RUNNING STRONG

How to train for the Houston Marathon without putting in the extra mileage

There are a lot of ways to train for a marathon. Getty Images

Have you ever thought about running a marathon, but don’t want to strain your legs from the extra mileage of training? Or have you trained for a marathon and would love to do it again, but without the daily slog of training and pain? Welll.. there is actually a way to save your knees. Through various cross training workouts paired with of course some running. As a runner, I know the strain your knees can take from running. I suffered from patella tendinitis throughout my college career while running cross country and track. I was a Division I, 800-meter runner and despised running cross country, but was forced to. I hated the training because it killed my knees. But I learned a few very good lessons that I will forever help preach to save knees around the world.  

With cross trainings, paired with running and different types of workouts, you can run that marathon you wished to train for again. For some of those training for the Houston Marathon, January 20th 2019, you’re already a few months into your training, then well you’re in the midst of the hard part. The last 2-2.5 months will become the hardest part of training before you start to taper down. If you’re training for the marathon in January, this November and December will be the most important to save your knees.

Everyone’s training plans will be different. Most will increase mileage weekly by about 10% of your baseline to your peak. Your baseline is going to be your average weekly mileage before you started training. But if you’re running the Houston Marathon, at this point you are probably past the first few months of building your mileage. This is where I would suggest throwing in some cross training 1-2 times a week and cutting down running to 2-3 times a week also. Find an even balance for yourself. Or even with your “cross trainings/running” workouts taking place of a running workout.

This would be substituted with sprints, tempo runs, fartlek training, backwards running. Each of these workouts have specific goals: improving aerobic capacity, lactate threshold, running speed. Be sure to change your terrains on these runs, especially the long runs. These trainings all help alleviate mileage. On none running days you can also be sure to add in a mix of swim, bike, lifting weights, agility, etc. Lifting weights can make you stronger, and the other cross trainings can work your muscles and lungs to become more powerful.

While you start to build up your mileage, and only being two months away at this point, you should never pass running 45 miles. I’ve PR-ed on my full marathon when running between 35-40 miles a week peaking at 45. Through some research, it shows statistically anyone training above 45 miles a week can burnout, overtrain, and could possibly get injured. Along your cross-training workouts be sure to incorporate are short high intensity bursts of cardio into weight lifting for one hour. Run three times a week and no more. On one of your cross-training days if you take a few cardio exercises from below, and push through for one minute, then incorporate some other weight exercises (below), for 10-12 reps. Repeating this whole circuit 3-4 times, should get your heart rate pumping and endorphins running.

Burpees, jumping Squats, jump rope, plank, Bicep Curls, Jumping Jacks, Mountain Climbers, Static Lunges, push-ups, etc. All of these will get your heart rate pumping, then you can do some push-ups, free standing squats, sit-ups, tri-cep and bicep curls, etc.

It is just as critical to recover as it is to train. So as part of the training process remember to rest, recover, stretch, and roll out! Please remember to roll out on a foam roller, for as least 30-45 minutes. Static stretches are super important like pigeon pose, especially after running. If you’re hamstring or lower back is really bothering you, be sure to grab a lacrosse ball and dig deep into those areas with it. Again, I will reiterate it is just as important to rest with off days, yoga days, stretch days, you name it. This is another common mistake most runners make, and do not see that they are only burning themselves out without proper rest.

Another common mistake is trying to make up for lost time on mileage. Everyone gets busy, slammed at work, gets sick, or maybe even the most non-ideal scenario, an injury. But hey, life happens. So when this does, just pick up right back where you left off. Do not try to double your workouts to try to make up. Three weeks leading up to your big race you should start to taper down on mileage. A common program builds for 13-16 weeks, with the second 20-mile-long run coming at the end of the 13th week. Then you can start to taper off, from 15 to 10 during weeks 14-15. The sprints and temp runs would taper down as well, with a final 8-mile tempo run at marathon goal pace, just about a week to 10 days before the marathon.

One thing to keep in mind before you get off to start your training or continue your training, don’t make a common mistake most runners do. When you train, do not race your training by going all out and exhausting yourself. If you cannot hold a conversation, or your heart is over 140 beats per min, or you regularly need to stop, you probably need to take it a notch down and slow the pace. Even though you may seem you are not training hard enough, it is imperative to slow down to a good pace, so you do not burn out. And with the help of this article …. hopefully you will be far from burning out as you train towards your next marathon! Good Luck!

 

Add these to your grocery list

Best foods for runners to eat before and after a run

Courtesy photo

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

I'm looking in my email inbox. One thing is clear (other than I really need to delete some emails), race season is beginning. There is the Hot Chocolate Run, the Bayou City Classic, and Run Like a Diva Marathon. I'm getting totally excited thinking about all the medals I can get. Then, I think about last running season. My habits were pretty sloppy last race season. There is a reason why you haven't seen my finish line picture. My nutrition was shotty. So I went to my friend, Google, and did some research on the best foods for runners. Here is what I found:

As an experienced runner, what you eat before you run is of the utmost importance. It is no fun to run out of steam due to not eating. It is also no fun to eat the wrong thing and get gassy. It is no fun to eat something that makes it hard to move and slows your time down. Once before a long run of 16 miles, I grabbed a plum from my fridge in haste. I forgot that a plum is really a prune. I got what they call runner trots (that's diarrhea) around mile 11. And that's really no fun. So what are the best foods to eat before a run or a race.

Banana

Bananas are full of potassium which help regulate the body's muscle contractions and prevents cramping. It also has enough starch to provide the glucose (where energy comes from) for your run and is easy to digest earning the name Old Fait.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal

If you are in the mid point of training for a half, full marathon, or a spartan race, you will have long strenuous workouts and runs. Oatmeal makes a perfect choice to get you through. Like the banana, it is easy on the stomach and is full of carbohydrates to get you through your workout. It's a wonderful source of protein and because it has a low glycemic index, it provides sustained release of energy thus making sure you finish strong.

Nut Butter

Nut butters, like peanut, almonds, and cashews are great to eat before and after your run. Nut butters are full of fat and protein making you feel fuller longer. What's cool about that is you can eat less and you won't run the risk of cramping and sluggishness that comes with eating too much. Pair it with Ezekiel Toast (bread made with all the ingredients found at Ezekiel 4:9) to have a light meal made from complete plant protein. And its quick and easy to make. Just add honey to taste.

Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are great to consume before your workout, whether it is running, cross fit, or lifting weights. They are full of protein like the name suggests. If you are on a specific diet, they work well into your daily calories and nutrients. They come in amazing flavors like chocolate chip cookie dough and salted caramel. Chose a plant based protein powder over whey for running. It sustains you without weighing you down and is easy on the stomach. I recommend AdvoGreens Salted Caramel by Advocare.

Eggs

One of the best things ever created was the egg. Eggs are an inexpensive solution to many dietary problems for runners especially. Forget about them being a complete protein, but a little goes a long way. One egg over Ezekiel toast before a run will last until the end. After a run, you can enjoy an omelette to not only fight hunger, but inflammation. Also, eggs are full of Vitamin K which promotes bone health. Let's just say, the egg is awesome!

Some foods are great for runners to add to their overall diet.


Sweet potato

Runners need their carbs. You can't just eat Doritos and think that's going to cut it. Instead try adding sweet potato to your diet. Sweet potatoes are good carbs meaning they don't cause your sugar to spike which is great for runners because you can last a lot longer on the track. They are also full of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and iron. You can eat them stuffed, in a hash, or baked them as fries with salt and vinegar drizzled on top.

Yogurt

Yogurt is also great for runners as it helps boost your immune system by its many strains of probiotics. Nothing can ruin a training schedule than getting sick over and over again. Yogurt is another great source of protein as well as calcium. It is a very diverse food. You can enjoy it off the spoon, as kefir, or as a smoothie with your favorite fruit. I'm thinking a berry, banana blast with pineapple (pineapple is great for preventing injuries).

Avocado

I can't have enough reasons to eat avocado. Avocados are a runner's best friend. Avocados have as much as 60% more potassium than bananas. Because of their high fat and fiber content, they keep you feeling full for longer. They possess Omega 3 Fatty Acids and other anti-inflammatory properties. This reduces muscle and joint soreness and assists in recovery between workouts. Although amazing by themselves, avocados are great on sandwiches, with eggs, and just about anything.

Legumes

Like eggs, legumes are an inexpensive solution to many dietary problems for runners. They are a complete protein-carbohydrate combination that will give you sustained energy and helps repair your muscles. They are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals and will fit into a vegan, vegetarian, and a meat eaters diet. Think lentil stew or a bowl of chili to satiate your hunger after a long run. I would wait to enjoy after the run. They could cause gas.

So next time you go to the grocery store, be sure to include these items on your list. Better yet, pick out a couple of recipes to try out.

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