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I attended the 2nd Annual National Endurance Sports Summit (NESS) at Princeton University last weekend. What is NESS, you might ask? Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it either until several months ago, when I received an email through my RRCA listing as a running coach. NESS is a conference that seeks to “elevate endurance” by “showcasing the power of endurance sports to make a difference in one’s own life, in one’s community, and around the world.” It is organized and hosted by Team U, an intercollegiate fundraising endurance team founded by Joe Benun, a recent Princeton grad. I was very impressed by last year’s speaker list, which included Marshall Ulrich, Pam Reed, Ray Zahab, David Horton and Matt Fitzgerald, just to name a few. However, there weren’t any Dietitians participating in the nutrition panel or talks, which presented a great opportunity to get involved and share my passion for both nutrition and endurance sports!

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Team U listened to my feedback and invited me to join the Saturday morning nutrition panel to kick off a packed day of amazing presentations. Check out the 2015 schedule – recognize any of those names or faces above?! YEAH – only some of the most inspirational, accomplished athletes in the endurance world (from left to right – Simon Donato, David Horton, Ann Treason, Karl Meltzer, Travis Macy, Lisa Smith-Batchen, and Marshall Ulrich). Shockingly, the number of attendees was quite small – I was told 90 but it seemed lower than that, giving each talk an intimate feel and allowing for great interaction between the speakers and with the audience. Given the steady increase in popularity of marathons and ultra marathons, I’m sure that this event will grow dramatically with targeted marketing, word of mouth, and recruitment of more sponsors.

Here are some highlights from the many panels and presentations from Day 1 of NESS (unfortunately I could not stay for Day 2). Here’s another write-up on ultrarunning.com if you’d like to hear about Day 2 as well!

Panel: “To Eat or Not to Eat: Perspectives on Nutrition” 
Jason Fitzgerald, Vinnie Tortorich, Terra Castro, Claire Shorenstein 

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Running coach Jason Fitzgerald, retired pro-triathlete and founder of Be Bold Crew Terra Castro, and celebrity trainer Vinnie Tortorich joined me on the nutrition panel. The topic was very broad and one hour was hardly enough time to delve deep into one large nutrition issue let alone several, however we managed to touch upon a variety of topics with the help of our moderator, Andy Wegman. We discussed creating a nutrition strategy yet staying flexible, training your gut not just your muscles, high protein diets, becoming fat adapted through diet and exercise, and fueling with carbs-vs-fat (the most highly debated, given Vinnie supports a “NSNG” or no sugar no grain diet). Many perspectives were presented and discussed, and while we didn’t always agree with each other, it was good to talk through some of these hot topics in sports nutrition. I did my best to present evidence based recommendations while staying open-minded – nutrition is a young and ever changing science, after all.

Let me take a moment to share a few thoughts on what we discussed. I am not a food extremist and do not believe in eliminating otherwise healthy foods (or even the occasional treat) from your diet unless you are doing so for medical, moral or religious purposes. Not only is it unnecessary to achieve good health, it’s not a fun or sustainable way to live your life. It’s always important to ask “why.” Why do you avoid gluten, including in whole grains, if you do not have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance? Why do you avoid hormone free dairy if you are not lactose intolerant or vegan? And so forth.

I certainly agree that reducing intake of refined carbs and grains will aid in weight loss, and that fat adaptive training may be worth exploring for some athletes during base training (check out these related articles by sports nutritionist Sunny Blende). If you can become more metabolically efficient and train your body to burn more fat for fuel during lower intensity exercise, that’s great – but you still need SOME carbs to burn fat for fuel (it’s biochemistry folks). Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains (portion controlled), and dairy contribute “healthy” carbs to your diet. You also need carbs to fuel high intensity exercise (e.g. racing a marathon, surging up a hill in an ultra, speed work etc). If you’re lucky to have an iron stomach maybe you can eat real food, but you may only be able to handle more refined sugars (e.g. gels, drinks) just before and while running at higher intensities. The takeaway is that it’s important to pair your carb intake with what you are doing. For example, if you’re running easy for an hour or two, you’re fine running with water and perhaps some electrolytes.

This obviously is a much more complicated topic that I will not go into further here, but those are my two cents for now! At the end of the day, regardless of guidelines and studies, what matters most is what works best for your health, your body, and your athletic performance. If you like to eat cheese and olives during your long training runs and you’re performing and recovering well, more power to you! I look forward to seeing the event organizers narrow the topic for next year’s panel and hopefully dedicate a presentation to nutrition or add another nutrition panel so that we are able to cover more ground on such a crucial topic.

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Marshall Ulrich: “Journeys of Extremes of the World”

For anyone not familiar with Marshall Ulrich, he is an “extreme endurance athlete,” author of “Running on Empty” (which is on my reading list), and a really lovely person. He has finished more than 120 ultramarathons, among many other mind boggling feats of endurance. He began ultra running later in life after his wife passed away from cancer, pushing his body further in middle age than most 20 and 30 year olds could ever imagine. His presentation covered just a few of his “extreme” journeys, including running Badwater (he just finished his 20th!), climbing Mt Everest, running across America at age 57 (3,063.2 miles from California to New York, averaging more than 400 miles a week), and circumnavigating Death Valley on foot at 61 (425 miles). He presented the challenges and risks of each of these environments (obviously there were many), and how he overcame the obstacles he faced to achieve his goals. I’m really looking forward to reading more about his run across the US, what Marshall called his hardest journey. It was inspiring to hear him speak about pushing himself to each finish, at times risking his life and running through some serious injuries. He focused on maintaining forward progress and fulfilling his commitment to himself. I hope I am fortunate enough to stay active and courageous enough to keep pushing myself beyond what is perceived to be possible as I grow older.

Dr. David Horton: “Lessons learned from 100,000 miles of running”

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David Horton is amazing – a real character. I met him right after the nutrition panel (he shared many of my views on nutrition), before he gave his own talk. He has one of the most high energy and enthusiastic personalities I have come across in awhile. He is also fiercely competitive and will poke and prod relentlessly because he knows that you can achieve more than you think you can (or in his words – you CAN’T – he wants you to prove him wrong). Dave is an endurance beast – 113,000 miles run since 1977, including 160 ultramarathons! Even though he is no longer running much due to knee surgery (long distance cycling is now his thing), he loves to share his passion for running and endurance sports with others. He teaches an advanced running course at Liberty College that requires students to run an ultra. Wish I could have taken that course in college!

His talk included a list of short phrases and sayings, which he used to prompt stories and motivate the audience. Here are a few that stuck with me:

It never always gets worse.” You may feel horrible halfway through a race and think there’s no way you will finish because it can only go downhill, but in a few moments or miles everything can change – for the better! So keep pushing. That said, sometimes it DOES get worse! Which brings us to…

This too shall pass.” Whatever it is, it always changes, for better or for worse. Wait it out.

You can do more than you think you can,” and along the same lines, “You’re better than you think you are.” It’s incredible what you can push yourself to do when you really want it. He used an example – how many miles could you run if you had to run them right now? Could you go an extra 10 miles if you were paid 1 million dollars? Could you run an extra 20 miles if someone would shoot you if you didn’t finish? Find what motivates you and run with it.

Commit to what you do.” Believe in yourself and don’t make failure an option.

E and I definitely had Horton in our head this past week when we said to ourselves, why stop at running the NYC marathon for charity? Why not also run the JFK50 three weeks later (my first 50 miler, E’s second) to keep pushing ourselves? Before we knew it, it was booked. Thanks Dave!

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Featured Power Panel: “Learning to Push Past Limits: Roundtable Discussion with the World’s Greatest Ultrarunners.” 

Ann Trason, Lisa Smith-Batchen, Dr. David Horton, Karl Meltzer, Marshall Ulrich, Dr. Simon Donato, Travis Macy

Again, how incredible to have such a concentration of legendary endurance athletes, not just at this panel but throughout the entire day! Dr. Rob Gilbert, a sports psychologist, guided a discussion that touched upon a wide variety of topics, including the idea of “suffering,” finding balance, life after winning (passing the torch to younger athletes, shifting goals), learning from past races, and more.

I really enjoyed Lisa pointing out that the word “suffering” is not the correct choice when describing endurance sports. It is appropriate for chronic disease, death, trauma, and other tragic things that happen to us. By contrast, we CHOOSE to run because we love the sport – sure we may hurt and feel pain, but we are not “suffering.” You have to enjoy the process – embrace the highs and the lows – and remember that it’s not all about the destination.

Regarding balance, I’m always amazed that many accomplished endurance athletes also hold full-time jobs, have families, travel constantly, all while doing some seriously time consuming training. Some sacrifice sleep – Lisa said that she trains between 3am and 7am – while others sacrifice family time. Prioritizing is key, but it’s still tough to find that balance.

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Christopher McDougall: “Endurance under Fire: Lessons from the Extreme Athletes of WWII” 

This was the day’s keynote talk, and it was really fascinating. I think nearly everyone has read “Born to Run,” right? Chris McDougall spoke about his latest book, “Natural Born Heroes,” which explores the idea of running for survival, as a man on Crete had to do during WWII, versus running for exercise. He shared a fascinating story of Resistance fighters on Crete who relied on a man to deliver messages by frequently running extreme distances on foot to overcome the Nazi occupation. His talk tied into how we inherently possess such natural, fundamental movements that distinguish us as humans – we are not highly specialized like most animals, but rather can do many different things. However, as we get older we lose many of these basic movements, instead doing things like running a marathon as fast as we can or doing bicep curls in the gym (both unnatural and not useful). Parkour, he explained, encourages us to get back to our natural forms of motion, including jumping, throwing, crawling and other elastic recoil motions. Unfortunately I missed the Parkour clinic that followed, but his talk intrigued me and made me think twice about some of my own exercise routines…

Panel: “Learning How to Push Further and Reduce Injury”
Shane Eversfield, Terra Castro, Jason Fitzgerald, Ann Trason, Andy Wegman

Many things were discussed. Here are a few takeaways:
Ann – Remember the P’s of ultra-running: patience, persistence, passion, practice. Consider working with a heart rate monitor. Remember that running is a gift!
Jason – Don’t neglect strength training – even just 15min twice a week. Check out his site strengthrunning.com for great articles and videos!
Shane – Listen to your gut – your gut can sometimes tell you more than your brain.
Terra – Commit to foam rolling, massage, cross-training, yoga.

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Travis Macy, “The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion’s Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life”

I recently read “the Ultra mindset” to get motivated for the UTHC 65k last month, so I really enjoyed meeting Travis Macy and hearing him speak about applying principles of training to life. Most of what he said was covered in the book, so check it out if you want all the specifics! One of the key phrases that he uses to push through tough times in training, racing and in life is, “it’s all good mental training.” So true. Another one I really liked – “the harder it is, the stronger you get” – great running mantra that I used in ultra training. He discussed the importance of creating the life that you want – not listening to the stories others or even a less confident version of yourself you may create. This really resonated with me as I try to carve out my own path in life. I recommend the book – it comes with some helpful exercises that Travis even said he would “grade” if you send them to him!

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Terra Castro, “Life Lessons Learned from Racing Professionally”

Terra Castro is an inspiring, courageous, honest and lovely woman who was a competitive athlete from a young age, became a pro triathlete, and has since started her own company Be Bold Crew in an ongoing effort to keep her “joy tank” full. It was awesome to hear her personal story of her accomplishments and struggles, and what she learned from it all. Takeaway – take risks to find your joy – and be B.O.L.D. (Believe, Outpour, Light, Dedicated).

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Speaker Dinner 

We finished out the night with a lovely speaker dinner, where E and I were able to chat with everyone in a relaxed and intimate setting. Everyone was curious to see what the dietitian was eating! It was a great way to wrap up a day of learning, inspiration and making new friends. Everyone was so friendly and down to earth, it was easy to forget that we were surrounded by some seriously unique, tough, and accomplished individuals.

It’s nearly been a week and I’m still feeling the energy from NESS. If you have any interest in marathons, ultras or other endurance sports, then I urge you to sign up next year. This event is a true gem with some serious growth potential. I’m still amazed that it was organized entirely by college students – great job Team U! I certainly hope I am able to participate next year.

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Happy Friday! Last weekend’s Ultra Trail du Hurricana 65km race was pretty epic, and I promise to give a full race report soon. For now, E and I are beyond pleased to have finished the race safely, under the cut off time (just barely!!), and in great spirits, crossing the finish line hand in hand in 10 hours and 51 minutes. Such a joyful moment!

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I’m also very pleased to report that I did not fracture my wrist – I have a sprain (i.e. ligament tear) and thankfully no major ligaments involved, which means no surgery or cast. I got a new custom splint that allows for much greater mobility and with a little rest and then some therapy, I should be healed within 1-2 months hopefully!

In the meantime, here are some great tips on running form on Livestrong.com, including several from yours truly! 🙂 I contributed to this article a few weeks ago and it went live last night. It has some good info on improving efficiency and avoiding injury before, during and after your runs. Check it out!

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Have a great weekend everyone! Happy running!

Last Sunday, E and I attended an all-day running workshop that my coach, Sam Murphy, held at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in South London. I had been in contact with Sam over email for many months, but it had been quite some time since she had seen me run. I thought it would be the perfect time to check my progress, and in particular my technique, as I launch into my next marathon training cycle. I also figured it would be a great opportunity to observe her in action, given that I admire her coaching style and will soon be a coach myself! Lastly, I was excited for E to work with Sam – he had only met her briefly before one of my sessions, and I knew that he would benefit from her feedback.

The title of the workshop was Running Well, which also happens to be that of one of Sam’s books. Principal topics of the day, which was divided between classroom presentations/discussions and outdoor practical sessions, included technique, injury prevention, drills/warm-ups, running-specific strength exercises, different types of runs, how to structure a training program and stretching, among other things.

Given my previous coaching sessions with Sam, and the fact that the workshop would surely be geared towards runners of varying levels and experience, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when E and I arrived at 9:45am. Additionally, Sunday was predicted to be one of the hottest days of the year (and it certainly was) – not ideal for either spending time in a classroom or performing various running activities in a crowded park, including a mid-afternoon threshold interval session! However, we survived, and everything Sam covered turned out to be extremely relevant and useful, in addition to being presented in an interesting and fun way. E and I left at 4:30pm feeling wiped out, but enlightened and pleased we attended!

Our group consisted of 15 runners, myself included – a good size! Sam obviously led the workshop, but her husband Jeff, a lovely guy who also happens to run a 2:29 marathon (!!), as well as another coach named Suzy helped her throughout the day. Having, effectively, three coaches was awesome and in my opinion, a huge selling point of this workshop. Not only did it help Sam lead the group more professionally and efficiently, but it was great to have the additional support and feedback to ensure that each of us received a substantial amount of personal attention within the larger group setting. So – £55 for a six-hour workshop with three coaches? Not bad at all.

Sam kicked off the day with a video analysis – each of us had to run for a short distance at a normal pace while she recorded it with a camcorder. She would later play back and analyze each person’s recording frame by frame, together with a second video taken later that morning. She had done a video analysis with me about a year earlier in a one-to-one session – it can be shocking to see yourself run, particularly for the first time, but is crucial to becoming more aware of your technique and discovering what you need to improve. It’s quite common to think you’re doing something a certain way when in fact you’re doing quite the opposite!

For example, E and I both thought we had moved away from heel striking, but then later saw clear evidence that we had not. Even worse, we were overstriding – our feet were landing in front of rather than directly below our bodies. E seemed pretty surprised – he insisted he had corrected this after completing a series of sessions last year with some running specialists who focus on biomechanics (recommended by Sam, in fact). I think it’s quite easy to slip back into old habits, though – it can take awhile to retrain your body! For me, I had a feeling before watching the video that I hadn’t fixed my heel strike, but I really thought I had improved my stride/foot placement! Sigh. At least Sam confirmed that the rest of my technique was looking great, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my kick is actually relatively high. I always feel like my heels hardly leave the ground, compared to other runners I observe.

We moved into the classroom around 10am. After introductions, Sam addressed in detail how to warm up properly before a run and why this is important, as well as how to instill good technique (as well as what defines good technique) by performing a variety of specific drills. Sam had taught me some of these before, but they have been missing from my routine for quite some time, so it was good to jog my memory as well as learn some new drills. Hopefully those images of my feet landing way too far forward will make me more disciplined about incorporating drills into my training on a more regular basis.

Our classroom time was followed by our first outdoor session, which gave us an opportunity to put what we had just learned into practice under our coaches’ watchful eyes. It was only 11am, but already the temperature was very uncomfortable – we were sweating buckets after a simple warm-up!

The hour covered technique drills, which included (just to name a few, and including language borrowed from Sam’s handouts) things like jogging to a metronome to encourage a higher cadence or faster leg turnover, “elasticity bounces” or quick jumps on the spot to bring focus to the foot strike, “pick-ups” or kicks up to your butt to help avoid overstriding and “exchanges,” where you stand on one foot with other foot raised in a “number 4” shape and switch to the other foot in one swift movement (pictured below). Obviously these are better explained in person or with photos, but hopefully you get the idea.

Sam discussed a specific technique goal and demonstrated the corresponding drill to achieve it, which the group then attempted either in place within two lines (pictured above – I’m in the pink top across from Sam) or moving forward and around a set of cones (as in the below).

  

So what did Sam define as elements of good running technique, supported by these drills? Some key points from her “Running technique” handout include the following:

  • Body posture – head up; eyes forward; torso upright (not bent forward at the waist – slight forward lean comes from the heels); pelvis in neutral (think of it as a bucket of water, that you don’t want to spill); and shoulders relaxed;
  • Arm position – elbows bent to at least 90 degrees and kept relatively close to the body, but rotated slightly inwards; movement from armpit not shoulders; and hands relaxed;
  • Legs/feet – land with the foot under the pelvis with bent knee, rather than in front of body; lead with the knee not the heel (as I do!); increase cadence to 180 steps or higher; bring the foot off the ground more quickly; pull the leg through more quickly with a strong knee bend; and move away from a pronounced heel or toe strike and towards a flatter landing.

Here we are, below, determining our cadence (steps per minute), which you can do by running for 60 seconds and counting how many times one foot lands (easier than trying to count both feet!), and then multiplying by two. We did this twice, and I hit 196 both times! This is a definite improvement since I first started to train with Sam.

After drills, Sam had us do a short run, where we ran at an easy/steady pace but concentrated on a specific aspect of our technique for one minute at a time. Because of the heat, this was cut short slightly, so in total we only ran about 1.8 miles in the entire morning session. We had to save ourselves for later, so we were told!

On our way back to the classroom, Sam did a second video analysis, to see how much of what he had learned had seeped into our technique. Obviously no one changes these things dramatically overnight, but it was still impressive how many of us, myself included, made some small improvements.

The air conditioning felt incredible when we went back inside for our short break. I had a big snack (half of my packed lunch, an amazing cous-cous salad I had cooked the day before), knowing I would struggle with my sensitive stomach to eat lunch and do speedwork in the heat less than two hours later. Sam then launched into her “talk and practical on running-specific strength” – like with the drills, she explained and demonstrated each exercise (things like the plank, bridge with knee lifts, lunges/squats etc., as well as slightly more obscure running specific exercises), and we then tried it on our mats. Much of this Sam had shown me before, but it helped to go through them and check with the coaches to make sure I was doing them all properly, since I had a few questions from when I used to do these more regularly.

Lunch was a “working lunch,” where we gathered into small groups and received feedback on our running videos while eating. Sam clicked through each frame (the clips were only two or three seconds long), showing us what we were doing well, and what we weren’t doing correctly. It was interesting to learn from others as well as from my own video – many of us were guilty of the same mistakes – primarily, heel striking and overstriding.

I was excited for the next segment – training programs – given that I still need to create my own Portland marathon training plan. Sam explained the various types of runs – recovery, threshold/tempo, VO2 max, long etc. and stressed the importance of ensuring that you go into each run knowing what purpose it serves in the context of your training. This was nothing new, but as with some of the other material, good to hear again.

I did, however, have many questions about preparing my own program and got some clarification on several things, including tempo runs (continuous running at a comfortably hard pace) versus threshold interval runs (also run at this pace, but as you would imagine, broken down into shorter periods of time with short recoveries). Although Sam only gave me the intervals to do during my two training cycles, which I had always wondered about, she said that I can alternate between the two in my upcoming program. She also provided me with other tips that I will think back on while building my own marathon schedule for the first time.

By this point, it was around 3pm and not only an oven out there but also a complete zoo in the park, with TONS of people, animals, vehicles and everything else you can imagine all around the place. In other words, it was the PERFECT time for a threshold interval session!

There I am at the start line of our loop – don’t I look thrilled to run 3 x 6min at 7:25 – 7:40 pace, with 90sec recoveries?! E obviously was equally excited. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but I’m happy to report that I somehow managed to hit an average pace of 7:27, despite the heat, crowds, a very unhappy stomach and slowing down at the end when I felt like I was going to die. Sam, Jeff and Suzy were each positioned at different parts of the loop to announce the time and, more importantly, encourage us to keep working hard in such tough conditions. That is where having a coach present during a training session can make a huge difference. Okay, and I confess that my competitive self managed to escape and ensured that I maintained my position at the front of the pack – but only because I had to hit my goal pace! Check out my Garmin entry to see how I did in more detail.

Finishing this session was a massive relief, not only because I wasn’t sure I would hit my target, but also because all that was left for the day was a nice long stretch session in the shade. It felt awesome, and it was also great to get feedback from the coaches on something that is so important, and yet far too often neglected after a run.

We returned to the classroom for some Q&A, said our goodbyes and then E and I made our way back home. We were exhausted, hot and hungry – but also feeling slightly ill, not only from the physical exertion but also from the mish-mash of foods we had eaten throughout the day (gatorade, flap-jacks, banana, cous-cous salad etc). Exercising in that type of heat really messes with you if you aren’t used to it, and if you aren’t careful about your nutrition and hydration. I think mostly, we were just tired.

But it was SO nice out by this point in the day, and everyone we knew had spent the afternoon lounging in the park, that we couldn’t help but stop for some pear cider in an outdoor cafe, which of course went straight to our heads. We then were suddenly starving and cooked up some Ostrich burgers. Turns out the whole combination was NOT the best idea and we spent the next hour lying on the floor (literally) curled up in a ball not feeling very well. Eventually it passed, and by perhaps 10pm it finally stopped feeling like a sauna outside, and we were able to look back on our day with a sense of achievement, as well as a new awareness of what we must improve going forward.

To check out Sam’s comments on how the workshop went, as well as to read about future workshops, click here.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know that I’m the type of person who runs despite bad weather, lack of motivation, travel plans or other factors (so long as it’s safe), and that I always strive to push myself as hard as possible during races and other challenging runs.

But what about those days when my body just isn’t feeling right? Like this morning, for instance?

Respecting your body’s signals is a key part to training wisely and to reaching your running goals – or, as Bart Yasso proclaims in this video on his three running commandments, “Rest is part of training.” If you ignore a niggle and proceed as normal hoping it will go away on its own, or if you train every day instead of giving yourself at least one day of crucial rest, you will certainly risk injury. In other words, “Don’t run too far. Don’t run too often. Don’t run too fast.

Does all this sound a bit obvious? Sure, in theory it might. But in practice, how many times have you ignored these simple rules and pushed yourself just a little too much, or gone on that run you probably should have skipped, because you really REALLY wanted to get out there? I certainly am guilty…there have been days when I KNEW that going on a particular run would ultimately set me back, but I still struggled to keep myself from doing it. Thankfully, and in part because I worked with a great coach who specializes in injury prevention, I’m training more wisely these days! Quality over quantity, as with many things…

Now that I’m not working with my coach, I have to be very self-disciplined when it comes to heeding my body’s signals. However, it’s not always clear what you should do. For example, when I woke up this morning feeling a bit sore, I wondered whether or not I should postpone my VO2 max session to another day.  The soreness was more general (from spin class and weights) than acute, but I had experienced shin pain the previous week after doing the same session, which concerned me. I also shouldn’t have done my lower body strength training the day before a hard run – better to have a day in between, and do an easy run instead. In the end, I decided to go ahead and do it, because I felt okay overall and didn’t want to mess up my training schedule.

After a pretty strong session and nice long stretch, I was very pleased with myself. But now, hours later, I’m feeling it – and not in a good way. My shins are tight again, and my right ankle is sore. Nothing extreme by any means, but still, NOT GOOD. Something that can grow far worse if I’m not careful.

So what am I going to do?

Ice the sore areas, stretch, and NOT run home as planned. Get a good night’s sleep, have a nutritious dinner, and NOT run tomorrow as planned. Instead, I’ll go to yoga class, which I had hoped to do anyway, followed by some upper-body strength training. Friday will remain my rest day, as scheduled, and then, I hope, I will be recovered enough to tackle a tough training weekend, which includes a hill interval session and a 100min off-road long run. But if I still don’t feel great, I have to remind myself – Rest is part of training – and do a gentler activity instead. The frustration I will feel from a missed run certainly can’t compare to the potential disappointment of having to pull out of my half-marathon! I’ve never pulled out of a race, and I hope to keep it that way…

Lastly, I’m going to have a sports massage on Tuesday morning. The verdict is still out as to whether or not sports massage actually improves running performance, but in my opinion, it’s CRUCIAL. Hour-long sessions every 3-4 weeks got me through months of tough marathon training, not to mention the fact that I simply LOVE massage, of any type. It’s pricey, but it’s my main treat to myself. Well, not counting my mission to travel as much as possible and my running gear addiction… 🙂

So my goal for the rest of the week is to keep the Big Picture in sight – and to really enjoy my next two days of “training,” which shouldn’t be too difficult at all!!

Welcome to FFR

Hi, I'm Claire! I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (MS, RD, CDN) and a Road Runners Club of America certified coach. This is where I share my latest adventures in running, racing, food & travel! If you'd like to work with me, please visit my professional website, Eat for Endurance.

My PRs

Marathon (Chicago): 3:33:18
Boston Marathon: 3:36:14
Half-Marathon: 1:37:21
10M: 1:14:52
10k: 44:52

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Grateful for quality time this week with my little pumpkin! 🎃😍 Happy Monday from California! I haven’t posted any running pics for a long time as I’ve been dealing with a hip injury for the last few months (and zero running for the last 5 weeks). 😓 I haven’t run a race, even a short one, in over a year - so different than how I imagined my postpartum running life to be. It makes me sad that I can’t run especially while in Santa Cruz, but I’m trying to stay active in different ways, be diligent about my PT, and remain positive even though the road to recovery feels endless at times. Yesterday, E and I went on a beautiful beach walk in the morning and then I did a hike with a friend and our babes in the afternoon, where I normally run in Nisene. I miss running but hopefully will get back to it soon, stronger than before! Baking “for the baby” tonight (so I say as I gobble up these delicious treats). Made mini pumpkin muffins (and a few mama sized ones), recipe adapted from @babyfoode. So easy to make - I added full fat Greek yogurt and almond butter to include some healthy fats. I think Arielle will love these - if for some crazy reason she doesn’t, more for me!! 😂 Nice work on tonight’s dinner, @trailz.io!! So good I’m going back for seconds. Veg bake with layers of eggplant, red onions, tomatoes, zucchini, ricotta, breadcrumbs, & spices with arugula on top. 👌🏻 Surprise package in the mail today! Thx @rxbar - stoked to try out the new gingerbread flavor. Speaking of, how on earth is it already the holiday season?!?! #rxbar Love @siggisdairy triple cream yogurts - perfect to satisfy a craving for something sweet and indulgent while providing 9g protein, relatively few calories (170), and calcium. The chocolate flavor was so delicious! #dailysiggis

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