“Special Ks” Treadmill Run Workout for Marathon Training


This post is sponsored by Matrix Fitness, however, all opinions, exercise instruction and enthusiasm are my own.

Treadmill training got me through this race!In a perfect world, I would prefer to challenge my running abilities in the great outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery and practicing my fancy footwork on any obstacles thrown my way. However, all too often, 21st century life gets in the way of marathon training and outdoor adventuring like bounding up real rocky trails or jumping puddles in an intersection. But, sometimes the weather is just too bad, daylight has vanished or you’re traveling and worried about safety or getting lost on a run. That’s when a treadmill becomes a most welcomed tactic in your training battle plan.

Yeah, sure, die hard runners will train in the elements, whatever they may be – rain, sleet, ice and snow. While you should try to do this occasionally to acclimate for potential race day conditions, there is no reason to put yourself in harm’s way, Get struck by lightning or plowed down by a car that didn’t see you in a downpour and you’ll not be enjoying bananas, high-fives and a shiny new finisher’s medal at the end of your marathon. There’s no need to be a modern-day martyr and suffer needlessly to prove your toughness. Sometimes a little bit of comfort and convenience go a long way in nailing your marathon race goals.

So, for safety, convenience and comfort, I will frequently knock out my marathon training, especially the speedwork) on a treadmill. This also helps me when I don’t have a faster running buddy to help push the pace – the treadmill keeps me on task and working hard.   By the way, I’m a huge fan of the treadmills from MatrixFitness.com, more on that in a bit. Today, I’m sharing my “Special Ks” Treadmill Run Workout that will help you learn to battle fatigue in the later miles of a marathon. Building up this speed and endurance will make you unstoppable and unbreakable and undeniably more race ready than yesterday.

Remember to PIN THIS and make it part of your next marathon training cycle!

This Treadmill "Special Ks" Workout will get you marathon ready - perfect way to stay motivated and on task during bad weather, travel or stuck at home.

After finishing this nearly 7.5 “fast-faster-fastest” workout with very little rest in between 1k intervals, you’ll probably stop looking at the treadmill as the weenie way to get in your workout. A good treadmill can give you so many workout options that will challenge your stamina, raw strength and relentless grit. You just need to have access to a good treadmill (why not buy one for home use?!) and know the machine’s capabilities. As I mentioned, I like the treadmills from MatrixFitness.com and I have my eye on one with all the bells and whistles that makes a runner-geek like me feel woozy with excitement. My goal is to have my very own in-house by mid-December as a little early holiday present for myself. With as much as I spend on race entries, travel and other must-haves for my fitness lifestyle, I feel like this is justifiable purchase. Plus, I’m worth it – haha!

Matrix Treadmills are awesome for home use.

These Matrix treadmills aren’t at all like those puny, pathetic ones that can’t keep up with my relentless workout style. With heavy-duty frames, extra-thick decks and super durable cushions, and they hold up beautifully for miles and miles of “getting after it.” The high-def consoles make it easy to monitor the status of my sweat fest and many models offer cutting-edge functionality including entertainment options, preprogrammed workouts, data transfer popular exercise/fitness apps, Bluetooth connectivity and some even with Passport compatibility, a “visual booster” that puts HD destination athlete point-of-view landscape footage on your home big screen television.

I use a Matrix Elliptical for my running recovery days.

For recovery days, my body responds to “riding” a gentle, ergonomic elliptical machine – active recovery is so important people! Just think how amazing it would be to have an Elliptical sitting in the corner of your bedroom or basement ready and waiting for 20 minutes of active recovery the day after an intense workout.

Check out MatrixFitness.com to find out what model of treadmill or elliptical suits your needs – they have quite a few options to suit your price point, space availability and workout needs. It’s an investment in staying fit and strong for life!

What percentage training do you do on a treadmill? What is your main reason for running on a treadmill?  Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Endurance + Speed Marathon Workout and Mizuno Wave Rider 20 Review

jen-jumping-mizuoWhen something is so good that it’s been repeated through 20 seasons, that’s saying something special. In December, I’ll be reflecting on 20 years of celebrating Christmas as a mom or mom-to-be, two decades of my dad’s delicious holiday tenderloin and running my 20th marathon. Mizuno is also celebrating a special benchmark, it’s the 20th edition of their best-selling shoe, the Wave Rider 20!

Evolution of the Mizuno Wave Rider from Mizuno USA on Vimeo.

Admittedly, I haven’t worn all 20 iterations of this running shoe (although quite a few), it’s amazing that the basic concept has resonated with loyal fans through the ups and downs of running shoe design – and I say that quite literally in terms of all the cyclical changes in heel drop and rise! After nearly two decades of refinement, this latest version of the Wave Rider claims to “exceed all expectations.” Mizuno Wave Rider 20Does it, will it?! Only the miles will tell . . . . so I slipped into the Wave Rider 20 and logged a few! Lucky thing I had some running to do with the San Antonio Marathon right around the corner!  My workout today was this Endurance + Speed Run Workout — a challenging 10 mile running workout that takes you from a manageable marathon pace to a fast and furious 5k pace finish. This long speed workout will get you used to running with leg fatigue so that you will nail your next big race!

This Endurance + Speed 10 Mile Workout will get you strong and fast for a marathon.

Well, my feet were definitely happy after a long run – sometimes my high instep and arch makes shoes uncomfortable and sometimes even feel like they’re going numb. Nope, not in these. While I’m not a heel-striker, I still felt comfortable landing mid-foot despite the 12mm rise. I did appreciate that these were a “moderate: cushion shoe but only weight about 8 ounces, sometimes on longer runs my feet feel beat up in super “nothing” shoes – I need just a bit of cushion!

Guys and gals, you each have three color choices in these snazzy shoes – honestly, I liked some of the guy colors a lot and was a little jealous! They run about $119 full retail and debuted in mid October – pick up your pair at your local running store (and support Small Business Saturday) or online at Mizuno.com

Here are some official improvements on an immutably amazing running shoe, the Mizuno Wave Rider 20:

  • Cloudwave: The shoe’s new cloudwave geometry provides a softer, smoother, more gentle ride with improved cushion on initial heel impact & better guidance in the transition from heel to forefoot.
  • U4ic Midsole: You’ll feel “euphoric” (that’s how you pronounce U4ic) over the more responsive, softer feeling midsole that offers a longer-lasting ride.
  • Engineered Mesh: Not only does the running shoe look sleek and fast, the new engineered zone-specific mesh construction provides a seamless and light fit that goes almost unnoticed on the feet.

Are you a Wave Rider fan? How many have you had?  What race / event are you currently training for? What is your dream shoe color combo? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Creamy Cranberry Orange Smoothie & Marathon Countdown

Creamy Cranberry Orange Smoothie - TheFitFork.com

Where DOES the time go? It’s almost the middle of November which means cranberries are popping up everywhere, getting me excited for Thanksgiving) the subsequent Dallas Marathon just 17 days after that. Am I ready? No. Am I ever ready? No. So, I’m just not going to worry about it and be happy for what my body can do rather than what it can’t. Once again, I plan to follow the “fat-loading” pre-marathon diet that I did last year (read about it here). Because Dallas Marathon was canceled due to ice last year, I never got to see if all that avocado and salmon scarfing actually helped train my body to better tap fat stores as a more immediate source of fuel. The idea is that the body will spare glycogen reserves for use at the race by using fat stores more efficiently on the front end. In other words, no bonking – hopefully.

Dallas Marathon 2012 - Jennifer Fisher

2012 Dallas Marathon — it rained the ENTIRE race! That’s me, only girl in that group on far left.

So, enough about that – I can’t even think of running 26.2 miles at my race pace right now! Instead, I’d rather think about my Creamy Cranberry Orange Smoothie which is sweet-tart, but not over the top!  If you are looking for other autumn smoothie ideas, check out my collection of six fall season smoothies which includes a Maple Pear Chia Chiller. Enjoy!

Creamy Cranberry Orange Smoothie - TheFitFork.com

Creamy Cranberry Orange Smoothie Recipe

  • 6 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 2 ounces Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup fresh cranberries
  • Lemon- or regular-flavored stevia, to taste
  • Ice, as needed

Blend together juices, yogurt and cranberries. Add stevia to taste and ice to achieve desired consistency. Serves.1

 

So, who’s running marathons in November or December? Let me know! 

Marathon Taper Week: What to Eat and Drink

I’ve put in (most) of the mileage, knocked out the speed workouts and juggled my already-crazy life around marathon training; why does it still seem so hard to taper?  I’m not talking about the kind of “hard” that other runners complain about, those A-types who miss the daily pavement pounding and the quantitative atta-boys doled out by stopwatches and training logs. Personally, I sort of like the fewer and more leisurely-run miles gifted to me during the tapering period before a marathon.  Ahhhh.

But, I start to freak out about food; perhaps “obsess” is a better description.  Normally, I’m really not much of a diet worry-wart. I typically eat with my health in mind, but don’t have a problem splurging when the opportunity presents. But, between the fear of bonking (again), the panic of finding an on-course port-a-let due to GI distress (again), or the dread gaining enough weight in one week that I can’t fit into my cute racing shorts (hasn’t happened yet, but who knows), all I can think about this week is what I should be eating and drinking. Although I’ve run plenty of marathons over the last 20 years and should know every trick of the trade (but always forget), I pulled together this list of tips to remind myself how to be as prepared as possible with my nutrition for the week leading up the marathon.

Match calorie input with energy output. Since most training plans have runners reducing mileage 30-50 percent during the last two weeks, calorie intake should be tweaked down as well to avoid real weight gain (however you will temporarily gain some water weight as I mention below). For me, this is only about 250 fewer calories a day in the last week, and is as easy as cutting out my bedtime snack. However, remember that the taper period is not the time to restrict calories with weight-loss in mind; you need to rebuild muscle fibers and top off your glycogen tanks. So, if your body is legitimately saying it’s hungry, eat!

Don’t be a slave to the scale. If you are eating a nutritiously-sound diet and have cut out most of your now-unnecessary refueling snacks, you are not going to pile on the pounds.  That being said, you may actually gain two to four pounds of water weight during the tapering process just by “carbo-loading.”  For ever one ounce of glucose put into reserves, your body stores another three ounces of water.  So a diet a little heavy in carbs the week before, is going to make you retain water – a good thing to prevent dehydration and bonking on the course.

Make clean carb choices.  An unhealthy, high-carb diet includes empty calories found in sugary, processed foods such as candy, cookies and pastries. The simple carbs found in these snack food spike blood sugar in a crash-and-burn manner unlike the longer-lasting energy found in complex carbohydrates (foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy or soy products). Plus, often too many of the simple carbs are also paired with high-calorie fat, sabotaging your ability to efficiently “carbo-load” while still getting enough protein.

Eat your meat (or alternative protein). Just because the food focus during taper week is on complex-carbohydrates and increasing glycogen stores, the importance of lean protein should not be overlooked. Protein has essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that aid in the building and recovery of muscle tissue. Also, many protein choices, such as lean beef, are loaded B vitamins which help efficiently convert those carbohydrates I’ve been talking about into the fuel needed to make it through the marathon. Don’t know how much protein to eat? The average adult requires 0 .8 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body weight per day, equating to about 55 grams for a 150-pound person. Runners and other endurance athletes should aim for approximately 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram (2.2 lbs), or 82 to 95 grams for a 150-pound person.

Time to hydrate. Taking in enough fluids before the marathon is vital and will help you keep from becoming dehydrated on the course (although, you’ll still have to take in fluid during the actual race). Don’t let cold or overcast weather trick you into thinking you don’t need to drink; I once became severely dehydrated in 35-degrees and pouring down rain. Water is a great choice for hydration, or the sports drink of your choice.  This is not the time to experiment with your beverages, stick to the tried-and-true sports drink used during training runs. Experts warn about over-hydrating (hyponatremia) which can throw off your electrolyte balance and put your life in jeopardy; listen to your body and don’t force water, if you’re not thirsty.  To get a benchmark on your level of hydration, check out this “pee chart” below which shows you the optimal range of urination colors.

Forty-eight hours and counting.  Two days out from the marathon, I suggest continuing the complex-carb and protein diet, but reduce the amount of fiber being consumed. You don’t want stuff moving through you too fast, if you know what I mean. The day before the marathon, consider eating your largest meal at lunch, not dinner. This gives you more time to digest the food, leaving you nourished but not weighed down in the morning. Continue to hydrate, but avoid alcoholic beverages and too much caffeine which could both leave you dehydrated. Also, if you are a “sweater” or the weather is warm, drink your preferred electrolyte beverage and/or salt your food more than usual.