We Are All Athletes

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We Are All Athletes

RUNNERS ARE ATHLETES.

One of our key points we like to drive home to our Beginning runner group throughout their training is that we are athletes. In each and every human there is the ability to run. It's in our genes. We drive this point home by explaining that we train just like elite athletes do. You know that Blackstone Blvd we run up and down? Molly Huddle runs there too? You know our manager Patrick was in the Olympic trials and Katie who works at the shop was on the US Cross Country team.  You're surrounded by elites here in Providence and they train just like you do. If you're in our Run Club or have attended any of our sessions, you know what it takes. Let's break it down. 

 

Goal Setting

We need goals it's how we know we've accomplished anything. Whether you're running the Chicago Marathon with Christine, Stephen, Ashley, Gil or Michael or you're looking to run a fast 5k like Danny. Setting a goal is something Run club members and Shaylene Flannigan do. 

Dynamic Warmup/Activation Drills

What are all those wacky movements we do before the Speed Runsession and Recovery Run? Those are Dynamic Warmups, designed to wake up the muscles used for running these movements help prevent injuries and get you ready to perform at your best. Check out the video to see some great Dynamic Warmups to add to your training.

Interval Training

When you join us for our Speed Run or take part in our Beginning Runner Group you are Interval Training. Elite athletes work these sessions into their training blocks to get faster. Just like you. As I mentioned in our previous blog Speed Work Makes the Dream Work to run fast you need to run fast. Interval training gives you a chance to run at race pace or faster for shorter periods of time with recovery inbetween. These sessions help build up tolerance allowing your body to get comfortable at faster speeds. 

Every Run Has A Purpose

Hard days are hard. Easy days are easy. Yoga days are yoga-y? Anyway just like Elite athletes our runs have a purpose, the speed run is a hard effort, the recovery run is a day to chill out and recover, the long run is a day to build strength, even bootcamp class is a day to cross train. Every day has a purpose and there is a method to madness make sure to hit the speed run hard and use the recovery run to do just that. Recover.

Rest and Active Recovery

Active recovery are things like foam rolling, going for a light jog, or a bike ride, or hitting a yoga class. These are great ways to give your body a break from running but still get some work in. There will be days when you need to rest completely and give your body a break from the rigors of training and working and taking care of the kids and the rest of the things life throws at you. That is just fine, Galen Rupp takes days off too. 

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So there you have it. There really is no different between you and Molly Huddle or Matt Centrowitz. 

Eric Lonergan 

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SPEED WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK

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SPEED WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK

TRACK TUESDAYS

So why is it we hop on the track every Tuesday evening. What are the benefits of track workouts and intervals in general? Below I give ya a few reasons why track workouts are awesome and why our Track Tuesdays are so much fun. 

INCREASE SPEED

Obviously you have to run fast to get fast. But to delve into the science of why track workouts and interval sessions build speed lets take a look at a little protein called Myoglobin, not Youroglobin...Myoglobin. Myoglobin transports oxygen to the mitochondria in your muscles, which in turn produce ATP to give your muscles energy. So, as you increase your myoglobin, you improve your body’s ability to quickly transport oxygen to the muscles for energy, making you able to run faster. Speed work is uniquely beneficial in this aspect, as research indicates that high-intensity running is the best way to develop myoglobin.

GET COMFORTABLE RUNNING FAST TIRED

In a lot of our workouts you'll see that we close with a 200 hard the goal here is to get comfortable running fast while tired. When you're racing it can be difficult to stay on pace further into it, especially when we get into the half and full marathon distances. After a few Track Session you can go back to the well at the end of the race and know, I destroyed that 200 after cranking out 8 - 800s so I can finish this race with a bang! 

WORK DIFFERENT MUSCLE GROUPS

Fast Twitch, Slow Twitch? These track workouts will help you develop those fast twitch muscles which are typically used during shorter events. However, during the Marathon or Half Marathon, when you get tired your body will recruit these fast twitch muscles to get you across the line. So lets strengthen these puppies up during these Track Sessions.

RUN FAST TO GET FAST

Bottom line you have to run fast to run fast. When training you need to get your body comfortable running your goal pace. A great way to do that is to run faster than goal pace for shorter intervals. These sessions help you focus on your pace and knowing how your body feels at that pace is key to racing well. You'll eventually be able to feel 730pace or 630pace or whatever, no need for a watch. The track is the spot to learn to run fast. 

BUILD CAMARADERIE 

Our track sessions are unique in that you'll have someone watching over you (myself or pacers) and folks cheering you on. Our team is awesome in that no matter your pace or ability we're there for you.

TEAMWORK

Teamwork makes the dream work. I think thats how that actually goes. Our track sessions are unique in that they force you to work together to accomplish your goals. You're grouped together with similar paces and are able to feed off each other to accomplish your goals. Its easy when running on your own to give up, I've been on the track myself where I wanted to just walk away during a tough workout. Its always much easier to do that when there are no other people around. Having teammates around helps hold you accountable. 

Speed work is super important and a great way to get faster and set new PRs. Be sure to mix it into your training regularly to not only get faster but help keep you entertained and afterward you'll feel like a million bucks!

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DROPPING BEETS

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DROPPING BEETS

BEETS THE MAGICAL VEGETABLE

As athletes we're always looking to push the envelope and lower our PRs, increase the distance we run or eat up the track at blazing speeds. Luckily for us there are some tools we can use to get there, GPS watches help us monitor our speed and distance, some even have heart rate built in, shoes are getting lighter and more responsive. The food we eat can have a tremendous impact on our abilities and Beets are a superfood of sorts. Check out some reasons why Beets may just be the key to your next PR. 

Lower Your Blood Pressure. Drinking beet juice can lower your blood pressure, beets are loaded with nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide is great at relaxing and dilating your blood vessels thus improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. As athletes, improving blood flow is key to reducing muscle fatigue.

Boost Your Stamina. Now this sounds like my cup of tea...I mean beet juice. A study done at the University of Exeter's School of Sports showed that cyclists who consumed 500ml of beet juice over six days were able to cycle 16% longer when cycling to exhaustion. Now I'm no scientist but 16% sounds like a whole lot...

Fight Inflammation. Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protect cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress. As athletes and runners reducing inflammation is key to keeping us running healthy.

Now we all know eating beets won't solve all of your ailments or garrantee your next 5k is the fastest of your career, but taking care of yourself and putting in the work is one surefire way to get there. Eating healthy and training smart is definitely one way to put yourself on the road to success. 

Written with help from the following sources. Check them out to learn more about how awesome Beets are! Also if you have anything to add feel free to do so in the comments section! 

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23231777
  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/25/beets-health-benefits.aspx
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661447
  • http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/can-beet-juice-instantly-improve-your-endurance

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Tips for Running the Mile

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Tips for Running the Mile

GET AFTER IT

The Mile. Its four laps. Its symmetrical. It can be incredibly fun, and torture at the same time. Whether you're running 3:43 like the gentleman below or you're running 12mins, you're still running a mile and thats impressive. I thought I'd share four tips for running the mile given that we're going to get after it at Tuesday's Speed Run.

WARMUP PROPERLY.

The mile is fast. Faster than a lot of the other races you've been running. Whether it is a 5k or a half marathon neither compare to the mile. The mile is a shock to the system for folks who haven't run one in a while. It is super important to warm up properly. That includes our typical dynamic warmup plus activation drills. We'll typically use the ladder for these activation drills and there are three major benefits. 

Speed & coordination. By incorporating ladder drills into your training program, you will be promoting a wide range of different footwork and movement patterns, which can help increase stride length, speed and agility on the running track.

Cardio exercise. When done right and at a fast pace, the agility ladder can provide you with a killer cardio workout. Just keep in mind that proper form is the priority, not how hard you push yourself. If you lose form, then you are just wasting your time.

Strengthens body and mind. Ladder drills will also help you strengthen your joints, tendons, ligaments while improving focus and coordination. In fact, study has shown that agility training can improve cognitive performance, including vigilance and memory.

Below is a video of some ladder drills, we'll do a few of these before our speed sessions. 

KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO

Figuring out your pace per lap can be super helpful for running the mile. If I know I need to be at 70 seconds per lap to run a 4:40 mile I can better judge my performance throughout the mile. Did I go out too fast? Do I need to pick it up on the next lap? Being prepared is always better than winging it. Know what you need to do, visualize it, dream about it then get after it. 

THE MILE

The first lap is a blur. The second lap isn't too bad. The third lap is hell. The fourth lap is where you lay it all on the line. 

The first lap is blur because you're all amped up to run the mile! Stay within yourself but use that energy to get out fast and into rhythm quickly. The second lap you'll be in rhythm and probably thinking hey this isn't so bad. The key to the mile is the third lap. In my mind that is the most difficult part of the run, you're tired its easy to slack or coast that third lap to save up for the final kick. Don't do that. Stay on pace, stay focused mentally. Know that it will hurt, but know that after this there is only one lap to go and the fourth lap is where you lay it all on the line. 

THE COOLDOWN

Like I said earlier the mile is a shock to the system so we need to make sure we take care of ourselves after the run. Be sure to do a light jog afterward and maybe a little static stretch/foam rolling. Rehydrating afterward will help ward off cramping. Then just give yourself a little pat on the back. 

Hope this helps and we'll see you on the track! 

Eric Lonergan 

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BOSTON MARATHON RECAP.

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BOSTON MARATHON RECAP.

INTRO

The Boston Marathon is like no other race. Period. End of Story. Well, not end of story but that statement cannot be stressed enough. I've been running for over half my life and have never experienced anything like it. I've raced in Louisiana, I've raced in New York, I've raced in Maine, I've raced in Florida, I've raced in California and Ireland and no other race was as inspiring, incredible and awesome as the Boston Marathon was. I wanted to use this weeks blog post to give you my thoughts and encourage everyone who has the opportunity to take part in this fantastic event. 

ORGANIZATION/PRE-RACE

The most well organized race I've ever taken part in. End of Story...alright I'll stop with that. The day begins with a bus ride to Athletes Village from Boston Commons. I'm not sure if I just got there super early but the wait to get on the bus was non-existent and it quickly took off to the village. The Athletes Village is a sight to behold, with large tents for shades, Porto-johns that seemed to go on forever, bagels, bananas, water, gatorade, coffee, tea it had everything you need pre-race. I arrived a bit early and wasn't a huge fan of hanging around for 3 hours before the race, but after a quick nap, some snacks, an unmentionable amount of trips to the Porto-johns the time flew by. It did get a bit crowded toward the end of my stay and I was super nervous about not using the bathroom just one more time before the start...buuuuuut after heading to the start there was another hundred Porto-johns on the way! Hallelujah! We hung out at the start, saw the elites line up...well the tall people saw them line up, watched some planes cover the course in 4 mins (super jealous) and then bang the gun went off. 

COURSE

The course really is fast the first half. Folks are not kidding when they say you can get carried away going out too quickly. The first few miles drop quickly and then you're gradually going down hill through mile 13. Go out too fast and you'll have yourself a tricky second half for sure. The course levels out a bit and then starts to climb in the latter stages, while I've heard a lot of heartbreak hill it seemed to go by quickly, probably because of all the trips we've taken up and down Rochambeau! They call it heartbreak hill because of where its placed and it comes at a point in the marathon where you'd like to just take a walk up and maybe a nap at the top. After that though the race quickly (or not so quickly) comes to an end. This could be because of all the down hills but most likely is because the crowd just won't let up! Which leads me too...

ATMOSPHERE

Ridiculous. Its just ridiculous. There are no breaks, there is no silence. The crowd is always there pushing you towards the next mile, where the crowd is even louder. You can even grab yourself a smooch from the girls at Wellesley College at Mile 12 (no I did not do that!). Each mile marker is surrounded by throngs of cheering people, and it helps keep you focused on the task at hand. No stopping. No walking. Don't give up on yourself. Speaking of, the pure grit of some of the other runners taking part is palpable. Witnessing a war vet with one leg, carrying the flag cover 26.2 miles is awe inspiring. There is no way you can give up, not with that guy on the same course. Incredible. Throughout my journey, I saw blind runners, amputees, wheelchair athletes all grinding it out with a smile on their face. You really can't help but smile along with them! The few miles to the finish are incredible with a crazy amount of people out there cheering you on! A big thanks to those who were out there cheering! Stephen, Jayman, Gary, Gilly, My wifey, Stacia, Chris, Katie and everyone else I missed! Your cheers were much needed and appreciated! Why were they much needed? Well that had a lot to do with the....

WEATHER

The weather this past Monday was lovely...lovely for those not running 26.2 miles. I'm sure the folks cheering enjoyed the opportunity to rock shorts and a t-shirt, for me and the thousands of other folks running the heat was not welcome. The marathon is tricky, a spring marathon is even trickier. You train and train and prepare to cover 26.2 miles as fast as possible. You train through December, January, February and March through the darkness, through the snow, rain and freezing temps. Then bam April 17th comes and its 75-80 degrees with no clouds and now what? Things need to adjust and my race plan was one of those things. 

MY RACE PLAN

Initially I thought hey, I've been running for a long time now, I should go out there and give this thing a go. While my training hasn't gone quite as planned (or at all) I've put in a 20 miler and have been consistent for a month now...maybe just maybe I could bang out a good time.  Luckily when race morning came I changed my mind and decided to be super conservative and just hit the goal of three hours. I thought really a month is not enough time to do this properly, its going to be hot and the Boston Marathon is an experience, just experience it and enjoy the run. The first few miles went by around 6:15 pace and felt nice and comfortable (probably because they were all down hill!) then around half way through I started to settle into 6:30s and eventually finished up around 7:00 minute pace. While it's nearly 30 minutes slower than my qualifying time, I was super pumped to finish at 2:54 and most of all have a pleasant experience at Boston. My two cents, run fast to qualify for Boston and enjoy the atmosphere of the Boston Marathon when you get there. 

CONCLUSION

Overall it was awesome. Hands down the best race I've ever taken part in. If you can qualify do it. If you're not quite there yet, work hard and get there, you will not regret it. Big congrats to all the Rhode Runner Running Club Members who took part! You are super impressive and I'm so pumped to be on your team! 

Eric Lonergan | Run Club Member 

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