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Better, Faster, Stronger: 6 Marathon Running Tips from Celeb Trainer Ashley Borden

Written on July 11, 2013 at 10:30 am , by


That’s our editor-in-chief, Betty Wong, partying it up during the 2011 ING NYC Marathon!

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

Summer is in full swing, and you know what that means—the hottest marathons are nearly here! If this is your first time running a major-distance race, the experience can be a bit overwhelming. From finding proper-fitting shoes to mastering pre-run jitters, there’s a lot to learn while powering through all those warm-weather training runs. Luckily, we talked to celeb trainer and FITNESS advisory board member Ashley Borden (Um, she’s worked with Ry Gos. Lucky gal!) to get the top tips every marathoner should know before lacing up her sneaks.

Don’t go at it alone. Developing training habits and discipline by yourself can be difficult, especially if you’re just starting out. “Really try to recruit a friend to help hold you accountable,” says Borden. “Sit down with your training partner and plan out workouts for the month, so it’s in your phone, on your calendar, and it’s non-negotiable.” No nearby friends and zero motivation? “Find a running club,” suggests Borden; “Look online—you’d be surprised by how many free running clubs are all over cities.” We love Road Runners Club of America for finding fellow pavement pounders nearby.

Make a plan. “If you have no idea what you’re doing, or it’s your first time, I cannot stress enough that you really need to be either online downloading a program that will help you understand how to space out your running, or you need to be working with a trainer,” explains Borden. “If you over-train, you’ll be broken down, and if you’re under-trained, you’ll be unprepared. Get a trainer or get a program.”

Find the perfect fit. When you’re running 26.2 miles (those .2 make a difference!) in the pouring rain and brutal heat, shoes can make or break you. “Go to a running store and have an expert watch you run to see what your feet are doing,” advises Borden. “They’ll be able to tell if you pronate or supinate, meaning your feet collapse in or roll out on impact.” After, they’ll make sure your feet land in the proper sneaks for every upcoming adventure. “The arches of your feet are the basis of your entire body’s performance,” says Borden. “So when you have the right support on the arches of the feet, you will notice a huge difference in comfort.”

If you are stuck dealing with blisters or raw skin from ill-fitting shoes, Borden recommends keeping some bandages in your gym bag. Her go-to? New Skin liquid bandage, which she keeps in a bubble-wrapped container for running emergencies.

Do your loop. Before race day, drive or bike the marathon route so you can visualize it before the big day. “When you see what you’re going to be doing, you’re not as defeated out the door on the first day,” says Borden. “You won’t be like, ‘When is this going to end? How long is another three miles?’ You’ll learn your distances and your mile markets when you’ve ridden through it.”

Get rolling. When you’re strength training and preparing for a marathon, recovery is crucial. “If you don’t have a foam roller, you better run to the store and embrace a foam roller as your new best friend,” says Borden. “The rolling out helps to flush lactic acid, which speeds recovery the next day and helps with both mobility and performance.” To prevent post-run ouch, roll out before and after you run to loosen up muscles.

Start a journal. “After each of your runs, record in a journal how you feel physically and mentally,” suggests Ashley. “Always note what you ate before the run and how you felt after, so you can chart how certain foods impact your performance.” Don’t be afraid to experiment during training runs. After all, you’ll need to follow the long-distance runner’s cardinal rule: Nothing new on race day!

More from FITNESS:

From Non-Runner to Marathon Runner

You Know You’re a Runner When…

Running in the Heat Safely

Fit Blogger We Love: Live Run Love Yoga

Written on November 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm , by

Whitney always gives us the reminder to show our bodies some love.

While some of us discover our passions later in life, Whitney from Live Run Love Yoga found hers early: running and yoga. The fitness enthusiast has been active since she was a young girl and hasn’t stopped since! Now an accomplished marathoner who loves flowing through sun salutations just as much as she enjoys lacing up her sneaks, Whitney’s page is one we often turn to when in need of a good stretch (we admit, we don’t always practice as much as we should!). Keep reading to find out which races she has her eye on and what beauty product might need to make its way into your gym bag.

My favorite way to work out: I love to hit the pavement for a run and then find my way to the yoga mat to stretch out my tight muscles. Not to mention it works my abs and upper body!

On my fit life list: Complete the World Marathon Majors! I’ve run the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon and the Chicago Marathon. Next up, London and Berlin! I also really want to run the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco!

I’m happiest when I’m: Doing anything that involves running or yoga! Whether it’s running or working a race, talking or blogging about those subjects, or being in the studio practicing, teaching or learning. I’m fortunate that my jobs are my passions!

My gym bag must-have: Yes To Cucumber or Yes to Blueberry Facial Towelettes. They’re so refreshing; I love them!

My motivation comes from: Myself! It’s my own love of running and yoga that gets me out of bed at 5am or through a 20-mile long run. I love the satisfaction and sense of confidence that my runs and practice provide; it’s what keeps me coming back for more each day!

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

Medtronic Global Heroes Overcome Illness and Fear With Running

Written on October 3, 2012 at 10:44 am , by

Ellie sped along at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half to a high-energy playlist including artists like the Black Eyed Peas, Girl Talk, Akon and Outcast. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Wilhelm)

As Christopher McDougall said in his book, Born to Run, “The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other…but to be with each other.” Thanks to advances in medical technology, 25 long-distance runners who have struggled with chronic illnesses will be competing side-by-side in the upcoming Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and 10 Mile races. These individuals, named 2012’s “Medtronic Global Heroes,” will celebrate their perseverance, accomplishments and passions for running on October 7.

We caught up with two of the female heroes, 10 mile contestant, Ellie Wilhelm and marathon participant, Rhonda Foulds (a Get-Healthy Success Story). Being diagnosed with a congenital heart condition and Parkinson’s disease, respectively, has not held these two fighters back from pursuing their dreams. Here’s a look at their inspiring stories.

Ellie, 28, was 4-years-old when she was diagnosed with Atrial-Ventricular Septal Defect. She underwent open-heart surgery and had an active childhood until fainting spells in the 6th grade raised alarm. “I needed a pacemaker. I realized that I was not invincible and this is when my anxiety related to exercised developed,” Ellie said. Ellie struggled emotionally through high school and college athletics, often giving up in fear of pushing herself too hard. “A light bulb went off after college that told me that the only thing holding me back was ME.”

Ellie started small, working her way up to her first half-marathon with regular 5k races and completed her first 26.2 this past Memorial Day weekend. “Sometimes all I need is a run to keep me from making a poor food choice and relieve stress. The pacemaker should NOT be a limitation.” With more energy and her fitness fear behind her, Ellie has gotten involved in her community through running, joining the Ironheart Racing Team, a national organization that raises money and awareness for congenital heart defects (CHD), as well as Girls on the Run, an after-school program that teaches young girls about self-esteem, character, team building and healthy living. Read more

Fit Blogger We Love: STUFT Mama

Written on September 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm , by

Lifting up those adorable boys must have helped Kristin sculpt those unbelievable arms!

True, she’s a marathoner, group fitness instructor and personal trainer, but we’re pretty sure any busy mom—or woman in general—will relate to STUFT Mama‘s Kristin. In a recent post, she hilariously used her compression socks as an excuse not to shave her legs (love those time-saving tricks!).

We love her humorous approach to all things fitness, so we asked this speedy mom of twins to share the tips and tools that keep her energized and how she treats herself after all those hard workouts.

My fitness mantra: I have a couple:

  1. “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.” I tell my clients that every step towards health counts, even if it’s a small one. We have the opportunity every day to succeed instead of letting fear or insecurity hold us back. Being uncomfortable and going for it is not a bad thing.
  2. “You can do anything you want, anything you put your heart and your mind into.” —Ronald Miller, Can’t Buy Me Love

My “I Did It” moment: When I finished my very first marathon right after my twins turned one. I always told myself that I wanted to be that person who stayed fit throughout pregnancy and then ran a marathon after having kids. That’s exactly what I did and now racing is a part of who I am. In a way I got to live the dream I always wanted. I have since gotten a Boston qualifying time.

My biggest motivation comes from: Being the best mom I can be to my boys. It’s hard to balance motherhood, career and taking time to exercise and take care of myself, but every day I want to lead by example and show my boys the importance of healthy eating and fitness.

5 things I can’t live without: My BOB double jogging stroller, Mizuno running shoes, egg whites, dark chocolate and espresso.

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: I have more than one Kenny Loggins song on my current playlist. “Footloose” is my favorite.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

I Run Because…First Female Marathoner Kathrine Switzer Tells Us Why on National Running Day

Written on June 6, 2012 at 9:25 am , by

At 65, Switzer is still racing. (Photo courtesy of Joan Barker Images)

Here at FITNESS, we couldn’t think of anyone more fitting to highlight on National Running Day 2012 than Kathrine Switzer. As one of the women highlighted in the PBS/AOL partnership MAKERS, Switzer is sharing more about what it was like to be the first female to officially enter—and complete—a marathon, despite nearly being pushed off the course by a race director.

She surely inspires us, but who inspires Switzer? “The people creating the MAKERS program are visionaries. They’re archiving an oral history of all of these amazing women so that others can use them as resources in the future,” she says.

Read on to learn about how Switzer got her running start, what she was thinking when a race official tried to knock her off of the course during that first race and her hopes for the future of women in sports.

How did you first get started with running? Why do you love it?

My dad motivated me when I was young. He told me that if I run just one mile a day, I’ll become an athlete. That changed my life because I felt empowered. Finishing a run was a sense of victory no one could take away. If I could run a mile, maybe I could write for the student newspaper or be on the prom committee. Later, when I was at Syracuse University, I met the coach for the men’s cross country team. He and his team welcomed me to train with them and were all wonderful.

What were you thinking when you were being pushed off the course as the first woman officially running a marathon at Boston in 1967?

It was a real surprise. The race director attacked me very suddenly and it scared the hell out of me! Other men on the course were saying, “Keep going!” My boyfriend threw a cross-body block to throw the race director off course. That was my defining moment—I knew I would finish then. I was not the clown the race director made me out to be.

Sometimes when bad things happen, they are the best things. Now, not a day goes by that I don’t thank that race director!

See a photo of Switzer’s “defining moment” and read more about her journey below.

Read more

3 Tips to Run Better and Stronger From Olympian Meb Keflezighi

Written on May 30, 2012 at 9:59 am , by

Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern

Get a running start on your summer training with these tips. (Photo by Karen Pearson)

In just a couple short months, you’ll be watching the best of the best from across the world compete in London for gold. Among the contenders? America’s own Meb Keflezighi, a distance runner who took top honors at the trials in Houston with a marathon time of 2:09:08 (yes, that’s an amazing sub-5-minute mile pace for 26.2 miles!).

Besides being an all-star athlete, Keflezighi is passionate about helping others through the organization he founded, the MEB (Maintaining Excellent Balance) Foundation. His career has taught him the importance of chasing your passions. “You have to believe in yourself. That is number one!” Keflezighi told us. “Many people told me I couldn’t do this, but I knew that I could. So can you.”

We caught up with Keflezighi—thank goodness he didn’t have his racing shoes on—to gather his top three tips for runners training at any speed.

  1. Find your support system. “The people who are counting on me, supporting me and encouraging me give me great motivation! I’m representing them and I can’t let them down,” Keflezighi says. “Another great way to stay motivated is to find accountability. Meet someone to work out, and then you know you’ll be there. You would never not show up for a coffee meeting. It’s the same for an exercise meeting!”
  2. Give yourself a break. “It’s OK to mix up your training. Always cross train! It’s a great way to keep pushing your body and work different muscles, and it helps reduce injury. Also, you’ll have days where rest will do you good and may be the best thing for you. Take advantage of that free time, and if you’re feeling off remember: there will be brighter days,” Keflezighi recommends.
  3. Step two will never happen without step one. You’ve got to go for it! “Don’t be too intimidated to try. Running gives you this therapeutic energy. Just start with one mile and see how it goes, he says. “If you run one half-marathon, it’s such an accomplishment! I ran my first 10K in college and said never again. And then I ran my first marathon, and I also said never again, but look here I am. Once you get into a good habit you’re used to it and it’s easier to keep it up.”

Now tell us: What’s the best fitness advice you’ve ever received?

Music Monday: Catchy Country Playlist

Written on April 23, 2012 at 9:49 am , by

Country music is definitely having a moment. From Taylor Swift winning big at the Grammys to the ever-present “Red Solo Cup,” fans are dancing in their cowboy boots—or sneakers! So we asked the folks organizing the music for this weekend’s St. Jude Country Music Marathon in Nashville to share a playlist of greatest hits. Download the following songs to get a taste of some of the 50 artists who will be performing at the event, as well as the music that will pump up the runners (including our own editorial assistant Samantha, who’s tackling the half!).

Participants will jam to these tunes during Sunday's race. (Photo courtesy of St. Jude Research Hospital)

Now tell us: What genre of music pumps you up the most during your workouts?

Fit Links: Say Bye-Bye to Blisters and Order Slim Fast Food

Written on April 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm , by

Feet not quite this flawless? At least you can protect them. (Photo by Ericka McConnell)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Fit Blogger We Love: Eat: Watch: Run

Written on March 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm , by

Paula owned her "I Did It" moment after finishing her second marathon in December 2011.

If you’re in need of a good laugh with a mix of running and tough workouts, head over to Eat: Watch: Run. We love that Paula isn’t embarrassed easily and incorporates a balance of “everything in moderation” into her life. Keep reading to find out what pushes her to the finish line, then head to her blog for more comedic action.

My fave fit snack: I love bananas or saltines with sunflower seed butter. If bananas or saltines aren’t available, I’m not against dipping a finger in the jar.

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio. Actually, I didn’t think it was embarrassing until it came on my iPod in the car and my husband said, “Coolio? Really?”

Olympic sport I’d love to try: Figure skating. I love how graceful it looks. Also, it’s the only sport where you’re expected to wear sequined leotards, which I fully support. When I ice skate though, I have to hold on to the sides of the rink to stay vertical, so it might be best to go with Olympic ribbon twirling instead.

My “I Did It” moment: Finishing my second marathon. You think it would have been my first, but I was so miserable after that first 26.2 that I only focused on the disappointment. My second marathon showed me that trying again is so important and that failing doesn’t define you, but shapes you.

My motivation comes from: Inside myself. Wow, that sounds cheesy. But it’s true. Staying active is what makes me feel happy, healthy and grounded. I can’t be happy in other aspects of my life when I’m not happy with myself, and that feeling is what keeps me going.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

Fit Blogger We Love: Run Stronger Every Day

Written on December 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm , by

Abby's all smiles after finishing the Philadelphia Marathon this fall!

A runner through and through, Abby from Run Stronger Every Day had her world (especially her workouts) flipped upside down a year and a half ago when she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the colon. Not letting it hinder her daily sweat sessions, she learned how to work with her condition and live up to her motto, “now go out and run!” We caught up with this speedster to find out more about her fit life and who reminds her to keep going strong.

My favorite way to work out: Running, of course! I’ve been running since I was 10 and there is no better way for me to sweat than to lace up my shoes and head out for a run.

On my fit life list: Once I finish my Ph.D. in physical therapy (December 2015!), I want to run the Honolulu marathon and go on a Hawaiian vacation! Maybe I’ll run my 3:30 marathon time there. Who knows, you gotta have goals!

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I workout to: Bat Out of Hell,” by Meat Loaf. My parents are big classic rock fans and that’s pretty much all that’s played in the gym in their house. It has a killer beat.

My “I Did It” moment: When I finished the Jersey Shore marathon in May 2011 during the worst ulcerative colitis flare-up I’ve ever had. It was physically the worst experience of my life. I struggled from mile 13 to 20, but finished the last six really strong. I knew right then and there that this disease would never define or destroy me.

My biggest motivator is: My husband. He makes me brave. And my parents. They both beat cancer and taught me to never, ever give up.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com