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Ace Your Next Race with Tips from Ironman Champs Jessica Jacobs and Linsey Corbin

Written on August 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm , by

Top tips from pro Corbin. (Photo courtesy of linseycorbin.com)

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

The FITNESS office has come down with a case of race-fever. It seems like every staffer and her brother/mother/significant other has either signed up for one and is in training, or they just kicked major asphalt. Granted, we are a little passionate over here—we recently crossed the happiest 5K and the New York City triathlon off our lists—but with fun races and Ironman events happening every weekend around the globe, how could you not get bitten by the fitness bug?

Of course, being excited about racing doesn’t necessarily make us seasoned experts. So we chatted with two of the most experienced triathlon pros, Jessica Jacobs, three-time Ironman winner, and Linsey Corbin, third-place winner at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and Kamut International spokesperson, and nabbed their top tips to help you train harder, race smarter and reach your ultimate goal. Away we go!


When training for the race…

Find a support group. “Having a group of people to train with is great because it promotes both healthy and social aspects,” says Corbin. “On days when you’re not that motivated, you have people who are holding you accountable, while still giving you a fun, social outlet.” (No friends nearby to form a group? Don’t sweat it! You can find a local running club at Running in the USA.)

Set small goals.  “Sometimes your ultimate, long-term goal can be pretty daunting, especially if it’s to run a marathon or complete the Ironman,” says Corbin. “Having lots of small goals that act as stepping stones will help you stay motivated while you reach that major milestone.” For a step-by-step guide to get you started, follow one of our 5K, 10K, or half-marathon training schedules. Want to step it up to three sports? Check out our tri guide.

Have an inspiration. “When I don’t feel like training, I tell myself, ‘I don’t have to do this, I get to do this,’” says Jacobs, a former U.S. Army officer. “I see military veterans who have wounds and scars that prevent them from being able to do what they would otherwise be capable of doing. On my low motivation days, I suck it up and tell myself to do it for those people. They’re the ones inspiring me; it’s my honor to get to do what so many of them have fought for.”

Be consistent. Consistency is key to shaving big time off your triathlon, according to Corbin, who recently ran a half marathon in only 1:20:16. “Rather than be a superhero and try to fit in just one amazing workout of the week, you’re better off having really consistent training every day of the week, regardless of intensity level,” says Corbin. “By setting up that week-to-week foundation, you can build up to consistent month-to-month training. When your training has a purpose, you’ll start to see big fitness gains.”

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Fit Links: 2013′s Top Food Trends and Fit Gift Picks

Written on December 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm , by

Beat the crowd! Start cooking with these foods now to wrap up 2012 in a healthy way. (Photo by Sarah Kehoe)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

How I Got Hooked on Trail Running

Written on May 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm , by

Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes, North Face pro, was on hand to cheer runners on!

Living in New York City, I don’t get that many opportunities to run on trails—the Bridle Path in Central Park is where I get my fix for dirt, rocks and maybe some mud after it rains. So when North Face asked me to join their Endurance Challenge Series at Bear Mountain State Park, I jumped at the chance. Not only was this my opportunity to run a new course (as an urban runner, I’m always looking for chances to keep my running routes fresh!), but in high school with my cross-country team Bear Mountain races were always my favorite. The park is gorgeous and the trails are ideal if you want that outdoor fix not far from the city.

Since my husband has recently picked up the sport of running (thanks to my reluctant nudging for him to do a triathlon with me—NYC Nautica 2012 here we come!), I signed him up as well. This would be his first race ever, unless we count the 10K he ran in elementary school he repeatedly pointed out. We made our way up to Bear Mountain from the city—a short trip by car or train—and I instantly got excited upon recognizing a place that looked basically the same as I last remembered it so long ago. We were set to do the 10K distance and knowing from the advice from trainers, this 10K would feel much longer and harder than a typical road race 10K would be. I knew from my April 2012 column on trail running (page 52) and the advice from Saucony coach Sharon Barbano that the tricks of the trail were to be followed: Take smaller strides for greater control on uneven terrain, pick up your feet more often than a typical stride and scan at least 10 feet ahead so I can see what’s coming up on the ground. I was pumped and ready to go.

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Got the Marathon Training Blues?

Written on September 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm , by

Visualize yourself crossing the finish line during tough training runs. (Photo by John Herr)

I’m halfway through my first marathon training plan, and let’s just say I’m in love with the idea of crossing that coveted finish line (and super-psyched to be part of such a big “club” here in New York City), but how the heck am I really going to run for 26.2 miles?! These are the thoughts going through my head as I do my long runs on weekends, passing each mile marker and thinking about the many many more I have ahead. I should be thinking inspiring things to move me forward, like how this is a goal I always wanted to check off my list or that if those older than me and some physically disabled can do this, then why can’t I?

However, the unknown and nerves surrounding 26.2 miles is playing games with my head! They say the most challenging physical demands you ask your body to do for you—like marathons, triathlons and even Ironman races—are also challenges of the mind. The mental component to accomplishing a goal is the will or desire to want to achieve it. So like Nike says, “Just Do It.”

So that I will, but not before I try some of these 11 mental tips from New York Sports Club Master Trainer and Running Coach, Monica Vazquez. (She’s run over 25 races: five full marathons, a handful of 5ks and many many half-marathons! Check her out at fitnessbymonica.com.)

For the smartest tricks to make it through your next long run, Read more

MORE/FITNESS Half-Marathon—a HUGE success!

Written on April 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm , by

Yesterday was FITNESS magazine’s 3rd annual MORE/FITNESS Half-Marathon—and the weather was in our favor indeed! Unlike past years, the temperature was just right and it was a sunny, beautiful day in Central Park. I learned that this particular race is the largest women’s only half-marathon in the country—way to go ladies! And it’s no wonder why: I haven’t seen race-day energy like this at any other race I’ve been involved with. There’s something really special about a women’s only race (sorry dudes) because the ladies really know how to make things fun. From tutus and hot pink knee socks to running with your mom, women make breaking a sweat a party you don’t want to miss. The racers were pumped up from start to finish and just being there, even as a spectator, made you feel like a better person. Since I was “working” on something special for the magazine, I wasn’t able to run the race, but I enjoyed keeping track of a few very special ladies who I’ve been working with for the past three months.

The line of runners stretches on and on...

The line of runners stretches on and on...

I also bumped into Tara Costa from season seven of The Biggest Loser. She ran the race with her best friend who is a newbie to the running thing. And, Tara looked great—still in prime form since leaving the show. Way to go Tara! Also at the race, was Healthy Tipping Point blogger Caitlin Boyle (also of Operation Beautiful). She was with other blogger friends, Jenn of Fit Bottomed Girls and Gabriela of Une Vie Saine, but they were walking the race due to injuries. I think that’s pretty awesome though—who says you have to just run a half-marathon? Walking is just as good, and with over 10,000 other participants the energy of the race makes it super fun! Thinking about walking your first half marathon? Check our Caitlin’s advice HERE and then try FITNESS’ walking plan to get started on your own walking goals.

Tara Costa from Biggest Loser & me at the finish line!

Tara Costa from Biggest Loser & me at the finish line!

For the past 10 weeks, our Half-Marathon Diaries blog has been following two runners, FITNESS’ fashion assistant Marla as she trains and runs her first half-marathon, and sales account director Susan who was running her third half-marathon but this time raising money for her favorite charity, Team Hole In The Wall Gang. They had different experiences but both stories are so inspiring. Is a half-marathon on your bucket list? If so, read about Marla and Susan’s 10 week training and start planning your first race too. Looking for even MORE inspiration? Check out my list of favorite running blogs!


Healthy Tipping Point: www.healthytippingpoint.com

Fit Bottomed Girls: www.fitbottomedgirls.com

Une Vie Saine: www.une-vie-saine.com

Half-Marathon Diaries: www.fitnessmagazine.com/blogs/halfmarathondiaries

Hungry Runner Girl: www.hungryrunnergirl.com

Sweat Once A Day: www.sweatonceaday.blogspot.com

Peanut Butter Runner: www.peanutbutterrunner.com

So, are you convinced yet that racing is totally awesome and just so much fun (not to mention SO good for your body and your mind too—oh and totally addicting!)? You’ll feel better once you take that first step, trust me. Okay so here’s all you need to start hitting the pavement today. If you can’t make it outdoors for a jog, try the treadmill. Just hop on one tonight and run for 15-20 minutes. Then everyday tack on a few minutes or another mile. It’s really that easy. The hardest part is starting—and since you only start something once, that can’t be so bad, now can it? If you need a nudge try following us on Twitter to stay motivated too!

If you need help or have a particular question about getting started on a walk or run plan, leave us your comments and I’ll definitely get back to you!