Training – The Tempo http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series Blog Tue, 12 Dec 2017 20:30:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 Runching 101 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/training/runching-101/ Mon, 14 Aug 2017 19:54:35 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=104268 It happens to the best of us. Your training plan says you need to run X miles for the day,...

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It happens to the best of us. Your training plan says you need to run X miles for the day, but you have COMMITMENTS: an early morning meeting at work and dinner plans with friends in the evening. Your only option is to set your alarm for the cringeworthy hour of 4am — or is it? I’m telling y’all — runching is the solution!

For those of you unfamiliar with runch, it’s a run that takes place during the lunch hour. It’s a great way to squeeze a few miles into an otherwise jam-packed day.

I know most of you are thinking this is all well and good as long as you have a place to shower after the run. But no sweat — there are a few tricks of the trade that allow you to get your workout in even without a post-run shower.

So without further ado…

Runching 101!

  • Run in lightweight, sweat-wicking clothing – This is super important to help stay cool and minimize sweat.

  • Find a shady route – Running during the noon hour is running when the sun is at its most intense. Do your skin a favor and find a shady route.
  • Do a 5-10 minute cooldown walk – Finish up your run a few blocks away from your end destination. By the time you get back to work, you’ll feel human again.
  • Use lots of wipes – As you’re changing after your run, give yourself a good wipe down. I’m a fan of good old-fashioned unscented baby wipes. But if you’re fancier, there are also athletic wipes that are a bit larger in size and great for wiping away any post-run grossness.
  • Swipe on a good deodorant – You definitely don’t want to be the smelly kid in the office. So do everyone a favor and swipe on a clinical strength deodorant. In fact, do it before you run, too.
  • Consider headbands and hairpins as your friend – This one is for the ladies. I know many of you claim you can’t runch because of your hair. With the right headband and a few hairpins, this is a non-issue. Simply slick your hair back in a ponytail, braid or bun, pull on a headband and pin any loose strands. Voila — an office-appropriate, post-run hairstyle!

runching headband

  • Refresh with a cool bevvie – Drinking ice water or another iced beverage will help you cool down from the inside out. Another option is to rest your feet on an ice pack or place one on the back of your neck for a few minutes. It’s another way to cool down fast.
  • Enjoy a cold lunch – This one almost goes without saying. After running outside in the heat, humidity, whatever else summer throws your way, do you really want to eat something hot? Exactly. Cold lunch it is!

So there you have it — a few simple tips to get your runch on. Do you runch? What are your best tips for working out in the middle of the day?

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How to Train for a Remix Challenge http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/training/train-remix-challenge/ Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:48:53 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=104238 Race challenges have quickly become an integral part of the running community. Runners can push themselves beyond the constraints of...

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Race challenges have quickly become an integral part of the running community. Runners can push themselves beyond the constraints of a typical race event, testing their limits over miles, days or even hours.

In the Rock ‘n’ Roll race world, the Remix Challenge is where it’s at. Almost every Tour Stop offers several distances over the duration of the weekend. Athletes can choose one race or combine two or even three events for the Remix! It’s not for the faint of heart, but the promise of more miles, more bling and more rock ‘n’ roll can be too much to resist.

Training for a Remix Challenge requires a bit of extra preparation and consideration to help build endurance and keep injuries at bay. So here are some tips to get you through it!

Prioritize Your Goals

While it’s always awesome to crush PRs and PBs on race day, when you have two races in two days or less, it’s not a bad idea to set more conservative goals. Do you want to beat your fastest half marathon time? Go for it on Sunday, but use Saturday’s 5K as an easy warmup or training run. Have you been training for a blistering 10K record? It’s yours for the taking, but use that second part of your challenge as a recovery run.

train remix challenge virginia beach

Double Up Your Training Runs

Training for a challenge means that you will be logging plenty of extra miles. While some people run seven days a week, many run every other day, giving their legs a chance to rest. With a back-to-back race challenge looming, at least two runs per week should be on consecutive days. Simulate the challenge experience by running a shorter distance on the first day and a proportionally longer distance within 24 hours (or vice versa, depending on how the challenge is structured). Keep that up throughout your training cycle. Your legs will thank you on race day!

Don’t Forget to Cross Train

While you are lacing up and hitting the pavement, remember not to neglect the rest of your body. Mix in some cross-training activities to keep your other muscle groups strong and limber. Yoga and swimming are two fantastic, low-impact options to complement your rigorous running schedule.

Honor the Recovery

When you’re going the extra distance, recovery is just as important as productive miles. Listen to your body and take the time you need to recover. Stretching, foam rolling and icing are all ways to give your tired legs, feet and hips the break they need to keep you strong and healthy.

train remix challenge recovery

Reap the Rewards

The payoff? Bragging rights, extra miles banked, and, in the case of Rock ‘n’ Roll Race Series events — lots of extra bling for the medal rack.

train remix challenge bling

You’ve done the work, and now it’s time to bask in the glory! Trust your training, run your races, cross those finish lines and collect that bling!

train remix challenge

(And in Savannah, running three races will earn you pie!)

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7 Race Day Tips http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/training/7-race-day-tips/ Fri, 11 Aug 2017 18:09:31 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=104160 You’ve worked hard training for your race. You’ve followed your plan and completed all of your tempo, race pace, and long...

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You’ve worked hard training for your race. You’ve followed your plan and completed all of your tempo, race pace, and long runs. You’ve tapered appropriately, and you’re feeling good. You’re ready. This will be the day you accomplish your goals, whether it’s to finish feeling great, set a new PR, or qualify for Boston.

After putting in all of that hard work, you will want to make sure that race day goes as expected. Here are seven race day tips that will help you rock your race day!

1. Eat before the race

Eating a light breakfast before your race will top off your nutrition tanks and help you stay fueled for the long mileage ahead. Keep your meal simple and light. Ideally, you should consume your breakfast about three to four hours before your race. Foods like oatmeal, a bagel or toast with a little peanut butter, yogurt, or dried fruit are great choices. These should be foods that you have tried successfully during training so that you know that they won’t upset your stomach or cause other issues.

race day tips breakfast

 

2. Nothing new on race day

As with your food choices, stay with the tried and true on race day. As cute as that outfit you purchased at the expo is, save it for another day. The same goes for shoes, race nutrition, and hydration.

3. Start slowly

Starting too quickly may well be the number one mistake that almost all runners make, no matter how many marathons they’ve run. The excitement of the moment, the other runners (many doing the same thing!), even a downhill start, can all encourage you to sprint at the sound of the gun. Instead, stick with your plan and your goal pace.

4. Race day nutrition

Eating during your race is important to maintain your carbohydrate stores. Studies suggest that about 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour is ideal, depending on your own pace and body size. That is about 120-240 calories and can be consumed via gels, energy drinks, bars, or other food. Again, these should be things that you have practiced with during your training.

5. Race day hydration

The morning of the race, make sure to have a water bottle with you so that you can keep hydrated before the start. To maintain hydration during the race, a runner should consume an amount of fluids about equal to their sweat rate. This is generally about 24-28 ounces per hour, depending upon racing temperatures and other factors. You can measure this yourself during training by weighing before and after a run (don’t consume anything during the run). Using a sports drink can also help replace carbohydrates and electrolytes. If you don’t want to carry your own, make sure to find out what the race will be using and try it out during your training. Or stop by a water station along the course.

6. Have a plan

A plan is essential for a successful race day. Your plan will not only include most of the above (nutrition, hydration, and pace), but it will also take into account what you will do if things go awry. What if you feel nauseous? Get a blister? Feel like you can’t run another step? Planning for these eventualities ahead of time will prepare you mentally if something goes wrong.

7. Have fun

Yes, we want to challenge ourselves, earn new PRs, and achieve our goals. But in the end, shouldn’t it be fun? Enjoy the music, the other runners, and the entire experience. Make memories that will last forever — that you can tell your children and grandchildren. That is my definition of rocking your race day!

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Your Race, Your Pace http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/training/your-race-your-pace/ Fri, 11 Aug 2017 14:35:08 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=101427 Your race, your pace, right? Right. Everyone (and for every race) has different race goals, from the ever popular PRs...

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Your race, your pace, right? Right. Everyone (and for every race) has different race goals, from the ever popular PRs to the just finishing and running healthy. Although we are all looking to do something different on our race day, the one thing we have in common is that we all want to rock the race and have a great time! I’ve never met anyone who was hoping for a miserable race day, just people with a wide array of hopes and dreams.

Race Gear

Before we get to race day, let’s start with the basics of rocking your race gear. The day before, lay out everything you’ll need for the race. This means all clothes, socks, shoes, watch, hat, inhaler, etc. Whatever you use and need for the day, just simply have it out and ready to go. There is no reason for you to be scrambling in the wee hours of the morning looking for a sock! It will cause unnecessary stress — and who wants to be stressed on race day? NO ONE!

Bonus: If you really want to rock it, have fun with your race outfit. Match with a friend or group of friends. Wear funky colors or crazy socks — neon, anyone?

Race Day

Now on to rocking the actual race. First, remember to enjoy the course. The hard part is over — you signed up, you trained and you made it to the starting line. You put in the work, and your race is the reward. Running with thousands of others who also trained and waited for this day is exciting! So it’s important to keep your cool and stick to your pace.

Your Race, Your Pace

I know firsthand how easy it is to get caught up in race excitement and go out way too fast. You’ll probably fizzle and struggle towards the middle or end of the race. You’ll be miserable — trust me! I’ve done it, I’ve made the mistake and gone out too hard and barely made it to the finish line. As tough as it may be, stick to your pace.

I like to follow the 1, 2, 3 plan…

  1. For the first third of the race, I go easy and take in the course and the sights.
  2. For the second third, I pick up the pace a little. Here, I am running not too easy, but also not too hard.
  3. For the final third, I go crazy! I let the music take over, I let the crowd pump me up, I let the excitement take over and I go all out. The last part of the race is your time to give it your all. It’s the time to push yourself and to fly across the finish line like a rock star.

This is part of why it is important to save a little energy and not go all out from the start. You want to go all out at the end. You want to rock it when you are getting close to the finish line — and the crowd is cheering, the band is playing and the announcer (if your race has one) is calling out finisher’s names or numbers. Nothing beats the feeling of finishing strong.

One more tip for rocking race day: DO NOT try anything new on race day. For real, NOTHING! No new clothes, shoes, socks, food, bars, bites, shorts, chews, fluids, bracelets, hats, nothing!

Not all races go according to plan. We can’t always control everything, but what we can do is control our reactions and attitude. If things start going sideways, throw your goal aside and just enjoy the run.

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5 Running Motivation Posters http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/training/5-running-motivation-posters/ Wed, 26 Jul 2017 18:24:26 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=103809 Do you need some extra running motivation to get out the door (or just out of bed) for those training...

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Do you need some extra running motivation to get out the door (or just out of bed) for those training runs? Look no further! Here are five, totally free, running motivation posters for you to download, print, or both!

Put them on your fridge, over your desk, on your mirror, or on your nightstand. Wherever you need to see that daily reminder that you are awesome!

 

Running Motivation Posters

Download or print one of these posters as a daily reminder to keep on rockin’! Tip: click on the image to bring up a full resolution version.

running motivation

I am tougher than life’s challenges

running motivation

Make time for yourself, every day.

running motivation

No matter your pace, enjoy the race.

running motivation

Own the moment. This is your journey.

running motivation

You got this.

BONUS – there are smaller versions below to use as your mobile phone wallpaper!

running motivation running motivation running motivation running motivation running motivation

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6 Marathon Tips for Success http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/training/6-marathon-tips-success/ Wed, 07 Jun 2017 16:50:59 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=102800 There’s no way to cheat on race day, but here are marathon and half marathon tips for success that will help increase...

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There’s no way to cheat on race day, but here are marathon and half marathon tips for success that will help increase the likelihood of you rocking on race day!

A marathon or half marathon is a challenging feat for many runners to complete. There’s no real way to sugarcoat the fact that it takes a lot out of the human body to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles. But, there’s no reason why the training aspect of running needs to remain a mystery to so many! The following are marathon tips that can help demystify and organize some of the most important training tips for marathon and half marathon runners.

  1. Once you are in marathon training mode, don’t swap gear.
    You should have already figured out which shoes, clothing, and accessories work best for you during shorter practice runs. Take the time to get comfortable and begin longer training runs with the gear that you’ve broken in and know.
  2. Run on soft surfaces if possible during training.
    The more you favor grass, dirt, or gravel, the better off you’ll feel over the long run. Running can be quite taxing on the body, and there’s no reason to place additional stress on your frame before you enter a race. Yes – you’ll be running on asphalt during your marathon, but the hundreds of miles of training runs before then don’t have to add up to muscle and skeletal fatigue.
  3. Figure out your diet and hydration plan during shorter runs.
    The time before serious long-distance training is to begin is a golden timeframe in which to establish your dietary and hydration plan. Find what you can live with, see what fuels you appropriately, and stick to it! The worst idea is to start a new fad running diet or mess with your plan during the weeks leading up to a race.
  4. Run with someone!
    The benefits of running with a partner or a committed group are undeniable. Get ready for some serious accountability and a dose of fun when you include others. Obviously, it would be great for the group that you’re running with to be the same individuals that you’re competing with in the upcoming marathon, but it’s not a necessity.
  5. Ensure the correct running form.
    You’ll want to land as lightly as possible, keep your feet directly under you when they strike the ground, and push off the moment your feet touch down. Try to feel as light as possible.
  6. Keep your arms in motion – the proper motion.
    Fast moving arms can become tiresome, but legs will follow the cadence set forth by the arms. Up the pace ever so slightly by modifying your arm speed. To keep from gripping too tightly, pretend that you’re holding onto a potato chip between your fingers and you don’t want to break it.

These quick tips and marathon “cheats” will undoubtedly help you more adequately prepare for your next big half or full marathon. Always keep preparedness and safety in mind, gear up appropriately, and find a group to run with. The collective knowledge and wisdom of a group of seasoned runners can often provide the best information to help you prepare for a marathon or half marathon.

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5 Race-Week Tips http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/training/5-race-week-tips/ Wed, 07 Jun 2017 00:00:49 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=102789 Whether you’re a first-time runner or seasoned marathon runner, when it comes to race week, you want to be prepared...

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Whether you’re a first-time runner or seasoned marathon runner, when it comes to race week, you want to be prepared either way. The following five race-week tips are simple reminders of things to be aware of to ensure you have the best marathon or half marathon experience.

1. Calm pre-race nerves.

Relax! Pre-race nervousness will get you nowhere. You need as much mental energy as physical energy to propel yourself to the finish line of a marathon or half marathon, so don’t waste any time worrying about and questioning your training. Be confident that you are ready to roll, and take your mind off the upcoming race with a book, movie or other non-running-related activity. Take a walk, meditate or get together with friends as a way to offset pre-race energy anxiety.

2. Hydrate throughout race week.

Drink water regularly. Chugging a gallon of water on race morning isn’t going to help matters much if you haven’t been hydrating properly in the days prior to the event. Keep a bottle of water or sports drink within arm’s reach during the days before the race, and sip from it several times an hour. If you’re peeing regularly, you’re doing hydration right. It can take the better part of a week to hydrate properly, so make sure to fill your tank well ahead of time.

3. Rise and shine!

Practice waking up early. If you’re not an early bird already, learn to be one before experiencing a rude awakening on race morning. Since you’ll probably be running around 7 a.m. or much earlier for marathon runners on race day (but earlier for everybody if you want to beat the traffic and porta-potty lines), you’ll want to experience what it’s like to be out of bed well before the break of dawn. The last thing you want on race day is to be rushing around with seconds to spare or to be shut out of your assigned corral, so give yourself plenty of time to wake up, dress, eat and get to the starting line.

4. Check off your race-day gear list.

Make a list. Check it twice. Make a list of race-day essentials (shoes, shorts, singlet, socks, hydration belt, gels, race bib), and keep these items on or close to you at all times. If traveling to the race from out of town, pack the important stuff in your carry-on luggage in the event that your checked bag gets lost. You’ll be fine if you lose your favorite slippers or misplace your shaving kit, but you’re nothing without your running shoes.

5. Enjoy the expo — but not too much.

The race expo is a great experience, but spending too much time on your feet the day before your big race isn’t the soundest strategy for success. If your marathon or half marathon is on Sunday, try to get into town on Friday and enjoy the full expo experience. If Saturday is your only option before a Sunday race, grab your race packet, scope out the expo scene for a short time, and then get off your feet and relax for the rest of the day.

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How to Set Realistic Goals http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/training/set-realistic-goals/ Wed, 31 May 2017 17:41:15 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=102609 To be successful (and happy) in running, it is important to set realistic goals, take one day at a time...

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To be successful (and happy) in running, it is important to set realistic goals, take one day at a time and enjoy the process. Check out these tips to help you get your goals off to the right start.

How should you approach your goals?

Runners who train solely to achieve a specific goal tend to push harder and increase training volume without regard to the feedback their body is providing, resulting is inconsistent training and stagnant results. So, how should you approach your training and goal-setting?

Don’t focus on the end goal — instead, focus on the process.

But what does that phrase really mean? The idea of focusing on the process means concentrating on the steps you need to take to improve each day, as opposed to focusing on the end goal itself. While the difference between the two is subtle, it has important consequences. Let’s illustrate this in the following scenario of two runners, each of whom is about 35 minutes away from qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

Runner 1: Focusing on the process

At the start of the training phase, runner 1 assesses her fitness and determines she’s currently at a fitness level 35 minutes slower than her goal time. She sets up her training schedule so that her mileage, long runs and workouts are consistent with the volume and speed she’s been training at. After four weeks of hard yet controlled workouts, she does a tune-up 10K. She runs well, and her “estimated” marathon time is now 30 minutes closer to her goal. Each week thereafter, she cautiously increases her training paces when her workouts and tune-up races indicate she’s ready to do so. She follows this plan, always keeping her training within her current fitness level. When race day approaches, she’s fit, healthy and runs a great race, recording a personal best by 20 minutes, but still shy of her Boston qualifying goal. She takes the proper recovery time after the race and then starts the cycle over again in another attempt to get closer to her goal of qualifying for Boston. This time, her starting fitness is higher than it was before and when race day approaches, she nails her goal time and achieves her Boston qualifying goal.

Runner 2: Focusing on the goal

Our second athlete is more aggressive and decides she’s going to do whatever it takes to qualify for Boston. She starts her segment and begins to push her easy and long run paces to get closer to the times she’ll need to run in the marathon. On workout days, she pushes the envelope when she feels good and finishes each workout exhausted. The first few weeks of this plan go OK, and after a 10K tune-up race, she realizes she’s only 25 minutes from her goal time. So, she starts doing her long runs with the faster group in her running club, which goes well until her IT band starts giving her trouble. After a few days of limping through runs she goes to a physical therapist and is told to take a week off from running. Reluctantly, she takes the needed rest. When she returns to training, she feels good but realizes she’s now a week behind in her training schedule and it’s crunch time if she’s going to hit her goal. So, she jumps right back into the hard workouts and long runs, and two weeks later, she starts to feel her Achilles tug. Once again, a visit to the therapist confirms she needs to take a week off from running. This process repeats itself until race day, when she valiantly attempts to run the race, but due to lack of consistent training she runs 40 minutes slower than her goal time. Once she recovers from the race, she repeats the same goal-oriented cycle and unfortunately never runs much faster than her current personal best.

Do either of these cases sound familiar to you?

Take the next step!

The second component of focusing on the process is related to training at your current fitness level, but is more focused on how you build your mileage, long runs and workout volumes.

This best example of this is when coming back from an injury. Many runners who have to take a week or two off to heal from an injury immediately return to hard training in an attempt to hit their goal time. They’ll take the risk of getting injured again if it means they can regain their fitness faster. The problem with this approach is that it often leads to further injury. Not only do these runners not hit their goal time, but now they’re injured again.

A better approach in this situation is to put your race goals on the backburner and focus on taking the next logical step in your training each week. Increase your volume only as much as your body is ready to handle and train to your current fitness level, not where you were or where you want to be on race day. Sure, this logical progression might not progress you fast enough to hit your goal on race day, but you’ll have months of consistent training behind you and, most importantly, you’ll be healthy and ready to keep training hard for the next race. And yes, there will always be other races.

Focus on the process, train consistently, stay healthy, and keep moving forward one day, week and month at a time.
Read more about how to set realistic goals at Competitor.com.

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Keys to Running with Mental Toughness http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/training/keys-running-mental-toughness/ Wed, 17 May 2017 19:53:33 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=102099 As a runner, how mentally tough are you? Mental toughness is something most of us would not even consider as...

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As a runner, how mentally tough are you? Mental toughness is something most of us would not even consider as part of our marathon training. There are seven key traits that define the champion’s mentality. These traits are resilience, focus, strength, preparation, vision, openness and trust.

The good news is that you do not have to be born with mental toughness. You can learn to be mentally tough through your running workouts every day. The characteristics that make a mentally tough runner can be developed by anyone who wants to excel.

When you attain these qualities and practice these skills regularly, you have the best chance of achieving your goals in your running. Each of us begins at a different starting point physically and mentally. We all have strengths that we can build upon.

Five Tips: How to build mental toughness into your running

Now that you have an idea of the collection of traits that mentally tough runners possess, how do you turn these qualities into useful behaviors that will make a difference in the way you train and race? Below are some suggestions that I have used and have helped many of my own clients tremendously toward running faster and feeling better.

1. Create your performing edge toughness mindset

The mind and body are so well connected that to achieve a good outcome, you need to have the proper toughness mindset. The right internal state must be created first. Once you feel right inside, a quality performance can occur naturally and effortlessly. The appropriate internal state can bridge the gap between what you think you can accomplish and what you actually achieve. It can make the difference between just having the ability and realizing your true potential.

2. Build a mentally tough outlook

Direct your focus to what is possible, to what can happen, toward success. Instead of complaining about the weather or criticizing the competition, if you want to be a mentally tough runner, only attend to things you can control: Your thoughts, emotions, training form, and how you perceive each situation. You have a choice in what you believe about yourself. Positive energy makes peak performances possible.

3. Visualize mental toughness every day

Take 10 or 15 minutes each day to mentally rehearse your goals. Put yourself in a relaxed state through deep abdominal breathing. Then, as vividly as possible, create an image in your mind of what you want to achieve in your running. You can produce a replay of one of your top mentally tough performances in the past. Then carry all those positive feelings of self-confidence, energy and strength into your mental practice of an upcoming running event. See yourself doing it right. Finally, use your imagery all the way through the event itself.

4. Create a relaxed focus

To be more mentally tough, work toward maintaining your concentration for longer periods of time. You can tune into what is critical to your performance and tune out what is not. You can easily let go of distractions and take control of your attention. As you focus more on the direct task in front of you (your stride form, how you are feeling, etc.), there will be less room for the negative thoughts to enter your mind during your running training. You’ll be mentally strong under any conditions.

5. Use power words for mental toughness

Try repeating these phrases to be mentally tough before your next event:

I stay positive and mentally tough no matter what happens

I project confidence and energy

Going fast feels effortless

I am in my element; I am fully engaged in my running

Focus on the moment, not the distance

I fully enjoy every part of my workout

I am physically relaxed and mentally focused

I am a strong, mentally tough runner

For more details on the Competitor.com article, click here.

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Strategies for Success in a Half Marathon http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/training/strategies-success-half-marathon/ Fri, 12 May 2017 22:35:16 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=102044 Running is the worst. OK, I realize that’s not really the best way to kick off a post about advice...

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Running is the worst.

OK, I realize that’s not really the best way to kick off a post about advice for running a half marathon, aka 13.1 miles.

But growing up, I dreaded…loathed…and even avoided running as best I could. As the overweight kid in class, I became the master of excuses to get out of running — whether it was escaping “the mile test” in gym class or choosing to be the catcher of the softball team because…well, it required the least amount of running.

When I started my running journey, the thought of running one mile was simply daunting — let alone 13 of them…in a row!

Following back surgery in 2011, my doctor said I wouldn’t run again, but I had other plans. I had my sights set on running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon seven months after surgery.

So I took the path to running one step…one run…one mile at a time!

Strategies Half Marathon

Making the decision to train for a half marathon was daunting, so it was time to break it down to make it seem less overwhelming.

Here are a few of my tricks to get through my first — and the following 50 — half marathons I’ve completed:

First: Set a mantra.

Strategies Half Marathon

My mantra is: “Live in the mile you are in.” I still live by this mantra today — both in life and races.

After hours of research and countless races, I’ve found ZERO benefit to worrying about how many miles you have run so far in the race or how many you have to go.

This lends itself to the fun mind game (I know I’m not the only one who plays these while running) of telling myself that I only have to run one mile. No matter how many I really need to run for the race, I know in my mind I can run one mile. Now I just need to do that 13 times. Simple, right?

Second: Treat the start line like the finish line.

One of the best pieces of running advice came from Tedy Bruschi (former New England Patriot). Before the Boston Marathon in 2013, he told the team:

“The start line is the finish line, and the race itself is the after-party — so go out and enjoy every second of it.”

Brooklyn Half Marathon Start LIne

Holy lightbulb moment Batman!

What an amazing way to look at a 13.1-mile journey. From that moment on, I vowed to take each race as if it could be my last. Forget worrying about pace. Forget worrying about weather. I was going to be the person on the course enjoying every second of the journey.

Third: Appreciate that bling.

Now I know not everyone runs a half for the bling, but I do. I hang each medal I earn on my wall as motivation for days when I don’t feel like training or when I doubt my abilities to run another race.

Brooklyn Half Marathon Medal

Each medal shares a story and reminds us that we can do it!

Fourth: Focus on the post-race snacks.

Strategies Half Marathon

On average, a person will burn between 1,500-2,000 calories during a half marathon (depends on finish time and weight).

Let’s break that down, shall we?

After the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans half marathon, I enjoyed a beignet (240 calories), low-fat chocolate milk (200 calories) and a mimosa (150 calories).

Total Calories Enjoyed: 590
Total Calories Burned: 1,536

Well, I could’ve had a couple more rounds with those numbers. 😉

New Orleans Half Marathon Medal

Strategies Half Marathon

Let’s see what else is around:

Michelob Ultra (12oz): 95 calories
Beer, regular (pint, 16oz): 180 calories
Slice of plain pizza: 285 calories
Slice of deep dish pizza (for those running Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago): 310 calories
Philadelphia cheesesteak (7in): 520 calories
Poutine (for those running Rock ‘n’ Roll Montréal): 740 calories
Burrito (beef and cheese): 790 calories
Full slab of ribs: 1,230 calories

During your next run, distract yourself by adding up what you will enjoy post-race. That should keep you occupied you for a few miles.

Fifth: Grab your best running friends (BRF) for support.

While not all of my friends use social media to share their running experiences, I have found an amazing support system for this little addiction of mine. Whether it is a friend from home or college or a Twitter friend, grab your best pal and lace up together.

Finding your tribe is just as important as putting in the training miles leading up to the race.

Embarking on your first half? See if a friend wants to do the same and enjoy the ups and downs of training together.

Looking to enjoy a new city? Coerce some friends to join you for a racecation getaway! Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville and Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego are two of my favorite racecation weekends ever!

Strategies Half Marathon

Sixth: Think of your steps.

During my 51st career half marathon, I collected 22,671 steps over those 13.1 miles. On average, I aim for 12-13K steps a day. My daily count will vary during different parts of a training cycle, but at minimum I work for 10K steps a day.

Just think of the competitions you will run away with as you start logging those longer miles. Your friends will be pacing in their living rooms to keep up with you.

When there isn’t bling during training, a challenge win could be a consolation prize.

Finally, if all else fails when trying to dig deep during a run, take advice from this guy:

Strategies Half Marathon

Trust me…it works!

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