What? No coffee?

This week is my last week of coffee until May. That should be 10 weeks of being coffee free if I can stick it out.

I have done this ritual in recent years and it seems to work for me in the leadup to a marathon.


It started when I heard that caffeine has a bigger kick on race day if you are not a coffee drinker normally. And I wanted a big kick. So that first year I stopped caffeine for 3 weeks before the race. Then of course I had a cup or two on race morning. Well it worked. I got the kick I wanted.

The next year my pastor challenged us to give up something during Lent (the 6 weeks leading up to Easter). Easter that year happened to be close to the race. Well, I have made it a tradition now to give up coffee for my spring marathons.

The first few days are not easy but I ease into it by drinking caffeinated tea instead. And the kick on race day? It makes you feel like a million bucks.

So there is my plan for getting and maximizing legal performance enhancing drugs.

But today is not quite the last day and neither is tomorrow so I think I will just have another cup of java right now.

Tweaking your marathon training plan

So, since the spring marathon season is nearly on us and many of us have picked a training plan and are at various stages of completing it (or attempting to), it might be a good time to analyze where you are at. Maybe your plan needs to be tweaked to better fit your actual running instead of your hoped-for quantity and speed of running.

An article that I found originally on the Boston Marathon website but is now relocated really resonated with me. It is the introduction to their marathon training plan but has great advice no matter which plan you are using. It has  some great descriptions of what every plan should include and some mile markers to analyze where you are at so you can tweak your plan to suit where you actually are.

You should regularly check your progress with your plan to make sure that you are at least doing the following (even when the weather and life gets in the way). But remain flexible and relax about it. This is not a perfect science.

– Simulate race conditions – but don’t actually race much during training

– Long runs – not too fast like most of us do too often to make up for lost running distance. SLOW down.

– Don’t do too much speed work like we are all tempted to do when we get excited about our goals (or think we are not fast enough for this stage of the training). But don’t forget about it either. At least once per week. Speed work at actual race pace, not much faster.

– Drills, strides, stretches – yup, everyone’s gotta do it, even if we detest it, or life gets in the way. But shorten it up if you have to.

– Be willing to change up the plan to match your life, not the other way around

– When it is time to taper, make sure you really taper, don’t just pretend. Take it much easier. This means less running based on what you actually ran in those last weeks, not what the plan says you should have run.


Happy tweaking. Keep your plan flexible, because life happens to all of us.

And RELAX. A great race is not contingent on perfectly regimented training.


Helium and belly buttons

We all need to work on our running form. I’ve heard this advice a bunch of times.

Imagine a helium balloon attached to your head pulling your head up. Imagine being taller. This will help you run more straight up and keep you from hunching over.

Imagine a string tied to your belly button pulling you forward. This will move your hips forward and your shoulders back.

Depending on how good your imagination is, this can work well to improve your form and make your running more efficient.

Practice thinking about this a couple times in a bunch of runs and you should start to change your running gait for the better.

But don’t let your imagination get too carried away – who knows what would happen.


Build confidence, relax more

4 quick tips to build confidence and relax in your training runs.

Tip #1 Run with your middle finger touching your thumb. This little trick prevents your fists from clenching and your shoulders from tensing up. Shake your arms out once in a while when you feel yourself tensing up. Relax and run easy. This running thing shouldn’t be stressful.

Tip #2 Most of your runs (80%) should not be faster than the speed at which you can still maintain a comfortable conversation with your running partner. A strong running base is built on many slow kilometers, not on a few hard runs. Stay relaxed. This running thing is supposed to be fun.

Tip #3 Near the end of the run speed up for 30 to 50 meters (then slow down to catch your breath). This gives you the confidence that you really can run faster and that you have been saving your speed. It also helps builds ultimate speed. Do this maybe 3 times. This builds confidence.

Tip #4 Make sure to really slow down for the last km or so. Besides being your cool down this tricks your mind after the run into thinking that the run wasn’t so hard after all. Sounds weird but it works for me.

Bowmont Park, Calgary.


Habits of Highly Motivated Runners

Solid habits are important to engrain if you want to become a great runner, or at least a consistently improving runner.

I found this great article on some important habits to concentrate on and some great tips on how to get there.

Some examples are:
– Become a morning runner
– Eat your vegetables
– Sit less
– Eat breakfast
– Get enough sleep
– Unplug once per week

Habit #12 – Sit Less


Habit #1 – Become a morning runner


Habit #2 – Regular Strength Training (In Random Locations to keep up the regularity if you have to)


But how do you make these habits stick? How do you get over the hurdles? Read on and then share your experiences. Let’s all become highly motivated runners.

Full article from Runners World here

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