Blog Down to Washington UW Alumni Association Blog Down to Washington UW Woof!

Posts Tagged: Dawg Dash

How to Avoid Hitting the Wall


At some point, it’s going to happen. Maybe it’s happened already. It might be in the midst of a grueling run on a rainy Seattle night or during a routine workout at the gym. For some, it may well happen the day of the race. “It,” in this case, is hitting the wall.

You know the feeling: You’re not making much progress. Maybe you aren’t running faster or longer, or you’re stuck at a certain point on the training program. Bad workouts happen to everyone, but you know you’ve hit the wall when you forget the feeling of progress and think about throwing in the sweat-covered towel.

That’s the bad news. The good news? There are valid reasons for hitting the wall, it’s entirely scalable, and you’re not alone. Just ask Daniel O’Rourke, a clinical psychology graduate student at the University of Washington. “Everyone hits the wall,” he said. “It’s like a plateau.”

You hit the wall when your body gets used to the rigors you’re putting it through, O’Rourke said. “After a certain point, it’s not challenging enough for the body to adapt.”

But, lest you retreat to the couch and fire up the Netflix, O’Rourke has a handful of tips for avoiding the wall – or scaling it once you’ve run headfirst into it.

Make changes.

The changes can be any number of things, from a new route to the music you jog along to. O’Rourke suggests switching up a few particulars:

  • Try running different distances. “If you’re always running 5ks to train for a 5k, maybe some days, do a 2k pretty quickly. Some days, do a 10k slowly,” he said.
  • Find a new route. If you usually train on a treadmill, find a park or sidewalk.
  • If you usually run alone, find a friend or running group to train with.

No matter what you do, “switching it up allows your body to adapt,” O’Rourke said.

Set SMART goals.

Entire courses have been taught on goal-setting, and for good reason: It can be tough to know what to strive for. “If you don’t know what you’re going to try and achieve, then it’s very difficult to achieve it,” O’Rourke said. To that end, keep this pneumonic device in mind when figuring out the next step. It stands for the five components that go into setting good goals.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant/realistic
  • Timely

Read more about SMART goals.

Keep the bigger picture in mind.

When slogging through a program that last several weeks, it’s easy to think about how frustrating or difficult the current workout is, rather than remembering the big picture. Says O’Rourke:

  • “Get in touch with why you’re doing this. Is it to come in first? Is it to look as crazy as you can and wear the weirdest costume? Is it to have fun? If you’re having a tough time, try getting back in touch with why you’re doing the run and what makes it fun.”

O’Rourke also recommends making a deal with yourself when the motivation isn’t otherwise there. Something like “If I make it through this, I get to go to the movies tonight” can be a powerful motivator, he said.

Have you signed up for Dawg Dash yet? Registration is now open!

Comments Off on How to Avoid Hitting the Wall

Nutrition: Get ready for race day with the right food choices


Training for a 5k or 10k doesn’t start at the gym or on the course. It starts in the kitchen, where the right nutrition choices can mean the difference between a euphoric race and not finishing at all.

Dr. Elizabeth Kirk

Dr. Elizabeth Kirk

We checked in with Dr. Elizabeth Kirk, a senior lecturer in the University of Washington’s Nutritional Sciences Program, to see how runners and walkers alike can make the right food choices to help prepare for a successful race.

Make sure you’re meeting minimum caloric needs.

It might sound counterintuitive, but Dr. Kirk stressed the need to eat plenty of calories and carbohydrates. Dr. Kirk likened our muscles to engines and compared carbohydrates to the fuel that keeps the engines humming; if we don’t eat enough carbs, our muscles look for other fuels – like fats – to keep us going. Our muscles burn fats well enough, but it’s not as efficient and might slow us down. “It’s a slower fuel,” Dr. Kirk said.

Not just any calories will do, though; Dr. Kirk recommends a mix of whole grains (like brown rice or quinoa), dairy products (like cheese and yogurt), and plenty of fruits and vegetables. “A balanced diet is key,” Dr. Kirk said. “Eating something from every food group will assure that your body gets the nutrients needed for energy production.”

Find the right eating schedule while training.

Some people don’t like to eat for up to two hours before training, while others can transition from the dinner table to the gym without skipping a beat. Dr. Kirk advises runners and walkers to experiment with their diet to see what works best for them. “Some people are really sensitive in terms of their makeup,” she said.

To that end, Dr. Kirk suggests eating an hour before training for a week and making adjustments from there. Hungry in the midst of training? Try eating a little closer to the workout. Feeling slow and bloated? Give yourself a little more time before going for a run.

With regards to what to snack on, Dr. Kirk suggested two balanced ideas: The first is a piece of fruit and container of yogurt or glass of milk, and the second includes graham crackers or pretzels with a sports drink like Gatorade.

Post-exercise, Dr. Kirk suggests refueling muscles with carbohydrates and protein by eating a banana with yogurt, or by drinking a milkshake.

Don’t skip on fluids

Our bodies are more than 50% water, so Dr. Kirk underscored the importance of fluids before, during, and after exercising. “We begin to underperform if we don’t have enough fluid on board to allow energy production to occur,” she said.

Not surprisingly, water is ideal. Beyond water, unsweetened tea and Gatorade, though, Dr. Kirk suggests shying away from fruit juices. “You get kind of tricked, because they’re delicious and fun to drink on a warm day,” she said. “But you definitely end up over-consuming calories.”

Not quite ready to give up juice entirely? Dr. Kirk suggests filling your cup with a half-juice, half-water mix.

Have you signed up for Dawg Dash yet? Registration is now open!

Comments Off on Nutrition: Get ready for race day with the right food choices

Take the first step: Finding the right training plan


Do you want to run your first 5k but find yourself confused about how to train? Do you want to take the next step and run a 10k? Start here with a few helpful and popular training programs.

Cool Running plans:

The Cool Running website offers a variety of training programs for beginners, along with community forums where runners swap stories and trade tips for successful training.

Couch-to-5k: One of the most popular training programs, Couch-to-5k is perfect for the would-be runner with little or no experience; the first 14 training sessions feature a mix of jogging and walking, allowing runners to build up strength and stamina along the way. The nine-week program consists of three workouts per week, with about 30 minutes dedicated to each session.

As an added bonus, download the Couch-to-5k mobile app for the iPhone or Android phone ($1.99, but other developers offer Couch-to-5k free apps). The app tells when to warm up, cool down, jog or walk, depending on the workout. Users can share workouts, listen to music through the app, and track distance/pace, as well. – the maker of the popular Couch-to-5k app – also offers an app to help runners transition from a 5k to a 10k. Learn more about’s 5k-to-10k training program and mobile app. ($.99)

Beginniner 10k training program: Cool Running also offers a beginners’ 10k training program for novices with an eye on their first 10k. The 12-week program introduces speed workouts and offers a calendar to help guide training efforts.

Hal Higdon plans:

Ask a marathoner or half-marathon finisher about their training regimen, and odds are good that they’ll name-drop one of Hal Higdon’s training guides. But the Runner’s World contributor and long-time runner offers training schedules for 5k and 10k runners, as well.

Each plan starts with an overview of the strategy; offers paths tailored to novice runners, regular runners, and walkers alike; and includes schedules to help measure progress.

Read more about Hal Higdon’s 5k training programs and 10k training programs.

Do you have a favorite training program? Do you have experiences with these plans? Let’s hear your feedback and thoughts in the comments!

Comments Off on Take the first step: Finding the right training plan

At the starting line: Join us for Dawg Dash 2013

Dawg Dash is the only running event that snakes through the UW campus.

Dawg Dash is the only running event that snakes through the UW campus.

It’s the time of year in Seattle when clouds part, temperatures rise, and rain exists mostly in long-term forecasts. What better time to start training for the annual Dawg Dash? The long-standing race/walk is less than three months away – circle October 20 on your calendars – and there’s no better time to put your running shoes on and start exercising.

Dawg Dash, a UW tradition for nearly 30 years, is the only run that takes runners and walkers through the heart of campus. Participants start just outside of Red Square before passing Drumheller Fountain, using the Burke-Gilman Trail and ultimately finishing in the Quad. Afterward, everyone is invited to celebrate with the Post-Dash Bash in Red Square, featuring food, beverages, and entertainment.

Are you looking for motivation to run your first 5k? Challenging yourself with a 10K? Join us over the next few months and become part of the conversation as we help you get ready for the big day. Here’s what’s in store:

Daily tips: Like us on Facebook for daily training tips. Each week, we’ll choose a theme – it might be proper footwear and gear, nutrition, or stretching techniques – and bring you a handful of tips to help you make the most of training. Most tips will be geared toward novices and beginners, but we hope to draw on the experience and advice of veteran runners to benefit everyone taking part.

In-depth features: Once a month or so, we’ll bring you articles with advice, tips and knowledge from UW experts. We’ll help you find the right training program, offer nutrition tips, and share some insight on preparing for the big day itself.

Conversation: Along with the daily updates, we’ll invite you to share your stories, tips, insight, photos and more. What motivated you through the tough times? What did you learn about proper form and injury prevention? This series won’t be complete without your participation and involvement.

Whether you are gearing up for your first race or ran a 10k before breakfast, join us as we get ready for this fun UW tradition. Follow us on the Dawg Dash Facebook page, and get updated information at

Comments Off on At the starting line: Join us for Dawg Dash 2013

Dawg Dash celebrates 25th anniversary

Dawg Dash, the popular 10K run and 5K walk/run hosted by the UW Alumni Association, is off the charts for two notable reasons. First, its race course weaves its way through the beautiful UW campus. Second, you can run it with your dogs. Big, small, it doesn’t matter. This event is for the entire family.

On Sunday, Oct. 24, Dawg Dash threw its 25th birthday party in the middle of a rainstorm. It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, right? But even the weather didn’t stop the largest crowd in the event’s 25-year history from ascending on Husky Stadium for another great day.

This was so Seattle—Huskies running around in the rain.

Keep reading for the entire photo gallery.

Read more…

Comments Off on Dawg Dash celebrates 25th anniversary

A digital Homecoming rally for Huskies

Friday, Oct. 15 is Purple and Gold Day in the state of Washington. It’s the fourth straight year Governor Christine Gregoire (a 1969 and 1971 UW alumna) has officially proclaimed the day before the Huskies’ big Homecoming football game to be Purple and Gold Day in our state.

If this is the kickoff to the University of Washington’s annual Homecoming celebration, what else is on tap? Here’s a quick rundown of the festivities:

  • UW Interactive Timeline—Trust me, the UW Alumni Association’s timeline is a neat tool. I showed my wife and she had no idea a few of these people had UW connections. A lot of the information is out there but has never been gathered in one space…until now. Just a few minutes with the timeline and you’ll learn something new. Plus, you can plot yourself in the timeline and join the UW’s history alongside Ann Rule, Dale Chihuly and the NASA spacesuit. I added my favorite story from covering the football team for The Daily.
  • Football vs. Oregon State—This is what it’s all about, right Husky fans? Jake Locker and the Dawgs suffered a setback last weekend against Arizona State but will be looking to even their overall record Saturday, Oct. 16 against the Oregon State Beavers. Find everything you need to know about the game on The Seattle Times’ Husky Football Blog. And pick up a “Beaver Unbeliever” button at any University Book Store location.
  • Great Parties—There are plenty of events and celebrations happening this weekend, including the Class of 1960 50-year reunion, MAP Breakfast honoring diversity at the UW, and the popular Purple & Gold Luncheon on Sunday, Oct. 17. See the complete schedule here.
  • Dawg Dash—Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Dawg Dash is the UW Alumni Association’s 10K run and 5K walk/run through the beautiful UW campus. It’s on every local runner’s itinerary and is one of the only races around that allows dogs on the course. I ran with a pup a few years ago and it was too much fun. Help raise money for student scholarships and take part in the Dawg Dash on Sunday, Oct. 24. Rally your friends (and pups!) and register here.

We hope to see you on campus. Go Huskies!

Blog Down to Washington is full of stories & conversations about the University of Washington community, curated by your friends at the UW Alumni Association.

Featured Posts:

  • No featured posts

What We're Talking About:

Weds on UWTV:

Follow UWAA:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS Feed