Your Running Economy
Yes, marathon fees have definitely gone WAY up in the past few years but it still has nothing to do with your "running economy"!  Back in the day, not only were marathon fees less, so was everything else that went with it!  Now we have heart rate monitors, special running shoes that cater to each foot and devices that can talk to you while running!  Do not read this wrong, I have ALL the gadgets a runner freak could have and I want more!  It just amazes me how much scientific study has gone into running and the number of runners that are out there now! It’s a GREAT thing!

Even though you may have all the gadgets and shoes, that is just one way of getting us out there to train more efficiently.  There is also the scientific side of it all.  How your body moves and operates while in motion. The human body is fascinating and the more you know, the more you can train smart!


One term you may already be familiar with is VO2 max.  VO2 is the volume of oxygen muscles can consume per minute. Even though many runners are familiar with VO2 max, it is not the optimal way of measuring your oxygen intake.  You can put two runners side by side and measure their VO2 max.  Their levels may be the same but why would one runner run faster or longer than another?  Well, just like each person is different, so is the “make up” of each person’s VO2 max.  It is genetically linked, so blame your parents!

Next, you can measure lactate threshold.  This is a more effective way to help train runners because it has a greater influence on performance and is more responsive when training.  Your lactate threshold is the point during a run or exercise at which the work becomes so intense that muscle cells cannot produce the additional energy aerobically and so the body begins to rely more and more on the anaerobic glycolytic systems to produce ATP.  This is the point when you begin to feel the burn in your legs.  Normally on your long runs, you train at lactate levels to increase endurance.  So, your pace is 10-15 seconds per mile slower than your 5K pace and for serious runners 25-30 seconds per mile slower at a 90% max heart rate level.

Last, we have what scientists call "running economy".  This I found fascinating because it just makes sense and you can train yourself to become a more effective runner. Your running economy is volume of oxygen consumed at sub-maximal speeds.  Runners can have similar VO2 max levels but with running economy it is the amount of oxygen used when running based mainly from how much muscle mass you carry.   For example, a Kenyan runner is typically lighter in muscle mass than an American runner.  You need oxygen when moving muscles and since they carry a lot less muscle, their oxygen intake is more economical.  Check out a Kenyan runner's legs compared to an American runner.


If you are a marathoner, your running economy determines your running performance because it can indicate how hard you are working in relation to your maximum ability to use oxygen.  How can you improve your running economics?  Research has shown that running higher mileage (more than 70 miles per week) is a start.  So working your way up to 70 miles per week along with a healthy diet can definitely improve your running economy.  Just like any sport, when you put more into your workout and watch what you eat, you will start to lose fat and gain lean muscle.  Also, interval training and tempo runs can improve your running economy as well.  When training for a race properly and improving the way that your body intakes the necessary oxygen needed, the more effective a runner you will become. 

Make sure before you start any running workout you talk to your doctor, local fitness trainer and/or running coach.  They can determine where you are now and how to improve your running economy.  Also, if you are running 30-40 miles per week and you want to test the study above, make sure you take the right steps when increasing your mileage.  Do not go from 0 to 60 within a week.  You can easily get injured and negatively affect your training.  For more great information on marathon training and workout plans check out Jeff Galloway’s “MARATHON!” Book and more at Amazon.com! http://tinyurl.com/3fb5cau


Your Half/Full Marathon
tips for the weeks approaching the big event
You have been training for several weeks now and the big event is literally RIGHT around the corner...the MARATHON! Everything changes once you have set the goals and marked the date.  The way you eat, train and schedule your day is all a necessity and as strict as it may be, you have to admit it. . .YOU LOVE IT! I know that I do.  Right now I have to live vicariously through my running buddies because my schedule has been so ridiculous,  this blog entry is dedicated to all the Carlsbad Marathon runners (coming up this weekend, January 27th) and my favorite running partner Jeffery Heard.  
Nic and Jeffery AFC 1/2

Even though many runners are down to the wire. . .stay focused and know that however you cross that finish line, you have accomplished something that is FANTASTIC! I always remind myself after every marathon that only less than 2% of the population can say "I ran a marathon today.".  That says a lot!

Here are a few tips to remember for running coming up on their last couple of weeks the marathon.  These tips will keep you focused and ready.  To ALL the runners this weekend. . ."GOOD LUCK" and know all GOOD VIBES are coming your way!

Tip 1. It's good to TAPER your training load.  A lot of times new runners think, the more the better as you get closer to your event but that is not true.  A good running plan will show that a runner needs to taper down the week before the marathon to give your legs rest and receive all the benefits of your hard training the day of the marathon (2-3 weeks prior is a good timeline before the event).

Carlsbad 2012
Tip 2.  Work on Running Mechanics.  Making sure you have the right posture that will work for you from your foot strike to your chest lifted. . .it's never too late to practice the mechanics of your running.  Take what you have learned through each long run / training sessions and apply them to your race.  As you taper down, feel how your body moves when running and think about how you will breath at mile 5, what can you do with your legs at mile 10 and how to use your arms to get through your last couple of miles before the finish line.

Tip 3.  The Nutrition Factor.  What foods worked best for you before your long run and what definitely did not? I remember training for a full marathon several years back and I had the hardest time running after downing plain oatmeal and toast.  It would stick to my ribs like I thought it would and my stomach would cramp horribly after my training run.  After doing a little research and talking to my coaches who knew me best, I found out that I was digesting too much fiber and not enough protein.  I changed my diet quickly and what a difference a day a makes! I added peanut butter to my toast and reduced the amount of oatmeal.  Remember, this may not work for everyone but it definitely worked for me and I haven't changed it since.

Tip 4.  Check out your Race Date Gear.  Make sure you wear what you have trained in, especially if you are new to running a marathon.  You have to be comfortable and wearing something brand new the day of the race can be disastrous.  Getting a wedgie from those new shorts to nipples bleeding is not only a bad look but an uncomfortable ride.  Check your shoes and make sure they will live up to the 13.1+ miles coming your way in a week!
One of the BEST marathons in California
Tip 5.  Practice Starting Slow mentally and physically.  If you have run these events before, you know EXACTLY what I am talking about.  The crowd of runners usually clump up right at the start and stay that way for nearly a mile or two.  Unless you are in the front and can bolt your way out of there, it's a safer chance to start slow mentally (you competitive types know what I am talking about) and physically so that you don't get trampled or pushed around when starting your race.  When you are surrounded with other crazy runners, everyone just wants to get it started.  Savor every moment and that includes the start!

Other than that. . .have FUN, run your own race and SMILE for the camera at the end of the race! Happy Running!
Motivational Monday
Right now in my house, we are very blessed with two smart girls that are healthy and athletically active.  If you have been reading my blog, one is a top CIF runner and the other is a championship soccer player.  I'm a parent, so that was my plug-in about my cool kids.  

Every time my girls come from practice or tournament/meet, the first question my husband and I ask them "how do you feel"? We want to know if they put in 100% effort into their game or if they didn't try at all.  Of course, they HATE when we ask (particularly if their Dad asks. . .LOL!) the same questions over and over again.  After we find out how they feel we start to ask questions like, "Well, if you didn't do this or that, how could you have changed the game?"..."If you decided to 'BRING IT', could you have passed the girl in front of you, made that game winning shot, etc? "How bad would it have been to push yourself just a little bit more?".

Now don't get me wrong, we want to make sure they are still having fun but if they are not trying and they are good, what's the point?  As parents (who have made many mistakes in our lives), we want them to understand the whole picture, from the beginning to the end.  Sports can be a great platform in explaining a start and a finish.  The girls need to understand that if you are not trying at the start, your finish will be less than satisfying and then what? 

If your goal is to run your first 5K, you have to take the first step and start with the first mile.  It may take 12 weeks to get there or 4 weeks, but you have to take the first step.

Next, you have to visualize working towards your goal and not just focus on the end result.  What steps do you take to make your first 5K happen? Obviously sensible training and a plan that you can stick to is a good start.  Many times visualizing about the end result can hinder how we will get there.  Work to get there and don't stop trying.

As you come closer to your goal, how do you expect to feel?  Will that goal satisfy you or do you really want more or even something else?  Be clear on what you want and keep challenging yourself.

My oldest daughter had the privilege to watch the Nike Cross Country Championships live this past season.  For days after,  she talked about the runners bodies, running form, times and their heart for running. After about three days of hearing the same stories over and over again, listening to her read the paper about some of her favorite runners I finally asked her, "what is stopping you from being one of those girls?".  I could tell by her reaction, she was genuinely surprised that she COULD possibly be considered as one of  "those" girls.  I saw a light in her click. . .on. . . and the wheels starting to turn.  Later that week, she asked me "what do I need to do to get there?".  My answer, Just "try" by training smarter, training harder and believe in yourself.  The worst thing that could happen is that you didn't try!   

With that, Happy Monday!




FRIDAY FEATURED FRIENDS
This weekend, it is NOTHING but MUSIC, CHOREOGRAPHY and WORK OUTS! I, along with 1000s of other Les Mills instructors will be rolling out the new Les Mills workout formats.  Les Mills workout formats consist of everything from strength training (BodyPump) to kick boxing(Body Combat) to Pilates/Yoga (BodyFlow). . .Les Mills covers it all and you will "GET FIT"!  

I wanted to feature all of my instructor friends this weekend and there are A LOT!  Here in San Diego, we have a fantastic group of Les Mills instructors that if you experience one of their classes, you will not be disappointed!  Each instructor goes through rigorous training, challenging not only their bodies but their minds.  When you workout with one of us. . .we workout with you!  Every instructor has their own personal and unique stories but ONE MISSION and that's to make this planet a FITTER PLANET!


I wanted to keep this entry short and sweet because I have to prepare for this weekend  myself.  My Les Mills formats are BodyPump, CXWorx and RPM.  That's A LOT of MUSIC and CHOREO but I GOT THIS, MAN!!! If you want to join me, check out my schedule on the GET FIT and MOVE page.  If you want to join any of my peeps. . .check your local Les Mills listing at your gym.  LOL!

I want to wish all the San Diego instructors. . .L M I S D. . .good luck, have fun and KIA KAHA, brothas and sistas!

Check your local fitness facility to see when your big Les Mills Launch will take place, sign up and get your workout ON!

Become a Les Mills International San Diego fan on FACEBOOK.  Click and "LIKE"!