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19 Apr 2014

The DOs and DON’Ts The Week of Your Race


DO get a good night’s sleep!

Make sure you are getting enough sleep the week leading up the your race. 

If you expect to have pre-race jitters the night before, try to log an extra hour or two of sleep two nights before the big day. 



DON’T break in a new pair of shoes!

Wear the same shoes that you trained with. Trying a new pair so late in training could result in injury. 

If you think a pair may not last until the race, then incorporate a new pair in your rotation at least two months leading up to the race. 

Also, don’t try any new gear on race day. Don’t experiment with a new pair of socks or even a running pack. 

Be sure to at least give at least a test run to avoid any issues on the big day.


DO lay your gear out the night before!

Lay out all your gear and clothes before the morning of the race. Allow yourself ample time in the morning to eat breakfast and make your way to the starting line. 

The last thing you need is panic and stress from scrambling and searching for that favorite running pair of running shorts.   



DON’T introduce new foods or race fuel.

Only eat what you’re familiar with. Eat for breakfast what you would normally eat before a training run…but don’t skip breakfast either. 


DO have a game plan.

Have an idea of what time you’d like to finish. Make your goals realistic. Start with a pace that is familiar to you- the pace you trained with. 

Have a backup plan and imagine various issues you may encounter as well as your solutions for them.

DON’T try new training techniques.

While adding a speed workout to your routine may benefit training, it will do quite the opposite if you add it the week of your race. 

DO have a mantra.

Something short and simple to tell yourself in case you’re having a tough time. 


DON’T Overdue the carboload

It is traditional to eat a pasta dinner the night before a marathon or half marathon. 

However, keep in mind that whatever you eat that night will still be with you 12 hours later. 

It is okay to load up on carbs the nights before race day eve, or possibly for lunch the day prior. 

Eat something nutritious and simple for dinner, such as grilled chicken breast, sweet potato, and sauteed spinach (and maybe some dessert!)



DO have fun!

Make friends. Enjoy the scenery. Remember, it’s okay to enjoy a race. 

If things get tough, force yourself into a smile- it’s amazing how such a simple act can turn it all around!



Happy Training!



Melissa_Race 13.1 Blog



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15 Apr 2014

The Fitness Court- Fit More Fun in Your Fitness!

I recently visited San Francisco and while out on my morning run I literally ran into this amazing fitness structure called the “FITNESS COURT”.  I think I might have heard angels singing! It was like an adult playground!  I stopped running for a moment and watched as a few men & women used their own body weight to complete various exercises.  I asked if I could play and they welcomed me with a smile!  This structure was free to the community.  Anyone could come by day or night to get a great workout.

The 34.5’x32′ Fitness Court is an outdoor body weight training system designed with adults of all fitness levels in mind. The court features seven exercise stations: Core, squat, push, lunge, pull, agility and bend. These 7 stations are meant to build strength, balance and flexibility. The idea is that you go through the entire court a number of times, with one minute at each station recommended.  After a full circuit, rest for 3 minutes and then around again and again if you like.

I learned that the National Fitness Campaign designed the Fitness Court to bring communities, neighbors, friends and families together and to build new health habits and routines, regain control of skyrocketing health care costs, and reduce diseases caused by obesity.

The court offers hundreds of routines intended to support fitness training for a variety of age groups and intensity levels. I believe beginners will feel just as comfortable as serious athletes when they experience the flexibility and power of the system.

I would love for Raleigh to get on board with this amazing fitness circuit. Then, I can be YOUR trainer to help you along the way, to teach you everything you need to know about the Fitness Court and how you can train yourself toward better overall health.  Help me spread the word!  It will help you fit more fun into your fitness!!


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Paula Smith, ACE CPT   www.paulasmithfitness.com

Facebook and Instagram Paula Smith Fitness and Twitter @PaulaSmithFit


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27 Mar 2014

4 Strength Training Exercises for Runners

Want to become a stronger, faster, efficient, injury-proof runner?  Strength training is one of the single most important non-running aspects of training that can help you become a better runner.

Add these 4 running specific strength training exercises to your running routine.

1) Bulgarian Split Squats
Working muscles: Quads, glutes, core and calves.


Progression: Standing in a lunge position, rest the toes of the back foot on a one- to two-foot bench or box. Lower the torso straight down by bending the front knee, ensuring it isn’t lunging forward beyond the toes. When the forward thigh is parallel to the ground hold for one to two seconds and then slowly come back up to a neutral position. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each leg.

2) Planks
Working muscles: Core, shoulders and back.


Progression: Alternate lifting each leg six inches off the ground for eight counts. This also engages the glutes. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

The plank is the perfect exercise for strengthening the entire core, and core strength is essential for improving stride, form and speed. In a push-up position, with hands planted under the shoulders, align the body straight from the top of the head through the heels. Tighten up the abs while lifting through the chest to create as much space as possible in between the chest and the ground.

3) Lateral Step-Up
Working muscles: Quads, hamstrings, glutes and core.


Progression: Holding a 10-pound weight, stand next to a two to three foot high bench or box. Step the inside foot up onto the bench. Engaging the core and the glute muscles in the stepping leg, step all the way up, while bringing the outside knee up to a 90-degree angle. Hold there for two seconds then lower down with control.  Repeat 10 to 15 times on each side.

4) Push-ups
Working muscles: Chest, core, biceps, triceps and back.


Progression: In a plank position, with the hands planted two to three feet apart under the chest line, bend elbows and descend down for two counts until the chest nearly touches the ground. Rise back to plank position for two counts.  Repeat 10 to 12 times.


Paula Smith, ACE CPT   www.paulasmithfitness.com

Facebook and Instagram Paula Smith Fitness and Twitter @PaulaSmithFit


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21 Mar 2014

How to Balance Family and Half Marathon Training

24 hours—the great human equalizer. With spouses, kids, pets, employers, friends and extended family demanding attention, finding time to train for a half marathon might be challenging. But as Rocco Lampone said in the film Godfather II, it will be “difficult, not impossible.”

If you are finding it too demanding to fit running in to your schedule, try these suggestions:

1. Breathe. Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself. A better you is a better person, spouse, parent and employee.

2. Don’t wing it! Have a training schedule and plan the week ahead. Communicate plans with your family so everyone knows the plan.

3. Examine your days Look for wasted time surfing the internet and watching tv and adjust.

Without a doubt, the #1 guilt free, best time to run without any interference is while everyone is sleeping. Whether you are a morning or evening person, you lose a few zzzz’s, but no one misses you while you run. If you still can’t find extra time, you will need to get creative!

Run at a Gym Find a gym with showers near your work and run your lunch hour away.

Organize a Work Run Plan a weekly run after work with co-workers.

Join a Weekly Run Club Work it in to your schedule and those miles happen.

Run with the Family Kids were born to run and baby strollers are great. Take kids to park and run around it while they play or put them on bikes and try to keep up!

Create a Babysitting Running Co-op Each mother watches the combined kids while the other mother runs.

Run at Sports Practice Likely embarrassing to kids, but you can run around the field or parking lot while they practice.

Be Prepared Always be prepared for that unexpected window of opportunity to open up.

Keep a bag of your run gear in your car at all times just in case you get lucky!

We all have the same 24 hours to fit in training time. Find the time, make it a priority. You can. You will. Race 13.1

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21 Mar 2014

Ian – Day 1

Ian knows he’s got what it takes to run a Race 13.1 half marathon. Follow his progress, not his advice.

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07 Mar 2014

Raleigh-Based Company Challenges Employees to Run Half Marathon to Emphasize Wellness and Team Building

Raleigh-Based Company Challenges Employees to Run Half Marathon to Emphasize Wellness and Team Building

The Select Group Purchases Race 13.1’s First Corporate Race Pack and Encourages Other Triangle Businesses to do the Same

Raleigh, N.C., March 6, 2014 – Race 13.1 is proud to announce that The Select Group (TSG), an executive and IT staffing firm based in Raleigh, has purchased the first corporate race package for the Race 13.1 Midtown Raleigh Half Marathon and 5k and 10k races on June 7, 2014. Companies have two options for buying corporate packs. The first allows them to purchase discount codes for $20 for each code. Their employees can use those codes to get 50 percent off the race registration fee of any distance. The second option is for the company to buy race entries at a reduced cost and employees are able to run for free.

TSG purchased the discount code option for 50 employees to participate in the event. “TSG’s willingness to invest in its employees in this way shows that this company is not just concerned about the bottom line, but the health and wellbeing of its employees as well, “ said John Kane, CEO and Executive Chairman, Race 13.1. “This is a company that has consistently been ranked among the best places to work in the Triangle, and it’s easy to see why.”

Both Race 13.1 and TSG are encouraging other businesses to accept the corporate challenge – recognizing that training for and participating in events like this are good for employee wellness and business overall.

“Training for a half marathon or any of the race distances is a major accomplishment,” said Sheldon Wolitski, CEO, The Select Group. “We want to see our employees training together, working in groups and encouraging each other – in other words, team building at its best. Our hope is that each participant’s achievement will be a victory for everyone in the company. ”

Race 13.1 is a half marathon racing series that promotes the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle while supporting local economies and charities. JDRF is the official non-profit partner for the Midtown Raleigh event and will receive a portion of the proceeds from the races to further research on type 1 diabetes (T1D).

To find out more about the corporate race packs available through Race 13.1, visit http://race131.com/corporate-race-packs/. For more information about Race 13.1 Midtown Raleigh, visit www.race131.com.


About Race 13.1

Race 13.1 events are held in mid-sized communities that are traditionally overlooked by larger nationally branded events. Race 13.1 will produce five half marathons in North Carolina in 2014. The 2014 events will be held in Greensboro, Raleigh, Fayetteville and Winston-Salem.  Every race highlights the best of its host cities, drives tourism traffic to local businesses and money is raised and support given to local charities. Race 13.1 benefits entire families and communities – making a positive difference in each of its partnering cities.


About The Select Group

The Select Group is an award-winning, full-service recruiting partner with a fresh and personal approach. Specializing in the placement of technology and engineering professionals, the company aims to connect great companies with quality talent. Founded in 1999, The Select Group is headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., with sales offices throughout North America. It continues to be recognized for its innovative approach and rapid growth, earning CareerBuilder’s “Best of Staffing” recognition for outstanding client feedback and Staffing Industry Analyst’s 2011 Fastest Growing Staffing Firms. Additional accolades include placement on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 500 list, as well as local awards such as Entrepreneur of the Year, Fast 50, Top Company to Watch, HR & Staffing Impact Leader, Best Overall Company, and Best Places to Work. To learn more about The Select Group, call (919) 459-1049 or visit selectgroup.com.


Race 13.1 Corporate Wellness

03 Mar 2014

Yoga Poses to Improve Your Running and Prevent Injuries

In the past I have suffered from knee pain (due to IT Band tightness) and low back pain (from tight hamstrings) after my long runs.  I have found that performing yoga stretches 10 minutes before and after runs can be a great way to make your muscles loose and flexible.  If you don’t stretch before a run, you risk injuring your cold muscles.  Stretching after a run keeps your muscles long and loose and can prevent the soreness caused by a buildup of lactic acid.

Yoga improves strength and balance, but one of the best things it can do for runners is increase flexibility.  If you don’t have the flexibility in your hip flexors and hamstrings to create an adequate range of motion, your body will ask that motion to come from other joints–joints not meant to produce that motion.  So you get early fatigue, early breakdown, and you expose yourself to injury.

Try these yoga poses in order and hold each pose for 5–10 deep breaths.

Pre-Run Poses

  • Interlace and Fold

Opens chest and shoulders, stretches hamstrings

• Start by standing hip-width apart.
• Reach your arms out and back, interlacing your fingers behind you.
• Fold forward, taking your arms up and overhead, keeping knees slightly bent.
• Shake out your head and relax your neck.  Release your hands toward the ground and roll up slowly.

  • High Runner’s Lunge

Trains the knees to stabilize, strengthens and lengthens stride

• Take a long step back with your left leg and come into a lunge with your front knee at 90 degrees, keeping knee directly over the ankle.
• Keep your back leg straight and your front knee stable over the ankle as you raise your arms overhead.
• Find your balance, relax your neck and shoulders and breathe deeply.

  • High Runner’s Lunge with Side Bend

Lengthens side body, stretches top of the IT band and improves balance

• Place your right hand on your right hip, bend your torso to the right and reach your left arm overhead and to the right (stretching the left side of your body).
• Keep that right knee over that ankle (you should see your toes).

  • Warrior III

Strengthens ankles, legs, core 

• Balance on your right leg and lift your left leg behind you as you drop your torso parallel to the ground.
• Keep your arms out like airplane wings, or reach them forward.

  • Low Lunge Twist

Stretches hips and twists spine

• Step your left leg back into a lunge, dropping that knee to the ground and releasing your hands to the ground.
• Put your right hand on your right thigh as you rotate your chest to the right, while keeping your left hand on the ground.
• Reach your right arm up and look towards the sky.

Return to your standing forward bend and repeat poses 2–5 with the opposite foot forward.

Post–Run Poses

  • Forward Fold 

Stretches hamstrings

• Lean forward with your feet hip-width apart and parallel.
• With an inhale, bring your arms overhead. Exhale as you bend into a standing forward fold.
• Bend your knees slightly and relax your neck.
• From there, cross your right leg over your left and hold for three to five breaths, without locking your back knee.
• switch legs.

  • Figure Four

Stretches the outer hips and glutes
• Cross your right ankle over your left knee.  Pull left leg in towards your body as you press the right knee out.  Then, switch legs.

  •  Wide Legs 

Stretches hamstrings and re-circulates the fluid that has collected in your legs.
• Straighten both legs up.
• Slowly open your legs into a wide straddle, keeping the knees slightly bent.
• Extend your arms overhead for added length.

  • Butterfly 

Stretches hamstrings and hips, decompresses low back
• Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together.
• Use your hands to press your thighs away from you.

Recovery is just as important to your training as the run itself.


Happy & safe running!


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Paula Smith, ACE CPT

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21 Feb 2014

Top 10 Racing Strategies I’ve Learned…

I ran two marathons and now I’m an expert. Not really, but with 2 marathons and 6 half marathons behind me, I’ve learned a few things.

10. I will never be a Marathon Maniac. Running two marathons within 3 months brought aching feet, runner’s knee and sleeplessness.

9. Cross train, intervals and hills are a must for top performance, avoiding burnout and decreased chances of injury.

8. If you want to run fast, you have to train fast.

7. Listen to your body. It’s ok to deviate from your schedule if you’re tired, hurting or just don’t feel like it. It’s better to work with your body, than against it.

6. The days leading up to the race are almost as important as the entire time of training. Focus on sleep, water and carbs.

5. Get your clothing, food and music in order. However you are doing it, make sure you have test run the system. Rub free clothing, headphones that stay in place and you know how to operate the iPod and your nutrition during the run.

4. Get to the race with plenty of time to spare. I learned this the hard way when I was 5 deep in line for the port-o-john as the gun went off.

3. At the starting line, get with your people. Join the coral stating your goal time so you are comfortable at the start. Getting passed by hundreds of runners in the first 1/4 mile can be a real buzz kill.

2. Relax and enjoy the journey. Be present and soak in the scenery of the route and the people around you.

1. There will always be a reason why I have to try again. The first marathon was hilly; the second one was windy. I guess I’m on an eternal search for mythical perfect race conditions. Or at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.


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Anjanette Wiley


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12 Feb 2014

Get Heart Healthy with Running

February is Heart Health Awareness Month and running is incredibly effective at making your heart healthier in a number of ways.

1. Improve Cardio Health

Running is a fantastic way to improve your heart strength.  As you run, your need for oxygen and blood flow increases, therefore making your heart pump harder and more frequently to supply the muscles with the energy they need to keep you moving.  As you continue a running program, your heart, much like your other muscles, get stronger and more efficient.

2.  Prevent Disease

Research shows that running can raise your levels of good cholesterol while also helping you increase lung function and use.  In addition, running can also boost your immune system and lower your risk of developing blood clots, high blood pressure and stroke.

For women, running can actually help to lower your risk of breast cancer.  Many doctors today recommend running for people who are in the early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis, and it is proven to help reduce the risk of having a heart attack.  By helping the arteries retain their elasticity and strengthening the heart, your chances of suffering a heart attack can be significantly reduced.

3. Improve Emotional Health = Mend a Broken Heart

On a physiological level running increases the activity of serotonin and/or norepinehrine and stimulates brain chemicals that foster growth of nerve cells but also on an emotional level, because you are taking charge and becoming the master of your mind and body.

Being part of a social group may help decrease risk for depression. There is an enormous community centered on those who enjoy running. You may benefit from seeking out a run buddy, but even if you choose to run solo, you can be active socially with online and in-person running groups. Share your triumphs and tribulations with those who can relate.

Plus, you may meet some new friends.

Running is also great for helping you sleep better at night, therefore giving you more energy during the day. It also increases endorphins, which are what prompts the runner’s high.

4.  Improve Resting Heart Rate by Maintaining your Target Heart Rate

The target heart rate is a range of the person’s maximum heart rate. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the target heart rate of 50% to 85% of the maximum heart rate. To know this, you need to find out your maximum heart rate by basing it on your age. So, you need to deduct your age from 220. The target is expressed in range because it can vary on your physical condition. For example, if you are just getting back to your workout from a long hiatus, try to aim for the low end of your target heart rate, which can be anywhere from 50% to 65% of the maximum. However, if you have been exercising for a while, you can go for 60% to 75% of your maximum. There are those who can go as far as to their 85%.  In time, your resting heart rate will improve.

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Paula Smith, ACE CPT


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08 Feb 2014

Running Music

Whether it’s during extreme heat of the summer or bitter cold of winter, all runners experience times where they have to dig deep within their very souls for motivation to run.

One easy way to pump up motivation is with new music. Studies show that running with music can make running feel easier, elevate mood and help keep the body moving.

Create a running playlist to boost your motivation and keep your training runs from becoming dull. Faster songs tend to make you run faster without even realizing it so craft your playlist accordingly. A great resource is jogfm.com Simply enter the pace per mile you want to run and the website will suggest songs that match pace.

Structure your playlist with a plan:

Warm up Miles: Starting your run slow prepares your whole body to transition from inactive to active. Raising your heart rate level gradually makes it easier to get in to the rhythm.

Warm up tunes:

Dog Days are Over, Florence + The Machine

Moves Like Jagger, Maroon 5

Let’s Get it Started, Black Eyed Peas

Endurance Miles: After the warm up, this is where miles melt away one after another and you enter the zone-the spot most sought after, the reason you left the couch. Music can help get you to this state of mindless running and experience the most coveted “runner’s high.”

Endurance tunes:

Roar, Katy Perry

Hey Ya!, Outkast

Lose Yourself, Eminem

Hey Soul Sister,  Train

What Goes Around, Comes Around, Justin Timberlake

Cool Down Miles: This often overlooked step is important because it allows the heart rate to decrease gradually sending messages to your body that it’s time to start recovering the muscles that were broken down during the run. The quicker you recover, the quicker you’ll be back for your next run!

Cool down tunes:

Viva la Vida, Cold Play

A Little Bit Stronger, Sara Evans

You Belong to Me, Taylor Swift

Toes, Zack Brown Band

Building several playlists to suit your training schedule is a great way to aid in the structure of your run and variety to keep you motivated!

Be safe when running with headphones: Keep the volume low enough to hear what is going on in your environment.

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Anjanette Wiley | 919-740-7369
@AnjWiley Google+ River Run Club


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