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You asked, so I answered.

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This past weekend I opened up the blog to you and any of your running related questions! I loved reading through all of your questions. The best part about this process was that many of your questions/concerns are common to all runners, myself included.

Some of you chose to private message me or write on the FB wall, while other commented on the blog itself- either way- you asked, so here are my answers! Enjoy!!

 

 

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Running in the Alps… ahhhh memories… Either way, shaking it up and finding new local routes is key to enjoying the run in the long run

1. How to prevent a route rut: I’m getting bored with doing the same routes over and over again. How can I find some nice new routes to run? Are there any places that are worth driving to on the south shore of Boston? -AB

Changing up your running route helps many runners to continue to enjoy their daily jaunt throughout many months and years of running. Don’t have the ability to drive to a new place & change it up all the time? Run your route backwards or go down a side street that you’ve never gone down before to shake it up even just a little bit. Or, even better choose one run a week (or even 2x/month) to drive somewhere new and run.

Not sure where to go?

Here are some of my favorite places to run on the South Shore…

  • Braintree-  All my running routes go through here! Blue Hills Reservation has endless hills trails, the Highlands offers beautiful neighborhoods to run through and running straight through the small town always makes it feel like home :).
  • Cohasset: Jerusalem Road (hilly, beautiful view of the water and part of the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea 10k race)
  • Hingham: View the historical houses on Main Street, revel in the tight-knit family experience of somewhat hilly Liberty Pole neighborhood or enjoy the well-groomed trails of Wompatuck (but keep an eye out for mountain bikers!).
  • Norwell– I’ve heard  about a shorter 3-5 mile trail that circles around Jacob’s Pond (@ the 123/53 intersection)… I must investigate this!
  • Plymouth– The hills of Miles Standish State Forest (trails or roads) provide an awesome workout, but be aware your cell phone probably wont get reception in the state forest.
  • Quincy- The beautiful view of Boston from Wollaston beach is a common hot spot for runners, as well as the hills of Hough’s Neck- which has a pretty great view too!

Most road races go through the best parts of a town (most of the time), so when in doubt, figure out what town you want to run in and follow the map of a local road race!

 

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Chicago 26.2: The Aftermath. So painful, yet notice how I’m still smiling (while being blinded by the sun).

2. Biting the bullet: training for 26.2: I’ve successfully completed several half marathons, but am nervous about making the jump to a full…

First of all, congrats on completing your half marathon(s)!! That’s an awesome accomplishment! You’re right to be a little nervous about making the jump to a full- training for a full marathon is a completely different animal than training for a half. Training for a full marathon is not easy- but if you let it, it will change your life. It will make you realize how strong you truly are and how you are capable of so much more than you ever imagined!!!

IMO the key components to training for a marathon are as follows:

  1. Get yourself a coach and/or training plan you trust. Having someone to go to with all of your questions is priceless.
  2. Surrender to fact that running will slowly take over your life for 4-5 months- in a good way! (You run then you recover/rest/eat well in order to run again),
  3. Use a mantra. During my first marathon I repeated the following mantra on my long runs: If it was easy, everyone would do it. It’s supposed to be hard!!

Training for a marathon is hard. Running the actual marathon is even harder. Crossing that finish line and getting that medal? Damn does that feel gooooooood!!!

 

3. I have been training for a  1 yr 3 months. I have ran 2 half marathon (#1 was 2:36; #2 was 2:14). I run 4 to five days a week I use the Asics plan.  I want to train for the LA MARATHON 2016 but I need to lower my mile and work on my diet. I currently can run 18 miles between 11 and 1050 min/mi and I want to lower my mile pace.  I really need help with my diet as I’m slowly transaction to eating meat because I was a vegetarian for while. I’m 39 turning 40 this year I have run all my life but never run long distance till now I enjoy running.- JC

 

A.  How to improve pace:

JC- Awesome work with your half marathons!! In about a year you peeled off 22 minutes from your half time- this is HUGE progress!! Give your body time to catch up to your heart. From where I’m sitting it seems that you are making a ton of progress (your half time, your high mileage).

If your committed to improving your pace then here are a few pointers:

  • Run easy (relaxed, conversational, maybe even watch free) 2 days/week, add “pressure”/speedwork 1 day/week (see next bullet), during your long run try to start slow and get faster throughout the run!
  • Slowly begin to incorporate “pick ups” into your runs where you “add a little pressure” and go from being able to carry on a conversation to running at a more concentrated (but doable!) effort.
  • Examples: 2 mile warm up, 10×1 minute pick ups of concentrated pressure, 2 mile cool down (I LOVE this workout!) OR  2 x 5-7 minute tempo with a 5 minute rest in-between each set.

 

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Food or fuel? What are you eating? (Pictured above- my lunch and snacks for one day, excludes breakfast and dinner)

B. Diet. General advice on nutrition and what to eat?

I am not a registered dietitian, all of the information here is based on my personal experience. When it comes to a runner’s diet one size does not fit all; every person has their own unique needs.

In general I have found success in avoiding processed foods, limiting my bread intake to 1x/day (or less) and stocking up on nuts, beans, salad, lean meats, fruits and vegetables! When I want a baked good or something sweet (cookie, biscotti, muffin) I bake it myself- and I generally try to bake healthy things… errr most of the time ;).

Balance is key and moderation in everything. The best skill that we can learn is to listen to our bodies and stop eating when we’re full. If you feel like you’re doing these things and not making progress then it can never hurt to consult with a registered dietitian to get a personalized assessment!

 

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Focus.

4. How to stay focused during training: I completed my first marathon last year, and this time around training runs don’t feel like they are as big of an accomplishment. How do I stay engaged/focused during marathon training?  – BP

I can completely relate to this! The first time you run 16, then 18, and then 20 miles- amazing! But running 18 miles a few training cycles (or even weeks) in a row can begin to lose its luster. Here’s how I try to shake it up and stay engaged on the run:

  • New route. When possible I change up my route (even if it’s slightly) to seek out the challenge of going up a new hill or enjoy the process of gliding down!
  • New tunes.  Whether it’s 3 new songs or random long-lost songs in your iPod, they can help to shake you out of a funk.
  • Play with your pace. If you know you can cover the distance then I urge you to challenge yourself and play around with the pace. Do a descending run where your goal is to run each mile progressively faster, or maybe a 2 mi w/u, 2x6mi @ a little pressure then a 2 mi cooldown. Keep it fun, interesting.

 

*Did I miss something? Do you have a different opinion or something else to add?* Constructive advice and/or additional questions are always welcome here!

 

 

 

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