Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Running Princesses

My beautiful wife May has started an incredible journey in running and the Lord has blessed her in her endeavors.  May has set a goal to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon and shared her goal with many of her friends both at our church and outside.  Her love and passion for running and for sharing her faith has blossomed into The Running Princesses running club for women.  What turned out as a goal to run the Princess Half Marathon at Disney World in February, 2014 has turned into a wonderful group of women of all abilities that share their faith, love for running and friendship?
As many are new to running, I try and share my experiences with them to help them on their journey. What follows are some tips I posted on their Facebook site. For more information on The Running Princesses, please click on the links below
Hey Princesses hope you are. having a great Sunday. I wanted to share a few thoughts with you regarding running as you prepare for your endeavors.
If you are running the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February of 2014 you need to start looking at what plan you will follow. Most plans are 12-18 weeks long and I like to build in an extra four weeks into the plan to account for illness, etc.
Now is a great time to start getting some base miles in to get your legs and feet used to the pounding. You will be sore at first but over time they will adjust. Be sure to get fitted properly for a good pair of shoes. You don’t want to end up in stability shoes if you are a neutral runner and vice versa.
Nutrition is very important. In this weather do not run any distance without water! Both May and I use our water packs for longer runs and you can find a nice variety at Academy Sports or Dick's Sporting Goods for a decent price.
For nutrition, for long runs make sure you have a bite to eat before you head out and experiment with what works for you. Disney uses PowerAde as their race day beverage in addition to water so make sure you practice running while ingesting PowerAde to make sure your system gets used to and can handle it. Also look for easy to eat race day fuels. I like the Honey Stinger waffles and their gels.
When running and using fuel and fluid, do not wait until you are hungry or really thirsty to ingest these items as it is too late. For marathons I start eating at mile four and eat every four miles and ingest PowerAde (or equivalent) and water at every aid station.
Stretching and strength training are very important. You want to stretch the calves, quads, hip flexors and especially the hamstrings. Core strength work and upper body work will help you fight fatigue over longer distances and allow you to work on your running form. Cross trainng is good too and look at low impact exercising like swimming.
Lastly massage and chiropractors are key to staying healthy and enjoying running. I use both extensively when I ramp up my mileage. A good clue that you may need something adjusted is a new sore spot crops up. For me, when I get a hot spot in my calf or my right hamstring starts to be sore, I know my right hip needs adjusting.
For self-massage the best $20 you can invest in is a foam roller or a hand held massage roller. I have both and they are critical to my recovery.
Many people wonder if it is OK to walk during a race and the answer is yes. Please know it will be different for all people. I don’t walk during marathons but during the run portion of my Ironman 70.3 I had to walk the hills to stave off cramping from a miscalculated nutrition plan. A good rule of thumb is to walk the aid stations, allowing you time to ingest all your fluids and food. While waking is perfectly acceptable, NEVER STOP moving and NEVER sit down. It's increasingly hard to get your legs moving again as your muscles will want to shut down and it takes some doing to warm them up. Stopping movement is also mentally draining. Just remember that motion is magic!
I hope these tips help and know that you can run any distance you want to. The hard part is making the decision, the rest is just follow through, time, energy and a determined and positive attitude.  I hope to see you on the road!

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