Tag: Marathon

SAC Half & Full Marathon Training Programs

If planning on completing a half or full marathon this summer, this program is for you! Great training for; Seattle Rock n’ Roll, Snoqualmie Valley, Vancouver USA or another June/July race!

Starting now!

Looking to complete your first race, improve your time or keep your conditioning? These training programs will have you well-trained for your next half or full marathon. Get customized training plans, group training, learn proper hill training and speed work, and get helpful tips and techniques from clinics to help make you the most prepared for your event.

Full Marathon Training Plan

Whether this is your first race or you’re trying to qualify for Boston, this is a comprehensive training plan customized for you and your race. Program includes nutritional guidance, cross-training, hill training, pacing and hydration, pre and post-race evaluations, and informative online clinics.

The Half Marathon Training Plan

Great for first timers or veterans wanting to improve their time, this half marathon program is also customized to you and your race. Focus on distance and endurance, hills and speedwork, cross training and coached weekly group sessions, informative online clinics for half marathons.

Maintenance/Continual Run Conditioning Plan

No races planned but you want to keep your run conditioning going? Looking to maintain your weight? This is a great way to keep your stamina, speed, and endurance with a monthly periodization program.


For more information, please contact our Wellness Director and run coach, Kendra Kainz at kkainz@sacdt.com.

Inspirational Member of the Month – Jennifer Gallagher

Jennifer is one of those people that is an example how perseverance and determination can surmount any obstacle. As an athlete, runner with the SAC Run Club and regular participant in many of the club’s group exercise classes, Jennifer set a new goal for herself. She wanted to complete her first FULL marathon (26.2 miles) in October.

Before she had opportunity to begin her new journey, she unfortunately experienced a physical setback; incurring a lower leg stress fracture which confined her to a boot for many weeks. This only made her more determined to succeed. She followed all protocols to facilitate her healing and continued to find ways to keep exercising within her limitations. She worked with our instructors to help rehabilitate her back to her level of strength and endurance while maintaining a focus and positive outlook that is testament to Jennifer’s personality. She continued to work hard towards her goal, transitioning back to running. She took one day at a time, with fierce perseverance, grace and a competitive spirit that got her back to training.

And she came back with a vengeance! Once her training began, she became a stronger competitor, leader as well as a source of inspiration and encouragement for her teammates. She was consistent, precise, diligent and committed; qualities that enhanced her success. On October 11th 2015, Jennifer competed in the Goodlife Fitness Victoria, B. C. Marathon, her FIRST full marathon and did so with a phenomenal time! She not only qualified for the Boston Marathon, but placed 10th in her age division! We think she surpassed her goal!!

Congratulations Jennifer! Your perseverance is truly inspirational.




A Runner’s Guide to Maintenance

Running is a very dynamic sport that involves several different joints to function in correct alignment to absorb and react to impact efficiently. A routine that strengthens to prevent injury, creates length, reinforces proper movement patterns, and treats or prevents inflammation can help you become a stronger and safer runner.

Mobility warm ups:
A general warm up might be too limited to maintain proper strength, flexibility, and stabilizer activation. Here are a few extra movements for optimal joint function.


  • Using a combo balance board for ankle circles, lateral and medial motion, and forward and back wobble motion. If you do not have a balance board, you can do multidirectional toe taps, ABC’s, or ankle circles.


  • Move from a hurdler’s stretch position to a track start position with the toes up to warm up and lengthen the front and back of the hips. An alternative is forward and back leg swings.
  • Folding forward touch down to an elevated surface like a step, or grab under the toes and transition from the forward fold to a deep squat with knees out and the heels up while using the arms to stretch the inner thighs and groin area. An alternative is a lateral leg swing, pendulum motion. Make sure that you are warmed up properly for this kind of motion.
  • Figure 8’s or circles can be done in a controlled movement or in a ballistic leg swing. Make sure to maintain a neutral spine and tight core for safety.


  • Move from a flexed spine into extension on the floor, or use a resistance band or stability ball for added traction.
  • Lateral bends reaching up and over done in a controlled movement lengthen major muscles, such as: lats, quadratus lumborum, and the psoas.
  • Lateral twists can be done in a ballistic motion from the arms or lying down with the legs as windshield wipers.

When it comes to an exercise routine make sure you have these simple, yet important basics in your repertoire.

  • A leg strengthener that is general and highly effective for spinal integrity, core strength and proper length/ tension relationships of the body is a barbell squat. This can be done with light weight body bars and can progress from there.
  • An upper body strengthener that utilizes core and shoulder stabilizers is a pushup. You can do a ball pushup using the stability ball under the hands for added activation and increased difficulty.
  • Chin-ups or pull-ups counter-effect shoulder elevation that is common in runners and again integrate a lot of core and stabilization.
  • An overhead shoulder press is good not only for shoulder stability, but range of motion and health of the shoulder joint. If you are doing this correctly with complete range, you should be able to extend the elbows straight with the weights held directly above you without extension at the lower back or shoulder elevation.
  • Core or spinal stabilizers have the greatest importance for endurance athletes. A plank or leg lifts for added psoas activation are great choices for runners.

Strength and mobility aspects of fitness are important to maintain as a runner to complement your running program. In addition, proper flexibility and massage will keep the body healthy and will aid in recovery. If you have additional questions, or would like more advanced options please contact personal fitness trainer Amber Walz.

Meet Himanshu Kale – Ironman in Training!

Himanshu Kale joined Seattle Athletic Club at the end of July 2012. His goal: to complete a half Iron Man triathlon; his obstacle: he could barely swim! When we met that week for an initial complementary swim assessment, I found he had a lot of anxiety around the water. Like many with water anxieties, Himanshu did not trust that he could put is face and head in the water. However, I soon found that Himanshu had a lot more willingness to work through his fears and anxieties in order to achieve his goals. He was ready and willing to learn the fundamentals first: to start from the most elementary and foundational place: putting his face in the water practicing blowing air out of his body. Beginning with learning to breathe properly and gradually adding one technique on at a time, Himanshu has developed a technically strong freestyle stroke.

Many people who never learned to swim develop a fear and anxieties around the water simply because they’ve never been in it, making learning more challenging. Others have experienced traumatic events, leaving them with emotional scares of swimming. For all these people, learning to swim is such an act of courage. When they commit to this skill, however, the reward is a life changing shift in their entire perspective of their place in the world. Himanshu took on this challenge.

In November he ran his first half marathon. In December he started working out in my Swim Conditioning class and soon joined TN Multi Sports! There he is able to work on his conditioning and prepare for his first triathlons.

Now, when Himanshu and I meet, we focus on continuing to improve his technique, learn the other strokes and turns, and continue to work through any lingering fears that come up as we introduce new dimensions to his swimming repertoire.

Himanshu’s success is remarkable especially in such a relatively short period of time. I am honored to work with him and look forward to watching him reach his ultimate goal of completing a half Iron Man in June 2012.

Working with Himanshu has been an honor, making me especially proud.

Run Right!

Sometimes you just need to get a good quick workout in! Practice your form and get your cardio done in 40 minutes!

Power Treadmill workout when you’re in a rush but still want to get better!

3 phases each last 10 minutes. You should push yourself just beyond your limit each time. Repeat this workout multiple times increasing your speed and effort so that you constantly improve! You would be amazed at what even 40 minutes can do to benefit you!

Phase 1:

  • Warm up to a run… The speed of the treadmill is as follows:
    From 4:00 minutes on, increase your speed gradually so that you finish 1 mile in under 10 min total.

Phase 2:

  • Step off the belt and increase your incline to 7%.
  • Increase your speed to 5.5-9.0 mph (gage your fitness level).
  • Sprint on incline for 30 seconds then rest for 30sec-1min continuously for the next 10 minutes. (If over the course of the 10 minutes you start to fade adjust your speed accordingly but don’t give up!)
  • Push yourself and make sure your strides are long and drive off the balls of your feet!

Phase 3:

  • Step off the belt and increase your treadmill to 10% incline.
  • Decrease your speed to 3.6-4.5 (gage your fitness level) and walk on incline for 2 minutes, taking nice long strides.
  • Turn around and back pedal on the treadmill for 1 minute staying on the balls of your feet at a fast walk or light jog.
  • Repeat the walk and back pedal for the next 10 minutes.

Walk for 5 min at 0% incline and 3.0-3.5 mph!

How do I choose the best running route for me?

Whether you are a casual runner looking for a quick and easy jog, or you are an experienced marathon runner looking to tackle a lengthy, challenging course, Seattle has much to offer to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Although it may seem easy enough for some to just get out there and hit the streets, there are several obstacles that may discourage many individuals from achieving their fitness goals. Here are some things that all runners should keep in mind while searching for the right running course:


  • Make sure while running at night, you are in a well-lit atmosphere.
  • Avoid running in high-crime neighborhoods and/or parks.
  • Get familiar with new courses and its surroundings. You are likely to get lost in unfamiliar territory.


  • Be very cautious while running in the rain. Your chances of injury rise considerably while running on slippery surfaces like manhole covers and street grates.
  • Running in extreme heat may cause heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.


  • Gravel and outdoor trails me be unfamiliar surfaces to many individuals. Be cautious while running downhill and avoid taking long strides. This will decrease your chances of sliding and causing serious injury.
  • While running along busy city streets, keep clear of potholes and construction sites.

Hydration and proper footwear

  • Staying hydrated is crucial while undergoing any kind of cardiovascular exercise.
  • Running in parks and neighborhoods with designated water stations would be ideal.
  • Having the right footwear is also a very important element while running. Cross trainer or running shoes are a must. Don’t wear your casual everyday sneakers while running long distances.
  • Consult your local shoe store for questions and concerns about what shoe works best for you.

Keeping all of these factors in mind and with a little research from the helpful sites listed below, finding the best running route no matter where you live should be quite easy. These sites will include course length, terrain, and a detailed map for your convenience. If you are not looking for a running route in Seattle, these sites will still be able to help you chose the right course.


If you live in or around Seattle, The Seattle Athletic Club – Downtown is a great point to begin your cardio workout. Here are some recommended routes to consider:

  • Myrtle Edwards Park: head down Lenora St. and walk down the flight of stairs; across the street you’ll find the great Puget Sound; start heading north and continue until you hit the Sculpture Park and eventually Eliot Bay Park.
  • For an intense, uphill climb, make your way up to 1st. Ave; continue south until you find Madison St; this is a steep and challenging hill that will eventually take you up to Capital hill.

Staying Motivated in Relation to Running

  1. 5 min rule – if you don’t feel like running, but know you should, tell yourself you will just go out for 5 min. Regardless of how unmotivated you are, go outside and run. If you feel better after 5 min… keep going, if you still feel lousy, head back…you know you tried.
  2. The mental block – you are exhausted mentally and physically…or your just not sure how you are feeling… but often, it is just mentally…apply the 5 min rule!
  3. Go early… If you are finding the evening runs are challenging…rearrange your schedule and get up earlier… it will relieve that extra stress you always have on yourself by the end of the day.
  4. Find a friend… when someone is counting on you… you show up!
  5. Run a different route… switch up your routes to eliminate boredom (running the streets)
  6. Get off the treadmill
  7. Set training goals… running a certain numbers of miles each week, time goals, etc.
  8. Focus on your long term training goals… (hanging on the fridge)…think about what lies ahead (the race) think about the excitement of race day and all you have accomplished along your journey thus far.

Spring Into Running with a Balanced Body

As spring approaches, we get excited about enjoying outdoor activities here in the Pacific Northwest, including running. It’s easy! Just grab a pair of running shoes and head out the door! But have you ever jumped into a running regime, only to find yourself nursing an injury a few weeks or months down the road? Whether you are new to running or training for yet another marathon, look for ways to cross-train for a balanced body so you can enjoy running all season long.

Most runners know that it is critical to have a strong core, back, hips, and pelvic muscles, but what is the best way to achieve that? One option for this cross training is Pilates. Pilates is a series of exercises given to you by an instructor who learns your weaknesses and tight areas, and then develops a program based on those needs of stretching and strengthening.

I’ve noticed that runners are generally good at Pilates; they seem to know how to engage their gluteals (bottom muscles) and are aware of their core/abdominals. However, runners also tend to have tight quadriceps (thighs) and hip flexors, as well as weak hamstrings (back of legs) and inner thighs. These imbalances in the muscles of the legs and hips can potentially cause pain and injury for runners, especially the knee, hip, ankle and foot.

Pilates helps to balance things out in the legs by strengthening the hamstrings, inner thighs, and gluteals to take pressure off the front and side of the leg, leading to better alignment and less chance of injury. Plus the hip, abdominal and back strengthening exercises help to maintain better stability and alignment through the entire body while running.

The best way to learn what your body specifically needs is to meet with a Pilates Instructor one-on-one. But, in the meantime, some at-home exercises you could start today include the following:

  1. The Hundred
  2. The Abdominal Series of five
    • Single leg stretch
    • Double leg stretch
    • Single straight leg stretch
    • Double straight leg stretch
    • Criss-cross
  3. Spine Stretch Forward

A balanced body will result in better performance, quicker recovery, and less chance of injury so you can enjoy running all season long.

Oh Those Nasty Shin Splints

Whether you are going after general fitness or you are training hard to prepare for a certain sport, if you train with any purpose, then you are probably training hard. And when you go hard, you are bound to run into a few “wear and tear” problems along the way. These issues do not need to take you off course and should not keep you from reaching your goals!

One common issue I’ve heard of lately is shin splints. If you’re jogging around outside, training for a race, or participating in a boot camp class, you’re at risk of a common, running-related injury called shin splints. Referring to pain along the shin (tibia) or the large bone in the front of your lower leg, the pain is caused by an overload on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone. This overload is often caused by specific athletic activities, such as:

  • Running downhill
  • Running on a slanted or tilted surface
  • Running in worn-out footwear
  • Engaging in sports with frequent starts and stops (ie. basketball and tennis, or agility training and plyometrics)

If you have shin splints, you may notice tenderness, soreness or pain along the inner or sometimes outer part of your lower leg and mild swelling. At first, the pain may stop when you stop running or exercising. Eventually, however, the pain may be ongoing.

Most common among runners, many times they can also be caused by training too hard, too fast or for too long.


  • Rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort, but don’t give up all physical activity. While you’re healing, switch to non weight bearing cardio such as biking, the elliptical, or swimming.
  • Ice the affected area. Apply ice to the affected shin for 15 to 20 minutes after you train.
  • Wear proper shoes. Be sure you are wearing shoes designed for the sport in which you participate. Invest in a pair of shoes that will enhance your performance and protect you from injury. Also consider the age of your shoes. Athletic shoes will last you the equivalent of 350-550 miles of running, depending on your body weight, running style and surfaces on which you train.

*It’s also important to resume your usual activities gradually. If your shin isn’t completely healed, returning to your usual activities may only cause continued pain.


  • Choose the right shoes. As previously mentioned, wear footwear that suits your sport and replace them as necessary.
  • Lessen the impact. Cross-train with a sport that places less of an impact on your shins, such as swimming or biking. Start new activities slowly and increase time and intensity gradually.
  • Add strength training to your workout. Try foot strengthening along with calf raises. You can perform this exercise with added resistance by sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Loop a wide resistance band around your toes. Flex your toes toward you and extend outwards for 2-3 sets of 10 reps. Leg presses and other exercises for your lower legs can be helpful as well.

Seattle Athletic Club Downtown fitness programs incorporate athletic training to build strength, endurance, and agility. Training this way strengthens joints, tendons and connective tissues along with the major muscle groups. Strong muscle attachments and joints that can bear the stress of heavy training are essential in the prevention of injuries. However, even the fittest athlete can encounter wear and tear problems! By taking the right steps, you can minimize the pain and long term effects and get back to your normal routine in no time!

6 Pointers on How to Improve Your Running Form

Getting the running shoes on and out the door is just the first step… Most people don’t realize that running is not just about putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward, there are many small nuances and techniques to running that create better run efficiency, power, and the ability to run injury free. Just sit at Greenlake one Saturday afternoon and you will see it all, the good the bad and the otherwise. Proper run form is the key to increasing your speed as well as to help you from getting injured. Here are a few proper run form technique pointers:

  1. Posture: You should run tall and erect, shoulders level, back straight with a neutral pelvis.
  2. Forward Lean: Lean forward from your ankles. Many times you will see people running hunched over from their waist or their shoulders (I blame it on computers and being hunched over at a desk all day) this can tighten the chest and restrict breathing. The other extreme is the puffed chest runner I like to call a peacock runner. They literally lead with their chest. Proper form: You want to be tall when you run while leaning from your ankles creating a light forward angle to your body.

    Helpful hint: think about looking forward about 20-30 feet on the path you are running, this will naturally give your body a slight forward tilt. Looking directly down will make you hunch and looking way up at the horizon can lead to almost a backwards tilt – you want to lean forward in the direction you are going, let the natural forces help you not fight against you.

  3. Relax! Relax your shoulders relax your hands! Let your body fall into a natural rhythm. Running tense is wasted energy and as you start to run long you will feel the effects whether you realize it or not.
  4. 90degree arms: keep elbows at a 90degree bend. If you are breaking this it means that you are “hammering” with your arm and loosing efficiency. Arm should swing from the shoulder joint not the elbow. Hands should brush by your waist not be tight up by your chest which can cause tiredness and tightness in your shoulders and back.
  5. Midfoot strike: (though this one is often up for debate…) Land with your foot striking directly under your center of mass and roll off the ball of your foot. Heel striking often means that you are over striding which affects run efficiency and means you are “braking” causing you to actually run “slower” and may lead to injury because of the impact on your joints. If you are running all on the balls of your feet, your calves can get tight and fatigue quickly and or you can develop shin pain.
  6. Run cadence: this is the frequency of your foot strike. Ideally run cad is around 90 (or 180 steps per minute) though many elite runners and triathletes will run at a cadence 100 this is very high for most. Running with shorter strides uses less energy and creates less stress on your muscles and impact to your joints. To count your run cadence, during any portion of your run choose one foot and count how many times it strikes down in a minute. If you are much under 90 this could mean that you are either over-striding and or your foot is spending too much time with impact on the ground (anywhere from 88-90 is great). You want to think light and airy when you run not thumping down heavy footed. Run as if you are running on a hot surface: quick, light and with short strides. NO bouncing! Bouncing = wasted energy and too much impact on your muscles and joints.

Next time you put those sneakers on and head out the door for the run think about “how you run” and how you can improve your run efficiency by following the above pointers.