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Category: L.A. marathon

The Lazy Marathoner: Wait, what do you mean, 'No weights'?

Kettlebell My least favorite part of working out is cardio. That might be funny for a runner to say, but it's true. I need zero motivation to go to the gym for a weight workout -- barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, squats, Turkish get-ups, pushups, Arnold presses, you name it, I'm fascinated by anything new and different in the weight room. Now, I'm not telling you I'm great at it -- I'm just telling you that I love it.

Cardio, though, is another thing entirely. I always feel like cardio is work. And I also feel like unless I am killing myself and doing cardio as hard and as fast as I can, that I'm not doing it right. So, of course, I skip it as much as possible in favor of the weight workouts. Fitness guru Dr. Phil Maffetone says that schizophrenic approach to working out is what got me here. I'm someone who can easily do 50 pushups (five sets of 10!) and finished the L.A. Marathon, but isn't really all that fit.

So I'm back at square one, and Dr. Phil has me focusing solely on aerobic conditioning. And that means no weights, as weightlifting -- even the relatively light single-digit weights that I lift -- is an anaerobic exercise. And for right now, I'm supposed to avoid that. So it's all been about cardio: Walking and really slow running. Dr. Phil promises that if I keep it up, he'll have me back doing Zottman curls in no time. For now, I just wave to my gym-rat friends in the weight room as I go on my way to the treadmills and stair-steppers. I hope the kettlebells don't forget me. I miss them.

-- Rene Lynch 

Photo credit: New York Barbells

The Lazy Marathoner: Um, is this thing on?


I'm getting off to an inauspicious start. I've been training at the wrong heart rate all week. You might ask how that could happen, because I own three heart-rate monitors. Well, it breaks down like this. My Timex needs a battery. And because I'm lazy, I haven't gotten around to fixing that situation for, oh, over a year now. But that still leaves two more heart-rate monitors, right? I lent my husband my Polar heart-rate monitor -- he's decided he wants to follow Dr. Phil Maffetone's plan along with me, and has dibs on reading Dr. Phil's new book, "In Fitness and In Health," as soon as I am done with it. So that still leaves my Garmin Forerunner. Which I have been wearing at the gym this week. And which has consistently showed by heart rate at 112-113 all week. I know that's lower than the 130 limit, but I was coming off a cold, I'm stressed because I'm in the middle of a home construction project and my parents are coming into town this week for a two-week stay, so I thought I would take Dr. Phil's advice about reducing stress, and give myself a break with an easier week. 

But when I was at the gym Sunday it suddenly dawned on me. The Garmin was still showing 113 when I slowed down. And when I sped up. And when I got off the treadmill and just stood there.

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The Lazy Marathoner: You've got to run slow to get fast


The humiliation of the eight-hour L.A. Marathon is now safely in the rear-view mirror. And it's time to get back to work.

I've basically been a total do-nothing since L.A., partly because of a foot injury -- my doctor told me to stop running for a few weeks to let it heal -- and partly because, well, we all know I am lazy. So the only "exercise" I did in the days and weeks after the marathon was tooling around the Internet looking for a new training program to follow when I decided to get up off the couch.

And then I found this article by triathlon god Mark Allen, who gives all kinds of kudos to Dr. Phil Maffetone and his unconventional training methods. (Complete and utter aside: In addition to my dream of one day qualifying for Boston, I have delusions of one day making my way down the Queen K Highway and competing in an Ironman.)

But back to Dr. Phil, author of "In Fitness and In Health."  Dr. Phil's training philosophy is practically heretical to the no-pain, no-gain, Runners World-reading masses. He believes many of us mistakenly push ourselves too hard with workouts designed to push us to our anaerobic limits and beyond. Those workouts certainly have their place within a training program, said Dr. Phil. But we need to first lay a solid foundation of aerobic conditioning, and that means easing up just a bit and using heart-rate-monitored workouts. Best of all, these conditioning workouts have the added benefit of training our bodies to burn fat for energy, unlike the harder workouts that pull more heavily from our carb reserves. (Check out his website here for more details, as well as a look at Dr. Phil's newfound love in recent years: making music.)

As you might imagine, this was all music to my lazy ears.

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The Lazy Marathoner: Better late than never


Now that's the way to throw a marathon.

The Los Angeles Marathon had been under fire for shifting from it's traditional March run date to May --  disrupting training schedules and leaving some runners concerned that the weather in May would be too hot.

Well, Mother Nature played along on Monday, serving up perfect running weather -- overcast, cool temperatures and a breeze that at times turned downright windy. (On the final stretch, I saw someone's cap blow off.)

The crowds were phenomenal. What the gallery may have lacked in spectators, it more than made up for in intensity. Onlookers shouted and waved to runners they'd never seen before as if they were cheering on their best friends.

The volunteers were terrific, too, underscoring how well-organized it all was. (One caveat: the long lines at Saturday's Expo, when volunteers seemed to fall behind on goody-bag duty leading to long lines. They also ran out of posters at one point. But the ultra-cool medal kinda made up for it.)

Best of all, there were port-a-potties EVERYWHERE at the start of the race, and placed every mile on the course.

Well done, L.A. Marathon!

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The Lazy Marathoner: More porta-potties!

Medal I gave myself plenty of time to get to the starting line on Sunday for the Orange County Marathon and Half-Marathon. The point-to-point race started at 6:30 a.m., and runners were being shuttled by school bus to the starting line near Fashion Island. So, I woke up at 3:30 a.m., left my house by 4:30, parked at the Orange County Fairgrounds by about 5:10 a.m. and then started my tried-and-true pre-race routine. It goes something like this: Find a bathroom, use it. Find the next bathroom, use it. Look at how fit everyone seems to be. Fret about not putting in more training hours/kick myself for all those Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Find the next bathroom, and use it. Luckily, the fairgrounds have plenty of bathrooms. Not porta-potties. But real bathrooms! And there was no waiting.

From an organizational standpoint, the race went downhill from there. The shuttle-bus line took forever. Because people kept cutting in, and of course the race volunteers did nothing to stop it. So annoying to the people (LIKE ME!) who dutifully got there early and took their place in line. Always interesting, though, to watch cutting-in techniques. At one point, a woman sidled up next to me and began wheedling her way in line, talking to me like she was my long-lost friend. I had two choices. I could spend the rest of the day stewing about it. Or I could say something. I opted for the latter. "Are you serious?" I asked her. "Have you been waiting on line or did you just cut in?" To her credit, she  answered, "I cut in." "At least have the decency to cut in line behind me," I told her. And she did. (Apparently the people behind me did not care.)

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The Lazy Marathoner makes the Huntington Beach Pier

Pier_2 The pier! The pier! The Huntington Beach Pier!

I learned my lesson from last week and hit the road on Saturday for my long run. And I'm glad I did. If I had any doubts about training for the L.A. Marathon, they were put to rest this weekend. That's because two things happened: I made it to the Huntington Beach Pier. And I ran double digits. The significance is all in my head, of course. I do my daily runs in my local neighborhood, but I drive to the beach for my long runs. I start in Seal Beach and head south. So hitting the pier was a symbolic accomplishment. And granted, I still have several long training runs ahead of me -- I hope to get to at least 22 to 24 miles before race day -- but I feel like working my way up to Mile 11 was the hard part. Now there's no looking back. (It was also a reminder of how out-of-shape I've become: When I was regularly in the marathon groove, a weekly 10-mile run was nothing but maintanance, and I would log those after staying out late and drinking the night before. Those were the days.)

That's all the good news. There is a bit more good news -- and some bad news. The good news was that I ran 13-minute miles for the first half like clockwork. Boom, boom, boom. (I know 13-minute miles are incredibly slow, but as I said before, I am lazy.) The weather was gorgeous at the beach, sunny with a gentle breeze, and I was completely focused and relaxed. It all felt so easy that I considered pushing it to 12 or 13 miles.

Now for the bad news.

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The lazy marathoner: rain-soaked punishment for sleeping in


The cornerstone of any marathon training program is the long run. So what do you do to make sure that nothing, absolutely nothing, gets in the way of your long run?

I typically try to log my long runs on Saturday mornings. The thinking being that if something goes wrong -- like, I forget to set the alarm, or my pillow holds me hostage -- I still have Sunday morning. That's because I learned the hard way that if I leave my long run for Sunday mornings, and something goes wrong -- see above -- my training is officially off-track. But apparently this is a lesson that I need to learn once more as I train for the L.A. Marathon.

On Friday night, I followed my typical routine for an early morning run. I planned a course: I would start in Seal Beach and run to the Huntington Beach Pier and back for a total of 10 miles. I laid out all my running gear. I charged up the Nano and the Forerunner. I tucked a packet of mango-flavored GU in my fanny pack and prepared a post-run snack of dates and yogurt. The coffee pot was ready to go -- all I had to do was flip the switch. The car was gassed up, the alarm was set for 5:30 a.m.

And when it rang at 5:30 I turned it off and went back to sleep. (I told you I was the world's laziest marathoner.)

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L.A. marathon or bust for this lazy marathoner


When I tell people I’m training for the L.A. Marathon, they all have exactly the same reaction. They pause, give me an up-and-down look. They’re even more surprised when I tell them I’ve run two marathons already (L.A. and N.Y.), and many more half marathons (most recently the Long Beach Half Marathon in October and the Surf City Half Marathon in January).

That’s because I don’t look like the traditional marathoner.

You know, runners who are so whippet thin they can rock dolphin shorts and have such a speedy metabolism that they look like they’re running in place even when they’re standing still. I carry a lot of extra weight (I could lose a pound or ... 30). How can that be with all the running I do? Well, for one, I’m surrounded by food all day long because I work in the Food section. I also sit right outside the L.A. Times’ Test Kitchen. I love to cook. I love to eat. You see where this is going.

What’s more, I’m a pretty casual runner. I trot along at 13- or 14-minute miles because –- duh! -- running faster hurts! I also have no problem stopping to check something out or dawdle here or there. I almost always take advantage of any bathroom or water fountain that comes along because you just never know when you’ll find another. If I am running on the beach, and see dolphins or whales in the distance, I'll come to a halt to watch them frolic. I have been known to stop in the middle of runs to take pictures. Or Twitter. Or take a walk break. Or fiddle with my Nano.

I just might be the laziest marathoner ever.

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About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.