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.

Glass City Half Marathon: Race Recap

I wasn’t sure how to write this race recap because it took me a while to process the race. I’ve PR’d twice at GCM before, but this year, it was not my goal race. Last year I worked my tail off to PR in the full marathon and I had a lack luster day at the races; this year coming off of LA training, I really wasn’t training very much more than to finish the race. So going into race day, I was not sure what my expectations were.

Race Week Training

I. Did. Not. Taper. You read that right. No taper. And if you read my 2015 PR Race Recap of Columbus, then you’ll recall I did the same thing. My mileage since LA has been low, so there wasn’t much to taper. I ran every day what felt good,  and I didn’t run when I didn’t want to.

Training Review

This year I transitioned from training for LA to training for GCM, while substitute coaching for Dave’s Running Marathon in Training program. During this transition period, I noticed that compared to this time last year I was running on average a minute/mile slower.

Race Day Wake-up

Sunday morning’s wake up came at 3:30am. Breakfast was a oatmeal with blueberries and peanut butter, and coffee. I used my morning walk with Addie to help me determine what I would wear for the race. After our walk, I packed my bags and we headed to campus. After a quick photo op with the Oiselle Volée flock, there wasn’t much time for a warm-up so I headed to the Start Line.

Start Area

I still had no game plan. I decided to start with the 1:55 pacer, except I couldn’t find them. I had set my watch so I had to manually lap each mile, and I was hoping this wouldn’t have me watching my garmin too much during the race. As I waited for the race to begin, I had 3 Raspberry ProBar Bolts and 2 Margarita Clif Bloks to start the race off.

Miles 1-3: 9’00″/8’41″/8’43”
I wanted to keep it relaxed early on since I really had no idea of my racing capabilities. I saw a fellow Dave’s MIT coach pacing her group, so I began with them as my rabbits. Shortly before Mile 1, I spotted Cory and Steph, hoping I wouldn’t regret trying to catch up to them early on. I stuck near them until right before Mile 2. I grabbed water around Mile 3 and decided to try to drink while running (and hopefully not choke!).

Miles 4-6: 8’40″/8’35″/8’31”

I was expected to feel fatigued and slow down at this point. Around Mile 4.5, I ate 3 Raspberry ProBar Bolts and 2 Margarita Clif Bloks. I was pleasantly surprised that my legs felt fresh and I had energy enough to sustain my current effort. I was pretty happy so far in the race. I was seeing my dad multiple times and Bob, one of the head coaches for Dave’s MIT, which helped keep me up beat being able to spot them along the course. (Side Note: this made me super excited to spectate the Cap City Half Marathon the following weekend.)

Miles 7-9: 8’32″/8’44″/8’39”

Around mile 8, I wondered if I had the potential to PR. I knew there was plenty of miles of the race remaining, but focusing on the possibility kept me moving forward. I was pleasantly surprised about how I was doing as we made the “turn-around” on Central Avenue and headed back towards campus. I forgot to fuel so I grabbed it around Mile 9.5.

Miles 10-13.1: 8’40″/8’19″/8’31″/8’11”
I passed Steph around Mile 10 and I knew she was struggling. I wanted to open up at this point in the race, but quickly realized I didn’t have the legs for a huge push. I knew without it that a PR was out of reach, but I would be damned if I wasn’t going to hang on and try for at least a sub-1:53.

Official Finish Time 1:52:30 (only 47 seconds off my PR)
Average Pace 8’35”

Holy Batman! My previous races at GCM had me working hard for my finish times. Relatively speaking, this race felt like a cake-walk. I was reminded why Ottawa Hills is called “Ottawa Hills” but really surprised (and absolutely amazed) how my body handled them and my pace.

Pros:  It was the perfect weather (probably because it was almost the perfect “date”–you can laugh if you’ve seen Miss Congeniality and know what I mean). GCM still isn’t my favorite race or course, but I’m trying to learn to see why so many people do love it.

Cons: I can’t get it out of my mind but I think there are some major security issues with this race (yeah I said it).

I’m done racing for the time being while I train for a GORUCK Heavy! If you’re interested, you can find all of my Race Recaps here!



The Real Cost of a Spring Marathon

Last Fall (2015), I broke down what your registration fee pays for. In preparation for this upcoming Spring season, I thought I’d break down what it really costs you to run a marathon (or any race) by sharing with you what I spent training for GCM 2016.

The first cost to consider is the registration fee. The Mercy Health Glass City Marathon registration fees start at $70.

The second is going to be your running shoes. Depending on what kind of runner you are, you’re probably going to need at the very least 2 pairs of shoes for training (because of all the miles). A lot of non-runners think that this is all you need…if they only knew. My Nike LunarGlides cost approximately $125 each, so $250 total.

Next will be your training plan. There are free plans on the internet. Or you can purchase a book. You can also hire a coach or join a training program. This year I signed up for Dave’s Marathon in Training Program at $125.

You’ll have to learn some way to track your mileage and training time. If you live where there are easily marked courses/roads, that’s awesome and you can probably get away with your standard stopwatch. But if you want to know how far you’ve gone and your current/average pace, you’ll probably want a GPS watch. This year I upgraded my outdated Nike+ Sportwatch GPS to a Garmin Forerunner 230 at $250.

I also prefer to run with a little background music. Thankfully my old iPod Shuffle is still alive and kicking, but due to rain/sweat/use I replace my headphones approximately every two months. Estimated at least two pairs for the training period at $15 each, so $30.

I also use some energy fuel during my long runs. Currently I am using PROBAR Bolt Chews. They come in a box on 12 packs; each pack contains 2 servings. At an estimated $30 per box and approximately 2 boxes to get me thru my training period, total cost should be $60.

I didn’t buy any new clothing during this training period, so that amount was $0.

Obviously it’s winter in Ohio. The weather isn’t always conducive to training outdoors. Last year, I joined Planet Fitness ($21.50/month) because they have the best treadmills in town; honestly, if the treadmill isn’t good, it’s going to make it even harder to get through your workout. For January-April, total cost was $86.

If you do any additional cross-training, such as Yoga, Pure Barre, or CrossFit (I do all 3), your monthly fees will also creep into your total cost. Yoga at approximately $65/month, Pure Barre currently at $149/month, and CrossFit at $100/month. For January-April, total cost was $1256.

Previously, I’ve used massages as a last resort when it comes to body maintenance; I relied on foam rolling (which I own), and a lacrosse ball (less than $5). As a Christmas present to myself, I purchased a membership to Massage Envy and worked a massage into my training schedule every 3-4 weeks. This costs approximately $90/session (90 minutes), and an estimated 5 massages to include a post-race recovery massage brings the total to $450.

Other considerations are tune-up races built into your training schedule. In the Spring I think there were maybe 2-3 races, running a total cost of less than $150.

The last costly venture of running a race is actual race weekend costs.

  • Spending at the Expo. I encourage budgeting to limit your spending. I think after all was said and done, I walked out with a $10 Nike Hat.
  • Parking (Expo and Race Day). For GCM this was FREE, but other races (hello Chicago and Detroit), parking was pricey.
  • Transportation. See above. Not an issue for GCM because it was local. But for big city races, and especially races that require you to travel (by land or air), transportation can be a cost factor.
  • Hotel. For any race requiring more than a 30 minute drive in the AM, a hotel can be nice to cut down on your time in the morning. But this comes with a cost.
  • Food. Most runners enjoy a pre-race meal, often coming in the form of a meal out. Mine is Chipotle for lunch and Sushi for dinner! This usually runs me anywhere from $30-40.

Total cost of Race Weekend was approximately $50.

Using my 2016 expenses for my own Spring Race listed above, to race this Spring it cost approximately $2777.

Obviously if I was on a tighter budget, I would forgo spending money on a new training plan (if I knew my previous training methods worked for me), not purchase a new watch or other equipment unless absolutely necessary, reduce the number of memberships I have, cut down on my massages (unless necessary, which for some people they are), participate in free tune-up races when possible, and stay local to reduce race weekend costs. This tighter budget still includes race registration fees, running shoes, energy fuels, one gym membership, massages and my local race weekend spending and has a total cost slightly under $1000.

Question: What items are including in your racing/training budget? Are there things you have to have and things that you can forgo to cut costs?


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.

Jes’s Running Survey

I’ve seen this survey running around the blogs, so I decided to jump in on the fun.

1. Would you rather run along a beach path or on a mountain trail?

Can I do both please? If I had to choose (and I think I do), I’d totally pick beach path.

2. If you could choose the flavor of Gatorade at your next race’s aid stations, what would it be?

Water?!? I’m a lemon-lime girl but 4 ounces of Gatorade contain 2 teaspoons of sugar. Yikes!

3. If I gave you a $100 gift card to a running store, what would be the first thing that you would purchase with it?

Shoes. You can’t have too many shoes in rotation.

4. Do you prefer to follow a training plan or wake up and decide then how far and fast you want to run?

Plan. I like waking up and having a rabbit to chase!

5. Would you rather start your run with the uphill and end on the downhill or start with the downhill and end on the uphill?

I like to challenge myself towards the end of a run, so I would start downhill and end uphill!

6. When you can’t run, what type of cross training do you choose to do?

Yoga or CrossFit.

7. What’s your preference – out and back or point to point or loop runs?

Whatever the day brings. I don’t like to run the same course everyday.

8. If you could recommend ANY running related item to a new runner, it would be a….?

Go to your local running shop and figure out the whole shoe thing! (and keep going back if the first pair(s) don’t work!)

9. Do you ever see any wild animals while out on your runs?

A whole lot of deer.

10. Ever gotten lost while out on a run?

When I first moved back home, I went to a park near where I worked and kept turning the wrong way on a loop and couldn’t figure out how to get out. My mom thought it was funny as I texted her. I think I even live tweeted it!

11. If you could have one meal waiting and ready for you each time you got home from a run for the next 30 days, what would that be?

 Despite it being so warm lately and craving a post run popsicle. I feel like the next 30 days, I will be craving a warm bowl of chili or soup after coming in from a nice cold run!

12. Capris or shorts…what do you run in most often?

I haven’t worn “shorts” to run in a long time. Hello chafing! So by default, capris.

13. At what mile (or how many minutes) into your run does your body start to feel like it is warming up and ready to go?

Depends on the weather, and the type of workout. In winter, I tend to warm up within the first mile. During the summer, it might take a couple miles for my body to adjust to the humidity before it feels “warmed up.”

14. What do you do with your key when you run?

In my capri pocket.

15. If you could relive any race you have done in the past, which one would it be?

Yikes. I loved Disneyland Half this year, but PRing at Columbus Half was pretty amazing too.


Hope you enjoyed my answers! Now it’s your turn 🙂 Don’t forget to post a link in the comments!



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!