Preparing for the Big Day – 10 Things I Encourage You to Do

  1. First and foremost, be really proud of yourself for all the hard work you did to get yourself to this day
  2. Eat lots of good carbs on Friday and Saturday, and drink lots of water.
  3. Eat a healthy high carb breakfast Sunday morning, and drink more water.
  4. Pack energy gels to carry with you and eat along the way. Bring water you can carry, or plan to stop often to rehydrate.
  5. If you are checking your gear for pickup at the finish line, put a recovery drink or protein bar in your bag. If you’re not, have a plan for getting recovery food into you ASAP after the race.  Your legs will thank you for the rest of the week.
  6. Have warm throw-away (hopefully collected afterward for donations) clothes or a blanket so you can stay warm during that hour or more that we’ll be waiting at Dodger Stadium.
  7. Avoid doing, wearing, eating or drinking anything new on Marathon day. Stick with what you already know feels good and works.
  8. Try going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier during the week, so that pre-dawn wake-up time on Marathon morning won’t be as difficult.
  9. If you’re nervous, embrace it. You’re normal. There will be tough patches, so think ahead about how you’ll get through them.  Nobody said a half marathon or a marathon was easy. Be confident knowing that you trained well, that you are ready, and that there will be thousands of people along the route cheering you on.  YOU CAN DO THIS!
  10. Think about how your path to Marathon Day is filled with critical life lessons and new skills that you can apply to just about anything in life. Your journey is filled with many small successes that add up to really big ones. Visualize yourself achieving your goal on Marathon Day, and your goals in life.


Six Reasons Why Today’s Run Was So Awesome

Today’s soggy weather showed us what we’re made of, and it was all good! Here are six reasons I am proud of everyone who showed up and grateful to be part of this community:

  1. Our loyal and consistent group of volunteers, along with Robin and Nicole, cheerfully stood out there in the rain making sure we were well hydrated on the inside too.
  2. Our group of volunteers included injured and sick runners who chose to come out in the rain even though they couldn’t run.
  3. Despite 2 recent hospitalizations that took away much of his strength, Jeremy pushed himself through all 12 miles.
  4. We had a first time walker out there who wasn’t deterred by the less than ideal conditions
  5. Ze’ev and Joey braved the rain to offer us shelter and free recovery drinks
  6. Every runner and walker I passed had a great attitude, and everyone I saw finish was still smiling!

Thanks to everyone for making this such a positive experience!


Congratulations on your “only”!

I was so happy to hear several of you comment on how good it felt to think that Sunday’s run was “ONLY” 14 miles for the full marathoners and 6 ½ for the half marathoners.  Would you have ever used that word before those distances back in September?!

Look how far you’ve come in just a few months.  If you can accomplish that much in just a few months, think what other huge goals you can achieve with a similar amount of discipline and hard work.  Congratulations to each of you.


It’s a 10K with a 20 mile warmup

Marathoners, congratulations on your longest day so far.   Looking back on where you were back in September, can you believe you just did 20 miles?!  Wow!!!

So, now the harder question.  Did you finish today’s route and think “I am full of energy, nothing hurts, and I could run another 6.2 miles”?  If the answer to any of that question is [inappropriate language deleted] or just “no”, please think carefully about what you did to prepare for today’s run, and what you can do differently.  Here are some reminders:

  • Train during the week, not so hard that you aren’t well rested before a long run, but enough that the long run won’t be a shock to your body.
  • Stretch and use the foam roller during the week to ensure your muscles aren’t tight.
  • Carbo load and hydrate well on Saturday.
  • Get a good night’s sleep on Saturday night.
  • Eat a high carb breakfast on Sunday.
  • Start the run Sunday at slower than your normal pace, and continue at this easier pace for 2-3 miles.
  • Have at least several ounces of water every few miles.
  • Have your first GU about an hour or so into the run, and then roughly every 30-40 minutes after that.
  • If anything hurts, think very carefully about continuing to run. Better to take it easy during training and not get injured/re-injured so you’ll be at your best on Marathon Day.
  • Have protein, carbs, electrolytes and water as soon as you can after you finish.

We have our last long run in two weeks, another 20 miler on 1/24/16, and then we start tapering. So, you’ve got one more chance to tweak your preparation routine and learn what works best for you.  As always, feel free to contact me with any questions.



Some tips on preparing for LONG runs

Another Sunday with lots of miles and a sense of accomplishment. Excellent.

Marathoners, today’s 18 miles was an opportunity to think about what went right, and what didn’t feel so good, so you can make the changes you need and test them next week and beyond, with plenty of time to get it just right on Marathon Day.  If you finished strong, with so much energy that you could go another 8.2 miles, great.  Keep doing what you’re doing.  If not, here are a few things to ask yourself:

  • Did you carbo load on Saturday? That doesn’t mean stuff your face at dinner, but rather eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains throughout the day.  These are all examples of “good carbs”.
  • Did you eat a breakfast of good carbs at least an hour before the run?
  • Did you arrive well hydrated? If your urine is light yellow, the answer is yes.
  • Did you have your first GU somewhere around 5-8 miles, and then more, at the rate of about one every 30 minutes?
  • Did you stay well hydrated? People’s hydration needs vary widely, and drinking too much can be just as dangerous as not enough, so I am hesitant to provide a very specific number.  Something in the range of 4-8 ounces every 20 minutes should work for most people.

The answer to each of these questions should be yes.  If you answered no to any of them, you know where you need to make adjustments.


Post-Recovery Tip: Chocolate Milk

Did you know that chocolate milk is one of the best post-recovery drinks?  And, there’s lots of science behind that.  Check out this article. This Sunday’s run for our marathoners will be our longest yet, and later this month, the runs will get even longer.  Your leg muscles will be working hard. Help them recover quickly.  Between now and Sunday, please get yourself some chocolate milk, and on Sunday morning, stash it in your car to drink as soon after you finish as possible.  Your legs will thank you.

Start your new year off right!  Happy new year to all.  Go Team!


Thanks to all of our team members who braved the cold today!

Did you know that according to recent research, the world’s top marathoners perform at their best when the temperature is in the mid-40s? We may not be the world’s fastest runners, but we are great at working hard to help ourselves, supporting each other and Beit T’Shuvah, and being role models to those around us.

Thanks to all of you who came out to run this morning, even though it was our coldest training day this season.  To those of you who were out of town, we hope you were running with us in spirit.  And to those of you who chose to stay in bed, we hope you’ll join us next week.

And thanks as always to our volunteers.  We always look forward to your smiling faces as we push ourselves from one snack stop to the next.


Congratulations and now it’s time to reflect

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who finished the half marathon, and especially to those of you who finished their first one or PR’ed. This was a great opportunity to practice for the LA Marathon, so I would encourage each of you to reflect on what you did well and what you want to work on. Did you start at the right pace? Were you able to finish strong? Did you eat appropriately before the race, and did you fuel enough during the event? Were you well hydrated? Did you warm up and and cool down enough so that you’re only a little sore today? Did you get some protein into you shortly after finishing so your muscles could start rebuilding? And most importantly – are you proud of yourself and psyched for Feb 14?!

Preparing for the hills during the Holiday Half

Holiday Half elevation

Above is the elevation profile for the Holiday Half.  As you can see, the course starts with a gentle downhill.  I suggest you take it easy during that mile, so you’ll be ready for the challenging uphill around Mile 3.  As you can see, the second half of the course is pretty hilly, which I remember as harder than those squiggly lines may suggest.  If you hold your reasonable pace and save your strength for this tough section of the course, you’ll have lots of energy left when the course flattens out toward the end, and you’ll finish strong.  This is actually harder, mile per mile, than the LA Marathon, so when you conquer this, you’ll have achieved a major milestone in preparing for the big day.


Go Team!


Today marked the end of the 13th week of training, and the Los Angeles Marathon is just 12 weeks away.  It’s time to take a moment and reflect on all that you have accomplished.

  • When the going got tough, you remembered to “Hold on!”
  • You have become part of something that is bigger than yourself.
  • You are making new friends, cheering them on, and feeling their support.
  • You are improving your physical health.
  • You are gaining the mental benefits of regular “moving meditation”.
  • You set a goal and are continuing to work hard to achieve it.
  • You have already gone further than you may have ever dreamed possible, and you gained the confidence to know you can accomplish even more.

I’m sure you can add many more successes to this list. I encourage each of you to reflect on and be proud of all you have achieved, and know that your successes on the team represent lessons you can apply to all areas of your life.

Go Team!