How often should you run?

running_frequency

“Oh, you’re a runner. So you’re running every day?” – I’ve heard this question so many times that I cannot even remember how often it really was but it’s actually a common idea non-runners picture a runner.

Heading outside every single day. No rest days. We don’t need breaks. We’re super heroes. Running super heroes! But seriously: How often should a runner run per week? How many times should you run a week? Let’s talk about running frequency.

Running every day?

First of all, the running frequency—or how often you run—is one of three fundamental variables of training. The other two are duration (how far you run) and intensity (how fast you run). If you’re looking for some kind of benefits from running you should at least run a couple of times per week. Running every day doesn’t make sense, because your body needs rest to become stronger. Interesting fact: Many elite runners run as often as 14 times per week. How often should you run?

Real talk about running frequency

How many miles should you run in a week?

There is no book where you can find the right running frequency and how often you should run. Depending on your personal goals (weight loss, speed improvement, your first race) you need to figure out how many sessions fit into you schedule. Also a beginner shouldn’t run as much as an advanced runner. I wake up extra early and schedule my day perfectly to work out daily (sometimes twice per day). For beginners this might sound a lot but it is necessary to do some form of exercise almost every day to optimize your general health.

Make your runs count

I also get asked a lot how many times a week do you need to run to lose weight? No matter if your a competitive runner, recreational runner or a non-runner you should aim to exercise every day. The research is very clear on this score. If you exercise daily you will have lower risk of chronic disease, be leaner, and live longer than if you exercise just a few times a week. This doesn’t mean you have to run every day. If you’re interested in running enough to see some kind of progress you should run 3 times per week. If you’re motivation is to improve your runs, then make them count. So to answer the question how many times a week you have to run to lose weight is simple: As often as you can and make the miles count!

Most weeks those runs should be a tempo run to develop intensive endurance, a speed workout to build speed, and a long run to increase raw endurance. Most likely I add an extra run where I run how I feel. NO watch. No goals. The rest of my training days I do cross training like cycling on my road bike and weight lifting. I’m obsessed with abs and leg workouts.

Rest days are important

You may be a very dedicated and motivated person as I am. So why take a rest day, when there is so much on your list that needs to get done, right? It’s simple: Not running is as important as your weekly long run. On your rest days you will strengthen your body, sharpen your focus, and reinvigorate your spirit. It makes you crave your training. Never forget that anytime you run, or hit the gym, your body needs time to adapt. If you rest right, you will always come back stronger. People who overtrain will hurt themselves and fall apart long term. Here is a list of great supplements for runners to support recovery. 

Running every day?

Now you’re wondering why I’m not running every day? First of all to avoid injuries. Trust me I’ve been there. Especially in the beginning I tried to run as much as I could until I hurt myself. Your body needs rest days. Those days matter the most because that’s the time when you’re actually improving. Of course you’ll find other runners who are hitting the road every day and who don’t need rest days.

My personal experience has proven me to stick with 4 runs per week, active rest and cross training. One of the biggest misconceptions among runners who want to get faster is that they should run every day. In reality, the body actually needs rest days to recover and repair muscles to get stronger. If you need help with your training, find out more about my online coaching program.

Everybody has to find their own routine in at the end of the day.

 

Please also read my tips for running beginners, if you’re new to running.

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Last-Minute Race Day Tips

Last-Minute Race Day Tips

New York is getting ready for the NYC Half Marathon 2018 and more than 20.000 runners are getting into the pre-race-blues. The week before an important race is a mix of excitement, anxiety and pure joy. Even though I ran the NYC Half multiple times already it always gives me butterflies. It’s New York’s biggest and most popular half marathon and it was my first race in 2o14. 

I have written about the new course of the NYC Half 2018 and also captured a race strategy for this year, but what about our nerves? How do we get them under control to not freak out about the fact that we’re running this big race in a few days from now? Let me share a few very personal advice that I use to calm myself down before a race. I’m sure they will apply for you too: 

My very personal last-minute race day tips

If you read my blog for a while now you may know that I’m all about confidence and trust in your own-self. My number one advice I always give to my clients and to you today is to trust your training. No matter how long you have trained for this day, it was enough and you’re ready for the 13.1 miles.

You came a long way and whatever your mind is telling you right now: You are fully prepared for the race. Don’t try to run extra miles you may have missed. It’s all good. The last week is just sitting out the taper time and wait for the race day. 

Stay comfortable 

Another important tip that comes along with trusting your journey is not doing anything new on race day. Wear the shoes you have trained with, wear the same socks you’re used to and have the same breakfast you have had before your long runs during training. “Get comfortable with the comfortable.” – When it comes to pre race tips it is totally okay to live along these lines.  

Mentally and physically ready

My next tip is something that I really have to keep reminding myself about every single day before a race. Relax as much as you can and surround yourself with people who calm you down and make you happy. Don’t waste energy on stress or people who are draining you down. All your focus should be on your race. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

I have raced when I was upset, sad or angry and it was awful. Find your peace. When this means it is just you alone, that’s fine too. Of course some people or stress isn’t avoidable, since we can’t just quit our jobs, but maybe the way we look at things should change at least until race day to give ourselves a break. 

The reason why

Remind yourself the last week before the race why you want to finish. Why do you want to run a personal best, or cross the finish line? Maybe this race is your very first half marathon. What made you sign up for it?

Soak all these feelings in and transform them into something energizing. Take this energy with you to the start. It all begins in our minds and there’s nothing more beautiful than knowing the purpose of our actions. Be proud of your reasons to run, be proud of yourself and embrace these feelings.

Get yourself a fan

My last pre-race tip is to involve your friends and loved ones. Talk about your feeling, your training, your fears. Maybe they can even come with you to the race? I personally love support and I think there’s nothing more special than knowing someone woke up early for you to see you running and support you on your special day.

I can talk forever before a race, I get really excited, but it helps to let it all out. So get yourself a fan and take him or her with you to support. Don’t forget to thank this person over pizza after the race and celebrate your victory. 

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Half Marathon Training Tips

Half Marathon Training Tips

Half Marathon training tips are super important especially when you are planning on running your first Half Marathon and you are looking for Half Marathon training tips for beginners. But even when you have ran the 13.1 miles race several times before Half Marathon training tips never get old. Here are some great advise for your Half Marathon training and tips on how to run your best 13.1 miles ever: 

How much time do I need to train for a Half Marathon? 

If you can run 3 miles without any problems you may give yourself at least 12 weeks to train for a the 13.1 miles distance. If you cannot make it up to 3 miles I recommend to start with a plan like “from the couch to a 5K” like this one and then add the 12 weeks on top of that. 

Do I need a Half Marathon training plan?

This is totally up to you and also depends on your experience. If you are a beginner: Yes! You need some guidance within your training and also some commitment to stay motivated. Very experience runners know exactly how to train for a Half Marathon and just go with their guts. I totally love training plans because I like to follow a guided plan. Even if I made it myself, it helps me to stick to my routine. Here is where to find online training plans for your Half Marathon.

Half Marathon Training and Diet 

When it comes to Half Marathon training your nutrition becomes really important. You will spend a lot of time on the road and tackle your miles. One of my Half Marathon training tips here is to make sure that your body has enough fuel to work at it’s best. Carbohydrates are very important and should be part of your Half Marathon nutrition especially before your long runs. Carb load at least 2 days before the long run of the week and hydrate a lot. Drink a lot of water and try to stay away from alcohol during your training season. 

Why are carbs so important? Carbohydrates can help your body store extra glycogen which you can draw on for quick fuel during the run. Right before the long run a bagel with peanut butter, oatmeal or bananas are great food choices. Another one of my Half Marathon training tips: Give your body approximately one hour to digest the food. 

Here is a list of food that should be on your list while training for the 13.1 miles. Also, supplements play a huge role for runners when it comes to recovery, performance and weight loss. Here are all the supplements for runners that I highly recommend. 

Half Marathon training tips: Give your body time

Rome wasn’t built in one day and no olympic athlete did become so successful over night. Especially the beginning of your training can be hard. You will start missing the extra time you had before you started training for the Half Marathon, but there is one thing that is is for sure: You and your body will get used to it. You set yourself a goal. You have 12 weeks or longer to accomplish it. Take all the time you may need to become the best version of yourself within that time. 

Strength training and running

I have had a lot of clients who didn’t listen to my advice to implement proper strength training to their running training routine. One of my most important Half Marathon training tips therefore is to do the squats, walking lunges and work on your core. You definitely will take advantage from it as a runner and of course during your Half Marathon.

As you may know I’m doing both running and bodybuilding and I don’t regret a single repetition at the gym. Your Half Marathon distance includes hills? Great – your legs will only get stronger during your gym workouts and you will benefit during the race. 

Know what you’re dealing with

If you’re running a Half Marathon in your area, try to train the course. Here in New York City for example it is pretty great to run certain parts of the Half Marathon I’m running. For the NYC Half 2018 it totally makes sense to run the Manhattan Bridge and practice the hilly Central Park.

One reason why full awareness about the race course is beneficial is because you are getting ready for the real course. You can practice different parts like the hills and also picture yourself crossing the finish line once you know where exactly it’s going to be. Another reason is confidence. Your mind plays a huge role in your running training which is why good confidence about the course and what’s ahead of you on race day is key. 

Get company and socialize 

Long runs can be boring. So why not joining a running group or ask a friend to join you during your Half Marathon training? Staying committed can be a challenge itself when you’re busy with work, family, household and life. One of my most important Half Marathon training tips when it comes to staying motivated is to find company and get yourself out there together. Socializing during your training will help you to get it done way easier than doing it by yourself. 

I hope that my Half Marathon Training Tips could help you a little bit to sort things out what is important during your training. Last but not least I want to emphasize to always enjoy the journey and trust your training. You will get tired, annoyed, insecure. It won’t always be easy. The good thing in running is that no matter how slow you go, you will finish and that is what matters.

Good luck on your Half Marathon – leave me a comment how it went. 

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From the couch to a 5K

5K training plan

First of all: I’m glad that you’re doing it. Wow. You decided to achieve your first goal as a runner. You signed up for your first 5K race, or you just want to reach your first distance goal. Goals are always great to make you stick to your running training.

First off, you may be asking, “exactly how many miles is a 5K?”  A 5K run is 3.1 miles total. It’s a good distance to start with – especially for beginners. 

It is super important not to start off too fast in training. Sprinting out of the gage with all of your motivation will lead to injury and frustration. You may want to read my beginners tips before you head out the door and start with your 5K training plan.

Realistic goal for first 5K

My 5K training plan for absolute running beginners will take you 6 weeks. Now you’re wondering if you really need so much time? Yes you do! I always recommend to start with focusing on the time of your runs first not on the milage.

Try to end up with a weekly milage of 9-13 miles as a beginner if you stick to my 5K training plan. Your “long runs” should be 3 miles – 4.5 miles long.

Always be sure your pace is in a range where you’re still able to communicate. If you’re running out of breath you’re going too fast. A realistic goal for a first 5K for a complete running beginner is everything between 28 minutes and 40 minutes.

If you’re faster: Awesome! If you’re slower: Amazing.

It’s you first race.

Enjoy the journey!

5K Training Plan

Beginners 5K training plan

✔ Week 1: of your training should be based on 3 sessions that should take about 20 or 30 minutes. You may walk most of the times, that’s fine. Be sure to space out these three days throughout the week to give yourself a chance to rest and recover between efforts. And don’t worry about how fast you’re going. Running faster can wait until your bones are stronger and your body is fitter. For now focus on gradually increasing the time or distance you run.

✔ Week 2 will be the same just that you hopefully try to run more than you walk. By the end of week 2 you will be able to run 3.5 miles without stopping. Yes you can do it!

✔ Week 3: Same as week 1 and 2. Run or walk for a specified period of time. Have your long run (3.5 miles again) where you want to track your time on Sunday.

✔ Week 4 should be a little bit more challenging since you’re now one month into training. You want to have 4 sessions now. 3 x 30 minutes long very slow jogging and your long run with 4 miles on Sunday where you track your time again.

✔ Week 5: is the time where you want to pick up your pace. Keep up running / jogging 4 times per week and increase the time of your runs now. You want to end up with 40 minutes total per run now. On Sunday you will be ready for your first 4.5 miles run. Keep it up – you can do this!

✔ Week 6: Amazing you’re almost there. It’s race week! You want to run 3 times this week and have a full day of recovery before your race day. Nevertheless: trust your training! That’s my personal running mantra. It helps.

Nutrition tips for runners

You won’t achieve too much if you’re still eating pizza and fries with your friends. That’s for sure. A healthy way of living which includes proper nutrition is as important as a good pair of running shoes. Read more about my grocery essentials and a gold medal nutrition for runners to get the most out of your training. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me, I’m more than happy to help. Good luck and let me know about your first 5K experience.

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Training for a half marathon

NYC Half Marathon Review

I love long distance running which is why the half marathon distance is my favorite. Training for a half marathon requires not as much time as you would need it for a full marathon but it is still challenging. Half marathon training means for me to run more than 35 miles per week. Sometimes a bit more. Now you’re asking yourself „how far is a half marathon?“ It’s 13.1 miles which is 21 kilometer 21,0975 to be excact.

Training for a half marathon…

… how much time do you need? Training for a half marathon will take a lot of your spare time. You will spend a lot of time outside running and training for the half marathon. Depending on your area the weather conditions can be challenging as well. My favorite half marathon is the NYC Half Marathon which is in March. The month of March in New York means winter and winter in New York means freezing cold weather. But: Champions are made in the winter, right? Also I prefer running in the cold. I’m not born to run in the heat.Training for a half marathon

A typical half marathon training plan

The right preparation is required if you want to finish your half marathon within your estimated time. I love schedules, saved dates and times. It helps me to stay motivated because I know exactly what to do and when. This is also why I always sign up for a half marathon training plan. The major goals of training plans are to get you to the starting line healthy and to prepare you to execute successful race-day pacing and fueling strategies. This makes your training for a half marathon much easier.

Most likely it’s a 10 weeks program and heads down: It’s the best thing you can do. Beside the plan itself which will help you to stay motivated you learn so much about yourself as a runner. You learn how to pace yourself. You get to know different training like tempo runs, intervals, long runs and most importantly: you learn how to listen to your body.

When I ran my first half marathon, which was of course the NYC Half 2015,  I finished in 01:57:32. A year later I was able to beat this time by 7 minutes. Only because of my strict training and my trust in my half marathon training plan. Training for a half marathon requires a lot of self-discipline if you want to finish under 2 hours. But even if your goal is just to finish the race a half marathon trainings plan will guide you to achieve your goal.

Training for a half marathon

Half marathon training plan and where to find it

Most likely you’ll find a decent half marathon training plan with some easy google research. I’m a big fan of individual training plans because they are made for you. Simply as that. Experts put their experience and your history as a runner together and will create an excellent plan that works best for you. Most of the plans you’ll find online are very general and don’t have to be the perfect plan for you as an individual.  If you’re interested in a half marathon training plan feel free to reach out to me: I’m happy to assist you with that.

The NYC Half 2018: Follow me to the finish

After a relaxing off season it’s time for some new adventures. The NYC Half 2018 is right around the corner and I’ll take you with me to the finish. I’ll post every week about my training, my nutrition and goals which you can adapt for your own training for your next half marathon. Did you read my NYC Marathon review yet? 

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Running in the cold

Running in the cold

I always wanted to share my experiences on running in the cold, because this is something I always have to deal with here in New York. Winter running can be tough, annoying and super tricky. Do you like running in the cold? Honestly I don’t mind running in the cold at all, but I cannot deal with snow.

Especially in my area many times, sidewalks will not be clear enough to run, which forces me to run onto the road. It’s so hard to deal with the ice, the snow and the cold as a runner.

Running in the cold: My tips

There a few tips for running in the cold and how to stay safe during the winter months I’m always taking care of. One thing I can assure you is that the temperatures on the weather forecast won’t feel the same when you’re moving. 

Running in the cold gear: Dressing in layers is the key

Running in the cold can be a challenge. What should you wear while running in the winter months? Layer up with at least 3 layers, I wear a scarf, gloves and a head. Also make sure that you run with the wind in your face on the way out and wind at your back the second half of the route. If you run with the wind at your back the first half of a run, you’ll get hot and sweaty and when you turn around, the wind will get very cold.

First, here are some suggestions for basic winter running gear. 

  • Running tights (sometimes I wear two of them)
  • Long sleeve tech shirts to use as a base layer
  • A warm windproof running jacket
  • Running gloves 
  • Headband to cover ears
  • Winter running socks

I tend to drink a lot no matter how cold or hot it is anyways, but for some of us it’s different: It may be cold and dry outside, and you might not think that you’re sweating, but you could be losing just as much fluid in the Winter as you do in the Summer. Another trick to stay warm while running in the cold is to have an eye on the “feels like” temperature to determine what to wear. Especially when wind is present. 

Temperatures below zero

Here in New York we can get super cold winters where temperatures dip below freezing, be sure and pay attention to local weather information and warnings. Sometimes it’s best to hit the gym instead of running outside because cold temperatures and dry air can aggravate some health conditions. 

Post run tips 

As soon as you stop running your body temperature will drop immediately which is why you have to make sure to change as soon as you can. Have a hot drink and put something dry on wet hear. 

 

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Marathon Recovery Tips

Marathon Recovery Tips

Recovering from a marathon and a distance of 26.2 miles is a very important component to your perfect training plan. Unfortunately most runners often neglect marathon recovery tips and jump right back into training when the soreness is gone.

The runners high is real, we just have accomplished something so great and now we have to rest? Tapering was so boring already and now we really have to hold back even longer? Yes, this is exactly what a marathoner should do to avoid unwanted injuries.

Read my marathon recovery tips to avoid injuries after the marathon, learn how to recovery from a marathon and most importantly find out how to benefit for your long-term potential as a runner with a marathon recovery plan.

Marathon Recovery Tips: What is going on post race?

First of all if you don’t recovery properly from a marathon you will most likely experience symptoms of overtraining. Running a marathon is tough on the body. Almost every physiological system is pushed to the max during the 26.2 miles: Muscles, hormones, tendons, cells – everything is maxed out. It doesn’t even matter if you are running a Boston qualifier time, or if the race was your very first marathon. 26.2 miles is a  hell of a distance and your body has undergone tremendous physical duress. Don’t forget about the stress you have put on your body running according to your marathon training schedule.

What happens to your body after running a marathon?

We have seen the pictures where runners weren’t able to walk the stairs after running a marathon, which occurs because of intense muscle soreness and fatigue caused by running the long distance of 26.2 miles. Give your body 2 weeks post marathon to return to full strength.

The cellular damage after running a marathon which includes oxidative damage, increased production of creatinine kinase (CK) – a marker that indicates damage to skeletal and myocardial tissue, and increased myoglobin levels in the blood stream are pretty heavy on the system. So if you find blood being present in your urine post marathon, this is because of the myoglobin in the bloodstream for 3-4 days post race. Allow your body at least 7-10 days of rest post marathon to fully recover from the cellular damage caused during the race.

Your immune system is severely compromised, which increases the risk of contracting colds and the flu after running a marathon especially until 3 days after the race. Try to rest as much as possible and focus on a healthy diet with nutrient rich foods plus a lot of water.  My marathon recovery tip is to have a 2-3 week marathon recovery protocol that focuses on rest and rejuvenation of these physiological systems such as muscle, cellular, and your immune system.

Marathon Recovery Tips: Post marathon training

Here are some marathon recovery tips for the 3 weeks after your marathon. Rest smart and find your way back to training with these post marathon training tips.

Days 1-3

Running: None

Cross Training: None

Marathon Recovery Advice

  • Take a hot bath for at least 15 min, foam roll or stretch afterwards.
  • Your diet should include a lot of vitamins, carbs and proteins to help your muscle repair and boost your immune system.
  • Massage the legs very light to loosen your muscles. No deep tissue massages.

Days 4-7

Running: One day, 2-4 miles very easy

Cross Training: Optional – Two days, 30-40 minutes easy effort. Promoting blood flow to the legs is the main goal, not building fitness.

Marathon Recovery Advice

  • Keep on track with your healthy diet. Drink a lot of water
  • Schedule a deep tissue massage
  • Epsom Salt Bath. About an hour before bed, massage your legs out with the stick or self massage and then soak in a hot/warm bath with 3 cups epsom salt and 1 cup baking soda for 10-15 minutes.

Days 7-14

Running: Four days of 4-6 miles very easy.

Cross Training: Optional – Three sessions total, but not more. One easy session and two medium effort sessions for 30-45 minutes.

Days 14-21

Running: Begin to slowly build back into your regular training. My suggestion is up to five runs of 4-8 miles with 4 x 20 sec strides after each run.

Cross Training: 1 easy session, 1 medium session, and 1 hard session of 40-50 minutes.

Marathon Recovery Advice

  • Don’t worry about losing endurance or fitness during this recovery period.
  • It takes up to 3 weeks until you are back into good shape after running a marathon, so don’t stress yourself
  • Try not to schedule a race until 6 weeks after your marathon. Patience is a virtue, but it will pay off in the end.

 

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How to taper for a marathon

taper for a marathon

Tapering before a marathon is as important as the hard work you have done so far. Welcome to taper city, taper town or however you want to name the last stretch before the big race. But how do you taper for a marathon? Tapering should start three weeks out before the marathon.

The physical work is done by now. The hardest part now is waiting and maintaining the incredible fitness you have attained over the past months. You goal is to enter the marathon fully rested, primed and ready to rock it. Marathon taper is filled with anxiety and nerves, but trust your training and your performance in training. The balance between maintaining fitness while promoting recovery is the magic here. Read my short guide how to taper for a marathon and the actual meaning of tapering in running.

Taper for a marathon: Overview

Three weeks before goal race

You want to reduce your milage to 85-90% of your maximum

The first week of tapering for a marathon won’t be hard and might actually feel relieving because your legs will feel super tired from your longest long run the week before. You want to cut your milage by 15% which is pretty easy. Give yourself an extra rest day, or cut 2 or 3 miles from your long run. It is important to maintain your intensity because psychologically your body takes about 10 days to realize benefits from a workout and recovery completely. Right now you also don’t want to eliminate your long run yet. Cut it by 20% and avoid making yourself too tired at this point.

Two weeks before goal race

Reduce your weekly mileage to 70 to 75% of maximum.

Two weeks before your marathon your long run will be much shorter already (by 50% -60%) and your intense workouts which should be your biggest volume days will be reduced as well. If you want to taper for a marathon correctly make sure to practice the medium intense workout on the Monday or Tuesday of this week. As an example if your tempo intervals usually total 9 miles you want to make sure to cut it down to 6 miles only. Your training right now is the hay in the barn. No more fitness will be gained, all you are looking for right now is to keep your hormones stable and maintain your fitness as you go. If you are feeling sore or tired back off even more, take an extra rest day or go for a shorter distance than planned.

 

The week of the race

The key now is to significantly reduce mileage until race day.

The week of the race you will really feel the tapering blues because you are so used to run and train much that it will feel odd not to lace up and hit the road for several miles. Tapering for a marathon is extremely important for best performance on race day so make sure to have the discipline and confidence to give your body the rest it needs right now. You want to reduce milage by 50% to 60% of their normal volume. Remind your body how marathon pace feels like by doing one mini fartlek session. The last day before the big race I highly encourage you to run 1-3 miles to help promote blood flow your legs and to become less nervous. It stimulates your central nervous system and enables your legs to respond better the following day.

The last week before the marathon all you want is stay rested and being prepared for the big day. You want to sleep eight hours a night and stay off your feet as much as you can. Stress for your body is the killer right now. Calm down, schedule movie nights, start listening to a new podcast and visualize the race you trained for. Running a marathon is a celebration and it has started while you training for it. Enjoy it – embrace it – own it.

 

 

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Marathon Training Tips Q&A

Marathon Training Tips

I’ve been training for the TCS New York City Marathon for 9 weeks now and I have received so many questions so far that I decided to come up with a fun Marathon Training Tips Q&A where I will explain marathon training tips for first timers, the secret behind my marathon training diet, how my gym sessions are going and my marathon training schedule so far.

Marathon Training Tips

#1 How does a marathon training schedule for beginners work?

The key in my training for the marathon is consistency in both my running training and my bodybuilding plan. I hesitated to run the TCS NYC Marathon at first, because I was convinced that both running and bodybuilding doesn’t mix too well. I’m 9 weeks in and I haven’t missed a leg day yet. My marathon training schedule includes 16 weeks of training. So far I’m running 4 times a week and hit the gym 5 times a week (3 leg days, 2 upper body days). I train my legs the same days as I’m running except the long run day. 2 days are complete rest days where I literally do nothing.

On weekdays I run 3 times (1 regular run, 1 intervals training, or speed workout and 1 run “as I feel”) and on the weekend I run the most important training run of the marathon training schedule: the long run. I has built up from 7 miles up to 15 miles and it will reach a peak at 20 miles.

Soreness is pretty rare. My legs have become much stronger over the past years and I feel like there is a perfect balance between muscle mass and the ability to use those muscles within my marathon training right now. Marathon training for beginners would probably not include such hard gym session as I perform them. But I made a decision that I wanna be good in both worlds running and bodybuilding.

#2 Marathon training nutrition: What do you eat while training for a marathon?

Let’s make it short: A lot! My Marathon Training Tip: But only a lot of good stuff. Most runners make the mistake that they tend to eat a lot of garbage only because they just burned 1000 calories or more during their long run. Training for a marathon is hard work for your system and it needs to get fueled properly. While training for a marathon but also while actually running the marathon it is important that your muscle glycogen levels are very high.

Very high muscle glycogen levels can be achieved by just eating more carbohydrates. I’m eating 4 small meals a day with high amounts of protein and enough carbs (sweet potatoes, brown rice) and greens such as spinach or broccoli. Especially the day before my long runs I make sure that my carbs bump up a bit.

Also I’m used to running on empty stomach when I’m running shorter distances up to 6 miles. Everything over 6 miles requires a light breakfast (banana, oat meal, rice cakes) to make sure that I have enough energy. Hydration is also as important as a healthy diet which is why I drink up to 2 gallons of water a day (mixed with BCAA’s for muscle protection).

#3 Marathon Training Tips: How to eat and drink while running. 

This is actually something that you have to learn early on while training for a marathon. Eating and drinking while running can be tough but it is necessary when you want to run your best 26.2 miles. Some runners prefer energy gels, others love blocks (they taste like gummy bears).

Learning how to drink while running can only be practice while actually doing it. Sign up for a race and take advantage of the fluid stations along the course. Understand what your body is asking for and when and learn how to drink out of that little cup without stopping. My body for example needs Gatorade on long runs – water doesn’t do anything to me. You can also place your water on the course you are running or take it with you (running belts are helpful). I start using gels after mile 6 and continue with it every 3-5 miles until I’m done and drink as needed.

#4 What is your goal time? 

Honestly I can’t remember how many times I have been asked that question already. Of course I have a goal time in my head, but as a first time marathoner I don’t want to freak out about it. If you never ran a marathon before to me finishing the 26.2 miles is a big accomplishment.

#5 What is your opinion on marathon training and alcohol?

I posted an article about running and alcohol just recently. Marathon training and alcohol is not the best mix, but I always recommend doing things in moderation and never forget to enjoy life. Dinner with your loved ones with a glass of wine is totally fine when it’s not every night. Excessively drinking and marathon training will probably lead into the wrong direction. But I guess that only dedicated runners take the challenge and sign up for a marathon. I’m convinced that these people know exactly what is good and what is bad for their bodies while prepping for a race like that.

#6 What is your marathon running mantra?

Not sure if I have a real mantra. I do have a couple of motivational quotes I keep telling myself though, when things get rough. Focus on how far you came already. Why would you stop now? To only come this far? No! Picture your parents, your siblings, your best friend at the finish line waiting for you. Picture them waving at you up on the hill – go get them.

Sometimes I even call them on my long runs. Another “mantra” is picturing myself running towards the finish in Central Park on Nov 5th. Most of my long runs take place in Central Park and I even finish my runs on the same position to “feel” the marathon vibes. It helps a lot.

#7  Supplements for marathon training?

Marathon Training Tips: Believe it or not, not all supplements are total waste of money. I never go anywhere without my BCAA’s or my glutamine. Calcium, vitamins and fish oil capsules are also essentials for me. Here is a full list of supplements for runners and why they will help you for sure.

#8 What is your ultimate marathon training advice?

Run the first two to three miles 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than goal pace. This preserves precious glycogen stores for later in the race so you can finish strong. Yes, practice that in your long runs already. The most common mistake runners do is to start out too fast. If your body feels tired take a break and rest. Don’t force yourself when your body is telling you different.

My favorite out of all Marathon training tips is to enjoy the journey to the fullest and trust your training. You will experience bad days, up’s and down’s and throwbacks. It’s all part of the process and you will shine on race day regardless.

If you have more questions about my marathon training please leave them in the comments.

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How often do you run?

How often do you run

It’s a very common question I get asked several times per week: How often do you run Sabrina? Should you run every day? How often should beginners run? Depending on your goals and fitness level my answers are always different.

How often do you run a week?

For me personally I train 4 times a week. So how often you run a week is based on fitness level, running goals, time and dedication. My weekly milage varies depending on what I’m training for as well. Beginners often feel overwhelmed by the idea of running 3-4 times on alternating days per week. Then they need to add flexible days where there should do some strength training as well. Some of my clients sometimes feel like they can’t do it. Do you feel the same way?  You don’t have to.

Running beginners versus experienced runners

If you are a running beginner, you should take it easy at first. If you can’t lace up and sweat 4 times a week you still will be fine. There is no need to stress yourself out too much. What you should know is that consistency is key to become a successful runner. Which means you will end up training 4 times a week eventually.

Experience runners sometimes even run more than 4 times a week. I’ve met runners who run every day. But most likely they would run 3-4 miles every day. Not more than that. But should you run 7 days a week? Is running everyday good or bad? The answer is YES it is bad and no, you shouldn’t run everyday.

Recovery is key

If you figured out how often you should run a week there is another thing you shouldn’t forget thinking about: Proper recovery for runners is as important as the training itself. This is where your body rebuilds strength and you will become faster and stronger in the future.

This doesn’t happen overnight of course, but you have to take your rest days very serious. I recommend 2 sometimes even 3 rest days (for beginners) to give your body time to recover. Good to know: Some miles count more than others. Tempo runs, intervals or long runs require different recovery.

Here is an example of a beginner’s exercise plan for the week:

Sunday- Run (most likely the day where you will perform your long run)

Monday- OFF/Rest Day (Meaning: No running at all)

Tuesday- Run in the morning/Gym in the evening OR you can do them back-to-back if you have time.

Wednesday- OFF/Rest Day (Again: No running at all)

Thursday- Run in the morning / Gym at night

Friday- OFF / Rest Day OR an easy run

Saturday- Cross Training such as cycling, swimming, spinning

If you are looking for a individual running training plan please feel free to contact me.

How many miles you should run

Since we know now how many times of running is good for us, let’s face the milage question: How many miles per week should you run? In my running for beginners guide I have discussed details about how to start running and how to avoid common running mistakes for beginners. When you are a complete running newbie try to run without getting stressed out about the milage first. Try to run 30 minutes without stopping and work yourself up.

In general, you can add a mile for every run you do per week, provided you then run at least two weeks at the new level before advancing again. If you run four times a week, for example, you can up your weekly mileage by four miles.

Experienced runners determine their milage based on the next race they are training for and their predicted finish time. For example when I’m training for a half marathon my weekly milage will go up to 50 miles in peak weak. Marathon trainings require even more milage.

How often do you run to stay in shape?

Actually running is really good for your body and you will see the difference in your athletic look very soon when you will be consistent with your weekly runs. Make sure to run at least three times a week and make your training always a bit more challenging. Go for the long run, hit the track and run intervals and also work yourself through the hard tempo runs. The good looking shape of your body will follow.

If weight loss is your main goal it is important to know that you should aim to consume 300 to 500 fewer calories per day than your body uses. Track your runs and food to find out how many calories have been burned and how much calories you have eaten during the day.

Please also read about running frequency.

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