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Hello, Mr. Vice President: Meb Keflezighi is Ready for More Running—With You!

Written on July 23, 2014 at 5:03 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

When you’re an athlete, there’s nothing more golden than getting tips directly from the pros before the big day. As an aspiring runner, I’ve always admired Meb Keflezighi, not just for his incredible win at the 2014 Boston Marathon a few months ago (he was the first American to win it since 1983), but for the power, drive and passion he brings with him to every competition. And as a silver medalist of the 2004 Olympic Games (and countless other marathon wins), we’ve got the feeling he probably has some valuable training advice.

So we were pretty stoked when Competitor Group Inc.—a company that sponsors some really awesome sporting events like Run Rock ‘N’ Roll—announced Meb as the new vice president of running (side note: Can I have that title? It’s gotta be an awesome resume booster). Meb will use his passion and advice to help us mere mortal runners by developing training plans for us to follow to a T, popping up on social media with extra tips, and, of course, participating in a bunch of events—he’s already rocked (and rolled) at RNR San Diego, and you’ll find him lacing up for the Strip at Night, too. Basically, you can train like Meb and run with him, too. Umm, amazing!

So whether you’re nervous about competing in your first-ever marathon (like assistant web editor Samantha) or just eager to go out there and eat up the miles, Keflezighi has your back. Stay tuned for details on which races he’ll be at, and don’t forget to check out CGI’s website for updates.

Image courtesy of Competitor Group Inc.

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Ready, Set, Run! Training Plans for a 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon

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Marathon Musings: 5 Mistakes First-Timers Make

Written on July 21, 2014 at 9:18 am , by

After three years of regularly running and 10 half-marathons under my belt (along with tons of fit-spo from the FITNESS staff), I’m going after the illustrious 26.2-mile race that every runner dreams about: the New York City Marathon. The best part, for me? Running for Team Stop the Clot, a charity running team branched off the National Blood Clot Alliance. With so many important charities to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one, but as someone who’s been personally affected by blood clots (along with nearly a quarter million other women), it was the best fit. Want to know more about my story? Check it out here.

Now that training has kicked off for me and many others lacing up for a fall race, I’ve teamed up with Clif Bar athlete and coach Stephanie Howe to take me through the ups and downs of doubling my usual distance. And before I get into what I can do right, it was very important to find out what I could do wrong—and make sure not to, ya know, do it. Take warning, friends, as these are the five mistakes tons of first-time marathoners make.

Not fueling while running. While you can get away with it on shorter runs, there’s no skimping when mileage increases. “Hitting the wall” only happens when energy stores start to run out. Your bod needs a quick hit of sugar when racing, so “take in fuel, in the forms of gels or blocks, on any run longer than 90 minutes,” recommends Howe. And be sure to try tons of different varieties to find your perfect fit, as what works for your running bestie may not for you. I love Clif Bar’s Black Cherry Shot Bloks, but avoid all gels like the plague. Everybody’s different.

Taking in fuel too late. Now that you know the 90-minute rule, you want to nail the timing. If 90 minutes pass before you dig in, you’re already too late and won’t avoid the zonk. Instead, eat one gel (about 100 calories) every 20-30 minutes. A quick trick Howe gave me, since I regularly zone out and forget about time? “Set your watch alarm to beep every 20-30 minutes, so you get that regular reminder without having to think about it.” Done and done.

Waiting to eat post-run. Are you sensing a theme here? Clearly, nutrition is a major key to success in marathon training. To nix that “oh-my-god I can’t move my legs” feeling the day after your run (or even the day after that, courtesy of delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS), make sure you eat within 30 minutes of wrapping up the pavement-pounding. “Any fuel consumed in that window will be used immediately to start the recovery process because it goes directly to your muscles, rather than the entire body,” says Howe. If you, like me, hate thinking about food immediately following a run, don’t fret: a buffet of food isn’t necessary. “A Clif or Luna bar, 8 ounces of a Clif Shot recovery drink or chocolate milk are all good options,” suggests Howe.

Running easy runs too fast. This one is key, and a mistake I’ve definitely committed more than once. ‘Cause when you’re feeling good and everything is clicking, it’s tempting to push at a slightly faster pace. Don’t do it, Howe warns. Think of it as a pacing spectrum, with “very slow” on one end, and “very fast” on the other. If you spend a ton of time in the middle, you’ll short-change your progress. “Spending time at each end will improve your fitness, teach you how to adjust to different levels of difficulty, and prevent overtraining,” explains Howe. So when coach says “easy,” she really means it.

Skimping on rest. No rest for the weary, right? Wrong, so wrong. “The goal of training is to place stress on the body that will improve your overall fitness,” explains Howe. “These adaptations happen when the body is resting, so if you skip it, you’re opening yourself up to overtraining, injury and illness.” Obviously I don’t want any of those, so coach has me resting at least one day per week. And when she says rest, that is not code for “go take a  yoga class or walk all over the city with friends.” Instead, it means binge-watch Orange is the New Black or go get a massage, which Howe also highly recommends (the massage, not necessarily OITNB). Girl, you don’t have to tell me twice.

Photo courtesy of Clif Bar 

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Follow Our Marathon Training Plan!

Everything You Need to Ace Your Race

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APL’s New Sneaker Promises to Take Minutes Off Your Mile

Written on June 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm , by

Written by Katie Maguire, fashion assistant

It’s official: Athletic Propulsion Labs has launched the coolest new running shoe. APL is an athletic footwear company founded by the adorable Goldston twins, who know what they’re talking about when it comes to sports: both played basketball and football at the University of Southern California. Shortly after the brand’s initial launch in 2009, it gained widespread attention when the NBA banned all players from wearing APL basketball shoes, which claimed to help basketball players jump higher than normal, thanks to a spring-like device hidden inside the shoe. With press like that, the company quickly designed new ways to revolutionize all athletic shoes.

Their new running line includes 3 collections: The Joyride, The TechloomTM and The Windchill, each of which is designed to reduce stress on your feet in order to maximize your energy while running. We have yet to test the shoes out, but if this company’s past is any indication, I don’t want to wait much longer. To learn more about the company or buy a pair for yourself, check out their website. And be sure to post your results in the comments section below!

Photo courtesy of APL 

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Lighten Your Stride: How to Transition into Minimalist Sneakers

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Ready, Set, Run! Training Plans for a 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon

 

We Tried It: Speed Camp, Part 3

Written on June 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Get Inspired By The Greats

Meet Mohamed “Mo” Farah

He’s a double gold medalist in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the London Olympic Games. Here, Mo’s top tips:

Take care of your body. If you want to get faster, the most important thing you can do is stay injury-free. “I do this by wearing the right shoes and training sensibly,” says Farah. “I also look after my body: take ice baths, get massages, do my weights.”

Have a race day ritual. Sticking to a routine will help you stay calm on the big day. “Most of my races are in the evening,” says Farah. “So I wake up and go for a little jog in the morning. When I come back, I have breakfast and shave my head. In the afternoon, I listen to some music and take a nap.”

Get in the zone. Feeling nervous? “Think back about your training and how hard you’ve worked,” says Farah. “That’s what really gets me going.” 

Now meet Carmelita Jeter

No wonder her nickname is “The Jet.” This Olympic gold medalist and American sprinter who specializes in the 100-meter is the fastest woman in the world. Down-to-earth Jeter is all about the three C’s:

Catnaps: On days when she has an especially rigorous workout, she takes a 30- or 60-minute nap to help her body recover. “Every night, I try to get at least eight to ten hours of sleep,” she says.

Core work: “During the season, I have a special trainer who focuses just on the core muscles,” she says. “It’s not just about lifting tons of weights. It’s about making sure I have a strong foundation.”

Cupcakes: Jeter started working with a nutritionist last year, who has her eating baked fish and chicken and lots of veggies and brown rice. But she doesn’t deprive herself. “People assume that because I’m an athlete, I never eat anything sweet,” says Jeter. “I will tear up some cupcakes. One cupcake is not going to ruin the diet.”

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Speed Camp, Part 1

Speed Camp, Part 2

Equinox’s Flow Play

We Tried It: Speed Camp, Part 2

Written on June 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Your Speed Secret Weapon

Alex Molden, a retired football player who spent eight seasons as a defensive back in the NFL, knows a little something about speed. I met him on the field at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium, where he played for the Ducks. Today he’s a master trainer for Nike—you may recognize him if you’ve played the Nike+ Kinect Training game for Xbox360; he’s the trainer.

One of the most effective ways to increase your speed, says Molden, is resisted running. That’s what I’m doing in the photo above. You run with a belt around your waist with a bungee cord attached to it. Your partner (in my case, an extremely ripped former NFL player) jogs behind you, holding on to the cord to provide steady resistance. We did 10-yard sprints—burn, baby, burn!

Another killer speed builder? Stair running.

Try them both, but keep in mind Molden’s sprint-form secrets:

Arms: Move them back and forward, not across the body. Think of your palms going from cheek (of your face) to cheek (of your bum).

Knees: Keep knees high, bring them up to 90 degrees.

Feet: They should be flexed and driving down.

Check back for Speed Camp, Part 3, tomorrow!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Speed Camp, Part 1

Doonya Fitness Party

NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up 

We Tried It: Nike Speed Camp

Written on June 9, 2014 at 4:46 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Try This Workout! 

When I got the invitation to attend Nike Zoom Speed Camp in Eugene, Oregon, (a.k.a. Tracktown, USA), I was equal parts nervous and excited. Excited because I’ve had a love affair with running since I joined the high-school cross-country team as a tenth grader (how amazing to run on the track at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, following in the footsteps of Steve Prefontaine and dozens of Olympians). Nervous because I’ve never been particularly, well, speedy. My running style has always been more tortoise than hare.

I was shaking in my Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 sneakers when I met my coach: Rory Fraser, one of the best distance runners in the country and the second fastest 5,000-meter runner in the U.K. Gulp. Fraser put me at ease by insisting that speed work is for everyone, not just elite athletes. Then he put me to work on the track doing one of his favorite speed drills, a pyramid workout. You push yourself to run faster over increasingly longer distances, then come back down to where you started. Try our workout—don’t forget to do an easy jog to warm-up and cool-down, as well as some dynamic stretching beforehand. 

And for those who need a reminder, 400 meters is one lap around the track. So here you’ll be doing either a half lap, a full lap, or two laps throughout the workout. Happy sweating!

  • 200 meters fast
  • 200 meters jog
  • 400 meters fast
  • 400 meters jog
  • 800 meters fast
  • 400 meters jog
  • 400 meters fast
  • 200 meters jog
  • 200 meters fast

Check back for Speed Camp, Part 2, tomorrow!

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Body Conceptions

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DailyBurn’s Inferno HR

 

Get Your National #RunningDay On with These Deals and Steals

Written on June 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm , by

In the FITNESS offices, National Running Day truly is a major holiday. It’s almost as big of a deal as Christmas. So many staffers love lacing up and pounding out a few miles, and the post-run high has been floating in the air all day. But there’s still a few of us who need to get their miles in, and for them—and you!—I have a few fun tricks up my sleeve.

First, if you feel like you’re slacking on motivation, my go-to cure is to sign up for a race. After all, there’s nothing like laying down some cold-hard cash to get my butt in gear. So the first thing I did today was head on over to one of my fave race organizers, Run Rock ‘n’ Roll, because as long as you sign up today, you’ll nab $20 off the registration price! And with options to run a 5K, half or full at almost all of their events (or if you’re really feeling ambitious, run more than one during a weekend and score special Running Festival bling), you can find the distance that makes your heart sing. I’ve got my eye on you, Windy City

Now that you’re signed up for a race, feed off that excitement and hit the road today! New York Road Runners is doing an amazing job of celebrating throughout the city, so if you’re nearby, hit up one of these group events to meet like-minded rock stars:

  • Manhattan: Team for Kids Happy Hour at The Parlour, 7 p.m. Runners will meet Team for Kids runners and coaches, and learn how to get guaranteed entry into the New York City Marathon. RSVP here.
  • Brooklyn: Brooklyn Bridge Park Water Stop and Giveaways, 5-7 p.m. Rehydrate mid-run, customize a National Running Day bib and score a free five-borough bandana. Want to run with new friends? There’s a group leaving the water stop at 6:30 p.m. and all are welcome.
  • Brooklyn: Singlets Mixer Happy Hour, 7-9:30 p.m. After you wrap up your run, head to Fornino on Pier 6, where you’ll meet people from more than 100 running clubs that you can join throughout the city. RSVP here.
  • Staten Island: Clove Lakes Park Water Stop and Giveaways, 6-7:30 p.m. Same deal as the Brooklyn Bridge water stop, but for runners passing by Clove Road and Cheshire. Head to Pepper Jack Grill afterward for an 8 p.m. happy hour.
  • Bronx: Van Cortlandt Park Giveaways and Group Run, 5-7 p.m. Join the Van Cortland Track Club leaders at 6 p.m. for a run from the Tortoise and Hare statue.

And last but not least, I can’t send you out on a run without some fresh tunes! Aloe Blacc is a fave artist to listen to while banging out some miles, and he just so happened to be the headliner at Run Rock ‘n’ Roll’s half-marathon in San Diego last weekend. Since I already have a ton of his music on my playlist (obviously), my friends over at RNR sent over some fresh tunes inspired by the musician. Plug in and enjoy. 

More from FITNESS: 

 FITNESS’ Half-Marathon Training Guide

Hit the Fast Lane: The 5K Track Workout

The Workout for You and Your Running Bestie

Vending Machine Equals…Running Gear? Westin’s Social Media-Activated Machine Gives FREE Equipment

Written on June 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

It’s that time again—National Running Day! To celebrate one of FITNESS’ favorite holidays, Westin Hotels & Resorts has come up with a truly innovative way to make running interactive, fun and socially awesome. How, you ask? With a vending machine.

Wait…what?

Your typical vending machine dishes out lots of no-good sweets, chips and sugar-laden soda. Others are dispensing cupcakes and candy bars. But this one is more our style because not only does it require the use of social media (because let’s face it, we’re addicted), but it hands out New Balance workout gear…for free.  Yes, free!

The Westin and New Balance companies will unleash this cool, one-of-a-kind machine in New York City tomorrow outside of The Westin New York Grand Central. Stop by anytime after 8:30am to grab your gear, then head out to pound a little pavement.  

Oh, and I should mention one other feature about the vending machine: it runs through social media. What the heck does that mean? Instead of slipping coins into a junk food-filled contraption, the Westin vending machine accepts only one type of currency—tweets. Simply tweet “I want to run with @Westin”, include your gender and size, and the machine will distribute New Balance shirts, shorts, socks, and shoes (among other items) for free! All gear is completely complimentary, courtesy of Westin and New Balance.

And for you city folk who don’t want to go it alone, Chris Heuisler, Westin’s RunWESTIN concierge, will lead a 10:30a.m. 5K run. The Westin welcomes all, whether it be guests, employees, or those who just happen to be strolling through midtown in the morning (lucky ducks!). So basically, you have no excuse not to get your run on.

Whether you wish to attempt your best Usain Bolt impersonation or just jog with a friend, Westin’s National Running Day event will allow everyone to be active, and most importantly, to have fun. See you there!

Photo courtesy of Westin 

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A Running Workout for You and Your BFF

Hit the Fast Lane: The 5K Track Workout

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What’s Next for Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi

Written on May 13, 2014 at 12:10 pm , by

“USA, USA, USA!” It was these patriotic chants echoing through the streets of Massachusetts’ capital last month that carried Meb Keflezighi to the end of the Boston Marathon…first. Winning the epic race “was the missing link” and career “exclamation mark” Keflezighi had been working toward for years, not to mention a fairytale finish driving home that Boston Strong spirit.

“I really [ran] with three goals in mind: win, top three or at least personal best,” Keflezighi told us during a cookie break at our office (he’s a fan of Wichcraft’s Peanut Butter Cream’wiches!). “I did all three and to run in 2:08:37 on this tough, difficult course, to become the first American in 31 years to win it…is beyond belief.”

Like many runners, Keflezighi, who left last year’s race five minutes before the bombings, trained for 365 days to turn tragedy into a positive moment. “We were running for something greater than just a race. It was an attribution to the people that had been affected,” he said. “As runners, we were resilient. We didn’t give up!”

Insert chills here.

So, how can you succeed like this speedster? Persistence is key, he said, both in running and life. “It’s not about the money, it’s not about the fame. It’s about doing what you were created to do on this Earth,” the ElliptiGO Project athlete said. “That’s what drives me every day, no matter what. Can I tap that potential?”

If you’re looking to PR this summer, listen up! Keflezighi will be pacing the 1:30 half-marathon group at the Suja Run Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon on June 1st. “San Diego is where I grew up and where I’ve won two titles in Rock ‘n’ Roll…I’m excited!” he said. Talk about runspiration! Register now, and get amped before race day with the play-by-play of his big win below.

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One Year Later: The Boston Marathon

Written on May 6, 2014 at 11:16 am , by

In our April issue, runner Marissa Hill gave readers a first-person account of what it felt like to be in the Boston Marathon at the time of last year’s bombing. Hill, running for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, returned to complete the marathon this year. Here’s her story:

Hill getting ready to head to the start line. (Photo courtesy Marissa Hill)

It would be hard to pick a day in my life in which I had experienced more positive energy, more love and hope and community support, than on that special Monday last week when I ran the Boston Marathon. As I headed into my corral I was surrounded by other charity runners, yet no one was really talking about last year.  Everyone seemed positive­–focused on the race ahead and how he or she was going to do that day. I popped my headphones in my ears without the sound for the start – I wanted to be able to hear the cheering crowd as I crossed the starting line.

It was hard to believe I was there. While training for and running the 2013 Boston Marathon, I had no interest in ever running a marathon again. And then everything changed. With the terror attacks at the finish line, I felt at a loss.  What could I do to help, to make this better? I quickly vowed to run again—to finish the race. Of course, this was easier said than done.

Training after the tragedy was difficult, and I found myself avoiding thinking about it and not running at all. When I did begin running again, I focused solely on mileage and the training plans; I put the bombings to the side. It was only in the last few weeks up until this year’s marathon that I realized I was still grieving. I knew that after months of training hard and pushing myself physically, I needed to focus on the mental aspect. Really, with any exercise, it is less about physically doing it, and more about mentally willing yourself. During my long training runs in the snow I focused on positivity—how else can you run in freezing temperatures for 20-plus miles? You tell yourself you can.

So that is what I did—that last week before the marathon, I told myself, “Yes, you can.” It was my new mantra. I focused on the anniversary of the bombings, and gave myself permission to feel upset, to feel sadness, loss and heartache. And then I reminded myself that my way of coping, my way of doing something about last year’s tragedy, was to run, to show up again and finish this thing.

I have heard people say there is nothing quite like running Boston, and it is true—the Boston Marathon is special. The people cheering you on, the historic course, the memories from last year—they all came together and pushed me forward. I kept looking for the spot where I was stopped last year, near Heartbreak Hill.  I obviously passed it, but didn’t recognize the exact spot. I knew I was close and kept waiting for terrible hills, and then all of a sudden I saw signs saying “You made it past Heartbreak Hill.” Thanks to training and the willpower to keep going this past year, I didn’t even realize I was on the hill!

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