BMW Berlin 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 Berlin Marathon website and click the “Plan Your Race” tab in the top left, then click “Travel and Hotels.” If you have made all your travel and hotel reservations, confirm them now.

Start making a list of the things you will need to pack, such as specialized food products you may not be able to purchase overseas. Make a pile of potential throw-away clothes for the start of the race. The average temperature in Berlin towards the end of September is between 55°F-66°F , but don’t forget to check the weather forecast closer to race day to be sure you pack to be comfortable!

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 Berlin
Berlin has many historical sites to see, but save them for after the marathon. Factor jet lag into your plans and make sure you are well rested for your race. Maybe you can even celebrate at Oktoberfest after your race, in full swing up until October 3rd in Munich, a short train ride from Berlin!

Tip of the Week: Stay Motivated

Motivation and Mental Aspects of Running: for Training and Race Day

The mind is a powerful thing.  I am sure you now know that running is as much mental as it is physical, if not more so.  Training your mind to stay strong can mean the difference between having a great run and a so-so run.  Many can think of examples from their own life- being in the best shape of your life, yet having a disastrous race, all because you let the words “I can’t” get into your head.

The last few weeks of training are VERY critical so it’s important to stay motivated and focused with your training. Here are a few tips to keep those legs moving when your mind wants them to stop.

Remember why you chose to sign up to run with Team for Kids. Whatever the reason, it is a good one!

Reward yourself.  Training isn’t easy and you should be rewarded for all of your hard work.  When you’ve reached one of your goals, reward yourself with a new pair of shorts, a massage or whatever else is a treat for you.

Use imagery and visualization. Imagine yourself floating up a hill or smoothly, effortlessly gliding over the pavement with perfect form.  Visualize yourself crossing the finish line, hands in the air and wearing a big smile.  The more you imagine yourself doing these things, the more your body follows suit.

Have a Mantra.  Mantras are short, positive phrases that you can repeat during your run.  Here are a few examples;  “Slow and Steady” at the beginning of a race; “Short and Quick” when going up a hill; “I can do this, I get to do this” when you feel like your mind is getting weak.  Others include: “I am strong”, “One foot in front of the other”, “Mind over matter” or whatever else may work for you.

Focus on your body.  You want to make sure your body is in check.  Is your breathing in control?  Are you hydrating and taking in nutrition?  Focus on your strides- keeping a quick turnover, shortening them up when on the hills.  Focus on your arms- are they relaxed?  Switch your focus to your arms when your legs are feeling a little tired.  If your arms keep moving, your legs will go with them, I promise.

Focus on the surroundings.  Take it all in; what’s around you?  The cheering crowd, funny signs, ridiculous costumes, the runners around you, etc…

Play games.  Go ahead and distract yourself a bit.  Day dream of being in your favorite place.  Count the number of white hats or red shorts you see.  While distracting yourself is OK for a bit, don’t let yourself get too distracted.  Make sure to check back in with your body every once in a while.

Break up your long run or race in segments.  Often times thinking about a long run in segments is less stressful or overwhelming that thinking about the whole time or distance.  Don’t think of the run as it’s total mileage.  Break it up into more manageable segments- if we’re doing a 2 hour run, break it into 4 x 30 minute easy runs.  Pick a landmark, mile marker or water stop in the distance and focus on getting to that point.

What if I have a bad run?
If you have a “bad” run, don’t stress about it.  It happens to everyone.  One bad run is not an indication that everything is going wrong.

  • Find something positive that came from your workout. It can even be “at least I got out there”.  It may be that you kept a steady pace, practiced good nutrition/hydration or found a pair of shorts that are great for running. There is always one!
  • Figure out what went wrong. Were you properly rested or out late the night before?  Are you stressed at work?  Did you follow a hydration/nutrition plan?  Figuring out what went wrong helps you make adjustments so that the next time you can have a better run.
  • Talk to others and your coaches. We’ve all had our fair share of “bad” runs.  Sometimes they are just flukes, sometimes they happen because we have one too many glasses of wine the night before.


Member Spotlight: Nadia Rahman

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Where do you live?
Madison, WI

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

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
During my first marathon, I was fortunate enough to have a good friend competing as well who pushed me to reach my dream of finishing a marathon. I am beyond excited to run with a group of passionate runners who not only have the common goal of finishing a race, but also are passionate about supporting and providing recreational opportunities for youth!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
We have 2 big lakes here in Madison, WI and my favorite path is a 12.67 mile track around the beautiful Lake Monona. You get to see the skyline from a new perspective, venture through a few beautiful parks and neighborhoods and you are constantly surrounded by fellow runners and bikers! It’s a great way to see the community and meet some fun people!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
My playlist consists of everything from Boston, the Eagles, and Led Zeppelin to Luke Bryan, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and of course lots of Disney music! I like anything with a steady beat and that I can keep a pace to!

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Chocolate milk, a banana and shortly after PIZZA!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I started running when I moved out of Florida to Wisconsin. I had never been so far from my family and wanted to find a hobby that kept me active and would allow me to connect to my community. One of the best parts about living in Madison is the passion for living an active lifestyle that is shared by most members of the community. I remember watching my dad train for 2 marathons when I was little and have walked a past his NYC finisher photo for years. The combination of being in a new city, wanting to feel connected and looking up to my dad drove me to start running 5Ks, which turned in to half marathons which has now evolved into a love for marathons and running for fun!

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I must eat pasta with plain tomato sauce and LOTS of garlic bread no less than 18 hours before a race. I also listen to the song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem as I start every race!

Why did you choose to run this event with Team for Kids?
Childhood obesity is an epidemic that is not only impacting the health of our youth, but also placing a huge limit on their potential. Being involved in recreational sports and activities gave me a tie to my community, kept me engaged and even promoted academic success. I promised myself that I would always find a purpose for every major task I take on. Running with TFK means I will have the privilege of running the NYC marathon and raising funds to support activities that made a world of difference in my own personal and social development. Children should be given the opportunity to discover and reach their full potential; Recreation and personal health are two factors that can present many healthy outlets for youth and can continue to help kids develop socially, physically and even academically.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I am a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, which means I specialize in working with individuals with various disabilities. I have a passion for mentoring and coaching and have found awesome opportunities for personal growth through Big Brothers/Big Sisters and coaching Girls on the Run. I am excited to be a young professional in a city that thrives on creativity, community and passion and look forward to pursuing my dreams of creating equal opportunity for education and employment for individuals with disabilities wherever I may go.

Connect with Nadia via the link below:


Tip of the Week: New Running Shoes for Race Day

Now that you are about a month out from the BIG day, some of you may have been asking yourself, “Do I need to replace my running shoes before my race?”

Well, if you are asking that question then the answer is probably… yes.

Why should I replace my running shoes?
Running in old or worn-out shoes is a very common (and completely avoidable) source of running injuries. Your running shoes lose shock absorption, cushioning and stability as you log miles. Running in worn-out shoes increases the stress and impact on your legs and joints. The easiest thing you can do to prevent those types of injuries is replace your running shoes before they’re worn-out.

When should I replace my running shoes?
The short answer is between 300 and 450 miles. Why the range? How quickly shoes wear varies based on a variety of factors including weight, gait, and the type of surface(s) you do a majority of your running on (pavement, dirt, treadmill).  If you run an average of 25 miles per week, you should be replacing your shoes roughly every 3-4 months.

Beyond the actual numbers, you can often times physically FEEL when your shoes are ready to be replaced. If they do not feel as cushioned as new ones and you feel every nook and cranny on the road while running. You may also begin to experience new aches and pains in your shins or knees because your feet and joints are trying to overcompensate for the now-missing stability and/or cushioning.

How soon before the marathon should you choose your marathon day shoe?
As race day approaches you will hear every coach you know say the following phrase, “nothing new on race day.” This applies especially to your shoes. If you need to buy a new pair of shoes before your marathon, then you want to make sure you do so with plenty of time to spare (i.e. 4 to 6 weeks). This will give you a more than enough time to break your shoes in with some short and, more importantly, long runs.  The breaking in process will also ensure there are no surprises on race day (i.e. an inseam digging into your foot, blisters, etc..).  If you are not sure whether or not your shoes need to be replaced talk to your coaches or visit your favorite running store for some expert advice.

Member Spotlight: Katerena Moustakis

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Where do you live?
Garden City, New York (Long Island)

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
2016 TCS NYC Marathon

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I get to run with a group of people who are equally as moved by the Team for Kids mission. Just the notion of adding some meaning behind every butt-kicking mile I run moves me, to help provide kids with programs that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
Cedar Creek Park to Jones Beach Bike path. It is a long trail along the parkway with the unmistakable Jones Beach Tower in the background, fishing along the side, small hills, boats passing you by, ornamental grass, views of the water, fresh air, and friendly faces. I love it because of that! Additionally, if you run or even bike far enough, you can enter the beach without paying for parking. Win! Moreover, after a long run, there is nothing like putting your feet in the water!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
A good playlist (for me) is absolutely essential. I start almost every run with the same song, Tim Segreto’s “I’ll Watch Your Back” (Sounds like – Oasis / Coldplay) it sets the tone. However, I usually listen to The Prodigy, Major Lazer, Rihanna, or any song produced by Calvin Harris to keep my legs moving. I love music!

What is your favorite post-run meal?
I usually go for a very large salad believe it or not. I literally reach for a small to medium size cake mixing bowl and throw lettuce, tomato, avocado, one hard boiled egg, Kalamata olives, dates and mukimame in it; a pinch of salt and one tablespoon of olive oil and I’m good to go!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I honestly always loved running because I played soccer from the time I was in grade school. However, my real relationship with running did not begin until the summer of entering my third year in college. I had slipped and fallen down concrete steps, landing so terribly that everything just shifted in my back. I fractured my tailbone, herniated some discs, suffered from nerve damage and could not walk properly for quite some time. I went to physical therapy for a while, and eventually just told myself: “Look, snap out of it, get up, get out, you’ll be fine, you’ll get better.” Eventually, walking turned back into running and has been my go to cathartic release since college, throughout Law School and every day since.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I have to start running, cross the start line and/or the finish line with my right foot. It is a Greek tradition that my family follows. Essentially, every New Year, or when entering into someone’s house or anywhere for the first time, we enter on the “right foot” to bestow good luck.

Why did you choose to run this event?
Back when I was in grade school, schools were just starting to implement healthy choices for both drink and food options (e.g., Sports drinks and Water as opposed to Soda). I think it is super important to suggest or at least provide an opportunity for youth to make healthy choices. Additionally, because of TFK’s mission, kids, not just by chance, will get the opportunity to educate themselves on physical fitness and empower themselves through these character-building programs.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I love to stay active, whether it is through running, cycling, swimming or just taking my dog out for a long walk. I also love to indulge in new foods and treat myself once in a while. On my downtime, I like to unwind with a classic Horror movie or any Quentin Tarantino flick. I know what you’re thinking – who unwinds with horror movies? This girl. Thanks to my older brother!

Connect with Katerena via the sites below:

Tip of the Week: Recovery Runs

Recovery runs are defined as relatively short, slow runs completed the day after a long run, and they are a very important part of your training. It is widely believed that the primary purpose of recovery runs is to increase blood flow to the legs, clearing away lactic acid, thus expediting the recovery process. However, other running experts would argue that the most important benefits of recovery runs are the increased training stress (running on tired and fatigued legs) and training volume.

Endurance training is not just about  the long runs. Your weekly volume and frequency are equally, if not, more important. Adding these recovery runs to your schedule is a great way to increase both your:

  • Weekly Volume – the total amount of time spent running per week, and
  • Frequency – the number of days per week you run.

Simply put, running volume has a positive effect on running fitness and performance. The more running you do (within the limit of what your body can handle before breaking down), the more fit you will become. This is because  increases in running volume are closely correlated with increases in running economy.

Running is a motor skill that requires communication between your brain and your muscles. For runners, it’s simply about the time spent practicing the relevant action (running) that improves communication between the brain and the muscles. It’s not just a matter of testing our physiological limits (HARD efforts), but developing a skill through repetition.

If a runner tries to run HARD during every workout, the number of miles they are able to complete before breaking down will decrease. Moral of the story, if you want to achieve the maximum running volume, then you have to keep the pace slow for your recovery and easy runs (and your long runs too). It’s as simple as that. If you are injured, or feel running on recovery days does not work for you, then an easy spin on a stationary bike will do the trick. Remember to keep it easy and maintain 90- 95 RPM’s to simulate the same cadence we utilize while we run (other forms of cross training will also do).


Member Spotlight: Phil Patterson Jr.

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Where do you live?
North Lauderdale, Florida

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?
The fact that by choosing to run with Team for Kids it’s no longer just about me and my excitement to run this particular race but the that it’s also helping out others because of the fundraising.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I would say the beach just because the weather is almost always beautiful and you can jump right in the water to cool off whenever you want to.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
Imagine Dragons dominate my running playlist. After that it’s a lot of Alternative, Rock, Dance and BPM/Electronic singles. Stuff that gets me moving. There’s also a guy by the name of The Ginger Runner who makes instrumentals that are nice to run to, especially for the moments of needing to relax mentally on the run.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
A cheeseburger and French fries with a coke zero.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
June 2013. I was 95 pounds heavier, going to the ER every 6-8 months because of back spasms and had enough. I knew I needed to lose weight to take pressure off of my back and discs so I started running.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I always have a moment of prayer right before they play or sing the national anthem. I thank God for giving me the passion to run, keeping me safe during my training and then I just pray that he helps me run my best, that me and everyone in the race will be safe. I find that it helps keep me humble and supportive of those running. I know there are so many people who wish they could run but can’t so it helps me appreciate it all even more.

Why did you choose to run this event?
After the Haiti earthquake I went on 3 trips as a volunteer/missionary to help the country out. That required fundraising and the end result was life changing. I felt like it was time to do something different other than just run a race and always heard about Team for Kids and the NY races. So I wanted to add a special purpose to this race since it means a lot to me to finally get to do it and hopefully this blesses many others to find their passion in running as well.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I was born and raised in Florida, My dad is from New York (Buffalo). I am a huge sports fan and love music. If I could be in one place daily it would be the beach because I love the ocean (that includes fishing). I work at a running specialty store called Runner’s Depot. I also host my own running website where I interview and feature elite runners to share with my followers to provide tips and suggestions for runners of all kinds. I have been married for 2 years now and I’m most popular locally for my beard as it gets the attention at all the races and people recognize me more and more just because of it.

Connect with Phil via the links below: