Crossing the Finish Line: The End of the Half-Marathon Blogging Road

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The13thmile blog has been an amazing growth journey for the past year for me. Through the support this blog has given me, and through working at the monstrous challenge of distance running by breaking off small chunks, I can now say that I have ran four half marathons, finishing with the exact time of two hours and seventeen minutes. (For the first three. On the fourth, the race was cut short due to flooding so the timing is off.)

In September, I will run the Philly half for the second year in a row. Last year, I ran it alone. This year a crew of college friends, my boyfriend and some of his friends will run the race with me. To belong to a group of people running this race together, supporting one another along the way has been awesome. It’s also rewarding to see how far I’ve come. I’m still not a fast runner. But, at least I have accomplished my initial goal of “just finishing.” I finished multiple times. And now running has become a hobby of mine. I love running whereas in the past I hated it and didn’t have a purpose for it.

I will continue to run, will continue to train for half marathons. Yet, this blog has now come to a conclusion. The original purpose of the blog was to learn about running while writing; to research nutrition, exercise and weight loss while actively participating in the experience of running; to meet other runners and understand how to do something that, even just a year ago, seemed impossible and scary. Along the thirteen-mile road, I’ve met some awesome people through Twitter, Tweet Ups and races. I’ve also had the opportunity to speak with some personal trainers, nutritionists and other professionals as I wrote posts for The13thmile. I’ve learned and shared some wonderful tips.

But as I said from the beginning, I am an amateur runner myself. As much as I enjoy running, it isn’t my only passion, and I’ve decided to focus on different areas. I do love writing about fitness, nutrition and wellness. I do enjoy speaking with experts in these fields. Therefore this blog isn’t over forever, but it is over for my initial year of running. I’m sure after I run my second half next month, I will write a post on it.

Thank you for everyone who has followed me over the past year, who has discussed running with me and who has commented in this blog. Interacting with you all and learning from your experiences is what has made this so fun. Every time I had a running question, all I needed to do was ask the online community and I received responses that were incredibly helpful.

The running community is a supportive, kind group. I’ve loved every second of being a part of it. Thank you for everything!! From time to time, I’ll continue to write some posts on running, nutrition and fitness, but I will start to formulate them more like articles instead of my own experiences against the road. If you would like to be a part of this project, be interviewed or share your fitness/nutrition tips, please let me know.

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A Valentine’s Day Treat Without the Guilt – Black Bean Brownies

Although I have not yet tried this recipe, it sounds like a winner, and I will bake them soon! Heart-healthy black beans, smothered in just enough cocoa powder to trick tastebuds? I’m in! It seems like once the beans are baked, they become gooey and tasty, especially surrounded by the other tasty brownie ingredients – with many less calories. Can’t wait to try this and see if it competes with a traditional brownie!

Thank you to Amanda Freitag, celebrity chef and recurring judge on Food Network’s competition show “Chopped,” and registered nutritionist Julie Barto for the MS Active Wellness Nutrition Program for providing this healthy snack for those of us counting calories but addicted to chocolate.

Black Bean Brownies: 
Beans provide your body with fiber and protein, and they are low in fat and calories.  If you haven’t found a way to add them to your lunch or dinner meals, why not try adding them for dessert?!
Version #1:
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained very well
3 eggs
3 Tbsp canola oil
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed or ¾ cup white granulated sugar
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
Preheat oven to 350⁰.  Spray an 8” x 8” baking pan with cooking spray.

In food processor, process black beans until smooth.  Add the eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract, and sugar, and process until smooth.  Add ½ of the chocolate chips, and pulse a few times or stir, so that the chips are mixed in. Transfer the batter to the baking pan, and sprinkle the remaining chips on top of the brownies.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
Version #2:
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained very well
1 brownie mix
Return the rinsed beans to the can, and add enough water to cover the beans.  Transfer beans/water to food processor, and process until smooth.  Transfer the bean puree to a large bowl, and stir in the brownie mix.  Transfer to a pan coated in cooking spray, and follow the directions on the brownie box for baking.  You may need to add a few more minutes to the baking time.

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3 Ways to Workout at Home During Winter Snowstorms

A few weeks ago, I wrote on the ease of continuing to run outside, despite extreme weather conditions – like post-snowstorm. However, I do believe that at a certain point – like when the roads are coated with semi-invisible ice, or your city is in the midst of a blizzard – taking the workout indoors is one’s only option.

The problem with indoor workouts is that there are too many distractions. It’s easy to fall victim to the household chores or that favorite TV show. But these activities can simply be woven into the overall fitness routine while multitasking!

1.    Weighted TV watching – As many trainers and fitness experts agree, lifting weights several times a week is one of the best ways to torch calories for 24 hours post-workout while boosting metabolism. For those of us with no time left over for TV, lunges, crunches and tricep-dips might just be the only time to catch up on the most recent episode of our favorite TV shows. Might as well get the most out of the time!

2.    Cardio Chores – So you have a dishwasher – but it doesn’t plug into the wall; it has two arms and it’s you. Should standing in front of your sink scrubbing pots for an hour become wasted time? Or can you use it to your advantage? Use this time to perform side leg lifts, squats, back-kicks or anything else your lower half can multi-task while your dishes become sparkling clean.

3.    Never sit still – I have turned this quality into a near-nervous habit, but I simply cannot relax and sit still. I’m not suggesting that everyone follow this advice, as this is probably more of an annoyance, than a positive trait. However, the benefit to never sitting still is constant calorie burning. If you’re at home for hours at a time, why not squeeze in a minute of jumping jacks or some skaters?  Short bursts of cardio blast more fat because of the interval training.

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It’s February 1st – Where are your New Year’s Resolutions?

In her New Year’s Eve Blog post, Lauren Slayton, MS, RD and Foodtrainers owner challenged us to “check back on February 1”. With January in the books, I thought I’d accept her challenge and ask everyone: where are your New Year’s Resolutions?

After 31 days of 2011, have you given up or have you stood strong in your plan for self-improvement? I am on the road to success, but there is still time before my new habits will be cemented as routine, and I’ve still slipped a few mornings this month when I did not hear my alarm in time. Below are some steps I’m taking to – once and for all – stop my poor sleep habits. What are your goals, and how are you making them happen this year?

Resolution: Sleep at least seven hours a night

Go To Bed Earlier

Even on weekends. Even if you work better, party better, feel better at night. Attempting to rise at a consistent time each day is essential from every sleep article I’ve read on the subject. I’ve never been able to fall asleep early, even when exhausted, so this has been the biggest hurdle. I’m like a vampire – I like to sleep all day and stay up all night. I adore the New York Times sleep blog, All Nighter.

Melatonin – My Natural Sleep Aid

The biggest push assistance in falling asleep prior to 1am has been my use of sleep-aids, something I swore I’d never resort to, but something that is helping me to at least get into the habit of a “bedtime”. I can’t automatically fall asleep at 10 p.m., but am trying to at least make my bed time shift from 1:00am or later by 15 minutes each month. I’m currently at midnight to 12:30 as my bedtime, but try to sleep earlier whenever possible.

New Alarm Clock – The Sonic Boom

An alarm clock made for the hard of hearing, the Sonic Boom not only reaches 113 decibels, but it comes with a vibrating bed shaking attachment. It was hilarious the first few mornings when the shaking jolted me into consciousness – but the obnoxiously loud ringing in tandem with a shock of movement underneath me has been enough to make me jump up and actually wake up.

I’m Moving!

I am moving closer to work. Currently, it takes me over an hour to reach the office. By moving closer, I am opening up forty-five precious moments for sleep, but more importantly, I will get home earlier at night, meaning I will go to bed earlier.

Fit, Fun and Fab in Feb

Two co-workers and I have planned a kick-start into a morning workout routine: Every morning this week, we are meeting at the gym above our office for moral support, and morning workouts. Because I know I’ve committed to meet others at the gym, it is helping me to only hit the snooze buttons a few times, instead of for two hours.

No More Snooze!

Now when my initial alarm goes off, I flick on the light, switch on the news and attempt to sit up. A bright and noisy room signals that it’s time to start the day. I’m now trying to figure out how to avoid smacking the snooze button for two hours – it doesn’t take an expert to figure out REM sleep doesn’t occur when a buzzer obnoxiously shrieks every nine minutes from 6am until 8am.

I have tried and failed for years to ‘become a morning person’ and this year is the year I make it happen…no matter what!

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Blast Fat With Fun: Three Winter Wonderland Outdoor Activities

As much as I use the gym as a necessarily evil, especially during the winter months, I try to avoid over-exposure to indoor cardio machines. My school of thought is that fitness should be fun or we won’t want to do it. Sure, there are days where workouts are just hard work, but they should be altered with pleasurable activities or we won’t stick to our plans. Whenever possible, I try to use the current season to my advantage and tie my workouts to that season. Summertime makes it easy – from tennis to rollerblading there are many outdoor cross-training activities to take advantage of. But what are some outdoor activities to enjoy during the winter weather? If you love to take advantage of ice, snow and overall winter beauty here are a few suggestions.

Ice Skating – From a deserted lake in the woods, to the crowds of central park, there ice skating is available all over the country. Even if you live in sunny Florida, there are indoor ice rinks. Ice skating activates completely different muscles, including the inner thighs and glutes – two areas that can be difficult to tone. There is also the balance component to skating – lean your weight on one leg, then the other slowly, feeling how centered your balance can be. I’m certainly not a figure skater (I’m a known klutz), but as an ex-ballerina and a yogini-in-training, I’ve found skating can center the body while still blasting fat.

Skiing – A day on the slopes torches thousands of calories and leaves thighs with that lovely I-killed-some-fat burning feeling. The best part about skiing is that it’s so much fun, you don’t realize you’re working your body…hard. By lunch, you’re hungrier than you ever are at lunch and by dinner, you might be ravenous from hours of carving turns. In my opinion, the best weight-loss plans involve fun activities. If hanging out with friends while skipping a day at the gym qualifies as fat-burning, skiing is my favorite way of doing it.

Shoveling – Not known for its fun factor, most look at shoveling as a necessary evil. It doesn’t need to be – put on some headphones, and zone out to your favorite music while clearing the driveway. Look at it from a positive light instead of a chore and the task will fly by quickly. This dreaded activity burns over 150 calories per half hour. Be a friendly neighbor and shovel your neighbors walkways – your body and your neighborhood will be grateful. You won’t feel cold because you’ll be breaking a sweat under your layers. In my opinion, snow is pretty and should be enjoyed – why look at it as inconvenience when it can be turned into a workout?

There are dozens of other winter activities, from snowshoeing to cross-country skiing. Find out what yours is and get out there as much as you can. You might cheer up from getting out of an enclosed house, and into the sun while doing your body the favor of outdoor exercise.

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Q&A with: Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo, Author of When to Eat What

In her book, When to Eat What, Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo, MS, RD, LDN provides practical advice on how to lose weight in a healthy way.

She picks apart the tough eating scenarios from the daily lives of busy individuals balancing families, jobs and other responsibilities. We all know the basics of eating healthy, but throw a few long days in a row into the mix, and how can we prepare our food in a healthy way, get to the gym, and still make sure our body is recieivng the proper nutrients?

This book provides the practical advice that answers those tough questions. For example, one of the many Q&A pages in the book tackles this issue:

I like to exercise after work, but often find myself dragging by the end of the workout. How can I get the energy I need to exercise without feeling weighed down?

Heidi’s answer includes a few tips like staying hydrated throughout the day while at work, and planning an afternoon snack at work that includes some fiber and protein.

“Eat it halfway between lunch and  your workout to ensure that your snack is digested  and absorbed for your body to use.” Heidi wrote. She also included these three snack ideas:

  • Mini whole wheat pitas with hummus
  • An apple with peanut butter
  • Nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt with nuts and fruit

The book is a blend of recipes, advice on timing of meals and what to do in special circumstances (BBQ, traveling for work, weddings, alcohol, how much fat to eat, etc.)

The overall message is that no food should be restricted from your diet, and that everything in moderation is the most nutritious way to diet. Even some fat is necessary for proper nutrition absorption. Recently, I asked Heidi a few questions about something called ketosis, which is the body burning fat for energy – instead of carbohydrates. Like any diet that excludes a nutrition group (in this case, carbs) Heidi did not recommend putting the body into ketosis. Below, are some of her thoughts on the subject.

1. Is it a good weight-loss strategy to only eat protein and fats with limited carbohydrate to deplete glycogen stores?

Eliminating an entire nutrient can be dangerous and leave one feeling deprived. The best method for healthy weight loss with long term maintenance is to eat moderate portions of a variety of foods throughout each day while exercising on a regular basis.

2. Is it unhealthy to limit calories, drink a lot of water and eat small meals every several hours?

Limiting excess calories, drinking water, and eating small meals can help promote weight loss and no, those steps are not unhealthy.

3. I’ve heard that even one small portion of carbs stops the glycolysis (burning glucose as fuel). Is this true? Or are small portions okay?

Carbohydrates are your body’s major source of energy, in fact, approximately 50% of your daily calories should come from carbs, so moderate portions of them spread throughout the day is perfectly healthy.

4. How can dieters keep their bodies in a constant state of ketosis (Of burning fat for fuel.)?

I don’t recommend this practice.  Instead I believe it’s healthier and more long lasting to eat moderate amounts of a variety of lean protein, whole grains, fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and low fat dairy foods throughout the day while striving to be active at least 30 minutes a day.

*Full disclosure: The copy of  When to Eat What that I read was sent to me as a review copy by the author.

Heidi McIndoo, MS, RD, LDN is an award-winning, registered dietitian.  She’s a nationally recognized nutrition expert who’s written for and been quoted in hundreds of publications and media outlets.

Heidi began her love of food & cooking as a very young girl.  Living with food allergies for many years gave her an understanding of how challenging eating can be for some.  In deciding to become a registered dietitian, she combined these two very important parts of her life to help others eat healthfully, manage their personal eating issues, and most importantly enjoy food.

As a busy working mom with 2 young children, Heidi practices what she preaches every day—balancing work, family, and play while enjoying and nurturing healthy habits.  For more than 17 years she’s helped teach men, women, children, and families how important, easy, and delicious eating nutritiously can be.

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Women’s Health: 101 Greatest Running Tips

Every so often, Women’s Health Magazine publishes a running tips list. I thought I would share it with you today, as it has some gems:

Starting Out

1. Accept the challenge

“Everyone is an athlete. But some of us are training, and some of us are not.” –Dr. George Sheehan, runner/writer/philosopher

2. Shoot for this (at least)

“Running 8 to 15 miles per week significantly increases your aerobic capacity, and positively effects many of the coronary risk factors.” –Dr. Kenneth Cooper, aerobics pioneer

3. Be a minuteman

“The biggest mistake that new runners make is that they tend to think in mile increments–1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles. Beginning runners need to think in minutes, not miles.” –Budd Coates, four-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier/coach

4. Wear good running shoes

“Spend at least $60. A good pair of running shoes should last you 400 to 500 miles and is one of the most critical purchases you will make.” –John Hanc, author of The Essential Runner

5. Think big (and wide)

Buy all shoes, both street and running, slightly longer and wider than your bigger foot. Also, avoid pointed shoes. You’ll save yourself needless foot pain.” –Ted Corbitt, ultrarunner and 1952 Olympic marathoner

6. Take the “talk test”

“The ‘talk test’ means running at a pace comfortable enough to converse with a training partner–but not so easy that you could hit the high notes in an Italian opera.” –Runner’s World editors

7. Listen to the rumbling

“If you feel like eating, eat. Let your body tell you what it wants.” —Joan Samuelson, 1984 Olympic marathon champion

8. Relax to the max

“When running, let your jaw hang loose, don’t bunch up your shoulders close to your ears, and occasionally shake out your hands and arms to stay relaxed.” –Dave Martin, Ph.D., exercise physiologist

9. Don’t crush the egg

“Don’t clench your fists in a white-knuckle grip. Instead, run with a cupped hand, thumbs resting on the fingers, as if you were protecting an egg in each palm.” –Runner’s World editors

10. Make time for a quickie

“If 15 minutes is all the time I have, I still run. Fifteen minutes of running is better than not running at all.” –Dr. Duncan Macdonald, former U.S. record holder at 5000 (set when he was in medical school)

11. Follow Road Rule Number One

“Running against traffic allows the runner to be in command. Anyone who is alert and agile should be able to stay alive.” –Dr. George Sheehan

12. Try a “nooner”

“Noontime running provides a triple benefit: daylight, a break from the workday, and a chance to avoid eating a heavy lunch.” –Joe Henderson, runner/writer

13. Warm up, then stretch

“Try some light jogging or walking before you stretch, or stretch after you run. Stretching ‘cold’ muscles can cause more harm than good.” –Runner’s World editors

14. Stay “liquid”

“Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! In cold weather and warm. We use water to sweat, lubricate joints, tendons, and ligaments, and to carry blood efficiently to major organs. I work all day at hydrating.” –Dr. Alex Ratelle, former masters running great

15. …But be moderate

“Is beer good for runners? Sure…if it’s the other guy drinking it.” –Jim Fixx, author of the running bestseller, The Complete Book of Running

16. Listen up!

“You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance, but not through pain.” –Dr. George Sheehan

17. Create your own running creed

“My whole teaching in one sentence is: “Run slowly, run daily, drink moderately, and don’t eat like a pig.” –Dr. Ernst van Aaken, renowned German coach

18. Come ready to play

“Fitness has to be fun. If it isn’t, there will be no fitness. Play is the process. Fitness is merely the product.” –Dr. George Sheehan

Basic Training

19. Take what you can get

“So-called ‘junk miles’–those slow miles done on easy days or during warmups–do count. They burn calories as effectively as fast miles; it just takes longer. Regardless of pace, each mile you run burns about 100 calories.” –Hal Higdon, runner/writer/coach

20. Learn from your mistakes

“You find out by trial and error what the optimum level of training is. If I found I was training too hard, I would drop back for a day or so. I didn’t run for 5 days before the sub-4.” —Sir Roger Bannister, first man to break 4 minutes for the mile in 1954

21. Dare to be different (but not dumb)

“In training, don’t be afraid to be an oddball, eccentric, or extremist. Only by daring to go against tradition can new ways of training be learned. The trick is recognizing quickly when a new approach is counterproductive.” —Benji Durden, 1980 U.S. Olympic marathoner

22. Reach for fast, low-fat fuel

“Energy bars are good portable food for runners. Look for bars with 4 grams of fat or fewer per 230 calories. Fat slows down digestion.” –Liz Applegate, Ph.D., sports nutritionist

23. Go for the goal

“I believe in using races as motivators. It’s hard to keep on an exercise program if you don’t have a significant goal in sight.” –Bob Greene, personal trainer of Oprah Winfrey

24. Think big…but carry a small eraser

“Brainstorm your training goals first, then write them down. Do this in pencil, so you can change some specifics when reality sets in.” –Jeff Galloway, Olympic runner/author/coach

25. Show some horse sense

“During long, slow distance training, you should think of yourself as a thoroughbred disguised as a plow horse. No need to give yourself away by running fast.” –Marty Liquori, running commentator and former world-class miler

26. Build with care

“If you put down a good solid foundation, you can then build one room after another and pretty soon you have a house. After your base mileage, add hills, pace work, speedwork, and finally race strategy.” –Rod Dixon, New Zealand Olympian and 1983 New York City Marathon champ

27. Look at the big picture

“Whether one shall run on his heels or his toes is hardly worth discussing. The main thing in distance running is endurance–and how to get it.” —Clarence DeMar, seven-time Boston Marathon champion and U.S. Olympic marathoner

28. Toss out the clutter

“Throw away your 10-function chronometer, heart-rate monitor with the computer printout, training log, high-tech underwear, pace charts, and laboratory-rat-tested-air-injected-gel-lined-mo-tion-control-top-of-the-line footwear. Run with your own imagination.” —Lorraine Moller, 1992 Olympic marathon bronze medalist

29. Listen to your body (yes, again!)

“Your body is always trying to tell you where you are. Beware when you become tired and listless, when you lose interest in workouts and approach them as a chore rather than a pleasure.” –Dr. George Sheehan

30. Go steady

“Day to day consistency is more important than big mileage. Then you’re never shot the next day.” –John Campbell, former masters running star from New Zealand

31. Find the right proportion

“If you run 30 miles a week, then about 7 of those–or approximately one-quarter–should be quality miles. Quality miles will boost your aerobic capacity.” –Owen Anderson, Ph.D., running writer

32. Stay above bored

“A 40-minute run punctuated with a half-dozen 30-second pace pickups (not all-out sprints) can really jazz up an otherwise boring training run.” –Amby Burfoot, Runner’s World editor and 1968 Boston Marathon champ

33. Be a “cross-eater”

“Like cross-training, ‘cross-eating’ adds needed variety to your diet–and life. Expand your nutritional repertoire by trying one new food each week.” –Liz Applegate, Ph.D.

34. Ease it back

“After a run, don’t rush back into life. Take a few minutes to walk, stretch, relax, meditate.” –Runner’s World editor

35. Don’t force the tissue

“Overly aggressive stretching can actually increase your injury risk.” –Tim Noakes, M.D., author of Lore of Running

Advanced Training

36. Think globally, act locally

“We wrote our workout schedules in 3-week blocks. My coach and I knew what my immediate goal was–what I was trying to accomplish in the next 3 weeks. But in the back of my mind was the ultimate goal: what I wanted to do months away.” –Bob Kennedy, U.S. record holder for 5000 meters

37. Go with mind over grind

“Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is doing the training that makes you gradually stronger.” –Keith Brantly, U.S. Olympic marathoner

38. Have fun on your easy runs

“I make sure I have some really enjoyable training runs, remembering to ‘smell the roses’ along the way. That way I don’t become caught up in the training-is-everything syndrome.” –Sue Stricklin, top masters runner from the 1970s

39. Have fun on your hard runs

“Do tough workouts that you enjoy. Mile repeats and quarters are more fun for me than fartlek. [“Fartlek” is Swedish for variable-paced, up-tempo running.] I feel better about my running when I do the workouts I enjoy and that I know I benefit from.” –Dan Cloeter, two-time Chicago Marathon winner

40. Stay open-minded

“When you try a new type of training, think like a beginner. Just because you can run 20 miles every Sunday doesn’t mean you can survive 10 x 400 meters on the track at a fast pace.” –Jack Daniels, Ph.D., exercise physiologist, coach, and former world-class pentathlete

41. Be a smart camel

“Before you do your long run, place containers of sports drink out on your course, even if you have to bury them.” –Runner’s World editors

42. Work on your growl

The long run puts the tiger in the cat.” –Bill Squires, marathon coach

43. Don’t always watch the watch

“I don’t wear a watch during my long runs. That way I’m not tempted to compare my time from week to week.” –Lynn Jennings, three-time World Cross-Country champion

44. Rest assured

“Back off at the first sign of injury. Three to 5 days off is better than missing a month or two. Take regular rest days.” –PattiSue Plumer, two-time U.S. Olympian

45. Divide and conquer

“Pick one thing each year that you need to improve, and work on that. It might be improving your diet, getting more sleep, or increasing your mileage. You can’t work on everything at once.” –Bob Kennedy

Hill Running

46. Join the resistance

“Hills are the only beneficial type of resistance training for a runner.” –Arthur Lydiard, Olympic coach from New Zealand

47. “Chip” away at it

“Think chest/hips/push, or CHP, when it’s time for uphill running. Chest up, hips forward, push strongly off each foot.” –Jeff Galloway

48. Adapt–or weaken

“Running hills breaks up your rhythm and forces your muscles to adapt to new stresses. The result? You become stronger.” –Eamonn Coghlan, Irish Olympian and only 40-year-old to break 4 minutes in the mile

49. Up the ante

“Move into a hill session gradually, running the first few repeats moderately and increasing the effort as you go along.” –Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic Marathon Champion

50. Avoid the downside

“The advantage of running /hills’ on a treadmill is you can go up without pounding down the other side.” –Ken Sparks, Ph.D.

51. Ramp it up

“If you live in the flatlands, you’ll have to be creative about hill training. Deserted highway ramps or parking garages are possibilities, though they pose obvious safety problems. You may want to invest in a treadmill.” –Bob Glover, runner/author/coach

52. Grab hold of the rope

“If you’re laboring up a steep hill, imagine that a towrope is attached to the center of your chest, pulling you steadily toward the top.” –Jeff Galloway

53. Lean into it

“When going down, I lean with the hill. I know I’m doing it right if I feel like I’m going to fall on my face.” –Ed Eyestone, RW columnist, coach, and two-time U.S. Olympic marathoner

54. Save something for the summit…

“Don’t attack a hill from the very bottom–it’s bigger than you are!” –Harry Groves, renowned Penn State coach

55. …Then take off!

“I’ve always found it effective in a race to make a move just before the crest of a hill. You get away just a little, and you’re gone before they get over the top.” –John Treacy, two-time World Cross-Country champion from Ireland

Speed Training and Racing

56. Make the switch

“The difference between a jogger and a runner is a race-entry blank.” –Dr. George Sheehan

57. Get up to speed

“Three half-mile repeats on the track at 5-K race pace with a short recovery jog in between shouldn’t scare anyone away–and it will improve your speed.” –Frank Shorter

58. Just “Q” it

“Quality counts, if you want to stay fast. Don’t do all your workouts in the comfort zone.” –Ken Sparks, Ph.D., top masters marathoner

59. Stay in control

“Run your own race at an even pace. Consider the course, the temperature, the weather, and most importantly, your current level of fitness.” –Marty Liquori

60. Be flexible (or else)

“The idea that you can’t lose contact with the leaders has cut more throats than it has saved.” –Arthur Lydiard

61. Make a pass

“Passing competitors always gives you a lift. It probably has a physical effect, too, because you get a surge of adrenaline.” –Libbie Hickman, world-class marathoner

62. Get over it

“If you have a bad workout or run a bad race, allow yourself exactly 1 hour to stew about it–then move on.” –Steve Scott, coach and U.S. record holder in the mile

63. Be patient

“Expect to put in 6 to 10 successful track workouts before you begin to see some payoff in your races.” –Marc Bloom, runner/writer/coach

64. Keep your finger on the pulse

“If your morning pulse rate is up 10 or more beats above your average, then you haven’t recovered from the previous day’s training. Take time off or back off until it returns to normal.” –Dr. George Sheehan

65. Mix it up

“Fartlek training can help you build strength and endurance, learn race pace, and practice race tactics all in a single workout.” –Bill Dellinger, former University of Oregon coach and 1964 Olympic 5000 bronze medal winner

66. Tie the knot

“I double-knot my shoe laces. It’s a pain untying your shoes afterward–particularly if you get them wet–but so is stopping in the middle of a race to tie them.” –Hal Higdon

67. Observe certain rituals

“Once you find a warmup routine that works, repeat it as habitually as possible.”–Ted Corbitt

68. Warm up, don’t wear down

“At most, jog easily for 15 minutes before a race. Then stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and lower back. With about 15 minutes to go, maybe do a few strides. But no more–you’ll warm up plenty in the early going.” –Mark Plaatjes, 1993 World Championships marathon winner

69. Wear the right pair

“Feather-light racing flats might help you run a faster 5-K, but lightweight performance trainers (with better protection and cushioning) are a better choice for most runners, especially in longer races.” –Bob Wischnia and Paul Carrozza, Runner’s World shoe experts

70. Finish it off

“To develop your kick, finish each repetition faster than you begin it. For example, if you’re running 6 x 400 meters on the track, start off at a steady, controlled pace, then subtly shift gears in the last 100 or 200 meters.” –Robert Vaughan, Ph.D., coach and exercise physiologist

71. Stay on pace

“It’s better to run too slow at the start than too fast and get into oxygen debt, which is what 99.9 percent of runners do. You have to learn pace.” –Bill Bowerman, renowned University of Oregon coach

72. Don’t dodge the draft

“Occasionally pick up speed–for 2 minutes, tops–then settle back into your former pace. Sometimes this is all you need to snap out of a mental and physical funk. Pick a downhill stretch if you can, and really lengthen your stride.” –Mark Plaatjes

73. Snap out of it

“Occasionally pick up speed–for 2 minutes, tops–then settle back into your former pace. Sometimes this is all you need to snap out of a mental and physical funk. Pick a downhill stretch if you can, and really lengthen your stride.” –Mark Plaatjes


74. Go minimalist

“Marathon training doesn’t have to be a grind. By running for about 30 minutes two times a week, and by gradually increasing the length of a third weekly run–the long run–anyone can finish a marathon.” –Jeff Galloway

75. Step back a bit

“Build up your mileage in gradual increments, but every third or fourth week, drop back in mileage to recover. This will help you avoid your breaking point.” –Lee Fidler, coach and two-time U.S. Olympic Marathon qualifier

76. Don’t push it…

“In marathon training, 3 hours slow is better than 2 hours fast.” –Pete Gavuzzi, coach of four-time Boston Marathon champ Gerard Cote

77. …And enough is enough

“Never run more than 3 hours straight in training, whether your marathon best is 2:42 or 4:24.” –Ed Eyestone

78. Be vigilant

“During the hard training phase, never be afraid to take a day off. If your legs are feeling unduly stiff and sore, rest. If you’re at all sluggish, rest. Whenever you’re in doubt, rest.” –Bruce Fordyce, nine-time Comrades Marathon champion from South Africa

79. Pamper your muscles

“When I’m training for a marathon, I soak in a hot tub every day, and get a weekly massage.” –Anne Marie Lauck, two-time Olympian

80. Try winning combinations

“I include iron with vitamin C in my diet to prevent anemia. Without it, I wouldn’t have the energy I need to train.” –Joy Smith, 2:34 marathoner

81. Know when it’s show time

“Just remember this: Nobody ever won the olive wreath with an impressive training diary.” –Marty Liquori

82. Taper on time

“The key step between a great training program and a great race is a great taper. Your last long training run before a marathon should come 3 weeks before the race–not 2.” –Pete Pfitzinger, two-time U.S. Olympic marathoner

83. Wait for the weights

“If you strength train, shelve your routine about a month before your marathon, to help you feel fresh on the big day.” –Steve Spence, 1991 World Championships Marathon bronze medallist

84. Hone in on the range

“Rather than going into a marathon with just one goal–such as finishing in a very specific time–develop a range of goals so that you increase your chances of success.” –Jerry Lynch, Ph.D., marathoner

85. The Total Runner: Don’t be in a rush

“Thanks to the race-day adrenaline rush, any pace will feel easier than normal. So make a conscious effort to hold back in the early miles.” –Lorraine Moller

86. Divide by three

“Divide the marathon into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.” –Mike Fanelli, runner and coac

87. Walk before you crawl

“When using the run-walk method to finish a marathon, the most important walk break comes in the first mile. The second most important one comes in the second mile, and so on. The point is, walk before you become fatigued.” –Jeff Galloway

88. Be a little shady

“Squinting intently requires more energy than you can spare over 26.2 miles. So if it’s sunny or you’re allergic to dust or pollen, wear sunglasses.” –Kim Jones, world-class masters marathoner

89. Save up

“To be effective over the last 6 miles of a marathon, one must harbor some sort of emotional as well as physical reserves.” –Kenny Moore, writer and two-time U.S. Olympic marathoner

90. Forget about it!

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.” –Frank Shorter

Finish Lines

91. Find a cheerleader

“The primary reason to have a coach is to have someone who says: ‘Hey, you’re looking good today!'” –Jack Daniels, Ph.D

92. Be a copy cat

“Visualizing perfect running form will help you stay relaxed. Visualize before the race. Then, once you’re in the race, pick out someone who’s looking good and running relaxed. This will help you do the same.” –Gayle Barron, 1978 Boston Marathon champion

93. Don’t overthink it

“In running I go by the axiom that my coach Jumbo Elliott of Villanova used: KISS–Keep It Simple, Stupid.” –Marty Liquori

94. Take baby steps

“You can’t climb up to the second floor without a ladder. When you set your goal too high and don’t fulfill it, your enthusiasm turns to bitterness. Try for a goal that’s reasonable, and then gradually raise it.” –Emil Zatopek, four-time Olympic gold medalist from Czechoslavakia

95. Muster your mental might

“Keep working on mental attitude. You have to fight that supposedly rational voice that says: ‘I’m 50 years old, and I don’t have to be doing this anymore.'” –Ken Sparks, Ph.D.

96. Train with someone…

“It may seem odd to hear a coach say this, but I think a really great training partner is more important than a coach.” –Joan Nesbit, coach and world-class runner

97. …Anyone…

“Never underestimate the value of a good training partner, even if it’s your dog. Training allies will get you out the door on those days when exercise might otherwise be reduced to a finger on the remote control button.” –Runner’s World editors

98. …But sometimes go solo

“The day after a hard workout, I always train alone. If you run with someone else, there can be a tendency to push harder than you should.” –Mark Allen, former Ironman champion

99. Find a reason why

“We run to undo the damage we’ve done to body and spirit. We run to find some part of ourselves yet undiscovered.” –John “The Penguin” Bingham

100. Feel the magic…

“For me, running is a lifestyle and an art. I’m far more interested in the magic of it than the mechanics.” –Lorraine Moller

101….But do what you must do

“If one can stick to training throughout many long years, then willpower is no longer a problem. It’s raining? That doesn’t matter. I’m tired? That’s beside the point. It’s simply that I have to.” –Emil Zatopek

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