Runners helping Runners – National Brain Tumor Society and the Boston Marathon

Running the Boston Marathon is a goal for some, for others it’s about LIFE and DEATH.

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Ryan Robertson’s story about both.

March of 2010 seems like an eternity ago, but it’s a month I’ll never forget.  I was feeling great, training for some summer races, and had a week long rock climbing trip planned to Nevada at the end of the month. After going out for a run one day, I noticed that the left side of my face felt slightly numb. After a few days of increasing numbness, I checked in with my doctor who suggested an MRI.

Feeling completely confident that it would turn out to be nothing, I was shocked to learn that, at the age of 25, I had a type of brain tumor called an acoustic neuroma. Even more devastating, was finding out the tumor was nearly the size of a tennis ball. In less than 24 hours, my general practitioner contacted Dr. Allan Friedman at Duke, considered by many to be the top brain surgeon in the world. As you can imagine, Dr. Friedman is incredibly sought after and busy. He wasn’t taking any appointments that day, but after seeing my MRI, agreed to meet with me right away.

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Two months later I underwent brain surgery with Dr. Friedman and another world renowned brain surgeon, Dr. Fukushima, who happened to be teaching as an adjunct professor at Duke. The surgery was scheduled to take around 6 hours but ended up lasting 13 as the doctors worked with meticulous precision trying not to damage nerves that could have left the side of my face permanently paralyzed. Thanks to their skill, expertise, and precision I came out of the surgery with great results. The entire team that worked with me at the Duke Brain Tumor Center was phenomenal. Within a couple months of surgery I was back to running, rock climbing, and working my way through graduate school classes. I’m incredibly thankful for the results of my surgery, but unfortunately, being diagnosed with a brain tumor doesn’t always end the same way.

I consider it a great privilege to be able to run the Boston Marathon and raise money on behalf of the National Brain Tumor Society. Funding for research is continually leading to better treatments for brain tumors and the hope that a cure will eventually be found. Please join me in this continuing journey and the fight against brain tumors. I was incredibly thankful to have this world-class facility just a few miles down the street. Beyond the high caliber of everyone I’ve had the pleasure to encounter at Duke, the thing that impressed me most was their level of knowledge, skill, and teamwork. Their cutting edge research and technology gave me confidence that everything would work out. I would wish the same peace of mind for anyone diagnosed with a brain tumor.

How can you help?  PLEASE visit Ryan Robertson’s Crowd Rise page and make a donation.  Any amount helps…lost for a number, 26.2 sounds good.

 

Marathon – Running A Sub Four Hour Marathon – Myrtle Beach Marathon

Running a sub-four hour marathon in a dream location.  There are some races that you size up and target for a good day.  The elite runners call them goal or feature races.  Coming off my second sub four-hour marathon at the City of Oaks Marathon in November, I wanted a spring race that would provide an opportunity to repeat that performance.  Myrtle Beach Marathon with is advertised flat and face course seemed like the perfect stage for another sub four or maybe even a new personal record.  Myrtle Beach Marathon on March 4th become my feature race.  Then the winds of fate had their say.

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With a fully loaded race calendar I opened the doors on the month of February on target and hopeful of a good showing in the March marathon.  Then during a simple five-mile run my right calf painfully locked up for the second time in five days.  It was if the cold hand of the Grim Reaper himself reached out and put the touch of death on my spring running plans.  I was days away from a 40-mile mountain race and a month out from my goal race at Myrtle Beach.  I thought for sure all was lost.

With much uncertainty, and after three weeks off I nursed myself back and toed the line at 6:15 a.m. on a cold Saturday morning.  I stood there in the corral amongst numerous others complaining about the cold.  Also weighing on my mind was the fact that my longest run in the last four weeks had been a paltry eight miles.  I questioned if I would get through this race in one piece.  I also questioned if I would be smart enough to limit the damage if something did go wrong.  One thing for certain I would find out soon as Myrtle Beach offers a flat, fast and fantastic marathon experience.

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FLAT - With Myrtle Beach’s relatively flat course I was thankful I would not have to put my calf to the test of climbing a lot of hills.  From the get go the course lived up to its billing.  What elevation changes the 26-mile course could offer up could have been measured with a 25-foot tape measure.  At the end of this race I would not have the excuse that I lost time on the hills.  In fact, during the race my main thought was wondering if my right calf would let me finish.  If my wonky calf held up I was determined to not leave anytime on the course.

FAST - Heralded as South Carolina’s fastest marathon course, I believe that statement to be 110% true.  Outside of the already mentioned flatness of the terrain, there were no awkward sections of the course that I felt cost me time.  Yes, there were a few out and back sections but those had wide sweeping turns that did not bog down my leg turnover or cadence compared to some races I’ve run where I had to downshift into first gear just to get thru the hairpin curve.

If you’re looking for the BQ time or a personal record I can’t think of a better venue them Myrtle Beach.

FANTASTIC – I had a great time in Myrtle Beach.  From the expo, where for the first time I was there as a vendor promoting my recently release book Running to Leadville, to the starting area, the course, the finish and the local community support.  Everything was spot on…normally at some point during my previous races there had always been a moment where I said “what the heck was the Race Director thinking?”  But I failed to have that moment this weekend.  My wife even commented that I did not have my typical race blow up moment this weekend.

I honestly had a great time at this race.  I met a lot of nice people at the expo, got to hang out with a great Running store with Roanoke Island Running Company, sold and signed a few books and ran the entire race without calf pain.  I had a FANTASTIC time in Myrtle beach and running the Myrtle beach Marathon.

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MY RACE KIT:

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U.S. Military Endurance Sports team long sleeve tech shirt
OPEDIX compression shorts
Injinji trail socks
Nike Air Pegasus shoes
Garmin 920 GPS watch
Sleefs USA arm warmer
Running Buddy pouch to carry my phone
GU strawberry banana gels
Nathan handheld with 20 oz bottle of lemon Gatoraid and gel mix
Julbo sunglasses
Recovery Drink by Cocoa Elite
Race Dots – No Pin Holes

RESULTS: My calf was never an issue, I might have felt it around mile 8, or it may have been my mind playing tricks on me.  I ran a perfect race, kept my pace under control, refueled before it began an issue, stayed on my hydration plan.  The result…a marathon personal record time by over two minutes.  I ran a 3:56:06 at the City of Oaks, at Myrtle Beach I bested that time with a 3:53:47 cutting 2 minutes and 19 seconds off my time.  More rewarding for me was that I was able to back up my 2nd sub-four-marathon 3 months later with my third, SUB-FOURS back to back.

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When I posted on Facebook live how happy I was with my sub-four finish a number of running and non-running friends asked why I seemed so happy.  I normally don’t judge my race times against others, or against established times by other runners.  For me the sub-four marathon is the mark of validation that I’m a serious marathon runner, or serious runner in general.  I’m not implying that this standard is a measure on others…it is a standard I impose on myself.  It’s a point of validation for me and me alone.

My thoughts on pre-race nutrition and race strategies on aid stations.

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EXPO:  This was the first expo where I was part of the event.  I had the great fortune to hanging out with Shane and the Roanoke Island Running Company who helped me make my book Running to Leadville available.  I also got to meet a lot of great people.  If you would like a signed copy you can get one direct by clicking here.

A sub-four-hour marathon for me is victory…

Running Home – Marathon – Ultra Marathon – Runners – Wake Forest

I have found a running home in Wake Forest, Run-Tri-Outfitters.

I’m proud to announce that I’ve teamed up with Run-N-Tri Outfitters to bring running to a new level in Wake Forest, NC.

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To help the runners in Wake Forest achieve their goals, we are going to: (dates to be announced)

1.  Hosted Saturday morning training runs

2.  Ultra marathon seminars

3.  Explore new trail outings

Look for updates and exciting news on the Run-N-Tri Outfitters Facebook page.  Stop on out and visit the gang today…tell them Brian sent ya!

Run-N-Tri Outfitters
11831 Retail Dr
Wake Forest, NC 27587

Marathon – Ultra Marathon – Pre Race Nutrition

Running a successful marathon or ultramarathon is so much more than just simply running the race.  The training, mental fortitude, race day strategies, and nutrition are all keys to a successful day.

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One of the most frequently asked questions I receive on Facebook, Twitter or on my Blog is “what do you eat before and during the race?”

In this post I’ll look at pre-race and race day nutrition.

The week prior to the race I ensure I concentrate on hydration.  Now I’m not saying that’s the only time hydration is important,  I’m saying I really focus on it during this time.

I also focus on eating better during this final week and cut out all alcohol.  Now I don’t drink much by rule…but seven to ten days out I stop drinking altogether.

The day “before” the day before (48 Hrs out), I concentrate on filling up the tank.  I don’t count carbs or calories.  I like to keep it simple.  I have a good breakfast, a solid lunch and I ensure I get a good meal in with a little extra helping.  I don’t pig out or go over board I just have a good sized portion maybe with an extra bread stick, slice of pizza, or second go at the spaghetti. .

Race day eve I again ensure I get in a good breakfast and a carb backed lunch.  For dinner I like to have a good meal, pizza, pasta or on occasion a “breakfast for dinner meal, of pancakes or waffles.  The night before I do not want to take on a “gut buster bomb” timed to maybe go off on the starting line or mid race.

I talk about my race day nutrition on this YouTube video.

Hope this helps…the important thing is to find out what works for you and to get the energy into in the tank so that you can run your best race.

 

Ultra Marathon Running – Racing – Mental Toughness – Success

Do Not Feed The Trolls…Ultra Marathon Running

Once I decided to take my running, racing game into the Ultra Marathon level the first piece of advice I received was “There is going to come a point where a race, a run is really going to suck.”  This simple statement was followed up with “It will get better, just keep making forward progress by any means you can.”

So how do you keep running when a ultra marathon or any race turns ugly.

troll(Cute one minute, Ugly the next…do not feed the trolls)

1.  Do not feed the trolls.  Your mind will begin to work against you, do not feed it.  Those ugly thoughts that pop up, “I can’t do this, I’m tired, I’m sore and I just want to stop.”  Do not feed these thoughts.  Do not allow them to grow.  If left unfed they will pass, they will die out.  They will be defeated.  If you feed the trolls they grow, they get more self defeating, they make it acceptable to quit.

2.  Focus on anything positive.  In my worse race, even when my feet have wanted to explode, my legs were spent or my mental game was not there…I could find something positive to focus on.  That single positive thought can carry you to the next step, the next mile, to the next aid station.

IMG_6075(In the middle of the Graveyard 100K)

3.  Play a game.  When you’re in the middle of a personal battle turn those thoughts into a game.  During my first 100k it got ugly for me around mile 40.  I had been running stride for stride with my running mentor George N. when I simply got tired of running.  To get past that point I started singing stupid songs about the mile we had just passed.  “Forty, miles down I’m a running clown….not going to frown.”  It took George a little to catch on but before we knew it those stupid songs got us (me) into a better mind set.

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4.  Do not start to formulate an escape plan.  In my one DNF, I gave into my escape plan.  After a lap of the Bethel Moonlight Boogie 50 miler in 2016, I mentally did not want to be there.  I did not want to suffer.  The next thing I knew I was drafting my blog post, my Facebook update, and my Twitter broadcast.  Once you get that far, DNF is close….do not give into this.  Focus on your Victory Post.

5.  The trolls only win if YOU let them.  The strongest motivating force you have is a belief in yourself.  Positive mental thoughts can power you thru any challenge if you believe.  Your body will accomplish what your brain believes it can do.

Life gets ugly, races get ugly, miles get hard…Do Not Feed the Trolls

Marathon – Runner – Happy Birthday – To Me – Outer Banks Marathon 26.2

When a local Marathon and your birthday align that is special for any 26.2 mile runner.

Happy Marathon Birthday to me.  I’ll run 26.2 miles and then blow out my marathon candles at the Outer Banks Marathon.

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Come Run the Outer Banks Marathon with me…why you ask?

USATF Certified Course
RUNNING SWAG!
CUSTOM MEDALS FOR ALL FINISHERS
FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE (26.2 & 13.1)
EVENT SHIRT
FREE RUNNER FOOD & BEER (21+)
RUNNER EXPO
4 CHALLENGES – earn extra bling!
POST RACE PARTY WITH LIVE MUSIC – FOOD – BEER – RETAIL
AWESOME COMMUNITY SUPPORT!
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE!

“I have to say The Outer Banks race is one of the best around. The people that organize it are amazing and always super helpful. The course totally rocks! And then the community support is just phenomenal. I may be partial to it because it is in the Outer Banks and I love it there but I have done a number of full marathons, even more half marathons and for me this is by far the best around. Thank you for all that you do and for putting on a great race!” ~ CB Aldie, VA

Sign up today and tell them Brian sent ya…..to the Outer Banks!

 

Runner – Injured – Ultra Marathon – Training – On Hold – Recovery

Okay so here it is…I’m an injured runner.  I should be running and training for my next race and a bum achilles tendon/calf has me on the sidelines.  I’m injured or if you’re reading this post you may be injured as well.  Recovery. What to do. More importantly what not to do! (speaking to myself here).

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The Injured runner to do and not to do list.

“Today the rain is going on strong, but tomorrow baby, the sun is going to come out again.” Bruce Lee

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1.  Rest – Every time I google injury recovery no matter if it’s for myself or someone I know the number one course of action is rest.  Stop running or doing whatever it is that causes pain.  For us runners that’s tough.  We build a sense of pride in the pain that we can tolerate.  BUT to recover you must inflicting the injury.

NOT TO DO

1.  Continue to run and risk a worse injury.  You’ll know a true injury when it comes along.  This pain stopped me dead in my tracks.  Do not ignore your body.

DO

2.  Seek treatment, whether by a professional or your own research.  Find out how you should treat the injury and how you can begin to recover.

NOT TO DO

2.  Ignore the injury in hopes that it will simply heal on it’s own.  It may but it will take significantly longer.   Why do professional athletes come back from some major injuries so fast?  They work as hard on recovery as they do on performance…and maybe harder.  Your on the running sidelines but not on the sidelines of your recovery.

DO

3.  Stick to your good eating habits.

NOT TO DO

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3.  Fall off the nutrition/good eating freight train.  You have to accept that your body is not going to burn calories like it did before.  You won’t have the long run, the intense workouts, to burn off those extra thin mints, (Hello man in the mirror), and you need the right foods to heal properly.  Step away from the ding dongs!

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4.  Stay engaged with the community.  Just because your injured, do not pull away from your running community.  Go to the meetings, attend the races, and continue to interact on-line.  You’re still a runner…continue to be involved.

NOT TO DO

4.  Withdraw, sluk, become a recluse in the community.  It’s tough I get it…but stay out there, motivate, lift up and support others.  The positive energy will help you recover and keep you in touch with the real you, “The runner you.”

DO

5.  Stay positive…this is one bump in the road.  The injury does not define you.  The injury does not take away who you are, what you do or the goals and successes that you are still capable of.

NOT TO DO

5.  Get Depressed – This one is going to be hard.  I do, I fight depression when I’m not running.  I get sad.  I feel like I’m not who I am.  I run….now I can’t.  This sucks.

If you’re struggling with an injury, I get it….I’m there too (or have been recently)  Drop me a note I understand how your feeling.

 

Running – While in a writers slump

The last few days I’ve had a hard time coming up with a new topic for my Running blog.  Running has been easy, but writing, well I’ve been in a writer’s slump.   A writer’s slump you ask?  Well not really.  I’ve written a few chapters in my next running themed book.  I’ve written for another fitness themed blog, but I just could not seem to get motivated for a new post on my blog.

Running while in a writer’s slump.  What gives with that…???

What makes me qualified to write about running?  I started to ask myself.

I started to have some negatives thoughts seek into my mind.

Why do I think anyone cares about my running or what I write about?

Does anyone really read my blog?  Or is it just another collection of digits amongst the many brighter stars in the internet galaxy?

Then it hit me….I am qualified to write about running, and that is the perfect title, theme, thought, and motivation for me to write.

Why am I qualified to write about running?  Simple…

thuletreadmill(A few months into my running journey, Thule Air Base, Greenland, 2001)

I’ve been there.  I started my running journey, out of shape, overweight, and in the throes of middle age.  I had to fight self-doubt, laziness, and a lifestyle that was content to be still.  That alone makes me perfectly qualified to write to 99% of the running population.  Unlike the elite athletes, a large number of us “real” people begin our running careers behind the power curve.  We struggle, fight, and crawl our way to fitness.  I understand you.  I was among you and I’m still one of you.

I live a normal life.  As much as I wish it was, running is not my number one priority.  I may think it is.  I may want it to be but no matter what, my job and family are what enables me to run.  Most of us fight to find time, fight to find the money, and fight to get our runs in.  Some days it’s easy and some days it takes every ounce of effort to get out the door, to step on the treadmill, and begin our run.  I live that battle every day.

I can relate.  At some point running gets hard.  We get injured.  We suffer from blisters.  Our stomachs rebel.  We lose motivation.  We just want to cuddle up on the couch with a bag of chips, some Oreos, a gallon of milk and be still.  I’ve struggled and overcame all of those thoughts….sometimes within the first mile of a single outing.  I feel your pain; your pain has been my pain.  I understand.

I’ve made the mistakes.  We all do.  We up the mileage too soon.  We take on a bigger challenge then we were ready for.  We run when we should have rested.   There is no worse feeling than when you realize your body has let you down.  We get sidelined. I’ve felt that very soul crushing, and self-defeating thought; I’m injured.

I can write about running because I’m like you and you are like me.  We live a normal life. We need each other, we can relate to each other struggles.  We motivate each other.  We inspire each other…and we learn, grow, and support each other.

I may not be educated on the proper techniques of running, I may lack the knowledge and understanding of nutrition and how it relates to running and I might not digest the function of the human body.

But I know exactly what you’re going through…and I care.

medoc-2016-finish(Finishing the Medoc Mountain Trail Marathon, 2016)

That makes me perfectly qualified to write about running.

Running and No Longer Living In The Fat Suit

Some stories make you think, some make you move…some will change your life.  Melissa’s story will do all three, Running and No Longer Living In A Fat Suit, a guest post.

Imagine living your whole life feeling intimidated by a simple staircase or being the fattest kid in gym class only to grow up to become the fattest mom in the PTA.

Living obese is like wearing a fat suit, only it’s not a suit—it’s your skin and you can’t take it off. The most backwards part is that you wear it because you want to feel invisible.

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Living fat is humiliating, degrading, and downright sad for many people.

I knew it well because, in a nutshell, until about five years ago, that was me. That’s when I made a series of lifestyle changes that placed me on a whole new trajectory toward health and happiness. It’s not easy, but I can tell you, it’s worth it: You’re worth it.

Maybe you’re not obese, but struggling with a few extra pounds. Or you’re 150 pounds overweight and looking for answers—the soul-searching, gut-wrenching truth—as to WHY, what GOT you there, and HOW on God’s green earth could you shed the fat suit once and for all.

My own weight struggles have roots in my childhood when I endured sexual and emotional abuse by family members. Home is supposed to be safe and nurturing, this wasn’t the case for me. I grew up numbing myself to my emotions, and food became my best friend. If I was sad, food gave me a quick shot of energy. If I was bored, it kept me company. If I was angry, it created a barrier from the pain. Feeling full numbed me to the emotional void I was experiencing.

Everyone hits a limit: the moment when you say ENOUGH. I hit mine after dropping my kids at school. I was mulling over some comments made by my husband the day before. It wasn’t anything new; it was a sentiment he expressed often, he was worried about my health. He reminded me I might die of a heart attack, given my family history of cardiac disease.

For one reason or another, that day the comment sunk in. I had already lost 40 pounds from my highest weight, but stalled out and felt hopeless. I was in a perfect storm of shame, frustration, and exhaustion. Instead of heading home to soothe my woes with a bag of Doritos I drove straight to a Jenny Craig center. I had no appointment. I just walked in, sat down, and whimpered, “Help, please.” I finally asked for help.

The staff matched me with their toughest consultant who had a reputation for pointing out a person’s blind spots and taking no bull. It was a match made in heifer heaven. We became fast friends, and I hung on her every word, including her suggestion to start exercising: Her support helped me lose over 70 pounds— a total weight loss of 110 pounds that year.

Turned out, slimming down was only the first step. I wanted to get fit. A friend of mine challenged me to run a half marathon. I laughed, saying: “The only way I’m running is if someone is chasing me!” I thought about it but I couldn’t think of enough reasons to say “no.” I accepted the challenge.

I had no idea what to expect during training but figured: How hard could it be? I downloaded the popular app, Couch-to-5K, and gulped. The question changed to: How dumb could I be? On my first run, I wore three sports bras (endowed ladies, you can relate!) and couldn’t make it more than 20 seconds before screaming for an ambulance and scanning my surroundings for the nearest AED. It took every fiber of my being to not quit that day.

I managed to graduate from the C25K program and started prepping for the half marathon.

Thankfully, I found a running partner who lived nearby (my friend who challenged me lived in another state). My partner kept me company but our commitment to training outstripped our intelligence. We neglected to find a proper plan and mistakenly upped our mileage. We would run 8 miles every training day for a week and 9 miles the next. This was a bad idea. There are training programs for a reason. As a result, my knees took a turn for the worse.

Fast forward to race day. The energy was electric, and I was excited to share the excitement with the friend who originally issued the challenge. We successfully completed the half marathon, with yours truly limping across the finish line at just past the 3-hour mark. My body was wrecked; my knees were creaking and crackling. I loved every minute of it. I caught the running bug.

I decided to sign up for another race, but I knew I needed a dose of fun to my training regimen. I found a new running group, and discovered I was right: Running CAN be fun. Soon, I was addicted. That’s all it took: an understanding group of runners who were in it for the joy of just being out there. The whole world opened up to me at that point.

Cue the “I WANT TO RUN ALL THE RACES!” meme. I signed up for every race I could find, from 5k to 10k and more half marathons. I’ve been running for over 4 years. I’ve learned about proper running shoes. I’ve learned that some days are better than others. I’ve learned that every run isn’t going to be more amazing than the last, and that’s ok. It’s like life: some days are great, other days not so much. But you don’t give up. You just keep running, one foot in front of the other, and you get it done. I learned that runners are some of the most amazingly kind people in the world.

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Mostly I’ve learned that I no longer have to wear the fat suit.

Running has become my sanity, clearing my head on bad days, and my salvation, invigorating me on the good ones. The best part: it’s introduced me to a whole new world. The running community is an entire subculture, it turns out. I never met a stranger in a runner; when you share the love for running with someone, there’s an unstated bond that lasts a lifetime— at least as long as you’ve got the spirit and two legs to keep going.

There’s no better feeling than knowing that the best is yet to come.

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Melissa Kahn is a Jenny Craig brand ambassador and proud founder of Run, Heifer, Run! —a fun-loving community of fitness enthusiasts dedicated to commonsense solutions for weight loss and healthy living. Melissa competes in triathlons now, having lost over 100 pounds, or the equivalent of 45 kilos of fear. She has maintained her healthy weight for more than five years—another accomplishment considering she’s yet to meet a cookie she doesn’t like. Melissa lives in Phoenix with her husband Dave (a pilot), four foul-smelling teenagers and two spazzy dogs.

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Follow Melissa on TwitterInstagram, Facebook and Pinterest 

 

Cleveland Marathon – Training Tips

Thankful to be running the 40th Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon this year, I have a little score to settle. Super thankful to be an RACM Ambassador this year, and as Spiderman said, “with that comes the awesome responsibility to help others.”  Or it was something close to that…

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So how can I help you run a better marathon?  Easy learn from my mistakes, my lessons learned, my success (where I’ve had some), and some helpful training tips.

I’M SORRY I JUMPED THE GUN ON THE GIVEAWAY….My week to give away a free race entry is not until May, I will repost the contest then, PLEASE check back…

FREE entry to drawn on May 5th, enter every day and share with your friends….

To start you off on your best RACM.

Don’t feed the trolls.  At some point in the race it may get ugly.  It might be your feet, maybe its turn out to be a tight hamstring, a sore ankle or your just plain out of breath.  Thoughts of doubt might crept in…you’ll consider quitting.  Don’t feed those thoughts…keep moving forward, it will get better.  We are all stronger than we think we are, capable of doing more than we think we can.  For more tips on not feeding the trolls, check out my article on the same subject.

Sleep is important.  Sleep is just as important in training as the miles are.  Your body can’t recover without sleep.  Just as you would not skimp on the miles…don’t rob yourself of valuable sleep during training.  Especially right before race day.  Most will suffer from some nervousness as our race draws near.  The night before, the night before is perhaps the most important night of rest.

Ease into your day.  Unless you’re gunning for a BQ or Olympic qualifying time you’ll run a faster race if you ease into your day.  Studies have proven and I have learned the lessons myself.  You’ll lose more time running out of gas at mile 20, 21, 22, 23, 24…..then you would have gained with the fast start.

Have a plan for race day.  Most races have aid stations every two miles.  You can waste a lot of time in the aid station zones if you don’t have a plan. Check my post on race day strategies.

Run those long runs with friends.  Whether my sites are set on the next marathon or a 100 miler, the long runs always intimidate me.  It’s not just the miles that drive me a little batty, it’s the time alone.  To help me win this battle I invite others along for the ride run.

20 miles, 50 miles or whatever your long run is, it’s much easier to pull off if you have some good running friends to spend the time with.  After it takes a village to run a marathon.

Test drive your gear and test drive your gear together.  On a recent training run for an upcoming 100-miler, I ran a 50-mile long run.  The morning of the run, I selected a pair of high-quality socks.  This pair of socks I’ve run long distances in before, I had confidence in them.  Later I selected a pair of shoes, again a pair I’ve run in a lot and likewise had tons of confidence in them.

About two miles into the day I noticed a weird feeling related to the combination of my shoes, socks, and feet.  Honestly, it felt like my socks were falling down.  Now I wear low rise socks, to begin with, so this was kind of strange.  I ran another half mile and I thought for sure my left heel was now naked in my shoe.  With 48 miles left to my day, I had to fix this situation.  I pulled over on the trail.  I sat down by a nice tree and removed my shoe.  Sure enough, my sock had been pushed down and nearly off my foot.

It dawned on me, I was not so sure I ever wore THAT pair of socks with THAT pair of shoes.  I struggled with sock issues all day and received a nice blister on the back of my left heel as my reward.

Check back for my next Cleveland Marathon training tip.