Letter from Melissa Gacek
This is why I coach! Thanks for the letter Melissa.
See you on the roads
It's not just about the destination, but finding the joy in the journey.
Tonight I wanted to thank you, my amazing support team, as I train for my 2:40 marathoner club card this fall and Olympic Trials qualifier by next year. Just did my first Ragnar event after being on winning/record setting Hood to Coast teams. I've never felt this good after any relay. This was a very humid hot weekend, ran well over 26 miles, and had some crazy hard technical, hilly and long legs and I'm totally a fair weather girl, so prob could have run much faster in temps of 45's/50's. Nevertheless, I want to thank all of you for your part in this. While I honestly suffered moments of the legs, I gained some valuable mental and physical training to really toughen me for the fall marathon, and also love the bring it at the end, ramp it up, find a new gear, go even harder and finish strong, beast mode.
1) Ron Byland: Intense, smart, proven coaching program from Mile to Marathon, has been mentally and physically tough, but paying off for being able to bounce back, can't wait to see what could happen in Oct with cooler temps and a taper. Always there to help, great advice, sounding board. Great, wise partner in this journey!
2) Luke Carlson/Discover Strength: Lifting at DS, working thru Project Discover, esp on tough workout days. After yucky injuries in my early years, you have been my healthy safety net for 2 Olympic Trials, 5 pregnancies and hundreds of races, thousands of miles. I might feel awful at failure during workouts esp after hard runs, but finding that extra gear to bring it pays off. And it helps me be a strong mom who can lift boat anchors, toddlers, baby joggers, groceries, whatever it takes.
3) CarboPro: Following protocol during race from Carbo Pro: Meta Salt, Recovery, VO2 Max, Stamina, carboPro mixed with HydraC5. Great products can't wait to try the new green stuff! Always using Interphase during training too, yummo. And sending product just in time before big event this week. TY!!!
4) Oiselle: I've raced (and train) wearing amazing performance apparel and finding beast mode during some dark moments! Plus I wear these clothes everywhere bc they are that beautiful. Oiselle to me is sisterhood, passion, fem fierce, girl power, helps my channel my purpose.
5) Feetures (socks): Going thru 7 pairs of socks for Ragnar and ending with no blisters, feet felt amazing/compression socks so helpful btwn legs. Love the fabric, ultra thin weight and technical design and amazing colors. Happy feet are very important.
6) Run n Fun. For always having the gear I need, and being so supportive for 2 decades! I have worn Dozens+ of Asics Gel Kayanos, Asics DS Racers, reflective vests, LD lights, Gels, GU's...I've counted on RNF since my college days for my shoes and have always had major success. Staff knows their stuff.
And last, Luke, you for the invite to Ragnar and Liz Martin for driving a huge majority and still running like a badass, keeping team stats, handling the details and totally spoiling me (us) so I (we) could focus on going as hard as I could.
Guess I need to start blogging cause I just can't say all this on FB or twitter....
Thank you and think it's so important that you know you are all loved and appreciated.
July 25th, 2014
If you are looking to start a running/walking program and trying to figure out the how's and why's of where to start or if you are part of a corporation that is looking to start a run club for their employees, let me know as I work with 100's of individuals on their personal training programs and major corporate run programs for companies like, Allianz Corporation of MN, Cummin's Power Generation Corporation of MN, Accenture (333) Tower Fitness Center of MN, Children's Hospitals of MN, LuluLemon on MN, Advantage Health Corporation to name a few .
See you on the roads
Acupuncture For Runners
For a little more than 2 months now I have had a very unique time experiencing Acupuncture for the 1st time in my life. Now for the disclaimers:
1. I am not afraid of needles
2. I have been skeptical about acupuncture
3. Most importantly, I was diagnosed with Asthma approx. 10 years ago and have been on various medications for it since then.
In early May my friend Kelly Brinkman had been going to Minnesota Community Acupuncture and invited me along to check it out. So off I went for my 1st visit.
The clinic is based on an Eastern treatment center, so it's communal meaning that there are lots of comfy "lazy boy" recliners to relax in during the treatment. After my initial consultation with Rob on my issues he proceeded to apply the needles in the appropriate areas. He then asked me how long I wanted to relax (sleep) and if I'd like a blanket...this is going to rock! In goes my earphones and within minutes I'm sound asleep and approx. 45:00 later my session is done.
As I mentioned above, I was diagnosed with Asthma over 10 years ago and honestly I have NEVER bought into that diagnosis. At the time I do remember have issues with my breathing, so I'm sure my airways were constricted...asthma, I doubt, but I was prescribed a steroid based inhaler and used it (not exactly as prescribed) morning and night. I've never had an asthma attack in my life or at least in my opinion, I haven't. I have however had sinus issues for what seems like forever. I would always take some sort of over the counter decongestant to be able to breathe. Constantly blowing my nose....and of course being a runner...the farmers blow! I have been tested for allergies and nothing ever came back positive.
So when Rob and later when working with Kerri and the rest of her staff, told me that acupuncture would/could greatly help with these 2 issues I decided to keep going back to get it a shot. They suggested that I come in twice a week for approx. 4 weeks and then down to once a week for maintenance...which is what I'm currently doing.
Now, for the good part after about the 2 or 3 visit:
1. I have not taken any over the counter meds for my sinus' and blowing my nose has been reduced by 90%
2. I am breathing better than I have in years!
3. Most impressive to me is that I am now down to taking my steroid inhaler once every other day now with the goal of being off of it in another month or so.
As I've gotten more into the treatments I've been reading more about Acupuncture and the benefits of it. And while I'm the 1st to say I don't understand it, I'm smart enough to say that in my case, it works. Besides the above issues I'm dealing with, being a runner I have the normal aches and pains and fatigue, and I can say that after a treatment my legs will recover faster due to the increase in blood flow to the areas.
I asked Kerri from Minnesota Community Acupuncture if she would write a brief article on the benefits to runners and you can read that below. For those of you in the Twin Cities area I highly recommend Kerri and her staff to help you out with any of your issue that might be holding you back from a great run or from achieving your new PR's.
Have a great weekend and I’ll…
See you on the roads
Acupuncture for runners
Kerri Casey, L.Ac of MN Community Acupuncture
Runners at all levels will benefit from adding acupuncture to their running program. Acupuncture stimulates the immune function for maintaining general health, it is very effective in relaxing the muscles and tendons in the body reducing pain and stiffness, and aids in reducing inflammation in the nervous system and joints. This is useful in keeping you running, but it is also necessary when you experience an injury.
Many runners look to acupuncture after they’ve sustained an injury, however, acupuncture should be part of your regular training routine to avoid injuries. Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Most of us are more familiar with the sympathetic nervous system often referred to as the “flight or fight” response stimulating the adrenals and other stress hormones. The parasympathetic nervous system is the “rest and digest” response of the body. This system is the “off” switch to the other’s “on” switch. Therefore acupuncture helps to reset the body to a more balanced state to maintain good health.
If an injury does occur it is best to receive acupuncture as quickly as possible so we can interrupt the body’s injury response and stop the over production of lactic acid, and inflammation and swelling, thereby getting you back running with fewer residual issues.
Acupuncture works well on soft tissue; muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves which are most of the issues that plague runners. We treat back injuries, hips, knees and leg issues such as plantar fasciitis, pulled hamstrings, shin splints and ankle pain.
Consider adding acupuncture to your running program in order to maintain the good health that you’ve worked so hard to get, when starting a running program to avoid injuries, or before your event to get you ready and after to re-balance your system. Usually it is best to have acupuncture two times a month as regular maintenance, and once to twice a week when training for an event or just beginning a program. If you are injured you will need treatments two to three times a week until your pain decreases and then move to once a week until gone.
Acupuncture should be a part of your regular routine. Just as you need to perform regular maintenance on your car, you can get the most out of your body if you are taking care of it.
So here we are, it's hard to believe that the 1st 6 months of the year are over and July is right around the corner, my how time fly's...and so do our Mile To Marathon runners.
For the 1st 6 months of the year, 1/1/14 - 5/31/14 our runners have competed in a total of 67 different races around the country. Here is a recap of our VERY successful race results:
We've had a total of 248 runners compete in these races.
We've had a total of 7 overall wins
We've had 33 age group wins
We've had 61 age group place winners
We've had a total of 84 Pr's
I have worked with beginning runners who have just completed my "Couch to 5K" program to those with Olympic aspirations to high school runners looking to prepare for their upcoming competitive season to 75 year old "youngsters" looking to compete in the Senior Games to everyone in between.
If you have been looking to take your running to a new level and achieve those 2014 running goals, I invite you to contact me and we'll put a training program together that will help you reach those goals.
Here's to the next 6 months...
See you on the roads
Sports psychology: the role of emotion regulation, music and the coach-athlete relationship
This is a interesting article I found posted on Peak Performance. I believe that sport psychology is one of the most overlooked aspects of many runners, something that you can practice for 10:00 at a time a couple times a day can help you get to that next PR.
See you on the roads.
Sports psychology: the role of emotion regulation, music and the coach-athlete relationship
How 10 years of sports psychology research can be utilized in your training program.
Sport psychology is a relatively young science but, as Andy Lane and Tracey Devonport explain, the years since the turn of the century have seen some major advances in understanding the role of the mind in sport Emotion regulation It is commonly accepted that playing sport can produce strong emotional responses. Examining how people manage these emotions has opened up new and exciting lines of research intended to inform ways of practice. For example, £2.2 million has recently been invested by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to examine this subject and the resulting Emotion Regulation of Others and Self research group is currently conducting a four-year project due to finish in 2012. This research will capture some of the major advances in psychology with a view to turning these ideas into practice.
Sport psychologists have tended to focus on emotions experienced before, during and after competition. In many ways, this is to be expected because these experiences are rich in emotional detail. However, a limitation of this approach is that it tends to ignore the carry-over effect of emotions experienced in daily life.
For example, athletes who are stressed by work or by colleagues tend to become intensely emotional in sport, and have fragile belief in their ability to maintain appropriate performance states during intense competition. Meanwhile, athletes who are aware of, and able to effectively implement strategies to up-regulate emotions such as excitement, and down-regulate feelings such as lethargy and sluggishness, have an advantage over those that can’t or won’t.
Athletes are commonly required to balance the demands of full-time employment or education with the demands of elite competition. Sport psychologists who have worked with elite athletes will be aware that pressures away from competition can affect preparation for the contest. As such, sport psychologists have begun teaching athletes coping skills that can transfer from one situation to another.
It has been shown that teaching athletes proactive coping skills leads to improved performance across domains and enhanced psychological well-being (1). Teaching athletes to be proactive in identifying barriers to goal attainment can be a helpful starting point. Athletes should be encouraged to reflect on their ambitions and goals, identify the qualities needed to deliver those goals, and prevent or minimise barriers. For example, an athlete may say: ‘I need to learn to relax because I get anxious and these feelings prevent me from focusing on what I need to do to hole a putt (golf).’ The role of the sport psychologist is to explore why the athlete feels this way and what can be done to help. In many cases, the athlete may have an existing strategy that requires refining or reinforcing to enhance its efficacy. In other cases, it may be necessary to teach new psychological skills.
The tradition in sport psychology has been to use standard mental training packages (2). The ‘toolbox’ approach includes teaching imagery, goal setting, relaxation and attentional control techniques. While such an approach remains popular and effective in terms of performance enhancement, recent work has shifted the focus of such strategies toward changes in psychological states such as emotions (3). Thus, the focus of goal setting is to enhance emotional control rather than to achieve a specific performance outcome.
Developing confidence in athletes so that they can manage performance states successfully is an important objective. For example, one consequence of a failure to manage stress and corresponding emotions is a narrowed focus of concentration. This can lead to an athlete missing important performance cues, and thus performance declines accordingly.
Recent applied research has endeavoured to enhance emotion regulation amongst athletes by developing interventions designed around self-help packs(1). The intervention outlined in figure 1 (below) was guided by a self-help pack designed for use by junior national netball players (aged 14-19 years). The use, application, and maintenance of this pack was supported by trained mentors and a sport psychologist(4). The pack uses a three-stage approach to competency development, starting with preparation for change.
When preparing for change, players complete an emotion regulation questionnaire and the results are compared with population norms to identify strengths and areas for development. The findings form a basis for discussions with player and mentor, resulting in agreed goals for enhancing emotion regulation along with means of achieving and maintaining change.
The second stage is the training phase where players implement interventions designed to meet personal needs in strengthening emotional and social competencies. For example, players could be encouraged to make a conscious effort to be aware of feelings, to try to understand them and see if there are deeper meanings to their feelings. Alternatively, they could be encouraged to practise expressing feelings to others as well as the reasons behind these feelings.
The third stage is the transfer and maintenance of learned skills. Mentors encourage players to reflect on activities completed in applying and developing emotion regulation skills. In doing so, they can identify barriers and facilitating factors for continued development.
If-then planning The use of self-help packs for emotional regulation is not the only technique to emerge in recent years. ‘If-then’ planning(5) is a psychological skill that has been found to be effective in general psychology across a range of situations such as promoting health, managing competitive emotions, and dealing with bullies at school.
At face value if-then planning looks overly simplistic. The ‘if’ identifies the barrier – the problem – and this is always context-specific. It might be an emotion, the choice to eat fatty foods, or to manage interpersonal threats from a bully. The ‘then’ identifies the solution. For example, ‘If I feel anxious, then I remind myself that even my worst performance is still pretty good.’
If-then planning has been shown to be more effective than strategies such as goal-setting. It is proposed that by putting the problem alongside the solution in one sentence, and having athletes remind themselves of this link daily, they can then automatically choose the desired solution. If-then planning is proposed to produce an effortless and automatic solution to potential problems. Research and practice in sport psychology has just begun to report the benefits of this technique (5).
In the task outlined in table 1 (below) we have presented some emotions that individuals present as barriers for good performance in the ‘if’ category. In the ‘then’ category we have provided examples of how standard psychological skills could be used. In this approach, we make use of traditional approaches to sport psychology and incorporate recent developments.
With reference to the example above, the athlete selected the following two if-then plans: ‘If I feel worn-out, then I will focus on good technique;’ and ‘If I feel miserable, then I will say to myself I am good enough to perform to the best of my abilities’. Repeating the if-then statement five times each day reinforces implementation of these strategies, and conditions the response so that when it is needed it is automatic.
Music Another major sports psychology development of the noughties has been a major leap forward in our understanding of how music can enhance performance. This is partly due to the digital technology revolution, and in particular the advent of portable MP3 players, which have provided huge flexibility and options for listening to music.
Musical preference is so highly individualised that it makes finding one track to suit all tastes an impossible task. That said, the effect of music on human psyche has been known since the dawn of time. The 1990s saw the development of sport-specific theories on the effect of music in sport. This field was pioneered by Dr Costas Karageorghis, who was largely responsible for the subsequent refinement of theory and practical utility that emerged in the noughties (6).
Before this research, researchers and practitioners alike could not make head nor tail of findings from studies due to the random way in which they were conducted. An exaggerated example is that researchers testing whether music aids running might ask people to run while listening to a waltz. The 3/4 timing of a waltz is more likely to distract you from running rather than help you synchronise to the rhythm of the music. It would not be surprising if results showed that music was not helpful.
However, Karageorghis proposed a coherent methodology for assessing music in sport(6). From this, and with colleagues, he developed a theory and measure providing practitioners with guidelines for selecting motivational music. He has since revised this model to produce a simpler scale that can be used by individuals to select motivational music.
Just as goal-setting theory and practice is ingrained in the mindset of athletes, the music motivational tool could have the same wide-ranging effect and explains why some companies have embraced these developments, such as Nike designing the running shoe and iPod sports kits. The kit is marketed as being able to ‘motivate you mile after mile’. Table 2, below, provides an example of assessing how motivational your current playlist is. You use the scale by summing scores for each item and so the range is 6-42. A motivational song should yield a score of 36 or greater.
Athlete-sport psychologist relationship It’s not so long ago that I (Andy Lane) was working with an athlete who insisted that I was called a ‘coach’ in order to avoid any suggestion that he was some kind of nutcase(7)! However, the benefits for athletes of using a sport psychologist are irrefutable, even for those who initially express negative preconceived ideas about the role of sport psychology. Having a sport psychologist working with an athlete is now (fortunately) gaining a much wider acceptance.
Increasingly, it is the norm for coaches and exercise instructors to be graduates of sport degree programmes, and sport and exercise psychology typically forms part of the curriculum. The upshot of this is that most coaches and exercise instructors have been exposed to the science of sport psychology in their training, especially at a theoretical level.
A series of articles offers a compelling argument that achieving sport success can be a collaborative goal with the athlete, but also that the primary goal of the sport and exercise psychologist should be the clients’ welfare (8). In recent years, the notion that the health, welfare and happiness of the athlete are the foundations of why sport psychologists do what they do (rather than just focusing on performance) represents a significant shift in the way sport psychologists conceptualise their work.
A sport psychologist will often share a common goal of maximising performance enhancement with the athlete(8). However, sport is a highly personal affair; for example, anxieties can be intimately tied to feelings of self-worth and negatively impact sport in a far from obvious way. An athlete reporting high anxiety based on the belief that it is helpful for performance might be maintaining this emotion by generating detrimental thoughts. In such cases, encouraging athletes to up-regulate anxiety and re-appraise it as facilitative of performance might be reinforcing maladaptive modes of thinking.
It is for these reasons we need to investigate beliefs and regulatory processes that govern emotions. Sport represents one aspect of an athlete’s life, but it is important to understand how an athlete copes with emotions deriving from other domains. Holistic approaches to understanding stress and associated emotions rather than an exclusive ‘sport-specific’ focus are likely to be beneficial both theoretically and practically.
Summary The last 10 years have seen significant advances in sport psychology. Developments in understanding emotion regulation offer the promise of helping athletes to effectively implement strategies to up-regulate useful emotions and down-regulate unhelpful feelings. In addition, new interventions are being introduced and explored that may be useful in helping athletes attain ideal preparatory and performance states.
Meanwhile, technological advances offer greater flexibility in the range and use of interventions intended to enhance training and competitive performance. Probably the most significant of these is the use of music to enhance performance. Finally, the primary role of sport psychologists has been under scrutiny; although the psychologist continues to share the collaborative goal of seeking performance enhancement, the recent evidence suggests that this is best achieved from a position of awareness of the influence of goal achievement on the client’s well-being.
1. Sport and Exercise Psychology: Topics in Applied Psychology, 73-90, 2008.
2. Applied Sport Psychology: Enhancing Performance Using Psychological Skills Training, in Sport and Exercise Psychology: Topics in Applied Psychology, Lane, Editor, Hodder-Stoughton: UK. 1-162008.
3. The Sport Psychologist, 17, 471-486., 2003.
4. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, 7, 50-63, 2009.
5. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 381-393, 2008.
6. Sport and Exercise Psychology: Topics in Applied Psychology, 109-138, 2008.
7. Consultancy in the Ring: Psychological Support to a World Champion Professional Boxer, in Applied Sport Psychology, eds. Hemmings and Holder, London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 51-63, 2009.
8. It's All About Sport Performance... And Something Else, in The Sport Psychologist's Handbook: A Guide for Sport-Specific Performance Enhancement, ed. Dosil. Chichester; John Wiley & Sons. 687-698, 2006.
Get on the road to gold-medal form and smash your competition.
Big Annoucement Friday!!
It's Finally Here....The Mile To Marathon Apparel Store!
Our Mile to Marathon online store is now open! Custom decorated items, great pricing and fast delivery. The store is open 24/7 and accessible from anywhere you get internet access.
The convenient online payment processing is highly secure, allowing Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover payment and feature a wide selection of our custom decorated apparel at great prices. Items can be personalized and come in a variety of colors and sizes. There’s something for everyone in our new online store.
Check it out now by visiting:
Want to know how to get your hands on some of the best products around to help keep you feeling your best, day in and day out? You know....that 1 product every runner has a love hate relationship with? Yes, I'm talking about the coveted FOAM ROLLER! Now, you have access to all of the products available from Perform Better Sports on our Resources Page. 5-10 minutes on the foam roller is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It's like giving yourself a deep tissue massage just by using your own body weight. Buy one now and find out what that love hate relationship is really like. Your body will actually thank you!
It's Announcement Week! Here's #3!
I hope you're hungry! Great burgers, and food in general along with an incredible beer and wine selection are in store for you! What a perfect way to reward your hard efforts after a workout or race then to head over to Red Cow, show them your new Mile To Marathon DISCOUNT CARD and sit back and enjoy! We are so excited to have Red Cow be a sponsor.
Now, go follow them on Facebook (Red Cow) and Twitter (@redcowmn)
It's Announcement Week! Here's #2
Mile To Marathon athletes will be pleased to know they will be well taken care of, not only with the help of Dr. Steven Moe of Accelerated Performance Clinic in Eden Prairie, MN but also with generous discounted pricing! I have worked with and have sent numerous athletes to Dr. Moe for several years and have had tremendous results working with him. Dr. Moe has worked with Jim Thome of the Minnesota Twins, Dick Beardsley - record holder of Grandmas Marathon, Craig Waryan - PGA Master Professional along with countless other athletes.
Have a pain in your ankle? There's a good chance it's not actually your ankle that is causing that pain. Applied Kinesiology gets to the root of the issue. Call to make an appointment today!
Accelerated Performance Clinic6805 Flying Cloud Dr, Eden Prairie, MNPHONE NUMBER: (952) 833-3038
After you see him and you go run your next big race and you feel the best you ever have, you may just want to bring him a new race poster for his office walls!
Mile To Marathon is SO excited to announce it's partnership with Skratch Labs! Straight from their mouths (website), Skratch Labs mission is to use real world science and practice to create the very best nutrition products. Products that taste great, that are made from real all-natural ingredients, and that are designed to optimize performance and health for both sport and life. Check out my favorite video from them about their products!
Mile To Marathon athletes will be able to take advantage of team orders 2x per year giving you the opportunity to purchase hydration mixes, bottles, storage containers, t-shirts and even The Feed Zone Cookbook at a significantly reduced price! First team order will take pace in June so stay tuned!
If you're not familiar with their products you will have the opportunity to become familiar with them at some of our upcoming long runs. I will set up water stops with their product, varying flavors from week to week so you can try them out. Start to follow them on twitter @SkratchLabs and on Facebook, you won't be disappointed.
Time to start hydrating with REAL ingredients!
Lifelong runner. Professional and passionate coach helping to make running goals a reality for 30+ years. Let's get started making your running dreams come true!
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