Thursday, August 29, 2019

Training check-in: 6 weeks to race day!

As training miles add up and runners are hitting their longest long runs in prep for 26.2 or 13.1 at the Eversource Hartford Marathon on October 12, it’s more important than ever to stay attuned to your body.  Tired legs are to be expected, but take precautions when aches, pains or soreness feels more intense or lasts longer than normal.

Talk to other runners about their experiences – everyone is happy to share what they can to help others make it to their starting line.  Ask questions or follow conversations on Facebook through the League of Injured Runners.  This group is supported by the Connecticut Sports Medicine Institute (CSMI) at Saint Francis Hospital.  You can also tap expert advice in the group from the CSMI physicians who generously give of their time to help you keep running strong and injury free through training and after your race.

Remember to keep up with your hydration through the week while training and fuel your body with balanced nutrition for energy and to re-fuel.  Some resources we like that offer useful ideas and tips: 
Runner’s World: 6 Simple Rules For Eating a Healthy, Whole-Foods Runner’s Diet 
New York Times: How to Feed a Runner Nutrition Tips for New Runners 

Consider taking care of your tired and achy muscles with therapies designed to help you relax and recover.  Launched by two members of the HMF running community, Imagine Float is a new facility in Avon that offers 4 different alternate therapies: 
Floatation Therapy, Whole Body Cryotherapy, Infrared Sauna and Compression therapy. Through October 14, all participants who book a service at Imagine Float as part of their training plan for the Eversource Hartford Marathon or Half Marathon distance, $5 will be donated to the HMF FitKids program! DETAILS 

Learn more below about the experiences of three athletes training for the Eversource Hartford Marathon.  

Tom Zukowski, runner and fitness instructor 
I am a 44 time marathoner and currently training for the 2019 Hartford Marathon. To date, I have logged over 1000 miles of running this year, and I teach 2 group fitness classes a week. 
I discovered Imagine Float over the summer. I originally tried cryotherapy, it was an interesting experience, but for me personally, I get an enormous benefit from compression therapy.
My legs had felt fatigued with the high mileage and humidity the past month, so I went in for a session last Sunday, and it definitely helped my legs “bounce back”.  It’s a 30 minute session, the staff will assist you in setting up the compression sleeves, and all you have to do is adjust the intensity.  You feel the compression rise through each zone, it gets to the top, then starts all over again.
The facility is clean and beautiful, and Michele and her staff are very accommodating. I have a monthly membership, totally worth the long drive for me to get out there! 

Lisa Wawrzynowski, marathon runner and CrossFit athlete 
I sometimes struggle with low back pain/stiffness because I do a lot of intense workouts that involve heavy lifting and then go at work a desk job for 8 hours.
I went to Imagine Float on a day my back was hurting more than normal. I also had a lot going on at work so was feeling very stressed and anxious. 
I had heard of floating therapy before but was not entirely sure what it was so I didn’t know what exactly to expect. Since I was floating in water, there was no pressure on my back, my body was able to relax and rest at its natural state. When I was done, I felt energized yet relaxed and all my tight muscles from my workouts that week felt so loose! I was able to go home and stretch it out and felt great the rest of the week.
On top of my back feeling better, my mood was also significantly better. It was like I left my stress and anxiety in the room. The float was so relaxing that I pretty much fell asleep and got the rest I needed. I was able to meditate a bit and get into that right mindset to ease my anxieties and focus on positives. It was a great experience! 

Jeanne Corey Marchand - avid runner, coach and pacer for the Eversource Hartford Marathon 
First, I tried the “float” therapy and I loved it!  I went into the session opened minded as I am a bit claustrophobic.  The room where I floated was much larger than I anticipated and I was in complete control all the settings at all times.  I never thought an hour of floating would go back so quickly.  I was given a “noodle” for behind my legs and a small floatation device for under my head.  I never needed them.  The Epsom salt that they put in the water acts as your own personal life jacket.  I drifted to a complete relaxed state of mind.  When I left the room I was greeted by Michele, the owner, to see how I liked it.  It’s hard to explain the euphoric feeling with my mind so clear and cleansed. I haven’t had a good night sleep in years and this was the most refreshed I’ve felt in a long time.
I went back into Imagine Float to try the Compression therapy.  I run a lot of miles and want to continue for as long as I can. I feel that’s a goal for a lot of women as we get older!
The first time I tried Compression therapy was after one of my long runs leading up to the San Francisco marathon.  The typical soreness I experience the day after long runs was minimal, so I scheduled more sessions until my marathon.  The benefits of compression for runners is phenomenal.  I’ve tried so many recovery tools and I feel the compression is something every runner should do.  I not only had a fantastic race, I was able to bounce back quickly and continue with my training for my Eversource Hartford Marathon this fall. 
I highly recommend Imagine float for athletes for recovery, injury prevention and for a clear mind for those long runs!  Happy training everyone!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Help us choose the post-race marathon menu

Let’s pretend you’ve invited 10,000 people over for lunch. You have no running water, no stovetop or grill, a tight budget and you can’t order delivery because of some significant local road closures.

What would you make that has nutritional value (assume all of your guests just ran between 3.1 and 26.2 miles) and can satisfy varying tastes? Also, please be sure to accommodate gluten-free, vegan or dairy-free guests. Oh, and don’t forget to follow specific guidelines from your city’s health department and make sure to keep hot food hot and cold food cold for the duration of 4-6 hours. Did we mention your lunch party is outside too? It could rain, or be pretty warm, or kind of chilly – you won’t know for sure though when you plan your menu or grocery shop. 

So - what’s on your menu? 

Every year, we collect feedback from Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon event participants about what we cooked up on race day. Opinions vary, of course, but our number one goal is to provide the best overall race experience possible for each and every one of you. And we've got great insights and advice to share with you from an expert - Nancy Clark is a registered dietitian (RD) and board certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD), and author of multiple books, including "Food Guide for Marathoners".

So this year, we want your help to make some choices within the confines of what’s possible when it comes to post-race nosh. Generally, we make sure to provide a warm option, cold option, salty item and sweet item. 

Keeping all of the limitations in mind, please take a minute to respond to THIS SURVEY

We’ve had great success serving chili and soups, met with some enthusiasm and some criticism. We used to have access to oven space to cook 10,000 baked potatoes – that was a big hit but no longer an option to access, unfortunately. Likewise with mac and cheese – a local culinary school had the resources to cook, hold and help serve but without their resources, it’s impossible for us to provide. Apple Crisp, homemade donuts, bagels, bananas, Dole fruit cups and yogurt have all been met with pretty positive response. 

With successes have come some challenges too. The master plan to serve grilled cheese was unsuccessful because of the difficulty in ensuring consistent quality for the duration of the event. Pasta needs adequate commercial equipment and doesn’t hold well for a long time. The amount of people needed to cook, transport, hold and serve is a huge factor in feasibility. 

We’re always willing to go back to the drawing board though. We know you’re going to work hard to cross that finish line, we assure you we will work hard to provide a post-race spread worth running for! 

Keep in mind tips from Nancy Clark, RD, on the goals of the post-marathon menu:
  • Provide easy-to-digest foods that will settle well such as rice, pasta, sweet potato, etc
  • Refuel muscles with carbohydrate, either sugar or starch from grains, fruits and/or vegetables 
  • Rehydrate with fluids 
  • Replenish sodium as well as other electrolytes lost in sweat 
  • Start the healing process with protein to repair muscles
  • Offer flavor changes from the sugary-sweet sport drinks and gels consumed during the marathon
  • Provide sweets that will help boost blood glucose to feed the brain and promote mental clarity  
  • Offer gluten-free carbohydrates that suit the dietary needs of the majority of runners
  • Introduce runners to anti-inflammatory foods that, when eaten on a daily basis, can help fight inflammation and enhance recovery 


We appreciate your feedback and will announce the final menu next month!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Do Good, Feel Good

This summer, we have made it our mission to leave our local running, walking and hiking trails cleaner than we found them. Plogging is a fun, interactive and healthy way to do just that – and we’re at it again this week. The word “plogging” comes from the Swedish word “plocka,” which refers to picking up, combined with the word jogging. It’s a great way to work out while helping out and keeping our communities litter-free.

On Wednesday, August 14th, we’re joining RiMaConn Relay partner Webster Bank for a plogging event in East Hartford. Get details and sign-up below. More information on how the support of Webster Bank is enhancing our sustainability efforts at RiMaConn are also included below.

Webster Bank Plogging Event – Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Start Time: 5:30 PM

Location: Meet up/Parking at Webster Bank, 1491 Silver Lane, East Hartford, CT 06118

Distance: 1.5 mile or 2.5 mile jog out, plogging on the way back


Webster Bank Named Presenting Sponsor 
of Hartford Marathon Foundation’s Inaugural RiMaConn Relay 
Webster to make additional donation to East Coast Greenway 

GLASTONBURY, Conn., August 12, 2019 – The Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) is proud to announce Webster Bank as the Presenting Sponsor of the RiMaConn Relay, its first-ever team relay on the East Coast Greenway. The sold-out event will engage over 700 participants in a day-long race spanning 21 communities in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut on Saturday, August 24, 2019.

HMF will employ wide-ranging sustainability measures—one of the most proactive efforts among the HMF calendar of events—including:

  • Race shirts made of recycled plastic water bottles (more than 5,700 water bottles will be recycled in the process) 
  • Reusable water bottles—replacing 10,000 disposable plastic bottles and cups 
  • Compost-friendly food, plates and napkins at the post-race party 
  • Locally sourced food and drinks
“Webster’s deep ties to the community throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island make them a natural partner in the RiMaConn Relay, a new endeavor that utilizes our region’s trail system in an exciting way,” said Beth Shluger, HMF CEO and founder. “Their generous support helps us deliver the top-notch race experience participants have come to expect at our events while positively impacting the communities involved.”

Eighty-five percent of the RiMaConn course utilizes the scenic trails of the East Coast Greenway. In addition to being the Presenting Sponsor, Webster Bank will donate $5,000 to help protect and preserve the race trails.

“Webster has a long-standing commitment to supporting the communities where we live and work,” said Brian Runkle, executive vice president, Operations, Webster Bank. “This regional race is another example of our leadership on sustainability and being a good corporate citizen.”

Runkle is the captain for Webster’s relay team and has participated in multiple long-distance relay races across the country for almost ten years.

The RiMaConn sponsorship is the latest example of Webster’s commitment to sustainability. In 2018 alone, Webster entered into approximately $47 million in loans for renewable energy and energy-efficient components. Webster also invests in energy-efficient solutions at its facilities, including curbing paper and fossil fuel usage, and remains active in financing commercial loans for renewable and clean energy and LEED construction.

In addition to its sponsorship, Webster Bank will engage its RiMaConn relay team and employee volunteers in HMF’s "plogging" event on Wednesday, August 14, 2019, in East Hartford, Conn. “Plogging” is a Swedish term referring to picking up litter while jogging. The group run and cleanup is free and open to the community.

For more information about the RiMaConn Relay, visit

For partnership opportunities, contact

About the Hartford Marathon Foundation The Hartford Marathon Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to create and manage fitness events that inspire people to be healthy and fit. Located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, the Hartford Marathon Foundation organizes 32 annual athletic events, including the Eversource Hartford Marathon. For more information, visit and on Facebook at HMF Events.

About Webster BankWebster Financial Corporation is the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association and its HSA Bank division. With $28.9 billion in assets, Webster provides business and consumer banking, mortgage, financial planning, trust, and investment services through 157 banking centers and 308 ATMs. Webster also provides mobile and online banking. Webster Bank owns the asset-based lending firm Webster Business Credit Corporation; the equipment finance firm Webster Capital Finance Corporation; and HSA Bank, a division of Webster Bank, which provides health savings account trustee and administrative services. Webster Bank is a member of the FDIC and an equal housing lender. For more information about Webster, including past press releases and the latest annual report, visit the Webster website at

About The East Coast Greenway The East Coast Greenway is a walking and biking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida, connecting the nation’s most populated corridor. The East Coast Greenway is designed to transform the 15 states and 450 communities it connects through active and healthy lifestyles, sustainable transportation, community engagement, climate resilience, tourism, and more. The Greenway offers a safe place for bicyclists, walkers, runners, and more — of all ages and abilities — to commute, exercise, and visit new destinations. Learn more: