Galloway Training – September 19 – Bad Runs or Walks are Great Teachers

Training season is a challenge by itself for us. We start in April and go for 29 weeks. We worry about shoes, hydration and clothing, oversleeping for the very early starts and then…we have a run or walk during the season that is beyond awful. If you’ve had a bad run or walk this season, to that I say, CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations for a bad workout? Absolutely! The bad workout gives you the opportunity to review all of the things that didn’t go as planned, examine contributing factors and have a plan to manage similar issues should they ever happen again. Case in point – I received texts and emails from several of you who ran the Revenge of the Penguin 20 miler on Sunday. When the first person came to me, I thought it was just her experience, and then I heard from a few other people, who had very similar difficulties. The most interesting thing is that when I asked what was so awful, not one of them mentioned the distance as a problem. They listed boredom, lack of on course support, difficult surface and that is was a mentally tough event.

The biggest issue I heard about was a mental hurdle. The Penguin race is an out and back course along the Towpath. It’s crushed gravel, trees on either side of the canal, and that’s about it – BORING. As you’ve read in Jeff Galloway’s books, blogs and tweets, the mental part of distance running and walking is very taxing, and you need to find ways to combat it. When you come up against a course that isn’t entertaining, what do you do? You can only talk so much, and if you’re listening to music, sometimes it’s still not enough. Consider visualization. Think about some of the great runs or walks you’ve had and imagine you are there. Have a prayer, song or mantra to repeat. Have one that is encouraging, amusing or calming – cover all of your bases.

Your bad run or walk may not have a mental component, but it will have something that crops up that you weren’t prepared to deal with, that throws you off your game. That surprise is now your teacher. Go over the undesirable experience, share it with others and talk your way through scenarios that would have helped pull you out of the pit. Dissect it so that you can understand how it works against you and how you can recover from it. For some issues you may tackle them head on, for others you need to find a way around them or a tunnel under them. Your goal is to think about options and to learn to be very flexible and adaptable. Like I’ve said to some of you, fill your tool kit.

Every step you take this season is a lesson learned. Running in the thick air, the rain, the Magic Mile, the blisters and black toenails – each experience makes you a more knowledgeable distance runner and walker. More knowledgeable because you will always seek out ways to improve your situation as it happens rather than wallow in the yuck du jour. Your training, good and bad, means that each race should be concerned that it can’t take you down. Each race will have to work hard to stop you because you know how to be better, smarter and craftier in tackling each mile, even if that means just going with the flow. When a run or walk gives you lemons…

Galloway Training – September 5 – It’s Shoe-time!

It’s September and in most parts of the US, race season has gotten under way. This also means that running stores and shoe makers will start to get low on stock, and you need to get the shoes you will finish the season with and wear for your race(s).

Anyone who got shoes in April, May or June should not, I repeat, should not, be using that same shoe for the remaining training runs and walks or their goal race. That shoe is DEAD and could allow you to get injured at a point in the season where your recovery and a return to workouts may not happen until after your goal race. Six months of training, wasted!

You should think about planning this Saturday or next, that you’ll join the group for a run, a quick group breakfast, and from there hit your favorite running store. (Bring baby wipes to freshen yourself if you’re worried about offending the staff.) You want to shoe shop after a run because your feet will be a bit swollen and your body will be more perceptive to how the new shoes fit and feel. This will help ensure that you get a shoe that won’t be too small on race day. If you can’t go after a run, go after work – many stores are open until 8pm during the week.

When shopping at this time of year, bring an open mind because as availability declines, you may find that you need to consider a different brand or model of shoe. Switching brands or models isn’t a bad thing, but it can be an adjustment. If you need to switch it up, by getting your shoes now, you have enough time to evaluate the new shoes and if needed, swap them out. Don’t be afraid to tell staff you have a race coming up, and ask them to hold your Plan B shoe, while the try to order your Plan A shoe from the vendor. You may need to leave a deposit, but a bird in the hand…

In addition to your shoes, get a couple new pairs of socks, wash and wear them 1-2 times and then put them on the shelf for race day. New socks on race day are a guilty pleasure, but they feel so good. Not only that, but if you compare the fluff and nap of the new socks to a pair you have now that you thought you’d race in, you will find that your current pair just isn’t as fluffy as the new ones. Fresh socks…the perfect complement to your new shoes.

Galloway Training – August 8 – Race the Way You Train

Race the Way You Train

We are 19 weeks into our training season, and for many, your goal races are getting close. Many of you are thinking about race plans. You may be planning to leave your water bottle or hydration vest at home, and go with the water stops and sports drink being served on the course. Why not, it will make your load lighter, right? Wrong! As part of your training, you carry your fluids with you and sip regularly, and you drink your sports drink. Have you ever used the sports drink that is going to be served on the course? Have you heard of the drink served on the course, and do you only drink every 2-3 miles?

For some, you have learned that your race doesn’t allow a hydration vest. What do you do? Do they allow you to carry a hand held water bottle or are you just allowed a belt for your phone and gels, and what about the potato chips and animal crackers? These are very valid and very real concerns. Now is the time to look at the fine print of your races and find out what changes you will need to make for coming training runs. Start using the sport drink that will be served to see if you can tolerate it. If you cannot handle it, figure out how you will transport enough of your special blend. Many sports drink powders can be made into a paste to be diluted whenever you need to refill your hydration bottle at a water stop. If you need chips, think about putting them in snack size baggies and pin them to your hydration belt. Whatever you need, find out now how you, or you friends on the course, will become your own aid station. You may also want to practice drinking and eating based on the intervals of the race to find out if that works for you or if you will need to start practicing using a hand held bottle so that you have more control of your hydration.

In addition to food and fluids, you want to think about pacing. You are accustomed to running as part of a group, and having someone call out walk breaks, or walking next to you every step of the way. On race day, even if your pace group leader or best training friend is by your side, each of your are individuals. You need to know when you are going to fast or too slow, when you need to walk backwards to reset your posture and rest your quads. You need to know how to reset your intervals if you need to shorten the run segment. You need to know how to walk faster and maintain the pace needed to hit a race’s mid-point cutoff. Your race is all about you, and so is your training. You should be taking in every kernel of information that your Pace Group Leaders and fellow group members share, and put them in your toolkit.

Another component of racing the way you train has to do with your intervals. On race day, you should be using the same interval that you used during training. Unless you have done long runs using a longer run segment, you do not want to start your race with longer runs, planning to go to shorter runs on the back half of the race. This is particularly important for the marathoners. If you go out too fast and run too long in the beginning, you will burn through your reserves and run out of steam for the back half of the race. Around mile 18, you will begin to lose time as you tire out and burn through all of the time that you thought you banked. Instead, go out easy and check your pace for the first three miles. The first three to five miles can end up being fast because of the adrenaline and excitement of actually being there and getting caught up in everyone’s energy. Your goal is to settle into your pace and take in all the sights and sounds of the race. Gawking takes time and saves energy that you will call on later. In general, you will find that your pace is faster than our training runs using the exact same intervals. This happens because pace is determined by how quickly you turnover your feet at the ankle, not by how long you run before taking a walk break. Save those longer intervals for your shorter races.

For your remaining training runs and walks pay attention to your Pace Group Leaders and the alumni runners and walkers in your group. Watch and listen to them so that on race day, even if you are by yourself, their spirit is by your side making sure that you hydrate, fuel and stick to your pace. Taking them in will help ensure that your race is more like a perfect training run.

Galloway Training – August 1 – I am hungry all the time

TOPIC – I am hungry all the time

This topic has come up on many of the on-line threads over the last week, and I’m sure those of you who aren’t on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, have also wondered why your appetite has increased so much since you started training for distance running or walking, and what can be done to tame the hangry, rungry, eating machine you have become.

I have always said, training for distance is not the time to diet as you are setting yourself up for conflicting priorities. Most diets require caloric and or food restrictions. When you are not training for distance, you are better able to restrict calories and foods because your muscles do not have the same food and nutrient requirements.  If you are a dieting athlete, you are asking your body to do even more, with even less, and then you wonder why you feel so crappy and sluggish much of the time?

As athletes, your muscles require carbohydrates which convert to glucose, which is burned as fuel when you are out on the trail. Your muscles also require protein to repair and rebuild muscles that are worn down with each workout. For many dieters, carbs are the first thing that is restricted or eliminated and then, the amount of protein taken in is reduced. Instead, athletes need to feed the machine, and this is more than what you have before, during and immediately after each run.  It is about what you are eating all week.

You need to take in carbs and protein at every meal along with water.  Most people think of pasta, potatoes and bread when we say carbs but there are smarter carbs out there that will fill and fuel you without adding to your waistline.  Think about beans or legumes like chick peas or hummus, black beans, lentils and split peas to name a few.  Also, your oats which can be eaten hot, or add a quarter cup to your protein and fruit smoothie, barley, faro and wheatberries are good carb choices that are filling and many will also give you a good shot of protein.  And while we are on protein, learn to enjoy quinoa, which is a quick cooking protein that is a complete protein all by itself.  The really nice thing about many of the carb and protein sources listed is that they can be served as a sweet or savory dish.  Just change up the spices or light sauces you drizzle and you have changed the whole dish.  Quinoa makes a great base for pilaf, or if you toast a quarter cup each of slivered nuts and soaked, chopped dried fruit and add to 1 cup of cooked quinoa drizzled with a tablespoon of agave or honey, you have a really nice dessert.

You have to remember that you are an athlete and every mouthful should fuel your body for movement, repair or recovery.  If you are taking in calories that are not fueling you, you are wasting your time.  As an example, Liza makes 60 ounces of a fruit, veggie and protein smoothie with a quarter cup of oats.  That is a lot of smoothie, but she starts sipping on it around 8 am and finishes it around 11:30, eliminating the traditional mid morning snack. Lunch is around 12:30 and is usually a very big salad including kale and spinach, chick peas, black beans, corn, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes a serving of protein and a sprinkle of quinoa or brown rice and homemade vinaigrette. She eats about two thirds of the salad at lunch and the final third is the mid afternoon snack.  There is almost always an apple in there somewhere and a veggie stir fry for dinner with a serving of protein along with a quarter cup of a grain or brown rice.  To make each salad or dinner different, get creative with light, tasty sauces and vinegars. Ah Love Oil and vinegar shop has fantastic balsamic vinegars that are the viscosity of honey.  The fig balsamic is a personal favorite and a little goes a very long way.

I’m sure you are thinking that you cannot eat like this all the time, and the nice thing is, you don’t have to.  A recent article seen via PopSugar pointed out, if you eat three meals a day, that’s 21 meals in a week.  Of those 21 meals, you can have three cheat meals in a week, and you will still lose weight each week. You will find that these 18 healthy meals give you more energy to get through your day, and your scheduled workouts. These meals will also help to keep from looking at your coworkers as if they were chicken legs.

Side note – Liza changed her eating in June and to date, she has lost 10 pounds and her running has improved.

Galloway Training – June 6 – Adjust Pace to Increase Success on the Long Run

For many of you, we are getting into mileage that you have never covered. For others, you have covered the distance and want to find ways to have a better experience while you’re out there. For training runs and walks, one of the simplest ways to ensure a good workout is to slow down from the very first step. While this sounds simple, the ego tends to get in the way and tells us that we can go out faster and it will be alright. If it’s not our ego, it’s our training partners telling us we can do this; dig deep and gut it out, badass! All we really want to do is puke our guts out and quit as we fall farther behind our group until we can’t see them anymore. This is followed by doubts about whether we can survive and wondering if we can really do the race we’re training for.

Falling behind your group, puking and quitting are not on the goal list for this training program. We want everyone to be as successful as possible and to cover the distance at a training pace that is doable from start to finish. To do this, many of you need to move back one pace group. You need to welcome the change and relative ease of the pace that you feel at the start of the workout. This ease translates to stored energy that you’ll need on the back end. It also leads to euphoria for feeling so good across the distance and being able to keep up with your group as you push the limits of what you thought your mind and body were capable of doing.

For those of you who have covered our longer distances before, moving back a pace group is an option that you should consider based on the week you’ve had or Saturday’s weather forecast. For all of us, environmental factors contribute to the abilities we have on Saturday morning. Do a pre-workout evaluation when you get up on Saturday and decide if you are as prepared as you’d like to be or if you want to drop back and be kinder to yourself and do a pace you know won’t kick your butt.

Regardless of which camp you are in, dropping back is not throwing in the towel or admitting defeat. Dropping back should be a conscious decision, which takes control and courage. It requires you to stand up for yourself and do what is best. It also requires you to remember that this is training. Training is about doing what is needed to be safe and healthy all season to bolster your odds of getting to the starting line. Don’t lose focus on the starting line by worrying about being too slow during training. If you don’t train properly to get to the starting line, the finish line isn’t even an option.

Galloway Training – May 23 – I’m Going to Miss a Group Workout, What do I do?

I’m Going to Miss a Group Workout, What do I do?

This topic has come up several times in the last couple of weeks as people see how the schedule and life collide. The real questions are, will you put on your sneakers and how much time or distance can you realistically cover by yourself?

Be realistic about your time away. Decide if you want to work out or if you just want to take some time off. There are no wrong answers, but why waste valuable suitcase space if you’re not going to work out. Leave the gear at home along with the guilt. You’ll feel guiltier if you pack all of your gear and never use it.

If you’ve decided you will work out, you need to determine where you’ll do it. Treadmill, local gym or will you look for a local Galloway Group or reach out to a local running store or Road Runners Club or America chapter to see if you can meet up with them to get in some miles. I get in the car and drive around to find as many miles of wide road as possible. This way, I know that I can get in my goal miles if I have the time or the energy to do so. While scouting, I look for convenience stores, bathrooms, diners and bushes. I use the stores to buy snacks and drinks and load up on ice, and I use the bushes to hide a spare bottle for the back end of my run. This allows me to carry very little but still be well supported. Given I usually have to do 20 miles when I’m away, I have someone go with me when I scout, so they know where I am if I call to get a ride home. Yup, I carry my cell phone.

For your trip, you might find that some of your travel companions want to get in on the action. Share your goals, set the schedule and aim to get in one of the workouts you’ve planned. Given you’re most likely on vacation, or on a work trip to a cool location, enjoy it! Don’t let running keep you from having fun.

As for the long distance that you may have missed while you were gone, don’t worry, we have that covered. Just let us know when you get back, what distance you missed, and we will decide how to safely get you caught up. We generally will have you drop back to a slower pace group, or we will send you out with your regular group, and have you walk the difference between your last long workout, and the distance the group is doing that day. Most of the time this means you’ll walk the last couple of miles. This lets you more safely cover the distance. Walkers typically reduce their walk pace and cover the distance. You don’t need to run or walk everything in training to race successfully.

Your rule of thumb when you’re away should be to get in one workout and anything else is gravy.

Galloway Training- May 16 – Learn to Fuel

Fueling to walk or run is an individual process. While we may be engaging in the same activity, our tastes, tolerances and needs are different. There are numerous products on the market to help you eat before, during and after a hard workout. How does one know which ones to use – trial and error.

Trial and error occurs on training runs and walks. This is where your midweek workouts and our group walks and runs come into play. During your workouts, you should be testing your breakfast foods and those you think you can eat during and after a run. You need to test your fuel because race day is not the time to find out what doesn’t agree with you. Finding out on race day can mean you feel sick to your stomach, need to vomit or find that you have diarrhea. While this seems extreme, it’s very common, and very avoidable.

To avoid food issues, start by planning what you want eat before a run and start eating those foods before your midweek workouts. If those foods work well, try them before a Saturday workout. Each week, try a new food so that you have options and can also rule out foods that don’t agree with your stomach. Make note of what works.

Now that you know what you can eat before a run, start bringing foods to snack on during a run. Many people find that they can’t handle gels, others can’t eat nuts. Gels are high in sugar and nuts are hard on the stomach. The stomach requires blood and fluids to properly digest foods. Both of these are less available when working out as blood is moved to working muscles and fluids are used in muscles, and on your skin to cool you. You want to find foods that are easy on the stomach and move quickly to the muscles and don’t upset your stomach. To do this, try anything and everything and just find portable versions that will fit in your fuel belt or hydration vest pockets.

Once you’ve figured out what sits on your stomach when working out, you need to plan your post-workout fuel. This recovery meal should be consumed within 30 minutes of completing a workout so that your muscles can begin the task of recovering. Note that your muscles require protein and fuel to recover, and you require additional food to power your body for normal activity. If you don’t consume enough calories to power both processes, you risk injury. The nice thing about the body is that this added need for fuel for recovery, comes across as a feeling of hunger. Don’t ignore that hunger in the hours and days after a hard workout. That is your body saying it needs recovery fuel. Just feed it a light meal of 150 to 200 calories of good carbohydrates and protein and a glass of water.

Foods to consider for breakfast include a slice of toast with nut butter, oatmeal or a protein smoothie. Workout fuel includes gels, PowerBar or ClifBars, raisins, potato chips, pr”etzels, bananas and anything that you can easily carry and digest. Post run think chocolate milk, a turkey and cheese sandwich or a protein smoothie. For post run snacks you should keep a cooler in your car with ice and your snack ready and waiting. Grab your snack and then stand and talk with your running buddies.