Two Options for Your Cooldown

Immediately after a long run, it’s tempting to grab a drink and a snack, and plop down into the nearest seat to “recover”.  It probably feels great at that moment, but what about tomorrow? You won’t feel as good then.  Why let all the metabolic waste sit in your muscles so you can be sore later?

With a proper cooldown, you can flush that lactic acid out of your muscles as your heart pumps in blood rich with the proteins and white blood cells needed to repair the microtears that occur with any strenuous exercise. Think of it as “out with the bad stuff, in with the good stuff”.  And that means you’ll come back feeling stronger.

You have at least two choices:

  • About a mile before the end of the run, start slowing down. By the time you get to the end, you should be walking.
  • Finish strong, but then keep going. Go right past the group waiting at the end.  Slow down to a jog, then keep walking.

Regardless of when you choose to start your cooldown, be sure to end your session with at least several minutes of walking before you sit down. Your legs will thank you the next day.

Go Team!

About those aches and pains

The distances are getting longer; and for those of you who weren’t long distance runners or walkers prior to the season, your body is undergoing a lot of changes.  This is a lot of new stress, and over time, your body will adapt.  You’ll become stronger and able to go longer, if, AND ONLY IF, you listen to your body along the way, and you train properly.  So here are a few tips:

  • Train during the week. Get out there at least 2-3 times. That’s the best way to feel good as the Sunday runs get longer. We are all busy and it can be hard to fit it into your schedule, but it’s always possible to make time for what’s most important. Your recovery and your health are important!
  • Roll. Muscle tightness causes you to run improperly, and when you run mile after mile like that, you are going to start hurting. Check out the video on the Training Tips tab of this website to learn how to use the foam rollers, and be sure to roll at least a few times a week.
  • Ask for help. Rolling won’t address every ache and pain, so please don’t hesitate to ask for more guidance.  You can reach out to Nicole, Robin, or Brandon; you can contact Liddy HealthWorks, and you can also direct any questions my way.  We all want to see you succeed and are there to help.

Go Team!

Thinking about staying in bed on Sunday is okay, but…..

I want to share an inspiring story I heard this morning, because it’s about an internal conversation we probably have all had and the choices we considered afterward.

One runner told me that he opened his eyes this morning, pondered the list of excuses as to why he shouldn’t run, and decided those seemed like some pretty good reasons to stay in bed. But, then he asked himself “Who would I be cheating?” Knowing the answer, he inspired himself to get up and show up.  This morning, he ran the furthest he’s ever run; and he felt great about his decision and about his accomplishment.  Yup, getting out of bed early on Sunday morning doesn’t always feel good; but looking back at what you achieved by doing it anyway does feel awesome.

Next time you’re considering staying in bed, I hope you’ll ask yourself the same question, make the right choice, and come out to not only help yourself but to also support your team. Your presence makes a difference. You matter.

Go Team!

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.

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.