We’re bringing back an oldie, but goodie! Our Holiday Survival Guide has 10 nutrition and running tips to get you through the Holiday Season and its festivities without slowing you down!
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or an everyday Joe, the season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s can wreak havoc on the waistline – and more. Rod Dixon, LA Marathon Director of Training, and Matt Mahowald, LA Marathon Nutrition and Supplement Consultant, offer their tips for enjoying the holidays – and holiday menus – without sabotaging your diet, exercise or training routine.
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 DixonOctober 4, 2010
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…..trust me…it’s Important.
Run easy and run Aerobic!
And keep a smile on!
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:
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.
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.
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.
RodSeptember 20, 2010
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.
RodSeptember 13, 2010
Nutrition is a huge subject and yes I could write a full length book on it. There are plenty of good books out there, I especially like the book “Eat This Not That” by David Zinczenko, it gives you a choice of simple food swaps that can save you unnecessary calories, fat and sugars. They are not always the ‘healthy alternative’ but in most cases a ‘smarter’ choice. I’m just going to give you a few things I have learned along the way. It’s really each runners responsibility to find the right connection of ‘exercise and nutrition’.
My thing is keep it simple. I’m sure you know about good healthy eating and maintaining a good balanced diet. And yes we do “stray” from time to time and indulge in the not so good “unhealthy” foods, but if we are training we do need to be consistent and focused on a good healthy nutritional diet.
Knowing about nutrition and having a balanced diet is an important part of running. What you eat, can have a dramatic effect on your running performance, so it is very worthwhile giving some thought to what you put into your body when you are expecting it to perform well. According to the CDC, it may consist of 45-65% carbohydrates, 10-35% protein, 20-35% fat and include healthy components such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein and heart healthy fats. In examining a proper diet, we first should consider the macronutrients which includes carbohydrates, protein and fat. Each of these macronutrients is important for optimal health. The percentages listed above are generally for most people, but runners may wish to consider adjusting these percentages based on their specific training and running goals. LA Roadrunners preparing for the LA Marathon may wish to increase the percentage of carbohydrates during periods of the longer training when we build the mileage each week. This can help our bodies to remain properly fueled to do this type of training.
Eat Fruit, Feel Better: Brightly colored fruits such as kiwi, berries, and oranges are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients. Fruit juice will provide you with these too, but you’ll obtain more fiber and other nutrients from whole fruit. Tip: You should eat some fruit daily and at least half of them should be brightly colored antioxidant powerhouses such as mangoes, pineapple, and cantaloupe.
Fiber: A diet high in fiber may help you shed some pounds, try to consume two or three servings a day (14g fiber for every 1000 calories consumed) from whole grain cereals and bread, vegetables, fruit, and beans.
Protein Power: Runners need 80 or more grams of protein a day. The micro-nutrients in protein help in muscle repair. Good options for protein include soy foods, fish, eggs or lean meat. Be sure to include these foods in your post-workout meals.
Need More Fuel? Try including more grains, beans, and potatoes into your daily diet. These foods supply the carbohydrate you need to fuel your muscles. Grains also contain important B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin that your muscles need to convert the carbohydrate you eat into energy.
Healthier way to cook veggies: If you’re boiling vegetables, you’re losing key nutrients. There is a better way. Try steaming your vegetables (don’t over do it though, they should be firm and crunchy) another good process is to roast them. High heat seals in the veggies’ juices — and the nutrients, (which leech out in boiling water) The flavor is better, too. When roasting, cut the vegetable into pieces to ensure even cooking. Sprinkle some olive oil in a pan or tray, spread out the veggies evenly. Add your favorite seasoning and roast until the veggies are tender on the inside.
Benefits of Olive Oil: Research suggests that a diet that emphasizes cooked vegetables and olive oil may be a healthier option.
Fat facts: A study in New Zealand found that total body fat, lean tissue mass, and body weight did not change when the athletes ate a high-fat diet. Some Marathon runners had diets in which 50 percent of their energy intake came from fat for three months. Being engaged in endurance training allowed their bodies to maintain an energy balance and continue to perform at a high level of physical fitness.
More fat = more endurance: On the flip side of this, according to a new study by the University of Buffalo, a low-fat diet may hamper your endurance. Researchers concluded that a medium or high caloric intake from fat, about 30 to 45 percent of your total caloric intake, is your best bet for improving performance if you run at least 35 miles a week. The reason that some runners simply need more calories. Also, when your body burns fat for energy, it conserves glycogen, which is always in relatively short supply.
Eat well my friends.
RodSeptember 6, 2010
So where do we start? what actually gets us going? Why suddenly do 30% of sedentary people wake up one morning and declare, “I’m changing the way I do things for ME”. Have we been inspired by someone on the Biggest Loser Show? a friend or family member who has run for charity or in memory of a lost loved one, did we notice we can’t see our feet anymore?
Getting started is the very first effort.
Around 50% of LA Roadrunner membership this year will be ‘very first’ time people, most have very little ‘running’ experience and some may have never ‘walked’ around their local neighborhood.
Of course everyone wants to start jogging right away.
Its interesting how soon we forget, when we were 6-7 months old we learned to crawl, then to walk and then we experienced the thrill of running. Too many of us have stopped moving, exercising, eating healthy, and living a quality life. We need to walk before we jog, if you can’t walk for at least 30 minutes don’t try to jog, get back to building your walking stamina first.
Consult your Doctor
If you are new to exercise (walking-running-jogging) please see your doctor, getting a basic physical exam should help you find out if there is any reason why you shouldn’t do jogging. If your Doctor feels running or jogging isn’t for you suggest the Run/Walk program or just the walking program.
This is a good start.
Do you put soapy water in the car to make it go? no, you put in gasoline because this is the right fuel to make it run. Our body works much the same. So lets start making a change in the way you fuel your body. Once you create a regular exercise program, your will notice you don’t crave the ‘junk foods’ as much, you will want to be healthy on the inside as well as looking good on the outside.
Get good Running Shoes.
If you don’t have good running shoes, expect alot of discomfort from foot pain, leg pain, hip pain, lower back pain and other related injuries. Always consult a running shoe expert, there are enough running shoe stores out there with years of experience and experts (store owners) who are often runners themselves. Get that experience and advice, it’s often free with the purchase of the right shoe designed for jogging and running.
Get the proper clothes for running.
Just as you have taken care of the right running shoes, as important, is wearing comfortable clothes designed for running. And that’s not ‘designer’ clothes, just simple functional clothes that feel comfortable to wear and allow your skin to breath and your sweat to evaporate.
Choose a suitable jogging location.
When starting out run on a flat surface to begin with. Avoid running up hills as this will tire you quickly and downhill will put more extra stress on your muscles and joints. Hill running will come later in the training program as you get adapted to a consistent jogging-running program.
Warm up and cool down.
Its always wise to start with some basic warm up exercises to ‘start’ the body up. When you finish do much the same routine to cool down.
Rest and Recovery
I have always said, “You don’t improve when you are working out. You improve when you are resting and recovering.” Always make sure you hydrate after exercise and eat or drink some protein + carbohydrate within 25 minutes of the workout. Get a good nights sleep too!
At LA Roadrunners we will take you from the “couch to the finish line” in a program that is designed to get everyone safely to the finish line. Remember ‘Finishing is Winning’.
Be patient, remember a good wine takes time to mature!
Be good to yourself.
RodAugust 30, 2010
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 DixonAugust 23, 2010
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!
RodAugust 16, 2010
It seems like everyone is ‘thinking about’ starting a fitness running program. That’s good if everyone thinks about it, but how many will actually do something about it? Maybe less than 5% of people throughout this great nation will do something about it. Nonetheless, participation in 5 &10k’s, half-marathons & marathons are at an all time high. Wonder why? It’s about people taking their health and wellness a little more seriously than ever before. For some it’s that waist line expanding. And for others, concern that if their health at this stage of life is only average then what’s the next 20 years going to present to them. OK, so where does running fit into all this? Running has for a long time been considered the most difficult way to get into a fitness routine because it’s very tough to get motivated on your own, to step up and out to begin a running program.
When I was growing up in New Zealand, everyone belonged to a running club, almost every town or city had one, and this club system created a ‘family’ atmosphere where people from all walks of life could come together and share in the love of walking and jogging together. Another real benefit of this system is that there were all levels of runners’ abilities from slow through to the very fast, and from the slow walkers to Olympic race walkers. There was a pace for every ability. And the information and coaching came with the variety of the clubs members. Some of the members of these clubs were center (?) or provincial level runners through to national and international level. In my running club we had a 1948 Olympian 10,000m athlete who was the president of the club and a 6-time Australian cross country champion who was our club captain. This was a wonderful benefit to the club members because these two great athletes were always available to give advice and coaching to the everyday club runner.
The point of all this is that, yes you might be thinking of starting to train for a marathon and have asked yourself where do I start? If you live in Southern California you can join one of the two LA Roadrunner programs. If not, my advice is to get into a running program that caters for all levels of ability, through pace groups designed and proven to be the ideal training pace for each runners goals and ability. From Walk groups, Run/Walk pace groups through to run groups, from beginner to intermediate and Advanced groups.
Next week I’ll take you through how the LA Roadrunners program works for you and how it can take you from the Couch to the Finish line of this great LA Marathon.
Hold onto the Goal and let go of the time.