Category Archives: Running

This is ME!

My name is Keri Mandell. I am a yogi, crossfit coach, marathoner and Ironman, but I wasn’t always these things. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I discovered my passion for physical fitness and health.

The Keri in my past is way different than the Keri most of you know today. She wasn’t always the driven enthusiastic girl she is now.

Here’s my story…

I was born in January, 1982, 2 months premature and only weighing a few pounds. I spent the first part of my life in an incubator until it was safe for my parents to bring me home. I grew up in Clifton, New Jersey.  As a kid, I was much more quiet, reserved, and introverted (if you can imagine that). At that time the only form of physical activity I really enjoyed was playing softball. I played softball from the time I was in elementary school until I graduated high school. I was in a travel softball league and we played all year long and throughout the state. Once I went away to college, physical activity was not really my thing.  I spent the majority of my time studying, working, and socializing with friends. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I truly found an appreciation and love for physical fitness, health, and nutrition.

I began my fitness journey when I got engaged to my husband Dan. I decided I wanted to lose weight for our wedding. At that time I was a size 12/14 and weighed over 175 lbs. I joined Weight Watchers and started attending bridal Boot Camp classes at the local YMCA where we lived in Boston.  At that time, I also dabbled a little bit in running. I never thought I was much of a runner nor did I think I had a runner’s body. I started to slowly run, going one block at a time, alternating between running and walking, building up until I was able to run for longer/extended periods of time. I wasn’t the biggest fan, but looked at it as a way to help myself lose weight.

After I got married in July of 2009, I still tried to remain physically active. I joined a new gym, started taking spin classes, trx classes, and hired a personal trainer.

During the fall of 2009, I found out that I had cancerous cells on my cervix that needed to be surgically removed. I became ill,  suffering from a serious infection after the procedure. I had to take a leave of absence from work and could no longer workout. On top of that, the doctor told me that I would probably never have kids.

Could you imagine being told something like that? As a woman I had always dreamt of having a family, but here I am as a newlywed and all of our plans for the future were crushed and washed away. I was angry and devastated. I told my husband we could get a divorce so he could remarry and find someone else to have his children. I became severely depressed and suicidal. What I had imagined my future to be had changed in an instant. I wallowed in self pity for a while until one of my friends got me out of the house and made me go with her to take a yoga class… that class literally saved my life. Now I’d practiced yoga a few times, but it wasn’t until that moment that yoga became such a huge and integral part of my life. I often tell people that it was yoga that saved my life. It taught me to live in the moment, to find peace, to love myself, and it showed me that body was capable of so much more than I thought.

I started to come out of my depression and stared to re-evaluate what my life was going to be. So my body may not be able to bare children, but it sure as hell could do other things… and there it began. I wasn’t going to let my body or anything else for that matter get in my way of living my life. I immediately started to look for ways to challenge myself and challenge my body. I wasn’t going to allow it to hold me back. My goal was to try to see how fit I could be.

In 2011 we moved to NJ. My dad and stepmom owned and operated a business, Monmouth Mobile Home Park. They both became ill- she had lung cancer and breast cancer and he had bone marrow cancer. They needed someone to help run the business so my husband and I moved to Princeton, NJ to help. A few years after we moved down here, they both passed away within a few months of each other.

During our time in NJ, I continued on my fitness journey. I joined Can Do Fitness where a I met my good friend Hilary. I would attend spin and bootcamp classes in the mornings before work. Each day when I arrived, Hillary would be on the treadmill running with a sweatshirt and/or weighted vest. Having seen her numerous times, I decided to go over and approach her. I asked her what she was training for and she stated the Boston Marathon. I started to arrive to the gym early and walk on the treadmill next to her. She intrigued and inspired me. Her drive and dedication to her sport was like nothing I’ve ever seen. So each morning, I’d arrive at the gym early in hopes to see and talk to her. In time, I would slowly start to jog next to her. We would talk about running and the running group she was a part of called Run Around Princeton or RAP as it’s often referred to. Hilary convinced me to join her one Saturday morning at their weekly long runs and also sign up for the Broad Street 10 miler in Philadelphia.  

When I started running with the group, they would give you a slip of paper that had the route with turn by turn directions. I was always last. At that time, I think I ran a 12.5 or 13 minute mile. By the time I got back to the lot everyone had already left. I would cry. I hated being last and I hated running, but I committed to doing a 10 miler so I stuck with it. Eventually I got a little bit faster and was no longer the last one in the group. I ran the 10 miler on May 5, 2013. After that, I decided to keep running. I signed up for countless half marathons and even started training for a full. I completed my first full marathon that November, the Philadelphia Marathon.

I caught the running bug. From there, I started to run several marathons a year and eventually decided that I was going to complete all of the World Major Marathons. I just completed my final World Major Marathon this February, the Tokyo Marathon. Since 2013, I have run over 30 half marathons, 10 Marathons, 2 ultra marathons (50k) and an Ironman!

For a few of the races, I joined a charity team. I decided to run and raise money to support charities such as the Special Olympics and Autism Speaks.  As a Special Education teacher, these charity’s where near to my heart. Running and raising money for charity was a great way to bring awareness to the charity but also to travel and see how far my body could go. During a marathon, you often feel like you are going to die, but you don’t and when you cross that finish line there is no better feeling. I started to crave the high that running gave me.

In addition to running, I knew I had to incorporate strength training into my routine. In 2013,  was also the time I discovered Crossfit. I loved it so much that I went to get my level one Crossfit certification so I could coach. In 2014, I started an internship at Crossfit Nassau and started coaching part time at the gym in 2015.

Additionally, I was still taking yoga classes.  Yoga was a great tool that helped me with running- it helped increase strength, mobility, flexibility, allowed me to work on my breathing as well as my mindfulness.  In 2014, I decided to become certified to teach yoga. Yoga had given me so much over the years that I knew wanted to give back. Fast forward to 2016, I quit my job and opened my very own yoga studio, Empower Yoga. I decided that health and fitness was going to be my full time gig.

In 2014, my husband suggested that we try to complete a triathlon.  We signed up for the New Jersey State triathlon. He thought it could be something fun for us to do together. Now, I didn’t know how to swim (I hated swimming and was terrified of putting my face in the water)  so I was a little afraid prepping for this race. However I figured it was a great way to force myself to learn. I took swimming lessons and practiced swimming regularly at the pool in the clubhouse where we lived. I was nervous for the race, but excited to give it a try. During the race I panicked in the swim. A woman in my group panicked too and got on top of me, pushing me under the water. All I could think about was that I was going to drown and regretted not telling my parents I loved them that morning. I eventually broke away. It took me over 30 minutes to swim 500m because I doggie paddled. I was never so happy to be on land. At least when you’re running and you need to stop you can walk, but if you’re swimming and you need to stop, you drown. It was scary. Unfortunately, the bike wasn’t much better. I started to ride my bike but when I went to take sip of my Gatorade I didn’t put the bottle back in the cage correctly and I dropped it. I proceeded to roll over my bottle and fall off my bike. Unable to clip out in time, I fell off my bike and cut open my knee. It was gushing blood. From there, I went on the run. It was incredibly hot that day and the sun was beating overhead, there is no shade. When I crossed the finish line and my friends were there cheering for me they asked, “how do you feel?“ I said “I fucking hated that. I will never do that again.” The following year my husband completed a few more triathlons while I watched on the side lines. In 2017,  I decided to give triathlons another try. I decided that I wasn’t going to let triathlons get the best of me and I wanted to work hard to be and do my best. I decided to sign up for a half Ironman, I figured go big or go home. I reached out to several friends and asked about training plans. I piecemailed a plan together and started training. I joined a Master swim program near where we lived and bought a road bike. That summer leading up to my 70.3, I knew that the swim was going to be challenging for me. So I decide to sign up for several smaller races in order to prepare. I basically raced every weekend that summer forcing myself into those uncomfortable positions at the swim start- adrenaline pumping, heart racing, large crowds, flaring arms, people kicking you, and swimming over you- I needed to get my nerves under control. Towards the end of the summer I start to get stronger, faster, and better… Even placing in my age group in a few races.

Prior to even competing in AC 70.3, I had decided to sign up for a full Ironman. Always down for a challenge and a way to get better and stronger, I knew I just had to do it. I wanted to see what my body was capable of. In such a short time, if I could go from being afraid to put my face in the water to swimming over a mile, I knew I could do anything. Less than 1% of the population complete an Ironman and I wanted to be one of those people.  My husband (and prob the rest of the world) thought I was nuts. I hadn’t even completed a 70.3 race yet, what if I hated it. Why sign up for a full? I said that even if I hated it (which I doubt I would) I would do it anyway because completing an Ironman quickly catapulted to the top of my bucket list.

When I have an idea or want something, there is nothing getting in my way, and I wanted to be an Ironman!  After AC 70.3 I was hooked on triathlon racing. I was anxiously waiting to start training for my next goal, completing Ironman Lake Placid.  I knew I needed some help and expertise to really go the distance and get the most out of my race, rather than piecing a plan together like I did for AC. This was something I didn’t want to wing and I knew it would require hours of work each week for my body to get there. So I hired a coach, Chris Draper ( who was referred to me by my good friend Hilary, who has stuck with me over the years)

Training for an Ironman takes lots of time, sacrifice, and dedication.  Training wasn’t always roses and butterflies. It was hard, grewling, time consuming and left you at times beaten up and bruised. Even though it was challenging, I have to say that I loved every minute of it. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and more badass.  There is nothing in this world that compares to 15 hours of non stop physical activity and finally running down the shoot to the finish; where you here your name- Keri Mandell, you are an Ironman!!

Since my Ironman, people of been asking me what’s next? Well how about The World Marathon Challenge?!  A few years back, I heard about the World Marathon Challenge- An event where competitors must run the standard 42.2 km marathon distance in Antarctica, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and North America within 168 hours (seven days). The clock starts when the first marathon begins in Antarctica. This event started in 2015 and since then, 103 have people have finished the challenge. When I first heard about it, it sounded incredibly scary and exciting at the same time. Now, the more I think about it and read about it and hear the inspiring stories like Becca Pizzi from Boston, I know that I need to do this too.

The World Marathon Challenge is next on my bucket list. In order to do the challenge I need to raise $52,000. I’m currently seeking sponsors to help make this dream a reality. I want to continue to surpass my mental and physical limits and see how far I can truly go. I want to help encourage and inspire people to live their best lives and know continue that anything is truly possible. Will you help me?

When you are ready to contribute, please visit my Go Fund Me page to donate!

Donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to make a contribution!! NO donation is too small and every little bit helps.  Thank you for your donation and for taking the time to read my story.  I appreciate the support!

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Road to Ironman Part 3

PART 3: My top 10 Ironman Moments

Ironman was an incredible journey. While I have a ton of favorite moments and wonderful memories from the weekend, I thought I’d highlight my top 10.

10. I had a BLAST shopping at the expo. I couldn’t wait to get my
official Ironman  backpack and some new gear. While at the expo I came across Rapid Reboot (which is a compression boot for athletes). They are great for recovery as well as pre workout activation! Halfway through the run, my husband  surprised me with a pair! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him standing there holding them.

9. The pancake breakfast with my friend and teammate Eileen. On Saturday before the race, Ironman held a special all you can eat pancake breakfast.The pancakes were fresh and delicious. Eileen was in Placid volunteering for the race. It was so wonderful to have an opportunity to see and talk to her before the big day.  She offered pointers and words of encouragement. It was great to know she’d be there cheering me on!

8. Walking into the water with my friend, Amy. As we got ready to start, we took a moment to relish in what we were about to do. She turned to me and said, “thanks for being a part of this journey with me.” and then we started our race. That was a special moment, one I will never forget!

7. Seeing my coach right before I finished the second loop of the bike course and again right before the finish of the run. On the bike, you hit a major hill before returning to transition, it’s a tough part of the course so it was great to have him there to help give me a little push. Seeing him again before the end of the run was awesome too. He ran about a ½ mile with me. It helped add a little pep to my step, which is hard to do after spending over 14 hours on your feet. His support ment a lot.

6. I had a few friends and teammates running the race with me. One in particular was Christina. I had seen her at certain points throughout the day and towards the end of the second loop of our run she caught up to me. The second half of the run was tough, my brain was a little fuzzy and my legs were pretty tired, but seeing her gave me a little push. She helped me to pick up the pace, especially for those last three miles when all I wanted to do was walk. It was nice to have someone to be with and I appreciated being able to run and talk to her.

5. The incredible spectators and awesome volunteers. They were not only motivating and encouraging, but truly looked out for you. I was particularly grateful for the women in the tents who helped me get undressed and dressed during transition, packed my gear, and made sure I had what I needed before exiting. I could never have gotten into my sports bra without them!

4. Seeing a crow during mile 92 and 106 of the bike. After my dad passed a crow started to appear- on the golf course with my husband, at the yoga studio literally tapping on the back door, outside our house, near my car… We started to say it was my dad, he wanted us to know that he was there with us. Well during the race, wouldn’t you know that on mile 92 and 106 of the bike a crow dropped down into the middle of the street and cawed at me. I couldn’t help, but smile. I knew my dad was there cheering me on.

3. Having my husband and bestie Beth cheer me on throughout the day and especially there at the finish line to see me cross and then spray me with champagne, that was really special. There are moments throughout the race you begin to question yourself, life, basically everything and seeing them made me smile and helped bring me back to the present moment. It was nice to have them there to celebrate such a huge accomplishment with me.

2. Being able to compete with so many incredible and inspiring athletes. I LOVE triathlons. Nothing is better than the people you meet and the friendships you create along the way. This sport has introduced me to so many awesome people. Their energy and equal drive & dedication helps fuel me. We are in this journey of life together. We support and look out for each other and that’s pretty incredible.

 1. Running down the shoot, seeing the Ironman red and black carpet, bright lights & having my name called out and the words you are an Ironman, was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was a huge sense of accomplishment for me. I couldn’t help but feel ecstatic and proud.

I have done some pretty incredible things in my life so far and completing an Ironman was certainly on my lists of favorites.  You’ve got one life, why not do it all. I can’t wait to see where I’ll go from here, but get ready, because this girl isn’t slowing down any time soon!!

You can be an Ironman too… ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

 

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Road to Ironman Part 2

PART 2: What it takes to go the distance.

Training for an Ironman can be an extremely rewarding and life-changing journey. However, it requires lots of preparation, a strong commitment, and some sacrifices.

Here’s what you need to do to prepare:

MONEY:
My new Felt try bike! Getting read for Eagleman 70.3
  • Training for Ironman is not an inexpensive thing to do. The racealone can cost close to $900 just to enter, but then you will need the proper gear/equipment- clothes (bathing suite, bike shorts, tech tees, running shorts, socks, etc..), swim goggles, wetsuit, a road or tri bike, helmet, a pair or 2 of running shoes, and an indoor bike trainer.
  • Then there’s everything you’ll need over the course of your training: gym or pool memberships, specialized nutrition gels/drinks/bars, bike parts and maintenance (i.e. spare tire tubes and tune ups), sunscreen, chafing creams, first-aid materials, food, doctors copays, entry to shorter races to help prepare you for the big day… the list can be endless.
  • Slowly but surely, other costs will begin to sneak in so be prepared to spend a pretty good chunk of change.
TIME AND TRAINING:
A few of my dt+n peeps. Love my Saturday morning computrainer classes!
  • You’ll need a plan that maps out what sport to do each day, for how long and what type of workout to do.
  • Be ready to train 25+ hours a week.
  • Be prepared for early morning workouts that last 2-3 hours- I got up everyday at 3:45am to swim, bike, and/or run before going to work. On the weekends you can expect to go longer; upwards of 6-8 hours if your doing a long ride or long brick (when you do two sport in one day, i.e. bike & run).
  • I highly recommend hiring a coach (you can add this to the list of expenses). Ironman is no joke and not something you should go into lightly. If you’re going to do it, do it right! (Chris Draper of dt+n)
NUTRITION:
Prepping for my century ride!
  • All the training in the world won’t prepare you for a race that youaren’t fueled properly for. A big key is not only to stay hydrated, but to be sure you know your caloric needs so that your body can go the distance. Figure out how many calories you need to take in every hour for your long training sessions. For me, I shoot for 300 calories an hour.
  • You need to start practicing nutrition very early on in your training. You need to train your body to digest the fuel you’re using so you don’t suffer from any GI problems on race day. I am a big fan of Cliff blocks (salted watermelon) and Honey Stinger Waffles (choc/vanilla) along with GU Roctane that I add to my water. Proper fueling is CRITICAL. You could get away with not fueling for a sprint or an olympic distance race, but not an Ironman.
SLEEP:
  • Sleep is critical to help with recovery. You need your sleep and should try to get at least 7 hours a night.  
  • No more late nights or parties on the weekend. You need to think about how your spend your energy. Is it worth sacrificing your training the following day?
MENTAL STRENGTH:
Yoga very damn day! Empower Yoga NJ!
  • As with many challenges, the right frame of mind and mental toughness can make a big difference. Your longer rides and runs are the perfect time to practice mental toughness. Find a positive mantra you can repeat to yourself when the going gets tough. Know that everyone has low points during a race, dealing with them, keeping moving and staying positive will carry you a long way.
  • Yoga is a great way to help with mindfulness, in addition torecovery. Take a yoga class, learn how to stay positive, be present, and keep breathing. These tools can be incredibly helpful come race day!
SUPPORT:
My doctor and teammate!

It takes a village. When you train for an Ironman you never train alone.

  • Get your family and friends involved. You’ll need people to help support you when your tired, question your sanity, feeling unmotivated, or just need a little pick me up. Plus it’s nice to have people who will listen to your endless talks about triathlons and training!
  • See a doctor. Be sure to check in with your physician before you tackle such a big endurance event. Make sure your body can handle all the stress you are about to place on it. And during training, if an injury should arise, take care of it immediately. Seek professional help and support rather than trying to take care of something on your own. It may suck in the short term, but will help you out tremendously in the long run.  My sport medicineguy became my best friend. He helped me with all my plantar fasciitis troubles so that I could still train and not suffer further injuries. Also, tell your coach if something’s going on. He can always substitute workouts for you and keep your training right on track! (Dr. Peter Wenger)
  • Find a good chiropractor. I saw my guy every week for adjustments, ultrasound therapy, and graston treatments for my foot. He was a critical piece to helping making sure I got to the start line. (Grossman Chiropractic)
  • Treat yourself to monthly sports massages. I saw my massage therapist at least once a month. Sports massages can reduce recovery time, promote flexibility, reduce fatigue, improve
    My girl Natalie! Her hands are magic!

    endurance, help prevent injuries and prepares the body and mind for optimal performance. (Natalie Johnston of Run Fit)

  • Acupuncture can do amazing things! I went every other week to help loosen my glutes, IT band, calves and feet. It was amazing!  (Relief Acupuncture)
  • Find a good bike shop, one that you trust and will be there to help prepare you for race day. Be sure to train on your bike regularly so that you know how it handles and rides. Get used to shifting gears, changing tires, etc… Make sure you have your bike serviced before the race to ensure it’s in working order. (My fave is Halter’s Cycles)

After all the money and time you will put into training, remember that the race is the reward. Go into it with a positive attitude. Embrace each moment and be sure to thank your body for its incredible work & always showing up, and all of the people who have been a part of your journey.  Smile at all you have accomplished and be sure to enjoy every step. You CAN go the distance and in the end when your name is called out with the words YOU ARE AN IRONMAN it will all have been worth it.

 

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The Best of The World Marathon Majors!

Thinking of running a World Marathon Major (WMM)? Have you ever wondered which of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago & NYC) has the best crowds, best finisher medal, crowd support, food, or the best course?

As someone who has completed all 6 of the World Marathon Majors, I’ve been asked questions like: “Which course was your favorite?” or “Which marathon was the hardest?” Well I have answered some of the popular questions below. This is strictly my opinion. When deciding on what Major you want to tackle, there is no right or wrong answer, but here some info. that may help you to decide!!

Enjoy!

Which WMM was the easiest to get into?

CHICAGO

For ways to gain entry into the Chicago Marathon you can either qualify, enter the lottery, or run for charity. I got in through the lottery, along with many others. There are lots of spots available.

Which WMM had the best Expo?

NEW YORK CITY &  BOSTON

These expos have the best set up, are well staffed and well organized, offer great presenters, lots of great vendors, knowledgeable and supportive staff, and limited wait time.

Which Marathon Major had the BEST race shirt?

BOSTON

Definitely Boston. The shirt is a long sleeved, v-neck and has the awesome logo on the entire back.  Plus at the expo you can also purchase the cool, one of a kind iconic jacket. Great for bragging rights.

It definitely couldn’t be Berlin- they don’t even give you a shirt.

Which WMM was the most organized?

TOKYO

Japan is known for its technology, organization and efficiency. The Japanese take promptness very seriously, which was nice because it meant everything started right on time. Their time management also meant that they strictly enforce a time cap that has checkpoints every 5 kilometers, the time cap is around 7 hours, so the average marathoners doesn’t need to be too concerned about this.

Which WMM had the best crowds?

BOSTON

All of the majors have great crowds, but to me, Boston just stands out. For me it was the Wellesley girls that I loved hearing the most. On Marathon Monday, it’s tradition for students to cheer on Boston Marathoners who race past campus near mile 13. Thousands of women line about a quarter mile of the course, motivating runners with hoots, hollers, high-fives … even kisses. This is referred to as the Wellesley Scream Tunnel because it is so loud, you can hear it from a mile away.

Which WMM had the best course (considering sights and scenery)?

NEW YORK CITY

This was tough- I have enjoyed every course. I loved running across the Tower Bridge during the London Marathon, near Wrigley Field in Chicago, and down Beacon Street in Boston. However, starting on the Verrazano Bridge in NYC and running through all the boroughs was pretty awesome, each is very unique and has its own charm.

Which WMM had the best finisher medal?

BOSTON and TOKYO

Boston because anything with a unicorn is super special, it’s also what it represent- being Boston Strong.

I really like Tokyo too, I love the GOLD!!

Which WMM had the best after party?

CHICAGO

The Chicago Marathon 27th Mile Post Race Party is a blast! This event takes place at the famous Grant Park and offers live entertainment, free massages, and free beer.

Which WMM had the best race swag?

NEW YORK CITY

In the pre-race packet I received lots of goodies in addition to my cool long sleeve race shirt. The finisher poncho is probably my favorite though. This fleece lined poncho keeps you super warm post race, way warmer than the metal heat blankets most races provide.


Which WMM had the best race beer?

BERLIN

Runners love their post race beer and Germans know beer!! Germany offers the widest selections. And since the marathon takes place during Oktoberfest, it just adds to the party.

Which WMM had the best travel experience?

BOSTON and LONDON

Boston just holds a special place in my heart. I love this city- I lived there and fell in love with my husband there, so going back is always a lot of fun. I love the food- visiting the North End and Beacon Hill, shopping down Newbury Street,  and walking along the Charles River. Boston is an awesome city and a place I call home.

London was a lot of fun to visit too- getting to see Buckingham Palace, the changing of the guard,  visiting Kensington Palace, this list goes on and on… plus my mom and sister joined me for this trip which made it extra special. I truly appreciated their support!

Which WMM had the best pre/post race food?

CHICAGO

Chicago has deep dish pizza, Tokyo has sushi and ramen, NYC has NY style thin crust pizza, Berlin has bratwurst and pretzels.

I think my husband and my food tour around Chicago topped the charts.

Which WMM was the most emotional?

BOSTON & TOKYO

It’s incredibly emotional to cross the finish line at Boston. Boston was like a dream come true and having my dad right there at the finish line, cheering me on was very special. This was the last race he saw of mine. Tokyo was also emotional because it was when I received my 6th star and ended my 4 year pursuit to finish the world’s majors!

Which WMM would I recommend for first timers?

CHICAGO

The Chicago Marathon is the easiest of the Majors to get into. Plus this course is easy to navigate, it’s flat & fast, offers great crowd support and manageable logistics. The start and finish are close to each other and the race is well organized. It would be an ideal race for someone wanting to run their first marathon.

Which WMM would I recommend to someone who only wants to run 1?

NEW YORK CITY

New York City has it all. It’s also the largest marathon in the world. Running through all 5 boroughs is exciting. It’s fun to see how different each borough is and how the entertainment varies. Starting on the Verrazano Bridge is pretty awesome.

If I could do 1 WMM over what would it be?

BOSTON

Boston is the oldest, most historic and most popular marathon in the world. Plus, it’s so near and dear to my heart. If I could run it every year, I would.

Which WMM would I not want to run again?

NEW YORK CITY

Race logistics are a nightmare. Getting to start requires a car, train, and ferry! You need to get up super early to ensure you make it to on time. As a result, you end up waiting a long time before your race actually begins.  Each time I ran, I arrived by 8am & started around 11 am. The weather by the start is usually cold, so be prepared and dress warm.

In conclusion:

Each WMM is unique and has its own appeal. I have enjoyed my experience running each of these. I challenge you to consider running one if you haven’t already. Throw your name into the lottery and let fate decide. You never know what could happen.

Happy Running!

 

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Tokyo Marathon Recap

This past weekend I completed my 10 marathon and checked off my 6th and final World Marathon Major (Tokyo) off the list. This perhaps was the most life-changing experience of them all. But through training for and running each marathon, I’ve learned a lot about myself and have discovered what I am truly capable of.

Here’s a look back on the race, my trip and running over the years.

To start, I wanted to explain a little about the significance of the World Marathon Majors. This will help put into perspective why I set this as a goal and why I wanted to complete this series/challenge.

What is the World Marathon Majors (WMM)?

The Abbott World Marathon Majors is a series consisting of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world. The races take place in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City. The organizers of these events are united in their effort to advance the sport and increase the level of interest in racing among running enthusiasts.

What does it mean to complete the WMM?

Completing all 6 races makes you part of a special group of runners that have actually stepped up to the challenge, it’s a
significant accomplishment. To date, only 3,000 runners have completed all 6- how cool is that? I knew I needed to do this, not only to travel and for the cool medal, but for the bragging rights also.

Why run a marathon major?

The marathon majors are wonderful races and events.  They are a great addition to your race bucket list. Each major offers something unique and a little different. In my opinion, everyone should run at least one of the majors, especially if it’s the only 26.2 you ever run, the crowd support is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at any other races, and the race swag is usually pretty good.

Traveling with Marathon Tours:

The 6 majors are incredibly hard to get into, particularly the oversees races. I was unable to get in to Tokyo via the race lottery so I signed up with Marathon Tours to gain entry. Marathon Tours and Travel works closely with the Abbott World Marathon Majors team and the individual race teams to enhance a runners experience while pursuing their aspirational running goals. In this case completing the WMM and earning my 6th star. Marathon Tours provides guaranteed entry to each of the races (with the exception of Boston), convenient hotels and activities customized for each location including tours and logistical details surrounding the race.

This trip was my first experience with Marathon Tours and I couldn’t be happier. They helped plan and organize everything, which made travel stress free. Included with the trip was a city tour as well as a pre race dinner and post race celebration. It was a lot of fun. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up, but I am so happy that I did. The cost of travel may have been a little more than what I would have spent on my own, but it was money well spent. My favorite part was meeting new people, hearing their stories, and sharing this unique experience with them. I plan to keep in touch with my new friends and have already started to plan our next trip/race together!

Overall, visiting Japan has been an amazing vacation and tremendous adventure. This was truly the journey of a lifetime. It was fun to try the local cuisine, explore the city, see Mt. Fuji and visit various temples and shrines. Japan is a city filled with lots of culture.   There is lots to do and many places to visit.

The Tokyo Marathon:

Race day was a mix of emotions- both excitement and nerves. Leading up to the race I had gotten sick with bronchitis and then a stomach bug. On top of that, my running had been limited due to an injury- heel spur and plantar fasciitis. I hadn’t run over 18 miles (and it was on the treadmill) and I was only running 2-3 days per weeks, logging no more than 30 miles at the peak of my training. This was nowhere close to where I have been for previous races (running a few 20 milers, running 5-6 days per week, and logging 60+ miles a week- but probably over training- I am currently trying to find a healthy balance) so I was a little nervous to see what the race would bring. This was the first marathon that I have ever run without a goal in mind. I just wanted to finish feeling good and get my 6th star. I had decided right away that I was going to enjoy the race, take in the sites, take it easy & not beat myself up physically by pushing too hard.  

I was staying at the Tokyo Hilton which was just a short walk to the start line. This was very nice because it helped alleviate the stress of getting to the start on time. It also meant I could sleep in a little and hang at the hotel a little longer, not not having to wait outside in the cold for the race to begin. I had originally hoped and planned for the temps to be in the mid 40s to low 50s. However, on race day, the temperature was around 32.

The course takes in many sights including the Tokyo Government building, Tokyo Tower and Imperial Palace. The marathon incorporated some downhills, wide roads and flat surfaces, but also some nasty little inclines and bridges which kept it interesting. Along the course, there was also a few sections of out and backs where you crossover, getting to see many runners ahead of you and behind you. I even got to see the elites run by a few times which was cool to see. These crossovers also allowed for ample opportunities to see my husband cheering along the course, which was nice!

The locals are fantastic, providing many high fives and cheers which sure helped the morale. They also offered everything from menthol ice spray for sore muscles to bananas, tomatoes, oranges, cookies, candy and even chocolate on the course. While I don’t recommend trying new foods on a run it was still amusing to see it all! It was a very enthusiastic crowd that was estimated to be around 1.6 million.

The first half of the race went well and I felt pretty good. It wasn’t as crowded as I expected and the race started on a downhill which was nice. I had my fuel plan in place and was excited to start my 26.2 mile journey through the city and take in the sites that Japan had to offer.  

At around mile 6, I ran into a friend I met who was also a part of the Marathon Tours group, Michael. Michael and I decided to stick together during the race. I  don’t typically like to run with anyone during a race, but if I learned anything from past marathons, having a friend nearby comes in handy (i.e. NYC with Ann and Berlin w/ Calvin). I was very happy to have Michael by my side and really enjoyed his company. We checked in with each other frequently to ensure that we were each doing ok.

After the halfway point, we both started to feel a little tired and fatigued. Michael too had been dealing with injuries and hadn’t trained as he had hoped so we decided to not push the pace and back off a little. At around mile 16 we implemented a run/walk strategy- 8 min. running/2 min. walking. This was the first time I have ever done this in a race. Typically asking a runner to stop running is like asking a shark to stop swimming, it doesn’t happen. However,  as much as I didn’t want to at first, I knew that if I wanted to finish and feel good, it is probably the best thing for me. Run/walking is something I started to train recently as suggested by my Ironman coach to help prepare me for my upcoming Ironman. A lot of the time when a runner walks, they feel defeated and like their race is over, however when this strategy is implemented appropriately; run/walking is a great way to allow yourself to maintain a consistent running pace because you’re allowing short bouts of recovery between running efforts. In other words, it extends your energy stores. I probably should have done this from the very beginning, but was being a little stubborn.

Michael and I ran/walked up until the last mile and a half and then decided to run it in. We both crossed the finish line together with big smiles and a sense of accomplishment! The race took us well over 4 hours, but we didn’t care. We were in Tokyo and were feeling incredibly grateful to just be there. After the race, we made our way to the exit and to collect our medals. The Abbott tent was first. Michael waited while I got my special 6 Star medal and took pics before we carried on to get his medal, pick up his checked bag, and then head to the family meeting area. In all, it was a great race, a huge sense of accomplishment for me, and an overall incredible experience I will not soon forget.

Race Highlights:
  • The race was so clean and organized. For every 1 runner there were 4 volunteers.
  • Race started on time. Japanese are nothing if not punctual.
  • Tons of crowd support.
  • Tons of water and aide available at each water station.
  • Lots of volunteers holding garbage bags to ensure there wasn’t any trash in the streets.
  • Lots of lights, music, views, and entertainment along the way.
  • People were incredibly polite. If you got bumped they apologized several times.
  • The heated foot bath at the end of the race.
  • Cool finisher towel.
Draw backs:
  • Picking up the bib at the expo took a long time- by the time you got scanned, had your pic taken, got your wristband, race shirt etc. it took forever.
  • Everything at the expo was in Japanese. It was tough to figure out what a few items in your bag were. The selection of items for sale at the expo were different than you find at American races, I was disappointed they didn’t have as good a selection of compression socks, designer racing glasses, nutrition etc. The expo felt more like a gameshow then a running event (I did have a lot of fun at some of the booths though).
  • Using the porta pottie was a challenge, no western seats so squatting over a low hole in the ground made for an extra challenge.
  • The electrolyte beverage they had was Pocari Sweat- this is an acquired taste and took some time getting used to. Wouldn’t drink it if there was another option.
  • The race was marked in kilometers and not miles, thank god for my watch. I’m not too great at doing the kilometers to mile conversions while I run.
  • The last 1k was the longest ever. It didn’t help that there were multiple 1k signs so you really didn’t know what to believe. I had no clue as to how far I actually had left  to go. When you thought you were done, it kept going. I kept looking at my watch and Michael like “when will this end”.
  • No blue line to follow on the road to ensure you were running your targets well. I ran 26.78 miles according to my Garmin.
  • The walk after the finish to get your medal and to get the buses back to the start was about 2 miles long. It took over an hour to get out.
  • Took 30 min to even get your heat blankets. It was very windy and cold at the finish so that wasn’t fun.
Running over the years and why I do what I do:

I was someone who went from “I hate running” to “I can’t live without it”. If you asked me 6 years ago if I’d ever run a marathon, I would have thought you were crazy for even asking. I never thought I had a “runner’s body” and therefore could never truly run longer distances. When I first started running, it was miserable! I had blisters on my heels and toes from my shoes, I was tired and sore from run/walking barely 3 miles, I couldn’t run a mile without feeling like my lungs were on fire.  It was terrible. I wanted to give up and put myself out of my own misery, but I stuck with it and honestly, it got better. When my lungs stopped burning, when I became a little faster, and when I could run 3 miles without stopping, I actually started enjoying it. It started to feel good and I became proud of myself for what I was able to accomplish, so I kept going.

In 2012 when I moved to NJ from Boston, I joined a running group, Run Around Princeton. When I first started with the group on Saturday mornings, I couldn’t keep up with the group, felt embarrassed and wanted to quit.  However, I stuck with it & continued to run with the group every Saturday morning, trying my best to keep up. Then one day, I actually did and felt so thankful that I didn’t give up on myself. In 2013 I signed up for my very first marathon- The Philadelphia Marathon. When I crossed that finish line, I cried. I felt invincible and unstoppable and couldn’t believe what I was able to accomplish. I didn’t just want to do it again, I needed to do it again. I knew, in that moment, I would never say that I couldn’t do something. I started to believe that anything is truly possible, it’s just a question of how bad you want it and I wanted it bad. My next marathon was the Chicago Marathon in 2014. From there, I had the running bug and knew I wanted to keep running and made it my goal to complete all of the World’s Major Marathons.

It had become my mission over the last 4 years to finish the majors. Training and preparing for the races wasn’t always easy. Battling several injuries (which left me unable to run for most of 2017) and saving money to be able to travel is a huge commitment that takes dedication, hard work, and lot of sacrifices.  So when I finally completed the Tokyo Marathon, it meant so much. Crossing that finish line and achieving this goal brought tears to my eyes. 

Traveling the world, exploring new cities, and getting to run is  a truly awesome privilege. I feel so blessed.  It’s been an amazing experience and something I couldn’t have done without the love, support, & encouragement from my husband, my family, and my close friends. It’s been a remarkable journey and I can’t wait to see what’s next. I hear there’s something called the Seven Continents Club and I think that’s right up my ally!!

Until next time 😉 Happy Running!

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WORKING OUT ON THE ROAD

Do you find it hard to workout when you travel? If you’re like me, you don’t do well with changes to your routine or schedule and when you don’t have the equipment you normally use to workout with.

So when I go away, I first try to be very proactive and planful, thinking about what my routine will look like while I am gone. I first try to figure out what I can bring with me and also what facilities will be available- i.e is there a gym where I’ll be staying, can I safely run outside, is there a Crossfit nearby that I can drop into, can I take a yoga class, etc…

If I think some of these aren’t available, fitting in my normal workouts may be a challenge, so I do my best to go into the trip with an open mind. I’ll do what I can & I try to look at it as a way to breathe some new life into my routine and do something different. Sometimes, being limited in the time you have and the equipment available can be a good thing because it forces you to be more creative with your workouts or spend more time on some much needed rest and relaxation.

GETTING READY TO GO:

THINK: What can I take with me?

Packing your dumbbells obviously isn’t the best idea, but if you don’t have a clue whether your hotel has a decent exercise room, there are some alternatives:

Resistance Bands:

Resistance bands can be a great traveling companion. You can use bands to target every muscle in the body and since you have tension throughout the entire movement, you’ll really feel the burn. They are also easy to stuff into your suitcase without taking up much space. Great for when you’re at home, at work, or away in your hotel room. You can find them a variety of bands and tubes on Amazon, other retailers, and even local sporting goods store. Most bands come with a list of exercises you can do with them.

For other ideas, you can visit:

https://greatist.com/fitness/resistance-band-exercises

or

http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/total-body-sculpting-resistance-band-workout

Jump rope:

Jumping rope is a great exercise for your heart and body, and will really help you burn calories. Take the opportunity to practice your jump roping skills and maybe even double unders!

A yoga mat:

I have found some interesting and often beautiful spaces to practice in while on vacation. I have unrolled my mat at the airport and found a comfortable seat or lying position and meditated, or some light stretches in between flights to help with stiffness and circulation.  If you’re in a hotel, can you rearrange the furniture to create a little yoga nook? You can download music to your phone to help create the right ambiance for you. Find yourself in tight quarters? Take your mat outside onto the porch, grass or the beach. Complete some sun salutations, warrior I & II sequences, allowing your body to move, flow, and stretch.

What can you do without equipment?

Swimming:

Swimming is a great cardio exercise and it targets every muscle of your body. If you’re at a hotel with a pool, swim laps or try pool running.

If you’re at the beach, the ocean offers even more opportunities for exercising while having fun – surfing, paddle boarding, boogie boarding, riding the waves- all are great for burning calories and staying active.

Walking and/or Running:

Walking and running are great ways to explore a new location. You don’t need much more than a good pair of shoes to get a great cardio workout in for the day. Plus, if you’re at the beach, you’ll get even more out of your walks/runs by using the sand to your advantage. Walking or running in soft sand is much harder than walking on pavement. Note- if you’re going for a longer duration run/walk, wear shoes rather than being barefoot because it could cause shin or calf pain. Get up early and watch the sunrise over the horizon. I can’t think of a better way to start my day!

Want to run on pavement but aren’t comfortable in a new location? Try finding a few local running clubs you can link up with to run or who can suggest safe routes for you. I have found some local groups on FB and messaged them prior to traveling.  

Ways to workout out as your travel:

Airports:

Getting stuck in an airport with long layovers or plane delays is no fun, but you can take advantage by getting in a little exercise.

Your best bet is to walk the airport, avoid the escalators & take the stairs, and keep your arms going and your posture straight. If you have a ton of carry-on luggage, find a locker and stash it there or take it with you to add some weight to your walk. Or as I said before, unroll your yoga mat. Some airports even have quiet meditations rooms you can practice in or gyms you can take advantage of. Most charge anywhere from $10 to $20 for the day.

On the Plane:

Is there anything more uncomfortable than the seats on an airplane? You can combat a stiff neck and back by getting up every 30-60 minutes or so and walking the length of the plane. While you’re up, get the kinks out by lacing your fingers together and stretching from side to side or stretching them up over head (micro backbend) and then in front of you while gently rounding your spine (like a standing cat/cow pose). While seated, stretch your neck, arms and legs too. Anything you can do to keep the circulation going will help reduce some of the aches, pains, and bloating.

Hotels:

Many hotels have exercise rooms but, if they don’t, they might have an affiliation with a local gym for a small fee. Ask the hotel manager about local health clubs and about any parks or trails close by.

I like to google and find local gyms before I go. I’ll reach out about a drop in classes or ask about special rates, especially if I’ll be going for or a week. My favorite thing to do when I travel is find a cool new Crossfit affiliate or “Box” to go to!

Don’t want to go or pay for a gym? Google travel WOD (Workout Of the Day). You will find several full body, no equipment needed workouts you can do anywhere, any time.

For me to be most successful and able to workout when I travel, I think it helps to do a little research before you go, so you’re  prepared when you get there.

Other ways to stay healthy:

Eating:

Traveling can throw a wrench into your healthy eating. From the questionable airplane food to the quick food at the airport (pizza, burgers, fries, ice cream etc.) it’s easy to get off course. Then you have the temptation of new and exciting restaurants to try while you’re at your destination. Try to bring easy, packable snacks for the plane (fruit, granola bars, trail mix, etc.) and, when eating out, try to make at least one healthy choice each day.

Whatever your destination, a little advance planning can ensure that you stay on track with your exercise program. Be active, get out and explore, eat healthy, and most importantly have fun.

 

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Brooks Glycerin 15 Review

Looking for a new running shoe? I may have just the one for you!

Have you worn a pair of Brooks shoes yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Brooks has high quality products and as a company truly stands behind everything they make (from shoes to apparel). Brooks wants to make sure that everyone has what they need to Run Happy! Every design and engineering choice is specifically designed to incorporate  runners’ needs and the running experiences they crave. For whatever reason, if you don’t like your shoes or other items, you can return them, no problem. What could be better than that?

Brooks recently launched the Brooks Glycerin 15, which is an update to an already great shoe model. If you aren’t familiar with the Glycerin line, it is Brooks’ most cushioned shoe and it’s built to withstand high milage while providing a comfortable and soft ride. Glycerin offers a few new updates while maintaining the soft, plush ride users have come to love.

Here is some info. about the new design.

  • Runner Type: Neutral
  • Midsole: Super DNA and full-length cushioning with Omega Flex Grooves
  • Outsole: IDEAL Pressure Zones and blown rubber forefoots.
  • Upper: 3D Stretch print, air mesh with 4-way stretch
  • Heel: Comfort collar
  • Colors: Five new colors for both men and women
  • Weight: Men’s Brooks Glycerin is 10.6 ounces
  • Weight: Women’s Brooks Glycerin is 9.2 ounces
  • Drop: Men’s and Women’s: 10mm
  • Price: $150.00

PROS:

  • Lots of cushioning but still pretty light weight
  • Durable outsole
  • Very flexible
  • Breathable/ great ventilation
  • Great colors
  • Super DNA midsole & 3D technology
  • Offers good support for medium to high arches
  • Sleek looking

CONS:

  • Price
  • Ok on some light trails, but they do not recommend taking them on technical and rough terrain.
  • Narrow in midfoot- some people may want to consider going  up a ½ size.

In all, if you get a chance to try on these shoes, you may be hooked and find that the investment is worth it.

 

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5 Yoga Poses for Runners

Having tight hips and legs can be very painful for a runner, but yoga can help and be a game-changer. Runners, like myself, often suffer from chronically tight hip flexors, hamstrings and calves. This tightness/immobility can lead to pain up the body and along the spine. So being able to lengthen, open, and stretch these areas is important. Yoga will not only help a runner’s performance, but it will also help them prevent injuries and keep them healthy & safe so they can continue to enjoy being able to run!

I recommend that all runners attend a yoga class a few times a week, but if you can’t, try to carve out 10 minutes out of your day day, and practice a few of the poses below to help your running. Begin today and start to see and feel the effects that yoga has on your body.

Strengthen and lengthen your leg muscles, improve flexibility and prevent injury with these 5 yoga poses for runners.

Downward Dog- (Adho Mukha Svanasana):DD  The most common issues for runners are shin splints, knee and foot problems, hamstring, as well as IT-band discomfort. So completing poses that are going to lengthen, and  strengthen the hips, quads, calves and hamstrings are important. Downward Dog does a lot of that, in addition to opening the arms and upper back, down dog stretches the legs too. Lift your hip bones straight toward the ceiling and push your heels into the ground for the best overall stretch.

Low Lunge- (Anjaneyasana)ll hands:  Running can be tough on the hips. Low lunges can help strengthen the core while also stretching the thighs, groin, and opening tightened hips. Reach your arms to the ceiling and breathe.

Tree- (Vrksasana):  Balancing on one leg is great for athletes. The treemore you can strengthen your legs andimprove your balance, the less likely you are to twist an ankle or fall down when you’re on a trail or any type of uneven surface. Balancing on one leg, bring your other foot into your standing leg, try to be above or below the knee; avoiding pressing into the knee joint. Focus your gaze on an object in the distance and stand tall for 30 seconds to a minute.

bridgeBridge- (Setu Bandhasana):  Backbends help open the shoulders and the front of the body.  They also strengthens the core and activate the glutes. Bridge pose is a good counter pose to running, because the longer we run the more we tend to hunch forward. Lift your hips up toward the sky and try to keep your body in a straight line with your core engaged. To open your chest even further, clasp your hands together underneath your pelvis and try to roll your shoulder blades toward each other. Squeeze your glutes and breathe.

Reclined Pigeon- (Supta Kapotasana)reclined pigeon: Traditional Pigeon can put a lot of pressure on the knees if not done correctly, so reclined pigeon can be a nice alternative.  Lie on your back with your knees bent, and cross your left ankle over your right quad. Gently pull your legs toward you for a stretch in your left hip, glute, and hamstring, then repeat on the other side

Running + Yoga = LOVE

Happy Running!

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Returning to Running After An Injury

Over the past month, I was unable to run due to a quad and tendon injury in my left leg.  In January, I had started training for the NJ Marathon which will be held on 4/30/17, in an effort to try to qualify for Boston. I started speed workouts, tempo runs, etc… I hoped to get faster and PR on race day. Unfortunately, the Universe had other plans for me.  I am not sure how I got hurt or why. I was following a plan, running smart, doing warm ups, cool downs, stretching, eating well, but yet I still got injured. When I first got hurt, I tried running through the pain, but that only made it worse. I was forced to stop running. Out the window went my marathon and any hope of a BQ.

At first, I was devastated. I didn’t want to accept it, didn’t want to rest, and went to three doctors in an effort to find someone who would tell me what I wanted to hear… no such luck. My only option was to rest and give my leg some needed time to repair itself.  This was a wakeup call/reality check reminding me to slow down and not push so hard. I had to listen, whether I liked it or not. I needed to accept the fact that I needed to rest, because the more I tried to push through, the longer it would take my leg to heal. I immediately started various therapies to help get me back to running: stretching, foam rolling, massage, acupuncture, stim, ultrasound therapy, and rest.

During the time, I kept asking myself, what was I going to do if I didn’t run? The answer, swim and some strength training (obviously, I couldn’t use my legs so no squatting, jumping, etc…). I focused on core work and upper body. This made me feel good and somewhat productive, despite not not being able to run much.

After a month, I started to notice a difference. I had more mobility in my leg, I could walk without limping, didn’t have to use the railing going up and down the stairs, and with doctors approval I started to run a few miles. I was super excited, but I needed to still remind myself to take it easy and not push too hard because I certainly didn’t want to hurt myself again. Coming back from a running injury stinks. But, it stinks a lot less than the time spent actually dealing with the injury.

The last thing you want during a comeback is to re-injure yourself, or to get a new injury, so keep the following in mind as you return to running.

TIPS TO COME BACK AFTER AN INJURY:

BE GRATEFUL:

The first and perhaps most important thing to keep in mind when getting back to running after a long hiatus is to be grateful for every mile. Every mile is a gift. It’s more about being out on the road than anything else, the rest will come!

BUILD SLOW:

When you get the green light to begin running, do not jump full-force back into where you left off. It is important NOT to rush things, as patience pays off in the end. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend running and supplement the rest with cross-training.

TAKE BABY STEPS:

If you start to notice some injury symptoms creep up, reassess right away. It may mean you have to take a few steps back and not increase your running that week. This is not a sign of defeat; if you catch it early, you’ll avoid anything more serious. Coming back can take time, be patient.

DON’T EXPECT TO PICK UP WHERE YOU LEFT OFF:

You may have been able to run a sub 8 min. mile, but when you come back from an injury,  it’s not likely you’ll be at your previous fitness level. Don’t be discouraged if you’re running a minute or more slower. The speed/fitness will come back! You’ll need to drop pace and mileage, so try not to get hung up on what once was.

POSITIVITY & PERSPECTIVE:

The biggest deciding factor in how well you can come back from an injury is your perspective. Look forward to the runs and more miles as they come and don’t forget that each mile is NOT a given. Be grateful for them and, as you are able to run more and are back to full training mode, remind yourself not to take them for granted. This will help you remain patient and keep your eyes focused on your long term goals.

Enjoy the act of feeling like you’re a runner again, it’s one heck of a high. So smile and have faith that muscle memory will eventually kick back in!

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT:

Don’t expect your body to return in same time frame as someone else with the same injury. Just because your friend was running after a certain time period, doesn’t mean you will. Reassess the goals you had before your injury and take it one day at a time.

KEEP CROSSTRAINING AND DOING YOUR THERAPY:

I.e. swimming, lifting, rehab (especially the rehab exercises)- Keep doing it! This is all stuff that’ll make you a better runner, plus you’ve started a new routine, stick to it!

DON’T REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKES:

Assess your training. What were you doing before the injury that could have lead to you becoming injured? Did you over train? Run too many races? Not enough rest?  Not stretching enough? No warmup/cooldown? Whatever the case may be, think about it, analyze it, and make a plan to not have history repeat itself.

Happy Running!
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Training for a Flat Marathon

When preparing for a flat marathon (like the NJ marathon), you may need to modify your training plan a little to better prepare for the unique demands of racing on a long, flat course. When most runners hear the word “flat” used to describe a marathon, we think “oh, that’ll be easy”. However, that may not be the case. Flat does not mean easy, especially if you’re not accustomed to training on flat terrain. Running on terrain you aren’t used to, can lead to muscle fatigue and cramping due to your body’s lack of muscle memory for the repetitive impact load on your muscles. Plus, it can be hard for the mind because of the monotony of the course. So one of the best ways to prepare for a flat marathon course is to shift more of your training to flat surfaces.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a flat race:

Hit the Track- There is no better place to run your speed and tempo workouts for a flat course than on a flat track. You can include shorter, 400m or 800m repeats or longer, 1-2 mile repeats to your training.

Hit the Treadmill- This certainly is not the most fun option, but it can be a good resource, especially if you can’t get to the track (i.e. it’s raining, snowing, too hot, etc…)  Treadmills are especially convenient for runners who travel and need to get their runs in.

Vary Your Long Runs- Try to find routes that offer flat stretches of road or path. The best way to prepare your body for a long, flat course is to simulate it with a long, flat training run. Once you have a flat course you like, you can begin to alternate it with your usual rolling hill routes.

Happy Running!

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