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Sonja Friend-Uhl Wins USATF Masters 1,000

With a fast time of 2:56.65, Sonja Friend-Uhl won the Masters Women’s 1,000 meters race Sunday at the USATF Indoor Championships at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sonja, who lives in Boca Raton, Florida, races for the Atlanta Track Club.

About the race, she said, “I was conservative over the beginning. I just wanted to run even and kick with what I had left. I felt I could have run a little faster in the beginning, but I’m happy with the result. I wanted to go under 3 minutes and I did that. I was a little anxious about it. It is so great to be here as a masters athlete with all these open athletes. The track is amazing. I love this track – it’s a fast track.”

Article was Featured in The Running Journal. 

 


Sonja Friend-Uhl broke Joan’s American record for 3000 meters in the W45 age group.

Sonja is a strong favorite at ABQ nationals in the 800 and mile. She’s also entered in the 400.In the early summer of 1984, 12-year-old Sonja Friend ran a 400 meters in the ARCO Jesse Owens Games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Months later, she recalled watching Joanie Benoit on TV, winning the 1984 Olympic marathon at the same site. On Saturday, Sonja Friend-Uhl broke Joan’s American record for 3000 meters in the W45 age group. In response to questions, Coach Sonja graciously shared details of the sub-10 race at Boston University. First thing I asked about were injuries she suffered last year. (Sonja had to scratch from the masters 1500 exhibition at the Eugene Olympic Trials because of the remnants of a hamstring pull and plantar fasciitis in her right foot.)

Read more here!


Sonja Friend-Uhl thought 9:50 possible for 3000 before W45 AR

In the early summer of 1984, 12-year-old Sonja Friend ran a 400 meters in the ARCO Jesse Owens Games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Months later, she recalled watching Joanie Benoit on TV, winning the 1984 Olympic marathon at the same site. On Saturday, Sonja Friend-Uhl broke Joan’s American record for 3000 meters in the W45 age group. In response to questions, Coach Sonja graciously shared details of the sub-10 race at Boston University. First thing I asked about were injuries she suffered last year. (Sonja had to scratch from the masters 1500 exhibition at the Eugene Olympic Trials because of the remnants of a hamstring pull and plantar fasciitis in her right foot.)

Masterstrack.com: Feel any of your old injuries at Boston?

Sonja Friend-Uhl: Not the hamstring or the plantar. My left posterior tibial tendon has been a bit tender since the half-marathon two weeks ago, but it held up just fine.

Were others in the race aware of your record attempt?

No. My coaches were and members of the [Florida Atlantic University] team, but other than that just a private goal.
What does it mean to beat a Joan Benoit Samuelson record?

I didn’t realize that’s who held it previously until you sent me this! I am honored, of course. I remember watching Joanie on TV winning the Olympic marathon in 1984 in LA. I had raced in the coliseum earlier that summer for the ARCO Jesse Owens Games. I ran the 400 in 64 seconds as a 12-year-old in that meet.  She was a significant running idol to me and still is for all she has contributed to our sport.

Sub-10 is a barrier breaker. Was that your goal?   

Yes. I knew something around 9:50 was possible based on my workouts. [Two years ago, Sonja set the W40 American indoor record of 9:50.37 at Winston-Salem.]

How did the race develop?  What was last lap like?

I was careful to run relaxed and within myself the first mile. Ideally I was targeting 5:15, but the leaders were a bit off of that and I felt I was best to be patient. After the 8th lap or so, the pace had slowed to 41+ for the 200 so I knew I needed to pick it back up, which is when I took over the lead. Another collegiate runner came up on me with about 4 laps to go. Honestly, I was glad because this kept me pushing. The last 600 was tough, but I did feel strong the last lap.

Did you get recognition at the meet for record?

They announced it after the race, but it was pretty noisy in there!

How did you celebrate?

Cheered on my Atlanta Track Club teammates and the FAU women I help coach in the 5000!

What major meets or record attempts do you have coming up?

I will race at Penn State this coming Saturday. Then Masters indoor nationals and hopefully the Masters Exhibition 1000mat the Open U.S. Indoor Nationals. The mile and the 800 45-49 age-group records are also great targets. I’m taking it one meet at a time. 🙂

Anything else folks should know about the Boston run?

That is an extremely efficient and well-organized meet! There were over a hundred entries in some events and they still ran everything on time. The shape and surface of the track are also outstanding. Very fast! I highly recommend this meet.


Sonja Friend-Uhl Wins USATF Masters 1,000

With a fast time of 2:56.65, Sonja Friend-Uhl won the Masters Women’s 1,000 meters race Sunday at the USATF Indoor Championships at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sonja, who lives in Boca Raton, Florida, races for the Atlanta Track Club.

About the race, she said, “I was conservative over the beginning. I just wanted to run even and kick with what I had left. I felt I could have run a little faster in the beginning, but I’m happy with the result. I wanted to go under 3 minutes and I did that. I was a little anxious about it. It is so great to be here as a masters athlete with all these open athletes. The track is amazing. I love this track – it’s a fast track.”


Are you working harder or smarter regarding your training?

Are you working harder or smarter regarding your training?

Effective cardiovascular training (such as running!) is all about organization…also known as prioritization in the competitive training world. It’s a term used for following a specific, 4-cycle training plan for a set period of time followed up with another 4-cycle training plan with a different focus. The approach is bio mechanically and physiologically sound and has been proven to be the best way to progress in your cardiovascular (running) fitness.

A training routine following the periodization principle follows this path:

I. Conditioning Phase: This is all about building endurance. Aim for a target heart rate that is 65-75% of your max heart rate during longer cardio sessions three-five times per week.

II. Efficiency Phase: Focus on speed with short bursts (30-90 seconds) of acceleration twice per week during cardio training. Add incline and/or resistance for a challenge.

III. Stamina Phase: Here we work towards improved V02 max by replacing speed sessions with interval training (3-5:00 intervals with rest periods of 90-120 seconds) mixed with tempo training (lactate threshold sessions of 5:00-10:00 intervals or 30:00-45:00 steady state efforts with 1-2 minutes of rest). The duration of the rest intervals is crucial!

IV. Performance Phase: Mix it all up at a high intensity by introducing training from the different phases (i.e.: speed intervals in the middle of a long run) followed by a resting interval for a high quality workout.

Here is the bonus tip: When you’re done with this cycle, it’s time to reset. You will have a faster, more efficient “aerobic engine” and can use the same principles to work it harder and better during your next cycle.

Finally, don’t forget to change up your mode of cardio. Try switching from your daily run to swimming laps, using an indoor cycle or rowing machine or an elliptical, etc. a day or two each week to keep your muscles guessing and to add in additional aerobic fitness without the pounding.



November Client's of the Month

November Client’s of the Month

Sara Medrano ran the New York City Marathon right on goal pace and qualified for Boston 2017!

“I had an incredible race today! I was aiming for an 8:30/mile pace and did exactly that. I felt strong the entire way. Never slowed down!!
Best race I have ran in a long time! Thank you so much for being such an inspiration!! Best coach ever!!
-Sara Medrano

Jennie Johnson Sober (Masters Runner):

18:32 and a new 5k PR! 2nd overall Female in her Turkey Trot Race IT was a lot of work out there! But I did it! Thank you for all you are doing for me!
-Jennifer

img_0181Amye King: Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon
Amye completed her first half marathon in Las Vegas this month and went on two weeks later to run a huge 5k PR!

“Just wanted to tell you how thankful I am for you today. You trained me even better than I knew when I finished the half marathon! I just beat my 5k time from last Sunday by 35 seconds!

Tina Cartwright: Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Tina trained for and completed this challenging event in honor of her 50th Birthday! She finished her FIRST ever Half Marathon in under 3:00. Happy Birthday and well done Tina!

Kerry Finley: Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Kerry supported Tina by also training for and running in this event. A first half marathon for her as well. She battled MANY health and borderline injury issues along the way but she persevered and got the job done! Congratulations Kerry!

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October Clients of the Month

October Clients of the Month

RUNNING WARRIORS IN THE NEWS!!

Coach Sonja would like to recognize the following Running Warrior clients for their outstanding achievements in October:

Linda Bain – Completed her 2nd Chicago Marathon!
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Laura Johnson – Completed 2nd Chicago Marathon with husband Steve!
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Kelly Walsh Completed her 1st Chicago Marathon!
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Corrie Anderson ran a Personal Best by over 17:00 at the Chicago Marathon!!!
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Cheyenne Spinks – a high school freshman helped her team race a PERFECT score at their recent Georgia Regional XC Championships, placed 5th overall in the meet…and ran a personal best this season of 19:51 which is a 22 second improvement over last year!
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Breanna Pina – another high school runner from Park Vista HS in South Florida ran a huge PR this season of 20:51 which is a 32 second improvement over last year. She finished 2nd overall in the 4A District Championships and is moving on to Regionals this weekend!
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Congratulations to all of these amazing and hard working runners! This is what happens when you PLAN your WORK and WORK your PLAN!

Do you have a running or racing goal you would like to achieve? Contact me to see how I can help! #BEARUNNINGWARRIOR


Why Low-Fat Diets Will Hurt Your Running

Why Low-Fat Diets Will Hurt Your Running

This is part five of the Running Warrior Performance Nutrition Series

(parts of this were excerpts from ‘Fast Track’ by Suzy Favor-Hamilton and Jose Antonio, Ph.D.)

 

Low fat diets are sure-fire way to ruin your health, your looks, and your performance, period!  Not eating fat, especially the healthy kinds called MUFAs and PUFAs, is a huge mistake.  MUFAs and PUFAs are short for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, respectively.

So what are these healthy fats that you need to eat?  Nuts of all kinds (e.g., cashews, almonds, peanuts [though technically it’s a legume not a nut]), fish fat (e.g., eat fatty fish such as salmon), and olive oil (e.g., use olive oil-based dressing).  

If you eat these 3 foods which have the right fats, you’ll be much healthier, and in the long-run (pun intended), you’ll be a better athlete.

Why should you eat healthy fats?  

  • The “healthy fats” aren’t stored as body fat as easily as the unhealthy fats such as the saturated variety.
  • You can eat more fat, still have a six-pack, and have more energy.
  • These fats are good for your heart!
  • Fats are a good way to get needed calories when you’re training heavily.  
  • Besides protein, fats are needed by your body!  If you don’t eat enough of the essential fats (linoleic and linolenic acid), you’ll feel lethargic and unhealthy.

 

So if you’re one of those who lives the “low-fat” lifestyle, STOP!  Fat is not the enemy.  Not enough fat will make your hair brittle, your skin dry, and your moods…well, moody!  Fat is needed for energy, hormone production, cell membrane structure and function, and a host of other very valuable things.  Let’s go over the different kinds of fats so that you can figure out which fats to limit and which fats to consume.  By the end of this, you’ll be a fat expert!

 

Three Main Kinds of Fat

The 3 main types of fatty acids are saturated, monounsaturated (MUFAs), and polyunsaturated (PUFAs).  A saturated fatty acid has the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms bonded to every carbon atom.  Hence, it is “saturated” or completely filled with hydrogen molecules.  On the other hand, a fatty acid with one double bond is called “monounsaturated” because there are some “missing” hydrogens.. Fatty acids having more than one double bond between carbon molecules is polyunsaturated. (See Figure 1). All fat in foods have a combination of the three for the most part.  What’s different is the percentage contribution from each.  

Figure 1:  Chemical Structure of Fatty Acids

Saturated Fat
(i.e., saturated fatty acid)
Unsaturated Fat
(i.e., unsaturated fatty acid)
H   H
|   |
-C C-
|   |
H   H
H   H
|   |
-C = C-
Carbon-Carbon
Single Bond
Carbon-Carbon
Double Bond

 

Fat Facts – The Bad

Trans and Saturated Fats

These two fats are a deadly duo.  If you enjoy living, I’d suggest you limit your consumption of these fats.  An easy way to figure out if a fat is saturated is this.  Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.  So that delicious morsel of fat from that pork chop is probably high in saturated fat.  Trans fat (also known as trans fatty acids) are made when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats.  However, a small amount of trans fat occurs naturally in animal-based foods.  Just like saturated fats, trans fats are not your best friend.(7)  They can elevate the ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) and thus increase your risk of heart disease.  Next time, read a food label.  If it says “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” then there’s trans fats in it.  You’ll find trans fats in foods such as margarines, cookies, snacks, fried foods and even peanut butter.  (See Table below).

 

Foods that Contain Bad Fats

Butter

Margarine (especially the harder varieties)

Crackers

Cookies

Snack Foods

Baked Goods

Anything Made with “Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil”

Certain Cuts of Beef (e.g. hamburgers)

Pork

Chicken Skin

Whole Milk

Whole Cheese

 

Does this mean that you should eliminate these foods completely from your diet?  No. First of all, it’s just not practical. And secondly, certain foods such as dairy and meat contain naturally occurring trans fats.  For instance, beef is a great source of zinc, iron, and protein.  Thus, eliminating beef from your diet isn’t the best option; instead, consume beef once or twice a week (rather than every day).  And then focus on the leaner protein sources (e.g., skinless chicken) or the healthy proteins with fat (e.g., salmon) most of the time.

 

Fat Facts – The Good

The MUFAs and PUFAs

Researchers have known for many years that high fat intake, at least in the form of olive oil, does not have any apparent negative health effects.  Furthermore, we know that monounsaturated fats are less likely to be stored as fat.  So keeping that svelte physique is not a problem if you eat the good fats.  For instance, in an eight week study done on mice, scientists found that non-exercising mice fed the beef fat gained more fat than those fed a monounsaturated fat.(8)  So what’s good for your pet mouse must be good for us, correct? Well in this case, yes.

MUFAs are healthy fats found in nuts, avocadoes, and oils.  Olive and canola oil are greater sources of MUFAs.  According to Chris Lydon, M.D., author of Look Hot, Live Long, she states that “unsaturated fats can help reduce circulating triglyercides and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes!”  For example, a 30-week study in which subjects consumed lots of peanuts, which is high in MUFAs, lowered serum or blood levels of fat (specifically triglycerides) and reduced cardiovascular disease risk.(9)  

 

Table – A Brief List of Some Darn Good Fats!

Food % PUFA % MUFA % Saturated
Salmon 45 38 17
Herring 27 47 26
Walnuts 56 28 16
Cashews 6 70 18
Macadamia nuts 10 71 12
Almonds 17 78 5
Peanuts 29 47 18
Canola oil 37 54 7
Olive oil 8 75 16
Avocado 10 70 20

 

PUFAs represent quite a varied number of fats.  Most Americans get plenty of linoleic acid (an omega-6 PUFA) but usually not enough of linolenic acid (an omega-3 PUFA).  Linoleic acid is found in corn, cottonseed, and soybean oils whereas linolenic acid is found in high concentrations in walnuts and flax, along with some in soybean oil.  Thus, some PUFAs are more beneficial than others.  And then there are the omega-3 fats found in fish oil or fat (e.g., eicosapentanoic acid or EPA, docosahexanoic acid or DHA).  These fats are great for you; yet, most of you would rather stick a nail in your thumb then eat fish.  Most of us tend to eat too much of the omega 6 fats found in vegetable oils at the expense of not enough omega 3s.  You should eat a 1:4 ratio of omega 3s to 6s.  Yet most of you probably eat closer to a 1:20 ratio; meaning you consume 20 times more omega 6s than 3s.  So if in doubt about the kinds of fat to eat of the PUFA variety, do the following:  eat fish.  And if you don’t like fish, add some flax oil to your protein powder and get your good fats that way.  Fish is such a great source of fat (and protein) that it deserves special mention.

Somethin’ Fishy Here…

Fish is one of the best foods you can eat, period!  The protein is great and the fat has tremendous health benefits.  The omega 3 fats found in certain fish (for example salmon) are something that no athlete should be without.  Why are these so important?  It’s these tongue-twisters: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Greenland Eskimos who eat lots of fish, more fish than a starving shark, have a lower incidence of heart disease, arthritis, and psoriasis.  Many have attributed this to the large quantities of fish fat they consume.  The beneficial effects of fish fat are numerous; however, with regards to muscle, fish fat’s anti-inflammatory role may be of benefit to injured muscle.  Why is this good?  Inflammation is a normal and necessary component of skeletal muscle adaptation to intense exercise.  Take some fish fat, or better yet, eat lots of fish, and perhaps you’ll speed up your post-exercise recovery process.   The best sources of EPA and DHA are the cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, trout and pilchards. EPA and DHA fatty acids make up 15-30 per cent of the oil content of these fish.  And unlike chicken, you want to eat the skins of these fish.  

Another cool thing with EPA is that it helps prevent muscle wasting with certain diseases.  This doesn’t mean you should wait until you’re wasting away before you visit the local fish market.  On the contrary, what it does indicate is that fish is a potent health food.  According to sports nutritionist, Douglas Kalman, M.S., R.D. of the Miami Research Associates, “Fish is the best source of the omega 3 fats, DHA and EPA; and it would behoove all runners to consume fish regularly.”  In summary, fish fats can do some amazing things (see Table below).

 

Table – Health Benefits of Fish Fat

  • Treatment with EPA improved blood vessel function in individuals with heart disease. (10)
  • EPA and DHA can reduce risk of death from heart disease.(11)
  • EPA can reduce injury to the heart.(12)
  • EPA and DHA can lower blood fat (triglyercides).(13) (14)
  • Besides the wondrous benefits of fish fat, the protein in fish is excellent was well.  There’s no single food that provides health and fitness related benefits as well as fish.  

 

Just the Fat Facts

Here’s an easy to follow summary on fat.

  1. Eat fish fat once a week; they lots of the healthy PUFAs (omega 3s).
  2. Use olive oil based salad dressing; the MUFAs are great for you.
  3. Eat nuts; they have lots of the healthy MUFAs.
  4. Fat should make up roughly 30% of your calories.   Don’t follow a low-fat diet!
  5. Limit intake of saturated and trans fats (basically avoid processed foods).  Perhaps eat red meat a twice per week; Eat whole eggs every other day.

If you are thinking of trying CLA, MCTs, or diacylglycerol to see if it helps you, talk to a sports nutritionist first.