Wednesday, August 29, 2007

To Wave or Not to Wave? That is the Question.

Last Friday evening on my typical three miler, I was chugging along the trail and passed two runners in a row. We smiled, nodded, etc. Then I passed one of the runners on the same loop again, this time I said "WAY to GO!" He smiled big and waved again.

Sometimes I will pass runners and they will enthusiastically wave and smile, other times you will not get a look. Same for bikers. Sometimes bikers say hello and sometimes they do not. We're all sharing the road so I guess there is a feeling of camaraderie among runners and bikers.

For me being friendly depends on the run. If I'm having a great run, I will typically smile, say "Great Job" or something nice. But if it is a bad run, forget it. I will not even look up. But on a seventy five degree evening right before the sun sets on an August night, and right before the weekend, I can't help but give a yell. Maybe I should have said "Happy Friday?!"

So, are you a friendly runner? Or would you just get down to business and ignore the other people on the same trail? Or does it depend?


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cheering for Runners - What Sounds the Best?

I have never run a marathon...well not yet anyway. I plan to within the next year or so, that is my goal. But I have run many races in my life; from competitive to fun runs. I have heard my fair share of marathon stories; what cheers work best, what cheers are not so great, what cheers make you run faster, cheers that make you stop in your tracks. Nick, from our debut marathoner story on had some suggestions and opinions about cheers. I've compiled a short list based on the cheers I like to hear and the cheers Nick is a fan of as well. So, if you're planning on cheering at The 2007 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, or another local race near you, try these cheers out:

Cheers that WORK!:

GO insert name here!

If a runner hears his or her name in a race among a crowd, that can be a real booster when the going gets tough. It's personalized, friendly, and a nice change from just "Go faster...!"

Lookin' Good!

While a runner may not feel like they look that great, especially in heated moments of a race, it's still nice to hear that someone feels they do. And 'Lookin' Good!" can not only mean physically but your running gait, speed, stance, facial expression, etc.

insert specific number Miles to GO!

Now, this is very important, only say this in a cheer if it is true. Never shout "Only 2 miles to go!" when the runner really has four or five. But it is nice to hear updates if a mile marker was missed, hard to read, etc.

It's all downhill from here!

Again, only shout this if it is true. You don't want to call out that a race course is downhill when there are four sets of hills on the horizon. So, if you know the course well and know that a downhill is coming, by all means, shout it.

Nice Shorts!

OK, this one might be a little lofty, but as a woman, I always like to hear compliments about my apparel choices for race day. I took some time picking this outfit out, so it's nice to hear someone else thinks the shorts are cute too. This might be a "girly" phrase but I enjoy a fashion compliment as much as the next woman runner. It's just a "feel good" cheer.

We are so proud of you!

I heard my Dad say this to me after a race, and I thought to myself "where were you at mile 3, Dad!" I could have used the extra pep talk when I was hurting up hill, not as I relax in the after race tent. Letting a friend, relative, or even perfect stranger know that their effort makes you proud, can soar them over the finish line.

So, there are our favorites. Nick contributed from his marathon experience, and I contributed from my short distance racing experience. Next time you find yourself on the sidelines cheering on a friend, your mother, wife, husband, child, etc. think of what makes you run faster, and cheer it on. Never miss a chance to tell someone how much you care, especially during a race.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yoga: An Added Spice to Running?

About six weeks ago I signed up for my first yoga class. I've only tried Pilates and in the privacy of my own home, so I was a little intimidated about starting an actual yoga class. I was not very flexible and didn't know much about the benefits. I knew Yoga could help you relax, and who doesn't need help with that? So, one of my friends at work encouraged me to join and sign up with her.

I'm not going to lie, the first class was a little intimidating. The other students all came very prepared and looked like they had been doing the "downward dog" for years! But I showed up, no yoga mat, and in running shoes. So, I took off my socks and shoes, grabbed a mat from the rec closet and joined in. I really enjoyed it. And I felt taller afterwards, it was easier to breathe, and I felt relaxed. My friend who was with me said she felt the same thing.

In the September issue of Runner's World, (page 78) Uta Pippig, (who is also on the cover of the September issue of Runner's World) winner of the Boston, Berlin and New York City marathons, found herself stuck in a rut and in need of an energy boost. She added Yoga to her running workout regime "to regain energy, improve (my) breathing, and (to) find inner peace and satisfaction." I also read that Yoga can help make you stronger and prevent injury with intense stretches, poses, and breathing techniques.

You should check out this other article found on the Runner's World website, it also discusses the running benefits of Yoga; plus features poses and instructions.

Uta Pippig also recommends that beginners take a Yoga class for initial instruction from a professional. I have to say I agree. Don't try any poses without the proper guidance. You don't want to injure yourself while trying to prevent injury!

What is good enough for Uta Pippig, is good enough for me. I'll see you in Yoga class next Tuesday.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Running Makes You Smart

Another cool post from They featured an article from the New York Times on how exercise increases brain activity. The study explained "an expanding body of research shows that exercise can improve the performance of the brain by boosting memory and cognitive processing speed. Exercise can, in fact, create a stronger, faster brain."

The main study discussed in the article focuses on the behavior of mice. However, another study focuses on the behavior of humans, and how change of diet and exercise increased blood flow to key areas of the brain.

So, for anyone out there who tells you running is crazy, you can cheerily come back with "no, running is smart!" And it is.


Monday, August 20, 2007

5 Facts About Your New Balance Blogger

There are a handful of running blogs I read regularly, and lately some of these authors have completed a "running" list of interesting facts about themselves; some facts are running related and others are not. This gave me the inspiration to post some facts about yours truly.

Here are five facts about your New Balance blogger:
  • I run because heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes run in my family. For me running has been a way to keep everything in check.
  • In my high school yearbook I said I wanted to be an Aerobics Instructor or an Actress when I graduated from I am a Copywriter...who knew?
  • I cannot run on weekday mornings, I HAVE to run in the evenings during the week.
  • I own 5 pairs of New Balance running shoes. I highly recommend the 767's.
  • Recently, I just got my first MP3 player, a whole new world of running with music has just opened up!

Have five fun facts about you and/or your running quirks? Post 'em here. There is inspiration everywhere!


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pool Running?

As the weekend approaches and the heat still raging in most of the United States, I decided to look at some other options for training. If it's still too hot to run and you just don't want to take on a treadmill workout, try pool running. It may sound a little weird, but after reading this article on the Runner's World website today, I might give it a shot. The writer of the article, Marc Bloom, talks about ways to make pool running one of your alternatives to other "typical" cross training workouts. And if you are nursing an injury, pool running might be another way to stay in shape as you heal. He suggests getting a group together to pool run with you, playing a few games or even simulating a favorite running workout in the water (pacing, speed, etc.) to make it more fun.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The LaSalle Bank Chicago Distance Classic

This past weekend was the 30th Anniversary LaSalle Bank Chicago Distance Classic. Over 8,700 runners participated in this 13.1 mile race event. Read mile-by-mile race coverage, race results, and interviews with participants in this article by the Chicago Athlete posted on the Complete Running Network.

Top finishers in this event were Greg Costello with a time of 1:09:54, and Claudia Becque with a time of 1:21:20. Not bad times for a 6:30 AM start and for a race in the middle of a Chicago heat wave!

Anyone race in the LaSalle Bank Chicago Distance Classic over the weekend? Post your racing experience with us!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How do you Beat the Heat?

I believe we've covered this topic before, but as the temperature in St. Louis climbs to 102 degrees today, it might be another good topic to address. This past week, the topic of beating the heat has popped up over numerous message boards and running chat forums. Yesterday on Cool Running, the topic of beating the heat while trying to maintain adequate mileage was a main concern. The thread was enormous and is still growing with comments.

Many suggestions and ideas were discussed in this "heated" forum: some runners in the forum talked about sticking to treadmill training in the hotter months, some take off before sunrise to get their miles in, while others stay hydrated and run in the heat of the day.

Some of my favorite suggestions:
  • If you are a morning runner, drink plenty of water the night before so you're hydrated for the AM workout.

  • Don't force your pace, do what you can. Don't try to break records in the heat of the day.

  • If you are running in the heat of the day, carry identification on you at all times. And always let someone know where you are running and how far.

  • Turn to the treadmill or indoor track if it's just unbearable.

Do any runners like running in the heat? A few of the runners in the forum talked about how they actually liked the heat and loved running when it's hot. I don't mind the heat, but once it hits 85+ degrees, count me out. Have I missed any tips for "heated" training?


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Shoelace Day at Shea Stadium

Tonight, Thursday August 9, get free shoelaces at Shea Stadium for the Mets-Braves game. Sesame Street and New Balance are teaming up with the New York Mets to present "Mets Shoe Lace Day at Shea." The first 12,000 kids, 12 and under will receive a free pair of New Balance orange and blue shoelaces.

The theme of the night is "Healthy Habits." Sesame Street and New Balance have formed a program called "Healthy Habits for Life." Together they want to improve the well-being of children and teach better ways to live longer, healthier lives!

Check out this news bite for more information on the festivities.


Self Inspiration - What is Your Inner Pep Talk?

This morning I stopped in one of the Runner's World chat forums. They were covering an interesting topic, "do you talk to yourself when you run?" And if so, "what do you say?" Last weekend I ran 4 miles at my favorite indoor track and even though the track was crowded with people, I would catch myself saying "you can do a few more, a few more," and "no stopping, no stopping." I would make sure no one was in sight while saying these phrases to myself, I wouldn't want someone to turn around and see me talking to thin air.

But I tend to have different phrases and "talks" to myself when running outside, they get a little more intense. In high school, I had an incredible cross country coach; Coach Jim Davis (no really, that was his name...not the New Balance Jim Davis but the Parkway West High School coach/English Teacher Jim Davis). He had a series of excellent pep talks and phrases he would say (or shout at us) while running a race, workouts, sprints, etc. He would point to the runner in front of us and say "go get 'em!" and "you see her? Go get HER!" At each point of the race he would have a different phrase and he would run next to us in his straw hat and shades. It was pretty motivational to see your coach screaming and running beside you shouting "GO! GO! GO!" My favorite 'shout outs' of his came towards the end of the race, I loved this one: "Now is the time!" and "You can see it!" Meaning now is the time to go all out, start your kick, and bring it home, you can see the finish line. The most inspirational "talks" always came during that middle second mile in a 3.1 mile cross country race. At these critical moments he would jog right along side you , almost in the trail and say "look at can do can do this...GO!" Now that was motivation. Very intense, but it always gave me the extra push to keep going.

So, when I'm running outside and the sun is beating down and I have already run to my limit, I try to picture Coach Davis screaming and running along side me in that straw hat yelling "You can see IT! Go Cass!" Memories of the Coach Davis cheers are my personal pep talks.

What do you say to yourself while running? "lookin' good!" maybe "keep it up!" or even song lyrics..."Eye of the Tiger!"


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Blog Your Training for The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon

If you are currently training for The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, and have a story to tell, now you can start your own LBCM Training Blog! And it's FREE!

As a Blogger, set your own goals, monitor your progress, share your ideas with other "like minded" marathoners, and other runners can comment and post suggestions. It's one way to start and establish your own running community. Think of it as your personal sounding board, diary or running journal.

If you decide to start your own training blog for The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, please let us know and send us a link!


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Announcing the New NB Zip®!

The New NB Zip® is finally here! The most anticipated new styles of the NB Zip® are now available. The new look is innovative, edgy, and fun. There is a style for any activity: cross training, running, basketball. Ideal for neutral runners/athletes (runners and athletes with neutral walking or running gaits), the NB Zip® is constructed to absorb impact with responsive struts placed in the heel.

The basketball NB Zip® has a few new added features this round: an inner fit system to keep the shoe snug around your midfoot, removable strap for ankle support, and a performance basketball outsole that helps to increase traction on the court.

Once we have a review out for the new NB Zips®, I will definitely keep you in the loop and feature the review on the blog. But if any of our readers have taken a run, walk, or played a game in this new style, please let us know; we'd love to hear from you.


Friday, August 3, 2007

2008 New Balance Half Iron Registration Opens September 1, 2007

The New Balance Half Iron Registration opens September 1, 2007. The Half Iron event takes place in Victoria, BC on June 22, 2008.

According to this news bite, registration sells out within the first week!

This event also attracts the international "greats" and past winners of the Ironman including: 2000 Ironman Florida winner Jamie Cleveland; 2000 Ironman Lake Placid and 1999 Ironman New Zealand winner Melissa Spooner; and the great Ironman Champion Lori Bowden.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

100 Beginner Running Tips

This article from really hit home for me. It is a list of 100 running tips for beginners; it has some great ideas/information/words of wisdom for new runners. I especially love the tip to "buy running clothes you look good in and that will motivate you to run," I could not agree with that more! Nothing beats your comfy t-shirt and shorts, but some of those performance fabrics really do work, no joke. I'm sure we all have our favorite outfits that just scream "get out there and run why don't you!"

Some of my favorite tips from this article were:
  • Do not compare yourself to others. Run within yourself and for yourself first.
  • Race day is not the day to try new shoes, eat new foods, or wear brand new clothing.
  • Set realistic short term and long term goals.
  • Forgive yourself. Over-ambitious goals usually lead to frustration and giving up on your fitness plan. If you miss a goal or milestone let it go and focus on the next opportunity to get it.

Any "new running" tips this article may have missed?


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

New Balance Connections - Live Chat with Kathy Butler

So, last night New Balance Connections held another live chat with Team New Balance marathoner Kathy Butler from the U.K. The most popular questions had to do with pacing for a marathon: how to find your ideal pace, what workouts are best for pacing, etc. Kathy recommended training with other runners that share your same pace, track workouts and tempo runs. She also said that pacing has a lot more to do with distance, meaning the distance you run for your workout will determine your pace. These were definitely popular suggestions, but still nice to know a pro agrees!

There was also a question about the benefits of trail running vs. road/track running. Trail running will give you more scenery and distraction for the run, while road running gives you a more "race" kind of feel. More likely than not, marathons are mapped out on paved roads.

The next Live Chat will be held September 11 at 8:00 PM CST. This chat will be hosted by Dennis Linehan, the New Balance Pace Team Coordinator of the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. He will be answering questions about marathon training and tapering in the last weeks.