Sunday, August 31, 2014

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

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

What inspires you to lace up your shoes and train?

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:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

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

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

A Powerpoint slide from Dr. Millegan's presentation

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 failure.

If you could lower your post-workout stress levels and change the way you perceive the normal pain of endurance training:
  • Would the quality of your workouts improve?
  • Would you be less likely to skip workouts?
  • Would you feel more "in the zone" and confident about your training and performance?

I am excited to find out. 

I have run a few half marathons in the past, but I will put my love of the distance to the test as I try to earn a Triple Crown in 2015. The training will be hard and last for over 9 months. I am going to add meditation to my workout schedule and see if I can use the ‘mental training’ it provides to keep my body healthy through the process.

A card Dr. Millegan gave to the attendees

I came away from the presentation with a number of resources:

Relax Relax is a Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center Health Promotion and Wellness Department website with mental fitness resources including guided meditations:

The NMCSD website:

Integrated Health Community Portal -

According to their website, the UCSD Center for Integrative Medicine focuses on whole-person wellness by addressing physical, as well as lifestyle, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs.

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. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

How to Train Yourself to Exercise in the Morning

How to Train Your Body to Get Up in the Morning

How to Train Yourself to Run 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, especially if the sun rises an hour before I want to wake up. 
  • I would add that an important part of this technique is the discipline to go to sleep a full 8 hours before the alarm goes off, in order to make sure to get adequate rest at night. 

Read the Fast Company article here:

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