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All posts tagged with: training

Neglecting sleep can be a big mistake for marathon runners

Marathon running sleepIt’s not uncommon for a marathon runner to be extremely tired the afternoon of a long training run or race. In fact, it’s quite normal. Long distance running expends so much energy that the body needs time to rest and recover.

Sleeping is like a miracle recovery potion for marathon runners. While sleeping, muscles relax, increasing blood floor to the damages tissues, allowing them to repair faster and grow stronger. Energy is also restored and growth hormones are released throughout the body. For marathoners, paying close attention to sleep is just as important as nutrition.

Marathon runners, just like most people, lead very busy lives. They have to balance work, relationships, training and other priorities. Sleep needs to become a key priority, especially during peak training and the days leading up to races. Sleep patterns vary with every person, and some marathon runners require more sleep than others.

It’s important to find time for additional sleep during peak training and in the days leading up to races to improve athletic performance and to speed up recovery time. Just as a marathon runners ‘carb-load’ in the day or days leading up to a long run or a race, marathoners need to ‘sleep-load’ to be at peak performance.

Sleep for marathon runners

Most marathon runners don’t typically get much sleep the night before a race because of the hype and excitement, and constant worry about sleeping in and missing the race. This is why paying attention to rest during the taper period and ‘sleep-loading’ is vital, starting four to five days in advance of a race.

Lack of sleep and over training compromises the immune system. It’s not unusual for marathon runners to catch a cold or get the sniffles at the peak of training. This is because the body is incredibly worn down and is spending all its energy on fueling the body. Rest, including sleep, will help the body recover the quickest.

Here are some quick tips for marathon runners to get a better nights sleep:

  • Go to bed a little bit earlier than normal at night.
  • Turn off the TV and computer 30 minutes before bed and enjoy some quiet time.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine.
  • Eat a well balanced diet.
  • Avoid over training.
  • 20 minutes naps are great, just take them before 3pm, otherwise they can impact your sleep cycle.

Generally, marathoners should listen to their body. It’ll say loud and clear when it’s time to get some extra sleep!


The importance of walk breaks for long distance runners

Photo credit: Jay MinterLong slow distance (LSD) runs are designed be build endurance over a long period of time and distance. During training it is important to put the body through periods of stress and rest. Stress builds muscles and will make the body stronger, while the rest period provides recovery and prepares the body for the rest round of stress.

Incorporating short walk breaks into long runs, a runner can extend their distance and increase their performance. It also trains the body to adapt to the strain of running long distances over a longer period of time.

Most training programs use a 10:1 routine; run for 10 minutes and walk for 1 minute. Throughout the 17 weeks of training, walk breaks make it easier to add the additional 10% increase of distance to the weekly long run. Faster runners, those who are training for a 3:30 or faster marathon finish time, should take 20:1 walk breaks.

As the body approaches the anaerobic threshold at 85% of the maximum heart rate, the body starts producing lactic acid, leaving legs feeling heavy and making the stomach feeling queasy. Walk breaks also help to flush out lactic acid. The short one minute walk breaks also act a stretch period, allowing the muscles in the leg to perform better through gentle stretches of the leg muscles.

Runners who do not take walk breaks will tend to slow down near the end of a long run. A runner who use walk breaks will have an easier time maintaining a steady and consistent pace.

Types of Marathon Training Runs

Types of Marathon Training Runs

Photo credit: Jay Minter

Running 42.2km (26.6 miles), on race day takes a significant amount of time and energy. It takes 17 weeks of dedicated training once you’re at the point of being able to run a 10km run, non-stop. It’s a huge undertaking. But it’s not just putting on a pair of running shoes and going out for a run that’s going to get you from the start to the finish line. In fact, there are a variety of types of marathon training runs required over the course of the four months of training that build strength, endurance and speed.

Conditioning the body using a variety of marathon training runs disciplines the body to perform at it’s peak performance on race day. At the end of the training you will have the confidence to make it through to the finish line, upright and smiling.

Here is a simple breakdown of the types of training runs to prepare you to run a marathon:

Long Slow Distance

Long slow distance, or LSD, runs, are the ultimate foundation for a marathon runner. These runs build endurance, stamina, and a consistent pace. These long, steady runs build strength at a slow pace.  They are much slower than the planned marathon goal pace. Runners should be able to carry on a conversation very easily and comfortably for the entire duration of the run. If you cannot, run at a slower pace, until you can speak non stop without difficulty.

Tempo Runs

These runs simulate race day conditions and help to improve both speed and pace. They are done at a steady pace, above the lactate acid threshold. The higher lactate acid builds tolerance, give the body the opportunity to continue to exercise with higher than normal lactate in the blood. This improves the ability to run faster with the same amount of energy. Tempo runs burn carbohydrates for energy. This burns more calories with higher intensity. These runs are done at 85% of the maximum heart rate and it should be difficult to speak while running.

V02 Max

These runs are designed to build leg muscle strength. These runs should be incredibly tough, to the point where it is impossible to speak during running. The heart rate should be above 90% of maximum heart rate.

  • Hill Training - Repetitive runs up and down hills. The uphill run should be at over 90% of maximum heart rate and the downhill portion should drop down to below 60%. The goal of these runs is to improve running form and both cardiovascular and muscle strength, while operating in a consistent effort throughout the repeats.
  • Speed Training - Speed training takes place in the last quarter of training. These are done as interval training. The increased change of pace builds determination, strength and speed. Speed training is much faster than race day pace, pushing the body dramatically beyond the comfort zones, while maintaining impeccable running form. It requires the body to perform at 95% of maximum heart rate.

Race Pace

These days are to mimic the actual pace you will be running on race day. Throughout training your body needs to be accustomed to knowing the feeling of this pace. It’s an important pace to know and recognize because it is all important on the big day.

10 basic things you need to know about training for a marathon

Marathon Finish Line

Photo credit: Mary Sheridan

With 2014 right around the corner you’re starting to think about your New Years resolutions. If your goals include getting more exercise and eating healthier, perhaps you should put running a marathon as your New Years resolution.

Long distance running is a great way to lose weight, build muscles and meet new friends. The training schedule will keep you focused, prepare you for race day, and help you reach your goal. In 17 short weeks you can go from running 10k to a full 42.2km (26.2mi) marathon.

Here are 10 basic things you need to know about training for a marathon, which you’ll learn more about over the next 18 weeks:

  1. Get the right running gear – from tights to shorts, hydration belt to technical fabric shirts, you need the right gear to get you through training and to the finish line.
  2. Shoes – You cannot simply throw on the shoes that are sitting in the bottom of your closet. Nope. You need to get brand new running shoes that are fitted specifically for you.
  3. Start off slow – Training for a marathon doesn’t happen over night. It takes a lot of time. 17 weeks! While you may be excited to get out there, stick to the training program. It’s designed to get you fully trained and ready for the big race day.
  4. Hydration is key – For every hour you run you need to drink 4-6 ounces of water to stay hydrated. After long runs (20km+), replace depleted salts and electrolytes with a sports drink.
  5. Get into the running community – training for a marathon takes a lot of discipline. Joining a run club will help keep you focused and accountable. It’s also great to have veteran marathoners to answer all your burning questions.
  6. Respect the rest day – rest days are incredibly important for muscle recovery. As speed and distance increase, the muscles break down faster and need time to recover. Enjoy those days off!
  7. Running is fun – always remember that running is enjoyable and not a chore. Look forward to each run. Zone out listening to your favourite music, exchange running tips with your group, and discover new areas in your city.
  8. Pacing – Early on you’ll learn about pace groups. You’ll want to train with a group that works for you to get the most out of your training.
  9. Injuries happen – throughout training you will get injured. Most injuries are minor and heal in 8-48 hours. Let your body heal and recover, and ease back into training.
  10. Nutrition is important – Eating a balanced diet of proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy and carbs is essential to fuel the body throughout training and help with muscle recovery.

Loosen Your Grip

Photo Credit: Running Room

Runners exude an excessive amount of energy when running because their upper body is tense. This extra tension can make a regular run feel twice as hard. Runners typically tense up when running up hills and at a fast, steady pace. It’s important to learn to relax and loosen your grip.

The obvious sign of tension can be found in the shoulders and the hands. Over longer distances the shoulders will get sore, causing great discomfort. To train the body to relax try these two training tips:

  1. When hill training, run with potato chips in your hands. Hold a chip in each hand between the thumb and index finger. If the chip breaks, you’re clenching too hard. Loosen your grip.
  2. On long, steady runs, roll a piece of paper like a baton. If the paper is crumpled at the end of your run, your running is too tense. Back off the pace and loosen your grip.

As you loosen your grip, your runs become more effortless, more enjoyable, and reduce pain and injuries.

Stay motivated to run through autumn and winter

2013 Surrey International World Music Marathon

The days are getting shorter, the weather is both cooler and wetter, and all the new fall series are now in full swing on TV. It’s important to stay motivated to run, especially through the autumn and winter. You need to remember to stick to your running regime throughout the fall and winter months. It’s going to be tough, but you can do it.

Start by signing up for some late fall and winter races. This will keep you committed to your training schedule, or help you adjust your training for these upcoming races. In addition, set a finish goal time. Try to make it a personal best of the year or season, so you put in extra effort when training.

Training on your own can be tough. Training with a group, like a run club or running clinic, will have other people giving you encouragement, challenge you to push yourself further and faster, and keep you accountable to your training schedule.

Booking a winter beach vacation is also a great motivator. You’ll want to stick to an exercise program so you’re ready to rock the beach with a hot bathing suit body! It’ll also help you monitor what you’re eating and help incorporate other types of exercise like strength training (weights at the gym), yoga, spin class, downhill or cross-country skiing, and ice skating.

Appreciate every single training run. Enjoy the autumn colours, the crisp air, and refreshing rain. Remember, every run burns calories, which means you can eat more!

Buy yourself a new running jacket, new shoes, water belt, or reflective strips for your arms or legs. Whatever it is, make it something that gets you excited to want to put on and wear all the time. There’s lots of fun and cool stuff coming out all the time, so keep your wardrobe fresh, seasonal, and in-style.

How do you stay motivated to run during the dark days of autumn and winter? Leave your motivating tips and comments on this blog post to share with other readers.

Training for a marathon could be your worst idea ever!

2013 BMO Okanagan MarathonMaybe you woke up this morning and thought to yourself, Hey, I’m going to run a marathon! Good idea, but do you have any idea of what it takes to run a marathon? People who run marathons are nuts. They spend a minimum of four months training five days a week, anywhere from one to four hours each training session. It’s madness really. Seriously, training for a marathon could be your worst idea ever!

  • Are you really committed to changing every aspect of your life for a minimum of four months to run a four-hour race?
  • Your friends will say they’ll support you, until you don’t show up on Saturday night to go on binge-drinking night, then they’ll just get pissed off and make fun of you.
  • Have you ever ran more than 20 minutes at a time? You’ll train for hours, and hours, and hours at a time.
  • If you don’t have incredible extended medical benefits which include both massage and chiropractor therapy, just forget it, otherwise you’ll be spending part of your retirement just to get through week after week of training.
  • When you’re out training it’s easy to let your mind wander to think of other things you could be doing with your life instead of running to random destinations just to get in the kilometers.
  • You’ll bitch at yourself non-stop about how much your hurt and wonder why you thought it was a good idea to get into shape. Round is a shape, right? We need people of all shapes and sizes, why not enjoy your current shape? It’s less work.
  • While you’re running you are burning thousands of calories a week. You’ll be eating non-stop. That’s a lot of money on groceries. If you are already living on a tight food budget, then maybe don’t train for a marathon… or else become really good friends with the people at the food bank.
  • You’ve heard of runners high from all the endorphins, but if you’re spending more time thinking about getting high, marathon running probably isn’t for you.
  • Some people die of heart-attacks while running marathon races. Do you really want to put your life at risk? You could just as easily walk across the street and get hit by a bus, and you wouldn’t even have to spend all those countless hours training.
  • If you tell people that you’re going to run a marathon and don’t do it, then you’ll look like a wimp and a quitter in front of your friends.
  • There isn’t enough music in the world for your running playlist. You’ve heard each song on your iPod at least 238 times. It gets so boring!

The reward of running a marathon? Being part of an exclusive club, that just 1% of the entire population of the world is a part of. But it’s your choice. Get off your lazy ass and do something great in your life. Crossing the finish line is the most gratifying feeling and worth all the training.

Now, go grab that bag of potato chips, order in a pizza and throw your feet up and enjoy watching The Devil Wears Prada again for the 27th time and quit those ridiculous thoughts of running a marathon.

Relieve Running Aches and Pains

PürAthletics Muscle Release KitRunners constantly incur a variety of aches and pains. It happens most commonly from an increase of distance or strength training, when muscles are pushed to their limits.

Finding solutions to reducing muscle pain is key.  Strength training at the gym is a great way to build muscles or to go to massage therapy to relax tight muscles, but with such an aggressive training schedule to prepare for a half or full marathon, most people don’t have time or the money for these activities.

The solution is to find other ways to resolve these muscle pains. Yoga is a proven solution to help stretch and relax tense muscles. Yoga poses can be done at a park on a sunny Sunday afternoon, or from the comfort of your own home.

Many runners fall in love with foam rollers. Spending 15 minutes each evening on a roller will stretch and relax tight muscles, reducing pain quickly. Half-rollers are also good for developing core strength, both abs and back muscles, which are required to maintain optimal posture during long runs.

For those that don’t have time to go to the gym to lift weights, rubber bands offer a good in-home solution for increasing muscle strength in the arms and back, used for propulsion, and lower body, used for forward motion, during running.

PurAthletics has a muscle release kit that has a foam roller, half roller, rubber band and convenient carry bag that is perfect for serious long distance runners. The kits also includes an instructional DVD to walk you through, step-by-step, exercises to build and maintain muscles used long distance runners.

The PurAthletics Muscle Release Roller Kit is available through the new Viva Best Buy website. Pick one up today and put running pains behind you!

Happy half and full marathon training!

Top 5 Tips for Beginner Runners

Tips for beginner runners

Photo credit: Jay Minter

Being a runner doesn’t mean you have to be training for a half or full marathon. You may choose to start running because you want to lead a healthier lifestyle, to loose weight, have a friend who runs, or want to train for an upcoming race. Whatever your reason for deciding to start running, you’ve make a great choice. Here are some common tips for new runners, just like you, to help you get out and enjoy the experience:

  1. First and foremost, go to the Running Room and get new shoes. No, you can’t run in the shoes you’ve been wearing to the gym for the last two years or had in the closet since high school. The folks over the Running Room will assess your body and movements, called a gait analysis, to help determine the right shoes for you.
  2. Start off slow. Don’t try to run a full 10k on your first run. It’ll lead to injuries and a lot of sore muscles. Download a 10k training program and stick to it. A good training program has three types of runs to build a solid foundation of running. Each type is done once a week:
    1. Strength training (hill repeats)
    2. Speed work (fast runs at a short distance)
    3. Endurance (slow runs for a long distance).
  3. It’s important to pay attention to nutrition and hydration. Before a run have a banana and yogurt. It’ll help fuel your run. Afterwards have a protein shake and a bagel to help your body recover. Always take water with you and have a sip of water every 10 minutes of running.
  4. When out for a run, don’t expect to run the entire time. Even experienced runners don’t run non-stop on long runs or races. Start off by running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 (called a 3-and-1 or 3:1), then move to a 5:1, and eventually get to a 10:1. It will take time to get there, so be patient.
  5. Enjoy doing something you love. Running outdoors is amazing because you get to see new parts of your neighbourhood that you might never have seen before and you can get lots of fresh air and feel good about it. If you find at any time your body hurts, it’s because you’re either running too far or too fast too quickly and not easing into your training, you aren’t running with good form, or you haven’t followed step 1 and got proper running shoes on.

If you are just getting into running, or even thinking about it, and you have questions, leave your questions and comments on this blog post.

An Introduction to Running a Marathon

Introduction to Running Your First Marathon If you’ve thought about running a marathon, you’re making a great choice! Long distance running is a lot of fun, it can help you lose weight, build muscles, and you become part of a really great community of people who are excited to share their passion and knowledge to help you reach your goals.

Long distance running isn’t overly complicated; it’s just one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. What makes marathon running so incredible is the amount of training and attention to detail that goes into it. Just think, in as little as 17 weeks you can go from running a 10k to a full marathon! Here are some of the very basic things you should think about and know up front about your marathon journey:

  1. Safety: Never assume you are safe. Always run with a friend or running group, watch for traffic, and be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Shoes: The single most important piece of running gear is your shoes. Before choosing your shoes, go to a store with an expert in long distance running that can perform a gait analysis to recommend the right shoes for you. There’s nothing worse than running and getting injured; most running injuries, like shin splints, lower back pain, tired calves, etc., come from poor footwear.
  3. Start off Slow: A 17-week marathon-training schedule is designed to get you trained up to run a full marathon. The distances gradually increase throughout the program. It’s designed for periods of stress and rest. Although you are excited to get out and run long distance, trust the program and don’t run more than what is on your schedule.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drink a minimum of 4-6 ounces of water every hour while you are awake. This will help keep you hydrated from the increased sweating from running. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrates the body quickly. Replace electrolytes and salts by drinking sports drinks like Gatorade.
  5. Join a Run Club: A run club will keep you focused, on schedule and accountable for your training. Plus club members are always happy to share their stories, answer your questions, and provide helpful advice to newcomers.
  6. Rest: When it’s a rest day – rest! It’s incredibly important for muscle recovery. As training comes to a peak, not only does your body wear out, but your friends and family will be asking for more of your time – so enjoy an evening off by watching a movie or going out for dinner.
  7. Enjoy Training: Training shouldn’t be a chore of hassle to your day. It should be part of your day that you look forward to. It’s time for you to enjoy some good music on your iPod, run with a friend and exchange training tips, and to get out and see and discover new areas of your city.
  8. Train at Your Right Pace: If you’re training with a group and find that you’re being held back or having a hard time keeping up, move to a different pace group. This will ensure you are getting the most out of your training.
  9. Respect Injuries: Throughout training you will experience some injuries. Most will be minor and heal within 8-48 hours. Usually these are due to poor footwear or running form. If you do have longer-lasting injuries, take time off to recovery and see a sports therapist for treatment.
  10. Eat a Balanced Diet: Throughout training you will need to increase your carb intake. It’s also important to eat a diet balanced with proteins, fruits, vegetables and dairy to fuel your body and to speed recovery.

Hot Summer Temperatures Dangerous for Endurance / Marathon Runners

Photo credit: Jay Minter

Photo credit: Jay Minter

The mercury is starting to rise and that means it’s time to change running patterns and habits. Hot temperatures are dangerous for endurance sport and marathon runners. Understanding the risks and how to avoid getting into a serious situation, or even worse, death, is important.

Training for a marathon is significantly easy in the cooler months like fall or spring. As the temperatures rise, the body isn’t used to the hot weather and hasn’t been conditioned. This is when marathon runners run into serious complications, such as cramping and heat exhaustion, that can hamper their race time or end up in a medical tent with a DNF. Understanding how to avoid these dangers is important.

It is important to help the body adapt to the significantly warmer temperatures. As muscles and internal organs heat up, blood moves the heat to the skins surface. On the surface, skin begins to sweat, which cools the body back down. In as short as two weeks of training, the body can adapt to the warmer conditions, dramatically improving circulation and sweat capacity.

During this transition time, training runs may need to be shortened or done at a slower pace. More importantly, the body will require a dramatic increase in both water and electrolytes to stay hydrated so your body has the fluids it needs to keep sweating. You may also want to change your training times to earlier in the morning when the temperatures are at the daily low.

Get out and enjoy the summer sunshine and remember to adapt your training program to build your strength and exercise.

Marathon Training – Week 9: Walk Breaks

John StantonAll training regiments use the same foundation – stress and rest. Stress builds muscles and makes the body stronger, while rest provides valuable recovery and prepares the body for the next phase of stress.

Long distance runners, those who run half, full or ultra marathons, need active rest. Active rest is a short period where the runner continues to move forward, but at a brisk walk pace. Most long distance runners will run for 10 minutes and take a 1-minute active walking break. 20:1 walk breaks are recommended for runners that have a faster pace and train at higher intensity.

“This active rest helps flush lactic acid out of the system,” explains Running Room’s founder and CEO, John Stanton. “As we approach our anaerobic threshold, 85 per cent of our maximum heart rate, our body starts producing lactic acid. This leaves us heavy-legged with a queasy stomach.”

Walk-run combinations reduce and dissipate lactic acid build-up in the muscles. The cycle distributes the workload to various muscle groups, delaying fatigue and improving running efficiency.

Fast walk breaks also allow the lower body muscles to enjoy some subtle stretching. This seemingly small stretching provides huge results. It provides the muscles with improve range of motion.

In addition, walk breaks are perfect for getting a quick sip of water or electrolytes, or for having nutrition – all which help fuel the body.

“Walk breaks prevent a slow down in the long run, keeps the pace consistent, and minimizes injuries,” said John Stanton. “Walk-run combinations should be done both on the long-run training days and on race day.”


Marathon Training: Week 7 – Common Running Injuries: Side Stitch and Shin Splints

Photo contributed

Photo contributed

With marathon training well underway, the Sunday long runs are getting longer, the hill training is becoming more intense, and the body is undergoing a lot of pressure. All of these things can cause serious running injuries. It’s important to understand the common running injuries and how to prevent them, or treat them.

“Runners often experience a side stitch while running,” explains Running Room founder and CEO, John Stanton. “The pain usually occurs just under the ribs. The common problem may be related to food allergies, particularly milk, gas, or eating just prior to running.”

Other causes for having a side stitch, also known as cramps, can be from running longer than usual distance or at a higher intensity.

“The diaphragm is usually the source of the problem,” John explains. “The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. It moves up and down as the runner inhales and exhales. It’s subject to a cramp or stitch when it moves more and faster during exercise.”

To avoid getting a side stitch, or if you get it while running, relax your breathing and rhythmic, and work on core strength training, including planks, crunches and v-sits.

Another very common running injury for runners of all abilities are shin splints. Runners typically notice a sharp pain that becomes increasingly noticeable in the lower leg. It can even feel like it’s getting worse just from regular walking.

Shin splints occur when the muscle from the shin bone begins to pull away from the bone. The resulting pain is from the micro-tears and damage to the muscles which have become inflames.

Shin splints can occur on the inside or front side of the lower leg. Typpically there are not any visible signs of swelling. The pain usually disappears once warmed up but will reappear later in the workout, resulting in and early end to the run and incredible pain.

Lack of blood supply to the muscle causes shin splints and should be treated by a physician right away.

Common causes of shin splints include:

  • Sudden increase in running activity
  • Change in footwear
  • Improper running form
  • Change of running surface
  • Change in running routine or gradient


Vancouver Sun Run 2013

Vancouver Sun Run 2013

As the days slowly start getting a bit longer Vancouver’s seawall starts to see more visitors from runners as thousands of people begin training for Canada’s biggest 10k road race, The Vancouver Sun Run.

If you haven’t already registered to participate, it’s important to do it right away. There is a limit of 50,000 participants for the 2013 race, including individuals and corporate teams.

The Sun Run InTraining clinics kicked off on January 19 at over 65 centres across the lower mainland. Training leaders are providing expert advice, coaching tips, and motivational support to walkers, novices, and experienced runners.

The clinics are $139 and include a New Balance long sleeve technical training shirt, PowerBar performance training package, training log book, 2013 race entry, and souvenir event t-shirt.

Virtual training programs are also available through Sport Med BC.

Volunteers are also needed to help put on the massive event. Volunteer registration is now open. Volunteers are required for a minimum of six hours and will receive a commemorative crew t-shirt.

The Vancouver Sun Run will take place on Sunday, April 21, at 9:00am. The annual race started in 1985 with just 3,900 participants. 2011 was a record year with over 60,000 participants, becoming the largest 10km road race in the world that year. The race is primary targeted to promote health, fitness, community spirit and to support amateur athletics. Over $1.1 million has been raised for charities to date.

Marathon Training: Week 2 – Types of Training Runs

RunningShoeEndurance. Strength. Speed. Consistency.

These are the fundamentals of running that will help get any marathon runner through the 42.2km (26.6 mi) course on race day. During the 17 weeks of training for a marathon it is important to condition the body in a variety of running disciplines so come race day you will have the confidence knowing you have what it takes to get to the finish line. The hard days of hill, tempo, speed, and long runs are challenging, and the easy days provides rest and regeneration.

Here is a breakdown on the key types of running that help prepare long distance runners to run a marathon:

Long runs

The foundation of marathon training. The long, slow run provides a gradual build-up of endurance and stamina at a consistent pace. The steady runs help build strength at a slower pace. The long run is run about a 1 – 1 ½ per mile slower than your planned marathon goal pace. Pacing is a critical aspect of successful running, because the goal is to maintain the desired pace for the entire race.

Tempo Runs

Used to improve speed and pace. The tempo run simulates conditions on race day. Tempo runs are done at a steady pace, just over the lactate threshold. The increase in lactate tolerance allows the body to continue to exercise with high levels of lactate in the blood, and improves the ability to run faster with the same amount of energy. Tempo runs use carbohydrates for energy, which burns more calories with higher intensity. Runs should be at 85% of maximum heart-rate, equivalent to the point which speaking becomes difficult.

Hill Repeats

Hard runs up and gently coasting down hills repeatedly improve form and cardiovascular and muscular strength. Maintain a consistent effort rather than pace on the hill.


Final stages of training to change from training pace to race speed. Change of pace runs of various distances to build determination, strength and speed.


Intervals to increase speed for race day. Dash runs at 1 to 1.5 minutes faster than race day pace, pushing beyond discomfort zones, while maintaining perfect running form. Speed training is high quality running requiring 85% – 95% percent of maximum heart rate.

Rest days are equally important as training days. It allows the body to rejuvenate and recover from the stress that comes from training and helps prepare for the next build up.

Marathon Training: Week 1 – Training Starts This Week

Preparing for a marathon is no small feat. It takes time, dedication, patience, and a lot of training. Running a marathon is one of the greatest satisfactions a person can have and it is a huge personal achievement.

Training for a marathon is a journey that will prepare you both mentally and physically. You will discover the balance of stress and rest. The small and simple changes will have a huge impact on your health, fitness and quality of life.

Over the course of the next 17 weeks, every Monday on HomoCulture.ca will be focused on preparing long distance runners to complete a full marathon. To be successful, you must follow a dedicated training schedule, take the training seriously, and follow the guidance of the program.

You’re not alone. Together with John Stanton, CEO and founder of the Running Room, we will help guide you through your training, providing valuable tips, practical advice and provide the motivation you need to get to the start line. Watch for posts on motivation, nutrition, how to train injury free and reviews of running gear.

If you haven’t done it already join your local Running Room marathon training clinic.

The Best Kept Secret for Training for Long Distance Running

Running Room founder, John Stanton.
Photo Credit: Curtis Comeau’s Photography

Training for long distance running takes a big commitment. It’s a heavy investment of time, energy and motivation. It’s easy to give up. But with a goal like a half, full, or ultra marathon, giving up isn’t an option. Staying focused is essential. So what’s the secret to training for a long distance race? Running with a group!

The power of the group run is amazing,” explains Running Room founder and CEO, John Stanton. “Runners are inspired by the group to achieve their best, and the group can often help one another to improve far beyond the level each would have been able to achieve individually.”

Running groups share valuable knowledge and tips to improve on the weekly runs. Over the course of a 17 week training, the group bonds over jokes, stories, past race experiences, and quirky running trivia.

“Now not all of the shared information will be sound advice,” said John, as he explained how runners needs to put their complete trust into the training program. “Resist the temptation to run fast, longer or try some new revolutionary training idea. The Running Room program is proven with a very high success rate and more importantly a low injury rate. Save the competition for race day.”

The Running Room clinics are designed to ramp up over a long period, building strength, endurance and speed, all while improving running form.

The next training clinic for half and full marathon runners will start on January 8, 2013. It is designed for people who want to run in the 2013 BMO Vancouver Marathon, which will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2013.

Keep Your Feet Happy; 8 Tips for Running Injury Free

Training for an upcoming race takes a significant time and training. Running three to six days per week adds up to a lot of kilometres, very quickly. But when an injury arises, it kills the training momentum and all the progress made can quickly be lost.

To stay healthy and on target to meet your goal on race day, here are some helpful tips for running injury free:

  1. Go to a professional running store, like Running Room, to have a gait assessment. A trained professional can determine the shoe best suited for your foot type (neutral, mild or severe pronation).
  2. Shoes are the most important piece of running equipment. Invest in a pair that is best fitted to your feet.
  3. Join a running clinic. Running clinics will keep you on track with the appropriate training required to prepare for your upcoming race. They will also give you helpful tips, advice and motivation you need to stay on track.
  4. Keep hydrated. Drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of pure water every day. Your body needs the hydration after intensive sweating during training workouts.
  5. Practice good form. Ensuring your body is moving efficiently and correctly is important for preventing injuries. Supplement running with core and upper body strengthening exercises.
  6. Stretch after each run. Long runs or short-distance, it’s important to stretch Muscles will be tights and full of blood. Stretching helps return muscles to their natural position quicker.
  7. Listen to your body. If you feel pain, determine what kind of pain it is. You may need to apply ice to relieve sore spots immediately. If the pain is consistent, discontinue running see a physician.
  8. See a massage therapist on a regular basis to help relax tight muscles. Massage therapy, especially post race or long training runs will significantly speed up recovery time.

Paying attention to these details will help you get through training and make it more enjoyable. Remember, the goal is to get to the start line injury free! Running is fun and rewarding, don’t let an injury get in your way.

Have your own tips to avoid injury while training for a big running race? Leave your tips on this blog post.


Your Guaranteed Entry Into the 2012 Nike Women’s Marathon

With over 20,000 participants The Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco is the largest women’s marathon race in the world. It’s a prestigious marathon event and one of the more challenging races on the major race circuit. It’s best known for their unique finishers hardware – a necklace designed by Tiffany & Co., presented by a tuxedo-clad firefighter.

Getting a race bib for the San Francisco race event is not easy. It’s done on a lottery system. However, the good folks at Team In Training have secured spots for anyone, male or female, who want to race in the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon by joining their 20 week training and fundraising program.

Team In Training (TNT) provides a safe training environment, focusing on the beginner athlete and are able to modify the training program if you have specific goal in mind. The training program starts out slow and builds to help you meet your personal goals and cross the marathon finish line – hopefully upright and smiling.

Registrations are still being accepted for the Nike Women’s Marathon.

Training clinics for the fall marathon start this week. Long slow distance runs begin this Saturday, May 26, 2012 in Vancouver at Granville Island (meet in the undercover picnic area behind Cat’s Social House) at 8:00am. Weekly tempo and hill training gets underway on Tuesday, May 29 at 6:30pm at Memorial South Park on East 41st and Windsor. A flex program is offered for those who do not live in the area or cannot make the training sessions because of work or other personal commitments.

Team In Training is the world’s largest sports endurance training program. By signing up for the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, California you are guaranteed a race entry. The program also includes airfare, ground transportation, TNT race jersey, Inspiration Dinner and Victory party tickets, and three nights accommodation.  Team in Training is the key fundraising program for the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. Participants who sign up to train and run in the Nike Women’s Marathon are required to fundraise for the LLSC. TNT provides dedicated resources to help meet your financial goals.

For more information, or to sign up for the Nike Women’s Marathon through TNT visit their website.

BMO Vancouver Marathon 2012 – A Beautiful New Course!

Photo Credit: Jay Minter

After 17 weeks of training, and personal bests in 5km, 10km and half-marathons this spring running season, it all led up to my big moment – the BMO Vancouver Marathon – a brand new 42.2km course which garnered attention from the international running community and Forbes Magazine.

The day started off at a cool 4’c with clear, blue sunny skies as the race started off at 8:00am. Over 5,000 elite and dedicated marathon runners lined up for their big moment, myself included. With the singing of O’Canada by Mark Donnelly, the gun went off and the race for the finish line was on.

The course was fantastic and the energy was amazing. Passing through each neighbourhood there streets were lined with spectators the entire route enthusiastically cheering on the runners and holding signs of encouragement.

Photo Credit: Jay Minter

Of course the marathon would not have been such a success without the army of volunteers who helped put on the event. From handing out water, Gatorade, gels and bars, to ensuring the course was safely laid out and monitored throughout the morning – it was a job well done. Along the course the cheer stations and music challenges kept the participants motivated and spectators entertained and a great buzz in the atmosphere.

Also new on the course was the increase in water stations – every mile located along the 42km course. For this year the water stations proved to be invaluable as temperatures skyrocketed into the 15’c+ range. Many participants after the race comments how they quickly became dehydrated along the course, impacting their overall time.

Photo Credit: Jay Minter

The last 2.2km of the course was a gentle uphill slope, but the streets were lined with enthusiastic crowds. It was an emotional feeling of running through the streets of downtown Vancouver and feeling the overwhelming support along the final home stretch. It made the pain disappear and the finish line so much more rewarding.

Overall the new course has been welcomed by the running community and will be looked up as a new challenge and benchmark for the years to come.

Thank you for the encouragement from my online community who supported me on my marathon training journey, friends who endeared another season of my training, and the amazing pace-leaders and clinic members from Denman Running Room. A special thank you to everyone who came out to volunteer, cheer and help put on a fantastic race day.

Most importantaly, an extra big thank you for my race day hero’s, Jay Minter and Billy Hurr, for their outstanding race support. They were amazing – from grabbing my water belt that I forgot at home (which they delivered to me 7km into the race!),  and cheering me on at 5 separate locations along the course, to tossing me fresh water bottles, taking photos and keeping everyone informed on social media of my progress along the race.

Photo Credit: Jay Minter

Although I did not set a new personal best on this run, I really enjoyed the new course and I am looking forward to running it again. Here are my final results:

  • Gun Time: 3:50:40
  • Chip Time: 3:50: 36
  • Place Overall: 1099 / 5000 (top 22%)
  • Pace: 5:28 / km
  • Male 30-34: 133/325 (top 41%)
  • Male Overall: 835/2396 (top 35%)
  • First Half: 1:45:48 / Second Half: 2:04:49

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