As athletes, there’s nothing better than inspiring each other to push harder and go further. That’s exactly what happened when AltRed and the Miami Run Club teamed up to train for the legendary Miami Marathon. With a solid routine in place, the performance and recovery benefits of AltRed and months of preparation behind them, the runners entered the Miami Marathon with high hopes for what was ahead.
We caught up with some of the members of the Miami Run Club throughout their journey. Here’s a look at how you can use their experiences to prepare for your next goal:
Joining a run club is a great way to connect with other runners and elevate your motivation through combined energy. One example is the Baptist Health Brickell Run Club. Powered by Nike, it’s unofficially known as the country’s largest free weekly run club — and has fast become the heart and soul of the Miami running culture for nearly 10 years now.
Each Tuesday, a group of over 400 members gather in the popular Brickell neighborhood for a 3.5-mile run through the palm-lined streets of downtown. In speaking with the runners, we found that it’s their inner drive that keeps them moving, but it’s the camaraderie that keeps them coming back.
“I joined the Brickell Run Club last year – and I haven’t missed a Tuesday since. I love that I’m improving my stamina, while making great friends along the way.”
-Timothy, Miami Run Club Member
With everything we’re facing today, there’s no better time to help your community through the sport of running. Run clubs aren’t meeting in person these days, but there are many ways to stay connected while still practicing social distancing. You can find a local run club on social media and tag them with your runs, like their pages and share their posts. (Tip: Leaving comments with words of encouragement is a great morale booster for other runners!) And why stop there? You can even use these ideas to show your support to run clubs around the world, especially those in heavily affected areas. Let’s bring runners together to generate more positive energy as we help each other get through this challenging life race.
CREATE A ROUTINE
When training for a race like the Miami Marathon, it’s most important to create a routine. In addition to the 3.5-mile runs on Tuesdays, some of the Miami Run Club members like to focus on longer runs (up to 20 miles) on the weekends, when they have more time. Others sprinkle in speed workouts like longer tempo runs throughout the week. Whether you go at half-marathon pace or tackle grueling interval sessions, be sure to come up with a plan that challenges you more and more each time. (Tip: You can even find live workout sessions to join on social media!)
When it comes to taking your training regimen to the next level, supplements can help you achieve your goals – and ensure you’re ready to achieve even more the next day. Many of the runners we talked to used AltRed to help them run longer and recover faster.
“I usually take AltRed about an hour before my run – and instead of struggling in the back-half, it makes things a little easier. It almost feels like I have the wind at my back.”
-Sarah, Miami Run Club Member
The way you train is a very personal decision. Whatever works best for you, be sure to incorporate it into your daily life, stick with it – and you’re bound to see the results you’re after.
As we got to know some of the Miami Run Club members, we also got a glimpse into their diets – which are just as varied as their training regimens. Some runners are very specific about what they eat. Whether they follow the recipes of elite marathoners or experiment with diets such as Keto, they’re laser-focused and view what goes into their body as strictly fuel.
“I meal prep on Sundays using Olympic athlete and NY marathon winner Shalane Flanagan’s book ‘Run Fast. Eat Slow’ – which focuses on whole nutrition for athletes.”
-Nannette, Miami Run Club Member
For other runners, they just try to be aware of what they consume – focusing more on smarter choices rather than rigorous diets. Of course, not all runners are as detailed when it comes to their diets. For many, running is an easy reason to get together for several beers afterwards – and that’s cool, too! We believe that however and whatever you consume, it should fit seamlessly into your life. Keep that in mind anytime you evaluate what fuels you.
IT’S GO TIME!
Now that we’ve covered training and preparation, let’s take a look at the ultimate goal: the event itself. More than 20,000 runners from around the world participated in the Miami Marathon this year. It’s famous for the high-energy atmosphere complete with blasting music, scenic views and that unmistakable Miami vibe that shows up in every detail.
Here’s an inside look at what it’s like to participate in the race – from start to finish – as told by Luke, an AltRed employee:
Wake up call! The race begins at 6am to beat the Miami heat, so an early start is a must. Luckily I laid everything out the night before, so I’m able to quickly throw on my gear. I take two AltRed capsules with some sips of Gatorade – before gobbling down a granola bar.
I make my way to the American Airlines Arena, still half asleep. Not for long. Everywhere I look, I see runners. Short shorts. Compression socks. Sucking down energy gels and coffee. I snake my way through the crowd and begin the short walk to the starting line.
Arrive to the starting corrals. I slowly weave my way into my assigned corral – and I just stand there, taking it all in. The sun may not be up yet, but the scene is already in full Miami swing. Music blares from speakers overhead and the crowd is beyond energized.
I look up at the American flag hanging by a crane from above. There’s a spotlight on it and I couldn’t help but admire it. Next to the flag, the mayor is cheering us on from a scaffolding tower. I start getting really excited – but I’m also just anxious to start running.
And we’re off! At least some of us are. I’m still waiting for my corral’s turn, but I’m able to keep track of the other runners by watching the big screens. Then finally, it’s time for me to go – and all the training, dieting and preparation comes down to this moment.
The first few miles are all about bobbing and weaving through a vast sea of runners. This is pretty typical for a race of this size, but it’s definitely not my favorite part. It’s still dark outside at this point – and I know I have a long road ahead of me.
I reach the MacArthur Causeway and start the 3.5-mile trek on it. Despite the fact it’s so early, there are quite a few spectators waving, cheering and holding up signs. Beyond them, the turquoise water is starting to reflect the first rays of the day.
I get to Miami Beach just as the sun fully takes over the sky. I’m on Ocean Drive, but it’s quiet. No parties. No volleyball. Only a few bikinis. I look ahead and the horizon is illuminated by the iconic purple lights of The Clevelander. Just stunning.
I snake through the signature streets of Miami Beach, passing five-star resorts and upscale shops along the way. Now it’s starting to get HOT. I stop at a hydration station and grab a Gatorade (next time, water for sure!). I take another AltRed and keep pushing ahead.
I round the corner to the 2.8-mile long Venetian Causeway, heading back to Miami. I take in the beautiful cityscape in front of me as it glistens in the sun. I suddenly notice that more and more fans, friends and family members are gathering on the sidelines.
I keep my eye on the hotel that marks the end. I keep on moving, but I wonder if I’m really getting any closer. By this point, my shins are starting to burn – and my feet are starting to ache. Maybe I shouldn’t have been on them for 10 hours straight yesterday?
Still staring at that hotel. I’m starting to recall stories from the Boston Marathon – how you can see this certain Citgo sign forever towards the end of the race. This hotel is now my Citgo sign. I’m completely focused on it as sweat beads off my face. The Miami sun is relentless.
Okay, the hotel is finally getting closer! The energy picks up, the music gets louder and the crowds get bigger. Just the motivation I need. This is the toughest part of the race. YOU. CAN. DO. THIS. < That’s what I keep telling myself.
Crossing the finish line! An overwhelming sense of accomplishment takes over me. The months of hard work, training, dedication, “eating right” – it all paid off. Someone hands me a medal – it’s a pretty cool one actually. I’m looking forward to taking a cold shower and hitting the town to celebrate.
“These runners deserve credit for being tough, as this isn’t an easy marathon. The Miami Marathon is festive, it’s scenic – but despite it being flat, it isn’t easy. Part of that can be attributed to the humidity and warm air that tends to increase as the day progresses. Make sure you save some fuel for the latter miles of our course.”
-Frankie Ruiz, Founder of Miami Marathon & Miami Run Club
The thing about distance running is as much as you prepare for the race, you can’t always prepare for the day. Many will cross the finish line content they did just that. Others will be left disappointed, missing a personal best time or a Boston Qualifier. Just remember that training and reaching your goals is a journey, so be sure to have fun every step of the way.
Now that we’ve talked about how to prepare for your next event, let’s figure out what that means in today’s reality. There’s a lot on all our minds as the events we’ve been training for are canceled or postponed. It’s times like this that we need to come together like never before. That’s why we’ve launched Virtual Races, a tool that helps you stay in the race by virtually competing and comparing your times to other runners. The idea is to keep training and keep pushing! As we trailblaze through uncharted territory, we encourage you to find new ways to stay connected – and most importantly, to stay inspired far past any finish line.