Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How Much Water Should Runners Drink Every Day?

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

by Kathleen Lisson

how much water should I drink every day?
How Much Water Should I Drink on a Long Run?

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:

Monday, November 24, 2014

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 sure you’ll even make it up this mountain, the voice inside my head promised. How can you keep this pace up? Your water is frozen, your guts are liquid and your stomach stopped digesting hours ago. Screw your goals, just stop now and rest. I focused on breathing slow and steady.  One foot in front of the other. Keep up with Kapange.

A half hour down the trail later, the group took another break. While the 20-somethings chatted and enjoyed energy bars around me, I lied on my back with my eyes closed and tried to slow my breathing. When Kapange told the group in a quiet voice to start hiking again, I knew it was time to pull out the iPod. My last weapon against the night, the exhausted voice inside my head and the steady thumping of my heartbeat in my ears.

Moments later, the music blared into my brain. These were the songs that I loved, that I had sang out loud in my car on my way to work, barrelling down the highway a continent away. I relaxed into the pace and let the lyrics replace my doubting inner voice. The endless night was still there, but I was powerful, I was smiling, I was once again the wise-ass redhead that cracked jokes and believed she could run half marathons and climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

When the dawn broke, I saw the most beautiful sunrise in my life over Kenya. It was still hours to Uhuru Peak, but I knew I would be present at the top.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

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 and sitting down on your couch in your icy cold air-conditioned living room after a tough outdoor workout?

Here's the bad news: switching straight from vigorous exercise to sitting or lying down may result in post-workout stiffness later on in the day. With busy runners trying to maximize every moment of every workout, a cool down may get squeezed out of their schedule. Repeated episodes of stiffness may reduce motivation and enjoyment of exercise in new and even seasoned athletes, and motivation is so important for those just starting to work out.

Yeah, Yeah, Cool Down - I’ve read that one in every Fitness Article ever written.

True, it is a fundamental and a no-brainer, but how many athletes have you seen finish a blistering set of repetitions or a long run, grab their water bottle and stand around drinking it for a minute before heading to their cars?

What is a quick, easy cool down?

I build a cool down into my runs by using Gmaps Pedometer to start and end my runs a few blocks from my house, not my front yard. I still run the distances on my half marathon training plan, and I stop post-workout stiffness naturally by letting my body cool down after my run.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

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.
  • Feeling agitated and struggling with my relationships.

I have also read that taking one’s pulse right after waking up and recording the results will allow an athlete to catch overtraining before it leads to injury. Recording daily results in one’s training journal and looking at the average heart rate at the end of the week is the best method for examining potential parasympathetic hyperactivity, according to the Evidence of Parasympathetic Hyperactivity in Functionally Overreached Athletes study, found here:
Some athletes just opt to only take a rest day and end up on the couch eating a bowl of ice cream when they encounter these symptoms. Even worse, some just pop a few pain pills and try to run through their symptoms.

I like to go the extra mile and get a massage to completely relax my muscles and focus on drinking water and eating clean so I can come back at 100% on my next week of training.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why Do You Run?

San Diego Runners Share Why They Run

San Diego Track Club water stop

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 Track Club it would happen. Her friend was right - my new running friend has run marathons and half marathons for the past seven years.
  • Dave ran his first marathon at 56 and went on to coach running and run in several charity races for Arthritis research. A prolific marathoner, Dave struggled through his first race but lost over 50 lbs. and became a powerful runner. 

I can't wait to volunteer for the San Diego Track Club runners again! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tips to Combat Running Boredom

I'm Bored With Running - Help!

So Many Gels, So Many Miles to Run

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 backseat games - Remember long car drives as a kid? Use the same techniques your do with your family to beat boredom on a run. Can you find something starting with every letter of the alphabet on your next run? How many different types of trees do you pass? How many different birds do you hear?

Run in the morning / evening - If you have a flexible schedule, try switching your usual evening run with a morning workout or vice versa.

Brainstorm - Some of my most creative ideas have come to me while running. Use your next run to brainstorm about a problem or challenge you are facing. Having the luxury of time to think about all angles of the issue may enable you to find an innovative solution.

Training for a half marathon is a big challenge. Don’t let boredom sideline you from achieving your dreams. I hope that trying one or more of these five simple tips helps you put the excitement back into your running schedule.

The Joy of Running Five Kilometers

Why Should I Run a 5K Race?

by Kathleen Lisson

The running sticker on your car has to be better than 0.0!

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" before passing) so the girls would know how to run in a public place when they were old enough to go out on their own. 
  • We have one really determined girl - she was incredulous at first but applied herself and RAN the ENTIRE three miles. 
  • We have one really friendly girl - she ran with the two younger girls as a group and planned out a run/walk program that enabled the group to finish the whole three miles as a team. 
  • We have two younger girls - they are so sweet and full of life. I am really impressed that they kept on participating and met our challenge with a smile.

After the runners had finished and cheered one another at our 'finish line,' we did a cool down and enjoyed water and a snack. I definately saw the endorphins flowing in our young ladies - smiles all around and we even ran a 'victory lap' after we had a chance to rest. Those two giggly minutes of running swiftly in the gathering evening were so special to me. 

Bobbi Gibb and Kathrine Switzer first ran the Boston Marathon in 1960's. I first started running in the 1990's.

I am so grateful for the chance to pass on my love of running to a new generation of girls. 

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