Runner Like You – Jennifer Hilger

Last month’s blog post that highlighted “Runner LIke You”, Becky Craig was a great success! There are many amazing folks here in Oklahoma that make running and fitness a priority. It’s extremely rewarding to know that others, like me, enjoy learning more about these dedicated runners.  In addition, it’s an honor to highlight a few of those runners and share their stories and contributions to running communities around Oklahoma. I’m ecstatic to introduce you to a runner that makes marathons appear to be a party. Her enthusiasm and flare for the sport make you want to join her on long runs or, at the very least, cheer her along from her Instagram feed. Jen is an Arts education advocate, a member of Red Coyote Racing as well as Oiselle Volée. She is also a Nuunbassador and last but not least, Dopey certified (completing the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon within pacing requirements at runDisney). Jen was nice enough to answer a few questions about how she got started and what her most recent marathon meant to her.

Jen running in the NYC Marathon
Jen running in the NYC Marathon

 

1. Why did you first start running?

Basically because I couldn’t run! I used to be a band director and as a part of summer band the students ran to help build endurance to perform a 7+ minute marching show. I wouldn’t ever ask a student to do something I wouldn’t be willing to do myself, and my first couple years of teaching I struggled to keep up with ANY of the kids. So, during spring break in 2010, I started the couch-to-5k running program in hopes that I could somewhat keep up with the students during summer band. A friend said I should sign-up for a 5k since I was doing the training. I had no idea what a 5k was or that races were even a thing. I found one to run, and have been hooked ever since!

2. You just finished the NYC Marathon. To gain entry you completed fundraising for Team for Kids. Can you tell us about the timeline for fundraising and your experience for running for a charity?

I didn’t sign-up to be a charity runner until early March, so I had from March until October 1st to raise my commitment of $2,620. Registration to be a charity runner for 2016 is already open so participants could potentially have almost a year to raise the funds. I registered at the same time as another running buddy here in OKC with the commitment that we would help each other with training and fundraising. We were very fortunate to have so many people step in to help us fundraise! One of our running buddies typically brings a crockpot meal for after our Thursday social runs for everyone to enjoy. She hasn’t ever asked for compensation, but people have often tried to give her money since she essentially made their dinner! After we started fundraising, she set up a jar to collect donations towards our efforts!

We also have another friend that hosts do-it-yourself paint parties. She helped us host “Make your own medal hanger” parties to help us with our fundraising. People had a fun night with friends, made something for their race bling, ate a good dinner, and we were able to raise a lot of money thanks to the generosity of our friend only charging for the materials! (Special shout-out to PhotoVille for leading the parties, and Café Icon for donating 10% of food profits to our fundraisers!) I was lucky enough to reach my fundraising goal on my birthday in August thanks to the generosity of everyone that donated! My training took on a whole new meaning . . . people gave their money to an organization on my behalf, I had to get out there and train! (For those times I might have rather stay in bed!)

It’s hard for me to put my experience of running for a charity into words. For big races like the NYC Marathon, there are so many charities to chose from. I knew that Team for Kids was a huge charity with the New York Road Runners and that the “perks” were awesome, but I researched many organizations before committing because I wanted this to be truly meaningful to my heart. (Note: fundraising for ANY charity is incredible! I think to successfully fundraise that you need to find an organization that pulls at YOUR heartstrings. Potential donors want to know your heart is 100% in with the cause.)

Team for Kids spoke to me from the first moment I heard of the organization, and after researching other causes; I knew Team for Kids was the perfect place for me! Even though Team for Kids is based in NYC, money raised goes to school programs all around the country. TFK did host weekly runs in NYC for the locals (or if you were traveling in the area you could stop in!), and they were great about posting accountability posts and weekly emails for those of us that couldn’t join the fun in person.

Jen Hilger and Meb Keflezighi
Jen met with Olympic silver Medalist, Boston Marathon Winner, and Team for Kids ambassador Meb Keflezighi at the 2016 NYC Marathon.

Fast forward to race week . . . the NYC Marathon has a formal opening ceremony on the Friday before the race. It is basically a celebration and a parade of all nations represented. Team for Kids gets to start the parade since they are the biggest charity partner with the race. I was lucky to get a spot in the parade! I got to meet kids that directly benefitted from my fundraising efforts. WOW! (I also got to meet Meb who is a Team for Kids ambassador!) On Saturday morning, TFK hosted a breakfast for all fundraisers. Again, we got to meet more kids and we were able to visit with some of their parents also. By the end of the breakfast, my heart was completely full. I started training with a specific finishing time and was determined to do it, but after the full experience of fundraising, I honestly just felt completely lucky to get to run the NYC Marathon for Team for Kids!

 

The fundraising experience was so fulfilling that I know that’s my path for future races. If I ever get a qualifying time for certain major races, awesome. . . but I will be running them for charity!

3. You have run over a dozen marathons and about 20 half marathons. Each of these races takes a lot of time for training. How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

Wow, this question has so many answers! Sometimes a hot cup of coffee or a cold popsicle waiting at home motivates me to just go get it done. Other times I just remember my goals and how bad a half marathon or marathon will hurt if I don’t properly train. I’m a terrible liar, so knowing my friends can ask me at any time how my training is going also provides motivation. I would be embarrassed if I was constantly lazy during a time of training! My husband is great at keeping me motivated. I have my conscience, but I also have his voice to remind me of my goals, and sometimes our schedules line up for him to run with me! In the spring I am a training coach for Red Coyote Running & Fitness, so I have built-in accountability! I need to always be on my A game to help those in the training program. The participants always inspire me and make running so much fun! (Even in the dark, cold, wind, snow, etc…) As I mentioned earlier, training for NYC took on a whole new meaning for me. All of my training miles had so much value, whether I felt like running or not. I was very focused on achieving my goal, and making Team for Kids proud to have me as one of their runners.

4. Because you have run in so many races, what are the top three “little things” you do to prevent injury?

Running more frequently while gradually building miles. (To prevent injury…wait, what?) Running 4-5 times a week has helped my body get used to running frequently, and it’s still possible to do so while gradually building miles. When I first started training for long-distance races I was lucky to get in three runs/week, and I wondered why I hurt so much after long runs. Now, I love running a 100+ mile month with my longest run only being 10 miles! Or 36 mile weeks with my longest run only being 14 miles.
Listen to my body! If something hurts, I try to not ignore it! It can usually be a simple stretching solution, or maybe I slept in a weird way one night. Or maybe it’s new shoe time. . . I mean, isn’t it always new shoe time?!
Sleep! It’s easy to remember that you have to get to bed early the night before a long run, but we can sometimes neglect sleep throughout the week. It’s obviously difficult for most adults to nap on a consistent basis, so getting to bed at a decent time is very important every night of the week for successful training.

5. What’s next, racewise?

Jen and her husband finishing a runDisney event as newlyweds.
Jen and her husband finishing a runDisney event as newlyweds.

My next big race weekend will be the RunDisney Star Wars Rebel Challenge (10k + Half Marathon) + 5k over three days! My husband and I are running these races together as a part of our celebration of our first wedding anniversary!

6. If you could deliver one message to fellow runners like you, what would it be?

Smile! (And sparkle!) My good friend Layla always reminds me before a big race to SMILE! Whether I am running a personal best or personal worst, I am always thankful for the experience. Smiling doesn’t exert extra energy, and makes everyone feel better. I try to take a selfie after every run to remind myself that I did it, and still smiled at the end no matter the quality of the run.

Sparkle! Whether that means literally, like with a sparkle skirt, or just find your own sparkle! Don’t be afraid to be yourself! I think one really unique aspect about running is that it attracts all types of people. There is no reason to fit in a mold in running, so why try? If you want to run races in tutus, do it! If you want to repeat the same races over and over, do it. Running is such a freeing experience, no sense in not being yourself!

 

Lightning Round:

Compression Socks: Yes or no?

Depends on the situation. I rarely wear them for races anymore, but frequently use them for recovery!

Running Solo or with a group?
Group!

NYC Marathon or runDisney?
There is no short answer on this one, ha!! Both are very special to me for different reasons, and I’m not sure I could chose!

November 2015 – Oklahoma Area Races

turkey-runningOkay, guys. So if you don’t know, November is like THE month for marathons. Like every state has a marathon this month and it’s awesome. But rather than focusing on all of those big name, hugely famous, amazing marathons, we here at Run Oklahoma are going to mix it up and stick with all things Turkey Trot. “What’s a Turkey Trot”, you ask. Well, only the most wondrous thing to happen to Thanksgiving since pumpkin pie! It’s a 5K road race that is run as a way to burn calories prior to an indulgent Thanksgiving dinner. We’ve gathered a list of the Turkey Trots scheduled around Oklahoma and encourage you to check one out. Consider making them a party of your family’s tradition.

November 14th, 2015

Lindsay Turkey Trot – Lindsay, OK

Turkey Trot 5K and Fun Run – Salisaw, OK

Thursday, November 26th 2015

Turkey Day 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run – Norman, OK

Finer Physiques Turkey Trot – Enid, OK

Edmond Turkey Trot 5k – Edmond, OK

Oklahoma City Turkey Trot – OKC, OK

Turkey Day Wobble Gobble 5K – Lawton, OK

Friday, November 27th, 2015

2015 Turkey Trot – Tulsa, OK

HITS Running Festival Recap – OKC

It’s been six long years since my last half marathon. That race was quite a humbling experience filled with IT Band issues and foot injuries. I was new to long distance running and thought the only training I needed to do was to run and still ate whatever I wanted. Since then I have moved to a different state, changed jobs, had four surgeries, and two kids. My biggest take away from my first half marathon and subsequent life changes is that taking good care of myself goes a long way in my training. So over the past few months, in addition to my runs I incorporated clean eating principles and strength training using The 21 Day Fix. The half marathon I ran this weekend was so vastly different than my last. I wasn’t plagued with injuries, I felt strong, and had a bond with the local running community. This was also my first race in my Oiselle singlet. It felt amazing getting to rock that thing, FINALLY! Considering I got a PR, this race gave me loads of confidence to continue training and striving towards my fitness and running goals.

This past weekend I ran in the HITS Running Festival in downtown Oklahoma City. I was hemming and hawing for months about whether or not to sign up. So the day before the scheduled event, I had the brilliant idea that it could serve as a good dress rehearsal for the upcoming Route 66 Half Marathon and decided to go ahead and sign up. Ultimately, I’m so glad I did. I have so many positives comments on this race.

  • Field Size – The number of runners was drastically lower than events like OKC Memorial or Route 66. So the start line wasn’t crowded. I was able to arrive 30 minutes before the start, get a nearby parking spot, and had plenty of room to warm up. 
  • A Distance for Everyone – They really offered every distance from Marathon to 10K to 1 mile fun runs. I saw a lot of groups and families (mine included) with members each participating in races of various distances. Families could watch and cheer each other on throughout the morning because each race had a staggered star time. For example, the half started at 7am and I was done in time to see my husband start his 5K race at 10am.
  • The Course – Each race followed a flat and fast course along the manicured River Trails of the Oklahoma River. The flat course was appreciated. Also, not having to fight cars and traffic was great as well.
  • Refreshment on the Course – Each water aid table along the course was stocked full of water, gatorade, oranges, bananas, and mini candy bars. A varied and delicious selection.
  • Ballpark – Each race FINISHED inside Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. This was sooo much fun. It made it nice for spectators because they could lounge in the stands and watch for friends and family to enter the stadium and cross the finish line. For the runners, you can feel like a super star athlete when seeng yourself on the jumbotron in the stadium and the soft and well manicured track feels so good on tired feet at the end of a long race. 
  • Treats After the Race – Lots and lots of donuts, bananas, oranges, grapes, bagels, coffee, and more. Super good snacks. I had a great time just snacking on treats and hanging in the stadium while waiting for friends and family to race.

Every race has some downsides and this one had only a few.

  • Smell – holy smokes y’all. You may be running on a well manicured path along the river but when you run by the stockyards the smell gets pretty rancid. It was a cool, windy morning and the smell was still pretty bad. And because it’s an out and back loop race you have to hit that smell a second time on your way back. phew!
  • Confusion at Starting Line – When you were finishing your race you basically crossed back over where the starting line to get into the stadium to finish your race. This was confusing for some marathon and half marathon runners finishing their race while the 5K, 10K, and mile racers were starting their races.
  • Not Enough Finisher Medals – They had many runners register last minute (like me) and therefore didn’t have enough finisher medals for everyone. It’s a bummer but it happens. They are ordering more and will be mailing them out to folks though.

In speaking with several other runners from the event, there seemed to be a consensus between our opinion of the race and how it was organized. Ultimately, it was a great race that was executed well. I would run this race again and encourage others to check it out next fall.

4 DIY Running Costumes for the Procrastinator

So you’ve signed up for a race in Halloween costume race. Even though you planned and expertly executed your training, your plan for a costume is still lacking. Never fear, Run Oklahoma has some quick, easy, do-it-yourself costume ideas that even the best procrastinator can pull off.

Running Bandit – You’re dressed as a bandit and you’re running in a race. Get it?! Well, regardless of the cheese factor, Lia Griffith still came up with a totally easy costume to put together. Black leggings, black gloves, black hat, black mask, and a little fabric with a dollar symbol  and you’re ready to run in a completely functional costume.

Robber_Costume_DIY

Skeleton – What would a Halloween racing costume be without a spooky costume?  Well thank your lucky stars that Martha Stewart has you covered with a tutorial video and templates to create a skeleton rib cage cut out. Pair it with black running tights and if you’re feeling adventurous throw on some skeleton face paint as well.

skeleton costume

Pirate –  Pirate costumes can be easy to create AND conducive to running. Are you sensing a theme here? All you need are a few yards of your favorite pirate fabric. Cut it to create a head scarf and a sarong. Fray the edges of the fabric to give it that swashbuckler feel and you’re set. Photo from Another Mother Runner.

running pirates

Baker and Gingerbread Man – This idea is great for couples. All you need is an apron and rolling pin for the baker. The gingerbread man costume can be some inexpensive scrubs or sweats painted with fabric paint. Totally cute. Totally versatile. Run run just as fast as you can. You can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread Man.

bakerandginger

becky craig st george marathon

Runner Like You – Becky Craig

Running can be intimidating, especially running long distance races like a marathon or half marathon. But it doesn’t take a super human to accomplish these fetes. Regular people like you and me prove time and again that persistence and dedication can take you pretty far in training and running a race. Becky Craig embodies all of this. She is a mother, works a full time job, creates delicious confectionary treats at Sugar Shenanigans, and still finds time to train and run in some pretty prestigious races like her most recent journey to St. Georges Marathon. Becky is a fellow Oiselle Voilee runners and has graciously agreed to be the first spotlight in the new Runner Like You series. Each month Run Oklahoma highlights runners like you and me that find time to dedicate to this sport that intrigues, mystifies, and at times eludes each of us.

Without further ado, I introduce a Runner Like You, Becky Craig.

RO: When did you start running?becky craig st george marathon

BC: I had tried to run a few 5ks in my early 30s but it wasn’t until I turned 35 and decided to sign up to train for my first sprint tri that I actually started running regularly. Although it took probably a year before I had any kind of consistency.

RO: Do you remember the first moment you felt “like a runner”?

BC: Maybe when I got my first Garmin. It was a Christmas gift after I ran my first half in Tulsa at the Route 66 in 2010. I remember thinking, now I have this new watch, guess that means I have to start running.

RO: You just finished the St. George Marathon. That particular race was included in Runner’s World 10 Most Scenic Marathons and was voted in the Top 20 Marathons in the USA. Can you share about your experience running in this race?

BC: St. George was definitely beautiful, but in my opinion, the course is no joke. Sure they say it’s downhill, but there are some serious uphill spots and downhill isn’t always easy I had a great race for 17 miles, I felt good and like I was on track to run a good race. After that, sharp pain in my leg prevented me from running at all. It was a long 9 miles to the finish line.

RO: What’s next, racewise?

BC: Well, I have an MRI scheduled for Monday afternoon and I am currently limping around in a boot. I am hoping it’s not a tibial stress fracture, but I will have to wait until next week to find out what’s going on. I have plans to run the half at the Route 66, I have done it every year since 2010, but I will have to see what my doctor says.

RO: What’s the coolest place you’ve ever run?

BC: The coolest race I have ever done is the Ragnar Colorado. Probably the hardest running I have had to do, mostly on account of the whole lack of oxygen, but this was the most fun race I’ve ever done. Driving around in a van with five other runners in the middle of the night is seriously fun.

RO: If you could deliver one message to fellow runners like you, what would it be?

BC: Everyone has bad days, we just have to keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, because sometimes it will take a long time.

Lightning Round:

Running with music: Yes or no?

Music only for races when I know I will be alone. Otherwise I prefer to run with friends and talk. Trust me, I can talk a lot during a six mile run.

• Kara or Shalane?

Kara!

• NYC Marathon or Boston Marathon?

NYC! I prefer a race that I could actually run some day! Lol.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Pork carnitas are so versatile. They’re an easy and filling meal you can enjoy all year round. Sometimes when meals are cooked in the slow cooker all day they can end up bland and mushy. The chipotle peppers, spices, and juice come together nicely to create a slightly spicy and sweet heat that isn’t overpowering. After the first time I made these, they quickly became a family favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder, trimmed (I substitute pork loin cause I can get those packages of two for one at Sams)
  • 10 garlic cloves, sliced (Substitue 1 and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce, drained and chopped
  • Fresh Salsa, pico de gallo, lime wedges, and Carb Smart tortillas for serving

Directions:

  1. Combine garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Place roast in a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker. Sprinkle pork on all sides with spice mixture.
  2. Combine juices and chipotle chiles. Pour juice mixture over pork. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until pork is tender.
  3. Remove pork from slow cooker; shred with 2 forks. Skim fat from cooking liquid (if you use pork loin there will be no fat and very little cooking liquid). Combine Shredded pork and 1/2 cup cooking liquid; toss well.

Spoon pork into Carb Smart tortilla, top with salsa, pico de gallo, fresh lime juice. Serve with black beans, brown rice, or a sauté of corn and zucchini.

Adapted from Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight
Adapted from Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight

 

5 Tips to Eat Clean at Your Next Oklahoma Tailgate

This whole eating clean thing has been pretty easy all week. But now the weekend arrives and you’re about to partake in one of the best fall pastimes Oklahoma has to offer. You’re heading to a tailgate for your favorite Oklahoma football team. Here are a few simple tips so you can enjoy the tailgate and not derail all of the hard work you’ve put in the previous week.

  1. Never Arrive Hungry – Showing up to a tailgate with an empty belly only spells disaster. I know it sounds counterintuitive but if you fill up with a healthy snack before you leave the house you’ll be far less likely to over indulge in the beautiful glorious junk at the tailgate that will ultimately make you FEEL junkie. So make sure you eat a snake that contains a protein and a complex carbohydrate before leaving the house. Something like turkey and a whole grain cracker or a protein shake like Shakeology with fruit blended in.
  2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – You’re at a tailgate. You and I both know you’re likely to indulge in an adult beverage or two. Make sure to alternate water with your beer, wine, or cocktail. This will cut down on alcohol consumption and empty calorie intake as well as keep you hydrated. Besides no one like that sloppy fan.
  3. Focus on Lean Protein – God bless a good tailgate that offers delicious protein packed foods such as lean beef, poultry, and beans. Try to avoid the refined carbs that go along with those proteins such as the white buns. And don’t be fooled by imposters like the processed meats such as hotdogs and cold cuts.
  4.  BYOV – Tailgates are not really known for their wide range of vegetable selections. So Bring Your Own Veggies.You can disguise your veggies as a delightful salad side dish like this Classic Cucumber & Tomato Salad from Skinny Ms. Since most people steer away from the veggies anyway, there’ll be plenty left for you to fill up on.Classic-Cucumber-Tomato-Salad
  5. Pick Your Favorite – You’ve done so well with sticking to your plan and then…  the desserts get rolled out. If you MUST have a sweet, there’s really no need to sample all of them. Zero in on your favorite of the options and allow yourself to indulge in one.

Good! You’ve navigated your way through the tailgate. Now go cheer on your team and burn some calories with all that jumping, screaming, and high-fiving.

October 2015 – Oklahoma Area Races

I don’t think God made a more perfect month than October. The cooler temperatures, foliage, and wide variety of race offerings make running outdoors in Oklahoma a delightful experience. Here are a few races that may tickle your October running fancy.

Gotta Have a Beer Run – There is an obligation for runners over the age of 21 to run a beer race in the month of October. If you aren’t of the legal drinking age, at least Red Coyote is providing you with an opportunity to run the Runtoberfest 5K in your lederhosen.

lederhosen costume

Gotta Have Your Own Distance Run – The HITS Running Festival is making its way to Oklahoma City this year and offers a distance for everyone (1 mile all the way to marathon). Each race will FINISH inside Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark while traversing the FLAT & FAST course over soaring Skydance Bridge and manicured River Trails along the Oklahoma River.

Gotta Have a Costume Run – On Halloween day, you can dress up in your costume and get out and participate in the Monster Dash at Reeves Park in Norman. It’s  a great way to burn some calories and earn all that candy you’ll be gobbling up later that night.

monsterdash

I’mmmmm Baaaaack – Summer 2015 Recap

Wow! What a summer it has been. Posts to Run Oklahoma have been few and far between lately because I have a job that has some seasonal aspects to it. The summer months tend to be the busiest where workloads increase by almost double. So I’m so excited that my job is starting to slow down and come to a much more normal pace, meaning that I can use my spare time to work on things I love, like Run Oklahoma! Yay!

Even though I wasn’t posting much to Run Oklahoma, that didn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about running. If you follow my Instagram account I’ve been diligently training for the Tulsa Half Marathon. Training has been going well. I’ve been able to remain injury free and even though I have to make adjustments to my training schedule due to LIFE I’m getting my miles in.

running 10 miles

Other exciting news is that I joined Oiselle Voilee.  Oiselle is all about helping women run free and fast! Currently Voilee has 750+ women from across the country who represent the Oiselle brand as they train and race toward their running goals. I’m lucky enough to be one of them!  Above all, the team is about  seeing running not just as a sport, but as a life philosophy. I’m so excited to be connected to such an amazing group of women (and some “bro birds” too) and encourage and support each other in our running endeavors. I’ve recently received my racing singlet and am sooooo excited to wear it to my fall races!

IMG_3926

Last, but certainly not least, this summer was a moment of reckoning for me in terms  of my nutrition. As my running goals get a bit more aggressive I was continuing to take short cuts with my nutrition. I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to.  Obviously, I’m not 21 anymore and I can’t continue to put junk in my body and hit my fitness goals. So I decided to take the plunge and give the 21 Day Fix a try. One of the reasons I decided to give it a try is because it is NOT A DIET. But rather a simple, no-fuss eating program that uses a portion control system to help determine how much of each food group you should consume daily. Besides, who doesn’t like the brightly colored tupperware that comes along with it! I’ve seen great results and have actually enjoyed the way I feel and energy I’ve received from using the program. I don’t want to give too much away cause I’ll have separate post on my 21 Day trial coming soon.

21-day-fix-560

Pheeeewww! A lot’s been going on this summer. What have you been up to? Training for upcoming races? Taking a break with pool parties and cookouts? Just starting out as a new runner? Whatever you’ve been up to I’d love to hear from you!

Run Less Run Faster – Book Review

School is about to start and cooler temperatures are just around the corner. Those anticipated cooler temps make great weather for marathon and half marathon training.

The last half marathon I ran was about six years ago. When I was training for that particular race I suffered a few injuries and was afraid I would never be able to run more than a mile without pain again. Part of the reason for my injury was running too much and running without a plan. I didn’t know anything about tempo runs or interval training. I just ran as long as I could and as often as I could.

Over the past few years I’ve been reading much more about training plans and focusing on different cross training exercises. I’ve personally seen a substantial benefit to my running by building a better cardiovascular base with cross training such as cycling, rowing, and swimming.

RLRF 2012 webHowever, the book that has been the most influential to my running and the one I will be using to train for the Route 66 Half Marathon is Run Less Run Faster from Runner’s World. The initial chapters of the book provide a base knowledge of their recommended 3-run-a-week training program. The rest of the book includes training programs for many distances (5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, and Marathon) as well as a Boston qualifier plan. The book also includes recommended stretches and strength training.

Books about running and training plans themselves will always have supporters and naysayers. It seems that everywhere you turn there is an expert ready to oppose one plan because they have the “best” or “right” training plan. However, as an amateur runner, my humble opinion is that sometimes you have to do the best with what you have. Furthermore, a training plan is just that. A plan. Ultimately, I will listen to my body while training for my next half marathon but will use this book for a guideline to prepare myself for that race.

rlrf2The benefits for me, with regards to this book, are that it’s easy to understand (full disclosure, I didn’t understand interval runs such as “12 x 400 with 400 RI” until I read this book) and even easier to follow. The 3-run-a -week offers plenty of flexibility for me to not overload my demanding work and family schedule.

Are you planning to run a fall marathon or half marathon? Which training plan are you using?