Posts Tagged ‘ Runner’s World ’

Are You a Fan of Fad Runs?

Color_RunThere is a new breed of racing running rampant around the country. Tough Mudder, Spartan, Mud Run, Zombie Chases, Color Runs, and now Electric Runs (think neon lights and glow sticks). Bored with running a 5k? Not interested in a PR? Want to entice your non-running buddies into joining your uber-fun relay team? Don’t worry! There’s a whole slew of new, exciting races just for you! At least that’s what the organizers of these new races would like you to think and get you to sign up for these runs. More expensive than their same-distance counterparts, these new fun runs are filled with anything and everything that might keep your attention. And if your interested in obstacles and entertainment more than running, then you’ve come to the right place.

I’m personally not a fan of these new fad runs. I like to run in races. That’s it. Run. No bells and whistles, no undead hunting me down, no sprays of color exploding in my face. I’m glad that these runs get people out and active. What I don’t like is the danger element involved in the obstacle-centered ones like the mud runs and their counterparts. While the risk of injury is minimum, it’s still a definite factor. More and more reports are coming out of people being seriously hurt or killed during these runs. The most recent report was of a man who drowned in one of the obstacles at a Tough Mudder in West Virginia in April. It sounds like negligence on the part of both the race organizers and those they hired to man the stations, but here’s the article so you can judge for yourselves. On a more personal note, a friend of mine recently signed up for a run that was supposed to be just a fun run with some friends. She returned with her elbows and knees bruised and bloodied due to the army crawls under low hanging wires. Problem was the ground was littered with small stones that dug into her arms and legs as she maneuvered through the obstacles. She didn’t want to complete some obstacles but because of the mass of people pushing around and behind her felt forced to do so.

While I don’t think all these new fad runs are dangerous, I think that because of their popularity race officials should be more aware of the potential injuries or dangerous situations that might occur and prepare accordingly. And if you love these runs – great! It’s always fun to find new, exciting challenges that get you and your friends running.

Happy running! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Power of Positive Thinking

Positive-ThinkingToday will be my first day “back in the saddle.” Or, rather, back on the Pre-Cor. Although I’m itching to run, I’m restraining myself for the sake of healing. Tonight I’m going to lace up my sneaks, drive to the gym through the buckets of rain that have descended on Central Jersey, and do cardio for the first time in over a month. Yikes! I’ll start with some strength training to warm my muscles up, followed by some light stretching, then on to the Pre-Cor.

I’ve been good about applying heat to my injury a couple times a day for 15-20 minutes each time. My plan is to do cardio for only 10-15 minutes at a snail’s pace. I’ll stretch again after my cardio, paying special attention to my hip/groin, then ice when I get home. The hardest part will be not pushing myself. It’s really hard for me not to feel like a failure if I’m not sweaty and (happily) spent after any cardio. I need to keep in mind that my goal is to run consistently again and whenever I want to. This won’t happen if I push myself too early and set myself back thus prolonging my recovery time even more than I have already.

I did notice that before I was ordered to rest for a few weeks by my doctor, any strength training I did, especially for my legs, seemed to help ease the strain on my injury. I’ll focus again on building up a strong core, glutes, and legs in hopes that my propensity for injury will lessen.

This all said, I believe that a key factor in my recovery is my mental state. For months now I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to recovery and get back to running. Frustrated at the lack of results, I’ve noticed that I get down on myself for not being successful. Rather than focus on what I can do, I’ve focused on what I can’t. Instead of celebrating small victories, I get disappointed at what I see as failures. I know that positive thinking is a HUGE part of healing and succeeding. I need to work on looking at what is good and using more positive, affirming thoughts. If I don’t believe I can get better, then I won’t. Runner’s World recently had a great article on how to change the way you think in order to become a stronger runner. As any runner knows, it’s one thing to be in shape physically and a whole other thing to be in shape mentally.

My goal is to not only run again, but facilitate my recovery through positive thinking. Happy running! ๐Ÿ™‚

Beating the Running Blues

sadrunnerEvery so often an injury will derail me from my running goals. Because running has become so much of my identity I rely heavily on being able to run to find peace of mind emotionally, physically and mentally. When I can’t run it really affects me on my many levels. Lately I’ve been faced with this challenge and have been forced, or, thinking positively, given the opportunity, to find ways to cope with not being able to run.

So instead of getting depressed and mopey, here, after much self-reflection, are:

Runner Sami’s Tips for Beating the Running Blues

1. Use the time off to become a stronger runner – Find cross-training activities that won’t exacerbate your injury. Biking, swimming, pilates, yoga, and strength training are all great ways to build up muscles that will help keep you injury-free in the future.

2. Invest in other areas of your life – Because running is my positive outlet, it’s important to reroute those energies into other outlets while running is on the back burner. Find ways to invest your time that make you happy. Writing, catching up with friends, spending time with my family, or planning a trip are some things I have found help rejuvenate me when I’m not able to run.

3. Read about running – For some people this might be too painful, but I’ve found that reading about running helps me feel like I’m still involved in becoming a better runner. Books or articles about running help me focus on positive ways to help my recovery. There are always ways I can better myself as a runner and it’s fun to read about interesting races I can sign up for once I’m at full running capacity again!

4. Be an active participant in your recovery – You’re not alone. There are a lot of resources online through blogs, social media sites like dailymile.com, or websites like runnersworld.com for runners looking for support or providing helpful tips and strategies for those coming back from injuries. Finding answers and lending support to others are great ways to aid in recovery.

5. Eat healthy, be happy – When I can’t run my mind automatically starts to dwell on all those extra pounds that are going to fly onto my body. Even if this is not realistic, eating healthy helps me keep a happy frame of mind until I can go back to burning the calories I’m used to burning. And eating healthy is always a great habit for helping me become a stronger runner.

Happy running! ๐Ÿ˜€

Running a Half Marathon

halfmarathonMarc Parent, author of the Newbie Chronicles in the Runner’s World magazine, wrote an article for the February 2013 issue documenting his first half marathon running experience. For years Parent has been writing about his experiences in becoming a runner and growing to love it. I love his article as I could relate to many of his stories. When I first began running I never dreamed that I would run in any race let alone a half marathon. It wasn’t that I was unfit, but when it came to prolonged cardio activities I definitely had a lot of room for improvement. (I’ll post about my first running experience in a near future post.)

My first half marathon wasn’t anything like Parent’s experience. I ran in the Delaware Half Marathon, my first, in 2009. A combination of my naivety and the circumstances of the day made for a rough run. Since I was coming in from out of town, a friend who was running in the same race offered to pick up my race packet the day before and give it to me before the race. Except for some reason she took out the bib number and subsequently forgot it at her apartment. Which meant I had to run around the morning of to try and obtain a new number, something that baffled the race volunteers – guess that doesn’t happen very often. By the time I finally got a new bib number a light drizzle had begun to fall. No problem I thought. I’d run in the rain before and wasn’t worried about it affected my ability to run or finish the race.

By the time I lined up at the start, the rain had begun to come down with more intensity. At the official’s signal I took off – way too fast. I pounded out the first few miles, waving happily to my girlfriend who later said she couldn’t believe how quickly I ran past her at the three-mile mark. By that time it was pouring and I was soaked through and through. The course wasn’t particularly difficult, but I soon realized how ill-prepared I was for this half-marathon. Around mile 6 I got a cramp in my side so painful that I was forced to walk for the next half mile. Eventually I was able to run once more, but at a much slower pace. My intention had always been to just finish the race as it was my first half marathon, so I didn’t worry about my pace focusing instead on the finish line.

Around mile 11 I hit the dreaded wall. My legs were had tightened and I had hit the bottom of my reserves. I ran/walked the last couple of miles and managed to move past the pain to cross the finish line. I don’t even remember my time. I just remember the feeling of euphoria and relief at crossing through the finishing gate. Despite the less than stellar run, I felt like I could conquer the world. And I knew I wanted to run another half marathon, only next time I’d be more prepared. ๐Ÿ™‚

(Note: I ran in the Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2011 and loved every minute of it. I had trained well and finished with a time of 2:06. My goal for the half marathon, yet to be determined, this year is to break 2 hours.)

Happy running!

 

Fav Fall Races

  Although I enjoy running in all seasons, fall is by far my favorite. Everything smells great, the air is cooler (but not yet freezing), and I just feel invigorated by all the colors that come with the changing season. And with each fall comes a whole slew of great races one can participate in.

While I’m sure there are many races near you, you can’t throw a stone and not hit a 5k these days, these are some of the more notable ones I’ve found.

Runner’s World Half & Festival, October 19-21 – This the first, hopefully annual since I can’t participate in this one this year, running weekend and festival hosted by Runner’s World. Located in Bethlehem, PA, it’s seems destined to be a huge success. Running favs and authors such as Dean Karnazes, Kristin Armstrong, Matt Long, Bart Yasso and Marc Parent will be in attendance. Not only can runners enjoy a 5k, 10k, half-marathon or all three for the hat trick, but there will be movies shown, seminars, speakers and the quintessential pasta dinner. All perfect ingredients for what I’m sure will be a fabulous running weekend.

Baltimore Running Festival, October 13 – Another East Coast running extravaganza, this running festival is very popular. Every entrant gets a sweet Under Armour race shirt, plus entry to the celebration following the race which features live music, activities, food and drink. Enter the 5k, half, or full or register for the Maryland Double, runners who participate in a half or full in both the Baltimore and Frederick Running Festivals. Finishers of the Double receive a really cool looking medal that, for a nominal fee, can be engraved with your name and times at the finish. Cool!

Seattle 5k Beer Running Tour, September 9 – With an onslaught of what I deem kitschy races – zombies, paint throwing, warrior, mud, nude, costumed – I have to say that this would be one I would participate in. More laid back with stops at quirky sights around Seattle, this running tour (they don’t call it a race), begins and ends at the Fremont Brewery where free brews will be distributed upon finishing. And since having a cold beer at the end of my long weekend runs is definitely one of my running incentives, I’d happily participate in this brew happy event.

Run Rabbit Run, September 14 & 15 – For those of you who are very ambitious I haven’t forgotten you! This trail run through Steamboat Springs, CO, features a 50-mile run Sept. 14 and a 100-mile run Sept. 15. Otherwise known as ultrarunning, for those of you who, like me, are content to run somewhat shorter distances, these races are often a combination of trail and road running with aid stations along the route. To top it all off, this is the caveat that is featured on the website: A word of warning: These are not beginnerโ€™s runs.  You might find the uphills and downhills fairly steep. You may find thereโ€™s a lot of them.  You will spend a lot of time at an altitude of nearly two miles. There may be snow. There may be rain. It may sleet, or be wet, or windy, or then again, it may be hot. There may be wild animals out there, some of them a lot bigger and scarier than a rabbit. Yikes! Think I’ll be a cheerleader for any runs like that!

Happy running! ๐Ÿ˜€