Ingrid Kristiansen

In 1982, elite runner Ingrid Kristiansen ran a 2:33 marathon.  For many this would be a good race but for her she wondered why it was slow.   While investigating why it was (for her) so slow, she discovered that she was four months pregnant. Four months after giving birth, she won the Houston Marathon in 2:27 and three months later set the women’s world record in the London Marathon in 2:21. Most would wonder how she didn’t know she was pregnant but this is not uncommon in highly trained athletes.

At  5’6″ and 106 pounds, she trained 100 hilly miles per week. This high level of training lead amenorrhea, the infrequent menstrual periods experienced by many gymnasts, ballet dancers and distance runners. For years she had been used to going months without a period. Thus, in 1983, she was ripe for the surprise of her life.

“In January I won the Houston Marathon,” says Kristiansen. “I thought I recovered well, but I got beat by some runners I really shouldn’t have lost to in 10-and 15-kilometer road races.” Then she finished 35th in the world cross-country race in Gateshead, England, an event in which she had been sixth the year before.

Kristiansen’s coach, Johan Kaggestad, was confused. “My wife said, ‘She must be pregnant. Ask her.’ It was Ingrid’s birthday and she was miserable, so I didn’t. But the next day on the plane I brought it up, and she laughed and said, ‘No, no.’ But I said maybe it would be good to take a test.” A week passed. “I answered the phone, and she was crying, not only that she was pregnant, but that she was five months pregnant.”

The tears were of shock, not dismay. She wanted a baby, but she wanted to run, too. Kristiansen trained as much as she could before the birth. “When she got so round she couldn’t run, she swam and biked and walked for hours,” said Kaggestad. In effect she had the luxury of a four-month pregnancy.

She finished fourth in the Woman’s Olympic Marathon in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.  Coming from Norway, where it is cold for months,  she was known for training on the treadmill.  She won several big marathons wins on her running resume  including New york, Chicago, Boston twice, London a record four times, Stockholm three times and Houston two times.

She started her athletic career  as a National ranked cross-country skier.  She was the European Juniors champion in 1974 and won eight Norwegian Championships in the relay.  This goes to show a person doesn’t have to start out as a runner to become a fast one.


Top Three Features For Your Running Watch

If you are shopping around for a good running watch, there are a few criteria that should be considered as essential.

Before you buy any running watch, you should stop to think about yourself as a runner.  Are you a casual runner who just likes to get outside in the fresh air every once in a while and run a few laps around the park?  Or are you a serious, advanced runner who runs every day, rain or shine, possibly even training to run in a marathon?

The type of runner you are should determine the type of running watch you need.   A basic running watch will suffice for the casual runner, while a serious runner needs a running watch with more advanced features.

Whichever type of runner you may be, here are the top 3 things to consider when you are buying a running watch:

1. Does the watch have a countdown timer?

Even if you are just a casual, occasional runner now, you might eventually kick it up a notch and start taking your running more seriously.  In that event, you will want to know your time.   A countdown timer on a running watch will count down from a certain value until it reaches zero.  You might want to keep up with your time as a casual runner, as well, to see if you can beat your own time after a set period.   For example, you might want to record your times every time you run a particular route for a month, to see if your speed has improved at the end of that period.

2. Does the watch have a clear display?

The last thing you want when you are out running is a watch with an inferior display!  You need to be sure and buy a watch with large enough numbers that you can easily see them at arm’s length while running.   Also, make sure that the stop watch display is adequate.  You want something easy to see and read while you are running, so that you can keep up with your time.

3. Does the watch have lap storage capabilities?

You want to be able to store each record of your sessions, so that you can track your progress as time goes on.  So, look for a running watch that will store the data of each session: speed, distance, time.

Before buying a running watch, make sure it comes with those three features! Then explore the roads with your new watch.

Getting Past “The Wall” on Marathon Race Day

By Gale Bernhardt-

During a marathon, everyone experiences highs and lows. Knowing this helps alleviate stress during the race. When you hit a rough patch, stay focused and try to be a problem solver. Whatever is bothering you at that time, brainstorm possible solutions for the problem. Then, pick the best to keep you going.

Follow these nine tips to avoid or break through the wall, so you can finish your race at your ideal time.

  1. Pace yourself. One strategy for doing this is begin the first quarter of the event slightly slower than the average pace you hope to achieve — each remaining quarter faster than the preceding one. This keeps you from burning out too fast. This “negative-split” strategy has produced numerous world and personal records.
  2. Try not to be so hard on yourself. During the race, ask yourself, “Am I doing the best I can at this moment?” Your answer should be “yes.” You will have no apologies to make to anyone.
  3. Break the race into small pieces. Near the end of the event, when it gets difficult and your legs no longer feel fresh, make small goals for yourself. Can you run for five more minutes? Can you run to a land mark within your vision?
  4. Carry a small tube of lip balm with sunscreen. You can, of course, use the balm on your lips to prevent chapping and sunburn, but it has a second purpose. If you feel hot spots forming on your feet, use the lip balm to reduce friction and prevent blisters. With your finger, remove a small piece of lip balm and apply it generously to the hot spot and surrounding area. Stopping to take care of a potential problem like this can save you time in the long haul.
  5. Positive self-talk makes a significant influence on event performance. Develop at least one positive mantra to use during the race. Some suggestions include:”I’m fit, I’m good, I’m fast.”
    “Every day, in every way, I’m better, stronger, happier.”
    “I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’m light on my feet.”
    Mantras can be performance-oriented or feeling-oriented. When you find your mind wandering into the land of negative self-talk, use one of your mantras to change your mindset.
  6. H2O. To successfully complete a marathon at the highest pace possible, it’s critical to hydrate and fuel at a steady pace. When using aids stations two miles apart, consume 50 to 100 calories of energy drink and four to eight ounces of fluid at each aid station.If the race-supplied energy drink doesn’t suit you, carry your own drink and drink mix or gels. It’s not as convenient as using the race-supplied drink, but it’s better than an upset stomach.Note: If you consume an entire gel, you need approximately 16 ounces of water to dilute the gel so your body can easily absorb the solution.
  7. Stay flexible. If race day weather is hot, windy or cold, adjust your pace goals accordingly. Also, adjust your fueling and hydration plan to accommodate the conditions.
  8. The wall. Even if you hit the wall — and have a gorilla climb on your back — you can still recover and successfully finish the marathon. Slow your pace or do a combination of walking and running. Other runners/spectators may see your effort and begin cheering to help you during the rough part.
  9. Get your energy. If you skimped on calories and fluids before hitting the wall, walk through one or more aid stations and refuel and hydrate. Energy drinks contain calories and electrolytes that help you feel better. If you know you are a heavy sweater and need additional electrolytes, sodium in particular, carry a small baggie with electrolyte tablets with you. You’ll know if you need to do this based on your long training runs.

Hitting the wall in a race is tough, but follow these tips and you’ll find a way to push through it, if not avoid it all together. If you hit the wall don’t worry you will learn from the experience helping you with your next marathon.

For The Special Runner in Your Life On Valentines Day

Need a unique gift for the runner in your life on Valentines Day visit  and click the unique running gifts to order a mug with this saying on it.

Joan Benoit- Samuelson Continues To Run Fast At 53 Years Old

Joan Benoit-Samuelson defies age by running  2:47 in Chicago

More than a quarter of a century since her victory at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Marathon, 53-year-old Joan Benoit-Samuelson is still going strong.  She finished 43rd in the woman’s race at the Chicago Marathon finishing in  2:47:50.  Her 23-year-old daughter, Abby made her  marathon debut at Chicago 2010 while her mother had other numbers in mind.

Joan was attracted to Chicago “because of  the symmetry of numbers”. Sunday’s date is 10-10-10. The race was  the 25th anniversary of the American record that she set there in 1985 with a personal best of 2:21:21  – a mark that stood until 2003.

Joan is the first female and only 19th runner to run sub 3 hour marathon in five different decades.

  • April 16, 1979  – Boston Marathon – 2:35:16
  • October 20, 1985  – Chicago Marathon – 2:21:21
  • April 15, 1991 – Boston Marathon – 2:26:54
  • February 26, 2000 – Columbia Marathon/ Us Olympic Trails –  2:39:59
  • October 10, 2010 – Chicago Marathon – 2:47:50

Her time in Chicago was 1:50 off the qualifying time.  A time below 2 hours 46 minutes would qualify her for the United States Olympic trials for a record fifth time in 2012.
Joan Benoit is an example that age doesn’t mean you have to slow down.

Runners Share The Miles With Dogs

Philadelphia program that lets runners take shelter dogs out for jogs.

Guys, I know we’re only one month into 2011, but I think we may already have a winner for Most Heartwarming Story of the Year — and Best Running-Related Idea of the Year. (And Best Dog-Related Idea of the Year, for that matter.)

The story, out of Philadelphia, is titled Runners Share the Miles With Time-Share Dogs, and comes to us via (Thanks to RW’s Jen Van Allen for passing this along.)

Some dog lovers can’t be dog owners. Maybe their lives are too busy, or their apartment too small. Perhaps a spouse is allergic. But they can be dog owners part time.

The Monster Milers is a group of runners who time-share dogs at PAWS, an animal adoption center in Old City. A runner can check out a dog to join him on a jog through the city.

PAWS already has volunteers to walk the dogs every day. Runners bring adrenaline to the table. Some dogs were built for speed.

“Most dogs are amazing runners,” said Carrie Maria, the organizer of the Monster Milers. “You take a dog who is crazy in a shelter, take them out running and in two blocks he’s running right by your side.”

For the runners, such as Rebecca Baranowski who tries to get out a couple times a week before work, they are forced into an exercise regimen.

“It definitely gets me out on days I otherwise would not have,” says Baranowski, who works in Old City. “I feel like I’ve made a commitment.”

The dogs, such as Baranowski’s recent running partner Emerson, get more than exercise. The 2-year-old pit bull mix gets a chance to practice being with an owner.

Emerson was skittish for the first two blocks, until she found a plant to pee on. Then she became very excitable when she discovered that every piece of trash along Delaware Avenue had a fascinating smell. Baranowski spent more time coaxing her than running her.

When Baranowski got her out to Penn’s Landing, Emerson found her stride and ran along her temporary master.

Consistency is important. Baranowski was trained by the Monster Milers to go on one of a handful of familiar running routes, and to use a short list of commands. That way, the dog will not get confused by 30 different people announcing 30 different instructions.

The dogs learn to be obedient to humans even in a highly aroused state of play, which makes them more adoptable.

“We had one dog that loved to run,” said PAWS manager Allison Lamond. “As soon as he would see a runner, he would sit down and wait very nicely for his leash to be put on. Wait very nicely for him to walk out the door. There are certain things they need to do to be rewarded with a run.”

That dog was ultimately adopted, by a runner.

Carrie Maria started the Monster Milers last summer, and has 30 runners on the roster. Some come weekly, some come monthly. Some came once and never again. There are 200 more runners on a waiting list to attend the two-hour orientation sessions.

This spring, Maria plans to launch another branch of the Milers at the PAWS center in Grey’s Ferry.

Top ten Ways To Avoid Running Injuries

Top Ten Ways To Avoid Running Injuries:

1) Pay attention to your body.

Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. If something is hurting pay attention to it, find out why, and change what is making it hurt. Rest if necessary, but if the pain doesn’t fade, don’t forget a visit to the doctor’s office if necessary.

2) Avoid the terrible “too’s”.

Don’t do too much, too soon, too often, too fast, too hard, with too little rest.

3) Don’t change things that are working.

Don’t look for the latest and greatest running shoe or even training method. Don’t switch from slow and steady to suddenly doing an all interval workout because someone says you will lose weight quicker and with only 20 minutes of “cardio”. Shoes may be cautiously changed and training should be gradually and sensibly changed. Of course slow and steady is not the only way to train, and for most runners it will not be.

4) Increase training slowly.

The 10% rule for most people is the maximum increase per week, not the minimum. Every third week drop your mileage significantly before moving ahead again from the previous week. The recovery week will allow your body to repair while having a “relative” rest week.

5) Wear running shoes (sport specific shoes) and change them frequently

Don’t run in tennis or cross trainer shoes. Some people like to alternate pairs of shoes to retain their shock absorbing capabilities. But whatever you do, make certain to replace your running shoes every 350 – 450 miles of running. If you run over 30 miles per week, and perhaps even less, make sure you use your shoes exclusively for running, so that you do not waste them with walking miles. The walking is admittedly easier on the shoe than running, but still creates wear and tear.

6) Eat healthy: Not too much, not too little, and a bit less junk

Don’t forget to eat enough healthy foods. Make certain to have adequate calcium and healthy fats (such as the omega fats found in certain fish and fish oil capsules). Don’t forget vegetables and protein sources. Check the origin of your food, particularly check farmed fish which may come from countries which have significant issues of safety with their food supply. (In actuality there are some problems, although different problems with farmed fish from all countries and certain safety issues with fish at sea.) Make sure you don’t cut your caloric level too drastically while dieting. You need fuel to exercise.

7) Strength train two to three days per week.

Musculoskeletal fitness is one of the pillars of fitness. Strength training can be helpful for a variety of reasons. Core strengthening helps many people. And improving lean body weight by increasing muscle helps dieting indirectly and is good for your overall health. If you are a serious, competitive, long distance runner be extremely careful with lower extremity weights, and make sure to stop several weeks before a race. Carefully observe how your training sessions go, and make sure they are not slowing you down, or that fatigue from your strength training sessions are not limiting your long runs. It is probably best to do them before a rest day or an easy day. On days where you may be doing both running and strength training, run first, if you are primarily a runner.

8) Warm up gently before running, Stretch gently when finished

Stretching is not a warm up. It is a flexibility exercise. Evidence is mixed on whether it helps avoid injury, but studies of stretching before running do not show any benefit. Stretching works better after you are warmed up. Run easy for your first 10 minutes of running. Take short steps, move slowly, let your body gradually warm up and adapt to the stresses you are about to place on it. There are many changes that your body will be making to make your running go smoothly, efficiently and easily. Give it a chance to get prepared. If you are doing speed work, this 10 minutes will not be enough. You’ll need a longer and more complex warm up.

9) Use a Carb/Protein mix after long runs and after hard runs or workouts.

This can be a chocolate milk shake or a protein powder mix.

10) Enjoy your runs and workouts.

This should ultimately be fun time, and something you look forward to. Find new paths if you need them, use old favorites if you prefer. Find something to enjoy on each run. Even the accomplishment of getting through a run on an extreme weather day (cold, rainy, not a code orange day) can feel great.