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Whatever your fitness level, get inspired -- and in shape -- to run double-digit miles in 10 weeks with our half-marathon plan. We've got all the moves, meals, gear, and motivation you need from start to finish line.
Repeat after us: A strong butt equals a happy runner.
"Strengthen your glutes and you'll not only move faster but also cut your chances of injury," says Jordan Metzl, MD, a sports medicine doc at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery. Do these butt firmers from Andrew Kalley, senior triathlon coach at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers in New York City, to boost your assets.Weighted Squat
-- Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand.
-- Slowly return to start position. Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.Single-Leg Dead Lift
Targets: Butt and hamstrings
-- Stand with feet together, holding a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, palms facing fronts of thighs.
-- Raise right leg behind you slightly.
-- With back flat, hinge forward from hips and lift right leg behind you until body is parallel to floor from head to right heel.
-- Return to standing.
-- Do 8 to 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets.Step Up
-- Stand with feet hip-width apart, facing a step or a bench and holding a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, arms by sides.
-- Step with left foot onto bench, then bring bent right knee up to hip level.
-- Step down with right leg, then left leg to return to start. Switch sides and repeat to complete 1 rep.
-- Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.More Exercises for Runners
You know carbs are crucial, but the question is how to hit the spot without overdoing it. "For the three days pre-race, increase carbs from 55 percent of your diet to 70 percent, and up your calories to 2,900," says Stephanie Middleberg, RD, a sports nutritionist in New York City. For a 140-pound woman, that's 515 grams of carbs a day, as in the sample menu below.Breakfast: Warm Apple-Raisin Oatmeal
Mix together 1 cup dry oatmeal, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 medium apple, sliced. 610 calories, 16g protein, 128g carbohydrate, 6g fat (1g saturated), 14g fiberSnack: Nature Valley Granola Bar in Oats 'n Honey
190 calories, 4g protein, 29g carbohydrate, 6g fat (0.5g saturated), 2g fiberLunch: Turkey and Hummus Sandwich with Lentil Soup and Applesauce
Toast 2 slices whole wheat bread. Spread each piece with 1 tablespoon hummus and top with 3 ounces turkey, lettuce, and 2 slices tomato. Serve with 1 cup lentil soup (try Amy's Organic Lentil Soup) and 1 cup applesauce. 685 calories, 39g protein, 109g carbohydrate, 11.5g fat (1g saturated), 14g fiberSnack: Banana and Almond Butter Treat
Toast an English muffin. On each half, spread 1/2 teaspoon almond butter and 1/2 tablespoon honey. Top with 1/2-inch slices banana. 285 calories, 10g protein, 60g carbohydrate, 4g fat (0.5g saturated), 5g fiberDinner: Quinoa Pasta with Turkey Marinara
Cook 1 1/2 cups quinoa pasta. Heat a nonstick pan, coat with cooking spray, and saute 4 ounces ground lean turkey 3 to 5 minutes, until browned. Add turkey and 1/2 cup marinara sauce to quinoa pasta and mix. Serve with 1 cup sauteed spinach (drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil) and 1 roll. 1,000 calories, 44g protein, 163g carbohydrate, 10.5g fat (1g saturated), 18g fiberSnack: 2 Fig Newtons and 1/2 cup skim milk
130 calories, 5g protein, 28g carbohydrate, 0g fat, 1g fiberMore Recipes for Runners
Your body can typically get by on plain H2O for the first hour of your run, but what then? Middleberg recommends having 100 calories, or about 30 grams of carbohydrate, for every hour you're running beyond that mark.
Fruity-Flavored Energy Boosts
Gatorade Perform O2 in Frost Glacier Freeze
Gu Roctane Pineapple
Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews in Fruit Smoothie
Chocolaty Energy Boosts
Clif Shot Energy Gel in Mocha
PowerBar Energy Bites in Chocolate
Luna Bar Nutz Over Chocolate
Sport these easy pieces to make your race a breeze.
1. The airy, sweat-wicking Craft Cool Mesh Tee has side and back mesh panels. ($45, craft-usa.com)
2. The Nike Swift U-Back Women's Sports Bra has adjustable padded straps, smooth seams, and a back clasp to ban the bounce. ($50, nike.com)
3. Bust gusts without getting weighed down; this superlight Windrunner Vest by Alo also has pockets for your ID and other necessities. ($49, alosport.com)
4. The North Face Better Than Naked shorts, with built-in briefs, are soft and next-to-nothing light; they have a back zip slot and two extra pockets to stash your stuff in. ($50, thenorthface.com)
5. Bear starting-line chills in New Balance NBx Arm Sleeves with thumb holes. Bonus: Store your MP3 player in a ready-made slot. ($25, newbalance.com)Motivation to Move It
Steal these stay-psyched strategies from other women who've logged the miles.
Put it in writing. "I have friends write inspirational words on my arms so I can read them when things get tough on the course."
-- Katie Sturtevant, 25, Columbia, Maryland
Get racing stripes. "I paint my nails red, like warrior paint!"
-- Teresa Przetocki, 28, St. Petersburg, Florida
Recruit an imaginary running partner."To get through the long runs, I dedicate each mile to someone special in my life. I focus on that person for the entire mile, and it inspires me not to let them down."
-- Katy Crawshaw Swab, 42, Acworth, Georgia
Talk it out. "I tell myself to run like I stole something, and it gives me a pick-me-up."
-- Laurie Hilke, 40, Brunswick, OhioGet a Running Buddy
"I ran the MORE/FITNESS half in 2010, but this time I'm doing it to raise money for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp," says FITNESS sales account director Susan Sagan Levitan.
Make FITNESS fashion assistant Marla Horenbein, 22, your running buddy as she trains for the MORE/FITNESS Women's Half-Marathon. "Short jogs have always been my way to de-stress, but after a recent breakup, I wanted to do something bigger."
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2011.