Team Playmakers FAQs

Any Distance, Any Pace

Any Distance, Any Pace
Summer/Fall 2016 Training Program

What is offered through Playmakers? 
Our Team Playmakers – Any Distance, Any Pace is a training program for individuals who want to challenge themselves to complete a summer or fall goal event, or simply want the consistency to train with a team.  Our team motto is “Any Distance, Any Pace”.  We have beginners who are just starting out, those who have been running or walking for decades and everyone in between.   We train for any distance from 5K (3.1 miles) to half marathon (13.1 miles) or marathon (26.2 miles), and beyond.   We have team members of every pace, both walking and running.  Our goal is to support you and help you achieve your running/walking goals, whether or not that may include an event.

How much does the program cost?

The cost is: $110 for first-time Team members; and $80 for returning Team members.  Alumni of Team Playmakers who have been members during four sessions will now be able to join as a social member.  For $50 a year you will get a full year membership to the Team with all the same advantages, minus the gear choice and store coupon.   It will help those individuals stay connected, who otherwise might not have the time to fully commit to train for an event.  The Summer/Fall program kicks off  June 12, and will end with our Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank goal event.


What do I get for that fee?
The tangible things you get are: Team shirt; ability-appropriate calendar; coaching support; an invitation to attend group training sessions; in-store discount coupons; training-related clinics; and a weekly newsletter. The intangible things you get are hard to measure, but are what is most important about the program --- support; sharing of a common goal; and camaraderie, are just three of the things commonly mentioned as valuable by Team members.


What are the goal events for the Team?

We have 3 goal events for Summer/Fall session.   The first is the Crim Festival of Races in Flint on Saturday, August 27.  Choose between their 5K, 8K, or 10 mile races.  The second goal event is the Fifth Third Capital City River Run 5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, and Marathon Relay in downtown Lansing on Sunday, September 18.  Our program concludes with the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon, International Half Marathon, U.S. Half Marathon, and Marathon Relay on Sunday, October 16.  However runners and walkers do not have to complete the goal event(s);  they can train for any event with coaches assistance in making a plan for their race.


Do I have to train for the race/goal event listed?

No.  We recognize that one of the important aspects of getting out and training is to have a goal.  We’ve chosen a goal that a number of Team members will be working toward, but you are free to pick a different goal event.  


How do I sign up?

Sign up at the Kickoff, Sunday, June 12 at 6p.m. at Playmakers, online registration now open.  In-Store registration will be available starting April 1.  Team gear will be available at the Kickoff, or anytime thereafter. 


How often does the Team get together to train, and where?
As a Team member you are welcome to attend any of the training options, both “formal” and “informal.” The formal training sessions are organized by the coaches, with a sign-in sheet, course map, aid stations, pace groups with pace leaders, and coaching support.  The informal training sessions will have a coach on site as a "greeter", no aid stations, no check in, and no pace leaders.  Formal training sessions are on Saturday at 7:30 a.m., alternating between Playmakers and Hawk Island Park.  Informal training sessions are on Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. from the lobby of the Michigan Athletic Club/Sparrow Health Pavilion.

How far do people usually go? 

What’s the pace? Will I be last? We have a wide range of abilities --- from 7:00/mile runners to 20:00+/mile walkers.  Team members use an array of training calendars.  At the training sessions, as well as during races, Team members go their own pace and distance.  At your first  few training sessions we will help you connect with other Team members who have a similar pace and goal.  Chances are you won’t be last, but in Team Playmakers we are proud of the fact that we truly welcome ALL abilities! Our motto is, “Any distance, any pace”.

Will I get help with my running or walking form? 
Playmakers offer a weekly Good Form Running, Good Form Walking, and Good Form Movement classes.  You will receive reminders of the availability of these classes in the weekly email, The Monday Message.  For dates, times and to register, go to:, click on “Good Form” and choose your option.  You will be directed to Playmakers online event calendar.   

How is Team information disbursed? 
Coaches send a weekly email that shares a variety of information: Team race reports; updates on what’s happening; calendar of upcoming events; and an inspirational idea for the week.  If you do not receive an email on Monday, please let Lynn know, at: 

What if I can’t come to every training session? 
While we encourage Team members to attend every training session, we realize life happens and sometimes you can’t make it.  We have noticed that Team members who get the most out of the Team experience are those who are able to train on a consistent basis.  We don’t take attendance and we’ll always be glad to see you, regardless of how often you train with the Team.

What about cross training? 
Some of the calendars have cross training days.  Cross training can be almost anything that’s not running for runners and not walking for walkers.  You could lift weights (high reps, light weight), swim, and bike, do yoga, and runners could walk.  It’s inserted into the calendar to give your walking or running muscles a day of rest.

Is it okay to juggle the training distance days around? 
Flip-flopping Saturday and Sunday can work well for folks, as well as mixing up the mileage for the mid-week runs.  If you’re training for a distance event it is important to have appropriate rest days during the week.   And it’s also essential that you get in your long distance mileage for the week. The long run/walk is the cornerstone of a distance athlete’s training.

Can I walk some and run some during the training and races? 
Many runners take planned walking breaks during their runs (walking at regular intervals often allows a runner to stretch their distance.) Walkers may also choose to run a bit during their walk to use different muscles. The only time a walker isn’t allowed to run is in a race with a “walking only” division.

What should I do if I get injured? 

With the first twinges of training-related pain you should visit the Playmakers Injury Clinic, held every Wednesday, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at Playmakers.  Physical therapists and MSU Sports Medicine professionals are on hand to help you get back on the road to healthy training.  The Clinic is free for anyone (you don’t have to belong to Team Playmakers to visit the Injury Clinic.)

Do I get any individual coaching? 
Coaches are responsive with email and will get back to you with any question. If you’d like to sit down and talk face to face about your training, you can sign up for a one-on-one with a coach. This is also the perfect time to discuss how to adjust any of the training calendars to fit your goal race.

Who should I contact with questions? 

Lynn DuVal at:

Women's 5K Training Team


Women’s  5K Training Team

What is Team Playmakers Women's Couch to 5K? We are a supported training program, for women of all ages who want to walk, walk to run and/or run.  The training and clinics will focus on fitness and well-being!

Who is this program for? Women of all ages that want to get or continue to move!  You may be challenged by walking a half mile, or are comfortable walking/running three miles.

How do I sign up? Sign up at Playmakers store at the counter, or online at Team Playmakers!

How much does the program cost? The cost is $70 at Playmakers or online registration.

What do I get for that fee? The tangible things you get are: Team Playmakers gear; ability-appropriate calendar; coaching support; an invitation to attend two group training sessions each,  weekly Tai Chi; an in-store discount coupon; training-related clinics; entry into our goal 5K event and a weekly newsletter. The intangible things you get are hard to measure, but Team members tell us that the motivating and encouraging support and the sharing of a common goal, and new friendships, are what they value most.

When and Where is the training held? Training sessions will be held at Hawk Island Park 1601 E. Cavanaugh St, Lansing, MI 48910.  Our first training session is Wednesday, October 12 with the program culminating on Saturday, December 3 at our goal event. We will train on Wednesday’s at 6:00 pm and Saturday’s at 8:00 a.m.  Join us on Sunday, October 9 at 6:00 pm. For the program overview and sign up. 

Cold Weather Tips

1. Dress in layers. The key to winter training is layering, especially with your upper body. Layers trap body heat and allow sweat to move through the layers of clothing. The moisture is wicked away from your first layer to your outer layers, and then evaporates. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, or wool, which wick sweat from your body. Stay away from cotton because it holds the moisture and will keep you wet. An outer layer of nylon or Gore-Tex will help protect you against wind and precipitation. If it's really cold out, you'll need a middle layer, such as polar fleece, for added insulation.

2. Avoid overdressing. You're going to warm up once you get moving, so you should feel a little bit chilly when you start your run/walk. A good rule of thumb: dress as if it's 20 degrees warmer outside than it really is.

3. Pay attention to temperature and wind chill. If the wind is strong, it penetrates your clothing and removes the insulation layer of warm air around you. Your movement also creates wind chill because it increases air movement past your body. If the temperature drops below zero or the wind chill is below minus 20, hit the treadmill or walk at the mall, instead of heading outdoors.

4. Run/walk into the wind first. If you head out into the wind, it will be at your back at the end of your workout, when you're sweaty and could catch a chill.

5. Protect your hands and feet. As much as 30 percent of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet. On mild days, wear gloves that wick moisture away. Mittens are a better choice on colder days because your fingers will share their body heat. You can also tuck disposable heat packets into your mittens. Add a wicking sock liner under a warm polar fleece or wool sock, but make sure you have enough room in your shoes to accommodate the thicker socks.

6. Wear a hat. About 40 percent of your body heat is lost through your head. Wearing a hat will help prevent heat loss, so your circulatory system will have more heat to distribute to the rest of the body. When it's really cold, wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth to warm the air you breathe and protect your face.

7. Watch for frostbite. On really cold days, make sure to monitor your fingers, toes, ears, and nose. They may feel numb at first, but they should warm up a few minutes into your run/walk. If you notice a patch of hard, pale, cold skin, you may have frostbite. Get out of the cold immediately and slowly warm the affected area. If numbness continues, seek emergency care.

8. Don't stay in wet clothes. If you get wet from rain, snow, or sweat in cold temperatures, you're at an increased risk for hypothermia, a lowering of your body temperature. If you're wet, change your clothes and get to warm shelter as quickly as possible. If you suspect hypothermia --- characterized by intense shivering, loss of coordination, slurred speech, and fatigue --- get emergency treatment immediately.

9. Stay hydrated. Despite the cold weather, you'll still heat up and lose fluids through sweat. Cold air also has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your training.

10. Take it easy when it's frigid. You're at greater risk for a pulled muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly and take it easy on very cold days. Save your tough workouts for milder days or indoors.

*Editor's note: consider buying a pair of YakTrax to minimize the slipping and sliding!

Hot Weather Tips

Running in the Heat

Everything you need to know about running in the heat.

Walking or running through the summer doesn't have to leave you feeling wilted. Here's everything you need to know.

Because of the heat and humidity, most people wouldn’t pick summer as their favorite season for outdoor exercise. Spring or fall normally wins that honor. But summer does have a lot going for it. More daylight before and after work means more time to get outside. What’s more, with all the swimming, lawn mowing, gardening, hiking, and vacations, it’s easier to be more active in the summer, so your fitness level is higher. Here’s everything you need to know to help you optimize your hot-weather workouts.

Make adjustments. Don’t do long or higher-intensity workouts during the heat of the day. If you must run at midday, pick routes with shade. As a general rule, start your workout slower than you usually do. If you’re feeling good halfway through, it’s okay to speed up a little bit.

Wear as little as possibleWear apparel that’s light in color, lightweight, and has vents or mesh. Microfiber polyesters and cotton blends are good fabric choices. Also, be sure to wear a hat, shades, and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Watch your alcohol and medsAlcohol, antihistamines, and antidepressants can all have a dehydrating effect. Using them just before a run can make you have to pee, compounding your risk of dehydration.

Drink early and oftenTop off your fluid stores with 16 ounces of sports drink an hour before you head out. Then toss down five to eight ounces of sports drink about every 20 minutes while working out. Sports drinks beat water because they contain electrolytes, which increase your water-absorption rate, replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat, and taste good, making it easy to drink more.

Be patient. Give yourself eight to 14 days to acclimatize to hot weather, gradually increasing the length and intensity of your training. In that time, your body will learn to decrease your heart rate, decrease your core body temperature, and increase your sweat rate.

Seek grass and shade. It’s always hotter in cities than in surrounding areas because asphalt and concrete retain heat. If you must run in an urban or even a suburban area, look for shade—any park will do—and try to go in the early morning or late evening.

Check the breeze. If possible, start your run going with the wind and then run back with a headwind. Running into the wind has a cooling effect, and you’ll need that in the second half of a run.

Head out early or late. Even in the worst heat wave, it cools off significantly by dawn. Get your run done then, and you’ll feel good about it all day. Can’t fit it in? Wait until evening, when the sun’s rays aren’t as strong—just don’t do it so late that it keeps you from getting to sleep.

Slow down! Every 5°F rise in temperature above 60°F can slow your pace by as much as 20 to 30 seconds per mile. So don’t fight it—just slow down.

How Heat Can Hurt

Take steps to prevent the following hot-weather illnesses:


  • Cause: Dehydration leads to an electrolyte imbalance

  • Symptoms: Severe abdominal or large-muscle cramps

  • Treatment: Restore salt balance with foods or drinks that contain sodium

  • Prevention: Don’t run hard in the heat till acclimatized, and stay well hydrated with sports drink


  • Cause: Often brought on by a sudden stop that interrupts bloodflow from the legs to the brain

  • Symptoms: Fainting

  • Treatment: After the fall, elevate legs and pelvis to help restore bloodflow to the brain

  • Prevention: Cool down gradually after a workout with at least five minutes of easy jogging and walking


  • Cause: Dehydration leads to an electrolyte imbalance

  • Symptoms: Core body temperature of 102° to 104°F, headache, fatigue, profuse sweating, nausea,
    clammy skin

  • Treatment: Rest and apply a cold pack on head/neck; also restore salt balance with foods and drinks with sodium

  • Prevention: Don’t run hard in the heat till acclimatized, and stay well hydrated with sports drink


  • Cause: Excessive water intake dilutes blood-sodium levels; usually occurs after running for four or more hours

  • Symptoms: Headache, disorientation, muscle twitching

  • Treatment: Emergency medical treatment is necessary; hydration in any form can be fatal

  • Prevention: When running, don’t drink more than about 32 ounces per hour; choose sports drink over water


  • Cause: Extreme exertion and dehydration impair your body’s ability to maintain an optimal temperature

  • Symptoms: Core body temp of 104° or more, headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid pulse, disorientation

  • Treatment: Emergency medical treatment is necessary for immediate ice-water immersion and IV-fluids

  • Prevention: Don’t run hard in the heat until acclimatized, and stay well hydrated with sports drink


Blisters, chafing, and sunburn can strike anytime, but they’re more common in hot weather. Here’s how to treat these problems and to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Black toenails

Lots of downhill running and too-small shoes can bring these on, as both cause your toes to slam into the front of your shoe. Wear properly fitted shoes and trim your nails regularly. Once you have a black toenail, there’s not much you can do. It’ll usually heal on its own within a few months. If it’s really painful, see a podiatrist, who may drain the fluid from under the nail.


These are caused by friction, excessive moisture (sweaty feet, wet weather), or shoes that are too small, too big, or tied too tight. So be sure to buy properly fitted shoes. Because your feet can expand a half size over a day, shop in the late afternoon or evening. Putting Vaseline, sports lube, and bandages over blister-prone spots may also help. Ignore blisters smaller than five millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser), since they’re usually not painful. But pop the big ones. With a sterile needle, prick the side of the blister and drain it. Don’t remove the top of the blister; instead, cover it with an antibiotic ointment and moleskin or a bandage.


Skin-to-skin and skin-to-clothing rubbing can cause a red, raw rash that can bleed, sting, and make you yelp during your postrun shower. Moisture and salt on the body make it worse. Underarms, inner thighs, along the bra line (women), and nipples (men) are vulnerable spots. To help prevent it, wear moisture-wicking, seamless, tagless gear. Fit is important—a baggy shirt has excess material that can cause irritation; a too-snug sports bra can dig into skin. Apply Vaseline, sports lube, Band-Aids, or NipGuards before you run. To treat chafing, wash the area with soap and water, apply an antibacterial ointment, and cover with a bandage.

Muscle cramps

The best way to prevent these is to be well trained, because fatigue seems to be the main reason for cramping in races and hard workouts. Plyometric training (bounding, hopping) may lower your risk as well, and so may keeping well hydrated with a salty drink. If a cramp hits, stretch immediately. If your calf cramps, for instance, stop running, straighten out your leg, pull back on your toe, and hold the stretch for several seconds. You may need to continue this for 2 to 3 minutes. Then massage the muscle to help ease the pain and get you ready to run again.


To lower your risk, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., wear a hat, run in the shade, and wear sunscreen. Because sunscreen can’t withstand prolonged exercise, stash some in your pocket or circle back to your car so you can reapply every hour. You can also wear technical apparel that blocks UV rays. If you get sunburned, taking an anti-inflammatory and applying aloe vera a few times per day will take the edge off the pain.

Your Skin-Care Kit
Stash these supplies in your gym bag or car.

  • Bodyglide or Vaseline- Prevents chafing and blisters

  • Antibiotic ointment- Keeps chafing wounds and popped blisters from getting infected

  • Sunscreen- Prevents sunburn. Apply sweat-proof formulas with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply each hour that you're outside.

  • Moleskin- Covers hot spots to prevent blisters from developing

  • Antifungal powder or spray- Helps to prevent athlete's foot

  • Aloe vera- Soothes sunburn