Archive | Guest Perspective

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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Six More Miles!

Andy Richardson is a blogger at Start Running for Beginners. He is training for his first marathon using Angie’s Official Guide Ebook.

With just a few days to go until my first marathon, I have a few thoughts I wanted to share with the MTA community. I think this title “6 More Miles” summarizes where I am right now in more than one way.

Six More Miles is Not So Hard . . . (I Think)
Just a few weeks ago, for the first time I was able to reach the 20 mile mark in my long run. It was actually the first time of running one of these really long runs that I thought I might actually be able to finish a 26.2 mile marathon. Usually when I would get back from the long run, I was absolutely spent, but the last two long runs were a little different. I know that I will have to run 6 more miles than I ever did during my training, but I really feel like I can run those 6 miles, and finish my first marathon. Continue Reading →

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The Final Surge

Andy Richardson is a blogger at Start Running for Beginners. He is training for his first marathon using Angie’s Official Guide Ebook.

I had been running for 14 miles when it happened . . .

My run started at 6:15 a.m. when it was dark and much cooler. But after running for over two hours things had changed. I was now out of fuel, not to mention energy.

My cardio endurance was doing okay, but my legs were burning, and seemed to have turned to jello. I still had three miles to get back home, but it might as well have been another 14 miles. I was unsure if I would even make it back to the house. Sound familiar?

Motivation to Keep Going

At that point I had a thought that gave me some motivation to keep going. I realized that my race day was approaching quicker than my mile pace, and if I wanted to finish the marathon I needed to get some good long runs in over the next few weeks. After all, my marathon date of November 5 is just a few weeks away. I knew that now is the time to work in order to be ready; and I knew it started with this training run.

You see – before that day, my best run was about 14 miles. For a long time my training had hit a plateau, and for some reason I just could not get past running that distance. But this new revelation hit me like a ton of bricks, and I knew it was time to really have a final surge in my training in order to finish the race, much less have a good race time.

So back to my training run: you know…. legs burning, body aching? Right. So I just kept asking myself how I would feel about myself later if I gave up. I thought about how I would feel if I came up short during the race. These thoughts pushed me forward. I just told myself to keep going; keep going; keep going.

I did keep going, and somehow I was able to eek out that 17 mile run. I may have had to walk part of that last 3 miles, and I definitely did not break any records, but I did it. But when I was done with that run, make no mistake about it, I physically felt terrible. I didn’t even have enough energy to do a proper cool down. (Shh, don’t tell Angie). And part of me wondered how I would ever be able to run another 9.2 miles.

With time though, I began to rest and recuperate from the run. By the way, isn’t it funny how runs are not nearly as difficult when you are back at the house in the air-conditioning as they are when you are chugging along. Anyway, with time I started to feel better about myself, and my ability to run the race.

The Surge in My Training

I realize that my body is building strength and endurance each day, and that I will probably be fine as long as I can train right these last few weeks. I have built a good base over the last several months, and now is the time to surge to the finish.

I really want to hit the 20 mile mark in my training runs before I actually run the race, and I will make one final surge to finish strong with my training and ultimately the race. I have spent months just building up to this point, and now is the moment of truth. I am confident in saying that I am ready for it!

What do you think?
Are you ready to make a final surge in your training so that you can be ready for race day?

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Love and Hate of the Long Run

Andy Richardson is a blogger at Start Running for Beginners. He is training for his first marathon using Angie’s Official Guide Ebook.

In training for my first marathon, I understand the importance of the long run. Some days my long run is great, and some days the long run is not so great. You could say that I have a love hate relationship with the long run.

Let me share with you some ways that I love (or hate) the long run.

I Love Long Runs Because…. Continue Reading →

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