Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some Extra Advice

Listen to the below audio piece to gain some extra running advice from a veteran runner.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Perfect Guide for First Time Marathoners

Time to Run a Marathon

With marathon season at its prime, I know that several of you are either considering signing up to run a marathon or maybe just a half marathon, or maybe you have already signed up. Whatever the case may be I thought it would be beneficial for all of you to have a how to guide to train yourself to run a whopping 26.2 miles. I know that sounds like a lot, and you may not think you are ready but this guide could be used at anytime in your life when you know you have time to take on training for such an event. Training is very important! If you don’t have time this year, then plan on signing up for a marathon in the future. No matter what, I encourage you to all at least give one marathon a shot. I know I will definitely complete one before my running years are over.

Here are a few links to the Pittsburgh and Cleveland Marathons happening in May. I plan on running the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon and I hear it is a great course! Hope to see you all there.

Pittsburgh Marathon
Date: May 6, 2012

Cleveland Marathon
Date: May 20, 2012

If you aren’t close to either of these, here is a guide to global and national marathons.

The Guide

Since this blog is for beginners, I decided it was best for us to focus on endurance. You will never win a marathon if this is your first one. Unless you are super human, the only factor you should be focusing on is being able to withstand running for 26.2 miles. Here let’s do the math, if you run at a 9-minute mile pace then you will be running close to four hours straight when you run a marathon! The pressure your body is under to run for that long means that training is a MUST! Below are videos and links to step-by-step guides on how to prepare yourself for a marathon.

Physical Training From The Professional

To help me make the perfect guide for a beginning runner, I contacted Landon Bloomer, an exercise physiologist at the YMCA in downtown Pittsburgh. Bloomer gave excellent tips on what the basics are to train your body physically.

In the video, Bloomer focuses on the five basic strength-training exercises to help someone who has never run a marathon. Bloomer stressed that it is important to build up the muscles, so a runner can endure longer mileage. Core, leg, and arm exercises are important to focus on.

Following strength training comes balance. In order to work on that form, focusing on stability is key. Bloomer stressed working out on a bosu ball and a stability ball to create the perfect balance.

Overall, what a beginning runner needs to know is not to over do it. If you cannot lift a certain amount, work your way up until you get to that point. The same goes for running long. It is important to also note that running every day will not prepare you for a marathon. Strength training, as well as running, eating right and stretching are also very important.

Guidance from Other Runners

In order to format the perfect guide, I also discussed running a marathon with Elaine Koontz and Carleigh Dettore who are both training for a marathon. The clip below gives insight from the runners who know how to train their bodies as well as their minds for a marathon.

Staying Healthy Or Else

 I also spoke with Leslie Bonci, the director of sports nutrition for UPMC. In her audio clip, she focuses on what foods a distance runner should eat on a daily basis. Runners, of course, need tons of energy to get through a 26.2-mile marathon. That energy can come from a variety of foods, not just carbohydrates but also fats, grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins.

Bonci also expressed how important it is to stay hydrated as a runner. Adult women should drink 11 glasses of water a day and adult men should drink 15 glasses. In addition to this, all runners must drink another 20 ounces of water before they run and they need to stay hydrated during a run and they also need to replace the fluids they lost after the run. Bonci explains an in depth diet of a runner in the Q&A audio clip below.

Don't forget about the SHOES

Drew McCabe, who works for Elite Runners and Walkers, a running shoe store in Pittsburgh gave some helpful advice in the below clip for those first running a marathon.

Extra Advice 

Now that we have the physical idea of how to run a marathon, let’s layout it out on paper:

Here is a link to a basic week-by-week training of how to prepare for a marathon:

What is important to note about this guide, is it comes into play after the strength training is complete. Once your muscles are built up enough, your balance is perfect and your mind is in the right place it is time to really start cranking in the miles. Throughout this time, be sure to keep up on a healthy diet, and mind.

Good Luck!

Like I have said a million times before, running is all-mental. Once you have put in enough time to get in the physical stance you need to be in to run a marathon, then you need to focus on training your mind for the marathon. Remind yourself every day why you are running the marathon and how great you will feel once you have proven to yourself that you could finish it. Running makes you feel alive, and once you cross the finish line you will feel invincible.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tips from a Frequent Runner

I was able to speak with Keri Rouse, a sophomore Point Park University Cross Country runner. She gave me some great running tips to share with beginning runners. Enjoy the video!

Smile While You Run

Another friendly running tip: ALWAYS smile when you run! Seriously, it will make you forget about the pain you are in, at least a little bit. The only way to really beat the "voice" is to stay positive.

Here are a few steps to remember when you run:

1. Shoulders back....
2. Head up.....
3. Arms low....
4. Back straight....
5. Smile on your face....

Follow all these steps and I promise you will enhance your running skills.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Controlling the Voice

Today I finally had time to run outside for more than two miles. I did three and a half, but let me tell you it was difficult. Halfway through and I kept saying to myself, "You cannot finish this." I'm not sure why, but I always seem to have this inner voice telling me I am not good enough to get the job done. Whatever the reason is for the negative voice, I know I am not the only runner who deals with this.

It truly is a struggle to keep running when you already cannot breathe because the air is frigid, your muscles are screaming, and you have this stupid voice telling you that you cannot finish. I don't care how hard it is to shut that voice up, YOU HAVE TO! If you don't then you really will not finish.

Here's what I do to 'control' that voice: first you turn your music all the way up, lift your head up, and tell yourself you can finish this run. Usually once I pick my head up, I can run faster and stronger. Once again, your form comes into play here. If you slouch when you run, most likely you will just keep thinking about how much this run sucks. Stay positive, keep good form, and tell yourself it is all worth it at the end when you feel 100% better, healthier, and more alive.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I. Must. Go. Running.

I know, I know. It is so hard to keep up with your schedule and than add running to the mix. Believe me, been there done that! I also know how bad running in the cold sucks! Like my previous post said, I really need to go shopping for appropriate winter running clothes. Lately, I have been having difficulty running in this weather we are having. No matter what, I try my best to run at least three times a week outside. Preparing for the colder weather now will boost my ability to run when it get's to be freezing outside.

The basic reason why I run even when it is freezing outside is so I can be ahead of the game when spring roles around. Next May, I plan on running the Pittsburgh Marathon. That is 26.2 miles. The only way I will ever be able to do that is if I start training now. So, I must go running. Even if I wasn't training for a marathon, I would still run. Taking long periods of time off from running in the winter will just make it harder for you to start up again. That being said, I hope you will stay keep running even when it's frigid outside. I'm not saying to run for hours in the freezing cold, but at least three miles, three times a week. If necessary there is always the treadmill. Personally, I would rather take on the cold air than a treadmill. I don't feel like I get a good run on any machine, but that is just me. Don't kill yourself, but just remember how hard it was to run when you first started and that is what will happen if you ditch all efforts now.

Believe me the bitter taste of the frigid air and the burning that runs through your chest as you take each breath in is all worth it once you can breeze through an 8 mile run.

Here's some more winter clothes for running:
Note: It is better to sweat than be sorry.--A frequent runner.

1. Fleece Jacket!
C9 Champion Women's Fleece Athletic Jacket
2: Ear muffs are a must!

DEGREE black ear muffs
Price: $14.99

3. Under Armour!
Women's longsleeve Coldgear
Price: $49.99
I know it's expensive, but it's necessary.

Fact: Running in the cold sucks!

Yesterday I decided it was a good day to go for a run. It was only 50 degrees at the time when I decided to go, but I thought it would be good preparation for what's to come when I run during the winter months.

I made sure to wear a long sleeve shirt, but I had no choice to wear shorts. Silly me forgot to wash my running pants! I realize now that sooner or later I need to spend some money on new running pants. I figured that you may also need to grab some gear for the winter. Below are some nice pants to have in the late fall through winter. There are a variation of prices for those who are looking to save more than spend. Enjoy!

Thermopolis LT Tight Asics

Fitted for performance and comfort, there’s a nice soft brushed feel to these tights. Designed to keep you cozy.

Xersion™ Athletic Pants, Performance Legging
Athletic pants are the perfect combination of form and function. These fantastic performance ankle leggings look sharp and feature reflective accents for safety after dark.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Running to feel better

There is truly nothing better than running in the fall. The sound of the leaves crunching underneath my running shoes makes me feel at ease in that moment. My favorite season is fall, so naturally I enjoy being out and about and especially running. Even though midterms start next week and I have a million things on my list to do, I cannot pass up a chance to run on a beautiful fall day. Running takes me away from all the stress I'm under and gives me something to look forward to after spending hours doing school work. Some people would say I am crazy for using running as my break from life, but I honestly feel much better about everything when I can go for a run at the end of the day.

I wish more people would consider adding exercise into their life as a form of relaxation and stress relief. To me running is killing two birds with one stone: 1. I can relax and just enjoy the moment and 2. I get a good work out. If everyone thought like this then we would all be a little less stressed and better prepared to conquer whatever obstacle comes our way. Because at the end of the day when I can take 20 or 30 minutes out of my day to run, I am less stressed about the work I have to do so I get it done faster. Do yourself a favor, shut up and run! I promise you will not regret it.

Here's a weekly running workout I put together myself for beginners:

Sunday: Run 3 to 4 miles easy

Monday: Run 3 to 4 miles easy

Tuesday: Cross-train: run stairs, yoga, zumba, etc.

Wednesday:OFF day!!

Thursday:2 to 3 miles easy

Friday: Kick it up a notch! Try 5 miles at a faster pace

Saturday: OFF day, but if you're up for it try more cross-training

I try my best to run as much as possible, but I know life does get in the way sometimes. I try to think of running like another task I have to complete before the day is over, that seems to help me stay on track and feel less stressed!

Enjoy the below slide show of my day of running:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Time to Get Some Shoes

Let's be honest, when it comes to shoes you really need the best. I have and, probably always will, rely on the wonderful brand of Asics. I've gone through two pairs of these comfort driven shoes and I probably have more miles on them than I do my car, but my car is in worse shape. What I like most about the shoes is simply the comfort they provide when I am running long distances.  Having athletic socks is another must when it comes to running. If I don't have the climate control running socks I will usually end up with nasty blisters. Making sure both your socks and shoes are breathable, provide moisture control and ultra comfort. I know everyone is different and some runners have higher arches or completely flat feet, no worries, there are shoes out there for you too! Below is a pair of Asics that I would love to call myself the owner of.


Photo Courtesy of
Personally, I think these shoes are a perfect fit for everyone. They have enough gel to provide the most comfort possible and the laces tie along the side, so the tongue of the shoe doesn't move around and cause discomfort when running. Most importantly, they have a sockliner, which provides ultra protection against blistering. They may be priced at $140.00, but I know you are getting your money's worth if you decide to buy these shoes. The shoe is designed for high quality running performances. The flexible lining gives the runner the best gait achievable, which will enhance the running experience.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Race

Yesterday, I had a grand time running The Great Race through the beautiful city of Pittsburgh. There were over 14,000 runners at the venue, 5000 of them running the 5k and the rest the 10k.

I was up by 6:15 a.m. to prepare myself for the start of the 5k at 8:00 a.m. I made sure the night before to go to bed as early as possible, so I could rest my muscles. I've always learned the earlier you go to bed, the better you feel the morning of a race. Also, take it from someone who decided to eat Italian food the night before running a half marathon, do not eat anything that you know could be difficult on your stomach the night before your race. If I do eat in the morning, it is usually something small like a granola bar or piece of fruit. I'm one of those runners who has to wait a couple of hours to digest before running, but I know some that can eat dinner and then run three miles easily. I don't like feeling nauseous when I run, so I usually won't even drink much water before I head out. Just know your body. Overtime you'll see what you can handle and what you can't handle.

After some much needed stretch time, I hurried up and got dressed, tied my Aasics extra tight, but not too tight, and headed to the shuttle that brought me to the start line. We arrived in Oakland around 7:30 and I immediately began to prepare myself for the run. In the past two years of running, I've learned that it is very important to warm up before a race, especially if it is cold outside. Since it was the morning, dew was still on the ground and the air was still cool. I knew I had to get my body temperature up, so my muscles would loosen up and not spasm during the race. As I looked around at the certified athletes, children, grandmas, grandpas, and families at the start line, I knew this was going to be one interesting race. One of the reasons why I love running so much is because anyone could grab a pair of running shoes and just go. There are no exclusions in running. Likewise, there are no exclusions for the reasons why a person runs. When I jumped off the bus to see a sea of runners of all stages and ages, the excitement in me rose and I was ready to run.

Before the gun went off, I had to do some much needed warm ups. I ran around the block a few times and did some jumping jacks. I also made sure to stretch out before I jumped behind the start line. The anticipation of waiting for the gun to actually go off is almost unbearable. I just clear my thoughts, say a prayer and focus. I wanted to beat my time from last year more than anything in the world. I had a goal with this race and I was going to give it my all to complete. Once the gun goes off and the runners slowly move through to the start line, the pressure of completing my goal can sometimes be hard to handle. It hits you like a pile of bricks once you realize you are actually running the race you have trained for, for months. I try my best to stay focused and listen to the pit pat of the runners shoes around me.

The best part of this race hands down is the volunteers. The people who cheer, the band that plays and of course those who pass out water are what keeps me going. It can be difficult to stay focused at times, but with people all around you cheering you on and being surrounded by people who all have a love for running gives you the feeling of pure excitement. In that moment I want to prove to everyone that I am a runner, even if I'm not the fastest I can still hold my own in a race.

Around mile two, I started to feel the burn like never before, but I needed to book it. I realized then that I shouldn't have started so far back at the start line. Doing so, definitely made my pace slower than usual. I kept on going as fast as I possibly could and tried to divert my attention to something else besides the pain I was in. Half way to the finish line and I took it up a notch. I knew I had to finish strong and I know I did. Even though I didn't complete my goal of beating my time from last year, I am still proud of myself. I did not have the time to train as much as I wanted to and I know I always have next year to improve. This year I clocked in at 30:27 and next year I will clock in at 28:00. I better start training now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Facebook and Twitter Pages

Facebook Page 

 I created this Facebook page to reach out more to new runners. If you like my blog, please like my Facebook page. I will upload every post I do on my blog to my page, so please like the page to learn more about my running experiences and to hear my running advice. Thanks for the support!

Twitter Page

I also created a Twitter page to help broadcast my blog more. Please follow me on twitter to read about my blog posts. Once again, thanks for the support!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beginner's Blog

For Beginners Only Blog

Here's a link to a running blog from the Runner's World website.  It's very informative and has beneficial advice for runners. Below is my review of one of the posts.

The blog for beginners only is extremely helpful in understanding where to begin if you are a first time runner. The blogger comments about how important it is to have a goal with running. When I first began running, my goal was to get in shape. Before I knew it my goal became to run just to become an overall healthier person. I also enjoy the challenge of running. I compete with myself to see how fast or how far  I can really go.  Now that I run races, running does more than just help me stay in shape, it helps me to release any aggression or stress I have bottled up inside.

In this particular post, the blogger also discusses training plans. I can’t stress enough how vital it is to have a running plan if you want to become serious about running. If I don’t schedule in when I am going to run each day of the week, then I will never run when I’m supposed to. It is very easy to get side tracked and think of all important task you have to complete before the day is, but I always tell myself that my health comes before anything else.

Running plans are even more important when you are getting prepared for a race. This is when cross-training needs to become a part of your schedule. Simply put, cross-training is just a mixture of whatever workouts you like. For example, I love to run stairs and striders. Stairs help me to build muscle and  pick my legs up when I’m running, which helps to faster and endure more miles. Striders help me to work on my form. Like I said before, form is very important and striders will help you to find your form.

What I like most about this blog is what the blogger mentions about running every day of the week. Some people think you should run every day, but coming from someone who used to run every day, it’s really not a good idea. Like the blogger says, you have to give your body a break. You need “recovery time” or else your body can have a break down. Even just one day of rest was good enough for my body to recuperate.

Just like the blogger says in this post, your running plan needs to be what works for you.  I used to follow a running plan with my running partner, Miranda, but then I realized her running skills were way too advanced for me to follow the same plan. I would do some workouts with her, but I would make sure I did it at my own pace. In addition, as you continue to run and build more miles and become more advanced in cross-training then your goals with running will change, which means your running plan needs to change. I change my running plan up every month at least. I get extremely bored with running the same routes, so I will sometimes try new runs/workouts. Doing this helps me to grow as a runner.

This blog was written by a writer for Runner’s World, so I know its suggestions have merit to them. Taking advice about running if you are new runner is what will help you the most to get started. As always don’t forget to just shut up and run!

Here's my comment on the blog:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Perfect Form According to Runner's World

Runner's World has always been my go to guide for running. It has given me the best tips on running, which has without a doubt made me the runner I am today. The link below has seven great tips on running form. Like I said before, form is the most important aspect of running. Running takes a lot of energy out of you, and bad form will do nothing but take that energy away; therefore, you will not be able to run as fast and as long as you will like. When I first began running, I ran with my head down, my shoulders up and tense, my arms swinging into my chest and my feet dragging along the pavement. After reading the link below I'm sure you will understand why my form was so bad and why I was always in severe pain after I ran. Form does take time. I still haven't mastered mine, but I know I need to. I think the time to do so is right now. Shut up and run!

Tips for running form

Form means everything

Watch this video to learn good form.

The Great Race

Photos Courtesy of Google Images

One week from this Sunday, I will be participating in The Richard S. Caliguiri Great Race held in Pittsburgh. I ran the race last year and I fell in love with the course, which you can see above. The 5k track was not as difficult as I expected since it was mostly downhill, but the race is fun and fast paced just like the city it is held in. The freeway makes up a majority of this course, which can be challenging to run on since it is nothing but concrete. However, the sound of 'pit pat' coming from the runners shoes around me made it easier to stay focused on finishing the race. I highly suggest this course for new runners. It isn't too difficult,  yet it gives you a taste of running races. Unfortunately, registration is already closed since every running spot has been taken, but it is definitely a fun event to attend! My goal is to run the 5k at 28:00, which will beat my time last year of 29:30. Wish me luck because it is going to be a difficult week of training. I will without a doubt be telling myself to shut up and run.

Feeling Alive...

When I began running just two years ago, I never thought I would be where I am today. I would 'run' maybe two miles before I decided I needed to stop. In reality, I wasn't really running. I would run and then stop and then start back up again. Needless to say, my muscles were highly confused and, as a result, I was always in severe pain. 

Before I began running, my lifestyle wasn't the epitome of health. I was too busy with school and work to have enough strength for exercise. However, I knew I wanted to get in better shape before I began college. Slowly, I began to implement exercise into my life and trust me, it was awful. During the first few weeks I wanted to give up more than ever, but I knew I had to keep on. I had quit all other sports in high school because they were too aggressive for me, but with running the only person I was competing against was myself. And I just had to win the fight against the part of me that wanted to throw in the towel. 

Just one month into running, I became officially addicted. Even though I would barely be able to feel my knees, blisters had developed on my feet and my neck was throbbing, I could not stop. Running gave me a reason to wake up early every morning, and I'll admit I sort of enjoyed the pain I felt after each long run. Despite the pain running gave me, it made me feel healthier, cleaner and more alive. 

By fall of freshman year, I began running with a friend from high school who was an avid runner and who used to be just like me. The first day we ran she took me on a seven mile route. That was by far the worst running experience I have ever had. I couldn't even go three miles without stopping, but I tried my best to keep up with her 8:00 mile pace. I some how finished the run three hours later and I knew it was time for a change. 

My friend trained me to have better form, so I could run longer and faster. The pain I felt when I first began running was a result of my lack of good form. Form is the most important aspect of running. If a runner wants to be able to endure more miles and run them faster, fixing his or her's form is the first place to start. 

Miranda, my running partner, told me if I fixed my form I would be able to run forever. By the end of my first semester of college I could run 5 miles without stopping, and if wasn't the winter months I knew I could have gone longer. Before I knew it I was signing up for a half marathon and adding on more and more miles as the weeks went on and spring began.

My goal with this blog is to provide advice for those who are considering to add running to their schedule.  Running is easy to become addicted to, but first starting is a difficult task to conquer. I know this because I have been there. I have had the sore muscles, joints, blisters, moments of dehydration and even bouts of dry heaving. I know what it's like to run in 90 degree weather and 20 degree weather. I have had great runs and several frustrating runs, where I just wanted to stop. But I could never stop. What kept me going? Feeling alive. Each time my mind says, "Stop Kalea, this hurts," I say to myself shut up and run and I keep on moving.