Can I Stay In Marathon Shape in the Pool?

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Home for the next three weeks

One week out from the beginning of my taper, while cruising through a ten-mile tempo run, I felt a terrible pain in my right shin at mile seven. I’m tough, I thought, and pushed through. After I completed the prescribed workout at 6:25 pace the pain got worse and I hobbled home. Subsequent days of frantic icing, stretching, icing, stretching, and PT sessions ensued. After numerous PT sessions, including (terribly painful) Graston and dry needling, I was still confident this was a bad case of shin splints and the taper would take care of it.

If you’ve ever felt a pain like that after training too aggressively or if you have weak bone density, you already know I was wrong. After hobbling around for a couple more weeks, I abandoned my hopes of running the Vermont City Marathon. A visit to the orthopedist confirmed my suspicions; my right tibia was showing a sizable fracture, visible to the naked and untrained eye. I was told to wear a walking boot until I could walk without pain. No running for six weeks minimum.

NOOOOOOOOOO!

I worked so freaking hard to get my fitness to sub-3:00 marathon level! Could I even hope to maintain that fitness over that much time off?

Well, I decided to dive in and find out. Before my stress fracture, pool running was not a workout I’d ever considered, but when it becomes the only way to meet your goals, it is suddenly very attractive.  Read more

Readers Roundtable: Has Doping Ruined Rio?

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Normally we anxiously await the Summer Olympics, looking forward to incredible athletic feats and heart-stopping photo finishes. But this year, doping has cast a pall on the luster of Olympic gold.

Doping, apparently, is everywhere. Just last week, the IAAF, citing a state-run cheating scheme, unanimously ruled to ban the Russian Track & Field team from competing in Rio. As we write, the IAAF is also investigating running powerhouse countries like Kenya and Ethiopia.

While we hail the IAAF finally cracking down on what was perhaps the worst-kept secret in world-class running, it’s just the latest blow in a series of doping related news in running. Just a few months ago, we were celebrating Genzebe Dibaba smashing the world indoor mile record, reading articles in Vogue about her, and speculating how many golds she’d take home from Rio. Now, we hear her coach was busted in a doping scandal too. It makes us wonder if anyone is running clean. It’s disheartening. Has doping formed a cloud so dark that it casts doubt on every great running performance?

What do you think? Has doping spoiled your excitement about Rio?

SaltyValu Lounging: Because Sometimes You Have to Sit the F Around

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Big news!!! Our first venture into merchandising was such a runaway success that we are branching out into lifestyle products!

By now you know that Salty Runners like to run, but did you know that sometimes Salty Runners just sit around? Sometimes by choice, sometimes not.

Here at Salty HQ, several of us have been sitting on our butts the last few weeks. We were bitching talking about this when suddenly a light bulb! Money-making scheme! There are 17 million products devoted to helping you be a better runner, but how many products are there devoted to keeping you off your feet? Not many! And so Salty Valu™ Lounging was born. Ways to spend money that help you Run As You Are, and Lounge Like You Mean It.

At Salty, we know there’s a growing need for a 5k2Couch, so we have FIVE new products launching soon! Here is a sneak preview just for you! Read more

Coping With Losing Your Team after Graduation

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Built-in workout buddies

One of the reasons I love running is that it’s there for life. While all sports have their benefits to young athletes in school, running is one of the few that you can truly weave into your lifestyle forever, team or no team. But although it’s true that you can always run by yourself, it can be hard to stick to it and train smart, especially if you spent your entire middle school, high school, and college experience as part of a running team.

A team, especially a college team, provides so much reliable structure and support; your teammates and coaches become family. You know your practice schedule, your lifting schedule. You go to meals and races and parties with your teammates. Your coach tells you when to push and when to take it easy. The athletic trainers are a free resource, helping you navigate every ache and pain. Then you graduate, there are lots of training options, but how do you deal with the loss of that support system?

Once you’re on your own, the freedom to run or not run lies solely with you as an individual. And it’s the same with the freedom to race or not race, the freedom to do the core work or not, the freedom to skip a workout because it’s raining.

That’s a lot of choice, and while choice can be great, it can also be paralyzing.

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Confessions of a Stravaddict

I don’t even have to open the email to know exactly what it says. “Uh Oh!” begins to subject line, “[Insert name of fast, competitive frenemy] just stole your CR!” I click on the link to her activity and find that not only did she run the segment three minutes faster than I did, but she did it while pushing a stroller. “Got what it takes to reclaim your crown?” the email teases. Time to lace up my shoes, sprint that segment and steal my CR back!

Sound familiar? I have a love/hate relationship with Strava, the social network app of choice for runners. I’m addicted to giving and receiving kudos, monitoring my splits and elevation gain, tracking my best efforts on familiar routes, and sharing photos of my runs with like-minded friends who don’t roll their eyes every time I utter the words “long run.”

But, like all social networks, it has a dark side, a breeding ground for FOMO, unhealthy competition and potential overuse injuries. In fact, Strava’s website has a “Stand With Us” page that reads like a list of safety disclaimers, with #2 stating, “We Rest. We listen to our bodies to avoid injury and we inspire in ways other than by being number one. We don’t burn ourselves out. We enjoy our recovery days because they too tell our story on Strava.”

Clearly, I’m not the only person who gets herself caught up in the wonderful world of Strava.

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Introducing Chive!

10kconf2014Hello Salty Runners! I’m so excited to be a part of this awesome group of runners (and writers)! I am a 23 year old Bostonian and soon-to-be grad student of Public Health.

I started running in middle school, going for short runs with my dad and doing some 5ks. When I got to high school, cross country seemed like a good way to meet some nice people. My enthusiasm for running and desire to improve increased steadily.

The summer after 9th grade I decided I wanted to get a ton faster. I looked at results from my team for the past few years and found an older teammate who improved the most between freshman and sophomore year in cross country. She said she ran 300 miles that summer, so I ran 350.

The summer after that, sensing that 50 miles per week wouldn’t cut it anymore for me, I upped it to 60-70. By 12th grade I was extremely anemic and having zero fun running. After a brief stint on the wrestling team and a terrible track season, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue running on a team in college. A high school teammate and friend was on the team at my college so, partially out of a sense of social necessity, I decided to give it a try, figuring I could quit after the cross country season ended in a couple of months.

Of course, three days in I was hooked, in love with the team and more excited by the sport than I’d felt maybe ever.

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Canadian Lanni Marchant’s Marathon to the Rio Olympics

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The face of Canadian female distance running

Lanni Marchant is the face of Canadian women’s distance running. The 32-year old practicing lawyer holds the fastest Canadian marathon time (2:28) and is within a hair of her training partner, Natasha Wodak’s Canadian record at 10,000-metre (31:41:59).

Most recently, Lanni delivered a top-Canadian performance at the the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) Gold Label 10K race in Ottawa. As the top Canadian woman in the field, it seemed like a no-brainer that she would compete in both the 10,000-metre and marathon events at the Rio Olympics.

Despite her accomplishments, Athletics Canada, the Canadian equivalent of USATF, has yet to determine if Marchant will be competing for Canada in either event. What gives?

Read more

Introducing Raspberry!

IMG_1622Hi Saltines! I’m so excited to be a part of this community of strong, sassy, intelligent women runners! I discovered Salty Running when Cinnamon and Ginger covered the Olympic Marathon Trials. I was so impressed and relieved to find a community of real runners that celebrate women for their strengths and achievements … and who aren’t trying to convince me to stay away from the cheese platter or sell me an adorable bra with a hundred tangled back straps to wear to the local juice bar.

Salty Runners aren’t afraid to break a sweat, get a little dirty, and they don’t shy away from real issues that affect women in the running world. That’s the community I want to be a part of, and I’m so excited to grow the West Coast contingent and bring some California love to the mix.

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Deliberate Practice for Runners: a Method for Your Mileage

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How many hours do you think Des practices? Photo by Kyle Gorjanc/SaltyRunning.com

I was on the Ohio Turnpike on my way back from Michigan and listening to the discussion of Anders Ericsson’s study of greatness on the FreakonomicsRadio podcast. You may know of Ericsson as the guy who discovered the “the 10,000 hour rule” which Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in his book Outliers. The theory is that to be the best at something we need to spend 10,000 hours practicing that thing. But there’s more to the story that just logging hours and hours doing the same thing over and over. 

Ericsson explains what makes some people amazing at what they do is that they don’t just practice that thing over and over, they do something called “deliberate practice.” The concept applies across the spectrum of skilled activities: from singing, to welding, to sports, like running. 

Ericsson says that deliberate practice is when you actually pick a target — something that you want to improve — and you find a training activity that would allow you to actually improve that particular aspect.” He explains that this type of practice is systematic and intentionally detailed. It is a type of practice that is hard and out of our comfort zones. This got me thinking about how much it sounds like competitive marathon training. Read more

Introducing Cayenne!

headshot (1)Hello, Salty runners! I’m Cayenne, a spicy addition to the Salty Running Team. I am excited to join these amazing women as I share my perspectives on all things running!

I am a classical musician for a living and, travel a lot to perform with various orchestras. My current schedule has me based in the Midwest, performing with orchestras in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Indiana. To put it simply, my life has been anything but predictable. Throughout the past 15 years, I have lived in six states as well as a foreign country.

Because my professional life can be so unstable, I find stability in running. Running is something I can do anywhere. Sometimes that requires crashing local running groups wherever I’m traveling, or running on a beat-up treadmill in a hotel fitness center.

Read more

Readers Roundtable: Got Daddy Issues?

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A few proud, wonderful Salty dads to whom we wish a very Happy Father’s Day!

Depending on your history, Father’s Day is either that warm and fuzzy holiday celebrating the man who makes you feel like a princess or it’s a day that highlights an emptiness, rather than a fullness. I’ve alluded to my own daddy issues before and how running has helped me cope, but I’m not alone among the Salties or my larger group of running girlfriends whose fathers were disinterested, abusive, gone too soon, or never around in the first place.

Carl Jung took Freud’s Oedipus Complex idea a step further, and coined the term the “Electra Complex,” where girls develop attraction to their fathers and competition with their mothers. If those feelings are not resolved, say the psychoanalysts, big problems with self-esteem and choosing sexual partners can persist throughout life. The modern equivalent term, perhaps is the commonly-thrown-around “daddy issues.” Now, of course there is widely-varying opinion on whether having a troubling relationship with one’s father actually leads to repetitive unhealthy relationships with men, but we do that know that girls with healthy relationships with a strong father figure do have better self-esteem as adults.

Lots of us, like the Salties in the photos above, have great relationships with our fathers, but for those of us with difficult or nonexistent relationships with our dads the act of running itself seems to be used as a coping mechanism. In fact, running even helped Ginger heal her difficult past with her dad, and now they have a positive relationship!

We thought we’d ask you which camp you’re in. How has your relationship with your father impacted your running? Does running help you deal with a negative past, or is your dad your number one cheerleader and fan?

Introducing Olive!

napaHello Salty readers! I’m Olive, a Maryland native who’s been living in San Antonio, Texas for the past 10 years. I’m married with two girls and I’m a former elementary school teacher currently teaching group fitness classes and Lifetime Fitness when I’m not chasing after my kids.

For the majority of my life I was decidedly not a runner. A chubby, insecure kid with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, I was cut from various sports teams for being “too slow.” Eventually, I joined the swim team and swam through college, but only because there were no cuts from the team. Even though I ran two or three miles a few times a week to stay in shape, by the time I graduated college I had come to terms with the fact that I was not meant to be an athlete.

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I F*ing Hate Your Phone

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Faces redacted to not embarrass anyone who was dumb enough to do this and anyone who was awesome enough to stare rage-lasers into the back of her head.

You hold it in your hand with your damn headphones in your ears, because “I just can’t run without music!” You’re weaving all over the place and I’m tripping over you every time we round a corner. But you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m totally okay with you jamming along to C&C Music Factory because I get that some people really need the extra burst of joy that happens when you let the rhythm move you. And even though you can’t hear me coming and get pissed off at me when I pass you while trying to take a tangent, your headphones are relatively harmless. I don’t have to listen to your fave Hootie tracks, after all.

But then … then the unthinkable happens. You remove the phone from some crevice of your running outfit, check the screen, poke at it and say, “Hello?”

Inside, my annoyance becomes a molten lava pit of rage.

You answered your phone? YOU ANSWERED YOUR PHONE DURING A RACE?? Read more

A Look at Post-Collegiate Training Options


grad1Graduation season has me thinking about some of the options for recent running grads who want to keep the dream alive. I was once in the same boat, and I want to share what choices are out there and what to consider when navigating your post-collegiate training options. Through my post-collegiate years I’ve trained in each of the three main options: a highly structured elite development team; a less structured competitive club team; and training on my own.

Of course, this information isn’t limited to new grads! Any competitive runner of any ability can benefit from determining her best training environment.

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Introducing Lemon!

My 3:28 PR from May 2015 at the Providence Marathon.

My 3:28 PR from May 2015 at the Providence Marathon.

Hey, Salty friends! I am psyched to be a part of this crazy-motivated community of runners. I’ll go by Lemon here, in the hopes that I’ll bring a fresh, bright, and tangy presence to the site.

My running journey started way back in the 4th grade mile, when I finally found a PE activity that didn’t make me want to die of embarrassment. After being one of the few kids to run the whole time during that first attempt as a nine-year-old, I always looked forward to Mile Day. When I found out that I could run as a sport in middle school, it was like the heavens opened up!

Middle school running taught me I absolutely loved the sport. Nothing about it was super competitive for me. In fact, whenever I started to feel sick, I figured I should slow down. Seems logical, and most of my non-running friends would argue that would be the sane thing to do, but that’s not how you win races. I finally figured that out at the end of 8th grade, just in time to break seven minutes in the mile and get ready for my freshman year of high school.

I ran competitively through high school, where I met my very best friends and found a safe space snuggled between the red lockers in our locker room. I put up with track too, but my first and truest love has always been cross-country, but I put up with track, too. The longer the better for me; throw me in a two-mile as a high schooler and I was a happy camper.

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