Gravity is your friend

This Sunday, last Sunday, and on several future Sundays, our training route will include the last miles of the Marathon course. As you may have noticed, the downhill starts at 24th Street and continues all the way to Ocean Boulevard.  For those of you doing the full marathon, or the second half of the Marathon Relay, remember this!  You’ll be happy on Marathon Day that you know exactly when the last uphill ends.

When you get to this downhill, or any other downhill for that matter, LEAN FORWARD A BIT, and let gravity help you out. You’ll speed up without even trying.  I would also encourage you to think about some other elements of smooth efficient running.   Make sure your arms are swinging at your sides rather than across your chest; keep your shoulders and hands relaxed; hit the ground with the ball of your foot first (not your toes or heels); and if you have a watch or a timer on your phone, check that your cadence is close to 180.  That’s 45 foot steps every 15 seconds.   With these minor adjustments, you’ll be running faster with less effort.  You’ll feel great!

Go Team!


How many “firsts” will you achieve?

As one of our teammates finished this morning, he approached me with a huge smile and announced “Today was the first time I ever ran 10 miles!”  Congratulations!!!   Yes, if you stick with it, and this is your first year on the team, you will keep going further than you have before and you’ll have an opportunity to be proud of yourself each and every week.  Not only will you achieve new distances, you will have the opportunity to achieve new “firsts” in your personal life as you continue on the journey to Marathon Day.  Team members from prior years have told me it was the first time they felt like they were part of something big, the first time they believed they could really accomplish a huge goal, the first time they committed to something, etc.

If you are a returning runner, I encourage you to achieve a “first” as well.  Make this the first time you helped someone in the early stages of recovery achieve their goal, or the first time you helped in a new way. Consider introducing yourself to someone new before or after the run, running with people you haven’t talked to before, offering to lead a pace group, sharing a success story, or being inspiring in whatever other way works best for you.

Together as a team we can all inspire each other.  What will your “first” be?

Go Team!

“Love that shirt”

“Love that shirt” a man shouted as he passed me running in the other direction this morning on the beach bike path.  Then he turned and said “great message”. I turned, gave him a big thumbs up and thought “yup, we are all out there running for a great cause”.  We are changing lives; we are supporting each other; and we are helping others change their lives.  People who don’t even know us can learn a lot about who we are just by reading those three important words “Running 4 Recovery”. By wearing your team shirts to every training run, you not only help share our message and educate others about our cause, you also help your teammates by showing that we all share a common goal.

We are a running community, and we are proud of what we run for.  To each of you who has been wearing the team shirt, thank you; and to each of you who will be wearing the shirts from now on, thanks in advance.  Go Team!

About that uphill

So, how was that uphill for you on Sunday?  Mararthoners, are you proud of yourself for powering up that?  You should be. Soon, we’ll all be going all the way up Temescal Canyon, both the half marathoners and full marathoners;  and once you can do that, you’ll be prepared for all the hills on the Marathon course.

There is one short steep hill in Downtown LA at about Mile 4.  It looks tough, but as you approach it on Marathon day, there will be drummers there pounding out a rhythm that echoes off the buildings and within your body.  Put your head down, get into the rhythm, and the beat will power you up that hill. The rest of the hills are longer but much gentler.  As we get further into our training season, our routes will cover sections of the Marathon route so you’ll be very familiar with every incline and decline, and you’ll know how to pace yourself. You’ll be able to tackle the course with wisdom and confidence.

Between now and then, here are physical and mental tips for doing uphills.  (More about downhills in a future post.) Lean forward a bit and take shorter steps. It will feel a little easier.  Also have a plan for how you’ll mentally tackle the hills.  A game I play in my head is to guess where I’ll be after 100 steps, then look down (though I do look around enough so I don’t do something really embarrassing like run into a parked car), run those 100 steps, pick my head up for a better view, and see how close my guess was to where I actually am.  Maybe this will work for you, or maybe you’ll come up with something else.  Experiment and see what works best for you.