Thursday, September 18, 2014

FloTrack Trailer


I have been working with Flotrack.com over the last month on telling my running story - the premium piece is scheduled to be out on Sept 24th - here is a trailer to it that they put out yesterday.

Watch more videos on Flotrack


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rock n' Roll VA Beach - Video Diary


Earlier this week I put out the following statement on FaceBook:

"This past Sunday I dropped out of the Rock n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon at the 7 mile point. I regret that decision. It ended up being a hot and very humid race, I had not adjusted my goal paces for those conditions, and when I realized several miles into it I was not going to reach the goal I had set for myself, I got flustered, and began to magnify in my mind every ache and tight muscle and eventually stopped more from personal disappointment of not being in a situation to run a fast time than any real physical issue. I am not injured and will race the Virginia 10 miler road race later in September and the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on Nov. 1st. My training has been going great and I know I am getting stronger and faster each week and I am excited to race these races. To help me in races in the future, I am working on a new multiple goal system for my races to keep me focused for any times when my main goal is not possible that day. I realize now that a sub-par race time is always better than dropping out, for me, the race and my fans and supporters. While being somewhat of a perfectionist has helped me in my training, I realize that I need to put a leash on it in races and do the best I can on that day no matter what, as the race and my fans and supporters deserve that. I thank everyone for all of their support and patience with me, I am young and still learning my way in elite competition, but I am more determined than ever to make it and am looking forward to a great future in the sport I love."

I also have started a video diary on Flotrack.org so that I can share my story, struggles and successes with others in the hopes that it can help others on their journey.  The first entry is here 


Watch more videos on Flotrack


More videos from Flotrack.org coming soon including a bio-piece:

  





Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Extra Motivation

The blog entry below was also shared this morning by the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon's new blog site, please check it out: http://www.monumentalmarathon.com/blog/2014-08-26-My-Extra-Motivation.php 


I am absolutely sooooo excited to say that I have an opportunity with the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (IMM) to help raise money for the Autism Society of Indiana (ASI)!!  I have always wanted to use my running as a way to help raise awareness and provide resources for those with autism.  My little sister Rose has autism herself, so being able to help others is just amazing.  I currently have two ways of raising money for ASI: pledges and t-shirts.

Hanging out with Rose

Pledges:  For the IMM I am going in with two different goals in mind: 1) Break the course record of 2:39:22 and 2) get the A- standard for the Olympic Trials (2:37:00).  For achieving each of these two goals I will receive a bonus of $1,000.  I have pledged to give 25% of each of these bonuses to ASI, which would be a total of $500. Wonderfully enough the IMM has pledged to match the amount I donate.  It would be so amazing if other companies or people joined in the cause and matched my pledges or decide to donate as any amount as well.

T-shirts:  The IMM has also helped me to create an Ink The Cause “Go Alana” t-shirt you can buy to show your support.  Proceeds from the t-shirts will go to support ASI as well.  The t-shirts look amazing and have a picture of the state of Indiana as a puzzle piece on the front, the logo for ASI, which I love!  You can purchase them online, here.  Your support of ASI is greatly appreciated!


For the press release covering the partnership with ASI, click here.

On Training:
With all this going on, I want to ensure that I am in the best health and shape for this race in order to have the best chance at achieving both of my goals.  When preparing for a marathon I have found that it’s not just the training you have to pay attention to it’s all the little things too; such as recovering properly, staying hydrated, and making sure you fix any problem that starts to show itself.  One thing the marathon will do is find your weakness and amplify it, so it is very important that you take proper care of your body throughout training to prevent that from happening.
  
For me my weakness is my hamstrings and hips, and Grandma’s Marathon in June had no problem exploiting that weakness and ruining my plans for that race.  So the first thing I did after Grandma’s is get in contact with Carolina Sports Clinic, from which I have made a great partnership with.  They have helped me to identify where exactly my weakness is and what are causes for that weakness.  We have found my hamstring and hip problem came from strength imbalances and inflexibility in the area.  Since that discovery in July, I have been working hard to turn that weakness into a new strength by adding new strength exercises into my core and strength circuits.  As more and more time passes I can feel that area getting stronger and stronger as I continue to work and stretch that area and workouts are better than ever with no issues.

Training in the south in the summer

As I have been training through the summer months, and living in Charlotte during the summer the mornings are very warm and humid, hydration and recovery have been extremely important to be able to perform well in training.  If I am not properly hydrated and making sure I have the appropriate amount of electrolytes I end up feeling flat during training.  I’m not sure about you guys but I sweat so bad during runs that when I get home I look like I jumped in a lake, all that sweat is just water leaving your body that you need to make sure you are replacing. 

Now on the topic of recovery, especially during hot training months, my personal favorite is the simple ice bath.  While some people don’t like the idea of sitting in a tub of cold water with ice cubes floating around in it, after a hard workout in the heat an ice bath is exactly what my body wants.  I enjoy sitting in the tub, listening to music and eating my breakfast as my body cools down.  Another good recovery tool is rollers, using rollers helps to get the blood flowing through the muscles.  I notice a difference when I use them before I go to bed, because I wake up the next morning my legs feel so much better. 

As you train for your races, whether it is a 5k or a marathon, remember all the aspects of your training.  The workouts, the recovery, the hydration, and the reason you are training in the first place.  For me during the hard moments of a workout I will think of the wonderful people who will benefit from me achieving my goals at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  I will continue to train hard with a smile on my face with my goals of a setting new course record and getting the A- standard time in mind.  I have found my extra motivation in training, and I hope you will too. :)  

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18th Update

Hope everything is going well so far this August! I can’t believe school is just another week away for me and that I’ll be starting my senior year of high school…crazy.  I went yesterday and visited my final college (High Point University) yesterday with my cousin Nikki, which was so much fun.  I have narrowed the colleges I plan on applying to down to UNC Charlotte, High Point University, and Lenoir-Rhyne University.  The only thing left to do is apply and see where that puts me! :)

Now for my workout updates! I apologize for missing my blog post last week so I will have 3 weeks instead of the normal 2.

July 28th- August 3rd:

Wednesday: 2 mile warm up, 8 x mile with .25 jog recovery, 2 mile cool down- slightly cooler temps but still extremely humid as Charlotte usually is during the summer.  I feel stronger every time I do this workout!

Saturday: 24 mile long run on the road- Had to run of the road this time as it rained a lot the days before and the trails would have been really muddy.  Luckily I have a nice 6 mile loop I could use from my house!

Number of runs: 13
Number of workouts: 2
Mileage for the week: 113 milwa

8 x mile
24 miles
Saturday night was so much fun!  I went over to my friend’s house and had Chinese food for dinner then got to go to the MKTO concert with my best friends and had a great time. :)


August 4th- 10th:

Monday: 2 mile warm up, 16 x 600m with 1:30 jog recovery, 2 mile cool down- hot and humid but was still able to run faster than last time.

Thursday: 2 mile warm up, 6 mile wave tempo, 2 mile cool down- was glad to be able to do a wave workout again! Felt slightly flat but still was able to have a good run.

Sunday: 20 mile tempo long run=> 5 mile warm up, 10 mile tempo, 5 mile cool down- definitely a strength building run as I felt a little sick in the stomach but was able to push through and gained some mental toughness.

Number of runs: 13
Number of workouts: 3
Mileage for the week:  112 miles

16 x 600m

6 mile wave tempo

20 mile tempo long run

August 11th- 17th:

Wednesday:  2 mile warm up, 8 x mile with .25 jog recovery, 2 mile cool down- was so excited to have FloTrack.com come out and film my workout and my day.  Ended up having a great workout and felt incredibly strong and fast.  Afterwards I was able to go to Carolina Sports Clinic and use the recovery compression boots, which felt amazing!

Saturday: 24 mile long run out at McAlpine Greenway- it was nice to be able to run on the trail for my long run.  Struggled a bit at the end as it was incredibly humid, this made breathing slightly difficult, but was still able to get in the miles.

Number of runs: 13
Number of workouts: 2
Mileage for the week: 113 miles

Using recovery compression boots at CSC after my mile repeats


My visit to High Point University with my cousin!


Hope you all have had a great summer and good luck to those going back to school!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28th Update

Hey guys! Hope everyone has had a great week.  Recently I announced that I will be racing the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 1st for my fall marathon.  Between now and then I will be keeping you updated on how my training and workouts are going.  Now that all my workouts are back to their full length I plan on updating every 2 weeks :)

July 14th- 20th

Wednesday: 2 mile warm up, 8 x mile w .25 jog recovery, 2 mile cool down- super happy to be able to do all 8 mile repeats and having no problem with my hip or hamstring! Ended up doing my mile repeats on the road, which just increased the strength building

Saturday: 24 mile moderate paced long run out at McAlpine Greenway- was a little rainy for this run but that just helped to keep the temperature at bay, felt really good and was able to cruise through my 24 miles

8 x mile repeats

24 mile long run

Number of runs: 13
Number of workouts: 2
Mileage for the week: 113

July 21st- 27th

Monday: 2 mile warm up, 16 x 600m w/ 1:30 jog, 2 mile cool down- definitely a tough workout mentally and physically, it was extremely humid making it harder to breathe and I had severe period cramps, however the workout got done and strength was built :)

Thursday: 2 mile warm up, 6 mile tempo, 3 mile cool down- another hot and humid day but that’s normal now for Charlotte in the summer.  Ended up completely drenched but had a great workout!

Sunday: 20 mile tempo long run=> 5 mile warm up, 10 mile tempo, 5 mile cool down- didn’t feel the greatest during my workout but still was able to stay strong and negative split my tempo section with the last 2 miles each sub 6:00. Had a good workout even if I wasn’t feeling the best, this just proves how strong my training has made me mentally and physically!

16 x 600m

6 mile tempo

20 mile long run w/ 10 mile tempo

Number of runs: 13
Number of workouts: 3
Mileage for the week: 113

Now for an update on my race schedule between now and Indianapolis! I plan to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach half marathon on August 31st and the Virginia Ten Miler on September 27th.  I am signed up for the Virginia Ten Miler however the Virginia Beach half marathon is still tentative at this point until we here back from the race. 

I hope everyone has a great week!!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fall Marathon Announcement

2014 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Super excited to announce that I will be returning to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon this November 1st for my fall marathon!! After racing it and getting the B standard for the US Olympic Marathon Trials there last year with a 2:41:55, I am returning to the great course and supportive atmosphere in Indy and am aiming for the course record (2:39:22) and the Trials A standard (sub 2:37:00).  I am also looking forward to coming back to Indy to speak at the expo with my dad once again this year.

Here is a the press release that the Monumental Marathon released this morning:

I plan on running 2 to 3 races between now and Monumental, but am still finalizing which ones I'll do, but will let you know once that decision is finalized. :)  

Since the Grandma's Marathon, I have partnered up with Carolina Sports Clinic here in Charlotte, NC to resolve the hip tightness issue that hindered my race in Duluth. We determined it was modest muscle strength asymmetry and hamstring flexibility issues and have been able to successfully correct it, and I have been back at 100% in recent workouts. So I am now fully back into my training and couldn't be more excited to prepare for a great fall race season.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Helpful Tips for Young Female Runners

Hey girls! (and guys too if you chose to read this blog) I have decided to shake things up a bit with this blog post today.  Normally I let you know what’s going on in my life running wise with a few other events, like prom, thrown in the mix.  I have decided instead to write an informative post today that I feel may be very helpful for many to read, especially all you fellow teenage girl runners, and young female athletes in general.  These are some of the things that I have learned through my experiences as a relatively high level distance runner who is running higher mileage.


I would like to talk with you about 4 different, though equally important topics:  Nutrition, Supplements, Regular Female Periods, and Running Mileage


Nutrition:
When you are a runner, or athlete for that matter, making sure you eat right is very important, something I think is equally important is eating enough.  When running high mileage you burn a lot of calories every day and in order to replace your energy and nutrients you need to make sure you are in taking roughly the same amount that you burn.  Many people have become really concerned with the amounts and types of food they are eating and end up going overboard by either eating too little or leaving out important food groups.

More and more it is becoming the trend or ‘thing to do’ to use different diets for ‘healthier’ eating, such as vegetarian diet, or vegan diet, or even gluten free diet (without being allergic to gluten), I have even seen diets that cut out almost all the salt they can.  While I understand that everyone is trying to find a healthy diet for themselves it is at times unnecessary to try all those diets just because that’s what everyone else is doing, you should choose those diets if that is what works best for you.  There is nothing wrong with being vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free at all, as I have friends and know good runners who are vegans and some who are gluten free, however it is very important that you make sure you are getting in the appropriate nutrients that your body needs while doing so.  Whatever nutrition plan you follow, make sure you are getting in everything your body needs for your higher level for training.   Your loyalty should be to your body first, not a certain diet! 

When you are an athlete who trains a lot you actually need all the different types of food groups.  You need the fruits, the veggies, the proteins, the grain, the oils, the salts, and even the fats.  Sometimes by doing certain diets you could actually end up hurting yourself by not giving the body enough of want it needs without realizing it.  Many runners, especially vegans and vegetarians, struggle to get enough protein or iron in their diet, and if you try to lower your salt consumption too much it could hurt you severely as when you are sweating you lose a lot of the salts in your body and it is very important to replace all lost electrolytes.  These are just a few things of some of the issues you need to be aware of as you look at your nutrition in terms of your training and general fitness. 

For me personally I don’t follow a strict diet.  What I try to do is just make sure I am eating a good amount of food from every food group.  I try to listen to what my body is craving, because cravings take place for a food are actually your body’s way of telling you what it needs.  If you look at what is in the type of food you are craving it can tell you what your body needs.  For example if you are craving potato chips, your body may need salt; if you crave chicken, your body may need protein.  As an athlete in training it is very important to listen to what your body needs.  I know that as teenagers sometimes we become insecure about how much food we are eating especially around friends, I have seen it so many times.  However it is super important to know that you always remember if you are hungry then don’t be afraid to go get something to eat.  It doesn’t matter if that means you eat a bigger meal than your friends or having more snacks than them, if you are still hungry after a meal you NEED to eat more, you have to remember that you are an athlete in training and you have to refuel your body properly in order to stay healthy.

I, by a large margin, eat more food than all my friends, because by running 110 miles a week I have to.  I feel that sometimes I am constantly eating but I know that that is just me refueling my body to get it prepared for the next day.  You cannot be afraid to eat more if you need to, even if it is occasionally “junk food” because your body needs those fats as well, it’s just another way for your body to get energy.  However did you know that there are healthy fats you can eat as well that your body actually really needs to help it function properly?  Some types of foods with healthy fats include different nuts and seed; my personal favorites are peanuts and sunflower seeds.  They would be great substitutes for the traditional chips or candy to have a healthier snack.  While eating healthy is important don’t compromise what your body needs, you are an athlete in training, if you need to eat a lot then eat a lot, that’s what I do. ;)

Always remember that your diet and nutrition is as much a part of your training as getting in your mileage is.  It is very important that you are making sure you are giving your body the proper nutrients it needs to be able to recover and refuel in order to keep up the rest of your training.


Supplements:
            Supplements are something that not that many teens think about including in their diet though I have found that they can be super important, especially for female runners.  The first supplement I recommend looking at is calcium.  The average American teenager doesn’t get nearly enough calcium in their diet and as a teenage runner it is very important that you make sure you are getting enough to help strengthen your bones and lessen your chances of getting a stress fracture.  Another good supplement to take with calcium is vitamin D, which also helps to strengthen your bones and is required for the calcium to be absorbed, and typically we don’t get enough vitamin D in our diet or absorb enough from the sun.  While Calcium is something everyone should think about the next supplement I suggest is more geared toward females in particular. 

That supplement is iron.  It has been found out that female distance runners or athletes are more likely to be deficient in iron, which makes sense since iron is carried in the hemoglobin found in your blood and with females losing blood during our period every month, we are also losing iron that we need.  Having a low iron level can actually be dangerous for you because if it gets too low you can become anemic.  Having low iron can leave you feeling weak and easily fatigued which can greatly impact your training and life in general.  Once you mature and start having your monthly period, or once you enter high school and training is getting more intense I recommend going and having a simple blood test done to check your iron levels.  Such a simple procedure as that can end up majorly helping you in the long run.  I suggest getting a blood test done 2 to 4 times a year, that’s what I do, to ensure that your iron level isn’t changing too much or is going in the proper direction if you are trying to raise it up after seeing it’s low.  Just like you should take vitamin D with calcium, you should take vitamin C with iron as it helps your body absorb the iron, whether that means taking a vitamin C supplement as well or drinking orange juice with your iron is up to you.   Something important to remember about iron is that you can’t take it with calcium as calcium blocks the absorption of iron.  I recommend taking them how I do it, when I take calcium and vitamin D supplements I do it in the morning with breakfast, when I take iron I take it with a glass of orange juice and take it about 30 minutes to an hour before I go to bed to insure the foods I had at dinner have digested and that I won’t end up eating anything with calcium in it afterwards.  

Remember that everyone if different and how often they take each supplement (or if they take it) may vary, there is no cookie cutter way to do this and if you have further questions about this I recommend talking to your parents, your doctor, or a nutritionist to figure out the best plan of action for you and your body.     


Regular Periods:
            Now for the section I’m sure everyone can’t wait to hear about – LOL.  While talking about having your period maybe a slightly awkward topic for some girls, it is something I feel needs to be talked about.  Teenage female athletes need to understand the importance of starting your period at a relatively normal age and having it regularly after that.

            I will start with myself as an example; I started having my periods the week before my 15th birthday and have been regular since then and have never missed a period in the two and a half years since I started.  That may surprise many people as many assume running the amount of mileage I do would hinder my starting or regularity of my periods, however they would be wrong, and I think my nutrition and slow approach to adding my mileage (see the next section) has shown you can train at high level and still be healthy in other aspects of your life (like growing and menstrual cycles) as well.

            The normal age range for girls to start their period is 12- 14, however if you have been very athletic all your life that naturally may push back that range to 14-16 years old.  If you have reached 18 and still haven’t started then you should see your family doctor about it for sure.  After you start having your period it maybe be a few months before you start to become regular, so it is a good idea to keep track of when you start and stop having your period as it will help for keeping the pattern and noticing if something different occurs such as longer than normal periods or longer/shorter periods of time between cycles.

            From looking at past star high school female runners you see that quite a few actually went to college without having started having periods and now more and more you are seeing college coaches red shirting star freshman their first year and don’t allow them to compete until they have their first period because it can be very dangerous for your health (bone heath especially) to have not started your period yet.  Another thing I have seen is some girls starting their periods at the normal time but then they only have 2 or 3 a year, another thing that is dangerous.  Doctors have said that if there is more than 3 months between each period then you need to go and get an examination done.

It is very important to have yearly checkups with your doctor especially during the teenage years.  You should be able to talk to your doctor about your period if it hasn’t started yet or if it has become irregular.  These problems could be due to low estrogen levels, low iron levels, or too much stress on the body.  Low estrogen levels are dangerous because estrogen is necessary for good bone mineral density and strong bones, so having it low could leave you more susceptible for stress fractures.  Whatever the case maybe it is extremely important to see your doctor to figure it out and get the problem solved because you want to ensure that you are staying healthy first and foremost!


Running Mileage:
            Now to a topic I know really well, how to safely run a lot of mileage.  Lately more teens seem to be trying to run higher amounts of mileage than they used to without giving themselves enough time to adjust to it.  Whether it is because they see me running my high mileage and think that means they would be able to as well, I do not know, however I want to take the time to explain just how I came to running my high mileage.  Hopefully this will help everyone, teens and adults, be able to safely increase their mileage in a way that will help to prevent injuries.

            When increasing mileage you can’t make huge jumps in quantity, you have keep the jumps small and do it slowly to allow your body plenty of time to adjust to the change.  I have been running since I was 6 years old and am now 17 so that’s 11 years of running.  Each year I only add approximately 10 miles to my weekly mileage, normally 5 miles per week every 6 months.  By doing this my body has had plenty of time to adjust to mileage increases and thus explains why I can now handle running 110 miles a week without having a problem.  Your muscular-skeletal system out of all your body systems takes the longest amount of time to adjust to increasing mileage and that is why it is important to give your body enough time to fully and completely adjust to your new mileage every time you increase.   Jumping up too quickly just causes problems.

I recommend that if you want to run higher mileage than great, I love it and think it helps, but be careful and get there slowly over time, that way you can get there safely and get the most out of it and enjoy every step along the way. :)


I have enjoyed writing this blog for you and hope that you find at least some of this information helpful.  I felt like this was an important blog to write and share some of the valuable knowledge I have gained through my experiences.  Us runner girls gotta stick together!


If anyone has further questions, personal or general, or would like me to elaborate on anything for them please don’t hesitate to either comment, message me on my Facebook athlete page (link on side) , or send me an email at  foralanahadley@gmail.com



Have a fantastic week!  :)