The Long and the Short of the Hanson’s Marathon Method

Hanson's Marathon MethodA few weeks ago during a conversation with a fellow running pal we got on the topic of marathon training. We talked about our plans, and I shared that I was following a new plan that was pretty intense, but seems to agree with me. Intrigued, my friend asked for more details. When I got to the topic of long runs, I told him that the longest run in the plan I’m following is 16 miles.

What happened next was a pretty common reaction. “Huh? Really? So you don’t run 20 miles for your longest run?”

Yes. Really!

If you are an avid reader of Salty Running or just someone who has run a marathon or ten, you know as well as I do that there are myriad marathon training plans out there. Yesterday, Cilantro discussed her recent foray into the CrossFit Endurance plan. I ran my first two marathons using a Hal Higdon plan that I found on the internet. The plan got me to the finish line, as promised, but my past marathon performances were slow, painful, and full of injury. In fact, the last two times I’ve attempted to train for a marathon, I got injured and had to stop training by the time I got up to 14 miles for my long run. I was ready to write off marathons completely because I didn’t trust my body anymore. I didn’t have faith that it could withstand the stress of marathon training without major injury.

Then all that changed. Read more

Choosing the CrossFit Endurance Ultra Training Plan

Slack for iOS Upload-14It all started one fateful day last December. I was watching a rerun of the CrossFit Games and told the Saltines, mostly in jest, that I was going to try CrossFit. As usual, there were many jokes, but they were supportive in spite of seeming unsure if I was serious or not.

As I pursued my CrossFit dreams, my real-life running friends had some things to say:

“I hate CrossFit because my old running friends can never run with me – they are always rehabbing a CrossFit injury.”

“CrossFit is unsafe.”

“CrossFit is like a cult.”

This was, quite frankly, a little rich coming from ultrarunners who I’m pretty sure have been accused of similar or worse themselves.

This also explains my intrigue.

Aside from cults, which I am wholeheartedly against, I routinely do things that other people say are unsafe and sure to lead to injuries. I have, despite others’ assertions, remained injury-free (knock on wood, please don’t jinx me) and safe since I started training for ultras. That’s over three years of running (or hiking, whatever) up and down mountains and consistently running over 100 miles per week for almost a year. Therefore, logically, it was clear that CrossFit would be perfectly safe for me to try. In fact, the potential obstacles made it more alluring. But I didn’t want to give up my running goals. Enter the CrossFit Endurance training plan, which uses the principles of CrossFit to improve your running performance. Perfect! I had to try it. But should you?

Read more

Nick Symmonds Is Annoying, But Has a Point: Let’s Bet on Running

racehorse3_480Many of you may know all about 800 meter specialist, Olympian, and world championship silver medalist Nick Symmonds. Or maybe you know him as the 5:19 beer-miler, the co-founder of a caffeinated gum company, the dater of Paris Hilton, the eBayer of his skin, the suer of the USOC and USATF, or, as some might say, the Brad Pitt of track and field, professional publicity-stuntman, or a whiner.

Nick has long advocated for increased profit sharing between the governing bodies of the sport of track and field, like the USATF, and the athletes. I appreciate his efforts to make things better for the national and even world-class runners who can’t make a living running. However, the way he goes about bringing attention to himself his cause is a bit much, in my opinion. Take for instance, his recent eBay auction in which he made $21,800 for nine square inches of advertising space on his shoulder. Maybe I’m jealous that no one would pay me 21 cents to advertise on my skin … or that I don’t have nine square inches of shoulder to offer. #distancerunnerprobs.

Anyway, I read an interview in which Nick said the way to make running a sport whose popularity rivals that of the “stick and ball” sports is to allow gambling on running. Betting on human running races? At first my eyes rolled and I thought, here we go again, Nick. Betting on runners like we would on horses sounded ridiculous and like another way for Nick to grab attention. But then the Kentucky Derby happened.
Read more

What Running Has Taught Me About My Body That I Want My Daughter to Know

Little girl with curly hair acting like a free spirit standing in a shallow river. As I watch my daughter bloom from a toddler into a spirited, willful little girl my heart yearns for her to maintain the absolute lack of body self-consciousness and self-judgment that she enjoys right now. I watch her twirl without the fear of what others might think, I see her put together outfits and crazy jewelry combinations, not to impress anyone, but simply because they make her happy. She picks out her fantastic curly hair to make it as big as possible and exclaims, “I love my hair!”

Seeing her freedom makes me so happy, but that happiness is twinged with sadness, because as a woman in our world, I know that kind of self-satisfaction is fleeting. And once it’s gone, it’s so incredibly hard to reclaim amidst the barrage of negative messages we receive about our bodies.

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Marathon Taper Guilt

marathon taper guilt: a runner lays on the ground eating cookies instead of trainingMe: “After Boston, I’m going to get in shape.”

My husband: “You do know how ridiculous that statement is, right?”

Me: “Yes. But I mean it.”

My husband: “Ok, as long as you’re aware.”

It happens every time during my marathon taper. Every. Time.

Let’s rewind for a moment though. There you are a few months ago, staring at your computer screen, credit card clutched in your hand, you double check that you chose the correct race distance and t-shirt size and you hit submit. There. It’s done. You are signed up for your new goal race. Visions of race perfection dance through your head. You make your “new training cycle resolution”: this time you’ll behave; this time you’ll be the clean eating, strength training, cross training, stretching, tempo running fool you’ve always known you can be! Things go perfectly  for the first two weeks and then the reality that you have a life and responsibilities sets in. While you might generally stick to the plan, that image of the perfect you slowly fades through the weeks until taper when it hits you:

Marathon taper guilt. Read more

Paprika’s Bloomsday 12k Recap

FullSizeRender (60)There’s no denying it; Bloomsday is one of my favorite road races of the year. I look forward to hurtling my body up and down the rolling hills of the city of Spokane all in an effort to place among the top national and international competition. It’s a tough course for those who don’t shy away from hills with grades that peak to 6.5%. It’s not just the course that has made this race famous, but the wonderful volunteers, race directors, and the entire city of Spokane that helps put on a fantastic race.

Jon Neill, who is the elite athlete coordinator for Bloomsday, went above and beyond to make sure every single runner was accommodated and comfortable. Every volunteer was incredibly polite, helpful, and courteous. It was quite a shocking change from another big race I ran on February 13th, 2016 in Los Angeles. But enough with details of copious amounts of food, transportation, coffee, Gatorade, communication between athletes and directors, race t-shirts, and overall athlete support…

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Readers Roundtable: How Has Your Mom Influenced Your Running?

Clockwise from top/right: Catnip and mom, Spearmint and mom, Cinnamon and mom, and Oregano and mom.

Clockwise from top/right: Catnip and mom, Spearmint and mom, Cinnamon and mom, and Oregano and mom.

My mom nearly out-kicked me in my PR half marathon. So excited to see me trotting in ahead of predicted pace, she took off at six minute pace cheering her heart out, clad in jeans and a poofy coat. Since I was 12, she’s been present at the majority of my races. Whether I’m having a terrible race or a great one, I always listen for her voice in the crowd.

I know I’m not the only one with my mom as my #1 fan: We saw Spearmint’s mom and dad make a 10-hour drive to cheer for her at the USATF Half Marathon Championships last weekend! Oregano’s mom biked alongside her for every long run leading up to her first marathon.

Then there are some moms who don’t just cheer from the sidelines, they are also competitors! One athlete at the USATF Half Champs (Hi Brian!) had us laughing as he imitated his mom’s recent rant about being beaten by the great Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Beyond the physical aspect of showing up to races, maybe your mom supports you in other ways. Maybe by faithfully reading and commenting on your blog, cooking you the best meals, or serving as a living example of good sportsmanship, persistence, and positivity.

How has your mom influenced your running?


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

Spearmint’s USATF Half Marathon Championship Race Report

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


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