Posts Tagged by training

Mission to Marathon: Crunch Time and Taper

I think that Hannah and I are sharing the same feeling of craziness in that our lives seem to be getting more hectic by the minute!  However she is at crunch time for her marathon training on top of everything else, so I give her a lot more credit for keeping things together!  Today she is back with some great tips (and fun photos) for getting through the final push of training and onto the all important taper.  


Part of me can’t believe a month has passed since I wrote my last post for RAD and another part of me can’t believe October was just a month ago. Does anyone else feel that tossed around and pulled in many different directions? We have had a crazy month and it shows by my constant yawning and deep urge to hibernate. The good news is that since it’s November, we FINALLY get to talk about crunch time and taper time for the Walt Disney World 2015 Marathon Weekend! Woohoo! We are in the home stretch!

In keeping with my compulsive list-making self I’ve compiled yet another two for you! First is about crunch time (those last few weeks of long training runs) and the second is about tapering and why it is important (reasons to repeat to yourself over and over when you get that “I just need to do another 20 miler” urge to give yourself a confidence boost). Oscar Bean offered to help demonstrate some of the Crunch time tips and provide motivation for resting during taper…

Without further ado…


  1. Seize the day … or the hour.


Now is the time to make sure you are getting your long runs in. These are the Saturday and Sunday runs on the RunDisney site. But while you’re at it, make sure you’re getting your weeknight runs in too. If you can’t get a full 45 mins, but can do a mile or two, that’s great. More time on your feet will help in the long run.

  1. Don’t overdo it.


While its important to get your training runs in, don’t feel ike you have to suddenly up the game and add in extra runs. Trust the plan. Also don’t try to increase your overall weekly mileage or speed up your time too quickly. Take it easy. Remember avoiding injury is the most important thing at this point.

  1. Stretch and stretch often.


Formal stretching is important. Where you take time to roll out on the foam roller, take a yoga class, or just stretch at home, its essential to get you to race day and beyond. BUT, I personally recommend taking little opportunities throughout the day to stretch. I love stretching my calves in the shower in the morning with the hot water on my tight muscles (I have plantar fasciitis and have difficulty walking in the morning sometimes). I also stretch at work…calf stretches at my desk, touch my toes each time I get up to go to the bathroom, and make sure I am stretching out my back, shoulders and wrists throughout the day (office work can take a toll and your arms are more important to running than you may think).

  1. Keep yourself motivated.

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Whatever it is that motivates you, now is the time to keep up with it. I love reading blogs from other marathoners and flipping through quotes on or Pinterest.

  1. Test stuff out.


Now is the time to test out the new stuff. New gear, wear in new shoes, try new fuel, etc. You still have time to recover if something doesn’t work, but its close enough that the clothes and fuel will react the same (similar weather, etc).


Tapering typically occurs 3-4 weeks before a marathon and 2-3 weeks before a half marathon. These are three reasons why tapering is important and why you shouldn’t ignore the sanctity of the taper.

MAXIMUM POTENTIAL: Tapering allows your body as much rest as possible before race day. A rested body will allow for maximum potential on race day.

PRESERVE CAPABILITIES: Tapering allows your body to rest without losing your aerobic capabilities (proper tapering that is…)

RELAX: Rest surpasses mileage as the most important part of your training. Enjoy it! If you’re a race addict, then this is probably one of the only times you’ll be able to run decreased mileage (b/c you’ll turn around after your marathon and start training for another one). If you’re not a race addict, then you’ve probably been dying to get some family time/couch time/extra work/holiday shopping/etc done…now is the time!



Here is my December 2014 Run Training Plan!

23 – Week Dec 1: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 6 miles

24 – Week Dec 8: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 7 miles

25 – Week Dec 15: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 12 miles; Sunday 26 miles


26 – Week Dec 22: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 6 miles

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Long Stretches

27 – Week Dec 29: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 7 miles

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Long Stretches

Hannah is an attorney from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She started running in 2011 while preparing for the Bar Exam as a means of helping her focus on her studying. Hannah completed her first half marathon in October 2011 at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. In 2013 she completed 13 running events including 5 half marathons, 2 10ks, 3 5ks and 3 fun races (2 color runs and a zombie run).  She enjoys setting goals and crossing things off of her “bucket list.” Follow Hannah at, where she blogs about her everyday goals and challenges.

Anaheim Antics: Race Between Races – A 5k Between the Halves

John has been training for months for this weekend’s Avengers Half Marathon (best of luck!!!) and he has been using many local races as part of his training plan.  This most recent race he ran with a former Disneyland Ambassador who shared the story of her running journey and what it’s like to run as a Disney cast member.  What a fun perspective!


For some of you, running half marathons and full marathons are standard operating procedure, and your calendar consists of such a race every 2 months, or more. Then there are the rest of us: The marathon (half or full) is an annual or semiannual goal. What to do between those major races?   Thankfully, there are numerous smaller races to keep one in proper form. Personally, with my first half marathon (the Avengers) being around the corner, I enjoy the myriad of smaller races my local community has to offer. One of those races is the annual Chapman University 5k, which takes place through the streets of Old Towne Orange, CA, a mere ten minutes east of the Disneyland Resort.


Many past and present Disney Cast Members run this race, so it’s often a reunion and fellowship opportunity. One of those is former Disneyland Ambassador Jolie Hales, whom I got to know shortly after I joined the Disney family. Jolie is a Chapman University alum, graduating with a master’s degree in film directing. I asked Jolie to share her thoughts with us on the running experience.

When Jolie was selected as a Disney Ambassador for 2011-2012, her teammate Rene signed them up for the Disneyland Half Marathon. “I had never had a desire to run more than a mile in my life for any reason whatsoever”, Jolie joked. Of that first Half Marathon experience, Jolie recalled, “It was so much fun! And I beat Rene, bahaha! I was hooked … I’m soooo grateful to Disney for turning me into a runner — I totally owe them for the huge change in my lifestyle”. Fast forward to the 2014 Chapman University 5k.


The Chapman 5k is a fun, flat, straightforward course, which both the novice and seasoned runner will enjoy. Readers might recognize Chapman University from the films “Crimson Tide”, “Accepted”, or “Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle”.   Parking for this year was remarkably easy thanks to an underground parking structure on the north side of the Chapman Campus. Runners staged near the west gate, and after some words of encouragement by the Mayor of Orange and singing of the National Anthem, the runners were off! Says Jolie of the Chapman 5k, “This is my third year running the Chapman 5K, and I plan to run it every year, if I can. This year’s race was the best out of the three.”

Like Jolie, this was not my first Chapman 5k. I first ran last year, when the race was held during fierce Sana Ana wind conditions. “(The winds) definitely increased the challenge!” said Jolie of last year’s race, “When the wind was pushing with me, it was great! But when I was running against it, I felt like I was climbing a mountain.” Thankfully, this year’s race was met with mild weather and no winds whatsoever.


The first leg of the race was the hardest, thanks to a hard left turn onto South Glassell Avenue just seconds after the starting line. This part of the run was a serious pinch point, making it hard to pass runners in front of you. But it was very brief, and the rest of the course was ample. The course continued down Glassell and around the beautiful Orange Plaza, established in 1888. The course then meandered through the local residential neighborhood, dotted with early 20th century Victorian and Craftsman style homes.


Many residents cheered us on from their porches and lawns. Other scenery included the stunning gothic brick St. John’s Lutheran Church, the modern Mediterranean revival Orange Public Library, and the locally renowned Watson’s Drug Store and Soda Fountain (a MUST VISIT if you’re ever in town). The final leg proved to be the most fun. It was a long, straight shot up the course to the Chapman Campus, where the finish line was clearly visible from hundreds of yards back. That gave me motivation to pour on every ounce of speed. The Chapman University band and cheerleaders greeted the finishers warmly, and there were plenty of Disney voluntEARs to award the finisher medals.


One great thing about being a Cast Member is running into other past and present Cast Members at races such as these. “At local races in Southern California, it’s pretty common to run into Cast Members, and I love it!” Jolie said. “The Chapman 5K is especially filled with cast members — both runners and as VoluntEARS at the finish line — it’s like a reunion each time!”.   Indeed. Running into Cast Members like Jolie is a real treat. If you ever see her at a running event, be sure to say hi.


Would you like to hear more about Jolie’s running experiences? Don’t worry! Jolie shared with me a wealth of running knowledge, which will be included in future editions of Anaheim Antics. So stay tuned!

RADically yours,



John grew up in the Orange County area of California, always living in the shadow of the Disneyland Resort.  Known as the consummate storyteller to his friends, he has had an admiration of Disney since childhood, and is most interested in the Company’s history and heritage.  His favorite memory to date is setting foot in Walt’s apartment over the Main Street Firehouse.  John lives by what he calls the three F’s: faith, fun, and fitness.   Being healthy isn’t about adding years to your life; it’s about adding life to your years.  Nothing sums that up more than making Disney races a goal in every fitness plan.

RAD Recap for July 20, 2014

Well registration for Princess Half Marathon was a slight debacle this week.  It seems that Active is having trouble keeping up with the popularity of runDisney events.  I hope this gets fixed before the Tink on sale next month!


Were you able to get signed up for the race you wanted?  I’m registered for my 2nd Glass Slipper Challenge and my 4th Princess Half…can’t wait!

This week I’m making a return visit to Disneyland for a few days and I’m super excited!  However, traveling has set my anxiety on edge again and the Crazy Train has officially pulled into town.


One thing that has been keeping my head on straight this week has been exercise.  This morning I woke up and knew I had to go for a run to clear my head of all the ridiculous thoughts.  I went out for 4.5 miles which is the longest training run I’ve done in a while…and I felt GREAT!  Energized, strong.  Even though my knee was bothering me earlier in the week, I have been wearing KT Tape all week and had no pain today…that is the stuff of miracles!!


See that arrow up there?  Apparently my sweat beads on my shoulder.  I told my friend Kat and she said it happens all the time when I’m at the gym…so strange!  Does anyone else sweat like that?

Speaking of the gym.  I’ve made some killer progress this week.  I got a 10 pound PR on my front squat bringing it up to 145 pounds and also pulled 90% of my 1 rep max deadlift which went up pretty easy.  I hope there is a testing week coming up so I can see what I can do!


So my training for both the Disney Fit Challenge and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon are going really well!  I can’t wait to tackle these events 🙂  If you’ve got an upcoming race your training for, I hope you are reading the new Mission to Marathon series that Hannah is writing.  This week she talks about planning a runDisney runCation and has some great tips!

Unfortunately there was no Transformation Tuesday this week, but this week Chris will be sharing his story.  I also have a great guest post on how to not run yourself into the ground while training.  It’s a great piece!  And since I will be heading out to Disneyland, I will be sharing some of my favorites eats there!

Have a great week!!

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RAD Recap for July 13, 2014

World Cup fever has been going strong in our house for the past month or so.  B is a huge Germany fan so having them make it to the finals has been very exciting.  Having them win today was AWESOME!!


It’s been a fun and super busy week around here.  I started training for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon this week, but I haven’t exactly followed the plan to a tee…shocking!  I know I won’t be perfect, but all I can do is keep on trying.


But even if I slack on my runs, it’s not like I’m just sitting around (even though I do my fair share of that sometimes).  I’m still throwing around some kick ass weights at the gym 🙂


This week also consisted of fun birthday celebrations for friends and family.


And one of my favorite dining days of the year…this is the 4th year B and I have enjoyed this BBQ feast and yes, it is worth every single calorie!


But the big news of the week is…I’M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!!!!!!!!


Well what really happened was that I won a contest and I’m going to the CrossFit Games!  No, really…I won an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles!  I was convinced that no one won contests like this, but boy was I wrong!  It’s pretty much a dream come true.  So of course I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to visit Disneyland if I was flying all the way out to California!  I’ll have a few fun posts in the next 10 days leading up to the trip…so fun!

In case you missed some of the other fun happenings on RAD this week, Crystal shared her transformation story, I played Kill, Marry, Refurb by taking a trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and John gave a humorous male perspective on Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend.  Hope you enjoy and also I hope you have a rad week…make it a great one!

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Mission to Marathon: Preparing a Training Plan & July Schedule

We have a great new series here on RAD called Mission to Marathon!!  I’m happy to welcome Hannah Suhr as a new monthly contributor…you may remember her from her Lessons Learned from the Walt Disney World Marathon earlier this year.  Hannah will be sharing her training and travel tips as she preps for the 2015 Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge.  This is going to be an excellent resource for all of you getting ready for any races you may have coming up.  Hannah is super organized and has great ideas on how to stay on track!  I’m thrilled she is here…please join me in welcoming Hannah!  


runDisney makes putting together a training plan super easy. If you aren’t familiar, just check out and under the training tab you will find training plans for Jeff Galloway’s walk/run method. If you are a beginner, this a great program to follow because it is easy to understand and gives you step-by-step guides for what to do.

If you aren’t running Disney (hey, not ALL races are Disney races), you can find similar training programs online through Hal Higdon, Runners World and many other sources. Some plans cost money. I don’t pay for a plan since I feel comfortable enough making my own. But, if you feel like you need it, go for it. Just make sure its reputable before you shell out the dough.

Short post, right? Nope.

While the training plans you can find online can be followed point-by-point and help you achieve the goal you want to achieve, they are not customized for your needs, schedule, experience, etc. If you are okay with that, then by all means. But I like to make it my own.

Here is how I put together a training plan:

1 – Research. I look at all the different options out there and see what they have in common and what differs. For a marathon, training plans for beginners or amateur runners can vary quite a bit. Many take you up to 20 miles for your longest long run, while others go beyond the 26 mile marker. Some have three days a week of running, others have four or five. Some incorporate cross-training, others leave that up to you to figure out. And, very few discuss nutrition (but that’s another post, for sure).

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For me, I either print out various plans or make a comparison chart on paper or in excel.

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2 – Consider your schedule. Do you work a 9 to 5 job? Work weekends? Gotta get up early? Take a look at what your normal weekly schedule is and then compare that to the different training plans. If you find one that works well with your schedule and you’re comfortable with the plan, then go for it, just follow it directly. I’m willing to bet that you won’t find one that fits perfectly and you’ll need to make some adjustments to suit your needs.

For me, I have the opportunity to train with my Team in Training team on Saturday mornings so I like to keep my long run on that day since I know I’ll have company. I also know my weeknight schedule is hectic so I need to keep my workouts as quick and effective as possible.  I also know that I really need to work on improving my strength (specifically my core) in order to improve my running and avoid injury.

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3 – Put it all together. This is where it gets fun. Most plans have you running 3 or 4 days a week and cross training 2 or 3 days. I start by scheduling my long runs. For me, Saturday and Sunday are best so I fit them in there. Then fill in your shorter, speed runs, to suit your schedule. If you’re doing 3 short runs, try to space them out so they aren’t three days in a row. Break things up to give your muscles a break and allow yourself some recovery time so that you won’t burn-out.


I am using the runDisney Goofy Challenge, Race and a Half training plan as my base for my overall plan and as guidance for my long run distances. What is nice is that my husband can modify the plan very simply by skipping the Saturday run (swapping for some strength training, yoga or a rest day) on weeks I am running four days and then do his long run on Sunday with me.

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My weeks will generally look like this:

Monday  – Cross training (strength –  I have been liking the Tone It Up routines lately, but also use the Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises to put together my own routines).

Tuesday – Run 30-45 mins; Speed work/Interval training & 20 mins focused strength training

Wednesday – Cross training (strength)

Thursday – Run 30-34 mins; Speed work/interval training & 20 mins focused strength training

Friday – Cross training (yoga/stretch/light strength)

Saturday – Long Run & stretch

Sunday –  Long Run & stretch

Notice I added stretching into my schedule on several days. I need a reminder to stretch. It’s important. If you aren’t good at stretching, just add it to your schedule!

Here’s my July Run Schedule:

1 – Week of 6/30: Tuesday and Thursday 30 mins; Saturday 3 miles

2 – Week of 7/7: Tuesday and Thursday 30 mins; Saturday 4 miles

3 – Week of 7/14: Tuesday and Thursday 30 mins; Saturday 3 miles

4 – Week of 7/21: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 5.5 miles

5 – Week of 7/28: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 3 miles

How do you put together a training plan?


Hannah is an attorney from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She started running in 2011 while preparing for the Bar Exam as a means of helping her focus on her studying. Hannah completed her first half marathon in October 2011 at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. In 2013 she completed 13 running events including 5 half marathons, 2 10ks, 3 5ks and 3 fun races (2 color runs and a zombie run).  She enjoys setting goals and crossing things off of her “bucket list.” Follow Hannah at, where she blogs about her everyday goals and challenges.

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