I posted early this month about my new adventure with TeamNutribullet, training with 70+ runners for the 2014 LA Marathon. Only 4 weeks later and this amazing group is already 1/3 of the way through our training! Starting off the first Saturday at Joes Gym in West LA, the team completed an indoctrination process which included a medical screening, mini form clinic and a short session with a strength coach before moving forward with our 6 mile run. Our run locations have rotated between the West Side (running on San Vincente) and the Valley (climbing Dixie Canyon); they have become longer each Saturday extending as far as 10 miles so far!
Team NutriBullet has, at our disposal some very knowledgeable coaches who have shared with us their instruction, tips, advice, and best practices in order to make us the best we can be, and be the best equipped to conquer the LA Marathon. This includes:
- Running Coach John LaPointe whose ABC’s of running have become extremely popular, and effective with the group! He leads the Saturday group runs, and the Monday recovery runs.
- Strength and Conditioning Coach/Trainer Monique Richardson who is whipping us into shape and ensuring we develop the core strength that will carry us through our training and the 26.2 mile LA Marthon! Having Joes Gym at our disposal doesn’t hurt either!
- Dietitian / Nutrition Coach Sarah Lefkowitz who has been tending to all of our nutrition needs and questions. No matter how good a vehicle is, it won’t take you very far without fuel! Proper nutrition is the fuel that carries runners through a long training program and through a Marathon. Having a NutriBullet to make daily NutriBlasts have been a huge benefit to all of the runners on Team NutriBullet and Sarah has been fantastic about giving instruction and answering all of our questions!
In addition to being lucky enough to run with Team NutriBullet, I was also selected to be a pace group leader! This is an honor for me and something I don’t take lightly. Thus far I have paced both 9 minute and 8 minute pace groups. I try to keep the group on target pace, share some advice, re-iterate proper form, keep everyone motivated, etc. There are lots of runners with different goals and its a pleasure and honor for me to help in any way I can!
While this will be my 7th Marathon over all, and 3rd LA Marathon, I have learned a lot so far through these weeks of training. Things that are making me a better runner, for sure! Here are the things I’ve learned so far!
- The importance of slowing it down on long runs – Anyone who trained with us on Saturday may roll their eyes at this comment as they watched my pace group FLY down the hill coming back down on Dixie Cyn from Mulholland (I gave the group some liberty after a tough climb!). However I have begun to harp on the importance of reeling it in, both uphill and downhills, these are areas that will absolutely KILL your legs during a race so why not train as such? Aside from hills though, it’s good practice to run at a slower pace during your long runs.This serves a few different purposes. First, it establishes a clear change of pace from your tempo runs, making the speedier runs more effective. Second, it allows you to use the run for what it’s intended for, to build endurance! Third, it saves your legs for your training during the rest of the week. Finally, it allows you to stay with others in your group and actually have a conversation, which leads me to…
- I miss running with others – a lot! – I do most of my training runs on my own during the week. Occasionally someone will reach out to me and ask me to run, and I’ll usually join them. However at this point I can’t COMMIT to group runs during the week. While running on my own allows me to focus on the workouts that I want to do, it can also get a bit lonely. I committed to the Saturday runs and I’m glad I did!The energy I get from all of the other runners is absolutely wonderful! I learn so much and continue to be inspired! Being a part of something bigger, a united effort, just makes me want to give my best, and so I do! Now more than ever, I’m convinced that Runners are just the nicest people! No matter what pace group I may run with this is just an amazing benefit to me and I’m sure it is to others!
- The importance of proper nutrition! – I have a confession to make, I have not had the best nutrition as a runner. As a runner I always thought one of the benefits was being able to take liberties with my diet! “Well, I just ran 10 miles today so I’m going to eat whatever I want!” right?… wrong!!! While I would say that its okay to treat yourself and indulge now and then, unhealthy eating is not a pattern that is beneficial for optimal running performance! Proper diet and nutrition, however can go a LONG way in providing useful energy and simply making a runner feel better! I can say that using the NutriBullet every morning has absolutely provided me energy for my morning runs and then some!Still, I’m not completely there yet. I am motivated to making a change in my overall diet! I have already started making healthier choices, but I will have some work to do! Coming into the training I was taking supplements to help with a Vitamin D deficiency, and my Total Cholesterol (TC) count was borderline high. I am expecting that by the end of this training program those will be 2 non issues!
- Commitment and discipline is key to success! – Like most runners out there, I have personal goals. I have reached some, and have missed others. In 2010 I ran the Philadelphia Marathon (3:12) and came within 2 minutes of my main goal – qualify for the Boston Marathon. After that race I wasn’t disappointed – nope, not at all (after all I had just ran a huge PR that race)! Rather I was determined to qualify for Boston on my next race. I convinced myself that I still had the fitness, and as long as I ran regularly and followed some sort of training program, I would get even better.My next training “program” was full of holes. It was patch work, and not consistent! I didn’t care that Pasadena was a tougher course with more hills than Philadelphia, and less than ideal weather. I didn’t consider that, while I never struggled during the Philadelphia Marathon, there were other factors that helped. Nope! I ran the 2011 Pasadena Marathon under prepared, but with a false sense of confidence that would be my downfall. My time (3:21) was respectable, but it wasn’t what I wanted, or expected, so I became a bit angry, depressed, and unmotivated. My training got better but still no where near consistent. I ran the Ventura Marathon in September, aiming for a tougher BQ (3:05) and again falling short (3:16). I ran the early miles way too fast, throwing strategy out of the window!For the LA Marathon, I am taking all of those lessons, applying best practices and introducing all of the things I’ve learned with Team Nutribullet. My mileage is up, I’m training smarter and I’m incorporating speed work and different types of training runs to mix it up. Most of all, I am committed to this training program and am applying discipline in following through with it! An important element for me in striving for success is that I am Singular Focused. I have decided that during my LA Marathon training program I am not going to worry about any other races, or events, its all about doing what needs to be done to make sure that the LA Marathon is a success and I am able to reach my goal! Thankfully I have a fantastic group in Team NutriBullet that is supporting me and the rest of the runners in this great journey!
I am so excited to be on this journey! Every runner has goals that they are striving to reach, and I’m hoping that I will achieve mine through my training with Team NutriBullet. More important than that, is learning lessons that will carry with me throughout my life, and throughout my running endeavors! I would be blessed to continue to run for many years. I read stories about Masters runners who are accomplishing amazing feats! You don’t get to that point if you don’t run smart and take care of yourself! So my MAIN goal for 2014 and beyond, is to sew the seeds of lifelong running!
Happy New Year!