Training With Team Parkinson – An Awesome Journey

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This is my 5th year coaching Team Parkinson Pasadena for the LA Marathon 5k. When I started out I knew very little about Parkinson’s Disease. I’ve learned a lot over the past 5 years.

The obvious: Parkinson’s makes it a lot more difficult to go 3.1 miles let alone longer which some of our team members do. The dedication everyone who trains with us on Thursdays has, with or without Parkinson. The commitment these people have to helping find a cure.

The not-so-obvious: Exercise slows the onset of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms. The medications or lack of medications can have a major influence on each day’s performance. Parkinson’s doesn’t slow these people down. In some cases it seems like it gets them more involved. And, they make the same commitment everyone training for race makes.

We use some of the ChiRunning and ChiWalking techniques to help us but with Parkinson’s you want to exaggerate your movements. It takes a lot of focus. Think Big and Loud.

Our race is Saturday, March 9. We have 3 more training session and 23 days left until the big day. This year most of our training days have been exceptional; big crowds, great weather, fantastic camaraderie exceptional food (thanks Sarah). Today was not exception.

With three weeks left you can still join us for our FREE Thursday. Check Out This Post for the Details. If you want to make a donation or join our team at the LA Marathon 5k email Coach Steve Mackel

There are a lot of races on the calendar and I am really looking forward to the LA Marathon 5k Saturday, March 9.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Team Parkinson’s Member

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.

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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

Getting Our Socks Dirty – Trail Running by Dr. Bryan Ales

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I have worked with all the wellness professionals you see on the right hand column of this blog. They are all fantastic. In fact, I drive down from Pasadena to Long Beach for their services.

Below is an article written by Dr Bryan Ales. He has taken ChiRunning Workshops with me and Gary Smith. This article is especially important to me because I believe so strongly in taking some of your running off road. Really, the more the better since it takes away much of the repetitiveness of running, forcing your body to engage muscles differently each step in context to the uneven terrain. Plus the dirt is softer and softens some of the impact.

That’s why the Sole Runners train in San Pedro and Palos Verdes half the year. It will make you stronger runner while reducing potential repetitive stress injuries. Just take it slow and allow your body strengthen on the trails.

See you on the trails in training, at the Catalina races and the Cheseboro Half at the Great Race of Agoura -Coach Steve
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Getting Our Socks Dirty

by Dr. Bryan Ales, OPR Chiropractic

Why we should be spending 50% of our running mileage off the pavement.

The reason you should get those socks dirty is for a few very important facts relating to balance, proprioception, injury and aging. The first reason for trail running, is to challenge your ability to know where you are in space. Conscience and unconscious signals – “using the cotton around your needle” in the words of Danny Dreyer — are responding to the terrain. As you triplet your way through the coastal mountains in your latest and greatest minimalist running shoes, receptors in the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and fascia fire off messages to your brain. This process is critical for improving your balance and ability to react to an unexpected event that can lead to injury.

The truth about getting to that paleolithic level of minimalistic running form, is only validated for the long term, if you limit running time on the cement and spend at least 50% of your mileage on the trails. In short, the cement is damaging to our anatomy even if you’re the wisest 4th degree Tai Chi Black Belt. Lastly and coming full circle, running on the pavement does very little to improve proprioception as compared to the benefits of a random and obstacle laden river trail.

To finish, let us focus on the long term importance of challenging our proprioception — not using these receptors is a sure way to lose them. As we age, it becomes imperative to maintain and continually improve our abilities so we don’t have to scream the dreaded “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

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Dr. Ales using laser therapy on an athlete

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Trail Runner

Catalina Marathon – A Weekly Retrospective – 2010 by Coach Steve Mackel

This video is pretty comprehensive. It starts on the boat over to the island and goes from there. Let’s hope the weather is that good again. I can’t wait. See you over there.

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

Long Beach Marathon Registration Prices Increase Friday, Jan 31, at 11:59 PM & Cheseboro Half Marathon is Almost Sold Out

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The Long Beach International City Bank Marathon is in it’s 30th year. ChiRunning and Marathon coach, Steve Mackel’s group the Sole Runners have been running this race since 2005. This is our race. We have the best post race party area. We stay until our last person crosses the finish line. We have our own massage area and we have have two on-course Sole Runners Aid Station. Registration prices increase tomorrow Friday, January 31, at 11:59 PM. You can maximize your saving by registering anytime before 11:59 PM tomorrow night. Please remember to CHOOSE “Sole Runners” under running club affiliation. It doesn’t get any cheaper and you know you are going to do it, so register now.
great race
The Cheseboro Half Marathon is mostly on trails and there are only a few spots left. Don’t miss this race and register today. If you miss the Cheseboro, register for the Pacific Half Marathon, another great race on the same day. The Pacific is on roads. This is an official SoCalRunning.com race. It is right in the Newbury Park Sole Runners backyard. Please remember to CHOOSE “Sole Runners” under running club affiliation.

I’ll be at both races.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Master ChiRunning Instructor

Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon – The Longest Beer Tent Lines of Any Marathon

Super Bowl Sunday is an annual event. So are the Surf City Marathon, Half Marathon and the ridiculous beer tent lines after the races. Put the three together and you get  20,000 people taking over the coast in Huntington Beach.

We have had fantastic weather the last two years and this year looks to be more of the same. A bonus from running this race is that you get to burn off some of the calories you are going to eat watching the big game.

I’ve never run this half so I decided to run it this year. I know the course because it shares most of same mile marathon does. The half starts a little later so I can sleep in an extra hour. But, the half is crowded. Sunday, I’m going out to have a fun race without a time expectation and I am looking forward to it.

The marathon is a fast course. They limit the size so it never feels crowded. I’ve run some of my fastest times on this flat course but the it can get a little mundane. You run back and forth on PCH and the bike path. At least you get to do it with an ocean front view. The crowds are on the small side but enthusiastic.

These races sell out every year because they are well organized. Get there early, parking can take some time and may not be that close. Or, do what I do, spend the night in Huntington Beach and ride a bike to the starting line. Unless you are really a fast runner, forget about the beer tent. The post party, beer tent line get longer than the porta-potties lines before the start of the race. Because of this, I like to go run a fun, fast course, see a bunch of friends, make some new friends, burn some calories, then get ready for a great Super Bowl party.

I hope to see you there.

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

Catalina Marathon 2007 – One of My First Race Videos, One of My Favorite Races

SoCalRunning.com started January 1, 2006. Gary Smith and I wanted to produce as much video content as possible. Way back then video was just starting to happen. The picture was usually very pixelated. None of this HD or full screen stuff. The tiny little video window was almost depressing but we knew it would improve quickly. Even in it’s old format it looks better today than when I first posted it.

It was originally posted on Blip.TV but I recently found out they deleted the file. I had to go back to my oldest hard drive, a whopping 160 GB. I felt lucky to find it. The format is original 2007, iMovie 6.

In 2007, the Catalina Marathon ran out of space on the morning boat from Avalon to Two Harbors so we had to charter a slow, cold fishing boat. We met some great people as we spent almost 2 hours on that boat getting to the starting line. It was foggy until we got to mile 16. I can’t even explain the beatuy of the island or the feeling running into Avalon for the first time you do this race. No buffaloes that year, just the race of my life, across the island, a super challenging course, struggling up the hills and flying down hill. I knew I had accomplished something, I ran a 4:33:08. The Catalina Marathon isn’t always about your finishing time but the fact you finished. A must do race.

Back then the Sole Runners were the Beach Runners. That explains all the Beach Runners shirts. You can see some of our long time Sole Runners and mentors like Bill, Keith and John. Kristen came 3rd in her AG in the 10k.

This is just another part in my Catalina Marathon series as I get psyched for the race this March.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – 5 Time Catalina Marathon Finisher

Upcoming So Cal ChiRunning Workshops – January, February and March 2014

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It is Race Season. The Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon are Super Bowl Sunday weekend. You also have the Redondo Beach 10k and other races. In fact, for the next few months are some of the best races in So Cal.

Would you like to make those races easier, faster and recover faster? Learning ChiRunning can help you with all your upcoming runs.

  • Learn how to reduce braking forces.
  • Learn how your running posture can effect your running.
  • Learn how many steps to take per minute.
  • Learn why all this is important with a ChiRunning lesson.

I am offering a One-Day ChiRunning workshop in January, February and March. I still have spaces available for this Sunday. If you are interested, please email me at Steve@SoCalRunning.com.

For all the details, check out my ChiRunning Workshops web page by clicking on the logo below:

Train Focused, Steve Mackel ChiRunning Master Instructor

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The Famous Catalina Marathon – Saturday, March 15, 2014 – A Weekly Retrospective

Ok SoCalRunning.com friends, I am going to post weekly about my favorite race in So Cal – the Catalina Marathon. I ran it consecutively for 5 years. I took the last two years off but I will be back this year.

This is one of the most beautiful races I have ever run. You start at Two Harbors and work your way across the ranges to Avalon. It is tough. It is mostly on trails and forget about a PR. Just finishing is an accomplishment. The next step is an ultra.

Here’s a Catalina Marathon video from 2011. This is just some of what you can expect, except my corny-ness:

For a special discount code, please email me at Steve@SoCalRunning.com

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – RRCA Marathon Coach

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