Tag Archives: running

10 ‘Tips’ for Trail Running & Racing [Newbies]

For my first ‘race’ of the year, he found a group of distances happening on a trail conveniently close to our Monterey Bay digs (led by Inside Trail Racing). Contrary to most of the trail runs we’ve done in the past seven months, this wouldn’t require a 6am departure, or even more than 25 minutes in the car. We’d even get a view of the wilderness not-so-hidden in the backyard of our quaint city. Win!

10 tips for trail running_DOTR

He went for the 25K, while I kept it safer with the 10k option. And after a 3+ month hiatus from the trails, I had to remind myself that this trail-running game reads from a very different playbook! So far, this is how I get by, with a little help from the aid stations & color-coded flags:

1) LOOK AT THE ELEVATION CHART

If you’re a poor race planner, like myself, this one really needs to be in all caps. It’s almost a given that you’ll have to walk up/down at some point, but strategize and be ready for those moments. Know what’s coming and when– it will matter.  For example, this particular 10k course looked like this:

image

Thankfully he plans ahead, and handed this to me for review on Saturday morning as I munched on my pre-race banana. Well…that’ll be interesting. It’s the total opposite of how 99% of trail races’ elevation rides, but it allowed me to just barrel down those first 3 miles, because I knew there’d be some walking in the last 3 miles, either way.

On that note…

2) Be humble with your distance of choice

My first soiree into this world was a 10-miler (the first sentence of that post is basically this lesson learned). The course wasn’t too challenging, so we lucked out. But those 10 miles felt like 13. And the half we did last Fall? That felt like 20. If you’re just starting out, note that your road-racing PRs mean nothing on the dirt!

3) Bring Hydration. ALWAYS

Would I normally carry water for a 10K race? Nope. But you never know how long those trail miles will take – they seem about twice as long as a road mile, and the aid stations usually seem way too far apart. You will need hydration, either way, so make sure you bring your own.

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My drink of choice: OSMO, for always.

4) Assume you’ll Overheat

I have started many a trail-race in long sleeves, only to curse the decision with gusto as I climb my way up the first major incline. Yes, you can usually count on some tree cover to cool you off here n’ there. But you can also count on some bare, uber-sun-exposed, sections. And your cardio system working overtime to help you climb. Also see: hydration!

trailhoghalf_H_13mi

No shade. No water left. Not close enough to finish line. So hot right now.

5) Protect your precious skin

Sunscreen and a hat = must-haves! Take it from the girl who just doesn’t think January weather warrants sunscreen (unless you’re on the slopes – in which case, of course you have sunscreen! Why does this logic not translate??), and didn’t have a lick of SPF on Saturday. But I did have a visor! 1 for 2.

6) Invest in trail shoes

I run in the Mizuno Hayates, but prior to that would just destroy my road-running shoes (and feet) on my inconsistent adventures. Trail shoes aren’t all stiff and unrelenting; the Hayates move and shake similar to my Wave Riders, but they’re ready for more challenges. See: rocks, (slippery) dirt, creeks and climbs.

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7) Embrace the downs

In road races, you run a fine line between barreling down hill to gather some speed and gain some cushion on a goal time, and/or destroying your quads. But out in the woods, muscles pretty much get destroyed anyway. You have dramatic ups and downs, you will probably walk (unless you operate in full-on beast mode), and when you do get a downhill? You will want to fly.  

This does go back to point #1 – know what’s coming and when! I’ve even had a few down-hills so steep that I walked, because otherwise gravity would have wreaked havoc.

On the downhill: shorten your stride to avoid killing your knees; stay light on your feet (as much as you can…); don’t fight it; know your (speed) limits. (Of note: this tip comes from someone who hasn’t run more than 13.5 miles on a trails – any full / ultra runners out there? Chime in!)

8) Walk…but not for long

As I’ve now mentioned multiple times, the likelihood of walk ‘break’ is 10x higher on the trails vs. the road. A few reasons for this: the inclines are so steep that you’ll waste too much energy trying to run them all, you heart may explode if you do, and sometimes you just flat out cannot run certain sections (for various reasons of nature’s choice).

BUT! Don’t walk for too long. It’s just as dangerous out here as it is on a road – you give yourself too long a break, and it becomes exponentially more difficult to get going again.

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Photos never do justice to the up, up, UP.

My rule: if I’m walking uphill, I have to start running the very inch in which the incline starts to flatten out or give.

9) Leave the tunes (mostly) behind

Again, I can’t speak to the experience of running anything over 13 miles here – maybe after 3+ hours you’re just flat-out done with absorbing nature’s magic – but I am strongly in the no-trail-tunes camp. For safety, and for bliss. There is so much to take in, no matter what trail you’re running.

10) Wipe your PR (expectation) slate clean

Have no expectations. Just as with road races, every trail is oh-so-different and the challenges you’ll face will never be the same twice (even on the same trail). You never fully know what you’re in for, and there’s a lot of fun to be had with that.

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BONUS!  ENJOY ALL THE FOODS.

Seriously. The post-race spread is unbeatable. They really know how to feed a runner’s appetite.

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For Californian’s in the Bay area looking to branch out to enjoy one of these many adventures, check out:

Inside Trail Racing

Brazen Racing

West Coast Trail Runs

——

Calling all trail experts and enthusiasts: anything you’d add to the list?

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Filed under Races, running, running gear, trail running

Beginning the Odd Year: 2015

The great thing about ending the year coming off of an injury is that everything just seems pretty great, because you’re hopping back to it! Sure, there’s endless paranoia and restless heart beats and a grumpy ego, but they’ll come around soon enough. Ending those two months of idleness in a place like this wasn’t so bad, either…

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The go just sat back in awe and let the island do the talking.

For the first time in months, I was active without  a schedule. I had a few guidelines (“keep it easy – do what makes you happy!”), the first of which was quietly overlooked. We stayed in Kailua, which is resort-free and full of trails, stunning shores and perfectly flat running roads. We ran to, and then up, the “Bunker Trail” (aka Pill Box Trail) multiple times. We slipped and slided our way to Mauanwili Falls (this is no joke; be ready to hose yourself down!), we kayaked the Pacific, and we chased two shockingly-quick toddlers in the sand.

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One day I ran for an hour, passing the Obama’s vacation home (NBD), and thinking “this may have been a little too long, too soon”, but not really caring enough to stop. {Insert the foolish-injured-runner’s-hand-raised!}
60 minute milestone: check!

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And so begins the Odd year. I’ve noticed that I swing pretty far on the pendulum of goals achieved and actions taken every other year. I do just enough one year to keep myself sane and feel comfortable – traveling, running, indulging and enjoying. Then I get sick of feeling sane and comfortable (and slightly hung-over), and almost overcompensate.

The odd years stand out for the latter, and this one is throwing down a cannon-ball splash right away:

After today, I’ll be 5 hours into the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT).
Next weekend I’ll visit Austin, TX for the first time with two of my favorite gals.
In
8 weeks I’ll have a new last name.
By May we’ll have run two goal races (13.1, 26.2).

By June we’ll be starting to plan a 200+ mile hike in the Sierras.

And that’s all we know for now. I have no goals or resolutions, but there are plenty of ways I’ve committed to keeping all systems active, engaged and happily exhausted!

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Filed under challenges, running, Yoga

New Kicks, Same Game: Mizuno Wave Rider 18s (Review)

This  post is part of a sponsored campaign with Mizuno on behalf of Fitfluential. Opinions are my own.

MIzuno WaveRider18 Run

Over the past few weeks you may have seen a new kid on the blocks, making waves in the Bay. The Mizuno WaveRider 18 has arrived, with a sleek new design, just enough support and the influence of “Hado” at its back.

Hado –
intrinsic vibrational life force energy
that promotes powerful transformations.

———————————————————————

As of last fall I’ve been a Mizuno-runner, through and through. I was converted by the 17’s, which have now run two marathons with me, blaze the trails with my Hayates, and save the Sayonaras for short races and/or Wednesdays…when we wear pink.

Now, my little Mizuno family has grown by two feet:  Mizuno WaveRider18_group1

Mizuno circle_waverider 18

They didn’t arrive in time for marathon adjustments, so I’ve used them in-between long runs to switch it up. We’re still getting to know this little black sheep, but the kicks have made a few first impressions:

- Lightweight – 7.8 oz, to be exact.

- Neutral – which is the only way I take my shoes.

- Balance – of fit and performance. They’re trained and designed to take the energy of your run and give you a smooth, sleek ride.

- Familiarity – the same, trusted Mizuno-patented Wave Technology that responds to your stride and provides support for your run. They’re also very wide-foot-friendly! WF gals know what I’m talkin ‘bout.

One thing to keep in mind: they feel a little tighter in the heel, and definitely take a run or two until they’re warmed up and ready to go. As with any new shoe, give them  an intro phase and take it easy! Throw in a few strides on your second or third run and let the responsive technology kick in.

Mizuno WaveRider18 Black

If you’re looking for a new yin to your foot’s yang, give the Wave line a try. I’ve yet to consider any Mizuno shoe a bad fit.

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Filed under running, running gear, training

And now we run…

We’re here. Two days out!

It’s time to think less and feel more. To trust the training and know everything that could have been done has been done. It’s time to calm the crazies and just enjoy these few short days in the District. Feet up, mind off. Heart and legs? Jumpy, filling up on a steady adrenaline drip, and totes ready to go.

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—–

The Coach passed along a quote that encompasses the decision made multiple times throughout any race, if not pretty much every second of every mile:

Courage or comfort.MCM 2014

—————

Those two truths are coming along with me to starting line on Sunday morning. The only thing that’s left to do? Run.

To all racers joining the MCM party this weekend – run strong! Have fun! High-five the Marines and spectators! Remember the hills at the beginning, the bridge in the middle and the sweet finish line that’s waiting for you at the end. See ya out there!

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Filed under DC, Goals, marathon, running

{MCM} Run Playlist: {I’m} Ready!

It’s never a given that I’ll run with or without tunes, but I looove me some music. Some days they join me and make a big difference, but on others the silence is more than welcomed. What is a given?  A few go-to playlists that create a party in my head on a daily basis, and provide a  much-needed boost during many miles.

Spotify nearly tops the list of “best things technology has created”, IMO.

I usually start with one song that catches my attention and seems to have a “new” beat/feel/jam, and place it at the top of its own playlist. It inspires the title and all songs that proceed it on the list.

In this case, “I’m Ready” got the party started. Starting a new training plan, in a new city, with a new approach? This fit the bill. I’m ready. (This is an improvement from Chartlottesville’s playlist, “Hurtbox”. In hindsight, very appropriately titled.) Try to listen without moving just-a-little-bit to that catchy beat – not a chance! The list that followed has been in my ears for every long run since. It’ll dance and jam with me right through 26 miles of DC*….

 Spotify_Ready Playlist

Sptofiy playlist Ready_1 

Spotify playlist Ready_2

Spotify Playlist Ready_3 

Spotify Playlist Ready_4

*For those with high attention-to-detail: no I don’t plan on running a 2 hr 55 min marathon, but I do plan on jammin’ until Kate hops in to join me!

The lists are never final – pretty good chance I’ll toss some GirlTalk in there for another boost – but this one is close. I’m feeling pretty pumped about pressing “Play” on the starting line.

Any suggested adds? Favorite hits as of late?

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Filed under marathon, music, training