Saturday' blog will not be dedicated to a specific topic but instead be a free for all on topics that cross my mind during my long runs which are usually on Saturdays. Today's topic will be on joining the WAR effort as we have begun to affectionately call it! And no I'm not talking about getting drafted or going to an actual war. I'm talking about the WAR effort regarding building the organization of WAR. This all started with the initial idea of building a youth running team in the Whittier area a few months back to fill a gap in this community for such a team. The response we go was overwhelming to say the least! With very little advertising we had 15 parents sitting at Marie Calendars excited about helping bringing this to reality. From those discussion the name of Whittier Area Running or WAR was born. A few weeks later and thinking during another long run I began to think of other gaps that need to be filled in this are related to running. Quickly almost without blinking it was that many kids run very successfully in this area in high school then go off to college to continued success but when they return there is no support and nothing to help them continue running at a competitive level. Some have potential to make the Olympic trials and beyond but never see it realized due to a lack of resources and opportunities in this area. even if adults aren't looking at running in the Olympics many still want to train at a world class level and see how fast they can go for their own gratification. So from this thought and many discussion the WAR Elite Racing team was born and added as another facet of the WAR organization right next to the Warriors Track Club for the youth. Then just about a week ago as the WAR movement has grow in popularity mostly through this blog and the website we have been getting a ton of request for a running club where all runners of all ages and all abilities can share in the joy and fun of running as a club. Not just to run together but to socialize and make exercise an enjoyable and accessible experience for all! So with more conversations with more area runners we are now launching WAR Running Club (yes I know it has running twice in the name but WAR Club just seemed weird). So now we have this umbrella organization of WAR that contains the following 3 branches:
What we now need is YOU!!! I have this strange image of Uncle SAM wearing a headband and a racing singlet saying this! But the truth is we do need you to make this a success! We are truly looking and calling on all runners from all walks of life to join the WAR effort in any of those 3 areas! You will be supported with expert advise, life long friends, uniforms, sweatshirts, canopies, shoe discounts and a level of organization yet to be seen in the running community! If you are full of energy and want to help lead the growth of WAR then get in on the ground floor and help us organize the runs and be a leader in our WAR efforts. Reach out to be at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out of contact us form to reach out! We have even been asked about opening a chapter of WAR outside of the Whittier area. So if you are interested in the same let us know. We will be posting practice days and times very soon for all 3 sections. Check out our links above to get more WAR info and join the WAR movement! I look forward to GOING TO WAR WITH YOU!
So you say you love to run and you love to get faster and more fit! To do this we often run more and train harder. We race more races and yes this works. As runners we also love our food.. yes we do! I'm as guilty as the next runner. I'll admit running that extra few miles just so I can indulge in a really good desert! Its a constant battle between getting more fit and eating what you love! Our Friday Blog is dedicated proving that you can get fit and faster yet still enjoy some amazing meals. We will have nutritional facts to aid runners as well as recipes so you can cook at home and even restaurant reviews that offer great runner meals that taste great!
Today the topic is proper recovery meals after your runs. Its critical both for your health and for improving your performance that after any run but especially a hard workout that you refuel your body quickly and correctly. As tempting as it is to got straight for that left over pizza in the fridge, don't! and here is some info to consider. When you run or do any hard exercise you body uses the fuel in your body such as carbohydrates/fats and your muscles actually get microscopic tears. Now here is the key information you actually don't get faster during a workout no matter what type. The process of recovery is what makes a runner faster! Immediately following a workout run its critical to recovery correctly to gain the full benefits of that particular workout. Skipping a meal then would be counterproductive. As part of your workout routine make sure you leave time to recovery correctly and not rush off to work, school etc. So now the now the question is how do we recovery correctly? There are 2 key windows of time that you need to keep in mind for proper recovery. The first is 0-30 min after the workout. In many cases you may still be at the park or gym within this window of time and not be in a place to make a full meal. So its a good idea to bring with you a small snack of the proper recovery meal. We are not talking about a 7 course meal but about 100-300 calories of 4:1 ratio of carbs and protein. A perfect example is is a banana and 2 scoopfuls of peanut butter. You can also have a medium sweet potato and one inch beef jerky. These are easy to carry around with you to where ever you are running and eat before you go home or to work. for those of you that have a really hard time eat right after a run try a recovery drink just make sure it has protein as well not just carbs. A very easy one is a cup of chocolate milk but there are many made by many sport drink companies. This will kick start your bodies ability to recover and make sure you are ready for the next run! The second window for recovery is 1-3 hours after the run. By this point in time you should be in a place you can cook or at least warm up a good meal. Again we are not talking about eating more than you NEED just a good meal to restore what your body needs. This can be another 300-500 calories of mostly carbs but some protein and healthy fats are needed as well. This will fully restore your glycogen stores and continue to help your muscles heal and beyond that get stronger. You see during the recovery process your brain instructs the body to get stronger so it can not only recovery from that hard workout but get stronger (faster) so it can handle that workout better the next time. Its the body's way of protecting itself. Some great examples of recovery meals are a grilled chicken salad with avocado and salsa or chili yes chili is a great balanced meal. And of course don't forget to properly re-hydrate during this recovery time. So eat right and allow the body to do its job and allow you to get faster. Working out hard and not recovering just leaves you tired and in fact slower. Keep chasing your running dreams!
When we speak about the benefits of running we often speak about all the health benefits, the stress relief, and the pure joy it brings but yesterday I was reminded of one of the most overlooked benefit our sport has to offer, Friendship. I had the pleasure and opportunity to sit down for lunch with a group of runners from Cal High from the 1970's and their beloved coach who had such an impact in all their lives! Coach Lew Jones was the the coach at Cal High in the 1970's before XC races were even 3 miles and before girls ran separate races. Coach Jones was in his own right an amazing runner running at Sierra High School and Whittier College. A grad of Whittier College in 1967 he still to this day holds 2 records (800m – 1:50.75 and 1 mile – 4:10.5 – co-held). Even with all his accomplishments as a runner it was clear that the love these runners have for their coach so many years later had much less to do with this performance on the track and more with his role as a coach, a mentor, and role model for each and everyone of them. I heard story after story about them back in the day. Some were fast some not as much but all had plenty to say about the bonds they created while running and racing together. Stories about how some got into trouble and coach help them get straight and become strong young men on the right path. Some talked about races they remember and some spectacular performance that to this day they can still remember together and share from year to year! One of the stories that they told me just left me spelled bound. Running cross country in the 1970 during the first running boom in america was an experience in itself but to have been in high school the day of the death of Steve Prefontaine was of epic levels. The runners talked about when they first found out about the tragic accident that took this young runners life and how by pure instinct they all went straight to their coach's classroom almost in a trance with teary eyes and aching hearts. During such a sad time they knew no other than their coach that could help them make sense of hearing of their heroes death. It was moments like this and so many others that made it so clear how close they all were and how close they all continue to be to this very day! In 2011 Dan McMillan (1976), Bob Kuenzig (1977) and Dave Keck (1978) put together an email list and started asking friends and associates from the 1970’s track and cross-country teams to join us in a scholarship program which we called the Lew Jones Scholarship. The idea was to support students who had committed themselves to Cross Country and were college-bound with a small scholarship donation. Over the years they have given out 44 scholarships in excess of $11,000 total. The bond they forged in the 70's not only has helped them but is now having an impact in a whole new generation of runners in our community! To this day this group of runners gets together for lunch or dinner every 6 months like clockwork with their coach. As a coach, I can only hope a dream to have this bond so many years later with my runners as well. They are truly an inspiration to us all! Like them there are teams and clubs all over the country and world that share this trait in common and will one day hope to be following in the footsteps of these runners still laughing and talking about those years they spent doing the greatest sport in the world!
Every Wednesday we will highlight some training technique or a particular workout including visiting some local teams or clubs to talk to them about what they do. Today I want to focus on what I consider one of the most under appreciated and overlooked workouts in a distance runners arsenal, Hill Repeats. If done correctly they can make you stronger, faster, more explosive, and even improve your overall running form! Hill repeats can be done many different ways but all fall into 2 variations. Short Hills and Long Hills. Short hill repeats consist of finding a hill 4% to 7% grade about 100 to 150 meters in length. I know its very hard to know what 4% to 7% looks like so it should be steeper than the long hills we will discuss in a bit but not so steep you have a hard time walking up it not to mention running fast up them. These are relatively short and the effort last about 15 to 30 seconds so they are run almost all out. Lets say around 90% to 95% of an all out sprint. You are going anaerobic (lack of oxygen) meaning you should reach the top very much out of breathe. Run these but building up the first 10-20 meters then working to full speed. Focus on good uphill running form. Short, quick, powerful strides with arms a bit higher then normal and head in neutral position meaning facing straight forward. Eyes are key on these keep your eyes focused on the top of this hill not looking at the ground. This will keep your form intact and keep your mind focused on the correct effort. Near the top of the hill make sure you do not slow down but if anything pick up the pace at what we call the "crest" of the hill as it flattens out run through the top as it flattens out. This will prepare you for great racing strategy to blast past your opponents not on the hill itself but on the crest and right after. More on this in some racing strategy blog entries. Long hill repeats are similar to short hills but of course longer =-) I like to make these 400 meters but you can go with anything 300 to 500 meters. Much longer and you will lose the ability to run them correctly. Much shorter you will not gain the additional benefits of the long vs short hill repeats. Run these very similar to the short hills except your effort needs to be slightly lower about 85% to 90% with the first half a little slower and a pickup at the mid way point. Very much drive the last section and run over the crest with aggressiveness. While the short hills will give you true power and explosiveness overall not just for a finishing kick the long hills will give you power and speed endurance again not just in longer hilly courses but even on flat races. There is a mental factor to long hills that is often over looked. Push up a 1/4 of a mile hill faster than you will during a race will make kicking on a flat 400 meters seem easy or running any hill seem like just another day at the office! As far as number of reps that will vary but for short hills 12 to 20 while on the long hills 6 to 10 will do it for a great workout! Recovery for both is a slow jog back down the hill regroup for 10 sec once down and go again! Don't forget at least a 2 mile warm-up run at easy pace and 2 miles cool-down easy as well. Give this workout a try and provide feedback or ask question anytime! As always go chase those running dreams and enjoy!
From all of us at WAR Elite Racing we would like to wish you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays! During this time of year we get to cherish those things we value the most in our lives. From our faith to our families and yes even our favorite meals and lets not forget those presents under the tree we so much look forward to opening! I myself got a projector from my family so I can use in coaching our WAR Elite athletes or to give a power point presentation to potential sponsors or new runners! While we enjoy these gifts there is one present that isn't gift wrapped or in a gift bag. It doesn't have a bow or fancy ribbon. Its isn't in a big or small box. In fact if you fail to look closely enough you might miss it. You may be asking what gift is that. My tree is now empty of filled with empty bags and torn-up wrapping paper. The gift I'm referring to is the one that keeps on giving day after day mile after mile, footstep after footstep. The present that you love and sometimes hate but always come back to! The present that doesn't fit in a box or a bag unless you consider the entire plant a gift bag! Of course the gift I'm speaking of is the wonderful gift of running. Since this is a time to be happy and grateful for all the most special people and things in our lives its only fitting that we take a minute to open the last present under the tree and appreciate what it has given us and will continue to do so in the coming year. Think about so many that don't have this present under the tree and haven't yet experience the joys of running. Even more so think of those that can't enjoy our sport. Feel very fortunate that you are able to run. When my high school athletes ask "What do we HAVE to run today?" I respond with " You GET to run 8 miles today! Smile!" So this week at work wear your new sweater and show off your new running shoes or running shorts on your next club run but don't forget to put on and use that last gift "RUNNING" Use it day after day! It comes with a life time warranty, doesn't require batteries, and is fully water proof ! From all of us at Ware Elite Racing have a very Merry Christmas and Keep Running!!!
If you can spend 6 minutes a day to help you prevent getting injured, make you run faster, and overall just be a more consistent happier runner would you do it! I willing to bet you would. As we know the single larger factor in success as a runner is consistency. You can have a very talented runner that doesn't or can't run consistently and in the end they will not reach their true potential where as a runner that can keep running on a regular basis with the right training and support can reach the highest levels. One of the biggest challenges to running consistently is avoiding injury and while there are many items that can help with this such as replacing running shoes on time, sleeping well, and increasing mileage safely but there is one that I believe is the best bang for your buck. With this 6 minute routine you not only relax and lengthen tired muscles but you create flexibility and strength to prevent some of the most common running injuries. Many of you have suffered through shin splints, runners knee, tight calves etc but did you know that most of the problems that lead to these injuries come from much higher on a runners body. Its all about the hips! Make the hips stronger and more flexible with a better range of motion and you will protect yourself from a whole host of injuries. The routine I'm speaking of is the Myrtle routine and needs to be done after not before every run so leave time after your run to fit this in. The good news again is that it only takes 6 minutes for all these benefits! Make sure you review the video and at the beginning take time to do ti the correct way even if it takes a bit longer. Best of luck with all your running dreams and goals. Comment if you have any questions.
As runners we get up early and go for our run! Not always easy but we love our sport and get out there! So you would think after years of doing this it would get easier and for the most part it does except for the dreaded Winter Holidays! Once Nov and Dec hit temperatures drop, the sun is out much less, and our motivation tend to both drop and not come out to play as much. Rest assured if you feel this way during the cold winter months are by far not alone! So what can you do to continue the momentum you had all summer and fall and not lose all the progress you made during that time? Here are a few simple tricks to not only get you through WHRS (Winter Holiday Running Slump) but having you in tip top shape for those late winter and early spring races!
As runners we are a very proud group that prides ourselves on working hard so when I say you have to run slower to race faster it truly messes with not only are minds but our entire universe. How can it be that running at an easier pace can help us be able to race faster? We were raised on the motto of "no pain no gain!" so what does this mean? how do we make sense of it all. The key is that as a runner to excel we need to work 6 very specific systems. We won't go into all of these today but for now lets focus on "endurance" or aerobic training. 80% to 85% of your weekly mileage should be done running at this pace and therefore working on this system. When you run at the correct pace which for many is a bit slower that you are probably running you create a number of benefits. First the heart muscle becomes stronger which means it can pump more blood (oxygen) to your running muscles with less heartbeats. Another benefit is the ability of you body to deliver more oxygen to your muscles at the cellular level. If you are running too slow or too fast you will not receive the maximum level of these benefits. You may still get some of them but not all. Not to say that running faster is not a huge benefit but that should be done a couple times a week and at very specific paces which we will discuss later. For example, you can do a 4 mile run at tempo or aerobic threshold pace to a whole host of other benefits but if you are caught in what we call no mans land in between both paces you will not get either of the benefits to improve your running and your overall health. So now the question is how do you figure out what is your correct pace? First you need to run a race for example a 5K to test your current ability. They are fun, low cost and easy to find one locally. Take that time and input that into a training pace calculator which you can easily find by an easy google search. He are a couple of my favorites to try below. One you put your time and the distance you raced you can look at the training paces under easy/Long pace to see what you ideal pace should be. For those just starting running all runs should be at this pace. For those with more experience running 4 to 5 out of your 6 to 7 days of running per week should be done at this pace or 80% to 85% of your weekly mileage. Hope you found this helpful. Stay tuned for more!
WAR Elite Training Pace Calculator
Coach Rojas has 11 combined years of coaching experience at various levels including coaching a high school D1 State finalist team and 3 years in a row of a top 10 state ranking. He is passionate of the sport of running and loves to see new runners take up the sport! He wants to share a lifetime of running experience to all