You JUST became a runner….NOW WHAT!?!?!?

“The farthest I’ve run is to the mailbox.”  “I’ll run when a coyote is chasing me.”  Sound familiar?  You were just making these statements a few short weeks ago! Not anymore! Now you have a great love for the way you feel after your lungs stop burning, you stop coughing and all your smelly shoes have left the trunk of your car.  However, you’re still new to this and you’re not sure of “etiquette”, or you might be wondering if the aches and pains you’re having are normal growing pains or if you are running yourself into a wheelchair.

Here are some great things to remember now that you’ve started running:

A couple etiquette tips:

It’s normal to spit or blow snot rockets! Just be keen to your targeting and keep your fingers out of the line of fire when you launch the rocket; your hand may end up pretty slimy.  (My wife hates this, but I swear it is acceptable!)

Always run to the right side of the trail/road/sidewalk and call out to people in front of you that you’re passing on the left when you do need to overtake another runner or walker.

Smile, nod, cheer, high five, and generally be pleasant to other people on the trails and roadways!  It makes you feel just as good as the person on the receiving end of your positivity.

When you are at a race, do you best to line up in the proper “pace” corral or part of the pack, if there is no corral. If you know you are going to run a 25 minute 5k or longer, you should NOT be in the front line of a 5K.  Ask around; are those you are standing next to also planning to run around your pace?

If you run with you dog, keep it under control and use a short leash. Oftentimes, races ask that you also start near the rear of the pack. Please do so; it creates a lot of congestion and trip hazards when you don’t follow these two simple requests.

When you are finished with your water cup at the aid station, TRY to hit the garbage receptacles!  If you’re throwing it on the ground, be sure to aim any remaining water in the cup away from volunteers and other runners.  The volunteers have to be on the course longer than you do and they don’t always want to be soaking wet, especially in the winter!

ALWAYS thank volunteers at races! They are what makes your racing experience possible.

Playing music on your phone without headphones is extremely rude. Wear headphones or leave it turned off.  Make sure that your headphones don’t interfere with understanding course marshal or race official announcements or directions.

NO negative self-talk!  Don’t talk about your distance in terms of “just a 5k.”  On the flip side, don’t be boastful about your performance time with nearby racers unless you have already established a relationship with them.

A couple thoughts on your new found love:

Surround yourself with encouraging people; other runners are always great!

Find a supportive and inclusive group run that has varying distances and abilities.

Sign up for local races that can keep you motivated and encourage your friends to join you, even your non-running friends. Races can and are so much more than just running from point A to point B. Take pictures, dress up, form a team, get a beer, stick around for the raffle prizes, and sign up to volunteer for a race from time to time.

Blog, Facebook, Tweet about your new love but temper it with WHY you love this new endeavor and not necessarily a daily update of your workout, unless it’s a new PR or something you’ve never done before…then by all means, BRAG!!!  (Did you know that PR means Personal Record?  PRs are the only times you should be concerned about!)

Shin splints are real and you should be stretching and strengthening as you go! Google it and you won’t find a shortage of options.

Cross-train!!! Many runners end up with a weak core, tight hip flexors and hamstrings…Don’t be lazy!!

Take out the earbuds from time-to-time, slow the pace and just stare at the mountains, the sky, the fields, and trees and remember why you are doing this! A lot of people who jump into running get burned out after a few months because they forgot why they started and get lost in mileage, pace, cadence and heart rate!

If you have knee pains make sure to stretch, stretch and stretch, and you should probably head into a local specialty running store to get fitted for proper shoes. Your $50 pair of shoes from the big box outlet might not be doing the trick. There are some people who can run in anything, but most of us need the right shoes!

Buy AMAZING socks! Cotton socks are so comfortable on a lazy day to lay on the couch in but they don’t even compare with a great pair of synthetic or wool socks to run in! Spend the money and you’ll never go back to cotton!

Do NOT buy the most expensive GPS/Heart Rate watch on the market right away.  Unless you just love gadgets, wait until you’ve been running for a while and determine if your goals will be reached any faster or easier by spending the dollars on the technology.

If you’re running on the treadmill at the gym, please STOP talking on the phone. It’s extraordinarily rude. People go to the gym to get away from the noise and the hustle & bustle. If you must take a phone call while you’re on the treadmill then get off the treadmill and find a quite corner where everyone around you doesn’t have to hear about what you’re going to cook for dinner, what your kids did at school or why your team is past its deadline on that big project.

Here are some other tips:

If shoes don’t feel awesome on your feet when you try them on at the store, they will only get worse as you run.

Men: wear supportive briefs.

Ladies: double up on sports bras if you have to.

If your heel slips out of your shoe, learn the runners knot.

If you’re running for longer than 1 hour, take water with you.

If you constantly find yourself having to walk at the first mile when you’re doing a 5K then slow down your pace and maintain that slower pace instead of the sprint to walk method. You’ll get better returns on your time!

I highly recommend forefront or mid-foot striking while running. It’s arguably more efficient but more important it’s GREAT at injury prevention.

Don’t ever feel bad that you ONLY ran a certain number of miles. Just keep moving, you’ll get where you’re going soon enough!

Try natural fueling options before gels and most people don’t need to “fuel” their runs unless they are going for longer than 75 minutes. You’re body naturally stores enough carbs and fat to get your through that period of time without any issues.

There are so many great tips and different things work for different people. This is simply my list of thoughts based on my years of running. Share yours and don’t be afraid to try new things!!  Life’s too short to be boring…ha!

If you happen to be looking for a race series designed just for beginners check out this~ Six races with increasing distances from 1 Mile to 6.2 Miles (10K) ~ www.sixpackseries.com

2014 3W Ambassadors Announced

We are very proud to partner with great local runners who agree with our vision for joining local races with local businesses and local humanitarian charities! Each ambassador was chosen based on their involvement with our races, their support for the running community and their personal 2014 goals!

These ambassadors have set goals which are forcing them out of their comfort zones to perform at higher levels than in the past! Additionally, having an awesome attitude was one of the most important factors considered when choosing members for this group!

Our motto for 2014 is “Elite on the inside first”! What do we mean? We are looking for people that give back to the community, support local businesses, who think positively about themselves and others, and love spreading the word about fun local events, such as 3W Races events!!

We’ll be updating the bios of each ambassador over the course of the next few weeks but we’ve got their names and pics posted now. We’re looking forward to having them out on the trails talking to local run groups, tri clubs and meet-up groups about our events, partners and charities!

3W Ambassador Program sponsors for 2014 are Endurance House, Olde Man Granola and Way To Go. Each of these organizations promotes healthy life choices and are making a positive impact in their local community.

One of the functions of Ambassadors is to get local run groups and clubs excited about and involved in upcoming 3W events. If you would like us to visit your group with some information and fun prizes, please contact us! info

Here are the 2014 Ambassadors! Elite on the inside first:

Susan Person, Christine O’Gorman, Amy Bailey, Brett Smith, Amy Machael, Andy Tuthill, Emelie Ortiz, Amy Young, Kaira Muchow, Josh Bernhard, AJ Benefield, Caolan MacMahon, Chuy Lira, Tom Weber, Marley Steele Inama, Ryan McCullough, Rebekah Zaborek, Katie Devine, Stephanie Crosby, Keith Langford, Hailee Damp, Jeannete Hickock, Kevin Mitchelldyer, Claire Sideri, Erin Anna, Steve Gupta, Whitney Vestal, Sarah Hudnall, Joy Geltmacher, Tara Carroll, Nico Adams, Lisa Mercurio, Katie Devine, Peter Keilman, Dave Mura, Katie Mitchelldyer, Nicholette Harper, Nicole Clark, Rachel Dehner, and Kitty Davidson.

To stretch, or not to stretch…

We’ve all heard both sides of the stretching issue. There those that say, “I never stretch before or after a run and I’m perfectly limber!” and those that “cannot even fathom running without a good pre and post-stretch sesh.” Then there are the majority of folks that say, “yeah, I stretch sometimes. Usually when something is tight.”

This leaves room for a lot of confusion and open-endedness! Is stretching just for the over-achievers? Does it really make a difference? Well, it usually depends on who you’re talking to.

Back in 2011, the NY Times found some research that added to the “stretching” conversation. It gives some pretty good “scientific-ish” insight about stretching.

3w image

Exhibit A:

“For the most comprehensive, and bluntest, of the new reports, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers reviewed more than 100 studies of stretching and concluded that the “detrimental effects of static stretch are mainly limited to longer duration” poses, meaning stretches that last for at least a minute. If you hold a particular stretch for a shorter period, the authors wrote, particularly for less than 30 seconds, you should experience “no detrimental effect.”

What this means? Refrain from static stretching: When I think of stretching, I think of middle school when there was a circle of kids performing a series of exercises before practice started. Turns out, this wasn’t the best idea! If you need to loosen up before a run, I suggest warming up for 10 minutes before you stretch.

Exhibit B:

“Several studies have revealed that stretching,” even of short duration, “increases the range of motion about a joint and reduces the stiffness of the muscle,” Anthony Kay, a senior lecturer in sport and exercise biomechanics at the University of Northampton.”

Suggestion? Keep stretches short and dynamic: So far, this article points to keeping stretches short (30 seconds and under). I also suggest doing dynamic stretches—which consists of controlled movements that improve range of motion—like high knees, butt kicks, and walking lunges. Runners world has a great video that is worth watching. CLICK HERE to watch!

Exhibit C:

“Muscle strains are uncommon in activities such as jogging,” cycling or swimming, said Malachy McHugh, the director of research at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Training at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, who has extensively studied stretching. Runners, swimmers and cyclists are more prone to overuse injuries, Dr. McHugh said, and the newest studies and reviews have not found that stretching reduces the risk of overuse injuries.

What this means? Well, it means “chill out.” While stretching and dynamic exercises will make you more efficient, they won’t necessarily “make or break you.” I suggest implementing the routine shown in the video into your training. It won’t do anything but help your running. But the best thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is add variety into your training. Don’t run on same path for the same amount of time at same pace every single day. Incorporate different activities, durations, paces, and surfaces into your exercise to avoid overuse!

What is your opinion about the stretching debate? Do you stretch before and/or after you work out?

How to become fitter with your mind

Many people believe that fitness and health is 100% physical. We think, if I move my body and eat right, I will be in better shape, more attractive, faster, etc. This inevitably leaves out one of the most (if not THE most) important components of fitness: the mind.

For some this may sound cliché, corny, or oversimplified; but your thoughts play the lead role in determining virtually every detail about you and your life. In a sense, they are the paintbrushes that create every stroke on your life canvas.

So, how can you practice the art of thinking to improve your fitness? Here are a few ways to brush off the dust on your fitness goals and get to where you want to be!

Choose your words carefully! 

Amplify the good feelings and minimize the negative feelings with the way you think about and describe things. Instead of saying or thinking “I had a good workout”, say “I had an earth-shattering, incredible workout”. Instead of saying “I had an awful workout”, say “I had a challenging workout”. By amplifying our positive experiences during and after exercise, we create more positive memories that will prompt us to want to do it again and again. Here are a few examples to get you started. Choose three positive and negative words that you usually associate with exercise, and practice super-boosting your vocab!

Good- Deeply Fulfilling
Great -Breathtaking
Alright-Divine
Okay- Extraordinary
Nice-Beautiful
Awful-Hard won
Horrible-Challenging
Excruciating-Effortful
Freezing Cold and Terrible- Uncomfortable
I felt drained of all energy- A little tired

Be thankful despite how you feel

I’m going to take a chance by saying that gratitude is the single most powerful mindset an individual/runner can possess. A consistent attitude of thankfulness will change your life. No matter how challenging a workout may seem; you have the power to shift your attitude, mood, and perspective with a mere glimmer or gratitude. Before and after workouts, spend a few minutes to reflect, pray, or draw awareness to the things you are grateful for. It can be as simple or detailed as you like.

Think about it: we are all experts when it comes to our misfortunes, why not become experts on our fortunes. Instead of thinking how “out of shape” you think you are or “how painful running is”–reflect about the miracle of movement and breathing in and of themselves.

brain

Think BIG!

I recently watched a documentary called “The Secret”. While it offered many interesting points and concepts, one piece of advice that really struck a chord with me was this: make the world your catalogue and, without inhibition, keep a list of everything you truly desire.

Every thought has a unique energy and frequency. By thinking confidently and optimistically about your goals and dreams, you generate more energy for them to come to life. It’s as if each desire is a balloon, and the more breaths you devote to health, happiness, success, and proactivity, the more your dreams begin to expand and become alive. The more thoughts you devote to pessimism and negativity–the more they begin to expand too!

The world’s greatest athletes, authors, thinkers, activists, influencers and entrepreneurs can attest to this concept. Like everyone else, they face a minefield of adversity, disbelief, and doubt. But at the end of the day, one thing prevails—their belief in what they are doing!

Try this: create a list of fitness goals without holding back. Every day, think about your goals with the attitude of “I can”. Over time, pay attention to the feedback of your positive attitude.

Visualization!

Many of the top sports psychologists spend a ton of time doing one mere thing with their athletes: visualizing success. Because your brain cannot effectively distinguish between reality and fantasy, you can reap tremendous benefits from visualizing positive, successful outcomes. Imagine your goal is to run a marathon. One way to bring this goal to life is by intensely visualizing every detail of the process and successful outcome. What will your training look like? What will you eat? How will you look and feel? What will you do on the weekends? How will you interact with others? What will you be wearing? Who will you be spending time with? What will the race feel like, look like, smell like? Once you’ve established your goals, visualize them often (once a day) in great detail and depth.

As a runner (or parent, spouse, employee, ect), what do you do mentally that keeps you fit?

Santa’s TOP-SECRET List of Gifts for Runners

Last time I checked, Santa was en route to the states for Christmas. And let me tell ya—he needs ideas for what to get those crazy runners on his “nice” list (there are many). As you may have guessed, he’s not much of a runner himself. Sure, he gets out for a morning walk to let the reindeer poop and prance around. But run? Forget it! He hasn’t purchased anything but a pair of combat boots in the past 20 years!

Reindeer

So in an attempt to help him out (okay, and earn brownie points) I compiled a little article to give him ideas. Come to find out, he really liked it! I was supposed to keep this list top-secret, but oh well. If Santa found it useful, I’m sure you will too!

Apparel:

Ah, nice running apparel is a runners dream! Because it’s winter, I suggest getting weather appropriate pieces—like jackets, long sleeves, and pants. Here are some popular outerwear items for runners this year:

Great brands for gear: Nike, Brooks, Under Armor, North Face, Asics, Adidas, Road Runner.

Ballpark cost: $50-$100

Shoes:

Unless you know the exact shoe, size, and model—I recommend purchasing a gift card. I know it’s a lot more fun to have a tangible gift, but blindly buying running shoes for your loved one can be a slippery slope—especially considering the importance of getting into the right shoe!

My recommendation is to purchase a gift card at a specialty running store that offers a treadmill gait analysis and customized attention. Not only will your loved one get a good fit, but you will also be supporting local business!

Ballpark cost: $100 minimum, $130 ideal.

Runners

Foam Rollers and Sticks:

Let’s face it, running=tight muscles! Runners are always looking for ways to prevent injury, rejuvenate tired muscles, and stay fresh. Foam rollers and sticks are some of the best self-massage tools on the market. In a nutshell, they help work out knots in in the body—especially hot spots like the glutes, shins, quads, hams, and IT bands!

Ballpark cost: $30-50

Good Socks:

And no, not the ones that granny knitted (although I’m sure those are great too)! To a runner, nice socks are a godsend! Look for moisture-wicking fabrics that have cushioning built in. Before you buy socks, be aware of what type they like (low-cut, crew, etc.) and what size their tootsies are! Here are some awesome sock brands:

  • Smartwool (especially for the winter)
  • Drymax
  • Feetures
  • Thorlo
  • Catawba
  • Balega

Ballpark cost: about $12-16 per pair

iPod Shuffle:

iPod shuffles are the quintessential music device for runners. Why? Because they are teenie tiny, cost effective, and can store a ton of data! Plus they come in fashionable colors that are sure to delight your runner!

Ballpark cost: $50

2014 Race Fee:

If you do this, you will be a hero. Only challenge—you need to dig and discover which race(s) your loved one plans on doing in 2014 and if he/she has already signed up. The good news is that this is an easy conversation to have—and they’ll never ever guess that you have ulterior motives! Perhaps the Arctic Prairie Dog Half? Just sayin’.

Ballpark cost: $80-120 (depending on which distance, etc.)

Runners 2

A Massage:

Let’s just say this, I hope my significant other reads this article. A massage/spa gift certificate is a great idea. Runners and massages go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows. Luckily, with sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, you also shouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg.

Ballpark cost: $30-80

The good news? Runners are typically pretty easy to please and pretty nice (according to Santa’s list). Anything that motivates them and keeps them going will be a home run. And what better gift than the gift of health?

What gifts have you given to the runners in your life?

So you want to run in the cold? Then you oughta read this!

During the winter months, ice, snow, sub-freezing temps, and wind chill can be atrocious elements to brave. As runners, we often think it’s possible to run in any weather—and to an extent that is true. But…

How cold is TOO cold to run outside?

That’s the grand question! For some runners, a little snow is enough to keep them inside. For others, record-freezing temps aren’t enough to hold them back.

With the right gear, it’s usually possible to run outside in sub-freezing temperatures. HOWEVER, take into consideration the wind-chill and ice because those factors will make a huge difference in your run. If the wind-chill is below zero and the street is laden with ice, I recommend resorting to the treadmill.

But if you’re going to brave the cold weather despite the doctor’s orders, there are a few tips, tricks, and words of wisdom that you mustn’t overlook!

Layer Up:

Layering is one of the most important and effective strategies for staying warm in the winter season. Aim to have 3 layers:

  • Base Layer: The base-layer is the layer closest to your skin. Ideally, it should be a long sleeve shirt made of synthetic fabrics like polypropylene and polyester—which are designed to keep you dry and fly. Your base layer should also fit pretty tight to your skin.

base layer

  • Mid Layer: The mid-layer is the layer that goes over your base layer. It should fit a little looser, like a pullover or half-zip. This piece will provide insulation once your body starts warming up.

mid layer

  • Shell Layer: The shell layer is your outermost layer of clothing. It should be a heavier coat or jacket that is waterproof and breathable.  

shell layer

Reconsider your shoes:

Did you know that shoes with a polyurethane midsole tend to stiffen up in cold temps? In many cases the shock absorption reduces a significant amount—increasing chances of injury. When shopping for a winter running shoe, make sure the midsole is comprised of EVA (ethyl, vinyl, acetate—betcha didn’t know that!) because it is least affected by freezing temps.

Also, don’t overlook the upper on the shoe. Look for waterproof materials with supportive overlays and no mesh paneling. Gore-Tex is a great brand to look for when it comes to giving you the warmth and dryness you deserve.

Location & Surface:

Have you ever been out on a run and suddenly felt a shocking drop in temperature? Chances are you were by a river, lake, or valley of some sort. Steer clear of areas that might be a few degrees colder than others. If at all possible, stay in neighborhoods and areas that generate heat and aren’t fully exposed.

Also, because your shoes will likely become a little firmer, try to stay on SOFTER surfaces to lighten the load on your knees and shins. Grass, soft trail, or cinder can be a little more forgiving on your joints. If worse comes to worse, don’t forget about good ol’ faithful:

treadmill

How do you stay warm in the winter months? Don’t be shy: share your wisdom and recommendations!

Always dreamed of running with an Arctic Prairie Dog? 2014 is your LUCKY year!

Sign up for the Prairie Dog Half Marathon on January 19th!

Arctic Prairie Dog Half Course Preview by Local Zach Watson!

Are you ready for a nice winter challenge in the form of a half marathon?  The good folks at 3W Races have pulled out all the stops and made a terrific, fun course entirely in the town of Louisville!  This is not your average, canned out-and-back half marathon!  The creativity of this course is top-notch and you will be greeted by a good challenge and you will feel the miles tick by quickly as you run through a mixture of trails and friendly Louisville neighborhoods.
Zac at the half-way point of the Prairie Dog Half Marathon in Westminster!

Zach at the half-way point of the Prairie Dog Half Marathon in Westminster!

You’ll be excited to tackle the streets when you take off from Streets Fitness on your adventure.  The first couple of miles are a nice ease-in, flat roads and trails to get you warmed up (it is January after all!) Be happy about the gentle downhill as you journey east towards downtown Louisville, but be sure you don’t go out too quickly because there are challenges to come!  As you move past downtown Louisville, you will begin your ascent to the “top” of the course.  This climb is a good one, pace yourself and you’ll be fine!  After the main climb you will welcome a bit of downhill to get those legs back, before tackling another gentle grade and exploring the furthest reaches of the course.  After you tunnel under South Boulder Road (don’t worry the tunnel is already there, you just need to run through it) you will enjoy the views of Louisville’s water supply and expansive views north towards Longmont.  In this section you are sure to feel a surge of energy as you see other runners on their journey and you also know you are entitled to some sweet downhill shortly!  Next you’ll encounter some gentle rolling and flat roads before a nice stretch of downhill topography and direction changes.  You’ll be sensing the finish as you get towards Cherry St but you’ll want to have a little left in the tank, because you need to power back up Cherry St after your last bit of downhill.  Once you have conquered the climb back up Cherry, your legs will spring to life on Orchard as you remember you just completed these same miles in the opposite direction not so long ago!
PDMedal-Louisville - Copy
Funny how a very creative course can make time go by quickly!  Dahlia Street will look oh so good as you make your final push to the finish and enjoy all the refreshments in the warm confines of Streets Fitness.  You’ll surely be talking with all of your fellow finishers about the fun times and favorite parts of this course for a long time afterwards.  I encourage everyone to take advantage of this rare opportunity to run such a fun course entirely in the town of Louisville!
Sign up here for the Arctic Prairie Dog Half & 10K on Jan 19th, in Louisville!
~ Zach Watson ~