Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Life Is Sweet In The Belly Of The Beast"

The Peachtree is right around the corner. Monday is July 4th, when the largest 10k in the world will take place. Each day at work I am asked at least 3 times a day "are you ready?". I always answer with "Yea... I think so...". The past few months I have been struggling with my runs. Mostly because of the heat... Summer did arrive a month early here in Atlanta. Well, during my runs I tell myself I can't blame the heat. I know I have to acclimate to the heat and that takes roughly 2 weeks. Ok, so after 2 weeks of running in the heat why am I still having a rough time?! I've done some thinking and concluded I am an emotional runner. As I run, I watch other runner's demeanor and how they carry themselves. Here is my general 3 theory break down:
  • The Walk/Run Ratio Runner: This is someone who goes out for a run with a distance in mind and achieves that distance any way they can. They walk some, then run some, walk a little more, pick up the speed... you get the jest. This is someone who finishes to say "I ran 6 miles". No, you covered 6 miles. But, props to getting it done. Let me cleify: I am not belittling anyone who has to walk during a run. I am talking about people who have no intention on even attempting to run the whole distance. These are the people who believe in the walk/run ratio for any distance and have no motivation to run the whole thing.
  • The Carefree Runner: This is someone who runs with no burden on their shoulders. If they are having a crappy run, it doesn't get to them. You can usually spot this person by the smile on their face, even if it is 98 degrees out. This person knows how to relax and just go with the flow if things aren't going they way they anticipated.
  • The Emotional Runner: This is someone who lets little minute things get to them. They base their run off determinants they can't control, ie: temperature, traffic, pedestrians, motorist, etc. If the run doesn't go as anticipated this person feels let down.
I made these categories while running the past few times. It makes since to me. I know I am an emotional during my runs. I let things get to me that I know I shouldn't. It defiantly takes the fun out of running, and then it starts to feel taxing and choir like. My advice, relax and have fun. Sometimes you don't need to worry about pace or distance. Just have fun and remember why you run. People run for multiple reasons, but if you can't have fun then it's not worth it! Remember to jazz up your runs to keep it fresh and enjoyable. This can either be scenery, route, running buddies, music, or whatever it takes to make a little change!

Training Exercise: Since the Peachtree is coming up in Atlanta, running hills is a good training tool for the race! The PRR is known for the little span of hills in the middle of the race, including Cardiac Hill. Adding hills into your runs can help with speed, power, and strength. It takes a little more force and momentum to get up a hill, and a lot of effort to control the down hill. Not only will adding an incline help with road races that include hills, but it will also aid in powering through flat portions of any run. A few tips to hill running:
  • Maintain the same pace going up the hill. Try not to speed up or slow down when you start climbing. When you speed up you exert more energy then needed and when you slow down your muscle start to work less and takes longer and sometimes more energy to get to the top. Just focus on your breathing and maintain the same pace. The overall outcome will be faster. Promise.
  • Focus on your breathing on the way up. It'll be a little tougher to get to the top, but just breathe in your mouth and out your nose. This will help you from breathing too fast and keep a constant flow of fresh air to keep cramps away.
  • Remember the hill comes to an end! Once the hill levels out you will catch a break and this is the important recovery time. Catch your breath and slow your breathing. Relax. Shoulders back. Refocus.
  • Control the downhill. Most people want to let the downhill control their speed. You own the hill. Control the downhill, because it is actually harder on your muscles than the uphills. Your muscle fibers have to elongate causing more twitches than the uphill. Therefore, if you don't control your speed and power you will over exert your muscles causing the recovery and rest of the run to be painful. You will feel better at the bottom if you control your movement. Shoulders back. Chest out. Head up. One foot in front of the other. Breath.
*Try not to lean forward or backwards while running hills. Keep your posture straight. This will keep you from cramping and help control your breathing. You will feel more in control of the movements.

Training Tips: Water. Water. Water. Drink lots and lots. It's hot and you will become dehydrated quicker. Water is fuel for your muscles. If you are dehydrated think of it as your muscles aren't able to function correctly and shrivel up. Well, they don't actually shrivel up, but you get the idea. They need water to function properly, keep you healthy, and injury free.

Training Songs: I have a lot of new songs in multiple genres! My thanks goes out to Brandie and Ross for some of the songs! Enjoy!

1. Stay Young, Go Dancing- Death Cab For Cutie
2. You And I- Lady GaGa
3. Hair- Lady GaGa
4. Pump Up Kicks- Foster The People
5. Let It Out- Girl Talk

Training Lagniappe: Marathon Training for the Savannah Rock n Roll starts right after the 4th, PRR. Ah, I am nervous. I am hoping to break 4 hours and kick butt. I need some motivation and positive thoughts and support! :-) I know I can't get my long runs in around the city. Last marathon Ross and I trained mostly on the Big Creek Greenway, which was amazing. But that is too far away. Now I am filtering with the idea of joining a running group, or venturing out to some local trails around the city. I will keep y'all posted on my journey of my 2nd Full Marathon. It's a big deal. Really. I'm nervous, but excited. Send me positive thoughts in my upcoming 4 months of training!

Happy Running,
Jayme Bergeron, BS
ACSM Health Fitness Specialist

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