Category Archives: Run

Basic pacing guidelines and thoughts for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon and Marathon

With so many people racing the PF Chang’s Half Marathon and Marathon this weekend, here are some pacing guidelines for both distances as well as some other thoughts.

Let’s start with nutrition. Eat as you normally would this week (the week of the race). In the 72 hours prior to the race, you can increase your carbohydrate intake slightly with some more pastas and breads and avoid fiber or high fat desserts. The morning of the race, your meal should consist of a 400-600 cal breakfast about 2-3 hours before the start. Nibble on an energy bar in the hours before the race and suck down one gel about 20-30 minutes before the start. Do some static stretching and jump in place as a simple warm-up. No need for a twenty-minute warm up run. Just limber up and get the heart rate raised a bit.

Pacing for the Half

Run the first two miles at lev 2 (on a scale from 1 to 5—lev 1 being a slow, warm-up pace, and lev5 being an all-out anaerobic effort). The death of any race can be traced back to the initial miles. Starting too fast in the first few miles will lead to a big fade in the last 3 miles. Keeping yourself at lev 2 will help avoid the two-mile sprint at the beginning. Run at lev 3 between miles 2 and 3 and time that split. The time it takes to cover that mile is your pace for the rest of the day. Expect HR to slowly drift upwards, as well as perceived exertion, but hold on to that same pace. At mile 10, decide if you can hold the same pace or go faster. If you feel good, try to lift the effort to lev 4-5a for the last 5K. Cross the line with nothing left.

Nutrition for the Half

Eat one gel every hour and drink water as desired.

Pacing for the marathon

Run at lev 2 for the first 13.1 miles and lev 2-3 after that. At mile 20, hold what you have or try to lift the pace to lev 3-4 for the last 10K. If you are aiming for a specific time, then try and complete the first 13.1 miles in 51% of your goal time and the second 13.1 miles in 49% of your goal time. A slight negative split is desired.

Nutrition for the marathon

Eat 100 cal per hour and drink as desired. If you have a heavy sweat rate, then ingest at least 400mg per hour of sodium.

Good luck everyone!!!

Finding the proper running shoes

When we run, our feet strike the ground in one of several generally predictable patterns depending on the shape of the feet, the size of the arches, running mechanics, and muscle strength and stabilization capability. There are, in general, three groups of runners.

The first are the “pronators” or “neutral” runners. The pronators make up about 85% of the running population. When they run, they exhibit a naturally occurring motion called pronation. During pronation, the outside area of the heel strikes the ground first and the foot then gradually rolls down and inward, finishing in a flat or neutral position as the toes push off.

The second are the “over-pronators.” Over-pronators still begin their foot strike on the outside of the heel, however, as their foot rolls down and inward, it does not stop in a flat position at the toe push-off point, but rather, continues rolling inward so the push-off occurs at the inside corner of the forefoot and big toe. The knee also “caves in” toward the inside in an over-pronator. This movement inward by the knee of an over-pronator can lead to injury if the motion is not checked by the proper running shoe. The over-pronators generally have low arches or “flat feet.”

The third are the “under-pronators” or “supinators.” These runners begin their foot strike on the outside of the heel, but remain on the outside of the foot throughout the motion of the foot on the ground until the push-off. This motion requires the least amount of stabilization in a running shoe. The supinators generally have high arches.

How do you determine if you have low, medium, or high arches? One easy way is to do the “wet foot test.” Put a piece of paper on the ground next to a bucket of water. Wet your feet in the bucket and then stand on the piece of paper. You will have left your wet footprints on the paper. Match your wet footprints on the paper with the diagrams below to find your foot type.

Low arch low arch diagram


Medium arch medium arch diagram


high arch diagramHigh arch


Shoe companies make running shoes designed to address the issues of pronation, over-pronation, and under-pronation. You will see the following labels for shoe types:  “Stability shoes” for the pronators or those with medium arches, “motion control shoes” for the over-pronators or those with low arches (flat feet), and “cushioned shoes” for the under-pronators or those with high arches.

All quality running shoe companies will offer several shoe types within each of those three broad categories. The difference in shoes within each category is usually based on your weight and frame size. For example, you may have flat feet and need a motion control shoe. However, if you also have a medium to large frame (Men – 180 pounds +, Women – 150 pounds +), you will want a motion control shoe with maximum cushioning, as well.

If you have a low arch, or flat feet, you will generally tend to over-pronate. Therefore, motion control shoes, which are designed to prevent excessive pronation movement, would be the shoes for you.

If you have a medium arch, you are probably a pronator. Therefore, you would want stability shoes, which are designed to let your foot pronate naturally.

If you have a high arch, you will most likely under-pronate. Therefore, cushioned shoes will be the ones for you. They are designed to promote a normal pronation movement.

Another way to determine what type of runner you are is to look at the wear on a previous pair of running shoes. Look at the diagrams below to see if your running shoes are worn in this way:

Over-pronatorover-pronator diagram

Neutralneutral runner diagram

Under-pronatorunder-pronator diagram

Most quality running shoe stores offer a foot strike analysis to help you purchase the correct shoe. If this service is offered, take advantage of it.

Once you determine your arch type and running mechanics, you will be prepared to purchase a properly fitting pair of running shoes to suit your specific needs. Once you find the proper shoe, they are only designed to last between 300-600 miles of running, so be sure to replace them in a timely manner to ensure you are receiving the proper support of the shoe.

You will find running to be infinitely more enjoyable and safe with the proper running shoes. Take the time to find the correct pair for you, and then hit the pavement!