Extreme Sports: Tips from Vitals Employees

With the New York City Marathon coming up on Sunday, we’ve asked some of our fitness-centric employees to share their endurance training tips and stories.

Gina Larson-Stoller

gina Extreme Sports: Tips from Vitals Employees PhotoFor me, the key is consistency. I try to put in a set number of miles per week to keep up my fitness. Of course, myrunning partner keeps me honest, making sure I get out there. 




Erika Boyer

Spring Lake 5 2014 Extreme Sports: Tips from Vitals Employees PhotoI am running the NYC Marathon on Nov 2nd.  My first one.  Training has been a journey for sure.   Running is just as much mental as it is physical.  Many ask what do you think of on long runs — and really it is everything and anything.  Good tunes also help.

Hydration and fueling on the long runs are key.  Need to try different things — gu, beans, electrolyte drinks, salt tabs and others — to see what you system can handle as it is working hard.

Many also are running for a cause — mine is for raising money to develop a lower limb robotics program at Burke Rehabilitation to help those with traumatic brain injuries regain the ability to walk, and hopefully run.  My husband’s cousin suffered a brain aneurysm.  Here is a link to his story and cause if there can be a tie in the mention.  https://www.crowdrise.com/run4brad.  Get tissues if you watch the video.

Neveo Harrison

image1 Extreme Sports: Tips from Vitals Employees Photo

The best advice I have for any endurance athlete is use the foam roller and do tons of stretching.  It helps with recovery and prevents injuries by keeping your muscles relaxed, flexible and speeds up the recovery.  I try to challenge myself to go 10 days straight on the foam roller.  If we are not recovering fast enough, it becomes difficult to stick to a training schedule for any endurance event.

Follow the foam rolling routine in this video.

Follow the stretching routine in this video.

Also add in this stretch.

Felippe Mora

sr31 Extreme Sports: Tips from Vitals Employees Photo

For me doing the Vermont Spartan Beast two years in a row was a life changing experience in the way I see obstacles in front of me. No matter how long or how hard I train my body for the race it all comes down to mentally be able to endure that long and be able to convince myself I can actually finish even though I might get injured or even continue while being injured. The first year was 14 miles and it took me 9 hours and 30 minutes to complete. This year’s Beast was 17 miles and it took me 11 hours and 30 minutes. Having someone racing with him and supporting each other was a tremendous help. I was lucky that Ramos is just as crazy as me and wanted to do it too lol.

Training for this type of race is one that you can’t just focus on running or just lifting weights. It is an all-around body workout. During the week I would alternate between running and doing core workouts. On running days I would be bring a backpack with a 25-lb weight in it. On weekends I would go and find the steepest mountain I could find and trail run it up and down several times. If it was raining hard and very muddy that would be totally bonus and perfect conditions for training. I think Ramos has video of him trail running through a creek or something like that. If I found a log in my trail run I’d pick it up and run with it up the mountain. If I find a boulder I’d try to flip it several times and continue on with my trail run. Believe it or not the hardest part is not the long distances or the obstacles or the conditions but trying to run up black diamond ski slopes to the point that it is so steep that you can’t really run and as you get higher it becomes a bit difficult to breath. Lots of lunges and squats will definitely help on the climbing and I mean LOTS. For the breathing part, doing a lot of spin classes will teach how to regulate your heart rate and breathing much faster. During the race the goal is to keep your rate at 80% the entire time. So if all of a sudden your heart rate is at 95% you need to be able to bring it down to 80% in less than 30 seconds while still racing/in motion.

Nutrition: just like any other sport it is all about increasing protein while keeping carbs low. The week of the race you reverse it and increase carbs and lower protein. The morning of the race, 6 AM, you load up in proteins and some carbs. During the race you have to rely on protein gels, protein bars, and electrolytes. That’s all you’ll be able to eat/drink for at least 8 hours. This year I was hoping I could finish the race between 7 – 8 hours but not knowing how many miles was in store I packed enough gels and electrolytes to last me through a zombie apocalypse lol. Good thing I did that because it took me 11hrs30min to complete.

Sleeping: I’m so bad with this one. I’m the type of person that only needs 6 hours of sleep at night and I’m good to go next morning. For this race I forced myself to sleep 7 – 8 hours each night. The body needs time to recuperate from the previous day of training.

Injuries: during training there isn’t that many injuries since you are in control of your motions during core training and you know your limits. Running injuries are very low because I don’t aim for long distances but I aim for elevation distances so I’m not running as fast or stretching my legs as much as you would when doing a normal long distance run on the road. Injuries do occur during the race while attempting to complete an obstacle or coming down the mountain on gravel. On this last race I sprang my right ankle 3 times and all 3 times was coming down the mountain. The first time I definitely heard  a loud crack that brought me to the ground. I made sure that I can move my foot and that i could stand on it. I knew that I needed to continue running to allow the blood to continue to circulate in order to avoid my ankle getting swollen, so I did. I sprang the same ankle two other times but I just walked it off, mind over matter lol. Obviously after the race, and for the next two days, I had to apply ice to my ankle. After the 3rd day I used hot bags on my ankle for about a week.

The day after the race your body will be in total pain. No matter how hard you train for the race the body will always be in pain. Your legs will be the ones hurting the most. The pain is so bad you end up walking for 2 days like you are wearing a dirty diaper, ask Ramos lol. Some people like to take a week off from exercising to allow your body to recover. I take a more of passive aggressive approach. I take 2 or 3 days off then I start by running 2 miles a day for a week. Everyone is different and nobody knows your body like you know yours.


Steve Whitney

10570403 10205206580148314 2217350481761245231 n Extreme Sports: Tips from Vitals Employees PhotoMy philosophy differs somewhat from Felippe. I shut down all impact training (running) when my chronic back injury acts up. My goal is to stretch out my ability  to run as long as my body will allow me to. I would really dislike having to give up running (even at less-than-extreme distances). I run to keep my mind and body healthy. If I cannot run because of an injury, I’ll switch to a low-impact exercise, such as walking or cycling. I also sleep 9-10 hours a night so that I can perform at my best, whether at home, work, or training. I do enjoy the camaraderie of cycling but cycling is definitely more enjoyable at longer distances, thus more time-consuming. We’re all very busy!

I recently added meditation practice and its been very beneficial.