Race Day!!!!!

What started as a New Year’s Resolution for two Fargo novice runners has wrapped up with sore muscles, feelings of accomplishment, and a few life lessons along the way. Erin Mayer and Josh Thomas decided in January that they would run the Fargo Marathon 10K and Half-Marathon (respectively). In our weekly segments “Getting in Gear” they trained alongside Fargo Marathon director Mark Knutson and other special guests. They learned about running gear, shoes, how to fuel the body, how to keep going when you really want to stop and much more.


It all paid off as Mayer and Thomas crossed the finish line Saturday. Thomas says Knutson’s training really paid off. His advice along with a supportive crowd helped the miles fly by.


“Throughout the race the crowd kept me going – the cheers, the high-5’s and the funny signs  were just what I needed and really kept me going. I cannot thank the people of Fargo enough for their support.”


Mayer was also happy with her race, finishing in less time than she predicted. Surprising since she suffered an injury in the days leading up to the race


“I really struggled this last month. Tendonitis in my hip really slowed me down. I had to take a week off now and then,” she says.


But come race day, it didn’t seem to matter. She met her goal of finishing and looks back and smiles.


“This whole  process has been just fantastic! Running with Josh, and working with Mark…just so much fun!” she says.


Both Mayer and Thomas say they’ve learned some lessons along the way. Thomas says he learned to focus and appreciate his own run.


“ I kept telling myself not to get distracted by other runners and try to keep pace with others, just to listen to my body and just be present in my own run – which made this year’s experience so completely different and more enjoyable! I cheered on those who I passed, I happily let others pass me and did not try to regain my lead on them. For me, this year was all about the experience and the journey.”


Mayer learned what she loves and she knows it’s not necessarily running.


“As much as I enjoyed this experience, I’m not sure I’d call myself a runner. I learned the workout I got excited about during our training was hot yoga. I really enjoyed that and saw my body change. I may or may not run another race. But I learned what works for me and I think  that’s been really beneficial,” she says.


But a bigger question remains for Thomas and Mayer. Who’s paying for beer and pizza? At the beginning of “Getting in Gear” they bet the each could get more people to sign up for either Team Erin or Team Joshn on their blog gettingingear.areavoices.com. The runner with the fewest number of teammates buys dinner at Rhombus Guys in Fargo.


Check out our video to see who had to pick up the tab and for scenes from race day. Thanks to all for Getting in Gear!

FAQ’s for Race Day

You’ve put in the miles, nursed the sore knees and guzzled the sports drinks, now it’s time to hit the course. Race day is almost here and the devil is in the details. Where do I park? Where do I go? When should I pick up my race packet?


Fargo Marathon executive director Mark Knutson is happy to answer questions from our new runners Josh Thomas and Erin Mayer in this video segment of Getting in Gear.

For all the information go to the Fargo Marathon website at fargomarathon.com. But here’s a synopsis of some of the most frequently asked questions.


1. Where/When do I pick up my race packet? – Packets will be available on Thursday, May 8th and Friday May 9th at the Fargo Civic Center. Organizers will be set up on the lawn between the Civic Center and the library with an expo of vendors inside the building. Knutson is urging people to pick up packets on those days. In fact, all marathon and half-marathon packets must be picked up by Friday evening.


2. What should I do the morning of the race? – Knutson recommends giving yourself plenty of time. Plan to arrive to your designated race day spot (more on that in a minute) by 6:00am. Knutson says don’t be one of those people stuck in traffic as the race starts. Use that time to eat a light breakfast, a power bar,  toast and a cup of coffee.


3. Where do I park? – Knutson says parking is always the #1 question for race goers and spectators. He says different staging areas or athlete villages have been set up for the 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon. 10K runners can park and gather at the Civic Center, Half-Marathoners park in Island Park, and the Marathoners will meet at the Moorhead Center Mall. Knutson says shuttle bus service will be running that day. Check their website for details. Also, MAT bus is offering free rides to spectators that day.


4. Once I’ve arrived at my athlete village how to I know when to get to the start line? Knutson says announcements will be made at each village to alert runners to make their way to the start line. Knutson says as you’re waiting for the gun to go off, make sure to use the bathrooms and drink a little water. But most of all, relax and enjoy the atmosphere and getting to know your fellow runners.


5. Are courses clearly marked? How will I know where to go? – A 10K’er definitely doesn’t want to veer off and run the marathon. The courses are clearly marked and officials will be directing you to make sure you’re going the right way.


6. I’ve crossed the finish line. Now what? – First, celebrate! Enjoy a beverage and some food. Showers are available at the Civic for those who wish to freshen up. Hang out and cheer on incoming runners. And be sure to keep your race bib. The ticket to the night’s concert featuring Hairball and Pop Rocks is attached to the bib.


Fargo Marathon’s website, fargomarathon.com is full of all the information you’ll need for race day. Good luck and happy running!

Why you might be feeling sluggish

You know you’re talking to a serious runner when they tell you they hate the idea of sleeping in and slowing down.But that’s what Mark Knutson, the executive director of the Fargo Marathon, tells new runners Erin Mayer and Josh Thomas in this week’s “Getting in Gear” video.


With less than two weeks to go, runners like Mayer and Thomas should be in their taper phase –  a time when they scale back training in preparation for the race. The taper is designed to rest the body and help it perform at its peak on race day.


Knutson says most runners will max out on training miles run about two to three weeks before the race, then follow it with a moderate week of activity – running but shorter distances than the runner is used to.  It might feel like you could do more, but Knutson says don’t.


“It’s not uncommon for runners to feel really sluggish on taper week,” Knutson says.That’s why he’s not a fan of taper week.


The reason is simple. For months as you train, your appetite is growing to keep up with the demand for fuel. But as you taper in this week or two before the race, your appetite hasn’t yet gotten the message to slow down. So you’ll be eating more and moving less. Knutson says temper that by trying to eat plenty of protein, complex carbs and greens. Pasta is fine, but avoid cream sauces, he says.


He says it’s also important to hydrate throughout the week.


“Drink that Powerade on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before a Saturday race,” Knutson says. Don’t drink quite as much on Friday. He says it is possible to over-hydrate yourself leading up to a race.


He says it’s important for runners not to overthink it, but to just stay focused and try to relax.


Next week, Mark goes through everything you need to know about race day from parking to Porta Potties.

Running for Shoes

As of 2012, more than a third of all American children were considered overweight or obese. Parents, teachers, and schools are trying to tackle the problem with education and awareness. Today on Getting in Gear with Josh and Erin, Erin Mayer visits with Kris Lindemann, a 4th grade teacher at South Elementary School in West Fargo who has created a program that’s encouraging kids to get up and getting moving.


“Runners and Readers” is for 4th and 5th graders at the school. Students come to the gym an hour before school starts. They’re invited to run laps, enjoy snacks and drinks and listen to stories. Lindemann says the program also teaches kids about goal setting. The students are given pedometers to track the miles they run in preparation for the Fargo Marathon events in May.


Fargo Marathon executive director Mark Knutson says it’s encouraging to see young  people getting involved in the sport and especially heartening to know that through the charitable “Shoes for Kids” program at this year’s race, that many more children will be able to pick it up.


Together with  help from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, Discovery Benefits, Dakota Medical Foundation, and Nike one dollar of every 5K registration will go toward the purchase of running shoes for children who need them in our community. In 2013, 1,000 pairs of shoes were given out by elementary schools in Fargo, Moorhead, and West Fargo. Knutson says the goal this year is to give away 2,000 pairs.


And Knutson is keeping it interesting. In addition to the 5K registration donation, Knutson is planning to run the full marathon himself, starting at 4:00pm on race day. He’s hoping to collect a thousand dollars a mile that will go towards the Shoes For Kids program.


If you’d like more information, watch our video or go to the  Fargo Marathon website at Fargomarathon.com.  Next week: the race is inching closer. Should I amp it up or taper it down?

Tips from Experienced Runners

When you’re trying to master a new skill sometimes it’s best to talk to someone who’s been there-done that. That’s the case for our novice runners Erin Mayer and Josh Thomas in this week’s Getting in Gear. After a morning run, Mayer and Thomas met for coffee with some of the members of the FSR (Faster. Stronger. Runner) training group. The group includes people training for everything from a 5K to the full marathon. They shared tips and tricks that they’ve learned over the years. The conversation was long and random, covering everything from bathroom breaks to why you shouldn’t talk about running while you’re running. Join their conversation by watching the attached video. Also, feel free to leave comments and questions on the Getting in Gear blog.


10 Random Tips from Experienced Runners


1. Set small goals for yourself. Even if it’s just “I’ll run to the next stop sign,” that’s fine. Anything that will give you tiny victories along the way.


2. Log what you do. Write it down. Make yourself accountable. When you see your running log weeks later, it’s hard not to feel some sense of accomplishment.


3. Don’t wear brand new shoes or clothes for race day. Make sure to wear your race day outfit a few times before race day, so you’ll know whether it will cause irritation. Same for shoes.


4. Find out what sports drinks or energy snacks they’ll be serving on race day and consume them during training. That way your body will be used to them.


5. When running with friends, don’t talk about running. It will make you too aware of your running. Instead talk about your favorite movie, book, or TV show. It’ll make the miles fly.


6. Pick up your race packet the day before the race if at all possible. Get your bib and crinkle it up. (But be careful not to hurt the timing chip placed inside the bib). Crisp bibs pinned on a shirt catch the wind and slow you down.


7. Prep your race bag and anything you’re bringing to the race the night before the run. That helps you from feeling frazzled in the morning. You can grab it and go.


8. Try not to pass anyone the first mile. Concentrate on a slow and steady start.


9. Accentuate the positive. When you find self-doubt and criticism creeping in as you run, stop it in it’s tracks. Think something positive instead. Pat yourself on the back for what you have already accomplished.


10. And finally, use the bathroom before you run.


Next week: A week to go before your race – how to taper effectively.

Fargo Marathon: the biggest mistake you can make one month out

In just about a month, thousands of people will gather on the Main Avenue Bridge to take part in Fargo Marathon races. It’s a thought that sends some people into a white, hot panic. They might have set a goal months ago to run in the 10K, Half-Marathon, or Marathon but as we get closer to race day, they worry they won’t measure up.


“People make the mistake of thinking that they haven’t trained hard enough. So they try to recapture those lost miles by going hard the next four weeks and that’s not a good idea,” says Mark Knutson, executive director of the Fargo Marathon.


In this week’s video, Knutson tells “Getting in Gear” Runners Erin Mayer and Josh Thomas the final month before a race is absolutely the most critical. He says instead of ramping up, runners should start thinking about tapering down their training. He says miles run during training will peak around three weeks from race day, then slowly decrease from there.


For example, Josh Thomas’ Half-Marathon training plan calls for him to run a total of 26 miles the week of April 21st and just 20 miles the following week. Erin Mayer’s 10K plan calls for her to max out at 19 miles the week of April 27th, followed by just 7 miles the week leading up to the run.


Knutson says it’s all about making sure you’re just getting to the start line.


“You have to trust that you’ve done what you’ve needed to do these last few months. Pushing it hard the last couple of weeks isn’t what you should be doing,” he says.


As for what to eat, Knutson says just maintain your normal diet, concentrating on good food that fuels your body.

Knutson will have more information about “taper week” on April 30th. Next week, Mayer and Thomas get advice from experienced runners and learn their tricks for making it through a race.

Fuel for the Run: Protein Bars to Powerade

We’ve heard for years about carbo loading before a race? Is it really science or just an excuse to eat your body weight in pasta? In today’s Getting in Gear with Josh and Erin, Fargo Marathon director Mark Knutson gives our runners, Josh Thomas and Erin Mayer advice on the best foods and drinks to fuel the runner’s body.


Race Day nutrition


1. Race day breakfast – Knutson says look for something that gives you a combination of fat, carbohydrates, fiber, protein and vitamins. He likes Clif Bars which come in a number of flavors. He says they’re tasty and filling without leaving you overstuffed. They’re about 250 calories, enough to fuel you for the race.


2. The scoop on water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. We’ve heard it for years, for a reason. It’s true. Knutson says it is possible to over hydrate, but most of the time it doesn’t happen. He says you should make sure to drink plenty of water about an 1 hour to an hour and a half before a race. Not much after that, until the race starts. Knutson says at the Fargo Marathon water stations are set up every two miles. He says those running the 5K probably don’t need to stop at all to drink, 10K runners can stop a time or two, and half and full marathon runners should drink water at every stop.


3.During the run nutrition – Knutson says serious runners often times will pack Hammer Gels. AT 110 calories, the fruit flavored gels are basically an instant shot of sugar and provide a little boost to slumping runners. Clif also sells shot blocks which are gummi bears for the runner.


4. Post run drinks – Beer. Okay, fine. But not right away. Have some water or a sports drink like Powerade or Gatorade to rehydrate what you’ve lost. Knutson says one of the best post run drinks is actually chocolate milk because it’s a combination of fat, sugar and protein.


5. Post run foods – Knutson says it’s important to get something to eat within 30 to 45 minutes after a run. Your body needs protein to recover. It doesn’t matter much what kind of protein it is, but Knutson says it plays a role in rebuilding muscle and helping prevent muscle soreness the next day.

Next time: what you need to know one month from race day.

Staying motivated when you’d rather have pizza and beer

Let’s face it, training for a race isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There are days when the alarm goes off and the last thing you want to do is run.  Instead of a run after work, you’d rather meet your friends for pizza and beer. How do you stay motivated to keep going?  This week on Getting in Gear with Josh and Erin, we join Josh Thomas and Erin Mayer over pizza and beer as they discuss how they’re keeping focus on their goals to run the Half-marathon and 10K this May. Fargo Marathon Director Mark Knutson has a few motivational tips of his own.


How to stay motivated for a race


1)      Pay for your registration well in advance.  It’s hard to leave money on the table just because you got tired of training.

2)      Mix it up!  Look for a race of a shorter distance than what you are running to give yourself a mid-training goal. Or if you’re getting tired of the same old scene, get away for a weekend and run somewhere completely new

3)      Buy some new running clothes or a new accessory – Sure, it’s  bribery. But if it works who are we to argue?

4)      Try running with music if you haven’t in the past – Some apps such as Grooveshark even allow you to select playlists that are customized to how fast you run.

5)      Step on the scale .ask yourself if you’ve really stuck with the plan that you set out in January. If not, it might just be the motivation you need to keep at it.


And finally, understand that indulging in a good night out with friends, pizza and beer or not, might be just the break you need. When it comes to fitness goals think marathon, not sprint. Lifestyle changes in exercising and eating right shouldn’t be short term quick fixes. You’re more likely to make long term positive changes if you give yourself a break, don’t live in constant denial. It’s okay to have a cheat day once in awhile. You can get back in the race tomorrow.


 Next week, what’s the deal on all of those energy bars? And one of the best items to consume after a run that you probably already have in your refrigerator.

What to look for in spring running clothing and sports bras

As the weather warms up it’s time to re-examine running clothes. Gone are the multiple layers and mittens, it’s time to lighten up. In this week’s Getting in Gear with Josh and Erin, Fargo Marathon Director Mark Knutson looks at spring/summer running clothes while Go Far Woman director Sue Knutson gives you tips on buying a running bra.


What to look for in spring running clothing:


1) Capris or shorts – When the temperature hits 45 or so, Mark Knutson says capris with a long sleeve shirt are a nice option for women. He says awhile back manufacturers sold men’s capri running pants, but it went over like a lead balloon. Instead, men can opt for the latest trend in running shorts, the 2 in 1 short which combines a tight inner layer with a more traditional running short. It gives runners warmth, support and movability.


2) Leave the cotton behind – while you might be tempted to throw on a cotton t-shirt for your spring/summer run, it’s not the best option. Cotton absorbs water which can create chafing and rashes on the skin. Polyester is a better choice. Lightweight dri-weave fabrics keep moisture away from skin.


3)Reflectivity is still important – Chances are you’ll be doing more daylight running in the spring and summer, even so reflectivity in running clothes remains important. Whether its a reflective strip on the sleeves or back of your jacket, or even a jacket that gets recharged under lights it’s a good idea to give it a try. Safety first.

5 Signs you need a new sports bra


1) The band causes chafing – Sue Knutson says the band, not the straps, are what provides the most support in a sports bra. But if your band is causing your skin to break out in a rash or chafe, it’s time to look at a new one.


2) You’re layering bras – If you need to wear two sports bras to give you adequate support, it’s time to chuck them for one bra that does the job. In this case, Knutson says you get what you pay for. Consider investing in one quality sports bra instead of cheap bras that require doubling up.


3) You can no longer read the tags – if the washing instructions have worn off, the garment is probably old enough not to be doing it’s job.


4) You’re wearing the same bra as your different sized friend – Knutson says women come in all shapes and sizes and an A cup should be wearing a different model bra than her D cup friend. She says A and B cups can get away with a compression bra which simply provides support through a tight fit. C and D cups should consider bras that both compress and encapsulate the breasts. Think a combination sports bra and underwire. D cups and above are best off with a full underwire, encapsulated sports bra

5) You need new shoes – Most of the time you should be replacing your sports bras every year or so. Knutson says consider making it a habit when you buy new shoes that you pick up a new bra at the same time.


 Next week, what to do when your motivation to keep going goes right out the window.

Today’s Tech Tools a big help!

The guesswork has gone out of training. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to train for a race. In today’s episode of “Getting in Gear with Josh and Erin”, Fargo Marathon Director Mark Knutson gives our runners pointers on the best high tech gadgets to use.


1) Fit Bit – This is the latest “it” product. Sales are booming for the Fit Bit, a tracking device worn on your wrist or hung on your body. It doesn’t just measure your progress when you exercise. Users wear them all day to track steps taken, distance walked, calories burned and stairs climbed. It even tracks how many hours you sleep. The information can then be shared with your smartphone or computer. They start around $60.


2) GPS Watches – the forerunner to the Fit Bit, GPS watches enable you to track where you’re running and how fast you’re going. In addition, some models track your heart rate and calories burned. Knutson says while the first GPS watches were “the size of my arm,” newer models are more streamlined and information downloaded to your computer or phone. The industry leader is Garmin which offers an entry level watch for about $130 dollars.


3) Apps – You might not have to buy anything if you run with your smartphone. Apps such as “Map my Run” or “RunKeeper” work as personal trainers, helping you plan a route to run, as well as giving you instructions to you as you run. After you run, the programs give you the option of saving your latest workout so you can keep a running log of your progress. You can also choose to share your latest run with friends on social media.


4) Compression socks – the least high tech of the options, but among the  most important for serious runners. Knutson says during a long run, leg fatigue can set in, in part because of decreased circulation in the legs. Compression socks stimulate blood flow to the legs which refreshes and regenerates the legs. Knutson says if you don’t wear the socks while running, even putting them on an hour after a run is beneficial. He also says if you’re running the 10K or less, you probably don’t need compression socks.


 Next week, what to look for in a running bra and the hottest trend in men’s running shorts.