Tip of the Week: How Easy is EASY?

To become faster, you may actually have to run slower. This is a puzzling concept for most endurance athletes to understand when common sense tells us,  if we have a marathon goal, then we should run that pace every week during our long runs.

During our base training phase (phase 1), we focused our workouts on an EASY, conversational paced effort in order to build up our aerobic capacity (the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can utilize during any form of exercise).

Running performance largely depends on one’s aerobic fitness. On EASY days, you increase mitochondria capillaries and blood flow to active muscles, making them better able to utilize oxygen. Without this foundation, you will not reap the full benefits of your faster, higher intensity workouts.

Here are a few other reasons why we run EASY:

1- Fat Burning for Energy: The ability for your body to burn fat efficiently for energy can reduce the need for an excessive amount of carbohydrates and leave you less likely to “hit the wall”

2- Increased Running Economy: The amount of oxygen that is needed to run a given pace is regulated when you give your body a strong foundation through EASY training

3- Develop Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers: This is a key to success for endurance athletes as slow twitch muscle fibers can operate for a long period of time without fatigue

4- Increase Glycogen Storage: Form of energy storage

5- Active Recovery: EASY running helps expedite recovery.  One “hard” effort run after another can lead to over-training. It’s during recovery that adaptations from the hard training take place. If a runner doesn’t recover, the body is not going to adapt and evolve, and you’ll either struggle through your training, or worse, get injured.


Runner Spotlight: Luis M. Tejada

Where do you live?
Bronx, NY

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I’m most excited about running with Team for Kids because I feel that nowadays children don’t take advantage of playing outside and playing sports as much as they should, like when I was younger. Back then, we didn’t have social media or anything like that, so I like to be involved with the well-being of children.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place to run is in the streets of city I was born and grew up in–New York City (aka The Concrete Jungle). It’s the city that raised me, so-to-speak, and I absolutely love it and wouldn’t trade it!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
My playlist is very eclectic and consists of everything from classical to hip-hop/rap to punk rock to electronic

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Other than a nice strawberry/banana/peanut butter/chocolate protein shake, I love a nice salmon filet and side of quinoa.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
It began in high school, where I didn’t necessarily run track & field, but I just loved being active throughout. I consider running to be true freedom, where it’s just you, your music playlist (if applicable), and the road/surface on which you’re running.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I say a quick prayer before running or working out so that it will provide me with additional mental fortitude to get it done!

Why did you choose to run this event?
I feel as though not many kids nowadays take advantage of physical sports while at an early age due to a variety of factors, whether it be the increase in social media outlets & usage, funding cuts in school programming, etc. I feel that Team for Kids is doing great work and making great strides to provide such opportunities to children.

Tell us a little more about yourself:
I’m just a guy who loves to be physically active and participate in all sorts of competitions and races. Always with a smile on my face!:)

NYRR Youth Program Teacher Stories

New York Road Runners’ youth programs better children’s health, self-confidence, self-discipline, perseverance, and capabilities around goal-setting, all of which improve behavior and academic performance. Thank you NYRR Team for Kids runners for raising critical funds to support these programs!

Together, NYRR and teachers got over 215,000 kids moving this year, in New York City and nationwide. Here are some of their stories.

Runner Spotlight: Cindy Harris

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What made you decide to run the TCS New York City Marathon with Team for Kids?
I live in Santa Barbara and have for 61 years since coming here to UCSB. I am running/ walking/ jogging the 2016 NYC marathon. This will be my fourth one, although I was entered and was already in New York for the 2012 marathon. After that was cancelled I lost my momentum for marathons. This year my son is running so I decided to give it another try!

A family friend of my son’s, Tom Horton, is the one who put the bug in my ear. In the summer of 2008 he was visiting and I asked him if many people walked the marathon and he replied: “more people walk than run” so I decided I would see if I could do it. I chose TFK because I strongly believe in their philosophy. Preventing juvenile problems before they begin is so very important. My son is also running with TFK as he did last year.

Do you have any running rituals?
I don’t know that I have any set in stone running rituals. I just do it. I believe in exercise and all the benefits it brings. I also go to the gym two days a week.  I come to NYC several times a year to visit my children and grandchildren and always look forward to the six mile loop in Central Park!  In fact, I will be there in mid-April for grandparent’s day at St Bernard’s. As for any other history I have been married for 56 years. I work as a garden designer for a landscape contractor here in Santa Barbara, which here in California is pretty much a year around job. I keep doing it because I love it and see no reason to stop.

Tip of the Week: Nutrition

Nutrition is one of the most important topics we will discuss this season. It is essential you “experiment” during your runs (especially your long runs) to learn what foods, liquids and supplements (gels, blocks, bars, etc.) work best for you before, during and after exercise. We are all unique individuals so what works best for your friend may not work best for you. Lauren Antonicci of Nutrition Energy, covers the basics of nutrition for endurance athletes and the importance of nutrition and hydration before and during exercise in the handout linked here. Please review the handout so you can begin to learn more about the importance of sports nutrition and reach out to one of your coaches ASAP if you have any additional questions by emailing tfkcoach@nyrr.org.

Volunteer at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon

New York Road Runners Team for Kids New York City Marathon alumni, have the exclusive opportunity to go behind the scenes at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6, 2016 to serve as a volunteer for Team for Kids.

Volunteers will have the chance to help TFK at the start, quiet the nerves and dispel the anxiety of our runners and greet them at the finish to celebrate their accomplishment!  Plus all volunteers get an official TCS New York City Marathon jacket to wear on race day!

We still need volunteers for the opportunities listed below.  Please join us in making 2016 an exceptional year for our Team for Kids runners!

The volunteer deadline is August 26, 2016, so sign up today!

TFK Start Volunteer

Assist Team for Kids staff at the start village Marathon morning from 4:30am-11:30am. Responsibilities may include directing runners to the TFK tent and baggage trucks, greeting and checking in runners at the TFK tent, assisting with refreshments, providing customer service to all runners by answering questions and providing encouragement. Strong customer service skills and a friendly attitude required. New volunteers should be available for training and walk-through at the Fort on 10/29. Volunteer transportation will be provided on race day leaving from Midtown Manhattan. More details on transportation will follow.

To sign up, follow the steps below:

  1. Log in to your My NYRR account https://mynyrr.nyrr.org/login
  2. Click “Volunteer” on the left sidebar to then see the TCS New York City Marathon volunteer opportunities displayed at the top
  3. Click the blue “Volunteer” button next to the “START 2016 TCS New York City Marathon (does not count for +1)” box.
  4. Scroll through the different options to find the “TFK ALUMNI Start Village Volunteer (reserved for TFK Alums Only)” opportunity, select, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Next” to move forward with the registration process

TFK Catcher Volunteer

  • Shift 1 from 10:30am – 3:00pm
  • Shift 2 from 2:30pm – 7:00pm
  • TFK alumni will volunteer in the post-finish area in Central Park

Volunteers will stand in the post-finish area with TFK signs, identify and greet TFK runners, then escort them up to the TFK tent at Cherry Hill.

To sign up, follow the steps below:

  1. Log in to your My NYRR account https://mynyrr.nyrr.org/login
  2. Click “Volunteer” on the left sidebar to then see the TCS New York City Marathon volunteer opportunities displayed at the top
  3. Click the blue “Volunteer” button next to the “FINISH 2016 TCS New York City Marathon” box
  4. Scroll through the different Finish Line Options to find “TFK Catcher Shift 1” or “TFK Catcher Shift 2”, select desired shift, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Next” to move forward with the registration process

Both opportunities are open to TFK New York City Marathon alumni only, and are first-come first-serve. If you have any questions, please email teamforkids@nyrr.org. We thank you in advance for your consideration and hope to have you volunteering with us on Marathon day!

Tip of the Week: Hills? What Hills?

Hill running is a type of repetition training. It involves intense, short workouts separated by relatively long recovery periods. Training on hills improves speed, muscle strength (power), cadence, foot strike, increases stride length, develops your cardiovascular system, and enhances your running economy. In short, hill running will make you a stronger, faster and a healthier runner (if done correctly of course).

Tips on Running Hills:

1. Shorten your stride so that your feet are close to the ground in order to minimize impact forces during the uphill and downhill.  Remember, we want to maintain a cadence of 90 spm (steps per minute).

2. Keep your feet pointing straight ahead, lead with your knees to utilize your core and hip flexors and maintain an upright posture (leaning forward from the ankles not your hips).

3. When running uphill, regardless whether it’s during a long run, a race or a workout, your goal is to maintain effort, NOT pace. Trying to maintain the pace you were running on the flat will leave you exhausted later in the workout or race. Efficiency is key for long distance running. The more consistent your pace, heart rate and breathing the more efficient and effective you will be.

4. If your breathing begins to quicken it means that you’re either going uphill too fast, over-striding or creating too much vertical displacement (bounding too far off the ground as you run).

5. Crest the hill. As you start approaching the top of the hill you will need to gradually increase your pace in order to maintain effort over the top of the hill as you start accelerating on the downhill.

6. The key to efficient downhill running is to stay in control. When you start running downhill, shorten your stride and let your turnover increase. When you feel in control, gradually lengthen your stride (avoid breaking).