|Run N Fun – St Paul, Burnsville
If you were to ask most of the guys I run with, they would say this is the only running store to visit. The Burnsville store just opened last year and their St Paul store was in the news due to a robbery. Their staff is extremely knowledgeable and experienced. The St Paul store, which I’ve been to a few times, covers 3 or 4 store fronts and offers quite a range of merchandise. Like most of the other stores they offer a great discount for local running clubs (I know the MDRA and USATF-MN). They have a Facebook group that shares photos, upcoming events, and information. Finally, Run N’ Fun is the choice of most of the local college teams.
|Marathon Sports – Minneapolis
This is probably the running store I’ve been in the most. The MDRA training groups have had special discounted events there. Most recently I won a gift certificate from the MDRA Annual Party. They are known for having a doctor in the store twice a month. They are also located a block from Lake Harriet. I’ve always been impressed with the staff and the products they offer. The last event hosted there included post-run bagels and drinks plus a special discount (larger than the normal MDRA).
|Running Room – Minneapolis, Burnsville, Woodbury, St Paul, Rochester, and Maple Grove
This is the closest store to our house and I’ve been there a few times. They are the most “corporate” of the specialty stores. Running Room is a chain of stores in Minnesota, Iowa, and Canada. I was not overly impressed with their staff the few times I’ve been there. But they have some amazing sales. One thing that sets the Running Room apart is their marketing machine. It helps to have the large corporate backing (i.e. not being family owned) but they have a monthly newsletter and sales.
|Gear – Edina
I’ve never actually been into this store. Some friends of mine really love it and say it is one of the best running stores. Here is their Facebook Fan Page. It is actually very close to Marathon Sports.
|TC Running Company – Eden Prairie
We visited this store one night for a Team USA-Minnesota event. Nothing really stands out to me about that brief experience. They sponsor a team and have an RV that makes appearances at races. Their Athlinks page has some great info.
As the gift-giving season of Christmas approaches here are seven ideas for the runner in your life. Oh wait, that is probably you. Let your gift giving friend see this list! The following links are to my reviews of the product so you can see what I thought before you add it to your list.
- I really enjoyed the Spirit of the Marathon movie.
- I continue to wear my Pearl Izumi Go Shorts.
- Hopefully you don’t need it, but if you have Plantar Fasciitis then I recommend the Strassburg Sock.
- I have really enjoyed my Garmin 205 and would recommend any Garmin watch that is 205 or higher.
- If you prefer to read I highly recommend Once a Runner by John Parker,
- for those with a sense of the spiritual side, Running the Sacred Art by Warren Kay,
- and don’t forget Blaine Moore’s book about Marathon Preparation and Recovery.
If you really like to read I’ve created an Amazon collection of recommended running books.
Whenever possible the posts contain links to my Amazon Affiliate account where I earn a very small % of each sale (which will hopefully help make my Christmas that much better – but probably not since I haven’t earned very much to date.)
If you wanna buy me a gift check out my Amazon Wish List!! hint, hint.
Coach Mike Nawrocki with MDRA’s 2009 Fall Marathon Training Class had some good words to say about tune-up racing for the marathon.
You may be asking, what is a tune-up race? It is a race you run between now and Labor Day weekend to simulate the race day environment of a marathon. I recommend some of the bigger races with fast fields, because that will be closest to what you will experience when the marathon comes around.
Why do a tune-up race?
a. Fourteen weeks is a long time to train without racing. A tune-up race helps break your training up into smaller pieces, so this training process won’t feel like such a grind.
a. Tune-up races may not be for everyone. If you are recovering from, nursing, or managing an injury, a race could very well be too risky in terms of aggravating this injury. Remember everyone’s second goal for this class: get to the starting line healthy.
c. No races after Labor Day. It breaks my heart to not recommend the MDRA City of Lakes 25k to everyone, because I serve on the MDRA board and have MDRA pride. But it’s just a tad too close to the marathon. Talk to Marty or me if you are interested in the City of Lakes race and we can decide together if it is a good idea. If your competitive streak is such that you are prone to racing hard no matter what, City of Lakes or any post-Labor Day race is just too close to the target marathon, as you may put wear and tear on your legs without enough time to fully recover.
The first “class” session of this year’s Fall Marathon Training program focused on three areas
1) Places to run in the Twin Cities Metro
2) Training Philosophy
3) Goal Setting
Where to Run in the Twin Cities Metro?
Of course I’ve written about great places to run, some of which Nathan included in his presentation:
Here are some links to the places he talked about:
- Minneapolis City Bike Routes
- Hennepin County Bike Maps
- St Paul City Bike Routes
- Metropolitan Council Routes
- Three Rivers Park District (lots of parks and trails)
- Fort Snelling State Park
- Afton State Park
- Minnesota Monthly lists some other bike trails
- Dakota County Parks – including Lebanon Hills and Terrance Oaks
- Kate Havelin’s Minnesota Running Trails book
Listen to the audio of Nathan’s presentation here. [audio:NathansRunningRoutes.mp3]
Marty and Mike talked about the training philosophy of this year’s class (I guess it varies slightly with each year’s coaches) and what we might expect. Marty mentions that he isn’t a huge proponent of using lots of fancy terminology or wasting money on expensive tests for things like VO2 Max or Lactic Threshold. He subscribes to a more “old school” mentality of getting the miles in and alternating between hard and easy runs. With a diverse group of athletes in the room, he said that we won’t work much on specific speed workouts but getting the long runs in and doing some hill training. We are hitting the hills much earlier this year than last and knowing these guys we’ll be doing some long runs on hills as well. Their goal, as stated later by Mike is to make sure we have fun and cross the finish line.
Feel free to listen to their sometimes humorous discussion here.
[audio:marty&miketrainingphilosophy.mp3] For some reason I can’t get this to work. Any suggestions? It is the same exact link as the one above… You can scroll to the bottom and listen to the full audio – this section begins about 16 minutes in.
Mike continued the evening’s discussion with a talk about goal setting. He used a simple pyramid diagram to show what the most important goals are. The three main goals of a training program are to
1) Have fun/good experience in the training program
2) Get to the starting line healthy
3) Finish (this is then split into 3 subcategories)
b) Target Pace – Double your 1/2 marathon time and add 10 minutes (similar to McMillian Calculator)
c) Dream time – This is a stretch goal that you shouldn’t even think about on race day until after the 1/2 way point and really start going for it after 20 miles.
Listen the audio of Mike’s presentation here. [audio:mikegoalsetting.mp3]
You can listen the complete audio (about an hour long from this first session here) [audio:July7MarathonTalk.mp3]
A tight IT Band is not a good sign. It needs to be stretched out and loosened up or it could turn into the dreaded IT Band Syndrome.
I was told my a massuse last year that my IT Band was extremely tight. So I started stretching it on a regular basis. I did some research and found this excellent information sheet about the IT Band. By a trained physical therapist it lists some of the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions of the IT Band.
I think most of us are most concerned about not having problems with it and could care less about some of the anatomy that surrounds it. She lists five keys to preventing ITBS – but they are actually almost identical steps to preventing any injury!
The list is:
– Slowly increasing mileage (no more than 10% a week or on any run), including adding hill workouts gradually. Downhills can add a lot of strain to the ITB.
– Keep the knees warm. Seems like if you are predisposed this might be helpful. She said below 60 – but above 40 I’m wanting to wear shorts.
– Cool down and stretch after a run. Ice if needed.
The article continues on and offers some stretches and strength training ideas specific to the ITB. For now you’ll just have to go read up on it.
[tags] IT Band, ITBS, iliotibial band [/tags]