Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:07:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://running.competitor.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/06/cropped-android-chrome-512x512-32x32.png Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com 32 32 Run Gum Wants To Send You To The 2017 Honolulu Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/run-gum-wants-send-2017-honolulu-marathon_165634 Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:07:22 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165634 One grand prize winner will be sent to Honolulu to run the marathon in December and have the chance to run with Nick Symmonds.

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Image: facebook.com/honolulumarathon

This week, Run Gum—an energy gum with caffeine, taurine and B vitamins—announced the RunAloha Sweepstakes in partnership with the Honolulu Marathon to send one lucky runner to the 2017 edition of the race in Hawaii this December. The prize? Run Gum shares the details:

“One grand prize winner will be awarded a trip to the 2017 Honolulu Marathon along with a prize package totaling over $4,000. This grand prize package includes gear from Picky Bars, Brooks Running, Raw Elements, SOS Hydrate, Nathan Sports, Jay bird and Stridebox.”

RELATED: 5 Places To Run In Honolulu

Run Gum is the company of Olympian Nick Symmonds, who just finalized his retirement last week at the USATF Outdoor Championships. He announced he would be running his final race of his 12-year running career in Honolulu shortly after.

“I’ve always wanted to run a marathon,” says Symmonds. “I have crossed off nearly every other goal on my running bucket list. I think now is the perfect time to tackle 26.2 miles and I can’t think of a better place to do it than Honolulu.”

RELATED: Nick Symmonds Retires At The USATF Outdoor Championships

The winner will also have a chance to run with Symmonds. Anyone is welcome to enter for a chance to win a trip to the 2017 Honolulu Marathon by signing up with their email address at rungum.com/RunAloha between now and July 31, 2017.

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Here’s How To Stop Thinking Of Aqua Jogging As ‘Punishment’ http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/training/stop-thinking-aqua-jogging-punishment_165578 Mon, 26 Jun 2017 23:33:52 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165578 Because aqua jogging is associated with injury recovery, it is easy to think of it in a negative way.

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When aqua jogging comes to mind, you usually think of it in terms of injury recovery. Of course, injury doesn’t have a great connotation, so it is natural that the workout would be thought of in the same light. Here’s an important fact: aqua jogging isn’t punishment! Here’s how you can benefit from adding it into your training—and how to spice it up a bit.

The Benefits Of Aqua Jogging

As we’ve said, aqua jogging isn’t just for injured runners; there is a lot that everyday runners can get from the workout, as well. In fact, though it is associated with injury recovery, it can actually help prevent injury.

“Aqua jogging is a great way to enhance leg power through the resistance training the water offers,” explains Sandra Gallagher, coach at IRunTons based in the Under Armour Performance Center. “It also allows runners the opportunity to gain fitness without the weight-bearing stress of running on land.”

This is especially great for runners prone to knee injuries or those who are looking for a new way to build up leg strength with one workout that can impact every muscle.

RELATED: Aqua Jogging For Injured Runners

How To Do It

Aqua jogging is especially great during the sweltering summer months—it’s an excuse to get out of the heat and hop in some cool water for a workout.

“For athletes using aqua jogging as cross-training—as opposed to replacing running due to injury—adding in aqua jogging for 10-20 minutes one to two times per week is a great way to add variety and resistance training to your training,” notes Gallagher.

When using aqua jogging as cross training, Gallagher notes that you’ll want to use deep water instead of the shallow water that benefits athletes returning to weight-bearing exercise. In deeper water an aqua jog belt isn’t necessary to get in an effective workout, though it is an option.

“For a total body workout use two styrofoam dumbbells,” adds Gallagher. “Most public pools carry them on deck for members to use. Alternate moving your bent arms as though you are running with holding the dumbbells straight down by your sides for a great workout.”

Spice Up The Workout

What’s a good way to change the way you think about aqua jogging? Gallagher suggests switching up what you call it as the first step.

“Many runners are offended by the term jogger, so the term aqua-‘jogging’ already has negative connotations attached to it,” she notes. “So let’s call it aqua-running—after all, it is not the pace that distinguishes running from jogging, but rather the effort and intention.”

When it comes to spicing up the actual workout, she suggests you do it in the same manner you would your regular run training. For example, you can mix up steady state running with short sprints at max effort to keep things interesting. Devote other sessions to focusing on the quality of your form so you don’t develop bad habits along the way.

Setting a goal and intention for each session will not only give you something to focus on while in the water, but it will help you switch up your workout to train different muscles and keep things effective.

RELATED: 4 Awesome Cross-Training Workouts for Newbies to Elite Runners

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Oldest Half Marathon Finisher Harriette Thompson Appears on Good Day Charlotte http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/oldest-half-marathon-finisher-appears-good-day-charlotte_165597 Mon, 26 Jun 2017 21:16:20 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165597 This morning, 94-year-old Harriette Thompson made a guest appearance on North Carolina's TV program Good Day Charlotte.

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This morning, Harriette Thompson, who is the world’s oldest finisher in both the marathon and (more recently) the half marathon, made a guest appearance on North Carolina’s TV program Good Day Charlotte. The 94-year-old Charlotte local had run the Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon back in June and made history as the oldest half marathon finisher, completing the race in 3 hours, 42 minutes and 56 seconds. She’s also on Competitor magazine’s July cover, in which the hosts of Good Day Charlotte surprised her with a first-time reveal. When asked on the show if her ego has swelled due to all the attention she’s been getting, though, Thompson replied with a joke, “I didn’t realize it but I was getting so many compliments in San Diego that my head got REALLY big,” as she raised a giant cardboard cutout of her head.

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Coburn and Jager Dominate in Steeplechase with Sixth Consecutive Titles http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/coburn-jager-dominate-steeplechase_165580 Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:10:16 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165580 The Rio Olympians both took the victory in the steeplechase final at this year's USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento.

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Photo: Photorun.net

(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

The women’s steeplechase victory went to Emma Coburn of Team New Balance winning her sixth consecutive title at the USATF Outdoor Championships with little drama in 9:20.28, her slowest winning time since 2013.

Coburn, the 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medalist, ran from the front, slowly ramping up the pace, and gently pulling away from her 2016 Olympic teammates, Courtney Frerichs and Colleen Quigley of the Nike Bowerman Track Club. Frerichs and Quigley finished second and third, respectively, in 9:22.23 and 9:25.40. All three women ran well under the 9:42.00 IAAF qualifying time.

“You know, the U.S. Championships are always so important, and as the years go on there’s kind of a double-edged sword where I feel more comfortable and more confident,” Coburn said. “At the same time, I have more to lose because I want to keep my streak going, and the women’s steeple is getting more and more competitive.”

In the men’s steeplechase race yesterday, Evan Jager of the Nike Bowerman Track Club ran patiently, took control of the race with a lap to go, began to pull away from the field on the backstretch, then shot decisively ahead through the final water jump to clinch his sixth straight USA title in 8:16.88.

“I knew it was going to be hard,” Jager said. “It was a little windy, so I didn’t want to be out in the lead for four and a half laps like last year. So, I wanted to wait and kind of trusted my speed and my hurdling form, my technique, against the rest of the guys.”

Two former Kenyans, Stanley Kebenei (Nike/American Distance Project) and Hillary Bor (U.S. Army), desperately tried to catch Jager in the homestretch and took second and third, respectively, in 8:18.54 and 8:18.83. Andy Bayer, Jager’s former teammate at the Bowerman Track Club, ran an excellent 8:18.90, but finished fourth for the third consecutive time at these championships, and the fourth in five years.

RELATED: Robby Andrews Nabs First USA Championships 1500-Meter Title

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Robby Andrews Nabs First USA Championships 1500-Meter Title http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/robby-andrews-nabs-first-usa-championships-1500-meter-title_165579 Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:52:43 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165579 The 26-year-old Olympian picked up his first national outdoor title and will be heading to the World Championships in London in August.

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Andrews wins the 2017 USATF Outdoor Track & Fiend Championships 1500m over Matthew Centrowitz (2nd place, right). Photo: David Monti

(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

With mid-afternoon temperatures hovering at about 100°F inside of Hornet Stadium, Robby Andrews kept his cool in the men’s 1500-meter final at the USATF National Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif. Timing his final sprint to perfection, the 26-year-old Olympian picked up his first national outdoor title and locked in a provisional team berth for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in London in August.

“It feels really good to (finally) win a race,” a smiling Andrews told the media.

Andrews, who represents adidas, finished second at last year’s Olympic Trials in the same discipline, behind eventual Olympic champion, Matthew Centrowitz of the Nike Oregon Project. But Centrowitz had been struggling recently to overcome several health problems before these championships and revealed that after a period of light cross-training he had only been running for ten days.

Nonetheless, Centrowitz was the race leader as the 13-athlete field ran through the finish line for the first time, but the pace was predictably slow. Clayton Murphy of Nike, the 2016 Olympic 800m bronze medalist, was tucked into the pack while Andrews was at the back with another podium contender, Ben Blankenship of Nike Oregon Track Club Elite, who would make the most important move of the race, surging hard at the bell.

“I really thought with the heat and everything I would be able to close well,” Blankenship told the media.

Centrowitz immediately followed, and the two Oregon-based athletes charged down the backstretch while the rest of the field scrambled to catch up. Andrews, who was in fifth position at the bell, thought about the conversations he had with his coach, Jason Vigilante, prior to the race and knew what to do.

“I was expecting Matt, Cristian (Soratos) or someone else to take it pretty far out, and they did that. I just tucked in, stayed as patient as I could.”

Blankenship would struggle in the final 200 meters, and eventually faded to 12th at the line. Murphy, who was later seen limping off the track then driven away in a golf cart, also faltered and finished last (he has the 800m final tomorrow). But Andrews got stronger as the last lap wore on, and was charging hard. He had no idea if he could win it, but he was all-in.

“Matthew’s the Olympic champion; I’m not going to take anything for granted,” Andrews said. “At one point I was racing for third, and then I was like, ‘Oh, I can get ’em, I’ll go for second.’ And then I’m, like, I can win this thing!”

Barreling down lane two, Andrews got to the tape a step ahead of Centrowitz on the strength of a 52.23-second final lap, 3:43.29 to 3:43.41. Behind the two Olympians, Johnny Gregorek out-leaned recent Ole Miss grad Craig Engels, by 2/100ths of a second in 3:43.99, making his first world team. Soratos finished fifth.

“Today, third is as good as first,” said Centrowitz who was happy to make his sixth consecutive national team for an outdoor global championships. “But, also disappointed that I couldn’t win it.”

Centrowitz and Gregorek both have the relevant IAAF qualifying standard of 3:36.00 (or 3:53.40 for the mile), while Andrews doesn’t. He has until midnight, July 21, to get it.

“I’m going to try to get the standard as quick as I can, and represent the country at London,” said Andrews.

RELATED: A Quick Recap of Day One at the USATF Outdoor Championships

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Read the July 2017 Digital Edition of Competitor Magazine http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/digital-magazine/july-2017-digital-edition-competitor-magazine_165567 Sat, 24 Jun 2017 00:19:04 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165567 Flip through our July edition, featuring 94-year-old half marathon world-record-holder Harriette Thompson on our cover!

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Flip through our July edition, which features 94-year-old world-record-holder Harriette Thompson—who became the oldest half marathon finisher ever—on our cover. Also in this issue, learn how to injury-proof your running with expert advice and easy strength exercises for runners, check out 12 new road shoes out this summer, and beat the heat with the latest gear and workout tips for optimal summer running.

Find our print edition at a location near you with the store locator.

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See What It’s Like To Race In Mammoth Where The Pros Train http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/video/see-what-like-race-mammoth-where-pros-train_165534 Fri, 23 Jun 2017 20:02:47 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165534 Ever wonder why so many pro runners flock to Mammoth to train? This video of the Mammoth Half Marathon is enough to explain it all.

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Photo: Christian Pondella

Mammoth Lakes, Calif., is a mecca for runners, from the Mammoth Track Club’s record of producing some of the top record-holders in various distances and Olympic marathoners like Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi regularly running in the winding trails at altitude to prepare for some of their biggest performances.

If you’ve ever wanted to run in the majestic beauty of Mammoth but couldn’t take a week away for a training camp, the Mammoth Half Marathon is the perfect way to see what running in the town is all about.

Get a firsthand look at this year’s race that took place last weekend in the video above, featuring Mammoth-local Tim Tollefson—who was the overall winner—and his wife Lindsay, who finished third overall and was the first woman to cross the finish line.

RELATED: 25 Fun Half Marathons You’ll Want to Run This Year

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Watch The Emotional Trailer For The New Boston Marathon Bombing Biopic http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/trailer-boston-marathon-movie_165543 Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:55:24 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165543 Stronger stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman.

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The first trailer for the movie Stronger was released today. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman. Based off his autobiography, the movie follows Bauman’s recovery after losing both of his legs while waiting for his girlfriend (played by Tatiana Maslany) at the end of the 2013 race. The emotional trailer follows how Bauman transitioned to his new life, first with difficulty, but ultimately accepting his status as an inspirational figure.

Watch the trailer above. Stronger opens in theaters on Sept. 22, 2017.

RELATED: Why The Boston Marathon Is So Special

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Nick Symmonds Retires At The USATF Outdoor Championships http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/nick-symmonds-retires-usatf-outdoor-championships_165538 Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:35:00 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165538 The two-time Olympian exited the track for good yesterday after taking 7th in the first heat of the 800m at the USATF Outdoor Championships.

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Photo: Photorun.net

Yesterday, after finishing seventh in the first heat of 800-meters at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships, Nick Symmonds officially retired.

Earlier this year he said it would be his final season on the track and he went into yesterday’s race hoping to take it all. Things didn’t quite work out that way, but Symmonds seemed to come to terms with it, sharing his thoughts after the race with The Oregonian:

“You know what? I left everything I have on the track,” Symmonds said. “I feel like I did myself justice. All you can do is play the cards you’re dealt. I’m a short, stocky kid from Boise, Idaho, who went to a Division III school, and ended up being ranked No. 3 in the world.”

Symmonds is a two-time Olympian who trains with Brooks Beasts Track Club (previously he ran with Nike). He gained additional notoriety for his outspoken nature regarding doping in the sport and has been an advocate for running clean.

This isn’t the end for him in terms of running. Symmonds has announced he will travel to Hawaii to run in the Honolulu Marathon in December.

“It was all about saying goodbye to everybody; I gave everyone a hug I could find today,” Symmonds told Race Results Weekly. “I’ve got one more race in my legs. I’m here to let you guys know that the last race I’ll run as a pro is the 2017 Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 10.”

RELATED: A Quick Recap of Day One at the USATF Outdoor Championships

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A Quick Recap of Day One at the USATF Outdoor Championships http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/recap-day-one-usatf-outdoor-championships_165537 Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:11:48 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165537 The USATF Outdoor Championships held in Sacramento, Calif., kicked off yesterday with upsets and continuing winning streaks.

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Molly Huddle continues her championships winning streak in the 10,000m for a third year after her first win in 2015. Photo: Photorun.net

(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Galen Rupp’s streak of eight consecutive USA 10,000m titles came to an end last night at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, Calif., when the two-time Olympic medalist faded in the final lap of a choppy and slow race, which was won by Oregon Track Club Elite’s Hassan Mead in 29:01.44. Rupp, who runs for the Nike Oregon Project, finished fifth. On the women’s side, Saucony’s Molly Huddle extended her winning streak at these championships to three, comfortably winning the 25-lap race in a solid 31:19.86, the second-fastest by an American this year.

RELATED: 5 Things To Watch At The USATF Outdoor Championships

Men’s Race Became a Cat and Mouse Affair

While the women’s contest was a traditional battle of endurance won off of a steady and strong pace, the men’s race early on became a game of cat and mouse. Feeling no pressure to run a fast time, the men’s pack jogged through the first 800 meters in 2:29, only slightly faster than the women (2:32). The group of 24 athletes was tightly bunched, with veteran Ben Bruce of Hoka Northern Arizona Elite at the front.

With 19 laps to go, 2015 national road running champion Sam Chelanga became impatient. Coming down the homestretch, he shot to the lead and threw in a 64.7-second lap, followed by another at 65.1. Rupp covered the move, making sure that Chelanga stayed within reach, and it looked like the race was simply getting more serious.

“We were just jogging,” Chelanga told the media after the race. “I figured, these people (the fans) didn’t come to just watch us jog… (so) I took it out.”

But then lap after lap, Chelanga allowed the field to catch up, then he sprinted away again down the homestretch, each time opening up a three to four-second gap on the field.  The 32-year-old Nike-sponsored athlete looked like he was doing a fartlek workout.

Behind Chelanga, Rupp was running with the race’s other favorites: Mead, Nike Bowerman Track Club’s Chris Derrick, U.S. Army’s Shadrack Kipchirchir and Leonard Korir, American Distance Project’s Biya Simbassa, and Asics’s Diego Estrada.  Mead knew how strong Chelanga was, but he wasn’t going to let his tactics sway him.

“Sam’s strong; you’ve got to respect Sam,” Mead told the media. “Just being in this sport and this event, it’s hard for him to do that solo.”

Each time the group passed the finish line, the yo-yoing Chelanga was still in the lead until there were three laps to go. Then Rupp surged to the front, dropping Chelanga (who would later finish seventh). Derrick made a strong move on the backstretch which turned into a 62-second penultimate lap. Rupp was at the back of the group and would never recover his position.

Mead—who dropped out in this discipline with less than 400 meters to go at last year’s Olympic Trials—felt confident with his speed. His legs were still fresh and he could smell victory.

“For me, the slower they went the better,” Mead admitted. “If you ask me personally, I think I have great confidence in myself that I had the best kick in the group. So, if you want 33 minutes and it came down to the last K, I was ready to run 2:22.”

Mead ripped the last lap in 55.3 seconds, and that was just enough to beat Kipchirchir, who clocked 29:01.68. Korir, who made last year’s Olympic team in the same discipline, finished third in 29:02.64, and Simbassa was fourth (29:03.48). Derrick, who has battled injuries the last two seasons, finished eighth.

“It was a strange race,” Derrick told reporters.

A visibly upset Rupp did not speak with the media, despite pleas from USA Track & Field officials to stop in the mixed zone.

Huddle Rides Express Train to Victory

By comparison, Huddle’s race seemed almost scripted. Running in her first USA Championships 10,000m since 2015, Olympic silver medalist and Nike Bowerman Track Club athlete Shalane Flanagan went immediately to the front and set an honest pace. After a 78.7-second opening circuit, the 2:21 marathoner got right down to business with a 73.7-second second lap, immediately stringing out the field. Flanagan thought this was her best strategy.

“I don’t have a kick,” explained Flanagan who is short on training after suffering a fracture in her spine earlier this year. She continued, “I just looked strategically on paper, if I can go run 31:15 to 31:30 I had a chance.”

Huddle tucked in right behind Flanagan, and Huddle’s training partner, Team New Balance’s Emily Sisson, also fell into line along with Flanagan’s Bowerman teammate Emily Infeld. Behind the leading quartet, two more Team New Balance athletes, Natosha Rogers and Kim Conley, followed.

Lap after lap, Flanagan led, the athletes frozen in their places. For 20 laps, the 35-year-old was on the front, only sharing the lead with Huddle for four of those laps. The pace had slowed to 76’s and 77’s, but Huddle remained patient, confident that she could break away when the time was right.

“That’s what we were hoping for,” Huddle said of the steady pace. “The goal, obviously, for me and Emily to both make the team.  She’s really strong, so we wanted it to be strung out. Shalane and Emily Infeld wanted the same thing.”

Huddle chose the penultimate lap to break away, running 69.6 seconds. She put the race away with a 65-flat final lap, thus booking her team spot for her sixth consecutive global championships.

“It was a rough last lap, but I just wanted to pour it all out,” Huddle said. “Whatever it was, it was good hard practice for Worlds.”

When the pace picked up on the final circuit, Flanagan was not able to jump to the next gear. That left the two Emily’s to battle for the second spot, with Infeld having the edge over Sisson, 31:22.67 to 31:25.64.  Flanagan, who later said she had “big aspirations for the fall,” took fourth in 31:31.12.

“I haven’t been on the track in a while, and they just have those gears,” Flanagan said of her rivals tonight. “I was massively under-prepared, but was hoping that all of my strength from the 12 to 13 years would come into play, just being tough, just being gritty out there.”

Coburn Leads Steeplechase Qualifying

Five-time national women’s steeplechase champion Emma Coburn was the fastest tonight of 14 women who made Saturday’s final, clocking a comfortable 9:38.68 in the first heat. Her 2016 Olympic teammates, Colleen Quigley (9:40.63) and Courtney Frerichs (9:47.75) also advanced without incident.

“It was good,” said Coburn who runs for Team New Balance. “I was happy to not lead and just chill behind Megan (Rolland) for a while. Then with about 800 (to go), I just wanted to open my legs just a little bit so Saturday’s race wouldn’t feel quite as shocking. It was a good race.”

Stephanie Garcia, who has a 9:19.48 personal best, looked shaky in her prelim, stutter-stepping before several barriers and even falling on the second to last water jump. She recovered to finish fourth in the second heat in 9:48.70, and advanced to the final.

“Coming back after last year’s Olympic Trials really made me feel vulnerable,” said Garcia, who struggled the last 200 meters, fell over the final barrier and finished fifth.  “You know, to put it out there then to have that ending. So, I’m proud of myself for coming back.  I’m the fittest I’ve ever been.”

RELATED: Olympian Emma Coburn Is Aiming For Sixth USA Steeplechase Title

Favorites Advance Out of 1500-Meter First Round

There were few surprises in the first round of the men’s and women’s 1500m, with Olympic medalists Matthew Centrowitz, Clayton Murphy and Jenny Simpson all advancing with little drama.

Centrowitz and Murphy (who is doubling here in the 800 and 1500-meters), had the advantage of running in the third of three heats. Centrowitz, who runs for the Nike Oregon Project, made sure the pace was fast enough and didn’t mind finishing third in 3:40.79 behind Oregon’s Samuel Prakel (3:40.76) and Asics’s Johnny Gregorek (3:40.78). Murphy got fourth and advanced on time (3:40.94).

“I’m glad our heat went faster than the other ones, not so much because we got the auto qualifiers but more so (because) I put a hard effort in,” Centrowitz told reporters. “We have a day of rest, so not too worried about getting in a good hard effort in today; plenty of time to recover and get ready for the final.”

Also advancing on the men’s side was rising star Cristian Soratos. Coming off of a strong indoor season, the adidas athlete won the second heat over Olympian Robby Andrews, 3:42.01 to 3:42.25, with a confident kick.

“I had a couple of shaky races leading into this, but I knew it had nothing to do with my fitness,” said Soratos. “I knew if I executed properly today I could run well and get through.”

Simpson, a Team New Balance athlete, chose to lead her heat from gun to tape, a practical choice to avoid trouble, but also a decision to help the five collegiate athletes who were in her heat.

“I knew I was in a race with Sara Vaughn, who I know, and a lot of collegians,” Simpson told reporters. “And I thought, they’d probably like it if I took it, so I’ll just do it. It seemed like the easiest thing to do on a night like tonight.”

Other favorites headed to Saturday’s final were Nike’s Kate Grace and Alexa Efraimson, who finished one-two in the first heat; Oregon outgoing freshman Katie Rainsberger; and American record holder Shannon Rowbury of the Nike Oregon Project.

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Quadriplegic Athlete Races First Half Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/sponsored/toyota-james-part-2-update-title_165532 Fri, 23 Jun 2017 01:56:11 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165532 On June 4, 2017, James Sa took his place on the starting line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. He took a deep breath and

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On June 4, 2017, James Sa took his place on the starting line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. He took a deep breath and started to tame the butterflies; it’s not about getting rid of them—it’s making them fly in formation. James isn’t unfamiliar to a race environment, but this would be his first half marathon. His previous race was in 2011, and resulted in an accident that left him a quadriplegic.

That 2011 race changed his life forever—he was forced to adapt to his new reality and discover a new kind of mobility. James thought he’d never be an athlete again, much less one racing a half marathon, but he eventually found his will to push through and discover new opportunities, including wheelchair rugby and wheelchair racing. A grant from Toyota and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) supplied James with the gear and support required to train for the race, including a lightweight, high-tech sports wheelchair for easy mobility on San Diego’s hills. But that wheelchair was only as good as the athlete in it—James knew this, and was determined to be the best he could be on race day.

When the starting gun fired, James focused only on what would help him finish—pacing, hydration, and technique. He ticked off the first few miles in impressive fashion. He felt strong; he had this.

And then the crash happened. While James rounded a corner, a group of runners didn’t hear a  warning of a wheelchair racer coming down the hill, forcing him to take it too wide and too sharp. Although crashes and accidents are inevitable, it’s what we choose to do after a setback that dictates who we are. At the 12-mile marker, James’ race time read 1:20. There was still enough time to finish his goal of 1:30, if help came fast.

“You okay?” the course marshal asked as he returned James’ wheelchair to an upright position.

James wiped the blood and road debris from his scraped shoulders and gave a determined nod. “Yeah. Let’s go.” One of the wheels was misaligned, but the finish line was within reach. One hour and 34 minutes after the starting gun and almost six years after the accident, James Sa finally crossed his finish line.

What’s next for the 27-year-old athlete? The sky is the limit. Sa continues to train in a variety of sports, including road racing and wheelchair rugby. He mentors other wheelchair athletes as well, using his story as a reminder to focus on strength and ability, not disability. Because he crossed that finish line, he knows anything is possible—and he’s set out to prove it.

For more of James Sa’s story, click here.

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Do This Sprint Workout To Build Up Your Leg Speed http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/training/sprint-workout-build-leg-speed_165502 Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:06:08 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165502 Regular leg speedwork improves your basic speed and means in the long term you’re much less likely to sustain running injuries.

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African woman running on racetrack

No sport benefits from leg speed like running does. Regular leg speedwork not only improves your basic speed but also actively stretches muscles and tendons in a specific manner, which means in the long term you’re much less likely to sustain running injuries. But it gets better: Leg speedwork can also improve your basic ability!

Think about it: If you can improve your stride length by 2 centimeters (approximately 16 meters per mile) and your cadence by two strides per minute (approximately 23 meters per mile), a runner with a 10K personal best of 40 minutes could improve by close to a minute. That can be achieved not by training harder, but simply by implementing leg speedwork.

If this sounds like you—and why wouldn’t it?— then use this workout to pick up more leg speed.

RELATED: Speed Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

The Workout

leg speed workout

Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale

Scale—Effort—Race Pace
RPE 1—Easy—Slower than normal training pace
RPE 2—Moderate—Normal training pace
RPE 3—Moderately—Hard Marathon pace
RPE 4—Hard—10K race pace
RPE 5—Very Hard—5K race pace and faster

These sprints can be 20–30 seconds across a park, or they can be 100–200 m on a running track. They are fast, but not 100 percent, about the pace you would race 400 m. But this is not an effort session; it’s a technique session. You will huff and puff a bit at the end of each sprint, but the 5 minutes of easy running between reps should help you to recover fully so you can get through the session without undue effort. This is crucial because any fatigue will undermine your ability to run fast with good technique. To promote speed without undue effort, this workout is best done with a tailwind or on a slight downhill. It’s the kind of workout you can do year-round because as well as building leg speed and helping avoid injury, it’s a great final speed workout in the five days before a race and for maintaining speed between races.

RELATED: This Speed Session Will Help You Run Fast and Relaxed

How Fast Is Too Fast?

There is a fine line between a leg speed workout and an anaerobic workout. To avoid a crossover you need to do this workout just under maximum sprint speed and with 5 minutes between each sprint. Ideally the pace is around the speed you would race a 400m sprint. You could establish this pace by doing a 400m time trial or use the following table to estimate legspeed pace per 100m based on your 5K personal best.

leg speed pacing guide

Excerpted with permission from One Hour Workouts: 50 Swim, Bike & Run Workouts for Busy Athletes by Scott Molina, Mark Newton and Michael Jacques (VeloPress, 2010).

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How Well Does Running Fitness Translate To Other Sports? http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/training/fitness-running-translate-sports_161521 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:52:29 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=11122 Find out which sports will help your running and why you will often find athletes from other sports running.

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One of the claims of CrossFit Endurance is that runners can improve their long-distance race times while reducing their weekly mileage. The theory, according to CrossFit, is that by increasing muscle mass through powerful, explosive movement, you’ll have the strength for the long haul.

Right or wrong, CrossFit is onto one thing. By working some of the muscle groups you might not otherwise in running alone, you stand to make improvements.

Runners, while incredibly fit from a cardiovascular standpoint, tend to have several common weak spots: hip and glute strength, balance and upper body strength. One reason is that running only works one plane of movement. Lateral movement—which comes more from sports like tennis, soccer, lacrosse and even football—is missing in running. And so too is the ability to activate some of these related muscles.

It pays for runners to engage in other sports that do work these movement patterns and muscles. Aiming for better all-around fitness can help a runner perform better and avoid injury.

How does running translate to other sports?

It depends. Running is one of the best activities for overall cardiovascular fitness and raising an athlete’s VO2 max. Running is an ideal exercise to mix with sports like basketball, tennis and even cycling, where a big cardiovascular machine means that athletes can hang longer and often faster.

Interestingly, sports that also involve upright, weight-bearing movement are your best bets for enhancing running, and vice versa. So while swimming is one heck of a great cardiovascular workout , it won’t help you much as a runner. Rowing and cycling also won’t provide much benefit. Running, however, can help those sports, which is one reason you’ll often see these athletes using running for training.

The bottom line: Runners can become fitter and a better all-around athlete with a variety of sports and activities. Athletes from other sports can also improve their game by making running a part of the regimen.

RELATED: Why Runners Should Embrace Cross Training?

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Meet New York’s Ultra Tough Guy Who Runs an Ultra a Month http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/features/meet-new-yorks-ultra-tough-guy-runs-ultra-month_165432 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:08:44 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165432 Chris Rice is a banking technology manager by day and an ultrarunner, well, pretty much every other time he has available.

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Chris Rice 3
Photo: Daniel Weiss

Chris Rice, 6’1” and 188 pounds, is the kind of guy you might meet sipping his morning coffee and reading The Wall Street Journal on the 6:22 commuter train from Suffern, N.Y., for the hour-plus trip to a banking institution in Manhattan, where he’s a development manager in technology. But Rice doesn’t take the train. Instead, he parks near the George Washington Bridge and runs 10 miles most mornings to his office—or, rather, to a gym, where he stores 10 business suits and gets his running laundry done.

Rice’s logistical weekday wizardry—he actually has two offices, one in Jersey City, and uses two gyms—involves multiple clothing changes, running through rush-hour traffic, bicycling, and CrossFit workouts along with swimming and full-court basketball, and an occasional subway ride for connections. Somewhere in that byzantine schedule, Rice does another 10 miles of running per week, so that from Monday to Friday, he logs about 60 miles, adding another 15 or so on weekends.

In mastering this system, Rice, 43, can usually be home for dinner with his wife, Patty, and their three sons— Peyton, 16 ; Teague, 14; and Asher,9—and try to be a regular dad who barbecues in the burbs on weekends.

“It goes family first, then work, then athletics,” says Rice. “If I have a conflict between work and running, work wins. But sleep might suffer.”

If work wins and Rice can’t get in all his weekday mileage, he might meet an ultra-running friend at midnight on a Friday (that is, Saturday morning) and run nonstop through the night until 5 a.m. on the Appalachian Trail with a headlamp and flashlight. How does that after-hours duty go down with Patty? “She’s fine with it,” says Chris.

Running five hours through the night adds to Rice’s reservoir of toughness, which he considers his calling card. Since 1999, he has done almost 200 ultras and adventure events—averaging about one a month—specializing in events of 100 miles and up and multi-day races. Rice’s prolific achievements fly in the face of recovery-time doctrine, defying what the body goes through when taken to the limit.

Chris Rice 1
Photo: Daniel Weiss

Even the best ultra-runners need a break. How does Rice, who’s won a number of major events, deal with the body’s inevitable breakdown in a 100-miler when he’s got another 100, or maybe a 72-hour adventure contest, coming up only a month later?

“I ignore it,” Rice says of whatever cry emerges from his ravaged body. He adds, in defense of the non-scientific method, “I don’t do V02 max. I don’t pay attention to what I’m eating during races. I don’t carry fluids. Other people might out-science me, but I try to out-tough them.”

Rice’s latest opportunity to test his toughness was on June 17 at the Great New York 100 Mile Running Exposition, which starts and finishes in Times Square and travels through just about every park and ethnic neighborhood in the outer boroughs. Rice placed fourth in 2013 and fifth in 2014. Only a few competitors complete the route in less than 20 hours.

RELATED: 6 Everyday Runners’ Secrets To Survival And Success

As usual, Rice will take the line at 5 a.m. with no elaborate fuel-replacement strategy, no tinkered-with running shoes, no mind-body practice to guide him, no coaching wisdom or biblical mantras, and feel quite chipper despite a serious lack of sleep.

Rice relies on a high pain threshold, which he feels comes from his father, a West Point man who saw action in Vietnam. “Success,” says Rice, “depends on two things—a high level of patience and high level of pain tolerance. The older I get, the more pain I can endure.”

In his adventures, Rice savors both the pain and rhapsody that he longs to experience again and again. “As soon as I finish one race,” he says, “it’s like an addiction. I need to have the next one coming up.”

Rice can’t let go because he feels there’s too much at stake: the opportunity to accomplish something few people can and, as he puts it, “cannot be taken away. I’ve done it. It’s mine.”

Just about anyone can run a marathon—these days it’s as much of a happening as a sport. Why join the masses running 26 miles when you can link with like-minded people running four times as long and experience the transcendence of what Rice calls “being out there” in a different world. He says that while racing hours upon hours in an ultra, “I’m blank and there’s clarity. It’s like meditating. There’s no stress. I have a singular focus of finishing.”

In the New York 100, Rice says he most anticipated the “surreal weirdness” of the 80-mile point when he emerged from the solitude of his internal rhythms and onto the splashy Coney Island boardwalk packed with Saturday night revelers and, as he says, “Brooklyn hipsters.” While Rice finds the contrast jarring, it’s a moment he treasures: an elusive taste of a cultural touchpoint while he’s at his most vulnerable.

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In 2014, Rice ran the Badwater 135, placing 25th out of 100 starters. 

The revelry and smell of the sea carry Rice onward, but it’s not his most precious race experience of all. That one occurs hours from any drop of water, in Death Valley, Calif., in the struggle to complete the 135 miles of the notorious Badwater. Rice did Badwater—“the hardest race on the planet,” he says— in 2014, placing 25th out of 100 starters. And he did it one month after the New York 100, which followed three ultras, including the New Jersey 100, in the previous four months.

“In Badwater,” says Rice, “you’re basically racing foot pain. With the massive heat, your feet are constantly wet from sweat. You can see 30 miles in front of you. You have to calm your mind. You keep asking yourself, ‘Can I make it to the end before my feet just give in?’” Rice completed the 2014 race in 34 hours and 21 minutes.

Before Badwater, Rice trained about 100 miles a week but did not do long runs of even 20 miles or more, standard for regular marathoners going a mere 26.2 miles. Rice uses his monthly ultra races as training, figuring that each long event functions as training for the next one. Admitting that his approach may seem counterintuitive, he says that constant activity aids recovery and prepares him for the next event all at once.

RELATED: 8 Tough Workouts for Tough Runners

Rice’s claim of increasing pain tolerance bears out in a string of recent victories. Last July in extreme heat—temperatures in the 80s and humidity in the 90s—Rice won the Viaduct Trail 100 Miler in the northeast Pennsylvania wilderness by more than an hour. This past January, in a snowstorm, Rice won the Watchung 50K in New Jersey by more than 9 minutes. “I like adverse weather,” he says.

Rice’s first 100, in 2010, about a decade after his first ultra, came after adversity that would have overwhelmed lesser athletes. In 2009, as a result of back surgery, Rice contracted a rare, life-threatening staph infection in his spinal column that required a second emergency operation for spinal fusion. Within 24 hours following the second surgery, Rice was walking laps around the hospital corridors. But he’d lost months of training, had 14 inches of staples in his back and had to be on antibiotics for a year.

Once the staples were removed, Rice could run but would have a permanent “cage” in his lower back consisting of bolted titanium rods. Even in his weakened state, Rice chose a predicable route to get back in shape: By embarking on his first 100.

What about the contraption imbedded in his back? “I don’t even think about it,” he says. Twelve months after the surgery, Rice did the New Jersey 100, now called the New Jersey Ultra Festival, and was on his way

Rice has no residual back problems, but he also has a plate and ten screws in his right hand after falling during a 25-mile trail run near his home. “I try not to think about that either,” he says.

The episode weakened Rice’s right-hand grip, an impediment for him in Spartan and Tough Mudder events that require climbing ropes and walls. Rice also uses his hands in adventure races that typically include canoeing and mountain biking along with running (in a trekking or orienteering way) for 24, 48 or 72 hours, sleep be damned. Rice competes in these events individually or as part of a team. (In team competition, each member must complete all disciplines.)

Chris Rice
The kinds of races Rice runs in sometimes offers unusual rewards in place of medals, like this spike for the Viaduct Trail Ultramarathon. Photo: Daniel Weiss

In one Spartan Death Race, a 48-hour event in Vermont, Rice’s four-man team was victorious. The challenges included running up and down a mountain hauling a 70-pound sandbag in your backpack. And on virtually no sleep either, or the opposition would get ahead. “I popped caffeine pills,” Rice says.

In his most recent adventure event—the 72-hour Florida Sea to Sea race in March—Rice and a partner, Bruce Swanson, 53, took fourth in the overall two-man team competition. Traveling via land, water and wheels from the state’s east coast near Daytona Beach to its west coast at Crystal Springs, the pair took 66 hours, 54 minutes to navigate the backwoods crossing. They did get a bit of sleep—there was a mandatory “dark zone.”

Rice holds that just about anyone can find his ultra “soul” by shedding perceived limits. “People have a mental map that sets borders, that says, ‘This is the edge of your reality,’” Rice says. “Every time you do something you didn’t think you could do, you redefine that border.”

One time, in a four-day, 250-mile event with the finish nearing, Rice almost had to alter the borders of the race course. In a contest of trekking, mountain biking, rappelling and navigating unmarked terrain in the Appalachian Extreme in Maine and New Hampshire, Rice and his teammates emerged from a night of racing through the woods and into the daylight when Rice encountered something that nearly scared the life out of him.

“A moose,” he says. “You don’t know how big a moose is until he’s right in front of you. The sun had just come up and he’s staring at me, with smoke coming out of his nose.”

But the moose must have seen something that impressed him. Before Rice could find a way to retreat, the moose ran away.

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Why Your Weight May Be a Factor When Choosing a Running Shoe http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/shoes-and-gear/weight-factor-choosing-shoe_165508 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:22:17 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165508 A recent study found that runners who weigh more and wear lightweight running shoes experience injury more often than lighter runners.

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If you’ve been to a specialty running store, you probably know there are a lot of considerations when choosing a running shoe, from your gait to your arch position and more. However, according to a recent study, you may want to factor in your weight, as well.

Researchers at the University of South Australia’s Sansom Institute for Health Research used 61 trained runners and followed them over the course of 26 weeks.

They found that runners weighing over 85 kilograms (187 pounds) and trained in a lightweight running shoe “were over three times more likely to sustain an injury than when wearing conventional running shoes.” Runners who weighed less than 71 kilograms (156 pounds) benefitted from lightweight shoes and did not see any impacts on their injury risk.

RELATED: Are Shoes Really to Blame for Running Injuries?

Minimalist shoes do have an appeal to runners and as they can help you run faster, but heavier runners should think twice about using them because they can increase the risk of injury,” says Professor Jon Buckley, co-researcher and Director of UniSA’s Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA). “Weight produces higher impact forces that increase injury, regardless if this is the result of being a taller and possibly heavier person, or a person carrying a little more weight than average. So it’s not the BMI to be concerned about, it’s the actual weight.”

Knowing your shoe lingo and asking about the heel-to-toe drop and midsole may help you get the proper stability and cushioning for not only your foot type, but also your body type, in order to prevent injury.

RELATED: Safely Transitioning To A Minimalist Running Shoe

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5 Things To Watch At The USATF Outdoor Championships http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/usatf-outdoor-championships-2017_165488 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:03:56 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165488 The races, athletes and stories to watch out for when USATF Outdoor Championships start today. And how to watch all the action.

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Photo: photorun.net

The 2017 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships begin today in Sacramento, Calif. From June 22-25, the best runners in the country will be vying for a chance to head to the IAAF World Championships in London later this summer. A top three finish in each event secures an athlete’s place on the world team. But the competition is tough and the weather won’t make it any easier. Thursday’s high temperature in Sacramento is expected to reach 107 degrees and won’t fall below 95 all weekend.

Here are the events and runners you should watch for—and where you can see all the action.

How To Watch

TV coverage will be split between NBC and NBCSN. On Friday, NBCSN will show the meet from 10:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. ET. On Saturday and Sunday, NBC will provide coverage from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET on both days. NBC Sports Gold will provide a continuous stream for online viewers from Thursday through Sunday. However, it is a subscription based service, available for $69.99 for the entire track and field season. Get the meet schedule here, but note that times may change due to the weather.

Gabe Grunewald Will Race 1500 Meters While Fighting Cancer

The most inspiring runner at USA Nationals might be Gabe Grunewald. The 31-year-old runner is currently battling cancer for a 4th time in 8 years. On June 4 she began chemotherapy to treat adenoid cystic carcinoma, a form of cancer in the salivary gland that has spread to her liver. Despite undergoing treatment, Grunewald continued to race towards the meet standard and was accepted into the meet, despite falling just short. USATF Championships fall during a 2-week break in chemo for Grunewald, giving her a bit of added strength. While it is probably a long shot for Grunewald to make the London team, her strength and competitiveness should not be counted out. Watch for her in the first round of the 1500 meters on Thursday at 12:05 a.m. ET. The race includes three Olympians who are expected to make the world team: Shannon Rowbury, Jenny Simpson, and Kate Grace.

Olympic Marathoners Rupp and Flanagan Hit The Track

The top U.S. marathoners are back to race the 10,000 meters on the track. On the men’s side, Galen Rupp is the favorite to win his ninth consecutive national title in the 10K. Rupp has been focusing on longer road events, coming off a 2nd place finish at the Boston Marathon this past April. This could possibly be the last track 10K he runs in the U.S. In the women’s race, Shalane Flanagan continues to make her way back from a fracture in her back. While she has only run one 10K this year, she easily nabbed the World A standard. Challenging Flanagan for a chance to race in London are her training partner Amy Cragg, American 10K record holder Molly Huddle and Olympian Emily Infeld. Both the men’s and women’s 10K’s take place Thursday night/Friday morning (depending on the time zone). Women start at 12:27 a.m. ET and the men start at 1:09 a.m. ET.

RELATED: Olympian Emma Coburn Is Aiming For Sixth USA Steeplechase Title

Alysia Montaño To Race While Pregnant

Once again, Alysia Montaño is returning to run the 800 meters—and once again, she will run the race pregnant. Back in 2014, Montaño became a viral sensation when she raced at USATF Championships while 8 months pregnant with her daughter Linnea. Montaño’s second child is due in November. As for the rest of the field, 1500-meter Olympian Brenda Martinez is the favorite going into the race. Martinez has stated that this is her last season focusing on the 800, with plans to move up in distance next season. The first round of the 800 meters starts at 8:25 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Murphy Will Attempt 800/1500 Double

Olympian Clayton Murphy has his sights set on winning both the 800 meters and 1500 meters. The last time this was done was 1933. So far he is the clear favorite for the 800. His biggest threat in that race is Donavan Brazier, whose 1:44.43 ranks #3 in the world this year. However, the biggest threat to double gold comes when he faces Olympic gold medalist Matt Centrowitz in the 1500. Centrowitz has only raced three times this season, but his only 1500m was a win over Mo Farah in a fast 3:33. First round of the men’s 800 is Thursday at 8:00 p.m. ET, while the first round of the 1500 is at 11:44 p.m. ET.

Double Amputee To Compete In The 400 Meter

Blake Leeper will race the 400-meter qualifying heats on Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. ET. According to NBC Sports, the USATF could not recall a double amputee previously competing in the Outdoor Championships. Leeper was suspended for 2 years after testing positive for cocaine in 2015. Prior to his suspension, he earned a silver medal in the 400m and a bronze in the 200m at the 2012 London Paralympics.

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Should Runners Know Their Race Course or Is Ignorance Bliss? http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/training/know-race-course_161515 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:58:37 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=17575 We explore whether it is better for runners to know the course or not.

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There are two types of runners in this world: those who know their race route and those who don’t. When you step up to the start line, many runners prefer to know exactly what they are in for. Others would rather be surprised. Let’s consider the benefits and risks of course knowledge for the following distances:

5K

If you know the course, you can’t go the wrong way, right? Nope. Getting lost in the middle of a 5K happens more often than you think, especially at shorter and smaller local races that may not have as many volunteers or signs. It happened to me when I followed a lead pack of high school boys, only to find out we missed a very small sign indicating the turnaround. We all ended up running almost an additional mile. It also cost me the win.

Lesson: It’s not always wise to just “follow the leader.”

RELATED:  10 Things That Could Go Wrong On Race Day

Half Marathon

Don’t you want to know what those hills look like? They are usually the biggest concern in almost any race. But hills can mean different things to different runners. The placement of the hills on the course is usually more concerning than the actual hill itself. A half marathon is a significant distance—even if you don’t run for the entire 13.1 miles, you may want to at least drive the course so that you know what to expect.

Lesson: Don’t fear the course—own it! Give yourself the power of knowledge before you step to the start line.

Full Marathon

It’s all about those last six miles and I always suggest running that part of the course. This served two purposes:

1. Mile 20 is usually where you hit the wall. It’s nice to already have some kind of memory of those last six miles, since your brain may start to check out at this point during the race.

2. I want the runner to have a gorgeous visual of running those last six miles strong. It’s important to actually see what the finish area looks like. That way, he or she can conjure up that vision throughout the 26.2 journey on race day.

Lesson: Things can get ugly in those last six miles. Your mental preparation may be the only thing to get you to the finish.

RELATED: The Keys To Running With Mental Toughness

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Olympian Emma Coburn Is Aiming For Sixth USA Steeplechase Title http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/olympian-emma-coburn-aiming-sixth-usa-steeplechase-title_165486 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:01:23 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165486 At the USATF National Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Sacramento this week, Coburn once again plans on bringing her A game.

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Emma Coburn won the bronze medal in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Photo: Photorun.net

(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

The last time the USATF National Outdoor Track & Field Championships were held at Sacramento State University in California, the women’s steeplechase final was contested on a Saturday afternoon. The sun was blazing, and the temperature was 91°F when the 14 women who competed answered the starter’s gun.

Nonetheless, Emma Coburn of Boulder, Colo., boldly ran away from the field setting a quick pace. She clocked a championships record of 9:19.72, beating her nearest competitor by eight seconds, and bagged what was then her third national steeplechase title (she now has five).

Is Coburn, who runs for Team New Balance, a gifted hot weather runner?

“I hate the heat,” Coburn told reporters at a press conference, the day before running in her preliminary heat. “I grew up in the mountains. I love 60 degrees. If I can be in shorts and a long sleeve, that’s ideal.”

Thus, for the 26-year-old Coburn, who grew up in Crested Butte, Colo., tomorrow’s conditions will be much less than ideal, despite the fact that USA Track & Field officials have pushed back today’s nighttime program by a full hour to help athletes avoid the worst temperatures. Nonetheless, after a projected temperature of 96°F at the time of her race at 8:13 p.m., Coburn said she will be ready, taking precautions like wearing an ice vest and staying hydrated.

“I have had many experiences racing in the heat, flashing back to collegiate racing in the Regionals in Austin, Texas,” said Coburn, recalling her days as a student-athlete at the University of Colorado.  She added, “As long as I prepare well… I can do pretty well.”

Coburn, who won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics and holds the USA record of 9:07.63, may well be the #1 favorite at these championships to retain her title. She’s competed sparingly this year, only running two steeples, but both have been fast. She clocked 9:14.53 at the Doha Diamond League meeting on May 5 in her season opener, then came very close to her national record at the Prefontaine Classic on May 26, clocking 9:07.96. She feels that she is rounding into shape on the right schedule, and will be prepared to run faster later this summer.

“I usually open up around Pre and USA’s some years,” Coburn explained. “I feel like I’ve been the fittest I’ve ever been at this point in the year.”

This is Coburn’s first season training along side Jamaican steepler Aisha Praught-Leer and under the coaching direction of her fiancé, Joe Bosshard. Bosshard, who was Coburn’s teammate at the University of Colorado, took over from Coburn’s longtime and college coaches Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs, a transition which Coburn said has gone smoothly and has felt very natural.

“Mark and Heather got me to where I was and were a big part of my life for eight years,” Coburn told Race Results Weekly. “I wasn’t seeking out a coaching change, but it worked out to be that way. Joe, I wasn’t looking for him to be my coach at all, but he was kind of in this space where I needed someone and thought, well, let’s try it for a short time… and see how it goes.” She added, “It’s been going really well.”

Despite being heavily favored to win here, Coburn said she won’t be taking a relaxed attitude towards the race. With 28 barriers and seven water jumps to clear, she can’t afford to lose focus.

“The steeplechase is a wonderful event and a horrible event,” Coburn quipped. “Because of the barriers anything can happen. That keeps me guarded; that keeps me focused on the task at hand.”

RELATED: Emma Coburn Talks Steeplechase

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New Study Found Sexist Coverage Of Female Athletes Increased During 2016 Olympics http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/sexist-microaggressions-study-olympics_165473 Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:18:05 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165473 A study found that microaggresions against female athletes in the form of sexist or racist statements, increased during the 2016 Olympics.

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Anecdotally there seems to be no shortage of sexist remarks made in the media about successful female athletes. However, two researchers at the University of Missouri wanted to quantify instances of what they’ve classified these types of remarks as “microaggressions,” specifically with regards to Olympians.

In a new study, Cynthia Frisby, associate professor of strategic communications at University of Missouri, along with her undergraduate student Kara Allen, analyzed 732 newspaper and magazine articles to understand the coverage of female athletes during the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

They cataloged instances of microaggressions, which are comments made in regards to a person’s race and gender. These comments often have the consequence of belittling the athletic accomplishments of women. The researchers wanted to find “how images…are portrayed in media and how they can be used to create a stereotype, sustain them or make them stronger,” according to Frisby. They focused on seven Olympic sports: gymnastics, tennis, track and field, weightlifting, basketball, swimming and beach volleyball.

In total, microaggressions increased by 40 percent from the 2012 to the 2016 Olympics. Of the 165 instances of microaggressions found in print coverage, 96 of them were during the 2016 Games.

Looking specifically at track and field athletes, 33 instances of microaggressions were recorded. The only sport that had more was gymnastics. Some coverage attributed the success of a female track and field athlete to a man. Others used racist and sexist language, focused on the athlete’s body type or were sexually objective in tone.

“We have sports that are considered more gender appropriate. Gymnastics might be considered more feminine,” says Frisby. “Track and field comes up in the research as being a gender-neutral sport.”

Despite the perception that track and field is a sport for both genders, there was still many instances of objectification around women’s bodies.

RELATED: Don’t Let Body Shamers Keep You From Running Like a Boss

“We found that female athletes were written about in a number of different ways in terms of their attractiveness, mostly their bodies,” says Frisby. “Women who are toned and extremely muscular are perceived to be masculine because women aren’t supposed to have muscles. Some of the comments were about how pretty the person is when they were supposed to be a story not on how pretty they were but that they just won a gold medal.”

Frisby also notes that many female athletes are often compared to male counterparts instead of being celebrated for their own accomplishments. She uses Simone Biles as an example. There were instances of Biles being called the “female Michael Jordan.” While these comparisons are often made by journalists to help those unfamiliar with the Olympic sport, it takes away from a female Olympian’s success.

“The biggest problem is when you make those comparisons is that you might unintentionally create and maintain stereotypes,” Frisby says. “So what if someone doesn’t know who Simone Biles is. What impression are they going to get once you have made that comparison?

“To me it makes a subtle inference that your audience is so dumb that they can’t understand and read the material. Most journalists make an assumption that the audience needs those comparisons to understand something not familiar to them.”

Even though the study focused on print media, Frisby says that sexist commentary was also made during TV broadcast, “but print media would pick them up as well and do stories about them.”

Frisby shared that the reaction to the study has been enlightening. Some journalists are appreciative of the research, while others are having a tough time believing the data. However, she has received emails from male journalists who have admitted to struggling with how to frame the accomplishments of female athletes.

“Those are the instances when I feel like my work has made the most impact,” Frisby says. “When we can at least get the data out there to start the conversation.”

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Whoa, Gatorade Endurance Now Tastes Totally Different http://running.competitor.com/2017/06/news/gatorade-endurance-formula-now-tastes-totally-different_165471 Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:09:30 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=165471 The most prevalent aid station beverage just got a major makeover…

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If you’ve ever run an organized race, you’ve almost certainly downed some Gatorade Endurance Formula. The ubiquitous little green paper cups line more than 300 courses around the country. Think the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon and Chicago Marathon, as well as every Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series race and Ironman triathlon.

With a lock on the on-course nutrition market, the drink is nearly unavoidable. This is great news if you’re a fan of the citrusy beverage—not so much if you (or your gastrointestinal system) find the mix too sweet to handle. As a long-time marathoner myself, I have always experienced a love-hate relationship with the drink. I enjoyed the taste and appreciated the carbs and electrolytes—but my stomach sometimes had trouble handling the mix.

RELATED:  Hydration 101: Sports Drinks vs. Water

As it turns out, Gatorade was listening to the grumblings and digestive rumblings. The company’s world-class nutrition scientists had long been on the case to develop a drink that better supported athletes’ efforts and worked for every tummy.

The newly improved Gatorade Endurance Formula, released today, has no artificial flavors or sweeteners, and a much lighter flavor. During a launch event last week, I had the opportunity to taste the beverage and was truly surprised by the light, refreshing taste and the much-less-sticky mouth feel. After downing a cup and heading out on the New York City streets for a run in nearly 90-degree-heat, I experienced no issues at all.

RELATED: What are Electrolytes Good For? 

So what exactly is the difference? The new Gatorade Endurance Formula has less sugar, but a similar amount of bio-available carbohydrates (22 grams)—key to performance during a 2.5-plus-hour training session or race. During long efforts, your muscles require glucose to function effectively. The body stores glucose in the liver and blood—but only a small amount. When that resource is tapped unless you feed your muscles through external sources—aka by ingesting carbohydrates. The new formula features a multi-carb (rather than single-carb) blend, which has been found to improve performance while decreasing discomfort.

Additionally, Endurance features twice the amount of sodium and three-times the level of potassium, critical electrolytes that your body loses through sweat and must be replaced to maintain optimal levels.

Expect to see the new mix on race courses staring July 22, but the powdered version of Gatorade Endurance Formula is available now online and in specialty stores in three flavors: cherry, orange and lemon-lime.

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