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December 2009 Archives

December 6, 2009

Beware of Overtraining

Here I am sitting in front of my laptop after a two hour run…well actually I ran for 1:59:27 but here among friends I’m sure you’ll give me the other 33 seconds.

Anyway, the first thing that popped into my mind as I did my stretching was the fear of overtraining.

It’s happened to me before and I am hoping that it doesn’t happen again.

For those who are training for their first full or half marathon the obvious question that continues to run through their head is, “Just how far should I be able to run BEFORE the day of the big race.”

Oh I have been there. While training for my first half that question bothered me so much that on Labor Day, some four months before my first half-marathon, I went out and ran almost 14 miles.

Then in December I tried to work too hard on speed and overdid it…and it cost me a week of training.

It’s very easy to fall into the overtraining syndrome…especially if this is your first real long distance race.

First you worry about doing the distance.

If that isn’t enough you may also be concerned about your pace and just how fast you COULD go if you went through the perfect training regimen.

Even those who have done these long distance races are prone to overtraining because we want to always do better than our last race…we want to be faster…stronger….and more refreshed when we finish.

So how do you know if you are overtraining?

It’s an individual kind of thing. Overtraining for me may be just basic training for the next person.

There is one voice who you should listen to when you are within one month of a long distance race…that voice emanates from your body.

If a day or so after your most recent workout if you feel a new pain or ache that you haven’t heard before that’s your body saying, “I think we need a break or something serious could happen.”

Overtraining could result in a pulled muscle, a possible stress fracture, or just about anything that could set you back.

You don’t want a setback with only a couple of weeks to go.

For the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend the key is to level of right about the first week in December.

I won’t tell you what you should do but I will tell you what I do.

I try to run one long distance once a week from now until one week before the race.

To me, a half-marathon runner, that means no more than 10 miles once a week.

I allow myself only two other training runs during the week, both of which are no more than 6 or 7 miles long.

The week before the race I will do a long run exactly one week before the race….and at a slow pace.

Five days before the race I will run 7 miles and three days before the race I will do about 6 miles…I want fresh legs for the big day.

I will be very careful with my speed training or interval running. Don’t want to pull a muscle….thus any interval running will be very subtle and actually that’s the best way to go.

For you marathoners the last month becomes even more of a personalized matter because everyone has a different recovery system and hopefully by now you know what you need and that information is vital in helping you how close to the big race should you be doing your last long run.

So be vigilant in your training but don’t do anything drastic.

These distances are long and so is the training….with the short window in front of us we all have to beware of overtraining.

Good luck.

December 10, 2009

Waiver Forms

This is an unplanned blog so consider this to be sort of a public service announcement.

For those who have signed up to do any of the races that will be held at Walt Disney World during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend in Orlando you should have by now received an email telling you that you can download your waiver form.

You need to download, print, sign, and bring this waiver form to the World of Sports when you get to Orlando in January.

Well, if you haven't received this email, you are not alone. I had never received this email, but it was forwarded to me. I went to the Disney Sports Registration Verification Site to download my waiver form.

After plugging in my last name and date of birth I hit the Search button and was informed that there was no record of my registration.


I registered on January 17th at 1:13:04:31 P.M. and I know that because I have the registration confirmation.

So I called Disney Sports at 407 938 3398 and talked to Cathy.

Cathy was helpful but could not resolve the problem.

She checked and said, "Yeah Mike, we have you registered so don't worry!"

"That's great Cathy but... I can't get my waiver form."

So after several attempts we were still puzzled as to why we could not get my waiver to download.

Finally Cathy gave me the email of the folks to contact to try and get resolution of this problem.


I sent them a note and within a day or so I heard from Ivy.

She told me to enter my name EXACTLY as it was on my registration form.

I had been doing that but no luck.

I looked at my name. It was "Michael Joseph Scopa, Sr." and I had tried everything...uppercase...lowercase...initial caps....even a direct copy and paste but no luck.

Then I figured I had nothing to lose so I typed in "Scopa, Sr" without the period after the "Sr" and it worked.

I informed Disney of the system's glitch....a glitch that should not be.

Hopefully you won't run into a problem and need to contact Cathy at Disney Sports or Ivy Track Shack.

If you do they are ready to help.

December 24, 2009

Homestretch Training: Part I

As we head into the last few weeks before the big Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend it’s important to note certain homestretch training issues that I have certainly learned from through the years and wanted to share them with you.

Please remember that I am NOT a professional trainer but am just sharing my experiences with you and that what works for me may not work for you.

I just want you to be aware as to what might work for you.

Rule 1: Do Not Over Train

It is so easy to over train a few weeks before a race. To me overtraining means one of two things.

First it means injuring yourself. This could occur from either running too much or trying to run too fast.

It’s normal for you to want to improve during your last few weeks of training but a pulled muscle is a terrible setback.


Secondly, overtraining to me means that you have forgotten that your body needs to rest up…don’t over do it.

At this point you should be running no more than every other day.

One more thing…I would suggest that you should give yourself at least 7 to 10 days between your last long training run and the day of the race.

Rule 2: Be Sensible About Fashion Sense

That’s a cutely phrase to remind you that comfort is essential on race day and between now and race day you should be establishing three important decisions.

The first decision is what you will be raining on a warm day. Shorts and a short sleeved running shirt I would guess.

The second decision is what you will be wearing on a cold day. That is a bit more difficult a decision. I suggest go to your local discount department store and buy a cheap sweatshirt.

If you have running tights you should bring them.

Within 3 days of your traveling to Orlando, start monitoring the weather.


In regards to rain….well let’s hope it doesn’t rain.

Most importantly from this point on you should be running in the shoes you intend to run in on race day. Each time you go out and run these shoes will gradually mold into what your feet want them to mold into and that will lead to comfort.


So starting today decide what you’ll be wearing from head to toe on race day.

Rule 3: Be Diet Conscious

Instead of overtraining to get better why not go on a little diet to lose a few more pounds…less weight to drag for 13 or 26 miles.

This could be very simple like cutting out just a small bit from your every day intake.

Do not skimp on carbs and protein however. Whatever your daily minimum intake should be for your age, build, gender, weight, or whatever, is what you should maintain...you neeed fuel to run that long distance and you don;t want to run out of energy.


I know it’s the holiday season but watch those goodies.

Rule 4: Music or No Music?

I’ve run in over a dozen or so WDW sponsored races and see many people running with music. As long as you don’t have the music blasting and can hear beyond the music you should be okay.

But here is the question…do you need the music?

If you have trained all this time with music then perhaps you have depended upon it to get you through your workouts and now you may need it to get you through the race.

Here’s a thought…do you need the music for the entire race of just a little bit? Do you need it for the start, for the early miles? Or for the late miles?

Oh and what kind of music do you need and what about the sequence?

In my Homestretch Training: Part II blog I plan on talking more about music and what I plan to do.


December 30, 2009

Homestretch Training: Part II

With the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend just about a week or so away Michelle Scribner-MacLean and Mike Scopa, co-captains of the AllEars Running team discuss their preparations one week prior to getting on their flight to Orlando.

Mike’s Last Minute Stuff

“Here are the here are five things that I am focusing on before I get on the plane to head for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

First and foremost is last minute training. With a week to go before my flight I need to not only maintain my level of training but to also not overdo it. I plan to do one more long run and then gradually pull back the distance to keep my legs fresh. For me this means about three or four more runs before the big race.

I fly out on a Thursday so my last run before the race will be Wednesday.

The second area I am focusing on is my running gear. I am one of those runners who are never 100% sure as to what to wear on race day until that morning. So I have settled on bringing three pairs of running shorts, one pair of running tights, and three running shirts. I will pack them the day before I leave. I plan on running in these items between now and that day so I am comfortable with them. I have also been running in the shoes I plan to run in on the big day so that part of my preparation is also set.

Nutrition is next. At this point in the training calendar it’s important not to sway away from what got me “to the ball” so to speak. I continue to eat what I have been eating all these months although I’m a bit light on the portions. I want to be light for the race. I do tend to drink more fluids a week or so before the race. It’s good to get your body used to being as hydrated as possible…especially with the potential of running in Florida heat and humidity.

Music has become a part of my training process this year and it looks like I will be running with an iPod Shuffle on race day. In preparation for this I am putting together a playlist that contains songs that are not too fast…not too slow…but just right for the pace I want to run.

One more thing…I am putting the songs in a certain order because there are tunes I want to hear at a specific point on the course. I’ll let you in on a secret….if my calculations are right my last 2-3 miles before the Finish will have me listening to “Tapestry of Dreams.”

Last but not least is sleep….it’s so important. A few days before getting on the plane I will start going to bed earlier and getting up earlier each day. I know Saturday morning will be an early wake-up call and I want my internal clock to get ready as early as possible.
Those are my last minute preparations before getting on that plane…my last blog before the race will discuss my plans from the time I step off the plane in Orlando to the start of the race.”

Michelle’s Last Minute Thoughts

“This year I feel a lot more confident and sure of things, since I already have one Disney half marathon under my belt, so “start to panic” is NOT on my last minute “to do” list this year.

First thing on my list is to try to squeeze in at least one more long run. The weather in New Hampshire has not been conducive to running outside, so we’ve been doing most of our long runs on an indoor track, where 8 laps equals just over one mile. I enjoy running, but going around and around and around the same track is like some form of torture…but I know how important it is, so I will attempt one more nine or ten mile run in the next two weeks.

The next thing on my list is to gather a wide-variety of clothing. As I recall, last year the temperature ranged from 45 – 60F from race start to finish. I have my preferred race clothes picked out, but there may be rain, it may be colder, may be warmer. Like Mike, I have to consider the possibilities. In addition, I’m going to go through my old clothing and pack a sweatshirt and pants as layers to wear to the coral and peel off just before the race begins (and because Disney collects and donates the discarded clothing to charity, I feel good about leaving it behind).

My music is the next thing I need to get in order before I leave. I’ve been modifying my running play list all year and I may make some last minute changes, but I’m pretty set in what I’m going to listen to. Since I want to be able to listen to the music Disney provides at points along the way, I know I’ll be turning my iPod off along the way, so I’m not going to worry about the order of my music. One thing is certain; the Black Eyed Peas “Boom Boom Pow” (our Team AllEars song) will be on the list.

Finally, I need the support of my “peeps” and also need to make sure that I’m there as a cheerleader for all of my teammates. I’m sending this linkto my friends and family.

My bib number is 44319 and Mike’s is 44320 (if you want to follow our progress. I can only speak for myself – I won’t be breaking any speed ¬records, but I feel excited and ready to go.

Boom Boom Pow!”

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About December 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Team AllEars® Running Blog in December 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2009 is the previous archive.

January 2010 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.