BUENA PARK, Calif., Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With major marathons occurring this month in New York, Philadelphia, Fresno, Fort Worth and dozens of other U.S. cities, the 26.2 mile distance is looming for thousands of runners. But conquering that many miles is a daunting challenge, even for elite athletes like Kara Goucher, one of the world's most renowned distance runners.
Goucher, a top U.S. marathoner and World Championship bronze medalist has faced many of the challenges common to female runners – or just runners – at all levels, including battling back from injury, feeling the frustration of performance plateaus, and juggling life as a new mom with a busy training schedule. Goucher, Amway's NUTRILITE spokesperson shares her secrets to becoming a better, happier, healthier, and more fulfilled runner in "Kara Goucher's Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons," including:
- Don't Be Scared: You are just as capable as anyone else.
- Go Public With Your Goal: You may want to keep your marathon aspirations on the down-low, but sharing your commitment with others will help you keep it.
- Train the Simple Way: Two short runs (5 miles or so each) during the week and a long run on the weekend. Extend the long run one mile each week until 10 miles, then 2 miles a week until 20.
- Train Day to Day: Don't look ahead to the end goal, just work on reaching each week's distance.
- Take in Fluids: You need fluid and energy replacement to keep your blood sugar up and your stored carbs (glycogen) going to your hardworking muscles when you run long runs. I'm a big fan of NUTRILITE® ROC2O Sports Drink Mix, which rehydrates you, has carbs and replenishes electrolytes (sodium and potassium) lost during long runs.
- Pick the Right Marathon for You: There are hundreds around the country to choose from. Big, small, hot, cold, hilly, flat – choose the one that suits you and your training best.
- Do it for the Right Reasons: Because you really want to. Not because your friends are running a marathon or you think you won't be considered a "real runner" unless you run 26.2 miles.
- Set a Realistic Goal: For your first marathon, just focus on finishing, having a positive experience, and learning things that will enable you to run your best marathon in the future.
- Have a Plan B: What if the marathon you've trained for falls on a day with weather way hotter than anticipated, or torrential rain? Good to have a back-up marathon that you can run instead.
- Allow Enough Time to Train, But Not Too Much: Twelve to 16 weeks is typically enough time to gradually increase your endurance, anything longer can lead to injury or just plain burn out.
- Eat foods you normally eat on the evenings leading up to your race. Now is not the time to try out new dishes or new restaurants.
- Eat a carbohydrate-rich breakfast that's easy to digest like cereal with toast and juice; pancakes or a bagel with eggs.
- Bring plenty of fluids and snacks with you to the start, as some races require you to be there hours before the gun goes off.
- Run With a Pace Group: Most marathons have these and they don't cost a thing – you don't even have to sign up. When you get to the start, look for the group that's planning to run the time you're planning to run and run with them. You'll stay on pace and benefit from the group energy.
- Don't Overdress: Most marathons start early in the morning when it's cool, but don't make the mistake of thinking you'll be chilly the entire race. A top and shorts is usually best.
- Protect Your Eyes and Skin: You'll be outside for three to six hours so a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must.
- Secure Everything: Double-knot your shoes, make sure your ponytail is tight, sports bra in place, fanny pack adjusted, and stopwatch set to zero. It's tough to adjust mid-race.
- Start off Easy: Hold back the first 10 miles or so and conserve energy, even if you're feeling great. You'll need it later!
- Be Aware of Those Around You: Just like driving on the highway, you're surrounded by traffic. Don't tailgate, do a head-check before shifting lanes and be alert.
- Be Prepared for Quiet: Sounds crazy, but sometimes during a marathon you can feel almost bored. Aside from the beginning and end, it's not a high-octane extravaganza. Relax and enjoy.
- Count Down the Miles Starting at Mile 20: "6 miles to go, 5 miles to go..." Smaller numbers getting smaller is much more motivating than focusing on all 26 miles.
- Believe in Your Training: I often use the mantra of "I have trained, I am ready," as a brief, positive message to get me through moments of doubt.
- Hold the Line if Things Go Bad: Everyone has bad runs, for whatever reason. Try inserting regular walk breaks to get through the tough spots.
- Or Just Run to the Next Tree: Also useful when you feel the wheels coming off ... rather than think about the miles you have to go, just focus on getting to that tree, or the yellow house coming up. You can cover a lot of ground that way.
- Let the Pampering Begin: If you have the energy for the awards ceremony, try to do that. Otherwise, head home or to your hotel to chill and take a rejuvenating shower.
- Rest and Replenish: You'll want to get your rest after expending so much energy. Something I've added to my routine – during training and post-marathon -- is NUTRILITE Restore Drink Mix, which is a Strawberry Lemonade drink mix you take at bedtime that has a blend of natural ingredients that can help you relax and get a good night's sleep.
And .2 … because it's probably the most optional but still a great idea -- Bring a Lightweight Camera: Especially for your first marathon, you'll want to document the experience. Just be careful while getting it out and taking your shot.
About Kara Goucher
One of America's finest distance runners, Goucher rose to national prominence at the University of Colorado in 2000, where she became the NCAA Outdoor Champion in 3000 m and 5000 m, and the NCAA Cross Country Champion.
Goucher made history at the 2007 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Outdoor Championships by winning bronze, the first American medal ever in the women's 10,000 meters. On the world stage in Beijing in 2008, she finished 10th in the 10,000 meters, setting a personal record and becoming the third-fastest 10,000-meter runner in U.S. history. She also finished third in the 2008 New York City Marathon, a debut record for an American woman and the best by an American woman in New York since 1994. Goucher then won the 2009 Lisbon Half Marathon and placed third in the 2009 Boston Marathon, before taking 2010 off from competition to have her first child. She has since finished 5th in the 2011 Boston Marathon in April and most recently finished 13th, while battling an hip injury, in the 10,000-meter race at the 2011 World Track and Field Championships in Korea in August.
Goucher lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband fellow American runner and Colorado alum, Adam Goucher and their son, Colton. Goucher is currently training for the 2012 games in London.
About the NUTRILITE Brand
NUTRILITE is the world's leading brand of vitamin and dietary supplements.* Amway is so committed to total quality control of its plant concentrates from seed to tablet, it offers the only global vitamin and mineral brand to grow, harvest, and process plants on its own certified organic farms.** NUTRILITE farms are located in California, Washington, Mexico, and Brazil.
Amway North America also recently signed two- time professional football MVP Kurt Warner to a multi-year endorsement agreement to represent the entire NUTRILITE product line, including vitamins, minerals, dietary supplements, as well as weight management, sports and energy products, protein bars and sports drinks.
Established in 1959 as a seller of household cleaners, Amway expanded and diversified over the years and today sees its sales led by NUTRILITE food supplements, herbals and vitamins and ARTISTRY® skin care and cosmetics. Amway has helped millions of people lead better lives through consumer products, business opportunities and generous sharing with the AMWAY ONE BY ONE CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN® program. The company reported annual sales of $9.2 billion for the year ending December 31, 2010.
*Source Euromonitor International Limited; Vitamins and Dietary Supplements, World, Retail Value RSP, 2010.
**Source Euromonitor International Limited; Based on 2010 RSP sales (US$) of Vitamins and Dietary Supplements (VDS) across all retail channels. VDS includes mineral supplements, fish oils, dietary supplements, tonics and bottled nutritive drinks and child-specific vitamins and dietary supplements. "Global Presence" for a brand is defined as having at least a 0.1% regional value share in at least four of the seven global regions. To challenge the claim, brand owners must at least partially own and control the production process, from farms where ingredients are grown to the plants where the brand is manufactured. Brand owners must not only own farms where inputs used in the manufacture of a brand are planted, grown and harvested, but these farms must also be organically certified. Based on Euromonitor research for Amway Corporation. To the extent permissible, Euromonitor does not accept or assume responsibility to any third party in respect of this claim.