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archaeo in FL

Best Way To Train For Half Marathon?

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After about 6 months gluten-free (post-Celiac diagnosis), my antibody levels are nearly normal (very fast - <4 is normal, I was at 7 a few weeks ago, down from around 150 in June - hooray!), and I'm going to be able to stop supplementing Iron and reducing B12. Still taking lots of other (doctor-specified) supplements.

I'm finally able to exercise for more than a few minutes at a time, and have now successfully run several 3 milers without feeling like I was going to keel over. Ran four miles yesterday and felt great. (Sick today, but pollen is awful here - and it's definitely allergies. Frustrated!)

So: I want to train for a half marathon. The race isn't until November, so I have a lot of time. I was thinking that I'd take one of the many 12-week training schedules and roughly utilize that, which would have me up to snuff by summer, and then try to fluctuate weekly schedules to sort of train again.

It looks like there are a lot of runners on here, and I'd like to know what you'd suggest.

Quite a few of the training schedules have times (like, run for 30 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday, then run 4 miles on Saturday) with some cross training and walks and days off. Others have distances (3 miles on Tuesday and Thursday, then 4 miles on Saturday), with cross training and days off. I'm leaning more toward distance-based running, because I'm not fast and won't cover much ground in 30 minutes (though that, too, is improving).

What do you do?

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After about a year gluten free, I felt so much better and wanted a similar challenge. I decided to to a mini triathlon. The run part was only 3 miles, but it came after a bike ride and swim. I looked up a bunch of training regimes online as you did, and I took what I liked from each and make up my own. I concentrated on both distance and time depending on the day, distance, and how I felt. At the beginning I couldn't even get around the block, but at the end of around 6 months training time, I was able to complete the race with a respectable time. My main issue was that the pool closed for repairs 3 months before the race so I was pretty rusty for the swim portion which came first. Add to that my crappy bike and I was happy to pass quite a few people during the run portion and I hadn't done much of that during the first two legs.

Good luck and happy training.

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I also tend to do better with distance -- just easier to plan for, although just going out for a 45-minute run without pressure of being fast is also nice -- at least you know how long to set the playlist for. But I think if you're just training to participate and not to win, you can just design your own training program. If you increase total distance by a few to five miles every week, then you can amend it on the fly depending on how you're feeling. I usually design something that fits into my week with an increase of 2.5 miles/week overall, then feel free to ditch or do more as long as I am more or less hitting my goals. I use Runkeeper to analyze how I'm doing, so I can scale back or ramp up depending on my performance.

Please keep us updated on how you're doing and how the race goes. I stopped running when I went gluten-free and I'm waiting for my weight to get back to normal before I start up again, so I'd love to hear how you're dealing with the training.

By the way, if this is your thing, I've loved the audio game Run, Zombies! for my training. Sometimes I also listen to long audiobooks, but the game really got me moving and made long runs pretty exciting. :)

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I lover running and have done several halfs. I've used the Hal Higdon programs. Whenever a time is suggested, i.e. 30 minutes, I've just converted it to a reasonable distance. In training I've found it's best to be flexible, because life is going to get in the way of the 12 week training plan.

Best of luck to you! My favorite foods while training have become sweet potatoes, eggs, and kale!


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I'm finally able to exercise for more than a few minutes at a time, and have now successfully run several 3 milers without feeling like I was going to keel over.

I want to train for a half marathon. The race isn't until November.

What do you do?

I registered for my 1st 5K(maybe last) WarriorDash obsticle race. Aug.3,2013. I hope I don't keel over either. I'm at stage 5 (of 12) now with 15 minutes jogging(4.5)/15 minutes walking(2.5) in intervals on the treadmill. By stage 12, hope to jog for 30 minutes. Eventually, redo same sequence with running(6.5). I need to check my bone density (ie left hip) because it hurts after about 5 minutes. This pain comes and goes. I know celiac disease leads into osteopenia. Running is good weight management but hard on the body.

Good luck with your 1/2 M.

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Thanks, everyone! I'm a couple of weeks in so far, averaging two weekday runs of about 3 miles (or 2.5 when I do interval training, alternating a faster-than-usual pace with a walking recovery) with a little extra for warmup (walking) and cooldown (walking and jogging), and I've done a couple of 4-milers on the weekends. That's a long distance for me, but I'm thinking of trying for 5 this weekend. I have a long time to go, so I'm taking it slow - also because the mental challenge of running (getting bored, not wanting to go or continue - I even negotiate with myself first thing in the morning to try to get out of it, usually something along the lines of "just go to work early, and run this afternoon" - but I don't have the energy when I get home from work to run, so I usually don't listen to myself!).

Life does get in the way, and a head cold took me out of a run last week, but I think it's actually helped me feel better as I recover (I think it's just allergies, not a virus, and it never got into my chest).

dilettantesteph, I would love to do a tri - and I hope I can hire a coach someday to help me learn to swim laps (I can swim, just not efficiently, and certainly not well enough to race).

Chaff, I'm definitely training just to finish - I'm hesitant to set even a moderate goal time, because I don't want to be disappointed. I'm using Runkeeper, too, which is amazing. I feel so much more motivated knowing how far I've gone and at what pace - things I never knew before! I'm only aiming to add a mile a week (or every two weeks) for my long runs. I've heard about the zombie apps but haven't used them - I'm afraid they'd stress me out! I usually listen to Pandora, and I switch up the stations a lot, but I'm getting to where I want to make playlists. There are a few albums that I like to run to.

jebby, I've been eating a lot of eggs - one or two for breakfast each morning with gluten-free toast, Bob's gluten-free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, or Van's gluten-free waffles, and usually some zucchini or cabbage (trying to fit more veggies into my diet, including at least one at breakfast as often as I can - spinach is great in smoothies! but not so much in the winter). I'll have to play with sweet potatoes, I know they're a better starch than what I'm eating. And we eat a lot of kale - love it!

Opa3, the run/walk training programs are supposed to be really good, especially for beginners. Please be careful about your hip, pain there might be bad! I never had a bone scan, but I think we caught my Celiac pretty early and I'm in my early 30s - so hopefully I'm not too bad off. I have noticed that I haven't had the shin pain I used to before going gluten-free, so that's a good sign (plus I'm on calcium supplements, and may always be since I'm as dairy free as I can manage). Resistance training (if your doc OKs it) is supposed to be good for bone density, even something with body weight like pilates or yoga might be good. Those obstacle races look intense! I'm tempted by them, but some of the obstacles look dangerous (some of the ones I've seen recently involve electric shock - who the hell designed that?!), and I'd be out of work if I broke a bone.

Another question: Jebby/jess mentioned what she eats, what else do you eat when training? Are you hungrier?

And another: I usually run without headphones (I run when it's dark/early morning usually, and I think it's safer), but I'd like to find some that stay in, aren't painful, and don't flop around. I saw a pair once that had fabric wrapped wires, which seemed like a good idea (really light ones, and soft). I'm curious about the over-ear/clip design (I think it's the "sport" design), too. What do you use?

Thanks for all the replies! Hopefully the board won't crash again anytime soon...

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Opa3, the run/walk training programs are supposed to be really good, especially for beginners. Please be careful about your hip, pain there might be bad! I never had a bone scan, but I think we caught my Celiac pretty early and I'm in my early 30s - so hopefully I'm not too bad off. I have noticed that I haven't had the shin pain I used to before going gluten-free, so that's a good sign (plus I'm on calcium supplements, and may always be since I'm as dairy free as I can manage). Resistance training (if your doc OKs it) is supposed to be good for bone density, even something with body weight like pilates or yoga might be good. Those obstacle races look intense! I'm tempted by them, but some of the obstacles look dangerous (some of the ones I've seen recently involve electric shock - who the hell designed that?!), and I'd be out of work if I broke a bone.

By Dash time, I'll be 68.5 years old. Had celiac disease for 30 years and definetly will get a bone study done asap. Last year, I lost 30 lbs with better diet(added more protein, fresh fruits & veggies, more nuts) and weight training. I challenged my nephew to run with me, He does these obstacles races frequently and says they are pretty safe. Electric shock? I'd go around that one. Runners are not obligated to do them and no time limit either. Maybe I'll just walk/jog the 5K. It's just for fun and weight management for 2013. :)

Headphones? To date, I don't use any.

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Oh, I didn't know you had the option to bypass obstacles - that's a totally different story!

Congrats on the weight loss and increased training - that's awesome. My parents are close to your age and I wish they were half as motivated as you! (My dad tested negative for Celiac, my mom is waiting until her annual blood test in March to do her test.)

It's great that you will have a running partner! I try to get my husband to work out with me, usually to no avail...

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Made it 5 miles yesterday - beautiful day, very low hills, and my time actually improved (I guess my pace improved, really)! I'm averaging about a 10 minute mile, which is pretty speedy from where I was, but I'm getting up to much better than that on some sections and during intervals.

Did 3 miles today, though, and was slow! I guess I should have taken a day to recover, but will be traveling for work tomorrow and Thursday and am not sure I'll have time to run, and definitely won't on Friday and Sunday... so I wanted to fit another one in. I've really got to start making music mixes, though - I usually stream Pandora and that can be pretty hit or miss. That's fine for half an hour, but moving up towards an hour's worth of music makes me want to spend some time picking what I'll listen to!

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At a coworker's suggestion, I tried run-walking in earnest this weekend (normally I only walk when I feel I need to). He walks a bit after every mile, and uses this method to complete triathlons, including Iron Mans, which surprised me.

I felt like I was just going too slow, and I didn't feel like it was helping me recover. I tried to walk pretty short distances, but I still felt like I was having to warm up again after - no matter how short!

I did make it 8 miles, though! I jumped there from 6 since I was incorporating walking but will drop back down to 7 to continue my gradual addition of miles each week.

So far I've not invested in a hydration belt, and from the research I've done on during-run supplements it looks like I'll be as good with honey or candy (Skittles, probably) as anything else. I can't do sports drinks well, they mess with my stomach (too much citric acid, I think), so I know if I run in the heat I'll also need salts, but I'm hoping (despite being in Florida) not to have to train in too much heat, since I usually run in the early morning.

I got to run with that coworker for a short mid-week run, and it was awfully nice to have company and to help me keep pace. Unfortunately, I was on travel and he's nowhere near me, but he showed me a beautiful park, which also helped the run go by fast. Keeping my fingers crossed I might find a running partner someday!

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Nearly there - time to do a 12 mile run this weekend and the half marathon (not a race, just the distance) the next. I usually run alone, but have a friend running the half-marathon distance with me.


Just in time, too, as the heat has arrived here in Florida.


Taking it slow (stretched a 12-week training program to about 16 weeks), trying to keep mileage up during the week, and allowing life to happen (I didn't always get to my mid-week or longer weekend runs, so I'd extend training another week) really helped. I still average a 10-minute mile, but my shorter runs can be a little faster when I push it.


I'll take the summer to work on resistance training and return to running in the fall, in time to train for the race!


I'd still love to hear about what others are doing and training for.

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Hi archaeo,

That is awesome to hear that you have been able to build up your mileage with patience and time. I have been running a lot because I am training for my first marathon in May (in Cleveland). I ran a half marathon in NYC last weekend which was great. I have stuck with plain water for hydration for most runs, before long, long runs will have some Gatorade.

I have been eating a lot more bananas than in the past and chia seeds. I make a chia seeds cereal some mornings in which I mix 3 tbsp of chia seeds with a little coconut, almond slivers, cocoa powder, cinnamon, pinch of salt, and almond milk. Then I heat it in the microwave for a minute and a half. It is filling and a good pre-fuel for me. I lost too much weight a few months ago, so I've been baking with a lot of almond flour to increase my calories. And eating lots of sweet potatoes!

Are you on Daily Mile? If you, I would love to connect. Let me know and I'll send you my info.

Also, there is a great blog which I've found called "Run Rebecca Run." Rebecca has Celiac Disease and has a goal to run a marathon in every state.

All the best!


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Hi archaeo,...

Hi Jebby, 


Thanks for the response! For some reason I didn't get a notification that you'd responded.


I'm not on Daily Mile right now, but I do use RunKeeper. Do you only use Daily MIle? I've never looked at it.


I got through a 14-mile run about a month ago, with a friend, on a route he'd run as a half-marathon race (not sure why it sound up being 14 miles according to RunKeeper). Pretty happy with my time, too, especially since it was already pretty warm and a hillier route than I usually take.


Unfortunately, I've been pretty lazy since then! I decided that I wanted to transition to more strength training over the summer, and I've started doing the Insanity workouts. That goes well as long as I'm feeling ok, but last week I had a vertebrae issue (!) that caused shooting pains up onto and into my head - ouch! 


I want to try to keep running at least once or twice a week, but I'm in Florida and it's already really hot and humid. Getting out of bed to run first thing in the morning can be challenging! As long as I'm doing something, I'm not too disappointed, but I know that if I don't continue to run I'll lose what I built up. My half isn't until November, and I plan on transitioning back to running again late summer.


The best news for me is that my antibody levels are down to a normal threshold, and I can introduce gluten-free oats. I get so tired of rice sometimes! I definitely don't need to gain weight - I wouldn't mind losing a few more pounds, but more than that I'd like to reduce body fat (even if total weight goes up with muscle mass). But I just read the thread on fat-burning supplements and I can't help but think those things are crazy. I'm exposed to enough chemicals unintentionally, I don't want to intentionally ingest crazy things! I do eat chia seeds, but usually mixed into a smoothie. Not a big fan of coconut, but I'm getting used to the flavor as I try to avoid dairy and a lot of substitutes have coconut instead.


I'll check out that blog, too, thanks for the recommendation!


Have you run your marathon yet? I hope it went well, or good luck!

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    Perhaps because celiac disease presents clinically in such a variety of ways, proper diagnosis often takes years. A positive serological test for antibodies against tissue transglutaminase is considered a very strong diagnostic indicator, and a duodenal biopsy revealing villous atrophy is still considered by many to be the diagnostic gold standard. 
    But this idea is being questioned; some think the biopsy is unnecessary in the face of clear serological tests and obvious symptoms. Also, researchers are developing accurate and reliable ways to test for celiac disease even when patients are already avoiding wheat. In the past, patients needed to be consuming wheat to get an accurate test result. 
    Celiac disease can have numerous vague, or confusing symptoms that can make diagnosis difficult.  Celiac disease is commonly misdiagnosed by doctors. Read a Personal Story About Celiac Disease Diagnosis from the Founder of Celiac.com Currently, testing and biopsy still form the cornerstone of celiac diagnosis.
    There are several serologic (blood) tests available that screen for celiac disease antibodies, but the most commonly used is called a tTG-IgA test. If blood test results suggest celiac disease, your physician will recommend a biopsy of your small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.
    Testing is fairly simple and involves screening the patients blood for antigliadin (AGA) and endomysium antibodies (EmA), and/or doing a biopsy on the areas of the intestines mentioned above, which is still the standard for a formal diagnosis. Also, it is now possible to test people for celiac disease without making them concume wheat products.

    Until recently, biopsy confirmation of a positive gluten antibody test was the gold standard for celiac diagnosis. It still is, but things are changing fairly quickly. Children can now be accurately diagnosed for celiac disease without biopsy. Diagnosis based on level of TGA-IgA 10-fold or more the ULN, a positive result from the EMA tests in a second blood sample, and the presence of at least 1 symptom could avoid risks and costs of endoscopy for more than half the children with celiac disease worldwide.

    Currently the only effective, medically approved treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. Following a gluten-free diet relieves symptoms, promotes gut healing, and prevents nearly all celiac-related complications. 
    A gluten-free diet means avoiding all products that contain wheat, rye and barley, or any of their derivatives. This is a difficult task as there are many hidden sources of gluten found in the ingredients of many processed foods. Still, with effort, most people with celiac disease manage to make the transition. The vast majority of celiac disease patients who follow a gluten-free diet see symptom relief and experience gut healing within two years.
    For these reasons, a gluten-free diet remains the only effective, medically proven treatment for celiac disease.
    There is currently no enzyme or vaccine that can replace a gluten-free diet for people with celiac disease.
    There are enzyme supplements currently available, such as AN-PEP, Latiglutetenase, GluteGuard, and KumaMax, which may help to mitigate accidental gluten ingestion by celiacs. KumaMax, has been shown to survive the stomach, and to break down gluten in the small intestine. Latiglutenase, formerly known as ALV003, is an enzyme therapy designed to be taken with meals. GluteGuard has been shown to significantly protect celiac patients from the serious symptoms they would normally experience after gluten ingestion. There are other enzymes, including those based on papaya enzymes.

    Additionally, there are many celiac disease drugs, enzymes, and therapies in various stages of development by pharmaceutical companies, including at least one vaccine that has received financial backing. At some point in the not too distant future there will likely be new treatments available for those who seek an alternative to a lifelong gluten-free diet. 

    For now though, there are no products on the market that can take the place of a gluten-free diet. Any enzyme or other treatment for celiac disease is intended to be used in conjunction with a gluten-free diet, not as a replacement.

    The most common disorders associated with celiac disease are thyroid disease and Type 1 Diabetes, however, celiac disease is associated with many other conditions, including but not limited to the following autoimmune conditions:
    Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: 2.4-16.4% Multiple Sclerosis (MS): 11% Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: 4-6% Autoimmune hepatitis: 6-15% Addison disease: 6% Arthritis: 1.5-7.5% Sjögren’s syndrome: 2-15% Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy: 5.7% IgA Nephropathy (Berger’s Disease): 3.6% Other celiac co-morditities include:
    Crohn’s Disease; Inflammatory Bowel Disease Chronic Pancreatitis Down Syndrome Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Lupus Multiple Sclerosis Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Psoriasis Rheumatoid Arthritis Scleroderma Turner Syndrome Ulcerative Colitis; Inflammatory Bowel Disease Williams Syndrome Cancers:
    Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (intestinal and extra-intestinal, T- and B-cell types) Small intestinal adenocarcinoma Esophageal carcinoma Papillary thyroid cancer Melanoma CELIAC DISEASE REFERENCES:
    Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University
    Gluten Intolerance Group
    National Institutes of Health
    U.S. National Library of Medicine
    Mayo Clinic
    University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center