Category Archives: Marathon Minute

How to Fuel for an Afternoon Track Workout

What is the Best Way to Fuel for an Afternoon Track Workout?

water_fuel_trackFueling for an afternoon workout can be tricky. Your body uses a lot of energy with the intensity of track workouts. You want to balance your hunger with foods that satisfy you, yet don’t fill you up so much that you get uncomfortable when you run.

First of all you need to stay hydrated. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day. In the late afternoon, about 4:30, you might want to add some electrolytes to your water, like Nuun, Gu Brew, Hammer Fizz, or Nathan Catalyst tablets.

The four main electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium help to maintain your fluid balance. They carry electrical energy to keep your body’s systems functioning to help you avoid muscle fatigue and cramping.

A light snack that includes both protein and carbohydrates again around 4:30 is advised. A small apple with string cheese or peanut butter or a handful of almonds, carrots and hummus, banana and peanut butter, almonds and dried fruit are all good possibilities for an afternoon snack. If you choose a bar, look for the closest ratio of protein to carbohydrates.
Fueling well, and a good attitude will help you towards a great workout!

Photo credit Thank you!

Staying Motivated, Training Year-round

by Coach  Lauren Ganes,  Marathon Coordinator

how to stay motivated for running and trainingAfter training and participating in a big event like a half marathon or marathon you might find that it’s hard to get into training mode again.

Running should be fun. After a big event or an injury it’s nice to just “stay in the moment” and enjoy the beauty of the trail with eyes and ears. Skip the Garmin, and run for an hour chatting with a team mate.

Sometimes after an injury it’s hard to know just how to re-enter training.

If you have been only doing road races, you might want to train for a trail race. You also might want to change race distances, try a 10K or a 5k. Changing things up often sparks a new motivation.

The WOW team makes it fairly easy to re-enter training. You can usually find a team mate doing intervals of 1:1, 4:1 or 9:1. Sharing the interval with other women really makes the time pass quickly.

And of course knowing that your team mates are at a work-out is always the best motivation to get you out walking or running.

Thanks, WOW women for supporting our desire to keep moving and stay motivated!

Success Teams and WOW Team Mentors

Success Teams and Go WOW Mentors

by Coach Lauren Ganes, Member Coordinator

IMG_1120 (480x640)The WOW team strives to support and care for all women in their efforts to stay strong and fit.  One of the more wonderful parts of being part of a group,  is knowing that other women will be expecting you at the workout.   You might not want to get out of bed early in the morning, or you’re too tired after work, but knowing other WOW women are waiting for you provides that extra incentive to get to the workout. And of course you feel accomplished and refreshed after you finish your work out.

Success Teams are another way for WOW women to be accountable and supported by their team mates.  Don’t forget to reach out to the women in your Success Team.  If you haven’t seen them recently, check-in to see what they are doing to stay fit.  Let them know they are missed.

In addition to our Success Teams, we have just begun a Mentoring program for new members.  We have been assigning veteran WOW Women as mentors to new members.

The veteran WOW member makes sure that new members are greeted and feel welcomed at our workouts.  Most importantly, if a new member doesn’t show up, the mentor calls or e-mails to check-in with them.  

In addition, the mentor is available to answer questions about the workout procedures, and any other issues that relate to our website at, Meetup, or the Winners Circle on Facebook. (Hopefully Coach Lauren has already covered these means of communication.)

WOW veterans, be ready to be called on to support our new members!

Here is to success for all WOW members, veterans and newbies, in getting out to the workouts and staying fit!

Photo of Lauren, Lizette, and Vera at San Leandro Marina. Photographer unknown.

Fitness and Friendship Marathon Minute

Success Teams Part 1

by Member Appreciation and Go WOW Coach Lauren Ganes

Fitness and friendship, is there anything better than that?

2014 WOW at Shadow Cliffs 016 (407x640)The warmth and support of the WOW team provides the opportunity for women to explore, succeed and reach goals they never dreamed of.

As a member of WOW for nearly 6 years it has been a privilege to watch women grow, whether walking, running or training for a triathlon.

We have Coach Stephanie to thank for not only founding the team, but for providing an environment where women feel safe to challenge themselves with the bonus of creating lasting friendships.

And thinking about friendships, and how meaningful the WOW team is, reach out to the members of your Success Teams today. Say hello, wish them well (email or phone) and, if you haven’t seen them recently (or ever!) encourage them to work out with us real soon. Everyone benefits when we share in the success of fitness by working out together.

Thank you, Coach Stephanie for supporting us all in our quest to stay fit!

Race Preparation for the Oakland Run Fest

Race Preparation for the Oakland Run Fest

by Coach Lauren Ganes

Oakland Run Fest 2011Hooray! ORF is here! Now it’s time to celebrate all that hard work and training you have put in for the half marathon, relay and 5K!

This last week requires a little extra race preparation and, if you plan ahead, it will pay off on race day. For some of us, it will be our fifth year participating in the Oakland Run Fest!

Every runner needs to stay well hydrated this week. Half Marathoners need to focus on eating their complex carbohydrates and protein to keep their bodies well fueled and ready for race morning.

All runners should remember to wear their WOW shirts. Set out your clothes the night before and pin on your bib. What should be set out?
• Hat or visor
• Sunscreen
• Body Glide
• Jog bra
• Shirt (with bib pinned on)
• Shorts or pants
• Socks
• Shoes
• Identification and any necessary medical emergency information
• Extra clothes for before and after the race. These can be deposited at the Go WOW Tent before your race
For half marathoners only:
• Fuel Belt with electrolytes (gel, shot blocks)
• One small bottle with liquid in case you need it between aid stations

Stay strong, find your rhythm, and have fun! Go WOW Team!

Hydration Energy

Hydration Energy

by Coach Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

PenguinsAny time we exercise for over 60 minutes, in any kind of weather: sun, wind or rain, we need to remember to hydrate. How do you carry your water and electrolytes?

There are many options to choose from when you arrive at the sports store. There are elastic belts made by Nathan and Amphipod which have bottles attached as well as some extra pockets for your I.D. and keys. There are also hand-held bottles with pockets attached, again made by Nathan and Amphipod. And Coach Stephanie has the HipSisters band that is made of material and has 3 zippered pockets and a pouch. An 8 ounce bottle of water can be placed in the zippered pocket.

In order to decide on the hydration system that is right for you, ask other WOW Women what they like to use and why.

Warm, cold or rainy, remember to stay hydrated any time you run.

WOW What a Team

2004 WOW October farewell to Michaela 002 (640x480)

Studies have shown that runners are more successful when they are part of a group.  By being part of a group, you know you will have someone to run with, and that someone is there waiting for you at a specific time.  So often we would not get out of bed early in the morning, or go out if it is cold or rainy; however, you don’t want to let your buddies down, so you show up.

We are all so grateful to Coach Stephanie for creating the WOW Team which fosters warm, caring support for all women, from walkers to marathoners and every distance in between.

So many times I am struck by the generosity of spirit shown by WOW Women.  Last week one of our members moved out of state, and so many women came out to say good-bye.  Another woman was coming back from injury and afraid to run for the first time back, and another member stepped up and said, “Come on, let’s go for a short run”.

It’s always a joy to have a new member join.  Not only do WOW Women cordially welcome new members but they all love watching the progress of the new member growing stronger with each work-out.

It is so inspiring to be a part of this diverse group of women.

Thank you, Coach Stephanie for providing this gift to all of us!

Training for the Oakland Run Fest

by Coach Lauren Ganes

February 17, 2015

2004 WOW October farewell to Michaela 002 (640x480)You can feel the excitement and dedication at each workout as WOW women prepare for the 5K, relay, or half marathon at the Oakland Running Festival on Sunday, March 22.

Training is different for each distance.

Women training for the 5K want to walk or run at a pace in which they cannot talk during a workout.  Focusing on speed is the ultimate goal.  There is no need for worrying about hydrating or fueling during this short race.  Staying hydrated during the week and eating a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables and protein leading up to race day will help lead to a successful 5K.

While training for the relay, women will be moving quickly for a bit over an hour.  Some women won’t need any extra fuel for the race, while others might want some electrolyte liquid and possibly one gel.  It’s important for runners to find the fast pace that they can maintain for between 50-70 minutes.  Eating a breakfast that will keep blood sugar level is also important on race day.  And training runs are perfect for finding out what works best.  Like the women running the 5K, Relayers should also stay well hydrated and eat a healthy diet every week with special attention during the week leading to the race.

In addition to the same hydration and healthy eating leading up to race day as the 5K and Relayers, the Half Marathoners need to find the correct electrolyte liquids and gels or blocs that keep their blood sugar level and their energy strong for the full 13.1 miles.  Training runs are perfect for finding out what works for fueling during the run as well as what breakfast works best.

Check-in with your running buddies and other WOW Women to find out about their favorite pre-race breakfasts and fueling tips.

Fueling and Breakfast for Best Race Performance

Whether you are running a 5K or a marathon consider beginning your day with breakfast!

Dollarphotoclub_43808394You need to experiment with various breakfasts and timing on your training runs to know what foods provide you with the most energy and do not negatively affect your gastro system.

Race day for a 5K and hard track morning workouts may not require fueling beforehand, but like any other runs you do need to fuel afterwards, based on the intensity and amount of time you exercised. Within 30-60 minutes of finishing you should have a snack/meal that contains protein and carbohydrates.

Your breakfast needs to include both protein and carbohydrates. Why? The protein is important for your muscles to rebuild and the carbohydrates create the quick energy and satiety to keep you moving.  It is particularly important to fuel for runs over an hour, but it is still important to test your individual metabolism for workouts that last less than an hour. See how you feel with fuel from breakfast and without to get familiar with your what your body needs.

There are a variety of breakfasts that provide energy:  banana and peanut butter, peanut butter and ½ bagel or whole wheat toast, yogurt with oats, dried fruit and nuts, oatmeal with milk and fruit, smoothies with almond milk, nut butter, berries and greens, eggs with greens, and or sweet potatoes.

Check-in with your team mates to see what they eat for breakfast.  What will you try before your run this Sunday?

A Note from Coach Stephanie: Remember that a general rule of thumb is that for each mile you cover, your body uses about 100 calories of energy. This gives you a sense of how much food is appropriate for your level of effort.



by Lauren Ganes
February 2, 2015

027 (640x510)We all have good intentions when we join the WOW team.  We are going to get out there and run or walk every week-end and every Wednesday.  There are times we can’t make it to a workout and other times when, after we have skipped one or two workouts, we just get out of the habit of coming.  Running Buddies can help jumpstart your motivation.

This is a great time for running buddies to kick-in.  You should all have a list with the e-mails of your running buddies.  Please make sure to reach out and introduce yourselves via e-mail.  You can send a picture of yourself, share your goals, and even your struggles.  Each running buddy group has a veteran WOW member to help answer any questions you might have.

Just recently I was out of my comfort zone when I signed up for a bike ride.  I let other WOW women know how I was feeling and immediately had e-mails of support.

Give yourself the gift of power and e-mail your running buddies today.  

Stay Injury Free Throughout 2015

January 6, 2015 by Coach Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

frontHappy New Year!  The New Year brings excitement and commitment to new goals.  For all runners running for the first time, veteran runners and runners recovering from injury this is the perfect time to follow training plans.

Following a training plan will help you stay injury free, because you won’t be running too fast or putting in long distances too soon that could lead to injury.

Incorporating the interval method of running for 1 minute and walking 1 minute or running for 4 minutes and walking for 1 minute is beneficial because you utilize different muscles for each activity.  The interval method has very little effect on your pace if you are running hard and walking fast  (written by someone originally skeptical of this method). During races I’ve observed runners using the interval method pass those that run continuously.

It is important for all runners and walkers to remember to do their dynamic stretches before running and their static stretches after running.  New members check with the Coaches and other WOW veterans if you have questions about stretching.

Here is to an injury free year of running in 2015!


Running strips away the differences in people

MARATHON MINUTE by Coach Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

December 9, 2014

“Running strips away the differences in people.”

expo Fil, Lauren,

This quote resonated with me when I read it in Runner’s World  a few months ago.  As part of a running  group you meet new people outside of your work, neighborhood, ethnicity or age group.  It is a rich experience to share moving and staying fit while learning about new people and establishing new friends at the same time.

As the New Year approaches new members will join our running group.  We will all maintain our old friendships, and still look forward to welcoming and meeting new members.

We all share the same goal of staying fit and we get inspired by hearing about our teammates’ struggles and successes, physically and emotionally.  While moving, we get a chance to chat and make new friends.  There is a wonderful support system that exists in our diverse group.

Let’s continue to support and celebrate our fabulous WOW team with our common goal of staying fit in the New Year.

What a Journey – Running with Friends Makes All the Difference

by Coach Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

November 22, 2014

Lauren at Berkeley_nI laugh to myself as I think how proud and happy I was to cross the finish line of my slowest (and most beautiful) half marathon last week-end.  It was the very first time I had followed intervals during a race.  Would I do that again?  YES!

Running is a lot more than crossing the finish line.  The process of training for a goal is the most rewarding of all.  Working on speed, adding more mileage, figuring out the correct electrolytes and hydration as well as the correct clothing including shoes are all part of the process.

Recovering from injury humbled me.  I had to very, very slowly begin my running with plenty of walking included.  I had to seek advice from doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors.  Most of all I had to listen to my own body.  I now have a very healthy respect for stretching, strengthening, foam rolling, and icing after running.

Knowing that I had WOW women to walk or run/walk with over this past year has been invaluable.  I look forward to continuing this journey with all of you.

Stretching and Strengthening

Stretching and Strength

by Coach Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

Plank_nIn order to continue running you need to stay injury free.  How can you do this?  Stretching, Strengthening and Foam Rolling.

At our work-outs we always do a dynamic warm-up to prepare our bodies for the longer physical activity of running.  And after our run, we do the static stretches to stretch out the contracted muscles.

For some women it is also necessary to add some additional stretching during the week, which might include yoga classes.

Running requires strong hips, glutes and a strong core.  The stronger you are, the less likely that you will become injured.  Squats, clamshells, and bridges strengthen your hips and glutes.  Crunches and planks strengthen your core.

Another component to staying injury free is to foam roll.  Find the area that is tight and roll over it back and forth for about 30 seconds.  This helps to release “knots” or built up scar tissue.

It is often difficult to get into a routine, but once you begin with just a few exercises and make it a habit, you feel stronger and often add a few more exercises to your repertoire.

What stretch or new exercise will you start with?

From Coach Stephanie: Here’s a link to a beginners stretching video.

Triathlon Practice Tips


by Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

Race Day Checklist and Practicing for Your Race

Ready, Set, Go!
Ready, Set, Go!

You have practiced swimming, biking, running BRICKS and the transitions, now what happens on race day?

When you arrive you will see rows and rows of bike racks.  Look around and get familiar with the site, noting the transitions areas where you come out of the water, where you exit to begin your bike ride, and where you exit to begin the run.  And of course look to see where the finish line is.  Now:

  1.  Place your bike on a rack, with your helmet hanging from your bike handle.  (If you wear glasses, place them in a glass case in your helmet).
  2. If you brought a balloon, tie it to the bike rack next to your bike.
  3. Set up your towel, shoes (and maybe sox), shorts and shirt, water bottle, and or dishpan for water to clean your feet, or bucket beneath your bike.  If you use a bucket you can turn it over to sit on it if needed, to put on your shoes. (You use the dishpan or bucket to carry your gear from the car to the bike set-up area)
  4. Now go get your bib and the tags for your helmet and bike. And be prepared to have your body marked with your bib number and maybe your age on your arms and legs.
  5. Leave your valuables, except your car keys, locked in your car.

Here is the packing list:

Pre Race:
o   Gear Bag
o   Sunscreen
o   Lip balm
o   Warm clothes or rain gear
o   Garbage Bag for rain
o   Pre race snack

o   Tinted goggles
o   Swim top or suit
o   Swim shorts or suit
o   Towel
o   Timing chip with Velcro strap (provided at race)
o   Optional: wet suit and goggle defogger

Transition 1
o   Towel
o   Race belt or pins for Bib; or shorts with bib already pinned on

o   Helmet
o   Shoes/sox
o   Bike
o   Bike tools
o   Frame pump
o   Glasses
o   Bike frame number
o   Water bottle
o   Optional: cycling gloves

Transition 2
o   Water
o   Fuel Food

o   Hat or visor
o   Optional:  elastic laces

Post Race:
o   Fresh Clothes
o   Personal items: comb, sunscreen
o   Garbage bag for wet clothes
o   Cash

Now you are ready to put the pieces together so that you will know what to expect on race day.

Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Outside of Your Comfort Zone

by Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

Napa Girls' Weekend. Sunday morning workout as usual!
Napa Girls’ Weekend. Sunday morning workout as usual!

A few weeks ago I had the exciting experience of walking 2 miles  inside a lava tube!  Walking or moving in dark spaces is difficult for me and in this case I only had my iphone flashlight to help me navigate the uneven walking surface.  I persevered through this very unique experience.

At some point my husband asked if I wanted to turn around, and I replied, “NO”.  He remarked that prior to my triathlons and running races I would have turned around (and that is true).

It’s exciting to try something new and you gain an inner strength from stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone.  Many WOW women will be experiencing their first triathlon this week-end.  We know you have trained for this and you will not only cross the finish line with a smile on your face, but you will know that you have added to your personal inner strength.

Stay strong, keep your rhythm, and enjoy the experience.


Are You Ready to TRI?

by Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

Summer brings good weather and a time to get out and exercise.  Why not try something new, choose a new goal?  How about a sprint triathlon?  You get to swim, bike and run!

Ann R Eileen K at Sprint Tri 9-22-2012WOW has a 12 week training plan to help you organize your time so you train for all three sports and happily cross that finish line.

This takes planning and carving out less than 4 hours a week to reach your goal.  Having a goal pushes you to train in the sport that is your weakest, either physically or emotionally.   It is so exciting to cross that finish line and know you have become a stronger more empowered woman.

You do not need buy any special clothing or equipment to participate in a triathlon.  If you don’t own a bike, see if you can borrow one from a friend.  You may need to buy a pair of goggles, but other than that you have the hat, swimsuit, shorts, shirt, and running shoes.

So what are you waiting for? There is no better time to TRI than now!

Marathon Minute April 1, 2014

Marathon Minute April 1, 2014

by Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

While this past Sunday was the kick-off for See Jane Run training for the 5K or half marathon on June 22; I also overheard many WOW Women discussing upcoming spring and summer races ranging from 5K’s up to full marathons. So now is a good time to check-in with your team mates and see what they are training for.IMG_0148 (640x480) (2)

Last year I was privileged to pace women at the Diva’s Half Marathon in Burlingame.  This year the Diva’s 5k and Half Marathon will be Sunday, June 1.  I loved the energy and camaraderie of women participating in this very flat race.  It was a new and fun experience to wear a boa as I crossed the finish line.

It was easy to park at BART and take a shuttle to the race.  This is a local race which I think all WOW Women would enjoy.  To register go to then click on San Francisco Bay Area.

Registration opens today for the Big Sur Half Marathon and 5K on November 16.  The route looks beautiful, and this race fills up quickly so don’t forget to register:  We would like as many WOW women as possible to join us for this “end-of-the-year” event.

Marathon Minute March 17, 2014

Visualization: Race Strategy

by Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

Coach Stephanie, Christie, Eileen, Robbi , and Iris after our races. Photo by Laura Lance.
Coach Stephanie, Christie, Eileen, Robbi , and Iris after our races. Photo by Laura Lance.

Many WOW women are participating in races this coming week-end.  From half marathons, to relays, to 5K’s, no matter the distance, each racer needs to spend some time visualizing the race.

You want to think about the starting line, and focus on getting into your own rhythm right away.  If you are running in a 5K you will be running as fast as you can the entire time.

If you are running the half marathon, remember not to go out too fast. You want to have enough energy to finish strong.

Relayers want to run quickly, but make sure you also have energy to finish strong.  For all racers it is important to visualize crossing the finish line, and for the relayers to mentally practice passing the chip to their team mate.

Take time to picture yourself on the course, breathing easily. Remember to keep shoulders relaxed, arms and, of course, legs moving rhythmically while landing gently on your forefoot.

Thinking about your form and visually practicing what to expect on the course makes race day easier.

Bravo to Tricia and Janet who have trained so well for their first half marathon this week-end in beautiful Zion National Park!  Stay strong, and let us hear about it.

Our energetic thoughts will be with Coach Stephanie, Jill, Heidi, and Kathleen as they run the Oakland Half this year. And we will also be cheering for Andrea, Eileen, Edie, Julie Y and Marta as they do the 5K in Oakland.

Enjoy the moment and all the celebrations along the route. You have trained well for this.  Keep your head up as you cross the finish line—the cameras are clicking and you don’t want to be looking at your watch. Remember to wear your WOW t-shirt so we can find you in the crowd.

Don’t forget to visualize yourself crossing that finish line!


Injuries: Reminder to Stretch and Strengthen

Injuries: Reminder to Stretch and Strengthen

by Lauren Ganes, Marathon Coordinator

images (12)At the RRCA Coaches’ training I was a bit surprised by the answer to a question the instructor asked. He asked if there was anyone in the room who had never been sidelined by an injury? Out of 35 people, only one person had not been.

Recently I met a woman who has run countless marathons and has never been injured. She feels this is because strength training is part of her weekly routine.

Coach Stephanie provides runners with training that slowly adds distance and slowly adds speed to the work-outs to help avoid injuries.

Another way to help avoid injuries is to focus on strengthening your core, as well as your quads, hamstrings and hip flexors. You will notice a difference in your training if you add some of these exercises to your weekly routine. You will notice that Coach Stephanie tries to include some of these before our Wednesday night runs.

Check-in with your Buddies and see what they do each week to stay strong. It’s always fun to try something new.

In the next few weeks I will go into more details about the execution of exercises to help us stay strong to avoid injuries.