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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Overcoming Stress, Exhaustion, and Overtraining

Kris-1Are you having one of those days (or weeks, or months) where you feel like the gerbil on the wheel? You are going along just fine, and then a stressful situation crops up and you to need to spin the wheel faster. Soon, that’s not fast enough. When you finally realize you are going to be thrown off the wheel if you stop, it hits you: you’re exhausted. I get this way every few months.

It doesn’t take much, as you look back, to see how all the mess got started. But we are here for solutions, so let’s find a plan to get us out of the wheel safely.

Take a Break or Try Relaxation Techniques

A weeks’ vacation would be great at this time, but most of us cannot just get up and go. What we can do is plan a short vacation or “staycation” for a long weekend or one day of the week. For me, it helps if I can involve my family, as we seem to be together less and less during these stressful times.

If a vacation week, weekend, or day off is not possible, you need to find time each day for meditation, reflection, and relaxation. Now, I am not about legs crossed and chants, but finding a quiet time and place where you can just STOP is a good place to begin your unwinding.

Deep breathing will help you get to a calmer place. I am not setting a time limit on this, so do as much as you can. Sit quietly and listen to your breath: good, long inhales and longer exhales. Fill your lungs and diaphragm, feeling your belly rise and fall with the breath. Do not think of anything, and try to block out your distractions. Music, it has been said, can calm the savage beast; well, you and I are that beast and we need calm, so that may help.

Here’s another blog about deep-breathing exercises for stress relief.

We cannot determine how stress adds to our weight gain or failure to lose, but it does factor in. If you can find a calm place to take yourself, to get rid of this stress, you will feel better, and thus your body will react better.

Overtraining, Stress and Your Heart Rate

“I’m not overtrained; I’m just not fit.” No, you probably are overtrained and need a break. One good way to tell is to take your heart rate first thing in the morning. (Make sure you don’t have full bladder, or it will raise your heart rate.) When you are rested, recovered, and feeling good, that’s the best time to figure out your rate. If your rate is up three to five beats, you need a break. So if you start now when you know you are stressed, try to take your rate a few days in a row, as you are taking it easy. See whether the morning rate drops.

Usually we don’t need to do the heart rate test very often (one time every two weeks or so), but in the beginning take it for a few days (three to five if possible) to get an idea where you are at.

Overtraining can cause injuries. See what the NIFS experts say about some of these types of injuries here.

A Plan for Resting on “Taper Weeks”

Most runners will tell you that taper week is the toughest week to train. Basically, this week you rest and cut down your running to be ready for race day. There is a great quote about this: “It is better to be over-rested than under-recovered.” Your body is calling (perhaps screaming) for a break, and you are going to have to learn to back down the exercise for a good week and possibly more.

In my mind, two weeks would be crazy, lazy, fattening, and maddening, but this is the bargain I have made with myself (thanks to my training partners for playing along): one week of easy, short workouts; the next will be more challenging and fun. All intense work will be very short, 15 to 20 seconds with long breaks (up to three times as long).

After my hiatus I would like to get on a race training plan or a strength plan and start at it full bore. For now I am going to nap, eat well, go as hard as I can, OR LESS, and enjoy the freedom from any strenuous workouts. If you are feeling the same, I hope you will join me!

This blog was written by Kris Simpson, NIFS Personal Trainer. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

When your ready to start your race planning for 2015 cross the finish line with us! The 25th Annual Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program starts January 21–May 6, 2015. Training is Wednesdays at 6pm at NIFS downtown.


Topics: stress marathon training injury prevention overtraining

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.




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


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 Mini Marathon Training 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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





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

Half Marathon Training and VO2 Max

It has taken a bit of time to get used to calling myself a “runner,” but I enjoy running races and incorporating running into my weekly workout routine. So, even if I still have vivid memories of quitting the middle school cross country team after one practice, where I walked the entire time…I am still a runner.

Although I’m not an elite runner, and I don’t plan on winning any races anytime soon I do have a slightly competitive mindset and I enjoy seeing improvements in my fitness level. When I signed up to complete my fifth half marathon this November, I knew that I needed a new goal. I have had small personal goals each time I completed a half marathon to help get me through training:

  • Finish the half marathon without walking.
  • Finish the half marathon in under two hours.
  • This half marathon was only weeks after my second half marathon, so I just wanted to finish feeling good!
  • Beat my previous best time of 1:56:53.

The next goal: complete a half marathon in 1:45:00. This will mean shaving a significant amount of time off of my mile, but I know that with hard work and dedication I can do it. Because I am not an “experienced” runner, I thought I would use some of my resources at NIFS and ask the more experienced staff for advice in decreasing my running time.VO2 max test

Steph, one of our Health and Fitness Specialists and an experienced runner, suggested completing a VO2 max test to find out my lactic threshold. She explained that a VO2 max test is used to measure how much oxygen your body processes at a maximal effort during exercise. This would determine how my aerobic fitness compared with other women my age. The test also would determine what my lactate threshold point is, which tells me how intense my training sessions could be and what my “tempo” or lactic threshold pace should be.

You may have heard of a “tempo” run, which is simply a run completed at the heart rate just below your lactate threshold, designed to help you improve your lactate threshold level and stamina. Lactic threshold is the point of intensity during exercise when lactate starts to accumulate in the blood.

I was excited to complete this test, but I was also very nervous! I had heard horror stories of participants getting sick at the end of the test, and the contraption/face mask looks pretty intimidating, too. That being said, I knew that this would be valuable and helpful information for me, so I completed the test willingly.

What Was the VO2 Max Like?VO2 Max test

It was a bit uncomfortable running with the face mask on and at such a steep incline, but overall the test was not bad at all! All of my previous fears were unnecessary. I started running on a treadmill at a comfortable pace of around 8:30min/mile. Steph slowly began to increase the incline as the machine calculated my heart rate and how efficiently my body was using oxygen. I was shocked at how quickly I began to feel the burn in my legs—but I guess that was the point of the test!

Looking back, I probably could have gone slightly longer, but for fear of flying off of the steep and quick-moving treadmill I asked Steph to turn off the test as soon as I felt I was at my edge.

Once the test was complete, Steph went over the results with me to explain my target heart rate for my training runs, my lactic threshold, and what my VO2 max was. She also completed a training plan for me based on this information and my goal of running a half marathon in 1:45:00.

I was not sure if I would reach my goal of 1:45:00 this time around because of the short 8 week training window, but I still had my heart set on achieving that time. Race day came, and I was feeling as ready as ever to run the fastest I have ever run such a long distance. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins and Steph’s excellent training program gave me the confidence I needed to know I COULD achieve my goal time…and I did! I ended up completing the race with a pace of 7:57 and a time of 1:44:04 and I could not believe it! (I still can’t!) 

Now that I have achieved my long-time running goal, I want to see how much faster I can actually get and the VO2 max test will allow me to do just that. It will allow me to see how much energy I still have left in my tank and Steph can create a new training plan for my next race. I can’t wait to see how this new to me training will positively affect my race time as I lead a training group for the NIFS Mini Marathon Training Program.

How Can You Schedule Your VO2 Max Test?

All you have to do is e-mail Tony Maloney, Fitness Center Manager, at tmaloney@nifs.org, to ask about pricing and schedule your assessment.

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: NIFS running marathon training mini marathon half marathon assessments

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Dean Behrmann

screenshot dean 5

Charter member Dean Behrmann talks about why he started coming to NIFS and what has kept him
coming back for 25 years. Watch his video.

Dean was also featured in a NIFS video back in 2009. Click here to watch.

Topics: NIFS cardio running marathon training mini marathon half marathon nifs staff anniversary race

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Candy Lander

screenshot candy 2

Charter member Candy Lander talks about her favorite things about NIFS. Watch Video.

Topics: NIFS fitness fitness center running marathon training mini marathon half marathon accountability nifs staff anniversary

What It’s Like to Be an Intern at NIFS: Emily Iddins

Emily has been an intern for a corporate client of NIFS. She has contributed to the success of the center, and we wish her luck as she moves on to the working world after college. Thank you for being such a great asset to the NIFS team, and for sharing your experience on our blog!NIFS internships

Some come to the area for a taste of Indianapolis; I came for a taste of the professional world. When I originally applied to NIFS I thought that the internship would be a great opportunity to broaden my horizons; a chance to get out of my comfort zone and to work in a different environment with different populations. NIFS accomplished that and so much more.

I did my share of weighing pros and cons when finding a challenging internship that would further my development as an exercise science major. Maybe it was the hands-on experience, maybe it was the professional development, or maybe it was simply the professionals I was able to interact with that have helped to reaffirm my choice of career path.

My internship was located at corporate client of NIFS. Working with the team was a breath of fresh air. I was not just an intern, but an employee with duties that depended on contributing to a successful team strategy. Having a strong team dynamic is crucial when hosting team-building events to promote cooperative work atmospheres. Tasks also included fitness assessments, teaching group fitness classes, and leading facility orientations.INTERN 3

My greatest task, however, was that of managing a Women’s Half Marathon Training Program. Throughout this program, I have been able to shed the skin of the structured classroom environment and reemerge with a more profound meaning of what being a professional entails: leadership, planning, communication, and organization. Through the training program, I came into contact with women who I coached, but who were in turn a source of motivation to me. To see and be a part of individuals’ success in achieving goals is why I am so drawn to this field.

NIFS offers so much to each intern. Through shadowing, volunteering, and specializing at one’s site, the student has a chance to explore, find their niche, and leave with a new set of goals in mind.NIFS internships

Although there are still classes to take and lessons to learn, working as an intern at NIFS is an experience that I will always remember and cherish.

To find out more about applying for NIFS internships click here.

Topics: NIFS fitness center marathon training

Spotlight: NIFS Member Ana Traversa on Mini Marathon Training

As the annual NIFS Mini Marathon Training Program comes to a close, the staff at NIFS have come to a conclusion: The runners who participate in this 14-week program are pretty amazing! They work hard in their short runs on their own, and then they come to each group long run ready to run and support each other to the finish. We think they all deserve a little bit of attention, which is why we decided to showcase one of our participants turned group leader in this blog post.

We are showcasing Ana Traversa, who joined NIFS just a short four months ago when she moved to Indy from New Jersey. She immediately joined the NIFS Mini Marathon Training Program and soon after volunteered to be a running group leader. We hope you enjoy reading about her experiences with the NIFS Mini Marathon Training Program and get some inspiration from this running machine!

NAME: Ana Traversa


I’m basically a diehard runner. I ran my first race at 11. I was a 100m, 200m, and relay runner from 11 to 16 (ran a mean 13-second 100m), and then at 17 my gym teacher in school switched me to the mile. It took a whole year to train for what then seemed like an impossibly long distance to run.

Then life got in the way big time most of my life. I tried to keep up jogging through college and full-time jobs, but had trouble finding the time or the energy. I recovered my running in my late 30s and this time kept up a good, steady routine that included a lot of racing for a couple of years or so. Then life got in the way an even bigger time for a very destructive five-year period. It took nearly another five years to heal. And now it’s all back with a vengeance, and this time I’m NOT letting go.


This is my only NIFS program so far (I became a member only four months ago, when I moved to Indy from Jersey). I went from participant to co-lead a couple of weeks into the program.


After a lot of 3, 4, 5, and 6-mile races and only a 10-mile race in the Bronx, I ran my first Half in Atlantic City last October. I was pretty satisfied with my performance at the time but needed to cut back on my training over the following two months in preparation for the move. In January I needed to retrace part of my training, and this time I decided to take a risk with group running—I didn’t think I could adjust to a steady, predictable pace.


The promise of the shared run has paid off. It’s also been good to be responsible for the group’s run. If I had been only a participant rather than a co-lead, some Wednesdays I would have stayed home.


The slow pace (2+ minutes/mile slower than my race pace) was also the right pace for my long runs. On my own, I’m primed for speed and wouldn’t have had the patience to sustain the much slower pace, especially early in the season. Now I can adjust my pace rather easily.


Up and down the canal. I really like it downtown. And I’m not bored by any repetitive running or exercise routine (except the treadmill), so if I had to run a full marathon just by running up and down the canal, I would. Heck, if I had to run a full marathon around the NIFS track, I think I would too. In fact, in the middle of the summer heat I probably will…

mini trophies


I PR’ed in Carmel, and then again at the Mini last Saturday. I went from 2:14 in Atlantic City last October to 2:09 in Carmel to 2:05 at the Mini. And that’s not all—I just PR’ed in the 5K, the 10K, and the 15K as well. And I’ve just turned 50. AND my application to run the New York marathon next November has just been accepted, so I’m literally walking (read running) on air.

I believe it’s the combined result of (1) consistency, (2) the slower long runs on Wednesdays that built my endurance over time, and (3) the personalized runner-specific strength training routine that Adam Heavrin set up for me a couple of months ago. Adam will say it’s my accomplishment and he just does his job like anyone else would, but I could write a whole page on how this component (his expert guidance AND his support) has made a huge difference in every possible way—physically and psychologically.


I can’t overemphasize the value of learning as much as possible about physiology, about running, and about nutrition. I haven’t encountered struggles this year—I’ve been on this path for over two years now. But one of the greatest struggles is fighting peer pressure. The non-runner has lots of difficulty understanding the passion for the activity, especially if it comes from a woman, especially if she is middle-age, especially if it means you need to keep a diet and a discipline that interferes with typically socializing behavior, etc., etc. Again, I could write volumes about how one needs to build strong arguments to fight the many stereotypes that surround this kind of activity. Indy is not that unfriendly in that regard—hey, over 1,100 of the Mini runners were women between 50 and 54. But in Jersey I had more trouble.


Ongoing fun and consistent progress at the physical activity that I’m most passionate about have provided all the motivation I need, and more.

I can say the same about my diet, which consists of only healthy foods with little to no cooking and next to no “dressing”—no empty calories there. My body doesn’t need any offending stuff anymore, and certainly no sugar for sugar’s sake. Even the healthy Wednesday Mini training snacks were sometimes a no-no. All the motivation I need to stay away from my old habits (three years ago I was 50 pounds heavier and couldn’t go up a flight of steps without panting) is the knowledge that my current diet is what allows me to continue running. And the mood, attitude, and confidence boost that I get from it all is golden.


  • Kudos to Steph and Angi as organizers!
  • Now we need a full marathon training program!

Now is the time to sign up for next years Mini Marathon Training program at NIFS! Take advantage of our Early Bird special and save $ on this program by registering before June 30th! Learn More.

Topics: NIFS nutrition motivation marathon training group training mini marathon half marathon