8 wellness habits that will help improve your running

8 wellness habits that will help improve your running

Wellness Habits for RunnersWhether you have a New Year’s resolution to get in shape for a race or you want to set a personal record in 2019, in order for you to achieve your goals, it’s essential that you stay healthy so you can continue your training and improve your running.  Practicing healthy habits isn’t as simple as eating plenty of vegetables and getting 8+ hours of sleep each night. I wish it was that easy, but the reality is that life gets busy, we start “burning the candle at both ends” and eventually we lose focus of our wellness habits.

Even if you do have a few “bad days,” don’t beat yourself up. Having a piece of cake once in a while isn’t bad for you, it’s having cake everyday and not exercising to burn those calories off, that will lead to declines in your health.

Do what you can from the following list.  Obviously the more healthy habits that are a part of your daily routine, the better.

  1. Get plenty of sleep

Without proper rest, your mind and body can start to suffer ill effects rather quickly. Lack of sleep leads to depression and anxiety as well as confusion and overall cognitive impairment. When you don’t sleep enough, you just don’t feel like yourself, so be sure you are getting plenty of shut-eye. Have a sleep routine, and stick to it. Going to bed on time is one way to improve your mental wellness. Because sleep is crucial for restoring your body and your mind, you must value this activity. Going to bed and waking at the same time every day reinforces your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, which means you are more likely to sleep better and longer.

  1. Pay attention to what you are and are not eating

Your diet has a profound effect on your mental wellness. Not only can eating unhealthy foods affect your body, but they also disrupt your sleep, rob you of energy, change your mood, throw your hormones out of balance, and lower your immune system. All of these can leave you feeling lethargic, sad, and confused. Focus on eating healthy foods, including those high in vitamins and minerals as well as healthy fats (like fish, avocados and nuts), which your brain needs.

a) Eat more omega-3 fatty acids

The fatty acids found in cold-water fish, flaxseed, and other foods are not only good for your heart and gut but also your brain. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce depression and lower the risk for dementia.

b) Stop Drinking Soda

Drinking too much soda increases your risk for type two diabetes by as much as 26 percent. People who drink sugary drinks such as soft drinks tend to weigh more and have poor eating habits.

c) Eat More Fruits

Add some more fruit to your diet. Fruits provide access to fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium and folate. Vitamins are necessary for the overall function of our body. They contribute to the repair of skin, hair, nails, and organ function.

d) Eat More Veggies

Do not skimp on your veggie intake. Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals which help to lower blood pressure, promote digestive health, protect our heart and contributes to our eye health.


If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.


e) Eat Nuts!

Aside from containing omega-3 fatty acids, nuts are an excellent source for magnesium and vitamin E. Which nuts are the best? Almonds, macadamia nuts, and pecans are among those who appear to offer the best benefits.

f) Drink Water

Water intake is essential for good health. Water improves the function of our kidneys, serves as a cushion for our spine, supports hydration, and can prove beneficial to those trying to lose weight.

g) Eat These Foods to Improve Your Cholesterol

Need to improve your cholesterol levels? Try consuming barley, oats, nuts, apples, grapes, citrus fruits, and beans. Aim for foods that are rich in sterols and polyunsaturated fats. These substances are important for blocking cholesterol absorption.

h) Eat these Foods to Improve Your Cardiac Health

Protect your heart health by heart-healthy foods. Salmon, blueberries, dark chocolate, lean meats, soy, citrus fruits, extra virgin olive oils, nuts, and legumes may boost your heart health.

i) Eat these Foods to Lower Blood Pressure

Change your diet to lower blood pressure. Try to eat foods that contain magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Pomegranates, pistachios, olive oil, dark chocolate, bananas, oatmeal, and beets may help you control your blood pressure. Consistency will be critical for success.

j) Improve Your Energy with These Foods

If you’re in search of the best foods to give your metabolism and energy stores a swift kick, try adding lentils, fish (i.e., tuna, salmon), eggs, chia seeds, oranges or green tea to your diet.

k) Avoid Processed Foods

Processed foods are high in sugar and contain large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup. They can produce devastating effects on the body over a period causing heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes.

l) Drink Water with Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar For Runners

Apple cider vinegar with water can offer a wide assortment of health benefits including a reduction in high cholesterol, weight loss, improvement in overall cardiovascular health, liver function and reduce the risk of cancer.

  1. Set realistic goals and put a plan together to achieve them

I discussed this in an earlier post.  Goals provide you with a purpose and sense of direction. Set a few critical, meaningful, and attainable goals for your personal or professional growth, and devise a plan that will help you achieve them. Keep working regularly to make progress toward reaching these.

  1. Complete Strength training & conditioning exercises weekly

Strength Training for Runners

Strength training for runners won’t bulk you up and slow you down as long as you complete runner-specific training that emphasizes movements that directly correlate to running performance. I discussed some of the exercises I completed during my marathon training last year.  Increased strength contributes to improved running because it can help improve your form when later in races when you’re fatigued. Strength training can also assist in preventing injuries because you have stronger muscles & tendons. Completing strength and conditioning exercises regularly is a proven way to make your body more resilient to the demands of running.

  1. In order to help prevent injuries, make Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), rope stretches & foam rolling a part of your daily routine.

It’s essential to maintain your flexibility with a set of simple daily exercises.  You should also include activities that will relieve muscle soreness and speed the healing & recovery process after your workouts.

Watch the following video to the see the stretches that I complete daily.  You can also watch this video about how to complete – foam rolling exercises

  1. Start the day off right and plan your workouts for the week

To avoid the rush of the morning preparations, prepare as much as you can the night before. Pack lunches, lay out clothes, place workout clothes in easily accessible places, and make sure devices get charged overnight. Having a morning routine and help you get your day started smoothly and eliminate unnecessary stress.

One of the keys to completing your training is to plan ahead. You may have a schedule and know which workouts to complete each day of the week, but the key to actually finishing each workout is to plan when during each day you will workout.  I provide a number of proven strategies to help plan workouts. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, at lunch or after work, plug your workouts into your calendar like a meeting and do your best not to allow any changes.  When you start missing workouts due to a busy life, it can get discouraging and very difficult to get back on track.

Success with action habits

  1. Beware of Fad Diets

Fad diets do promise results, but some have health risks tied to them or they’re simply not proven for long term health.  Keto and fasting may yield results initially and result in immediate weight loss, but those results may prove difficult to sustain and even later contribute to higher weight gain.  A balanced diet has stood the test of time as the best way to lose and maintain a healthy body.  Follow my recommendations above  regarding diet and you won’t go wrong.

  1. Complete exercises to keep your glutes strong.

Glutes are arguably the most important muscle group for runners.  Studies link glute weakness to achilles tendinitis, runner’s knee, iliotibial (IT) band syndrome and other common injuries. Read my comprehensive post about glute weakness and how to strengthen your glutes.


Related Articles

How To Improve Your Diet Right Now

Why Weak Glutes Are a Runner’s Biggest Enemy and How You Can Fix


 

How To Improve Your Diet Right Now (it’s not just eating salad)

How To Improve Your Diet Right Now (it’s not just eating salad)

14 Things You Can Do Right Now To Improve Your Diet

Ways to Improve Your Diet

It’s almost the new year, so you’ll start seeing a lot of commercials for dieting and ways to improve your health.  Although eating more “greens” is a step in the right direction, there’s a lot of things you can do to help improve your diet.  Whether you want to enhance your nutritional practices for health reasons, weight loss purposes or as a personal goal, there are many ways to sensibly accomplish your goal.  Following are a few of my favorite.

If you’re training for a race, you’re going to have to fuel properly.  Each of the following recommendations will help.

1. Avoid Drinking Your Calories
Take time to evaluate the number of calories you are drinking in a single sitting. Some drinks contain as many as 150 calories in a single serving. Multiply that by three, and it’s easy to consume one-third of your calories for the day by way of beverage.

2. Increase Your Fruit Intake
Fruit is an excellent way to boost your fiber intake, protect your immunity, and get a pretty steady dose of antioxidants.

3. Increase Your Vegetable Intake
Get your veggies every day. Vegetables are a wonderful source of calcium, fiber, and antioxidants and can protect you from multiple diseases and illness.

4. Bake It or Grill It. Don’t Fry It
Stay away from those fried foods as much as possible. They may be tasty but are not suitable for your diet or body. Baked or grilled foods tend to carry less fat which is good for the heart.

5. Make a Grocery List
Make a grocery list before you visit the grocery store. Drafting a grocery list will save you from buying unnecessary foods or beverages.

6. Skip Deprivation of Foods
A healthy diet should not equate to deprivation. Allow yourself to indulge in the foods or meals you like from time to time. This action will enable you to avoid binge eating or experiences feelings of guilt.

7. Limit Processed Foods
This is tough, but is one of the best ways to improve your diet. So many processed foods such as cookies, chips, cereals, anything in a wrapper, sodas and especially candy can adversely affect your long term health. Processed foods contain a large amount of sugar, chemicals, high-fructose corn syrup and most important, they hold a large number of “empty” calories, salt and fat. The bottomline is that the combination of ingredients in processed foods, if consumed regularly, have been proven to increase the odds that you’ll suffer from heart disease, diabetes, obesity and stroke.

8. Increase Your Fiber Intake
Your digestive tract loves fiber. Fiber supports the efficient movement of material through your system. Fiber also helps your stomach to feel full after meals and has proven to be useful in promoting weight loss.

9. Eating Enough Calcium
Calcium is necessary for bone health, heart health and muscle function. Make sure you eat a diet that contains low-fat dairy and green leafy vegetables.

10. Drink Plenty of Water
Water assists with digestion and can support weight loss efforts. Obviously water has no calories and consuming it regularly ensures proper hydration.
As a runner, I like to think of water as the highway for the calories/energy to get to your muscles. Without getting too complex about the role water plays for runners, just remember that it’s absolutely essential to drink plenty of water before & after your workouts. If you’re running for 1+ hour or it’s really hot and/or outside, then it’s not essential to drink during your run (although I leave it up to people to gauge their own thirst)

11. Go Vegan for One Day
There’s countless studies about the value of a vegan diet. I think the key to this diet is ensuring you consume sufficient protein. In fact, the best rule with any diet is keep your diet balanced. Go vegan for a day! This decision will not only help to boost your veggie intake, but it will add variety to your diet.

12. Enjoy Your Morning Coffee
I’m totally on-board with this one. I love coffee.  Numerous studies contradict each other regarding whether or not coffee is good for you. Other research shows that coffee provides stimulation for the mind, promotes heart health and boosts your metabolism.

13. Track Your Meals
I think this habit of tracking your meals, can help you to subconsciously get your arms around the foods you are eating and promote a healthier approach.

14. Eat Fish!
Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which are a complete plus for the brain and your body. Cold water fish are a great source of healthy fats. Salmon is my favorite, but Tuna Steaks a good alternative. Omega-3s help to reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. Every possible effort has been made in preparing and researching this material. We make no warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability of its contents or any omissions.

How to Start & Stick To A Training Plan

How to Start & Stick To A Training Plan

How To Get Motivated To RunYour goal may be that you need to lose some weight or perhaps you want to qualify for Boston. Oftentimes many people fail to achieve their goals not because they lack talent, but because they can’t stay motivated to train and they ultimately quit. I’ve coached a few busy athletes who purchase a plan with the best of intentions, but after a few weeks, they simply disappear.  Motivation is one of the biggest challenges faced by athletes.  In this article, I’ll show you some proven strategies to get started and maintain your schedule of working out & training for a race. 

You don’t need to get caught up overthinking thinking, taking action is easier than you think.


“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

Leonardo Da Vinci


I’ve been there myself when I was plagued by injuries.  I’ve also coached many runners who fall into this category. In this article, I will discuss how you can make a change. The following three steps are a proven strategy to help you Stop Thinking and Start Doing!

Set Your Priorities & Define Your “Why”

Start by defining your priorities. What do you want to achieve the most? Think of this step as defining your “why.”  You want to feel connected to what you’re doing.  It’s not just setting a goal, but it’s having clarity for why the goal is important.

Some examples may be losing some weight or simply improving your health. You might want to run in a race to raise money for a cause that’s important to you.  Your why might be setting a Personal Record in a certain race or distance because you want to challenge yourself and improve upon previous performances. 

One strategy I use to help stay motivated anytime I’m thinking of skipping a planned workout, is to think of my “why.”  If it’s really important I know that I’ll figure out how to get out and complete the workout.

Staying motivated to train

Project How Life Will Be When Your Goals Are Met

If you have a goal that you really want to reach, focusing on the end result (or your why) is a great strategy to help keep you on track. Think of it as giving you a purpose to do what is needed to meet the objective.

Project How Life Will Be When Your Goals Are NOT Met

This strategy is particularly helpful if you’re running to improve your health.  If you feel that your health is not where you want it, then you must “pivot” and do something different. Think about what your life may be like if you don’t lose weight or improve your health. Consider the effect on your family if your health were to decline significantly. Using this strategy is an excellent way to maintain your discipline.

Figure Out How To Reduce Stress

Stress is a big factor if you’re having problems staying disciplined and on track to meet your goals. Identifying the root cause of your stress is the first step in minimizing it’s effect on your ability to follow your game plan. Whether it’s work or family related stress, it’s essential to determine how you can reduce this stress, so you can workout. It might just be that running and/or exercise are the best ways to reduce your stress. Some people like to run in the morning, so they don’t have to stress about it later in the day.  Other people like to run later in the afternoon as a way to reduce the stress that’s built up during the day. Regardless, once you figure out how to reduce stress, you will have a much easier time concentrating on the accomplishing your goals. 

Put Accountability Into the Mix

Try to find a way to hold yourself accountable for whatever activity or goal for which you’re trying to stay disciplined.

If your “why” is connected to a running goal, I recommend setting both short and long-term goals. It’s important to set specific goals that are consistent with your athletic abilities and your specific situation.  The long term goal can be a stretch goal, but the short term goals should be realistic and align with the long term goal. All goals should not only be specific, but measurable with some kind of time to completion.

You can start with the long term goal and walk backwards with goals and/or steps necessary to ensure your success.

One caution is to set realistic goals. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon might be a big stretch if you just started to run.  This could be a great long term goal, but it’s more likely that you’ll be more successful by starting small with something like working out 3-4 times per week and then completing a 5k.

Give yourself due dates for each of these goals, but don’t get discouraged if you can’t achieve everything as planned. If you’re better off than when you started, then celebrate the progress.


Don’t train on your own, let me help.  Achieve your best performance with a personalized Crushing 26.2 “middle age marathoner” training plan.


Momentum Comes Through Actions, so do Anything That Moves You Forward

This is one of the best strategies to accomplishing your goals.  Start by identifying small next steps that are “next to impossible” for you not to complete. Every small act is significant.  There’s an old saying that may help you better understand this concept, “you can’t eat an elephant in one bite.” What can you do right now to take even the smallest step towards achieving your most important goal?

Stop thinking and start running

Break Down Tasks in Subtasks

Following along the previous step, sometimes when a goal seems too big to tackle, this puts up barriers in our mind. These barriers often prevent us from reaching our intended results. Try using subtasks or “small bites” to make the long term goal more manageable.

As you think about your sub tasks or what you can do next, hold the expectation that the answer will be something simple that can be done in the next 30 minutes or less.  Whatever reasonable answer pops into your head, accept it and act on it immediately.

Once you commit to getting started, momentum carries you. Producing results builds positive momentum.  With momentum you’ll get ahead and make progress much faster.

It’s also essential to look at your progress.  If your goal was to lose 20 lbs while getting in shape to run a local 5 or 10k race and on race day you lost 14 lbs, celebrate your progress.  It should easily be enough to keep you going because you’re now over half way to our weight loss goal.  In addition to the weight you have already lost, my guess is that you have also lost inches off your waist.  When you finish the race, you will also feel very accomplished.

Workout With Others or Get a Coach

When you regularly workout with others it can really help you to stay disciplined. Many local gyms have running groups that meet 2-3 times per week.  Many races also sponsor group training where runners meet regularly to complete longer runs and harder track workouts together.  It’s like having a support group that holds you accountable and keeps your motivated.

If you’re able to complete your workouts on your own, but your challenge is you’re not sure what to do to prepare for a race, then a coach can help.  You can join a group that has a coach who will help 5-15 people who are training for the same race.  Alternatively, you can pay for a coach to write up a custom training plan that uses the athlete’s input and is specific to their goals and athletic abilities.

Some coaches allow you to schedule specific workouts to fit your weekly schedule. This is a nice feature, but what’s equally important is showing the athlete how to make adjustments to the schedule when they miss a workout. For example, many people schedule their long runs for the weekend. However, if you had a preference for another day of the week, a coach could adapt the schedule to fit your needs. 

If you desire regular interaction with a coach in addition to a custom plan, then personalized coaching may be the best solution for your needs. These plans are more expensive, but they provide the ability for instant feedback and to ask questions.

I offer a very affordable monthly plan or a discounted 5 month plan that’s perfect for anyone who has signed up for a race, like a marathon, that’s 4-5 months out.

Focus on the Positive

Psychologists advise us to stay positive for a good reason. A negative attitude fuels fear and anxiety, keeping you from reaching your goals. You always think of what could go wrong instead of keeping an open mind. 

Keeping a positive attitude is good for your health too. It boosts your motivation and inner drive, helps you stay strong when times get tough and gives you a fresh perspective on the world around you.


Related Articles

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How Tempo Runs Will Help You Achieve Your Running Goals

How Tempo Runs Will Help You Achieve Your Running Goals

How to run a tempo runIn this article, you’ll learn what a tempo run is and why they are so important (for any race of 5k+). I will also tell you the proper way to run a tempo,and when during your training schedule you should include these workouts. Finally I’ll provide some examples of proven tempo run workouts.

Bottomline, this is the probably one of the most detailed guides to Tempo Runs that you will find and I’m sure it will help you understand why these workouts are so important to help you achieve your goals.

What Exactly is a Tempo Run?

At the risk of getting a little too “sciencey,” I’ll do my best to describe tempos.

There are multiple types of tempo runs. You may hear them referred to as aerobic threshold (most common), anaerobic threshold or lactate-threshold runs. However, it’s important to note that there are 3 different types of runs that each serve a purpose. Aerobic threshold runs are the most common and run at a pace where you’re producing the maximum amount of lactate that your body can clear from your muscles. If you were to run any faster, you wouldn’t be able to clear the lactate that’s being generated and you would then experience a burning sensation or fatigue in your legs. This is the feeling you get at the end of a short, hard race or during an interval workout.

To get the benefit of Aerobic Threshold Tempo Run for marathoners you want to run it just near your lactate threshold and not any faster.

The goal of the lactate threshold workouts is to move that point where lactic acid begins to accumulate. We can accomplish this with repeat 2-3 mile intervals, sometimes referred to as cruise intervals. These are completed at a specific target pace (discussed below).

Lastly, the anaerobic threshold run is performed at the level of intensity where lactic acid accumulates faster than it can be cleared. Increasing our anaerobic threshold is important because it allows the body to run at faster speeds before fatigue and lactic acid take over.

Need Marathon Training Info

Why Should You Include Tempo Runs in Your Training?

Tempo run workouts are essential for long distance runners training for races of 5k+. Depending on the distance and type of tempo, these are the most “race specific” workouts you will complete during your training. However, tempo runs shouldn’t be the only hard workout during your training. Remember, variety is essential to getting in shape (10 rule to marathon success).

Aerobic Threshold runs for marathoners should teach our bodies how to burn fat efficiently at marathon pace and improve our body’s ability to run longer at this high end aerobic pace. Tempos improve your ability to hold a challenging pace over a longer period of time. However, if we run too fast at what’s a anaerobic threshold pace, we improve the body’s ability to slow lactate, but we don’t improve our body’s marathon specific readiness.

The goal for these workouts is to boost our lactate threshold. We do this best by running at or near our threshold pace for an extended period of time, because our body becomes more efficient at clearing lactate. Tempos are usually completed at one assigned pace (as opposed to progressive runs or intervals where you vary the pace). One of the goals of tempo runs is to improve your sense of pacing.

The faster you can run while still clearing lactate, the faster you’ll be able to race. However, there’s also a significant mental aspect as well. Tempo runs are challenging, stressful and mentally fatiguing. You need to train yourself to maintain your tempo pace for the duration of the workout. I’ve coached many athletes and some tell me that the hardest part of the tempo (especially longer tempos) is being able to maintain the pace throughout the run. Your mind can wander, you get tired and your pace can slow if you don’t concentrate on maintaining the designated pace.

In summary, tempo runs help you run faster for longer periods of time. These runs also they teach your body how to tolerate more discomfort and I believe that they do a great job to help develop your mental toughness.

How to Pace a Tempo Run

Completing a tempo can be challenging for many runners because they don’t understand the pace and or distance for the workout. I’ll admit, it can be confusing and you may be tempted to run the workout too fast or start too fast and fade. But, it really doesn’t need to be too difficult to determine your pace. The problem comes when runners perform this workout at the wrong pace, because they can greatly compromise its intended training benefits, get injured or worn down.

There a few variations to tempo workouts (which I will discuss below), depending on the outcome desired and the timing in your training schedule.

The tempo workout is run at a pace that’s faster than “moderate” but not exactly “hard.” Many experienced runners can run them by feel or perceived effort.

It’s important to understand that your tempo pace at the beginning of the season will likely be slower than at the end due to fitness improvements. Your pace could also vary in weather elements or fatigue levels.

Tempos are NOT run at your goal pace

This is very important.  Instead you need to figure out the pace at which you can no longer comfortably speak a full sentence (try repeating something like the “Pledge of Allegiance”). This is the point that many coaches call “comfortably hard.” It’s a tough effort, but you shouldn’t be gasping for air.  As discussed above, do enough tempo runs correctly and you will see improvement.

Depending on the race for which you’re training, tempo pace should be similar to a very recent 1/2 marathon or 10k pace. However, my strongest recommendation is to simply use the “talk test” and run by feel. The longest tempos in my marathon training are about 60 – 70 minutes.

Another way to run a Tempo is by heart rate. This only works if you know your max heart rate (mine is in the low 170s). After your warm-up, I typically recommend about 80% of max heart rate through the duration of the run. Any faster and you’re actually in an anaerobic zone and you’ll likely won’t be able to maintain the pace for too long. You can learn how to calculate and train by heart rate by reading my article (training using a heart rate monitor). For many runners, using a heart rate monitor can be an easy way to ensure they’re in the right range for the workout. If you don’t have a HR monitor, it’s simply a matter of looking at your watch and monitoring your pace as you move through each mile.

If you run your tempos by feel, your pace will eventually quicken.

Types of Tempo Runs

There are generally three types of tempo workouts.  (1) sustained tempo runs (20 – 70 minutes at one pace).  (2) repetitions (repeat 10 – 20 minutes at tempo pace with a short (1-2 minutes) recovery in between each).  (3) Tempos that are mixed into intervals or longer runs. As with other two types of tempo workouts, this latter type of tempo is beneficial for increasing the aerobic threshold. It’s important to maintain the assigned pace during the tempo portion of your workout.

Legendary coach Jack Daniels also recommends inserting periods of Aerobic Threshold running into long runs. For example, two 20 minute tempo runs that bookend a one hour easy run. Coach Daniels schedules this run bi-weekly in the latter stages of race preparation.

The one real requirement of tempo running is that you stick to a steady, specific, planned pace.

When to complete Tempo Runs

If you’re training for a shorter race, tempo runs are best done early in the season during base or foundation training. Tempos completed early in your training will help build endurance that can support race-specific fitness later in your training cycle.

For longer races such as a 10km or longer, tempos are best if completed during the mid to late portion of your schedule.

Some coaches have their runners perform two of these workouts every three weeks during a marathon build-up. As the race approaches (but before tapering) the runner can increase the frequency to one tempo effort weekly. I typically perscribe weekly tempos in weeks 7-11 of a 12 week marathon training plan.

Tempo Run Workouts

Tempo Workout #1

I completed this workout when I was training with Coach Greg McMillan. In the past, I’ve had excellent results training under Coach McMillan. This first workout is perfect for 10km or half marathon. You complete multiple tempos, but with some hills between. It’s a tough workout so my recommendation is to insert an additional recovery day before your next hard/long workout.

The steep hills between the 3 mile tempos will fill your legs with lactic acid so the second tempo helps to simulate that feeling of tiredness at the end of a race.

The key to this session is to try your best to run the second tempo run at the same pace as the first. To make things a little easier, if you’re really struggling, the 2nd Tempo can be shortened to 2 miles. This workout teaches your body & mind to “dig deep” when you’re aching and simply want to stop. Successfully getting through this workout will really boost your confidence.

1. 15 minutes warm-up at easy pace

2. 3 mile tempo run

3. 3 minute jog recovery

4. 4×30 second steep hills

5. 3 minute jog recovery at easy pace

6. 2 – 3 mile tempo,

7. 15 minute cool down at easy pace.

Completing this workout will do wonders for your confidence because you must overcome the feeling of lactic acid that builds up in your legs during and after the hill repeats. Completing this workout will help prepare you to not give up when you feel like you can’t keep going.

I really like this this Tempo for runners who are fit, but don’t have a race scheduled anytime soon.

Tempo Workout #2

Your traditional Aerobic Threshold Tempo Run and includes one block of running at tempo pace. Depending on where you are in your training plan will determine the length of the run at tempo pace.

1. Start with a 10-15 minute (or 1 mile) warm-up.

2. Run 20 – 30 minutes but with no break or recovery in the middle of the effort.

3. Each week increase the length of the tempo by 10 minutes until you reach 60 minutes.

4. End each tempo with 10-15 minutes (or at least 1 mile) cool-down.

Tempo Workout #3

Just like intervals, but will help improve your Lactate Threshold because it’s done at your tempo pace. The recovery is kept to a short 60-90 seconds and the repetitions are generally longer.

1. Start with a 10-15 minute (or 1 mile) warm-up.

2. 3 x mile at tempo pace with 90sec jog recovery.

3. Finish with 10-15 minutes (or at least 1 mile) cool-down.

Tempo Workout #4

Similar to the sustained or traditional tempo mentioned above except in this run is called a lactate clearance run. Technically it’s a anaerobic threshold run.

The way to accomplish this is during your sustained tempo runs insert a 30-60 second surge at about 5k pace every 5-8 minutes. The surge will bring on more lactate into the blood stream. When you slow back into your tempo pace, your body will then have a chance to clear that lactate, even as you maintain tempo pace.

It’s a tough workout again, but it will train your body to process lactate more efficiently, which ultimately makes your lactate threshold pace slightly faster.

Tempo runs are an excellent way for runners of all levels to work on building their speed and strength.

How Middle Age Runners Stay Injury Free
These runs are also helpful for developing the mental toughness and stamina needed for racing, since you practice running at a pace that’s a little outside of your comfort zone.

To summarize, each of these types of workouts & their associated paces causes increased effort and physiological difficulty when completed. When we successfully run at these paces or training zones, you can ultimately race farther and faster more comfortably.

Sources:

1) runnersworld.com
2) strengthrunning.com
3) runnersconnect.net

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2018 Fall Marathon Guide

2018 Fall Marathon Guide

Fall Marathon Training

photos courtesy of Chicago Marathon, Rock n’Roll Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon

Typically marathoners perform best when they run in cooler (40-55 degrees (F)) temps. For many runner’s their best chance to have a good time is with a Fall Marathon. Use this Fall Marathon Guide to select a race & follow the numerous links for valuable training information that can help you achieve your goals.

The only “pitfall” for training for a Fall marathons is that you need to putting in the biggest miles of your plan in the hot summer months. However, the good news is that this is a time when the days are long, and you don’t have worry about ice and snow. Also, there’s typically plenty of build-up races (1/2 marathons & 10ks) available during the Summer or early fall. You can integrate these races into your training schedule and use them as a way to to test your fitness.

 

Throughout this blog, I provide I number of detailed references which can be used to help you train for your race. I recently published a detailed marathon training follow along of my training for the 12 weeks leading up to Portland’s Foot Traffic Flat marathon. Posts include details of how to set race goals and training paces, nutrition, how to make adjustments to your training, strength training for marathon runners and much more.

Other very helpful posts to ensure your success include:

 

Here’s a list of some great Fall Marathons. As you can see, I provide some details of each race (like if it’s a flat course, good crowd support, etc). I also include feedback from previous participants so you can decide which marathon is best for you.

If you’re interested in participating in any of these races, please let me know if you would like some help setting your goals or setting up a customized training plan that will be specific to your athletic ability, goals and your busy schedule. I specialize in working with busy middle age athletes, so please contact me if you have questions.

St. George Marathon – great scenery, fast & well organized race, net downhill of nearly 2,600 ft
Location: St. George, UT
Date: Saturday, October 6, 2018
Website: St George Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon – huge race (45k+), but very well run and tons of spectators throughout the fast & flat course. One of my best running experiences was at the 12 mile point in this race (downtown and packed with loud cheering spectators, truly amazing).
Location: Chicago, IL
Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018
Website: Chicago Marathon

Need Marathon Training Info
Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon – very well run & supported race on beautiful twin cities course. Tons of spectators. This race gets fabulous reviews, year after year. Typically perfect racing conditions.
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018
Website: Twin Cities Marathon

Steamtown Marathon – net elevation loss of almost 1,000 ft. Good course to BQ, but be careful with the 2 hills near the end. Gets very favorable reviews from past participants. If you live in the Northeast, this is an excellent alternative to the bigger Fall marathons.
Location: Scranton, PA
Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018
Website: Steamtown Marathon

Mohawk Hudson River Marathon – Easy hills up front when adrenaline is high and only a few shorter, steeper uphills around 12/13. About 1000 runners participate. The bike trails make for fast, easy running. Past participants love the nice spread of post race “goodies.”
Location: Schenectady, NY
Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018
Website – Mohawk Hudson River

Portlandathon Marathon – for 1 year, the owners of Portland Running Company and the company that manages many Portland area races, will operate a marathon in the City of Portland. The course will differ slightly from the Portland Marathon, but it’s still a USATF certified and BQ course.
Location: Portland, OR
Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018
Website: Portlandathon Marathon

Nebraska Marathon – starts/ends downtown with much of the course near the Missouri River and into Council Bluffs, IA. A fairly new race, but has excellent reviews from participants.
Location: Omaha, NE
Date: Sunday, October 14, 2018
Website – Nebraska Marathon

Baltimore Marathon – mixed reviews due to hills in the 2nd half and because ½ marathoners converge with marathoners in the 2nd half of the race. It’s a challenging course that may not be best for 1st timers or runners hoping for a BQ. Past participants generally rave about how well the race is organized and run (lots of aid stations). Crowd support is excellent.
Location: Baltimore, MD
Date: Saturday, October 20, 2018
Website: Baltimore Marathon

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon – very positive reviews from past participants. Most had a great experience between expo, pre and post race activities. It’s well organized and there’s excellent crowd support. A few hills, but nothing that runners complained about. Bottomline, it’s highly recommended.
Location: Columbus, OH
Date: Sunday, October 21, 2018
Website: Columbus Marathon

Edward-Elmhurst Health Naperville Marathon – small race in suburb outside of Chicago. It’s not the fastest course (due to a few hills and lots of turns), but if you don’t want to run in Chicago with 40k+ other runners, this is a good alternative.
Location: Naperville, IL
Date: Sunday, October 21, 2018
Website: Naperville Marathon

Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Detroit International Marathon – Good organization, but not a lot of crowd support during the middle of the race. Relatively flat course, but there is a climb up the Ambassador Bridge which is a little steeper and longer than many would like. This race has been selling out because it’s very popular, so register before end of August to ensure you get in. There is an underwater mile between Miles 7 & 8.
Location: Detroit, MI
Date: Sunday, October 21, 2018
Website: Detroit Marathon

Ashworth Awards Baystate Marathon – billed as BQ marathon because of it’s mostly flat course. Right outside of Boston along the scenic Merrimack River. Gets a lot of positive feedback for being well organized.
Location: Lowell, MA
Date: Sunday, October 21, 2018
Website – Baystate Marathon

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon – very well organized, plenty of water stations and exuberant spectators throughout the course. Relatively flat (just a few hills) course, so it sets up nicely as a Boston Qualifier.
Location: Toronto, ONT
Date: Sunday, October 21, 2018
Website: Toronto Marathon

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

 

Marine Corps Marathon – this was my first marathon 30+ years ago, when approx. 9,000 runners participated (really big for back then). It’s now a much bigger race with 30k+ participants. Because there’s no corrals at the beginning, it can get a little crowded. Past participants have commented about how the beginning of the race is tough when after mile 1 the course narrows significantly. Overall, mixed reviews, but many are positive. You get to run by a lot of monuments, so it’s a memorable experience.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Date: Sunday, October 28, 2018
Website – Marine Corps Marathon

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon – 10th most Boston Marathon Qualfiers among all North American marathons, with this flat, fast course. Lots of crowd support, bands, cheering sections. Very positive comments from participants.
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Date: Saturday, November 3, 2018
Website – Indianapolis Marathon

TCS New York City Marathon – The largest marathon in the U.S. Not much for me to say here as most runners are very familiar with this race. If it’s on your bucket list, definitely apply and train hard because it’s a tough course through Central Park and across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge at the beginning.
Location: New York, NY
Date: Sunday, November 4, 2018
Website – New York Marathon

Anthem Richmond Marathon – Really positive race reviews from past participants. Many rave about the course, organization and fan support. A lot of runners say they would run this race again because they had such an enjoyable experience.
Location: Richmond, VA
Date: Saturday, November 10, 2018
Website – Richmond Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon – mixed reviews, mostly bad, about the course. It’s fun to run through the Vegas lights in the evening, but most complaints centered around the course and challenges with the start (in 2017 additional security measures were taken due to the mass shooting in October). Lots of bands, entertainment and crowd support throughout the race. They offered a finisher jacket in 2017.
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Date: Sunday, November 11, 2018
Website: Las Vegas Marathon

Fort Worth Marathon – Fast and flat out and back course along the scenic Trinity River. Don’t expect big cheering crowds or perfectly executed signage at every mile. The course is out and back. Not many spectators line this course.
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Date: Sunday, November 11, 2018
Website – Fort Worth Marathon

Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon – mostly flat with a few slight inclines. Some recent negative comments about poor/confusing organization. Lots of friendly spectators
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Date: Sunday, November 18, 2018
Website – Philadelphia Marathon

Williams Route 66 Marathon – this is a challenging course with multiple hills. Overall reviews are favorable because the support is excellent, expo was fun and the course through the neighborhoods of Tulsa gets lots of local support.
Location: Tulsa, OK
Date: Sunday, November 18, 2018
Website – Route 66 Marathon

California Intl Marathon (CIM) – billed as fast course with net downhill. This course has wide streets so you don’t feel overly crowded, but with rolling hills for the first 20 miles, If you don’t train for hills, your quads may be “trashed.” Bottomline, you can BQ here, but you must train on hills prior to coming to this race.
Location: Sacramento, CA
Date: Sunday, December 2, 2018
Website: CIM

BMW Dallas Marathon – This is a highly regarded race. It’s 40+ years old and they have plenty of spectators on the course to keep you motivated.
Location: Dallas, TX
Date: Sunday, December 9, 2018
Website: Dallas Marathon