Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gear...what you need vs. what you "need"

My husband believes that the only reason I do any of the things I do is because all I really want is the gear. And I guess I'll have to admit that it's doesn't hurt the motivation to have some cool new gadget to try out.  But a runner needn't be burdened by the latest, most expensive or fanciest gear to enjoy time on the road. In fact, it can all be quite simple.  The purpose of this post is to let you know what you truly need to run, but also include some fun stuff for you fellow gear heads.

1. Shoes 
Shoes are the most basic element to running and you clearly need a good pair of running shoes to be happy run after run. (Sidenote: Over the past several years that has been a big push towards minimals or barefoot running. While I think there is a lot to the science and practice of this type of running and I'm actually beginning to run a bit in some minimalist shoes,  I'm going to pretend it doesn't exist for the purpose of this post. However, if you are interested in learning more about this, check out the book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It's a great read whether you are interested in barefoot running or not. Also check out  http://www.outsideonline.com/featured-videos/Paleo-Fitness--Barefoot-Running-101.html and http://barefootrunning.com.)

Finding a pair of shoes that feel comfortable will make your training so much more enjoyable and help you to avoid injuries along the way. The first step in choosing the right shoe for you is to determine your arch type and degree of pronation. Pronation is the degree to which your ankle rolls inward or outward while you are running. If you have a normal arch, you're likely a normal pronator, meaning you'll do best in a stability shoe that offers moderate pronation control. Runners with flat feet normally overpronate, so they do well in a motion-control shoe that controls pronation. High-arched runners typically underpronate, so they do best in a neutral-cushioned shoe that encourages a more natural foot motion. The easiest way to do this is through the Wet Feet Test. If you are traveling and can get into a running store (and I mean a true running store, not a Sports Authority or Target or Big 5), you will benefit from staff that can not only help you with your pronation, but also analyze your gait and get you truly dialed in on the shoe for you!In Anchorage, Skinny Raven is the place to go. In Seattle, Super Jock N' Jill is a great store and right near Green Lake so you can go for a nice run in your new kicks around the lake.  Both Road Runner Sports and Fleet Feet Sports are national chains but are still running specialists.

2. Clothing
Please, please don't run in cotton. I'd rather see the streets and trails full of naked bodies than cotton.
The only thing cotton is good for is to wrap around your body after the shower you take when you finish your run.  If you are not already running in technical fabrics, do yourself a big favor and buy at least one shirt, one pair of socks, one pair of shorts or tights, and a sports bra for the ladies (or the men too...who am I to judge?) and your life will be forever changed. Technical fabrics, including polypro and wool, wick sweat and moisture away from your body keeping you cool when it's hot and warm when it's cool or wet.

3. Hat or visor
Personally I never run without a hat or a visor.  They keep the sun out of your eyes when it's sunny and the rain off your head when it's not.

4. Sunglasses
Hahahahahahahahaha. Did you see what I did there? I put sunglasses on the list...like it's ever sunny when you are running in Kodiak. Just kidding. Sunglasses are actually useful for a lot of reasons. You will find them surprisingly helpful even on overcast days. They also are great and keeping the dust and debris out of your eyes and hiding the tears when you are huffing it out in the final miles of your long runs. Plus, sunglasses are quickest and easiest way to look like a total bad a$$ (can I say that on a public radio blog?).

5. Watch
When you are training for a specific race and each workout has a specific goal, a watch is an important piece of the puzzle. You don't need anything fancy, just something that can tell you when you started and when you stopped. Having a lap function is a nice feature. Should you choose to get fancy and have money to burn, you can spend upwards of $400 on a watch with an integrated GPS and heart rate monitor. This level of geekery is definitely  not necessary for a beginner...or even a veteran, but these devices can provide a whole new world of training data that can make you a stronger and smarter runner.

6. Phone Apps & Online Training Logs
If you have a smart phone, there are a number of apps that can do much of what a GPS watch can do. Most of these apps are between $.99 and $9.99 and are highly functional.  They are clearly cheaper than buying a watch, but they do require you carry your phone during your runs and can also rapidly run down your battery. That said, some of my favorites are:
A lot of these apps are associated with an online training log program which allows you to download and analyze your data. These sites usually have both paid and free option. My personal favorite site for logging and tracking workout data is Training Peaks, but there are a multitude of other options.

I shall leave it there for now.

Run for your lives,

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I totally geeked out today and drove the Run the Rock courses with all of my sexy electronic gadgets.
As a result, I was able to put together some nice route maps for you all.

The marathon starts in town @ Fisheries Research Center on Near Island and follows Rezanof. Turn right onto Anton Larsen road and keep running until the turn around at the far end of the road.
Ends at Golf Course Pro Shop.

You can also view this route: RunTheRockMarathon

The half marathon is an out and back that starts and ends at the Golf Course Pro Shop. The turn around is approximately at the head of Anton Larsen Bay.

View this route: RunTheRockHalf

The 10K is also an out and back starting at the Golf Pro Shop. 

View this route: RunTheRock10K

Finally, the 5K! This race is also an out and back starting at the Golf Pro Shop, but rather than going towards Anton Larsen, this route heads back towards the main highway.

 View this route: RunTheRock5K

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beginners Running Guide

In my daily snooping for running, health and endurance knowledge around the series of tubes (you're welcome Jay), I found this great article from Men's Health Magazine on 101 tips for a new runner.
Take a look!

Beginner's Guide

P.S. A number of folks have requested maps and elevation for the various Run the Rock routes. We are working on it. Thank you for being patient.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Run Tip

Running solely on the roads can lead to injury. Get off the pavement and try a cross-country or trail run. Or just run barefoot through the grass as a warm down.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Here we are! 12 weeks until race day. Are you nervous? Good! Nervous energy is a good thing and just what you need to get off to a great start and keep your motivation high.
This plan is designed for a beginner runner who has never completed a half-marathon. It’s best if you have some level of basic fitness and can already run up to 3 or 4 miles in one session, but those of you who have yet to take a single running step can follow this plan as well! As written, you will be running four days a week with two days of cross-training and one rest day.  On the last day of week 4 you will see that I've included a 5K race or a 3 mile time trial.  Use the race or time trial as a test of your fitness level and practice taking fluids while you run.
If you'd rather run by time and not distance, translate the chart into minutes by assuming a 10 minute per mile pace, even if your pace differs from that. For example, a 3 mile run would translate to a 30 minute run and a 6 mile run would translate to a 60 minute run. 

Long Runs: The meat of any half-marathon training plan is the long run, which will prepare you physically and mentally to complete 13.1 miles. The gradual increase in mileage of these runs is the key to any training program. These runs are scheduled for Sundays beginning for 4 miles and peaking at 11 miles.  If you prefer to have your long run on a different day, try to keep its timing within your training week consistent and remember to give yourself a rest day on the following day. Don't be afraid to incorporate some walking into the long runs. Many people find this an efficient and effective way to train and race! 

Rest: Take your rest days seriously. Rest is just as important to a training plan as the running!

Cross-Training: Cross-training can include any physical exercise that is NOT running. Great options for cross-training are biking, yoga, walking or swimming because they are non or low impact and give your running joints and muscles a nice break. Cross-training is optional, but highly encouraged!

Strength Training: While I have not explicitly included strength training within the plan, it’s always a good idea to include if you have the time.  Strength workouts can be included on running days, but are probably best suited for non-running days.  This will be covered more in-depth in a future blog post.

Pace: Don’t worry about it! Do all your runs at a comfortable effort. If you are running with a partner or a group, you should be able to carry on a conversation without gasping for breath.

Questions? Leave them as a comment after the post!

Run for your lives,

Friday, July 20, 2012

It all starts on Monday

Don't forget that I will be posting the half marathon plan on Monday. Make the most of this rainy weekend! 
Run for your lives,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Welcome Runners!

Over the next few months until race day, this blog will serve to get you to race day through a half marathon training plan, general advice and hopefully some fun along the way. We decided to focus on the half marathon since it is the most popular and fastest growing distance race in the country. The training plan will be 12 weeks in length and will be posted in four-week blocks. The plan is designed for beginners, but can be easily modified for other levels. For those of you focusing on the other distances offered on October 13th, don’t worry, there will be plenty of information for runners tackling any of the races. On weeks when the training plan is not the focus, the blog will cover topics such as nutrition, gear and shoes, cross-training, stretching and strength training and much more! Main posts will come every Monday, but keep checking in because I may get the itch to share something at any point along the road. 

So, who am I and why should you listen to anything I say? First and foremost, let me stress the point that I am not yet a coach. However, I am currently working towards coaching certifications in running through the Road Runners Club of America and triathlon through USATriathlon, as well as a certification in sports nutrition from the International Sports Science Association.  I have been an endurance sports junkie for nearly 10 years and have completed races all over the country,  from 5Ks to an Ironman triathlon. More importantly, I am a true geek when it comes to learning about the science of fitness, training and nutrition. What I offer on this blog will be based on information I have acquired over the years, but mostly from my personal experiences in the trenches. 

Finally, please post questions or provide feedback in the comments following these posts. We want to make sure you are getting the most out of this blog and get you excited for Run the Rock.  

Coming next week: The first installment of the beginner half marathon plan!

Run for your lives,