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Written by Leana Lai. Leana is a 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon Ambassador and avid runner. You can learn more from her on Instagram at @lerunssf  

 

For a lot of us running enthusiasts running The Biofreeze san Francisco Marathon, race weekend in itself is a big event. I like to plan my days leading up to the big day in order to physically and mentally prepare myself to conquer 26.2 miles around San Francisco’s neighborhoods. In addition to that feeling of accomplishment when crossing the finish line, I also like to plan out my post-race rewards. Whether you’re coming in from out of town or a Bay Area native, here are my Top 6 Musts for Race Weekend:

  1. Enjoy the Race Expo

If your schedule allows, I highly recommend getting to the expo early. Not only are there fewer crowds, but that way you can take your time walking through everything and really enjoy it. Go get your race packet first so you’ll have your bib on hand to take some pre-race pictures. Then fill up your goodie bag with vendor samples as you try out all the new products. Don’t forget to purchase your fuel of choice for race day — there will usually be at least one running store vendor on hand with a variety of options! Also, check out the schedule for guest speakers. There’s sure to be some interesting topics and inspirational stories throughout the duration of the expo. Finally, before you leave, stop by the course info booth to meet some of your race ambassadors and/or pacers to get insightful tips on the course and ensure there are no race day surprises (we also love meeting new people in the running community, so don’t be a stranger)!

  1. Carbo load at Boudin or one of North Beach’s best Italian restaurants (I recommend the Homemade Italian Company)

There’s a good chance if you’re running the full or ultra marathon that you already started carbo loading at the beginning of the week, but why not finish just as strong as you do on the race course and indulge in some of San Francisco’s best restaurants? Boudin is a San Francisco staple and their infamous sourdough bread dates back to 1849. Their clam chowder bread bowl is always a solid choice, but honestly, anything made with their sourdough bread is winning. North Beach is full of great Italian restaurants, and while I could go on and on about the pizza at Golden Boy or Tony’s, my carb of choice is pasta. My go-to for pasta is the Italian Homemade Company, which serves up the most amazing gnocchi with pesto, and their lasagna is some of the best I’ve ever had.

  1. Bus Tours

Let’s be real, you’re going to be pounding the pavement for quite some time on Sunday morning, so save your legs, but still see all the things San Francisco has to offer. MUNI/BART and our infamous Cable Cars can be great options for getting around without walking our entire 7×7 mile grid of a city, but a bus tour can help you get to those more out of the way locations. Plus, even though you’ll be passing by a lot of these iconic landmarks on your run, this way you can take your time and enjoy it without thinking about the seconds ticking away on your finish time. 

  1. Refuel

For many people, half the fun of running all the miles is getting to eat back all those calories that were burned. If beer is your drink of choice, remember to grab some Sufferfest Beer once you cross the finish line. If you’re looking to try some more of San Francisco’s local brews, check out 21st Amendment, Anchor Brewing, Cellarmaker, or one of my local favorites for craft brews, Black Hammer Brewing. If brunch is more your thing, there’s a lot of options downtown within walking distance of the finish line. However, if you’re willing to venture out a bit, I’m quite partial to Mission Beach Cafe, Plow, and Nopa. Just be forewarned that brunch is an event in San Francisco and reservations are either not taken (it’s on a first come, first served basis), or reservations should be made well in advance. 

  1. Recover and Relax

The great thing about San Francisco races in the summertime is that Karl the Fog usually visits us in the morning, cooling us off during those early start times, but then he burns off just before noon! Take advantage of the weather and enjoy some of the outdoor summer events going on later in the day! Off the Grid Presidio Picnic is a local favorite for gathering together friends and family for a picnic filled with games, sunshine, and food trucks! Or maybe you want to enjoy Golden Gate Park instead — hang out at Spreckels Temple of Music, nestled between the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museum. The Golden Gate Park Band is scheduled to have a “The Magic of Disney & Pixar” Concert in the Park that afternoon on race day.

  1. Enjoy the greater Bay Area

Maybe you’re from out of town and want to cover as much ground as you can while in the Bay Area or maybe you just want to escape the city hustle and bustle for a day. If you have a chunk of free time during race weekend, consider getting a car. You can drive North up to Napa/Sonoma wine country or make your way to Tomales Bay for the oysters and other fresh seafood. Stinson Beach is also another popular choice for a more low key version of the Mt. Tamalpais area. You can also drive South towards Half Moon Bay and enjoy some picturesque driving down Highway 1. There are lots of seaside restaurants and shops along the way.

The post 6 San Francisco To Do’s During Race Weekend appeared first on The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

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Written by Jeanne Corey Marchand. Jeanne is a 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon Ambassador and this 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon will be her 5th consecutive year running! You can read more from her on Instagram at @jeannecorey64 

 

 

Running a marathon takes a good solid training plan, dedication, commitment, and most importantly, ‘Mental Toughness’. 

 

There are ways that I’ve learned to distract my mind from the pain of those last miles in a marathon and bring my mind somewhere else.  I’ve run 60 marathons and I wanted to share some tricks that work for me. This isn’t something that I learned overnight, but from the experience of many races.  When I first started running I used to call those negative thoughts ‘the demons’ and found if I allowed my mind to get carried away with the negative thoughts, I was doomed.  When I find myself slipping and allowing the “I can’t” or “I’ll never finish” thought in, I have to pull some of these tricks out:

 

  1. Dedicate each mile:  I dedicate a mile to someone and make sure I let that person know which mile is theirs.  The night before the race or my long training runs, I make sure to call each of them and say “I’ve dedicated mile 21 to you” so please think of me at 9:30 am when I need your strength. During that specific mile I think of that person and think of 10 things about that person that makes me laugh, or 10 things that I love.  Next thing you know, that mile is gone. It’s time for the next person.

 

  1. Mantras:  Saying a mantras over and over to keep your legs going also helps.  Things like “Never give up”, “you are strong”, and “you are a machine” are only a few.  NEVER allow any negative thoughts to come into your head and pull you down. Always believe in yourself. The marathons where I hit the wall is when I allowed those negative thoughts into my head.  When they start, sometimes I’ll yell out loud “STOP”! Sure, I may get a few strange looks, but I keep going and that’s all that counts!

 

  1. Sing the Ant song:  Yes, for those of you who know me and have run with me you may have heard me sing this, if you have not, here is a great tip.  If you sing “The Ant’s go marching” times through it’s a mile. (You need to include the boom, boom, booms)  This song has saved my butt more times than I can count! (PS-google the song if you’ve never heard of it).  Trust me, it works!

 

  1.       Count Steps:  I also count steps.  I look ahead and pick something out in the distance. Then I count how many steps it takes for me to get there. The last time I ran the San Francisco I counted steps to get me up the hills!  My husband noticed I would start to take off and he yelled to me, “Hey – are you counting steps?” because when I do, I tend to speed up and forget I’m running. Yes, I did say “forget I’m running” because if you can tap into that sweet spot in your brain that can separate pain and focus on something else, it will make all the difference in the world.  As you build your miles in training, I want you to try some of these techniques! I’ve read running a marathon is 90% mental and the rest is physical. I’m a true believer!

 

  1. Lastly, enjoy the marathon: Take in the scenes, read all the signs, high-five every kid and smile for the cameras! Make sure you write your name on your bib so if you do start to slow down you’ll have plenty of people cheering for you by your name! And just remember that it’s not about your finish time, it’s about finishing and finishing STRONG!

The post Mental Toughness | How To Get Through Long Mileage Runs appeared first on The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

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Written by Kayla Giacin. Kayla is a survivor of a brain tumor during her childhood. She is running the 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon on behalf of Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF) as well as raising awareness along with two other children’s brain tumor survivors, David Cuadro and Jake Noone. If you’d like to contribute to David, Jake, or Kayla’s runs, please visit CBTF’s team page: CBTF Crowdwise Page

As you can imagine, being diagnosed with a brain tumor creates many challenges, but also many opportunities to find meaning in parts of life that others might not.

 

Jake, who is tackling the Ultra-marathon notes that running is an outlet for him “…a place to escape the normal stresses of life and the hectic pace of living in New York City. It’s also a form of active meditation where I can reflect on where I have been and where I intend to go.”

Jake Noone | Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation

It gives survivors the motivation to try something new.  David was three years old when he had his tumor diagnosed and removed. “Twenty-three years later, I find myself wanting to run marathons. I want to run for something other than myself.” 

David Cuadro | Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation

It helps survivors to fill voids a brain tumor diagnosis may leave them with. 

“Your physical self-changes after a brain tumor diagnosis,” says Kayla. “Running helps me to bridge the gap between the mental and the physical aspects of life in order to create balance.”

Kayla Giacin | Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation

Each of these survivors chose to run for CBTF because they know how important it is for families and survivors to have support post-diagnosis.

“I am one of the fortunate children who was given a second chance at life,” says Jake. “ I wake up every day knowing that there are children out there far worse off than I was and that their families are enduring things that words can simply not express. I run for them.” 

“As a survivor, to be able to be any sort of inspiration for kids and families that went through what I and my family went through made it all a perfect fit,” says David. “The Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation gave me the opportunity to give back to a community that I am apart of and that I could raise awareness for.”

What many people might not know is that life after a brain tumor doesn’t mean you are home-free. Kayla shares that as a young adult, she lacked independence that her peers had and often felt very isolated, but CBTF changed all of that. 

“After I attended their Young Adult Heads Up Conference in 2011, my world opened up. I developed beautiful friendships and relationships meeting my boyfriend, also a survivor. I began working for CBTF and moved to New York City. Knowing what their support has done for me makes it crucial that I can help other survivors experience the same thing.”

Every survivors’ story and source of motivation can vary greatly, but David, Kayla, and Jake all agree that their experiences are what helps keep them running. 

If you’d like to contribute to David, Jake, or Kayla’s runs, please visit CBTF’s team page: Crowdwise Page

The post How The Running Community Gives Back To Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation appeared first on The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

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Written by Amy Biviano. Amy was diagnosed with partial complex epilepsy in 1997. She is a member of Athletes vs Epilepsy, and raising funds to help find cures and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy. This year she hopes to raise funds to find a cure of Epilepsy and share the message by running the Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon. You can read learn more about Athletes vs Epilepsy through her fundraising page.

I had my first grand mal seizure right after graduating from high school, while working as a counselor at a Girl Scout camp. It was terrifying, both for me and the girls in my care. When I received my diagnosis of epilepsy, I didn’t know what I would be able to do with my life. I had worked so hard and was about to start college at Yale University, but had no idea if my brain was up to it anymore. I had no idea when the next seizure would strike or how the medication would affect me. I didn’t know if I had a future. I felt like I had no control.

But I am a very lucky woman. While it was an enormous challenge at the beginning, I was able to do well in college. I met an amazing guy who has stayed with me and supported me through it all. Andrew and I started dating right away and this year we will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary. We’ve been through a lot, including brain surgery in 2003 and two high risk pregnancies that gave us two amazing, strong, active sons.

I became a runner in 2011 as a way to feel strong before another surgery that year. Previously a couch potato, I started the Couch to 5K program and totally fell in love with the sense of power and freedom that running gave me. It was super hard at first, fighting through extra weight and doing something that felt totally different than anything I had ever done. I was never an athlete, so at the beginning walking for 30 minutes was a challenge, especially since we live in a hilly part of Washington State.

But the more I pushed through, usually walking up hills and running down them, the stronger I felt. The stronger I felt, the more power over my body I had – a totally new feeling. And the more I conquered something I originally struggled with, the more confidence I gained. I have taken that confidence and become more resilient. I still have seizures daily, mostly while I sleep, but I am able to have a rewarding career as an accountant in an organization that advocates for people with disabilities and mentor others with seizure disorders.

Running is now a central part of my life and identity. I have run 17 marathons and 5 ultras to date, including my most recent celebration of life: running 26 miles to celebrate the 26th anniversary of my epilepsy diagnosis this May. I also run my age on my birthday every year; I’m excited to do 45 miles this November.

I run with the Athletes Versus Epilepsy program of the Epilepsy Foundation, raising money for research. The latest stats say that 1 in 26 of us will have epilepsy in our lifetime; that’s more than autism, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s combined. It still remains one of the least funded for research. We need to learn more about our brains and help the millions of folks with this disorder! Visit my fundraising link here: Amy’s Athletes vs Epilepsy Fundraiser

The Biofreeze SF Marathon will be extra special to me as a big accomplishment before my next epilepsy operation. I have a pretty rare type of seizure disorder and the docs at UCSF are the internationally recognized experts in my field. So, with their permission (I promise!) I’m running the Double Up Challenge on July 27th and 28th, then checking into the hospital 8 days after the marathon for brain surgery. Wish me luck!

The post Running To Find A Cure Through Athletes vs Epilepsy appeared first on The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

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By Christine O’Connell. Christine is a 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon Ambassador, lover of all things Disney and Christmas. You can learn more from her on Instagram at ChristineHasTheRuns

Always a runner, never a volunteer. That was the case for me until I had three weeks of back to back racing and while I thought about signing up to run the next local race, I decided it was best to recover. Still wanting to join in on the excitement of race weekend, I thought of the next best thing: to volunteer. There is so much behind the scenes work that goes into organizing a race. From volunteering at the expo all the way through to race morning, I came to appreciate all volunteers that have ever handed me water or fuel, answered any questions I had, or simply just gave me a smile and said “way to go” along the course. During races, I try to make a conscious effort to say “thank you” whenever possible but sometimes fatigue sets in on races and that is not something I always do as my energy declines. After volunteering for the first time, I now will say “thank you” to volunteers no matter what my state during races and definitely am going to volunteer at future running events.

If you are a past volunteer or are thinking about volunteering in the future, I highly recommend it. Here are some awesome reasons to help influence your decision:

  • Meeting really cool people you might have never otherwise met (I met a lovely runner who was going to be racing for her 10th year straight – I was so fascinated by her perseverance and dedication.)
  • Learning about other vendors at the expo (this is where I fell in love with Gu energy gels – I was able to sample all of the fun flavors without having to purchase full packages to see what I liked!)
  • Picking up some free samples and/or swag (I have so much swag from expos – socks, sunglasses, tote bags – you name it)
  • Free volunteer shirt!
  • Seeing friends along the course (I knew some people were running but was actually amazed at how many other people I saw while cheering that didn’t know were running so it was a pleasant surprise to cheer them on as well.)
  • Relief to runners knowing that you are there to support them (since running is as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport, it definitely helps when you see a friend who needs that last bit of energy to power to the end of the race)
  • Understanding what goes on before, during, and after races (all the behind the scenes work really made me respect the race that much more)
  • Sometimes volunteering for a race/organization will get you free entry into a future race.

No matter what, please thank volunteers over and over and over again! They can never be thanked enough, and they are working just as hard as the runners are during a race.

The post Why Volunteering At Races Makes You More Grateful appeared first on The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

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For anyone who’s ever bonked during a workout, the feelings of dizziness, heavy legs and brain fog are things you want to avoid at all costs! “Bonking” or “hitting the wall” are both commonly used terms to describe a sudden and sharp drop in mental and physical energy during exercise.

Running coach & exercise scientist Greg McMillan shares his top 5 training & nutrition strategies to help you avoid the dreaded wall!

1. Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable

Your blood sugar levels determine your energy levels. When your blood sugar fluctuates, your energy does the same. If you have big swings in energy, you are much more likely to become fatigued during a sustained effort. Fueling before your run with simple carbs like bananas, bagels & sports drinks or gels will cause a big initial spike in blood sugar, followed by a crash.

Fueling with slower-burning carbs before your run will help keep your blood sugar stable, giving you steady energy for a longer period of time. Try a serving of UCAN Performance Energy, powered by SuperStarch, 30 minutes before your run for steady, long-lasting energy with no spikes and no crash.

2. Happy Brain = Happy Body

If you have a significant drop in blood sugar, then your brain will not be happy and it will start to tell you that you can’t continue. This can be one of the causes of hitting the wall. If you can keep your brain happy so it doesn’t perceive your race pace for the race distance as a significant threat, it will help power your body along to the finish. Finding a fueling strategy that keeps your blood sugar stable will help ensure that your brain stays happy too!

3. Become a Better Fat Burner

We all have exponentially more stored fat available as fuel compared to stored carbohydrate (glycogen). By restricting the intake of simple sugars before and during long workouts, you can tap into your body’s fat stores and use them to fuel your workout. Pairing this nutrition strategy with long, slow runs or carbohydrate depleted runs for advanced runners promotes efficient fat burning. Avoiding blood sugar & insulin spikes post run also promotes better fat burning, so try to avoid the simple carbs and sugary foods immediately after a workout to keep the fat-burning going!

4. Find and Improve Your Bonk Point

To find your bonk point, see how long it takes to run until exhaustion in training.  Bonking isn’t just about fatigue. It’s the point where you cannot maintain your pace and have slowed significantly. To improve your bonk point, start challenging it every seven to 14 days. Advanced runners, who have proven that they can complete a distance and want to finish faster, can improve their bonk point with no-carb runs lasting 80 to 90 percent of their bonk point.

5. Happy Stomach

A lot of runners find that their stomach can’t handle the traditional fueling recommendations of taking in fast-acting carbohydrates like sugar-based gels, chews, and drinks every 15-20 minutes. That same gel that tasted great at mile 3 often doesn’t taste the same at mile 12. When you experience GI distress during a sustained effort, it’s difficult to consume the fuel you need and his puts you at a much higher risk of bonking.

Many of the athletes I coach fuel with a slow-burning energy source like UCAN pre-run, which allows them to refuel less frequently during the run. A typical UCAN fueling strategy includes 1 serving of the UCAN Performance Energy powder 30 minutes pre-run, and an additional serving every 75-90 minutes during the run. So you’re consuming fewer calories and minimizing your chances of GI distress, but you’re still able to maintain steady energy levels.

SAVE 50% + FREE SHIPPING ON UCAN

ABOUT COACH GREG MCMILLAN

A runner, exercise scientist and coach, Greg McMillan has a unique ability to combine the science of endurance performance with the art of real-world coaching. He has a masters degree in Exercise Physiology where his research focused on the determining factors of distance running performance. He has coached Olympians, Boston Marathon qualifiers as well as new runners through charity marathon groups. He offers online coaching and training plans at mcmillanrunning.com

Coach Greg McMillan of McMillan Running

The post 5 NUTRITION TIPS TO AVOID THE BONK! appeared first on The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

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By Stephanie Laska, San Francisco Marathon Ambassador, Author of the #1 Bestseller – DIRTY, LAZY, KETO Getting Started: How I Lost 140 Pounds.

The marathon distance is intimidating. Throw in the hills of San Francisco and even the most experienced runners get a little queasy thinking about registering to run 26.2 miles! As a veteran of the Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon, I’d like to share five surprising facts I wish I knew prior to running my first marathon:

Secret Number One: It’s not like you’re trying to win. Sure, the elites are in it to win it, but what about the rest of us? If you’re like me, finishing strong, improving your time or simply crossing the finish line might be enough. That’s okay! You will earn the exact medal and run the same path as the Olympians and winners of the race ahead of you. Your personal goal is really all that matters.

Secret Number Two: There is more than one way to train. When I prepared for my first marathon, I followed a beginner’s training schedule of running three to four days a week with some lazy vacation days mixed in. My colleague, on the other hand, was much more hard-core, running every single day, rain or shine, for months. Did one of us have a better experience than the other? Nope. We both finished at the same time! Follow a training schedule that fits your personality and lifestyle for an ideal first marathon experience.

Secret Number Three: Running gives back. I never expected running to change my life as much as it did while training for the Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon. With the many hours I put into distance training, I received a wealth of gifts in return. Friendship, stress-relief, and problem-solving are just a few life-changing prizes that running offered me in exchange for my miles.

Secret Number Four: Long runs are transformative. I expected running for hours on end to be exhausting, but boy was I wrong. The weekly “long runs” were surprisingly exhilarating. I looked forward to increasing my distance week after week like a kid counting down to Christmas morning. There was an insane feeling of accomplishment I felt after running a distance that was further than I had ran before. Not only did I fall into “the zone,” but I consistently experienced an addictive “runner’s high” – what a cool reward for the effort!

Secret Number Five: Confidence. After finishing my first Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon, with all of its glory and anguish, I felt a surge of confidence in myself that I had never experienced before. Suddenly, doing the impossible wasn’t impossible anymore. Being awarded the finish line medal gave me courage to take on even more challenges. I felt unstoppable, brave… fearless! After finishing my first Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon, I was more prepared to tackle even greater challenges in my personal and professional life. There was nothing I couldn’t do.

Running the Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon was one of the best decisions of my life. This transformative race means more than just running across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, (which is totally awesome, by the way!), it’s a chance to prove to yourself that you can accomplish a goal bigger than anything you’ve taken on before. Join me on Sunday, July 28, 2019 for the race of a lifetime.

The post Five Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Marathon appeared first on The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

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Dr. Lisa Gonzales is a 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon Ambassador, and a 7-time pacer for the Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon and 5-time pacer for the Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon. She is a head coach for South Bay RUN365 club and is USATF certified.

Would you like to start a run with a little simplicity and focus? Need to head out with clarity of purpose that helps you be laser focused? Time to use a phrase to inspire your run.

And there’s a pretty basic way to do it.

One phrase. Your mantra. A mantra is a phrase or a singular word that adds belief and power to get you through discomfort, pain, or even boredom while running.

Think of phrases that make you feel strong and focused. Maybe it’s a verse from a song. Maybe it’s a quote from the “Little Engine That Could” (just kidding, but not really). Over the years, I’ve coached many runners who had that little something that fueled their runs, especially on those  last 6.2 miles in a marathon.

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

“Don’t stop believing, hold onto the feeling.”

“Stay focused, run hard.”

“Go faster, push harder.”

“I’m a machine!”

Repeating the phrase over and over helps steer your mind from negative to positive thoughts. Much like yoga enthusiasts use mantras in moves or meditation, that “ohm” time does help to refocus.

For example, practice the mantra “beast mode.” On each footstrike, say one word. Left, right, left, right: beast, mode, beast mode. Or a three word mantra: left, right, left becomes kick, some, butt. Kick, some, butt.

Think this is malarkey? Think again.

Many very visible organizations, such as Pepsi and the Atlanta Falcons, and many smaller ones, such as the Gettysburg College women’s lacrosse team and Santa Clara University men’s basketball team, have gone through the “phrase”  process over and over, renewing their sense of purpose year after year.

It starts with you. One phrase. Big impact. Your run needs your attention!

The post How to use mantras while running appeared first on The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

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Written by Leana Lai. Leana is a 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon Ambassador and avid runner. You can learn more from her on Instagram at @lerunssf

 

When I originally started running it was something I kept for myself. It was my quality time with my thoughts and a way to relieve any stress I had gathered from the day. While I still sometimes enjoy a nice solo run, I could never have foreseen all the positive benefits of running with your friends.

Here is 6 reasons why it is better to run with friends:

1. Quality time to catch up and enjoy each others’ company

I’m lucky enough to have quite a few friends now who run and enjoy a nice little tour through the city streets on a cool weeknight or beautiful weekend morning. A lot of them I don’t see on a regular basis, so an excuse to combine a training run with some catch up time is perfect. We’re all so busy with work, family obligations, travel, and other hobbies, it’s an efficient use of time for both of us! Also, for a lot of people, physical activity can help stimulate your thoughts — another reason why running is a great way to unwind from the day.

2. Someone to nerd out with about everything running

How many times are you able to talk about that awkward chafing going on? How you’re trying to test out new nutrition because a certain product sits uneasy with your stomach after mile 5? Or how to avoid those mid-race port-a-potty visits? Unless you’re with another runner, those opportunities are probably very rare. However to us runners, these are things that matter. We like to get opinions from other runners who may have more experience or an insightful take on the subject. Plus, we all love to talk about things we’re passionate about and running is no different.

3. Someone to give you that extra push to go faster or that motivation to keep going when you just want to quit

As much as I want to believe us runners LOVE running, sometimes it’s a challenge. However, that’s what is so great about running with a friend. They can challenge us to go faster than we ever thought we could go. Don’t have that fast friend? Running clubs are also great for this reason. There’s always a variety of pace groups (officially or unofficially) and you can choose to either cruise with your comfort pace group or you can push yourself to keep up with those speed demons. Are you struggling to get yourself to go farther than a certain distance? Runner friends are also great for this. They can help you to push through those mental and physical boundaries. Also runner friends typically know the best way to motivate you, whether it’s food bribes or words of encouragement.

4. Accountability, a reason to “keep showing up”

One of the problems with working out in general is that it’s difficult to get started. Sometimes the most difficult part is putting on your running shoes or waking up early in the morning to get in that run before work. Even seasoned runners can fall into a rut where they just don’t feel like running. Sometimes those breaks are needed, but sometimes we just need another reason to “keep showing up.” Having a friend to run with means having an accountability partner you won’t want to let down by not showing up for your scheduled run.

5. The miles go by faster!

There are days when I look at my training plan and just cringe at the sight of a long 20 miler. Lucky for me, I have met so many running friends through RUN365 that I can just look at that weekend’s meeting place and distance and deduct that from my total mileage. It makes that week’s long run that more enjoyable when I know I only have to endure X number of miles on my own. Don’t have an established training group? I’ve seen many runners put out an open invitation for their friends to join them for their long runs. Social media is a great outlet for that.

6. A way to broaden your circle of friends and meet more of the running community

If anyone told me two years ago that I would be surrounded by a community of runners who inspire me on a daily basis, I wouldn’t have believed them. I started small by going to a local running store’s fun run by myself on a random Tuesday evening after work. From there, I met other individuals who also attended other weekly fun runs. I started seeing the same familiar faces who later became my friends. We run together throughout the week, we enjoy rest days together, we share race knowledge with each other, and we push each other to go for our goals.

The post 6 Best Things About Running With Your Friends appeared first on The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

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Written by Amber Smith. Amber is a 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors and running our full marathon for the first time! You can learn more from her on Instagram @beimomenti-story .

When I decided to run a marathon, I didn’t think about it… I just registered. To be honest, I knew that if I had thought about it then I would procrastinate on registering. I would figure out a million reasons why running a marathon was such a bad idea. But now that I have made the decision to do it,  I think why not run a marathon? I have nothing to lose by doing it and everything to gain. My main goal is about focusing on the finish line.

Currently I am training for my first marathon which is the 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon. I am already learning so much from this training season that I would like to share the top 5 things that have helped me 12 weeks out till race day.  

  1. Mindset.  My number one priority leading up to race day is having a positive mindset. This has helped me to keep going even when I got tired or didn’t feel like running. It is easy to tell your mind all the reasons why you can’t run today. I have just trained my mind to realize when an excuse comes up to just put my shoes on anyway.  Having a positive attitude and giving yourself mental high fives along the way training or running will take you a long way. Another fun thing I do when I’m out running is to give a high five to fellow runners I pass. It’s really helped give me that extra motivation and confidence to know I’m cheering other runners on as well.
  2. Find a training plan that fits your lifestyle.  I researched, used apps, and played around with different training plans. I found that you just have to find one that fits your lifestyle. As I was figuring out my training schedule 100 days out, I actually received an email from On Running with a subject line of “First Timer’s Guide To Marathon Running.” It was perfect timing to implement this plan into my marathon training schedule and I loved how it fit into my lifestyle. I especially liked how simple the training plan was to follow.  
  3. Strength training.  Strength training helps you perform and feel better as a runner.  It helps strengthen muscles that you don’t use while running and can correct muscle imbalance that can help you run better. If you are going to run and do strength training on the same day, remember to lift first then run.
  4. Run a half marathon first. I am so happy I ran a half marathon prior to running 26.2 miles because it allowed me to learn from my mistakes from the first race. Now I can implement what I learned in my training for the full marathon.
  5. Study the course.  I have been to the Bay Area many times and that is why I chose to run the Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon. I love the city and the sights. I’m especially excited to enjoy these landmarks on race day. Being able to run long distances with beautiful sites I have never seen before gets me motivated to accomplish such a big goal. Since I’m not from the Bay Area, I have been studying the Biofreeze SF Marathon course. I am finding that obstacles I might be up against  are the notorious San Francisco Hills. I use these findings to better prepare what to work on before race day. I highly suggest if you live outside of the Bay Area to visit the course before race day. I recently was in San Francisco and ran on one of the areas of the course. I learned that there was an incline while I ran across the Golden Gate Bridge. I completed the total distance of 3.5 miles from one end to the other. It was one of the areas I was most excited and most fearful about. Now this has given me the confidence that “I can” run it before race day. Another thing I learned from running in San Francisco was how my body negatively reacted to humid climates which caused a heat rash. Now I know to dress in cooler clothing and feel much more prepared for race day.

I hope some of the lessons I learned as a first time marathon trainee will help you as you prepare for the 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon. It’s such an exciting and crazy decision to make. But know if I can do it, then so can you!

The post 5 Things I’m Doing to Prepare For My First Marathon appeared first on The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

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