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81. Pin-holes are for rookies.

Running tip #81

The spring road racing season is fixin’ to begin, so today’s tip is kind of a silly one about what I think is the best way to pin your race number on.  I suppose if you polled enough runners, you’d find a variety of opinions about …


Most people use the pre-punched holes on the four corners of the race number, but I find this allows for way to0 much fluttery air between your shirt (or in my case, shorts) and number.  Also, the four-corner pin job doesn’t allow any resizing for your more diminutive customers.  So, here’s how I pin:

If possible, fold the top portion down about an inch so you are pinning through two layers of number.  Then, turn your pins horizontally to attach the top left and top right sections of the number (pinning down more total surface area).  I never pin the number on my shirt because I may need to take it off when hot, tossing it or tucking it in the back of my shorts (racing in jog bra, gals … or bare-chested, guys).  On the bottom of the number – here’s the secret tricky part – I affix only ONE pin horizontally across the middle of the number.  This leaves my legs free from the four-pin number bunching annoyance.  In the photo (below) I would have folded down the “Moonshiner 5k” race advert, to leave the essential 1278 visible so the number wouldn’t feel as long or cumbersome.


The center pin would be directly under the 27 with no pins under the 1 or 8 (or, heaven forbid, using those rookie pin-holes on the sides).

Crazy, I know.  I’m living on the edge here in Carrboro, NC.

And what do I do with my leftover 4th pin?  I hook it on the left belt loop of my jeans … because you never know when someone’s going to need a safety pin.

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80. Running as Transportation

(Guest post from Dave again – here’s my previous one on running in the cold.)

This is one of my favorite benefits of running and it’s so simple – you CAN run from point A to point B instead of driving! I realized very early on when running in high school that you actually cover a LOT of area when you run. It dawned on me when I would tell my friends where I ran that day and they would be shocked and say something like: “Wait, you ran all they way THERE from the high school?”

We usually run in big circles but there’s no reason you can’t run TO some place or stop and do a chore in the middle of your run. The perfect routine example of this is having to drop a car off at the mechanic to have work done. There is absolutely no need to schedule time with someone else to pick you up as you drop off the car – just start your run there and run home! I guarantee it’s less distance than you think it is. In fact, halfway through you’ll probably start planning an extra add-on loop because it was shorter than you thought it was going to be.

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It’s easy to come up with excuses of why you need to drive but a lot people live close enough to run to work. Pick one trip a week that you make with a car and replace it with a run. You’ll soon realize that you could probably ditch one (or all) of your cars.

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P.S. Fun fact about the above photo – notice the man is posing for a running shot with the wrong arm forward. You’ll be surprised at how often you see this in photos and drawings of people running – look for it.


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79. Compression socks: perception is reality.

Running tip #79

I eschew gimmicks.  Especially running gimmicks, like the breathe-right nasal-strip thingy …


or the barefoot running craze …


or the count-every-calorie-measure-every-step FitBit obsession …


If a running accessory can be categorized under “what’s hot and what’s not,” then you probably don’t need it.  However, I must concede that one new addition to the world of running paraphrenalia is NOT a gimmick.

Compression socks!

Though there is some debate over their efficacy (Do Compression Socks really work?I love my pink compression sleeves after hard workouts because it feels like my calves are being massaged while I walk around.  Even if it is a placebo, try them for yourself and see!


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78. Fast forward.

Running tip #78

I’m not a big advocate of weight lifting … mostly because I’ve never had as much time as other full-time runners to do all the little extras … but if you DO go to the weight room or gym, I highly recommend this one machine for increasing your sprinting explosiveness.  I don’t know what it’s called, but when I googled “circular leg weight machine” the following photo showed up:


This is the correct machine, but this ^ is not the most beneficial use of said circular contraption.

Turn sideways and use the machine this way:


so that you can strengthen your sprinting form by directly working the muscles that propel you forward FAST. Using this machine for toning your adductor muscles may help you swim the breast stroke or keep you from having to wear spanx under your yoga pants …


but if your goal is to run fastER, then turn sideways to choose “body fast” over “body beautiful.”

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77. 100 seconds

Running tip #77 … out rest back rest out rest rest rest  … (hear the rhythm?)

I’d forgotten about a favorite workout until I did it this morning with seejanerun, my running club of moms.  Here we are lining up for The Owl’s Roost Rumble, a trail 1/2 marathon we all ran several years ago:


In preparation for an April goal race, we are at the point in our training where we can enjoy what I call a big meal of intervals.  Up until now, we’ve been building our appetite (so to speak) with shorter, easier, “pleasantly fatiguing” workout/snacks … so today’s meal satisfied that deep hunger runner’s get when closing in on a goal race.

Warm up 15 minutes, then change into whatever racing shoes you plan to wear in goal race.


On a stretch of trail that can accommodate 2-3 people abreast, run hard for exactly 100 seconds and mark your end-point with a big stick or a tossed tee-shirt.  Regroup and recover and for 75 seconds.  Then, turn back to re-trace your steps for another 100-second fast interval, making it to or beyond the original starting point.  Recover, again, for 75 seconds before setting off on the 3rd of three 100-second intervals in a set.

Between sets, jog back to the very beginning and wait until your heart rate is back under 100 before set #2 … usually it takes about 3-4 minutes. 670px-Lower-Resting-Heart-Rate-Step-6

Advanced runners do 3 sets of 3 for 9 total intervals.

Us old gals get full after 2 sets.

Save room for dessert and cool down for 15 minutes!

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76. Rake the pit.

Running tip #76 … give back to the sport.

Last night while enjoying a Carolina spring evening brew on the outdoor patio of Steel String, the head coach of our local youth running club, Harold Hill, stopped by our table on his way to meet the little, middle, greyhound, and big dog coaches of the CC Pacers.  I noticed Harold was uncharacteristically jumpy, so I asked, “Are you nervous?” and he joked, “Terrified!” because the usual cadre of  (over)invested parents were missing from this year’s administrative team.  Of course Harold can handle anything … using the wisdom shown in his Haroldisms … but not without a little help from his friends.  Right on cue, the big dog Pacer coach walked over to smilingly join the conversation which, in turn, caused Harold’s shoulders to visibly relax and his eyes to resume their twinkling.


You see, Hillary Clinton is correct … it takes a village to raise a child.  And it takes a very committed “village” to keep the sport of track & field thriving in any community.  I have been blessed my whole running life to be a part of such communities, so in old age (I’m not there quite yet) my plan, nay my dream, is to rake the pit as a USA track-and-field official.  I figure I’ve lived every other aspect of this beautiful sport … from elementary school 600-yard president’s patch tests, through high school, college, and professional racing, to coaching/speaking/board of director-ing every age and talent level of kid or grown-up that ever laced up a pair of running shoes.  SO, what’s left?!  Raking the pit, that’s what.  I want to join the proud line-up of USA Track & Field officials that keep the heart of our sport beating.


Not surprisingly, Harold’s Januarism #17  is “Volunteer for the heart of a community.”

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75. Bon appetit!

Running tip #75

Years ago my “secret salad” recipe was selected for The Runners Cookbook, compiled by Runner’s World’s Alison Wade:


So, for today’s running tip I give you that secret recipe (below).  I ate this salad every day for lunch the entire time I was a professional runner – from 1984 to 2000 – so, needless to say, I’m rather sick of it now (haha, talk about autopilot!)

Start with about 3/4 cup of cottage cheese (high or lowfat, depending on your preference);
mix in the following:
2 Tbls. raisins
2 Tbls. salted sunflower seeds
1 small granny smith apple, cut up
1/2 banana (the other half was on your morning cereal, I presume), sliced
1/2 cup of pineapple tidbits and the juice poured over the entire salad
optional: chopped dried apricots or dried cranberries, or whatever fruit is in season

over all, pour 1/4 cup cranberry juice and mix thoroughly before eating.

If I were to make this today, I would put the salad over a bed of arugula leaves.


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74. strong-armed

Running tip #74

If you want to jumpstart your fitness, give yourself a 40-day micro-goal of adding one new element to your training regimen.  I once challenged myself to not wash my hair for 40 days (because, hey, if Jesus could survive in the desert, 40 days seemed like a worthy amount of time).  My goal was to become less vain about my physical appearance and to become more inwardly mindful in my daily life.  We all do things on autopilot … like brushing our teeth, or driving to work the same route every day; drinking coffee in the morning without tasting it, or asking our significant others, “How was your day?” withoug really listening to their response.  So, my non-hair washing experiment was a way to live my life on PILOT for 40 days.

Aside from the first few days of feeling greasy-headed and gross, I loved my 40 days of mindfulness experiment.  And it’s true that your hair begins to self-clean:

But how does this relate to running?  Well, you can add 40 days of anything to your life without too much disruption.  So, why not try adding dips?   When I was in college, one of the XC guys challenged me to see how many dips I could do.  First of all,  I didn’t know what a dip was!  So, he showed me and then said I needed to work up to being able to do 25 in a row if I wanted to be a true distance runner. On my first attempt I could only do about 3 before my arms started shaking … but I kept at it … probably for about 40 days (if you figure I went to the weight room twice a week for half the school year) and by the end of my sophomore year I was dip-ripped.


I often think of those strong-arm days and how important micro-goals are for macro-success.

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73. Be inspired!

Running tip #73

Citius, altius, fortius.


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72. phone (or text) a friend

Running tip #72

When traveling to an unfamiliar city, it’s best to ask a local for restaurant suggestions to avoid any pre-race tummy troubles. Thanks to Coonse  for recommending Don Antonio’s for my hungry and peckish 4 x milers racing tomorrow at indoor Nationals in New York City.  Today’s tip is being hunted and “pecked” on my phone keyboard, so go easy on me, dear readers.  I will be back in full blogging force on Monday.


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