Yoga is a great way to improve your running or walking

The strength and flexibility you develop on the mat–namely in the core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors–can help you run more efficiently and stay injury-free, says Adam St. Pierre, a coach, biomechanist, and exercise physiologist for the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. We are very fortunate that Ashika so kindly volunteered her time to conduct post-run yoga sessions. As a certified yoga instructor, and a trainer for aspiring instructors, she has lots of valuable expertise to share and she made the class fun.  Thanks so much!  This was the first session, and we look forward to more.

Not only does yoga provide physical benefits, a team yoga class is also a great way to connect with your teammates, share stories, and encourage each other. As I was down on the grass this morning, one runner told me he had a pain behind his knee.  I’m glad I heard about that because it was an opportunity for me to encourage him to get to Liddy Health & Fitness before it gets any worse and sidelines his running. If you feel sharp pains anywhere, I encourage you to do the same.   Another runner told me that today was his furthest run.  He surprised himself by how well he did, and I feel honored that I got to hear about this success.  I told him, and I will say the same to each of you:  keep it up and you’ll find yourself being very proud of your accomplishments as well.  And as you reach these personal milestones, I hope you too will share them with me.

Go Team!

It’s Time to Start Running More Deliberately

First of all, to all of our new runners/walkers, congratulations to each of you for completing a month of training.  You made a commitment to yourself and you are sticking with it; you set a goal for yourself and you are making progress toward it.  That’s awesome.  To all of you returning runners/walkers, thanks so much for coming back and being part of the community once again. And volunteers, thanks as always for the moral support and the refreshments.

Whether you are a beginner or are more experienced, there is always something you can do to improve.  Running may seem simple – just put one foot in front of the other, a lot of times.  Actually, there is quite a bit to pay attention to and think about so you can optimize your experience every time you get out there. At the workshop last week, Erika Hall presented a number of tips; and at the breakfast this morning, Brandon presented more.  We know it’s a lot of information to take in, so we will review and reinforce these lessons throughout the season, starting today.

The tip for this week: Pace yourself.  13.1 miles is a long way; and 26.2 miles is even longer.  The runs we are doing now are relatively short, so it may be tempting to start off at a strong  pace.  There are two reasons not to. First of all, your body needs some time to warm up.  You are less likely to get injured if you take it easy for the first 10-20 minutes, and then gradually go faster.  Second, it’s not fun to run out of steam in the middle of the run and have to slow way down in order to make it to the end.  So, here’s what we recommend for each run: Take it easy for the 1-2 miles, roughly 10-20 minutes. Then pick up the pace a little, maybe 10-15 seconds per mile faster.  If you feel like you still have lots of energy, think “Great, I’ll save it for the end.”  Don’t pick up the pace quite yet.  If you are still feeling strong as you begin the last mile or so, then pick up your pace a bit more, but only enough that you can still maintain a conversation. (Please note that this applies to the midweek runs later in the week and the Sunday run, and not the Tuesday recovery run which should be slow for the entire run.) This is all about managing your energy levels, learning what your limits are, and pacing yourself to be able to finish strong.    It takes some practice, and some trial & error. You can do it!

Go Team!

You are part of something big!

As I sat in Rosh Hashana services this morning, I looked around at the crowd who had gathered.  Some were good friends I’ve known for years; others were acquaintances; and many others were complete strangers.  We were a diverse group of familiar and unfamiliar faces, people with many different stories and reasons for being in services; but we were all connected by a common bond. And our synagogue community was part of a much larger Jewish community, also sharing this common bond.  This sense of community and connectedness, this special bond, is something I cherish each time I go to services.  And then I thought “That’s part of what the Marathon Team is about too. Now I know what to write about in this week’s message to the team.”

Every week, we come together:  runners and walkers, residents alumni and community members, athletes and novices, people from all sorts of backgrounds.  We all have our own reasons for wanting to cross that finish line, but we all share a common goal.  When each of us comes out on Sunday, we each contribute to that sense of community for our teammates; and we can embrace the support that others provide for us.  We will work together over the next five months to achieve our goal, knowing that there are literally thousands of others training for that same goal.  On February 14, you will be surrounded by over 25,000 runners; the crowd support from the thousands lining the streets will be amazing; and the outpouring of encouragement you’ll get when you pass the BTS booth at Mile 19 will be so uplifting.

Next Sunday, and every Sunday until Marathon day,  I encourage you to look around at your Marathon community, and feel part of something big.  Know that as you are taking on this challenge to help yourself, you are also making a difference in the lives of all those who feel supported by your presence.  Thank you.

Shana Tovah.

I’m scared.

“I’m scared.” A new runner approached me this morning and said these words, voicing trepidation about what lay ahead and crossing the finish line.  Hopefully I provided a good response at the time, but I thought about those words all the way home. I’m sure this runner is not the only one feeling this way, so I wanted to share a few thoughts on this topic with all of you.

First of all,  it’s perfectly okay to be scared. In fact, it’s very reasonable and appropriate.  Finishing a marathon is a big challenge, both physically and mentally.  Each of you attempting the marathon for the first time is asking your body to do something difficult.  You can’t just roll out of bed with little or no running experience under your belt and expect to cruise across the finish line.  It takes hard work. It takes a lot of time. There are no shortcuts.  You will be transforming your body, one mile at a time between now and February 14.  There will be days where you get out there and feel great, and there will be other days when you won’t.  There will be days  when you are excited about what you are accomplishing, and there will be days when you won’t even feel like getting out of bed to train.

Every one of those feelings is perfectly okay. WHAT MATTERS MOST IS WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT.  Do you tell yourself “I’m scared, or I don’t feel like it;  therefore I won’t even try?”  I hope not, as that’s a guaranteed recipe for failure.  Or, do you do what each of you did today?  Show up and do your best. You came, you went out there, and you faced the challenge.  You put your worries aside.  You believed in yourself, and look what you accomplished.  A shout-out to each of you!!!!  Be really proud of yourself.

Stick with it, and in a month from now, you’ll be thinking ‘I can’t believe how far I went today.  I remember when I thought 2-3 miles was hard.”  And, as crazy as it may sound to you now, when I am telling you in January that today we have a “short” run of “only” 12 miles,  you will be very comfortable with that distance.

Each of you can do this. Your teammates and the staff are here to support you.  Your coaches are here to guide you on this physical and mental journey.  Your job is to show up, do your best, and most importantly, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

Go Team!!!