Posts

Preventing Runners Knee Is Your Best Bet [post with video]

The key to preventing runners knee is to strengthen your hip and core musculature BEFORE you are noticing the symptoms of runners knee.

The best exercises are simple, require no equipment, and should be done regularly (2-3 times per week) in order to prevent a flare up of runners knee.

If you missed the earlier videos in this series, make sure you check out the first video where I define runners knee. And in the second video, I go over some of the more effective ways of dealing with the symptoms of runners knee.

Do You to Steps Aimed at Preventing Runners Knee? What Things Do You Do on a Regular Basis to Stay Pain Free?

Is Running Bad for Your Health?

Risks to Running? Should Runners Proceed with Caution?

Did you see the headlines last week?

Could Strenuous Jogging Do More Harm Than Good?

Running Too Hard? Light Jogging Linked with Living Longer.

Want to know my first thought when I read those headlines? It’s a good thing I’m a fricking runner and not a jogger!

I'm Not a Jogger!

Image via MarbleheadMarathoner.com

Want to know my second thought? What a bunch of bullshit.

Screw the Headlines, What Do the Articles Say?

Read more

Strength Training & Runners

Runners are a funky bunch.

Image by Gamma Man via Flickr

Image by Gamma Man via Flickr

We have this thought in our minds that if we want to run longer races or get faster, we need to run more and run faster.

But we tend to forget one of the most important components of running farther and faster–strength training.

Runners Need Regular Strength Training

I don’t care what kind of race you’re running–from 5k all the way up to 100 miles–strength training needs to be a regular part of your routine.

At least it needs to if you want to get faster or run farther.

And strength training is a good way to avoid the injury bug as well.

Why Don’t More Runners Lift Weights?

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There are a number of reasons that many non-professional runners neglect lifting weights. But if you talk to most professional runners, no matter what distances they run, regular strength training sessions are just as important as logging their prescribed amount of miles.

The reasons that we skip strength training are many, but here are a few–

  • “I Don’t Want to Get Too Big”–This is an excuse used by many female runners, as well as some men. The thought behind this excuse is that by adding muscle size, it will actually get more difficult to run because you will have to carry around more weight. While this makes some sense logically, the fact is that if you are training properly you won’t add muscle mass, just strength and stamina. You know, the things that help you in the last third of your race.
  • “Strength Training Won’t Help Me Run Faster”–This excuse is shortsighted. In truth, just lifting weights won’t help you run faster. But by building up the strength of the muscles that you use to run, you will be able to train harder and run longer without tiring, both of which will help you improve your race times.
  • “I Don’t Have Time”–To be blunt, yes you do. You see, you don’t need to add 2-3 strength training workouts to your busy schedule to see the results. Instead, 2-3 15-20 minute sessions after a hard workout is enough to help you improve running economy, finishing kick, and stay injury free.
  • “I’ve Never Done Strength Training Before. Why Start Now?”–Seriously? We used to think the world was flat, that smoking cigarettes was safe, and that processed food was both convenient and nutritious. Just because you’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean it’s the only way or the best way. Give strength training a try, and see what happens.

There are so many reasons that strength training is important for runners of all speeds, sizes, and mileage levels that there really isn’t any good reason that you’re still putting off regular strength training.

But if you’re still not convinced, I’d love to know what is holding you back. Shoot me a message, and let’s have a conversation.

And make sure you check my next post, when I’ll be going over some of the many benefits of regular strength training in much more detail.

Blue Ridge Marathon–Been There, Run That!

This past weekend, I headed up to Roanoke, VA, to run in the mountains for the Blue Ridge Marathon.

While the trip was a blur (flight up Friday afternoon, race Saturday morning, fly home Saturday evening), I think I might have developed a little crush on the city of Roanoke and really want to head back for a longer visit soon. If you’ve never been in that part of the country, I can’t encourage you enough to go for a visit.

The race was advertised as the “Toughest Road Marathon in America”, and while I haven’t run every road race in the country (yet!) I can’t imagine finding one that is more difficult than this one.

I knew before the race started that the hills (let’s be honest, mountains) were going to be a challenge. I mean, living in Florida means we run on flat ground only. Sure, we have a couple of “hills”, and we can always run the overpasses, but we basically only run on flat surfaces.

And the only surfaces we didn’t run in Roanoke were flat.

Oy vey….

The race started out with a bit of a climb. And by a bit, I mean 7 miles. Straight up.

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Not Even Half Way Up!

Getting to the top of the first 7 mile climb was nice. Coolest thing, bagpiper at the top.

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There’s Nothing Better Than Bagpipes. Nothing.

Coming down the mountain provided a much needed break. I used to think that going down hills was harder than going up them, but that perspective changed long ago. I was flying down the hill, and I kept hearing people complain about the down hills.

I actually had to be reminded to slow down.

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Easy, Speed Racer

That first 7 mile climb was the biggest hill we ran, but it was far from the last. We kept going up and down for the entire race, which sucked, but there were some awesome views and gorgeous neighborhoods that we got to experience.

Looking Down on Roanoke

Looking Down on Roanoke

And since the hills never stopped coming, there was no shame and stopping or walking on occasion. No matter what the signs say.

So I Stopped. Do Something.

So I Stopped. Do Something.

Not a PR, But Still a Great Race

Going into the race, I knew that a new PR was out of the question. My A goal for the race was to be sub-4:30. A more realistic goal was to be sub-5:00, and I crossed the finish line at 4:52:10.

Not too shabby.

In Race Commentary

Looking back on the race, I’m really glad I took the trip north and ran the race. I got to meet some of my cool twitter friends in person, and knocked another state off of the list.

But during the race, I wasn’t quite as excited about what was going on. Check it out for yourself.

Did You Run the Blue Ridge Marathon This Year? How Did You Do?

If You Didn’t Run It, What Do You Think About Running a Marathon in the Mountains?

2014 Walt Disney World Marathon

This past weekend I ran my 3rd Disney Marathon, which was my 5th full marathon overall.

There is a lot to love about runDisney events, but after running a handful of non-runDisney events (halves and fulls) I’ve come to learn that runDisney definitely leaves a few things to be desired as well.

The Good Stuff

  • The Bling–Disney events tend to feature some pretty nice finishers medals. This year was no different in my book. Big. Gawdy. Heavy. Love it.

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  • Characters on the Course–If you’re running in a Disney race, you’re going to see lots of characters out there to take pictures with, if you’re so inclined. Not only are Mickey and Minnie out there, but there are also a lot of characters out and about that aren’t regularly seen in the parks. This was my 8th runDisney event, and this was the first time I actually stopped to take a bunch of pictures. Great decision.

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  • Lots of Company–This is a double edged sword, because having lots of fellow runners means that the course can be a little crowded sometimes, and not all runners are familiar with proper runner etiquette. But after running a race in October where I was pretty much alone for 18 of the 26 miles, it was nice having some company from start to finish.

The Not-So-Good

  • Corral Placement is a Joke–On paper, putting runners in order by their projected finish time, and sending them out in waves is a good idea. runDisney fails when it comes to putting this idea into practice. Nothing against walkers or run/walkers, but they shouldn’t be in one of the first couple of corrals in a race this size. When they stop, and usually it’s more than one person at a time, it creates an instant road block. And since the course is crowded virtually the entire way, it can be a hassle to get around them. I don’t know how some people got into the corrals they did.
  • Lack of Guest Relations/Customer Service–For a company that is so focused on making guests happy, Disney dropped the ball when it comes to runner relations at the race expo. I have a friend that ran the race, her first full, and when she registered she didn’t have a qualifying time to give her a good corral placement. She was hoping for a sub-4:00 race, and ran a half in November in 1:50 and change, which should have placed her in one of the better corrals. runDisney, however, decided that November was too late in the year for a change in her corral placement to be changed on her bib, and for the first time that I’m aware of, they wouldn’t permit her to change her corral at the expo even though she had a verifiable qualifying time. She still managed to run 4:01 while weaving through, literally, 1000’s of slower runners that were able to get corral placements that my friend should have.
  • Post Race Food–I’m not going to blast runDisney over the price of the race, which is high, but I understand where the money goes. One place the money doesn’t go, however, is to the post race spread. I’ve been to races that cost $40-50 that have huge buffets, hot food, lots of drinks (read, free beer), and entertainment for all runners. Disney gives you, what amounts to, a poor-mans boxed lunch. We got a few bagged treats (corn chips, almond puffs, crasins), a banana, and a powerade. Spare no expense. (To be fair, all food items were gluten-free, which isn’t often the case concerning post-race foods, so I do really appreciate that thought from the race organizers.)

All in All

When it’s all said and done, I had a blast running this race.

Stopping for pictures with the characters was a first for me, and it really made all the difference. If you’re trying to run a race for a fast time, and don’t want to stop for pictures, you might want to try another option. But if you’re looking for a fun race to run, the Disney Marathon is a pretty good choice.

I doubt I’ll make the Disney full a regular event on my race schedule, even though I’ve run 3 of the last 4, but I’m leaning toward doing it again next year. I’m thinking about doing the Goofy Challenge next year, but that might be my last Disney full for awhile.

Anyone want to run it with me?

Have You Ever Run a runDisney Event? Did You Run in the Marathon Weekend This Year? What Were Your Thoughts of the Event?