Various things I want to tell you

No catchy title about the theme for  this week’s post, since the things I want to tell you are all unrelated.

1) At some point during the next two runs, please remember to thank our volunteers.   This is the most support we’ve had in the 3 years I’ve been on the team, and it’s great.  It would be so much harder to go those long distances without the knowledge that cheerful people will be waiting with food, water and moral support every few miles.   We wouldn’t be able to do those one way runs to familiarize ourselves with the course without them.

2) Start planning for how you will keep warm on Marathon morning.  We will be getting to Dodger Stadium at least an hour before the start of the run.  It will be dark, and it is not likely to be warm.  Walking around shivering for an hour is not the way you want to start your day.  Consider going to a thrift shop to buy some sweats or a blanket, something you won’t mind tossing to the side when you start running and never seeing again.

3) Please pay attention to any aches and pains and take care of them appropriately. At least two people didn’t show up today due to injuries; at least one stopped midway through the run; and yet another had painful leg cramps at the end.  Everyone who stopped, or didn’t start at all, due to their pain, did the right thing.  Do NOT try to “run through the pain”.   We are too close to the Marathon to risk hurting yourself. Don’t let one bad decision ruin your chances of achieving something you have worked so long and hard for.  It’s better to have to go slowly on Marathon day to cross that finish line than to be unable to walk more than a short distance.  If anything isn’t feeling right, remember that Elevation Fitness is eager and willing to help.  They regularly reach out, encouraging me to send any injured runners their way.  I encourage you to take advantage of this generous offer.  And of course, you are welcome to reach out to me or Craig as well.  We are all here to help and want to see you succeed.

Next weekend’s run is “only” 16 miles, since we are now starting to taper.  Remember when 8 miles sounded like a lot?  Look how far you have come!  Congratulations to all of you.

Tips for Running in the Heat

According to the historical records, the average high temperature for Downtown LA in March is 70 degrees; but if the last few weeks are any predictor of the weather on Marathon day or on the 3 Sunday runs until then, our upcoming runs are likely to be quite a  bit warmer.  If you are under hydrated, not only will you slow down, you’re also likely to feel less than your best.  With less blood volume and thicker blood, it’s harder for the body to cool itself off, and if you haven’t adequately replaced the electrolytes you lost by sweating, it will be that much harder for your body to absorb the liquids when you do drink. We’ve all heard Coach Craig say “if you wait until you’re thirsty, it’s too late”; now you know the science behind that.

So, here are a few tips to help you avoid the effects of under hydration.

1) Drink before you start: When you get up in the morning,  drink at least 8-16 ounces of water.  Start the run with a full tank, so to speak.

2) Drink at every stop:  Have at least a cup of water and gel, or a cup of Gatorade, at EVERY stop.

3) Consider carrying water:  Given how well supported our training runs are, if you stop at each water stop and have either gel and water, or an electrolyte drink, you may not need to carry fluids.  Whether or not you do is a function of your own body. Over these weeks, hopefully you are learning your needs, but here are a few facts to help you decide. Males sweat more than females, and faster runners sweat more than slower runners.  Also, as you plan for Marathon day, please keep in mind that our volunteers won’t be staffing these water stops during the Marathon.  Last year, the heat caught the LA Marathon staff by surprise.  Runners out on the course longer than about 5 hours reported that they got to stops and there were no drinks left.  Maybe the staff learned and will adjust the amount of fluids offered; maybe they won’t.  I don’t know.  I therefore recommend that if you expect to be out there longer than 4 1/2 to 5 hours and it’s going to be a hot day, carry your own water or sports drink.  You can start practicing now by carrying fluids on our training runs.

4) Pour some water over your head.  It will cool you down right away, and as it evaporates, it will continue to cool you down.  It’s a great way to feel instantly refreshed.

5) Run on the shady side of the street. No point running in the hot sun and sweating even more than you already are.  If you run on the sunny side of the street, not only are you getting the direct sun, you’ll also be feeling the heat radiating up from pavement that’s been heated by that direct sun.  Why do that to yourself?  It only takes a few seconds to cross the street.  Your body will thank you.

Go Team!

How we will spend our last 4 Sundays before the Marathon

The Marathon is just 5 weeks away, so what you do to prepare over the next few weeks is very important.  Next Sunday, the plan is to run 20 miles.  We’ll do another 20 mile run the following Sunday, Feb 22; and then we’ll start tapering.  The runs on March 1 and March 8 will be much shorter, as will the weekday runs, so your body can rest and be ready for the big day.

If you are worrying about doing 20 miles, that’s normal.  But remember a few things.  If you’ve been training consistently with us, you are strong enough to do it. Also, it’s at least 50% mental.  If you want to think of the route as a series of shorter runs from water stop to water stop, go for it.  If you will be encouraged by the fact the course is a net downhill, with a long gradual downhill for the last few miles, visualize yourself cruising down those hills.  If you want to use the time to think about how you can apply the lessons learned from all this hard work to other parts of your life, and how you will be more successful in achieving your goals as a result, go ahead and enjoy those insights.

If you scroll down through the recent blog posts, you’ll see information that Craig and I pulled together to help you prepare for those long runs and recovery properly.  I strongly encourage you to take these suggestions to heart so you will feel your best.

Also, please remember to give a special shout out to the volunteers staffing our water/snack stations.  We couldn’t do this without them.

Post Run Recovery Tips

First of all, congratulations to everyone who finished today’s 19 mile run.  The elevation gain today was the same as it will be for the full marathon, which means that if you did all that climbing over a shorter distance, i.e., more climbing per mile than the actual marathon,  you can feel very confident in your ability to run the entire course.  Today you proved to yourself that you can do it. And, instead of ending the run with a challenging uphill like we had today, the end of the LA Marathon will be far easier.  Miles 24 and 25 will be downhill, and mile 26 and that last 0.2 will be flat with lots of crowd energy to power you to the finish line.

Now it’s recovery time. Your body worked hard, and it needs time and the right inputs to rebuild.  Take it easy on Monday and Tuesday, and check the schedule for this week’s training.  Be sure to consume lots of good carbs and protein, replenish your electrolytes, and drink plenty of water.  The sooner you do this after a run, the better.  (Trust me, I learned that the hard way.)   When you do a long run (15 miles or more), you are probably burning more calories than you are consuming, and at some point your body will start breaking down muscle tissue to provide some of the energy you need.  That’s why it’s so important to eat protein right away. That’s what repairs those muscles.  The carbohydrates are necessary to rebuild your energy stores; the electrolytes restore your body chemistry for optimal function, and the water is necessary to keep you properly hydrated.  If you take good care of your body after a long challenging run, you’ll feel a whole lot better in days that follow.