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August 31, 2010

Making Your Miles More Meaningful – Official Charity Program

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much…” Helen Keller

This year the Official Charity Program has set a goal of raising $ 4  million dollars, which is $2 million more than was raised last year.  Together we can do this! Why not run for a charity this year.

It’s not hard to get started and the Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss has 65 Official Charities that you can choose from, http://www.lamarathon.com/charities/. Also running for charity is a great way to get involved with your community and do something for a great cause.

Did you know only 1% of the population annually runs a marathon? You could become a member of this elite group with an amazing accomplishment and the sense that you did something even more important than getting in good shape.

Once you’ve chosen a charity to run/walk for they will support you all the way to the finish line.  The charities have a proven track record of helping their runners stay focused and energized while training and fundraising.  Your progress will be marked with many victories along the way: milestones passed, friendships started and discoveries made.  And you won’t lack for inspiration, either.  Your amazing journey will help raise millions of dollars in support of the charity of your choice.

So go ahead and get into the spirit of the run. Get enthusiastic about the chances of improving the situation for your chosen cause. Talk it up with friends and family. Get them into it. Get their names on pledge sheets. Get their cooperation in the form of volunteering to help with your training course support, if they’d rather not run. Count them IN! All donations will be gratefully accepted.

Remember, running for a charity is not about finishing first or at lightning speed but simply covering the miles and reaching the finish line which translates into the attainment of your marathon and fundraising and life goals!

Ginger Williams

August 30, 2010

Tips from Coach Rod – Work out with your family

Summer is a great time for the outdoors, it’s also the perfect time to get into shape, and at this time of the year, conditions are excellent for exercising.  With kids getting back into their new school schedules it’s more convenient for families to fit in a regular daily or every other day ‘family work out’.  Get outside on the cooler evenings for bicycling, walking, running, jogging, playing tennis or any other outdoor activity.

It is often said, “The family that plays together stays together”, and along the way moms and dads and the children get fitter and healthier.

Running and jogging with the family is becoming a sight I see more and more in the community, it’s great to see parents encouraging their kids to exercise and once a family makes a habit of being active together, the routine and fun will generate consistency for exercise and physical activity.  Parents get motivated because they see themselves as they want to become, role models for their children. And healthy exercise quickly becomes part of life for young children.

As a parent myself, I made the rule that we would leave the television off at least one day a week and I believed this encouraged the children to participate in some form of physical activity or outdoor play.  Running or jogging should be fun and only run at the child’s ability.  I encourage you to take walks often (this is a good time to communicate about school, or concerns the child may have) and don’t forget to let them choose the course or jogging circuit, as well as when to jog and when to walk.

When you are finished why not have a celebration with a healthy BBQ? So much is written today about eating healthy and avoiding those “bad foods” and to balance the choices of having kids healthy and happy. Well, I know too well that those ‘bad foods’ often taste good and are fun to have, just not all the time!  Most people know that eating healthy wholesome foods, takes a little more preparation time to put on the table, but that is what being a parent is all about, making choices, not on your own behalf, but on behalf of another.  It’s difficult being a parent today, especially with the demands from children, feeding your kids well balanced and healthy meals is a challenge, especially in today’s fast food culture.  It’s gotten harder because restaurants and food marketers are putting our children in danger!  Parents can have an influence and impact on children’s health and future, simply by making a handful of smart choices, and as a parent, you are already good at that in part, most of the time, making choices for your children. Celebrate family exercise- physical exercise at ‘BBQ family time’, a great time to bring to the table, healthy and delicious salads and low fat foods for your family.  Start with just once a week and see some changes.

Have a great week.

Rod Dixon

August 25, 2010

Ask the Race Director – LA Roadrunners

Turn off the computer and get out of the house

Whatever motivation you use to get off the couch and back on the roads is the right one.  I recently ended a habit I’ve struggled with over the years, and the secret for me was only focusing on not doing that habit today!   Not a new concept, but one that can help end a bad habit, or perhaps start a new one.  So turn the PDA or computer off, stand up, grab your house keys, and get out of the house.  Spend 30 minutes walking in your neighborhood, or around the local park, or walk up to the mall and back.  Start the good habit today. And when you’re done, you’ve made the commitment to create a new habit today that can change your life for the better. 

As for tomorrow and next week, we’ve got a program that can help you get out of the house, and keep you motivated.  We meet every Saturday morning, almost 2,000 of us, and we’re all trying to do better for that one day.  And during the week, we’ll provide you a schedule that keeps you going.

The LA Roadrunners is arguably one of the best marathon training programs in the US.  The program starts on September 11 with locations in Venice and Chino Hills and provides training schedules for advanced, intermediate and beginners!  There are 3 distinct styles:  Run, Run/Walk and Walk, and within those styles there  are 20 separate pace groups, so I’m sure there’s one just right for you. 

So sign up today www.laroadrunners.com and begin the journey of a lifetime, and all you need to do is start today.  We’ll help you tomorrow and for the next 30 weeks.

Nick Curl

August 24, 2010

Making Your Miles More Meaningful – Spotlight on Unification of Disabled Latin Americans

Part of my responsibilities as Director of Community Relations is to oversee our Official Charity Program.  There are 65 charities that are participating in the 2011 Honda LA Marathon. The Program provides opportunities to locally-based charities and chapters to use the Honda LA Marathon as a platform to raise funds that benefit and positively impact the people in our community.

Fundraising is not always easy, and sometimes you don’t hit your financial goals.  But these charities do more than raise money.  These charitable institutions make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, they inspire, educate and increase awareness of how we can all participate in improving the people in our neighborhoods.

Today I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Ruben Hernandez, the Founder and President of Unification of Disabled Latin Americans:

Ginger: Ruben can you help us understand what UDLA is?

Ruben: I founded UDLA (Unification of Disabled Latin Americans) in 1974 to improve the quality of life of disabled individuals and help them to recover their self-esteem which in turn can help them to return as productive members of our society.

Ginger: When do you start UDLA?

Ruben: I came to the USA at age 20, and three years later a tragedy struck my life and changed it forever. At age 23 I lost my sight due to a gun shot on my head, This tragic event became a blessing to me and eventually others.   Because of the shooting and injury I founded UDLA, which has been extremely instrumental in the rehabilitation of hundreds of disabled individuals and their families.

When I founded UDLA I was unaware that I was going to be the first recipient of its services and programs.  I am who I am today thanks to the opportunities that UDLA has given to me in so many ways of my life.  My blindness forced me to utilize the entire potential God has given to me, This experience helped me understand the world of the disabled and the things I need to change in order to help them. 

My blindness encouraged me to go back to school to achieve an education and to prepare myself for the future.  My blindness gave the opportunity to become an advocate for the disabled and it is a great friend and motivator to achieve my goals.

Ginger: How long has UDLA been an Official Charity, and has your fundraising been successful using the marathon as your fundraising platform?

Ruben: We have been part of the Honda Los Angeles Marathon for 20 years, and have raised $250,000 to help those in our community.

Ginger: What has been the best method for UDLA to fundraise?

Ruben: Our most successful method has been to engage our friends, families, volunteers and charity team members who run on behalf of our center.  These folks know the philosophy, purpose and mission statement of UDLA.  They are our biggest tool for fundraising because they are a part of the family of UDLA. The doors of UDLA are always open to anyone that would like to become a volunteer, or someone who needs services.  For 36 years we have provided free services for the disabled and their families and organized events beneficially for the whole community.

For more information about Ruben and UDLA, please click here  http://www.udlaus.org/

August 23, 2010

Tips from Coach Rod – LA Roadrunners, the philosophy behind our program and how it works

The 2010-2011 LA Roadrunners training will take more of a ‘global’ path in the way we will prepare our runners to complete the marathon and all within realistic finish times and goals. 

Our program is based on the sound and proven training concepts that were developed by the Great New Zealand running Coach Arthur Lydiard.  Arthur developed the program during the 1950′s, and it has proven to be successful for over 60 years. Principles not ‘formulas’ are the KEYS to successful training. So sit yourself down, and spend 5 minutes reading how and why we’re going to make the next 26 weeks the best training you ever had, and perhaps the most enjoyable as well!

Good training and bad training look exactly the same on paper, by that I mean, ‘STAND ALONE WORKOUTS’ mean very little to me as they relate to the training philosophy we embrace at LA Roadrunners.  TRAINING therefore is not a series of numbers that can be universally applied, but rather the art of combining measure, timing and sequence to the individual.  Herein lies the key to this, The LA Marathon “Pace Leaders” are the key in delivering the principles and providing the encouragement and the right pace for each of the Run, Run/Walk and Walk groups.  Through our pace groups they will also “Coach” with consideration to age, gender, ability, fitness and guide each runner through the 26 weeks of training.

Our training schedule is divided into three phases which are outlined below:

Phase 1:  Aerobic Development

The first phase of the LA Roadrunners training is “endurance/aerobic” development.  Think of aerobic running as your “home or foundation base”, the place where you feel most comfortable, and also somewhere you come back to when things are not going well, through stress, emotional, or physical exhaustion.  As the miles build up in volume and distance, we increase the capacity of both the heart and the lungs for effort, we build the circulatory network to the muscles through increased blood flow, increase the number of “mitochondria” in the muscle cells (these are the cellular ‘power plants’, they generate most of the supply of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate is chemical compound that breaks down to release the energy responsible for muscle contraction. It is the only useable form of energy in the body.) we also develop other beneficial pathways for gathering and converting oxygen to energy.

Aerobic training is considered the TRAINING for all other training.  There is no argument, the greatest gain for our runners is made during the Aerobic phase of the Training Schedule.  While easy running is always the safest place to start, it is often the situation that the cardiovascular system develops very quickly while the muscular-skeletal system tends to take longer.

Never progress faster than your slowest part will allow. (You are as strong as your weakest part)

Phase 2:  Feeling Based Training.

We must return to FEELING BASED TRAINING. That is, tune into YOUR inner coach!

One of the many benefits of this aerobic or build up phase, that the slower and then gradually longer ‘slower’ runs will allow the runners to safely build a ‘rapport’ with their body.  This is greatly underrated aspect of training, probably because ‘feeling based’ training systems or programs have generally been dismissed (as a part of most training programs).

When I was training I didn’t have heart rate monitors or any type of device to measure ‘stress’ or ‘over training’, I had to develop an ‘instinct’ of effort or just ‘guess’ where I was until I kind of got the ‘hang’ of it.

Once runners develop ‘instinct’ they will be better at understanding when to ‘back off’,  ‘relax’, ‘pick it up’ and once they begin to trust that ‘instinct’ the more confidence they have in themselves.

Please know, however, that I am a big supporter of every runner, getting or having a heart rate monitor.  If each runner is better able to understand their “training heart rate zone” as it relates to training it will greatly assist us in knowing that we, the athlete, is in the correct training group and training within their ability!

Phase 3:  Balance Training with Recovery

The Key to Training is to apply appropriate training and recovery so that the runner gains steady continuous improvement.  WE IMPROVE NOT WHILE WE ARE TRAINING, BUT WHILE WE ARE RESTING!  More often than not BAD training is a mismatch of ‘overtraining’ and training workload with minimal recovery, e.g. either the training is too hard or the recovery is inadequate, or both. (Rarely is it the result of ‘under training’)  The Roadrunners schedule has, at every 4th week, a cut back week. This is essential for the runners to get sufficient recovery before moving into the next 4 weeks of training. 

If all runners do their weekly runs, stay as best they can with the schedule, and are confident that they are in the right training Pace Group (not because their best friend is there, or they feel that by training harder on the Saturday in a faster group will make up for the lack of training mid week), they will reach their Goal and their Time in the Marathon.

Have a great week!

Rod

August 23, 2010

Five Questions: Dave Klewan

Dave filming from the lead Honda vehicle on the Stadium to the Sea route

Tell us about your job here at the LA Marathon.

As the Partnerships Director for the LA Marathon I am responsible for working with our team to generate any revenue outside of runner registration (sponsors, exhibitors, merchandise, etc) as well as spearheading the day to day implementation of all of our corporate partnerships.  In addition, I manage our relationships with our local and national television and radio broadcasters and licensees.

What did you do before you came here?

For the past decade and a half I have been lucky enough to have a career in the professional sports world.  In that time, I have worked on the league, team, tour and agency side most recently spending the past 7 years with the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour.  Transitioning to a participatory event has been amazing and witnessing 26,000+ people cross the finish line last year was one of the highlights of my career.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of the job is knowing that we have been able to consistently deliver value to (and exceeded the expectations of) our sponsors.   Having some of the top brands in the world by our side as we continue building this event is a testament to how quickly the event has grown in size and stature.  The support and ideas that each of our sponsors have given to us has been invaluable

You bring an important outside perspective to this event, how can running events learn from other sports?

The #1 thing our industry can take away from other sporting events is to ensure that you are always looking at ways to improve the experience of your participants, spectators and corporate partners which in turn will help your business grow.  Innovation and change is a necessary part of the industry and while not all new ideas may work, you need to take smart risks in evolving your business to adapt to ever changing consumers desires and needs.

I know you have an interesting running goal of your own this year.  What’s up with that?

I am currently training for my first marathon (NYC) in the fall (with a few other LA Marathon staff members). Having never been an endurance runner before, this is a challenge I’m looking forward to (my own personal “Mt Everest”!).  I’m originally from NY so it will be great to have family and friends there at the finish line to celebrate with.

Peter

August 23, 2010

Thoughts on Running and Community

I’m a big fan of Bill McKibben’s book Deep Economy.  In it, he writes about the measurable increase in happiness that comes from community contact.  Just the simple act of interacting with others in your community makes you happier.  It could be at the Farmer’s Market, or at your kid’s soccer game, or in your front yard.  While out on my morning run today, I decided that running should be on this list of “community activities.”  Why shouldn’t it be?

I’d say that running is a terrific way to be in touch with others in your community.  Community here is loosely defined–it could be the greater community of runners, like at a race or a Roadrunners training run.  It could be a neighbor that you wave to while heading out on an afternoon run.  It could be your coach.  Whatever.  Do you feel that your life, as well as those that you come in contact with during your running, is improved by the fact that you’ve gone out for a run?  If so, how would you measure the collective life improvement of everyone that is positively affected by the millions of runs that take place every day?  With a multiple like that, you’d have to say that running is a prime generator of the GNH (Gross National Happiness)!

Peter

August 20, 2010

In Search of Grassroots Running

I spent last week with my family in the Columbia River Gorge, which divides Oregon and Washington.  It’s incredibly beautiful, and I took advantage of cool mornings to log some great training miles.  My visit also coincided with the Skamania County Fair 5K in Stevenson, Washington.  This event is part of a series put on by the fine folks at the Columbia Gorge Running Club.  For those of us from large cities used to lining up with 4,000 of our closest friends at a weekend 5K, an event like this is a breath of fresh air.  There were about 45 runners at the start line.  Since neither parking nor crowds are an issue, there’s no need to arrive any more than 10 minutes prior to the start time.  What about the hassle of getting your number pinned on properly?  Not a problem–my race number consisted of a tiny piece of paper with my name on it, and one safety pin connecting it to my shirt.  No worries about fighting crowds after the start–we were running full speed right from the gun.  The beautiful course wound around the fairgrounds and through town, finally crossing a bridge back into the fairgrounds an hitting the finish after a lap of the livestock barn.  The finish chute was so small I’d call it quaint.  The whole event was simply refreshing an enjoyable.  Did I mention the entry fee was $2?  If you’re ever in the Gorge area, take time to look up this running club and join them for an event.  You won’t regret it!

Peter

August 20, 2010

It’s Roadrunners time!

It may feel as though you just finished the Honda Los Angeles Marathon presented by K-Swiss.  You might have, and you should be proud of that.  No matter, it’s now time to start training for the 2011 event, and our Roadrunners program kicks off on September 11th.  This year the program runs in two locations:  Venice Beach and Chino Hills.  This is a terrific way to train for and complete the LA Marathon, whether it’s your first or your tenth.  We provide the training plan, the guest speakers, the pace leaders an the other great folks to train with.  You bring your effort and energy.  For all the details, see the Roadrunners section of our website.

Peter

August 18, 2010

Making Your Miles More Meaningful – Meet Ginger Williams

How do you define Community Relations?  Well for us that question begets another question.  Who is Ginger Williams?  Well if you’re one of the 25,000+ runners or 6,000 volunteers who participated in our 2010 event you’ve probably never heard of her.  But, if you’re one of the hundreds of churches, businesses, community groups, BID’s or homeowners groups that are located along our 26.2 route, Ginger’s the face, and more importantly the town crier of all things Marathon. 

And as important as her efforts are to us and to all the cities and communities participating in the Honda LA Marathon, we think she’s even more important to our event and our community for her unequaled efforts to support the 65 charities that raised over $2,000,000 dollars in 2010. That’s a 100% increase in fundraising year over year. 

Similar to introducing you ‘all to our Race Director a few weeks back, and Rod Dixon last week, we’d like you all to say “heh” to our favorite person of the week Ginger Williams!  Every Tuesday Ginger will introduce you to some of the folks and charities that make such a great impact on so many lives here in Southern California. 

We talk a lot about our mission statement of connecting communities and Ginger’s effort is the flagship of what we’re attempting to accomplish.  Please check back every Tuesday for some amazing people Ginger’s going to introduce us to, and the wonderful stories that might change your life.  

For a list of all these great groups, please click here.

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