NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Are You Ready to Run Your First Full or Half Marathon?

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NIFS Fall Half and Full Marathon Training starts July 20- November 2; Wednesdays at 6p and Saturdays at 7a for longer distances. fall_runner.jpg

Get Registered!

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

 

Topics: marathon training half marathon

Interview: NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program Leader Andrea Kelley

mini-blog.jpgAs we approach NIFS 26th Annual Mini-Marathon & 5K Training Program, I wanted to take some time to interview Andrea Kelley. Andrea is a past Mini program participant and has since been involved in some of our other programs here at NIFS, as well as becoming a group leader for us. Sit back and enjoy reading about what this program can do for you.

What made you decide to join the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program?

When I first signed up for the program, I was new to running and wanted to push myself. I figured the Indianapolis Mini would be a good start, but I didn’t have a clue how to train. I found out about the NIFS training program and it made my goal feel so attainable, even for a newbie like me. This year I will complete my fourth Mini-Marathon and my eighth half marathon.

What benefits did you get through training with your group at NIFS?

I think the number-one benefit for me with training in a group is accountability. When my group is expecting me to show up, I am much less likely to listen to that little voice in my head that wants to skip the run. Also, I think group running provides the motivation to keep going, as well as an opportunity to learn from others who have been there before you. You’ll never meet a runner unwilling to give advice.

What was your favorite part about being in the training program here?

The social factor! I’ve made so many friends through the NIFS training program and running in general. The post-run snacks are pretty good, too.

What did you learn about yourself through running?

Running has provided me so many virtues, but one of the biggest I’ve learned is that I can’t reach the finish line unless I start. The idea of training for a half marathon for the first time was intimidating, but I would have never known what I was capable of if I didn’t give it a shot.

What has motivated you to continue running and sign up for more races?

The feeling of accomplishment I get from crossing those finish lines is unlike anything else I’ve ever felt. It’s so addicting. Also, I’m a competitive person, so if I beat my time from the last race, even better.

What made you decide that you wanted to become a group leader for the NIFS Mini Training Program?

I remember learning so much and being so motivated by my group leader (Angie Fiege) when I first participated in the program, and I wanted to hopefully do the same for someone else. I love being able to cheer on the program participants as well as motivate them when they’ve had a hard run. I’m looking forward to my second year as a group leader and can’t wait to meet my pace group!

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Mini-logo-2016-final-2.jpgMaybe this has inspired you to take the next step and join our program. REGISTER NOW!  Training starts Jan 27th. We are excited for another year and hope that we can help you achieve that goal that seemed nearly impossible before! See you at the start line.

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: motivation running group training mini marathon half marathon accountability NIFS programs

What’s Your 2016 Running Fitness Goal? Consider Marathon Training

ThinkstockPhotos-100454471.jpgI am not someone who is really into New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to use the term “goal” when thinking about next year. When looking ahead, everyone is always trying to make some sort of health and fitness resolution (which for some is awesome and works), but we all know that come the end of February to mid-March, many have fallen off the bandwagon already.

But I feel that when we have certain goals in mind, we typically tend to stick to them more. So, if you have on your bucket list or Yearly 2016 Goals to complete a half marathon, let NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program help keep you on track!

Running is one of the most popular fitness activities these days. With thousands of races going on around the nation each year, popularity and interest continue to grow. 2015 is killing it with weekly themed races around every corner. If you are not a runner and your 2016 goal is to start running, begin with a 5K; or if you are an experienced runner, work to increase your time in a race, or increase the distance of a run.

Top Tips for New Runners

If you are a new runner, there are some great tips put out by Runner's World to help you get started. Here are the top 10 things (with a little personal addition from me) they suggest to help:

  • Buy the right pair of running shoes. It’s absolutely hands-down worth your investment!
  • Be patient. Don’t freak out about getting a certain time; be patient and focus on completing the race instead of trying to set a pace that might be impossible to complete.
  • Don’t forget rest days. Rest is often neglected, but it’s one of the most important aspects of staying healthy during training. Read this earlier blog on the NIFS page about the importance of recovery.
  • Join a running group. This helps to keep you accountable and committed to your training plan.
  • Make it a habit, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. The toughest part of any exercise routine is to stay committed. Do your best to schedule it into your day.
  • Build your distance gradually. If your goal is 3 miles and you don’t currently run, take your time to build to 3 miles—it’s a process!
  • Mix in some things other than running. Running exclusively can have the the opposite of the effect you want and leads to injury. Be sure to cross-train as well as do some strength training.
  • Make goals that are achievable. You want to be sure to set goals that you can reach and be successful at.

TIME TO TAKE ACTION: Join the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program

This program is geared to help both members of NIFS and non-members complete their 5K or half marathon. Program participants are given a specific 14-week training program to follow, which will prepare you for the Mini, the Geist Half Marathon, or the Carmel Half Marathon or a combination of the races. The program is for people of all levels: walkers, joggers, and runners!

Each Wednesday night during the 14-week program, runners will complete their long-distance run with a group. There will be pace groups to help you stay on track for your goal time. Recovery snacks and drinks are provided at the end of each Wednesday training session.

REGISTER NOW! for the 2016 NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program. We would love to have you join us!

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: running marathon training resolutions mini marathon half marathon goals

Endurance or Speed? Two Common Goals for Running

For years people have been running in marathons and half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. And most recently the wide world of racing has taken a turn for themed runs, which is quite exciting if you have ever been to one! But no matter how many years go by, two goals continue to come up: running farther, and running faster.

We often hear someone say, “I want to be able to run farther than I did before.” We see it all the time: “I am going from the couch to running a 5K,” or “Last year I completed the 10K, so this year I really want to try the half marathon!” The other thing we hear is, “I like the distance that I am running, but next time I want to cut off 10 minutes.” The goal is to keep going faster and breaking a personal record. But which one is better—which goal should we strive to accomplish?

There are hundreds of programs out there that help you with one of the two goals: programs that are designed to help you increase your distance over time, or programs that are designed to keep your distance but increase your pace. And the good news is that both types work for different people.

Kris Berg, an exercise physiologist and professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha, says that after several decades of studying how an athlete can increase their endurance, he continues to lean on the profound answer of “The person needs to do what feels right for them.” Every person is made up differently genetically, and every method works differently for each person. It’s important to listen to what your body says, and if you can’t go farther, work on going faster, and if you can’t go faster, work on going farther!

Let’s take a look at each of the two common goals more in depth. 

Common goal #1: Being able to build endurance and go farther over time. 

The first and most important thing to keep in mind with any sort of training (and not just endurance running) is that adaptation and change are gradual. You will not be able to run 3 miles today and 16 miles tomorrow. Building gradually is vital to grasp before you set an overall goal, which must be realistic. Gradual adaptation means gradual, patient, and consistent. 

Another trick to being able to run long distances is to not start off too fast. Many people don’t make the distance they want because they are running at a pace that they cannot sustain. Find a pace that works for you! 

One other vital point to make when working on building your endurance: don’t overtrain. In most marathon training programs and endurance building programs out there, you will not see more than three days worth of running per week. You need to allow your body time to rest between runs.

Common goal #2: Working on speed to shave off some time from your last race. 

Disclaimer: working on speed is hard; be prepared to be mentally tough and stick to the workouts. When working on speed you will want to focus on some interval workouts. These are workouts that you are pushing at a fast pace for a certain period of time, then slowing down to recover before the next interval starts. 

And a final tip: If you want to run faster, you need to make your legs stronger. By doing some strength training and building up muscle mass, your speed will increase.

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So whatever your goal may be for your next race, keep these things in mind. A great way to help train to meet your goal is with our Mini-Marathon & 5K Training Program offered at NIFS. REGISTER NOW and take advantage of Early bird pricing until 11/22/15.

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

 

Topics: NIFS running marathon training mini marathon half marathon endurance overtraining goals speed

Jack Taylor: NIFS Fall Marathon Training Program Participant

I wanted to take some time to highlight NIFS member Jack Taylor. He has been a member of NIFS in both the corporate fitness and fitness center side of things for the past three years. I have gotten to know Jack through the fall Half and Full Marathon Training Program. (He is training to run the Monumental Half Marathon, which will take place on November 7 here in Indianapolis.) He has a pretty cool story, which he shares with us here.

How did you initially get started with running?

I learned early in high school that I was more of a distance runner than a sprinter. While in the military, I identified running as one of my strong suits. During college I found that running casually was challenging, effective, and relatively inexpensive. I was in the Army/National Guard for 25+ years. Running helped me maintain a necessary level of fitness for whatever I was involved in.

What is your story? Tell me a little bit about yourself and your health story.

I had participated for about 13 years with Ken Long and Associates’ spring Bricks To Bricks Mini-Marathon Training Program, as well as Ken’s Fall Half-Full Marathon training programs. Tom Hathaway was the longtime and beloved coach. In spring 2009 I had ran one of my more respectable mini-marathons. By the next year, I felt like I was in the same degree of fitness, but my time had fallen by about 15 minutes. I couldn’t really explain it. 

By that fall, I had been experiencing a variety of minor ailments, such as plantar fasciitis, peculiar twitching in my legs, and other nerve pains and sensations. Near the end of the Monumental Half Marathon the muscle in my right leg began twitching and contracting violently. I did finish the race. I subsequently saw several sports physicians and specialists with the Franciscan St. Francis Health Network. I was treated for plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, arthritis, etc. I had CT scans, MRIs, and many X-rays.  

At one point I was told by my sports physician that I was doing great and could return to running after some physical therapy. By that time, the twitching in my legs continued, and I noticed that I progressively could not lift my leg quite as high as normal. The inability to lift my leg gradually got worse. One specialist told me that I must have a weak hip flexor, but I was somewhat skeptical. I completed the physical therapy and began running again. 

Not long after, I noticed while running gingerly trying to increase my stamina and mileage that every so often, I would uncontrollably drag the toe of one foot; I had no ability to control it. One day, in the spring of 2011 at the finish of a three-mile run, I dragged the toe again and fell suddenly flat on my face, badly bruising my nose and both eyes. At that point I knew I had to do something else, so I went back to my primary physician in another health network and basically started all over again.   

For the next several months I went through more and more tests, and my balance and physical stability got progressively worse, which led to many frequent falls. The symptoms were very similar to neuropathy, such as damage to nerves in my feet and legs and difficulty controlling bodily functions. I began to experience symptoms of paralysis in my left leg as well. This got progressively worse until I had to walk with a quad-cane—basically dragging my left leg and foot as I went along my way. I had to manually lift my left leg with my hands to negotiate curbs or steps. I also experienced general muscle weakness in different parts of my body to varying degrees.  

It wasn’t until late 2011 that the neurologist had ruled nearly everything else out and was able to order an MRI of the thoracic region of my back. That was the ticket. It was evident right away that I had a large tumor on my spinal cord inside the vertebrate. The tumor was the size of a lime. The tumor was crushing my spinal cord flat, and my doctor advised that the tumor had likely been growing for 10 to 15 years. 

I had surgery to remove the tumor in January 2012 and had to undergo weeks of inpatient physical and occupational therapy as well as continued outpatient surgery. The neurosurgeon advised that I might never recover from all the nerve damage, and I would be lucky to walk normally ever again. While he said it was possible, he didn’t give me a lot of encouragement about running again.  

Since early 2013, I’ve been working to regain my strength and balance in all aspects. I didn’t start running a lot until I joined the NIFS mini-marathon training program in 2014. Because I wasn’t very confident about how I would progress, I didn’t even consider running the mini-marathon in 2014 because I didn’t have a clue how my progress would transpire in the training program. I did finish the program and completed the group 12-mile run. It doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but it was at that time for me. 

I joined the NIFS mini-marathon training program again in 2015 and finished the mini. That brings me up to date now that I’m attempting the NIFS half-full marathon training program.

How many half and full marathons have you completed?

I’ve truly lost count. I’ve run 30+ half marathons and 2 marathons. I’ve run countless races, from 5Ks to 10 milers.

And what inspires you to keep running?

While it is a lot harder than when I was younger, it helps me maintain an acceptable weight level while allowing me to eat most of what I like.

Thanks for taking the time to meet Jack! What a great story and an inspiration to keep going. Good luck in your next race, Jack!

 Cross the finish line with us this Spring! The 25th Annual Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program starts January 27–May 9, 2016. Training is at 6pm at NIFS downtown. Register today online!

 

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS running marathon training mini marathon half marathon NIFS programs

Three Elements to Include in Your Training for Running a Faster 5K

147861285So you have the running bug! You have now completed a few 5K races after years of debating whether you would even be able to finish one, and now you want to run faster. Congratulations on being one of over 8 million people to complete a 5K last year!

If you are like many new racers, your training up to this point has consisted of just being able to complete the 5K distance, and it has allowed you to accomplish your goal of completing the race. Now you want to step it up and get faster at the distance but you are not sure how to do this. Here are three basic training elements that you can incorporate into your training plan right away that will guarantee faster 5K times.

1. Build a Base

To be faster, you will need to be able to run longer than just the distance of the race, so improving upon your endurance is a huge factor. This does not mean that you need to go out and run a ton of extra miles right away, but you want to start increasing the duration of your runs as well as the number of runs you are completing each week. Building a base is a gradual progression and you should ease into it. Start out by just adding in an additional mile to one of your runs or an extra day of running to your weekly plan.

2. Run Strides

A stride is one of the easiest ways for your body to learn to run fast. Strides improve your efficiency and are a key step in teaching your body to run faster than normal. A stride is a short run of around 100m that you gradually increase your speed through until the last 20m, when you gradually slow back down. Strides are not an all-out sprint. You should be hitting your top speed for only a few seconds about ¾ of the way into the stride.

To start, add four 100m strides to the end of one of your easy runs each week. You can gradually bump this up to six to eight strides one or two times each week.

3. Complete Intervals at Race Pace

Naturally, you are going to start getting through your 5Ks a little faster the more comfortable you are with the race. But if you have a specific time goal in mind, you have to run that pace during your training. Interval training is an essential element to being faster on race day. Intervals vary in length and speed based on the goal for that workout, but a workout to incorporate right away is 800m repeats. Determine what your goal pace is for the race and complete four 800m runs at race pace with 2 minutes of rest between each one. Your body will now know what the pace feels like.

To make this workout more challenging, bump yourself up to six sets and take only 1 minute of rest in between. You can play with the distances, paces, and recovery time of interval workouts, but they are critical to improving your speed.                    

Determine how fast you want to run your next 5K and start training toward that goal. Pace charts and training calculators can help you determine how fast you ran your last race and how fast you should be running your intervals. Start out with an attainable goal of just a minute or two faster than your last race and see where you can go from there. Make this year your year to hit that big personal record you have been aiming for in the 5K.

Mini-logo-2016-final.jpgCross the finish line with us this Spring! The 26th Annual Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program starts January 27–May 9, 2016. Training is at 6pm at NIFS downtown. Take advantage of our early bird discount and be entered to win free training!

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Visit our website or contact Amanda Bireline for more information.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: running marathon training mini marathon half marathon

3 Reasons You Shouldn't Be Training Alone

miniIf you are a solo runner or walker, it is likely because you enjoy having that outlet in your day to just be with your thoughts, relieve stress and clear your head. This is a great way to accomplish all of these things, but if you are looking to make some greater strides in your race efforts this year, you may want to consider adding in a few training sessions each week with other people. This will allow you to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself harder than you would when you are training on your own. Along with this, there are many additional benefits that can be accomplished when training with a group. So why should you consider training with others?

1. Accountability

Knowing that you have other people waiting on you and that you have committed to a group is a big reason that training with others can help you accomplish your goal. Training in the long and cold winter months can be challenging, but knowing that others are layering up too can help you make the decision to join in and get through those training sessions together.

Also, group members can keep you on pace to make sure you get that time you have been training for. Cindra Kamphoff, PhD, a sports psychology consultant, said, “When you run with others, you tend to give more effort. You get caught up in the pace, and you might not recognize how fast you’re going.”

2. Camaraderie

Long-distance walking or running can be tough and lonely. It can be physically and mentally taxing and it is easy to fall into an easier effort level. However, if you are surrounding yourself with individuals going through the same aches and pains, that can help get you through the “lows” and celebrate the “highs.” It can make training a lot more enjoyable. Training in a group can pass the time more quickly for those longer outings and can make training more fun when you aren’t doing it alone.

3. Motivation=Results!

For every personal goal that you have set, there is a walker or runner out there who has achieved it, whether it is qualifying for a marathon, finishing a half marathon with a personal record, or jogging the whole race without stopping. Each person has their own goal, but learning from others that have like-minded goals or have accomplished these tasks can help make you a better competitor.

“You learn more about how other people train and what they’re doing, and it can inspire you to do something different,” Kamphoff says. “It can open up your mind to trying new distances, races, or types of workouts.” Asking questions about routes, routines and injuries can help you gain a wealth of knowledge that will help you succeed in attaining those goals!

There are advantages to training both alone and in a group, so it’s smart to do both. However, if you want more accountability, camaraderie and motivation that helps get you the results you want, consider training in a group!

Cross the finish line with us this Spring! The 26th Annual Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program starts January 27–May 9, 2016. Training is at 6pm at NIFS downtown.

This blog was written by Angie Sheetz, NIFS Registered Dietitian and co-coordinator of the Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program. Read more about the NIFS bloggers.

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Topics: running walking marathon training group fitness group training half marathon

Race Day Nutrition: Before, During, and After

You have trained for the marathon, half-marathon, triathlon or other race, and now it’s the big day! However, you need to make sure you are properly fueling your body with optimal nutrition to guarantee that you will cross the finish line feeling great! Here are some tips to ensure that will happen.

Before the Race154039075

It is essential to have carbohydrates before racing. They provide the best source of energy for your body and give the most efficient fuel for working muscles. Examples of these are whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-grain breads, cereals, bagels, oatmeal, and fruits and vegetables.

Protein helps with sustaining energy for longer periods of time. A small to moderate amount of protein-rich foods is essential before exercising. Examples include skim milk, 1% milk, or low-fat chocolate milk; low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat cheese; boiled eggs; peanut butter; yogurt; a small amount of nuts; lean meat, poultry, or fish; and soy products. Fat is stored in the body and is used as an important energy source. It is especially important for endurance athletes, such as runners.

Try to avoid high-fat foods because they may slow digestion. Examples of high-fat foods are crackers, chips, snack cakes, or muffins. Instead, opt for healthy sources of fat such as peanut butter, nuts, and olive oil.

Eating sugary foods before a race may cause side effects such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This can have a major effect on your race! You might think you get that burst of energy from the sugar, but the energy will peak quickly and will not last for a long time. Avoid pastries, donuts, and high-sugar cereals.

Drink 2 to 3 cups of fluids such as water, 100% juice, low-fat or skim milk, or a sports beverage two to three hours before the race, and then 1 more cup of fluid 10 to 20 minutes before the race. A small amount of coffee (6 to 8 oz.) may be an option, but be sure that it settles well in your stomach.

During the Race Gels

Drink at least 1 cup of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise (24 to 48 ounces per hour for most people). For every pound you lose during exercise, consume 2 to 3 cups of fluid. It is always good to calculate your sweat rate during training to know the proper amount of fluids you need to be taking in during the race. This can be done by weighing yourself before a workout and immediately afterward.

Water is always an excellent choice during the race, but for durations of longer than 60 to 90 minutes, it is important to take in some type of sports drink. Sports drinks provide a mix of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes. Electrolytes are lost in sweat during the race, which is why sports drinks help replenish electrolytes in the body.

It is important to intake the proper amount of carbohydrates during the race. Consuming carbohydrates should be a goal during the race to help increase endurance; 60 to 70 grams per hour is recommended. Good options for getting in carbohydrates during the race are sports drinks, energy bars, GUs, gummy blocks, and Sport Beans. If you prefer consuming an energy bar during the race, it is important to consume a bar that is high in carbohydrates, but low in protein and fat. Make sure to take in 4 to 8 ounces of water with the gels or the energy bars to prevent an upset stomach. Consider how your body digests these different items. Go with the item that digests well for you and will help you stay at your optimum performance level. Always practice with these products during training and never try something new on race day.

After the Race

Here are some tips for recovering after the race:

  • Aim to consume a 200- to 300-calorie snack within 30 minutes of finishing the race.
  • Rehydrate with 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during the race.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal that includes protein, fluids, carbohydrates, and electrolytes.455658863
  • Aim for 15 to 25 grams of protein to be consumed within 30 to 60 minutes after the race.
  • Take in at least half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight within the first hour after the race.
  • Have salty snacks and sports drinks to help with replacing electrolytes, if it will be 3 to 4 hours until your next well-balanced meal.

Remember that training with certain foods is just as important as the physical training for the event! If you need help, consider a personal nutrition coaching session from NIFS.

If you are interested in having your questions answered during a personal nutrition consultation, please contact me at ascheetz@nifs.org or 317-274-3432, ext 239. Learn more about Nutrition and Wellness services at NIFS.

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This blog was written by Angie Sheetz, NIFS Registered Dietitian. Read more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition running marathon training triathlon cycling half marathon hydration endurance

NIFS Mini Marathon Training Program Participant: Judi Border

NAME: Judi Border, 14-Minute-Mile GroupBorderPhoto

SHARE YOUR “STORY” OR A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES:

Born and raised in Cincinnati, moved here in 1992 for work. Since then I’ve been happily married for 20 years this July. We have a beautiful 17-year-old daughter and two cats. I work at WFYI as the Television Art Director and Motion Artist. About two years ago I realized I needed to make some life changes due to lack of personal challenges, weight gain, and the loss of two young friends to cancer. I started going to my local community center three days a week using a treadmill for 30 minutes. At the same time I started following a blog called the Happy Herbivore and became vegetarian. After a year I had lost weight, felt much better about myself, and added a yoga class.

Every year for as long as I can remember, a co-worker friend of mine registers for the Mini and always asks if everyone has signed up, too. This got me thinking, secretly I’ve always wanted to walk the Mini, just experience it, but I always had some excuse not to! This year I couldn’t seem to find a reason not to, so in January I took a deep breath and signed up.

NIFS PROGRAMS YOU PARTICIPATED IN:

NIFS Mini Marathon Training Program

WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS PROGRAM?

I’ve never been much of an athlete, but I’ve always enjoyed walking. Luckily I work with several friends who have experienced the Mini and it was their advice that I should check out the NIFS Training Program. I knew I would need to join something because I had no idea how to prepare for the Mini. My greatest fear was being picked up by the bus and not completing the marathon. I couldn’t find anyone who would walk with me; all my friends and co-workers were runners. NIFS has been a great supporter of WFYI over the years and I knew of them from that. It seemed like an obvious choice.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE ENJOYED:

I have really enjoyed this whole experience, which I credited to NIFS. It is a great feeling being surrounded by a group of enthusiastic people with a common goal. The group training is new to me and I have really enjoyed it. I found myself looking forward to Wednesdays.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE LEARNED OR SOMETHING THAT SURPRISED YOU:

I guess I surprised me. I’ve never been much for exercising, but I find that I really enjoy it. I like the fitness schedule NIFS has put me on for the Mini Training Program and hope to continue it. I believe I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in; it is very renewing.

FAVORITE RUNNING ROUTE FROM ONE OF THE RUNS?

The route to Fountain Square. You spend time in Downtown, drive through it, but how often do you actually walk through it? It was a nice tour.

WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HAVE YOU ACHIEVED DURING YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM FOR THE MINI?

Every Wednesday night was an accomplishment for me because almost every Wednesday I was pushed to walk farther than I had ever walked at a 14-minute-mile pace. Then ultimately I completed the Mini Marathon, something I have wanted to accomplish for almost 15 years.

TIPS YOU HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?

Where do I begin? I’ve learned about the importance of stretching, cross training, what to eat/drink before and after training, what are the best types of clothes to wear when exercising, what it feels like to wear proper-fitting gym shoes, how to drink water out of a cup while walking. My favorite thing to learn was the importance of letting your body rest. Who knew?

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?

First, I would have to say NIFS and my Wednesday Night Group, they kept me motivated. Having an additional support group outside of NIFS helped a great deal, in my husband, Terry, and my co-worker friends. But I would also say that my daughter has been a big motivation for me as well. As a parent it is amazing what we expect our children to do, while we sit by and watch. My daughter recently received her Black Belt and it was during her final preparation for the test that she had to run three miles at a 7-minute-mile pace. That motivated me to step up my exercising. She still motivates me in her continued fitness goal to stay healthy and fit.

ANY OTHER THOUGHTS YOU WISH TO SHARE: 

If you have ever wanted to participate in the Mini Marathon, this is the best way to prepare for it. NIFS brings all the right elements together, the Runners Forum helps you with shoes, the onsite physical therapist works with you and any muscle pains that might occur during the training, and the group leaders guide you and answer all your questions. It is a wonderful way to get moving during the winter and really has been a great experience for me. I loved it.

NIFS new Fall Marathon Training Program begins July 9th-October 25th. Get Registered Today! Early Bird pricing before May 31—Members: $65 Non-Members: $80

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: goal setting marathon training group fitness group training mini marathon half marathon

4 Questions to Determine If You’re Ready for Your First Marathon

Has completing a marathon always been on your bucket list? Are you looking for a new challenge and to step up your commitment to fitness this year? You may be ready to try your first marathon! Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to determine whether you are ready:

1. Have You Run a Few Half-Marathons? marathon-1

Yes: Great! You are already halfway there! You mentally know what it takes to complete long-distance runs and a training program, and you have experienced that race atmosphere and everything that goes with it. Along with this, you know the ins and outs of how to fuel, hydrate, and recover from the high-mileage training properly.

No: That is okay! Starting with a half-marathon is a great first step to getting to that first marathon. This will get your body and mind up to speed with more ease than jumping into a full marathon

2. Do You Have the Time to Dedicate to Training?

Yes…I think: Training for a marathon requires more time and energy than training for a half-marathon. To prepare to have the most successful race that you can come race day, you will need to complete some long training runs that go up to 20 or 22 miles! Depending on the speed that you are going, this can take you between 2 and 5.5 hours. Be sure that you have a day during the week that you will be able to dedicate toward this kind of training. Along with this, you will need to complete two or three additional runs or walks throughout the week, as well as complete some cross-training sessions.

No: Training for a marathon may not be in the cards for you right now. If you have a lot going on as it is and hardly find time to squeeze in a short 3- or 4-mile run or walk, completing a marathon successfully should wait until your schedule calms down.

3. Are You Motivated to Complete 26.2 Miles?

Yes: Good! This will carry you through those long runs mentally. Having the desire to get out there and train to complete the race is key to having a successful training program.

Not really: You should keep that in mind before starting to train and signing up for your first race. If you are not completely sure that you are motivated to do the race, hold off on signing up. I suggest completing a few weeks of a marathon training program to see if your motivation grows as the distances get longer. If you find yourself becoming less motivated right away, reconsider your goal and maybe stick with a half-marathon again.

4. Are You Running/Walking Consistently and with Few Injury Issues?

Yes: That is a huge plus! If you are already consistently going out for runs or walks and are not having any pains or injuries, it is safe to start ramping up your mileage slowly to prepare for the marathon.

No: Get consistent and healthy first! If you are not consistently walking or running, that is the first thing that you should do. Consider following a scaled-back training plan and start by making sure to complete 3 or 4 days of walking/running for at least a month. If this seems to be going well and you are not running into any injuries, you can start to reconsider.fall-marathon

If you said yes to all of these questions, it is pretty safe to say you are ready to get started on a marathon training program! If you answered a few with “no,” no worries. A marathon is still not too far out of reach. Just address the obstacles that you have and work toward resolving those!

If you are looking for a marathon training program for this fall, consider joining the NIFS Fall Marathon Training Program. It is geared toward preparing individuals to complete the Monumental Marathon on November 1 in Indianapolis.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Fitness Center Manager and Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: NIFS motivation goal setting running marathon training half marathon NIFS programs race training injuries