Posted on

Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 mile Race Recap

It was 8am on a Friday morning and it was pouring rain. I drove onto Antelope Island and pulled into a parking lot to grab my bib number and shirt. It was all real now. I was unusually calm this morning, which compared to my previous 100 mile attempt was very reassuring. As I drove to the starting area, I saw it, my first buffalo about 5 feet from my car. How in gods name am I supposed to run with these gigantic creatures just running around the island?? Well, no one had been hurt yet so I guess it’ll all be good…..right?

I arrived about 2 hours before our early starting time, which was intentional. I tend to get very anxious before races(especially my NUMBER ONE race) so arriving TOO early is my plan. I dropped my drop bags onto the tarps, walked around a bit, took my before race photo, and sat back in my car and played some solitaire. Yep, sitting and playing solitaire keeps me calm and not overthinking what is about to come. I had put in training for the past 6 months, including two 40 milers and a 24 hour race, so I felt ready and was ready. It was about 9:30am so I wandered into the tent for the pre race briefing(which included instructions on how NOT to get charged by the buffalo. Very reassuring.) and just like that we were lining up. This was what I had planned and trained for over the past 2-3 years. I had never felt more ready.

The race layout was two 50 mile “loops”(more like a couple of pinched loops and an out & back of about 20 miles) which was perfect! If you have tried to do 3-4 loops of a longer race, it can be very daunting. This way, I could finish the 50 miles and end up at the start/finish to get a little boost from my pacers & crew(which consisted of my husband Jeremy and great race support Bruce). With ONLY about 7500 ft elevation gain over the entire 100 miles, this was a much less daunting course then some others I had attempted(Tushars with it’s 10,000-12,000ft climb and Rio Del Lago with it’s 14,000+ elevation gain) so that helped my confidence. I stuck to my aid station plan almost flawlessly: Refill your pack, add electrolytes every other aid station, refill your food making sure you had at least 800 calories on you at all times, put BioFreeze on your feet to stave off soreness, and sit down for a bit but try to keep it to 5 minutes.

Within the first 5 miles of the course, I found myself playing chicken with a buffalo on the trail. He goes one way, I go the other. He turns around, I try not to freak out and get around him. All I could remember was “Don’t look them in the eye!” and “Do not run if you are close to one!”. Talk about instilling a slight fear of death. Those first 50 miles felt great, my body felt better then I could have hoped for. My pace put me about 2 hours ahead of cutoff times and I was feeling awesome! As I came into the finishing tent about 12:30am Saturday morning, I was welcomed by my husband and Bruce, a VERY welcome sight. I sat for 20 mins(knowing I was ahead of schedule) and shoveled pizza, soup, and coke into my mouth as fast as I could. I knew these next 20 miles were the hardest part and that being night time, I may forget to eat as often as needed. So, I was trying to front load and get some calories in while I could.

Expecting Jeremy to jump in as pacer for the next 20 miles or so, he said “Ok, you go the next 20 miles and I will be right here when you get back.”. Huh?!? This was the hardest portion of the race! I have to go alone?!? Being pretty tired and not able to really think too much, I said ok and at 1AM, I headed out. The next 20 miles were rough! Most of the elevation of the course was in THESE 20 miles. Winds had picked up to 25+ mph and on some steep drops off of the trail, it was a little questionable. I was tired(as expected), cold, and it was just a rough 6-7 hours. Each aid station I would sit, put my head in my hands, and wallow, but then I would get my shit together, refill, and head out. Just trying to get through the night and into sunrise was my goal for this portion of the race.

It was 8AM and I was feeling pretty defeated. I had cried a few times, or tried to at least(you’d be surprised how hard it is to cry under duress and when you are clinging to hydration) and as I came around the corner and the finishing tent was in sight, I saw Jeremy. At just the right time and with just the right tone, he said let’s get this done! Only 23 hours in, I had 9 more hours to get this last 30 miles done. I can actually finish this thing! With the night behind me, my spirits were lifting pretty quickly.

The next 25 miles were a constant awareness of time, of movement, of alternating between my shuffle jog and walking a little when needed.   Jeremy was there the whole way, telling me to try to run. He made sure I had what I needed at every aid station, coke, food, refilled camelback. He was the best pacer I could have asked for. Of course, being 24 hours into a non stop race, I was starting to get a tiny bit agitated. I wouldn’t expect anything less honestly, and those who know me, would probably be surprised it took me that long to get to that point. So we kept moving and as we hiked up the hill and approached the 95th mile, Jeremy let me finish the last part on my own. I know part of it was because, well, he was probably sick of moving like a snail for 25 miles. But I like to think it was just that he wanted me to finish alone, what I had started alone.

I came around the back side of the final loop and I could see it, the finishers tent. It was then that everything just came together in my head. Oh my god, I am going to finish 100 miles. Oh my god, I am not last! Oh my god, all of that hard work and those long weekend runs paid off. I DID IT! And so I came down the final stretch into the finish, I could hear Jeremy and Bruce as they watched me walk, run, walk some more, run some more, and I just felt complete happiness. Again, I tried to cry and probably got two tears out(it’s hard to cry when you’re exhausted haha) and I came into the finish, the happiest I have been with myself. I realized that it was possible and I just made it so. The remainder of that day really didn’t entail much more then a shower, pizza, TV, and sleep.

 

A Few Things that I Learned on this Race

 

*I didn’t listen to ANY music! I tried, I really tried to, but I wasn’t feeling it and it ended up being 100 miles listening to other runners, my mind, and the surroundings. This just surprised me, a lot!

*My feet, which had given me trouble all throughout this training cycle, held up great! Knowing they were a little difficult, I made sure I stopped at each aid station and out on biofreeze. The 30 seconds it took really helped keep them mellow and was worth the time.

*I OVER packed my drop bags. Expecting rain, each bag had a sweatshirt, socks, a hat in two. I was over prepared and it helped avoid some of the anxiety during the race.

*ALWAYS PACK A HEADLAMP IN YOUR PACK! Instead of trying to time where I would be when it got dark, I kept my headlamp on me at all times. You ever run in the dark on a trail? Yeah, probably not because it’s stupid! I ran into a few people who didn’t get to their light in time and well, a few didn’t finish. Maybe this was part of the reason.

*I found it helpful to separate this race into 3 separate races: the morning portion, the night time, and post sunrise. The goal is basically, get through the night and you’ll come out on the other side in a much better spot. Push through the dark place!

*My many training runs taught me that the food you like to eat while you run, may be the food you hate on race day. You NEED to have a lengthy list of options. Pros can sustain themselves on a single type of nutrition, but for the rest of us it’s all about what you can basically get into your body. Pop tarts I consider my staple base. Soup, like an angel, especially when it’s cold and/or dark. Potato chips, you can just shove them in by the handful and not pay a price for it. Pizza, um yeah pizza was a great treat a the 50 mile mark. Ibuprofen(I know it’s not food) was a life saver twice when I just couldn’t get past the pains of the run. Gummy candy, easy to shove in and kind of a treat when you need a break from pop tarts. Coke, coke, and more coke! Even if it were 5 sips, every stop on the last stint included coke. Sugar, carbonation to settle your stomach, and it’s fairly calorie dense for the volume.

*Why would you run a 100 miles when your training was a marathon? Yeah, I don’t know why either, but I met a few people who were in that boat. Why go in unprepared mentally and physically, when you can train and be much more relaxed on race day? Needless to say, some of these people did not finish. You may be able to push through the physical under preparedness, but mentally you WILL suffer!

*You finish, exhausted and just drained of every ounce of energy. You say you will never do this s**t again. Two weeks later, you’re signed up for a 48 hour. Yeah, they’re right. You WILL do it again, if the passion is inside of you.

 

 

Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 mile race, March 2018

Coach Melissa Farrell

100 Mile Finisher

Posted on

The Road to Running 100 miles

riodellago.jpg
As I approach 4 months out from my first 100 mile run, there are so many things that go into training and preparing for the big day.  For the first couple of months, it was nutrition & hydration.  Easy right?  Well, preparing and training your body to intake energy to sustain 22 hrs+ of work, well, it’s hard work.  Once that was buckled down, it was strategy.  You think you can literally RUN 100 miles?  Well, if you have done it then more power to you.  If you haven’t, you have to be smart.  This means being prepared to walk most uphills in order to conserve energy for the latter hours.  You check your ego at the trailhead, literally. 

And here we sit, coming off a few pretty long training runs.  Runs that include hours upon hours of walking, running, hiking.  Hours of heat exposure, stopping at the car so you can shove food in your mouth and ice in your hat.  Hours of mental training, of repetitive mantras of positivity and riding out the dark times.  And with the day quickly approaching, one of the final steps is to prepare those who will support you on race day.  Your crew, your pacer, your family & friends.  Remember they have probably never gone through such an experience and so the only way they can help you, is with some draw out instructions.  Here are my instructions that I sent to my pacer for my upcoming 93K training race.

**I tend to be a lone runner, which means I am not a big talker.  Though I do need distraction during the later miles of the run, it doesn’t mean you need to entertain me or talk the whole time.  It is a good idea to say something once in a while to a)make sure I am alert, b)take my mind off of what is probably a very dark place, and c)to distract.  If I ignore you, don’t take it personally.  I am just saving my energy for more important things, like running 100 miles 😉

**Your primary job will be to a)make sure I eat enough calories(We will chat before the race but we are probably looking at about 300 calories per hour), b)make sure I am drinking consistently(most likely this should be every 15 mins or more often during the hotter hours), with the goal being about 25 oz of electrolytes per hour, c)Keep tabs of when I go to the bathroom(fun, huh?) so that you can tell if I am dehydrated.  If once every couple hours is happening then we are probably good to go.  

**AID STATIONS: Make sure I eat enough calories before heading out.  Make sure if there was something that was an issue(wet socks, chafing, food that didn’t sit well, etc..) that it is addressed at the aid station before setting back out.  Be prepared to spend 10-15 mins at aid stations, depending on the difficulty of the previous miles.  MAKE SURE I reload my food and electrolytes, since it may be 6+ miles or so between stations and this can take 2 hours if it is a difficult part. MAKE SURE I prepare for the upcoming miles, if it will be getting dark I need a headlamp.  If it is approaching night time, make sure I bring a long sleeve shirt.  If my socks are wet, make sure I change them.  Basically, be my babysitter. 
**Watch where we are going.  Even though I can see, it doesn’t mean I am looking…..at anything really!  Especially when it gets dark, we will have headlamps but since I will most likely be a little loopy, you will need to keep track of the trail and just make sure I don’t veer off into the abyss 🙂  
**Be prepared for some slow running/walking or hiking.  The ultimate goal in these races is to keep moving forward, even if it is down to a slow walk.  If we are approaching a downhill, feel free to suggest trying to run it.  I’ll tell you if I don’t feel like running, and I just won’t.  BUT sometimes a little nudge is all it takes for there to be a spark lit under my ass, so suggest away!  
**DON’T LET ME QUIT!  Of course I will want to quit a LOT of times.  As ridiculous as it sounds, just tell me at the next aid station.  If I am persistent about quitting, try to talk about something different and distract me.  It kind of is like being with a kid or a puppy, cause at later miles I can be easily refocused off of my pain.  There will be times where no matter what you say, I will be dead set on quitting.  Feel free to tell me “Don’t be a wuss.”  “Be the badass that you are.” “Don’t fuck up all that work you’ve put in.”  “When it’s over you can have ALL THE CAKE YOU WANT!”, you know, shit like that 🙂 
If you haven’t paced an ultra runner, you should try it!  It’s a chance to see humans broken down, pushing themselves to the limits both physically and mentally.  It’s a chance to see some beautiful courses and to be the hero who plays a critical role in getting that runner to the finish line safely. So to all who have played a role, you rock!  
Melissa Farrell
Las Vegas Runners Coach
Ultra marathoner & Cake Lover
Melissa Farrell - Running Coach
Posted on

Why I Have a Coach and 6 Reasons You Don’t Need One

USATF Coach Jeremy Wallace

USATF Coach Jeremy Wallace“If a man coaches himself, then he has only himself to blame when he is beaten.” – Roger Bannister

…….. but before we get into that, let me tell you about the duck foot.  It’s attached to my right leg and you can see it in roughly 50% of my race pictures.  It turns out when I run, from push-off to leg extension to hip flexion.  My significant other makes fun of it, it occasionally rubs against my left leg, it turns out awkwardly all the time unless I consciously turn it in, makes me feel self-conscious and has a mind of its own, but has never caused me any real problems.  Next time you see me running, or even just standing around, you can look briefly at the duck foot but don’t stare, it’s not polite.  It’s something I’ve tried to “fix” in the past after friends, coaches, chiropractors and doctors told me I needed to in order to be a good, healthy runner.  I’ve tried rolling, stretching, strengthening and just being conscious of it, then I injured my knee trying to “correct” my form, on advice from one of the “experts”.  I finally had the duck foot thoroughly examined only to find that the cause was simply the way the bones in my ankle were built and I should probably just blame my mother.

Now about the first time I went through a workout with my current coach.  He took a look at my form as if through a microscope, an hour or more of putting me through all sorts of drills and punishing intervals, all while eyeballing and seemingly criticizing every movement and shaking his head at the duck foot.  Lap after lap he asked me to make small changes to what I was doing then examined the results closely.  He asked questions about what sort of training I’d done in the past and what I’d done to change the way I run.  Truth be told, even with my experience, I’m self-conscious about my performance, so having someone critique every move I made without saying anything about what I was doing wrong almost sent me over the edge.  At the end of the session I almost expected him to tell me that I wasn’t good enough, to go home picking up some Carl’s Jr. on the way, kick the duck foot up and watch some cooking shows.  Thankfully that’s not what happened.  In the end, he simply said “There’s nothing wrong with your form, you just need to work harder”, which I know isn’t entirely true, but it completely changed the way I looked at my training and one reason I have a coach.  His statement somehow gave me permission to step back from what had been ingrained in me as an athlete and coach.  In short, it allowed me to stop letting the foot be my limiter and trying to correct every little thing that was “wrong” with me.  Since then my fitness has improved exponentially.  That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about my inefficiencies and working on them, it just means they no longer limit my efforts.

Here are some other reasons:

-Accountability: I get asked often why I don’t write my own training program, especially since I’ve coached so many others.  The answer is simple.  I’m not my own best coach.  I’ve realized over the years that I can run hard, but I run harder if someone is looking at me expecting me to run hard.  I’m also more likely to limit random days off, I consider nutritional choices more carefully and do more supplemental work like foam rolling.

-Different perspective: There are a hundred different ways to train for an event and there are none that are wrong, just wrong for the athlete.  My coach and I regularly discuss my training path to ensure I progress appropriately.  Sometimes I don’t follow the path he’d like me to take but talking with him allows me to consider another opinion.

-I don’t know everything: I know, disappointing right?  It turns out that running is a simple act but bio-mechanically complicated.  To run in an inefficient way is equivalent to trying to throw a baseball without using your wrist or fingers (the ball won’t go nearly as far).  Throw in mental training, nutrition, periodization, flexibility, hydration and injury prevention, and there’s a lot to learn.

-Someone to blame: This is my favorite reason for having a coach.  I’m afraid of giving 100% and failing, not just in running but in other avenues of my life.  Having a coach gives me just enough crutch to put everything I have into my training with no reservations, and if things don’t work out the way I’d like, in my head there must be something wrong with his training plan.  I’m sure this sounds silly to some but it’s just how my brain works.

-Motivation: My coach knows what makes me perform.  Somehow he’s able to get me to push myself way out of my comfort zone and into what I like to call the “Blue Zone”.  It’s the area of consciousness just before passing out, when your breathing can no longer keep up, when your vision starts to lose focus, when the only thing you hear his your heart beating out of your chest and the only thing you feel is your legs tingle as though they could crumple beneath your body at any moment.  You know, the sweet spot where real gains are made….. Ah, to be a runner:)

-I need to be held back: I’m prone to bouts of egotistical running behavior.  If you’ve ever run with me, you know it’s a rare day when I’ll let you get too far ahead of me before the run turns from friendly training workout to death sprint, which good distance training almost never calls for.  Having a coach doesn’t eliminate my propensity to go harder than I need to, but it certainly makes it less likely.

And now, 6 reasons you don’t need a coach:

1-You’re not motivated by being a better runner: People run for many different reasons.  Some for an energy release or because it helps them focus or lose a few pounds.  Others because their daily 4 miler helps them get going in the morning or they like spending time with other runners or because in their minds it means they can have an extra glass of wine at night.  In any case, I’ve learned that not all people who run regularly are interested in becoming a stronger, faster or more durable runner.  If you’re one of them, you don’t need a coach.

2-You already know everything there is to know about distance training: Why bother with a coach, go straight to the Olympics.

3-You’re impatient: I’ll often be asked by a runner to help them in training only to have that same runner ask me a few weeks later why they haven’t set any records yet.  Running well takes time.  There are no magic bullets or workouts that will transform you over night.  If you decide to go with a coach, success isn’t automatic, it’s a big investment of time and it will take months or years of consistent, specific work before you reach your potential.

4-You’re not open to new ways of training: Occasionally someone will ask me to write their training program for them and then not follow one day of it.  They have their own ideas of what they like or want to do and a coach’s program just isn’t it.  This isn’t productive for the coach or athlete.  If you have a program you’re getting good results from and/or aren’t open to new ideas, you don’t need a coach.

5-You’re your own best coach: There are very few professional or elite amateur distance runners who coach themselves, but most novice runners think it’s as easy as putting on your shoes and pounding out 20-30 miles per week or downloading a generic ½ marathon training plan to be at their best.  Maybe it is for you.  Here’s a little test: Do you know what the terms periodization, cadence, hip flexion, glycogen depletion or aerobic threshold mean?  Do you understand the role of low and high glycemic foods in training?  Do you know what you’re going to eat the day before your next event or drink the day of?  Do you know within a few BPMs or seconds/mile how hard you’re going to run your next tempo effort?  Do you keep a food and mileage log?  Are you progressing?  If so, maybe you don’t need a coach.

You like taking a little advice from everyone:  As an athlete myself, I get daily unsolicited advice.  Sometimes even from non-runners, on what I need to be doing to be a better runner, from making my long run at least 22 miles every week, to limiting my runs to 3 days per week so I don’t ruin my knees, to avoiding nuts because they’ll make my hair fall out.  Everyone’s an expert, but I can only listen to one coach at a time and if you’re someone who likes to take advice from everyone, one coach isn’t going to cut it.

——————-
A good coach is a good motivator, teacher and friend.  He or she can be just what you need to develop your fitness, get over that training plateau, injury or help you set a new personal record, but only if you’re ready to be coached.  I’ve learned that a coach doesn’t necessarily have to have a ton of education or even be an athlete and that some of the smartest, best athletes make the worst coaches.  Your coach should only know what they’re talking about when it comes to getting the best out of you.  Usain Bolt’s coach Glen Mills never ran past freshman year in high school and never went to college, but has gone on to help develop the fastest sprinter in the world.  Why?  Because he found a love and passion for the sport, became a student of running and has learned how to effectively motivate his athletes.  If you go looking for a coach, that’s exactly what you should look for.  Not all coaches are the same.

Here’s the truth: My coach and I don’t always see eye to eye.  He holds back my paces when I’d like to go harder and tells me to eat more or less food.  Sometimes he questions my efforts and others he asks me to give an extra 10% when I have nothing left (which makes me mad for some reason), but I don’t need him to be my bestie all the time.  The bottom line is that I’ve become a better and faster athlete with him and without him there’d be no one to tell me to ignore the duck foot and work harder, which is really all the permission I need.

Happy training!!

Jeremy “Duckfoot” Wallace
Las Vegas Runners
USATF and RRCA Running Coach

USATF and RRCA Running Coach, Jeremy Wallace

Posted on

It’s time for another free race entry giveaway!

The Color Run 5K is coming to Las Vegas on February 28th, and YOU can be the lucky winner of a FREE race entry!  The Color Run, also known as the Happiest 5k on the Planet, is a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality.

Now the single largest event series in the world, The Color Run has exploded since our debut event. We have more than tripled our growth, hosting more than 300 events in 50+ countries in 2014.


TO ENTER TO WIN: Just comment below with your name, email, and share “What makes you happy & shine?” along with the hashtag #WeShine Winner will be chosen on FEBRUARY 15th and notified via email.  


Good luck and Happy Running!
Melissa & Jeremy
Las Vegas Runners Coaches




Posted on

An Athlete’s Track to the World Championships

Team USA - Las Vegas Runners

Team USA - Las Vegas RunnersBy: Melissa Farrell

“So, I qualified to represent Team USA at the Duathlon World Championships in Spain in 2014??  Do I want a spot on the team?  Um, YEAH!”  That is pretty much what went through my head when I found out that I had qualified for Team USA after the National Championships in AZ last year.  I will be honest, I am not an elite athlete, I have only been running seriously for about 3-4 years, I love running ultra distances, and until 2012 I had no idea the duathlon was an event.  Trying to motivate clients, I had decided to explore the possibility of competing in a triathlon in June 2013.  As anyone who knows me knows, I am not, shall we say a FAN of swimming.  I like to be on my feet…..on land……breathing oxygen.  When the option to compete in the duathlon option came up, I jumped on it!  Running & Biking, you mean no swimming?  I’M IN!  After placing 3rd female overall, the journey began.

From there I went to Nationals and in two months we will be on my way to Pontevedra, Spain to compete against the best in the world.  It may sound intimidating to most, but the way I look at it is I have a chance to compete against some awesome athletes and see how they race, learn from them, rub elbows with them, and experience the atmosphere of a World Championship race.  I’m going out to do the best I can and have been putting all my efforts into my training & preparation for this race.  It’s intense when I think about it, but I feel very fortunate to have such a great support group in Vegas to allow me to experience such an event.

In January of this year, I began seriously training and prepping my legs for the fast pace of a 5K run, 20K bike, and a 2.5K run.  Getting my body used to jumping from one regimen to another and then finishing off with pretty much a sprint to the finish.  Now, for those of you who are runners, I want you to imagine preparing to run a mile, as fast as you can, after doing 3 sets of heavy squats and some hill repeats and oh, throw some weighted step ups in there too.  I remember the first time I stepped off my bike, put on my shoes, and began to run.  I swear my legs were no longer stable and I waited for the jelly to force me to the pavement.  But like any training adaptation, that’s just what my body did, adapt.  Over the weeks things have become easier, speeds have increased, transitions have become smoother, and the confidence has increased.

As we approach the final two months of training I am feeling great!  I know I have put in the work and I see it paying off.  I no longer about what others think because I am on my recovery day and running a 10:00/mile or biking for 15 miles at a snails pace.  I do my own training, on my own schedule, with my own rules and that is exactly what I encourage everyone to do.  Set a goal and get with someone who will help you reach that goal whether it be to run your first 5K or PR in your marathon or try out a triathlon this year.  If you want it and you put the work in, you will get it and it’s that simple.  I will be keeping updates on my progress for those interested and look forward to sharing my successes come race day.  I appreciate ALL of your support and only wish I knew a way to say thank you to everyone.  And a special thank you to my biggest support system and the best training partner I could ask for.  Jeremy, you have helped me stay on track and been there through all the ups & downs(as in ANY training program) and for that and much more, I thank you!

Viva Espana!!

Melissa Farrell
Co-Founder & Running Coach, Las Vegas Runners
Ultra runner & World Championship Duathlete
www.LasVegasRunners.com

Melissa Farrell - Running Coach

Posted on

Eat to Run, Eat for Your Run, Eat to Win

Nutrition for Running

Nutrition for Running

By: Melissa Farrell

April 2013, I decided to run the Labor of Love 50 miler for the first time.  Having completed the 50K the previous year, I knew the course and most importantly I knew when and where I would be able to eat.  We drove to the race start and as I prepared to get set up for the start, I realized something was missing.  I had managed to come without my water bottle.  I had packed my drop bags, I had the food I would need, but without adequate hydration I was screwed.  50 miles, nothing in hand, this was not going to go well.

With nothing to carry to keep my energy up, it was time for a quick change of plans.  I made a decision that the only way I was to make it through 9 hours of hilly hell was to take advantage of every aid station.  I made it a mission to make sure I hydrated every 4-5 miles.  With no other option, I went into it and hoped for the best.  9 hours, LOTS of bananas, and a lot of electrolytes later, I finished the race in 2nd place and felt great!  Well, great is a relative term, but I felt pretty damn good!

Any time you are preparing for a race, whether it be a 10K, a half marathon, or an ultra, it is IMPERATIVE to have a plan in place for your run.  This doesn’t mean picking up some protein bars on your way to the race start or swinging by Krispy Kreme for some “quick sugars”.  It means taking the time to test out different foods during your training runs.  It means tweaking your regimen where need be BEFORE race day.  A lot of runners make the mistake of getting to the start line with either no plan in place or an untested plan.  A bad move that may lead worse results.  I have done 5K’s to 50 milers to Duathlons and I can say that each race was varied in terms of nutrition and how you plan for it.  A 5K may not warrant any race time nutrition, but instead may require a plan in place for before the run.  A marathon may require a pre-race plan as well as a plan for race time hydration.  A 50 miler requires a plan for the week before as well as a plan for hydration AND nutrition during the run.  I don’t know anyone who can run for 8+ hours without eating or drinking anything.  No WAY that will go well.

So how do you test out different systems during your training runs?  The best time is during your long runs.  These runs tend give you the time to gauge when you need to start your nutrition, when you become depleted so you can plan for these moments, and amounts or types of products to use when it comes to race day.  If you plan on running for longer then an hour, you generally will need some type of electrolytes and/or sugars to replenish your energy stores or you will feel the depletion.  General rule is about 4-8 oz every 20 mins of your run(speed will have something to do with the variance).  There is also hydrating leading UP TO your run.  You cannot make-up for dehydration on your run and trying to front load with fluids will only lead to sloshing and discomfort during your runs.  If you run until you’re thirsty, chances are you will be suffering the rest of the race.

I know a number of people who will tell you that eating a gel substance that tastes like espresso is not on their highlight list of foods they love, but I will tell you when you need it, you’ll be thankful.  Why else would I pick up a GU off of the ground during a 20 mile run and GLADLY eat it?  Look, if you’re hungry and depleted, you’ll do just about anything!  There is no set rule as far as “this is THE food you need to eat during a run”, there is a lot of flexibility and each runner is different.  My go to’s?  Bananas, animal crackers(a childhood fave and easy to hold while running), gummy bears, and gatorade.  I will gladly eat a GU if it is the only option or if I need something quick!  You need to test out different foods during your training runs.  Training is exactly what is says, TRAINING for your big event.  In ALL aspects!

Melissa Farrell
Co-Founder & Running Coach, Las Vegas Runners
www.LasVegasRunners.com

Melissa Farrell - Running Coach

Posted on

Look Into Your Future: Setting Your Running Goals for the New Year

Running Goals

Running GoalsBy: Jeremy Wallace

I remember the day I ran my first big race, the 2009 Portland Marathon.  That day I had dreams of qualifying for the holy grail of amateur distance running in the US, The Boston Marathon.  I had a coach and trained hard in the months leading up to the race.  I was able to run one 6:50 mile and had some mileage on my legs to back it up.  Race day I set out at a 7:10 pace which would put me in the finishing chute in 3:07.  I felt that with some grit I’d have no problem hitting my Boston qualifying time of 3:10.  There was only one problem.  It’s name was Mile 17.  I hit a wall so hard it might as well have been made from brick.  By mile 18 I was walking some.  By mile 21, I was asking the nice Portland spectators for food… seriously.  The truth is I wasn’t in shape to run a 3:10 or even a 3:30 that day and if I knew then what I know now, perhaps my pace would’ve been a bit more conservative (…or maybe not.  I’m a hard-headed man, after all.  Just ask Melissa).  That first race I learned a hard lesson.  Know what you’re capable of in a marathon and shoot directly for that time.

So, how do you figure out what you’re capable of?  As it turns out, you don’t need a crystal ball.  We can predict your marathon (or 1/2 marathon, or 5K) finishing time pretty accurately based on your current fitness.  For example, my 6:50 mile a few weeks prior meant that, with proper training, nutrition etc, I would be capable of running a 3:49 marathon.  My actual finishing time in Portland?  3:51.  Don’t believe me?, look it up:)  These days I can tell you with 95% certainty that if you can run a 10K in 49 minutes and you train properly, you can beat 4 hours in the marathon, or if your 5K time is 30 minutes, your dream of running a 2 hour half marathon isn’t ready to become reality.  Here’s the thing:  With targeted training, proper nutrition and a well-laid plan, you’re not that far off.

So what does that mean for you, your training and setting goals for 2014?  When looking forward into the New Year, be honest with yourself and be ready to set realistic goals.  What’s your current fitness?  How hard are you willing to work this year?  Do you have an actual plan or are you just winging it and hoping for a miracle on race day?  If you’re happy with your current fitness level and not looking to improve much over the next year, sorry for wasting your time.  Stop reading now and go for a run.  If you are seriously ready to take your fitness up a notch, here are a few tips:

– Have a plan and make it specific.  As in life, a dream without a plan probably isn’t going to happen.  That being said, the best running plans are ones that are specific to you and your fitness.  It’s difficult to follow a generic plan and have real success.  Need help?  Ask me.

– Test yourself semi-regularly.  The people who know exactly what they’re capable of, are those who test themselves every once in a while.

– Be ready to gradually improve your performance by occasionally stepping outside your comfort zone.  Running fitness develops over months, not one workout.

– Work on your limiting performance factor.  Strength, flexibility, running form and nutrition are super important in distance running.  Guess what?  Runners are notoriously weak, inflexible and have crappy eating habits.  I know I’ll get some flak for this one, but I’ll save the explanation for another blog post.

– Don’t forget the mental aspect.  Distance running requires a degree of suffering.  Look for it and be ready to embrace.

– Be realistic and patient.  If you’ve run 10 marathons and your PR is 5:30, a sub-three hour event this year isn’t likely.  Next year?  Eh, anything could happen.

– Think big.  You’re capable of achieving more than you think.  Just be ready to put in the work.

So what’s the number one thing I want you to take away from this?  Have a specific goal with a specific plan for success to match and you won’t end up begging for food in Portland.

Happy Running
Jeremy Wallace
2:51 marathoner
Las Vegas Runners Coach and Certified Personal Trainer
www.lasvegasrunners.com

USATF and RRCA Running Coach, Jeremy Wallace

Posted on

Challenge nation giveaway! 

challenge-nationLas Vegas Runners is giving away FOUR FREE entries for you and 3 teammates for the Las Vegas edition of Challenge Nation on November 17th!!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below with your name, your TEAM name, and why you love to run!  Winners will be announced on November 10th and notified via our Facebook page 

https://www.facebook.com/lasvegasrunners

Join the scavenger hunt and have LOTS of fun plus a chance to win some GREAT prizes.  For more race information visit www.challengenation.com/lasvegas