Monthly Archives: April 2014

Race Week! Should I use a pacer?

pacers_preraceIt’s race week.  All your hard work is behind you and it’s time for the party to begin!  Sure there will be nerves but that’s good, it means you have worked hard for something and care about the result.  One question that comes up on race week is how to pace and should I use a pacer?  The answers are all over the map but there a few tried and true approaches.

Don’t Start Too Fast

No matter what your planned race pace is, don’t hammer that first mile or two.  If you are properly trained and tapered it is way too easy to blast through the first couple miles and then ruin your chances for a good day.  Take it easy initially.  Either start off right on pace or a few seconds per mile slower than your planned race pace.  You SHOULD feel good in the first few miles but hold off on trying to set the world on fire.  If you are still feeling like you have a lot in the tank come mile 8 or 10, by all means go for it.  Just not in mile 2.

 

We have wave starts so everyone should find room to run quickly, but there is still a little bit of congestion in that first mile or so.  Don’t feel the need to weave in and out of all the runners ahead of you.  It takes too much energy and really doesn’t do much for your time.  Take the opportunity to relax your shoulders and breathe.  Once the field opens up a bit find your pace and just settle in.

Pacers – The Fleet Feet MIT Pace Team

The pacers are out on the course for you.  They are experienced runners, many of whom pace or coach for Marathoner in Training throughout the year.  It is by volunteer only so they are there just to share their love of running with YOU!  Each of them will hold a consistent pace throughout and will get you to the finish right on time.  The pace teams start at 8 min/mile for the half and 8:25 min/mile for the quarter and go to 15:16 min/mile.  They will be in the proper corral for the finish times associated with their paces.  Please take the time to talk to them if you want to know what their plans are for the race, such as how they will handle water stops.

Should I run with a Pacer?

While pacers are not miracle workers, they can make pacing a race easier for you.  If you are trained and ready for a given pace, they will help you get through the race without the worry of nailing every mile split.  Most have 13.1+ miles worth of stories and laughs to share, so they will entertain you as well.  They are there to encourage, motivate, cheer, and of course pace.  They will have pace signs with their planned finish times.  pacers

If you want more information on the pace team, check them out here.

Enjoy Race Day

However you choose to get from the start line to the finish, whether it is on your own, with a group of friends, or with new found friends and the MIT Pace Team enjoy your day.  Cap City is set up to be a HUGE party.  We are here to celebrate YOU.  It is a huge honor to be part of your journey and we cannot wait to welcome you to the finish line.

See you on Race Day!  Happy Training (and tapering) – Coach Aimee

 

 

Taper Time!

cheerleaders_at_finish David_at_finish

Holy smokes!  It is officially 10 days until race day.  I cannot believe it.  The sun is shining, the trees are flowering, daffodils are out and it is WARM!  We have successfully made it through the worst winter that Central Ohio has seen in a looooong time.  Congratulations on pushing through and training throughout the cold, snowy, gray winter.  This is our reward!  I could not be prouder of all the Cap City runners and my MIT runners!  Shout out to team 9:45 for helping make the winter fun!  I hope you all have fun training partners that got you through this season too.

So now we are in the taper phase of training.  I wrote a very long article about taper last year and you can find it here.  Tapering is as much an art as it is a science.  Getting it right takes patience and support from those around you, because you might be a little grumpy!  Tapering means that we cut the volume of running way down from the recent training weeks.  The goal is to allow your legs and body the recovery time they need to be fresh on race day.  Rest gives you the opportunity to recover from any lingering fatigue.  Robb Kestner the winner of the 2007 Columbus Marathon once told me “You don’t peak until you rest.”  That is very true.  Giving yourself that downtime allows your body to peak on race day.  However it isn’t easy.  At this point we are used to the training schedule and the rhythm of train, recover, repeat.

Reduced Volume

Tapering does NOT mean that we stop running altogether.  If you are following our schedules then you will see that we have you running still in the next week, but the volume is reduced.  We want your legs to still be moving, but we don’t want to add too much stress.  If you are feeling especially tired or achy, take the day off.  You are not going to add fitness by running through it now.  The best thing you can do if you feel “off” is to rest.

PLEASE don’t go out and try to add extra miles or days to your training schedule now.  You cannot cram for an endurance event and extra miles in the few weeks leading up to a race like Cap City will not help, but they can hurt.  Either you have put in the work by now or you have not.  If you haven’t, do not fret.  That’s why we have other shorter distances and races later this year!  If you have put in the work, don’t question it.  You’ve done it, now simply rest.

Thank your supporters

Take the time to do something special for your support crew.  They have put in extra time over the next few months too.  Maybe they did extra laundry or quietly dealt with yours all of the house “drying.”  They’ve taken extra babysitting shifts and listened to you go on and on about the joys of Body Glide.  Whatever it was, now is the time to thank them.

Whatever you do, don’t …

Do not pick up a new sport in the next 10 days.  I know we are running less and you have extra energy, that’s the point!  Don’t start something new and that includes strenuous yard work!  No pulling hedges out of your garden for 10 days.  They will still be there on May 4.  Yes that’s a true story and she knows who she is!

Celebration Time

You’ve got this!  Now is the time to rest, enjoy, and celebrate.  We are so excited to see you all on race day and at the expo.  I will be waiting for you at the finish.

Happy Training (and tapering)!

-Coach Aimee

 

 

Relax – You’ve Got This!

Two weeks to go!  This weekend is the last long training run of the season.  Often this is the time of nerves, wondering if you can do the longest run of the season and then the RACE.  The good news is YOU’VE GOT THIS!  All of the training up to now has prepared you for this day and for May 3.  Your body is ready, now it’s time to get the mind ready and wrapped around the fact that you will be a finisher on May 3rd.

cap_city_5kstart

Every week we’ve progressed, either in mileage or by giving your body a recovery week to rebuild.  If you’ve been following our schedules, or any appropriate half/quarter marathon schedule, you will have the base to get to the finish.  What seemed daunting on week one is simply just another week of training now.  Perspectives have changed, bodies are stronger.  The finish line is truly within reach.

I have one more request of you for this week during your long run.  As you are somewhere in the middle of your run, take a deep breath like the kind in high school gym class or better yet a yoga cleansing breath.  Then take another one.  And THEN look around you, take it all in.  Think back on where you started, both today and 4 months ago.  Remember all the cold, snowy, early morning workouts.  Soak in the warmth of today.  Let your mind wander to the last few miles of Cap City.  Picture the last turn and how you will feel when that finish line comes into view.  Relax.  You have done the work.  Enjoy your last long run.  Race day is a celebration but the long run is too.

Congratulations on getting through what has been the roughest training season in memory!  You all have certainly earned your medal and the party that awaits on May 3rd.  We cannot wait to welcome you to the finish line!

Happy Training (and remember RELAX)!

Aimee

#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!