Rockin’ Resources

We runners are a nosy bunch.  We want answers to our burning questions.  Where’s the closest 10K?   How should I go about speed work?   What should my pace be for an upcoming marathon?  Where can I find inexpensive running shorts?  Where can I find a trail map for Mt. Tam?

In this day and age, we runners have a variety of resources at our fingertips to answer these and other burning questions.   Whether you are more comfortable in the Age of the Internet or the Age of Aquarius, there’s a place for you to find what you are looking for.    Here are a few of my favorite resources about running.

Web sites

www.runnersworld.com – Archived articles, training tools and a separate site for women runners make this a useful and important resource.

www.coolrunning.com – Races, pace calculators, training plans, a mecca for runners.

www.webmd.com – Because we runners like to think we can self-diagnose our running ailments.

www.active.com – Comprehensive website for events across the country.

www.roadrunnersports.com – Need running stuff? Buy running stuff.  “Nuff said.

www.womensrunningmag.com – For women who run.

Books and Magazines

Runner’s World Magazine – Oldie and a goodie.

No Need for Speed by John Bingham – While training for my first marathon I would climb into an ice bath with this book after a long run.  (Wearing 3 sweatshirts and a hat).  Great motivational book for people who don’t think they look like or feel like they are runners.

Women’s Running Magazine – Formerly Her Fitness.  Now re-tooled for the female runner.

That should give you enough of a start.   Check out these websites, magazines or book mentioned.   It might be the education you need to take you to that next level.

Now go run.

Keli

I would love to hear from you.  Please email comments or questions  to  keli.honsberger@gmail.com

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Don’t be Daft

I almost ran into a runner last night.  In my SUV.  I mean, I wasn’t really going to hit him, but I didn’t see him at all until I was almost next to him.  And no, it was not because I was on my cell phone or that my truck is so big I can’t see over the steering wheel, it was because said runner was dressed head to toe in black.

Black long pants, black long sleeve tee and on top of his head, ironically, a headlight that was turned off.  The only spot of reflection was below his ankle on his running shoes.  That was it.

Ok people.  If you are running outside.  At night.  In the morning.  In the dark.  Be sensible and wear some color or reflection.  Light colored tops, a reflective vest, a blindingly white hat.  Pin one of those flashing bike lights that I use on Jack when we go camping on the back of your pants.  Tape reflective tape on your butt making a big (or small) X or a bullseye.

Do anything you can so that if you are running along the road in the dark someone sees you.  Are aware of you.  Knows you are in their path or around their $75K car (we ARE in Marin).

And leave the Ipod at home.  If you are wearing one in the dark you’re just being silly.

I am  stepping OFF my soapbox.  Rant over.

Now go run.  Safely!

Keli

Take a Hike

Because I’m a runner, I don’t walk much.  I mean I walk from here to there or to the store and back, but I don’t walk as any form of exercise.  If I can go for a walk, I can just as easily go for a run.   I know that sounds smug, but the truth is if I go for a run I go farther, faster, get sweatier and am done sooner.

I have always felt the same way about hiking.   I never understood people who, for example,  hike the Dipsea trail.  I mean, my gosh, it takes like 6 hours to walk it where you can run it (at my slow Dipsea trail pace) in about 2 hours.

I have friends and neighbors who hike the many trails in and around our neighborhood.   They hike with the family and hike with their dogs.   To be truthful, I equated hiking with walking, only on a dirt path and it held no interest for me.

I recently had an opportunity to go along on a hike (it was billed as a hike up and run down).   The two gals who I was going with (we’ll refer to them as Kim and Katie) both knew the trail.   They hike these trails often with dogs or kids in tow so I expected a hike that was strenuous but not particularly hard, because of the kids and dogs, not the lack of fitness on their part.  🙂

Ok, so I was wrong.  This trail went straight up for, I’d say, close to 2 miles.   It started out ok – steep but not unmanageable.  We all hiked upward chatting along the way.    We continued up and up and up to the top.  We had breathtaking views of the Bay and it was so clear we saw the Transamerica Pyramid in SF.

Once we got to the top (or what I thought was the top) Then we came to a flat spot and ran a bit until we came to a pretty steep incline.  This was the hill that Kim liked to run so I ran up it as well to the top of the ridge.  If you could call it running.

I started off ok but then my chest started to burn and I couldn’t get enough air.  I had to stop and catch my breath before I continued.  I was very happy to get to the top of that hill, let me tell you.

The run down was nice and easy.  Some steep downhills and some upsie, downsie hills.  We ended the run coming through a tiny, steep single track down onto Las Gallinas Road, about two houses down from the kids’ school.

I loved the hike up and the run down but I tell you, the only thing I could think of as I sucked wind on the way to the top was that by the end of the school year I was going to run that darn thing from bottom to top.

That’s the runner in me, I suppose.

Now go run!

Keli

Tip of the Week

Here’s a simple tip to help you get organized for your running or exercise.   Keep a duffle bag packed with essential gear so when you leave the house it’s all together.  Here’s a sample of what I keep in my running bag and gym bag.

Running Bag

Ipod, headphones and charger in a makeup case, running sunglasses, extra socks, long sleeve tee, jacket, gloves, makeup bag with baby wipes, vaseline, BodyGlide, a Gu (or two), “feminine products”, aspirin, brush and a running hat

Gym Bag

Gym Id, magazines, hairbands, extra tee shirt, baseball hat

Having these bags ready means I can get dressed and grab a bag and be off.  No more searching at 5:30am for my gym or running necessities.

Get organized so you don’t have any excuses.

Now go run.

Keli

Running Circles Around Myself

I’ve deliberately avoided track workouts since I did one with Tamalpa Runners about 6 years ago.  I joined the group with my friend Harold.   We thought it would improve our running and help with our speed.

One Tuesday evening we joined the group at the SR High track.  We did a warm up through the neighborhood and then hit the track for the workout.  Or should I say, The Foray into Hell and Humiliation.  That sounds more accurate.

I got in with the slowest group for the 400 repeats.  I came so far in last place that I was lapped by at least half of the first group.  I was mortified and breathing so hard and fast that I thought I’d pass out.   I managed to last the entire workout only because I refused to quit – but I did not go back.

Fast forward a few years and here I am, working with PacWest Athletics as they begin their Marin run program.  Luckily for me, that includes track workouts every Wednesday night, of which I’ve agreed to attend.   I know, I’m soooo very lucky.

Our workout started easily enough with a mile jog around the track.  I’m enjoying the darkness and cool night air.  There are 4 of us warming up and it’s a nice small group.  We are all at different levels so it’s comforting to know that we won’t be lining up with people of Cheetah-like speed.

The basic premise of track workouts is to go at a “comfortably” hard 10K pace for that one lap then recover for a lap and repeat the process a lot of times.    For our group, that was 5 to 8 repeats.  Not too bad to look at on paper, but by the time you’ve done 4 of these suckers and have 4 more to go – it feels like you are ready to cough a lung.

By the time I got done with my 8th lap and was in my cool down mile, I felt pretty good.  I got some great tips from Coach Jocelyn, our group was supportive and we all felt like we accomplished something.

I did have a passing fear that I would not be able to handle the workout the following week but surprisingly I felt stronger at our second track workout.  Even with a slight cold and some soreness from an earlier workout I was able to turn it up a bit and it wasn’t as tough as the first week.

I encourage you all to give the track a try.  Whether you join a group or set up your own workout, you’ll notice a difference.  You might not have Cheetah-like speed, but you will look pretty cool doing 4oo repeats past the dog walkers.

Now go run!

Keli

Mind Games

I think  about running a lot.   I think about where I should run next, how far I should run, if I should do speed work or a hill run.   I think about whether I should really have brussels sprouts with dinner the night before a long run (the answer to that question should always be a resounding NO!).

I think about how long a run will take me and if I can make it back in time to get the kids to school or if I need to hand that duty off to Brad.  I think if I should really run 4 days in a row or if I should take a much needed rest day.

When I’m running I think about whether I’m running too fast or too slow.  Whether I should have left that extra layer at home (that answer is always YES!) and if my Garmin is really working properly.   I think about what I have to do after my run, if I can hop in the shower or if I have to take the kids to school looking like something that got pulled out of a swamp.

There are the days when my mind is my greatest ally, encouraging me to run faster, climb higher and go farther.   “Good on you Keli, it says.  You are a runner!  Keep it up, you are doing great!”

Then there are the other days when my greatest ally turns into my worst enemy.  “Stop.  You’re tired.  You need to go back home and have pancakes.”   Those days you feel like you’re dragging a piano behind you and your feet shuffle so slow it feels like you are going backward.  And not in a Michael Jackson moonwalking kind of backward either.

So when your brain plays tricks on you like you can either give in or get over yourself.  Here are a few tricks I’ve tried that actually work when the running gremlin is on your back.

Stop

Just for a minute.  Catch your breath, and start again.  If you feel like walking, do so, but just for a minute.

Turn off

Your watch, that is.  Turn it off and run for the run of it.  Let’s be realistic – you’re not running a PR today anyway so why torture yourself?

Focus

At this point, you are obsessing over how bad your run is going and that is a mistake.  Instead, turn your focus to finishing your run at an easy, steady pace.  Shake off the negative and get going.

These three simple steps will help you re-channel your energy when the gremlin is on your back.  I’ve used these techniques myself.  We all have bad days but it’s important not to dwell on them!

Now go run!

Keli

Getting to the Core of the Situation

In this month’s issue of Runner’s World magazine (February 2009) there is a great article on the benefits of core training for runners (pages 55-58).  For those of you who don’t get out much, core training refers to exercises that strengthen your torso (think abs and your back).

Having a strong core helps to power your running whether you’re out for a leisurely job, speedwork or going for an 18-mile training run.  A strong core helps keep you strong to the end of your run, even if you are spent.

The magazine recommends exercises such as Plank Lift, Hip Raises, Side Plank, Bridge, Superman and  Metronome.   Check out www.runnersworld.com for the exercises mentioned or do a Google search.

Your running and abs will thank you.

Now go run!

Keli