Rainy weather happens everywhere, even in North Texas. We have all signed up for a race and woken up to a deluge. I actually did an Ironman in Quebec where it rained almost the entire time! Quite the challenge! (an a personal worst time to boot!) Rain happens, so here are some tips to prepare you for running in rainy weather. Personally, as long as it is not freezing cold, I enjoy the flashback to childhood romps in the puddles that can come from a rainy day run outside.
1. Dress in layers but not necessarily waterproof. I find that waterproof jackets actually trap moisture and heat, which can make you overheat in a jiffy. You can get dehydrated in the rain since you don’t notice that you are sweating that much. A water-resistant jacket breathes better. Layer this on top of a moisture wicking technical shirt and you are good to go, as long as it is over 40 degrees! Wear the least you think will keep you warm on a dry day and avoid overdressing. You are going to get wet. More is not better, just heavier!
2. Wear a hat with a brim. It helps to be able to see where you are going and avoid falling.
3. Wear reflective gear. Drivers often has poor visibility and think you are nuts for running in the rain, so they won’t be on the lookout for runners like they are on a nice day. If you don’t have reflective gear, make sure your top layer is light colored.
4. If you are running a race, wear a lawn and leaf trash bag as a fashionable jacket for the start. You can throw it off after the first few miles as you warm up. Please don’t litter! Give it to a spectator or aid station.
5. Wear older running shoes. We all have them in the closet. That pair that has a few too many miles but you haven’t parted with them yet. Pull those out as long as they are not way too worn. If you don’t have an old pair, pick your ugliest. We all have them too!
6. Chafing sucks! Wet weather can lead to chafing so use Body Glide or at least Vaseline on those parts that are prone to chafe or get blisters. This is your toes, heels, underarms, inner thighs, nipples and bra lines.
7. Leave the electronics at home. If you are a music junkie, today is the day to go au natural. Enjoy nature in its fullest and leave the IPod at home.
8. Let loose and enjoy your inner child! Make it fun and even jump in puddles! Life is too short not to enjoy a rainy day like a 6-year-old!
9. Take care of your shoes when you finish. There is nothing worse than a pair of running shoes that shrink. Stuff your shoes with old newspaper and this will draw the moisture away and helps keep their shape. You can put them in the dryer on no heat and that helps too! Spray them with Lysol after they dry to ward off any fungus or mold that may accumulate!
Rainy days can be fun and a time to enjoy a long run! Keep safe and enjoy running in the rain!
Let's talk about how to reach your goals in 2012!
Happy New Year! More in 2012!
Hot running is here again this summer. A little too soon for me! It’s 80 degrees at 6:30am, 100 degrees by 1pm; and let’s face it: it’s really hard to get motivated to run!
Goals are important during the summer training months. When you look at your calendar and see the races you have penciled in, getting out of bed is a lot easier. Pick a race in the fall and enter! I have already entered the Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains in October and the White Rock Marathon in December. The power of the race calendar gets me motivated to get the workouts done on these hot, hot days.
I also encourage everyone to try to get their workouts in either early in the morning or inside at the gym in the afternoon. Ozone is so high during the afternoon hours and poor air quality warnings abound this time of year. No reason to stress your upper respiratory system; do it early or do it inside!
Just a few tips to keep yourself safe this summer while running in the heat:
Get motivated and get out there, but run safely in the heat so we can all enjoy the fall race season!
1. Simplicity trumps everything for race nutrition plans. The simpler it is, the more likely you'll stick to it. For example, consider having all your bike calories in a single water bottle.
2. Pack all your bags and race stuff on Thursday afternoon so you have all Thursday and Friday to think through it, make sure you have everything, and aren't rushed. In general, do things early. No rushing equals no stress.
3. Consider taking melatonin or another sleep aid (assuming you've used it before) on race night. Even without the anticipation, it's hard to go to sleep at 9.
4. Bring some spray on 50+ SPF sunscreen. AFTER you get body-marked, put this on every square inch of skin that might be exposed. Enough of it will stay on to save you in case you miss sunscreen later. (Good tip for me since I have been known to look like an ahi tuna after a race)
5. Try to get to transition right when it opens. An extra 15 or 20 minutes of sleep isn't worth rushing. You want plenty of time to deal with anything unexpected (flat tire on bike, long toilet lines, etc.).
6. Make as much of your pre-race breakfast as you can the night before and start eating as soon as you can when you get up. Better not to be hurried and then having to force-feed yourself or, worse yet, skipping cals. It's darn early and eating isn't what your body wants to do, so get it done early.
7. Stay relaxed and enjoy the experience. Don't let race anxiety rule you before race day. It's wasted energy. Remember how much you SACRIFICED to get there, the TOUGH part is behind you, have FUN! It’s all about the finish line, time is irrelevant!
8. THANK the volunteers at every chance you get, from registration through the finish chute.
1. The far outside/inside sound like the best place, but they may not be, because everyone else is thinking the same thing.
2. Wear your goggles under your swim cap or double cap so they won't get kicked off. It can be hard to get them sealed like this though, so have someone check to make sure the cap isn't interfering with the seal.
3. Sight regularly. After you get out of the scrum it's tempting to put your head down and swim. Keep sighting or you'll swim extra yards.
4. You will likely be very lightheaded and loopy coming out of the swim. Be ready for it and ask volunteers to help with your wetsuit if you are wearing one. Don't get into a wresting match with it. (IM TX is probably speedsuit not wetsuit so practice getting out of it!)
1. Don't forget sunscreen in T1. Trust me. Again the tuna thing!
2. Be steady with your cals. Just do water for the first 30-60 minutes out. A good nutritional system on the bike is using the “super fuel” system. Take one or two water bottles and super concentrate it with salt tablets and mix so when getting a “hand up” the only thing needed is water. Poor the water into the front aero bottle and mix in a small ratio of “super fuel” to make a drink until the next “hand up”. This is handy in that if you get caught in between aide stations in a dehydrated state you have a highly concentrated mix that can help you out fast if you need it. This also keeps you away from having to drink something provided by the race that you are unfamiliar with and may upset your stomach.
The triathlon bug has now taken over at the FAANT office. Janet and I have been training for the Inaugural Texas Ironman on May 21st for the last 6 months and Janet has done a great job of blogging about our adventures. (click here to read her blog) The women in our office have now been inspired to “tri” their first triathlon. Grapevine recreation is having a sprint triathlon on June 4th right here in town, so many of the ladies have signed up! Even more are taking the role of Sherpa or cheerleaders to encourage their co-workers. I am so excited to see the enthusiasm for the sport. So here are a few tips for getting ready for your first tri!
Have a Plan. It’s not like you just wake up one morning and decide you want to do a triathlon. Or maybe you did and then realized you have no idea how to get ready for one! There are lots of on-line plans and relatively inexpensive coaching available. Having a plan is like having a recipe for success. Make a plan and stick to it!
Be Consistent. If you have ever jumped into a race very undertrained, the experience is not pleasant. You want your first triathlon to be an uplifting experience, not a painful blur. Stick to your training plan and be consistent with your workouts. After the first three weeks it gets a lot easier!
Review the Course. Knowing the course is very helpful in getting through rough spots in the race. You can anticipate the harder spots and know that the finish in near. Also, occasionally the course is not well marked and you can go awry. Knowing the course ahead of time is always a bonus if the going gets rough.
Watch Your Nutrition. Training for your first race is not the time to try a new diet or new foods. Consistent and normal good eating habits will ensure a stable stomach during the race. You don’t want to spend half the day in the porta-potty!
Sleep is Important. Training is taxing on the body and the mind. Getting plenty of rest will help your body recharge and be ready for the race. The sleep you get two nights before is more important than the night before, so if you have pre-race jitters and don’t sleep well….no fear if you have adequate rest in the weeks before.
Pack the Night Before. And use a List! I always set out my transition and all my gear the night before. The morning of the race is always full of chaos and usually starts a 5am, so packing your bag the night before using a checklist will ensure you have necessary tools like goggles and sunglasses!
Visualize Success. Get a mental image of yourself not only crossing the finish line, but being happy with your finish. Your body tends to follow your mind.
Pace Yourself. Many newbies go out way too fast on the swim or start to hammer the bike, only to find themselves walking the run. Pace yourself. The first one is about finishing standing up!
Don’t Freak Out! Janet can tell stories about panicking on the swim. I can tell stories about crashing on the bike. Neither one of us has ever had a flat tire in a race, but we’ve seen enough of them! Relax. Things happen. Your goggles can fall off, you can crash your bike, and you can forget to put sock on with your running shoes.
Relax and Execute Your Race. We have all had stuff happen that didn’t fall into our “perfect race” plan. Go to plan “B”!
Have Fun. Don’t be so serious about the challenge that you don’t enjoy the day. I remember finishing my first sprint triathlon after years of marathon running and feeling. “Wow! That was fun!” Let’s face it, most of us won’t win our first time out, so our reward is the sense of accomplishment (and the beer at the finish!)
Hopefully these tips will help any newbies and all the staff in my office who are training for their first tri! You will get addicted! Triathlon gets in your blood and you will be hooked!
The most common New Year’s resolution in the United States is to lose weight or improve your fitness. Let’s face it, even for the veteran marathoner or triathlete, the New Year gives us an excuse to refocus or give us just a little kick in the butt we need. We all need a plan to achieve our fitness goals or race success. I woke up on January first and realized it was 21 weeks until Ironman Texas. Wow! That crept up on me! Janet has been blogging for months about the road to Ironman Texas. I’ve been so busy working my butt off and being Mom, it crept up on me. Now it is time to refocus on my fitness goals, so I don’t perish on the streets of Houston on May 21st.
Maybe you are like me, a race is creeping up on you, or maybe you have just gained a few extra pounds from the holidays, or maybe you are like some of my friends who realized running up their stairs they get out of breath. This is a great time of year to refocus on your fitness goals. We all have obstacles; time, energy, financial, and our own self-defeating voice in our heads! Here are some tips that will help you focus and reach your fitness goals in 2011!
If you follow these few tips, I promise you will reach your fitness goals in 2011! You will thank me! And I will live though Ironman Texas this year! Run happy and towards your goals!
Let’s face it. The alarm goes off at 5:30am and there are many days I don’t want to get up and run or bike. My bed is warm and the air is cold. My pillows are so comfortable and missing one work out won’t matter that much. I’m in great shape! STOP! The negative self talk is waxing away at your motivation and suddenly those fitness goals are sliding away.
It’s not hard to stay motivated during the season. There is always a 5K or sprint triathlon every weekend and they fill your calendar. Your “A” and “B” big races are in red on the schedule and that motivates you to get out of bed and even do two-a-days. But now it’s off season for triathlon, and even the fall marathon season is slipping away. The days are getting shorter and colder; and in some areas the snow has begun to fall. Even in North Texas, the mornings are dark and the winter running gear is coming out of the moth balls. Motivation is hard to come by. I’m tired and cold and my morning run has lost its appeal.
What’s an athlete to do? Well, the winter off-season is a great time to mix it up a little. Training has to change from time to time to be effective. We all get stuck in ruts, so the off-season is a great time to try out some new tools. This is the time to build some strength, allow other muscle groups to become more balances and especially allow for recovery from a hard season. It’s the time to build on the hard work of the season and prepare for even greater success in the future! Motivated yet? Me neither, but I find two great tools do help me shake the winter doldrums and get motivated to work towards the next season: goal setting and visualization.
Everyone yawns now; it’s the goal setting lecture…..Wake up! Most of us have goals in our head, but very few have written concise, realistic, timely goals for the next year. A goal not written down is a mere wish! Teaching yourself to write realistic, yet challenging personal performance-oriented goals will allow you to do the work necessary to achieve those goals, allow you to see improved performance, lead to increased confidence, and ultimately lead to greater success as an athlete.
Goal Setting 101
1. Define what you want to accomplish in 2011. It is important to begin with the end in mind. My goal for 2011 is the finish the Texas Ironman and not perish. Good goal! Time goals or a new distance should be realistic. I once had a patient that told me her goal was to finish a marathon a month in the next year. I asked how many marathons she did last year. None. Not a realistic goal!
2. Know where you are right now. How strong are you? Do you have any nagging injuries?
3. Be honest about what you need to develop. I need to get stringer on the bike. What are your weaknesses? Be objective and painfully honest with yourself. Put your ego aside. This is an important step.
4. Set sub goals and segment them. Perhaps you have a time goal, but you also probably have a weight goal, a nutrition goal and a mental goal.
5. Write performance goal for all the sub categories. Be specific and measurable. Don’t say, “I’m going to stop drinking so much beer,” a better goal is to say, “I’m only going to have one beer a night and only on days that start with S.”
6. Commit yourself completely. A goal should be something that leaves you with a burning desire to reach it! I post my goals on a sticky note on my bathroom mirror so I look at it daily. This motivates me. Have a goal card in your pocket and look at it. Keep a training log and make interim goals. This helps you stay focused.
7. Monitor your progress. Listen to your body and do not become obsessed with your goals. Your body will tell you if you need more rest! Injuries happen when we push ourselves too hard. This does not help us meet our goals.
8. Visualize yourself meeting your ultimate goal. I have watched myself cross the finish line of a full Ironman many times in my head. Close your eyes and visualize the starting line and you are feeling great and in the best shape of your life. Go through the race in your head, feeling confident and relaxed. Watch yourself finish strong and feel the rush of achieving you goal. Practice this weekly and your brain will be mentally prepared for success.
Motivation and drive come from constant focus on the destination and then seeing you move through the process to get there. Having a purpose is important or it is really hard to consistently train during the off season. Take some time and work on your goals. Visualize success, and then get out of bed!
Run Happy! And all winter long.......
Run Happy! And Bold in the Cold!
We are unique individuals, and one formula will not be right for everyone. It takes time to figure out what works best for us, but the important thing is that you learn from experience, and enjoy the process of becoming a better, stronger runner.
Run Happy! And Injury Free!
Just do it! I may sound like a commercial, but it is good advice. Today should be the last day you try to use lame excuses to continue being fat, tired and a cardiac risk! Write down you excuses. When you look at them on paper, you realize most are ridiculous and can be overcome. Starting an exercise program can be a monumental challenge, but we are all up to it! I guarantee you will thank me in a few months when you are closer to your ideal self than you thought possible!
Run Happy...and often! It gets easier!
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