Monday, September 29, 2014

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

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 in San Diego

A Month Before the Race

Pushups are Mandatory. It took me a few weeks to be able to do 10 pushups while fatigued. Practice your pushups, because there are not one but two pushup stations on the course. The drill instructors stand right over you yelling at you when you do pushups!

The Day of the Race

Arrive early. Traffic was backed up at several gates around the MCRD. Only one gate allows cars in without a military ID, so know your directions in advance. 

Wear long pants. I wore pants to my calves and pulled a few splinters out of the fabric of my tights after the race ended. The obstacle course will require you to make contact with wooden obstacles, so protect yourself from splinters.

Use all four pins for your race bib. I crawled under and slid over so many obstacles, I tore off one of the corners of my race bib before the finish line. Make sure your race bib is well secured.

Wear sunscreen and use the water stops on the course. Be smart about hydration and sun protection.

Have Fun. If you are in relatively good shape and can get yourself over an obstacle, you have a good chance of completing the course. I was a little scared to enter into the first set of obstacles, but I pictured my friend Michelle smiling at me (she’s a Marine) and ran headfirst into the adventure!

Be a badass at the end. I passed several men who were walking to the finish line after the final set of obstacles. Stay hydrated and preserve some energy for running the final mile.

For more information about the MCRD Boot Camp Challenge, visit

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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

What is the Best Way to Stop Skipping Workouts?

My running journal and gratitude journal

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 even
  • Wear 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 enable me to run the Carlsbad half marathon)?

The Pacific Standard article 'A Feeling of Control: How America Can Finally Learn to Deal With Its Impulses,' offers some insight into using emotions to do the hard work of keeping up with a punishing training schedule. Dr. David DeSteno writes that "there are two routes to self-control: cognitive strategies that depend on executive function, willpower, and the like; and emotional strategies that rely on the cultivation of specific feelings." Dr. DeSteno mentions gratitude and pride as two emotions or feelings that can spur and motivate self-control. 

How I use gratitude and pride to keep me on track with my running:

  • Gratitude - I keep a gratitude journal and try to think about what I am grateful for several times a week. Running and my health are two items on my list. According to the article, "The psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough have found that simply assigning research participants to keep gratitude diaries over several weeks enhanced the participants’ physical and mental well-being."
  • Pride - That's what the race medals and finishers certificates are for! I display my race hardware in my home in San Diego and smile every time I notice them on the wall. Dr. DeSteno states that "You feel pride when you believe you’ve succeeded in a way people will value. These ... emotions are the ones that have helped us build social relationships for millennia, by combating impulses to be self-centered or lazy through increasing the value we attach to long-term rewards."

Read Dr. DeSteno's article here:

How do you practice gratitude or pride? Tweet me at @kathleenlisson

Thursday, September 11, 2014

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:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cyclists : How to Prepare for a Century Ride

Cycling Tips for Training for a Century Ride:

Is endurance sports advice "universal?"

Cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge

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:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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 down, cutting a workout short, or dropping out of a race."

She had a positive experience with mental training, mentioning in the article that her "motivation skyrocketed. I trained better, did drills, more recovery runs, core work."

Read the article here:

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) for Lipedema in San Diego - Testimonial

Lynette is from just north of San Diego and has a lipedema diagnosis. It was a pleasure meeting Lynette and helping her to reduce swell...