River Bank Race Week!

Hi, Runners. I hope that those of you who ran enjoyed the Tulip Time races!

This week’s blog is brought to you by Quinn.

Here are his River Bank race day tips!

“Hey, Runners!

We are coming ever closer to River Bank Run and with that the end of this season! Let me first off say it has been an absolute pleasure to train with all of you over the past months!

With River Bank Run fast approaching I have a few tips for dealing with inclement weather on race day! As some of you might recall, weather for last year’s River Bank Run was not the best, in fact it was anything but that. Below you will find a few tips for surviving a potentially rainy race day!

  1. Pack An Extra Outfit

I’m a huge believer that you should always pack an extra shirt, an extra pair of pants, and an extra pair of socks! That way if your first outfit ends up getting soaked you can change into a dry one after your race. The less time you spend in wet clothes the less likely you are to get sick!

  1. Bring a Garbage Bag

Another great tip that I’m sure you have all utilized is using a garbage bag as a rain poncho.  River Bank is a very popular run, which means you will spend a lot of time at the starting line before actually starting to run. A great way to stay dry while you’re waiting is to wear a garbage bag! It’s waterproof and windproof so it will help keep you warm/dry while waiting!

That being said, as soon as you start running you need to ditch the bag! Trying to run in a garbage bag will not be fun, so make sure to get rid of the bag before you start your race.

  1. Hydration

This one may seem strange, but even when it’s colder and raining you still need to make sure you are drinking enough water. It’s a rather common misconception that you don’t need to drink as much water when it’s cold. This however is simply not true. It is possible to still get dehydrated while it’s cold outside. So make sure to drink lots of water during the days leading up to and the day of your race.

  1. Lightweight Jacket

For days when you aren’t quite sure what the weather will bring I always like to include some type of lightweight, packable jacket in my outfit. Something similar to the LSD Jacket from Brooks is a great option. Having a coat like this will help to keep you comfortably warm, but also dry before or during the race. As well, since it is a packable, if you get too warm during the race you can simply take the jacket off, fold it into itself, and continue on your way.

  1. Use the V.I.P. Room

Hopefully you have all started to pick up your V.I.P. room Tickets for River Bank Run.  This is a great tool for all of you and absolutely should be utilized on race day! If it does end up raining, the V.I.P. room will be a great way to stay dry and warm before the race!”


Your Challenge this week is to get race-day ready! Have your gear laid out and/or packed the night before. Know what you’re going to wear. Know where your nutrition is. Check out the course to see where nutrition and water will be on course. Know where you’re going Race Day, where you’re parking, etc. I want  you to do everything you possibly can to feel prepared for Saturday!

Wednesday we are at Gazelle Sports Holland. Yes, I realize it’s Tulip Time. My apologies for that in advance. But know that you may have to park in the parking garage – a little further from the store. This is our last official group meeting for a run this season!

Complete: 1 Mile Easy/1 Mile Tempo/1 Mile Recovery
Compete: 1 Mile Easy /2 Mile Tempo/1 Mile Recovery

Saturday – Race Day! – Fire up, get excited! And please see this week’s e-mail for all race-morning details.

See you all out there running!

Body Betrayals

Hi, Runners!

River Bank Run is quickly approaching, and with that looming date, nerves and anticipation are probably mounting.

We’ve talked about the things you can do to prepare yourself for race day – but what if race day issues outside of your control arise?

This Runner’s World article covers 5 body betrayals and how you can fight back against them. Here are some brief excerpts from the article:

#1: Body Betrayal: You Can’t Poop

No one wants to start a race when the urge to poop is brewing. That’s why bringing on your morning poop is extra-important on race days. But what’s a person to do if their bowels aren’t on board?

The answer: Coffee

#2: Body Betrayal: You Wake Up With a Cold

If you just wake up with the sniffles, you should be just fine to run your race, says Shanna Levine, M.D., a clinical instructor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

A cold dehydrates your body more than usual, so your move is to prioritize hydration and fit in a solid pre-race meal. That can fuel you for the race and replenish lost fluids.

#3: Body Betrayal: A Bug Flies in Your Eye

You’re running along at a brisk pace when something flies right in your eye—making every blink feel like torture.

If you don’t want to stop, you can try to blink several times to see if that removes it out—your excess tears may help flush it out—but don’t rub your eye. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to pause to do some recon.

Your removal strategy: Ask a friend to take a look, or use a mirror (protip: your iPhone camera also works), to find out where the sucker is. Then, pull your eyelid down, spin a small piece of tissue or paper towel into a point, and wick the bugger out.

#4: Body Betrayal: You Get a Side Stitch

Side stitches usually hit you for two reasons, says Mahon. The first is the result of too much turning in your lower spine and not enough rotation in your shoulders and thoracic area.

Another common reason for side stitches is eating or drinking something that isn’t agreeing with you, says Mahon—likely something too acidic or too complex to be absorbed quickly. This is a good reminder not to eat or drink (or wear) anything new on race day—stick to the stuff you know works from your training. If it’s too late for that, try drinking small bits of water to help move the food along, lightly massage the cramping area while you’re running, and take slow, deep breaths.

#5: Body Betrayal: You Feel a Blister Coming On

“The inevitable blisters, bloody toes, sore heels, and the like happen so often that they are the badges of honor for many a runner,” says Mahon. But these issues can also halt your run in its tracks.

A lot of shoe comfort comes down to socks. If you feel yours start to crinkle up—and you can spare to lose a few seconds—stop and straighten it out, says Coogan. An out-of-position sock can change your gait and lead to friction, which can mean blisters, he notes.

If it’s a hot or rainy day, consider a little Vaseline on your feet, says Mahon. “This will reduce friction and keep your feet from over-heating.”

If you tend to sweat heavily, he suggests adding talcum powder inside your shoes to help absorb excess moisture.

For more information, see the article on Runner’s World here: http://www.runnersworld.com/race-day/5-ways-your-body-betrays-you-on-race-day

Wednesday we are at West K-7.
Complete: 1 mile easy/ 2 x 2 miles/ 1 mile recovery
Compete: 1 mile easy/ 2 x 1 mile/ 1 mile recovery

Route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/gp/bookmark/view/id/7066145

Saturday – Tulip Time Run – No official group training! BUT! Be prepared to meet for a group photo! Details in e-mail to follow.

See you all out there running!

Race Recovery

Hi, Runners!

Wow, what a weekend! Gazelle Girl, I heard, was great for a lot of you! Congratulations to everyone who ran!


You all are seriously phenomenal. You worked hard, put in the time and miles, and hopefully Sunday was awesome for you – those of you I saw, you all looked really strong out there. I’m really proud of all of you!

But wait! You’re not done yet! We still have a few weeks of season left. Even if you’re not running River Bank Run, I hope you’ll continue to join us for the rest of the season!

So you’ve run your race, and you ran hard. Now what?

First, recovery – Take a day or two or more off of running, especially if Gazelle Girl was your goal race and you’re done racing for the season. Listen to your body. Continue to drink water, eat well, and rest. Letting your body recover and treating it well will help you to come back stronger when you begin to run again. Taking a full week after a half marathon (if you are not training for River Bank) with no mileage is completely okay. That doesn’t mean that you sit around for a week – but focus on other non-running activities that will strengthen and stretch the tired, sore muscles you just used.

Processing what you just accomplished can be hard. You covered 13.1 miles with almost 2,000 other women. I recommend writing a “race report.” Take the time to write down what went well, what you could improve on next time, how you felt, what you ate before, how you fueled during – any details you can remember that will help you to look back on for your next race. Plus it’s fun to look back and see how far you’ve come over the years.

And lastly, if you’re experiencing post-race blues (a common “now what” post-race occurrence), figuring out your next race, or planning for another run camp season can help give you a new goal to work toward!

Your Challenge this week: Write a Race Report for Gazelle Girl, and/or a race plan for River Bank Run! If you ran this weekend, report on what happened, how you felt, and what’s next. Post your pictures to our Facebook page! If you’re not racing until River Bank – figure out your plan, your strategy. What pace group are you running with? Or are you just going to run by feel? How are you going to fuel, at what points? What should your paces be to hit your goal? Will you run negative splits? What time will you get to the starting line? What will you do to warm up? There are so many questions you can ask of yourself and answer. Feel free to share your plan once you create it! Encourage others to do so as well.

This week Wednesday, we are at Hope Track. I am switching up the schedule for Compete – just trading this week’s workout with next week’s – this keeps you all on the track this week, and off the track next week to make things less complicated. 

25k Complete: 1 Mile Easy/4 X 1200M Speed/1 Mile Recovery
25k Compete: 2 Mile Easy/4 X 1600M Speed/1 Mile Recovery

Saturday we are at Zeeland Stadium (Corner of Riley and 100th)!

25k Complete & Compete: 10 miles long
Route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=7062230

Recover well, Gazelle Girls.

Runners I will see you all soon!



Gazelle Girl Race Week!

Hi, Runners! Happy Monday!

We are rapidly hurtling toward the end of our season. Gazelle Girl Half Marathon is this Sunday, and after that, there are only two weeks left in the program!

In preparation for this weekend, and for River Bank race day, I wanted to cover some race week and race day preparation! These are good reminders for those of us who have participated in these races before, and good information for those of us who have never raced!

  1. Nothing new on race day – only tried and true. It’s an old adage, but one that is very important for the success of your race.  No new shoes, no new socks, no new clothing. You never know how your body is going to react to these things if you try something new. New shoes/socks may cause blisters. New clothing may cause chafing in places that you might not expect.
    The same goes for food and drink. By now you should have your morning run routine down, and your night before routine. No new foods and no new drinks the night before. This will hopefully help you avoid GI issues during your race! Only eat and drink what you know works for you.
  2. Get  some sleep. Going in to race day well rested will help you perform at your best. It’s often hard to sleep the night before, nerves and excitement overtake your mind. So do your best to get some rest!
  3. Lay out your clothes and accessories the night before. To make sure that you’re not scrambling to find everything race morning, lay out everything you’re going to need the night before. I usually make sure that I have my nutrition, shorts/capris, a shirt, bra, socks, shoes, watch, and everything else in one place the night before. I have a bag packed with a jacket, shoes/sandals for after the race, and clothes to change in to after. For Gazelle Girl this year, you may potentially want a towel for afterward (fingers crossed you won’t need it). Just make sure you have everything all in one place so it’s an easy grab and go in the morning!
  4. Make sure your Garmin/phone/music device is charged. There is great disappointment in arriving to the starting line with out your watch or phone or music. If mentally you were relying on one of those items, it can throw you off a bit. We don’t want to let that happen, so make sure that you have everything charged and ready to go!
  5. Hydrate, eat well, take care of yourself – you should be doing this every week, but especially this week.
  6. Know where you’re going race morning, where you’re planning to park, and what time you need to be there. Have parking, meeting location, and carpool all figured out. Having your parking location, starting line location figured out ahead of time will make race morning go smoothly for you. Parking map: http://gazellegirlhalfmarathon.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Downtown-Parking-Gazelle-Girl-2017.pdf
  7. ENJOY! Think of all of the time and miles you’ve put in leading up to this day. The race is really just the icing on top of the cake. You’ve done the work. You’ve given your time and effort. Pick your head up, look around, breathe, and enjoy the experience! You’ve got this!

Wednesday we are at Hope Track – Gazelle Girls! Yes. It is still okay to do Speed Work race week. You will have ample time to recover between this and race day. I would recommend the lower mileage rather than the higher this week.
Complete: 1 Mile Easy/3 X 1200M Speed/1 Mile Recovery
Compete: 2 Mile Easy/4 X 1200M Speed/1 Mile Recovery

Saturday we are at Holland Civic Center – Gazelle Girls! I encourage you to come and either take a walk or do a short 2 – 3 mile shakeout run with us!
Complete: 13 miles long
Compete: 13 miles Race Pace

Route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=7057952

Take care, and I’ll see you all out there running!

Peak Week!

Hi, Runners!

I hope you’ve gotten to enjoy some of the sunshine this weekend. It appears as though the weather is finally turning for us. Of course, that doesn’t exclude rain – which I’m sure we’ll get much more of this season. But that’s Michigan for you.


I loved the sunny smiles and Gazelle Girl shirts this weekend! I know there were a few more of you who were wearing your shirts as well, but these are the few I caught. We’re just 13 days away from Gazelle Girl – just under 2 weeks!

This week is peak week for many of you (unless you’re already tapering for Gazelle Girl – which you should be if it’s your main race). This means that we will hit our highest mileage for the season. After this week, our mileage begins to decrease in order to help us recover before River Bank Run.

This is a tough week, but is great physical and mental training. Following pacing recommendations, as well as recovering properly after runs, and warming up properly before running are going to be helpful when it comes to getting through the week.

We will focus on doing some dynamic warm-ups this week before we run both Wednesday and Saturday, and on rolling or stretching after our run as well.

On thing that I’ve found that always helps me is using compression gear either during or after a run (or both) – especially during those weeks where the workouts get tough. Compression socks and tights both work to help with recovery.

From Competitor.com: http://running.competitor.com/2014/02/recovery/the-science-of-squeeze-how-compression-apparel-works_43385

How it works: The foot striking the ground sends vibration up the runner’s leg and causes muscles to shake. This is thought to damage muscles and add to post-exercise soreness. Compression apparel secures the muscles in place to prevent muscular breakdown.

Does it really happen?

Research conducted by Massey University in Auckland found that there was a reduction in delayed-onset muscle soreness 24 hours after exercise when wearing graduated compression stockings after a fast-paced 10k road run. Interestingly, this study found that soreness was reduced specifically in the compressed muscle region. Ninety-three percent of subjects who ran without compression socks experienced lower leg soreness a day after the run, but only 14 percent of the subjects who ran with the socks had similar soreness.

How it works: By creating extra blood flow, wearing compression after exercise is purported to expedite the removal of metabolic waste and re-introduce the substances muscles require to rebuild.

Does it really happen?

There is some research to support countless anecdotes from athletes and air travelers who claim their legs feel fresher after wearing compression. Scientists at the University of Exeter measured recovery with three strength exercises conducted one, two, three and four days after soreness-inducing plyometric exercise. They found that wearing compression for 24 hours following exercise improved performance in all three strength tests and reduced the soreness perceived by the subjects.


Compression socks or calf sleeves. These help with lower leg recovery. The socks can be worn all day,  whereas the sleeves should only be worn for 4 – 8 hours. Increased circulation to the calves, and with the socks, to the feet and ankles. This means increased blood flow to those areas, and decreased recovery time.

Compression tights or shorts:

These fit, and should fit, quite tightly – compressing the upper part of your legs and supporting your lower back. Usually worn during a run as opposed to after. Increased circulation to the quads and glutes, and extra support for increased stability and balance, greater efficiency of movement, better shock resistance in joints, and decreased muscle oscillation.


So, if you’re considering something other than foam rolling or ice baths for recovery, check out compression gear!

Your Challenge this week is to warm up before every run. Yes, it takes more time. Yes, it requires a little bit more dedication, but it’s a really important piece of keeping healthy. Here are some ideas on dynamic stretches to do before you go out and run: http://www.runnersworld.com/the-body-shop/five-exercises-to-do-before-every-run

Wednesday we’re at VanRaalte Farm – 24th St. Side – once again to run more hills!
Complete: 1 Mile Easy/6-8 Moderate Hill/1 Mile Recovery
Compete: 1 Mile Easy/6-8 Moderate Hill/1 Mile Recovery
Saturday we’re at Felt Mansion (6597 138th Ave, Holland, MI 49423)
Complete: 15 miles Long
Compete: 16 miles Long
See you out there running!


Listen to your body

Hi, Runners! As we get into some of our highest mileage, I know that there are some of you out there who may be experiencing pain. Soreness or tightness during a long run or after a long run is not unusual. It’s the persistent pain, or being constantly fatigued, even after resting, that starts to get troublesome. Training for a race isn’t easy, and soreness and fatigue come with the territory. But there’s one thing I want you all to recognize and do.

Listen to your body. It’s something that we’ve all heard, and all been told. A tired cliche – or is it?

Runners are a stubborn breed. We have to be to cover the distance that we do – to get up in the wee hours of the morning to go log the miles. I’m convinced that if we weren’t stubborn, we’d never get anything accomplished.

However, when it comes to persistent pain and fatigue, that stubbornness comes with a price.  When we don’t listen to what our bodies are telling us – that’s when we get ourselves in trouble.

Backing off, or taking time off of training is not weakness – it’s willingness recognize your physical limitations. If you take the time off now, you’ll be able to continue running throughout your life, instead of being sidelined for an extended period of time by an injury.

The key to taking time off, or cutting back in your mileage, is having the confidence in yourself to know that you will back off only when necessary. If you’re afraid that if you cut back once or twice, you’re going to fall off the schedule all together, you’ll continue to push mindlessly through. This leads to small problems becoming major injuries or illnesses. By ignoring a small injury, much of the time it will develop into a more serious injury.

Learning to listen to your body is tough. One of the best ways to do this is to write it down. Record it if you’re beginning to feel an injury. This will help you track day to day what hurts, and how long it’s been going on. Be as detailed as possible.

Listening to your body can also help you modify your training. An intelligent and disciplined runner can recover from minor injury without completely taking time off of running – by cutting back on mileage or adjusting your schedule. By gauging your body’s responses to running on soft surfaces, changing shoes, or avoiding downhills, you may find that your training can continue while an injury heals.

But don’t fool yourself: If pain does not go away within the first three minutes of a run, then stop running and cross-train until you can run without pain.

Your body provides you with feedback that can help improve your running performance. Learn to differentiate between the discomfort of hard effort and the pain of an injury. Learn to persevere with the former and react intelligently to the latter.

Challenge: If you don’t already keep one – start a running log or journal. Somewhere where you can log miles and how you’re feeling on that particular day – if you felt awesome, or if something hurt. What you did that day in order to feel awesome. This can be a physical paper journal, or an online tracker of some sort. But by making it a habit to write down your mileage and how you felt, you’ll be able to better track what works and what doesn’t for you!

This Wednesday we are at Hope Track.
Complete/Compete: Prediction Run! I’ve had a few folks ask me what this means. This run is kind of like a game. You’re going to run a 1 – 2 mile warm up, and then you’re going to be running a device-free (no phones, no watches, etc.) 2.7 mile route at a tempo pace. Your goal is to predict the time that it will take you to run this route. What we’re trying to achieve here (other than just having a little fun) is helping you to know what it’s like to run by feel. Here is the route you’ll be running, so you can start thinking about it now: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/gp/bookmark/view/id/7049582

Saturday we’re at the 24th St. Side of VanRaalte Farm.
Complete: 14 miles Long
Compete: 15 miles Long
Gazelle Girls: 8 miles Long (Note: If Gazelle Girl Half Marathon is your goal race – this is the race you are intending to run hard, this is where you being to taper before the race. You should allow your legs a couple of weeks of rest pre-race in order for your body to perform at its best. If your goal race is River Bank 25k, you may choose to continue to increase your mileage, instead of decreasing. There is a down week scheduled for the week of Gazelle Girl. However, don’t expect your body to perform as well as if you’d tapered before Gazelle Girl!)

Route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=7049618

See you all out there running!

Nutrition pt. 3 – Pre and post run

Hi Runners!

The third and final installment of our Nutrition Information focuses on eating before and after you run.

Pre-Run: Some people have their favorite meal pre-run, and some are still figuring that out. What works best for you is such an individualized thing. However, there are some general things that your pre-run meal should include (or exclude).

Carbohydrates are what fuel your run. Choose familiar foods that are easy on your system, low in fat and fiber, and high in carbs. This will boost your energy without upsetting your stomach. Including a little bit of protein pre-run may help reduce post-run soreness. And of course, you should always drink water when you consume any sort of food before, during or after running. Again, figuring out what works best for you can be tricky, as each person is different. Myself – I like a small bowl of oatmeal with fruit, cinnamon, and walnuts. This gets me the needed carbs, and a little bit of protein to sustain energy during a long run.

Runner’s World has some suggestions as to what to eat before a run as well: http://www.runnersworld.com/run-longer/16-healthy-and-yummy-prerun-meals-and-snacks

Timing is important when it comes to pre-run nutrition as well. In general, the larger the meal, the longer it’s going to take to digest. Each person is different (tired of hearing that yet?), but in general you’ll need to eat at least 30 minutes prior to your run so that you don’t have an upset stomach while out on the road. Again, my personal preference, is at least an hour to an hour and a half before a run, depending on what time of day I’m running, how long I’m running, and how large of a meal or snack I’m planning to consume. If it’s a smaller snack pre-afternoon or evening run, then 30 minutes is plenty. If it’s an entire meal, such as the aforementioned bowl of oatmeal, then the 1.5 to 2 hour time frame is better.

Post run, within 20 minutes of finishing your workout, have a protein-rich snack to repair muscle tissue, and carbohydrates to restock your spent energy stores. Yes. You need both. So many athletes focus only on protein post-run. But in order to continue to perform at your best, your body needs the carbohydrates as well. Carbs are your body’s fuel source. And then after your snack, you’re going to need a meal. Again, finding something with a good ratio of carbs to protein is going to help you refuel, as well as fuel for your next run. Within an hour of that snack, eat a full meal, ideally in a 4:1 carbs-to-protein ratio.

Again, Runner’s world has a great article on post-run nutrition: http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition/custom-order

Following the theme of nutritional choices – your challenge for this week is to make one healthy swap in your meal choices! Instead of white bread, choose a whole grain. Instead of sugary breakfast cereal, have unsweetened oatmeal with fruit. Have a salad instead of a sandwich for lunch. Think about your food choices this week!

Wednesday we are meeting at Hope Track
Complete: 2 Mile Easy/6 x 800 Speed/1 Mile Recovery
Compete: 1 Mile Easy/4 x 800 Speed/1 Mile Recovery
Saturday we are meeting at Winstrom Preserve (1774 Perry St, Holland, MI 49424)
Complete: 12 miles
Compete: 14 miles

Route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=7045467

See you out there running!