Hitting Your Stride

Getting ready for an endurance run is just as much a mental process as it is a physical process.

Here is an all-inclusive guide on revving up for the 2016 Cowtown Marathon, including local runners’ tips, pre- and post-race meal suggestions and the latest-and-greatest running gear.

Personal Records Local marathon runners share tips on getting ready for the marathon and how they got the running bug.

Callie Caldwell, Fourth Grade Teacher with Aledo ISD
After running in the Cowtown 10 times, Callie Caldwell is an expert at championing mega-mile races. She says that her group of running buddies keeps her motivated.

Greatest Benefit of Running: “Mental health. I need to get outside and be alone with my thoughts or visit with friends. Running is a great way to do both.”

Ideal Running Conditions: “I like 5 mph winds, 50 degrees and the sun shining.”

Training for a Marathon: “Long runs started at eight miles back in August and are now up to 23 miles. Once we get up to 15 miles, we go down to 10-12 the next week to rest our bodies. We try not to do two super-long runs in back-to-back weeks. I had to do 20 and 21 in back-to-back weeks, and the 21 did not go well! Three or four shorter runs per week with Bearcat Bootcamp twice a week for strength and core.”

Preparation the Night Before: “I lay out clothes, shoes, race bib and all nutrition for the race. I eat lean protein with a baked potato and bread for carbs.”

Morning of the Race: “I eat a plain bagel with peanut butter and banana with bottled water. I have one cup of coffee with half-n-half and Sweet’N Low. I carry with me Honey Stinger brand organic energy chews. (Pomegranate is the best flavor, but I also like cherry blossom, pink lemonade, and orange.) I also carry ChapStick and Ibuprofen.”

Running Mix: “My favorite running songs include ‘Holla Back Girl,’ ‘Rocky’ theme, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and ‘Til I Collapse.’”

Favorite Gear: “I love Mizuno Wave Inspire running shoes. Necessary gear includes a good sports bra, great shoes and Vaseline to prevent chaffing.”

Post Race Plans: “I celebrate after the race by going to lunch with running buddies and families. Last year was Dutch’s burgers.”

Sara Verheyen, Accountant at Burgher Haggard
This will be the fourth year that Sara Verheyen has run in the Cowtown. Her motivation this year is to complete the set in the three-year Cowtown medal series.

Greatest Benefit of Running: “Physical health and the ability to think and reflect without any distractions.”

Ideal Running Conditions: “I would say around 50 degrees and not too windy!”

Night Before the Race: “I review the race course, set out all my clothes and gear, and try to get to sleep at a decent time.”

Pre- and Post-Race Meals: “On the night before, I eat pizza or pasta and drink lots of water. The morning of, I eat simple carbs like a banana or a few handfuls of Cheerios and a glass of water. Sometimes I have a few sips of coffee.”

Favorite Running Gear: “Brooks makes the best running shoe. I like the SPIbelt to hold fuel and a car key. I also like either wearing a Garmin or having the Nike run app so I can get updates on my distance and pace.”

Jaedeanne Shaver, Senior Training & Development Specialist at Alcon
Jaedeanne Shaver is running for her third time this year. After tearing a calf muscle recently, Shaver’s goal is just to finish.

Greatest Benefits of Running: “Primarily keeping myself healthy, but also another big benefit for me is getting an opportunity to have some “me” time. As a single mom who works full-time, running is often my opportunity for silence, solitude, and an escape from the daily routine. My boyfriend is also my running partner, so it’s a nice way for us to get some quality time together amidst our busy schedules.”

Ideal Running Conditions: “Fifty degrees, sunny and no wind on a course that is just slightly downhill the entire way. We all can dream, right?”

Training for the Marathon: “I follow a training plan that includes long runs with increasing distances on the weekends, shorter runs throughout the week, cross-training days (I like to do spin and barre workouts) and the much-needed rest days.”

Pre- and Post-Race Meals: “Carb loading is really best if you do it 24-48 hours before the race, so the night before the race I try to eat a little lighter with a lot of protein. I might have a salad, grilled chicken, quinoa and two glasses of wine. The morning of the race, I will wake up early enough to eat a banana and a piece of toast with almond butter with my coffee.”

Running Mix: “I used to listen to music during my runs, until I did an IRONMAN 70.3 (you aren’t allowed to listen to music during those events), so I began training without music to get used to it. I enjoy running without music because I feel more in-tune with my body, my surroundings and nature.”

Favorite Running Shoe: “I personally like Altra running shoes. They are zero-drop minimalist running shoes with a really wide toe-box. They have worked great for me and have prevented the typical injuries I used to get with traditional running shoes.”

Post-Race Plans: “A cold beer while sitting in an ice bath and weeping silently. And after that, another cold beer with some Mexican food and friends!”

Course of Action

Cut It in Half:
About a month before the marathon, run a half marathon. It’s good training and can be a powerful mental lift.
Dress the Part:
It’s important to have proper running shoes and attire. Another smart tip is to race in your marathon clothes before the big day to make sure they don’t irritate your skin.
Like Clockwork:
Run at the same time of day as the start of your marathon. Your body’s rhythm, including bathroom routine, will sync with your race day needs.
Loosen Up:
Before you begin, do some gentle stretching. Concentrate on the calves, hamstrings, glutes and lower back. It’s also great to jog in place and keep the heart rate slightly elevated.
Slow and Steady: Keep things conservative until at least the halfway mark. If you feel good at mile 18, that’s the time to get aggressive. Mind Games:
Do challenges in your head to take your mind off the big task ahead. Try to sing a song from start to finish or calculate what percentage of the race you have completed. Play games.
Strength Training: Incorporating weights and circuit training can help build lean muscles and burn subcutaneous fat in the body.  

Eat and Run
Nutrition and food is part of the preparation. Making several small modifications can lead to significant changes.

1. In this case, carbs are your friend. They provide the body the energy it needs to fuel muscles and the brain. It’s important to make the right carbohydrate choices. Consider complex carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, rolled oats, beans, farrow, millet and edamame.

2. Eat breakfast a few hours before starting your run. If you don’t, your energy levels decline more quickly. At the very least, consume a sports recovery drink or liquid food like Boost or Ensure.

3. Don’t forget to hydrate along the way. Sports drinks have advantages compared to water in providing fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes, the most important being sodium. Find out how often your marathon will have aid stations, and practice drinking at that rate. If you don’t run with fluids, place bottles along your training route.

Power Tools
Sometimes it’s that extra cushion in your step, elevated comfort level or favorite song that get you across the finish line.

Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless $139.99 These wireless sports earbuds have in-ear heart rate monitoring capabilities optimized for running.

Saucony Triumph ISO 2 $150 The recently released Triumph ISO 2 is already rocking the running world. These shoes feature EVERUN, the latest and greatest in cushioning construction.

New Balance Heat En Route Jacket $119.99 Warmth plus stretch makes this a must-have for The Cowtown. Featuring New Balance Heat technology, this jacket captures warmth and wicks moisture.