Day 7: Planning for Success

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Who is racing this weekend? Who is going long and how long? Remember that “long” is relative and your weekend run should be a little longer than your weekday runs. Add 1-2 miles to make it your “long run” and unless your racing…it should be “long slow distance”!

I wanted to talk briefly about planning for race day. A lot of times our “plan” for race day is to finish upright. That’s a great plan…unless you’ve trained hard and have a specific time goal in mind… then you need a more focused plan to reach your goal.

A race plan should keep you focused on the right concepts at the right points in the race. Paces, place, and tactics should be a part of the process, but the core of a race plan should be a very short list of concepts, feelings, or mental states to focus on.

A good starting point is to think about focus words. For example: Relax, Smooth, Strong, Kick. Simple “focus words” like this direct your attention where it needs to be at the appropriate time during the race.

The Start – The key to avoid being overwhelmed in a race is to take things one step at a time and your focus should be solely on the task in front of you. Directly in front of you, meaning, at the beginning of a race you should only be thinking about the beginning of the race. Don’t stress over the later, harder points. So in a half marathon, you should first be thinking about the first 3 miles. The “relax” part. Go into a race too keyed up and worried about the end means you will probably go out too fast and burn out too quickly.

A race, when properly paced, will feel comfortable for about the first half of the distance. So the purpose of the first quarter, third, or half of your race plan should be to get you through this portion as efficiently as possible.

Fatigue starts to set in around halfway through your race. This is where you really want to focus on your plan. As you go into that “fatigue” stage, think “smooth”. Remembering your trigger words, you can maintain a high level of efficiency further into a fatigued state. Pain and suffering, though an inevitable and necessary part of running an excellent race, are also a matter of perspective. By choosing not to focus on the mounting fatigue, you can sustain an efficient running style (and conserve energy) for longer.

Grouping the entire race into first half/second half plus a kick doesn’t adequately address the difference in fatigue you feel in the late beginning or middle part of your race. It’s important to understand that your available energy and focus in the final portion of your race is strongly dependent on your mental and physical state leading up to it.  Running hard or aggressively in the first portion of the race will sap energy from the end of a race: both the “long drive” after halfway and the kick.  Hence the importance of emphasizing efficiency, relaxation, and conservation of energy and running momentum in the first half to two-thirds of the race.

As an exercise, let’s look at a list of potential focus words.

  • Relax
  • Cruise
  • Calm
  • Drive
  • Kick
  • Hard
  • Focus
  • Easy
  • Smooth
  • Loose (as in “stay loose”)
  • Efficient
  • Sprint
  • Rhythm
  • Power
  • Strong
  • Toes (as in “up on your toes” i.e. sprinting)

Each of these words bring a different feeling or mental attitude, and you can probably see how repeating one of them over and over in a race, like a mantra, would affect your attitude and mental outlook.  When you survey the range of feelings and attitudes evoked by these words, you can also understand how different focus words would be appropriate for different parts in a race. What words speak to you? Which ones can you incorporate into your race to keep you calm and strong?

The Kick – The kick at the end of the race deserves special attention, since it should always be part of your race plan.  A lot of runners only find themselves able to muster a kick when they have another runner trying to best them in the final stretch of a race.  Go ahead and accept that you will always, no matter the circumstances, sprint as fast as you can in the final few hundred meters of a race.

Follow the Plan – Do not obsess over your race plan or visual your race a dozen times over.  Sketch out your race plan the night before the race.  Look over it once before the race, perhaps right before you go warm up, to make sure you’ve got it right.  Then run the race once—in real life—and be done with it.  Regardless of whether the race goes well or poorly, learn something afterwards and then move on.

Know that making and executing a race plan is only one part of having a great race.  Even with a perfect race plan, you’re not going to have the best race of your life every time you lace up your racing shoes.  Your fitness, your health, the weather, how the race unfolds, and any number of other variables will affect your performance too.  A good race plan only enables you to showcase your fitness level—it’s not a magic mental trick to conjure up fitness or make up for a lack of training.

Pacing Plan – You have to be in a good mental state when you start your race, but you also need to have a pacing plan. Today we’re going to talk about the half marathon distance, but EVERY race from a 5K to a 10K, to a half and full marathon should be planned out according to pace.

The half marathon is raced below 10K pace, about 15 to 30 seconds slower per mile than 10K pace. On a scale of 1 to 10, the half marathon is raced around a 7. You probably know I believe that holding back at the start of a half marathon is a smart strategy; it’s very easy to go out too fast. So I’m going to talk about a “negative split” pacing plan.

When you’re planning your pacing strategy, calculate the average minute/mile “goal pace” for your race, then start up to 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than goal pace for up to the first 3 miles of the race. Gradually ease into goal pace for the next 7 miles or so. At mile 10, slowly increase to faster than goal pace for the final 3 miles of the race.

Fuel Plan – If not done properly, fueling and hydrating can have a negative impact on the outcome of a half marathon. Aim for 150 to 200 calories per hour. You’ll have to figure out in training the exact number of calories you need.

These calories can come through a combination of drink—water and/or sports drink—and food including gels, bars and chews. Trial and error during training will help nail down a hydration/nutrition strategy that works best. Once you know what works, stick to it on race day. Many athletes get so caught up in the excitement of the race they neglect their food and water intake.

Final note:  “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” The key to racing well is to be prepared both physically and mentally. Have a plan, and stick to it as best you can.

If you’re racing this weekend, I would love to see your plan! Write it down or type it up, then send me a copy by PM. Let’s chat about how to make the plan work for you so you can turn your “wish” into a reality on race day!

That was a lot…thanks for reading! I hope it sinks in with everyone…no matter what distance you are training for. Remember that every race, from a 5K to a marathon, to an ultra marathon, needs a race plan to be successful!

Now on to our Day 7 exercises. 🙂


Day 7 exercises: 2 sets of 10 – Arms & Core

****Click here for how to videos****

  • Lunge Stance + Single Arm Press
  • Kettle Ball / Dumbbell Swing
  • Plank Ups
  • Tricep Dips

Challenges:

  • Ab Challenge – 20 Crunches, 20 Dead Bugs, 20 Heel Touches
  • Jump Rope – 200
  • Burpees – 10

Bonus: #NoJunkFoodChallenge – As we lead into the weekend on Friday, it is important to think about our goals and where we want to be health and weight wise. A lot of us tend to falter on the weekends, so today we are going to kick off the weekend right with our #NoJunkFoodChallenge! Who’s in? 

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We have an exciting weekend coming up with lots of racing, long runs and fun time with family. Every weekend, you should have a goal. Whether it’s a small stepping stone goal, like a long run, or a big race goal…plan now how you will make it happen because without a plan…your goal is just a wish!

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Day 10: Dear Abs

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Love our Friday ab work! You might not be able to see them yet….but they are brewing! Work hard today and feel the burn!

Day 10 exercises: 3 sets of 10

****Click here for how to videos****

  • Runners Crunch
  • Heel Touches
  • Bridge Pullover
  • Side Planks – :30 each side
  • Wall Sit – :60

Challenges:

  • Superman – :50
  • Push Ups – 30
  • #MadManMartin Plank Challenge – One more :60 Plank

Bonus: Add a little extra burn today with a few rounds of Daily Abs Crew! A few means 3! 🙂

Daily Abs

Food Challenge: What is ab day without a No Junk Food Challenge? Don’t waste all that hard work by eating crap! This is usually a 21 Day Challenge but we like to take things one day at a time. No Junk Food…just for today Crew! You got this!

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Love your abs today! That’s right Crew…you thought you were done but you have time for one more round of #DailyAbs. Give it a little extra and love your abs…AGAIN!

Happy Friday Crew! 🙂

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Day 1: Work For What You Want!

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We can wish all day but if we don’t put in the work we will never get the results!

A lot of our workouts this month will include compound exercises. This will allow us to work more areas in a shorter amount of time. There’s tons of info out there about whether we should do isolated or compound exercises. Each has it’s positive effects. So we will be doing both!

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday will be hip and butt focused. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be dedicated to compound moves that will focus on different areas of the body, give us a well rounded strength routine, and help us reach our fitness goals.

So what is a compound movement?

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Today’s workout is a video consisting of full body compound movement exercises from Ms. Jackie Fitness. The video is 5 minutes long and we will do it 3 times. Total of 15 minutes plus a :60 plank to finish it off.

As we go throughout the month, please let me know what videos you like, and ones that you don’t care for. I may repeat some that are good! Remember…this is YOUR group and the more feedback I get from you the better it will be!


Food Challenge: Kicking off Day 1 with a “No Junk Food” Challenge. We have lots of yummy, fattening foods coming our way so let’s take the time now to get ready for it!

We aren’t going overboard here….this challenge usually calls for 21 days, but we are taking it one day at a time. Can you commit to no junk food today? That means no candy, no sweets, no fast food, no white bread, no cookies, no pastries, NO SODA! No soda will be the hardest part for me since I don’t drink coffee and my morning diet soda is the only caffeine I get…but I am committing to one day of no soda. What is the hardest part for you?

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Speed Work: If you haven’t done your speed work, what are you waiting for? This week’s workout is a structured Fartlek run. Check it out and get it done!

Workout: Gear Shifter

How to Do It: In this workout, alternate between your easy, medium, and fast paces. Warm up with three to five minutes of walking. Then ramp up to your easy pace (see below) and hold it for two to three minutes. Then shift into your medium pace and sustain it for one minute. Then shift into the fast pace for 30 seconds. Repeat the cycle two or three times. Walk for five minutes to cool down.

Use this guide to find each gear:

Easy: Conversational pace; a pace where you could chat with a friend running alongside you. This is a rhythm that feels like you could maintain it all day long if you had to.

Medium: This should be faster than your easy pace, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re speeding. You would prefer not to hold a full conversation, but if someone asked you a question, you could answer in two- or three-word sentences.

Fast: Quicker than your medium pace. In this gear you should be able to say one or two words but, if someone asked you a question, it would make you mad because you wouldn’t want to expend the energy to answer them. Don’t sprint all-out or push to the point of pain, or where you feel you’re going to pull something. You should feel like “I’m okay, I just don’t want to do this for very long.”


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Virtual Race: Want to sign up for the January She Power Virtual race? Here’s the link! Once you sign up please join our virtual race event page so we can try and plan a day when we can all run together in spirit!

If you can’t do this one or just don’t want to spend the money that is OK! This is just a fun way for us to run together and another way to motivate us to run a little more. 🙂

Day 1 exercises: Follow video below (3 times) and finish it off with a :60 plank

What you will need: If you don’t have this equipment substitute and make it work! Your dumbbells should work just fine in place of the medicine ball and kettle bells.

  • Kettle bell or dumbbell
  • Jump rope (or just pretend you’re using a jump rope and simulate the exercise
  • Medicine Ball – Or you can use your dumbbell for this too

Hope you love it but if you don’t…speak up! But don’t just skip it. Go through the video three times, get that heart rate up, feel the full body burn!


It’s Day 1 Crew! Our workouts don’t take long but each small effort gets you closer to your goals and sets you up for a successful month. 15 minutes is all it takes.

You have to work for what you want so get moving and let’s start the month strong!

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