Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Five: 5 Tips for the Run/Walk/Runner

I'm going to make a WILD assumption: if you're here, you probably run Disney races or want to run Disney races. Since that's the case, you likely already know of Jeff Galloway, the father of the run/walk/run method and the official runDisney running coach. His plans are laid out beautifully on the runDisney website and are followed by tens of thousands of runners each year. I adopted this method when I took on Dopey in 2014, and it helped me PR my marathon (during Dopey, after running for 3 days) by over 26 minutes! I was sold! It also got me through both pregnancies, post-partum journeys, and a half marathon 6 weeks post-knee surgery. I'd say that gives it an A+ in my book. If you're a beginner, it's my go-to recommendation, but I also caution you that it's not just for beginners. Many runners can benefit from this type of running. 

6-weeks after knee surgery!

Before I go down that rabbit hole though, let's get to our Friday Five! I've put together 5 great tips for those Galloway runners out there! Let me know what you think!

1. Make your runs faster and your walks slower. Duh! Isn't that the point? About a month ago I saw someone giving advice in a big Facebook group saying "Your run and walk are almost the same pace." Um, no. That defeats the whole purpose! Run, and run fast. Walk, and walk to recover. There should be a difference. For reference, right now my run is about a 9:30 pace and my walk a 14:00 pace. Find what works for you, but don't sell yourself short. 

2. Stabilize your hands to help you catch your breath. I'd put this tip more for training runs than the actual race, but especially as a beginner, if your aerobic fitness isn't the greatest, you will find yourself winded after the run (see point number one). That's okay, and to help catch your breath, put your hands on hips, on your head, even on your running stroller. By anchoring your hands, you are allowing your chest to help expand your ribcage (and thus, your lungs) because it doesn't also need to move your arms. This is why we fall over and put our hands on our thighs, huffing and puffing, when we need to catch our breath. 

3. 30 second walk breaks are the special sauce. If you've followed Galloway for some time, you know he used to recommend a one-minute walk break. Over time, he's actually changed it to a 30-second breat, noting that runners slowed significantly in the second half of a minute and took longer to get up and go again. After doing both, I'd agree! Try different combos; that's what training is for, but seriously consider minimizing your walk break to just enough to get you ready to run again.

4. When in a race, please signal your walk breaks. It is commonly recognized that when you put your arm up, you are going to walk. Start practicing that now. When it's time to walk, KEEP RUNNING, put your arm up, take a quick look behind you, THEN begin your walk break. Putting your arm up does not give you a free pass to halt mid-step and put other runners (and yourself) at risk. Every single race I see major collisions. Don't be one of them. You should also aim to be towards the right side. Races follow the rules of the road. 

5. Utilize technology that you love. The options are endless. I use either the Gym Boss timer or Run Keeper. Both have served me well over the years. Jeff Galloway has his own app. You can pretty much set intervals on any device. Play around with a few and use what works for you. But for the love of everyone racing, TURN OFF THE BEEPING on race day! Hahaha! All you hear is that beep for miles and miles. Use the vibrate feature on your Gym Boss! 

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram to see these tips in action! Happy Friday!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday Five: 5 Favorite Wine & Dine Moments

It's Friday, why not do a Flashback Friday/Friday Five all rolled into one! With the announcement of Wine and Dine being turned virtual, it had me thinking of my favorite Wine and Dine moments. Even though I've only run this race 3 times, it still holds the top spot for me in runDisney events. Food, Wine, a small race, and always a great theme, Wine and Dine never disappoints (okay, well never until now--sad face!).

1. The infamous "Splash and Dash, 2015"
Every race has a story, and this one was FULL of rain. It was still a night race at the time, and right around 9:00 (for a 10:00 start) the rain started slowly. Not bad, but it held out for the big 10:00 start! It poured the entire 2 hours I was running. Huge puddles where water would come over the top of your socks into your shoes. It was SO MUCH FUN! 

2. Closing the after party in 2015
After the Splash and Dash, there were lots of runners that headed home, but since we had previously skipped the after party, we threw on some ponchos and rallied! We ate, drank, rode rides a million times, and closed down the party with Spaceship Earth one last time as they shut down the park at 4:00 am. Little did we know this would be our last night race, and I'm definitely glad we partied hard!

3. The last Coast to Coast, 2017
We had done the Coast to Coast Challenge many times, so it actually didn't even occur to me that I'd be earning the 10th anniversary medal at Wine and Dine. Also, sadly, this was the last Coast to Coast. I'm hopeful that someday we'll see Disneyland races again, but until then, this may be my favorite. The classic design, but given some weight (quite literally) as they increased the size to celebrate the anniversary of the challenge. 

4. Our gender reveal in 2017
Okay, so not actually part of the race, but part of the race weekend! We decided to keep the tradition alive and planned our gender reveal in Disney World. We had the results in an envelope, found a ballon-selling cast member, and she revealed the gender with a surprize blue balloon! It was a great way to add some Disney magic to Ryan's pregnancy. This weekend was also his last half marathon before coming into the world in March, 2018.

5. The parties!
Wine and Dine is the BEST for parties! Depending on when your race-cation falls, you can usually book a Halloween party or a Christmas party. Plan it right and you can do both! We've done both during different years, and it's always a fun addition to our vacation. 

For those of you who have not yet run this event, don't give up! I know we'll all be back soon, running together again! Continue to train, run it virutally (even if you don't get the medal), and enjoy the journey of running. I know I'll be back someday to my favorite race! 

Monday, July 20, 2020

A Tale As Old As (a proof of) Time

Once upon a time, a new mommy ran a few races in Disneyland. This new mommy had mom-brain, and forgot to enter proofs of time for herself and her husband. They both ended up in the last corral for the Disneyland Half Marathon and lived to tell the tale. Here's what they learned:

You will survive without a proof of time! Seriously. If you are a slower runner, yes, a better corral gives you a buffer time, but train for the recommended 15 minute per mile pace (did you read that on the runDisney's there) and you'll be okay. You even can buy yourself a few minutes just by getting to the front of whatever corral you end up in.

The party is definitely in the back! Seriously. I've been in corral A. It's quiet. It's serious. There are few costumes. It's intimidating. The back of the pack is social. It's where all the stories are; you know, the ones that make you tear up and inspire you at your darkest moment. It's where the costumes are. It's where you're never alone. The best part is it's also where lots of first-timers hang. These runners are often scared, nervous, and have no idea what to expect. Imagine giving that person a few words of encouragement--that alone is worth the bottlenecking on the course!

You can play a fun game of chase. What? Yep, when I'm feeling tired or sluggish, I like to chase some fellow runners. I sprint (ish) past a person. I try to keep up with someone ahead. If you think that the back of the pack is all walkers, think again! It is everyone, and you can totally challenge your pace with other runners.

With the new requirements (<2:30 half, <5:00 full) and Covid cancelling almost every road race, you will be in good company. There's heavy stuff going on in our world; don't let not having a proof of time be the thing that stresses you out. Stop for the pictures if you have time, or take a selfie if you don't. Don't worry about that PR. Just remember how lucky we are to all be back running together in the most magical place on Earth, and you too will live happily ever after!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Rolling for Recovery

Do you roll? I know I think about it, I say I'm going to, and then, well, let's just say my roller spends more time as a sword in the playroom than as a recovery device. I should do it, and I'm trying to make it more of a regular habit. 

If you're new to foam rolling, there are some key concepts to keep you safe and make the rolling most effective for your recovery. 

First, what is it for and why do we do it? Not to get too nerdy on you, foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release. Fancy sounding, but it's basically targeting the tissue that weaves through and around your muscles and bones. It's the same concept as massage therapy, but you are using these tools (roller, ball, stick, etc.) so you can do it yourself. Studies show that this can help after workouts to reduce soreness, increase flexibility, and decrease recovery time. Less known, though, is that this is also great as a warmup/pre-workout routine to increase bloodflow to the muscles. 

Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Roll and move around each area for 15-60 seconds, keeping your tool moving slowly and not stopping in any one place.

2. Never roll over joints, like your shoulder and knee. Do your lower leg, then move to the upper leg, skipping the knee completely, for example. 

3. Rolling is great for soreness. Rolling is NOT great for injured areas. If you have an injury, like a stabbing pain or a significant strain, don't roll on that area. Wait for some healing to happen, then you can add rolling back into your routine for injury prevention and health in that area. (By the way, the same applies to stretching--don't over stretch an injury; more is not better).
4. Start with short sessions, then increase as your body adapts. If you are really tight, it's going to hurt. The more you work through the tightness, the longer you will be able to roll. I admit, when I roll my calves I still cannot put all my weight on the roller and can't go for long. It's definitely a work in progress.

5. Do both sides! Maybe you have a nagging injury that comes back if you don't take good care of yourself (ahem, my knees...). Even though your right side may be your achy side, don't neglect the left. I've learned the hard way that imbalances often lead to new injuries. 

Five tips is a nice round number, so we'll leave it at that for now! I've been toying around with making some videos. Maybe an instructional foam rolling video needs to happen! 

What other questions do you have? 

A note about my certification: I was certified by the company "Trigger Point" for group fitness foam rolling techniques. They have now merged training with the "Rock Tape" company. I definitely want to continue exploring this area!