Archive | Guest Perspective

How to Train for Your First 50-Mile Race

Henry Howard, runnerBeyond the physical training, be sure to train your mind, lock in your nutrition and adhere to good recovery methods.

By Henry Howard

As the participation in marathon running continues to grow, the popularity of ultra marathons also is increasing.

Last year, I completed my first and second ultras, both 50Ks. As I planned out my race calendar for 2017, I set a goal to finish my first 50-miler and found the American River 50, a beautiful, well-organized race in California.

Registering for the 50-mile race on www.ultrasignup.com was the easy part. As I looked ahead to this challenge, Marathon Training Academy Coach Angie Spencer and I set out to craft a solid plan to get my body, mind, nutrition and recovery in prime shape. Continue Reading →

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10 Strategies for Avoiding Injury

runners after the raceAn ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. –Benjamin Franklin

As a physical therapist, I help people who have suffered from an injury through the process of rehabilitation. Yes, accidents will happen, but being proactive can help you to avoid and limit the chance of an injury.

Nothing derails a perfectly designed training program like an injury. One key to being a Resilient Runner is to optimize your health and lessen your risk of injury by being proactive upfront. Continue Reading →

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Meet New MTA Coach Steve Waldon

The marathoner and ultra runner brings a passion for life-long running to the Marathon Training Academy community.

By Henry Howard

The closest Steve Waldon got to sweating as an athlete growing up was playing billiards for money.

In his late 20s, Waldon knew he needed a change and found the joy and camaraderie of running. Starting out with 5Ks, he has gone on to finish 20 marathons and 15 ultras, including a 100K in the Bavarian Alps and two 155-mile stage races (one in Chile and the other in Iceland).

Now, he brings his passion for life-long running as the newest coach for Marathon Training Academy. Continue Reading →

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The Truth About Running Injuries

injuryRunning is one of the most popular sports and hobbies in recent times. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 500,000 annual marathon finishers and up to 40 million people who run regularly.

Of those 40 million people, more than 10 million are running at least 100 days a year!

Running can be enjoyed by almost anyone despite age. Not only is running fun, but it has many health benefits including (although not limited to) the following: Continue Reading →

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How to Avoid Overtraining Syndrome (OTS)

Nothing can derail your best laid training plans and goals like an injury or suffering from Overtraining Syndrome (OTS).

OTS usually starts with muscle soreness and a feeling of fatigue. Then it quickly progresses into a case of overtraining syndrome or injury. Overtraining can occur when the intensity and/or volume of exercise becomes too much for the body to properly recover from. Many common running injuries are directly associated with OTS. It’s always best to prevent OTS rather than attempt to recover from it. Continue Reading →

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Race Review: American River 50 Miler

I’ll never forget my first 50-miler, its amazing views, helpful aid station workers or the final 3-mile uphill slog.

By Henry Howard

The American River 50 proved itself to be an epic race, an ultra where mid-packers and back-of-the-packers can literally line up and run next to well-known ultra runners.

The AR50 was my first 50-miler and one I would recommend to others looking for their firsts finish at that distance. (The event also offers a 25-mile distance.) Continue Reading →

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Tips for Senior Marathon Runners

-By Jess Walter

The number of senior citizens running marathons is growing. Some of these runners have been running all their lives and can’t fathom doing anything else. Others have taken up running later in life and have gotten attracted to the health benefits running provides. Either way, there’s no reason you can’t run a marathon in your 60s, 70s, or even older. Continue Reading →

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From 400 pounds to his fourth Boston Marathon

Jason Pina with Angie Spencer at the 2015 Boston Marathon

*Editor’s note: When Angie ran the Boston Marathon in 2015 Jason and his lovely wife Shai hosted us in their home. We also got to meet the fine folks at Tenacity (the charity Jason runs for) who are doing great work for Boston kids! -Trevor

Jason Pina had a secret dream. It was so secret he didn’t even tell his wife, Shai, who he had been with for almost 25 years. When Pina announced his quest — running a marathon — Shai knew that her husband would accomplish it even though he wasn’t a runner and had once weighed 400 pounds. Continue Reading →

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Race Day as a Slow Runner


A runner is a runner is a runner. In my last post, I talked about how speed doesn’t make the “runner,” the act of running does. That said, there are certain aspects of the sport that are different for us back-of-packers.

Since training runs are generally self-driven, all runners learn to accommodate their specific needs during those runs and it’s only when we have to rely on others that these needs become complicated. This makes race day a tad more interesting to navigate. Continue Reading →

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Which compression pants are the best?

By Henry Howard

Several years ago on the day before one of my fall marathons, the forecast drastically changed. I don’t recall the exact specifics anymore but the cold and snow/rain predictions changed my race day plans from shorts to long pants.

At the time, I only had sweatpants and didn’t want to run a race wearing those. Setting aside the rule of “nothing new on race day,” I favored protection from the elements. I bought my first pair of compression tights (or pants) that suited me well for the day, which was cold with freezing rain.

Since then, I have expanded my collection of compression tights and tested them. Here is a comparison review of the three that I currently use for workouts and recovery. Continue Reading →

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Running and Weight Loss?

I’ve lost 140 pounds, about half of my body weight. I didn’t have surgery or use medication; I lost the weight the old-fashioned way, through diet and exercise.

I understand that’s not a sexy answer. People want a quick fix, a powder, a plan, something they can purchase with monthly installments and VOILA! Weight loss guaranteed. Still, folks want something to hang their hat on.

“She RUN MARATHONS? Well of course that’s why she lost weight!” is what I often hear.

“Well I could lose weight too if I could RUN A MARATHON!” they continue, followed with all of the excuses of why running is impossible.

This got me thinking . . .

Did I run to lose weight or did I lose weight so I could run? Continue Reading →

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