Training Tips

Helpful hints for a healthy life throughout the seasons.  wise and wonderful words from our coach, Alysun:


It’s still summer and we could still run into some warm weather…Remember to HYDRATE!!!

How much should I drink?

  • Shoot for at least 2 liters (2 quarts or 8 cups or 64 oz) of fluid  to meet your baseline needs.
  • To account for fluids losses from exercise, drink an additional 2 cups (or 16 oz) of fluid for every pound lost during your workout.
  • Or, to calculate it another way…try to drink about 2/3 oz per pound body weight every day.

Should I drink during exercise?

Yes! Try to drink 5-8-oz fluid every 15-30 minutes (or about every 2 miles).  If you wait until you’re thirsty, you have already lost 1-2% of yor body weight which can significantly impair your exercise performance and your body’s ability to cool itself.   We will have water and Gatorade at practices so that you can practice hydrating and running/walking for race day.

What should I drink?

Daily : Your daily fluid intake can include water, juices, milk, tea, sports drinks, and any other non-caffeinated beverages.  It’s okay to include a cup or two of coffee or other caffeinated beverages each day, but because caffeine can act as a diuretic, don’t count it as part of your overall fluid intake.

During exercise…

  • For shorter distances (say less than an hour), you should be Ok with water.
  • For workouts longer than an hour, choose sports drinks to help maintain your energy and electrolytes. Try out different brands and flavors to see which ones you like and can tolerate. And find out what they’ll be serving along the course on race day so you can test it out ahead of time.


  • Sports drinks or juices provide concentrated sources carbohydrates, electrolytes as well as vitamins and minerals will help you get a jump on repleting your carbohydrate stores.
  • While it might not quench your thirst, chocolate milk is a great way to replenish your carbohydrate  and electrolyte stores and at the same time, give you the benefit of a little protein…Olympian Michael Phelps is a believer in the magic of chocolate milk!  Chocolate milk…It’s the Phelpsian thing to do!

Remember…With hydration,.there is no off-season.  Hydration is a lifestyle!

Training Tip of the Week:

I’ve gotten a few questions about this…What does it mean when it says to “cross train” on the schedule?


Cross-training is often thought of as a way to prevent injuries (which is definitely is), but it can also actually improve your fitness, build strength, promote recovery between workouts, enhance your motivation, and introduce you to other activities that you may enjoy.

What would be an appropriate cross-training activity?

  • Choose a low-impact, aerobic workout, something that will get your heart rate up but protect you from the pounding that  your lower body is experiencing in your walking and running workouts.
    Examples:  Biking, swimming, rowing, stairmaster, elliptical machine

What if I don’t have access to a pool or bike or gym?

  • Runners may consider going for a walk or hike.
  • Walkers, if you don’t have any other alternative, then do something to vary your usual routine…try a different route…take a shorter walk…walk in the morning instead of the evening or vice versa…
  • Choose a soft surface like the dirt trail around Green lake or the arboretum.

Other options?

  • Consider adding an activity such as weight training, pilates, or yoga
  • While not necessarily aerobic, these activities help build strength and flexibility which may help your performance on the days that you do walk or run and, in fact, may end up being just as beneficial to your overall sense of health and well-being.

You’ll be amazed at how much fitness you can gain and how much fresher your legs (and attitude) will be if you include a little cross-training in your life!

For more information, check out this link….

Runner’s World’s Eight Benefits of Cross-Training,7120,s6-238-263–7420-1-1-2,00.html




Training Tip of the Week

Looking for a training route?

Check out these websites: and

These are great sites to confirm the distances of your usual training routes…sadly all of mine turned out to be 0.14 miles short, but with the help of this website, I was able to figure out very quickly how I could pick up an extra 0.14mile to make my runs complete and official.  It’s also fun to check out what courses other  people in your area are training on, and it’s an excellent resource if you’re travelling and want to avoid being stuck on a treadmill while you’re on vacation.  You can find routes pretty much everywhere!

Since there are so many routes that have already been plugged into these systems, it can be a little cumbersome and overwhelming trying to find what you’re looking for…A couple of helpful hints:

  • The routes are listed based on distance…so knowing the general distance you’re looking for can be quite helpful.
  • Try using the hybrid and sattelite maps if you have trouble finding the streets and trails you’re looking for.  They offer a whole different view and are very cool!
  • Archive the name of your route with a name you’ll be sure to reme



Training Tip of the Week:   Martin Rudow

For those who missed Martin’s clinic last Saturday, I thought I’d give you a little recap of the high points.  Of course, you might be thinking, “I’ve been walking my whole life…what could I possibly need to know?”  Developing proper technique will actually help increase your fitness by allowing you to work harder. It will also help prevent injury…and, for you competitive types, it’ll help you move faster and improve your times.

Here are some key tips from Martin:

1. Maintain good posture…

Keep your chin tucked and shoulders back. Think tall…like there’s a string connected to your head and someone is pulling it up straight. Try to keep a neutral spine…When you have to stop during your workout (say at an intersection), use this as an opportunity to do a “posture check.”

2. With each step…

Your heel should touch the ground first. Reach out your leg with your knee, heel, and toe pointed forward in the direction you’re headed. This should be a smooth movement as you roll over the ball of your foot onto your toes. Be careful not to overstride.  Try to keep your form efficient with quicker turnover.

3. Use your arms..

Try to maintain a bent arm position (at about an 85-90 degree angle), swinging your arms close to your body, and raising your hands no higher than chest level.  For best efficiency, your arm swing should not cross the midline of your torso.

4. Breathe normally…

This should help you stay well as allow for proper oxygen flow to your muscles and your brain!;-)

5.If you’re interested in improving your time…

Try doing your workouts at a track. On the straight-a-ways, pick up the pace and then slow down, while still maintaining your form, on the curves.  Be sure to begin with 10-15 minutes of easy walking to warm up and finish up with another 10-15 minutes of easy walking to cool down.



Training Tip of the Week

Now that the weather’s changing, what do I wear??

I know…I know…I hate to be the one to bring it up, but as the weather starts to turn on us, you’ll need to start thinking about appropriate training attire. Keep in mind that wearing cotton shirts and pants to exercise in will only make training more difficult and unpleasant. With it’s tendency to retain moisture,  cotton clothing will only leave you feeling colder, wetter, and probably heavier by the end of your workout. It’s also more likely to result in chafing. There are many new materials out there that are designed to keep you warmer and drier while still allowing you to enjoy your exercise regimen in the great outdoors.

Interestingly, you’ll find that most of these materials contain polyester or some kind of polyester blend…Polyester is very effective in “wicking” moisture away from the body and, being a very smooth fabric, it can help reduce friction against your skin.  It not only keeps you warmer in cold weather, but will keep you cooler in warm weather. Keep this in mind not only when looking for workout shirts, shorts, and pants, but also with socks.  Cotton socks, which will hold in moisture, are much more likely to cause blisters. Look for socks made from something else, a synthetic material like polypro or even wool, to help reduce your risk for blistering.

Most of these items are more expensive, but in the end, I think you’ll find that you’ll get a lot of use out of them and find training more pleasant with the appropriate gear…You can find appropriate training attire at pretty much any running or walking store or at places like REI.

For more guidelines, the Runners World website offers some good suggestions for choosing apparel based on the weather and the way you like to feel during your workout:,7152,s6-240-325-330-0-0-0-0,00.html

Listed below are a few places recommended by fellow Team Transplanters that offer great training clothes at reasonable prices:

  • The Brooks Outlet Stores (Bothell and Auburn)
  • Seattle Running Co. (Capital Hill, Seattle) You’ll get a 20% discount on Discount night and then 10% at other times
  • Everyday Athlete (Kirkland) Same deal.

Other good running stores in the area…



Training Tip of the Week…

Safety…always a timely topic but as the days are getting shorter and the weather, grayer, and with all of the scary “Breaking News” stories, it’s important to make sure that we’re doing our part to stay safe and visible while training.  Here are some tips from

  1. Face the traffic: If a bike path or sidewalk is not available, and you have to walk/run on the road, go in the direction facing oncoming traffic.  That way you can see what is coming at you.
  2. Dress correctly: If you have to train in the dark, make sure you’re dressed to be seen. Drivers at night or early mornings are rarely on the lookout for walkers or runners so you need to do your part to make yourself visible. Wear light-colored or reflective clothing like shocking-pink or brilliant orange. Many brands of running shoes have reflective material on the heels, and tracksuits, bibs and rainsuits can now be purchased with reflective strips. Reflective belts are also extremely useful as they are easily noticed by drivers, and can be worn with little or no discomfort. The worst type of clothing to wear while training in the dark is a blue, black or navy tracksuit or T-shirt, which renders the walker virtually invisible to traffic. If you don’t have reflective gear or light colored clothing, pull a white T-shirt on over your other apparel.
  3. Train with someone: There’s safety in numbers and training partners will not only make your workouts more enjoyable, they’ll also make you a less desirable target. If you’re forced to go solo, always let someone know where you’re going and when to expect you to return.
  4. Walk/Run defensively. Don’t assume that all road-users know about the ‘pedestrian has right-of-way’ rule. Many don’t. This is includes bicyclists as well as motor vehicles.
  5. Leave the valuables back home. The only accessory you need is a wristwatch with a stopwatch function.
  6. Vary your routes: Don’t establish regular patterns by walking or running the same route at the same time each day. Keep one step ahead of any would-be attackers by varying your routes and the times that you go out. Not only is it safer, but it’s a lot more interesting!
  7. Self-defense: Some individuals carry hand-held spray devices that contain mace or something similar. These are designed to fit comfortably in your hand, are very light and easy to use. Just make sure that if you do need to use it, the wind is not blowing into your face at the time.
  8. Carry ID: Always carry some form of identification in case of an accident or medical emergency. If you are away from home on holiday or business, make a note of the address where you are staying.
  9. Keep right: If you’re walking or running on a cycling or pedestrian path, always walk on the right hand side so that faster walkers, runners and cyclists can easily get by you. If you’re training with a group, don’t hog the path.  Be sensitive to others using the trail.
  10. Leave the walkman at home: That way you will be alert to any potential dangers, be it a dog, a fast-approaching car, or the sound of other people around you.  If you simply can’t workout without listening to music, here are some suggestions to make your training safer:,7120,s6-241-285–8498-0,00.html

Training Tip of the Week….

For all of you who missed the Nutrition Clinic…Here’s a recap…

Basic Sports Nutrition 101

With all of the nutrition claims and diet ads out there, it can get pretty confusing trying to figure out what nutrition information you should follow. As boring as it sounds, nutrition almost always comes back to balance. While you need to include the proper amount of protein in your diet to help with muscle building and tissue repair, you also need to make sure that you’re consuming the carbohydrate that your body needs to fuel your long runs and walks.  Follow these tips when trying to put together the appropriate training diet:

1.Load up on the carbs.

A high carbohydrate diet is still the best way to fuel your active lifestyle. Limit the sugary foods such as desserts, candy, and sodas, which provide little in the way of nutritional value anyway. Instead, choose high carb foods such as whole grain breads, cereals, pastas, and rice that are low fat, full of B-vitamins, enriched with iron, and provide lots of good fiber. Potatoes, another great carbohydrate source, will also provide you with vitamin C and potassium while helping to top off your energy stores. And, fruits and vegetables are also packed with carbohydrates as well as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Including 5-7 servings/day will only enhance your athletic performance.

2.But that doesn’t mean that you should forget about the protein.

Low-fat sources of protein are important to help rebuild muscle.  Good choices include lean beef, skinless poultry, fish, tofu, beans, and legumes.  In addition, these foods provide performance-important nutrients such as iron and vitamin B-12.  Low-fat dairy products are a must as well.Three to four servings/day is the general rule to ensure enough calcium to protect your bones and to help meet your overall protein needs.  If you prefer soymilk, make sure that it’s fortified with 25% of the Daily Value for calcium/serving, the equivalent to a cup of regular milk.


Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids. You need to drink at least 8 cups of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic liquids every day.  When you’re active, you need even more. Add an additional 2 cups/day for every pound you lose during exercise.  Water should be sufficient for activities lasting 60-90 minutes, but if you’re exercising more than 90 minutes/day, include a sports drink to help maintain your energy stores and electrolyte levels.  Keep in mind, however, that sports drinks do contain sugar (as should all energy drinks…if they don’t, they aren’t going to give you any energy).  They’re not necessarily “healthy” drinks and they shouldn’t be what you choose to drink the rest of the day.  Use them as a tool to help with your workout…during and after you exercise…but then choose something else…like water, juices, milk, de-caf tea…to hydrate with at other times.

REMEMBER. There are no secret potions or supplements that will magically get you into shape and make-up for missed workouts or dietary lapses.  It’s consistent training, adequate rest, a well-balanced diet, and, of course, the right equipment that will make the difference.  All together, they make up the formula for success and are what will actually get you to the starting line in tip-top shape on race day.

Training Tip of the Week

What’s the Buzz About Vitamin D???

Everywhere you look, it seems like someone is pitching the benefits of Vitamin D.  For those of you who think you’ve been through this before with the likes of Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, and Vitamin E…this Vitamin D fad may be something more.   For one thing, it’s based on a deficiency state.  The other recommendations were made without ever really determining if a person was deficient in the first place.

What’s the best source of Vitamin D? Sunshine.  No lab tests necessary to figure out that all of us living here in the great Pacific Northwest are not getting enough sunshine!   In fact, most medical professionals have been recommending that we avoid it to protect our skin.  So what do we do?   Lather on all kinds of suntan lotion, which, it turns out, blocks about 95% of our ability to absorb Vitamin D.  No…I’m not recommending that we all go back to any crazy suntanning habits that we may have at one time had because for many that poses too great a health risk.  There are a few good sources of Vitamin D in the diet.  A 3.5 oz piece of salmon will provide 360 IU Vitamin D; 3-oz. canned tuna, 200 IU; 1 cup Vitamin D-fortified milk, 98 IU; 1 egg, 20 IU; and 1-oz Swiss cheese, 12 IU.  With some proposing that the current RDA of 400 IU is not sufficient, many people are also starting to take an oral supplement (Vitamin D3 is the one to look for)

What are the risks of low Vitamin D levels? Welll…Vitamin D is essential for Ca absorption and thus, bone health, and is critical for preventing rickets.   In fact, it may be that the RDA for Calcium has been set so high to compensate for our predisposition for Vitamin D deficiency.  They are also suggesting links to colon cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer (Washington state has the 3rd highest rate in the country), Multiple Sclerosis (Washington is known for its high MS rates), depression (Might be an interesting way to explain Seasonal Affective Disorder), and diabetes.

Should I start taking Vitamin D? While all of this can seem very provocative and exciting…Maybe Vitamin D is what I’ve been looking for my whole life!!!…more research is still needed to substantiate many of these claims, and there can be problems if you consume too much.  So be sure to get your levels checked first (you want to know your 25 hydroxy vitamin D or 25(OH) D level).  Physicians in this area are pretty aware of Vitamin D so next time you see your doctor, if he or she doesn’t bring it up,  ask to have your Vitamin D checked.  It might help bring some sunshine back into your Northwest winter!

Training Tip of the Week…It’s that time of year…

To exercise or not to exercise? THAT is the question…How do you know if you should workout if you’re not feeling well?  Try using the “neck check” to help you decide. That means that if your symptoms include sneezing, a “stuffy” head, and runny nose, then it’s probably Ok to go ahead with your training.  But, be sure to tone it down a bit. Start slowly. If you’re feeling Ok after 10 minutes, then continue with your plans, but take it easy. Make sure that you’re monitoring your symptoms and keep plenty of fluid handy so that you stay well hydrated. If at any time you start to feel worse, stop, go home, and rest. And, if you feel worse after completing the workout, plan to take the next couple of days off.

If your symptoms are “below the neck,” meaning that you have a chest cough, fever, diarrhea, or vomitting, then you should just skip the workout altogether.  Rest is a much better option. You could make your symptoms much worse by continuing to exercise.  A few days off  won’t interfere with your training…and, in fact, your body can use that extra energy to help you recover and get well.  If you’re really concerned about your symptoms, then consult your doctor and ask what he/she thinks about exercising and follow their advice (if you come to me…I’m going to tell you to do exactly what they told you to do!)

When you return to exercise, don’t just pick up where you left off. Give yourself a chance to build back into it.  You don’t want to relapse.  Also, keep in mind that time off is not always a bad thing.  It can be a time for your entire mind and body to rest up, and you may find that you have a sense of renewed enthusiasm for your training as you get back into your routine.  If you end up missing 2-3 days of exercise, then make sure your first couple of days back are fairly easy days…

One guideline is to give yourself 2 days for every day you missed due to illness to return to your previous level of training. For example,  if  you miss a week of exercise then plan on taking the next couple of weeks to build back to where you were. I’d suggest doing 50% of what the training schedule says for the first week back, then 75% of what it recommends for the next week.  If you’ve been out longer than that, then contact me, and I can help you come up with another plan. REMEMBER…THE MOST IMPORTANT PRIORITY IS FOR YOU TO BE HEALTHY!! Taking a few days off when you don’t feel well may very well prevent you from missing many more days of training down the road!  (This also works for injury prevention…from the voice of experience!;-)

Training Tip of the Week

Homemade Sports Drink (from Susan Kleiner, RD, PhD)

Lemon-orange sports drink


1 caffeine-free lemon tea bag

2 tablespoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons orange juice

Bring 16 ounces of water to a boil. Steep lemon tea bag. Dissolve sugar and salt in the tea and let cool. Combine the tea and orange juice and chill.

Nutritional information: (8 ounce serving) 60 calories; less than 1g protein; 15g carbohydrates; 130mg sodium; less than 1g fat

Some interesting thoughts on stretching and warm-ups…

Training Tip of the Week:  Don’t overlook the taper…


This Saturday is our last long workout before the race…After this weekend, we’ll begin what is called the taper.  This is when you begin to cut back on the volume of your workouts so that your body can rest up for race day.  Too many times, people overlook this aspect of training because they’re afraid they’ll lose fitness if they don’t do as much. Remember all those workouts you’ve done over the past 3-1/2 months…Those are what have gotten you fit. The next 2 weeks…there’s really not much you can do.  In fact, you’ll probably cause more problems for yourself  if you try to cram in a bunch of last minute training.  Relax…You’ve done what you need to do.  After tomorrow, you’ll have run or walked at least 10-12 miles; you’ll have climbed the hill on Stone Way and up to the highest peak of Godz-HILL-a; and you’ll know what to expect on the race course.  Remember your goal is to finish the Seattle Half Marathon to the best of your abilities…Don’t sabotage yourself by not giving yourself a chance to rest up for it!

Training Tip of the Week

Pre-race nutrition…See attachment!  (I know it says Hydration, but really, it’s about pre-race nutrition)


A Nutrition Primer for the Day Before the Big Race…


Night before the race:

*Choose higher carbohydrate foods.  Typically, endurance athletes choose pasta but this could also include rice, potatoes, breads…OK to include moderate, low-fat protein.

*Avoid taking on the challenge of all-you-can eat pasta party

*Drink plenty of fluids (stick with non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages!)

*If you tend to have a sensitive GI tract, avoid salads

Morning of the race:

*Choose something that you’ve had a chance to test out during your training and you know that you’ll be able to tolerate while running/walking

*As a rule, stick to lower fat, higher carbohydrate foods… but watch those foods high in fiber (For me, this means a Power Bar, toast, or banana vs. the Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s)

*Hydrate: 8-16oz about 2 hours before the race.

4-8 oz. immediately before the start

(Some people may be sensitive to the sugar in sports and drinking them right before the race may leave them feeling hypoglycemic at the start.  Unless you’ve tried drinking sports drinks before your training sessions, it may be best to stick to water at this point)

During the race:

*Hydrate: Drink 4-8 oz every 15-20 minutes

DO include sports drinks as part of your hydrating regime.  You may want to dilute them by grabbing 1 cup of sports drink and 1 cup of water at each water station.

*Carbohydrates: Try to consume 100-300 calories/hour (or 60-90g carbohydrate/hour), ie, 1 packet of PowerGel or GU/hour or 4-6 cups Gatorade/hour (or a combination of gels and sports drink)

*Watch out for Gels and drinks that you’ve not tried before!  If possible, it’s best to stick with what you know!

After the race:

*Consume carbohydrates within the first 20 minutes after the race (ie, fruits, juices, bagels, yogurt)

*As little as 6g protein consumed within 30 minutes of finishing will help stimulate muscle repair and synthesis (This is equivalent to the amount of protein in a carton of yogurt or a sports bar)

*Hydrate:  You will need to drink 2 cups fluid/pound body weight that you lost during the event.  It may take as long as 24-48 hours for you to rehydrate completely.  Choose high carbohydrate drinks such as juices and sports drinks to help replenish your carbohydrate stores at the same time.

*Treat yourself to a NICE meal after you’ve had a chance to shower up and rest!  Include plenty of complex carbs as well as some protein!

Training Tip of the Week…Watch your pacing!

Be sure to pace yourself at the beginning of the race.  It’ll be very easy to get caught up in the excitement and fervor at the start, but remember you have

a ways to go and you might want to save some of that nervous energy for later on.

You will have the opportunity to line up at the starting line according to your expected pace…If you’re planning to run 10:00 miles, don’t go to the front…You’ll likely get trampled!  And, by the same token, if you’re planning to run 7:00 pace, then don’t start at the back…You’ll be incredibly frustrated by the mile mark!

Decide what time you’d like to finish in and then figure out what pace you should aim for for each mile.  Your first mile should be within 10 seconds of this pace.  It’s much more exciting to start conservatively and finish strongly than it is to go out strong and die…Take it from someone who knows all to well what that feels like!

Hey, everyone…Unbelievable!  This is it!   This weekend is the weekend we’ve been striving toward for the past 4 months!  Seems like only yesterday we were meeting out in the E-5 parking lot (the where??!) on that sunny, warm morning in August.  Now…we’re in the midst of a chilly November; Thanksgiving is tomorrow; and we’re still looking just as bright and cheery as that day last summer (see attached photo)…

Yes, race day is just around the corner, and you all have done a super job!  Most noticeably, you’ve had some fun and seem to have enjoyed the process.  Training isn’t drudgery to you or something to feared…it’s a chance to meet up with friends; to strive toward a goal; to improve your health and fitness (and you’ve seen the benefits!);  it’s a chance to encourage your teammates as they climb up a long steady hill or pick up the pace around the Green Lake track;  and it’s a chance to celebrate a Saturday morning workout well done with breakfast or coffee afterwards.  Together, you all have made Team Transplant  a success and together, you will make this weekend a success!

Someone mentioned to me yesterday that he loved green because it’s such a happy color…It’s true.  Just take another look at the picture.  Race day is Sunday…and Team Transplant…We’re already happy!   Let’s keep those good vibes rolling and have a great time this weekend!

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