Friday Five: Running Resources

And I’m back with this week’s Friday Five. This week I’m sharing Five-ish Running Resources.

First up, four (4) places to find training plans:

  1. The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training
  2. The “Non” Runner’s Guide to Marathon Training
  3. Hal Higdon Training Plans
  4. Couch-to-5K Running Plan

A follow-up, four (4) articles about running/training:

  1. Yasso 800s
  2. Two Types of Marathon Long Runs
  3. McMillan Pace Calculator
  4. Treadmill Pace Conversions

Next, eight (8) books about running that I’ve read:

  1. Run Less, Run Faster – Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, And Ray Moss
  2. YOU (Only Faster) — Greg McMillan
  3. Marathoning for Mortals – John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield
  4. My Life on the Run – Bart Yasso and Kathleen Parrish
  5. Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
  6. Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning — Hal Koerner
  7. Daniels’ Running Formula — Jack Daniels
  8. Advanced Marathoning — Pete Pfitzinger

Short and sweet, but that’s it for this weekend. Feel free to leave a question in the comment if you are looking for additional resources.

2015 In Review

As we say goodbye to 2015, and welcome 2016, I felt it appropriate to look back on where I came from as I plan ahead to wear I am going.

2015 Summary of Events:

  • 1510.5 Total Number of Miles Ran (As of 12/28)
  • 1 – 50K (December)
  • 5 Half Marathons (January, April, September (x2), October)
  • 1 Walking Half Marathon (September)
  • 1 Full Marathon (January)
  • 6 – 5Ks (January, March, June, August, November)
  • 3 – 10Ks (January, September, October)
  • 1 – 4 Miler (October)
  • 1- 15K (May)
  • 1 – Dopey Challenge (January)
  • 1 – Dumbo Double Dare (September)
  • 1 – Coast to Coast Challenge (September)
  • 5 GORUCK events (New Years Light (Atlanta), Light (Columbus), St. Paddy’s Challenge (Dublin), 4th of July Challenge (Gettysburg), Mog Mile Challenge (Cleveland))


  • Completing the New Albany Walking Classic (Half Marathon) with my mom…Half Marathon #16
  • Starting off the year with two 5Ks in 12 hours! (Midnight Special and Hangover Classic)
  • Setting 2 PRs (Twice)–Half Marathon and 10K.
  • Finishing my first ultramarathon!

Next up, a link up. I’ve really wanted to participate in one and I thought the perfect way to close out 2015 would be by participating in Courtney’s Year of Running Link Up.

Eat Pray Run DC
  • Best race experience: Disneyland Half Marathon. This was actually a hard decision. I ran a lot of new races and had such great experiences. Disneyland was probably my worst half marathon performance this year, but it was definitely my favorite race experience.
  • Best run: December 5th. I had a 20 mile training run scheduled. I’ve never had a long run feel so effortless.
  • Best new piece of running gear: Garmin Forerunner 230. I recently upgraded from my Nike+ SportWatch GPS. It was only 2 years old, but every run I was anxious. Then it froze during a 20 mile training run.
  • Best running advice you’ve received this year: This isn’t running specific, but earlier this year I was told by someone to stop putting things off and making excuses as to why not now. If you want something, you’ll find a way. And it’s very true. But it’s also about dealing with fear, because fear will help you make excuses, while courage will help you toss them out the window!
  • Most inspirational runner: Andrea Duke! At 27, she ran her first marathon in 4:35; 10.5 years later she won her first marathon in 3:07. Besides, she is just so darn nice. If you’re curious, read more about her here.
    A close second is the ultrarunning dachshund, TruMan and his momo, Catra Corbett.
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year:

    I started off the year with Dopey. There was a little bit of pain and some tears (a whole lot of chaffing) but I did it.
  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Columbus Half Marathon. I went in having zero expectations to PR. The weather was almost the right temperature. My legs felt great. And even some of the crowding issues I experienced didn’t slow me down. I ran (for the most part) the most even race I think I’ve run in my “career.” Besides Columbus is my favorite race regardless.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Changing. There were a lot of changes this year.

What I would like to know is how was your 2015 Year of Running? (Be sure to respond in the comments!)



Training Plans for Your Spring Race

Finding a training plan can be difficult. The internet is always a great place to begin but there are so many options.

The first step should be deciding how long do you want your training plan to be, but also knowing how long should your training plan be.

The second step will be determining the level of difficulty. Typically plans are broken up into Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. Some sites and programs will assist you in making this determination. This step also takes into account what works and doesn’t work for you, such as the number of days a week to train and types of workouts.

Another step would be considering how much you are willing to pay. There are free plans out there and there are plans you have to pay for. Depending on what type of runner you are and what your goals are for your upcoming race will determine the cost-benefit analysis of each plan.

Next I took the opportunity to share with you some resources I have found as well as some that I have used. This is not the end-all-be-all list of training resources, but just my own personal list that I wanted to share.

Full Marathon Training Plans

The recommended training period for a full marathon is 20 weeks, excepted for experienced runners who have sufficient base mileage and can use a 16 week plan.

Hal Higdon’s Training Plans for a full marathon run from 18-30 weeks and are free on his website.

Your Marathon Training Plan also offers free plans as well as coaching services.

Coach Jenny also offers free 20 week training plans.

Some races also offer specific training programs often for a discounted rate, in addition to their free training programs. For example, TCS New York Marathon offers both. Other free training programs include: Chicago Marathon, LA Marathon, Boston Marathon.

Half Marathon Training Plans

The recommended training period for a half marathon is 12-14 weeks.

Hal Higdon offers multiple 12 week training programs

5K Training Plans

Hal Higdon offers 8 week training programs.

There is always the iconic Couch-to-5K Running Plan, which now even has an app for that!

Full Marathon Relay Training Plans

This type of training is dependent on how long your relay leg.

Books containing Training Plans

Run Less, Run Faster – Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, And Ray Moss

YOU (Only Faster) — Greg McMillan

Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning — Hal Koerner

Daniels’ Running Formula — Jack Daniels

Advanced Marathoning — Pete Pfitzinger

Hansons Marathon MethodLuke Humphrey and Keith Hanson

Customized and Online Training Programs

Most of these programs are customized to your specific history and goals, and some of the programs can also be updated based on how your training progresses. The following links include a variety of training plans as well as coaching services.


Training Peaks

McMillan Running

Hansons Coaching Services

Other Resources

Runner’s World has training plans that can be downloaded to their RW2GO app, as a pdf, or to Training Peaks for varying fees.

The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training

The “Non” Runner’s Guide to Marathon Training

Question: What resources do you recommend?
Comment below!

Thanks for reading!





DISCLAIMER: All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. As always, please consult your doctor with any medical issues, or before beginning a training program.

Running Disney

I started off 2015 by completing the Dopey Challenge. Participating in a runDisney weekend really emphasizes that this is a (half) marathon not a sprint! While I am not an expert at all things runDisney, I thought I would share my tips for having a successful race weekend as well as a vacation!

Stay at a Disney Resort (if you can). The primary reason is transportation to and from the race. Buses get fast tracked (and sometimes there still is a decent amount of a wait). You don’t want to miss your start because you couldn’t make it to the parking in time. There are also hotels near Downtown Disney that also offer race weekend packages, which includes transportation to the start.

Book your dining reservations yesterday. Know when and where you are going to eat. Especially for you Dopeys out there. If you’re staying and eating at Disney this is key. This includes dining at Downtown Disney.

Go to bed at a reasonable hour. If you’re running just one race, you might be able to get away with a later evening. But if you’re running Goofy or Dopey, multiple early mornings will catch up to you.

Prepare for early wake-up calls. You have to be at the races no later than an hour before the start. You need to budget time for breakfast, morning routine and transportation to the start area.

Plan for breakfast. The resort cafes will not be open when you would like to enjoy your pre-race meal. Some of the Downtown Disney hotels did offer special grab-n-go meals to their runners.

Be mindful of when the buses stop running for road closures. Also keep in mind that as it gets closer to last call, the buses will be more crowded and even stop accepting riders (for safety reasons). Off-site hotels sometimes make you schedule a bus time as well.

Plan to be at the start area for an hour. This might mean an extra snack and a bottle of water. Don’t worry there are plenty of portable restrooms for you to use and space to do your warm-up strides.

Pack for the weather extremes. When I started stalking the weather report for Dopey 2015, the projection was for 60 degrees at the start. As the races approached, the 5K was going to be in the 40s, but the rest of the week would be 60s. And as the race drew closer, it appeared that all races would be a bit cold! This might mean packing a variety of race (and throw away) gear.

Understand that there are 20,000+ runners for the half and full marathons. This means that the course might be crowded at various points. The corral system is efficient for handling this, but there are points where the course narrows and can cause temporary clusters.

Embrace the excuse to run in a costume. Seriously. The best part of running Disney is planning my race costume then being in awe of all of the other costumes out there. Just make sure that the costume is something you can run in (and won’t cause chafing) and doesn’t involve a mask (since that’s against the rules).

Enjoy the magical miles. Running through the parks is quite an experience. You’ll see the lighting and so many things that you don’t notice during the day. Plus many Disney employees are out there cheering for you. Every race has something different that makes me feel like a kid at Christmas all over again.

Stop for character pictures. I don’t follow this advice and every time I always regret it.

Slow down. If you’re a serious runner, this is your chance to stop racing and take it all in. I have issues letting my competitive side go, but Disney is the perfect excuse to allow yourself not to be chasing a PR. This also means that if you’re a 4 hour marathoner, pack enough fuel for 5 hours because it’s better to be safe than sorry. (NOTE: I am not saying to add an hour on to you run time, but just to plan to be out on the course for a little bit extra than normal!)

Pack your medals. If you’re doing Dopey or Goofy (or even later in the year doing Coast to Coast), if you want an Official photo of you with all of your medals, you’re going to have to run with them. If you want an unofficial near the finish photo, then just pack them in gear bag. I wrapped mine in the race tee, so that they wouldn’t get scratched while being carried.

Plan on enjoy all that Disney has to offer.  This means plan a day or two at the parks. Utilize the fastpass+ system so you’re not spending half the day on your feet in lines. If you book your meal reservations, this also means you’ll eat on your own personal schedule too. If you’re like me, I can be a bit hangry if I don’t eat on time prior to a race; so bring snacks too!

Know that it’s okay to enjoy Orlando outside of Disney. Head over to Universal Studios. Or anywhere. Just because you’re running Disney does not mean you’re confined to the Resorts.

Head to the Expo. This is a given since you need to get your bib. But one tip first. If you spy anything you must-have when runDisney posts preview pics on their facebook, plan on being at the expo when it opens. Official merchandise sells out fast. I would suggest skipping the line for bib pickup and go directly to the Expo Merchandise area. Come back and do the bib thing after you’re done shopping.

Budget accordingly. Expo shopping, park souvenirs and meals can add up quickly. Have a budget planned in advanced so you don’t have a mild heart attack when you see your credit card bill!

Lastly, keep in mind that these are just my tips for a successful runDisney vacation weekend. These tips are primarily aimed at travelers like myself coming in from out of state who plan on enjoying a vacation while running Disney. I would like to note that I am not an expert. For that I will defer to Megan Biller who is the author of Magical Miles: The Runner’s Guide to WDW.
I am not an expert. I will defer to Megan Biller author of Magical Miles The Runner’s Guide to WDW.

You can always review my Race Recaps from the 2015 Dopey Challenge. Or Leave a Question in the comments!

Good Luck!


2016 Glass City Marathon Race Entry Giveaway

We are 21 weeks from Race Day! I hope you plan to come run Toledo with me in 2016.

I have exciting news to share: the Race Director for the Glass City Marathon has given me two entries to giveaway to two of my readers. The two free entries are good for the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon, the Owens Corning Half Marathon, and the Medical Mutual Glass City 5K. (Sorry, the entries do not work for the Findley Davies Kid’s Marathon or the Yark 5 Person Relay Marathon)

The courses for all three races are fast and flat. The Mercy Health Glass City Marathon course is a Boston Qualifier. In previous years, approximately 16-18% of participants qualify for Boston at Glass City. This is usually in the top 20-30 races. Other highlights of the race include a glass finisher’s mug and the finisher’s book that is sent out after the race. If you need the entire breakdown, read this post!

To enter for the Glass City Marathon Race Entry Giveaway, just complete the Rafflecopter entry here.
You’ll receive entries into the raffle by following the Glass City Marathon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; one entry for each follow! You’ll receive additional entries if you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and if you subscribe to this blog. Receive one last entry for leaving a comment on this post to let other readers know which event you plan on running!

You have until Midnight on December 2th to register! I will be announcing the winners on December 3rd right here.

If you don’t win this time, you have two more opportunities to enter. You can head over to Tom between December 4-10. And last up is to visit Amanda beginning on December 11th.

And if you still don’t win a race entry, you can register for any of the races here.

Registering for a race is the easy part! But next is the training. Keep in mind when you register the length of the expected training period. It is typically recommended for a full marathon to follow a training plan for 16-18 weeks, maybe longer if you need to build up base mileage. For a half marathon, it’s pretty standard to see 12-16 week training plans. Training for most 5K plans are 8-12 weeks. At this time, I am planning running the full marathon and joining Dave’s Marathon In-Training program. I will be blogging weekly about my training. Dave’s MIT program is 16 weeks for both the half and the full training programs, and it begins in January!

I hope to see you at Glass City on Sunday, April 24th!

Good Luck!


Introducing 2016 Glass City Marathon Ambassadors and Upcoming Race Entry Giveaway

This year we are celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Glass City Marathon. Don’t forget to check out my personal FAQs on the event.

For 2016, I was invited to be an Ambassador for the Glass City Marathon. I am not a stranger to this race. The sixth half marathon I ran was the Owens Corning Half Marathon in 2013. My fifth full marathon was the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon in 2014. In 2015, I returned for my 14th half marathon.

On Sunday, April 24, 2016, I will be running the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon! You can find my 2016 Glass City Marathon Ambassador Profile here.

I wanted to take a minute and introduce my fellow ambassadors:

Amanda Schwartz (Lead Ambassador)

Tom Silva

Sarah Olvera Speer

Dean Whitmire

Lisa Willford

Please head over and check out all of the Ambassadors!

Next up is the big announcement…

The Race Director for the Glass City Marathon has given each ambassador two entries to giveaway to two of our readers. The two free entries are good for the race of your choice: the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon, the Owens Corning Half Marathon, or the Medical Mutual Glass City 5K.

You  have 6 opportunities to win a free entry into the Glass City Race of your choice! Start with a visit to Sarah between November 6-12 for your first chance to win. If you enter and don’t win, next up is Dean for November 13-19, followed by Lisa between November 20-26.

I’ll be doing my 2016 Mercy Health Glass City Marathon Race Entry Giveaway starting November 27th and ending December 3rd. I’ll be announcing winners on December 4th. If you enter and don’t win my giveaway, you can head over to Tom between December 4-10. And last up is to visit Amanda beginning on December 11th.

If you would like multiple opportunities to win, don’t forget to follow my fellow Ambassadors and keep your eyes out for their giveaways. If you don’t win with Sarah, Dean or Lisa, come back here on November 27th for your chance to win one of two entries to the Glass City Race of your choice.

Good Luck!


What’s in a Cost

I willingly paid $550 to run the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World. That was 4 days and 4 races. It also was 48.3 Magical Miles. Each Magical Mile costing approximately $11.38 for me to run. And that didn’t include all of the extras, such as travel expenses and running gear. But why is running Disney, or any other large, high-demand race so expensive? Well, because of economics–supply and demand; they have a consumer base willing to pay those prices. But let’s look into why your local marathon registration fee is priced the way it is.

I live in the great state of Ohio, so I’ll use the 5 major marathons as an example. These races have an average registration fee of $75 that increases to $115 at the expo (with an average 15,000 participating in various distances on race day). Since I am not a race director, I am thankful to have had a few race directors willing to speak to me about what goes into their costs. Once I get through a general laundry list of items, I’ll throw in my commentary on a few that I think are important.

Runner/Participant Take-Homes:

  • T-Shirt
  • Medal
  • Swag

Race Day Necessities:

  • Gatorade
  • Water
  • Cups
  • Ice
  • Energy Gels
  • Portable Toilets
  • Tents
  • Tables
  • Cones
  • Fencing
  • Start and Finish Lines
  • Mile Markers
  • Radios
  • Generators
  • Lights
  • Speakers and Announcement Equipment
  • Timing Maps, Clocks and System/Services
  • Medical Services

Race Planning:

  • Staff
  • Advertising/Marketing
  • Warehouse Storage
  • Event Insurance
  • USATF course Certification
  • City Permit(s)
  • Facility Rentals
    • Expo Location
    • Finish Line Location
  • Packet Preparation


  • City Services (Police, EMS)
  • County Services
  • State Police
  • Department(s) of Transportation
  • Traffic Engineering
  • Private Security
  • Private EMS

Other optional services:

  • Stages
  • Bus Transportation
  • Course Entertainment
  • Course Photos
  • Pace Team
  • Social Media Tracking
  • Winner Prizes
  • Festivities (i.e. fireworks)

WOW! That’s a lot of stuff, and I’m sure I left a few items out. Is all of it necessary? Well, most of it is.

Let’s start with the starting line. What’s there? Porta-pots. Yeah, you probably want that available. There also might be some fencing for the corrals to help organize the chaos at the starting line. Those might be rented, but if they’re owned then they’re probably stored in a warehouse. Rental or storage, both cost money. What about starting line festivities? Who is signing the national anthem (probably paid)? Are their fireworks or a big giant video board? Maybe there’s just a speaker system so you can hear announcements and directions.

As we move beyond the starting line, what do we see? Mile markers and cones. Those thousands of cones might be like the fencing, owned or rented. Same with the timing mats and equipment, it may be rented or owned by the race company, but it still requires a paid worker to operate. And with the timing mats comes the cost of timing chips.

Most courses are certified, because in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon, the course must be USATF certified. The top 30 qualifying races only have approximately 20% of participants qualifying. Another thing to keep in mind is that a certified course means that the distance was verified, so you won’t end up running 27.2 instead of 26.2 unless you fail to follow directions and get lost; regardless if you’re seeking a BQ, a certified course benefits all participants.

One example on the course of a few things that the race fees cover which don’t apply to every runner. Many of us bring our own energy gels instead of grabbing one from a volunteer. Some even go so far as to carry their own water or Gatorade to avoid having to use an fluid station.

Let’s consider some of the things our registration fees pay for that we don’t use and probably should. First off, unless the race is sponsored by a medical group, the first aid tents and medical team are typically going to be paid services. There might be a few volunteers, but because of legal matters, any medical treatment beyond first aid is most likely going to done by someone who is paid to be there (cuz–insurance). Next let’s just tackle the Pace Team. Some Pacers are part of a team and are paid to run the race and pace whoever wants them to, but some pace teams are entirely made up of volunteers. Those volunteers need to be outfitted so that you the runner can identify them as a pacer. Guess what that apparel isn’t free.

Speaking of apparel, there’s t-shirts to help runners identify Race Volunteers. Just think of Merchandise in general, like the race t-shirts or other race swag. And those packets you pick-up don’t put themselves together; it’s either staff putting in long hours or it’s outsourced to another company or group. And before the start line there was the Expo, that space wasn’t free! And last let’s not forget, how did YOU hear about the race? Do they have a website? They probably own the domain and might pay a web designer to manage the page. How about online registration? Some of the fees are passed on to the consumer (or you), but some are charged for just posting on their website.

Okay back to the race!

So your friends/family are lazy and don’t want to come watch you race, they’ll just receive text messages updating them on your progress, or you just have it posted on your social media. Well that runner tracking service probably costs some money. Guess what else isn’t free, having those photographers out on the course; yet still those pictures are $30/each!

When you finish, was it underneath a Banner or some blown-up contraption? That costs money. Are there stands for spectators at the finish line? Unless the finish line venue (that was rented) came with stands, those were probably an additional rental. Did you get a finisher’s medal? And that party. Some of the food might be donated by corporate sponsorships, but some of it was probably purchased. Don’t forget the winners probably receive prize money. And I did just mention sponsorships, which can help cover some of the many costs of a race but not all.

Once race is over. The party has ended. Now begins the clean-up. Depending on the city permit, or the rental agreements, they might have actually have to pay for a clean-up crew instead of relying on volunteers or their own staff. But when speaking of staff, some staff is paid, some isn’t. There might be one or two full-time positions supporting the race, the rest volunteer their time. The race director, or social media manager, might be volunteers.

Some (not all) races try to encourage elite runners to attend, offering free entry as well as VIP-like perks. Races don’t need elite athletes, but it often helps bring some attention to their race. There really isn’t any true free publicity anymore, is there? Let’s continue this theme with perks offered to “legacy” runners, which many races are starting to offer in order to encourage participants to come back each year. Both elites and legacies could possibly receive apparel and other merchandise at no cost to themselves, so that money has to come from somewhere.

I didn’t give you any “real” values to put on the costs. Let’s revisit the Dopey Challenge. I paid for 4 races. That’s 4 t-shirts and 4 medals. But wait, it was a challenge. So that was an additional 2 t-shirts and 2 medals. And some cities and companies are starting to hold various challenges and series were you can “earn” extra finisher medals and t-shirts. Take that a shirt printed in bulk costs maybe $10-15 each (cost of material and labor) and a medal is roughly $3-5 each. That’s $78-$120 just in shirts and medals. Timing services and social media tracking cost roughly $3-5 per participant which still leaves roughly $400 remaining to the race company to provide me with 4 races with water stops, energy stops, restroom areas, closed roads, traffic control, security, and first aid.

Question: Do you think your race fees are worth what you receive?