Training for My Second Half Marathon by Kelly Ross



I was blessed to have Aimee as my personal trainer when I prepared for my first half marathon in 2012.  I had a customized 3-month calendar full of specific training targets which included running, cross training, yoga and massage.  In addition, because Aimee knew my body type (lets give a shout out to all my VATAs out there!!!), she was able to give helpful recommendations as far as fueling and recovery.

For my second half marathon, I continued to follow the same 3-month training for the most part, with a few tweaks along the way.



I am nearly a textbook VATA mind/body type.  To put it simply….I burn carbs like a match to tissue paper.  When I run, it is critical that I fuel properly BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER.  A tell tale sign for me when I have not fueled adequately before a longer run (5 + miles) is these insane cravings I will get mid-run for a hamburger.  As a result, it was critical that I fuel properly before any run over five miles.  My favorite way to do this was to use Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer powder coupled with half a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter.  Twenty minutes later, I hit the PAVEMENT.

I carried with me three or four GU chews that I would eat about half way through the run.  I tried the GU gel, but the texture was a little too gross for me.  GU chews worked best as long as I was not running UP any hills where my breathing and heart rate would accelerate. Hard to chew and breath heavy at the same time….not pretty. After any long runs, I ended with Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator powder and the other half of my bagel with lean protein like turkey or chicken breast.



Yes, I was diligent to run outside, on pavement, in the rain, wind, fog, and frost (I may rethink these November races in the good ole Pacific Northwest).   All I ever hear people say is how hilly the Seattle full and half marathon is.  I live in Snoqualmie Ridge, which is nothing but unavoidable hills.  The Snoqualmie Parkway, a total of about five miles of undulating hills became the perfect training ground.  Putting the parkway on my training schedule five to six times made all the hilly parts of the race very manageable.  Should somebody train on hills for the Seattle marathon…?. Absolutely!!!  If you train properly, the hills are very doable.  Undertrain, and you will fall back when faced with these hills.



As with most runners, hip flexors get tight, IT bands get stiff and all sorts of injuries can occur.  Me in particular, I suffer from a very tight right hip flexor.  The answer?  Found a fantastic massage therapist specializing in triathlon athletes. He targeted my psoas and lliacus muscles, which btw, will send you through the roof and want to kill any massage therapist when they work that area.  I swear my therapist would take cover every time he went there, for fear I may knock his lights out. Luckily that part of the treatment would only last about 2-3 minutes at which time the muscle would release and I was as good as new.



I struggled with this for my first race.  I felt like if I didn’t get one last long run (10 miles lets say) right before race day, I was not going to be prepared for those 13.1 miles.  But I listened to Aimee and trusted the process.  Low and behold, those 13.1 miles was very doable.  Did the exact same thing with my second half marathon with no issues.



Like I said earlier, I may step away from races that fall right after Thanksgiving in the PNW.  Both my kiddos get the snotty noses that time of year and are still forgetful about washing hands, making the Ross household a typical virus/bacteria magnet.  That said, I am diligent about building and supporting the immune system. Probiotics, ashwagandha, extra doses of vitamin C and eating with the season creates the healthy “terrain” so that when those pesky virus and bacteria knock on my door, I may get a sniffle for a day or two and that’s it.  And this DID happen during training.  As much as I just want to ignore the symptoms and continue training, this is when I would add an extra day of yoga and request immune support poses and movement from my instructor.



As January comes to a close soon, it is time to start prepping for a spring race.  I’ll follow the same training protocol as usual.  What excites me the most about this though is my training may start in the cold, wet, wind, but the weather will increasingly improve, as apposed to deteriorate.  Well, at least this is what I am telling myself!




Kelly Ross is a Holistic Health Coach with VIBRANCE Nutrition and Fitness. She is available for consultations on strengthening the immune system, getting kids to eat their veggies, getting moms to connect to themselves and their food as well as providing nutrition support for endurance events. 

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