Archive | Guest Perspective

How to Beat Training Burnout

amywillGuest blogger Amy Will shares how she avoided burn out while juggling marathon training and the responsibilities of being a new parent.

As I signed up to run my sixth marathon, the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon, I couldn’t anticipate how very different this race would be. This would be my inaugural marathon as a wife and new parent.

My post-baby body felt near normal, but I found myself physically and mentally exhausted as I adjusted to being a mom. In the peak mileage of training, I found myself completely burnt out and questioning whether I wanted to even run the race anymore! My desire to run had somehow snuck away. What was I thinking when I signed up for another marathon? Basically, I was burnt out – big time.

The lack of sleep, pressure I put on myself to run a certain finish time, not listening to my body, and the stress of being a new mom eventually got to me. Just in time to run my last training 20-miler, I came down with a nasty sinus infection.

I did my best not to stress about running only one 20-miler, the less than ideal training, and the fact that I didn’t even want to run this race anymore. In the last couple weeks before the race, I did my best to find joy in running again and escape this running rut.

Here are a few ways I beat the training burnout: Continue Reading →

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Using Plant Power in Your Marathon Training

photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Guest blogger B.J. Tucker shares how his plant-powered approach to a grain free and sugar free diet has helped him run faster and recover more quickly.

I began running again 2 ½ years ago after taking a 14 year vacation from marathon running. I just let life happen and gave in to the pressures of going full speed without proper nutrition. Since starting back to living a healthy lifestyle – I have dropped 75 lbs! I am leaner now than I have ever been in my life. I have run 3 marathons so far this year and I have PR’ed all my records from the mid-90s (when I was in my 20s).

Plant-powered nutrition has had a very positive effect on my running. It has provided a foundation of health to support faster and longer distances, AND I have not experienced any injuries as an endurance athlete.

So what does plant-powered mean?
In the purest sense, it means not consuming any animal products (no meat, no dairy, no cheese, etc.). Many people would call this vegan, but I don’t use that label because vegan is much more than not eating animal products.

So why plant-powered? I have followed many athletes who are plant-powered and they have all inspired me to change to this lifestyle – athletes like Scott Jurek, Rich Roll, Matt Frazier, and many others. For me personally, I have found that this lifestyle has allowed me to go from a 245 lb. coach potato to an ultra-runner in two years! Continue Reading →

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Perpetual Marathon Training Produces PRs

Runners running in winter cityIn this guest blog post, R.L. shares how he has found “running more” to equal better finishing times.

If you’ve made the climb, why not stay on that plateau or climb even higher?

The “climb” is the elevating of your fitness level while following a marathon training program. It gets you in shape for that 26.2-mile odyssey on race day. But what happens after the marathon is over?

What I Used to Do
I’ve run many marathons (31 to be exact). I often think about how much work I put in just to be ready for one race day. Often I would welcome a break from training in the weeks after the marathon was over. But without a training program to keep me motivated, my mileage went down along with my fitness level that I had worked so hard to achieve.

It really isn’t that logical. I think the following plan makes better sense . . . Continue Reading →

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How to Nearly Fail at a Marathon

North Country Trail Run

North Country Trail Run

Guest blogger Jeremy Verdusco gives us the painful details of his first trail marathon. Here’s what he learned . . .

Plenty of books and websites offer marathon training advice. How do I run a sub-4 hour marathon? How do I properly fuel for a marathon? What’s the best marathon pacing strategy?

I read a lot of that advice. I tried to follow it. I’ve finished four marathons and plan to sign up soon for a fifth. I’ve benefited from many of those running tips, and disregarded others that didn’t help me.

So what advice can I, a mid-pack runner, share?

I want to share the lessons I learned nearly failing at a marathon. Read on and I’ll tell you what you can do to avoid coming as close to a DNF as possible without dropping out. You’ll want to read this because finishing a marathon in four hours is hard, but finishing one in nearly seven hours means true suffering.

Learn from my mistakes. Continue Reading →

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Improve Your Running Form by Focusing on Cadence

How fast is your running cadence?

How fast is your running cadence?

Is My Running Form Bad?

About 2 years ago I attended a coaching symposium put on by Newton Running Company in Southwest Oklahoma.

Throughout the classroom portion of the course I had been glued to the instructors, hanging on their every word. Not because my form was bad, no obviously I wasn’t a “heel-striker”, but I was incredibly anxious to start helping others run better!

When it came time for my videotaped gait analysis I was excited to see how good I looked…assuming they’d pause the video and use me as the textbook example.

Okay, there I am . . . and . . . wait . . . no, that can’t be right.

Devastation.

I was the textbook example of a heel striker. I looked just like everyone else! Landing in front of my body and putting the brakes on with every step. Unbelievable. Two weeks away from running the New York City Marathon and an expert tells me that my running form is bad and my mechanics need a lot of work.

How do I fix it?

Being so close to a race, what should I do? I approached one of the instructors and asked this very question. I fully expected him to say that I should proceed as I always have and start a slow transition to Natural Running when my race was over.

Wrong again. He explained that nothing good can come from bad form and that I should start working on improving my gait immediately.

Then he said to focus on increasing my cadence. Continue Reading →

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Boston Marathon 2013 – I Was There

Boston logo 2013Angela Coulombe is a graphic designer and photographer. She uses her running to raise awareness for Lyme Disease. She and 5 friends were near the finish line as volunteers.

Boston – In 2012, a friend and I set a goal to train for and run a marathon that would qualify us for Boston, which, as you know, is a runner’s Mecca. It’s the worlds longest standing marathon and most prestigious, either you qualify or you raise lots of money to run for charity. Two of us were fortunate enough to qualify for 2014: me with a time of 3:41 and a friend with a time of 3:40. Because we hoped to run it in 2014, we thought it would be a great idea to go down and volunteer, to give to runners and help in a very karma like way, so that when we run it in 2014, we receive back the same karma. Also, meet new friends, speak with runners, get a lay of the land, but mostly, really to give support and help to runners and the BAA. Three women from Saco as well as myself met two other friends from MA in Cambridge the Sunday before the race, all of us volunteering together in what we thought would be a great girls weekend away.

We thought ourselves very fortunate that a college friend was able to get us a spot in Sector 6, finish line security, our sector starting right after the finish line. Our responsibilities were to direct runners towards water, Gatorade, blankets, their medals, or medical help. It was also to direct VIP runners down the VIP chute and to keep the medical lanes open so that medics could get from the finish line to the end of the water line and back again to the medical tent which was positioned in the middle of our sector. And so we started our day at 9:30 a.m. at an introduction meeting, picking up our volunteer jackets and badges, name tags and security badges and set off to work. Continue Reading →

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Eyewitness Account of Boston Bombing

eric_bostonEric Strand is a friend of ours from St. Louis, MO. We interviewed him on podcast episode 67. He crossed the finish line approximately 10 minutes before the first bomb exploded.

BOSTON—This was my sixth trip to the Boston Marathon. (My wife) Tami and I love the marathon weekend here. Everyone in the city embraces the race, even the cabbies who grumble about the street closures. Just like St. Louis knows its baseball, Boston knows marathon running—and maybe a bit about baseball. Weather conditions were very good with a light headwind that picked up to a stiff breeze as we made the turn on to Boylston (Street).

Crowds were excellent, about three or four deep the entire length of the run down Boylston from Hereford to the finish. Tami, my mom, aunt, uncle and some local Boston friends were camped out along Hereford about a half mile from the finish. Their plan was to watch me run by and then walk back to the hotel to meet up. We are staying near Tufts Medical Center, so they had to head in the direction of the finish line.

As I approached the finish, they had the second wave runners go to the left and the third wave runners to the right side of the finish line. I was in the second wave. My son pointed out that the bomb was probably already planted a few feet away as I ran by about 10 minutes before the first explosion. Continue Reading →

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How to Build Muscular Legs

Guest Article by Fitness Expert and Triathlete Ben Greenfield

Of all the sports on the face of the planet, professional cycling produces some of the most impressive legs. But you don’t have to ride a bike for 4-6 hours a day to get those same rock-hard quads, rippling thighs, and powerful, muscular calves. Instead, in this article, you’ll learn how to use a highly effective series of strength and toning moves to get legs like Lance Armstrong.

By splitting the legs into three basic muscle groups, the quadriceps, the hamstrings and the calves, you can create a strategy for targeting each section. Here is how: Continue Reading →

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Three Moves to Get a Better Chest

Guest Article by Fitness Expert and Triathlete Ben Greenfield

Whether you’re a guy or a girl, a better chest is something that can help you look better in a swimsuit or business suit. But getting a better chest goes far beyond simply looking good or having nice pecs.

This is because the chest muscles are responsible for flexing your upper arm bone (as you’d do when swimming), moving the arm inwards (as you’d do when holding bike handlebars) rotating the arm bone towards the body (as you’d do when running), and breathing deeply (as you’d do during intense exertion).

Because of those actions, getting a better chest is crucial to both aesthetics and performance – whether you’re a power lifter or an endurance athlete.

So here are three ways to take your pecs to the next level and get a better chest: Continue Reading →

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4 Ways to Get A Better Butt

Guest Article by Fitness Expert and Triathlete Ben Greenfield

Maybe you have super skinny legs and don’t like your flat backside. Maybe you want your butt to look better in jeans or a swimsuit. Or perhaps you simply can’t seem to generate the muscular force you want while lifting weights, running or riding a bike.

Whether you’re pursuing performance or power, you’re about to learn how to get a better butt, what your butt muscles actually do, good butt muscle exercises, and a simple 4-step solution to get your glutes firing.

Continue Reading →

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How To Get A Flat Stomach

Guest Article by Fitness Expert and Triathlete Ben Greenfield

Whether it’s a sign of health, beauty, virility, or movie star status, a flat stomach is something that many people all over the world crave. This is because a flat stomach is so hard to get. It can indicate full-body strength and it is essential to powerful performance.

In this article, you’ll learn how to get a flat stomach safely, effectively, and with zero liposuction involved. Continue Reading →

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I Survived My First Marathon!

Andy Richardson (pictured left) is a blogger at Start Running for Beginners. He trained for his first marathon using Angie’s Official Guide Ebook.

November 5th, I embarked into the unknown territory of running a marathon for the first time. During that time I found why they call this ‘endurance’ running. It wasn’t the prettiest race, and with a time of 4:54, I did not break any records. But I did somehow pull myself through those last few miles, and now I can join the ranks of that small segment of the population that calls themselves a marathon runner.

Ready, Race!
I found my way to the starting line of The Savannah Rock n Roll Marathon along with 15,000 half-marathoners and about 5,000 full-marathoners. You could taste the excitement and anxiousness in the cool morning air. Continue Reading →

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