Monday, November 14, 2016

How I Trained for the Boston Marathon Running Three Days Per Week

I always wanted to run the Boston Marathon, so when Stonyfield approached me about running it, it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t refuse. I was only 3-months postpartum and running just a few miles at a time– often with lots of walking breaks mixed in– so I really didn’t think I could run 26.2 miles. Obviously, physically, it was going to be a challenge, but, as a brand new mom, making time to properly train definitely wasn’t going to be easy. In the end, it took a village for me to run the 2015 Boston Marathon, but what ultimately helped me run a good race was my training plan (linked below), which was provided to me by the running coach working with Stonyfield at the time.

Prior to beginning my 14-week marathon training plan, I was running at least two times per week with a jogging stroller (2-5 miles) and then once without, which was typically a longer 60 to 90-minute run. I also did KFIT/CrossFit classes 2-3 times per week.

My marathon training plan included three days devoted to running with a few days of cross-training mixed in. The runs were time-based and included a mix of long runs, medium-length tempo runs/Yassos/hill workouts, and shorter runs. The 3-times-per-week schedule allowed me to train without injury and in a way that didn’t require me to rearrange my entire life, which was especially important with a tiny baby. Basically, running 3 times per week was totally do-able, so I stuck with it and felt completely prepared for race day.

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MY 14-WEEK MARATHON TRAINING PLAN

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 1 & 2

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 3 & 4

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 5 & 6

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 7 & 8

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 9 & 10

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 11 & 12

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 13 & 14

TIPS & ADVICE

COMMIT to your training plan

Obviously, this is easier said than done, but two things in particular helped me stick to my training plan. 1) Remember that race day is going to SUCK if you don’t train well. Running 26.2 miles is no joke. It’s hours and hours of time on your feet, and it’s going to be really rough if you’re not prepared for it (been there, done that). When you’re only running 3 days per week, every training run is important to your success on race day. 2) Do everything in your power to make committing to your plan possible and easier. More on this below…

Schedule your training runs and ask for help (if you need it) 

These two things went hand-in-hand for me since I was a new mom and couldn’t just head out to run whenever I wanted. To ensure that I stuck to my plan, I scheduled my runs on a shared Google calendar with my husband, so we were both on the same page when it came to my training. I also made sure to stick to a fairly consistent schedule each week, so my training didn’t take over our lives and my husband was still able to work out. For instance, on Tuesday nights, you could always find me running on the treadmill at KFIT (because there was 8+ feet of snow outside – no joke) while my husband watched our little guy at home. Again, fitting in my 3 training runs every week was essential.

Be aware of over-training

Even though I was only running 3 days per week, I ended up over-training at points during my marathon preparation. At one point, I was running three days a week and doing KFIT/CrossFit workouts three days a week, which was just too much for me. Thankfully, I didn’t get injured, but I constantly felt tired and sore. Obviously, this training schedule didn’t give me enough time to recover, so I listened to my body, took more rest days, and prioritized my running. I ended up cutting back on my KFIT/CrossFit workouts to twice a week and then just once a week during the really high mileage times in my training plan to ensure that my body was both happy and healthy.

ADDITIONAL POSTS OF INTEREST

My 2015 Boston Marathon Race Recap

4 Things I’m Doing to Prepare for Marathon Training

How to Balance Running and CrossFit

It Takes a Village (for Me) to Run a Marathon

Marathon Training: Why I Didn’t Gain Weight This Time

My Favorite Winter Running Gear



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Dear Mark: Transdermal Magnesium and Vitamin D/B12 Products for a Vegetarian

Inline_Dear_Mark_11.14.16For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. The first one concerns transdermal magnesium. Does it work? Can magnesium actually permeate the skin and enter circulation? Probably. And for the last question, I provide a bunch of examples of natural products—foods and behaviors—that can increase vitamin D and B12 levels for an ailing vegetarian.

Let’s go:

Mark, what’s your two cents on transdermal magnesium? I take between 200-600 mg mag glyconate daily. I then add mag chloride via ‘magnesium oil’ to my shoulders and anywhere my muscles are tighter than usual. Anyone else use the mag oil or gel?

I like it.

If you rely solely on the scientific literature, there isn’t a ton of strong evidence. But there is evidence.

In one study (PDF), subjects took daily 12-minute epsom salt (containing magnesium sulfate) baths for a week straight. After a week, magnesium levels had risen significantly in most subjects. Those who’d already had replete magnesium levels saw their urinary excretion increase, suggesting that excess magnesium does get absorbed but not retained. Epsom salt baths also provide bioavailable sulfate, a hugely important but underappreciated mineral in our physiology.

Topical magnesium chloride (the kind used in magnesium oil) has also been shown to increase serum levels of magnesium in human subjects (PDF). Subjects were given 20 sprays of magnesium chloride to the body and took a 20-minute foot bath in a magnesium chloride solution. They did this every day for 12 weeks. Hair mineral analysis showed that participants increased magnesium levels by nearly 60% and improved their calcium:magnesium ratios. I don’t know how else you’d explain the results if the magnesium isn’t being absorbed.

A study from earlier this year found that magnesium ions can permeate through human skin using the hair follicles.

And topical magnesium does something. Plenty of studies suggest this.

Adding magnesium oil to calendula cream sped up infants’ recovery from diaper rash.

Women with fibromyalgia were given magnesium chloride oil and told to apply 4 sprays to each limb twice a day for 4 weeks. By study’s end, pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms had improved.

The whole premise of Dead Sea Salt therapy is predicated upon the minerals passing through the skin. And it works.

I don’t use it all the time, but I have noticed that spraying magnesium chloride oil several times on my rib cages and inner arms before bed gives me extremely vivid dreams. Is it “good” or “beneficial”? I don’t know. But the effect it has on dreams—plus the way it causes skin to tingle where applied—suggests the mag-chloride is bioavailable.

I’m not sure how “necessary” topical magnesium is. But if it is important, it’s probably emulating the ancestral environment, where we often bathed, frolicked, and swam in high-magnesium water.

Hi Mark, I am a regular visitor of your website and love your tips. Can you please help me with some natural products which can help in increasing vitamin D and B12. My husband is a vegetarian and suffering from severe deficiency of these vitamins. – Anita Gupta

In severe deficiency, you need to shore things up with a supplement. Vitamins B12 and D are extremely important for neurological health, immune function, cancer prevention, and maintenance of basic health. You don’t want to mess around.

There’s a chance your husband has impaired intestinal B12 absorption. In that case, try 1 mg/day of sublingual methylcobalamin, which will bypass the intestinal tract and pass directly into the bloodstream. Chris Kresser has a lot of experience treating B12 deficiencies in vegetarians, and his recommendations will probably help.

Okay, natural products? Let’s go. Not all will be vegetarian (I have many readers for whom this info is useful), mind you. But I also won’t be recommending fermented bull blood or anything so egregiously carnivorous.

For vitamin D…

Sunlight: UVB light is a “natural” substance “produced” by the sun, so I’d say it qualifies. Midday sun has the most vitamin D-producing UVB light. Be sure to sun safely and effectively though. That means getting plenty of sleep, eating lots of phytonutrients, emphasizing monunsaturated and saturated fats over polyunsaturated fats, and getting some omega-3s every day.

Sunbathing mushrooms: Mushrooms turn sunlight into vitamin D2. I’m serious here. Scatter a handful of fresh mushrooms across a cookie sheet and place it in the midday sun for up to two days.

Egg yolks: A pastured egg yolk contains about 10% of your vitamin D RDI. I’ve seen high levels (250 IU per egg) in brands of “engineered” eggs, where the chickens are given highly structured diets of algae, specific grains, and other ingredients to boost nutrients.

Grass-fed raw milk: Cows naturally pick up vitamin D being out on the range exposed to the sun, and it shows in the milk. But the pasteurization process significantly reduces the vitamin D content of milk. If your husband eats dairy, try raw for awhile.

On the off chance that your husband is a pescetarian:

Cod liver oil: Most cod liver oils these days replace the naturally-occuring vitamins D and A with synthetic ones. Those are better than nothing, but it’s more preferable to use a cod liver oil that still contains the natural compounds. Dropi, Sonne’s, NutraPro, and Rosita’s cod liver oils all contain the natural vitamins. Fermented cod liver oil is another choice, albeit one with a lot of controversy.

Sockeye salmon: Wild sockeye salmon is extremely high in vitamin D, with a single filet providing almost 1000 IUs.

Sardines: Sardines provide about half the vitamin D as salmon, but that’s a lot better (and less expensive) than other fish.

For B12…

Egg yolks: A pastured yolk is going to have more B12 than a standard yolk. And again, I’ve seen those same engineered eggs with about 2-3x the B12 content of regular yolks.

Oysters, mussels, and clams: Bear with me here. Hear me out. Oysters and other shellfish do not have central nervous systems capable of perceiving what we call pain. And they are incredible sources of vitamin B12. If you can get over the fact that they are technically animals, you can get enough B12 for the week with a few ounces of clams.

That’s about it for today, folks!

If you’ve got anything to add to my answers, leave it in the comments below!

Thanks for reading.

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Spiced Up Soufflé

This post is sponsored by the National Milk Life Campaign 

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It’s time to start thinking about what dishes will grace your holiday table this year! Every year I have hosted, I look for new twists on old favorites. My mom often made this soufflé for our holiday dinners, and it’s one of my favorite dishes that she makes. It’s light and airy in texture but buttery and creamy in flavor. I was excited to make my own version of the recipe and spice it up with jalapeños and Pepper Jack cheese.

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While I wouldn’t call this recipe simple, it’s not very difficult either. And it will surely impress your guests as a fantastic side dish, whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or a holiday season brunch.

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While this recipe is rich enough to be a crowd pleaser, it is full of nutritious ingredients too. Goodness comes from four cups of fresh spinach, fresh jalapeños, a lighter amount of cheese than usual, and convenient, versatile milk. I used low fat milk in this recipe because it’s something I already had in my fridge and already use on a regular basis for drinking, smoothies, cereal, and more. It’s one of the most common real foods, and I feel good about using it given its wholesomeness, nutrition profile and simple ingredient list.

Milk is a food that has stood the test of time as a fresh, nutritious staple in recipes. As we think about the many years Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving, milk was very likely present at many of those dinners in various forms. As an original “local food,” milk typically takes only 72 hours to get from farm to table. And it’s special to me to use it in this recipe my family has passed down and serve it back to them.

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To get this recipe started, preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 7-inch soufflé dish with the end of a 1/2 stick of butter.

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Cook your de-seeded, minced jalapeños in some cooking oil until tender. Wilt the baby spinach on top, and set aside.

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Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.

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Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat.

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Once melted, stir in flour and cook until bubbly.

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Stir in 1 cup milk and continue stirring until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with pepper.

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In a clean bowl, whisk egg yolks for one minute. Whisk in butter, flour and milk sauce. Add spinach, jalapeños, and cheese. Mix to combine and allow cheese to melt.

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Stir about 1/4 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and very gently fold together.

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A little at a time, fold all of the egg whites in and pour into greased soufflé dish.

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Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is brown and puffy.

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Spiced Up Soufflé

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Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 1/2 stick salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 jalapeños, deseeded and minced
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 7-inch soufflé dish with the end of a 1/2 stick of butter.
  2. Heat a skillet with cooking oil to medium heat and add jalapeños. Cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once melted, stir in flour and cook until bubbly. Stir in 1 cup milk and continue stirring until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with pepper.
  4. In a clean bowl, whisk egg yolks for one minute. Whisk in butter, flour and milk sauce. Add spinach, jalapeños and cheese. Mix to combine and allow cheese to melt.
  5. Stir about 1/4 of egg whites into the yolk mixture and very gently fold together. A little at a time, fold all of egg whites in and pour into greased soufflé dish. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until top is brown and puffy. Serve with your beverage of choice, whether that’s a cold glass of milk, a lovely latte, or a glass of wine at Thanksgiving dinner.
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spiced-up-souffle

Thanks to the National Milk Life Campaign for sponsoring this post! Follow along for more milk fun on the Milk Life social channels: Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram.



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