Tiered Goal Setting for Workout Success

This "Cake in White Satin" with its ...

Mmm, tiers.  Think of each layer of your goals like this cake: you need a base of basic, broad goals, then some more focused goals on top of those, and only then you can top it off with goals that are more specific! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether the goal is to finish the race or to PR, we train to earn results, and it’s easy to feel like the stakes are high on certain goals.   But hey, life happens, and when it gets in the way of a runner meeting her own expectations for herself, that goal-driven inclination can backfire.  It can be oh-so disappointing to miss the mark.

Coming back from a long drought after big peak in fitness I can vouch for this mental state.  One night in Montana, I had just enough daylight to squeeze in the track workout I thought I’d have to miss. Let’s just say running 800s right after dinner during a week when you are getting little sleep isn’t the best way to make your goals seem attainable.

But instead of throwing my hands up and saying, “forget it!” I realized there is a much better way to set workout, race, or training goals so that a missed split or even a missed workout or bad race doesn’t set you back from your overarching goals down the road. Read more

Intro to Intervals

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Photo credit: Wikipedia

As an “adult-onset” competitive runner (to borrow Salty’s phrase), I am admittedly a newbie in regard to the best use of interval running to achieve specific adaptations leading to performance gains.  Every coach has their favorite interval workouts, and the intricacies of each involve targeting specific physiologic effects I am only just starting to understand.  However, I recently completed USA Track & Field Level One Coaching School, and the introduction to coaching “The Endurance Events” lecture at least started to clarify some things about interval training for me, which I will now share with you. Read more

My Daughter Says, “I’m Fat”


Young girls seem to struggle to fit into societal expectations of body size and shape. [Madina (Photo credit: peretzp)]

I am a runner. It defines me. Whether I’m kicking my training plan’s butt or in a running rut, I’m still a runner. So when it comes to my body, I am more into what it does than how it looks.

Even so, from time to time when I step on the scale I still critically examine my muffin top in the mirror, and go to drastic measures (like skipping dessert) once in a while if I feel like my physical form is “slipping.” I struggled with body image as a youngster because I was somewhat stocky, but I started cross country in high school and through running discovered my body could take on a shape other than round. Except for a brief period of time while I was in an unhealthy relationship and had to hear about how fat I was (it’s amazing what we let others convince us of when we are young and naive!), I’ve never thought I had a real problem with body image.

But then I heard my 13 year old daughter call herself fat. Read more

Comment of the Week – 8.16.2014

COTW badgeAs an editor here on SR, I always think it’s funny how 25 different women can write stuff completely independent from one another and we can still end up with topics that fit like a hand in a glove.

Lemongrass touched on the mind-boggling frustration that we runners commonly put on a few if we’re marathon training. We know it’s stressful, but be careful with how you manage it, and make sure you’re fueling your body with all the nutrients it needs!

Right on Lemongrass’ heels came Ginkgo, with an enlightening post on orthorexia. As it turns out, disordered eating comes in more shapes and sizes than we thought, and it’s important to be able to step back when you’re focusing on weight management and make sure…hey, check it out…and make sure you’re fueling your body with all the nutrients it needs!

We also had a great Training Basics post about heat acclimatization from Mint, some chick told the story of her first marathon finish and Mint came back to us with a Friday 5 to send her three young half-marathon trainees off to their first race with a bang!  (Good luck, boys!)

Weight management seemed to be the heavy topic of the week though (sorry, couldn’t resist), and our commenter of the week dove right into the discussion in a way that resonated universally with the Salty Bloggers.

Who is this insightful runner?

Read more

5 Reasons 13 Year Olds Rule 13.1

Tomorrow, my oldest son and two of his friends are running their first half marathon, the Madison Mini Marathon.

Admittedly, I am about as geeked out about this as you can possibly imagine.  These boys have trained for 14 weeks for this race.  They ran short, long, easy, hard, hills, heat, cool temps.  They met up to run and navigated their way through camps and family vacations.  They are ready and are fully planning to rip it up on Saturday.

Before they run, I want to share 5 reasons why running / training / coaching these kids to 13.1 has been awesome: Read more

How Not to Run a Marathon Infographic

Hey Salty Runners!

Recently the folks at Pro-Form (the treadmill company) contacted us and asked us to share an infographic of theirs with you.  We get a lot of requests for sponsored posts and turn most of them away because we think their products aren’t relevant to you, our audience, or because they don’t want us to tell you they’re sponsored (what are they hiding?).  So why are we running Pro-Form’s content in spite of not receiving any financial compensation?

Because it’s good!  Take a look:

Read more

When Healthy Becomes Unhealthy: Orthorexia

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Fresh vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. But if this is the only thing you will eat, you might be taking it too far. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chances are you’ve heard of Anorexia nervosa. Bulimia nervosa. Binge Eating Disorder. Maybe even EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). Long-distance runners have some tendencies to flirt with eating disordered behaviors; after all, we’re somewhat obsessed with health, nutrition and exercising.  That’s all fine and dandy, unless it’s taken too far.

For some, our personalities and obsessive running habits enter into the dark side, leading toward full-fledged, diagnosable mental illnesses. I should know, having battled one throughout my twenties and still struggling to stay in recovery. Before I started the recovery process, I had never heard of orthorexia, which is a version of ED that takes healthy eating habits to an extreme. With so many runners following strict diets from gluten-free to vegan and paleo, we at Salty Running thought it would be wise to shed some light on the topic! Read more

Acclimate to Summer Heat to Improve Performance in Fall Races

Tired, sweaty and salty after a long, hot, humid run.

Tired, sweaty and salty after a long, hot, humid run.

Most runners loathe running in the heat.  Don’t even talk to us about humidity.  It sucks.  We hate it.  We do everything we can do avoid it.  With very few exceptions, the only runners I know who enjoy the heat are short distance runners (5k and under).  Above that distance, most of us cringe (and complain excessively) when we see a weather forecast with warm summer temps and thick summer humidity.

No doubt that is because the heat and humidity does (with few exceptions) dramatically affect our performance.  When it is warm and humid, our  heart rates spike and our paces plummet.  It is harder to cool down and our hearts have to work overtime to keep even an easy pace.  Nice easy runs suddenly become more challenging.  Long runs can become downright demoralizing.  Even worse, running in the heat and humidity takes a lot more out of you, so it is harder to fully recover and prepare for the next day’s effort.

The obvious solution to this problem is to run very early in the morning, to run late at night, or to hit the treadmill in the a/c. But should we avoid it? Read more