Can I Train for a Sub-3 Marathon Exclusively on a Treadmill?

If you can't handle this, then training for a spring marathon up north means lots of treadmill time!

If you can’t handle this, then training for a spring marathon up north means lots of treadmill time!

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of running in the cold. I really can’t tolerate much of it. I can maybe handle one or two runs a week in sub-freezing temperatures before I scream for mercy. Yet here I am training in the midwest for a spring marathon. I’m running Pittsburgh in about four months. Last year was the winter that made us question everything we believe in as Northerners (polar vortex, anyone?). Despite our historically snowy and cold winters here in Cleveland, I picked a spring race with a booming American development program: I don’t want to just finish it, I want to crush it and run significantly under my current PR of 2:58:54.  The Pittsburgh Marathon barely comes when the snow has melted, and that doesn’t leave winter-wusses like me much outdoor time in final weeks leading up to the race. That means making progress as a runner while training mostly on the treadmill for several months.

So here I am wondering whether one can run a fast marathon on the roads off of almost nothing but treadmill training?

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Time off? On Purpose?! Why You Need a Scheduled Running Break


During your break you can swap track loops for carousel loops like I did last month!

Recently Salty wrote about overtraining and Cinnamon and Ginger have posted about forced time off due to work obligations and injury scares, but today I’m going to talk about choosing to take some time off from running. That’s right, the site dedicated to serious women’s running is recommending that you … stop running. On purpose.

I know. I know You’re probably thinking, “OMG, I am going to get so slow! I’ve worked way too hard to let my fitness slide!”  Nope, not true. In a standard break of 2 weeks, Dr. Jack Daniels estimates I will lose just 30-40 seconds from my recent 18:19 5k time. 4 weeks off? Just 70 seconds slower. That’s as soon as you start back, mind you. In the long run, I believe a break will make you faster!

So keep reading. I promise not to make this boring and you might just come away from this one scheduling your next break from training! Read more

Should You Use a Race as Your Long Run?

First Master!

If only this was how every long run ended!

During the last weeks of 2014, without any goal races on the horizon, I started getting comfortable with 5-6 mile runs, and the thought of going longer seemed awful.  I found myself really struggling to do long runs!  But it’s a new year, and my first goal race of 2015 is the New Orleans 70.3, a half Ironman, so I know I have to somehow get out of my funk and figure out a way to start making those miles more interesting.

Luckily just before Christmas I received a discount on a race entry fee for a half marathon in mid-January very close to home.  I’m normally very hesitant to register for winter races in advance since the weather is such a factor, but the need to push my mileage back up again motivated me to sign up.  I signed up for this particular race with no time goal, no pressure on placing–just a way for me to commit to running long, especially since I had to start doing some longer runs right away so that 13.1 wouldn’t be too painful.  That logic ended up working, at least, because the 2 weekends prior I did an 8 miler and 10 miler, which is more than I had done consecutively since November.  But was running a race as a long run the right choice, especially this early in my training? Read more

5 Pre-Race Superstitions That Work (We Swear!)

fri5When I was in 4th grade, I spent an unhealthy amount of time feeling jealous of the girl who had a lucky rabbit’s foot stashed in her desk. It was dyed bright blue and I thought it was the most beautiful thing ever. I got to hold it once, just before a math test, and I was utterly convinced that it helped me do better. Oh, how I wanted a furry good-luck charm of my own!

My tastes have changed over the years, my yearning for keychain-sized animal appendages is completely gone, but my superstitious streak still pops up from time to time. A lot of us runners like to keep certain traditions before workouts or races. Call them crutches, nerve-busters, or “mental security blankets” if you want, we don’t care. Our running good luck charms may range from sensible to silly, but we’re not giving them up any time soon. Unless, of course, they stop working…(gasp!)

Today’s Friday 5 is brought to you by 5 Salty ladies who swear by their own pre-race superstitions. See if you can guess the Salty blogger who belongs to each superstition!  Read more

Overcoming Hardcore: When to Know if You’ve Gone Too Far

Hardcore only gets you so far. Flickr Commons image.

Hardcore only gets you so far. Flickr Commons image by pixelflake.

We serious runners like to be hardcore. When it comes to mileage we value more. When it comes to pace we value faster. When it comes to rest we value minimal. Prizing the hardcore has helped many a runner become successful, but it has been many a runner’s downfall too. Some runners can thrive on pushing themselves to limits that would break many others–and that’s great for them!–but being someone else’s hardcore is not right for most of us. Doing our best requires that we respect our own individual limits and train within them.

It’s not always easy to know when we’re pushing too hard for ourselves. Here are some signs that it might be time to back off and rethink the intensity of your training.  Read more

Surviving Your Winter Running Season (Even if You Hate It)

As dad always said...

As dad always said…

I have always loved the cold winter months!  You might think I’m crazy; my dad sure used to:  he would come in from yet another shovel duty in the driveway look at me on the couch with my homework and sigh, “When you have to shovel the stuff you won’t think its so much fun.”

These days I shovel for myself, but my heart hasn’t changed.  So when I met a few newbie runners at my workplace who were intimidated about the prospect of winter running it was easy for me to think of lots of reasons they can relax when it’s time to run. Read more

Hills: You Got This!


This hill ain’t got nothing on me!

You’re not going to believe this, but I promise it’s true: I absolutely adore running up hills. Hills covered in mud, asphalt hills, snow-caked hills, steep hills, hills that slightly plateau and then keep going: I love them all! It’s sick, I know. But hill repeats are an integral part of my training and should be part of yours too. They help to build stamina, lung strength, leg strength, and they can provide a nice break in a training routine that has grown monotonous.

Having said that, running hills is not to be tackled willy-nilly. If a runner isn’t careful to execute proper climbing form – whether that’s during a normal run with the occasional hill or when busting out some repeats – she is risking injury. Here are a few steps to mind when executing the perfect hilly run! Read more

Measure Any Course in Moments!

cwru track measurement

The right tools can help you measure any outdoor course, not just a track!

We all know it’s important to practice holding consistent pacing mile after mile so we don’t crash on race day.  But when you practice your marathon pace or your 10k pace or your lactic acid pace how do you know you are at the right pace? Maybe you rely on a GPS watch that jumps around wildly between paces. Maybe you drove down your street to estimate the distance with your car.  Or worse – maybe you gave up and just started doing workouts on a treadmill to be sure you don’t fall behind.  When you’re focused on fine-tuning all the details like I am, you want your lactic threshold workouts to actually stress and improve those systems so you get faster.

Several GPS watches, a foot pod, and four heart rate monitors later, I can tell you that nothing beats knowing exactly the length of your training loop and nailing the same time it every lap. After all, isn’t that why track workouts are done on a track? It’s certainly not because we like turning left.  On a track, we can check our pace every 400, 200 or even 100 meters, and luckily, with a little extra prep, we can do that for our off-the-track runs too.  And the best part is that it’s actually easier than finding clean-enough running tights on laundry day. Read more

5 Things You Just Don’t Say to an Injured Runner

This week’s Friday 5 was crowdsourced among the Salty Bloggers!

Running healthy is a top priority around here, but nonetheless we all know what it’s like to be on the injured list.  I’m willing to bet a few of you know what it’s like as well.  The physical pain of the injury itself is often nothing compared to the frustration of not being able to run and the anxiety about the healing process.

That said, doesn’t it seem like everyone has an opinion about your injury?  Everyone except the doctor, that is, who wants to refer you to a different doctor (sigh).  We know everyone means well when they respond to the news that you’re injured, but often their responses just make you feel worse.

If only we could get the entire world to read Salty Running (please like us and share this on Facebook!) we could teach everyone 5 Things You Just Don’t Say to an Injured Runner.  Follow the jump to read them! Read more

Overcoming Beginner’s Barriers and Resolving to Commit

Flickr Commons Image by veggiefrog.

The road to becoming a runner might be bumpy, but it’s worth it! Flickr Commons Image by veggiefrog.

It’s January, which means millions of people recently made resolutions.  Some jumped on a new fad diet band wagon. Not me. Some joined a gym and started exercising. Already doing that. Some quit smoking. Good for them! Some are making better financial decisions. Good for them too!

Me? I stopped making resolutions. I figured why set myself up for disappointment when February arrived? Instead, I made a commitment to myself to show more compassion, to be more mindful, and to be a better friend, daughter, sister and aunt than I was the year before. Simple and beneficial! It was an easy goal to reach for me, probably because it was more about being there for everyone else and not myself. I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, that this is something a lot of women have an issue with. We have been conditioned to be there every day for  family, kids, and  job, and whatever our personal needs are, well, they just fall by the wayside. Taking care of ourselves is … selfish.

Forget that! This year I rejoined the masses and made a resolution. And this one is for myself and I intend to see it through! Read more

The 10/2: My Favorite Lactate Threshold Interval Workout


Intervals! Just what you've always wanted, right...??

Lactate threshold intervals! Just what you’ve always wanted, right!?

And just like that, the holiday season came and went! Lucky for us, Salty Running is the gift that keeps on giving. Today I’m excited to share a little post-holiday present with you: my all-time favorite interval workout! It’s something that was handed on to me just over a year ago, and I can’t help but want to re-gift it as much as possible.

Interval training can be challenging, but it’s not just for advanced runners. Garlic gave us an excellent intro to intervals post a while back, and Salty pointed out in her post about junk miles that intervals build strength, speed, running economy and leg turn-over. All good things, no matter what distance or pace you prefer.

If you have a desire to improve your endurance (with a little hard work, of course!) in 2015, there’s a good chance that the 10/2 workout could be a valuable addition to your workout arsenal.

Excited? Me too! Let’s unwrap this sucker and learn how to incorporate the 10/2 workout into your training plan! Read more

Catnip Goes to Coaching School

Flickr Common image by evmaiden.

Catnip gets schooled! Flickr Common image by evmaiden.

I have always loved school. I drive through Ohio State’s campus twice weekly and each time I do, I consider applying to work on another graduate degree, but then I remember how stressful essays, exams, and group projects can be. So instead, I am a sucker for professional continuing ed courses and now I am the proud owner of a USATF Level 1 Coaching Certification, scoring 98% on the final exam like the (run)nerd I am.

And my motivation? I have self-coached and informally coached friends and may eventually seek more structured coaching gigs. But mainly I was interested for the pure sake of understanding the non-distance events better. When I attend a track meet, I am enthralled by the 1500-10,000, but the sprints, throws, and jumps are harder for me to appreciate. So coaching school to the rescue!

And of course, how could I go to coaching school without sharing what I learned with you?! Read more

Salty Running’s Hidden Treasures!


Greetings! It took me three years to haul my shell over here to explain stuff about the site.

We are working hard on a site redesign! We know that Salty Running isn’t as user friendly as it could be and that there are probably hidden gems within it that even our long-time readers don’t know about. So while we work hard on fixing up this place, we wanted to take the time to point out some of the best features you might not know about. We want you to get the most out of your Salty Running experience!

Head on past the jump to get even more chicked! Read more

A Supplemental Guide to BCAAs

IMG_0909Most of us have probably had an experience like the following: you walked into your local supplement store, you were bombarded by an overzealous “health expert,” and you felt so overwhelmed by the seemingly endless floor-to-ceiling displays of protein powders, jugs of creatine, and bottles of gluta-something-or-other capsules that you walked out empty-handed, your brain bogged down by over stimulation. Sound familiar?

It also doesn’t help that the supplement business caters to the body-builder set, so we have a tendency to equate supplements with the hugely ripped, bronzed bodies of Mr. and Ms. Olympia. But runners and other endurance athletes alike should, at the very least, consider introducing one of these supplements into their training regiment: branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs. Read more

5 Social Media Mistakes Runners Make

fri5We runners sure do seem to like talking about running. Judging from my social media feeds we might even like talking about running more than running itself! It’s cool to talk about running on social media … to an extent. When it comes to tweeting, posting or sharing a #selfie about your running activity, there are definitely some do’s and don’ts involved.

Of course, I can’t lie. I’ve made all some of these mistakes myself. But let my mistakes be a lesson for you, so that you might more successfully survive the runner-eat-runner world of social media!

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