Friday, September 24, 2010

Ten Things to Avoid When Tapering For a Marathon

Every marathoner wants to tell you all the things to do during your marathon taper. Are you ready to hear what you shouldn't do?

Number 10: Running a long run of more than 15 miles during your marathon taper. A major cause of poor marathon performance, is not giving the body time to adapt from the final longest run during marathon training.

Number 9: Lowering your mileage while neglecting to run some V02 and lactate threshold workouts. As you taper if you do not run quality workouts at proper intensity your body will lose a lot of your fitness gains. Remember to make these workouts shorter in duration or repetitions.

Number 8: Forgetting to take more rest days. A good rule of thumb is to reduce the number of running days by two the second week of your taper and three the week of the marathon.

Number 7: Neglecting nutrition, as your body begins to repair itself more nutrients are needed to aid in this process. Make sure to take a quality nutritional supplement such as USANA. Increase fruits, vegetables, and protein during your taper.

Number 6: Buying a new pair of running shoes. Hopefully you have replaced your initial training shoes midway through your training. That newest pair of shoes should have about a month's worth of wear, and should feel perfect right now. Now is not the time to buy new shoes and try get them broken in for race day.

Number 5: Cross Training, now is not the time to begin cross training. If you have cross trained during your marathon training, reduce the volume or eliminate completely.

Number 4: Neglecting Sleep, as you begin to feel more and more rested there is a tendency to reduce the number of hours you sleep. Try to stick to a schedule that includes 8 hours of quality sleep each night.

Number 3: Fluids, keeping the body hydrated not only helps your running it also eliminates waste products. As the body repairs itself waste products need to be eliminated as well. Proper hydration aids in this process. Remember to drink an extra 64 oz of water each day.

Number 2: Stress during the week before a marathon can literally wear you out. Let your friends, family and colleagues know that you are going to be unavailable for those extra social and stress causing activities this week.

Number 1: Listening to everyone's advice about how to run your race. After training for up to 20 weeks you get to know what your limits are. Listen to experienced marathoners concerning race tactics such as fluids, gels, etc. Ignore everyone else trying to get you to run their race. If you're a first time marathoner, finish the race in the easiest way possible. More experienced marathoners, race within your capabilities.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Way to Rock n Roll today team!

Congratulations to all who came out and ran, volunteered, and cheered today at the Rock n Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon. You are all an inspiration.

We wanted to take the opportunity to thank our team for a great run. You could have chosen to run for many good charities, and we feel sincerely honored that you joined the Angel Team. Your efforts, on and off the street, will affect so many lives of children and adults with Down syndrome. Some of those recipients you've helped, none of us will ever meet personally. Rest assured that you will help many children and adults with special needs to have a better life. God does not judge us by what we take, but what we choose to give.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rock N Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon this weekend!

That's right. This weekend is the big race! All of the time that you've spent preparing for your training, executing your training, finding the right shoes and gear, and fretting over all of that is about to pay off.
Be confident in the fact that you've done all you can up until this point to be prepared for this race.
Take this time between now and Sunday to relax and know that there's nothing that you can do between now and race day that will change your level of fitness. The hay is in the barn.
Make sure that you are getting plenty of rest over these next few days. For me, the most important night to get a good night's sleep is two nights before the race, because the night before I'm always so restless and itching to get going.
We sincerely appreciate everything that you've done to prepare yourselves for this race, and to raise money for such a wonderful organization. I look forward to meeting you all on Friday night, or Sunday morning...
If you have any last minute questions about the race as far as training goes, give me a call at 630.461.1325.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The next Team Run is scheduled for this Saturday morning, July 17 in Schaumburg. Details and map link below. We really want you to join us, meet fellow team members, young people with Down syndrome, friends and family. Following the run, we will have a light breakfast and refreshments.

With any luck, we will have the team shirts ready for the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon and you can pick up your shirt at the team run (saving us postage costs).

RSVPs appreciated. We'd like to know:

1. name
2. current average pace
3. current running distance

DATE: Saturday, July 17, 2010
TIME: 8:30 a.m. followed by breakfast/refreshments with UPS for DownS families
LOCATION: Busse Woods in Schaumburg (enter from Higgins Road)
MEET: Busse Lake Boating Center SEE ATTACHED MAP
DISTANCE: 7.7 mile loop

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

More marathon training tips....

“I think it’s important to have patience and give yourself time and plenty of rest. If you want to start running and you’ve never run your entire life, that’s an amazing and wonderful thing. Don’t put pressure on yourself. My advice to people is to stay at it and take their time. Set small goals along the way and don’t be overwhelmed by the process.” – Kara Goucher

In 2008, Nike Running star Kara Goucher became the fastest American woman to debut at the marathon distance, running 2:25:53 at the ING New York City Marathon. Like any debut runner, Goucher made an unbreakable commitment to the marathon, but she also acknowledged how daunting 26.2 miles can seem. That is why she reminds runners to “set small goals along the way” to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the enormity of the marathon distance.

When you begin your marathon training, it’s important to start where you are comfortable. You’ve heard the saying, “You have to crawl before you can walk”; same goes for the marathon—you have to run one mile before you can run two, or 10 or 20 miles.

Select a training program that complements your current training schedule, and focus on gradually increasing your running mileage so your body adapts to the rigors of marathon training. It’s helpful to break your training down into three to four week cycles and focus on small goals along the way, like completing your first double digit run, or running for 30 minutes without resting. Keep your training in perspective, and remember, instead of focusing on the finish line today, celebrate the start line—you're already standing on it!

Gearing Up
After you commit to the marathon, investing in the appropriate running gear is one of the most important things you can do. To kick start your training, you need a few essential items, such as moisture wicking socks, and technical running shirts and shorts. Above all, it’s imperative that you get fitted for the proper running shoes, which we’ll cover in the June edition of this e-newsletter. If you can’t wait until June, pay a visit to your local specialty running retailer and they’ll answer any and all questions you have about running footwear.

Technical Socks: The number one rule for all runners is to stay away from cotton socks. Cotton fabric lacks the sweat-wicking technology, support features and ventilation capabilities that technical running socks provide. Technical socks keep your feet comfortable, dry and blister-free by wicking moisture away and allowing your feet to breathe.

Technical Apparel: Running apparel has come a long way since the first marathon boom days of cotton T-shirts and sweatpants. Today’s innovative moisture-wicking technical fabrics help you avoid chafing and friction by keeping your skin dry, by using a flat seam construction and by providing optimal ventilation. Running in comfortable technical fabrics during the sweat-inducing days of summer training is key to enjoying your long runs in the sun.

Doctor’s Orders: Listed below are 10 topics from George Chiampas, Medical Director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, that you need to consider as you begin your training.
  1. Be sure to inform your primary care physician of your marathon goal.
  2. Address any and all injury issues with your trainer/coach or health care team.
  3. Determine your sweat rate and fluid needs early on.
  4. Train and begin using any foods or gels to determine what works best for you.
  5. Don’t over-train; recovery is vital for your long term goal.
  6. Consider how you respond to running in both hot and cold weather and adjust accordingly.
  7. Rest; be sure to obtain as much sleep as possible during this training period.
  8. Limit alcohol consumption as this is a performance inhibitor.
  9. Be sure to obtain your daily nutritional needs of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
  10. Run in safe and open environments and make yourself visible.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shoes = Very Important

When asked about what he learned from his marathon debut in 2002, Olympic Marathon silver medalist and 2009 winner of the New York City Marathon, Meb Keflezighi, responded: “I learned three things: be patient, keep your beanie as it was 38-degrees on that day and I got cold, and shoes – I wore a pair that was for 5k or 10k racing. Even my dad noticed they were the wrong shoes. So coming onto 1st Ave. I was feeling the road.”

One of the most essential ingredients to training injury-free is outfitting yourself with the proper footwear. Every running shoe is designed with a specific type of runner in mind. The best way to discover what shoe best fits your running needs is to understand who you are as a runner—your gender, the surface you run on, your stride, biomechanics, foot shape, body type and your injury history all factor into determining which shoe is best for you. A helpful tool to find your perfect shoe is the Brooks Shoe Advisor, which in six steps will help you discover the Brooks running shoe that fits your specific needs.

Running specialty stores have trained staff that will monitor your foot type and stride to help find the proper shoes, and allow you to try on multiple styles to determine the best feel and fit.

This week we’ll focus on choosing the appropriate footwear for your biomechanical needs. One way to figure out whether you are a neutral runner, an overpronator or an underpronator (supinator), is to take a look at your foot shape.

The Normal Foot: If you were to get your foot wet and plant it on the sidewalk, a normal foot would have a normal-sized arch that shows the forefoot and heel connected by a broad band. Biomechanically, a normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and slightly rolls inwards to absorb shock. Runners with normal feet tend to have neutral strides or they tend to mildly overpronate. Neutral runners with normal feet benefit from a cushioned shoe that absorbs shock and offers mild support. Overpronators with normal feet will benefit from a shoe that offers stability to reduce the rate of pronation (inward rolling) and cushioning to absorb shock. About 55% of runners fall into the category of the neutral or normal foot.

The Flat Foot: The flat foot has a low arch and, when wet, the entire sole of the foot appears. A flat foot tends to strike on the outside of the heel and rolls inward or overpronates excessively. Over time, this can cause several different kinds of overuse injuries if not addressed with proper footwear. Runners with flat feet who overpronate benefit from shoes with firm (generally wider) midsoles and control features that reduce the rate of pronation. Runners with low arches and flat feet should avoid highly cushioned, curved shoes that lack stability and motion control features. About 40% of runners fall into the category of the overpronated, flat foot.

High Arched Foot: The high-arched foot, when wet, shows a very narrow band connecting the forefoot and heel or no band at all. This foot has a significant curve to it compared to the flat foot, and it is generally rigid and “supinated” or underpronated. Instead of rolling inward when the foot strikes the ground, the high arched foot continues to roll on the outside of the foot, thereby absorbing little shock. Runners with this foot type benefit from a highly cushioned, flexible shoe; hence, they should avoid motion control and stability shoes that reduce foot mobility. Fewer than 5% of runners fall into the category of the supinated, high arched foot.

Local specialty running stores are equipped to fit shoes based on foot structure. This includes support of the arch, cushioning, and weight. Just remember that each person’s foot is unique and that finding the shoe that best fits your unique foot structure is very important to give you the best chance of reducing aches and pains.

Running shoes should be replaced every 300 miles or every three to four months, whichever comes first. Log mileage in a journal and mark the date you purchased your shoes on the side of the shoe. Do not replace your shoes any sooner than one month prior to the marathon, as you want to have the shoes broken in before the event. You may want to rotate different shoes so that you do not become dependent on one particular shoe, as many running shoes change in the course of a year as new models are released and older models discontinued.

If you run into a shoe snafu, seek a sports medicine specific podiatrist to evaluate your foot type and shoe choice before injuries compound themselves.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

First Team Run of the year tomorrow!!

TOMORROW! Monday, June 21st! Kick off team run in conjunction with our summer UPS for DownS Walking Club

Meet at the Dick Pond Athletics at 927 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg. Dick Ponds has several pace groups that leave the Schaumburg store at 6:00 P.M. They run in the neighborhoods around the store. All runners are welcome.

UPS for DownS runners should meet at the store at 5:45 and wear an UPS for DownS shirt (If you don't have one yet, let us know and we will bring one to you). Runners then go out with the appropriate pace group. All pace groups return to the store around 6:45 or 7:00.

You may attend for just the run, just the walk or both - it's completely up to you.

A little about the walking club for those who have not attended:

The Walking Club meets weekly at the store at 7:00 P.M. After the runners stretch, at about 7:10 p.m., we match the runners who wish to act as mentors with walkers who have Down syndrome. They walk 1 mile together around the neighborhood. The walkers take anywhere from 15 minutes to 35 minutes to complete the course. The walk concludes at the UPS for DownS office, about a block from the Dick Pond store. We block off the parking lot with cones and have healthy snacks and music for about 45 minutes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Big Plans for 2010

We have BIG plans for 2010.

UPS for DownS is a race-designated charity for both the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon. UPS for DownS also has a team of triathletes who compete and raise awareness and funds.

We have three options for fundraising through the Endurance Team this year.

1. Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon

- If you already registered for the race at this link (Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon), you can join our team for free by CLICKING HERE.

- If you are looking for a race entry, you can join our team for $250 by CLICKING HERE.

- The suggested fundraising minimum for this race is $975 (this amount has been set by Rock 'n' Roll race owners, NOT UPS for DownS and the $250 entry fee will be subtracted from this total).

Each UPS for DownS Charity Athlete will receive:

- A custom “Charity Athlete” Training shirt;

- Private tent at Start/Finish line with refreshments and private gear check;

- A custom UPS for DownS race shirt;

- UPS for DownS team runs;

- Participation in Endurance Team e-group with exchange of advice and recommendations about training and fundraising;

- The opportunity to be paired with a person with Down syndrome through our Adopt-a-Runner program;

- Fundraising Incentives;

- Team pasta dinner;

- Personal fundraising web page!

Join our Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon Team here: CLICK TO REGISTER!

2. Bank of America Chicago Marathon

- If you are already registered for the race, you can join our team by CLICKING HERE.

- Each UPS for DownS Charity Athlete agrees to raise at least $500 and will receive:

- A custom “Charity Athlete” Training shirt;

- A custom UPS for DownS race shirt;

- UPS for DownS team runs;

- Participation in Endurance Team e-group with exchange of advice and recommendations about training and fundraising;

- The opportunity to be paired with a person with Down syndrome through our Adopt-a-Runner program.

- Fundraising Incentives, including admission to Hospitality Tent for athletes who raise $1000 by September 15th!

- Team pasta dinner

- Personal fundraising web page

- Charity Block Party on the course for your spectators and fans!

Once you have registered for the Chicago Marathon, sign up for the UPS for DownS Team here: CLICK TO REGISTER!

3. Name Your Race.

The suggested fundraising minimum for Name Your Race is $250.

Click here for NAME YOUR RACE Registration. IT'S FREE!

But, lest running 13.1 or 26.2 miles isn’t enough for you, UPS for DownS’ cadre of Charity Athletes includes ultramarathoners who have redefined their life and their limits, running incomprehensible distances in unfathomable conditions.

- Each UPS for DownS Charity Athlete receives:

- A custom “Charity Athlete” Training shirt;

- A custom UPS for DownS race shirt or singlet;

- UPS for DownS team runs;

- Participation in Endurance Team e-group with exchange of advice and recommendations about training and fundraising;

- The opportunity to be paired with a person with Down syndrome through our Adopt-a-Runner program.

- Team pasta dinner

- Personal fundraising web page

Not an athlete? We are always in need of volunteers at these incredibly fun events. Volunteer activities include cheering on runners, Adopt-a-Runner, passing out water, assisting at team fun runs, helping with the Endurance Team Committee. We promise that none of these activities require running, swimming or biking insane distances (though hanging around these athlete types might inspire you to put down the donut and go for a walk)!

For more information on how to be a Charity Athlete for UPS for DownS, contact us at with information about your area of interest (athlete or volunteer or both), your specific event, contact information, including phone and address, and why you are interested in UPS for DownS (neighbor, classmate, brother/niece with Down syndrome, special education teacher, Special Olympics coach, etc).

100% of the funds raised by the UPS for Downs Endurance Team fund The Katie MacDonald Down Syndrome Literacy Project.