Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rock-n-Roll Seattle Race Day

Race Day Recovery

An outstanding showing today from everyone: walkers, joggers, runners, half-marathoners, marathons and even the weather. Post-race events can be draining to the runner and post-race runs can be a disaster if not done properly. Whether you had a great race day or you've seen better don't increase your risk of injury, illness, or over-training by not taking following some appropriate recovery guidelines.

1) Stay positive - You're done, now, and it's easy to start playing the "Yeah, I did well, but I could have done better." or "That was the most horrible race I've ever done." or well, you get the point. Regardless of how well you did, regardless of whether or not you achieved your goal(s), a negative post-race mentality can put added stress on your body and the last thing you need is more stress. Also, take a couple of days off of running, put on the house slippers, and have an extra cup of java in the morning. Give yourself a high-five, pat yourself on the back, and even give yourself spoken compliments. Tell yourself you did well...even if you may not fully believe it. When people ask how you did give an honest answer, but avoid negativity.

2) Good Nutrition isn't just an extra desert. It's also an extra serving of vegetables - Post race nutrition is right on par with pre-race nutrition and training nutrition. Keep it healthy and avoid too many poor quality foods. You're going to need to take in more fluids and electrolytes for the next couple of days to combat the debt you created today and a healthy post-race diet will help fuel your body through the recovery phase of training and keep you at a lower risk of getting sick.

3) Personal Race Review - This is an honesty test, a revealing test, and something that most runners don't do enough of, but the key to critiquing your future training to produce even better results is to analyze your race day performance. Sit down with yourself and write down your pre-race goals and how you fared. Go through each mile of the race and think about how you were feeling. If you have high points and low points identify them and adjust your future training accordingly. Example: "I really struggled on the hills, today." This could be from a lack of hill training or going too fast during the miles prior to the hills. Adjust your future training by either, adding in more hill training or working on  maintaining a consistent running intensity. By the end of the review identify three things positive to keep in your training and one or two things to add into your future training ventures.

Share with us, on Facebook, how you did, your race day photos, and your favorite blog post over the last ten days. Also, leave a comment here, on the blog, with any recovery questions you may have.

Friday, June 24, 2011

1 Day left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Gear Bag Checklist

Race day morning is not the time to fumble around for gear at 5:00 AM. Seriously, showing up to the start line without your gels, or race number, or your lucky socks, or your running shoes is not a good way to start the morning off. Yes, forgetting your running shoes may seem like an impossible task, but when the alarm clock goes off on race day morning and you're rushing around gathering gear that you didn't put together the night before things get left behind. Doesn't matter if you're in a hotel, at home, or sleeping in a tent. Race day morning, if left unplanned, is chaotic.
Today, clear a spot on your bed, or the floor, just anywhere that you can step back and take a full look at everything you're taking to the race. Lay out first what you'll be wearing during the run. This may include a hat, shirt, sports bra, shorts, socks, and shoes. Take out you race number that you picked up at the expo, attach your D-tag timing tag to your shoe and your race number to your top. Lay out all of your gels and make sure you have them attached to your running belt, in a pocket, or however you're going to be carrying them. Make sure your watch's battery is fully charge, you have your heart rate monitor, your sunglasses, and anything you'll be using on during the run. Set your race day wear aside and pack a bag with a change of clothes, shoes, and anything else you'll be using after the race.

Remember, the best way to ensure you have everything you need is to make a list of what you'll need, set it out the night before, and on race day morning put it all on and check things off the list as you go.

Contest Alert: While you're filling out your race day goals with us at our expo booth write down your predicted race finish time, take a picture with us at the expo, and the runner closest to their predicted time will win a free pair of shoes. Yes, a free pair of shoes...lets repeat that again: A Free Pair of Shoes! Submit your official chip timed result on our Facebook page and good luck! As a bonus, if you're wearing a Balanced Athlete t-shirt in your expo photo and you win the contest you'll receive an additional surprise along with your free pair of shoes. If you have any questions about the contest ask us at our expo booth. Also, be sure to submit your race day photos on our Facebook page in your Balanced Athlete t-shirts to be eligible for special prizes.

Having trouble attaching your tag? Check out this video from the official timers of the 2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon:

Good luck, tomorrow!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2 Days left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Course Breakdown

Lets face it, not every runner is going to be leading the marathon and half-marathon field through the streets of the city this Saturday. In fact, only one runner will be leading. Everyone else, whether you're in second or second from last will be following. The further back in the field you get the less likely you may think you should know the course ahead, because after all there'll be plenty of people to follow. Right?

Not so much. Yes, the further back in the field the more people there will be to follow, but not knowing the course isn't the smartest choice. There are some key facts that every runner on Saturday should know about the course to ensure a well paced and enjoyable race: the course profile, the water stations, which water stations will have GU, and even where your favorite rock band, high school cheer team, or high school band will be standing.

Course Elevation Profile:

Don't let the rather obtrusive blue and green mountain like figures haunt you in your pre-race dreams. Yes they're hills, but they're not mountains. The scale can be a bit misleading, but it's important to take note of the undulation along the course.

Course Overview:

Miles 0 - 5
The first five miles of both distances is definitely gaining in elevation especially between mile 4 and mile 5. How does this play into your race day strategy? Start at a pace that is slower than your goal pace. This will not only ensure that you're going to be giving your body time to warm-up and adjust to the higher level of excitement, but also that you'll be saving your legs for the later hills on the course. A good point of reference: After Seward Park you can begin bringing your overall pace down closer to your goal race pace.
There are four water stations:
Water Station #1: Just passed Mile 1; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.
Water Station #2: Between Mile 2 and Mile 3; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.
Water Station #3: Just before Mile 4; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.
Water Station #4: Between Mile 5 and Mile 6; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.

Miles 6 - 9
The next few miles are relatively flat and a great place to settle into your pace. Use miles 6 to 9 to judge how your body is feeling. If you feel labored it may be a good idea to slow down just a bit. Burning up at this point in the race is not a good idea, both race distances have some hills to contend with following this section so make sure you're running comfortably at this point.
There are two water stations:
Water Station #5: Between Mile 7 and Mile 8; Water and Cytomax and GU Gel
Water Station #6: Just before Mile 9; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.

Miles 10 - 13.1 (Half-Marathon ONLY)
The races split at mile 9. Half-marathoners will go left and Marathoners will go right. For the half-marathon starting after Mile 9 to the middle of Mile 10 is the second series of hills. Take your time, concentrate on form, and think positive thoughts. After cresting the hill in the middle of Mile 10 you set up with a half mile of downhill and the course is flat through the finish line. Once you get to Mile 11 it's time to turn on the afterburners.
There is one water station:
Water Station #8: Mile 10; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.

Miles 10 - 13 (Marathon Only)
The races splits at Mile 9. Marathoners will go right and Half-marathoners will go left. Enjoy Lake Washington as you run an out-and-back on the Lake Washington Bridge. Definitely grab some water at the turn around because you'll have about two miles until the next water station. The course if undulating starting after Mile 9  to just before Mile 13. Settle into a groove and think positively.
There are two water stations:
Water Station #7: Just after Mile 10; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.
Water Station #8: Just after Mile 12; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.

Miles 14 - 17 (Marathon Only)
The section of the race is slightly uphill and meanders through the heart of the city, along Puget Sound and past the Seattle Space Needle. If you pushed the last couple of miles through the undulating terrain ease up just a bit and put some energy into the reserves for the upcoming hills between mile 17 and mile 20.
There are three water stations:
Water Station #9: Just after Mile 14; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.
Water Station #10: Between Mile 15 and Mile 16; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.
Water Station #11: Between Mile 16 and Mile 17; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.

Miles 18 - 20 (Marathon Only)
Just after Mile 17 the incline takes a turn upward and will be the steepest uphill section of the race. Settle down at the base of the hill and run at your pace not the person next to you. It'll be important to reach the top of the hills in this section in a comfortable state of fatigue that allows for a good recovery on the downhill section.
There are two water stations:
Water Station #12: Just after Mile 17Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.
Water Station #13: Between Mile 19 and Mile 20; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.

Miles 21 - 26.2 (Marathon Only)
After enjoying a relatively long downhill between Mile 19 and Mile 20 the course goes back to slightly downhill and most flat sections. At this point, most runners will be fatigued and feeling the previous miles, but take a deep breath, smile, enjoy the city because you only have 5.2 miles left.
There are four water stations:
Water Station #14: Between Mile 20 and Mile 21; Water and Cytomax and GU Gel
Water Station #15: Between Mile 21 and Mile 22; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.
Water Station #16: Between Mile 24 and Mile 25; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.
Water Station #17: Between Mile 25 and the Finish; Water and Cytomax only, no GU gel.

Useful Links:
2011 Course Band Lineup
2011 Seattle Rock-n-Roll Course Map
2011 Seattle Rock-n-Roll Elevation Chart

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

3 Days left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Expo Expectations

For many runners the pre-race events are just as exciting as the post-race events. Specifically, the expo. For the Seattle Rock-n-Roll the pre-race event will be a Health & Fitness Expo presented by Power Balance. It's a two day expo at the Qwest Field Event Center starting tomorrow (Thursday, June 23) at 11:00 AM and ending Friday, June 24 at 7:00 PM. The expo will feature enough vendors, products, and local businesses to pique curiosities and overwhelm most, but the most important aspect of the expo, however, is to pick-up your race number, swag bag, and t-shirt...and visiting The Balanced Athlete booth, of course. Share with us your race day goals at our booth and take a picture with us to share on our Facebook page.

Contest Alert: While you're filling out your race day goals with us at our expo booth write down your predicted race finish time, take a picture with us at the expo, and the runner closest to their predicted time will win a free pair of shoes. Yes, a free pair of shoes...lets repeat that again: A Free Pair of Shoes! Submit your official chip timed result on our Facebook page and good luck! As a bonus, if you're wearing a Balanced Athlete t-shirt in your expo photo and you win the contest you'll receive an additional surprise along with your free pair of shoes. If you have any questions about the contest ask us at our expo booth. Also, be sure to submit your race day photos on our Facebook page in your Balanced Athlete t-shirts to be eligible for special prizes.

Along with elaborate and enthusiastic product displays there will be a good number of free samples. And everyone knows that free is a good thing, but too much of a good thing may not be the best thing. It's not the free aspect that's bad, it's simply the temptation to try anything and everything that may lead to an unwanted disaster. Remember, race day on Saturday is the priority, not how many free gels, bars, and energy drinks you can try in one day. Being selective and conservative with what you try is going to be the key to not over-exhausting yourself. Another note of concern: germs. Anytime large amounts of people get together germs will have a field day. You might say germs are having their own expo at the same time. Make sure to wash your hands regularly, avoid touching too many hand rails, and drink plenty of water.

The expo is open and free to the public and there are also other sporting events going on downtown, so expect a crowd and plan ahead. Some things to take note of: On Thursday evening there is a Sounders Game at 7:00 PM at Qwest Field. Although the expo, on Thursday, ends at 7:00 PM parking rates will go from $11 to $30 at 5:00 PM. A similar scenario will be happening on Friday evening as well with a Mariners game at 7:10 PM. The event organizers advise that if you're visiting the expo on Friday make sure you let the parking attendant know where you're going.

Expo Details:
Dates: June 23 & 24, 2011
Location: Qwest Field Event Center
Thursday, June 23 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Friday, June 24 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Useful Links:
Expo Clinic Schedule

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

4 Days left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Race Day Nerves

Big events have a tendency to bring out the best in people...and also their nerves. Anxiety, nervousness, butterfly's in the stomach, feelings of doubt, etc. It happens to the best of us and it can take it's toll on the runner. You toe the start line and the only thing running through your head, 'I don't know if I can do this,' 'Why did I sign up?' 'I'm never doing this again.' The whole time this mental battle is waging inside you're missing the guy wearing a pink tutu prance by in the brightest colored running shoes in the race. And when every one asks, 'Did you see that?' you snap out of your mind-race and realize you're missing out on what the start of the race has to offer: excitement, amusement, and a break from everything you usually do at 6:00 AM. Here are some tips for easing and accepting the nervousness of race day:

Trust your training.

This may be one of the toughest realities to cope with, but think back through all of your training and relish on all of the milestones you've accomplished at this point. The biggest being that you signed up months ago and now you're about to make the final push in accomplishing your goal. Confidence in your training will not only ease your race day anxiety, but it'll allow you to race better, too.

Make an effort to enjoy the race day excitement.

There will be runners dressed for success and runners dressed for show, both are amusing to watch. Not only will there be runners dressed to impress, the fans will be, too. It's easy to let yourself fall into tunnel-vision and miss out on the craziness, but take a moment when you're feeling the most nervous to take a deep breath and look around.

Don't get caught up in the number game.

You're out on the course and you realize that you're either ahead or behind of your 'goal' pace and you start getting really nervous that somehow you've messed the entire run up. Relax. So, you're not going according to plan, big deal. Part of running is about adapting to your circumstances. This could be adjusting to a slower pace, a faster pace, talking with a runner you've never met before, giving high-fives to every volunteer at the water/aid stations, etc., The point is, you didn't have any of this in your training, so now is the time to enjoy the running masses and the race for its entertainment, it's not the time for fretting over not being in line with the original plan.

Monday, June 20, 2011

5 Days left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Apparel Selection

Predicting the weather on race day is about as easy as predicting lottery numbers. Is it going to be cloudy or cloudless, rain or shine, snow or sleet? As of now, the weather for Saturday, June 25 according to the weather should be almost perfect for a race, High's in the upper 60's and lows in the lower 50's with partly cloudy skies and winds at 5 mph from the southwest. One thing to consider anytime you go out for a run, regarding temperature, add about 10 to 15 degrees to the actual temperature. This will help offset the build-up of body heat during your run. You should start the race/run cool, not warm. If you often find yourself ending your runs holding loads of clothes it's because you started with too much on. 

Hats - Hats are great for keeping rain out of your face and sun off the top of your head. Brightly colored hats will even act as good eye-catchers to drivers, further increasing the likelihood you'll be seen and cars will move over to a comfortable passing distance. Hats on race day can also be a great way for your friends and family to help identify you through the crowds.

Tops - Often bright, and hosting logos. Shirts and jackets act as your main identity around other runners. The materials should be made of synthetic blend fabrics (usually, nylon and polyester). Jackets are great for cold to cooler weather running and come in a variety of different weights. The warm the temperature the lighter the jacket. Jackets can also act as rain guards, but be careful because they'll also hold in heat some be sure to chose rain jackets at cooler temps. Shirts will come in a variety of types: long sleeve, short sleeve, no sleeve, and tanks. Wear what you're comfortable in, the hotter and calmer the wind the less you need, however, on sunny days be sure to wear shirts that have UV protection to help protect against harmful sun rays.

Gloves - Gloves should be worn when the temps dip low enough, usually under 50 degrees. If it's going to be cold and wet make sure the glove has some type of weather blocking material on the top of the hand.

Bottoms - Shorts, Long Pants, Tights, Capris, and Skirts. Lots of variation in this category. The length of the short/skirt doesn't have any correlation to race day/run success. If you like 'em short wear 'em short, if you'r a bit more conservative wear 'em long. Long pants, tights, and capri pants are great for temps below 45 degrees and windy days.

Socks - The key to comfortable feet is to wear properly fitting shoes and comfortable socks. Cotton socks may be comfortable during the work day, when you're running cotton tends to saturate rather quickly and hold in the moisture and heat which can cause the fabric to bunch leading to hot spot blisters. Wearing socks that are synthetic or wool will help reduce moisture saturation and heat build-up.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

6 Days left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Sleep and Food Tips

When an upcoming race is looming closely in the distance it's easy to let nerves turn into irrational decisions about what to do and what not to do the week of the race. After all, you don't want to ruin months of dedicate running, which may have been through pouring rain, on muddy trails, early in the morning, or late at night. You've invested your time, energy, and money into the sport, and it's important you get a positive return on the investment. The cruel thing about making poor choices the week before is simply that you don't have time to recover from mistakes. The unusual thing, the poor decisions are made on things you've been practicing the most (outside of running): sleeping and eating.

Sleep - Remember the first training day labeled, Long Run, and how on the night before you told your friends that you wouldn't be able to stay out late because you had to run in the morning? That decision is a sound decision, you were relaxed, not quite as nervous, and although you may have felt some anxiety coping with how far you were about to run you took it all in stride. This week, apply the same decision to every night. Get into the habit, now, starting today, of going to bed at reasonable time and getting up around the same time that you will on race day morning. This week, you should place an emphasis on getting a good night sleep on Thursday and on Friday.

Food - Nutrition can be one of the most debated topics when it comes down to what to eat the week before, and especially the night before. Every runner is looking for an advantage and people, in general, understand that there are quality foods and foods that are not quite as high in quality. The term 'carb-loading' may be one of the most popular expressions, regarding food, the week prior to a race and everybody has a different opinion on why to do it, how to do it, and when to do it. But, every person has different tastes, different metabolic rates, and different caloric requirements. The best advice on what to eat the week of and the night before the big race, eat the same thing you've eaten during your training. Your body has grown accustom to the type and amount of calories that you've fueled yourself with during your training. Race day is no different. Some helpful tips: finish eating your breakfast between an hour-thirty and two-hours prior to your race start time, avoid things high in acidity and fat, and make sure you're eating enough the morning of the race so that you're not hungry right before the race starts. The night before, sweet potatoes, salads with no dressing, and vegetables are good nutrient rich foods that for most people won't react negatively with nerves the next morning.

The reality is, keeping things consistent with how you've been training will give you the most advatage race day morning, because there is no secret formula. Some people have no problem drinking coffee the morning of a run and others don't do very well drinking coffee two days before a run. Some people can eat eggs, bacon, and pancakes the morning of a run, and others can only eat bland grains. Stay confident in your training, stay focused, and stay consistent.

Yesterday's Post: Psychology of Race Day

Saturday, June 18, 2011

7 Days left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Psychology of Race Day

One aspect to running is the ability to understand your fitness level when you toe the start line. The number of days until the race are dwindling down and your training should be more about fully recovering than inducing fatigue. During your training some people have experienced new levels of fitness, some people have become injured, some people have fallen in love with running. You've most likely, at some point, been too tired to stay up late with friends, too tired take a shower after your run, and too hungry to eat just one slice of pizza. All of these experiences will culminate on Saturday, June 25 and your job is to now decide what all your training experiences add up to. For the majority of first time half-marathon and marathon runners the goal is going to be to complete the distance. Some runners will be in it to complete it with friends, other runners will be out on the course to soak up the sideline parties along the route, and then you have the racers, the runners that are going out to leave everything they've got on the course.

Categories aside, each runner wants to be successful and appropriately judging your fitness level with your race day running intensity is going to help lead you to an enjoyable and successful 2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle. So, which category do you fit into: Completion, Soaking Up The Fun, or are you going to be Racing? Pick your category and below are some race day strategies things to focus on during the race.

Completion - Whether it's by yourself or with friends, race day needs to be about staying in a comfortable intensity during the entire race. Starting out too face will turn your race into an all out effort during the closing miles. Avoid starting in the front of your corral, if you're nervous about starting to fast set a run walk time limit (Run 5 minutes, walk 2 minutes, repeat) Take your time at the water stations. This is your chance to take in your water, sports-drinks, and gels to fuel the rest of your race, no need to rush it.

Soaking Up The Fun - Maybe you're dressing up in party attire, maybe not, but either way take some time to party with your favorite band, cheer squad, or high school band along the course. Don't be afraid to high-five everyone at the water station, help other runners that seem to be struggling, or hop, skip, and jump your way to the finish line.

Racer - Today is the day to make all the miles, hours, and ice baths count. Know where you sit as far as a sustainable pace and stick to the plan. Letting faster runners, or dream goals get the best of you early on could spell disaster in the letter stages of the race. When you only have a couple of miles left kick in the afterburners and enjoy the pain. Once you cross the finish line the pain stops and victory is yours.

If you're running the marathon and your training hasn't gone as planned and you don't feel confident enough to complete the course, it may be better to switch to the half-marathon and save the risk of injury for another marathon. Half-marathoners it's a little more tricky, but don't force yourself into something you're not ready for. There'll be more races.

Friday, June 17, 2011

8 Days left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Nutrition on the Course

Nutrition can be one of the most confusing topics when it comes to what works and what doesn't work. Caffeine or no caffeine? Gels or Blocks? And with all the questions about what works there are just as many brands: GU, Hammer, NUUN, PowerBar, Clif, Energy Blasts...and for convenience there are even more flavors: orange, raspberry, tri-berry, espresso love, vanilla, green apple, tangerine, montana huckleberry, banana, chocolate, melon, mocha, lemon tea, ...this list is seemingly endless. In fact, at The Balanced Athlete we have over 50 unique flavors of gels, blocks, recovery fluid, and energy bars.

So, with an endless selection how do you narrow things down to what works? You try things out during your training. Everyone has a different metabolic rate, so determining how many to use can be a little tricky, but to start take one gel or energy block, every 30 minutes with about 4 oz of water and adjust things slightly on each run to find the perfect match. As you begin running longer and longer you'll discover what flavors work with you the best and the best time pattern. One thing to keep in mind is that any time you ingest food while exercising it takes about 20 minutes before the food is absorbed into your body, so taking a gel or block when you're feeling bad will result in at least 20 more minutes before you start noticing some positive change. That being said, take the gels or blocks while you're feeling good and always with water. Start by deciding what you think you may like, grab a few products, and give it a go.

A quick breakdown of the major differences between gels and blocks:

Gels tend have the consistency of syrup. Some will be more watery than others, but they all provide the same benefit of helping to replenish glycogen stores that you're depleting as you run.

Blocks offer an alternative to the gooey consistency by giving you a gummy bear like product filled with complex carbohydrates and electrolytes.

Water should always be taken with anything ingested to help your body digest the food. Some gels and blocks have caffeine, the best way to look at this option, if you feel like it may help and your body can handle it, no harm in having it your quick energy food.

Everyone is different and everyone will develop a different formula for success when it comes to nutrition. If you have any specific 'on course nutrition' questions leave us a comment on the blog and we'll help you figure it out.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

9 Days left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Race Day Itinerary 
(The parking and transportation suggestions are specific to the 2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon)

The race has been your focus for months now, and the last thing you need to worry about on race day morning is where you're going to park the car, and other race day details. The 2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon & Half is a one-way race, meaning the start line and finish line are in two different places. This can create some stress race-day morning if you don't take the time today to set out a detailed plan, much like your training plan you've been using to train for the race. Figure out, today, how you're getting to the race, where your friends and family will be standing to cheer you on, where you'll meet-up with your friends and family after the race, and how you're going to get home.

How are you getting to the race?
NO Parking at Start Line
Are you driving yourself, being dropped off, carpooling, or using public transportation? And yes, there are some people that will even ride their bikes or, if you can imagine, run to the start line.
  • Driving: There is No parking at the Start Line.
  • Drop-Off: Participants should be dropped of on Interurban Ave.near 56th Street. Check the Official Parking and Shuttle Information PDF for details on street/exit closures and more specific directions on being dropped off at the Start Line.
  • Free Shuttle: This is the most recommended option. It's free and the shuttles operate between 4 AM and 6 AM. You must have a race number to ride the shuttle. There are No shuttles back to the Start Line after the race.
  • Two shuttle options:
    1. North Downtown - Loading zone is at the Westin on Westlake Ave. at Stewart St.
    2. South Downtown - Loading zone is on the South side of Safeco Field, at the Safeco Garage on Occidental Ave. S at Edgar Martinez Drive (S. Atlantic St.)
  • Bicycle: There's no parking at the Start Line, so bicycle security is certain to be low, if any at all.
  • Run/Walk: Eco-friendly, convenient, and a good warm-up.
  • Finish Line Parking:
    The earlier you arrive, the better. You can pre-purchase a parking space at Safeco Field Garage for $15 which will help further solidify an easy, hassle-free race morning: Parking Space at Safeco Field Garage
Where's your personal cheer section going to be standing?

Be sure to also coordinate a plan for your friends and family to get to the finish line to watch you finish. One thing to remember is that there will be street closures on the day of the race, so it's important to pick locations that allow easy access to the finish line. Race Day Road and Ramp Closures

Time for a Family Reunion:

After you've finished the race there will be thousands of other runners and locating your family may feel like finding Waldo in the Where's Waldo book series. Fortunately race directors long ago realized the need for a simple solution, so after the race there will be an area specifically organized to bring friends and family back together. The area will have clearly marked signs with the a different letter on each sign (A to Z). Choose a letter to reunite under. A simple way of choosing a letter: use the first letter of your last name.

Useful Links:
Yesterday's Post: 10 Days Until Rock-n-Roll Seattle
Tomorrow: 8 Days Until Rock-n-Roll Seattle ~ Nutrition on the Course

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon & Half

The 2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon & Half is only ten days away. Are you ready? It's easy to let the excitement and buzz of an upcoming race get the best of a runner, even an elite runner. From pre-race mishaps like missing your race start times/waves to forgetting essential running gear at home, the anxiety of race day can ruin months of training. Not to mention, you have at minimum 13.1 miles before the coveted finishing medal is placed around your neck. With so many variables it's easy to get lost in the unknowns, so what's the best way to approach your first, second, or fiftieth marathon or half-marathon? Plan ahead.

Over the next ten days The Balanced Athlete Blog will be posting a new post each day, including the day of the race, outlining time-saving, efficient, and useful tips, tricks, and information to help you enjoy the 2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon & Half. Lets get started with today's tip: Race Day Shoe Selection

It's not about the shoe...or is it?

Marathon and half-marathon shoe selection can seem just as demanding and draining as the race. The running shoe is the pinnacle of your running gear and the first priority in any shoe selection should be a proper fit, which includes: shoe type, size, and shape. If a shoe isn't fitting your foot properly you may be at a higher risk to a foot or lower leg injury, or find yourself with very uncomfortable feet just a few miles away from the start line.

Blisters can ruin a run.
Quick signs that your shoe may not be fitting properly: 

Blisters, black toe nails, foot numbness while running or walking, or you can't wiggle your toes freely. These are not symptoms of running, often they are telltale signs that your shoes are not fitting properly.

How many miles are on your shoes?

Dirt doesn't mean they're
too worn in. These shoes
Only have 8 miles on them.
Shoes break down similarly to car tires. They both have a suggested mileage range. For tires, between 30,000 miles and 100,000 miles. For shoes ($90 to $140 shoes) between 300 miles and 500 miles. Whether you've been running on concrete, asphalt, trail, or the treadmill this is the typical range of a running shoe. Once the foams in the sole of the shoes breakdown to a point that they are no longer able to absorb shock on impact your feet, ankles, knees, and legs will start absorbing more shock than usual. Waiting until you feel pain, however, increases your risk of injury, so it's important to keep track of your mileage and replace your shoes when necessary.

Quick signs that your shoes are worn out:

You're beginning to notice little aches and pains and you have not changed your training or just come off of an extended break.

Your shoes are beginning to fall apart.

The shoes feel hard on the soles of your feet when you impact the ground.

Average Shoe Life:
300 miles to 500 miles
A good mileage reference: 

Shoes need to be replaced every: 
4 months if you average around 20 to 25 miles a week.
3 months if you average between 30 and 35 miles a week. 
2 months if you average above 40 miles a week

Should I race in a lighter shoe?

Brooks - Green Silence
Switching to a lighter shoe, such as a race flat, can have some adverse consequences if you have not been properly training in them. When you switch to a substantially lighter shoe, in general, there is going to be much less foam to absorb shock when your foot impacts the ground. The additional shock your body begins to absorb can quickly cause added stress and fatigue to the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and bones. The accumulation of too much stress and your body can not take it and a resulting injury is likely.

A good rule of thumb: race in what you train in.

Is it too close to the race to replace my shoes?

A shoe that is fitting properly should never have any real break-in time, but if your shoes are not fitting properly or they're too worn in it's a better idea to get into a shoe that's fresh and properly fit. So, whether there's ten days left or two days left go ahead and replace your shoe with the same type of shoe you've been training in, one that's similar, or a better fitting shoe. Remember, fit isn't just about size. It's about type, size, and shape. What works for one runner may not work for another runner.

Tomorrow's Post Subject: Race Day Itinerary 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Time Changes at The Balanced Athlete

Summer's Almost Here

Red Town Trailhead
~ Cougar Mountain
The running season here in the Pacific Northwest is slowly gaining momentum for a summer of personal best, new experiences, and new races. With the changing of season you may have noticed a little more sunshine, a little less rain, and if you've been into the store within the last couple of weeks you may have noticed some new faces. It's important that The Balanced Athlete keeps pace with an ever growing community of athletes by providing you with knowledgeable, experienced, and professional guidance from our employees. When we grow as a community we grow as a company, so we want to welcome our two newest employees to The Balanced Athlete team: Caitlin and Trey.

New Employees at The Balanced Athlete

Caitlin, a seven year amateur multi-sport and running athlete, has an optimistic attitude toward her athletic ventures and prioritizes enjoying all aspects of training, and has no problem taking on new and exciting challenges. Currently training for her second Ironman Triathlon, Caitlin, hopes for a second sub-12 hour race. Caitlin comes to The Balanced Athlete from a background in sales and public relations and will combine her knowledge of running and triathlons with her passion for outstanding customer service.

Trey, a runner from the deep south, moved to the Pacific Northwest this May from Georgia. Having run cross-country and track competitively in high school and college, Trey brings a passion for helping others achieve their goals through education, enthusiasm, and hard-work. Trey has worked in the running retail for just shy of three years and at his previous company he headed the weekly group run and the 5k, 10k, and Half-marathon training programs.

We'll Miss You, Cory.

On a more clouded note, Cory, a long time employee here at The Balanced Athlete will be headed back to his roots in Denver, Colorado by June's end. Cory came to The Balanced Athlete as a competitive college runner at Western Washington University. He's been described as the Swiss Army Knife of running, competing and remaining competitive in a myriad of distances ranging from the 1500m on the track to the marathon. Cory brought experience, knowledge, and an overall desire to help other in achieving their goals; a perfect member for The Balanced Athlete team of employees. From new runners to veteran triathletes Cory always greeted everyone with a smile and ensured that their experience at The Balanced Athlete wasn't just about product, but also about education. A staple at the group runs Cory will be sadly missed, but we're happy for him and wish him the absolute best.

Come Meet The New Employees and Wish Cory Good-Luck!

The Balanced Athlete
Its been a long winter and we hope that when you stop-in for summer gear, new shoes, or one of our free weekly group runs you take the time to say, 'hello' and introduce yourself to our newest team members and wish Cory good-bye and good-luck. See you soon!

The Balanced Athlete Blog will be updated every Wednesday, so check back each week! Follow Our Blog, share it with friends, and leave comments and questions.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

National Running Day and more...

Every year the first Wednesday in June is National Running Day. Although most people that know about this ‘holiday’ celebrate running every day, it’s important for all runners to set aside some time to reminisce on why we run. Everyone will have a different reason or experience, including the staff here at The Balanced Athlete.

Cory, an avid runner who has been working at The Balanced Athlete for two years, says that his favorite part of running is the socialization and camaraderie during group runs and local races. The community atmosphere is amicable, vibrant, and in high-spirits regardless of the weather.

Eric, a triathlete, runner, and owner of The Balanced Athlete, enjoys coaching, training, and watching people achieve their goals through running. Setting goals is an important first step in any training program, from the recreational athlete to the elite athlete.

Visit our Facebook page, ‘Like’ the page and share why you run with us. The Balanced Athlete - Facebook

Stop by one of our weekly group runs and share your passion for running with The Balanced Athlete. For a schedule of our group runs visit our website, and click the link: ‘free group runs’ located on the left of the page.

When thinking about why you love to run it’s easy to venture forward a couple of days, weeks, and months to upcoming training runs, races, and PR’s (personal records). For a good number of runners in the Pacific Northwest the next major race will be the Seattle Rock-n-Roll Marathon & Half. In support of your training efforts stop by our booth at the expo wearing any Balanced Athlete t-shirt, share your goals, expectations and overall race excitement and receive a free pre-race gift from The Balanced Athlete.

If you’re looking to start a new and healthy lifestyle through running begin your running career with our Learn-To-Run six week training series, starting June 13. The Learn-To-Run program is designed around the concept that education is a key component to the success of all runners. The six week program will focus on how to set-up a proper running schedule, goal setting, basic running form, and training principles allowing each participant to customize their weekly training schedule to fit their busy every day life. Give us a call, or stop by the store, to sign-up or get more information.

Have a fun and mileage filled National Running Day!