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Tag: marathon training

Running With Others Spices Up Training

Running alone is hard. Choosing to run with others is hard, too, but better. In this way, running is a little bit like life.

Last weekend, before, during and after the Run for the Helmet 7k marathon training runningrace in Cottleville, I was reminded again just how much I am getting out of my marathon training with Fleet Feet. More than just professional training and coaching, quality advice on stretching, injury prevention and nutrition – although those aspects are deeply valued – I am getting true camaraderie, friendship, encouragement and support. And Fun! Did I mention I’m having SO. MUCH. FUN!?

I have always been a bit of a loner when it comes to my running. I like to put my ear buds and lose myself in a good book. It’s my “me” time and, always the multi-tasker, I simultaneously indulge my love of fiction and my fondness for running.

In this way, I’ve done most of my distance training alone.

But I wasn’t getting any better as a runner, and I figured I must be doing something wrong. So I signed up to train with Fleet Feet for the Go! St. Louis Marathon this April.

Turns out I was doing more than “something” wrong – I was doing most everything wrong. But that’s for another post.

Fleet Feet Training Program runningThe biggest thing I was doing wrong had very little to do with the science, athleticism, endurance and mechanics of running. It was the people and the camaraderie that were missing from my training. It was the fun that was missing.

Through Fleet Feet, I’ve discovered these essential ingredients to running — people and fun — that enhance my training like a good spice enhances a recipe.

There is something so powerful, so motivating about:

  • Knowing when I rise to the sound of my alarm in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning, I can’t crawl back under the covers because there are people expecting me to show up in a cold parking lot near a trailhead somewhere.
  • Running alongside people who know and can joke about:
    • The reality of screaming out loud when you did not know you had a chafing issue until the shower water revealed it to you.
    • The masochistic pain delivered by a foam roller
    • The horror you worry you will inflict upon a nail technician if you go for a pedicure
    • A passionate hatred for hills
    • A passionate love of Aquaphore
    • Strassburg socks (and their torturous appearance)
    • The fact that your running shoes are the most expensive item in your wardrobe.
  • Having people alongside me during a long, grueling training run to encourage me to continue – to pass up my car one more time, to push through to the end even if I have to slow down to do so. And they are willing to slow down with me.
  • Having people at the end of a run applauding my effort and my finish time, sharing their finish time with me, and all of celebrating an accomplishment.

Last weekend, I experienced all of these things and more. After the race, I enjoyed the company of other runners at a post-race social gathering. We talked about their challenges with fitting training in with family and work obligations, about run cruises (something I MUST check out) and about previous training seasons that helped forge the friendships I was observing and becoming a part.

All of it made me look forward to next weekend’s 19 miles. Because it’s fun again.


Fleet Feet has multiple running and training programs (some free, some not)  to choose from and many of the participants train with them year round — the group is like a big family. You can learn more here.

 

 

 

CrossFit GBT, Newest Box in Ellisville, Proves CrossFit is For EveryBODY

My husband and I have been trying something new this year and the vocabulary of our new endeavor includes words like thrust, snatch and jerk.

Okay – minds out of the gutter. It’s CrossFit! And we were fortunate enough to discover Ellisville’s newest CrossFit Gym, CrossFit GBT (Got Better Today) and its owner Karla Bennett.

I had been hearing a lot about CrossFit for a couple of years, but I chose to ignore the chatter. I understand the importance of strength training, but I don’t like it. At all.

Plus, some of what I heard or saw regarding CrossFit (CrossFit myths) didn’t look fun. At all.

People:

  • lifting huge weights over their head
  • doing handstands
  • doing push-ups
  • doing squats with weights
  • getting yelled at
  • flipping over tires
  • and worst of all, doing pull-ups!!

CrossFit Is for EveryBODY

Then a friend told he how much CrossFit changed her life. I only met her a few months ago, but she said she used to be in terrible shape and poor health. She said her husband had to drop her off at the entrance to malls and department stores and then go park the car because she was unable to walk. She said she couldn’t even do one sit-up. And she changed all that with CrossFit GBT!

CrossFit
Karla working with a client

She talked about how she and her husband and several of her friends have improved their bodies, but more importantly, improved their quality of life because CrossFit addresses functional movement. I couldn’t believe this woman had ever been anything but the vibrant, energetic, healthy, beautiful person who was standing before me.

Honestly, I didn’t know that someone who couldn’t do a sit-up could or should do CrossFit. I didn’t think of CrossFit as a beginner’s workout. I was intrigued. And I was looking for two things:

  • A cross training program to compliment my marathon training.
  • An exercise program that my husband would enjoy.

This sounded like it might do both. I still didn’t think I would like it, because I don’t like strength training. But I have promised myself about a hundred times that THIS time when I’m training for my marathon, I’m going to do it right. I’m going to cross-train and not just run seven days a week, and I’m going to stretch.

Crossfit GBT is Like Having a Personal Trainer

And Karla has been helping me do just that. She keeps her class size fairly small, and she scales the workouts for each individual. It is not unusual for three or four people in a class to be doing different things based on ability and experience. And she is always right there, watching carefully, making sure your form is perfect and helping you make adjustments if it’s not.

I thought I’d feel intimidated doing this kind of workout, but the environment at CrossFit GBT couldn’t be more welcoming. There have been a few times when I’ve been anxious to do exactly what everyone else is doing, but Karla’s main goal has been to ensure that you are ready and have perfect form before moving to heavier weights and more complicated moves so that YOU DON’T GET HURT. It’s like having a personal trainer right beside you.

For those more competitive types, Karla’s gym is a certified CrossFit gym, which means that members will be able to eventually compete in CrossFit Open events. Although, Karla stresses that the competition factor will not be the main focus of her box (that’s what CrossFitters call their gym).

“It’s all about being the best YOU can be, working as hard as YOU can. Regardless of previous athletic skill or ability, CrossFit GBT can help you out,” Karla says.

Another thing I love about CrossFit GBT is that Karla is a wealth of information on so many other fitness and health-related topics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with a Health and Wellness emphasis.  She is a CrossFit certified Level I instructor as well as a US certified Weightlifting Coach. Because of her background, she can assist with understanding the value of sound nutritional eating habits and how to fuel before, during and after workouts.

CrossFit GBT offers group CrossFit classes, individual lessons and nutrition counseling.

“CrossFit GBT is devoted to educating people on how to live a healthy lifestyle,” Karla says. “We want nothing more than to see you succeed at your goals. We will work to help you with whatever we can. We believe fitness is an ongoing process.”

Contact info:

More about Karla:

Karla holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a Health and Wellness emphasis.  She is a CrossFit certified Level I instructor as well as a US certified Weightlifting Coach. She assists athletes to understand the value of sound nutritional eating habits and how to fuel before, during and after workouts. She consults with a variety of professional trainers as well as athletic trainers. Karla has worked with all levels of athletes from children to older adults.

She designs workouts based on personal fitness level, time of season for athletes and personal strength level.  She has each participant undergo a Functional Movement Screen before beginning training to determine movement patterns that are key to normal function and identify areas of weakness to individualize each athletes goals and workouts.

Karla first started doing CrossFit in 2009, her favorite WOD’s are AMRAP’s and her least favorite WOD’s are those that involve any form of wall balls or Overhead Squats. However, she still programs them anyways because she knows that you will never be able to get better if you do not practice.