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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

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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
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Running Long, Not Fast

Las Vegas Running Long Not Fast

Las Vegas Running Long Not FastBy: Melissa Farrell 

How many times have you gone out for your long run, only to look down at your watch and realize you’re running a PR pace?  Yeah, I think we’ve all made that mistake.  As runners, we sometimes get into a mentality that we need to ALWAYS be fast.  In trying to always BE fast, you aren’t allowing yourself to GET fast.

Long runs are one of the cornerstones of any running program, whether you’re training for a half marathon or a 50 miler.  One day of your run week is usually dedicated to a long run.  I think it might be helpful to understand the purpose of this run when you are trying to get those legs to slow down.  We all want to be fast-ER, but that 15 or 18 miler is not the time.

Let’s start with the fact that it is your LONG run.  It’s simple purpose is to get your body used to running long.  You can have all the speed in the world, but if your legs can’t carry you the full distance, what good is it?  This is a good time to think about your running form, your stride, your breathing, your nutrition, your weekly schedule, or why you decided to sign up for that 50 miler.  I can tell you that personally, this is one of my favorite runs in my program.  Maybe it’s because I can mentally distract myself or as some people say, maybe cause I’m just nuts!  I will say, to embark on a 50 mile run, there needs to be some level of crazy going on in here!

The longer runs will also help in strengthening your heart.  By having to work harder and longer to send oxygen to your legs, core, and upper body, the heart will over time become stronger and more efficient in completing this task.  Test it out.  Wear a heart rate monitor on one of your earlier long runs.  As you approach race day, try it again and see what the difference is.  You should notice that you have an easier time maintaining a moderate heart rate on stints that before may have caused it to increase.  Like your overall training, give it time and be patient and you will reap the benefits.  No good thing happens overnight, it takes time and perseverance just like your long run.

I’m sure most of you will love this fact, that the longer runs can help train your body to be better at utilizing fat as a fuel source.  I don’t care who you are, there is NO WAY you can eat enough the day before a 20 mile run to sustain yourself through its entirety.  There needs to be a level of efficiency in the way you use the energy you DO have stored, as well as the energy you are able to put in during your run. I can’t remember the last time I saw a runner out for an 18 miler chowing down on a loaf of bread.  it ain’t happening folks.  Be prepared by training your body for the conditions you will encounter on race day.

Long runs, just like tempo runs, track workouts, recovery runs, have their place in your training.  Try to use these runs for what they are meant for.  Talking with a few runner friends of mine, who also like longer distances, we decided that there needs to be an indicator light on your forehead that tells other runners what mile you are on.  This would help avoid that 1 mile power runner flying past you, only to find himself walking by mile 10.  Don’t feel like you need to race me during your tempo run, I’m on mile 17.  And remember, it’s not all about how fast you go, as long as you finish.  I’ll see you at the finish line!

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

Melissa Farrell - Running Coach

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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

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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

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What does cold weather do to your run?

Cold Weather Running

Cold Weather RunningBy: Melissa Farrell

Just because it doesn’t normally snow in Las Vegas, doesn’t mean the cold will not have an effect on your run. I have succumb to the stumpy leg feeling, or frozen-nose.  Temperatures can drop below freezing and can have an impact on your speed, recovery, and overall performance.  When temps do drop, it can take a toll on your run.  Freezing temperatures can slow your pace by 1-2%.  There are a few reasons this can occur:

  • Reduced muscle contraction: In colder temperatures your muscles are not able to expand as much as they would in warmer temps.  The nervous system is slower to send signals to your muscles, thereby resulting in slower muscle movement.
  • Changes in your energy used: Colder weather can lead your body to use a higher amount of energy to perform and to keep your body temperature up.  The body will use more carbohydrates for its energy source, with less reliance on fats.  Runners who already need carbohydrates to perform, will need to increase their intake in order to be able to sustain their level of performance in freezing temperatures.
  • Increased lactate production: When running in an anaerobic state (when your primary source of energy is carbohydrates), the by product of breaking down these carbohydrates is lactic acid, which can build up in your muscles.  Since colder weather promotes faster carbohydrate consumption, the lactic acid can build up in your muscles faster than your body can process it.  This can slow one’s pace and cause fatigue.

I’m from back East, I can attest to the fact that Las Vegas weather has nothing on the ice & snow we used to deal with.  That being said, I’m pretty sure I’ve turned into a big wuss and could not HANG with runners in Connecticut!  Now I complain when it dips below 50 degrees!  It has taken a couple of winters to figure out the proper attire for certain temps.  50’s: Long sleeves will do.  40’s: Might need to add a hat & gloves for this run!  30’s: Oh my gosh this is going to require pants and a some warm courage.  20’s: Well, this run has got to get done and I sure am NOT spending 2 hours on the treadmill! Layer up baby!

It is imperative to keep your body from becoming too cold and utilizing your energy stores needed to run, for temperature regulation.  Some easy things you can do is wear a hat & gloves during your run.  Not only will it keep the heat in better, but these are easy things to strip off as you get further into your run.  Hydration is another important thing to be aware of.  When your body is dehydrated, it is much tougher to regulate body temperature and keep you in a state where your runs will not suffer.  Colder weather makes it tougher to gauge when and how much you should drink, so a good rule of thumb is about 4-6 oz for every 20 minutes.  If you can keep your water from freezing in your hand, then carrying a small bottle wouldn’t hurt.  Then again, if you can always run near an aid station, you’re golden!

Winter can drive a lot of runners indoors, but for those of us who prefer the feeling of running outdoors it is important to be aware of what needs to be done to keep your performance from suffering.  Don’t let the weather beat you, bundle up and get ‘er done!

Stay warm my friends 🙂
P.S. This picture was taken a week ago here in Vegas….
yeah right, I’m not THAT crazy!  Happy running!

Melissa Farrell
Running Coach, Las Vegas Runners
www.LasVegasRunners.com

Melissa Farrell - Running Coach

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Learning to Run Easy and Keep “Runners Ego” Under Control

Learning to Run Easy and Keep “Runners Ego” Under Control

Learning to Run Easy and Keep “Runners Ego” Under ControlBy: Jeremy Wallace

OK, I admit it!  I’ve been living with an affliction.  You may suffer from it too.  It affects 9/10 distance runners.  It’s called “Runners Ego”.  Have you heard of it?  It’s a condition that ensures you don’t get too far ahead of me during our weekly group runs, no matter your pace.  It also makes me want to scream “I could run faster if I wanted!” to every passing car during my easier runs, as if they’re paying attention to how fast I’m running.  It forces me to speed up and run tall any time I pass another runner on the street and make every run a tempo run on the gym treadmill.  Essentially, Runners Ego makes me want to run fast almost all the time.  It makes me think I’m not getting a benefit to my workout unless I end in a sweaty puddle.  I’m not proud of my affliction, but it seems to be part of my make-up.  Fortunately for my body, easy runs can be just as beneficial as harder efforts.

Running hard is hard on the body.  In fact, some running injuries, over-training, excessive fatigue and poor performance can be attributed to running too hard all the time.  It’s also true that the majority of your training runs should be done at an easy pace and that can have a dramatic effect on your results.  Some benefits of easy running:

1) Improved VO2 max – The maximum volume (in liters) of oxygen that your body can utilize per minute will increase making your body more efficient..
2) Increased tendon and bone development – Making you a stronger, more durable athlete
3) Muscle fiber adaptation – Slow twitch muscle fibers will grow in size and become more efficient at burning fats making your stride more powerful and delaying fatigue.
4) Increased capillary density – Capillary beds in running muscles can increase as much as 40% allowing a greater supply of oxygen to your muscles.
5) Increased mitochondrial density – The “engine” of your muscles, mitochondria can increase in size by as much as 35% which helps break down fats more effectively
6) Increased efficiency in glycogen storage and fat utilization – Glycogen, your body’s fuel, is stored more efficiently and fats used more readily.
7) Sometimes it’s fun to just go for a stress-free easy run.

So, what does “easy” running mean?  It varies based on your individual training and experience but it should be 30-50% slower than your race pace.  For some, that might mean slowing from a 6 minute pace to 8 minutes.  For others, could mean incorporating a slow jog into your route.  The benefits of easy running are the same.  Try this: Next time your out for an easy run, say the Pledge of Allegiance out loud.  If you can’t say it without big pauses or nearly passing out, you’re running too hard.

So easy running has multiple benefits, produces less stress on the body and allows you to save your harder efforts for your tempo, interval and race days.  So, why don’t we do it more often?  It’s the dreaded Runners Ego!  We runners tend to think that if a little is good, a lot is even better.  Not always the case.  During your next training cycle, give easy running a shot and watch next year’s race times drop.  And next time you see me out on the road, just remember……. I could be running faster if I wanted to:)

Happy Running!
Jeremy Wallace
Las Vegas Runners’ Coach and Certified Personal Trainer
www.lasvegasrunners.com


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Las Vegas runners race giveaway!

It’s that time again!  Time to giveaway some free race entries to our beloved followers.  The Color Run Las Vegas will be coming February 22, 2014 and we want YOU join the fun for free!  TO ENTER all you have to do is comment on this post with your name, why you run, and your favorite race distance & why. Winners will be chosen at random from all comments. 

We will be doing two drawings and you can enter up to once per day to win the free entry.  Drawings will be on Sunday January 5th and another on Sunday February 2nd for our two lucky winners.  Winners will be announced on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lasvegasrunners before 5pm PST. 

*One entry per person per day.  Prizes not claimed by 5pm PST the following day will be reentered into the contest and given away to another participant.  Please watch our Facebook page for updates and announcements. Winners will be notified via our Facebook page and can claim their prize by emailing lasvegasrunners@gmail.com before 5pm PST the following day. 

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Wednesday Morning Running Quote of the Day

“For us runners, the question of ‘why’ is pretty moot. Not because it may not be interesting, or important, from a certain point of view, but because we’ve left the question of the meaning of running behind. After all the questions have been asked, and all the answers given, in spite of the disagreement on essences, physiology, rationales, training strategies, trail running, road racing, i-pod wearing, mid-foot striking, turnover cadences, arm carriages, Jack Daniels, Arthur Lydiard, 20 miles a week or 100, 5k or the 50k, whether it’s really the Miles of Trials or the Trial of Miles, after all the words have been spoken and keyboards have been pounded, meanings given and ideologies subverted… After all this, we runners bend down and tighten the laces, open the door, brace for the cold and are renewed….” -Jeff Edmonds 
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Las Vegas Runners Show Support for Girls on the Run

On Sunday November 24th, 2013 Las Vegas Runners came out and showed their support for the Las Vegas chapter of Girls on the Run.  Our co-founder Melissa has coached GOTR for two seasons now and the program is fantastic for young girls!  During the 12 week season 3rd-5th grade girls are coached on how to prepare for a 5K race held at the end of the 12 weeks.  During that time they learn important lessons on self esteem, bullying, positivity, and friendship.  It’s a fantastic program and the best part is watching each girl cross that finish line with pride & accomplishment on their faces!  

Next 5K will be held on April 27th 2014 and ALL are invited to register and participate.  GOTR is always looking for volunteers to help coach, help with the 5K, or be a running buddy for one of the girls.  If you are interested, please email Stephanie at stephanie@girlsontherunlv.org 


Check out Las Vegas GOTR at www.girlsontherunlv.org