Endurance Training Benefits

Endurance training offers plenty of benefits for your mind and body. You’ll build up both muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance, leading to better fitness and health overall. And you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment too – because let’s face it, endurance training isn’t easy! It takes a lot of mental toughness to keep going when the going gets tough. But that’s exactly what you’ll learn from endurance training: how to push through the pain and reach your goals. This can be applied to other areas of your life, making you more successful in everything you do. Not to mention, you’ll also develop strong bonds with other people who are going through the same thing as you.

The Many Benefits of Endurance Training:

Feeling of Accomplishment

When you make it through a tough training session or do something that not many other people can do, you feel an overwhelming sense of achievement. It’s tough, and at times you will want to give up, but this feeling will make you want to do it all over again. The sense of achievement you feel is unlike any other, and it’s what keeps you going when the going gets tough.

Improves Mental Strength

Your mind will tell you to quit a thousand times before your body ever does. It’s character building to be able to say I want to quit, but I won’t. Pushing through the pain can make you a very hard person to beat in all other areas of your life, too. You’ll develop an incredible will to succeed, whether that’s winning or simply finishing.

Great For Your Health

Your health should always be your number one priority, and endurance training is a great way to stay healthy. By completing endurance training, you will be putting yourself very high on the health charts. This means that you will have a lower chance of developing illnesses and a longer life expectancy. Your cardiovascular system will be in excellent shape, which will have a positive impact on your day-to-day life. Exercise improves the overall physical performance of your body in sports, everyday work, normal routines, as well as offering the advantage of aesthetics. As you continue to train, your muscle mass will increase, and you will notice significant improvement in your balance and coordination. Not to mention, you will feel the obvious anti-aging effects of endurance training.

You Won’t Be Taking It Easy

If you’re competing in endurance events, you’ll have fewer people to beat than other sports because the process weeds out the weak. The commitment to training for such an event will discourage many others from even attempting it. But that’s what makes you special – your dedication and willingness to go the extra mile!

Change For The Better 

Other people may be able to juggle going out on the weekends and hitting the gym the next day or playing some sport after work when they haven’t eaten a lot all day.  But if you’re performing an endurance sport, you’ll not be able to do those things half-hearted.  Being dehydrated from not drinking enough, or being under-fueled nutritionally from not eating enough will have a dramatic effect on your training and competition, and so it will force you to be prepared, plan ahead, and sacrifice.  It will make you a much more dedicated person.

You Will Build Muscle

Endurance sports require the use of both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. According to recent studies, your body will first recruit slow-twitch fibers and, once they are fatigued, it will recruit your fast twitch fibers to help. This is why soccer players build huge calf muscles and cyclists have quads big enough to rival some bodybuilders. So if you’re thinking that endurance sport will take all of your gains away, then you need not worry. You will not only gain muscle, but you will also get much stronger by building your muscular endurance by expanding on its ability to work hard for longer.

Growth In Bone Density

If you’re looking for a way to stay young and healthy, why not try following in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s footsteps? As many people know, Arnold had a bone deficiency when he was younger. So, he decided to bulk up his muscles to help support his bones. By choosing diet and exercise to improve your health, you’re giving your bones the extra support they need to grow and develop properly. This can help prevent osteoporosis, especially if it runs in your family.

As you train, your body releases growth hormone into your bloodstream, which helps build up better density in your bones. This is especially important as you age and your bone density naturally starts to decrease. A solid training routine can help keep fractures at bay, so you can feel young and look young for years to come!

Enhanced Immune System

No matter how strong you are, viruses can always find a way to attack your immune system. But don’t worry! Regular endurance training can help boost your immunity by creating additional proteins needed for white blood cell and antibody production. Not to mention, endurance training also has anti-inflammatory effects which can be helpful for people with chronic inflammatory diseases. And over time, your body will get used to the training and experience less muscle soreness after workouts.

Diabetic Benefits

Preventing and controlling diabetes is possible with regular exercise because it can improve the body’s insulin sensitivity. By increasing your muscle mass, you also gain extra glucose storage, which can help keep your blood sugar levels at a safe count.

Enhanced Metabolism

As we age, our metabolisms slow down and we tend to put on weight. But there’s no need to despair! Regular exercise can help offset this by building muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns just by doing its daily activities. So for every pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn an extra 70 calories each day.

Lifestyle Benefits

Exercise is a great way to get your blood pumping and oxygen flowing to your brain. This can help keep your mind sharp and your body functioning properly. It also helps release stress, improve thinking skills, and increase reaction times. Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is reduced during exercise, which can have a positive effect on our mental state. Regular exercise also leads to better sleep habits, including falling asleep faster, staying asleep throughout the night, and feeling more rested in the morning. Plus, looking good and feeling confident about yourself can boost your self-esteem.


Endurance events can be a great way to challenge yourself and stay motivated. They provide an opportunity to push yourself physically and see what you’re capable of. If you find a passion for endurance racing, you can really commit to it and see some amazing results.

Running Mistakes to Avoid

Little habits – that you don’t even realize you have – can cost you a lot of energy and keep you from running/walking faster.  Ignoring them is like driving down the highway with a tarp on top of your car – when the tarp has a loose corner.  The tarp resistance can cause your fuel economy to dip – and your energy and enthusiasm for the trip can go with it.

Look around on the road and you’ll see runners/walkers doing the same thing.  Runners/walkers move parts that don’t need to move and compromise their ability to speed up and stay fresh.  Here are some of the most common bad running/walking habits – and how to fix them.

  1. Swinging your hands across your body.  It’s a running/walking mistake to keep your arms still at your sides while running/walking, or swing them without bending them.  When you run/walk, all your movement should be forward or back.  Any other motion saps energy.  Crossing your hands over the midline of your body is a big one.  Not only does this force your upper body to work harder, it makes you cross your legs over each other, too.  If there’s a white line on the road and you’re hitting it with every step, then you’re spinning your body more.  The easiest fix is to be aware of where your arms are.  Relax your arms, keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle close to your body, and swing your arms forward and back.  As they come forward, your hands should not cross the center line and should come up no further than your breasts.  This arm motion will give power to your run/walk.  Your feet generally move only as fast as your arms.
  2. Looking at your feet.  Look down at your feet and try to breathe in.  Now look in front of you and do the same thing.  When you look down, you’re cutting off valuable oxygen.  Good posture for running/walking allows you to breathe well and provides a long body line to prevent problems with your back, neck, and shoulders.  Chin up when running/walking – it should be parallel to the ground.  Focus your eyes a few feet ahead of you.
  3. Squeezing your fists.  The pressure that you put on your hands translates into your forearms and shoulders.  That energy starts to travel to every part of your body.  If you’re not relaxed in your arms and hands, you’ll eventually feel it in your legs.  When you feel yourself tightening up, let your arms fall to your sides, relax your shoulders, and shake out your hands.
  4. Trying to get faster every day.  To get strong and fast, your body doesn’t just need a workout; it needs to rest.  Remember how Sunday was a traditional day of rest?  There is wisdom in that.  Take a day off at least once per week.  Rest helps to repair muscle tissue, which is what makes you stronger over time.  To get faster, you should either build in rest days and/or truly go easy on your easy days.  Easy doesn’t mean 30 seconds slower than your race pace.  Some of the top runners in the world go as much as two and a half minutes slower per mile than marathon race pace.  And if they can back off some days and still run fast, so can you.
  5. Overstriding.  When runners/walkers try to run/walk faster, a natural inclination is to lengthen your stride in front, reach out farther with your forward foot.  This leads to a clumsy, ungainly gait, striking hard with your feet.  Your shins hurt, and you really don’t get any faster.  All the power of your run/walk comes from pushing with the back leg and foot.  If you’re trying to run/walk fast, concentrate on taking shorter, quicker steps.  Then think of really rolling through your step with your back foot and leg, getting a good push off.  The result will be faster feet and a longer stride where it does you some good – in back.

How to Dress for a Run

Don’t know what to wear on your next run?  

A good rule of thumb is to dress as though the temperature is 10-20 degrees warmer than it actually is. This number will depend on your body size, pace, and the length of your run. Remember that you’ll heat up quickly once you start running, and cool down just as fast when you’re done. So have a plan for getting out of your wet clothes ASAP!

If you’re running in cold weather, dress in layers. Start with a base layer of something that will wick sweat away from your skin, like polyester or wool. Add a layer of insulation, like a fleece jacket, and top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer.

In warm weather, you’ll still want a sweat-wicking base layer, but you can probably get away with a lighter insulation layer. And don’t forget the sunscreen!

Learn how to dress for success on your next run with this helpful guide:

  • 60+ degrees: tank top or singlet and shorts (feels like 7080 degrees)
  • 50–59 degrees: short sleeve tech shirt and shorts (feels like 6079 degrees)
  • 40–49 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, mittens or gloves (optional), headband to cover ears (optional) (feels like 5069 degrees)
  • 30–39 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves, and headband to cover ears (feels like 4059 degrees)
  • 20–29 degrees: two shirts layered—a long sleeve tech shirt and a short sleeve tech shirt or, long sleeve shirt and jacket—tights, gloves, and headband or hat to cover ears (feels like 3049 degrees)
  • 10–19 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, gloves or mittens, headband or hat, and windbreaker jacket/pants (feels like 2039 degrees)
  • 0–9 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, windbreaker jacket/pants, mittens, headband or hat, ski mask to cover face (feels like 1029 degrees)

Advantages of Winter Running

It’s tough to run in the dark, in bad weather, and in cold temperatures. But, as the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” Let’s explore some of the advantages of winter running.

Winter running is the time to develop your mental toughness and up your game. Finishing a run under miserable weather conditions is an incredible confidence booster, and it will help get you out there next time.

Sure, it’s freezing outside. But before you retreat to the treadmill for your run, consider this:

  • Chilly temperatures may change unwanted fat into a different kind of fat that actually burns calories.  The fat in your body isn’t equal.  There’s white, brown, and shades in between.  White fat is what we commonly think of when we think of unwanted body fat.  Brown fat is metabolic tissue that actually burns calories.  There’s a growing body of scientific literature that suggests exposing our bodies to cold temperatures turns our white fat to brown.  That means heading outside for a winter run could not only help you burn calories, it could change your body composition.

  • Cold is actually the ideal weather for running.  You aren’t likely to overheat.  Because of this, winter running is actually somewhat easier.

  • Running is a great tool for preventing winter weight gain.  We tend to move less and eat more in the colder months.  Running burns significant calories and is therefore a powerful tool in maintaining and even losing weight during winter.

  • Running will keep your metabolism going strong.  Our bodies are programmed to preserve our fat stores in the winter, slowing down our metabolisms in direct response to our decreased exercise levels.  Running in the cold serves to ‘trick’ the body, preventing this seasonal slowdown of metabolism and helping to maintain a healthy weight.

  • You’ll burn more calories.  When it’s cold, you start shivering because muscle movement helps heat up the body.  When you’re running in the cold, your body works harder and burns more calories to keep you alive.  Ergo, when you run outside in subzero temperatures, you’re dieting without realizing it.

  • You’ll strengthen your heart.  Cold weather also makes the heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body.

  • You’ll feel happier and more energized.  Cold-weather exercise also has the ability to boost one’s mood, thanks to the lack of humidity (which creates that heavy air feeling in the summer months) and the stimulating aspect of the chill.  As the body works harder to stay warm, the amount of endorphins produced also increases, leaving you with a stronger sense of happiness and lightness following a workout in the cold.

Running in the winter is pretty hard core and pretty awesome.  When you layer up with your running friends, there’s something special and bonding about bundling up, and braving the harsh winter air, and living to talk about it the next day.

Nutrition Hydration Sleep

Following are some common truths that apply to pre- and post-workout nutrition, hydration and sleep.  All of which are important while training and racing.

Nutrition: Don’t Skip the Carbs

Carbohydrates are fuel for your “engine” (i.e., your muscles).  And, the harder your engine is working, the more carbs you need to keep going.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best not to eat immediately before a workout because while your muscles are trying to do their “thing,” your stomach is trying to simultaneously digest the food in your stomach.  These competing demands are a challenge for optimal performance.  And, even more of a factor, eating too close to a workout may cause you to experience some GI discomfort while you train.

Ideally, you should fuel your body about 1 to 3 hours pre-workout, depending on how your body tolerates food.  Experiment and see what time frame works best for your body.  This is something you need to explore during your training days and not during race day.

Suggestions for pre-workout fuel:

  • A peanut butter and banana, or peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
  • Apple and peanut or almond butter
  • Handful of nuts and raisins (two parts raisins, one part nuts)
  • Cereal with low fat milk

Notice that each of these suggestions include some protein as well as carbs.  Carbs are the fuel.  Protein is what rebuilds and repairs, but also “primes the pump” to make the right amino acids available for your muscles.  Getting protein and carbs into your system is even more vital post workout.

Nutrition: Mid-Run

In general, runners need to add in 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate each hour they’re running longer than 75 minutes.  But you’ll need to start fueling earlier than 75 minutes into a run; by that time, your tank will be empty, and once you hit empty it’s very hard to recover.  Start taking in fuel within 30 minutes of hitting the pavement.  Start slow; you need to train your gut (and your palate) to handle fuel on the run.  If you’re new to fueling on the run, take in a little bit of fuel every 15 minutes.  Be sure to follow your fuel with water.  Your stomach can only tolerate a certain percentage of carbohydrate so you need to dilute your fuel in order for it to go into circulation (rather than sit like a stone in your gut).

Nutrition: Post-Workout

Your body uses stored energy (glycogen) in your muscles to power through your workout or race, but after that workout, you need to replenish the nutrients lost.

As soon as possible post-workout, get carbs and protein immediately into your body.  This gives your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen they just lost through training and helps your tired muscles rebuild and repair with the available protein and amino acids.  Try to eat within 20 minutes of completing an intense workout.

Post-workout meals include:

  • Post-workout recovery smoothie (or post-workout smoothie made with low-fat milk and fruit)
  • Low-fat chocolate milk
  • Turkey on a whole-grain wrap with veggies
  • Yogurt with berries

The above offer mainly carbs, some protein, and are convenient — with the first two liquid options also helping to rehydrate the body.


It’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise.  Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints.  It also helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy.  If you’re not properly hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level.  You may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, or more serious symptoms.

A simple way to make sure you’re staying properly hydrated is to check your urine.  If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, you’re most likely staying well hydrated.  Dark yellow or amber-colored urine is a sign of dehydration.

There are no exact rules for how much water to drink while exercising because everyone is different.  You need to consider factors including your sweat rate, the heat and humidity in your environment, and how long and hard you are exercising.

The American Council on Exercise suggests the following basic guidelines for drinking water before, during, and after exercise:

  • Drink 17-20 ounces of water two to three hours before you start exercising
  • Drink 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up
  • Drink 7-10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
  • Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise

In terms of sleep, aim for at least eight hours of quality sleep a night. The majority of recovery happens when we sleep.  If you want to recover well, sleep well.  It’s that simple.

  1. Your body needs carbs to fuel your working muscles.
  2. Protein is there to help build and repair.
  3. Get a combination of protein and carbs in your body 1 to 3 hours pre-workout, and within approximately 20 minutes post-workout.
  4. You need to train your gut to handle fuel on the run.
  5. Stay hydrated all day, every day.
  6. Recovery happens when we sleep.



Running is a mental sport, more than anything else.  You’re only as good as your training, and your training is only as good as your thinking.

Lauren Oliver

Running is both physically and mentally challenging, but that’s what makes it so rewarding! To achieve your goals, powerful legs and big lungs aren’t enough—you also need a strong head and a positive mantra. Our group runs will prepare you physically, but I also want to address the mental aspect. The negative thoughts and conversations we have in our heads can be our biggest obstacle, but with a little effort we can overcome them! So let’s talk about mantras: positive affirmations that help us stay focused and motivated.

Let’s talk about MANTRAS.

Words are powerful. They can rally crowds, inspire greatness, and get you out of a terrible funk halfway through your training or race.

Whether you’re looking to improve your performance in the gym or on the road, positive thinking is key! Research has shown time and again that athletes who approach their workouts and races with a positive attitude perform better than those who don’t. So how can you tap into that power? Many athletes use motivational quotes or short phrases known as “mantras” to help them get through tough workouts. The Sanskrit word “mantra” literally means “instrument for thinking.” As such, these short words or phrases have long been used to focus the mind in meditation. Mantras have been around for thousands of years, but they are having a mainstream moment right now. So find one that resonates with you and see what it can do.

Use your mantra as a mental tool to get through the tough parts of your workout. Spinning negative thoughts into positive ones can help you stay in control and in the moment.

When you’re running, keep your mind focused on the joy of the activity. Remember why you love doing it and let that fuel your positivity. When discomfort strikes, instead of dwelling on the pain, think about how good it will feel to finish the race or workout. Your mantra should be something personal that will inspire you to push through tough times. Keep it short, sweet, and action-oriented for best results.

Strength Mantras

When you’re feeling tired, these strength mantras will help connect you to your hidden inner resources. The right words can make subconscious and intuitive connections with your muscles and resolve. As you learn to tap into the right brain, you’ll come up with phrases that continue drawing on mental or spiritual resources. The best ones will be your own mantras that relate to your experiences with words that work. Action phrases not only keep you going but also help you perform as you find ways to dig deeper into your resources. The following have been used when under physical and mental stress, but use these only as a primer.

    • Feet-stay light and quick, keep moving
    • My legs are strong
    • My heart is pumping better
    • More blood in the muscles
    • Lactic acid, go away
    • More oxygen, lungs
    • The strength is in there, I’m feeling it
    • Talk crazy to me, right brain
    • I’m feeling creative–I’m making adjustments
    • I feel comfortable–I’m in control
    • I feel good–I feel strong
    • I’m floating
    • Come to me–endorphins
    • I’m having fun
    • How bad do you want it?
    • It takes strength to do what you love
Funny Mantras

Funny Mantras get you to laugh, which is a right brain activity.

    • I feel like a clown, ballerina, football player, stooge
    • Float like an anchor, sting like a sponge
    • Where’s the bounce, glide
    • I’m all about that pace … no trippin’ (spinoff of the song by Meghan Trainor)
Creative Mantras
    • I’m building a house, railroad, community, bookcase, etc.
    • What type of novel could that person ahead of me have written?
    • What type of profession could that person on the sidewalk have?
    • What type of movie could be staged here?
Distraction Mantras

Distraction Mantras start by preoccupying your left brain so that it won’t send you so many negative messages. After saying these over many times you may be able to shift into the right brain.

    • Look at that store, car building, sign, etc.
    • Look at that person, hair, outfit, hat, T-shirt design, etc.
    • One more step, one more step
    • One more block, telephone pole, stop light, etc.
    • Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps
    • I can do anything for [##] minutes/seconds
Vision Mantras

Vision Mantras help you feel that you’re getting where you want to be.

    • I can see the next mile marker
    • I can feel the pull of the finish line
    • I can feel being pulled along by the runners ahead
    • I can feel myself getting stronger
    • I’m pushing through the wall
    • I’m moving at the right pace to finish with strength
Remember your Mantras!

Remember your mantras when the going gets tough during a race! A short phrase can be just the thing you need to push through and cross the finish line. They can also help during fast workouts or long runs when you feel like giving up or slowing down. Just think about all the training you’ve done and trust your abilities! The race is just an extension of what you’ve already accomplished.

Don’t let negative thoughts defeat you before you’ve even started. Think strong words. Repeat inspiring phrases. You are strong, ready, and capable of meeting the challenge ahead. Repeat to yourself: “I CAN do this!

Eating for Endurance

Eating for Endurance:

What’s the best way to fuel for the Boston Marathon?

Should I eat a high fat diet to train my body to burn more fat and less glucose?

What percent of calories should come from carbohydrate? protein? fat?

When it comes to eating for endurance, today’s athletes are confronted with two opposing views:

    • Eat a traditional carbohydrate-based sports diet, or
    • Eat a fat-based diet that severely limits carbohydrate intake.

What should an eager marathoner, Ironman triathlete, or other endurance athlete eat to perform better? Here’s what you want to know about eating for endurance, based on the Joint Position Statement on Nutrition for Athletic Performance from the American College of Sports Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietietics, and Dietitians of Canada.

1. Eat enough calories.

Most athletes need ~21 calories per pound (45 cal/kg) of lean body mass (LBM). That means, if you weigh 150 pounds and have 10% body fat, your LBM is 135 pounds and you require about 2,800 calories a day. That said, energy needs vary from person to person, depending on how fidgety you are, how much you sit in front of a computer, how much muscle you have, etc. Hence, your body is actually your best calorie counter—more accurate than any formula or app!

If you eat intuitively—that is, you eat when you feel hunger and stop when feel content, you are likely eating enough. If you find yourself stopping eating just because you think you should, if you are feeling hungry all the time and are losing weight, you want to eat larger portions. Under-fueling is a needless way to hurt your performance.

If you can’t tell when enough food is enough, wait 10 to 20 minutes after eating and then, mindfully ask yourself “Does my body need more fuel?” Athletes who routinely stop eating just because they have finished their packet of oatmeal (or other pre-portioned allotment) can easily be under-fueled. Even dieting athletes want to surround their workouts with fuel. Their plan should be to eat enough during the day to fuel-up and refuel from workouts, and then eat just a little bit less at the end of the day, to lose weight when they are sleeping.

2. Eat enough carbohydrates.

According to the Position Statement on Nutrition for Athletic Performance, the optimal amount of carbohydrate on a day with one hour of training is 5 to 7 grams carb/kg. On high volume days, you need about 6 to 12 g carb/kg body weight. For a 150-pound (68 kg) athlete, this comes to about 350 to 800 grams carb a day—the equivalent of about one to two (1-lb) boxes of uncooked pasta (1,400 to 3,200 calories). That’s more than many of today’s (carb-phobic) athletes consume. You want to make grains the foundation of each meal: choose more oatmeal for breakfast; more sandwiches at lunch; and more rice at dinner to get three times more calories from carbs than from protein. Otherwise, you set the stage for needless fatigue.

3. Eat adequate­—but not excess—protein.

Protein needs for athletes range from 1.4 g/kg (for mature athletes) to 2.0 g protein/kg (for athletes building muscle or dieting to lose fat). For a 150-pound (68 kg) athlete, protein needs come to about 95 to 135 grams protein per day, or 25 to 35 grams protein four times a day. That means 3 eggs at breakfast (with the bowl of oatmeal), a hearty sandwich at lunch, portion of lean meat/fish/chicken at dinner, and cottage cheese (with fruit) for an afternoon or bedtime snack.

For vegetarians, generous servings of beans, hummus, nuts and tofu at every meal can do the job; a light sprinkling of beans on a lunchtime salad will not. By consuming protein every 3 to 5 hours, you will optimize muscle building and deter muscle breakdown.

4. Fill in the calorie-gap with fat.

Include in each meal and snack some health-promoting, anti-inflammatory fat: nuts, salmon, peanut butter, avocado, olive oil, etc. Fat adds flavor, offers satiety, and is a source of fuel for endurance exercise. Training your muscles to burn more fat for fuel happens when you do long, steady “fat burning” exercise. By burning more fat, you burn less of the limited carbohydrate (muscle glycogen, blood glucose) stores. You will have greater endurance and avoid or delay hitting the wall.

A (tougher) way to train your body to burn more fat is to severely limit your carbohydrate intake and push your fat intake to 70% of your calories. That could be 1,800 calories (185 g) of fat per day. This very high fat diet produces ketones and forces the body to burn ketones for fuel. Keto-athletes endure a tough, 3- to 4-week adaptation period as their bodies transition to burning fat, not glucose, for fuel. While some keto-athletes rave about how great they feel when in ketosis, the sports nutrition literature, to date, reports little or no performance benefits from a ketogenic sports diet. It might nix sugar binges, but it’s unlikely to make you a better athlete.

5. Drink enough fluids.

A simple way to determine if you are drinking enough fluid is to monitor your urine. You should be voiding dilute, light colored urine every 2 to 4 hours. (Exception: athletes who take vitamin supplements tend to have dark colored urine.) You want to learn your sweat rate, so you can strategize how to prevent dehydration. Weigh yourself nude before and after one hour of race-pace exercise, during which you drink nothing. A one-pound drop pre- to post-exercise equates to 16 ounces of sweat loss. Losing two pounds of sweat in an hour equates to 32 ounces (1 quart). To prevent that loss, you should target drinking 8 ounces of water or sports drink every 15 minutes. Athletes who pre-plan their fluid intake tend to hydrate better than those who “wing it.”

6. Consume enough calories during extended exercise.

If you will be exercising for longer than 60 to 90 minutes, you want to target 40 to 80 calories (10 to 20 g) of carbohydrate every 20 minutes (120 to 240 calories per hour), starting after the first hour (which gets fueled by your pre-exercise food). If you are an Ironman triathlete, long distance cyclist or ultra-athlete who exercises for more than three hours, you want to target up to 360 calories per hour. The key is to practice event-day fueling during the months that lead up to the event. By training your gut to tolerate the fuel, you’ll be able to enjoy the event without fretting about running out of energy.

The bottom line:

If you are going to train, you might as well get the most out of your workouts. Performance improves with a good fueling plan. Eat wisely and enjoy your high energy!

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels both casual and competitive athletes at her office in Newton, MA (617-795-1875). Her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for marathoners, cyclists and soccer players offer additional information. They are available at www.NancyClarkRD.com. For her popular online workshop, see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

Thomas, T at el. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016; 116 (3):501-28

Training Mistakes

Top 5 Training Mistakes and How to Avoid Them:

No matter how many years we’ve been running or how many races we’ve done, there are still some mistakes we may be prone to. Check out our top 5 training mistakes and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1 – Avoiding the Magic Mile

Jeff Galloway has given us a great tool to determine how fast to run our long runs, race rehearsal runs, and speed workouts. It’s called the Magic Mile (MM), and when we know our MM time, we can run with a plan. When we don’t have a recent (or any) MM, we are just running by feel, which sometimes can get us into trouble.

Solution: Run a Magic Mile every 4 to 6 weeks and check the MM calculator at Jeffgalloway.com to see your recommended paces and run/walk ratios.

Mistake #2 – Running the long ones too fast

Whether we let our friends set the pace or we “just feel good” when starting out on our long runs, it can be easy to fall into the trap of running these too fast. The long run should be at least 2 minutes per mile slower than race pace. You can’t be hurt by running the long ones too slow but running them too fast means you won’t be as recovered as necessary for the rest of your training.

Solution: Know your long run pace based on your Magic Mile prediction and don’t let anything pull you faster.

Mistake #3 – Cutting the long run too short

A marathon or half-marathon is a long way to run. Those who are best prepared for the distance will have the most fun during the race, but many runners balk at doing 14 miles in training for a half-marathon or 26 in training for a marathon. Whether they have difficulty carving out enough time for the long ones or they want to “save the real distance for race day,” they will be more likely to “hit the wall” because their bodies are not ready for the demands of the distance.

Solution: Put the long runs on your schedule months in advance and protect those days like you would an important appointment so there’s less chance you’ll be tempted to skimp on the distance.

Mistake #4 – Not listening to your body when it needs to rest

Small aches and pains come with the territory, not the territory of running, but the territory of living. Not everything calls for time off from running, but when something is affecting your gait (the way you run) or is causing you to feel lethargic, you need some extra time off. Whether the condition was caused by running or some other stress like work, continuing to push yourself when your body needs rest can lead to injury.

Solution: Turn a run day into a walk day. Get out and enjoy the fresh air without any worry about how fast you are going. Even if you have to miss a long run, walking that same distance will give you the endurance you need. If you don’t feel better in a couple of days, see your family doctor.

Mistake #5 – Ignoring nutrition

On race day you will have your socks picked out, your shoes well tested, and the rest of your outfit just right. You will have done the long runs and honed your pace if you have a time goal, but what will you have done for nutrition? If you haven’t practiced what you will have for dinner the night before, breakfast race morning, and during the race, you are ignoring an important factor that will impact your race day experience.

Solution: Use your long run weekends to practice race weekend nutrition, right down to the flavor of sports drink you intend to use. If something isn’t going to work for you, better to find out a month before race day than when it’s all out there on public display.

By Chris Twiggs, Galloway Chief Training Officer

Run/Walk Ratio

If you’re training for a race using Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk-Run method, you might be wondering what run/walk ratio will get you to your goal pace on race day. The truth is, it works the other way around: your goal pace should determine your run/walk ratio. Of course, there are other factors to consider, but let’s look at an example to see how it works.

Your Magic Mile Determines Your Run/Walk Ratio

First, start with a Magic Mile (MM). If your MM is around 8:20, your predicted pace per mile for a half-marathon is 10:00 (notwithstanding weather conditions, hilly courses, illness, nutrition issues, etc.). If your MM is significantly slower than that, no run/walk strategy is going to make you faster overnight. You need to put in the long runs, tempo runs, speed work, and drill runs to get in faster shape. Test yourself with a new MM every month or 6 weeks until you see a time that puts your prediction close to your goal. Doing this will help you assess your progress and set new goals!

Setting your goal pace for the race is the first step to nailing your workout paces and choosing the right ratios. This 10:00/mi pace will be used for Tempo Runs, which Jeff calls Race Rehearsals.

After a gentle warm-up, ramp up to race pace using a run/walk ratio that allows you to recover during the walks and avoid huffing and puffing during the runs. The chart on the MM page referenced below suggests 90 sec run/30 sec walk (90/30), 60 sec run/30 sec walk (60/30), and a few other options.

The 90/30 option is neither better nor more advanced than the 60/30 option just because there is more running between walk breaks. Choosing 90/30 just means you will be running a bit slower between walk breaks but taking them less often. Choosing 60/30 means you will be running a bit faster between walk breaks but taking them more often. One choice will feel better to some people while the other choice will feel better to others. It’s important to try out both options, as well as any others that you think might work for you. Each week throughout training, try out a new option until you find the one you think works for that pace. Then use that tried and true run/walk strategy in the race itself.

Can I Change Up the Run/Walk Ratio To Go Faster?

“So, if I want to go faster in the race, can I just change up the ratio a bit?” I hear you ask. Well, unfortunately changing the ratio on race day won’t necessarily change the kind of shape you’re in. Your overall shape and fitness, based on the training you’ve done, is what determines how fast you can go on race day.

Long Run and Speed Work Paces

There are a few other things to keep in mind when you’re training for your race. Your long run pace should be 2 minutes per mile slower than your predicted race pace, and your speed work pace should be 30 seconds per mile faster. Each of these paces has its own recommended run/walk strategy (check out that MM chart!), so experiment to see what feels best for each one.

Length of Walk Breaks and Adjusting for Heat

The last two things to keep in mind are the length of the walk break and adjusting for heat.

Jeff Galloway’s research and experience coaching and advising almost half a million runners over his career led him to revise his run/walk strategy recommendations in 2015, standardizing the walk breaks for most runners at 30 seconds. Except in the case of those doing more walking than running, walk breaks longer than 30 seconds actually appeared to slow runners down toward the end of long runs, not as much as running without walk breaks would have, but enough that limiting the walk to 30 seconds and finding the right run segment that feels comfortable are the current recommendations. As for adjusting for heat, all run times, be they long runs or tempo runs, should be adjusted 30 seconds slower for every 5 degrees F above 60F. Ignoring this “Hot Weather Slowdown” advice poses serious health risks.

Bottom Line – Your Pace Determines Your Run/Walk Ratio

The bottom line is that it’s all about that pace. Pick a pace that your Magic Mile and the weather conditions tell you is right for you, and then choose a run/walk ratio that feels good with that pace. And remember to smile. If you aren’t smiling when you run, at least on the inside, you’re doing it wrong.

Recommended Run/Walk Ratio Strategies:

Pace/mi Run Walk
7:00 = 6 min 30 sec (or run a mile/walk 40 seconds)
7:30 = 5 min 30 sec
8:00 = 4 min 30 sec (or 2/15)
8:30 = 3 min 30 sec (or 2/20)
9:00 = 2 min 30 sec or 80/20
9:30-10:45 = 90/30 or 60/20 or 45/15 or 60/30 or 40/20
10:45-12:15 = 60/30 or 40/20 or 30/15 or 30/30 or 20/20
12:15-14:30 = 30/30 or 20/20 or 15/15
14:30-15:45 = 15/30
15:45-17:00 = 10/30
17:00-18:30 = 8/30 or 5/25 or 10/30
18:30-20:00 = 5/30 or 5/25 or 4/30

Key Workouts

We get to workout! It’s a great privilege and a lot of fun. Our key workouts focus on helping you improve the pace of your run through practice.

Cadence Drills

Cadence drills are a great way to improve your running efficiency and form. By increasing your turnover rate, you can improve your speed and make running feel easier. Cadence drills can help you find a more efficient motion, even if you don’t have a natural predisposition for speed. Do this drill once a week and you’ll gradually see your normal cadence increase over time.

Acceleration-Glider Drills

This drill is great for developing speed and endurance. By doing it regularly, you’ll develop the muscle conditioning to move smoothly from one speed to the next. The greatest benefit comes as you learn how to “glide” or coast off your momentum. The main object of the drill is to keep moving at a fairly fast pace without using much energy.

Hills/Hill Repeats

Running uphill can help improve your overall strength and fitness. It is a very efficient form of strength training for runners, since it uses all the muscles you activate when running on flat surfaces but with added resistance. Your legs may be a little sore at first as you get used to hill training, but they will adjust and start to gain tone and definition. Running hills will also help improve your cardiovascular fitness by increasing your heart rate and building up more stamina.

Long Run

Let’s not miss the weekend long runs. Even if you’re new to distance training, many of your training runs are going to take you into new mileage territory. When running a new distance, it should be considered a “long” run, regardless of the actual mileage. Long runs are at least 2 minutes per mile slower than your goal pace, to reduce wear and tear on your body. Reducing impact means you can recover quicker from training runs and keep progressing with your training. The body makes many physiological adaptations to meet the demands of distance running, and slowing down is recommended.