Adventures in Pacing!

Pace team schwag

Pace team schwag

They’re at every big half and full marathon, carrying their signs for many, many miles and helping innumerable runners achieve their big goals. But have you ever stopped to wonder what the pacers you follow in races are thinking or doing?  Have you ever thought about being a pacer yourself?

I recently had my first opportunity to pace the 2:00 group at the Madison Half Marathon and it was a great experience.

I don’t pretend to be an expert in pacing, like our pacer-extraordinaire Clove, but it was fun and I learned a lot from it, so I wanted to share some of it with our Salty readers.

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An Interview with Julia Webb

julia2As many of you know from Catnip’s recent post or various other sources, Julia Webb broke the world record for 10k run “pushing a pram” at the Run Like Hell 10k in Portland, OR on October 26 by over four minutes! We were very excited to get the opportunity to talk with Julia about her recent race, running with a stroller, balancing training/parenting/working schedules and many other things! The questions below were contributed by many of the bloggers here at Salty running including Gingko, Salty, Vanilla, Chamomile, Catnip, Jasmine and myself (Oregano). So read on for some great information from Julia, who is a fantastic runner and person! Read more

Gone Turkey Trottin’!

If you run a turkey trot, may you beat all the dudes dressed in turkey costumes. Image via Wikipedia.

May you beat all the dudes in turkey costumes at this year’s trot! Image via Wikipedia.

Salty here. I’m heading to the Big Apple! I’m taking my son to see the bright lights of the big city and to spend some time with Auntie Cinnamon. So we here at Salty Running are going to take a break from bringing you fresh material. In our absence, you can keep up with what the Salty Bloggers and I have been up to in our training logs. If you miss our front page posts, we suggest you check out The Great Salty Running Index to read up on just about any running topic you can think of!

We are so thankful for you, our readers and hope you all have a wonderful week!

Salty Running Does Fantasy NCAA Cross Country!

Women’s collegiate cross-country is exciting! Image via Matt Brown for the Big West Conference

Looking for a Friday 5? We have something better today: fantasy cross country!

I consider myself a fan of collegiate running; I enjoy reading about superstars, spectating at meets, and occasionally throwing myself into a collegiate meet. I’m a bona fide runnerd. I’d like to publicly thank whoever coined that term because it fits someone who comes up with a fantasy cross country tournament!

Even though most of them aren’t quite the runnerd I am and some admittedly haven’t been following collegiate cross country at all, I managed to recruit several other Salty Bloggers to participate in my fantasy cross country tournament, where we each are fielding a fantasy team at the NCAA D1 Women’s Cross Country Championship, which takes place Saturday in Terre Haute, Indiana.

In the real deal, the Michigan State women are heavily favored to win, but the individual race is wide open. And our fantasy race? It’s anyone’s to win — check out our teams below with some notes on drafting strategy and find out how to come up with your own team!

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Ask-A-Salty: Easy Run Pacing and Adjusting the Hansons’ Marathon Method

Got questions? Just ask!

We here at Salty Running love to share our training strategies, opinions on all sorts of running stuff,  and some of the strategies we think have helped or hurt our performance as runners and we especially love it when our readers have questions about this stuff! I’ve written in my training logs a bit about the changes I made to the Hanson’s Marathon Method training plan, which brings us to Mark from Indiana, who writes:


Two questions:

I read in the Hansons Marathon Method that easy miles should not be run too easy, but should be anywhere from 1 min to 2 minutes slower than goal marathon pace. Do you agree with this recommendation?

You mentioned that you think that the paces in the Hansons Marathon Method require too large of a quantum leap from training to race day. Could you elaborate on that? What alternative did you implement into your training strategy?


Great questions, Mark! Read more

Race Result Fiascos

It gets pretty cold on the start line when the race start is delayed by an hour. . .

It gets pretty cold on the start line when the race is delayed by an hour. . .some runners decided to start early which made the race results. . .messy.

I don’t think it’s off base or too much of a generalization to say that as runners, we sign up for races with goals in mind. Sometimes the goal is big and public: I want to PR. I want to win. I want to qualify for Boston. And other times the goal is more personal: I want to run the whole distance. I want to finish strong. I want to negative split. Regardless, we usually go into races with goals and expectations, and it can be upsetting when elements outside of our control mess with our carefully laid plans.

How we prepare for and deal with the drama that sometimes accompanies racing can have a big impact on our performance and overall enjoyment of race day. Read more

The Plods: Overcoming a Case of Not-Quite Overtraining

Feel like this when you’re running? You might have the plods. Image via wikipedia.

A few weeks ago I was feeling very low about my running. I had a major event, an “A” race, scheduled for the 25th October and I had absolutely no desire to put on my running shoes at all.  In fact, if I was honest with myself, I had been going through the motions with my running programme for about two months up until that point, gritting my teeth and getting through the workouts by sheer willpower alone.  And I was not getting through all of the workouts either. I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Every workout, every race, every mile was suddenly a huge struggle. It was like a switch had gone off and I was DONE. In the words of Salty herself I had “jumped the shark.”

Was I overtrained? Not quite: I had a case of the plods.  Read more

Catnip’s Double DNF Marathon Report

cbus kit

My first name (no number!) bib. And cat.

I’ve completed 12 marathons and countless shorter races without a single DNF. If you’re superstitious, the fact that the Columbus Marathon would have been my 13th  might appear unlucky. And attempting another the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon exactly 13 days later would appear foreboding.

If you remember, my goal for the Columbus Marathon was to break 3 hours. That time goal was based on 5k and 10k races and some decent workouts. Mainly, however, I wanted to complete the marathon feeling strong (no bonk!) and set myself up for a strong assault on the 2:43:00 Olympic Trials qualifying standard. Read more

Comment of the Month – October

COTM BadgeIt’s mid-November already, which means it’s about time for an October recap.  That’s how on top of things I am.  And because we have at least three months to talk about the weather, I’ll refrain from any weather-related commentary for now.

Except for one: Snow already?  Really?

October was a busy racing month for the spice rack, with a lot of race reports to read.  With great posts come great comments, and we had a lot to choose from.  But we had to choose, and the October Comment of the Month winner is… Read more

5 Reasons to Cheat in Your Next Race!

fri5By now, any runner with an internet connection has heard about Tabatha Hamilton and her ill-gotten win at the the Chickamauga Battlfield Marathon last weekend.  Prior to Tabatha, there was the tale of Kip Litton, the man who cheated in dozens of marathons, including Boston, before he was finally figured out (if you haven’t read the New Yorker piece about Kip, now is the time; it’s a great read!). Both cases are mystifying – the first because she insisted she didn’t cheat in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and the second because he was so good at it for so long and it’s still not clear how he managed to do what he did.

When faced with stories of the Tabathas and Kips of the world, there is one question that has thus far gone unanswered: Why? Why go through all that effort and bother? In today’s Friday 5, all is revealed!  Follow the jump for 5 good reasons to cheat in your next race! Read more

Winter Running Options: Our Winter Greatest Hits

Bundle up folks. Winter is coming. Check out Jasmine show off her duty wool mittens and neon!

Bundle up folks. It’s time for heavy wool mittens and neon.

Winter is not technically here, but for most of us it sure feels like it! Here in Ohio it was in the 60’s on Tuesday and now we’re down to 20’s and 30’s. Brrrrr! That means it’s time to get into winter training mode. And when I say winter training mode, I’m not just talking about breaking out the mittens and the tights. There’s so much more that goes into winter training.

On any given wintery day, do you run outside? Or do you run on the treadmill, indoor track or cross train? How do you keep from losing your mind when it’s always cold and slippery and dark or inside and a little soul-sucking? Let’s discuss our options. Read more

In the Long Run


It’s not just sappy drivel, it’s true!

The best is yet to come, and babe, won’t it be fine….

For many adult onset runners, this isn’t just a catchy Sinatra song. It’s the truth, backed by solid research as well as a heap of inspiring anecdotal evidence.

By now, you’ve probably heard the 10 year/ 10,000 hour rule touted by researcher Dr. Anders Ericsson as the slowest but surest road to success in any one discipline–spanning the spectrum from the creative arts to computer science to athletics. Sure, talent is part of the equation. But time–focused, deliberate qualitative practice over thousands of hours–is actually what separates the good from the great.

In Catherine Utzchneider’s book Mastering Running, she asserts that running is no exception to this rule.

“My own research shows that masters who started running after age 30 improved their absolute times after 7.5 years of training no matter when they started running. Some of my athletes who ran casually in their 20s and 30s and who started focused training at 40 have achieved their personal best times in their mid-40s and even mid- to late-50s.”

This is good news for those of us who have only recently begun focused training in the sport we love. Even if we’re already a solid five years and ten marathon cycles in, the odds are good that our personal bests really ARE yet to come. Read more

Back to Basics: How to Tie Your Running Shoes

Oh no!

Oh no!

You’re four miles into a 10k, tracking perfect splits to PR by a few seconds when disaster strikes. First you notice your left shoe. It is not feeling quite as secure as it was moments ago, but you try to put it out of your mind. A few minutes later you hear a plastic clicking sound, which fills you with a sense of doom. A quick glance at your feet reveals the inevitable truth. Your shoelaces are untied.

Do you stop and tie them, losing time and possibly your PR? Do you keep running, hoping that it doesn’t get any worse and that you don’t face plant right before crossing the timing mats? I say no to both options. Instead you should travel back in time and read this post so that your shoelaces never (hopefully) come untied again. Read more

The Champion Mindset

Sprinting to a substantial PR and a third place finish at the Canton Fall Classic 10K

Sprinting to a substantial PR and a third place finish at the Canton Fall Classic 10K

A few weeks ago, I ran the Canton Fall Classic 10K and ran as well as I’ve ever run in my life. Though my time was a significant PR, and I am proud of that, the biggest breakthrough was a mental one. You see, for the first time ever in a race I “went there.” You know that place, the impossible, painful, air-sucking, muscle-burning place of exhaustion.

I went there, and I DID NOT LET UP.

I realize how limited I was by my mental state during races. This is a huge breakthrough for me and I want to share with you what I realized it takes to have the mind of a champion. Read more

5 Records That Were Made To Be Broken

fri5You probably heard about Dennis Kimetto’s 2:02:57 world record marathon performance in Berlin this fall, but two more world records that were set last month may have escaped your attention: Michal Kapral set a new joggling (that’s juggling and running at the same time!) record, joggling to a 1:20:40 half marathon finish and Julia Webb recently ran 38:15 pushing a (borrowed) baby in a stroller for 10k. Wow!

Here at Salty Running we are proud to say that we are friends already with TWO world record holders: Camille Herron, fastest superhero marathoner, and Nichole Porath, fastest indoor marathoner, but we’re always looking to meet more. (Hey, Dennis, Michal, and Julia — wanna be friends?)

Non-world record-holders, don’t worry — we still love you! And if you have any ambitions of joining that select group, here are 5 world records that were made to be broken. Read more