#capcityeats #capcityplays #capcitystays

Coach Julie

Coach Julie

The best part of the Cap City Half Marathon is the journey to the finish line.  From the day you began your commitment, to the moment your toes cross that line, the experiences, challenges, people and learnings that you encounter that make it an unforgettable, powerful journey.  And we want to celebrate that journey.

One wonderful way to celebrate that journey is by enjoying Columbus and all that it has to offer!  On Saturday night after the race, once you’ve massaged your muscles, rehydrated your system, and rested your body from the journey, why not plan a fun outing, to celebrate the city?

So here’s where I need your help!  We have thousands of out-of-towners come into Columbus for the race, and they may not know where to go!  That’s why I am depending on YOU to give them some ideas.

 

For the next few weeks, anytime you are out and about in Columbus:

  • Find a restaurant or menu item you like, snap a photo of it (food or sign of restaurant), post it to instagram and tag it ‘#capcityeats’.
  • If you are at park or local sight-seeing attraction, tag your photo, ‘#capcityplays’.
  • If you are at a hotel or know of a good one in town you recommend, snap a photo of it and tag it on instagram as, ‘#capcitystays’.

Make sure to give the name of the place, and any other information you may have (website, address or phone number!)

Help us to create a directory of great recommendations for the guest of our city on May 3!

Instagram tags:

#capcityeats, #capcityplays, #capcitystays

Here’s to celebrating your journey, and our fabulous city!

-Coach Julie

Hydration – How much is right for me?

Finally we will have a Saturday that is warm-ish!  We are almost to race day but still have one long run left and two shorter “long” runs.  I thought this week would be a good one to talk about hydration and how much you should be consuming while you run.  The bottom line is that you will have to drink during your 6.55 or 13.1 mile journey, but figuring out how much to drink can be tricky.  Like everything else you should be practicing what you will drink on race day.  You want to get your system used to drinking on the run, especially when drinking sports drink so your tummy is used to dealing with it.  During the race hit the “water” stops and grab the sports drink for the carbohydrates and also the electrolytes.  Your body really likes balance.  It wants and needs water but it also needs the other stuff that comes out when you sweat, which are electrolytes (mostly salt NaCl).  The question of how much to drink and what exactly to drink has been going round and round in the running community for several years.  Since I cannot do this topic justice I’ve asked Professor Steven Devor at Ohio State Exercise Physiology to help.  Below is a great discussion from Professor Devor about hydrating the proper way, which is to be very specific to EACH one of YOU.  Hydration is not a one size fits all thing and he gives a really easy way to figure out how much you need to put in to keep up with what is going out when you run.  Thanks so much to Dr. Devor for this awesome message about hydration.  And this weekend might be a great one to do the sweat rate test at the bottom of this message!

Water_stop

The following was contributed by Dr. Steven T. Devor – Director of Performance Physiology for MIT and OhioHealth, and Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology, Department of Human Sciences, and Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, The Ohio State University

Can you Drink Too Much?  In Short – Yes

If you want to be successful and complete longer training sessions and races you must avoid or delay dehydration caused by fluid losses from the body.  Fluids are primarily lost through sweating, breathing and using the toilet.  Years ago the advice was “drink, drink, drink,” and we assumed there was no downside to consuming as much fluid as possible. Unfortunately, consuming large amounts of water without electrolytes can lead to a condition called hyponatremia. Hyponatremia, also known as low sodium concentration or water intoxication, occurs due to prolonged sweating coupled with the dilution of extracellular sodium caused by consuming large amounts of fluid with low or no sodium.

Balance is Key

Sodium, chloride and potassium are electrolytes, and these electrolytes remain dissolved in the body fluids as electrically charged particles called ions.  Electrolytes help to modulate fluid exchanges between the different body fluid compartments and promote the exchange of nutrients and waste products between cells and the external fluid environment.  There is actually an electrical gradient across cell membranes. The difference in the electrical balance between the interior and exterior of cells facilitates nerve-impulse transmission, stimulation and action of skeletal muscles during running and other activities, and proper gland functioning.  If you consume too much water and not enough electrolytes, your body pulls electrolytes from its cells in order to create the right balance for absorption. If you consume too many electrolytes and not enough fluid, your body pulls fluids from within to create the right balance for absorption.  The bottom line is your body likes balance. Keeping your body in electrolyte and water balance, or very close to balanced, is part of the challenge as an endurance athlete.

Individualized Hydration

The easiest way to measure your sweat rate is to weigh yourself without clothes on before you do a one hour exercise session. After the hour session, return home, strip down, wipe of any excess sweat from your skin, and weigh yourself again. Assuming you did not use the toilet or consume any fluids during exercise, your weight loss is your sweat rate. For each kilogram of lost weight, you lost one liter of fluid.  To convert it to pounds, for each pound lost, you lost 15.4 oz. of fluid.  If you drink any fluids or used the rest room between the two weight samples, you will need to include both of these estimated weights in your calculations. Add fluid consumed to the amount of weight lost. Subtract estimated bodily void weight from the total weight lost.  I would be sure to record the heat and humidity conditions in your sweat test. Repeat the test in cool and hot conditions. If you are a triathlete, repeat the test for swimming, running and cycling because sweat rates will vary for each sport and vary with environmental conditions.

Through the years I have been able to come up with the following guidelines based on weight and different environmental temperatures.  They are only guidelines, so it would still still be best to do the individual tests  in a lab. None the less, I believe these are good averages.

Weight 100 pounds
Fluid Ounces Per Mile Depending On The Temperature: 50°F: 3.0  60°F: 3.2  70°F: 3.3  80°F: 3.6  90°F: 4.1  100°F: 4.7

Weight 120 pounds
Fluid Ounces Per Mile Depending On The Temperature: 50°F: 3.6  60°F: 3.8  70°F: 4.0  80°F: 4.3  90°F: 4.9  100°F: 5.6

Weight 140 pounds
Fluid Ounces Per Mile Depending On The Temperature: 50°F: 4.2  60°F: 4.4  70°F: 4.6  80°F: 5.0  90°F: 5.7  100°F: 6.5

Weight 160 pounds
Fluid Ounces Per Mile Depending On The Temperature: 50°F: 4.8  60°F: 5.0  70°F: 5.3  80°F: 5.8  90°F: 6.5  100°F: 7.4

Weight 180 pounds
Fluid Ounces Per Mile Depending On The Temperature: 50°F: 5.4  60°F: 5.7  70°F: 5.9  80°F: 6.5  90°F: 7.3  100°F: 8.4

Weight 200 pounds
Fluid Ounces Per Mile Depending On The Temperature: 50°F: 6.0  60°F: 6.3  70°F: 6.6  80°F: 7.2  90°F: 8.1  100°F: 9.3

Weight 220 pounds
Fluid Ounces Per Mile Depending On The Temperature: 50°F: 6.6  60°F: 6.9  70°F: 7.3  80°F: 7.9  90°F: 8.9  100°F: 10.2

Weight 240 pounds
Fluid Ounces Per Mile Depending On The Temperature: 50°F: 7.2  60°F: 7.6  70°F: 7.9  80°F: 8.6  90°F: 9.7  100°F: 11.2W

Rhythm of Training

Running the hills of Grandview last night, I couldn’t help but think of the rhythm of our training season. At times you can see the city skyline, but of course it disappears at the bottom, only to reappear at the top. The rhythm of running hills is soothing. The push and increased heart rate up, the speed and ease on the way down are exhausting and exhilarating.  Similarly, so is the training cycle.  There is a definite rhythm to training.  Many call it structure and that is of course accurate, but structure is set up by the science of training.  Rhythm speaks to the feel.

If you are following my schedules on CapitalCityHalfMarathon.com you are all too familiar with the structure: Saturday long runs, Sunday active recovery/rest, Monday moderately long run, Tues off, Wed medium run or speedwork (intermediate group), Thurs short easy, Fri off, then repeat.  It may seem random, but it is all specific and for a reason.  The goal is to stress your body in specific ways on certain days, then recover from that stress.  Then we do it again, again, again.  We get stronger throughout the season.  There is science, experience, and a lot of obsessing about just how much we can ask of ourselves in training without asking too much or too little.  Goal is to get everyone to the starting line AND the finish line healthy, always.

A wonderful side effect of all that structure is the rhythm.  Our bodies and minds crave routine.  Have you ever noticed that as much as we anticipate a vacation and need the break, we often look forward to getting back to our schedule?  I have no data or research papers to quote.  I was originally trained as a chemist; in the sciences we need data and analysis to back up statements.  I have become an engineer and again we need data, analysis, statistics.  However, the longer one does something the more tuned in we become to our intuition.  Call it experience or whatever, my boss calls it engineering intuition.  I think that’s what is going on here.  The rhythm of training, sore muscles, recovery, training, etc. becomes part of our lives.  We need it or crave it just like that morning cup of coffee.  Could we do without it?  Absolutely, but we might feel “off” throughout the day.  I don’t have research to point to, but in my gut I know it is true.  What was once hard like speedwork on Wed evening and then having to get up and run a 30 minute recovery run, has simply become routine.  We feel better because we do it.

We are coming into the last month of training.  We are used to the rhythm and we are good at it now.  This what my friend and head coach of CERC, Teri calls “The Monster Month.”  It is indeed the month where our mileage peaks, both on the long runs and throughout the week.  It should not be scary because you have done the work leading up to it.  Each week is only slightly longer than the previous weeks.  However, it should not be taken lightly.  Respect the mileage and what you are asking of your body.  Fuel it with proper nutrition and hydrate appropriately.  Sleep.  Rest on your rest days, now is not the time to take up a new sport.  You can do that in late May!  Feel the rhythm and enjoy it.  We will shake it up again a little bit two weeks before your race, when we begin the taper phase.  I’ll cover that later;  the routine will be the same but the amount of running will be dramatically reduced.

Enjoy your last few weeks of training.  Now is the time where the fitness gains start becoming apparent.  Weekday runs are more enjoyable AND the thermometer reads above freezing!  I cannot wait to celebrate with you all on May 3rd!

Happy Training!

Dealing With Pre-Race Nerves

5 weeks to go!  I received a great question this week about how to deal with nerves for a first time (or 100th time) half marathoner.  First of all, a few nerves are a great thing!  It means that we care about the upcoming event.  Nerves drive us to do the work and get in the training time.  Feeling the butterflies is not at all a bad thing, however we don’t want them to take over our thoughts.  Embrace the nerves, acknowledge what they mean, and move on to the next thought.  There are many ways of dealing with nerves/jitters/butterflies but I thought I’d share a few that I have found helpful.

Visualize Your Success

We have been training our bodies to run further and further each week since early January.  We are getting stronger and starting to say things like “I am ONLY running 5 miles this weekend” when we couldn’t fathom 5 miles in December.  What we practice we become.  That is true for the mind as well.  We have 4 long runs remaining.  During the last couple miles of your weekly runs and definitely at the end of your long runs, visualize the end of your race.  Think of how you will feel: the tired but still moving legs, the smells coming from the Commons, the fans cheering you home, and the way it will feel to give David a high five right before you cross that finish line.  Will you be overcome with emotion and get teary?  Will you scream with delight as you near that finish line?  Will you quietly celebrate as you step across the line?  Let yourself go through those emotions now.  Allow them to swell over you as you run.  It sounds crazy but your body and your mind will actually remember that you have been in this place before and come race day, you will breeze right through those feelings and keep moving forward.

Plan Your Day

Failing to plan is planning to fail.  This may be a worn out cliche but it is really true for big events like Cap City.  We have planned an amazing day for you.  All the details are worked out throughout the year.  David’s team does a fantastic job taking care of the logistics.  However, we need you to plan your day as well.  Really start your plan for the expo and all the way through to the celebration.  When will you pick up your packet?  Give yourself enough time to park and enjoy the vendors at the expo.  For race day, take a look at the parking options in the Event Guide.  Figure out where you will park before you leave your house.  Get there early enough so that you can park, get settled, use the porta john, and get into your corral.  Try to be there 90 minutes before the race start.  It seems like a long time, but honestly you will be much less stressed if you aren’t rushing around before the race.  Bring a change of clothes, have at least a dry shirt, socks, and bottoms so you will be comfortable after the race at the celebration.

Practice Race

One of the best ways to calm race nerves is to run in a shorter event BEFORE your goal race.  You do NOT want to race as fast as you can in the earlier event.  Simply run it as a training run, at your normal training pace.  Use it to go through everything you will do on May 3.  Wear the same outfit and shoes as you will for Cap City.  Bring the nutrition that you plan on using for Cap City (and actually eat it during the race).  Practice how you will go through aid stations.  You can slow to a walk and get in the Gatorade without losing too much time.  If you decide to run through an aid station, practice drinking on the run.  Seriously, it is an art form (think point at volunteer, yell out “Gatorade,” make eye contact, grab cup, squish cup into a slit, then drink from the slit, toss cup at/near trash can).  You’ll want to try this before the big day, because getting Gatorade up your nose is something you’d rather do during a short race believe me!  The Scioto Miles training series is set up specifically as a training series for Cap City.  This coming Sunday is the second race this Spring.  There is a 5k, 10k, 15k.  You pick the distance and practice!

Get There Early and Take it All In

It bears repeating.  Get to Cap City EARLY.  Be there in time to park, use the porta john, get into the corral, and enjoy the scenery.  Cap City is a big race, but we work hard to give everyone a personalized feel.  Each wave gets their own start.  Someone posted this on Facebook  “And don’t forget to enjoy the atmosphere and the event itself before during and after.”  Couldn’t say it any better.  You’ve done the work, trust in that, and just enjoy every bit of the race experience.

I cannot wait to welcome you to the finish line on May 3!

Happy Training.

 

Tight body? Try yoga. It does a body good.

Why Yoga For Runners?

Hip flexors, Hamstrings and Lower Back.

Runners are known for their endurance, strength and agility, and so it surprises many to hear that runners tend to become less flexible as their mileage adds up. This can be due to the nature of the force placed on the muscles- strong, repetitous concentric contractions that shorten and tighten the muscles over time.

Two of the muscles that have a driving force in running are the hip flexors and hamstrings, and so naturally, runners tend to get uber-tight in these areas. And when hip flexors get tight, the pull the lower back, which also becomes strained. When you are tight and less flexibly, mobility is limited and your body can be injury-prone.

My answer? Well, there are many ways to help improve flexibility and create a more functional body. But, one way is through yoga. There are many type of yoga, and so some forms can be better than others at focusing on hip flexor and hamstring stretching. I’ve put together a few simple postures and sequences that you may enjoy trying as part of your regular routine. I’d recommend doing these several times a week, and stretching before and after every run.

Long Runs are Dress (and nutrition) Rehearsals

Wow we are 7 weeks from race week!  That means we only have a few more long runs left in our training schedules.  Our workouts are all important to our fitness, but its the long ones where we really start to understand our progress.  Throughout the season, we go from thinking that 13.1 is REALLY far, to wow that’s only 1 more mile than last week!  The long runs prepare our bodies and minds for race day.  But they can be so much more than that too.  Start thinking about your long runs over the next 6 weeks or so as dress rehearsals.  They are the events where we can practice what we will put in, on, and around our bodies on race day.  Then the endurance athlete’s mantra will become your own “nothing new on race day!”

What to Wear

Figure out now what works and what doesn’t as far as gear goes.  I realize that a Saturday in March might call for tights, a hat, and long sleeves while in May you might choose shorts and a singlet.  However, try to find a couple long runs to wear what you will on race day, from head to toe.  Now is the time to find out that your cute polka dot singlet chafes your arms, NOT at mile 10 on race day.  You still have time to sort it out or find a different outfit!  Most importantly, figure out your shoes and socks soon.  My last post on running shoes and socks discusses how to find your race shoes.  The most important thing is to try them out on a long run and make sure they work for you.

What to Eat and Drink

Even more than what you wear on race day, what you choose to put into your body is best determined beforehand.  This takes some trial and error for people, so start now.  We need to be fueling our bodies throughout the week with high quality nutrition.  We need carbohydrates to move (to live really but we’re talking about running here).  We’ve all heard about the pre-race pasta parties, but you don’t want to do that for the first time the night before Cap City.  Use your long runs to mimic everything you are going to eat and drink starting the day before.  Work out what your night before dinner will be, your breakfast, what you carry with you, etc.  If you haven’t yet tried consuming Gatorade or a gel like Gu, now is the time to start.  It might take a few attempts to figure out what works for you.  If you need more information on WHAT to eat and when for long runs, check on my blog from last year on Eating on the Run.

Have a great week, enjoy the sunshine.  Happy Training!

Who Helps You To Be Your Best?

As the Cap City Healthy Lifestyle and Team Coach, I am passionate about the power of ‘we’.  ‘We’, means, we get through this together.  We are stronger together.  We cross that finish line, together.  Studies tell us that we are much more likely to accomplish a goal when we have accountability partners and we have people who help make the journey fun.

And, training for a healthy event like the Cap City, should be fun!  It should be something that makes you feel good about you.  When we have days that we don’t feel like getting out there and training, we have others in our court, that remind us why we care, why it matters and that we are worth taking the time to take care of ourselves.  That’s why teams are so important!  We are better when we are together!

So whether you have a formal team in place, or just someone who you phone is in your corner, cheering you on and supporting you as you make this journey to the finish line in May – we want to hear about it!  Tell us by posting to our Facebook page, include the hashtag: #capcitygratitude.   Example:  My friend Joe always pushes me to go the extra mile, even when I want to quit! #capcitygratitude.

Give a shout out to someone who helps you, pushes you, inspires you, and encourages you.  Those are the people who help us to make a goal fun and remind us why we care.  Give them a little love today!  It always feels good to hear a positive compliment – so put some positive energy out there today! It will come right back to you!

 

 

Running Shoes (and Socks)!

One of the great benefits of our sport is the simplicity of it all.  We don’t NEED a huge bag full of fancy equipment to get in our daily workout, just our feet and a destination (or sometimes not even a destination).  The most asked question I get from new runners and walkers is what type of special gear do I need to run or walk a half marathon?  In reality, there a lots of things that can make your workouts more fun, more comfortable, enjoyable, etc.  However, the one really important thing to consider is footwear – shoes and socks.  Seems like a pretty simple answer, but has more to it than simply picking up a pair or two of “sneakers.”  And yes, for those of you who have run Cap City a few times I am recycling this post.  We need to hear it every year!

Fit

First and foremost, if you have not already done so PLEASE go to a specialty running store, like my buddies at Fleet Feet Sports in Polaris, and have a proper shoe fitting.  This is more than am I a size 5 or 13?  They will watch you run, evaluate your gait, and determine what kind of shoe you need.  They will determine if you have a neutral foot strike, over-pronate, or under-pronate.  They can determine from that and discussion with you about your running goals if you should be in a neutral, motion control, or stability shoe.  Please don’t go to a big box store to buy your running shoes!  This is the one piece of equipment that we need as runners and in reality is much cheaper to buy a quality pair of shoes with the proper fit, than to spend months in PT or worse and throw away your race entry $$!

FF_3
Libby from Fleet Feet assisting a runner with proper fit and assessing her running/walking needs to find the perfect shoe.

Note that often when you start  distance running your running shoe size might be a half size larger than your typical shoe size.  Over the course of a half marathon or a long run, our feet swell.  Shoes that are your normal size might be great for 5 miles but at 12 feel like they’re strangling your feet.  Again, talk to the folks at the running store to determine the best size strategy for you!

Miles on Shoes

Our Medical Director, Dr. Bright, gives a great talk about shoe life expectancy.  It will vary somewhat based on the materials used in the shoe, your weight and biomechanics, and the type of shoe that it is.  Generally though after about 50 miles the shoe will have 75% of it’s original shock absorption, after 100-150 it will be at 67% of it’s original value, and after 250-500 will be less than 60%.  Keep track of the miles you have on your shoes.  Winging it is for the birds (sorry couldn’t help myself).  I like to think about replacing my shoes after about 300 miles, BEFORE I feel like I need to…

Shoe rotation

If possible, it is nice to have a shoe rotation.  Have a pair that are 100 miles in and then buy another pair (either same model or different model same type of shoe).  Use the new ones for longer runs, keep the old ones for shorter runs, and so on.  This way you’ll not only always have a dry pair, but you’ll be giving your body a little change every day.  The healthiest I have ever been, running wise, is when I had several different shoe models and rotated them throughout the week.  This can be cost prohibitive, but having two pairs at different stages in their lives allows you to change it up even if ever so slightly.  In reality, if you have a couple different pairs at any given time you will eventually put the same number of miles on them, just not up front.  You will outlay the same $$ in the long run, but in the short term have two pairs of shoes to rotate!

Extreme example of shoe rotation!
Extreme example of shoe rotation!

Half Marathon Shoes

Ideally, you want the shoes that you wear on race day to have about 40 miles on them.  Buy a pair of whatever you’ve been wearing and loving all season.  Wear them for a short run to make sure you still love them, then wear them for one of your longer runs.  Then wear them again for a midweek tempo or speed workout if you do those.  That should give you an idea of how they are working for you.  If you still love them, put them away until race day.  If you don’t, start over.  You want to do this ahead of time, so you can change them if necessary and still get some miles on them before race day!

Minimalist Shoes

Ever since the book Born to Run the minimalist shoe/barefoot scene has exploded in popularity.  Like politics and religion EVERYONE seems to have an opinion.  The basic gist of the minimalist theory is this.  Modern running shoes have slowly changed our gait to become more heel striking versus midfoot or forefoot.  Since this has happened quicker than we evolve, it can lead to injuries.  Indeed, some folks believe they see less injuries after switching to minimalist running. I am very concerned about this movement however, but not because I think it is an inherently  bad idea.  There is good scientific information about the forces that occur over the course of a footstrike through push off that shows that this is different for shod runners versus barefooot.  My concern is that like a lot of things with tons of energy and excitement around them, people will jump on the bandwagon too quickly and get injured.  If you are considering barefoot or minimalist running, you MUST transition to it SLOWLY.  I can’t say that loudly enough, SLOWLY.  One good way to do this is to take off your shoes after a run and run in the grass barefoot for a few minutes.  Or if you already have minimalist shoes, go out in them for a half mile and then drop them off and finish your workout in your “normal” shoes.  It isn’t for everyone but many can do it successfully.  If you are thinking about going barefoot or minimalist, I really encourage you to talk with a sports medicine expert, like Dr. Bright, about how to safely start the transition.

Socks

Lastly, don’t forget about socks.  If you are running in cotton socks, STOP NOW!  In fact, if you are running in anything cotton just stop.  The newer technical fibers or the old standby wool are much better at wicking moisture away from your feet.  Your feet will stay dry, less stinky, and more importantly you will be less susceptible to blisters (ugh).

Enjoy the cushion and cloud-like feeling that comes with a new pair of running shoes!  We are only two months from race day and I can’t wait to see you all on May 3rd!

Happy training!

Running Shoes (and Socks)!

One of the great benefits of our sport is the simplicity of it all.  We don’t NEED a huge bag full of fancy equipment to get in our daily workout, just our feet and a destination (or sometimes not even a destination).  The most asked question I get from new runners and walkers is what type of special gear do I need to run or walk a half marathon?  In reality, there a lots of things that can make your workouts more fun, more comfortable, enjoyable, etc.  However, the one really important thing to consider is footwear – shoes and socks.  Seems like a pretty simple answer, but has more to it than simply picking up a pair or two of “sneakers.”  And yes, for those of you who have run Cap City a few times I am recycling this post.  We need to hear it every year!

Fit

First and foremost, if you have not already done so PLEASE go to a specialty running store, like my buddies Tim and Jeff at Fleet Feet Sports in Polaris, and have a proper shoe fitting.  This is more than am I a size 5 or 13?  They will watch you run, evaluate your gait, and determine what kind of shoe you need.  They will determine if you have a neutral foot strike, over-pronate, or under-pronate.  They can determine from that and discussion with you about your running goals if you should be in a neutral, motion control, or stability shoe.  Please don’t go to a big box store to buy your running shoes!  This is the one piece of equipment that we need as runners and in reality is much cheaper to buy a quality pair of shoes with the proper fit, than to spend months in PT or worse and throw away your race entry $$!

FF_3

Libby from Fleet Feet assisting a runner with proper fit and assessing her running/walking needs to find the perfect shoe.

Note that often when you start  distance running your running shoe size might be a half size larger than your typical shoe size.  Over the course of a half marathon or a long run, our feet swell.  Shoes that are your normal size might be great for 5 miles but at 12 feel like they’re strangling your feet.  Again, talk to the folks at the running store to determine the best size strategy for you!

Miles on Shoes

Our Medical Director, Dr. Bright, gives a great talk about shoe life expectancy.  It will vary somewhat based on the materials used in the shoe, your weight and biomechanics, and the type of shoe that it is.  Generally though after about 50 miles the shoe will have 75% of it’s original shock absorption, after 100-150 it will be at 67% of it’s original value, and after 250-500 will be less than 60%.  Keep track of the miles you have on your shoes.  Winging it is for the birds (sorry couldn’t help myself).  I like to think about replacing my shoes after about 300 miles, BEFORE I feel like I need to…

Shoe rotation

If possible, it is nice to have a shoe rotation.  Have a pair that are 100 miles in and then buy another pair (either same model or different model same type of shoe).  Use the new ones for longer runs, keep the old ones for shorter runs, and so on.  This way you’ll not only always have a dry pair, but you’ll be giving your body a little change every day.  The healthiest I have ever been, running wise, is when I had several different shoe models and rotated them throughout the week.  This can be cost prohibitive, but having two pairs at different stages in their lives allows you to change it up even if ever so slightly.  In reality, if you have a couple different pairs at any given time you will eventually put the same number of miles on them, just not up front.  You will outlay the same $$ in the long run, but in the short term have two pairs of shoes to rotate!

Extreme example of shoe rotation!

Extreme example of shoe rotation!

Half Marathon Shoes

Ideally, you want the shoes that you wear on race day to have about 40 miles on them.  Buy a pair of whatever you’ve been wearing and loving all season.  Wear them for a short run to make sure you still love them, then wear them for one of your longer runs.  Then wear them again for a midweek tempo or speed workout if you do those.  That should give you an idea of how they are working for you.  If you still love them, put them away until race day.  If you don’t, start over.  You want to do this ahead of time, so you can change them if necessary and still get some miles on them before race day!

Minimalist Shoes

Ever since the book Born to Run the minimalist shoe/barefoot scene has exploded in popularity.  Like politics and religion EVERYONE seems to have an opinion.  The basic gist of the minimalist theory is this.  Modern running shoes have slowly changed our gait to become more heel striking versus midfoot or forefoot.  Since this has happened quicker than we evolve, it can lead to injuries.  Indeed, some folks believe they see less injuries after switching to minimalist running. I am very concerned about this movement however, but not because I think it is an inherently  bad idea.  There is good scientific information about the forces that occur over the course of a footstrike through push off that shows that this is different for shod runners versus barefooot.  My concern is that like a lot of things with tons of energy and excitement around them, people will jump on the bandwagon too quickly and get injured.  If you are considering barefoot or minimalist running, you MUST transition to it SLOWLY.  I can’t say that loudly enough, SLOWLY.  One good way to do this is to take off your shoes after a run and run in the grass barefoot for a few minutes.  Or if you already have minimalist shoes, go out in them for a half mile and then drop them off and finish your workout in your “normal” shoes.  It isn’t for everyone but many can do it successfully.  If you are thinking about going barefoot or minimalist, I really encourage you to talk with a sports medicine expert, like Dr. Bright, about how to safely start the transition.

Socks

Lastly, don’t forget about socks.  If you are running in cotton socks, STOP NOW!  In fact, if you are running in anything cotton just stop.  The newer technical fibers or the old standby wool are much better at wicking moisture away from your feet.  Your feet will stay dry, less stinky, and more importantly you will be less susceptible to blisters (ugh).

Enjoy the cushion and cloud-like feeling that comes with a new pair of running shoes!  We are only two months from race day and I can’t wait to see you all on May 3rd!

Happy training!

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