Monday, October 24, 2016

Marathon Training Tip #16: Dominate Race Week

Congratulations!  You made it to race week!

Jon, Jen & Joe in 2015
You did all the hard work and logged all the miles.  It’s time to trust your training, let your body rest up and prepare for the big day.

If you missed a few training runs, don’t try to cram in extra miles or speed workouts before the race.  You are in taper.  Enjoy it.  Try to stay off your feet and avoid any extra activities that may tire you out or potentially injury you.  Take some time to put your feet up if you can.

Get to bed a little bit earlier every night this week.  Excitement and nerves often keep us tossing and turning the night before a big race but don’t panic.  It has been said that Ryan Hall broke the American Record at the Houston Half Marathon off of only a few hours of sleep!

Eat smart and stick to your regular diet.  Don’t try anything new—especially race morning and the night before the race.  Avoid spicy foods, seafood or anything with heavy cream that may upset your stomach and make sure you are hydrating throughout the week.

Arrive at the start line with a goal and a race strategy but be ready to adapt.  We all have good days and bad days.  What if Mother Nature does not cooperate or something goes wrong?  How will you recoup and finish the race when giving up is not an option?  I always say at some point of every race take a look around at all the other runners, volunteers and race supporters.  Everyone out there on the course has their own story to tell about their training and struggles.  Pull some motivation and inspiration from others around you.  Appreciate the run and learn from your experiences.

Thank you for following along!  If you missed any of our weekly training tips—from negative splits to strength training and kinesio taping, you can view them all by clicking on the Cape Cod Marathon tag:

Jen after the 2015 Cape Cod Half with race volunteer & Mashpee Fitness member Beth T.

Good luck out there!  Happy running!

Blog post by Jen Skiba.

About Coach Jen Skiba

Jen began her running career as a middle-distance runner for Falmouth High School and has been involved with the sport for over 12 years as a runner, official, race management, and coach.  A Mashpee Fitness trainer and Certified Running Coach through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), Jen enjoys working with runners in the gym and on the roads. “Whether you are a beginner looking to get started running or at the intermediate level hoping to improve your times or tackle new distances, I can help you reach your goals!”

Monday, October 17, 2016

Marathon Training Tip #15: Get Race Day Ready

Preparing for a big race can be very stressful. Here are a few things you can do during your training and leading up to race morning to minimize stress and help you arrive at the start line with confidence and ease.

Know the course.

Study the race course and elevation chart.  If you are local, try to incorporate parts of the course during your normal training runs.  If you are travelling for the race, try to at least drive over the course before race day.  Visualize yourself out there and come up with a plan of how to tackle the distance.

Check out the video below for Cape Cod Marathon specific race strategies…

Practice pre-run meals.

Training is the time to experiment with your food choices.  Before your long runs, simulate race morning.  See what time your race starts and practice running at that time.  (The Cape Cod Half starts at 7:30am, the Cape Cod Marathon starts at 8:30am!)  Every runner is different.  How early do you need to eat before your run?  Can you drink coffee before your run?  If you are staying in a hotel the night before your race, see what the hotel has to offer in terms of  breakfast—and how early breakfast opens up—and plan ahead if you need to bring your own meal.  Learn what works best for you and then continue to practice the same habits during training and then again on race morning.

Determine your race nutrition and fueling strategies.

Almost as important as your pre-run meal is the fuel you take during your runs.  If you are training for a 5k and possibly even a 10k, you won’t have to worry about fueling during your race.  If you are training for a half marathon or full marathon, this is a very important concept.

Step 1: Do your research.
Find out what companies are sponsoring the race.  (The Cape Cod Marathon is sponsored by CLIF with Fuel Stops at mile 9.25 for the half and mile 21 for the full.  Each water stop offers both water and Gatorade.)  You have 2 options—either train with what will be out on the course on race morning or bring your own.  Trying something new could lead to porta-potty stops mid-race!

Step 2: Read labels.
Check the serving size.  Some packages contain 1-2 servings.  For a half, you will probably want 2 servings.  For the marathon, 4 servings.  Also check the caffeine count on the labels.  Some have no caffeine, some have 2x caffeine.  Caffeine can affect your performance in a positive or negative way.  Again, see what works best for you and stick with it.

Step 3: Figure out WHEN you need fuel.
I have always stuck with the theory on the GU packages—15 before every 45.  I start around mile 3 and fuel every 45 minutes after that.  I personally could never get through 26.2 miles by only taking fuel at the mile 21.  It takes about 15 minutes for your body to start feeling the effects of your fuel so don’t wait until it’s too late.  Plan ahead and keep your body and your muscles happy.

Don’t rely on the expo for new gear or race nutrition.

Race expos can be fun.  Many big races have a lot of different vendors giving away free stuff and sampling products but don’t rely on the expo for your race day essentials.  What if you were planning to buy your race fuel at the expo and they are sold out?  Minimize the stress and come prepared.  Plus you’ll spend way more time on your feet walking around trying to find what you need when you should be resting for the big day!  It’s also never a good idea to buy new shoes or gear right before a race.

On a similar note, if you are flying to a destination race, plan to carry on your important items.  You just never know!

Do a dress rehearsal.

Decide what you plan to wear on race morning ahead of time and do a dress rehearsal.  Discover all the little nuisances that may affect your performance on race day like if your shorts ride up or if your sports bra is rubbing.  Make sure you have a good two to three weekend of running in new shoes before a race.  If you race in flats, wear them a few times before your race.  New or unfamiliar shoes on race day could lead to blisters and/or random aches, pains or strains.

Lay everything out the night before your race.

Try everything on and lay everything out the night before your race.  In big on to do lists so I make a checklist.  Shoes, socks, shorts, sports bra, shirt, deodorant, Body Glide, GPS watch, Road ID, hair tie, bobby pins, sunglasses, race number, safety pins, fuel, breakfast, etc.  Preparation means less stress when your alarm goes off.

Wear throwaways to the start.

It’s so important to not only warm up but also to stay way before your race.  Depending on the size of the race, you may spend a lot of time waiting around in the start corrals.  Cold, tense muscles can cramp up and increase your chances of injury.  Wear “throwaways” that you don’t mind leaving at the start line and keep them on as long as you possibly can.  Don’t have anything you want to part with?  Stop by a thrift shop for some cheap sweats.  Many of the bigger races will even collect clothes left at the start and donate to charity.

Take a deep breath.

You got this.  Good luck out there!  Happy running!

Blog post by Jen Skiba.

About Coach Jen Skiba

Jen began her running career as a middle-distance runner for Falmouth High School and has been involved with the sport for over 12 years as a runner, official, race management, and coach.  A Mashpee Fitness trainer and Certified Running Coach through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), Jen enjoys working with runners in the gym and on the roads. “Whether you are a beginner looking to get started running or at the intermediate level hoping to improve your times or tackle new distances, I can help you reach your goals!”

Monday, October 10, 2016

Marathon Training Tip #14: Prepare for Winter Running

The days are getting shorter and the mornings are getting cooler, darker and damper.  You’ve been training hard all summer and now is not the time to lose motivation and get stuck in a slump.  Even though fall brings change, it doesn’t mean that your running has to suffer.

Here are some tips to help you transition into fall and prepare for winter running…


Invest in a good jacket.
Look for a lightweight breathable jacket that is windproof and offers some protection against the rain.  This type of jacket will pull moisture away from your skin to keep you dry.

Dress in layers.
A good rule of thumb is to dress as if it were 15-20 degrees warmer.  It’s important that you don’t overheat because that can lead to excess sweating and chills.  Layer up so once you warm up you can start discarding layers.  Gloves and mittens are great accessories as a high percentage of heat escapes through your hands and feet and can easily be tucked away in a pocket or in your pants.

Avoid cotton.
Repeat after me… Cotton is evil.  No, seriously.  There is nothing good about running in cotton.  Find a good moisture wicking base layer as cotton will only trap sweat and keep it close to your skin making you cold and miserable.

Buy Yaktrax.
If you plan to keep running through the winter, Yaktrax (or a similar brand/product) is a must.  Great for running in the snow or icy conditions, you can put them on right over your normal running shoes and head out the door with confidence.


See and be seen.
As we keep losing precious daylight hours, you may find yourself running in the dark.  Make sure you have a headlamp or knuckle lights along with plenty of reflective gear to stay safe.

Run on the left side of the road.
It may sound like common sense to most runners but some still just don’t get it.  Run against traffic to see cars coming at you.  If a driver doesn’t see you, at least you see them and can jump out of the way if necessary.

Leave your headphones at home.
Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.  Music is often a major distractions and some of you can’t run without it but in many situations (dark, icy, etc.) it’s much safer to save them for the treadmill.

Run with an ID/ RoadID.
In a very unfortunate event that something may happen to you while out on a run, make sure you have an ID or some way to be identified.  I personally like the company RoadID—they make “Personal Identification Gear”—and I’ve made sure every runner in my family owns one.


Adjust your workout.
Your training plan may say one thing but Mother Nature is saying another thing.  It’s ok to take an extra day off or adjust your workout in horrible conditions.  Trust me when I say it’s not always worth it.  Find yourself taking a lot of days off?  Try running on a treadmill or even pool running!

Hydrate like it’s the summer.
Replenishing fluids is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer.  It’s easy to forget the need to hydrate in cooler and even freezing temperatures but your body is losing a lot of moisture trying to keep you warm.

Don’t skip sun protection.
The UV rays reflect off the water and snow and can cause sun damage to your skin and eyes even in the colder months. Always wear sunscreen, lip balm with SPF and a good pair of sunglasses.

Eliminate chaffing.
Cooler weather means increased layers.  This also can mean increased sweating and increased chaffing.  Find a product you love and trust like Body Glide or 2Toms to use in those problem areas so there are no surprises when you hop in the shower after that long run.  Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about…

Shield yourself against the wind.
Wind can make cold days feel even colder.  Heat escapes more rapidly and it becomes harder to generate heat.  Check out the video below for some bonus tips for running in the wind…


Join a club or a group.
Running buddies are great for accountability and support.  Visit your local specialty running store and ask if they hold weekly group runs.  You can also search the RRCA website to “Find a Running Club” in your area.

Sign up for some fun races.
During your marathon or half marathon training, it’s good to throw in some shorter races to test your fitness.  After your goal race, get a few more fun races on the schedule to keep you going.  I love a good themed holiday race like a Turkey Trot or Jingle Jog.

Remind yourself that it could be worse.
We all know what’s coming.  Take advantage of the good days.  Don’t make excuses now—get out the door and get after it.

Good luck out there!  Stay safe & happy running!

Blog post by Jen Skiba.

About Coach Jen Skiba 

Jen began her running career as a middle-distance runner for Falmouth High School and has been involved with the sport for over 12 years as a runner, official, race management, and coach.  A Mashpee Fitness trainer and Certified Running Coach through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), Jen enjoys working with runners in the gym and on the roads. “Whether you are a beginner looking to get started running or at the intermediate level hoping to improve your times or tackle new distances, I can help you reach your goals!”

Monday, October 3, 2016

Marathon Training Tip #13: Try Kinesiotaping

What is Kinesiotape and how can it help?

You’ve probably seen it in the Olympics, the “magic tape”, but what does it really do?

Kinesiotape is a multi-purpose tape that physical therapists will sometimes use to aide in rehabilitation following an injury. This tape can be used to assist muscle movements, inhibit other muscles, reduce swelling, reduce scar tissue, and improve overall muscle function and joint kinematics. Kinesiotape actually refers to a specific brand of tape, but in reality there are several other brands that offer similar benefits- Rocktape, and Bodytape for example. This type of tape offers much more mobility than other kinds of more restrictive tape which can be used to stabilize joints.

There are several different taping techniques that we use as physical therapists. If you have an area that is really swollen following an acute injury, we can actually basket weave the tape to assist with lymphatic flow. For this technique, you can cut the tape as shown- with strips, or “tentacles”. I recommend cutting 6-8 strips/strands if you’re using the wider (4 inch) tape, or 4 strips if you’re using the narrow (2 inch) tape. Find the area that is most swollen, and apply the tape with zero stretch over this area. Avoid applying the tape to sensitive areas (behind the knees, inner elbow, or face).

Here’s another technique we will commonly use if you are having knee pain. This technique works to more so stabilize your knee. You will need 3 strips of 2 inch tape for this technique. Cut one strip to about 2 inches in length, and the other two to 4 inches in length, then round the edges. Starting at the body area directly below your knee cap, anchor one piece of tape with no stretch on the ends, then apply 50% stretch as you encircle your patella on the inside. Repeat this procedure with your other 4 inch strip of tape, on the outside of your knee. For the final strip, you’re going to want to apply 50% stretch to the middle portion of the tape, and apply it directly below your patella.

Another technique that we commonly use in runners in this technique for plantar fasciitis/arch support. You will need 1 piece of 2 inch tape cut about 4 inches long, and 2-3 pieces cut 2-3 inches long. With your foot flexed (toes pulled up towards your shin), tape from the ball of your foot towards your heel. Then apply 2-3 strips at your arch. The middle of the tape should be stretched to 50%, then no stretch on the ends. You can also perform this taping technique (or have someone else help you) in a plank position in order to get your toe involved.

What if you have sensitive skin? Although skin irritation can happen, it is extremely rare. If you have sensitive skin, it is possible for you to have some irritation from the tape, but if this occurs gently take off the tape with soap and warm water. Generally, we recommend that you take the tape off after 3-5 days of wear. If you know you are usually sensitive to adhesives, you may want to actually take the tape off sooner.

Here are some general guidelines that you should follow if using this tape:

  1. Wear the tape for 3-5 days maximum at a time, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to wear for a shorter period of time.
  2. When removing the tape, do not just rip it off, this may damage the underlying skin. Instead, hold the skin, and roll of the tape. Soap and warm water, or baby oil can also be helpful in tape removal.
  3. You may wear the tape in the shower or in the water- but if it gets wet do NOT blow dry the tape- this will activate the tape and you could burn your skin.
  4. If itching or discomfort occurs with the tape, do not hesitate to take it off immediately.
  5. It is OK to exercise and perform all regular activities while you are wearing the tape.
  6. If the skin surrounding the tape is showing redness/irritation remove the tape immediately.
  7. If the skin under the tape starts to feel numb/tingly remove immediately.
  8. Do not tape over numb areas or areas with poor sensation.
  9. Shoes/socks/other clothing can be worn over the tape- never apply the tape over clothing.
  10. Do not use tape over areas where you’ve been treated with radiation, or if you have history of cancer without first checking with your doctor.
  11. Tape comes in different colors/patterns, feel free to choose based on your color preference. The color and/or pattern of the tape has no bearing on the strength or effectiveness of the tape.

As always, if you are unfamiliar with taping, or are unsure if taping could benefit you, make sure you have a physical therapist show you how to apply the tape properly. If you are taping yourself, and you’re experiencing pain or itching- take it off!

How to Kinesiotape for Knee Pain

How to Kinesiotape for Foot Pain, Plantar Fasciitis & Arch Support

How to Kinesiotape for Swelling of the Foot

Blog post by Tiffany Sadeck.

About Tiffany Sadeck PT DPT CSCS

Tiffany is a member of the Cape Cod Rehab Running Team with a Doctor oh Physical Therapy degree.  She is also a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist with a long history of running which began her freshman year of high school.  A 3-season athlete, Tiffany was captain her junior and senior year and went on to run Division 3 Cross Country and Track & Field at Springfield College.  She competed in events ranging from the 800-2 mile and high jump.  Tiffany began running longer distances up to the marathon two years ago and would like to help runners to help better times and meet goals while preventing injuries and maintaining a fun, friendly training environment.