75 Running Excuses To Prove “It Just Wasn’t My Day.”

runner jumps and smiles

With our handy list of excuses you’ll be feeling like this at mile 25 of your marathon, but still be able to hang with the most hardcore.

Have you been telling everyone that you’re fit and finally ready for an epic marathon, but concerned it might be very unpleasant to actually run as fast as you’ve been bragging you can? Are you afraid to “bend the rules” and trim a little off the course or pay that fast guy in your running club to run the race for you now that there are people who dedicate their lives to outing cheaters? We have the answer for you.

It just wasn’t my day.

You can have whatever goal you want, but with “It just wasn’t my day” and a handful of excuses reasons, you’ll fit right in at the after party and maintain the fantasy that you really are the fast marathoner of your dreams and that your friends believe you. We’ve compiled this handy list of reasons for you to choose from. We recommend a minimum of two, but no more than five for maximum effect. Too few and you’ll sound boring. Too many and you’ll sound like a paranoid lunatic. Read more

Poppy’s 2016 Broad Street 10 Miler Race Report

On Sunday I ran the Broad Street 10 Mile race in Philadelphia. After how well my 10k on the track went a couple of weeks ago, my expectations were high for this one. I haven’t run this race since 2003, but I’ve been down here to spectate the hubs twice in the past four years, both times while pregnant.

I knew this can be a fast race if you get good weather and good competition. Some years Broad Street attracts an incredibly fast field, while other years I could win handily. I had no idea who would show up this year, but I did have a sense I was ready to compete. Based on my workouts and how the track 10k went and felt, I thought 58:20 was a good goal and if it was a perfect day, 58:00 was not out of the question.

The weather was not the worst it could be; rainy and cool the whole time with temps right around 48-50 degrees. During my warm-up it rained the hardest, I think. I was soaked and my hands were a bit chilled, but I put my uniform on and then threw on a throw-away long sleeve t-shirt and a garbage bag. I kept the shirt and garbage bag on until what I thought was the last minute. They ended up starting us a few minutes late, so we stood around in the rain longer than I expected. And it was just enough time to start getting a little cold. Blargh. Read more

US Half Marathon Championship Race Recap

137136-034-003hAs most of you probably know, a bunch of us Salties headed to Columbus, Ohio for the Cap City Half Marathon, host of the US half marathon champs, but only one of us was there to race it!

This half was a key race for me, but it fell mid-segment so I went in with very little confidence that I would knock it out of the park. My legs felt really tired in all the workouts leading up to it and I was getting a ton of solid miles in every week, but I just didn’t feel sharp. The Wednesday before the race, my coach and I agreed on a race plan.

It was simple: make a bold and uncharacteristic move once in the first half of the race and again in the second half. I had nothing to lose so that seemed like a fun challenge! It was really refreshing to go into a race with zero pressure, unlike my last half in Jacksonville when I was going for the OTQ. In JAX my only goal was to hit a 1:15:00 or faster, so time was EVERYTHING and 100% of my focus was on hitting exact splits with no wiggle room for mistakes. Read more

On the Suckiness of Post-Marathon Slumps Even When You Expect Them

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My most recent good running day … 3 months ago.

While many of the other women who competed along side me last February at the Olympic Marathon Trials raced their first big races after L.A. this weekend, I did not. In fact, I don’t think I could race right now if someone paid me.

After every marathon, whether race day goes well or poorly, I end up in a slump. I excitedly stuff my face with every baked creation imaginable and that’s fun … for like a week. Then I start to feel like a waste of space. I feel so much more accomplished, centered, and fulfilled when I’m running.

I know that I need that time to recharge both physically and mentally, so I take it. I treat myself to indulgences I don’t get mid-season, like staying up late, sleeping in, and eating multiple doughnuts in one sitting. I am good at reminding myself this rest is just part of the racing cycle and post-race blues are totally normal.

While I anticipated my post-Trials emotional drop off a cliff with it being the most exciting race ever and all, but maybe because it didn’t hit me right away or maybe because it was immediately followed by the most depressing off-season, but I’m struggling in the slump swamp way more than I expected to.  Read more

Melasma and Running: The Truth Behind Your Upper Lip Tan

imageAhhh! Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner. If you’re like me, you’ve been enjoying the option of running outside without the complications of layers and frozen eyelashes. There’s nothing more amazing than those first few sunshine filled runs after a long winter of treadmills and hibernation.

I’ve always been a sun-lover, but my relationship with that bright yellow orb has become somewhat complicated over the past few summers. We all know that sweaty running can bring with it a host of inconvenient problems, such as chafing, acne, and weird tan lines. It’s a trade-off for being able to enjoy the myriad benefits of endorphins and vitamin D. I have a problem, however, that is becoming a major source of self-consciousness: the upper lip tan.

I lovingly refer to this as my Dirty Sweatstache or my Sweaty Runstache. Call it what you want, but it is a problem. After a few years of feeling insecure and having to find correct picture angles and Instagram filters that minimize the look of my ‘stache, I finally decided to consult a dermatologist to get some answers about what this is and how I can get rid of it. Read more

Running: It’s Not Easy

Baby, I was not born this way.

Baby, I was not born this way.

I was in the locker room the other day talking with one of my friends about our weekend running plans. A co-worker overheard us and chimed in, “Wow, I wish I enjoyed running.” We chatted for a while about how she had tried it on and off, but hasn’t been able to stick with it. She insisted she was going to start up again when the weather got better or when it didn’t hurt her knees or when the planets aligned just so. I offered some encouragement as I packed up my gym bag and left.

I find myself in this situation a lot, nonrunners telling me they wished they were runners only to reveal seven different excuses for why they aren’t. For some reason, it seems that people think that because I run I think everyone else should run too. This is not true. However, I also don’t like it when people dismiss running with, I’m just not a runner or my knees can’t handle it or I tried running, but I suck at it or something like that. I think most people could run if they really wanted to. The problem for most people is that it’s not easy. Read more

Catnip’s Glass City Marathon Report or Why You Shouldn’t Run A Marathon That Passes Your House at Mile 20

Smile at the finish (even before the pizza and beer).

Smile at the finish (even before the pizza and beer).

Long story short: my Glass City Marathon finish time of 3:03:07 is disappointing, nowhere close to my 2:50 goal. Even worse, I enjoyed only a handful of the 26.2 miles I raced.

However, even just a couple minutes after finishing, I started to feel pretty happy about the whole thing: I faced failure, dueled with the DNF devil and chose to keep working.

Now for the long story.

Winter training pointed to marathon fitness in the low-2:50 range. As race day approached I felt less confident about hitting 6:30s, instead planning to start around 7:00 for the first mile and then drop to 6:45s. Then ideally, I’d be able to pull off a negative split like in Columbus. Read more

Reader’s Roundtable: What’s Your Half Marathon Race Strategy?

Are you a half marathon "sprinter" like Des? Photo by Miriam Udosenata/Salty Running©

Are you a half marathon “sprinter” like Des? Photo by Miriam Udosenata/Salty Running©

Congratulations to Tara Welling and Christo Landry, the 2016 USA Half Marathon Champions! Not only was the Half Marathon Championship race thrilling to witness, but it was also an ideal place to learn strategies for racing half marathons from the country’s top distance runners.

Of course, within a large group of athletes there were many different schools of thought. For winner Tara Welling, since it was only her second half ever and an almost three minute PR at that, she didn’t feel confident recommending any particular strategy other than to say that hers is to simply go for it and give it everything she has. Road racing veteran, Des Linden, on the other hand, says she feels like the half is closer to a 10k than a marathon, that she’s sprinting for the entire race. Kelsey Bruce, who at 23, came to Cap City for her fourth half marathon, learned the hard way not to sprint from the gun when she crashed and burned in her third half in January, instead, favoring a strategy of finding her rhythm and saving the speed for mile nine and beyond.

But what’s the best half strategy for mortals? Do you favor Tara’s strategy of essentially winging it? Are you like Des and work hard from the gun? Or do you like Kelsey’s plan to save up some energy for a late push? Or something else?

What’s your half marathon race strategy? 

2016 USATF Half Marathon Championship: Recap City

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Photo by Miriam Udosenata/Salty Running©

Many of the athletes who traveled to Columbus for the 2016 USATF Half Marathon Championships came to run their first big race after the Olympic Marathon Trials in L.A. Many of those runners, disappointed by the race conditions, the extended recovery time they needed because of those conditions, and what they felt was sub-par treatment by the Trials host race, were unsure what to expect from the Ohio Health Capital City Half. Would their legs have pop? Could they compete for the prize? Could some half-marathon in the middle of Ohio that they’d never heard of pull off a national championship?

The Ohio Health Capital City Half is not the kind of race that college running all-stars, national champions, and Olympians tend to flock to. It’s a large race in a major metropolitan area, to be sure, but it’s generally been the kind of half-marathon that caters to the more recreational runners among us. But Race Director David Babner and the Columbus Sports Commission had a vision of making the Cap City Half more than just another half marathon. They wanted to make it a National Championship race. With support from Columbus native and USATF President, Stephanie Hightower and many corporate sponsors, Ohio’s unassuming just-another-half-marathon, Cap City beat out the likes of Houston and Grandma’s and nailed the bid. But could this local just-another-half-marathon pull off a national championship? Read more

5 Kernels of Wisdom from Contenders at the USA Half Champs

champs-ring_lgWe’re here in Columbus at the Cap City Half and have had a full day including a press conference, a reception, and a little one-one-one with some of the top seeds. The elites were out in full force, sharing their wisdom in their quest for the One Ringa load of cash, and a national title.

They’re not rocket scientists or Nobel Laureates; however, their achievements as athletes cannot be denied. They have congregated upon this concrete oasis surrounded by a desert of cow pastures and cornfields this weekend, and, dear reader, we have followed them to the invisible mountain (it’s very flat here) to gather their seeds of wisdom and sow them unto you.

From much talk about training, pre-race nutrition, the weather, and the pros and cons of the course, we found the kernels. Read on and learn a thing … or five.

Read more

What the Heck Are Strides?

imageIt took me years of consistent training before I made a big breakthrough with running and broke into the sub-elite ranks of the sport. Sure, I ran a lot of miles, I did long runs and tempos and intervals, but I chalk a lot of my success up to something you might not suspect. My favorite secret to getting faster? Strides!

If you’ve perused our training logs you’ve seen that many of us incorporate strides. Strides, sometimes called striders, are a common component of high school and college training programs and they should be in your training program too. But what exactly are strides?

While there certainly are a few of us who have no idea, many of us have at least a passing knowledge of what strides are. But even if you have included them in your training for years, do you actually know what purpose they serve in your training? Do you know when it’s ideal to incorporate them into a run? Are you doing them correctly? Let’s discuss! Read more

How To Sound Like You Know What You’re Talking About When You Talk About Running Shoes

emma_shoesLooking at the display of shoes at your local running store and the clerk comes over to help:

You should definitely try these. The last seems to fit most people’s feet really well, with plenty of room in the vamp, but good lockdown through the midfoot. Some people feel a little bulge underfoot on the medial side, but you should try them and see how you like them.

You nod, put them on and go outside for a jog around the store.

“So, what did you think?” the clerk asks, looking down at your feet.

“Oh, uh …”

You know what you want to say, they felt good in general but the pinky toe area seemed a bit tight and the top part of the shoe cut in a little bit, and the squishy part seemed too squishy. But how do you say it so you sound like the expert you are? You know that you know what you’re talking about, but you want to start sounding like it. So take a time out, read the rest of this article and be transformed into a shoe nerd. Read more

Who Are the People Running Marathons?

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A lot’s changed since my first marathon five years ago, except my feelings about the marathon.

Nearly five years ago, I ran my first and only marathon. In spite of having run regularly for most of my life, training for that marathon proved to be a huge challenge! Each and every long run beat me up, I was exhausted, and I got injured. I made it through the race, but just barely. At the time, and even years later, I chalked my difficulties up to being a newbie at focused training. I thought my inexperience with workouts and long runs alone could account for what I had experienced. But here I am five years later, now a seasoned middle-distance racer with many workouts and long runs under my belt and now I’m training for my second marathon. To my surprise, it is no easier. I am still struggling.

Most would agree marathon training takes a profound physical and mental toll. And yet, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like there are post after post showing joy-filled, glowing people reveling post-long run or race. Marathon participation is soaring; the most recent data from Running USA, the 2014 Annual Marathon Report, cites 2013 as a blockbuster year for marathons, in spite of the Boston Marathon bombings and several other large marathon cancellations. In the 1,100 marathons that were run in the US that year, all-time highs were set for male finishers (308,400 finishers), female finishers (232,600 finishers), and Masters finishers (254,300 finishers). I have many friends, serial marathoners, who vigorously extol the virtues of this iconic race distance.

So who are the people who can’t seem to get enough of the marathon?  Read more

Migraines and Running: Yep, It’s A Thing.

migrainesCutting off my own head is not something I normally fantasize about, but last week in the grip of a migraine, decapitation seemed like the only logical way forward. It has been about a year since my last migraine and last week I had two. I hope it’s not going to become a trend.

This throbbing, intense, one-sided pain behind one eye is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and extreme fatigue. When I have one I can’t do anything other than lie in bed for the rest of the day, and there is an intense hangover-feeling the next morning. And it always comes on during or immediately after a run: exercise-induced migraine. Read more