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					   Training Handbook

          Georgia Chapter
2250 North Druid Hills Road, Suite 250
         Atlanta, GA 30329
          501(c)3 Tax ID   13-6193105

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                      Half Marathon Training Program

Week 1: Introduction to Team Challenge
Your coach will conduct a basic workout to assess your fitness and endurance level.

Week 2: Shoes and Clothing

Walking Shoes vs. Running Shoes

For the most part, half marathon runners and walkers can wear the same shoes for both
training and on race day. Most beginning runners and walkers will wear a running
―trainer‖ all the time, while faster runners and competitive racewalkers may opt for
a running ―racing flat‖ for speed work and on race day.

Ironically, walkers should steer clear of ―walking shoes.‖ Most shoes labeled ―walking
shoes‖ are designed for casual walking and can cause nasty blisters if used for longer
or faster walking. Fitness walkers usually look to a running shoe to find the performance features
they really need. Running shoes almost always feature nylon-reinforced leather uppers, which
allow much greater flexibility than the all-leather uppers found in most walking shoes. Running
shoes are also built to give greater motion control, an important factor to fitness walkers.

Choosing a Shoe
All of the major athletic shoe companies (Avia, Adidas, Etonic, New Balance, Nike, Puma,
Saucony, etc.) sell shoes suitable for half marathon training and racing. Clerks in a quality
running specialty store will be able to help you find the right one for your needs.

Fit is by far the most important consideration when selecting a training or racing shoe. In general,
walkers and runners will select a shoe that is a half to one full size larger than their street shoe
size. We recommend you purchase two pairs of shoes and rotate them throughout the training so
that both pairs wear evenly and last for the duration of the training period. Make sure you try on
new shoes with the socks that you normally wear when running or walking.

Here are some tips for a successful shopping trip:

       Visit a local specialty running store rather than a mall sporting goods store.
       Be prepared to spend at least 30 minutes.
       Try at least three different pairs of shoes.
       Don’t pick a shoe just because your friend, or the winner of the local 10k or the Olympic
        marathon, wears that particular shoe. Every runner or walker has different feet and
       Bring your old shoes to the store, since your old shoes are like a footprint of how you
        wear your shoes.
       Each company will make a version of three different types of shoes, the staff at your local
        running store will be able to help you decide which is best for you:

            o   Cushioned—For the neutral runner or walker who does not need added support.
                These shoes typically have a high arch.
            o   Supportive—These shoes have some support or reinforcement such as a dual-
                density midsole or some arch support for the mild over-pronator with an arch that
                has the tendency to drop when bearing weight.

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             o   Motion control—Straight-lasted shoes with a lot of mid-foot support such as dual-
                 density midsole and arch support. Typically for the foot that is VERY flat or very

       Shop in the late afternoon when your feet are at their largest because your feet will
        expand during exercise or throughout the day if you are on your feet a lot.
       Wear the socks you’ll wear when you walk or run. If you don’t have good training socks,
        buy some before trying on shoes.
       Most of us have one foot slightly larger than the other, so make sure the salesperson
        checks the size of both of your feet. You should be fitted for the larger foot. Before you try
        on any shoes, the salesperson should talk to you about your running or walking in order
        to guide you to appropriate shoe models.

Beyond fit, the shoe itself should be built to withstand miles of running or walking. The soles
should be fairly flat—without big lugs or waffles—and thicker in back, thinner toward the front.
Walkers don’t need as much sole thickness as runners may require in the heel area, but do try to
avoid shoes with very thin midsoles unless you are an experienced competitive racewalker.

Next, examine the heel. This is the most important part of the sole structure. You should be able
to push in on the heel with your thumb and have it give very little. You’re after a firm, but
cushioned heel strike. A thin outer layer of rubber provides both cushioning and protection.

The anatomy of a shoe:

So Far So                                                                                Good?
If the shoe has passed all these tests, it’s probably a keeper. But put it on first. It should fit right
and feel good immediately. With today’s shoes, there’s no need for a breaking-in period. New
shoes should fit perfectly right out of the box. Remember that no matter what the shoe reviews
say, and no matter what the cost, there is never one ―best‖ shoe out there. The ―best shoe‖ for
you is the shoe that is comfortable and suits your needs.

How Much Will You Have to Pay?
Be prepared to spend $75 or more. A good pair of shoes will help you avoid injury and should last
for months. Typically your shoe will last for 300-500 miles so keep track of your mileage. We
recommend writing the date you purchase your shoes on the midsole, that way you know when
you need to get new ones. If you are unsure if your shoes are indeed past their prime, ask your
coach, or bring your old shoes with you to a shoe store and compare them with the new ones. No
doubt if your old ones are ―dead‖ they will feel hard with very little cushion or support and may be
misshapen. Time to buy a new pair!

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We recommend a thin sock that is made of a wicking fabric like Coolmax™. Be sure that your
sock is not cotton, as it will absorb the perspiration and create friction with your foot, resulting in
blisters. It should be tight-fitting so that it doesn’t bunch up, which may also create blisters. Many
runners and walkers have had success with Iniji™ socks, which fit like gloves with separate
sections for each toe. Other brands include Double Layer™ and Thorlo™.

Be prepared for sun, heat, rain and even snow, depending on your location and time of year.
Good running shorts, tights and tops made from technical wicking fabrics that pull moisture away
from your skin (for example, Coolmax™, Dry-Fit™, Drylete™ and Procore™) help keep you dry
and comfortable. Avoid cotton clothing. As with cotton socks, cotton clothing absorbs perspiration,
creating discomfort and chafing.

For Cold or Wet Weather
Select a lightweight jacket or vest made of waterproof material or a
technical fabric like Goretex™. (―Water-resistant‖ fabrics may not offer
enough protection during a long walk or run in the rain.) Jackets
made of Goretex™ or similar fabrics ―breathe,‖ keeping you dry
inside vs. rubberized waterproof jackets that will keep you dry from
the outside but will not breathe, therefore allowing your sweat to
collect inside rather than dissipate. You’ll be hotter and wetter than
you should be and much less comfortable. You will pay more for the
technical fabrics but your comfort is well worth it in the end.

A hat or visor can offer both sun and rain protection. In very cold temperatures, a
winter cap is important as you will lose the majority of your heat from your head. Hats
should be made from a technical fabric as they will be lighter and stay drier than a cotton or wool

Your best scenario is to layer your clothing. It is OK to feel a bit cool at the start of a workout as
your body will generate heat after you get into your walk or run. Layers should include:
1 layer – Close-fitting to absorb perspiration from your body.
2 layer – If it is cold this layer will be more of a thermal layer, but you can remove it if you get
too warm.
3 layer – Protects you from the elements. Either a jacket or vest to protect from wind-chill, rain
and/or snow.

Men’s Briefs
In very cold temperatures men’s windbriefs can provide a lot of comfort and can prevent frostbite
of vital parts. Windbriefs should be made from a technical fabric.

Women’s Jog Bras
Use specific sports bras as these will provide you with better support, in addition these should not
be made of cotton but rather from a technical fabric. Remember this will be the first thing next to
your skin and it needs to wick perspiration away not absorb it. Check with your local sports store
for sizing and try on two or three bras to ensure a good fit.

Shorts vs. Tights
This is very much a matter of personal preference. Some people feel that tighter shorts and tights
will cause less chaffing or bunching. Weather will often be the determining factor if tights or shorts
are preferred as tights can help keep the knees warm. Once again, the number one priority is to
wear a wicking material to ensure your body stays warm and dry.

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A sweatshirt and sweatpants will keep you warm before and after your training walks and runs but
avoid training in them as they are usually made of cotton and will not breathe. Always bring a
change of clothes with you for after your training sessions to ensure that you have something
warm and dry to change into, even if it is a warm day.

Week 3: The Schedule

               A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. –Confucius

Congratulations! You have taken the first, and arguably the most difficult, step toward becoming
an endurance athlete: You have accepted the challenge to train to reach a goal—in this case the
goal of completing a half marathon run or walk.

You may not be an Olympic athlete (yet!) but you are an endurance athlete. And ALL endurance
athletes run on GAS: the General Adaptation Syndrome. GAS says that for a body to get
stronger, fitter, faster there must be a stress applied to the body and then the body must be
allowed to rest, recover and adapt to that stress. As time goes on, more and more stress is
applied and the body—if allowed to rest and recover—will get stronger (or fitter, or faster). BOTH
sides of the coin are equally important. The body must be allowed ample recovery, and there
must be something to recover from!

There are a couple of ways to ensure the success of this equation. Many beginning athletes
never increase the intensity of their training. So once the body adapts to the light workload (for
example 30 minutes of easy jogging or walking three to four days per week) it never gets any
stronger. Other athletes jump into training with both feet, working hard every day and never
allowing the body to rest, recover and adapt. Neither approach is very effective. Endurance
athletes will only get fitter and faster by working hard, and then recovering from that hard work.

The 10% Rule: The 10% rule dictates that increases in training work load
should not exceed 10% per week. For example, to allow for successful
adaptation, the distance of the long day should not be increased by more
than 10% per week, and the weekly mileage should not be increased by
more than 10% per week. (An addendum is that speed work should not
make up more than 10% of total weekly mileage.)
The Fat Furnace
One major goal of endurance training is to teach the body to burn fat better. (Sounds great

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already, doesn’t it?!) Since the brain can only use glucose (carbohydrate) as a fuel source, the
body always has ―blood sugar‖ circulating. So carbohydrate is a very readily-available fuel source.
At the start of any workout, the body will use carbs as the main fuel source. If the workout
extends beyond 40 minutes or so the body starts to wean itself away from carbs and toward a
higher percentage of fat as a fuel to spare the precious carbs upon which the brain relies for fuel.
With training, the body gets better and better at switching on the fat-burning engine earlier, and at
faster and faster walking or running speeds.

Fat is a great fuel source. It is very energy-dense (it contains nine calories per gram compared to
the four calories per gram held by carbohydrates or protein), easily stored (you may already be
well aware of this fact!) and clean-burning (fat metabolism produces energy, and only carbon
dioxide and water vapor as metabolic byproducts).

The only downside to burning fat as a fuel is that it is not very efficient in terms of oxygen use. It
takes a lot of oxygen to burn a gram of fat. This isn’t a problem when the body is able to take in
and process a lot of oxygen, as it is when you are walking or running at a slow pace. But as you
go faster you begin to need more and more oxygen to burn fat so you might notice that your
respiration (breathing) rate gets faster and your heart works harder to supply the working muscles
with oxygenated blood.

Endurance training teaches your body to better supply the working muscles with oxygen by
increasing capillary density in the muscles and around the lungs, increasing hemoglobin
concentration in the blood, the size and number of mitochondria in the muscles and all kinds of
other things that make exercise physiology textbooks run 700 pages in length!

All you need to know is that getting out the door to train more, and train longer (gradually, over
time), will allow your body to go a lot faster and farther with the limited supply of oxygen it has at
its disposal. Your coach will show you how to increase your mileage and speed gradually and
safely so that you can finish your half marathon comfortably and with less risk of injury.

The Schedules
Your coach will adapt the basic schedule for your individual half marathon. In the appendix you
will find examples for beginner, intermediate and advanced walkers and runners. These will give
you a good idea of what you have in store, but follow the schedule provided by your local coach
which will better take into account your personal training environment. Runners and walkers will
use different schedules since there are different physiological demands to doing a half marathon
walking versus running, mainly related to the duration of exercise (the average walker will be out
on the course over an hour longer than the average runner) and the intensity of the exercise
(because the average runner is out there for a shorter period of time, he or she will be able to
work at a higher intensity than the average walker).

Everybody is Different …
Everyone will adapt to the programs differently. It is important to listen to your body, and to tell
your coach immediately if you are experiencing any problems. Even though we are all following a
similar 16-week program we are all individuals, each with our own individual heart rate zones,
body types and lifestyles, and these all need to be factored in as you plan your program.

Things to consider when developing your plan:
    How much time do you have and what is your best time of day to train?
    What are the best days of the week for each activity? (See ―Week in the Life‖ handout in
    What facilities are available? Do you have an indoor track or treadmill available for bad
       weather days?
    What is your present level of fitness?

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   How many workouts will you realistically be able to do each week?
   Remember the 10% rule. Increase your volume and speed gradually.

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Week 4: Hydration/Nutrition

Whether you are training for the game of life or for a
half marathon, a good nutrition plan is part of the
key for success. Racing and training nutrition
consists of three elements: pre-workout, workout
and post-workout, so when training for a half
marathon nutrition becomes a way of life. A diet
made up of good fats, complex carbohydrates and
lean sources of protein is easy to follow, and it
works. Follow these guidelines and you will get to
the start line ready to go!

Carbohydrates are the body’s first choice for energy and also the brain’s only source of fuel.
Athletes need to eat a variety of foods rich in complex carbohydrates, with 50-60% of total
calories coming from carbs. Complex carbohydrates are found in starchy and fiber-filled foods like
whole wheat breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables. They
supply energy to the muscles during exercise. When you eat a diet filled with complex
carbohydrates your muscles can store them in the form of glycogen. Then during exercise,
glycogen breaks down to fuel your muscles. Although sugar, soda and candy are also
carbohydrates, they are ―simple sugars‖ which will provide quick energy for a short period of time,
but will soon leave you feeling empty and low on energy. Complex carbohydrate foods on the
other hand refuel your energy stores and provide you with a more steady and long-lasting flow of

Proteins do not directly contribute significantly to energy needs under normal conditions, but they
are extremely important in virtually every chemical process that takes place in the body. Proteins
also ―jump-start‖ the process of converting fats and carbs into energy, and they are vitally
important in rebuilding muscle and blood cells that are damaged during hard training.

Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are 20 amino acids which are
further broken down into essential (your body can not produce them) and non-essential (your
body can produce them) amino acids. A protein that contains all the essential amino acids is
considered to be a complete protein.

                                       An endurance athlete’s diet should consist of 15-20%
                                       protein. Choose lean sources of protein such as skinless
                                       chicken breast, fresh fish such as salmon or halibut and
                                       pork. Protein can also be found in plant products but plant
                                       proteins are not complete (they do not contain all of the
                                       essential amino acids). By combining different plant-based
                                       proteins such as rice and beans, you can create a complete

                                         Fats have a bit of a bad reputation, but they are essential
sources of fuel for the endurance athlete and for good health in general. Fats provide much more
energy than carbohydrates or protein (nine calories per gram for fats versus four calories per
gram for carbohydrates or protein). Too much dietary fat can lead to health problems, but you can
not eliminate all fats from the diet as certain types of fats and even cholesterol are necessary for
certain biological processes.

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Some types of fats to be aware of are: saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and
hydrogenated fats, also known as trans fatty acids. Fatty acids such as the omega-3 family (found
in fish) promote health and help prevent degenerative diseases. However, most North Americans
consume insufficient omega-3 foods and eat excessive amounts of saturated fats from animal
(non-fish) sources. These saturated fatty acids are implicated in heart disease, strokes and
cancer. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish) should be consumed frequently, and
foods high in saturated fats should be avoided or used sparingly. Typically we want to limit the
amount of total fat in the diet to 30%, which should consist of equal amounts of saturated,
monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Trans fatty acids should be avoided.
Try experimenting with changes in your diet early in the training program. You want to learn early
what food your body can and cannot tolerate, not during your half marathon! What may work will
vary from person to person, the time of day of your walk or run and the distance and the intensity
of your activity. Some people may be able to eat just before a workout, while others may need to
wait several hours after eating to walk or run. Consider keeping a food journal to track what works
best for you. (See appendix.)

So what do pre-workout, during-workout and post-workout meals look like?

Pre-workout: This meal may have to fuel you for the next 3+ hours, so make it count! Aim to eat
200-300 calories for every hour you have between the meal and your workout or race time. For
example, if your race starts at 7:00 am and you eat breakfast at 5:00 am, aim for 400-600 calories
at this time. This meal should be made up predominately of complex carbohydrates with the
addition of some well-absorbed protein and good essential fats.

Good Options for a Pre-workout Morning Meal
Rolled oats topped with maple syrup, skim milk or milk alternative such as soy or rice milk;
Toasted sprouted bread topped with natural nut butter and jam and a banana;
Muesli with yogurt and banana;
Protein shake (see appendix);
Hot rice cereal topped with honey and a tbsp. of nut butter and milk or milk alternative.

This is also a good opportunity to test what you can eat pre-race in the 1.5+ hours before the race
start time. Remember: What may work for your training buddy may not work for you! Establish
YOUR plan. If your workout is in the afternoon you still need to ensure that your body
has the energy it needs to have a good workout. Have a light snack at least two
hours before an afternoon or evening workout. If your planned workout is set for
6:00 pm you cannot expect what you ate for lunch at noon to provide you with
the fuel that you need. Good carbohydrate choices include a plain baked potato
or roasted yams, bananas, a toasted bagel or toast.

Things to Avoid
No matter what time of day you work out, keep these points in mind:

• Avoid overeating shortly before exercising.
• Avoid sugary foods like candy or overly sweet sport drinks within one hour of workouts or races
to prevent ―bonking‖ (insulin-response blood sugar crash) during the workout.
• Avoid carbonated beverages when exercising since they may cause gas and                related

During Workouts:
For workouts less than 1.5 hours in duration your main concern is with
hydration. Physical activity leads to an increase in heat production in the
body. The body dissipates this heat through the production of sweat and
the release of water through breathing (water is exhaled as vapor). The
bottom line, when you exercise your body temperature will rise, you will

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get hot, breathe hard, sweat and get thirsty. However, you do not want to wait until you are thirsty
to drink. You must be proactive in your hydration.

Hydration includes both water and electrolytes—particularly in hot conditions. It is not unusual for
individuals to lose 400-1000 mg+ of sodium per hour during heavy exercise in hot weather, so it
is important to drink enough before, during and after exercise. As a general rule, you should aim
to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. This means that a 150 lb. person should
consume 75 ounces of water daily—excluding what is taken in during exercise.

Dehydration has an adverse affect on muscle strength, endurance and coordination, in addition to
increasing the risk of cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Even a 2-3% weight loss can
decrease performance by 20% or more. For every pound you lose through water loss during your
workout, drink a pint of fluid.

How Much to Drink?
Consume at least 1 cup (8 ounces) of fluid 15 to 20 minutes before physical activity. During
exercise, drinking less fluid more frequently is the key. Drink 4-6 ounces of fluid every 10-15
minutes. This adds up to 20-24 ounces per hour, but it is evenly distributed. Drinking the same 24
ounces of fluid all at once, every hour, is less effective since the body cannot absorb this much
fluid and will void much of it as urine.

After exercise drink at least 2 cups of fluid. Do not rely on thirst to tell you when you need fluids,
rather you want to train yourself to take in fluids at regular intervals.
To ensure that you’re replacing the water you lose when working out, do a simple sweat-rate test.
Weigh yourself before exercise, then weigh yourself on the same scale after a one-hour workout.
Be sure to remove as much clothing as possible so that you are not weighing water trapped in
your clothes. The difference in weight shows how much you lost during the workout, excluding
any fluids you drank while exercising. Subtract out the amount of fluids you drank (approximately
1 pound per pint) to find your total sweat rate per hour. The closer your ending weight is to your
beginning weight, the better you are at replacing fluids on the go. Your sweat rate will vary
depending on the intensity of your training, the weather, your level of heat acclimatization, etc., so
try the test under different circumstances to learn how much you need to drink under different
conditions. The goal is to be as close to zero net weight/water loss as possible without over-
drinking. You should not weigh MORE after a workout than before. If you do, you may be drinking
too much.

If you find yourself needing to urinate very frequently or more than you are used to, this could be
an indication of improper water balance. Dark-colored, strongly scented urine is a sign that you
need to drink more water—although taking lots of vitamins and other nutritional supplements can
give the same result. Be aware that alcohol, as well as coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks
are dehydrating rather than hydrating.

Is Water Enough?
While hydration is very important, the risk of hyponatremia or hypokalemia (dangerously low
levels of sodium or potassium in the blood) increases if runners/walkers take in too much water
and not enough electrolytes.

Endurance athletes can sweat off up to 5-10% of their body weight during a long-distance event
in warm conditions. Along with the sweat, electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, chloride and
magnesium are also lost. While water can replenish the lost fluid, it can’t replace the depleted
minerals or give you energy. Sport drinks are a readily absorbed form of carbohydrates and
minerals (including sodium, magnesium and potassium) that can replace lost fluid and lost
minerals in your system while helping maintain blood glucose levels during exercise.

The pace that you run or walk will dictate how much fuel you need to replace. At lower intensities
(below aerobic threshold, or AT) the body is very effective at utilizing fat for fuel. At higher

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intensities—think 10k race pace or faster—the body can’t get enough oxygen to burn much fat for
fuel and must depend on carbohydrates. Typically, we have 2000 calories of stored
carbohydrates in our system, and if we are working above AT we will burn between 600-800
calories/hour. Therefore if your activity is greater than two hours, you can run the risk of
carbohydrate depletion. Ingesting sport drinks or gels are a good way to stave of carbohydrate
depletion. For the half marathon distance you may find that the calories supplied by a sport drink
will allow you to finish strong and steady. Most sport drinks provide about 100 calories per 8-
ounce serving.

The goal of your long base training workouts is to teach your body to utilize fat rather than
carbohydrate for fuel. On race day your intensity may be a bit greater so it is important that your
training and nutritional programs reflect this. Doing some of your long workouts a bit faster later in
your training program will teach your body to become even better at burning fat as a fuel, while
adding carbohydrate supplementation on the go will top off your carbohydrate fuel stores which
will help you to keep you from ―bonking‖ or ―hitting the wall‖ during your long workouts and races.
Begin taking in sport drinks or other carbohydrate-rich fuel 45 minutes into your activity and
continue every 20-30 minutes. Aim for approximately 150-200 calories per hour.

Choosing a Sport Drink
There are many brands of sport drinks out on the market and despite the many different
formulations that promise more energy, better endurance or whatever else they may be
promising, the number one factor in choosing your drink is taste. If you don’t like the taste it can’t
help you because you won’t drink it.

It’s important to sample different sport drinks to find one that works for you, in terms of taste, and
stomach or bowel tolerance. (The sport drink also can’t help you if you throw it up after drinking it
or if it gives you severe bowel distress later in the workout or race.) You’ll find a wide assortment
of sport drinks, either as mixes or pre-prepared at grocery, running and nutrition stores. Ask your
coach if he or she knows the sport drink sponsor at your event. If you plan to drink the race
beverage at the event, you’ll want to get used to drinking it during your training. Remember: Don’t
try anything new on race day that you have not tried in training!

Choose a drink with a 6-8% sugar solution such as sucrose, glucose or glucose polymers
(compounds that supply glucose linked as chains). Beverages using fructose as the principle
carbohydrate can take longer for the muscles to use as fuel because the fructose first must be
converted into glucose. In addition, fructose-based sport drinks can cause gastric distress in
some people—so again, find out what works for you. Look for a sport drink that contains sodium,
potassium and magnesium, as all of these are components of your sweat. The sodium in sport
drinks helps speed the rate of absorption of the drink into your blood stream, and with the
replacement of sodium lost during exercise. In addition to store-bought sport drinks there are also
homemade options. You can find some examples of homemade sport drinks in the appendix.

How to Use Sport Drinks
When trying out sport drinks, start by mixing them at half strength. Carbohydrate concentration
levels higher than 6-8% can cause gastric distress and dehydration, as it takes water to digest the
sugars. Diluting sport drinks with water reduces the concentration level which will cause your
digestive tract to draw less water from your blood stream.

Do I Need More than Just Fluid?

If you are exercising for longer than two hours continuously you may benefit from energy gels or
bars. We have discussed the use of energy drinks that contain both sugar and electrolytes but
you can also use food to ensure proper energy is maintained through the activity.

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Consuming carbohydrates during workouts over two hours postpones fatigue by maintaining
steady blood sugar levels. Some good choices of easily digested, low-fat, high-carbohydrate
foods are: energy bars, fig bars, bananas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and energy gels.
Energy bars and energy gels are concentrated sports fuels that are conveniently packaged so
they are easy to carry. They contain a mixture of complex and simple carbohydrates and are
designed to provide energy that acts quickly and lasts. Simple sugars in the bars (usually honey,
fructose or corn syrup) provide a quick burst of energy, while complex carbohydrates provide a
steadier and longer supply of energy.
Bars, gels and other foods are really only necessary for activity over two hours. You can find bars
and gels at running stores, sporting goods stores and many grocery stores. In addition, you can
make your own homemade version (see recipes in the appendix). They are not recommended as
meal replacements.

Using Energy Bars or Gels
Forty-five to 60 minutes into workouts or races longer than 2 hours in duration, take a gel, a bite-
sized piece of energy bar or other energy source every 20-30 minutes. Aim for 100-250 calories
per hour. Drink 4-8 ounces of water each time you eat a piece of bar to ensure proper digestion
and absorption of the carbohydrates. If using gels, start taking 45 minutes into activity and
continue taking a gel every 20-30 minutes. Once again, to avoid gastric distress it is very
important to take your gel with 4-8 ounces of water.
Remember what may work for your friend may not work for you, experiment and try a variety of
drinks and supplemental foods.

Post-workout nutrition is all about ensuring that you are replenishing your glycogen stores so that
you can get up and do it again the next day or even the same day. The key with post-workout
nutrition is to ensure that you ingest approximately 40-80 grams (160-320 calories) of
carbohydrate within 30 minutes of finishing your workout or race. In addition to carbohydrates,
adding some protein to this post-workout meal can help with muscle recovery and will allow
easier absorption of carbohydrates. There are several post-workout recovery products on the
market that contain protein, such as Endurox or Recoverite, but ―real food‖ such as a banana and
6 ounces of orange juice with pulp can also be used. A post-workout recovery shake is also a
great way to get the calories we need especially after the longer efforts and the need for more
calories exists.

Within two hours of a long workout or race, be sure to have a more substantial
carbohydrate/protein meal to help build back what we break down. Omelets are a good post-
workout recovery meal. If it is later in the day 4-6 ounces of broiled chicken or fish with brown or
basmati rice or yams, and vegetables will ensure that you will build on the effort and are able to
get up and do it again.

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Week 5: Biomechanics/Form

        Good running and walking form starts with good posture and core strength (see strength
                 training section of the appendix). You want to work toward having your head,
                   shoulders and hips all lined up over your feet. This will allow you to move
                     forward with the least amount of effort, thus allowing you to move over the
                     earth not into the earth.

              To maximize your breathing, ensure that you do not let the shoulders sag and the
              chest fall into the body. You want to feel like you are naturally allowing the shoulders
             to relax and fall down the back.

             The alignment of your hips affects how you run or walk. You should feel like you are
            standing tall not sitting in a chair. Your butt shouldn’t stick out behind you, rather you
           should be tall and in alignment. Take a look at yourself as you run or walking by a
window. Are you standing tall or sitting down?

A common postural problem in walkers and runners is to bend from the waist to try to gain speed.
This puts a great deal of strain on the lower back and really does little to add to forward motion.
Remember to walk or run tall!

Shoulders, Head and Neck
Stay relaxed! If you feel like your shoulders are up by your ears they probably are. Shrug your
shoulders and allow them to drop naturally. Your head will follow your eyes so look 15-30 meters
ahead of you, which will allow your head to sit naturally atop your shoulders.

Keep the arms relaxed. Basically you do not want your arms too high or too low or to feel rigid.
You should avoid having your arms swing across the center line of your body. Your arms will
keep a good momentum and help keep your feet moving steady. Keep your elbows low and keep
your hands relaxed like you are holding a raw egg in your palm.

Your feet should roll through and across the earth. Land lightly off the heel or mid-foot and roll off
the ball of your foot. Once again you want to feel like you are running over the earth not into the
earth so therefore you want your foot to land slightly ahead of you but your body will move over
the leg as your move over the earth.

Stride Length and Leg Turnover
Most walkers or runners naturally fall into the most efficient stride length for their bodies. That
doesn’t mean that everything will fall into place from day one. One mistake many beginners make
is to over-stride. Taking too big of a step in front of the body will create braking forces that will
slow you down, but will also cause jarring to the lower back and knees. When stride length
decreases, cadence rate will increase; find what is natural to you. Again, you want to run across
the earth.

Running or walking with too short of a stride will make you feel like you are bouncing up and
down like a pogo stick, or will force you to take such quick steps that you’ll feel like a hamster on
a wheel. Again, aim for what feels the most comfortable. If in doubt, have your coach take a look
at your form. He or she may have some suggestions that may make your walking or running more

Some walkers, and even some runners may want to incorporate elements of racewalking
technique into their half marathon training. Racewalking is an Olympic track-and-field event in

                                               Page 13
which athletes race as quickly as possible from point A to point B—just like runners do. But
whereas runners have no rules dictating their form, racewalkers must keep one foot on the
ground at all times. They must also straighten the leg as the body is passing over it. (That may
sound strange, but if you stand in place and simply ―pump‖ your knees while keeping your feet on
the ground, you’re essentially racewalking in place.) The benefit of racewalking over regular
walking is that it is much (much!) faster (Olympic athletes can complete a half marathon at a pace
well under 6:30 per mile) and in some ways easier on the body since the knees are locked in
place at heel contact, preventing strain on the knees. Runners may find that keeping one foot on
the ground at all times and taking shorter, faster strides is easier on the joints than running is.

To learn more about racewalking, head to the World Class Racewalking Web site at

Week 6: Stretching, Strengthening and Core Work

Strength training can be a great complement to your walking or running program. Developing
overall body strength can help reduce injuries such as back problems by achieving symmetry
between muscles and by eliminating muscle imbalances such as strong quadriceps putting strain
on weak hamstrings.

Strength Training Hints
• You can and should use your running or walking shoes for your strength training as these will
provide you with the support you need.
• To prevent injury you should warm up with some easy activity such as walking on the treadmill
or using a stationary bike before you start your strength program.
• Try to be efficient, allowing your workout to take no more than 1 hour.
• Work large muscle groups before small ones.
• Work the muscle groups that are most important to you first. That
way if
you are interrupted or have limited time, you'll be sure to have
done the
most important exercises.
• Increase weights gradually and steadily to keep reps between 10
and 15.
• Remember to breathe. Breathe out during the power or lifting phase;
breathe in during the relaxation phase.
• Always use collars on adjustable free weights.

How Often?
The goal is not to become an animal in the gym, but to help improve your running or walking. Two
to three sessions per week is sufficient for most Team Challenge participants. If you can only get
to the gym one or fewer days per week it is probably not worth going at all since any gains will be
lost if the gaps between sessions are too long.

Most authorities suggest 10-15 reps of each exercise in a set. For example 2 sets of 12 is a good
average to work toward. Remember your strength training program is about complementing your
running or walking; it is not meant to take away from it as a result of adding undue fatigue or gym

How Much Should You Lift?
The best way to determine the weight to lift is the RM method. An RM (Repetiton Maximum) is
the maximum number of times you can lift a weight before failure. Start light and find a weight that
can be lifted 10-15 times before you can’t lift it any more. As training and fitness progresses,
weight can be added when 15 repetitions becomes easy.

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Circuit Training
Circuit training is weight training in which the rest intervals between different exercises are short.
An attempt is made to combine weight training with cardiovascular benefit as heart rates are
pushed into the aerobic training range.

If athletes are performing aerobic training by walking or running, there is probably no need to mix
in a cardiovascular workout in the weight room which may reduce the focus on strength work. An
exception would be if you are recovering from illness or injury and have not been walking or
running regularly.

Sample Strength Workout: Please See Photos with Descriptions in Appendix
Leg Press
Leg Extension
Hamstring Curls
Calf Raises
Lat Pull Downs
Seated Row
Flys with Free Weights
Reverse Fly with Free Weights
Tricep Extension
Bicep Curls

Core Workouts for Walkers and Runners
In addition to strength work, ―core‖ work is very important for improving posture and preventing
injuries. What exactly makes up your core? Core strength refers to the muscles of the back, abs,
hips and pelvic floor.

Sample Core Workout: Please See Photos with Description in Appendix
Side and Forward Plank – start on knee and progress to full extension and then add lift
Bridge with addition of leg lift
Squat with ball against wall – move to single leg
Four-point with alternating leg and arm extension
Gluteus medius leg lift

Stretching for Walkers and Runners
Stretching is highly recommended for walkers and runners. Forward motion comes as a result of
contracting muscles. Over time the muscles shorten, leading to diminished flexibility. Stretching
for 5-10 minutes after every running or walking workout, and a few times a week in a more
focused yoga or gym-floor stretching environment will:
      improve range of motion
      reduce muscle tension and soreness
      help prevent injury

General Tips on Stretching
    Never stretch a cold muscle. Muscles need adequate blood flow to relax, and only a
       relaxed muscle can be stretched safely and comfortably. If you’re tight before a running
       or walking workout, walk or jog very easily for 5-10 minutes first, then stretch the muscles
       before moving on to more vigorous training.

       Stretch both sides of a muscle group to maintain muscle balance. For instance,
        stretch the back and front of the lower legs with calves and shin stretches, and both sides
        of the upper legs with quadriceps and hamstring stretches.

                                               Page 15
       Breathe as you stretch! Keep your breath even and slow. Exhale as you move into a
        stretch, and then breathe slowly in and out as you hold the stretch.

       Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds. Consciously relax the muscle as you slowly
        breathe into the stretch.

Sample Stretches: Please See Photos with Description in Appendix
Calf Stretch
Achilles and Soleus Stretch
Lower Back Stretch
Piriformis Stretch
Hip Flexor

                    Week 7: Sports Injuries

                          Training for and taking part in a half marathon is a tremendous physical
                         challenge. By following the guidelines in the Team Challenge training
                         manual, runners and walkers should be able to train relatively injury-free.
                         But with any challenge comes risks, and there is the risk of injury in this,
                         your chosen pursuit.

                           Most running or walking injuries are overuse injuries rather than traumatic
                            ones (ankle sprains and such). Overuse injuries develop over a period of
                            time with repetitive motion, and tend to increase in severity if not treated
early. Although there are often warning signs, an overuse injury will often be ignored by an athlete
until it hinders the ability to train. Taking care of hot spots early (icing after workouts, stretching,
etc.) can keep them from becoming full-blown injuries. Write down any unusual sensations in your
training log and ask your coach if you’re not sure if you should train on it or not.

Most of these overuse injuries are caused by inflamed tendons (tendonitis). The trick with
tendonitis is to remember just what tendons are: They’re tough fibrous sheaths that connect
muscles to bones. Fortunately, 99% of the time there’s nothing wrong with the tendon itself—it’s
simply being abused by a tight muscle. Walking, like running, does nothing to enhance flexibility.
Walkers and runners are propelled forward by contracting muscles. Over time, the muscles
incrementally lose flexibility if they are not stretched gently after exercise. As the tight muscle
shortens, it pulls at its origin and insertion points (at the tendons and fascial sheaths). The only
way to release the strain on the tendon is to stretch the muscle. Similarly, bursitis is the
inflammation of a bursa (a fluid-filled sac) found or formed in areas of friction. As the muscles
tighten, friction around the joints increases and bursa are irritated. Releasing tight muscles will
reduce friction and allow the bursa to return to normal.

We are often ingrained with a quick-fix, band-aid approach to sports medicine: Rest, ice and
aspirin will make the pain go away. All true, but these approaches attack the symptom and not
the cause. The pain may be felt in the tendon or bursa, but the root cause is the tight, neglected
muscle. Treatment for these injuries must begin with isolation of the muscle or muscles involved.
In most cases, you will notice discomfort and tightness in certain muscles that may lie far from the
injured area. Don’t ignore these sensations!

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An ounce of prevention is worth two in the bush (or something like that ...). There are a number of
excellent books on stretching. Perhaps Bob Anderson’s Stretching is the best known. Others are
listed in the appendix. Each individual must find the particular stretches that work for him or her.
Experiment to see which positions work for you and allow you to get the affected area. Certainly
stretching is an important first step in recovery, but gains in flexibility will be short-lived if the
involved muscles are weak and atrophied.

Strength training is equally critical in injury rehabilitation or preventative care (please see week 5
for more detailed information regarding this section). Whether using free weights, weight
machines, elastic devices or isometric exercises, the involved muscles should be isolated in such
a way as to ensure that they are being worked through a range of motion that mimics their
running or walking action as closely as possible. This may involve a good deal of improvisation
with weight machines, or experimentation with postural changes until the perfect position is found.
During rehabilitation, resistance should be just enough to cause minor fatigue without hurting the
injured area. As strength improves, work up to 3 sets of 10-12 RM. Always allow 48 hours for
recovery between sessions—2-3 days of weight training per week is optimum.

As mentioned, the cause for most overuse injuries can be a result of both functional and
structural issues and usually can be described by one or more of the following:

   If you always run on a cambered surface such as running on a track in the same direction or
    on the shoulder of the road
   Not having a good warmup and cooldown
   Not adhering to the 10% rule and increasing either volume or speed too quickly
   Incorrect or not enough stretching and strengthening
   Shoes are worn out and therefore not providing adequate support or cushioning
   Not the correct shoes for your foot
   Excessive over- or under-pronation

The bottom line is listen to your body and be aware if something does not feel right and address
the issue sooner rather than later!

Typical injuries include:

Achilles Tendonitis
The Achilles tendon runs along the back of the heel from the calf to the rear of the heel bone. The
thick tendon is surrounded by a vascular sheath that supplies the tendon with blood. When the
vascular sheath gets inflamed, the athlete will experience a burning sensation just above the
heel. When the actual tendon starts to become inflamed the pain becomes much more piercing
and will happen during sudden movement such as changing direction or running up a hill. If not
treated, the result can be a rupture of the tendon.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Pain felt on the outside of the knee or along the side of the leg up to the hip. The Iliotibial band is
a fascia that originates on the side of the buttocks and runs along the outside of the thigh and
inserts below the knee. Through constant rubbing of the band over the outside of the knee bone
with running and walking, the band can become irritated. The pain can range from a localized
stinging above the knee, pain along the entire length of the outer thigh or even swelling and
thickening at the point where the band moves across the thigh bone.

Plantar Fascitis
The plantar fascia is a fibrous tendon that runs the length of the entire foot from the heel bone to
the base of the toes. Through excessive pulling and stress the fascia can become inflamed and
painful. Plantar Fascitis is most often noticed during the first couple of steps when getting out of
bed in the morning and actually tends to decrease through the day as the area gets warmed up.

                                                Page 17
During activity it is most noticeable at the onset of activity and then decreases as activity
decreases. This is why it can be challenging to heal the area as it is difficult to stop or decrease
activity once the pain subsides.

Shin Splints
Shin splints are often synonymous with lower leg pain along the front or the side of the shin. The
pain may feel like a dull ache after activity and then can progress to awareness during activity.
Small bumps and tender areas around the affected area of the shin bone might be felt.

Stress Fractures of the Foot
Stress fractures can occur in several locations such as hips but are most frequently found in feet.
Stress fractures are tiny or incomplete breaks or cracks caused by repeated pounding such as
that experienced during walking or running. Stress fractures can occur when the cells of the bone
are unable to rebuild as fast as they are destroyed by the repeated pounding of running and
walking. The pain associated with a stress fracture can be a dull continuous pain that intensifies if
not addressed. An X-ray is necessary to determine if, in fact, one has a stress fracture.

Week 8: The Need for Speed and Tools for Training

                 If your goal is to run or walk faster than you currently are you need to include fast
                    walking and running in your program.

                  While many of the critical elements of endurance conditioning (improved intra-
                  muscular capillary development, hemoglobin concentration, lactate threshold
                 and VO2 max) respond relatively slowly to training, improvements in economy
          can occur very quickly.

While VO2 max is a measure of the total volume of oxygen an athlete can take in while training or
racing; running or walking economy refers to how efficiently the athlete uses that oxygen. Athletes
who use less oxygen at a particular pace are more efficient than those that use a lot of oxygen.
And since oxygen is a scarce resource, the more economical racer will get to the finish line faster.

Economy workouts are aimed at improving high-speed technique and reducing the body’s output
of lactic acid at racing speeds. You can achieve these goals by forcing yourself to walk or run at
speeds beyond the point at which your body now operates efficiently.

The great thing about economy workouts is that, although they are fast, they are short, short,
short! Intervals are in the range of 15-60 seconds at 1,500-meter–3k race pace with long (1- to 2-
minute) recoveries. And although the track is a logical place to do these repeats, you can do them
just about anywhere. If you are using a road vs. a track you can easily use time for your efforts
vs. distance, for example rather than 100 m you can do 30 secs. You can also do repeats up, or
even down, a slight, steady incline. Uphill segments will build strength, downhills ―easy‖ speed—
you can teach your neuromuscular system to go really fast without really working too hard.
Wherever you choose to do your repeats, keep the following in mind:

1. Warm up completely. Economy work is all about improving your leg speed and extending the
range of motion of your working muscles. Both can put a strain on your hamstrings and other
muscles if they aren’t fully warmed up. Run or walk for a good 10-15 minutes, gradually
increasing the pace through the warmup, then stretch and do some leg swings and other dynamic
flexibility drills. Finally, do a few 30- to 40-meter accelerations to make sure everything is feeling
nice and loose.

2. Start conservatively. If you don’t do much fast training, even a few really fast repeats are
going to be a great workout. For example, for your first time out don’t do more than a half mile of

                                               Page 18
repeats: start with 8 x 100 meters (30 seconds with 1 minute recovery), or 4 x 200 meters (1
minute with 1 minute recovery), then gradually build up to no more than 2 miles of repeats (8 x 2
minutes with 1 minute recovery).

3. Don’t overdo it! Effective speed and hill training will work by nudging your body slightly
beyond its current ―comfort zone.‖ If you push so hard that your technique falls apart all you’re
doing is reinforcing sloppy, inefficient technique. Go fast, but not all-out.

4. Fully recover. Give yourself full recoveries—1-2 minutes of jogging or easy walking between
intervals—and do everything you can to facilitate recovery after the workout. Cool down, hydrate
and stretch completely. Then take it easy for a few days before doing any kind of intense or
distance training.

Increases in both interval speed and racing speed can occur almost unbelievably quickly. When
adding economy intervals to an otherwise purely endurance-based training program,
improvements in 200-meter times on the order of 5-10 seconds in a matter of weeks are
common—and these improvements carry over well to half marathon racing.

The simplicity of running and walking is what originally attracts many participants to these sports.
The joy of slipping on a good pair of shoes and heading out the door and knowing in less than 60
minutes you can have a great workout. As more and more athletes become attracted to the sport
there is a desire for more information. There are many tools out on the market to give you, the
athlete, more feedback as to how you are progressing and how to better understand your body’s
adaptation to the training effect.

The reality is that the ability to put on your running shoes and just head out is always there but it
is good to stay up on technology and understand how tools can change the way you train. The
majority of training programs will include some variety in training (see week 8). These tools can
often determine how to apply and monitor this variety.

    1. Heart Rate Monitors – There are several companies that sell heart rate monitors
       including but not limited to: Polar, Timex and Nike. The number one thing to know before
       you purchase a heart rate monitor is to know what functions you are looking for. The
       amount of functions will often determine the cost of the monitor. You may want to have a
       heart monitor with an altimeter, alarm, time and cycling options, etc. The most basic heart
       monitor will simply tell you your heart rate at any given moment. Look for programmable
       zones (upper and lower limits), average heart rate during activity, time in zones and total
       time exercising.

    2. GPS/Speed Distance Monitors (SDM) Units – A Global Position System (GPS) is a
       navigation system that uses satellites to mark location. Until the 1980s GPS systems
       were only used by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS units have now become widely
       available to the public and runners and walkers use them to determine what pace they
       are moving at and how far they moved. In addition to GPS, other methods of determining
       your speed and distance use inertial sensors to measure speed and distance. Much more
       than just a pedometer, the inertial sensor measures the acceleration of a food pod that is
       worn on a shoe. Products associated with these technologies include but are not limited
       to: Garmin, Nike, Polar, Suunto, etc.

    3. V02 max – VO2 max is an abbreviation for the maximum amount of oxygen your body is
       capable of using to make energy. It is used to measure cardiovascular health. These
       levels are lowest at rest (where heart rates are lowest), and increase in a linear fashion
       as exercise intensity, and heart rate, increases.
       By completing a VO2 max test your fitness level can be evaluated more precisely, thereby
       making changes and improvements to your current training regimen that will help you

                                               Page 19
        attain your goals. This test is performed in a controlled environment, and is a specific
        scientific measure of each individual, the information obtained is much more specific than
        that based on predictions and equations made for large populations. With this exact
        information, training zones based on your heart rate can be made so that your workouts
        are organized more efficiently and effectively.
        A VO2 max test typically will last between 6 and 12 minutes. The test begins at an exercise
        intensity that you are comfortable with, and gradually increases in intensity until you are
        working as hard as you can. You will be breathing into a mouthpiece to measure the
        amount of oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide expired while working at the various
        exercise intensities. As the exercise intensity increases, so will the amount of oxygen you
        inspire, up to a maximal point known as your VO2 max.

    4. Lactate Testing – Lactate threshold testing measures how much lactic acid the body is
       producing. Lactic acid is a byproduct of anaerobic exercise. The accumulation of lactic
       acid in the body is a determining factor of how fast and how long you can continue at a
       certain pace. It is important for the endurance athlete in training because a performance
       goal can be obtained through proper training techniques obtained through this test. A
       lactate test will include stages of exercise on a treadmill, stationary bike, rowing machine,
       etc. that progressively increase in intensity. Initially the exercise intensity is about 50-60%
       of the VO2 max (see above). Each stage generally lasts about 5 minutes. Near the end of
       each stage, heart rate is recorded, oxygen consumption is measured and a sample of
       blood is withdrawn from the fingertip. Using special instrumentation, blood lactate
       concentration can be determined during the test. Upon completion of the test, values can
       be determined to achieve a distribution of intensities that are below, at and above the
       intensity where blood lactate begins to rise, or the lactate threshold. Once this information
       is obtained, training intensities can be developed to better teach the body to use the
       available oxygen, deliver oxygen to the working muscles, utilize fat for fuel more
       effectively and rid lactic acid more effectively—therefore allowing the athlete to work
       more effectively toward his/her performance goal.

Week 9: Weather-related Issues

We all hope that race day will dawn a perfect, wind-at-your-back, sunny, cool
but comfortable day, but the reality is that race day will dawn and be what it is.
You can be prepared for anything that comes your way on race day by
doing some pre-race reconnaissance. Before the race do as much
research as possible. Most larger races have great websites that will
allow you to check the course profile (including elevation changes, locations
of water stops, etc.). Well in advance of the race, you should also know the start
time of the race (and what time zone the race is in), your approximate finish time
so that you can check historical hour-by-hour weather trends on or
the local weather site, the official sport drink supplier, etc.

Training for the Conditions
Fitness is important, but it can be a situational thing. You can be very fit and seemingly race-
ready, but if you’ve trained in conditions that are very dissimilar to those that you will experience
on race day it is doubtful you will truly be at your best. Preparing for your half marathon should
involve a certain amount of training for the conditions that you will experience on race day. If the
race is on a hilly course you should certainly be doing some training on hills which require
different muscles than walking or running on level ground. If the race is in a hot, humid
environment and you live in a cooler climate, doing some workouts wearing sweats—especially in
the last 10-14 days before the event—may be called for. If you do most of your training in the
afternoon but your race is at 7:00 am, you had better do some of your workouts at that time of
day to make sure your body—and digestive system—will be ready at that hour on race day. If you

                                              Page 20
are training for a race in a different time zone, it would also be a good idea in the week leading up
to your race to go to bed, wake up and train at the time of day you will be going to bed, walking
up and racing in the event time zone rather than your own.

Weather Trends
As we all know, weather may be somewhat of a science but the reality is it also is a bit of an art.
Anything can happen, weather-wise, so you have to be prepared to go with the flow. If you are
training for an event held in Florida during summer you can be pretty sure it will be hot and
humid, and the same goes for training for an event in Seattle during the month of November: It
will probably be a bit moist. But sometimes Florida can bring drenching thunder showers, and
sometimes Seattle can throw an 80-degree day at you. Do your research but be prepared for
anything. The important thing to remember is that everybody in the race is going to be competing
in the same conditions. What matters is how you respond to it. Whatever race day brings, relax,
adjust and enjoy!

Week 10: Motivational Speaker

When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by
pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life.
                                                                            –Greg Anderson

All Team Challenge participants will have the same primary goals: to raise money for the cause
and to complete a half marathon on race day. It is important to keep these primary goals in mind.
But it may also be helpful to have several interim or secondary goals along the way to allow you
to achieve your primary goals. Many participants set fundraising milestones along the way toward
achieving their final goal. Similarly, you may want to set interim training goals. Perhaps walking or
running 13.1 miles seems like a daunting task. But maybe shooting for an interim goal of
completing a 10k (6.2 miles) six or eight weeks into the training program will help make that 13.1
miles seem less daunting.

It is always a good idea to write down your goals and track your progress toward your goal by
keeping a log book. This will allow you to look back and see how far you have come and help to
keep your ultimate goal in mind. Goals sometimes need to be adapted in certain situations. Life
happens and we need to be able to flow with things, but do not give up on your goals. They may
just need to be adapted to better mesh with your sometimes hectic life. Perhaps you may have
had a time goal for your half marathon that needs to be adjusted (slower or faster). But the goal of
completing the half marathon—in any amount of time—should always remain.

Motivation is often described as the need or desire that inspires someone to do something or act
on something. The word itself comes from the latin word ―motus,” meaning motion. So it is fitting
that you are finding yourself motivated to do a half marathon. The one thing that everyone agrees
on is that motivation is used to help us achieve a goal, so being clear about your goal is vital. To
help stay motivated to achieve your goal your goal should be realistic, there should be a concrete
start and end point, and the goal should be challenging but still achievable with effort. Having
interim goals may help you to achieve your primary goal.

As you prepare for your half marathon, you may find that your motivation can wane at times, so
be prepared and develop strategies to work through these periods and come back even stronger
and more motivated.

Examples of short-term, measurable goals include:

       Running longer on your long run this week than last week.
       Covering a certain distance faster than last time.
       Losing a few pounds and/or increasing your lean body mass.

                                              Page 21
       Seeing improvement in resting heart rate or lower heart rates during workouts.

Keeping a training log is a great way to track these goals over time. Sometimes we tend to forget
where we came from and thus lose track of how far we’ve come. Don’t take your training for
granted. Endurance athletes are rewarded for their hard work. Steady training is going to bring
steady improvement. Keep track of your training and use these changes as motivation to keep
moving toward your goals.

To help you stay on track for your longer term goals try some of the following:

       Write your goals down, and keep them somewhere visible such as on a bulletin board,
        bathroom mirror, refrigerator or by your bed.
       Create a network of family, friends and training partners who will support you and help
        you to achieve your goals.
       You will find that your improvement comes in ebbs and flows as your body adapts to
        certain training. This is normal and what makes creating short-term goals very helpful.
       Have fun with your workouts: Add variety in your training, explore new training routes,
        train with a friend or a pet.
       Use visualization to conjure up a positive mental picture of yourself achieving your goal.

You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your
goals. —Booker T. Washington

Write down your goal.
I want to raise $_______ or I want to complete my half marathon.

Break down that goal into smaller, shorter term goals. Every week I will raise $_______, I will
run 10k by April.

How will you go about achieving the goal? I will hold a pancake breakfast, I will run four times
per week and meet with the training group for group runs.

How will you be accountable to your goal?

What will be your gift to yourself once your goal has been reached?
Dealing with Road Blocks in Your Training Plan
Sometimes things happen that prevent you from following the path
that was originally outlined for you. Rather than stressing about it,
remember that consistent training rather than one particular
workout is what’s going to lead to improvements in fitness. If you
do wind up having to take a day or two, or even a week or two off
with an injury, don’t let it get you down. Discuss this with your
coach and set out a plan to get you back into stride as it may not
be in your best interest to start off where you ended. If you can’t
run or walk you can do other things that will help you to achieve
your goal. Spend more time in the weight room, do more stretching
or even put a little more effort into achieving your fundraising goal
and enjoying the team atmosphere.

Week 11: The Importance of Consistency

Consistency is the key to successful endurance training.
Sometimes life gets busy and you may not be able to fit in all your

                                              Page 22
workouts during the week. And missing one or two workouts won’t hurt you and will not mean you
cannot continue in the program. But you may need to evaluate your program design and ensure
that you are realistic with the time you set aside for training (see week 3 program design).

Overtraining means doing more work than your body is able to recover from. For example, doing
too much too soon, adding too much volume (too many miles), adding too many days of training
in a row and/or adding too much speed. The equation we want to remember is
                                Stress + Rest = Performance.

It is the body’s ability to adapt to the stresses placed on it through training that will allow the body
to build and get stronger and faster. If you place too much stress on the body, or don’t allow
sufficient time to recover from training stresses, your body will break down rather than become
stronger. Remember that stress can be both training-induced (good stress!) and life-induced (bad
stress) so be good to yourself and listen to your body and mind.

Rest and Recovery
Rest can mean no activity or active recovery. Rest can include:
    Easy days. If the program says easy run/walk, don’t be overly concerned about the pace
       of your run or walk. Active movement is a great way to deliver oxygen to the body but it
       does need to be done at an easy effort on recovery days.
    Get a good night’s sleep. Your body best recovers from training while sleeping. Aim for 7-
       9 hours of sleep every night.
    Naps during the day. If you know you have a hectic weekly schedule, plan an afternoon
       nap during the weekend to allow you to renew your energy. Naps as short as 15-20
       minutes can provide a refreshing recharge.
    Cross-training. By adding other activities into your training program such as swimming,
       skiing, biking, etc., you can use other muscles, which can help to prevent injuries while
       still giving the benefit of the aerobic conditioning the other activities provide.

The way to prevent overtraining is to avoid it!
Variety in your training is important. It may seem contradictory when the title of the chapter is
consistency, but the reality is that if you always do the same workout every day you will likely
overtrain, so by adding variety such as speed, longer runs, cross-training and strength-training
you will allow the body to build in a balanced way. The key is to consistently train using a variety
of workout and exercise types! Adding a strength component to your workouts is an added stress,
but a good one given consistent rest. If you add speed work to your training you need to build up
the volume of your speed work gradually (the 10% rule). When adding volume to your long runs
you need to add that volume over a period of time and add no more than 10% to your long days.
When adding variety, it is important to know when in the program to add it. If you are starting
speed work, you do not want to do that speed work the day before your long run as this is too
much stress. You want to ensure 48-72 hours between hard and long workouts when starting up
so the body can adapt and build from the efforts.

Another great way to monitor for overtraining is by knowing your resting heart rate in the morning.
As mentioned, a good night’s sleep is important and this is where your body recovers best. If your
morning heart rate (taken within 5-10 minutes of waking and before rising) is 5-8 beats higher
than usual, it is a good sign that the body is not recovering or you have not adapted to the effort,
so this day should be an easy day or an off day.

Remember we are not only talking about the stress from training, but stress from other life
commitments that can take their toll on the body.

Listen to what your body is telling you and be aware of your behaviors. The goal is to train
consistently without becoming overtrained. Keep an eye out for the following signs of overtraining.

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If you experience one or more of these signs it would be a very good idea to take the day off
rather than train as usual.

       Resting heart rate 5-8 beats above normal
       Difficulty sleeping, falling asleep or staying asleep
       Sudden unexplained weight loss
       Clumsiness, bumping into things or tripping over things
       A feeling of malaise or lethargy
       Overall low motivation or no desire to train

The goal of the training plan is to get you to race day fit, motivated and ready to be the best you
can be on that day. Enjoying what you are
doing and not overdoing it are key to
being at your best.

Week 12: Gear Check

As we approach week 12 we are now in
the thick of our training. We have had
some good longer training days under our
belts and we have been able to determine
what workouts have worked best, and
perhaps what has not worked as well for
us up to this point. The next two weeks
we’ll complete our longest distance days
and we’ll want to use these long ones as
dress rehearsals for the actual race day,
both in terms of pacing and nutrition, as
well as literal ―dress rehearsals‖ where we
will make sure that the shoes and clothes we plan to use on race day fit properly, don’t cause
chafing or blisters and are spectacularly color-coordinated for that finish-line photo!

As previously discussed during week 2, athletic shoes do not have an infinite lifespan. A good
pair will typically last 300 to 500 miles, and you will want to do one or two longer training sessions
in the shoes that you plan to wear on race day. So this week would be a great time to get a new
pair if your old stand-bys are on their last legs.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to start determining how you will carry your fuel or
water with you if think you’ll want more than what the event will provide at the on-course water/aid
stops. If you have not practiced with a water belt or handheld container, do so over these next
two to three weeks.

Have you experienced blisters or chaffing during workouts? Make sure that you have worn the
clothes in which you will race at least one or two times on long workouts so that there are no
surprises on race day. Treating yourself to a new racing outfit is great for motivation, but make
sure you have enough time to wear your new togs in training to ensure there are no ―hot spots‖
that will cause chafing. There are many products out there, such as body glide, to help with those

If the weather is cool in the morning, will you bring a long-sleeve shirt that you can carry with you
or will you leave it at an aid station?

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Week 13: Race Day Nutrition and Hydration Plan

Create a race day nutrition and hydration plan and test it several times on long workouts well in
advance of race day. It is better to ―blow it‖ in training than to find out on race day that your well
thought out race nutrition scheme of Dr. Pepper, Gummi bears and pureed Pop-Tarts makes you
nauseous while walking or running. Our goal is that you have a good idea of what your race day
nutrition plan will be by at least four weeks before race day.

A little reconnaissance will be helpful. Find the course map on the race Web site and find out
where the aid stations will be during the race. Mimic the placement of aid stations on your long
days by drinking or taking gels or other nutrition at the same interval as the race. If you have
chosen to use something other than what will be provided by the race directors, ensure you know
how you will carry it and make sure you have enough for the duration of the event.

Also know what time the race starts and do some training at that time of day to sort out the best
pre-race meal times for your body. Many athletes find that a big lunch and a light dinner the day
before works better than a night-before-the-race pasta pig-out.

Never experiment with something new on race day! Most coaches have a head full of horror
stories of athletes who on race day tried a new ―miracle‖ product that they were introduced to the
day before at the pre-race expo—with disastrous results. In many cases, the only miracle was
that the athlete finished the race after repeated trips to the port-a-johns or diversions to the side
of the road.

Race day nutrition actually starts the day before the race. Your last meal is very important, and
can make or break your best performance on race day.

Evening Before
If you are planning on attending the pre-race pasta dinner, make sure you eat pasta the night
before some of your long workouts at the same time of day as the pasta dinner to determine
whether your system can handle that sort of meal. Pre-race pasta dinners are embedded
traditions in the running and walking community, but many athletes do not respond well to such a
pre-race menu. If you know that pasta doesn’t work for you, work out through trial-and-error in
training what does work for you and make arrangements to enjoy the very same tried-and-true
pre-race meal the night before the race even if you have do so in your hotel room before or after
the pasta dinner. Or make plans to go to an agreeable restaurant of your choice with your
teammates the night before the race and forgo the pasta dinner entirely. Everybody is different,
but many endurance athletes like their pre-race meals to include a bit of lean protein and some
complex carbohydrates, but try to avoid too much fiber which may lead to mid-race intestinal
problems. NOW is the time to narrow down which food choices cause no—or the least amount
of—intestinal distress during your long training/racing efforts.

Race Day
There should be very few ―unknowns‖ on race day. Again, NOW is when you want to work out
which drinks, sport gels, or other energy sources will work for you on race day. Many athletes do
just fine drinking only water, others—especially those who will be on the course longer than two
hours—may want to experiment with carbohydrate-rich sport gels and ―blocks‖ (carbohydrate
supplements that are similar in consistency to the aforementioned Gummi bears) or other
carbohydrate sources such as figs or bananas.

You should also work out the timing of your morning meal if you choose to have one. Some
athletes don’t eat any solid food on race morning, but most half marathoners do have some sort
of breakfast. Find out what time the race will start and eat at least 1.5 hours before, and as far
ahead as four hours before, depending on what your system will tolerate.

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Everybody is different, but aim to eat 150-300 calories per hour of time you have before the start
of the event. For example, if eating two hours before the start of the race, eat a meal of 300-600

If you do choose to supplement on-the-go, determine in training how many calories you will be
able to take in per hour. You won’t be able to ingest as many calories you are expending unless
you are moving your jaws faster than your legs, but many athletes aim to take in 30-50% of their
total caloric expenditure on-the-go. As a very general rule of thumb, walkers and runners will burn
100-115 calories per mile, so if you do plan on supplementing with more
than water, aim for 30-55 calories per mile, which is the
equivalent of drinking one 8-ounce cup of sport drink or eating
one sports gel every 2-3 miles.

If the race is providing a particular sport drink (Gatorade™,
Ultima™, Powerade™, etc.) use that drink in training, or plan on
carrying your drink of choice with you in a drink bottle carrier.
Practice your plan and how you will carry your drinks/gels/figs
with you on your longest runs to see if it is comfortable and
reasonable for you to do so.

Although you may not feel like eating much after your long
workouts and after your half marathon, it is important to replenish
your carbohydrate stores. Your body is best able to replenish its muscle-glycogen stores
(carbohydrates stored within the muscles) within the first 30 minutes of the end of the workout or
race, and a little protein added to the mix will help to repair damage to the muscles and will also
help the muscles to absorb more carbohydrates. A 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is
best, and is what is found in most recovery-specific drinks. Or make your own recovery shakes
(see appendix). Within 1-2 hours after your long workouts or races, have a good balanced meal
with a good source of lean protein and some vegetables or salad. You may crave salty and fatty
foods–this is your body telling you what it needs–enjoy the treat. If all you can think about during
the last five miles of your long workouts or races is cheeseburgers and French fries, don’t ignore
this craving! But then get back to more nutritious foods.

The completion of your long workouts, and especially your half marathon, is a major
accomplishment and a well-deserved celebration will be in order. But try to avoid overdoing sugar
and alcohol for the first two to three days afterwards. Whole foods and antioxidants will help in
your recovery, allow you to gain strength from this event and set you up to prepare for your next
goal, whatever that may be.

Week 14: Tapering

Tapering is part of the payoff for all the hard work that you have done in preparation for race day.
It is a period of reduced mileage leading up to your event that allows your body to recover from
and adapt to the months of hard training. Tapering often leads to improved conditioning as your
well-rested body is able to perform at its best.

Tapering can be tricky and there are a couple of ways that even experienced endurance athletes
frequently ―blow it.‖ Some athletes do too much training in the final days and weeks before the
event hoping to make up for any missed training over the previous months; other athletes err on
the side of resting too much. The goal is to arrive at race day rested, but also well-tuned for the
challenge of the day.

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During the taper you will decrease your total volume (mileage) while still maintaining the usual
intensity of your training. By resting you will rebuild damaged tissues and recover from minor
injuries, as well as restore glycogen (carbohydrate) and other nutrients in your body.

Fitness gains through additional training will be very limited in the last 10-14 days before your
event, but gains made due to the ―rebound‖ effect can be considerable. Fitness gains made
through months of training can be masked by layers of fatigue. By resting in the last few weeks
and ―sharpening‖ with short, relatively intense efforts at or slightly faster than half marathon pace,
gains in speed can be considerable

The week before the event your ―long‖ day should be reduced to no more than half the distance
of your event. A few short interval or fartlek workouts during this period will keep the legs loose
and prevent ―staleness‖ by keeping the muscles’ metabolic enzymes active. Your fitness level,
age and previous experience will determine how much to taper. More experienced athletes may
use a longer taper—up to three weeks—with more emphasis on tempo and race pace efforts in
the final weeks, whereas less experienced athletes may find that a two-week taper is most
effective. It is always better to err on the side of being slightly undertrained than over-trained,
feeling like you should do one more long day (you will … on race day!) rather than actually doing
it and arriving on race day tired. Don’t forget what the primary goal of your training is: To arrive on
race day fit, happy and motivated to take on the challenge!

Week 15: Race Day Tips

Race day is what your journey has been about, the hours of training and fundraising all
culminating on this one special day. The number one thing to keep in mind is to relax, enjoy
yourself and take pride in all the work you have done to allow yourself to be at the starting line. If
this is your first long race remember what your goal is: To finish and enjoy the event without being
overly concerned about your finish time. The following are a few things to keep in mind to help get
you through your race safely, and hopefully swiftly!

Don’t Do Anything on Race Day that You Have Not Practiced in Training
This means don’t eat or drink anything that you have not tried before (see race day nutrition on
page 79). This also means don’t wear a new pair of shoes or a new pair of shorts (see week 12
gear check) that you have never worn before. Often at large events there are event expos where
sponsors and vendors will showcase new items. This is a great time to check things out for future
events, but you have your plan set so do not be influenced to try something new on race day. If
you buy anything new, do so knowing that you will try it in a few weeks after you have recovered.

Do Some Reconnaissance
Your race day preparation should actually begin at least a day or two before race day. Most big
races have Web sites with course maps that provide elevation profiles, locations of water and aid
stations and mile marks. Learn as much as possible about the course and the management of the
race and, if possible. take a drive on all or part of the course to know where tight turns are, the
condition of the streets and so you know what a 30-ft. hill looks like versus a 300-ft. hill. Mentally
break up the event into very doable sections, know key landmarks, know where the aid stations
will be and where those hills are. Also know when you will drink or take other aid on the course,
whether provided by the event, carried on your person or handed to you by friends or family out
on the course. Scoping out the last few miles of the course on foot or in your car a day or two
before the race will give you a good visual tip-off that the finish line is near when you see familiar
territory on race day. The night before the race, visualize yourself out on the course, enjoying the
day, feeling relaxed and comfortable and finishing strong.

Race Morning Routine

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Try to wake up several hours before the event and have a light breakfast as outlined in weeks 4
and 13. Relax, do some light stretching and get dressed to meet your teammates. As a member
of Team Challenge, you will meet the morning of the race with your coach and team members.
Race morning can be a little intimidating for a first-timer. The familiarity of meeting with your
training group just like you have done every weekend for the past 16 weeks can do wonders to
ease the tension. Know that you are ready and that you are part of a great team. As a team you
will warmup and stretch together to ensure you are ready for the start of the event.

The Start Line
There will be a wide range of running/walking abilities out on the course. Most races will attempt
to ―corral‖ athletes of similar ability together based on predicted finish time. This allows the
smoothest possible race, ensuring that speed demons don’t knock down slower runners and
walkers as they bolt from the starting line. Lining up with the appropriate pace group will also help
you to stick to your race plan. If you line up too close to the front you may find yourself getting
caught up in a sprint at the start and going out too fast. If you line up too far in the back you may
find that you have to weave unnecessarily around other runners and walkers. If your race does
not have a corral system, ask people around you what their predicted time is and seed yourself

The most reliable racing strategy is to start out at a comfortable pace and either maintain it, or
even gradually increase your pace throughout the race. Most top half marathon runners and
racewalkers do a slight ―negative split‖—finishing the second half of the race slightly faster than
the first half. The goal is to settle into your natural pace and keep a steady pace throughout the

Seeing the Finish Line
It can be a natural instinct to sprint through the finishing chute as the emotions of the
accomplishment can sometimes get the best of us. Unless you’ve done a fair amount of speed
work in your training, try to avoid a blazing finish that may injure fatigued muscles. Rather, soak
up the accomplishment and the cheers as this is much easier on the body and aids in recovery.
Save you finishing ―kick‖ for subsequent races when you have more training and experience
under your belt. This time the primary concern is finishing healthy, and looking great for the finish
line photographer!

Although you have just finished 13.1 miles do not stop cold. Walk around slowly for a few minutes
to allow the body to cool down gradually. Eat and drink something as soon as possible—ideally
within 30 minutes of finishing—to get carbohydrates and fluid back into the muscles (see race day
nutrition week 13). Change into dry clothes—including under layers such as shorts, jog bras and
racing tops—to ensure that you do not get chilled. Once back at your hotel or home take a warm
bath and then do some easy stretches. A quick, cool-water shower or bath afterwards will help
reduce swelling in the muscles. Avoid running the day after the race, but be active. Easy walking,
biking or swimming can deliver much needed blood and oxygen to your muscles and help with
recovery. Try to enjoy a more substantial meal within a few hours of finishing, relax and get ready
for the post-race victory party!

                                   GOOD LUCK!!!

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