Member Spotlight: Ping Wong

What is your favorite place to run and why?

Anywhere there is a great scenery.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?

I rarely listen to music, but something upbeat is uplifting!

What is your favorite post-run meal?

Veggies & Chicken. Bananas & Apples & Chocolate milk for quick replenishment.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?

During college when I volunteered at a run – seeing people run is inspiring. When I started to run and exercise, I sensed the empowerment,  and independence  that flourished from running.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?

Dynamic stretches, eat light and drink at least a cup of water 1 hr before running.

Why did you choose to run this event with Team for Kids?

To promote benefits of running among friends and family. Help those less privileged and to get people excited about running.

Tell us a little more about yourself.

I enjoy traveling, meeting new people and trying new foods. I like to cooking  and garden. I like to challenge my limits physically, mentally and socially because it’s fun!

 

 

Tip of the Week: Cramps (AKA – Stitches)

What do you do if you experience a stitch while running? Unfortunately, runners are prone to developing cramps, (AKA- Stitches) in their upper abdominal regions. Stitches typically occur in the latter stages of either a workout or race (especially with increased efforts). The main culprit: the diaphragm, which is the primary muscle involved in breathing. Traditionally, it was believed that stitches occurred when individuals would try to run too soon after consuming a significant amount of food or liquid. I believe this can be true but only in conjunction with another key factor. If you think about it, cyclists, swimmers, skiers, etc., all place huge demands on their respiratory system (their diaphragm), intake large quantities of food and liquid before and during their activity and seldom develop cramps. So what differentiates running from all of these other sports, and what makes us so much more susceptible to developing abdominal pains?

Well, the answer is easy: IMPACT. When we run the organs inside of our abdominal cavity (liver, stomach, spleen, etc.) bounce up and down like puppets on a string. The “string” is connective tissue, which attaches our organs to our diaphragm. With each foot strike (impact) the organs ascend in the abdominal cavity and then quickly descend. The diaphragm, which also moves up and down with each inhalation and exhalation, can either move in sync or out of sync with our organs. Picture this: as we inhale the diaphragm moves downward, moving in the same direction as our organs, minimizing the forces in our abdominal cavity that occur with impact. As we exhale, the diaphragm moves upward, moving in the opposite direction of our organs, maximizing the forces in our abdominal cavity that occur with impact and thus causing our diaphragm to spasm, creating a painful stitch. Make sense so far?

The majority of stitches occur on the right side of the abdomen. Why? That is where the heaviest organ in the abdominal cavity, the liver, is located. To stop stitches from occurring you need to keep in mind that stitches are a function of ground impact and breathing. The chances of a stitch are maximized when foot strike and exhalation are synchronized on one side of the body. For example, if you exhale as your right foot strikes the ground, your diaphragm is in the up position. Your liver then comes crashing downward creating an increased force on the diaphragm and increasing your chances of developing a right sided stitch. This would not be a problem if breathing occurred somewhat randomly, but most runners coordinate their breathing patterns with striding. Repetition of stride can create an immense pressure on the diaphragm, which can result in a painful spasm.

So what can we do? When you feel a stitch beginning to strike, change your breathing pattern immediately. If the stitch is on the right side, start exhaling when your left foot strikes the ground, and vice versa. Prevention is always the best treatment, so here are a few ways to avoid those unpleasant stitches from rearing their ugly heads:

  1. Alternate your breathing pattern.
  2. Tell jokes and laugh a lot before a race (I’m serious). Increased stress before a race can cause the diaphragm to tighten up. Laughing stretches the diaphragm, which may help reduce the risk of stitching during a race. This is a great technique for those who are prone to stitches.
  3. Strengthen your abdominal muscles. Increased abdominal strength helps support our internal organs and keeps them from excessive excursions.
  4. For those who are prone to left-side stitches, try to reduce the amount of liquid and food intake 2 hours prior to a race. Eating too much too close to the start of a race will increase the weight of the stomach, which will in turn increase the amount of force placed on the diaphragm.

Bank of America Chicago Marathon Prep Tip: Start Making Your To-Do List

Travel and Lodging
If you haven’t made your travel arrangements, book them as soon as possible. Use the Bank of America Chicago Marathon website and click the “Participant Information” tab in the top left, then click “Hotels, Travel and Parking.” If you have made all your travel and hotel reservations, confirm them now.

Packing
Start making a list of the things you will need to pack, such as specialized food products you may not have time to purchase in Chicago. Make a pile of potential throw-away clothes for the start of the race. The weather in Chicago at this time of year can really vary, so be sure to check the forecast before you travel so you are prepared and comfortable on race day.

Shoes
If you need to replace your running shoes, make sure you do so ASAP! (Read coach’s tip last week on running shoes). Wear your shoes on the plane or stow them in your carry-on. You don’t want to risk losing your shoes in lost luggage.

Sightseeing in Chicago
Chicago has many historical sites to see, but save them for after the marathon. Factor flight times into your plans and make sure you are well rested for your race. After your race, there are many ways to celebrate Chicago style! Take a look at a few highly recommended Chicago experiences here.

Tip of the Week: What’s Your Race Plan?

Tip of the Week: What’s Your Race Plan?

After several months of training the time has come for you to start thinking about just how long you think it is going to take you to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Whether your goal is to win or simply to finish the race on the same day you started, EVERYONE needs a race plan. It is extremely important that you look back at your training and be honest with yourself before choosing an arbitrary finish time based on how you thought or wanted your training to go. Pick a goal that is realistic and best reflects your current fitness level. Read on for two options that you can utilize, regardless of your experience or specific time goals.

Race Plan Options:

Option 1: EASY- That’s right, run the same EASY pace that you have been running every Saturday for the past few months. This is a great plan for first timers, or for those whose training didn’t go as well as expected. This pace is your comfort zone, you know it so well you can do it in your sleep. Treat race day like any other Saturday: a conversational paced run through the streets of Chicago. This will ensure you achieve your ultimate goal: FINISH!!!

Option 2: Personal Record (PR)- You are an experienced runner, you started this season with a certain goal in mind and you are not going to let anything or anyone stand in your way on race day. Your training was flawless, and you have only one thing on your mind: PR! This option is perfect for those who have specific time goals.

Pacing Strategy:

Regardless of which race approach you choose, consistent pacing from start to finish is key. Instead of viewing the marathon as 26.2 miles, let’s further simplify things and divide your race into three phases:

1) Phase 1- The Warm-Up: Consider miles 1-10 as your warm-up. Your goals during phase 1 are to establish your pace and, most importantly, make sure you DON’T go out too fast (the #1 mistake of the endurance athlete). During this phase it is recommended that you add a MINIMUM of 10 seconds/mile to your goal pace regardless of whether or not you chose race option 1 or 2.

2) Phase 2- The Race: This is where your race begins. Your focus during miles 11-20 is goal pace. Your body is adequately warmed up, and it’s time to start thinking about that PR.

3) Phase 3- The Finish: It is at this point of the race that you want to run completely by feel. If you are feeling good and your race has gone as planned, you will find yourself running slightly faster than goal pace. There is no reason to hold back now. Go for it as you gradually increase the pace over the last 6.2 miles.

To help clarify with context, here is an example of a pacing plan:

Marathon Goal: 3:30 (8:01 pace/mile)

Miles 1-10:  8:11 pace (8:01-8:21)

To avoid going out too fast, add 10 seconds to your goal pace to determine your pace for the first 10 miles. Utilize  a +/- 10 second window to your goal time to ensure consistent pacing (8:01-8:11-8:21). Since the first 10 miles are considered your “warm-up,” it is more than ok if a few of your early miles are actually slower than an 8:21/mile (i.e. crowds at the starting line, a much needed porta-potty stop, etc.)

Miles 11-20:  8:01 pace (7:51-8:11)

This is where the race begins and where you begin to focus on your goal marathon pace (i.e. 8:01). Once again, utilize the +/- 10 second pacing window (7:51-8:01-8:11) to ensure consistent pacing from miles 11-20.

Miles 21-26.2: Run the last 6.2 miles (10K) completely by feel. If you are feeling good, gradually increase your pace over the last 6+ miles. If everything goes according to plan, you will find yourself running slightly faster than goal pace during this phase.

+/- 10 second window? Why?

Well, the goal is consistent pacing throughout your race. It is nearly impossible to hit the same pace/mile for 26.2 miles.  If you can stay within 10 seconds of your goal pace you are doing great job of being consistent. The more consistent you are with your effort level (i.e heart rate, respiration rate, etc.) the less energy you will waste and the better you will feel throughout your race.

Tip of the Week: Tapering

Tapering Explained

Your long run taper starts at the completion of your last long run. What does this mean?  It means that you will decrease the intensity and duration of your workouts! This is NOT the time to make up missed workouts or long runs. Please follow the schedule as written.  If you have been strength training throughout the season, you are going to STOP at this point (if you haven’t been, this is NOT the time to start).  You want to limit the amount of anaerobic exercise to avoid  muscle fatigue or soreness.  You also want to limit ( or avoid) ALL activities where injury is a risk (contact sports such as soccer, basketball, football, etc.). Please be cautious. You have worked too hard to get to the finish line, now we want to make sure you make it to the starting line as healthy as possible!


What to Expect
 When Tapering

Feeling tired. Please listen to your body and get plenty of extra rest and sleep.

New aches and pains. Your body is rebuilding itself from all of the training you have completed over the past few months.  This is completely normal and to be expected.

Up and downs. Today you feel great, tomorrow you are sore from just walking. Again, this is completely normal and very common. Please listen to your body and take extra rest days or cross train as needed. When in doubt, err on the conservative side.

Self-doubt. This is also very common. We start questioning our training- did I do enough training?  Can I really complete a marathon?


How to Taper

REST. Please follow the schedule. The taper phase is not the time to “make up” for missed workouts. More is definitely NOT better.

NUTRITION. Eat well! The taper phase is a good week to try to eat “cleaner” than usual. Continue to eat what works best for you but try to pick more nutritious, nourishing, and balanced meal options whenever possible.

HYDRATE. It’s never too early to start hydrating. Proper hydration is more about what we drink on a daily basis vs. what we drink the night before. Drink even if not thirsty.  Keep a bottle of water with you at all times.  Limit your consumption of alcohol- sorry! Remember, the rule of thumb is to drink .6x your body weight of water in ounces/day. You can revisit our Hydration post from earlier this season by clicking here.

LIMIT STRESS. Try to minimize the amount of stress that you incur at work, home, and in general over the next two weeks.  Increased stress will only create more anxiety which will impede your ability to rest and sleep properly.

STRETCH. Continue to complete your mobility and stretching exercises everyday for about 15-20 minutes. We want to keep those joints mobile and those muscles flexible and well rested (try the lunge matrix stretch we’ve worked on this season).

 

 

Tip of the Week: What’s Your Race Plan?

Tip of the Week: What’s Your Race Plan?

After several months of training the time has come for you to determine just how long is it going to take you to run the BMW Berlin Marathon. Whether your goal is to win or simply to finish the race on the same day you started, EVERYONE needs a race plan. It is extremely important that you look back at your training and be honest with yourself before choosing an arbitrary finish time based on how you thought or wanted your training to go. Pick a goal that is realistic and best reflects your current fitness level. Read on for two options that you can utilize, regardless of your experience or specific time goals.

Race Plan Options:

Option 1: EASY- That’s right, run the same EASY pace that you have been running every Saturday for the past few months. This is a great plan for first timers, or for those whose training didn’t go as well as expected. This pace is your comfort zone, you know it so well you can do it in your sleep. Treat race day like any other Saturday: a conversational paced run through the streets of Berlin. This will ensure you achieve your ultimate goal: FINISH!!!

Option 2: Personal Record (PR)- You are an experienced runner, you started this season with a certain goal in mind and you are not going to let anything or anyone stand in your way on race day. Your training was flawless, and you have only one thing on your mind: PR! This option is perfect for those who have specific time goals.

Pacing Strategy:

Regardless of which race approach you choose, consistent pacing from start to finish is key. Instead of viewing the marathon as 26.2 miles, let’s further simplify things and divide your race into three phases:

1) Phase 1- The Warm-Up: Consider miles 1-10 as your warm-up. Your goals during phase 1 are to establish your pace and, most importantly, make sure you DON’T go out too fast (the #1 mistake of the endurance athlete). During this phase it is recommended that you add a MINIMUM of 10 seconds/mile to your goal pace regardless of whether or not you chose race option 1 or 2.

2) Phase 2- The Race: This is where your race begins. Your focus during miles 11-20 is goal pace. Your body is adequately warmed up, and it’s time to start thinking about that PR.

3) Phase 3- The Finish: It is at this point of the race that you want to run completely by feel. If you are feeling good and your race has gone as planned, you will find yourself running slightly faster than goal pace. There is no reason to hold back now. Go for it as you gradually increase the pace over the last 6.2 miles.

To help clarify with context, here is an example of a pacing plan:

Marathon Goal: 3:30 (8:01 pace/mile)

Miles 1-10:  8:11 pace (8:01-8:21)

To avoid going out too fast, add 10 seconds to your goal pace to determine your pace for the first 10 miles. Utilize  a +/- 10 second window to your goal time to ensure consistent pacing (8:01-8:11-8:21). Since the first 10 miles are considered your “warm-up,” it is more than ok if a few of your early miles are actually slower than an 8:21/mile (i.e. crowds at the starting line, a much needed porta-potty stop, etc.)

Miles 11-20:  8:01 pace (7:51-8:11)

This is where the race begins and where you begin to focus on your goal marathon pace (i.e. 8:01). Once again, utilize the +/- 10 second pacing window (7:51-8:01-8:11) to ensure consistent pacing from miles 11-20.

Miles 21-26.2: Run the last 6.2 miles (10K) completely by feel. If you are feeling good, gradually increase your pace over the last 6+ miles. If everything goes according to plan, you will find yourself running slightly faster than goal pace during this phase.

+/- 10 second window? Why?

Well, the goal is consistent pacing throughout your race. It is nearly impossible to hit the same pace/mile for 26.2 miles.  If you can stay within 10 seconds of your goal pace you are doing great job of being consistent. The more consistent you are with your effort level (i.e heart rate, respiration rate, etc.) the less energy you will waste and the better you will feel throughout your race.

Member Spotlight: Linda Walsh

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Where do you live?
Baldwin

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?
What excites me the most about running my event with Team for Kids is that I know that the money I am raising is going to a good cause. I happen to have had a hands on experience with a Team for Kids event at Icahn Stadium on June 15, 2016 with schools from all 5 boroughs running their own events. It was such a rewarding event and I will do it again next year. I also had the pleasure of meeting Michael Rodgers from NYRR, who is a great guy all around. Me and my friend Susan were asked to hold the banner at the finish line and we were very honored to do so. Let’s go Team for Kids!

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place to run is upstate New York near my summer home in Saratoga. I love the rolling hills and the scenery running around the lake. They have what they call turkey hill. I have done it multiple times and feel amazing when I hit the top because I know it’s downhill from there. I also run the Long Beach Boardwalk and listen to the waves hitting the shoreline.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I just listen to some old songs on my phone. I run with a partner and we normally talk and just have music in the background.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
My post run meal is a banana, string cheese and a hard-boiled egg. I also drink chocolate milk as a reward, especially after a long run. Also some tart cherry juice.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
My relationship running started in October 2014. I was 55 years. I had lost my husband in Feb 2013. I let myself go to the dogs. I needed something to get me back on track. I joined WW, lost 40 lbs. and started running. I started with a 5K as a group run. After I was done I had this running high and decided that I loved what I just did. I did a 15K in Feb 2015. Did my first 1/2 marathon one year later in Oct of 2015. Just finished my 2nd 1/2 marathon in May 2016. I also have a very good running buddy who had kept me going when I wanted to quit. When she said that she wanted to do a Marathon I thought she as crazy. But I am looking forward to this experience. I will finish one way or another, whether it’s running, walking or crawling.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I always have a cup of coffee when I wake up. I eat a 1/2 of a salted bagel with Greek yogurt cream cheese and a little jam.

Why did you choose to run this event with Team for Kids?
I chose to run this event with Team for Kids because obesity is on the rise and kids need to do more activities and get out from behind the TV and video games. Raising funds to support youth programs is important to me because growing up I did not have this chance, and I think that kids need more to do and get them off the streets.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I am 57 years old and a single parent of a 21 year old. I am retired from Verizon after 30 years of service. I live on Long Island. I love to play Mahjongg and I bowl once a week. I also volunteer for a group supported by Verizon.