Tips from Coach Rod – Nutrition, part 1

We are Runners and our goal is to run the Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss, based on consistent training.  That’s right, running the marathon is the easy part of this process.  Leading up to the race there’s the dedication and commitment in doing the midweek training runs, the Saturday long runs, balancing our everyday lives with family and loved ones, our work days, stress, rest and recovery!  If you complete the LA Roadrunners Training program, you will have run nearly 800 miles in the process of training, just to get to the start line of the Honda LA Marathon.

In order to complete all of this training, we need fuel.  Just like a car, we need the proper “fuel” to ‘Go the Distance’.  What we need to understand about this is that what we require is “Sports Nutrition” a slightly higher grade “fuel” than is required to just sit around on the couch!

 As a Runner, your diet is important not only for maintaining good health, but to also promote peak performance.  During the next 23 weeks you will increase your training distance and this will demand extra focus from you as it relates to your diet and nutritional needs.  Let me tell you, a balanced diet for runners is as important as any other component of the Training.

Take the time to learn about the best foods that suit you before and after training.  Eating the right foods before a training run helps prevent hunger as well as fatigue.  These early Aerobic training weeks give you the chance to get your diet settled and ready for the longer more demanding training runs. 

Learn this NOW, No specific food will make you stronger or faster today or tomorrow!  To ‘Go the Distance’ you have to think long term, Sports Nutrition is all about many components adding up over time, just like a Marathon!  The right foods and drinks can help you train better, feel better in training and help with recovery.  Good nutrition supports good training, and good training makes the most of good nutrition.

Now is the right time to learn more about the importance of a balanced diet and how to fuel the body for the training required to ‘Go the Distance’.

Stay focused stay committed.

Rod Dixon

Making Your Miles More Meaningful – SOSMentor Shapeup

There is still time to join a “Charity Team”.  Check out Carole and Robert founders of their charity and running the marathon!

Carole and Robert Donahue are not just any couple. Husband and wife for over four decades, they have a combined 70 years experience as educators and, together, they founded an innovative, non-profit organization aimed at improving the health and wellness of underserved students in the Los Angeles area through after-school mentoring programs. As they approach their 70’s, Carole and Bob show no signs of slowing down—literally.

So this year, Carole and Bob will be running the LA marathon for their non-profit organization, SOSMentor ShapeUp. Their participation in this years’ marathon represents the next step in their fight toward defeating childhood obesity and getting our country on the road to good health.

Carole and Bob have spent years helping children learn how to eat well and get fit. Always acting as an example for the youth they serve, they decided to run in the LA Marathon because they believe it to be the perfect embodiment of what they advocate. For years, Carole and Bob have trained students to lead a healthy life which, like training for a marathon, requires a large commitment but yields huge rewards.

Many people justifiably wonder why they would decide to train for their first marathon at this point in their lives. As Carole says, “We’re doing it for the kids!”

For more information about joining Team SOSMentor Shape Up Contact Jessica Helman-Cubilla (818) 222-4243 –

Tips from Coach Rod – Importance of Weekday Training

What we have created with the Training program for the LA Roadrunners is a 27 week ‘progressive’ training schedule.  What do I mean by this word ‘progressive’ exactly?  Well it may not be ‘exactly’, but what I mean is that it’s a 27 week program to take you from running 3 miles (the first training run) to finishing the 26.2 mile LA Marathon.

Each week builds on the previous week and the ‘previous’ week has three days of running. Two mid week runs and the Saturday Roadrunners run.  For our Beginners, the importance is in, getting those mid week runs done, consistently, each and everyday I ask you to run according to the schedule.Stay with me here, mid week TRAINING therefore is not a series of runs to just dismiss and focus entirely on the Saturday run. By completing the mid week training runs you are building your Foundation base.

For the first 12 weeks you are running in an ‘Aerobic’ state (you know, been able to chit chat and no huff and puff, feel if you could go all day…you know, easy peasy…piece of cake)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 musculo-skeletal system tends to take longer.

Never progress faster than your slowest part will allow. (You are as strong as your weakest part)If we follow the ‘plan-the schedule’ of the mid week run we adapt to the consistency of the training, our body adapts and becomes more efficient, it’s like most things we learn, at first it’s difficult and a challenge, but over time it becomes second nature.  Once you adapt to the mid week training, you require additional stress to continue to make progress.(And it will come soon enough)

Most of us know, there are limits to how much stress our bodies can tolerate before we experience injury, stress and we stop. Doing too much too soon will do this, doing too little and been inconsistent will result in no improvement.  We at Roadrunners have set the schedule that will increase time and intensity at a planned rate and allow rest days throughout the program.

Balance your running with Recovery, this will take you to a higher level of fitness, we all need to understand, the greater the training intensity and effort, the greater need for recovery. I can assure you all, in the later weeks of the Schedule you will understand why I have emphasized the Importance of the Weekday training, the Importance of the Aerobic training and the Importance of consistency and the Importance of rest and recovery. (a lot of emphasis on the word Importance isn’t there?)

In the schedule, Sunday is suggested as a ‘Strength’ Train day, it states a little later in the schedule to X Train (cross train).  This means don’t include running in these ‘complimentary’ exercise programs.  X train with a completely different activity, a yoga class, stretching, light circuit training at a gym, swimming, biking (easy) how about a barefoot walk on the beach?

And don’t forget the Importance of a good nights sleep! (While no one completely understands the complexities of sleep) lets not go there…just get a good nights sleep during the next 24 + weeks OK… me…it’s Important.

Run easy and run Aerobic!

And keep a smile on!

Making Your Miles More Meaningful – Team in Training

Team In Training (TNT) has been a part of the Official Charity for the past 10 years with only two chapters participating. This year The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as chosen the Honda LA Marathon to be one of Team In Training’s national races growing to nine chapters participating in next year’s race.  Last year TNT raised over $400,000 and this year expects to raise over $900,000!  The chapters participating are as follows:

Greater Los Angeles
San Diego
Central California
Greater Sacramento
Greater San Francisco
Middle America – Kansas
Silicon Valley/Monterey Bay
New Mexico/El Paso
Rocky Mountain – Denver

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS’s) roots stretch back to 1949, when the de Villiers family experienced the devastation of leukemia with the death of their 16-year-old son, Robert Roesler de Villiers. Family members and friends declared war on the disease by creating The Robert Roesler de Villiers Foundation, funding research to find a cure. The foundation later became The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Their mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Team In Training began in 1988, when Bruce Cleland of Rye, NY formed a team that raised funds and trained to run the New York City Marathon in honor of Cleland’s daughter Georgia, a leukemia survivor. Team In Training was born and has grown into the world’s largest endurance sports training program. 

Team In Training offers runners and walkers the opportunity to take on the challenge of a marathon and make a difference in the lives of an estimated 957,902 Americans living with or in remission blood cancers.  Along with a customized-training program and expert coaching, participants will train with a local group of like-minded individuals for motivation and inspiration.

Lauren from the Greater Los Angeles Chapter initially joined Team In Training in memory of her mother, Paula Sukenik, who passed away from leukemia in 2008 after a four year battle.

 “My mother fought the disease with such courage and optimism, and I knew that if she could be that strong during her challenge, I could overcome the challenge of running a marathon while honoring her legacy. It was especially important to me to train with TNT, so I could raise money for blood cancer research and patient support, because I witnessed firsthand all of the support my family was given by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and I wanted to give back to other families going through what we went through. I believe so strongly in this organization that my sister and I have collectively participated in 5 events as TNT athletes, rising over $17,000 for the cause, and I now am a full-time employee of LLS.”

Click here more information about joining Team In Training.

Ginger Williams


Tips from Coach Rod – Strengthening Your Foundation

If a tree is not rooted to the ground, a strong wind will blow it over. How about that huge building you have watched in construction?  They take months building the foundation, then each two weeks the builders add another floor!

Getting a strong ‘footing’ or Foundation from the ground up is the point here.

The Pyramids?, how about these marvels of life, about 6000 years ago they were built?…it’s all based on Foundation.

Our feet are the Foundation for everything, walking and running! they set the tone for our bodies to function at it’s best and they set the tone for Performance!  It’s said, ‘Weak feet will lead to defeat’.  Strong and healthy feet will make you quick, powerful and agile. Feet that are weak and not operating normally, will make you slow, achy, lack balance and wobbly.

There are a lot of muscles in and around your feet, actually about 20 in your foot and then the connective muscles in your lower shin area make up another 10 or so, that’s 30 muscles we rely on for every step we make.  Now that’s alot of muscles to assist us with pushing off the ground, absorbing shock and supporting the arch which helps gives us balance.

Try this, stand in front of a mirror in bare feet, lift one leg and watch what happens, most likely we drop into the inside of the standing foot (the arch and muscles can’t support us, we wobble and compensate by arm movement and over compensation of the hips to shift the weight)

What happened?  Our foot muscles weren’t able to hold our balance.

Introduction to the Roadrunners Beach Sand Walking.

Just as we need to build an aerobic base at the start of a marathon training program, we also need to focus on building this foundation to strengthen our feet.  In a week or so, I’m going to get the Roadrunners to have a beach walk.  At the conclusion of the run we will invite the runners to walk bare-foot along the sand, that is to just walk down the soft sand for a half mile and turn around and walk back, (we will take off our running shoes).

Strengthening your foot muscles can help propel your run and prevent injuries to your feet, hips, and back. By walking on the soft sand, your toes will naturally curl to enhance strengthening.  By simply walking barefoot you will start to use your foot muscles and your feet will soon become stronger, you will strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the underside of the foot.  We will gradually increase the time or distance as you gain better strength in your foot muscles.

Here are a couple of additional exercises to help build your foundation at home:

Toe Walk:
Walk barefoot on the balls of your feet, maintaining a slow pace.  This tenses and strengthens the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the underside of your foot.

Toe Raise:
Hold the wall or a chair and raise up onto your toes and then drop down onto your heel. Do this for a set of 10 toe raises, rest and walk around and then do another set of 10 only do 3 sets to start with.  Each week increase the number of sets by 1 more until you can comfortably do 10 sets of 10.(This then becomes your every other day routine)

Pencil or Marble pick up:
Sit in a chair with a few pencils or marbles spread out in front of you.  Use your toes to grasp a pencil or a couple of marbles (start with the right foot).  Lift your foot to thigh level and remove the pencil or marbles with your hand (do 4-5 of these).  Repeat with the other foot.

Bottle Roll:
Get an old Coca Cola bottle, and use as a foot roller.  Sit in a chair and place the bottle under the right foot and apply a little pressure as you roll the bottle from the toes all the way to the heel.  The shape of the bottle is great in getting all the underneath of the foot, you will soon get good at the ‘rolling’ and in time you will be able to stand up and roll.  The extra pressure from you standing will help in building strength and you get a massage as well!

Here are a couple of books that are also well worth getting.

Fantastic Feet, by Aliesa George.

The Foot Book, by Dr Paul Conneely

I’ll see you in the sand.


Charity Awareness Day

Wednesday was Charity Awareness Day here at the Honda LA Marathon.  What does that mean?  It means that almost half of our 65 Official Charities came out and ran the entire Stadium to the Sea route as a way to highlight the important fundraising they’re doing with us.  Capably guided by LA Marathon Director of Operations Stacy Embretson, some runners took on the whole course by themselves.  In other cases, teams of 4 runners divided up the distance.  Either way, it was a tremendously energizing day, and KTLA was on hand to document the event.  Their video clips can be seen here, here, here, and here.  If you haven’t already, please consider “making your miles count” by running the 2011 Honda LA Marathon while raising money for one of our important charity partners.  Kudos to Director of Community Relations Ginger Williams for putting together this amazing day.


LA Roadrunners Hit the Ground

We had a terrific first day of training in Venice on Saturday.  The turnout was huge, with hundreds of LA Roadrunners lacing up their shoes for the first run of the training season for the 2011 Honda LA Marathon.  Once all the groups got organized with their pace leaders, it was off to the boardwalk for a timed 3-mile run.  Beautiful running weather (that’s what I call gloomy fog) greeted the runners as they took off.  It’s amazing to see how big the groups are already.  We’re still over 180 days out from the 2011 event.  I can’t imagine that every runner there wasn’t motivated by the tremendous energy present on Saturday.


Nick Curl addresses the crowd

Pace leaders finding their runners

Who says endurance sports aren't fun?

Rod Dixon sending another group off

Making Your Miles More Meaningful – Charity Awareness Day

Having charity awareness creates a desire to help others and by this, enables a person to think of ways and means to inspire more and more people to have awareness of the world around them.  As more become aware, they are better able to reach out, help, and share what they have to those who are in need. Hence, reaching out and creating a big difference in other people’s lives.

I was recently shocked to learn that a 5 time Honda LA Marathon runner didn’t know there was an Official Charity Program associated with the Honda LA marathon. …thus the Official Charity Awareness Day was born! 

On Wednesday, September 22, 2010 approximately 50+ runners representing our 65 Official Charities will run all or part the 2011 Honda LA Marathon course. They will be starting at Dodger Stadium at 7:00am and finishing in Santa Monica approximately around 1:00pm. There will be pit stops along the way. They are taking on this challenge to bring charity awareness to all of Los Angeles. If you are on or near the route feel free to come on out and join in or just give a cheer!

 Start @ Dodger Stadium / 7:00am 

Mile 6.5 @ Sunset & Mohawk  / 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Mile 13 @ Sunset & Fairfax  / 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. 

Mile 19.5 @ Santa Monica & Veteran   /  10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Finish @ Santa Monica & California  / Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Being charitably aware brings about a sense of fulfillment to those who turn their desire to actions and thus enrich the lives of those who are in need!

If you like to Make Your Miles More Meaningful check out our 65 Official Charities.

Ginger Williams

Tips from Coach Rod – Getting Started With Roadrunners

The LA Roadrunners Marathon Training Program started Saturday, September 11th with the orientation and introduction to the 27 week program.

Last Saturday, September 18th we had our first training run, 3 miles for the Beginner and Intermediate runners, and 8 miles for our Advanced group.  Now that we are off and “running”, I want to review the philosophy behind our 1st phase of training.

LA Roadrunner Training – Phase 1
(weeks 1 through 14)

The first phase of the LA Roadrunners training is “endurance/aerobic” development.(That’s Money in the Bank)

Aerobic exercise is physical exercise that intends to improve the oxygen system.  Aerobic means “with oxygen”, and refers to the use of oxygen in the body’s energy-generating process. Many types of exercise are aerobic, and by definition are performed at moderate levels of intensity for extended periods of time. In a running context this means that you aren’t breathing hard and your muscles are getting the necessary oxygen to continue to work well. Most training should be done aerobically (unless you’re a sprinter).

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, and we build endurance to our muscular-skeletal system as well.     

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.

When I say “train your training’ it means to do your training as it is set in the schedule, just as it reads. (it’s very important in the aerobic phase)

If your ‘race your training’ you will not be able to increase your pace when we begin to train at our ‘Goal Pace’ which is the estimated time for running the marathon (I’m sure most of you have all set a Goal finish time for the LA Marathon), If you train too fast or too hard in the first 14 weeks you will not have developed the aerobic base of endurance and this will be because you will be constantly tired from training too hard .

I want you to ‘ Train your Training’ .

It’s not too late to join us!  See you Saturday for our next ‘Training’ Run.

Don’t forget to smile.


Making your Miles More Meaningful – Children’s Charities

How we care for children, protect their welfare, and prepare them for the future are the most important issues we face during our lifetime.  – Anonymous

This week I’d like to highlight our children’s charities.  Our Official Charities Program has 16 children’s charities many of which are Los Angeles’ finest charitable organizations dedicated to meeting the needs of children locally and worldwide.

Blind Children’s Center is a family-centered agency which serves young children with visual impairments.

Child S.H.A.R.E. (Support, Hope, Advocacy, Resources, Encouragement) is a non-profit organization that helps to find safe, loving and stable homes for abused children.

Girls on the Run of Los Angeles County uses the power of running to prepare girls in 3rd thru 8th grades for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.

Justice For Murdered Children is determined to see that the scales of justice are balanced, that our murdered children are not forgotten and that the rights of the victims’ families are zealously protected.

Love Without Boundaries Foundation is a worldwide group of volunteers dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned and impoverished children in China.

The Pablove Foundation mission is to fund pediatric cancer research and advances in treatment, educate and empower cancer families, and improve the quality of life for children living with cancer through hospital play, music and arts programs.

Stoked Mentoring mission is to empower youth from underserved communities by providing programs based in action sports culture. 

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases

Sunshine Kids Foundation provides a variety of programs and events, free of charge, for kids who are receiving cancer treatments in hospitals across North America.

The Alliance for Children’s Rights is protecting the rights and futures of abused and impoverished children throughout Los Angeles County.

The Karno Kids Foundation is a non-profit organization inspired and energized by kids.
Karno Kids supports, encourages and motivates fellow youth to get outside and become physically active and helps restore and preserve the environment.  

The Painted Turtle mission is to provide a year-round, life-changing environment for sick children and their families – one that allows these children to participate in an authentic camp experience by supporting their medical needs and offers their families care, education and respite.

The Story Project is committed to building a stronger society by strengthening communication skills in kids through our after-school programs.

Wildwoods Foundation with a motto of “Building Community by Exploring Nature” the Wildwoods Foundation provides innovative outdoor and nature-based programs to the communities of the greater Los Angeles region.

Youth Mentoring Connection awakens at-risk youth to their power, unique gifts and purpose by matching them with caring adult mentors

Zimmer Children’s Museum is dedicated to teaching people about the BIG IDEAS of global citizenship, community responsibility, and cultural sensitivity

Consider running on behalf a children’s charities and help to give children all over the world a fighting chance at a brighter tomorrow and a more fulfilling future.

“Sunshine Kids has given me the opportunity to be a kid. I will remember it for the rest of my life. Even though I had a below the knee amputation, I now feel I can do any sport or anything” - Katie Divulus, Sunshine Kid

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SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2015