Category Archives: run

10 K Training Guide

motivational-quotes-2191Congratulation, you have decided to bring it up a notch and run your first 10K. You might be wondering where you are going to start and what you need to do. Below is a fun, 8 week training plan that will help you prepare for a successful, stress free race. In anticipation of Preachtree Road Race, we will be offering an expanded edition of this training plan starting on May 1st. The expanded program will include 8 weeks of cross training workouts, stretching guide, and a meal plan.

10K or 6.2 miles is a fun distance to run. You have successfully graduated up from 5K and moved on to the next level. It is easier and takes less time to prepare for than a half marathon, with manageable training hours, and you can still go out dancing after the race.

Before you start training for your 10K race, you should get a full workup from your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough for this kind of activity. You should have a reasonably good level of physical fitness and should have done some sort of running / walking in the past. If you are new to running, I would suggest starting at a 5K level. There are plenty of programs and apps available to train you for your very first 5K race.

How This Program Works:

Cross Training (CT): Simply put cross training can be anything that isn’t running. It can be swimming, cycling, walking, and weight training or any other form of aerobic activity. However, recent research has shown that runners benefit more from weight training and exercises that builds underactive core muscles than from any other form of cross training. My recommendation is combining weight training and other forms of cardio for a complete, well rounded workout.

For example, you could do 15 minutes of intervals on a stationary bike at the beginning of your workout, 20 minutes of weight training, 15 minutes of intervals on a stationary bike, and 5 minutes of stretching as your cross training.

For a list of cross training workouts, check back on May 1st for an expanded 10 K prep guide.

Running: This part is fairly simple – go run. It is preferable to train on the same surface as the race, so go outside and hit the pavement (or a trail if you are doing a trail run). If the weather doesn’t allow you to do so, set your treadmill incline to 1.5 -2.0 for your running workouts.

You should be able to run at a comfortable pace that allows you to carry on a conversation. If you find yourself unable to talk, or only talk in short phrases, you are running too fast.

Rest: Rest is extremely important. On rest days you should take it easy, give your muscles a chance to recover and rebuild.

Long Run: This is the longest run of the week. Typically a long run is done at a slow pace.

Walking: Walking is so underrated! In this 8 week training plan, I have a walk scheduled for Friday (the day before your long run). A walk will keep your muscles active with less stress. It is a great way to recuperate from the week of training before your long run. Feel free to walk at any point during your runs too! No one cares if you run the whole race (unless that is your goal). If you are tired and you know you can’t push through, walk!

Below is an 8 weeks training schedule. Feel free to modify it to fit your life, this is merely a guide to help you get started. If you would like a personalized, custom training guide, don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be honored to help you reach your 10 K training goals.

8 Week 10K Training Schedule:

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 CT 1 M CT 1 M Walk 2 M Rest
2 CT 1.5 M CT 1.5 M Walk 3 M Rest
3 CT 2 M CT 2 M Walk 4 M Rest
4 CT 2.5 M CT 2.5 M Walk 5 M Rest
5 CT 1.5 M CT 1.5 M Walk 3 M Rest
6 CT 3 M CT 3 M Walk 6 M Rest
7 CT 3.5 M CT 3.5 M Walk 7 M Rest
8 CT 3 M EZ CT Stretch Walk RACE Rest

 

Diet

Diet is extremely important when prepping for a race. You don’t want to get to the start line and realize that you are 10 pounds heavier than when you started your training. You also need to eat for your goals. That means eating strategically to optimize your performance.

Eating whole grains and complex carbohydrates will help you maintain steady energy in your workouts as well as on race day. Protein will help with recovery and building up muscles necessary for a successful run. Proper water intake is essential to keep your body functioning properly.

Going on a low calorie, low carb diet is not the best choice when running a 10 K is the goal. You need to be eating smarter, not less. Try swapping out processed foods for whole foods, decrease your fat intake, and make sure that every meal is well balanced. That means that you should eat a complete lean protein (such as chicken, fish, eggs, or lean red meat) and complex carbohydrates (whole grains, squash varieties, sweet potatoes, and cruciferous veggies) with every meal. The longer the distance, the higher amount of carbs you will need in your diet.

The jury is still out on the optimal amount of carbohydrates that a distance athlete needs to ingest to optimize their performance. For more details on nutrition, meal planning, and a sample menu check back on May 1st for our extended edition of the 10 K training plan.

Advertisements

Cabbage Salad

I am a big fan of cabbage which is why I am constantly looking for new, easy, runner diet friendly ways to make my favorite dishes. Blow is my take on a coleslaw salad. For this recipe you can use any cabbage you like. My preference is savoy or white, but red cabbage works well too and adds a nice touch of color.  This salad is a perfect side dish for a nice, juicy turkey burger or veggie burger.

Ingredients:

4 cups Shredded Cabbage Slaw
1 cup Sliced Cucumber
1 Cup Sliced Radish

Dressing:
2 tbsp Fresh Dill (optional)
2 tbsp Light Mayo
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt

Directions:

Combine cabbage, cucumbers, and radishes in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine mayo, buttermilk, black pepper, salt, and chopped dill. Mix well and pour over the veggie mixture. Give it a good  toss and enjoy!

Fierce Workout: Step It Up

All of us, at one point or another, knew that we could use a little more speed, a touch more endurance, and a bit more mental strength to fight through those last miles, or even, those last few feet.

Recently, I remember crossing the finish line of a race so exhausted and drained that I honestly didn’t think that I would make it. Needless to say, I placed and PRed, but  reaching both of those goals simply means that now I have to beat them. This week I present to you a workout that is sure to help you step up your game just like it helps me to step up mine.

This one is all about endurance and mental strength. I usually do a short warmup, stretch, and begin this circuit with an easy, 1 mile run. During the workout, I do not stop. It burns, it hurts, but that just simply means that it is working! Remember, your brain will want to quit before your body. Train your mind to stay strong, fight the negative voice that says “can’t”! After the workout, I cool down with another 1 mile run and stretch.

Step-It-Up

If you are an advanced athlete and want to make this workout a bit harder, you can always raise the reps and add weight. Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Running into Fall: Fierce Guide to Atlanta Running Events

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Athletes Helping Athletes 5K

logo

If you are an animal lover and have a special affinity for beautiful Greyhouds, this event is for you. All the proceeds from this race go to the Southern Greyhound Adoption to help transport, vet, and upkeep retired Greyhound racers until they find their forever homes. For more information about this race visit Southern Greyhound Adoption website.

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Superheroes vs. Villains 5K

f50cd5c0be713013125efe9913f4a107_20uh

Are you looking for a fun way to spend a Saturday? Come out and run this fun, family friendly, easy, and flat 5K. There will be lots of prizes, on course entertainment, incredible goodies, medals will be given to all finishers, and did I mention that you can drop your kids of for a fun, safe, and supervised play time while you run the race? The 5K takes place Required Fitness in Marietta. There will be plenty of parking. For more information visit Superheroes vs. Villains 5K website.

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

5th Annual Monster Dash

race4949-logo.bshMY8

5th Annual Monster Dash is a race for a great cause. All the proceeds from this race will benefit Grant Park Cooperative Preschool (GPCP) in Atlanta. The race is conveniently located in Grant Park on the corner of Boulevard and Confederate. Arrive early as parking might be a challenge. All pre-registered participants will receive a t-shirt. Race day registration starts 7:30 am, the race starts at 8:30 am. There will also be a 5$ discount offered on race day to all college students with student ID. For more information visit 5th Annual Monster Dash website.

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Romp and Stomp 5K

Chomp-2013-Poster

Chomp and Stomp is a wonderful festival and chili cook-off that starts with an easy, flat 5k. This is the 11th year of the festival that is thrown every year to benefit the historic Atlanta neighborhood of Cabbagetown. As part of the race package all of the participants will receive a free admission to the chili cook-off, and an awesome long sleeve shirt. Arrive early as parking is challenging in this part of the city. Register now as the race sells out pretty quickly! For more information about the festival and the race visits their website.

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Atlanta Turkey Day 5K 1 Mile & Tot Trot

This is a great way to preemptively burn off some calories this Thanksgiving. This event is conveniently located in at The Forum on Peachtree Pkwy with plenty of parking. A great, long sleeve, performance t-shirt will be given to all 5k finishers. Participants can pick up their registration packet at The Forum on November 27th from 2pm-6pm and on November 28th from 6:30am- 8:00am. Participants are encouraged to arrive at 7am on race day morning. The race will begin at 8 am sharp. This event is a rain or shine event, so come prepared. For more information visit Atlanta Turkey Day 5K website.

 

Fierce Workout: Better, Faster, Stronger

In preparation for the fall running season, I have been doing a lot of track and hill drills to build speed and endurance. When I plan my workouts I keep one simple rule in mind: hard training leads to easy races. I train very hard, I constantly demand more of myself so when I get to race day I know that I can do anything! Below is one of my track workouts that I find to be very effective in building mental and physical endurance. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

better_faster_stronger

I would recommend that you take breaks as needed and make sure that your heart rate doesn’t drop too much during your rest periods. Always remember to hydrate properly before and after exercise. This particular workout can take a lot out of you especially if you push through it without breaks. Good luck, have fun, and be safe!

Need a Break From The Clock? Try These 5 Fun Runs!

Atlanta Drenched 5K

WHEN:                  August 17th, 2013drenched5k

WHERE:                Atlanta Motor Speedway
1500 Tara Pl
Hampton, GA 30228

WEBSITE:             http://rundrenched.com/events/atlanta-2/

THINGS:               Sunglasses, Water balloons (filled ahead of time), Drenched T-Shirt, Fun

AFTER PARTY:    YES!

COSTUMES:        SURE!

DISTANCE:           5K

DETAILS:

The race will take place during the hottest part of the day and will be comprised various zones. There will be sprinklers, foam, water balloons, spectators will be hosing you down, it will be a water fight of massive proportions! This is not a timed event so you can concentrate on having fun and breathe easy!

 

Run For Your Lives

WHEN:                  September 14, 2013runforyourlives

WHERE:                Redwine Cove
1104 Redwine Cove Road SW
Dalton, GA 30721

WEBSITE:             Run For Your Lives

THINGS:               Race T-shirt, Finishers Medal, Beer (depending on location), Fun, Experience

AFTER PARTY:    YES!!! There will be an Apocalypse Party

COSTUMES:        YES!!! Dress up in your Zombie Apocalypse best.

DISTANCE:          5K

DETAILS:

This is about as close as you will get to the zombie apocalypse unless a strange, flesh eating strain of rabies escapes from the CDC. During this race you will have to avoid hordes of flesh eating zombies as well as navigate some tough obstacles. If you ever wondered how you will fair if the world succumbs to savagery, this is event is right for you. Be aware, that any kind of weapons or violence against zombies, race officials, or other runners is strictly prohibited and will be punished. This is a race where you do a lot of running, climbing, swimming, and potentially working together with other runners, your friends, family, and your imaginary friends (if you have them).  Rules and regulations for this event can be found here.

Neon Splash Dash

WHEN:                  October 12th, 2013         neon-splash-dash-22

WHERE:                Atlanta Motor Speedway
1500 Tara Pl
Hampton, GA 30228

WEBSITE:            Neon Splash Dash

THINGS:               Race T-shirt, Temp Tattoo, Fun in the Dark, Free Festival Entry, Surprise Swag

AFTER PARTY:    YES!

COSTUMES:        White T-shirt, Provided Participant Shirt, or Team Shirt

DISTANCE:          5K

DETAILS:

Run the infamous Atlanta Motor Speedway while being drenched by neon colored water while being light up by the black light. It is a fun and wonderful way to break up your weekend routine and enjoy some running/ walking fun with your friends, family, and strangers.  Bring a zip lock bag for your phone, camera, or ipod,  you will get wet and colorful.

The Great American Color Dash

WHEN:                  TBD for 2014

WHERE:                Atlanta, exact location is still in the works

WEBSITE:             The Great American Color Dash

THINGS:               Race T-shirt, Color, Fun

AFTER PARTY:    TBD

COSTUMES:        TBD

DISTANCE:          5K

DETAILS:

This is a brand new run that is coming to Atlanta in the fall of 2014. The event is not timed and is a great opportunity leave your GPS at home and run for the sake of running and fun or to bond with your slower friends and relatives without having to worry about the clock. What is so special about this run? Well, this run will add color to your life by making sure that you are literally covered in it by the time you cross the finish line. Wouldn’t you like to look like an original piece of art? Yep, me too. I hear that if you soak your color stained shirt in white vinegar you will end up with a tie dye pattern to remember the race by. However, if you are not into color and would like to have your shirt back to its original condition, just wash it in cold water.

 

Run Before You Crawl

WHEN:                  TBD for 2014runbeforecrawl

WHERE:                800 Cherokee Avenue
Atlanta, GA

WEBSITE:          Run Before You Crawl

AFTER PARTY:    YES!!!

COSTUMES:        SURE!

THINGS:               Race T-shirt, Fun

DISTANCE:          5K

DETAILS:

If you need an excuse to start drinking before noon, here it is. This is a 5K that is designed to quench your guilt of pounding beer at a local bar on an early weekend morning. The event has a late start. Come on, we all know you partied the night before and won’t get up before 9 am anyway. There will be plenty of water stations along the route to make sure that you are properly hydrated and there will be plenty of beer afterwards to make sure that you replace all those calories you lost.  Really, it is a great way to spend a weekend morning with your friends while doing something that is fitness and beer related.

Shin Splints: The Pain You Shouldn’t Run Through

132cf-552758_415770251831649_1198731197_nRest days. Some of us love them, some of us can’t wait until they are over and our normal week begins. I fall in the latter category. Imagine my disappointment when my doctor told me to stay away from running and other impact exercises until my shin splints heal. I was devastated. No, it doesn’t sound like the end of the world, but for a run addict it is worse than the end of the world. What do you mean I can’t run? Are you insane? Cross training? Do you want to kill me with a teaser of an exercise without proper release of all this beast mode, pint up energy? No, no, no, no, no! Let me at it! Let me run! But alas, I had to listen to the doctor. There I spent  9 weeks in physical therapy, doing my exercises, not running or jumping or doing anything else that would aggravate my aliment. If being away from the road wasn’t hard enough, the prescribed amount of running after the awful, long break was laughable. Start with a mile and build up by a mile every week. That is for a person who began her half marathon prep! I was going nuts! Running that one mile for the first week was equivalent of eating just one Hershey Kiss — frustrating. You just get a taste of how awesome this run is going to be and then you have to stop and go home, it wasn’t even a warm up! Regardless of my frustrations, I did as the doctor told me. I built up slowly, continued my therapy exercises, stretched, rolled, iced, took anti-inflammatory medication, invested in new shoes and insoles,  took my calcium and vitamin D and up until recently was enjoying a fairly pain free running existence. The key words here are “until recently”.  On Tuesday of this week I came home after my metabolic workout, took off my compression calf sleeves, and found a large, purple bruise set a few inches above my ankle. The first thought that went through my mind was: “Oh, no! Not a shin fracture!” The second was: “I have to get to the bottom of this! I can’t keep having my running goals derailed by my body.” I immediately went to go look for a highly rated podiatrist in my area and made an appointment for Monday afternoon.  In the mean time, I decided to do extensive research on my incredibly frustrating, shin splint condition.

 What are Shin Splints?

shinsplintsMedial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) is commonly known as “shin splints” and is  one of the most common lower leg injuries among athletes and dancers.  Shin Splints occur when the tibia and the surrounding muscles undergo repeated stress and do not have time to properly heal and recover from repeated muscle contraction and strain. MTSS usually presents as a dull, wide spread pain along the inside of the lower leg (middle-distal tibia) during impact exercise. In the early stages of MTSS the pain is worse at the beginning of exercise and subsides as the exercise progresses. I know some runners out there are saying to themselves right now: “pssht, I’m a runner! Pain is part of our existence especially if it dissipates as I warm up!” Don’t be fooled! Although the pain might temporarily subside, continued aggravation of an overuse injury can lead to serious consequences like stress fractures and mild to severe pain that does not subside with cessation of exercise at sometimes persists even at rest.

 

How did I get Shin Splints?

In short, I don’t know. MTSS is a very personalized injury that can be caused virtually by anything from improper form to your genetics.  In most cases MTSS is caused by improper form, an unusual increase in exercise or a sudden change in exercise surface (i.e. changing your running surface from trail to pavement). Inadequate nutrition can also be a contributing factor to MTSS especially in the cases where shin splints are a reoccurring injury. Bio-mechanical abnormalities such as: knee abnormalities, tibial torsion, ankle abnormalities, foot arch abnormalities, femoral anteversion can all put a person at risk for MTSS. Your doctor should perform a plethora of necessary tests to determine what the contributing factors of MTSS are in your case.

So, What Do I Do Now?

Regardless of the cause, shin splints are an overuse injury and should be treated with rest. Most doctors will recommend that you decrease or stop all impact exercises for a period of 2 to 8 weeks. Other treatment methods like anti inflammatory medication, ice, physical therapy, or dry needling might be recommended.

Is There a Cure for Shin Splints?

Yes, there is a cure. Rest and retraining. If your doctor and PT (physical therapist) have determined that you have bio-mechanical imbalances, you need to fix them as soon as possible.  For example: most runners seem to have weak glutes. If that is indeed the reason you seem to overuse your lower leg, then you need to train your glute and hip complex to offset the load and so on. The most successful way to prevent MTSS is to address the reasons why it happened in the first place. So, if your form and muscular development is the problem, you need to get a running coach or a trainer and make sure that you learn the proper way to run/ train in order to prevent further flare-ups.

But if I can’t Run I’ll Wither Away and Die!

I use to think that too. I use to hate every hour that went by when I couldn’t go out there and run. I whined, I cried, and I was a very unpleasant person to be around when I was not logging regular miles. However, I did find an alternative to running that was not as good as the real thing, but in a pinch…. The day I found pool running I became a nicer person. No, it is not the same as going out there and feeling like a total badass while leaving hill after hill in your rare view, but it is something. Pool running works the same muscles as regular running but without all the impact. So, if your doctor and PT tell you not to run,  ask them about pool running.

Shin Splints can be extremely annoying and inconvenient but only if you let them. Just like dealing with any other sports injury, you need to look on the bright side, take the time to develop in other areas that you might want to use in the future. For example, if you know that you might want to do a triathlon in the near future, pick up biking and swimming. If lifting weights is your secondary passion challenge yourself to beat your max. Under no circumstances remain unoccupied.  Forced inactivity can hurt more than the injury and lead to devastating results. So, if you are stuck with shin splints, concentrate on getting yourself better, do not skip PT sessions, do not push yourself to run through the pain, and most importantly get off the couch and go to the gym/ pool/ bike trail.

Still Sore But…

My Purple Pavement Eaters

Despite how sore and awful I felt, I still went out for a short run in honor of those that could not run today. I probably should have taken it easy, but with all the anxiety and stress, I wouldn’t have been able to move on with my day without doing something active that I enjoyed.

Yes, it was just slightly painful, and yes, I will have my legs and my back look at tomorrow by Neurosport Atlanta. Hopefully they will be able to give me an answer as to what has been going on with my body and why I am unable to handle stresses that I would normally have no issues handling.

On a side note, I am glad to say that I will be resuming my training with my wonderful friend and trainer tomorrow. I have missed all the encouragement and all the “good” pain that she can deliver. Her workouts never disappoint and the passion and energy that she feels for her job and her clients is contagious to say the least. Easily, she is the most positive person I know. I am so glad to be back working out with her!

Boston Tragedy: Stay Strong, Guys!


I have no words to describe how deeply upset I am about the tragedy that happened today. So many runners dream of the day they take their place at the start line of Boston Marathon. Some train for years to get their chance to run  in one of the most revered marathons in the world. Some never get in, others get in with mere seconds to spare. It is an iconic running event, for some, it is a privilege to run it.  My personal goal is to run Boston in two years and I know that there were runners there today that  visualized the day they take the Heartbreak Hill the same way I do during my training.  It saddens me that such an event was targeted. 
Despite the fact that any deliberate harm brought to a person by another is just wrong, what makes this attack absolutely heinous,  is that most of those runners had very little left  in their “gas tank” after already running 26.2 miles for 4 hours. I can only imagine how defenseless and weak some must have felt trying to save themselves from the blasts and being unable to due to pure exhaustion. 
My heart goes out to all runners and their family members who fell victim to this awful attack. I hope that whoever did this is brought to justice.

Run Therapy.

Yes, I know I missed a couple of days of posts. In the last few days I had a few family issues that will not be discussed here, and honestly, I just couldn’t bring myself to write. Today I feel much better so, here I am, back at it.

When I woke up this morning, the sky was gray and it looked like it was going to rain. I have been so stressed and angry during the last few days that I decided to go for a run regardless of the weather. I got to the local high school track, put on my minimalist shoes and went for a warm-up lap. I love my new shoes. I will post pics of them later this week.

Before my run.  I was much sweatier after. 🙂

The moment I took off at an easy pace around the football field, I felt my anxiety melt away. By the time I was done with my warm up I almost felt like a normal person. I started into my sprints, and after the first few steps, feeling the wind on my face, allowing the gravity to pull me towards my goal, I realized that I am so incredibly grateful for this thing called “running”.

There are very few times in life when one can feel more alive than during a run. Think about it, you are more tuned in to your own body during a run then during any other activity (well, yoga and meditation aside). It is hard to explain to those that do not run regularly the joy that I find in the moment when I have to fully retreat into myself in order to push through a “wall” and realize how alive and how powerful I am. The combination of sounds of my foot falls, my breathing, my heart beat, all make a beautiful symphony or life. The burn of the quads (sprints), calves and hamstrings (hill drills), produce the pain that can only be described as “good”. After all, it means that I am getting stronger, faster, more efficient.  

In the recent issue of Runner’s World, there was an article about running and pain. What stood out the most to me, was the part where the author talked about his difficulty explaining to none runners that he enjoys the pain of the run.  It is true, I noticed that in my own daily interactions. Most normal people consider  pain bad and for a good reason. Nothing good comes out of pain, but for a runner the spectrum of “pain” is expended. There is a difference between being in pain, and being painfully injured. You stop running when you are injured, but you run through the pain. Pain simply means that there is a untapped potential. That there is still room to push and grow.

I remember running my first 10k. I pushed, I fought, and I finished. To be honest, it got painful on mile three and I still had more than half of the distance to go. I accepted it, I pushed through it, and with that acceptance came a personal victory and a 10k PR.

Same happened today. The weather was perfect: 58 degrees, overcast, low humidity, it was the best time to run! When I took off in a sprint, I felt free. Five laps later (sprinting the straights and walking the curves) I had to retreat inward to find strength, to fight through the wall. Lap six and seven felt easy. I even jogged the curves instead of walking. My sprint speed increased too! I went back to walking through the curves in  lap eight, but my sprint speed continued to increase. I was blown away and absolutely happy.