ACE Running Series

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ACE Running

Pro Tip

Becky Fox

Tampa, FL

Make sure you decide up front what days you will be running and how far. Without a clear plan it's easy to procrastinate, which leaves you unprepared and untrained on race day. Look for a plan that fits your current level of fitness. If you are a beginning runner then you should be starting out SLOW to get your body used to running and to avoid overtraining. Before buying a sports bra be sure to try it on, move around in it, jump up and down, and make sure it feels comfy. I like bras that contain wicking fabrics that keep me dry and comfortable. After a workout it's important to take in protein and carbs to repair muscle and replenish glycogen. One of my favorite post-workout snacks is rice cakes with almond butter and cinnamon. You should be crossing training at least three days per week. It's important that you keep your body balanced by working different muscles and challenging it in new ways. Running utilizes mostly your lower body and core, so it's important to be training the upper body. Strength training your legs they become stronger and can increase your speed. Interval training can increase your oxygen capacity so you can run harder for longer, increase endurance so you can run faster for longer, and build speed, especially for those sprints at the end of your race.

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Pro Tip

Aris Akavan

St. Petersburg, FL

Invest in a good pair of running shoes. Good doesn’t mean expensive. I’ve used a variety of brands including New Balance, Asics and Saucony with an average price of $65. Look for a bra with padded cups for a nice fit and to avoid showing too much, and find one you can easily wash. For price, comfort and style, I like Danskin Now sports bras. Your training plan should fit your lifestyle. If it requires more commitment than you are willing to give, find another one that better fits the time you want to set aside for training. After replenishing lost fluids with a glass of water and lemon juice, I eat a half whole-wheat wrap with eggs (boiled or scrambled). Cross train at least twice a week. Swimming, biking, the elliptical or weight lifting are great exercises to increase endurance while avoiding boredom and overuse injuries. Once you’re comfortable running for 10-15 minutes without stopping, add in interval training. I make it a game by increasing my pace to pass strangers before they reach certain points.

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Pro Tip

Mare Petras

Sarasota, FL

Make sure you invest in a running shoe that provides proper support for your foot structure and stride. Next, consult a fitness professional to help you develop a smart training plan. New runners over the age of 40 should check with their physician to get a health clearance before registering for a race, lacing up and hitting the pavement. Your training plan needs to be progressive, preparative, practical and safe. Make sure your training plan realistically fits into your other responsibilities to maintain a healthy life balance. Make sure your training program simulates race day. For example, if there are hills on the route, find similar hills on which to train. The best way to determine proper fit and comfort when it comes to sports bras is to mimic the activity while wearing the bra. This may mean running in place in the dressing room! For warm weather runners (like here in Florida), make sure your bra’s fabric properly wicks sweat, keeping your skin dry to prevent chafing and irritation. Good post work-out snacks include protein-and-carb combinations. Protein helps build muscle and carbs help restore energy. Try peanut butter on a banana or Greek yogurt with blueberries. Be mindful to keep your portions match your specific training demands. After training, it’s super easy to over-estimate energy needs and overindulge. A good training schedule might include three days of running and 2-3 days of cross training. Cross training allows “running” muscles to rest while providing exercise to supporting muscles.

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Pro Tip

Emily Watkins

Phoenix, AZ

So often, we let our nervous energy turn into negative energy and thoughts. We can and must retrain the mind just as we do our bodies. Positive thinking will allow for positive training! Look for a plan that will work with your life commitments. Take your work and family into account so that you can feel good about your plan and not stressed out. Find a sports bra that offers good support and comfort. I’ve heard many women with large breasts have to double up on bras, but if you find the right one you’ll only need a single bra. For beginners, I recommend strength training twice a week and running 3 days a week. For advanced competitors who run 6 days a week, you’ll improve by adding hills and speed work.

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Pro Tip

Kathy Mark

Scottsdale, AZ

Before race day, make sure you go over the details. If the race is in an unfamiliar city, check the weather forecast, the elevation and course terrain. All of these factors could impact your results. Your plan should help you with setting a nice base for your endurance and strength, without overtraining. You don’t want to end up injured by the time your race takes place. There are too many variations in size and type to buy a sports bra without trying several on. I’ve found that good sports bras tend to be more comfortable than regular bras. Depending upon your stomach or digestive system, a nice protein snack of yogurt and fruit can give you the energy you need. You may also try apples and peanut butter. Cross training is very important. The body needs a different way to work out and strengthen besides the repetitive movement of running. A balanced program will help you perform best. Running doesn't do much for the core or back. These should be worked at least 2-3 times a week. Stretch every day, including moves that rotate and extend the spine, and open the chest.

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Pro Tip

Patty Jarrell

Cave Creek, AZ

For those new to running, I would recommend getting fitted for a good pair of running shoes, finding a running buddy or group to train with twice a week, and starting a stretching program. Look for a training plan designed by a seasoned runner or fitness professional that incorporates a running schedule, nutrition plan and cross-training options like spinning, yoga and strength. Running puts a good amount of impact on your body, so you need a sports bra with as much support as possible. Before you select one, make sure it’s comfortable and sized properly. Following a workout, make sure you replenish your protein supply within 30 minutes. If you don’t have access to a protein drink, a protein bar would be my second choice. Running – or any cross-training workout – breaks down muscle tissue, so replenishing your body’s protein supply afterward is important for muscle maintenance and growth. I frequently remind my clients to drink plenty of water before, during and after a workout to avoid becoming dehydrated. Cross training helps reduce the risk of overuse injuries and creates balance in our bodies. If you’re running 3-6 days a week, add in some spinning, boxing or other low-impact cardio. A good stretching program keeps your legs from tightening up and helps improve flexibility. Make sure you stretch for 5-10 minutes after every run. Adding in some yoga can help too. I love to see runners lifting weights two times a week for upper body and core strengthening. If time is an issue, try to at least weight train once a week until after the race. Our bodies respond to variety in our workouts, so make sure you change your program frequently. For runners, that may mean adding sprints, plyometrics, bounding or step-ups. Sprints, bleachers, plyometrics, bounding, lunges, step-ups and squats all recruit slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers. In my opinion, that’s a great way to improve our personal record.

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Pro Tip

Jennie Hoeft

Nashville, TN

Now that you have a goal, carve out time to fulfill it! Mark space every day for training, whether it’s actual running, cross training or resting. It’s all about making a commitment to yourself. Be prepared to spend around $100 on a pair of shoes that offer a great fit. I can’t emphasize how important safe and happy feet are on this journey. Make sure your fitting includes a little test run. After you choose an event, make sure you set clear, specific goals. Do you want to lose weight? Have fun? Meet friends? Win a race? Train according to what YOUR goal is for this race. My training schedule is all about making it fun and listening to my body. I like to run every other day, and cross train on opposite days with yoga, hiking, cycling, swimming or lifting. For your first race, make sure you look for a beginning training path. The program should include intervals of walking and jogging, and cross training. Taper up for at least 12 weeks. The right bra is as important as the right shoes. Start by trying on several options that fit your bust size. Test them out with high-knee jogging in a fitting room to make sure there’s NO bouncing! It’s tempting to overindulge as you start to train harder. I love a well-balanced protein shake with a banana. I feel nourished and satiated for hours!

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Pro Tip

Susan McDonald

Nashville, TN

If you work out with a buddy it’ll be hard to skip on days when you’re not feeling it. A workout buddy can also add an element of friendly competition, which may boost your performance. Be clear on why you want to run a 5K and find a plan that matches your goal. If your aim is to make new friends and rock a free T-shirt, you probably don’t need a training plan made for Navy Seals. When it comes to sports bras, remember these two words: front fastener. Trying to wriggle out of a sweat-soaked sports bra can make you feel like Houdini underwater in a straitjacket. Running is great for building endurance, but to go strong, you need a combination of cardio, strength training and stretching. You’ll minimize your risk of injury and increase overall fitness. I recommend cross training three days a week. Lifting weights, swimming laps and doing yoga can help you go the distance with more power and less stress.

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Pro Tip

Courtney Mambourg

Clarksville, TN

After you sign up for your first race, find a friend or group program to run with. It will help keep you motivated and hold you accountable on days you really don’t feel like hitting the road! Now that you’ve signed up for a race, look for a running program you can print off and put in a place you’ll see every day. Keep yourself going by marking your progress along the way. When you’re searching for a 5K or half-marathon training plan, make sure you look for one with nice, steady progression. If it has you running 10 miles on your second week, stay away! When it comes to sports bras, do not go cheap! Find a supportive, comfortable bra that’s right for you. Some of my favorites are made by Curves, Athleta and HerRoom.com. Cross training is so important! Every runner I’ve worked with has improved their race time by adding it to their schedules. I recommend you focus on cross training at least two times a week.

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