10 Ways to Cause a Running Injury

Most running injuries don’t just happen. Yes, runners will occasional get an acute injury like a pulled muscle or torn ligament, but as a general rule, most running injuries are chronic, achieved, if you’d like to call it that, by doing certain avoidable things. And since most of us would rather not have a running injury, the following are examples of things you probably don’t want to do.

If you want to stay healthy as a runner, here are 10 things NOT to do. Injury prevention tips that will keep you running.

Don’t Take Time to Rest and Recover

Face it. We are not machines. Our bodies need to have appropriate rest in order to accomplish everything that we have planned for them. Remember, that it is not your actual training bouts in which you become stronger. It is during your period of rest and recovery that the small muscle tears you cause through your hard training repair themselves and adapt to a higher load. That is why more isn’t always better.

Solution: Avoid doing two hard workouts in a row. Give yourself an easier day in between. After a race, let your body recover before training hard again. Depending on the race distance, this can be from several days to several weeks.

Run in the wrong (or too old) shoe

We are all biomechanically different. What works for one runner may not work for the next. If you’re wearing a shoe that doesn’t feel good or leaves you with aches and pains, chances are it’s not the right one for you.

Solution: Get an assessment from a running shoe professional. They should take a look at your old shoes, ask you questions about your running, and give you a chance to run a little in a few shoes. Remember, though, they are not foolproof. It may take a little experimenting, but finding a shoe that fits right and feels comfortable can help reduce your chance of injury. And remember, shoes don’t last forever. After about 300-500 miles, or if you start to feel a little achy in the knees or feet, it’s time to replace them. Another good shoe idea is to have at least two pairs and alternate, using different shoes for different types of runs. A sturdier, cushioned shoe for longer runs, a lighter shoe for speedwork or racing, are examples of what to think about when purchasing new shoes.

Assume that small injuries will just get better

This may be the number one cause of an injury that will force you to stop running altogether for a while. Don’t ignore small pains, especially in your hips, back, or knees. If you choose to run through that little twinge, you may just develop a full-blown chronic injury that will takes weeks if not months from which to recover.

Solution: Take an extra day or two off if you are feeling pain or even discomfort when you run. If a week goes by and you don’t see improvement, it may be time to see a sports medicine doctor.

Don’t strength train

Strength training corrects the muscle imbalances caused by running and strengthens your core to improve your posture. Think of it as pre-hab.

Solution: At least twice a week complete a strength training program that will work the muscles in your entire body. You can use weights, do yoga, Pilates, or some other type of program, but it should strengthen all your major muscle groups and include core and flexibility training.

Don’t get enough sleep

It cannot be emphasized enough how important getting enough sleep is. Sleep is when our muscles regenerate and repair all the damage that is done, coming back stronger than before. Not to mention the other benefits of sleep, including curbing inflammation, keeping your brain clear and creative, sharpening your attention and memory, lowering stress, and improving mood. And yes, naps count as sleep, though most of us need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep to allow us to get into our phases of deep and REM sleep that are so important.

Solution: It’s easy to say just go to bed earlier, but that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Start the relaxation process earlier in the evening, eat early enough to digest most your food before bedtime, and head to bed ready to sleep.

Skip the stretching

Running tightens up your muscles and joints, particularly through your hips, hamstrings, and calves. Not addressing these issues can potentially lead to injury.

Solution: Static stretching is best done after your workout. Focus on your hips, hamstrings, calves, and back. Stretching should never hurt. Investigate other solutions that can increase mobility, including massage, foam rolling, and fascial stretch therapy.

Run with bad form

While correcting running form can be a controversial subject, there are certain things that most experts agree will help streamline your run and put less stress on your back, knees, and hips. If you hunch up or lean forward while your run, scuff your feet, or overstride, you may be more likely to suffer a running injury.

Solution:  While too complex to go into properly in this space, there are a few things that can help your running form. Run with good posture, with no arch in your back and your head directly over your shoulders. Use your arms efficiently. They should swing forward and back and preferably not cross in front. This causes rotation in the shoulders and torso and can compromise core stability. Consciously try to land more lightly, with your feet parallel, and push off from the balls of your feet. Avoid overstriding. There are drills that can help you accomplish these things. Check with a running coach for other ways to improve your form.

Do too much too soon

New runners frequently get injured because they start running too many miles too quickly. It’s natural to want quick results, so if a little is good, more must be better, right?

Solution:  Build mileage slowly. If you’re just starting to run, begin with a run/walk program, and gradually increase the run portion.

Don’t eat properly

Food is fuel. If you’re not getting enough, or if you are fueling your body with junk, you will not be able to perform at your optimal level.

Solution: Eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh, whole food, including healthy fats, lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Stay away from fast and processed food as much as possible.

Ignore your body’s signals

Your body will tell you if it needs extra rest. You just need to pay attention.  If you find that you are consistently tired, have come to a plateau in your training, or exhibit other signs of overtraining, you may need to take a little extra rest time.

Solution: An extra day off here or there is not going to hurt your training. In fact, it just may bring it to the next level.

What do you do (or avoid doing) to stay injury free?

I’m linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

FitnessFridayRev3

I’m also joining the Blog Booster Party!!!

Friday Blog Booster Party

8 Tips for Running Downhill. Plus it’s National Running Day!

Whenever a runner has a hilly race to run, the focus is on the uphill. After all, that’s the hard part, right? Running uphill makes your heart pound, your lungs burn, and your legs scream. So you prepare for such a challenging event by uphill training, getting stronger and more adept at running up those hills. And the result is a more successful race.

8 Tips

Quite often though, after finishing that hilly race, after killing those hills, you’ll find that your body aches, and may even have some slight injury, not due to the uphills, but because of all the downhill running.

Running downhill is a lot more difficult that it might seem at first glance. It’s easy right, after the physical and cardiovascular challenge of running uphill? It should be a breeze! But running downhill causes muscles to lengthen or make eccentric contractions, which can cause microscopic tears and generate more force than when running uphill or on flat surfaces. And running at top speed, which is easier on the downhills, causes your feet to hit the ground harder, which in turn causes the muscles, bones, and joints to endure more pounding.

What can a runner do to prevent or minimize these negative effects? Simple. Just add some downhill running to your training plan.

4 Benefits of Running Downhill

  1. Running downhill will train your body to…run downhill.
  2. Running downhill can improve leg turnover.
  3. Running downhill can improve speed.
  4. Running downhill will cause the microtears mentioned above in training, which will repair themselves stronger than before and prepare your body to handle the downhills during race situations.

While running downhill can be incorporated into your training at all times, it is especially important if you are planning a hilly race, or one which has extended downhill sections.

Tips for Running Downhill

  1. When you first get started, run on softer surfaces such as grass or trails. You can move to the road after a few training sessions.
  2. Don’t practice on too steep of a hill. Look for a hill that has no more than an 8% drop (and start out even less than that, about 3-4%). Anything steeper can cause excessive impact and increase the risk of injury.
  3. Focus on your form. Don’t overstride. Instead, shorten your stride and increase your cadence, focusing on your turnover.
  4. Land mid-foot. Resist the urge to either lean back or slow down. You will have a slight forward lean from the ankles, but keep your core engaged and your posture aligned.
  5. Once or twice a week is fine, but make sure to recover fully between each downhill session.
  6. You can incorporate your downhill training with your uphill running or do it as a separate workout. Make sure that you can maintain proper form for both types of training.
  7. Downhill running can be formatted as a hilly tempo run or broken into repeats. Here are three hill workouts that you can use if you choose to combine the two types of workouts (the first two would be perfect to incorporate downhill running).
  8. Reduce or eliminate your downhill training the last two to three weeks before your goal race. As with any type of intense training your body needs time to rest and recover.

I’m linking up with Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday!

Wild Workout WednesdayToday is National Running Day!

Makes me happy

I’m also linking up with Kristen at Jonesin’ for a Run for this National Running Day interview!

Interview

1. Why do you run?

Oddly enough, I wrote a whole post answering just this question. In a nutshell though, I run because it makes me a happier and therefore, better person.

For joy

2. How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day?

By running, of course! And by writing about running. I’ll be heading out about 5:30 in the morning and running six to eight miles.

3. How many miles have you run so far this year?

As of Tuesday I’ve run 428.7 miles in 2015.

So I can think

4. What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year?

My goal race for the second half of the year is the Honolulu Marathon in December. This will be the seventh time I’ve run it, though it’s been 13 years since the last time. It was my first marathon back in 1996.

Honolulu-Marathon

We were babies!

I’m also thinking about America’s Finest City Half Marathon, the Malibu Half Marathon, and Ragnar Trail Vail Lake.

5. Before I leave for a run I must have…

A banana. Plus sunglasses, my phone, headphones, water if it’s a long and/or hot run, extra fuel for a long run. But mostly a banana.

Faster than walking

6. Do you have one favorite running app to track your runs?

I don’t use an app while I’m running (I use my Garmin instead). I do track my mileage though, with Log My Run Pro (for Android).

7. Who is your favorite running partner?

My husband Alan. We’ve been training together for almost 20 years! In second place is my Dalmatian Penny, though at 14 she’s not doing much running anymore.

Because I Can

8. What races have you run so far this year?

Sadly, my race plans have kind of gone up in smoke so far this year. My goal race last April was the SLO Marathon, but I injured my back the week before and I chose to skip it.

9. If you had to give someone one piece of advice about running what would it be?

Ha! I give a whole lot of advice around here! You can pick your favorite! But, if it was a new runner I was advising, I’d say start slow. Don’t expect to run three miles straight your first time out. You’ll end up getting hurt, stop running, then when someone asks you’ll say, “I hate running!”

Instead, start by running a little combined with walking a little. Gradually increase the running, decrease the walking. Before you know it, you’ll be able to skip the walking altogether!

Because I am a runner

10. Describe your relationship with running in one word.

Complicated.

Jeez, I can’t describe anything with just one word! It’s complicated because, as I get older, deal with my old knee injury, running is not always the pure joy that it was when I was younger. I used to be fast, now I’m slow. I used to be light on my feet, now I feel like I plod along. I still love it. I still define myself as a runner. But, it’s complicated.

Are you celebrating National Running Day? How would you fill in the blank?

National Running Day

Click below and join in the fun (plus you can check out some other fab runners and their answers)!

10 Benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy

Stretching has become a much debated topic in recent times. For years it was touted as the key to restoring flexibility, improving athletic performance, and reducing injuries. Then stretching, particularly passive stretching, fell out of popularity in favor of more dynamic moves that were designed to prepare the body for sport. Passive stretching is reserved for after the workout, and even then its value is controversial.

FST 2

What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?

Enter Fascial Stretch Therapy (or FST), a type of stretching that targets not only the muscles, but the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, and joints. FST also targets the entire joint and joint capsule, using traction to remove restrictions from movement and to stimulate lubrication. A therapist will gently pull and move the arms, legs, spine, and neck in a smooth motion through varying planes of movement. There is no pain, not even discomfort. Instead, the gentle movement is stimulating and relaxing at the same time.

The problem with many standard stretching programs is, well, they are standard. An athlete will finish her workout, run through her “usual” stretches, maybe paying extra attention to tight hips, sometimes pushing through some pain to get that final stretch. Sadly, this type of stretching is not effective and may even be causing more tightness and inflexibility. When you cause pain with stretching, your muscles respond to protect themselves, tightening up in a rebound type effect.

By contrast, a Fascial Stretch Therapist will evaluate their client, looking for imbalances, as well as the source of those imbalances. Then using breath to help with movement, the therapist will first warm up the joints and muscles with undulating stretching to maximize blood flow. Then using techniques of slow undulating movement, as well as traction (gently pulling to create space in the joint) and modified PNF ( proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), synchronized with the breath, the therapist will stretch the entire body, following a logical anatomical order, to lengthen muscle, increase range of motion, and improve flexibility.

10 Benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy

  1. Increase Range of Motion
  2. Muscular Balance and Symmetry
  3. Improved Performance
  4. Reduced Pain
  5. Reduced Risk of Injury
  6. Improved Posture
  7. Improved Muscle Function
  8. Improved Circulation
  9. Decrease Compression and Impingement in the Joints.
  10. Improved Energy

The effects are cumulative. It took a while to develop the imbalances and stiffness in your body. It will take a while to reap the benefits of FST. But, that being said, you can feel immediate benefits, even after your first session.

Remember, I am not (yet) a certified Fascial Stretch Therapist. I will be studying and preparing for the class that I’m taking in August. My information comes from my experience as a client, as well as from the Stretch to Win website, and the book, Stretch to Win, which is written by Ann Frederick and Christopher Frederick, the developers of Fascial Stretch Therapy.

The above, by the way, is an affiliate link. I will make a few cents if you purchase that book through Amazon. Other than that I have received no compensation for this post. I have experienced FST first hand and I’m a believer in the benefits.

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

  
Have you heard of fascial stretch therapy? Have I piqued your interest? You can find a list of certified FST therapists on the website.

Running Wednesday: My Favorite Pure Speed Workout

So, you want to get faster?

The thing is, now matter what your fitness level, your age, your abilities, the process is the same. If you want to get faster you have to, well, run faster. Science may come up with new ways to track your training, coaches may design new killer workouts, you can add strength training, plyometrics, stretching, foam rolling, whatever. The truth is the same.

You must run faster.

My Favorite Pure Speed Workout

Favorite is a funny word. Running faster is hard. When I do speed workouts, I hate them. They make me push to my limits. But, when I’m done, I feel amazing. And when they work (and they do!), I love them.

I have several go-to workouts that I use regularly for my runners (and myself). They may change slightly depending on the goal, but over the next few weeks I’ll share my three favorites. This week is my favorite pure speed workout.

My Favorite Interval (VO2 Max) Workout: These type of workouts are generally short to moderate distance (think 400-1600 meters), frequently run on a track, designed to improve how your body uses oxygen. Interval workouts also improve stamina, threshold, strength, and mental discipline. And yes, they make you faster.

My favorite workout of this type is the Ladder Workout. After warming up for a mile, do these intervals in order, at about 95-100% of your effort level (this can be measured by heart rate or perceived exertion): 200m, 400m, 800m, 1000m, 1600m, 1000m, 800m, 400m, 200m. Take a 30-45 second break between each interval.

Ladder WorkoutWhy I love it: First of all, I like that each interval is different. While I appreciate knocking out 16 400m repeats (and they do have great value), I like the variety of the Ladder Workout. Plus, on the way back down, there is something wonderful about knowing that your next interval is going to be shorter. Any light toward the end of the tunnel.

If you can, switch directions halfway through the workout to avoid the repetitive motion that can potentially cause injury. Following your intervals, take the time to cool down for about a mile. If you incorporate this workout once a week I promise you will get faster.

Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Coach and Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Coach or Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Femme Fitale Fit Club

Do you have a favorite speed workout?

Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

So, I’ve been lying to you. Well, just a little. (Which begs the question, is there really such thing as a little lie?) Anyway, I haven’t told you the whole truth. Which starts with, I didn’t run the SLO Marathon yesterday.

SLO Recap

Before I get to that though, I want to congratulate Tina Muir, who ran the London Marathon on Sunday. She sweetly emailed me on Saturday to wish me luck, commenting that we have both worked so hard for this. While this is true, I have to laugh because Tina, who ran 2:41:19 (!!!!), was so kind as to think of me, who would have been about two hours behind her.

Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

Back to my story. I pretty much knew by last Wednesday that I wasn’t going to be able to run the SLO Marathon. I was in denial though. I really had worked hard for this. While I’d had a hard time getting my total mileage up where I wanted it, I had done the workouts. My long runs had gone well for the most part, at least until a couple weeks ago when I’d developed some exercise induced asthma issues. I did my tempo runs, marathon pace runs, and even hill workouts. I’m in good shape.

The asthma had given me some doubts though. After the incident two weeks ago it took me most of the day to recover! What would I do if it happened during the marathon? I’ve pushed through in the past, but do I have it in me to do it still? Do I even want to? Strike one.

Then Alan and I made the decision that I would go alone. I’ve told you before about Goldie, our handicapped dog. We really don’t want to leave her in the care of a dog sitter. We just don’t trust anyone enough to clean her, change her diaper, and to be there in case anything happens. Heck, sometimes she gets stuck in the dog door when we’re home, though we release her quickly. What if the sitter wasn’t there for a couple hours? We are both resigned to the idea that, for the rest of Goldie’s life our travel will be limited.

Anyway, that meant that I would have to drive to San Luis Obispo by myself, run a marathon, then drive home afterward. Um, that’s about five hours in each direction. Strike two.

I still didn’t want to let go of the dream though. There must be some way, right? I even would have invited Christina, my running partner and neighbor, but she was out of town at a wedding for the weekend.

Then last Wednesday I ran five miles, moderate pace, with a couple bursts of marathon pace. About halfway through my run I felt a weird pain in my mid-back that actually made me stop for a moment. It went away when I stopped but returned when I ran again. I made it home, but through the rest of the day I had twinges, now in my low back and right hip.

When I woke up on Thursday morning I knew right away that my marathon probably wasn’t going to happen. The pain was still in my low back and hip, with occasional random spasms just to keep me on my toes. I could hardly walk, let alone think about running 26.2 miles!

Strike three and I’m out.

I still held on until Friday morning to make the decision. My back was a little better, so I gave myself a little hope, but my wiser side took over. Back pain + 5 hour drive + marathon = Bad idea.

So, I stayed home, wished my follow SLO Marathon Ambassadors good luck, and didn’t run a step all weekend. I did, however, get to spend some time with this guy:

Samuel

Yes! If anything could make me feel better about staying home and missing my marathon it was having Samuel and his parents visit us! I took tons of pictures, but since he’s in action all the time most of them were blurry! Here are a few when he was still for a moment.

Samuel 6I don’t think Samuel realizes how honored he should be to get Coco kisses. She usually delivers them to Alan and me in the middle of the night.

Samuel 4It’s hard to explain to a two year old about handicapped dogs, but Samuel seemed to have a connection with Goldie. We just had to make sure that he didn’t sit on her.

Samuel 2Penny is obviously a good sport. She’s not used to kids but was very patient with Samuel. He is used to Chloe, their young Australian Shepherd, who puts up with all his antics.

Samuel 3Grandpa was happy that someone finally wanted to play with the finger lights he bought at Christmas!

Samuel 5Since both his parents wear glasses, Samuel thinks they’re pretty cool (the glasses, not sure about the parents). So when he found an old pair of readers lying around he thought that he was pretty cool too.

Samuel 7Nathan and Sarah just purchased a brand new Ford Fusion. On a recent trip to Orange County my son got over 90 mph! It’s a nice looking car too.

Samuel 8We went to lunch at PF Changs. I ordered the Vegetable Lettuce Wraps and Alan wanted the Buddha’s Feast, at least until he saw all the broccoli that it came with. So we traded dishes and I got my broccoli ration for the week.

Samuel 10Grandson selfie!

Samuel 9I was sad that this picture turned out a little blurry thanks to trying to hold Samuel still with one hand and take a picture with the other. Still, they look awfully cute, don’t they? Their daughter (my granddaughter!!!) Emma Marie is due on September 2.

We had a great time and I was able to forget my failure missing the marathon for a while. And the good news is, my back is feeling much better. I’ll probably try a little run on Tuesday. I’d like to hold onto some of this fitness I have right now. I might convince Christina that a semi-local half marathon might be just the thing for May!

In other adventures, did you see my Instagram post the other day? The consensus was that this is a king snake. What do you think?

 

Anybody know what kind of snake this is? Not dangerous I hope! #snake #snakes #snakesofinstagram

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

Thank you to all of you who wished me well, supported me and had faith in my efforts. I’m sorry that I couldn’t live up to your (or my) expectations. I promise to share the links to some of the SLO Marathon recaps so we can all see what I missed. And don’t miss Tina’s recap. She was really happy and excited about her experience and I can’t wait to read all about it.

How was your weekend? Any races, events, or family adventures? Let’s hear about it!

Race Day Tips for a Successful Marathon

With only four more days until the SLO Marathon it seems appropriate to talk about race day. While much of training focuses preparing to run 26.2 miles it is important to have a race day plan too. After all, you’ve just spent anywhere from four to six months in an intensive effort to run a successful marathon. You had a training plan, followed it, did all your workouts, you’ve tapered, and now you are ready to go. Having a plan for marathon day is essential too.

Whether this is your first marathon or your 37th it is a good idea to remind yourself of these simple race day tips.

Race-Day-Tips

Eat Breakfast

Try to eat a moderate breakfast two or three hours before the race. You need to top off your tank with easily digestible foods (that you have hopefully tried during your training) like oatmeal, bananas, cereals, yogurt, or toast. Drink water or a sports drink throughout the morning, all the way up until the race starts.

Nothing New on Race Day

Your training has been like a three or four month long dress rehearsal for your big day. Over that time, you’ve found the right combination of nutrition and hydration, as well as the right shoes, clothing, even socks. Don’t mess around with success on race day by wearing the cute top that you bought at the expo, or using the gel that is being given away on the course (unless you’ve been training with it). While new shoes are a great idea for the race, take them for a spin or two before the event, even if they are they same model as your old ones. Stick with your tried and true pre-run meal, which can be a little difficult if you traveled to an event, so make sure to plan ahead.

Logistics

You do not want to be sitting in traffic trying to exit the freeway as the gun goes off. Plan ahead to get to the venue early. Check out the race website for information about parking, shuttles, clothing drops, etc. Depending upon the size of the race, there may be long lines to use the portable toilets, so it is a good idea to head there right away. Drop off your clothing bag and get to your corral at least 15 minutes early. Better to stand around waiting a little while than try to squeeze in when it is full. If the weather is cold, stay warm with a throwaway shirt that can be tossed after you warm up. If the weather is damp or rainy, a trash bag makes a great poncho to keep you dry while you’re waiting to get started.

Start Slow

No matter how many marathons you have run, this may be the hardest advice to adhere to. The excitement of the moment, being surrounded with other excited runners, sometimes even a downhill start of the course all conspire to make you start out too fast. There’s no such thing as time in the bank. Getting more miles in at a faster pace is not going to help you finish your marathon faster. In fact, it will probably backfire, you will over extend yourself, use up crucial energy and fuel, and your time may very well be slower than you planned. Start out at your goal pace or even slightly slower. This will allow you to conserve both your energy and your fuel, enabling you to keep the pace during that last 10k.

Have a nutrition plan and stick to it

I will admit it. I made a huge nutrition mistake in what turned out to be my PR marathon. The thing is, I should have run that race five or even 10 minutes faster than I actually did! I have always had issues with fueling and nausea during the marathon, and during that race I was feeling so good I didn’t want to mess it up by ingesting anything. So, beyond water and the carbohydrate drink I was carrying I didn’t eat anything. So what happened? Well, at mile 20, I was on pace for a 3:10 finish, and I bonked so hard I could barely sustain an 8-8:30 pace for the last six miles. I ended up running 3:16 in that race, a good time to be sure, but, after losing about a minute a mile over the last 10k, I learned a painful lesson.

St. George

I was carrying gels in that amphipod. I just didn’t use them.

The point is, you have been practicing your nutrition throughout your training, you have a pretty good idea what works, so, make a plan before the race and stick with it.

Don’t wear headphones

Don’t shoot me! I know that music lovers everywhere are saying “What???!!! I can’t run without my music!” Wait a moment and just listen to my reasoning.

You are about to embark on one of the most life changing excursions of your life. You will have to reach deep inside of yourself, use everything you’ve got, including all your mental strength, to stay the course, and to be successful in your endeavor. Having music playing in your ear, while it may give you a beat to run to, will distract you from all of that. While you may say that distraction is a good thing, it really is not if you want to produce your best effort.

On the other hand, if you are running to have fun and “just finish,” why cut off half of the experience by not communicating with the other athletes that are sharing this moment with you? I have met some amazing people during a marathon, something that would never happen if I cut myself off from them by wearing headphones.

The Last 6.2 Miles

I’m sure you have heard the saying, “There are two halves to the marathon: the first 20 and the last 6.2,” and that is true to a certain extent. That last 10k can really grind you into the ground. But, if you have followed the advice above, fueled correctly, and moderated your pace, you will have a much stronger finish. Some other ideas to keep you going strong: Break the distance down into smaller chunks. Think about a great two mile run that you enjoy; Think minutes instead of miles. Four or five minutes may sound better than a half mile; If you’re really feeling like you have to slow down, try instead to pick up the pace for a short distance. That little change can refresh your legs; Take one mile at a time; Positive self talk. Be your own cheerleader.

Have Fun

This is the culmination of months of hard work. Cherish the moment. Talk to other runners. Give high fives to the kids on the sidelines. Smile for the cameras. Thank the volunteers. Enjoy the scenery. Appreciate the body, however tired and sore, that has brought you this far.

What race day tips would you like to add?

Originally posted on Live from La Quinta, May 2014.