Can I Train When I Am Sick?

Is it starve a cold, feed a fever? Or, Starve a fever, feed a cold? If you’re like me you can never remember. So, when is it ok train if you are sick?

This is big question when you’re training for a marathon or half marathon that is 8 weeks away. You’re schedule is calling for big mileage. You don’t want to lose your conditioning. You wonder how you are going to make up those miles you lost by not training. Some of you will train no matter the situation.

Here are some guidelines to help you make an informed decision. Please consider that it is always better to be on the safe side and discuss your symptoms with a certified medical doctor and proceed accordingly.

The last 7 days in LA have been busy and cold. I have been running most mornings in the 30s which is cold for this So Cal kid. I grew up in LA and never really live in a different climate. I don’t really know cold and either does my body. Annually, around this time of year I get a head cold.

Well it happened again this year. I have a stuffy nose as I write this. I also have 3 marathons coming up. What do I need to know?

  • Colds are viruses
  • Colds typically last 8 – 10 days but can last up to 3 weeks
  • Antibiotics don’t work on colds
  • Colds are passed by contact, wash your hands regularly when during cold and flu season

But can I train when I am sick? Here’s the general rule:

Above the Neck YES

Below the Neck NO

Most of the time rest, lots of water and healthy food is the best remedy but if you feel you need to train:

Keep the Intensity Low

To try and speed up your recovery you can take over the counter products but typically they only reduce symptoms. I like Cold Eze and Emergency C.

Going back to the first question, “Is it starve a cold, feed a fever?” From what I found, you never starve yourself. Rely on rest, lots of water and healthy food.

Train Focused,

Steve Mackel – Head Coach, Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs

Countdown to the LA Marathon – 29 Day and Counting – Suggestions for Success

The So Cal community is getting ready for the LA Marathon. Many training programs like the Sole Runners have been training for months getting ready for this race. Many clubs and programs did or are doing their longest training runs last Saturday or this Saturday. This week the Sole Runners are doing our 5 hour run to get ready. Then it’s Taper Time (but that’s another post and video).

With a month left what can you do to be the in the best shape on race day? Here’s a quick list of suggestions and a video so you can check out the course from my POV:

LA Marathon Success Tips

  • Get some good sleep in. Remember, muscles repair when you sleep. Sleep over the next 29 days is super important!
  • Don’t try to make up for lost training days. Sorry there’s not enough time to make real fitness gains to support you over 26.2 miles of LA streets in the next 29 days.
  • Know the course – The Stadium to Sea course can be a little tricky with downhills, uphills, rolling hills and weather. The race starts out downhill, flattens, goes uphill at mile 4, rolls through Sunset Junction, flattens with slight uphills to Hollywood, goes downhill then uphill to the Sunset Strip, steep downhill to West Hollywood, flattens through Beverly Hills, a little up at Century City, then down to the VA Hospital, then uphill to Brentwood, then downhill to Santa Monica. It can be windy in Santa Monica
  • Eat a little healthier for the next 29 days.
  • Drink responsibility. I know that will be difficult for some of us. TIP – Drink water in between adult beverages.
  • Visualize your successful LA Marathon. Before you go to sleep take just a few minutes and see yourself at the starting line, on the course and most of all see yourself crossing the finish line, with your hands in the air and a smile on your face. Get in touch with that feeling of accomplishment. Then picture the finisher’s medal hanging around your neck.
  • Don’t sweat what you can’t control. Stay on your plan, Live your life because what is going to happen is going to happen. We are going to line up right next to you with the same goal, finishing the LA Marathon.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 8.27.53 PM
Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Certified Hypnotherapist

Data Check – Coach Steve’s Easy Surf City Half Marathon

I like to share my data. I like to practice what I preach and a lot of it has to do with heart rate training. This was my first time doing the Surf City Half Marathon. I had done the full marathon the past two years.

Why do the half marathon? Half marathons are fun. Half marathons require less training. I am recovering from a back issue. There are lots of races to go this year. You get to sleep in a little and you get to the beer tent faster.

January was probably one of my lowest running mileage months in years. I have some low back issue, not do to running but running is an impact exercise and I want to be careful. At least I practice ChiRunning. I try to run smarter and lighter, going easier on my body. I want to be running for the rest of my life.

So, I had a fun, easy Surf City Half. You may notice that my mileage is a 14 miles not 13.1 or just a little longer. Well, I ran off the course to deliver donuts to my friends that were going to cheer us on when we crossed 17th St. on the way back toward the finish line.

Quickly analyzing the data. This is a flat, fast course. I wanted this to be an aerobic training race. 140 BPM (beats per minute) is my AT (Anaerobic Threshold). My heart rate always starts out high, maybe I could warm-up a little better. But after the first few minutes it comes down and stayed down. I ran the rest of the race in an easy zone 2, and some zone 3, just like I wanted. Sometimes races can just be fun and used for training instead of racing.

Around mile 10 (really mile 9 cuz I ran an extra mile early in the race) this lady next to me picks up the pace so I stayed with her for two miles. Then I ran with with Sole Runner Jim and Patty. Jim PR’d that day.

I accomplished what I wanted, a fun time, good training, hanging out with friends, shot a video and getting it the beer garden.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel Head Coach Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs

Pre-Race LA Marathon Training Tips – The R’s for Recovery” and Tapering by Coach Steve Mackel

The video tells it all. This is important information now that we are 9 days away from the LA Marathon but this information can be used during recovery weeks in your training and while Tapering before any marathon, half marathon or endurance event.

Relax Focused, Steve Mackel Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs Head Coach

Boston Marathon Lowering Qualifying Standards in 2013

Time to get faster or don’t slow down and move up in Age Group. I need to do both so 50 doesn’t look that bad after all.

Train Faster, Steve Mackel – Boston on my mind runner

The Boston Athletic Association announced new qualifying times and new registration procedures for the Boston Marathon this morning. Both go into effect for the 2012 and 2013 marathons. In 2012, the BAA will institute rolling admission for qualifiers with the fastest runners being allowed to enter first. The field will be filled with the fastest of all qualifiers.


Then, in 2013, the BAA will lower qualifying times by five minutes across all age groups and both genders. The rolling admission process also will remain in place for 2013 and future marathons, continuing to allow the fastest runners to enter first.The new qualifying times and registration procedures come in response to the 2011 Boston Marathon selling out in a record 8 hours and 3 minutes in October. With the race filling so quickly, thousands of qualifiers were unable to register. After the record sellout, the BAA began reviewing its registration process and researching options to make race entry more fair in the future, not just a sprint to the online registration page. The BAA
believes its new formula is the fairest option that best serves the running community and stays true to the marathon’s history as a race for qualifiers.

BAA Executive Director Tom Grilk, race director Dave McGillivray and Director of External Affairs Guy Morse plan to discuss the new qualifying times and rolling admission procedures at 11: 30 this morning.

Coach Gary’s Inspirational Race Day Marathoning Tips

Good luck all the marathoners and half marathoners this weekend in Long Beach. These are some of my best race day tips and strategies (with some prayers thrown in for you at the end…) Miss you all and love you dearly.

These are some of my best race day philosophies.

1. Think Positive. You’re better trained than any other marathon group out there. You’ve done these ridiculously long runs. You’ve practiced yoga and you use the ChiRunning® techniques

So tell yourself, “I’m ready. I’m in better shape than I have been in a long time.” I can tell by the pants that keep falling from my waist.

You’ve done awesome. All of you. Go to than mirror the night before and the morning before look yourself in the eyes and say “I’m READY!”

2. Kill the ANT’s (Automatic Negative Thoughts). These little critters pop up the night before or even on your run. The little bastards sound like…

“I didn’t train enough.” “I didn’t do enough speed work.” “My leg is hurting.” You get the drift.

When you hear these critters, bust out the RAID and spray them to oblivion. Replace themwith their hated cousins. APT’s. (Automatic Positive Thoughts)…

“I’m well trained.” “I did great speed, hill and interval workouts.” “My leg feels great considering I’ve already run 18 miles.”

3. Keep your posture good on the race. Solid core, keep that waistband level, and that spine straight.

No hunching!!! You will lose lung capacity and you certainly don’t want to come across the finish line looking like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Negative style points for that.

4. Breathe! Breathe! Breathe! In the beginning of the race. Middle of the race. When you’re tired. When you’re not tired. The last few miles. Count breaths if need be. I like to pick a number like 50 then work up to that with heavy exhales counting each one. This keeps my mind off you know what….

5. Be sure to interact with the crowd. Thousands will be there cheering you on. Yes you. There for you. There to clap and inspire you. They got up on a Sunday morning, dealt with the parkingthe crowd, the weather, all that to see you. So be sure to smile at them. Wave at them. Pump your fist in the air. Give them a big “Wahoo.” Then watch the magic that happens.

6. Eat during the race. Anything that will give you some fuel. As Coach Steve says, “Eat early, eat often.”


7. Use Electrolytes. Your body will need them to keep the muscles firing.

Supplement with an electrolyte tablet or Prolytes PLUS Sportsdrink every 30 minutes.

8. Inspire the other runners. Being part of the Beach Runners, you will be passing many runners especially the last 6 miles. So don’t just pass them without saying anything like you have a better place to go.

Tell them, “Good Running!” “You’re kicking ass!” “You’re my hero” “Keep up the good work.” “Looking strong.”

And, maybe, just maybe, they might believe you. And you’ve helped them in your little way. Because running a marathon is not just about you. It’s about all of us working together on the course to help one another finish.

9. Don’t worry about your time. Go out and run your race. Let me repeat that.

Go out and run YOUR race. Run at a pace comfortable for you. Not the guy in fancy running shorts ahead of you. Or the 80 year old woman surging ahead of you. Run a nice comfortable pace the first half of the run, then speed it up gradually on the last part of the run.

Run the last few miles in style. A smile on your face. Joy in your heart. Tears in your eyes.

What time you get is what time you get. Time is a function of your training and a deeper mystical equation I just don’t get and don’t worry too much about. Hey didn’t Einstein say it was all relative anyway.


Too many people seriously hurt themselves running for time. Everything Steve and I have taught you is about running at a pace comfortable for you. Then gradually increasing it through your lean. So relax, run well, and you’ll have a “great time.”

10. Connect to your higher power. This is where I get a little preachy.

Pray the night the night you read this. Pray the next morning. Pray the night before the race. Pray the morning of. Pray with some fellow runners.

Pray on mile 20 when you’re knackered. Or meditate, or say a sutra, or a koan, or whatever you do to connect to forces greater than you. Mainly, because, you’ll need it. There will be a point, somewhere in the race, where you feel you can’t go on. That your body is kaput.

That’s when you reach for something deeper. Another source of strength. And trust me, there are levels of energy out there that can help us accomplish anything. Just by asking with all your heart, a source of strength will come flowing to you making you want to dance and laugh with it as you pronuce towards your goal.

So spend a little time the day before doing something spiritual. A walk. Watching the birds. Where you can just listen and have your own private conversation with your higher power.

Tell it thanks. Thanks for your health. For the weather. For the team you trained with. For the new friends you have. For your new waistline. For all the people that believed in you. For the strength to finish those long training runs.

And then just listen. Watch for a sign. For me often it is the birds.

Then on the run, when I see the birds I get to go back to that place, that heaven on Earth, and can forget about any physical limitation I might be feeling or suffering from.

Alright, I’m getting carried away here, but do spend some quiet time the next few days praying and listening.

It will reward you race day.

10. Run with Joy. Remember the wild strawberry story.

Run with your heart out. Open your heart on Sunday. Feel the excitement of the starting line. The adrenaline of the first few miles. The fatigue of miles 10-20. The exhaustion of miles 20-26. The exuberance of the finish line.

Then cheer on the rest of your team. Give out as many hugs as you can. Tell them all what they have meant to you. How great the conversations were. How silly the coaches were. How fantastic the crowd was.

Because after Sunday who knows when we’ll all see one another again. So share those gratitudes and feelings
that day. Don’t wait.

I grew from meeting all of you. Hearing your stories. And seeing what I wonderful group of people all of you are.

Helping in whatever way I could to improve your technique, tell you to slow down, give you a minute to just chill and center yourself, sharing my silly rambling writing, hoping that somehow just one of you might find a little phrase that could get you to go just another mile longer.

Thank you so much for coming out being a part of this program and making it the special, and I mean really special journey it has been.

You’ve gotten fast and strong. More than you know. So go out and have the race of your life. You deserve it.

I love you all,


Coach Steve and Coach Gary Speak at the Long Beach Marathon Health and Fitness Expo Today and Saturday

Race Visualization Workshop Participants from
the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo

The Long Beach Marathon Health and Fitness Expo is a FREE event today and tomorrow open to the general public. Check out all sorts of stuff for runners, cyclists and people interested in fitness. It is at Long Beach Convention Center., Hall C October 10-11, 2008 Friday: 12 Noon to 7pm and Saturday: 9am – 6pm. Steve and Gary’s workshops and times are listed below:

“Unleashing Your Mental Running Strength Through Visualization and Hypnosis” by Steve Mackel, CHt, Head Coach Beach Runners Marathon Training Program – Friday at 4

Using visualization, and other mental training techniques, Steve Mackel, Certified Hypnotherapist and Head Coach of Beach Runners Marathon Training Program, gives race day tips then takes participants through a guided visualization of their upcoming race, increasing self-confidence and overall race day strength.

“ChiRunning® Run effortlessly and injury-free” by Certified ChiRunning Instructor Certified ChiRunning Instructor Gary Smith – Friday at 5 PM and Saturday at 1 PM

Gary will teach the basic principles and benefits of ChiRunning®

“Yoga and Running Combining Their Strength”by Steve Mackel, Head Coach Beach Runners Marathon Training Program – Saturday at 5 PM

Creating a yoga practice can produce profound effects in your running, Coach Gary Smith discusses how to develop a yoga practice can increase speed, strength and running efficiency.

Race Focused, Steve Mackel – Certified Hypnotherapist

Marathon Training with Coach Gary: Mental Training with Jedi Mind Tricks

Yes back by popular demand…

The feedback from last weeks show was so overwhelming…I had to do it again…

In this show I focus on teaching you how to use your mind to finish your marathon or half marathon.
This is a really good talk for beginning marathoners to listen to as so much of your performance is mental.

So of the topics that I cover are…
– How prepare mentally for your long run
– How to think positive while running
– Ways to improve your breathing even when tired
– Tricks that you can use to keep your body going even when you are tired

Oh, yeah, there’s a little dancing also…

Coach Gary

Marathon Training: Recovery Strategies and Tips

Are you training for a marathon? Do you find marathon training difficult?

After your long runs on the weekends do you feel your body breaking down? Are you getting injured?

Or do you feel lethargic and tired the next week?

In this video I show you four basic marathon training recovery strategies I’ve used for years to train for marathons.

It is simple to run a marathon using this marathon plan. At least in my opinion. Watch the video to learn how to avoid running injuries and get better marathon training nutrition.

Visit for more marathon coaching advice.


2008 Catalina Marathon Runumentry Part 2


Part 2 is about the last 6 miles, the finish line, the awards, runner reviews, the after party and a special guest.

I hope to run with you too. Say hello, tell me you saw this I’ll try to get you in my next movie.

Watch Focused, Steve Mackel – Catalina Marathon Videographer

Next Page »