The Atlanta Track Club

Team Up to Get Fit in 2017

The arrival of a new year often means new goals and plans. If you haven’t already, now is the time to set running or walking goals for 2017!

Running is often thought of as a solitary sport, but you don’t have to log all of your miles alone. In fact, running or walking with others is a great way to stay motivated and make your workout more fun. Here are some options:

  • Find a group run. Atlanta Track Club offers free group runs each month that start and finish at area Taco Mac restaurants so you can enjoy a drink or grab some dinner afterwards. The laid-back nature of these events makes it easy to meet new people or bring your running buddies along for a fun evening. Local running specialty stores also offer casual runs each week.
  • Register for a race. Whether you sign up for a 5K or a marathon, putting something on your calendar can serve as motivation. Then on the day of the event, you can enjoy the company of others as you head towards the finish line.
  • Join a training program. If you have specific goals but aren’t sure where to start, training programs are the best option. Atlanta Track Club offers training programs for varying distances throughout the year, and many of our participants have ended up forging close friendships because of all the time spent pounding the pavement together.
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Photo: Dan McCauley

You can find information about all of Atlanta Track Club’s events and programs at atlantatrackclub.org. Whether you find a new pack to run with or prefer to run alone, we hope you are starting 2017 on the right foot!

– Amy Begley, Atlanta Track Club Coach

Learning to Love the Treadmill

treadmill-runnerIt’s that time of year when there are fewer daylight hours, the kids are home from school on holiday breaks, and it can be cold outside, possibly even icy or snowy. These are all reasons that you may not be able to head outside for a run or walk – but it doesn’t mean you have to lose momentum when it comes to your health and fitness.

Many people do not enjoy spending time on the treadmill, but there are ways to keep your workout from becoming boring. The beauty of the treadmill is that you are in a controlled environment where you can try new paces. It is also the only place that I encourage you to use headphones while running. You can even set the treadmill at a 1-2% incline to simulate running outside.

If you have to take to the treadmill, you can make the time pass more quickly with a structured workout. Here are some workouts to try:

Hill Repeats
After your warmup, put the treadmill at the fast end of your easy day pace. Increase the incline for 2-3 minutes and then take it back down to 1-2%. Try any incline from 5-15%. You can do this for the duration of your run for that day, but don’t forget to cool down.

Progression Run
Start the run at an easy warmup pace. Afterwards, slowly increase the pace each mile until you are at race pace or faster. The goal would be to hold that pace for a half mile to a mile. Finally, do a slow cooldown to finish.

Intervals
If you want to do intervals on the treadmill, here is a guide to common interval distances:

0.25 is ¼ mile or 400 meters

0.50 is ½ mile or 800 meters

0.75 is 3/4 mile or 1,200 meters

 

Good luck, and have fun mixing it up on the treadmill!

– Amy Begley, Atlanta Track Club Coach

Be Thankful for Your Health this Thanksgiving

img_2114_thanksgivingFor many people, Thanksgiving is thought of as a time to enjoy your family as well as the turkey and all of your favorite side dishes – and don’t forget the pumpkin pie! It can be very easy to get carried away with holiday treats. When you add in out-of-town guests, and it can feel like it is impossible to maintain your normal healthy habits.

Just because food is a large part of the Thanksgiving Day tradition doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to an unhealthy holiday. (But you don’t have to deprive yourself either!) Here are some ways to find balance this Thanksgiving, and throughout the rest of the holidays:

 

  • Stick to your routine the best you can. If you usually run or walk a few miles most days, try to stick to it during the week of Thanksgiving. Get up early so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on family time.
  • Make fitness a family affair. Suggest something active to your friends and family members. Go for a walk after your Thanksgiving feast. Head out for a hike together over the weekend. Hit the mall for Black Friday shopping and make sure you get a lot of steps in. You can even take a break from watching football during halftime to play a game of touch football.
  • Think before you bite. It’s okay to enjoy the food and drinks the holiday season offers, but be mindful of portions. Instead of loading up your plate, take a little of everything. If you are still hungry, you can always go back for more. Try to limit how many alcoholic beverages you have as well.
  • Sign up for a holiday race. Atlanta Track Club’s Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K has a distance for everyone! In addition to the half marathon and 5K, there is the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia One Mile and 50m dash, so family members of all ages can earn their turkey. Registration is available at org.

With a little preparation and dedication, you can set yourself up for a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

By Amy Begley, Atlanta Track Club Coach
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How You Can Train Like an Elite Athlete

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-11-09-53-amWe can all appreciate the talent and dedication of elite athletes. From the world’s top runners to our own Atlanta Track Club Elite, it is impressive to watch the competition unfold at each race or meet. Not everyone can be considered a world-class athlete, but there are things you can do to make sure you’re performing at your personal best.

Put in the Time

Atlanta Track Club Elite trains 5-7 days a week. While this might not be feasible for everyone, increasing the amount of days you train and the miles you run gradually will improve your performance.

 

Try to build the following into each week:

  • 2 interval or tempo workouts
  • 1 long run
  • 1-2 easy runs
  • 1-2 cross training days

Because of all the miles you will be putting on your legs, consider doing a lot of these workouts on soft surfaces such as the Piedmont Park Active Oval, Cochran Shoals Trail or grass.

Push Your Pace

As mentioned, you should work in intervals or tempo workouts as part of your weekly routine in order to improve your race times. Here is an Atlanta Track Club Elite team favorite:

12/4 Pace Change

Start with a 1 or 2 mile warmup, then do the following workout 4 times:

  • 1,200m at race pace
  • 200m recovery jog
  • 400m faster than race pace
  • 400m recovery jog

The workout is not finished with the last interval – you should do a 1 or 2 mile cool down and then stretch out the leg muscles.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Training in groups or with a partner is a great way to stay motivated. There will be days that someone is having an off day but the support of their teammates gets them through the workout.

It’s also helpful to set goals. Come up with a personal goal and find a group that can keep you motivated to achieve them. The fall and winter seasons are a great time to become an elite version of yourself, so think about what you want to achieve, figure out a plan and lace up!

Amy Begley, Atlanta Track Club Coach
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Hit the Trails this Fall

By Amy Begley, Atlanta Track Club Coach

As we head into the fall season, this is a great time to explore new places to run or walk. Hitting a trail instead of pounding the pavement can provide a much-needed change of scenery as well as some health benefits!

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Photo: Atlanta Track Club

Running or walking on soft surfaces like dirt and grass puts less of a pounding on your legs than running on roads or sidewalks. Trail running will also help to strengthen your feet, ankles and lower legs since it is harder to stay stable on uneven surfaces.
I recommend running on soft surface once or twice a week. But before you lace up your shoes and head out, here are some tips to keep you safe on the trails.

 

  • Slow your pace and watch your footing. You will likely find yourself in hilly or uneven areas, so make sure you slow down or walk to avoid tripping or falling. Keep a close eye out for holes!
  • Leave your headphones at home. It is very important that you are able to hear your surroundings.
  • Bring your phone and something to drink, especially if you are running in a new place. You will be able to call for help from your phone and having water or an electrolyte beverage will keep you hydrated.
  • Consider bringing a running buddy. Whether it’s a friend or your dog, it’s never a bad idea to have someone with you.

 

There are a lot of great trails and soft surfaces around Metro Atlanta. You can also join us for the second annual Wingfoot XC Classic, a cross country event that features a community race as well as high school and middle school invitationals. The event takes place at Sam Smith Park in Cartersville on Saturday, September 24.

Registration for the Wingfoot XC Classic is free for Atlanta Track Club members and $10 for non-members. Visit atlantatrackclub.org for more information.

Take the Field at the Georgia Dome

By Amy Begley

Imagine yourself sprinting down the field inside the Georgia Dome and glancing up to see yourself on the Jumbotron as you approach the 50-yard line. The Atlanta Falcons will be filing away their favorite moments from the Dome as they begin their final season at their current home – and you also have a chance to make memories on the field!

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Atlanta Track Club offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Falcons fans of all ages to finish a 5K, One Mile or 50m Dash inside the Georgia Dome. The Rise Up and Run 5K/Walk Like MADD presented by Northside Hospital will be held on Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 a.m. Participants finish on the 50-yard line and receive a commemorative shirt and medal.

In addition to a finish time, all 5K participants will receive a 40-yard split time for their final yards on the field, just like football players who are being evaluated by scouts for the NFL Draft! Participants can also meet Freddie Falcon and the Falcons Cheerleaders as well as play games on the field.

This year, the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta Track Club are partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving Georgia for this event. 100% of the proceeds will benefit MADD and their efforts to raise awareness and funds to eliminate drunk driving.

Registration is available at atlantatrackclub.org. Join us as we support a good cause and celebrate the Falcons’ final season at the Georgia Dome!

Tips for a Great AJC Peachtree Road Race 

by Amy Begley

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 11.26.23 AMWe’re just days away from the AJC Peachtree Road Race, the largest 10K in the world! While that can seem a little intimidating, there are things you can do to prevent any race-day jitters, for the Peachtree or any race. Getting to the start line will go a lot more smoothly if you take a few minutes to get ready the night before and have a plan for the day of the race.

 

The Night Before:

  • Have your transportation plan ready – for Peachtree, we strongly recommend you use MARTA
  • Lay out everything you will wear including shoes and socks
  • Put your race number and safety pins with your clothes so you don’t forget them
  • Eat a good dinner, but don’t try any new foods
  • Hydrate throughout the day, and if it is hot and humid, make sure to include electrolyte drinks in addition to water
  • Decide where you will meet family or friends after the race
  • Get a good night’s sleep

 

The Morning of the Race:

  • Eat what you usually eat before a morning run – do not try new foods or fluids!
  • Before you leave, make sure you grab your race number and safety pins
  • Take fluids to drink on the way to the start line
  • Arrive early

 

During the Race:

  • Stay calm and keep positive thoughts in your mind
  • Try to get into your pace early without starting too fast
  • Most importantly, have fun!

 

Once you’ve crossed the finish line, grab your AJC Peachtree Road Race finisher’s shirt and celebrate with your friends, family and the other 59,999 runners! We’ll see you on July 4th!

 

Saying Goodbye to Turner Field

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By Amy Begley, Atlanta Track Club

The Atlanta Braves’ final season at Turner Field is well underway, and many are starting to feel a little nostalgic. Each home game includes a countdown of how many more times we’ll be able to see the Braves play in their current home – a place with plenty of history, including the 1996 Olympic Games.

Olympic Decathlon Champion Dan O’Brien recently visited Turner Field for the first time since he won gold in the Atlanta Games. Dan was in town as our special guest for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia Peachtree Junior, and was also invited to help with the home game countdown. He told us when he walked onto the field, he remembered the electricity in the air when he received his medal 20 years ago.

You also have the opportunity to set foot on the field one last time. The Braves Country 5K will be held on Saturday, June 11. The course starts just outside of Turner Field, and ends on the warning track with a special welcome on the scoreboard. Each 5K registration also includes a ticket to a Braves home game and a Mizuno commemorative shirt.  This family-friendly event also offers a one mile fun run and 50m dash for children.

Registration is available at atlantatrackclub.org. Don’t miss your chance to cross the final finish line at Turner Field with Atlanta Track Club at the Braves Country 5K!