DEEP THOUGHTS WITH JACK MANDY

By Mandy Deen

…like Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey? from SNL back in the day? no? no? just me? ok. good talk

jack

I recently ran into a teammate (who was still recovering from an illness) in the produce section of Wheatsville (please hold your applause/derision until the end, you dirty hippies/normal folk), and she said to me: “isn’t amazing how much more you can accomplish when you’re not running?”

This is a common theme my mother expounds on whenever I go home, or I mention my run, or I mention that I’m tired from my run, or I mention I’m going to a race soon, or mention that I went to runclub, or that I bought new running shoes, or I complain about an injury or really anything.

This is also something I have actually thought about a lot as well.

After years of sacrificing a fun and relaxed lifestyle simply by trying to be a competent graduate student whilst working part time, but still sometimes sleeping, I have finally achieved the second-best traditional Austin dream of landing a professional job that pays enough to cover both my rent AND my student loans AND food. (obviously, the traditional BEST Austin dream involving living here and being a member of a long string of awesome indie rock bands for the rest of your life.) (a preemptive aside: intellectually, I understand that life is about living in the moment, and putting “real life” on hold is a myth we tell ourselves when we go back to school or are in a tight spot. But emotionally, school, life, finding a job and gaining a foothold in the world has felt like a long series of hills. Like running a workout up and down Exposition for 14 years. (Jeff. Jeff, this is a metaphor, not a suggestion.) but that’s ok, ’cause I like hill workouts. kind of. maybe. wait, who’s reading this???)

for mandy

Arch-nemesis

So what I’m trying to say is that in some ways it’s easy to see my interest in running as a continuation of that same all-consuming real-life-ignoring drive that got me through undergraduate, the graduate school years, a series of unfortunate part-time jobs and the emotionally exhaustive professional job search.

ann

Clearly sassy is an understatment

Sometimes I worry that if my life was even the slightest bit more complicated I would be unable to enjoy the same type of running I currently enjoy. Like if I get a pet or finally find a rosemary plant that will stay alive (the previous 4 have obviously been defective) then I just won’t have the time or attention for running six days a week and work AND the internet. Not to mention the long list of lofty idealistic goals I like to pretend I am really going to be achieving in my spare time (instead of the internet)…..Just now while I was trying to write this, I got distracted for at least 2 hours by re-watching a bunch of youtube clips of Ann Richards being a sassy old broad, and then some of Stephen Fry being a sassy old broad too.

My point is….the internet is probably the main thing holding me back from self-actualization. Clearly.

Also, in addition to spending too many of my free hours researching things like “potato song” on youtube, I sometimes feel quite embarrassed (this is true just in general, but also in this specific instance) about devoting quite so much of my time and emotional energy and struggle and sacrifice and blood and sweat and tears (ok not that much, but you know) to an activity I am neither getting paid to participate in, nor really have a chance of achieving anything beyond my own personal bar of success. You know what I mean? In many ways I have been shaping my life around this whole running thing, with none of the traditional reasons to do so (for example: being exceptionally good at it, or being paid to factor it into my life)

I used to run in the evenings after work. Everyday coming home after 8 hours of desk work, it would be an emotional struggle to get myself into my running clothes and out the door in under 30 minutes from the time I arrived home (so much time staring at your face in the mirror.) Physically, there was enough time for me to leave to go run in 15 minutes from the time I arrived at my door, but emotionally it always felt like I was fighting upstream against a raging current.  To then hop in the shower and go meet up with friends after that grueling process, is more than any 30-year- old could manage (it’s a scientific fact. FACT. especially if you’re a morning person/introvert who hates fun.) I always felt a little guilty about this arrangement, because in many ways, my life did boil down to: waiting to go run, running, and then being too tired to do anything because of running. However, recent developments have allowed me to start running in the mornings. AND. It turns out that just getting myself out the door after getting home from work, even if it’s just to go run an errand or sit at a coffee shop and read a book to make myself appear smart (this facade needs constant maintenance), is just as big a struggle as getting myself to go run.

“my life did boil down to: waiting to go run, running, and then being too tired to do anything because of running.”

In short, running is not the issue, mom.

And during this winter while I have been injured and either not running, or running reduced mileage, I have managed to reach the conclusion that my life without running is really dumb. All these things I worry I will never be able to accomplish because of all the time and energy I spend running, and all the time I spend worrying that this window I have to enjoy running right now, (when my life is relatively free of complication and I have the luxury of time) is probably going to slam shut like…tomorrow, and all the things I think I could be doing if I wasn’t bogged down doing the things I’m doing right now….it’s a myth, an illusion. And furthermore, there is not some kind of invisible total at the end of life that will tell me if I really got the most out of my time. Which is comforting and frustrating and scary and freeing.

“while I have been injured … I have managed to reach the conclusion that my life without running is really dumb.”

Running three days a week with my Teamily accomplishes two goals at once of regular physical exercise and socialization (ooooohhhhhhhh the jokes, the yelling, the pain), and running six days a week is something I want to have as part of the structure of my life. Being outside for a substantial period of time (hey miles is miles, regardless of pace), (even if its 6am in the dark), is one of the things I swore I would incorporate into my grown-up independent life all those years ago when I was trapped in the endless 3rd period English class in high school, right by the window where it was beautiful outside and I was just watching the clock and counting the minutes until I got to go home. (just kidding, I totally paid attention and was very involved in class participation. kind of. maybe. wait. who’s reading this?)

teamily

so yes, I think if you’re not running you can get a lot more accomplished. But also I think in some ways accomplishment is probably overrated.

….so we should all probably just quit our jobs, work part time at Wheatsville (for the benefits and to be part of a community, man) and pursue our real life’s passion, because YOLO. #selfie.


10347632_727937613950013_411822252089035013_nMandy Deen is a writer, reader, blogger and runner. She likes to spend her Tuesday and Thursday afternoons running with Team Rogue PM. If you want to see more of Mandy’s work, we suggest this, this and DEFINITELY this.  And if you don’t think thats funny then move back to LA.  XOXO

Summer Half Marathons and Fall Marathons Race Finder 2015

Summer Summer Summertime!

willsmith

Stayin’ Fresh

I know what you’re thinking…why in the world would anyone train through a Texas summer? To that I say: My favorite time of year to train is actually in the summer! I know it, sounds crazy, but hear me out.

I like the long days full of sunshine (no suiting up in 5 pounds of blinky reflectivity). My boys are home from school, so I’m sick a LOT less often. Even my laundry pile goes WAY down – since I certainly don’t need any layers! I‘ve even managed to convince myself that I’m getting fitter when I sweat.

Also, prepping for long runs is WAY easier. I don’t have to worry about how many layers to wear, or freezing solid after the run. I can take an ice bath without total dread. (Emphasis on “total”.) Even better, I can go for a swim at Barton Springs and totally count that as an ice bath!

Okay, yes, there are a few challenging things about summer training. For me, the hardest is that I have to slow down due to the heat. I KNOW my time trial pace is going to drop by 30-60 seconds, but I still worry those extra seconds on my watch are a sign of imminent decline. About halfway through summer, I typically fire my watch and just run. The first day we fall below 80 degrees in the fall, I remember the HUGE benefits of all that training in the heat. The temps go down, and suddenly, you can fly! This newer, faster you is BEGGING for a race in cooler temps to show off all these hard-earned gains. But what if you haven’t been thinking far enough ahead? New York has made their announcements on who got in, and Chicago’s lottery opens today! Yes, we all want to do those races someday but there are several other fantastic races that fit the bill of cool temps plus cool destination!

“I remember the HUGE benefits of all that training in the heat….suddenly, you can fly!”

To help you plan, we’ve compiled a list of several destination races for you to pick from this summer and fall. Of course we included the big ones, but we’ve also highlighted some smaller options you might not have considered. Fast courses, great scenery, even a unique challenge or two! Read on for the official list of “Rogues Rcommended Races” for Summer/Fall 2015!

SUMMER First…

San Francisco

Date – July 26, 2015

Location – San Francisco, California

Marathon Guide Link

Find My Marathon Link

sfhalf

Do I see a jacket?

“The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco”

Need a break from Texas heat in late July…when temps are already soaring over 100 degrees? NorCal fits the bill! With an average low of 53 and highs not even hitting 70, you are sure to run faster.

We all know San Francisco is hilly , and those hills can be a bitch if you are not prepared!! (Get thee to Mount Bonnell!) . Or there’s one other secret: Run the Half Marathon ( the 2nd Half, that is.). This option has a net downhill of ~300 feet over the last half of the race!

The Course: With over 25,000 runners and 5 races to choose from, there is something for everyone! The marathon starts at 5:30 AM and takes you on a loop course with big rollers (think Stratford & Mt. Bonnell) around all the historic parts of the city, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Mission Bay, and Presidio. The 1st Half also starts at 5:30 AM, but if you prefer to sleep in on vacation, the 2nd Half kicks off around 8 AM.

Not enough for you? There is also an Ultra-Marathon (52.4 miles) that starts Saturday at midnight(!), and a 5K, the one truly flat & fast course available.

Check out the elevation profiles:

The Hottest Half & 10K

hottesthalf

One of TWO medals. Yes, TWO medals.

Date – August 23, 2015

Location – Dallas, Texas

Are you the type of person who likes the sound of the term “Suffer fest?” Well shoot, you barely even have to travel for that. Up the road for a few hours in Dallas, you can enjoy what would be a fast and flat course…except it’s f’n HOT!!! (As long as there is cold beer at the finish, right?!)

The Course: The Hottest Half starts and finishes at Community Beer Company Brewery in Dallas and runs around the Trinity Trails. Start time: 7:30 AM. All runners receive 2 medals (one to wear and one to show)!

….FALL Follows

Portland Half & Full Marathon

pdx

This picture was taken on one of four sunny days last year….or they used a really large flash.

Date – October 4, 2015

Location – Portland, OR

Marathon Guide Link

Find My Marathon Link

*Note: Registration is filling up!

Portland, Austin’s sister city! Quite possiby the only place with even more craft beer and hipsters than we have! A perfect race destination! (Just don’t forget your ).

This race has rolling hills on a mostly loop course with nice cool weather! The scenery may be beautiful, but the swag and entertainment are top notch! With over 74 groups (music, cheerleaders, street performers, etc.) at 53 locations, you are sure to stay motivated throughout the race!

The Course: The first five miles traverse downtown Portland, leading to a nice flat stretch heading northwest through mile 12. The hill at mile 16 is TOUGH, but you’re rewarded with a gradual downhill to the flat border road of the Forest Park area. Miles 22 – 24 feature an elevation loss of about 140 feet, minus a slight rise over the Broadway Bridge. After that though, it’s back down to Marathon Avenue and onto Naito Parkway to finish along the water!

Twin Cities Marathon

Date – October 5, 2014

Location – Minneapolis/St Paul, MN

Marathon Guide Link

Find My Marathon Link

twin

Look at that foilage.

Our promoted race last year, the Twin Cities Marathon is a hidden gem. The Minneapolis/St Paul area is stunningly beautiful; the Midwest fall weather is typically ideal for marathon racing, and the support & logistics are very well handled. The point-to-point course is mostly flat with a few gentle rolling hills, and it’s very scenic! You won’t quite hit all the 10,000 lakes Minnesota is famous for, but you might lose count of how amny you do see. Crowd support is reportedly awesome for this event.

The Course: This course is very “BQ friendly”, boasting a net downhill through 20 miles, 3 miles of gradual climbing & a 3 mile drop to the finish line. (Our own Allison Macsas not only PR’d here last year, but qualified for her 2nd Olympic Trials!) We cannot recommend this race more highly.

Chicago Marathon 

chicago

The virtual line for next year’s lottery looks similar.

Date – October 11, 2015

Location – Chicago, IL

Marathon Guide Link

Find My Marathon Link

Lottery/Registration Opened Tuesday March 10, 2015 at 12 PM

The second largest marathon in the world, Chicago is where PRs are made! The winding, city-bound course is fast, fast, fast. The logistics, crowd support, course design, & epic field size make this race a MUST RUN on any marathoner’s bucket list. Of course, you’ve got to get in through a lottery, which always has its challenges. The weather is occasionally iffy – you could freeze or fry on an off year – but, on average, the weather is great in early October in Chicago!Worried about that famous wind? Don’t worry, if you typically run 3 hours or more for the marathon, trust us, their WILL be fellow runners to block the worst of it!

The Course: Your GPS watch will lose signal when you’re underground for about the first quarter of mile one. Breathe deep. You can always reset. After that, you get a running tour of 29 unique Chicago neighborhoods! From the skyscrapers in the Loop to vibrancy of Boystown to the all-out party in Chinatown, you will never feel alone on this course! (And the one and only hill is the infmaous climb up Roosevelt at mile 26.) If you are looking for a fast, well-supported, BIG race experience, Chicago is the best option in America!

 

Lake Tahoe Marathon

October 9-11

Location – South Lake Tahoe, CA

Marathon Guide Link

Find My Marathon Link

tahoe

” Hi Carolyn!”

The Lake Tahoe Marathon is one of the most unique events in the country, and has been a Rogue staple for multiple years. In fact, Rogue co-owner & Coach Carolyn Mangold can’t get enough of the fun; she has led a Rogue group to the race for the last FIVE years.

From Carolyn “Lake Tahoe is unique in that this race weekend has something for everyone, from the 10k to the marathon, from a single day race to triples. Last year (2014), 10 Rogues committed to the triple challenge, some returning from last year, others new to the event.   The hilly course around the lake keeps the PR time-goal pressure off and allows the runner to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  If you go in for multiple days, each day’s course starts and finishes at a different point around the lake. Try the triple half or triple full for to set a new goal and accomplishment for yourself!”

Toronto Marathon

toronto

We’ll put you in this photo for 2015.

Date – October 18, 2015

Location – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Marathon Guide Link

Find My Marathon Link

So we all read Jeff’s blog, right? The Toronto Waterfront Marathon course is flat and fast, and the typical race day weather is close to ideal for marathon running. The race presents very good opportunities for PRs and BQs. This is why Rogue has picked this race as our BIG destination race for Fall Marathon training! We plan on taking several Rogues here this fall to PR!

Air Canada will be (re)opening non-stop flights from Austin to Toronto starting in mid-May, or you can take the scenic route – fly into Buffalo and drive across at Niagara Falls! Toronto itself offers both big-city feel and famously friendly Canadians, making for one destination you can talk the whole family into. (Passports required!!!)

The course: The race itself is about the size of Austin Marathon, with great scenery for the first half and great crowd support for the second. (Someone should tell San Antonio that this is the preferred order!) Note that there are some out-and-back sections with hairpin turns, but you’ll get to see your Rogue teammates which will keep you smilin’! J

Frankenthon Marathon

Date – October 24, 2015

Location – Cedar Park, TX

Marathon Guide Link

Find My Marathon Link

frankenthon

Right in our own backyard.

 This race is capped at 150 runners! Early registration is encouraged! Register Here!

 So you really really don’t want to travel? This local race is a 3 loop course on mostly sidewalk located along the Brushy Creek trail. It’s a Boston Qualifier, and though it is usually warm, it’s a truly nice, truly local race. (Our own Run Like a Mother Coach, Mae Coffman, won this bad boy in 2013!)

The Course: Talk about easy to train for! This one is right in our own backyard. Frankenthon is flat and spectator friendly – you’re going to pass them multiple times, after all! The swag is also pretty cool: socks, long-sleeve tech shirts, and medals, all with a Halloween theme. Pumpkin Jamba Juice is served, and there are plenty of snacks/drinks along the course.

The overall winners (male/female/masters) receive a free pair of Brooks shoes as well as a $100 gift certificate to Rogue Running – something we can all find a use for! Even the last place finishers will also receive special prizes.


Marine Corps Marathon

Date – October 25, 2015

Location – Washington, DC

Marathon Guide Link

Find My Marathon Link

mc

Lottery opens Friday March 13th at 12 PM for the 40th Anniversary! The 6th largest marathon, with a cap of 30,000 runners, this unique race experience is an opportunity to support the military. Most runners are not overly concerned with their race time – the true challenge is holding yourself together in the midst of thousands of military heroes and their loved ones!

The Course: The course through our nation’s capital is beautiful but narrow, so prepare youself for some bottle necks and congestion. Of course this is DC, so some years the weather is perfect, others it is hot and humid. This race is best for those who are looking for a unique race experience and not necessarily a fast time. Start time is 7:55 AM.


New York City Marathon

Date – November 1, 2015

Location – New York, NY

Marathon Guide Link

Find My Marathon Link

Congratulations! If you’re still reading this, if you’ve made it to the biggest of them all: the New York City Marathon!! This is the largest marathon in the United States with over 50,500 finishers in the 2014! The route touches all five boroughs of New York City: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan.
The course: Yes, you’ll have to trek out to Staten Island, but from there you’ll tour dozens of culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, cross five bridges, and finishe in world-famous Central Park! (Which all means a lot of hills, by the way.) With the crowds (2 million people up to 10 rows deep!) and serious elevation changes, this is not your traditional PR course, But every marathoner has to do New York before they retire, right??? PS – We happen to know that many Rogues have had stellar PRs here by committing to their training and race plans!
Nyc

New York, New York

If you’re ready for the San Francisco Half, Hottest Half or any other summer-time half marathon, join our Summer Half Marathon Training Groups today!

If you’re ready for the Toronto, Portland, Twin Cities or any other fall marathon, join our Fall Marathon Training Group today!


10734248_10201905091587654_3456467591671714017_nJen Harney is our Cedar Park Training Manager, a mom of two boys and pretty good runner. Stay on the lookout for her training programs over the next few months as she starts some adult programs. But, for now, if you want to train with Jen, you have to be pretty “new to running”

Toronto: Home of the Maple Leafs, Awesomely Internet-Worthy Mayors and Damn Fast Marathon Times

Before we do anything, lets all take 3 minutes and watch this video. Man, Rob Ford. That guy is wild!

snlrobford

(NBC and Saturday Night Live)

You know what else is wild? This:

Rogue guarantees you will PR at the Toronto Marathon or we’ll pay your entry fee.*

Read that again.

Yup.

toronto skyline copy

The lovely Toronto skyline. Note: not a lot of hills. (wikipedia.org)

Not only is Toronto a great city, it also has a super-fast marathon on October 18th, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. This marathon is going to be the fall marathon. Not only will we have staff and coaches there, its a darn good race. It has an elevation difference of about 110 feet (read: pretty darn flat). It’s marked in kilometers (which make you feel like you are running really fast…kinda). The average high on race day is 58° and the average low on race day is 45°. It has a portion of their website that is all in French. It runs along the water front and, according to findmymarathon.com, it has a PR score of 99.51% (Austin has a PR score of 97.37%, to compare). It’s about the same size as Austin and marathonguide.com has good things to say about it. Oh, and the race shirts and medals are pretty fun.

toronto profile

Look at those sexy (lack of) curves. (findmymarathon.com)

Rogue has selected the Toronto Marathon as our destination race for the fall because its fast and the timing is perfect to capitalize on a summer of “Heat-titude Training” (Don’t worry about it. I just combined heat and altitude). Our tried and tested marathon training gets better with every year and this year will be no different. Our experienced coaches will give you the guidance you need to manage the heat, keep injures at bay, prepare your race day nutrition, help you with your mantras, maximize your long runs and, heck, they may even baby sit your cat! (not really)

And, like I said, we guarantee you will PR* at this race.

There are a ton of other fantastic races is the fall and we’ll cover those in upcoming blogs but we wanted to get this out first as the Chicago Marathon lottery opens next week.

Sign up quick for the Fall Marathon training program because the PR program applies only to the first 30 folks. Then join us in Toronto for an experience you’ll never forget!

#TorontoGoesRogue

Program Details

Fall Marathon Training will begin on Saturday May 2nd, 2015 with a Kick Off Party at the first long run (Cedar Park and Downtown will long run together at the Downtown store). Think 3-5M run with tacos, coffee, vendors and lots of giveaways after the run. Seriously, the raffle is huge.

*You must be part of the PR program. The stipulations for the PR program are:

  • Your current PR must have been set within the last 2 years
  • Applies to the first 30 people that sign up for the program and the marathon in Toronto
  • Applies to downtow, Cedar Park, north Austin and south Austin training programs.
  • We will cover the cost of your entry fee up to $100. The marathon entry fee is $100 or less through July 28th. You must have proof of entry to sign up for the program.
  • You must attend 80% or more of your workouts and complete 80% of your training runs. In other words you must follow 80% of the training schedule as posted to the Rogue Running locker room or provided to you by your coach.
  • We love Chicago, Portland, NYC, Marine Corp and all the other amazing races in the fall but you got to do your PR at Toronto to be part of the program.
  • To join the program, email Jeff.

Rogue Running is a runner-first community dedicated to changing lives through running. Our direct coach-to-athlete approach ensures you get the care and dedication you need to experience running in a different way. 

Austin Marathon: The Prep & Pump Recap

You all packed the house at our Prep & Pump pre-race event last week, and walked away with the mental and strategical tools needed to conquer your race on February 15. You can download an outline of the presentation below; read though it, refresh yourself, repeat. Then, get ready to run!

2015 Austin Marathon Prep & Pump: The Outline

Converting a Prius into a Mustang

Ford-Shelby-Mustang-GT500-Coupe_6 by Steve Sisson

You may not know it yet, but you are ready to fly. You’ve nearly completed Rogue’s training program for a marathon, and with some simple training tweaks you can CRUSH your old 10K PR. I am going to convince you that you’d be a fool not to take the huge gains you’ve earned over months of arduous training and capitalize on them in the Capitol 10,000 in April. Below is an argument for why a few more months of focused training can result not only in a huge 10K PR, but will also set you up for your next marathon performance.

Perfect Transition
What many beginner and intermediate runners do not realize is that the training for the marathon is an ideal foundation for faster running at shorter distances. The physiological adaptations that have been developed from the long runs, threshold runs and longer intervals you completed in the fall and winter have your body primed to strike like a cobra. Essentially, you have built a huge base with marathon training that has developed your cardiovascular system into a powerful, yet highly efficient engine. Exercise physiologists will explain in all the increases you’ve developed (mitochondria, capillarization, stroke volume, blah, blah, blah.) from a scientific point of view but I’ll just explain it to you in a simple analogy: you’ve developed the engine of a souped-up Toyota Prius but can convert that efficiency, with a little tweaking, into a Ford Mustang’s muscular power and speed. How, you ask? Well let’s give you a little preview of what an  eight week 10K program will do to help your transition.

Convert the Fuel System & Tweak the Chassis

The two most important differences between racing a marathon and a 10K are distance and pace. While this will seem obvious, what might not be apparent is what is happening in your body and how a training program should address these differences. When training for a marathon you are attempting to teach your body to use your fuel as efficiently as possible for the inevitable wall of low muscle glycogen and low blood sugar that hits late in the race. In the 10K, you aren’t in any danger of running out of fuel; instead, your body runs out of enough oxygen to use the fuel your body has available. Of course, the science is a bit more complicated and I am vastly simplifying for the sake of brevity, but the key distinction is that in the marathon you train aerobically and in the 10K you need to train anaerobically.

While this requires that you train to convert your fuel system to handling the new demands, it is also essential to prepare the body for the faster paces that you will be running in the 10K. Most people will race their 10K at between 40-45 seconds per mile faster than their marathon pace. The neuromuscular system need to be prepared for the greater power needed to initiate and sustain these paces. So training for the 10K means you need to tweak your body’s chassis to handling this different demand. The workouts you’ll be challenged with in the 10K program will be designed to teach your body to run faster and with greater ease anaerobically and to handle the load of running these faster paces.

One of the additional benefits of training these different systems is that, in gaining this greater facility, your body becomes more economical at marathon paces. For example, in adjusting two of my Team Rogue Dawn Patrol athletes’ (Bryan Morton and Marc Bergman) training over the last 18 months to move away from marathon specific training and toward 10K and half marathon focused training, they were able to run significant PR’s at the 3M Half Marathon. More importantly, I am confident that they will also run very well at the Boston Marathon in April now that we’ve transitioned back to marathon training. Keep an eye on their results to see how this plays out in reality.

Seize the 10K

So, are you ready to fly? You’ve already created the opportunity for a huge personal best in one of Austin’s iconic races. The marathon training you have suffered through and are getting ready to reap the rewards of on February 15th is the ideal springboard to an epic result at the Capitol 10,000 two months later. Join us for our 8-week training program and and convert that Prius into a Mustang.

——–

Steve Sisson is a beer connoisseur (read: snob), coach of Team Rogue: Dawn Patrol and the founder of Rogue Running. To pick his brain on all things running, drop him a line at stevesisson@roguerunning.com or stop by the Fuel Bar on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night.

3M: A race plan for first-timers

3MHalf_2015_4cby coach Mae Coffman

It’s here! The 3M Half Marathon, possibly the most highly anticipated race of the winter season for many runners. I’m having some serious race withdrawal as I have to sit this one out, but I look forward to living vicariously through all of the Rogues as a spectator. You won’t be able to miss me on the sidelines—I’ll be the big pregnant lady busting out of her Rogue apparel and cheering like crazy.

The following is some first-timer half marathon advice and a race plan I shared with my runners this week. Hopefully some of you will find it helpful—especially if this is your first time to race 3M!

You have heard over and over how great this course is: relatively flat, downhill and fast. However, please keep in mind that it is still a 13.1 mile race and despite the “flat” description there are some rolling hills—especially at the end as you come in towards downtown near the finish. It will not be easy. If you are planning to really race the 3M, you will feel dead tired at the end and despite the “easy course” description you will need to run smart to hit your goal time or PR.

Pre-Race Week:

As with all races, it’s important that you plan out ahead of time what you’ll eat the few nights before and the morning of the race, and not to do anything different than what you’ve done in training. It will not do anything for you to carbo load the night before—other than to make you feel ridiculously full and sluggish! On Saturday night, eating a sensible dinner w/ a good balance of protein and carbs is perfect (think grilled chicken and rice). This is not the time to experiment with any new foods. Get lots of sleep on Friday night. You might have the jitters on Saturday and not sleep as well, but a good night sleep two nights before is optimal.

Don’t spend all day Saturday on your feet doing yard work, etc. Not that you have to be lazy—you’ll probably be a bit stir crazy and excited…but don’t do something that will lead you to be overtired or sore on race morning.

In planning your race outfit, consider the weather and remember that once you get running, you heat up about 20 degrees higher than the temp outside. That is why running in 50 degree weather feels so great. With the weather as it has been lately, I’d plan to wear layers at the start including a throw-away shirt. For me this is usually an old long-sleeved cotton shirt  (old Turkey Trot shirts are a good candidate) and I usually pick a pair of cheap stretchy gloves that I can toss if/when my hands are too sweaty. Pack a warm, dry shirt, sweatshirt and maybe even sweatpants for your post-race bag. Even if you feel warm while you are running you’ll get chilly at the finish after standing around. By the way, there will be a bag drop at the beginning of the race—you’ll want to take advantage of that so your clothes are waiting for you at the finish of this point-to-point race.

The night before, lay out your race outfit and pin on your number so you don’t have to fiddle with it in the morning. Put the number on the shirt you anticipate you will be wearing by the end of the race. If you have it under an outer layer—you can always flash the cameras as you approach so they catch your number. Same goes for electronic devices—put on armbands and such under your top layer if you think it will end up tied around your waist. You don’t want to be struggling with cords, etc. while you try to strip down layers mid-race.

Plan out how many Gus/gels/blocks/beans you plan to take and where you plan to take them. Check out the course map on the website and plan your nutrition around the water stops unless you plan to run with a handheld.

Race Day:

Eat a breakfast similar to what you have found successful for your previous long runs. Just as with dinner—this is not the time to experiment and find out if you should start a morning coffee routine. Don’t overeat either—you have covered distances similar to this on long runs, so there is no reason to assume you’ll need more for breakfast than you did for those weekends.

Parking can be a pain for this race—not that there isn’t enough, but the location in the cross hairs of 183 & Mopac means you’ve got to take one of the major roads to get there and almost all of them will get backed up by the exits. I recommend aiming to get there by 6-6:15 so if you end up sitting in traffic for a extra 20 minutes (and therefore finally parking closer to 6:30) you still have time to get to the start line. You also want to plan plenty of time to get in a potty break. They will have portapotties at the start, but there will be long lines so plan accordingly! My usual routine is: park, potty, drop race bag, get to start line. Warning….you WILL feel chilly as you stand around waiting for the start. But remember, you will warm up when you start running—don’t start second guessing about putting on more layers or pulling things out of your drop bag to wear while you race—it’s just an unfortunate thing about winter races—the start is cold and  you stand around shivering and feeling miserable until it starts.

3M is a big race—LOTs of folks—so after the gun goes off—don’t be surprised how long it might take to actually get to the start…3-5 minutes isn’t uncommon! When you see clocks on the course you can remember that is gun time—not chip time. I would not recommend starting all the way in the back (so don’t wait until the last minute to go get into the chute to line up…after potty and bag drop—head towards the start line). No need to be at the very front on the heels of the elites, but you don’t want to dodge around folks that are planning to walk the 13.1 distance. For those with gps watches, try to get it to pick up satellites once you are about 5-10 min from gun time. No need to get it picked up too early and waste battery life—but the WORST feeling is to realize as the gun sounds that you are still “searching” for satellites.

This is a point to point race, so if someone is meeting you, you can have them drive you back to your car (unless they also dropped you at the start), but otherwise there is a shuttle service to bus runners back. I have used that option many times and it’s really not so bad—they have it down to a science and the shuttles leave regularly so I’ve never had to wait for long to get on a bus and go.

Race Plan A: Race 3M and Get a PR Baby!

This option is for those of you who are feeling good at this point in the season. You may have had some difficult long run experiences, but you are injury free and feeling strong. Ideally you have not had a major sickness or nagging injury in the past 2 weeks. Going into the race you should know your ½ marathon goal pace as well as your 10K pace (that pace will be important because you want to be able to catch yourself if you start creeping up too fast in pace…).

The general plan is: Progression.

The start-mile 1: Despite the fact that this is a fast course, the race starts running uphill. It’s just a slight hill (on Stonelake Blvd behind the Old Navy, Whole Foods, & movie theater). You’ll run uphill for about a mile. It’s a crowded race so you’ll spend this time jockeying for your position and finding a good pocket to run. Don’t look at your watch or worry about pace. Just start running. Don’t go out too fast (though that will be difficult with the crowd anyway) and if your first mile is clocked in slower than your ½ marathon pace, that is just fine. You have plenty of distance and time to make it up.

Miles 1-4: This section has the most turns in the course. Pretty flat and not all that scenic to look at—you go through an industrial park, blech. During this stretch, focus on getting into your half marathon pace. If you are a 5-10 seconds off pace that is fine. Relax, get into a comfortable breathing pattern and settle in to the race.

Miles 5-8: This section of the race becomes a bit more scenic. You’ll be on Shoal Creek and then Great Northern Blvd (near Northcross Mall) and then back on Shoal Creek. Very straight, few turns. When you are running on Great Northern, you’ll be running the opposite direction from the marathon course. If you are not already there, this is the time to dial in to ½ marathon pace. If you are already there and feeling good, hold it! You can slightly pick up the pace in the next section…why wait until then? You still have a 1/3 of the race to go—if you pick up your pace too soon, you risk burning yourself out and crawling to the finish.

Miles 9-12: Getting into the home stretch! Now you are hitting the central Austin sights—45th street, Intramural fields, Hancock golf course, and UT campus. If you are struggling, then just try to hold steady and maintain your ½ marathon pace. If you are feeling good you can slowly starting picking up the pace with each mile. Again, these should be slight pick-ups of 5-10 seconds per mile. For example, if your ½ marathon pace is a 9:30, you would run mile 9 at 9:25, mile 10 at 9:20, mile 11 at 9:15 and mile 12 at 9:10. You should not be going faster than 10K pace until mile 12.

Last Mile: Coming down San Jacinto and onto MLK. If you have gas left in the tank then turn it on and pick up the pace one last time. This is like running 4 times around a track, or doing the cool-down distance back to Rogue on a quality workout day. It may sound crazy, but try to get your pace into the 10K-mile pace range here. Warning—leading to the finish is a hill up MLK…that part sucks—you can see the finish but you’re headed up hill. Bust that hill out like it’s one of the Rogue hill workouts. After you give that last 400 meters of effort, you can rest. Start chanting your mantra in your head. See how many people you can pass in this last mile. As you near the finish, give it one last burst and stride across the finish line—smile for the cameras!

Plan B: Complete 3M and Keep Myself Healthy

This option is for those of you who are in some state of recovery—from illness, injury, or a break in training. Or maybe you are even feeling healthy but are focused on your 26.2 goal in few weeks so you just want to complete the 3M and check it off the list. You’d like to even feel good while running it, but you don’t plan to shoot for a PR.

The general plan is: Run steady.

Start-Mile 1: Similar to the plan above, start out conservatively. Do not even worry about your ½ marathon pace. In fact, you may purposefully want to hold yourself back to closer to marathon or long run pace at the start. Don’t allow yourself to get pulled along by the adrenaline. Your goal here is being healthy. If you feel good, you can pick it up during the second half of the race.

Miles 1-9: Get into a comfortable pace and stay there. This might be your long run pace, your marathon pace, or even your half marathon pace. Make it your goal to hit steady miles, be as on target as possible.

Miles 10-12: Evaluate how you are feeling, if you feel like you could run this pace for another 10 miles, and injuries aren’t rearing their ugly heads, then you have permission to pick up the pace. Your pace should still be well above your 10K pace, but you can go faster than ½ marathon. If you are feeling so-so, than just hold steady and keep your previous pace. If you are feeling down-right horrible than slow it down. Do not push through the pain and regret it later. Walking is not a mark of shame, sometimes it’s a smart decision if the day is not turning out as you had hoped.

Last mile: Finish proud! You have completed a ½ marathon while most of the rest of the city is still in bed. Hold your pace steady or pick it up one last time if you’ve got it in you. Smile for the cameras as you cross the finish!

Best of luck to all of you! I can’t wait to hear the race stories and to see you looking strong, determined and smiling out on the race course!

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Mae Coffman coaches Run Like a Mother at Rogue Cedar Park.

Skechers. Seriously.

IMG_5934by John Schrup

I began working for the Skechers Performance Division (SPD) in July of last year.  Well before I took the job, I’d become familiar with a few of their models and had written about how impressed I was.  BMort1 had hooked me up with a pair or two and then Kurt2 had sent over a couple of others.  The GO Run series had become part of my regular rotation, along with the Kinvara, Adios, Tarther (RIP), 1400 and beloved Launch.

At first, I was hesitant to trumpet the merits of Skechers product because I was a shoe snob–the wrong kind, really, leaning more toward brand snob than anything.  But I was digging the shoes so much that eventually I couldn’t hide that I was wearing them on more runs than not  (I still have the almost unused Kinvara, Adios, 1400 and Launch to prove it. They’re in the closet, and we still chat, though mostly now it’s like when you run into an old girlfriend and you’re married with kids and you’re like, soooooooo, how’s it going?)

And then last summer I got a message from my man Seth, who was working on the SPD marketing team at the time, that I should send my resume tout de suite.  Some things happened after that, obviously, and I ended up at the Intergalactic Sales Conference in Manhattan Beach.  If you’ve never been to Manhattan Beach, CA, it’s the kind of place where everyone smells real, real tan and you get sand in your parts, whether you want it there or not.  Also, if it gets below 60 degrees, they call FEMA to bring in some long sleeve shirts, because you never really know.

Several people asked me, upon my return from MB, seriously, dude?  Skechers?  Just like I’d been asked when I was reviewing the shoes.  Yes, Skechers.  Specifically, Skechers Performance Division.

There are some challenges I really, really enjoy.  If there is an underdog quality to the challenge, I’m all over it.  And Skechers Performance is an underdog in the specialty running market, so the excitement was immediate and visceral.  The challenges are real—most of you probably didn’t even know that Skechers makes performance running shoes, and even more of you probably only knew of the Shape Ups and all that. And running specialty is well aware of it, so there’s the challenge.  How to introduce to the public a really, really, really good product from a brand that has previously not been associated with performance product?

ATHLETICS-US-MARATHON-BOSTONThe idea is to change the perception of the brand.  Most people probably don’t care that the product team is as good as it gets and is making product that is as good or better than anything I’ve seen in 30-something years of running.3 Most people probably won’t even raise an eyebrow that Meb wore them when he won Boston, because truth be told, most people don’t follow the sport in that way.  All it really takes is to get the shoes on some feet.  It’s that simple; and it’s not.  Obviously you can’t just go around giving away all your shoes, can you?  No, but all it takes is a few who are willing to try.  Word of mouth, and all that.

We know that if you’re looking for a shoe to try, there are really two fundamental variables to consider:  fit and feel.  The shoes have to fit your feet well enough that they function the way they’re supposed to.  Both the shoes and your feet, that is.  And they should feel as if you’re really not wearing anything at all.  They should disappear on your feet.  Neutral, maximal, stability, whatever.  The shoes should allow your foot to move unrestricted.  And that’s the idea behind SPD product:  To make the smoothest transitioning footwear possible.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt when you get to rub shoulders with Kara and Meb.

Skechers is now carried at Rogue Running. Stop in, try ‘em on and see for yourself!

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1 Dude is fast, but he puts his pants on one at a time, just like you and me.

2Stockbridge.  VP, Technical Development, Performance Division.  Good people.

3Note to self:  Edit, using actual math.