haven't noticed any extra energy, which is one of the reasons for taking it so I'm increasing the dose to 2 teaspoons today.

Have you tried any of these?

This Week's Exercise 

Saturday: Rest day except for the usual daily dog walk
Sunday: Biked 50 min.
Monday: 12 mile progression run: 3 easy, 6 moderate to hard, 3 easy; back exercises (IRF, Kinetic Rev)
Tuesday: 8 miles easy
Wednesday: Biked 43 min.; body-weight exercises
Thursday: 18 miles; exercises like push-ups, squats and leg lifts
Friday: 7 miles easy, weights (video), back and balance exercises

Total Running Miles: 45

This Week's Long Run: 18 Miles on 2/18

4:30 am - Wake-up (without alarm), exercise a few minutes, make breakfast

5:00 am - Finished my coffee and oatmeal with toppings including bee pollen

7:00 am - Run 9 easy, then insert some hard 1/2, 3/4 and full miles, finish with 2 easy miles.

Because it was warmer today (70 degrees towards the finish, like the Olympic Marathon Trials that topped out at 73), my run took longer than usual. Halfway through, I noticed that I was dragging in the heat.

I drank green apple Gatorade and 2 gels: Root Beer and peanut butter chocolate. Total carbohydrates: 90, which is a little low on carbs since my run took 3 hours 20 minutes. I had more Gatorade with me for more carbs, but I couldn't drink more. I had to stop at the restroom twice and I usually don't stop at all. When I race, I'd better eat more gels so that I at least get in 30 grams per hour.

My 18th Marathon is Nearly Here!

Mostly, I've done 18 mile long runs every 9 days since building up my mileage after the September Flagstaff 55K race. Only time will tell if 18 miles is long enough. Here's what Matt Fitzgerald thinks about long runs in marathon training.

Only 2 weeks until I run my 18th marathon on March 5, The Woodlands Marathon. It's taper time!

Friday, February 12, 2016

5 Mental Tips for Racing


I'll get to the tips in a second, but first things first... Follow Sprinkles Cupcakes on Twitter so you'll get BOGO deals. (If you don't live near one, I'm sorry!) I paced myself and ate my cupcake over two days - such pacing self-control. If only I'd do that on race day when I usually start marathons too fast.

Now, onto the running tips... Last night, I attended a talk on the psychology of running in The Woodlands. It took me forever to get there even though it's normally only about 20 minutes away because of a highway accident, but I'm glad I went. Adrienne Langlier, a sports psychologist with a blog you'll want to follow, gave helpful tips for racing.

Psychology of Running Talk Held in The Woodlands

5 Mental Tips for Races

  1. Before race day, think about your race routines that include what you'll want to and not want to focus on. Stay positive.
  2. Don't hit the wall on race day by practicing relaxation on long training runs. Work through your body and make sure your shoulders and your back are relaxed.
  3. When you feel anxious, remember that some anxiety is actually good. When you're anxious, try this deep breathing exercise: inhale for a count of 4, hold breath for 7 and inhale for 8. (Or start with the easier 3, 3, 6  that I found mentioned here.)
  4. Your race will feel like it's going by faster if you think about it in smaller chunks like by a mile or two instead of a long 26 plus miles.
  5. Make sure that your inner dialogue is positive: I'm doing great, I'm strong, I'm prepared!

Last night, I signed up for my 18th marathon, The Woodlands Marathon, which takes place north of Houston on March 5. I ran 45 miles this week with an 18 miler even before signing up knowing that I'd want to race in the near future. Now I can hardly wait for race day!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

3 Things to Help Fuel Your Run

Here are three new things I learned about this week.
  1. GU's new 15 serving gel pack would be handy if you don't want to carry 15 packets on a trail run or a bike ride.
  2. Glukos is a new gel/powder with the main ingredient being glucose. They say it will absorb immediately into your body.
  3. Read the Racing Weight Blog to get some new ideas for what to eat from endurance athletes. 
Weekly Recap (2/1 - 2/7)

Since I've been home here in Texas after my month long trip to California and Oregon, I've been doing some bird-watching. Lately, I've seen Egyptian Geese and a hawk visiting the lake area at the park where I run. I saw one bird swoop down, catch a fish in the lake and fly over the lake a few times with the fish.

Monday- Yay, it's a long run day! 18 miles took me 3 1/4 hours to run (10:50/mi ave.). I had a waffle and a small PB&J crepe sandwich a couple of hours before having some Generation UCan 30 minutes before the run. After running an hour, I drank more Gen UCan. Maybe I need some tips on how to use it, but I don't notice any benefit to using it over other foods/drinks. I also ate another PB&J crepe and pretzels during the run. After the run, I worked out on the park exercise equipment - just keeping my hard days hard.

Tuesday5 easy paced miles followed by the usual walk with my dog.

Watching Egyptian Geese

Wednesday- rest

Thursday- 5 miles running easy for 2 miles and the last 3 miles the fastest at about a 10:00, 9:30 and 9:50/mile average pace. Core WO today.

Friday12 mile (2 hour) run today! Pre-run food: like triathlete Gwen Jorgensen eats on most days, I ate oatmeal with lots of toppings. Mid-run, I felt like I was dragging so I ran home and grabbed a yogurt packet and a pop-tart. The second half of my run was faster than the first half. I did an abs/arms WO, too.

Saturday - Time for another 5 miles for a total of 45 this week! I'm happy to be on target for my goal of running 2,016 miles in 2016 (minimum 39 miles/week ave.).

Sunday-Yay, Sunday is a rest day!

Have a great week!

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