Many of you are gearing up for a goal race on Sunday at the Bass Pro Fitness Festival. In fact, quite a few of you are going to attempt to break 2:00 in the half.
So, how do you push out of your comfort zone and really, truly race on race day? You see people who do it. You see people who push hard and give it their all. Then you see people who stop at every mile marker and take a picture. Let me say this - if you want to hit your goal, you'll need to join the first group. You will have to race, push, and give it your all.
A comfort zone is a state of mental security. It is a comfortable space where your activities and actions fit a pattern that minimizes stress and risk. Running within your comfort zone feels just that – comfortable.
Neuroscientists have established that the brain learns best when stress hormones are slightly elevated. In other words, pushing the boundaries of comfort and experiencing discomfort (i.e. stepping out of your comfort zone) can lead to noteworthy progress and improvement. The key to progressing is to keep gently nudging the edges of your comfort zone, and take small steps. Once you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone, you will begin to get comfortable again, so you need to continually, although gradually, push yourself to a new level of discomfort. Too comfortable and you’re not productive; too uncomfortable, and you’re not productive – it’s a delicate balancing act.
On race day, you will feel all kinds of emotions. You may be nervous, scared, excited, happy, etc. All of these emotions can cause you to lose focus. You need to remember to race smart if you want to meet your goal.
1. Do not fly out of the gate. Have a goal pace? Stick with it. If you go balls to the wall right off the bat, you're likely going to burn out, and hit the wall. Hard.
2. Ease into your pace. Get comfortable with your goal pace. You've been training for it. Settle in, and prepare to race.
3. Keep your goal in mind. What are you here to do? How have you worked to meet that goal? You're a beast. Own it.
4. When things start to hurt (think, around mile 8-10 of a half marathon), don't give up. This is where it's time to push past your comfort zone and really work. Think about all the workouts you've done with TFC and on your own. If you can finish all of those, why can't you push a little harder now? If you can crank out 10x400m at 6:48 pace, or if you can run 6 sets of the 30-20-10 (4 cycles per set) workout, why can't you do this? Of course you can. You've accomplished goals that you didn't think were possible before. You can do it again. Believe you can do it.
5. You will go through rough patches in your race. Don't focus on how much you hurt. Take a look at all the people cheering for you. Think about your goal. Think about why you run. Don't think about your burning lungs and aching legs. You've pushed past that stuff before. In fact, you do it every Wednesday morning.
6. Stop worrying about the people around you. They have their own goals. Stay mentally tough and run YOUR race.
7. Use your mantra. What is it that you tell yourself so you can push through hard times? My favorite? "Smarter, Faster, Stronger" - it reminds me that I'm smart and I know how to race. It reminds me I've put in the work to run fast, and it encourages me to push harder and run stronger.
8. Set small milestones. Break up your race mile by mile. Focus on the mile you're in and how it pertains to your overall goal. Do you need to run 9:00 for this mile? Focus on that. Focus on the hills in this mile and how you can use them to your advantage. Focus on using the downhills. Focus on meeting your goal.
9. Do not allow yourself to mentally quit. Did you screw up somewhere? Maybe you needed to run mile 9 at 9:05 pace, but you ran 9:20 pace. So what. Don't quit. You can still do this. Stay positive. Nothing in life is perfect, so keep working hard and remember how tough you are.
10. Embrace the pain. Sometimes, the pain can feel good. It can remind you that you're alive. You're living, breathing, and you have a heart that is pumping blood. Embrace this pain and remember why you run. Enjoy your life. Live in the moment. Fly.
11. When you think you cannot give anymore, you're probably wrong. In fact, you've probably got quite a bit left in the tank. Our body can only achieve what our mind allows.
12. Use your training. Remember all those hill repeats? Use them. Kick the crap out of some hills. Remember how we trained to run on tired legs? Use that knowledge and emulate it on race day.
13. When you get close to the finish line, push hard. What do you have to lose now? Granted, you should've been running hard enough through the entire race that you can't sprint like crazy to the finish. But, you still should give it an all out push. Empty your tank. You're done when you cross that line, and you can finally have a beer.
13.1 Just get out there and give it your best shot. Remember this: when you're done, what do you want to remember? Do you want to remember how you gave up on the course? Or do you want to remember that you pushed yourself and gave it all you had. Think about that when the pain sets in. Leave a legacy on the course that is strong and positive.
Good luck this weekend at Bass Pro. Here's our list of runners who are participating:
Beushausen, Lendall (13.1)
Beushausen, Malinda (13.1)
Boston, Melissa (13.1)
Herzog, Debra (13.1)
Luthy, Keshian (13.1)
Reagan, Magda (13.1)
Rhoads, Jody (13.1)
Stowe, Nicole (13.1)
Winfrey, Sharon (5k)
Weis, Joy (13.1 PACER) 2:00 group
Vest, Jame (26.2 PACER) 3:30 group
Remember all of the hard work you have put in over the last few months. When you start to hurt, remember why you're here. Remember why you've been putting in this work. Remember how fortunate you are to be able to toe the starting line. Don't give up. Get out of your comfort zone - treat yourself to a little pain. You'll like it. I promise.
Don't forget about the pasta dinner at Nick and Joy's house on Saturday!
Picture the following. It's race day. You've been working hard for a while now, and you're ready to race. So is everyone else. There are thousands of people with goals to meet. You get into the race chute and you line up. The countdown happens, the gun goes off, you cross the mat, start your watch, and you know it's time to race. Around you, you see people of all shapes and sizes wearing all different things. Shorts, tights, compression socks, headphones, trashbags (it's a little drizzly), jackets, singlets, crop tops, short short short shorts, water belts with 5 bottles, KT tape, knee braces, snazzy headbands, bright shoes, no shoes, toe-shoes. Whatever. You get the picture. It's a sea of runners. Now, you know how to handle race morning, so you lined up accordingly in your proper corral, but as you come up on the 2 mile mark of your half marathon, people who sprinted out of the chute and didn't line up in their proper corral are walking - in the middle of the road. The middle - the space where you're trying to run. You're trying to get around groups running 5 wide all wearing headphones. They can't hear you, and there is no space to pass. Of course when you try to pass, you spook them and they jump right into you, knocking you into the curb. Now you're a little annoyed. The walker is now sprinting past you only to cut you off and walk again in half a mile. You push hard up the hill and use the downhill. You fly down it in a controlled manner. As you're enjoying your controlled downhill, next to you comes someone flailing down the hill waving their arms around and they slam into you on their way by and look at you like you're the one in the way. They stop right in front of you at the bottom of the hill because they used all their energy flailing.
Have you been there before? Probably so. It can be frustrating and can take your focus away from your race. So, here's a bit of race etiquette although we are probably preaching to the choir here:
On the Course
Watch What You Say
Race day is special for everyone. So, take care and make sure you do your part to help make race day fun and safe for those around you.
Great job to our KC runners this weekend. You rocked it.
See you Wednesday morning for the 30-20-10 workout.
The long run. It can be a little intimidating for some, and exciting for others. Maybe you look forward to it because it's a chance to be alone and clear your head. Maybe it's your time to hang with your pals. Maybe you dread it because it gives you time to think too much. However you view the long run, it is essential to your training - so make sure you make the most of it.
The main goal of the long run is to help your body build oxygen carrying capillaries. What exactly does this mean? When you run long, you increase enzymes in your muscle cells and grow capillaries, which are the small vessels that surround the cells. These imperative changes allow more oxygen to be delivered to your working muscles. You also strengthen your ligaments, tendons, and muscles. These adaptations are also beneficial to you in shorter races such as the 5k because it's still mainly an aerobic activity. Essentially, the more oxygen that you can deliver to the working muscles, the better your performance will be. Additionally, the stronger your muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments become, the more are capable you are to conduct race-specific training like intervals. It takes approximately one hour of continuous running for your body to begin building capillaries.
The long run also helps you become more economical at your marathon/half marathon race pace (learning to burn less fuel for a given pace) along with testing out your race equipment and nutritional plan (if you have one). It also allows you to give the mind a taste of the focus and determination that will be required in the latter stages of the race.
The secondary goal of a long run is to act like a reset button for your body. After a week of training and hard workouts, lactic acid builds up in your muscles. While the lactic acid does begin to breakdown prior to a long run, the long run is a way for your muscles flush the system, removing the lactic acid that has already broken down and speeding the process to breakdown the remaining.
So, you know the long run is beneficial for you, even if you're not training for 13.1 or 26.2. So the next question becomes, "How fast should I do my long run?"
Exercise physiology Ph.D. candidate Jason Karp offered an intriguing questionnaire a few years ago with American runners who qualified for the 2004 U.S. Men's and Women's Olympic Marathon Trials. He didn't ask them about their long-run pace, but he did determine that the qualifiers ran approximately 28 percent of their weekly miles at marathon pace or faster. 28 percent is quite a bit, and essentially, this shows that elite athletes are pushing themselves both physically and mentally.
But, if the point of the long run is simply to build capillaries, does it really matter how fast you go? Yes and no. Let's explore this.
Not every day is going to be perfect. Sometimes, it's all you can do just to log the miles. That's okay. Get them in. If your goal long run pace for the day is 8:15 and it's all you can do to hold 8:45, it's okay. Take it easy and log your miles so you can help your body build those capillaries.
On the other hand, how do you expect to run 9:00 pace on race day for 13.1 miles if you're completing your long runs at 10:30-11:00 pace? You have taught your body how to run long, but you haven't taught it how to run the distance at goal pace. You haven't taught it to push through the type of pain you will experience on race day, and you haven't trained your mind to focus on pushing at goal pace. That isn't saying that every long run needs to be done at race pace or faster, but try to keep it in race pace range. If goal race pace is 8:00, try not to run your long runs slower than 8:30-8:40 pace.
Additionally, look at the mental aspect of the long run. Let's say 14 miles was your longest training run for your half. That's great! Now, let's say your goal pace is 9:00. But, the fastest you have gone on a long run is 10:30. You start to question whether you can crank out 9:00 for 13.1 miles. You know you can cover the distance, but you really question if you can handle the pace. The more you worry, the less likely you are to hit your pace. It's simple - train your body and your mind to believe you can do it.
More or less, the approach that you should take toward your long run is to not worry too much about pace and go the speed your body dictates. That being said, you certainly cannot expect to be able to run 1:00 or more faster per mile on race day than you typically go on your long runs. Have a goal? You're not going to nail it with a miracle. If you really want it, you're going to have to train for it. Train for it, work for it, then crush it.
See you Wednesday.
Thanks for not yelling at us too much when we told you we were taking away your watches/phones/random timing gadgets for the mile time trial on Wednesday. Why did we do this? Well, there are a few reasons:
1. Many of you are faster than you believe. You rely on what you know, perhaps a certain time or goal pace, and you allow this to determine you as a runner.
2. We want you to learn what certain paces feel like and we want you to listen to your body.
3. Sometimes it's fun to see what you can do - just go out and run hard. You usually surprise yourself. Plus, it's fun.
Gadgets are handy, but due to their rise in popularity, there has been a shift in racing by feel to racing by numbers. If you let your watch dictate your pace and you hold back when you're feeling good, you may rob yourself of a PR. If you race according to time on an off-day or really hot day, you may run the risk of going out to hard, bonking, or getting injured.
Do you ever find yourself obsessing over the pace/time/distance on your watch? This can be overwhelming, shifting the focus of your run away from good, solid training.
So, you may be wondering how you can really begin to learn to run by feel. There are a few ways to do this.
1. Breath - as you become a more seasoned runner, you can sense your speed by the way you breathe. Pay attention to your inhale/exhale pattern. As you start to learn about your perceived effort during workouts, you will begin to understand what your body can really do on race day.
2. Run once a week sans GPS - Feel naked without your gadgets? That's okay - it's good for you. Many of you were worried about timing the mile without your watch, and I think you surprised yourself. Running once in a while without your gadget helps you see what you're really capable of. Plus, your gadget needs a rest day too :)
3. Listen to your body. How do you feel post-run when you consistently worry about your pace versus how you feel when you run without your gadgets?
Now, that being said, we love our watches. They are great assets for training, and when used properly, they can truly be beneficial. However, when we focus on them and ignore what our body says, we sometimes fall short of our potential, or end up injuring ourselves.
So, give it a shot. Learn to use your watch or gadget in a way that benefits you, and let yourself run free once in a while. Just go out and run. Sometimes we get so caught up in our overall pace, exact distance, mile pace, etc. that we forget to enjoy ourselves.
Back to the mile time trial. We were pleasantly surprised and very impressed. It was quite obvious you all gave it everything you had and we really enjoyed watching you. We were really excited to have 5 people run sub-7 and 7 people run sub-8. Amazing! Plus, we also had a fabulous new face join us (hope to see you again soon, Sharon)!
*We had a few people who did not time the mile on Wednesday morning, but completed it later in the day on Wednesday. Everyone completed their mile at Harke Park, so the times are on an equal playing field.
Beushausen, Lendall - 7:22
Beushausen, Malinda - 7:13
Boston, Melissa - 7:45
Herzog, Debra - 7:18
Hough, Katie - 6:34
Luthy, Keshian - 6:56
Nisbett, Melissa - 7:52
Reagan, Magda - 7:26
Reeves, Heidi- 6:40
Rhoads, Jody - 7:37
Stowe, Nicole - 6:26
Weis, Joy - 6:10
Winfrey, Sharon - 9:45 (First workout with TFC)
For many of you, these mile times were PRs. Congrats - you earned it. You've put in the work, and it's paying off for you.
We appreciate the time and effort you put in for every workout. Don't ever feel like you aren't good enough to do these workouts. You are good enough, and you are real runners. Keep working, keep pushing, and keep showing up. Sometimes you will struggle - we all have our off days. Learn from them, and keep working toward what you want.
Enjoy your long runs this weekend! The weather should be nice and cool for you.
We will see you on Wednesday at the Civic Center/YMCA for a fartlek (5 sets of 5:00 on/2:30 easy).
Happy Running! Enjoy your weekend.
What exactly is recovery? It seems like such a simple term, but it is so often misunderstood. Recovery refers to resting after a workout or tough run, taking time off after a rigorous training program, or short sets of rest during a hard workout. Recovery is a vital, yet often neglected part of a training plan.
Years of research disprove the fact that taking a day off will wreck havoc on your fitness level. Although research shows that you can actually start losing cardiovascular endurance after three days, major detraining, the loss of fitness and performance that occurs when you stop working out, really happens when you take two or more weeks off. Without recovery, your body may adapt in the short term, but ultimately it will likely fail. The majority of running injuries come from overuse, so a day of cross training (think, swimming, or biking), rest, or very easy miles can prevent month-long breaks caused by an injury such as ITB syndrome or shin splints. In fact, lack of recovery can lead to more serious injuries such as stress fractures as well.
Recovery: When it Follows Hard Workouts/Tough Runs
Recovery following tough bouts of work lets your body adapt to the work your doing, and improve. A day off every seven to fourteen days helps to restore glycogen stores, reduces fatigue, and builds strength. lack of rest can result in your body being unable to benefit from workouts. Workouts are stressors that your body needs to adapt to. Excessive fatigue makes your body less able to adapt. Therefore more, and harder workouts are need to get the same response from your body when it is under a permanent condition of fatigue.
Recovery: Taking Time Off After a Training Program
Runners tend to go crazy if they take a few days (or more) off from running. Sometimes, you need to give your body time to rest and recuperate. For example, perhaps you've been running 60 miles weeks while training for a full marathon. You've been doing long runs, hard workouts, and your body is worn out. After race day, take a bit of time to recover. Don't sit on the couch and do nothing, but head out for a bike ride, go swimming, hike a new trail, jog a few easy miles with the kids and the dog, try a new yoga class - stay active, but let your body recover. In fact, sometimes it is a good idea to take one week off (i.e. no training program, do what you feel like) at the end of a racing season (i.e. your next planned race is 4-6 months away). This also gives you a chance to remember why you like to run.
Another note here - we tend to eat a lot more when we are training for a long distance race. Watch it, or you'll continue eating that much after your race.
Recovery: During a Workout
Recovery during a workout can be a tricky area. On the one hand, it is a hard workout. It needs to be difficult. On the other, a workout that completely exhausts your body can be more detrimental to your body and your goals than sitting on the couch. A workout should always require more effort as the workout progresses. But, if at the end of the workout, you are missing repeats, you are significantly slowing down, and you can HONESTLY say “I have nothing left in the tank to give”, you are probably pushing the limit here. So, what are some good rules for determining amount of rest. That depends on the type of workout:
Blasts/Time Trials – After a blast/time trial, you need to take a “full recovery”. A “full recovery” means you need to give your heart time to drop below 120 bpm. This usually equates to 5 minutes or more. Also, unless you are training for multiple races in a matter of hours, you should not do more than one blast/time trial in a workout.
Fast Repeats – These are repeats that are at near top speed (think 30-30s). These should have recovery of 1:1 to 1:2 depending on the total length of the workout (a 1:1 recovery means if your interval lasts 1 minute, your recovery lasts one minute, a 1:2 recovery would be 1 minute interval 2 minute rest). The shorter the workout (total time of around 30 minutes) the closer the recovery ought to be to 1:1.
Repeats – These are repeats other than fast repeats (think of the ladder workout, 800 repeats, etc.) The recovery for this type of workout needs to be in the range 2:1 to 1:1. Once again, the shorter the total time of the workout the lower in the range you need to be.
Endurance Workouts – These are workouts where the focus is building endurance, not foot speed (think about most of the fartleks we do, mile repeats if you are on one of our half training plans, pace runs, etc.). In these workouts, the goal is to train your body to run a faster pace when it is tired. On these, the recovery needs to be 2:1 or less.
This can become a little overwhelming, but do not be intimidated. More than anything, listen to your heart rate. It is one thing to finish an interval with a high heart rate rate, it is a completely different thing start an interval with an excessively high heart rate.
If you have questions about heart rate, ask us. We are here to help.
Signs It's Time For a Day Off
Listen to your body. Ignoring your body's signs can lead to injury. Here are a few common signs that you need a little break: sudden weight loss, elevated resting heart rate, dehydration, lack of/interrupted sleep, pain or soreness, bad workouts, low oxygen levels, depressed mood, and illness.
Sleep deprivation can really take a toll on your training. Sure, one or two nights of poor sleep isn't going to totally derail you. But, consistently getting poor sleep can result in subtle changes in hormone levels, particularly those related to mood, stress, and muscle recovery. While no one completely understands the complexities of sleep, some research shows that sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), diminished activity of human growth hormone (which is active during tissue repair), and decreased glycogen synthesis.
Other studies link lack of sleep with decreased aerobic endurance and increased ratings of perceived exertion.
If you're experiencing a combination of these symptoms, consider taking a rest day or hitting a yoga class to relax. Of course, these symptoms can come from outside sources as well, so just make sure you're not taking a rest day for no reason.
How Can I Help My Body Recover?
Proper hydration, good eating habits, and proper sleep can go a long way. Fuel your body properly, drink enough water, and sleep well. This is how your body takes care of itself. When you eat poorly, let yourself become dehydrated, and don't get enough rest, your body has to work harder to recover and take care of itself in general.
What is Active Recovery?
Active recovery is an important part of training. The idea here is to rest the major muscle groups associated with running. This can be anything from a short, gentle walk to cross training. There are plenty of non-weight bearing activities to keep you occupied such as swimming, cycling, the elliptical machine, and rowing.
Now, everyone is different. You have to learn to listen to your own body and learn your personal needs. Some people need less recovery, and others need more. Some people have a hard time knowing when they need a rest day, while for others, it is very clear. Some athletes benefit more from active recovery days, while others need a complete rest day. For example, Nick and Jamie rarely need rest days, while Joy needs a rest day every 7-10 days. Do what works best for you, not what works best for your training buddy. Listen to your body, and do your best to prevent injuries. If injuries arise, take care of them and be honest with yourself about what you're dealing with.
Do not feel guilty about taking a day off. That being said, don't get into a rut where you stop working out, either. If your body needs a true rest day, listen and take it. For non-elite athletes, taking a rest day can also help you find a balance between home, work, and fitness goals as well. It gives you a chance to evaluate your life, catch up on your to-do list, and just relax with your friends and family. Enjoy this time off and use it to take care of yourself mentally.
Training can be hard, but it is also rewarding. Treat your body well and listen to what it is telling you. This will keep you running as you age, and it will help you reap the results on race day.
See you tomorrow morning. Make us update your mile PR.
It's October. Guess what that means? Fall racing season is here! Hopefully you're as stoked as we are.
TFC athletes nailed 4, 15k PRs this weekend at the Panther Run. Yes - 4. That's awesome. Way to go Lendall, Malinda, Katie, and Debra!
Almost all our athletes have big goal races coming up. Take a look.
Kansas City Marathon (10/17): Katie and Heidi (1st full for both)
Kansas City Half Marathon (10/17): Joy and Jamie
Bass Pro Half Marathon (11/1) : Debra, Malinda, Lendall, Jody, Magda, Nicole, Melissa B., Keshian, Joy (Pacer for 2:00 group)
Bass Pro Marathon (11/1): Jamie (Pacer for 3:30 group)
St. Jude Half Marathon (Memphis) (12/5) : Magda, Keshian, Melissa B., Melissa N.
Dallas Marathon (12/13): Jamie
Run for the Ranch Half Marathon (12/19): Jody
Not to mention, many of you will also be doing Turkey Trot races, various trail runs, and other local 5k/10k races.
Now, even seasoned athletes get nervous as their big races approach. So, it's not just you that needs to use the restroom 6 times before you get to the start line. It's okay to get nervous, but don't waste all your energy worrying about your race. If you've trained right, the results will show. Sure, we all have bad days, but worrying will get you nowhere.
We want to provide you with a few pre-race tips to help you feel comfortable going into race day.
We are really excited to watch your races this season. So, go nail some PRs.
Thanks to everyone who came to Jamie's this weekend for the Long Run/Brunch. We had a great time, and consumed lots of bacon (which is never a bad thing).
See you on Wednesday for a mile time trial! We will also do some work on foot speed.
#thefitclub417 #earnednotgiven #workharderthanuswedareyou
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!