Tuesday, April 8, 2014

10 Tips to Training for a Marathon

Training for a marathon is almost always an imperfect process. This time around, I expect Boston to be an interesting 26.2 for me with my emotions, my love for the sport, and my appreciation for the supporters along the route running high. So being prepared mentally and physically is even more important.
I trained for the 2013 Boston Marathon without a true schedule, simply creating a training outline for myself from a page I ripped out of “Runner’s World” magazine. It was great and I loved my Yasso 800’s (created by the running guru himself Bart Yasso), but I didn't have a set schedule, group, or coach. For the 2013 NYC marathon, I chose the NYRR Virtual Training program. It was easy to sign up for, making a $45 commitment that allowed me to choose what day I wanted my long run, what day I wanted “off”, my goal race time, and how intensely I wanted to train. Plus, I GOT A COACH!! Yes, even though it is a virtual program, I have a live coach I can email back and forth with! And that is such a thrill because until last fall, I hadn't had a coach since 1996.
So here, from my experiences both running with and without a coach, are my 10 tips to successfully train for a marathon.
 10 Tips to Training for a Marathon
  1. Set a Goal and Commit. Make your goal to run the race public and it will help you commit to keeping it. To make it even more attainable, set smaller goals along the way to reinforce your commitment and give yourself some progress markers. For example, sign up for shorter races such as a 10k and a half marathon, and use them to practice pacing and running the second half faster than the first. 
  2. goals
    Set goals! It will help to get you to the start and across the finish
  3. Use a Training Plan. No matter how many races you have or haven't run, there’s a training plan out there that will help you run smarter and faster. Do some research and pick one to help you train. As I said, I love the NYRR Virtual Training Program. I was introduced to it when I decided to run the 2013 NYC Marathon, and it made a huge difference knowing what I should be focusing on and when. Mentally figuring out what to do to train is exhausting, so when you use a program and it tells you what to, it alleviates that stress and allows you to train smarter and with confidence. For me, it takes the thought out of it. I wake up, and I already know what I’m supposed to be doing that day. It’s like a mental sherpa.
To get the other eight tips and read the rest of this post, check out my Babble blog Semi-Chlorinated Life.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Why I Decided to Run the Boston Marathon Again

April 23, 2013, running for Boston
I decided to run the 2014 Boston Marathon about two weeks after the events of April 15th last year. Boston 2013 was supposed to be my last marathon until my next milestone. My goal was to qualify for Boston and run it in my 40th year, checking a big item off my bucket list. But when what seemed to be a perfect day turned into such a tragedy, I couldn't leave marathoning with that memory. I didn't even look at the date of the event, I just felt in my heart and soul that I needed to go back, show support for the city and the running community that has supported me, and honor the victims of that day.

Part of me wanted to wait to see if I actually made the cut before finalizing everything, but when my friends kept asking me if I was going back, I felt that I would go no matter what so I looked up the date.

The Boston Marathon is always run on a Monday. This shocks people not from the northeast when they first hear it, but it’s Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April, and Boston celebrates it in a BIG Way. The date of the 2014 Boston Marathon is Monday, April 21st, and as soon as I saw the date my heart sank. April 21st is my daughter’s birthday.

All I could think was “Oh NO! How can I pull this off? I can't do this, can I?”...

Read the rest on Babble's Semi-Chlorinated Life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

5 Reasons Female Athletes are Good Business Hires

E&Y "Playing to Win" Panel
The notion that female athletes are good business hires was reinforced recently when I spent the morning with an amazing group of women for the Ernst & Young Thought Center Webcast: Playing to Win. The group consisted of leaders and businesswomen that ranged from entrepreneur to philanthropist, and financial powerhouse to trailblazer. It was international and diverse, but we all had one thing in common: Sport. Most of us played sport, and all of us believe that sport is an important tool for girls in terms of development, educational opportunity, confidence, self-esteem, and career.

. . .

Women who participate in sports are:
  1. Goal oriented. Women who played sports, whether they were team or individual, understand setting goals and working to achieve them.
Read more about women in sports and business and get reasons 2-5 on my Semi-Chlorinated Life Babble blog: http://www.babble.com/babble-voices/semi-chlorinated-life-summer-sanders/5-reasons-female-athletes-are-good-business-hires/.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sochi experience: Not perfect, but not bad

I have been reading several peoples accounts of their stay so far here in Adler/Sochi, and those accounts have inspired me to write my own. Please keep in mind that I feel badly for anyone who is experiencing less than adequate conditions, like those that have brown water coming out of their faucet or those waiting for their rooms. But our hotel, The Azimut, is great. It is brand new, like many other sites at this Games. It’s so new that many things are added as we head out for the day. Yes, you may see that as unfinished, but I chose to look at it as a pleasant surprise that only makes my stay better. You leave for work and come back to find you have a new hook in the bathroom. The whole place has that new smell, and I am fairly certain nobody has ever slept in my rented bed…YAY! The staff is so helpful and always tries its hardest to understand our English questions. What we have to reconcile is that every Games has its problems, and Sochi is no exception, but we also need to recognize that we are not the focus here.
View from my hotel balcony of the mountains and village
View from my balcony of the Black Sea

My biggest worry was safety when I came, and I truly feel safe. There are security personnel everywhere, but they're not making life complicated. The lines have been minimal, yet I know they will get worse once the Games begin as they always do. The system is comforting. My friends and I play a game of “how many locals can we get to smile back at us?” I know they want to, but they just aren't used to having people smile at them for no reason in the morning. So far, we have found that about 43% of the time, we get a smile in return. I call that a victory that still has room for improvement. 

The food has been really good in the call at the IBC cafeteria and elsewhere, although I haven't' had time to explore much else. The last time I was anywhere near Russia, in 1989 in Estonia, I nearly starved myself…partly because I am not an adventurous eater and partly because they would never truly confirm what kind of meat it was under all the sauce. I didn’t know if it would different this time, but I'm happy to report IT IS!  In fact, I could really stuff my face if I wanted to. There are healthy options of perfectly steamed broccoli, a salad bar and soups, as well as other offering such fresh banana bread and endless pizza.

The park housing and all the ice venues in the Olympic Plaza are amazing. Everything is so close together. And the medals area, which will house the flame for the 17 days of the Games, is right in the middle. I know there is a lot of negative talk about the Games, but I am done with it.  No Games is perfect. I remember carrying water up three flights of stair to have it in my hotel room in Athens. They are never perfectly done, and each LOCOG is always rushing to finish the huge undertaking. And while that can be disconcerting to the outside world, it's not why we hold or attend the Games.
Olympic Plaza
So I'm not talking about the “unfinished” pieces of this Games anymore because it’s not what the Games are about. It’s time celebrate the athletes. Send out the positive juju so these Games begin tonight with happiness and hope and smiles. Don't fret about condition because I can promise you, you can find the same in hotels in NY. Focus on the good, the beautiful moments that will be the Sochi Winter Games of 2014. Because the only things that has to be near perfect at an Olympics are the performances. Bring on the Opening Ceremonies.
Jamie Anderson and her family after the first Women's Slopestyle Snowboard event qualifications Feb. 6th