Showing posts from 2014

How Much Water Should Runners Drink Every Day?

How Much Water Should I Drink Every Day in San Diego?
by Kathleen Lisson

I have found myself drinking a lot more water since I moved to San Diego. My skin is drier and I am thirstier throughout the day due to the heat and sunshine.

Here is a formula for finding out how much water you should drink. Simply enter your weight and number of minutes of exercise every day. I like that it also accounts for how hot (San Diego) or cold (winter hiking) your environment is.

The formula is here:

Using Music to Overcome Exhaustion - an Anecdote from Mount Kilimanjaro

One Climber's Story from Mount Kilimanjaro

by Kathleen Lisson

‘This is supposed to be the defining event of my life, my giant ‘f*ck you’ to a mid-life crisis, and I’m failing,’ I thought desperately. The past few days on the mountain had slowly taken away my self-identity. Without the pungent pleasure of oxygen I was less secure and outgoing. We were at over 16,000 feet, in the ‘glacial zone,’ and I was almost too exhausted to even take a drink of water and struggle with a food wrapper.
Just a few minutes after we stopped for food and water, it was time to start hiking again into the night, footprints keeping a slow, steady pace through loose soil, the path illuminated only by the dim light of our headlamps. We had started near midnight, and, after hiking for hours, I had cautiously asked how much longer until dawn. The answer was heartbreaking. Four more hours until the sun, and six until the summit.
Mountain climbing just isn’t your skill. You’ll never hike again, and I’m not sur…

San Diego Running Routes

San Diego Running Routes - Where does your run begin / end?

by Kathleen Lisson
As a runner and a new resident of San Diego, I have used Gmaps Pedometer to map several running loops for 2 mile, 3.5 mile and longer distances. I stay in my neighborhood for shorter runs and enjoy running in a nearby canyon on long runs. Short or long, all my runs have one thing in common.
Where Does Your Run Begin and End?
When I was younger, my runs began and ended in the same place - my driveway. Whether I was rushed for time or eager to start running, as soon as I got laced into my running shoes, I was off like a bolt.
The problem? Running without proper warm up and cool down can result in soreness and stiffness post-run. Stiffness can take the joy out of future runs and provides one more excuse to reduce the training load or skip a workout all together.
Older and wiser, I now build in a warm up and cool down segment into each run.
But Wait: what isn't better than running straight to your front door a…

When Should Runners Get a Sports Massage?

When do I “Feel Like Getting a Massage?”
by Kathleen Lisson

Wherever I am in my training season: basebuilding, sharpening or tapering, I schedule my massages once every month. I have used two techniques for remembering to get a massage - either I go on or close to the first of the month, or I rebook my next month’s massage appointment immediately after my previous massage.

If I am in a particularly hard phase of training, I will keep a look out for signs that I need to book a last-minute massage on my next rest day. My personal warning signs for overtraining include obvious signs and not-so-obvious signs.

The obvious signs:

Sore leg muscles for a few days in a row. Getting minor injuries more often than usual, visits from old injuries I thought were healed.

Not-so-obvious signs:

Catching every bug and illness that is “going around.” Changes in my sleep - sleeping like a log for hours or staying up extra late. Feeling bad exhausted (not good exhausted) and less motivated to run every day. Feeli…

Why Do You Run?

San Diego Runners Share Why They Run
by Kathleen Lisson

I had the good fortune to volunteer for the San Diego Track Club's Marathon / Half Marathon training program last weekend - check out where my water station was located!

I enjoyed enthusiastically greeting the runners as they arrived and got to know a few of them.

Mitch got an early start on the run and arrived before the "speedies." He has been running 35 - 40 years and runs because "it makes him feel good." If you could have seen the beautiful smile that came across his face when he told me that, you would go out and buy a pair of running shoes immediately! A few ladies running together stopped for a drink and shared Margarita flavored shot bloks. They were having so much fun on their run, I want to try out Margaritas on MY next long run! A lady who was born in Buffalo but raised in California (like me) shared that a marathon was on her bucket list and a friend told her that if she joined the San Diego T…

Tips to Combat Running Boredom

I'm Bored With Running - Help!
by Kathleen Lisson

As a half marathon runner, I know that training for a half marathon can be a months-long process focused almost entirely on a single activity - running. To break the monotony on longer runs, runners can try the following tricks:
Fartleks - Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play” and this technique will bring a little fun back into running. Remember when you were a kid and raced your friends down the street? Fartleks are in the same spirit. If you start feeling bored on a run, simply pick an object a hundred feet away, like a light pole or intersection, and pick up the pace until you reach it. Slow down and recover at a slow run until you feel ready to play again. Alternating the pace of your run will make it go by faster and improve your endurance.
Run your route backwards - Always take a right out your front door on your usual loop? Try taking a left and running your route from the opposite direction. Notice what is different.
Play backs…

The Joy of Running Five Kilometers

Why Should I Run a 5K Race?by Kathleen Lisson

I have been coaching a group of elementary school girls in the Rancho Bernardo neighborhood of San Diego with the nonprofit Girls on the Run. These girls take two hours a week our of their after school time to gather together and learn about running and character development. I didn't learn to love running until I was in high school, so I am eager and happy to be able to show these young girls the joys of running and physical activity. 
The goal of each session of Girls on the Run is for the participants to run a 5K race. Ours will be held in early December, so we did our first 'practice 5K' at this week's practice. I think some of the girls felt a little scared to be putting all the practice laps together and running for three miles straight, but they all eagerly put their toes on the start line and participated. 
We have one really talented girl - I had her model proper passing etiquette (saying "on your left" be…

Agon and the Reason Why Endurance Athletes Participate in Sports

Why Did You Start Running?
by Kathleen Lisson

I was at a party the other night and the conversation turned to weight loss. The two women I was talking to both mentioned that they were going to start running to lose weight that they had gained since turning 30 years old. 

Thinking about this conversation after I left the party, I wondered how many adults start running simply because it looks like fun. 

I started running in high school because a friend asked me to join the Cross Country team. I kept on running on and off for the next twenty years because it was fun. I run here in San Diego because of the way a good run makes me feel.

I feel sweaty and joyful and good when I'm running and after I run. I feel strong when I get to the top of a hill or practice speedwork, even though I am tired at the end. I enjoy planning for races and running in groups. I feel happy and connected when I am around other runners who share my passion for the sport. If a sore muscle stops my running for even…

Coaching 'Girls on the Run' in San Diego

Coaching 'Girls on the Run' in San Diego
by Kathleen Lisson

I am a volunteer running coach with the San Diego chapter of 'Girls on the Run.' 'Girls on the Run' is a nonprofit organization serving girls in 3rd to 8th grades. I started running in high school, and found that running gave me confidence and healthy habits that made my teenage years much easier. While high school had the usual cliques, my cross country team was a real team, where everyone was friends. I am honored to have these girls call me "Coach Kathleen" and eager to teach them the fundamentals of running as well as share tips on healthy eating and living.

Find out more about Girls on the Run in San Diego here:

How to Prepare for the MCRD Boot Camp Challenge in San Diego 2015

What I learned from running the MCRD Boot Camp Challenge in San Diego

by Kathleen Lisson

One of the feelings around long distance running I enjoy the most is the feeling of being a Badass. I feel so strong and confident when I can run for more than an hour at a time. Finishing a half marathon is an amazing feeling. I also felt pretty badass when I reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in July.
I have been focusing on strengthening the muscles in my core, hips and legs to prevent my ITBS from flaring up as I prepare to train for the Triple Crown in 2015, so I felt confident that I would be up to the challenge of the MCRD Boot Camp Challenge this September. Held once a year to celebrate Fleet Week in San Diego, the 5K obstacle course race allows civilians to experience the obstacle course that Marine Corps Recruits use during their training. Screaming Drill Instructors are included, too! Money raised goes toward Marine Corps family charities.
Tips for Running the MCRD Boot Camp Challenge …

How to run the San Diego Triple Crown 2015

Race Signup Information for Triple Crown 2015 by Kathleen Lisson

What is the Triple Crown?

Run these three San Diego area half marathons in the same calendar year and earn a 'Triple Crown' medal.

When is the 2015 Triple Crown Series in San Diego?

Carlsbad Half Marathon - January 18, 2015 -

La Jolla Half Marathon - April 26, 2015 -

AFC Half Marathon - August 16, 2015 - signup Opens January 2015

Run all three races and earn your 'Triple Crown' medal at the finish line of the AFC Half Marathon!

Join in on the fun on Facebook here:

View the rules here:

Best Tips on Sticking to a Training Schedule - focus on Willpower or Gratitude/Pride ?

What is the Best Way to Stop Skipping Workouts?
by Kathleen Lisson

Sticking to a training schedule when life becomes stressful and busy is hard for some runners, including myself. Over the last few months I have moved to San Diego with my husband for his new job and gone through all of the steps of buying a new home in San Diego. I know that running brings me pleasure, but on some days it seemed easier to skip my morning workout.

How can runners dealing with stress and busy lives make sure that running and other endurance exercise stays on their daily schedule?

Many running advice and tips articles I have read focus on taking the thinking OUT of preparing for a workout:

Lay out your clothes the night before, or evenWear your running clothes to bed! 
I am interested in solving the cause of the problem instead of just treating the symptoms. How can I think less impulsively (skip the workout and relax on the couch of on the beach - it is San Diego!) and more long-term (this workout will en…

How to Build 'Mental Muscle' - With Boredom?

Mental Training for Long Distance Runners
by Kathleen Lisson

I am still thinking of the excellent article on mental training I read in Runners World recently. In 'How to Build Mental Muscle,' Alex Hutchinson details how he used "brain training" to strengthen his resolve in the last miles of a marathon. 

Does Being 'Bored' Slow Us Down?

Hutchinson found that exhausting his mind with a boring online task for an hour before a training run helped him to simulate late-race conditions. I understand how this could happen - running after a long day of work often seems far more tiring than it should be. 

Could being mentally exhausted affect race time just as much as physical exhaustion slows us down?How can we as runners strengthen this weakness and perform at our best late in a race or on a long run?

What can you do as an athlete to simulate mental exhaustion before a training run? Let me know your ideas by sending me a tweet at @kathleenlisson

Read the article here:http:…

Cyclists : How to Prepare for a Century Ride

Cycling Tips for Training for a Century Ride:Is endurance sports advice "universal?"
by Kathleen Lisson

James Herrera provides advice for training for a century ride in the article 'Your Best Century'For

As a runner, some of the tips sound very familiar:

Check your equipment.Map out the water stops. Don't eat/drink/wear anything new the day of the race.

The article also offers advice for breaking down weekly cycling workouts into one long ride and weekly shorter rides.

Cycling and long distance running may be two different sports, but it seems as if some endurance sports advice is universal. Before I moved to San Diego, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and I followed all three of the tips above when preparing for summit night. 

Do you have any "universal" endurance sports tips? Share them with me on Twitter at @kathleenlisson

Read the article here:

Why Don't Endurance Athletes Practice Mental Training?

Long Distance Runners : How to Improve Mental Toughness
by Kathleen Lisson

In the enlightening article 'Train Your Brain to Run Your Best' in Runner's World, Michelle Hamilton shared her experience as she trained for the Napa Valley Marathon. Hamilton enlisted the services of Dean Hebert, M.Ed. of Mental Workout to strengthen her mental training for the race.

Hebert tells her "No one expects endurance to come naturally, but people think mental toughness does. It's a big myth. You do not need more willpower. You need to train the brain like you train the body." 

For Hamilton, this meant "practicing mental skills throughout training, not randomly tossing in a mantra midrace. Mental skills, like physical strength, develop over time and with consistency."
Hamilton states that "in a recent study, pessimism ranked as runners' top mental roadblock. Negativity, whether it's worry or doubt, often leads to self-defeating behaviors including slowing do…

Middle-Aged Endurance Athletes - Do You Still Chase a PR?

Middle-Aged Endurance Athletes - Do You Still Chase a PR?
by Kathleen Lisson

In an piece titled 'Don't Look Back' written for Bicycling Magazine, Selene Yeager shares a big DON'T for endurance athletes regarding post-race chatter. 

Do your thoughts and judgements about your last performance influence your future competition?Can you be proud of your all-out efforts or does all your self-praise come attached to criticism?

Selene also touches on a big question for middle-aged athletes - 

Do we still complete even though our PR level performances may be behind us? 

I just turned 40 and I haven't raced yet in San Diego this year - should I keep my old PR times from my 30's in mind or set a new baseline for each new decade? 

Tweet your thoughts to @kathleenlisson

Read Selene's blog post here:

Can Athletes Improve their Endurance by Using Marine Corps ‘Mental Fitness’ Techniques?

Can Athletes Improve their Endurance by Using Marine Corps ‘Mental Fitness’ Techniques?

by Kathleen Lisson

I recently learned about how Marines in San Diego are using ‘mental fitness’ exercises to combat chronic pain.

In a lecture sponsored by the UC San Diego Health System Center for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Millegan, MD MPH presented a video case report of a US Marine with chronic pain who participated in the Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) Mind Body Medicine program.

The Marine was living with a debilitating injury and chronic pain, but found healing through starting a meditative practice. Dr. Millegan spoke about how Marines who had a regular meditative practice were about to stay “in the zone” in their daily lives.

If Marines find value in adding meditation to their daily lives, would it also benefit endurance athletes?

Meditation can help athletes change the way they react to situations and emotions that can decrease performance, like pain, stress and fear of failur…

Mental Training Tips for Endurance Athletes - Overcoming Pain & Distance

Mental Training Tips for Endurance Athletes - Overcoming Pain & Distance
by Kathleen Lisson

The Runners World article 'Raise Your Athletic IQ' provides tips on overcoming common obstacles to completing long, hard training runs. 

The article shares advice from Cindra Kamphoff, Ph.D., a sports psychology consultant and professor at Minnesota State University. Kamphoff discusses the different techniques that recreational and elite runners use to cope with pain, and shares the secrets that top runners use to avoid bailing on long, hard runs. 

I agree with the advice to take it 'one mile at a time' on long runs. I also used this advice while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I was certainly suffering by the midway point on summit night. Thinking of the fact that I had four hours until the summit was daunting. Instead, I concentrated on just putting one foot in front of the other until the dawn. Separating that hike into chunks of effort helped me to get all the way to the summit.…

How to Train Yourself to Exercise in the Morning

How to Train Your Body to Get Up in the Morning

by Kathleen Lisson

One of the hardest parts of training for 'night owl' endurance athletes is getting their shoes on and gettting out the door for their daily morning run / cycling session / swim.

In the Fast Company article 'How Circa CEO Matt Galligan Trained Himself to Wake up at 6:30 a.m. Without an Alarm Clock,' author Rebecca Greenfield reveals Galligan's secret - body clock training. Galligan set an alarm clock for his preferred wakeup time, 6:30 a.m., every morning for a solid month (including weekends) and didn't use the snooze button. After 30 days of waking up at the same time, he had trained his body that 6:30 a.m. was the time to wake up, alarm or no alarm.

Should you try this method to become a 'morning person?'

This technique will be difficult if an athlete enjoys sleeping late on the weekends. I have also found that using a sleeping mask helps me to stay asleep until my alarm goes off, espec…