Galloway Training – May 31 – Trust Your Gut

There’s a lot to learn about running and walking. You read books and magazines; you talk with members of the program about what to eat, what to wear and what shoes to buy. As your distance and fitness increases, and your head swells with all of this knowledge, you don’t want to forget one key tool – your gut instinct!

In addition to all of that learning, you are developing an instinct about what works for you, what doesn’t, what you want to wear or carry on a given workout and what to have after a workout. You may also find that just as you head out the door, you think of something that would be good to have, but you shake it off thinking it’s not necessary or you’ll be alright without it. As an example, it’s been raining and drizzling all night, but as you head out the door, it’s not raining and you decide not to grab your baseball cap. You get to the run and after about 20 minutes, it starts raining, and you wish you’d followed your gut and grabbed that cap. You can swap cap for sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, dry socks or a ClifBar to eat in the car on the way to the workout. Whatever it is, that nagging thought is a byproduct of your training – it, like any of our other gear, shouldn’t be ignored.

Your gut may also try to tell you about a workout. You may have planned to run or walk a certain distance, or participate in a race. You get out there and get moving but you have a nagging feeling that going the distance is the wrong choice. Most of the time, we will ignore that nagging feeling until we get deep into that run or walk and the wheels fall off our proverbial cart. The problem here is that you will have put yourself in a position where you may need outside assistance. Had you listened to your gut, you would have done a more thorough assessment of your readiness to do that run, walk or race and made the necessary adjustments in your distance or pace, or decided against participating in that race. Your gut will help you set realistic goals and expectations based on how you feel, or how prepared you really are. Trust your gut and know that there’s no shame in backing off. It’s easier to handle missing one workout, than it is to miss weeks of working out because you pushed forward on a day when you thought about scaling back.

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Galloway Training – May 24 – What Not to Wear

WEEKLY TOPIC – What Not to Wear

For those of you who were able to attend the run on May 10, you witnessed the appearance of an ill prepared “guest” runner who needs to get his sexy back.
Our guest runner was wearing several layers.  Sweatpants and shirt and all of it was cotton!  He was wearing hiking boots with cotton socks too.  He brought fuel and hydration, but hot dog buns and coffee won’t help runners and walkers and neither will his swim cap, goggles or umbrella.  He was improperly and overdressed for our workout.  As an athlete, it’s our job to learn about our sport and find out what the best food, hydration and gear is and then from the array of choices, decide which works best for us as individuals.
Focusing on apparel, men and women need to look for clothing that wicks moisture and is labeled as such.  In addition to wicking moisture as we perspire, you may want apparel that provides a layer of sun protection or additional cooling.  Several manufactures are making clothing that adds a layer of sun protection.  If you can’t find it, ask at your favorite running specialty store as they can order it if they don’t carry it.  Also, there are garments that are designed to cool you off.  Adiddas has cooling beads on the back of some of their shirts.  Sporting goods stores like REI and Hudson Trail Outfitters carry hats and cloths that can be frozen or wet and used cool you off during your work out.
Be sure when you buy new gear, to try it out before going on a long run or walk.  You want to make sure that it fits and moves the way you want.  Your clothes should not bunch, pucker, ride up or down, or get bunched up in your shoes or private parts.  If any of this happens, head back to the store and try something else.  One of the best things to do is make friends with the staff at the store.  Tell them what you like, don’t like and what parts of your body are persnickety or bothered most by the gear you’ve been using.  They will know what fits your body type best and save you a lot of time and money.
One thing to note is most technical apparel isn’t usually made of organic or natural materials.  Most of it will be synthetic but you can find wool and bamboo options and several companies are making technical cotton apparel.  You don’t want anything that is 100 percent cotton as it will get wet, stay wet, and lead to chafing and blistering for most runners and walkers.
Be sure to read and follow the care instructions for your technical gear.  This will give you the longest life from the garments and will reduce bacterial build up, which is what makes your gear smell.  Even with proper care, you can only wash and wear this stuff so many times before it just smells and has to be tossed.  Some gear won’t smell or show very obvious wear, but socks, shirts, bras and undergarments do wear out and need to be thrown away annually.  If you don’t know when you bought something but have had it for a while, wear it on a workout and if you get chafing or blisters put it on the endangered species list. You don’t have to toss it that day, but if you wear it again and the same thing happens, save your detergent and just toss it.  This may seem harsh, but chafing and blisters can get bad on a long hot workout or on race day.  You don’t want to find out that a blister won’t heal in time for your race or that you’ve blistered so bad you can’t finish your race.

All of the stores have spring and summer apparel out now and some stores have socks on sale (Pacers is buy 3, Get one Free).  The other thing to check for is sale racks as you may find great bargains available on winter gear.

Galloway Training – May 17 – When should I Stretch?

The question came in – “What kinds of stretches should I be doing after running? Related, when I ran this morning I was very sore in my quads and felt that I wasn’t running in my “normal” form. I did get less sore and more like normal after a few minutes but are there any pre-running stretches that would help? Very new to all this and trying to do the right thing AND feel good.”

Response – “Jeff (Galloway) doesn’t advocate stretching of any kind. You definitely don’t stretch before a run. I’m curious about your run itself – was it up or down hill or were you pushing pace or distance? Soreness is a response to something. I suggest a cool soak (reduce swelling in the muscles) and chocolate milk – the almost perfect recovery drink. You might be starting out too fast on cold muscles and need to do a slow warm up before getting up to pace. Your body should adjust soon and you should find the soreness doesn’t happen as often.”

Going into this topic a bit more, Jeff feels that stretching is often the culprit for injury. Jeff’s research has found that stretching can cause or exacerbate micro tears in the muscles and tendons. Those tears may present as soreness or cramps rather than the beginnings of a pull or more extensive tear. Jeff suggests a more extensive warm up and/or cool down and then icing or a cool soak following your workout.

How do you warm up? Start with your regular interval or walk but use a slower pace for the first few minutes or mile (some need more than a mile and that’s okay). After your warm up, ease into your regular interval or pace and see how your body feels. It should begin to feel like it’s waking up, and the muscles and tendons that are typically sore or tight, should begin to feel like they are responding the way you expect. Once your body is warm, proceed with your scheduled time, distance or race.

For those doing a 5k or 10k race, a warm up is vital to hitting your time goal. Think about the runners at the front of a pack before the race. They are jogging back and forth and jumping up and down. They don’t stand still until just a few minutes before the race starts. They are warming up their muscles so that when the gun goes off, they can run at their top speed – and it works! If it works for them, we should definitely follow suit so that we can have the workout we plan too.

Galloway Training – May 10 – Should you race during training season?

WEEKLY TOPIC – Should you race during training season?

We received this question – “So here is a topic/question I have been thinking about as Spring and Summer start to bloom and I see 5 and 10K promos everywhere.

I am new to running and training for a Marathon in Oct/Nov.  I keep seeing all kinds of advertisements/articles/post and emails about upcoming Family Runs, 5ks, 10ks and Half Marathons.  Mapmyrun just sent me an email about the upcoming Baltimore 10 Miler on June 14th.  Would participating in a local 5K or 10K be detrimental to my Galloway training or just enhance it?  Should I just focus on training and wait until next year to try one of these types of runs or incorporate one I like into my current training plan?”

We encourage new runners and walkers to participate in a race or two before their goal race. While our training workouts help prepare you to endure and adjust as needed during your event, only racing truly prepares you for racing. Races have strict time limits for starting and finishing, and they have hundreds or thousands of people cuing up for the bathrooms. Races have slug buses that will pick you up if you are falling behind any of their cut-off times. Races also have crowds cheering you on, volunteers to help with just about anything, and they have t-shirts, medals and post-race parties – many of which are legendary.

By doing a race or two during the season, you learn what your unique pre-race routine and jitters look like. You learn what race pace feels like and you get to test out pacing, fueling, hydrating and post-race habits to see what does and doesn’t work for you. Test races are also the perfect place to make mistakes without putting your “big” race in jeopardy.

Racing also gives you perspective when you are on the course for your goal event. Doing a 5 or 10k race gives you an idea of your time for that distance during your goal race. If your goal race is a 5k, you have an idea of how long it will take you to finish depending on weather and other variables. For those with a longer goal race, doing a 5 or 10k will help you break your race into segments and give you an idea of how long it will take you to finish that segment. For those doing 10 miles and up, breaking a race into segments often makes it much more bearable. I use the word bearable because racing can be tough on the mind and having tools that help calm are invaluable. As I’m sure you’ve heard, racing is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.

During marathons, Liza counts up to 16 miles, and then she counts down. Ten miles, nine miles etc, and at the 10k and 5k marks, she thinks about how much longer she will be on the course and knows that the finish isn’t that far off.  Others will break a marathon into two ten milers and a 10k. Half marathoners do a 10 miler and a 5k. Break up your race in whatever manner works best for you, it’s your race.

There are lots of races to choose from and given the time we spend away from our families for training, you can look for races that are at family friendly locations. You should also look to race on a week when we are doing a short workout or doing a magic mile. One last consideration for a race is safety. Many people are intrigued by the obstacle races. I would suggest that you hold off on doing a race of this sort, until after you’ve completed your goal race. People often get hurt on these races and depending on the injury or how close the race is to your goal race, you could lose valuable training time and put your goal race in jeopardy.

See you Saturday,

Liza, Floyd and your PGLs

Galloway Training – May 3, 2014 – Interval Alerts

WEEKLY TOPIC – Interval alerts

Intervals are used by runners and walkers to repeat specific segments of effort that will be repeated.  For some it is a fast run followed by a slow run or jog or in our case, a walk.  For Fitness Walkers it means a fast walk followed by a slower walk.  To simply manage these segments of effort we turn to our watches.  Most watches come with a timer which can be set to repeat intervals of equal length like speed up for 30 seconds and then slow down for 30 seconds.  For those who will need to do interval workouts that vary in length, an interval timer is an invaluable tool.

Many models of sport watches will have a two interval timer that will allow you to set on segment at say, 2 minutes and the other at 1 minute and have this pattern repeat until you turn it off.  These come in the form of watches, GPS watches, Apps on cell phones and the Gymboss timer, to name a few.  Each is priced differently and offers different training options.  If you haven’t made a purchase yet, list what features and functions you want in your watch and or timer and then do some research.  One feature that is being built into many of these tools is the ability to have it beep and/or vibrate.  The vibration is a fantastic feature because nowadays, in a race, everyone is beeping and the vibration on your wrist, hip or cap is an unmistakable indicator that it’s your turn to switch things up.

For those of you with a Garmin or looking into a Garmin, the 210, 220, 610 and 620 have both an Interval Timer and a Run/Walk alert.  For many of us, the Run/Walk alert is preferred.  Please see the following information from our Garmin rep to understand the difference, and how to set up your Garmin.  Note that I don’t have instructions for setting this up on older models.